For a month, Zhou Lin really disappeared.
Without those sticky eyes staring at him, without that person following him like a shadow, Tang Junhe finally felt relaxed after a long time.
Sometimes, he thought he had gotten rid of Zhou Lin for good — which was not impossible, maybe Zhou Lin had lost his reputation in Runcheng and could not even make a basic living, so he had to go to another city to continue his life.
This fluke of a thought allowed him to spend the most carefree month in nearly six years. After school, he could stay as long as he wanted in the empty classroom for a full hour, since he lied to Tang Xiaonian that the school had added an hour of self-study and as long as it involves school, Tang Xiaonian never doubted him.
Sometimes after doing the test papers, he would stand in front of the classroom windowsill and watch Yang Xuan play basketball on the field outside. There is no denying that he has always had a desire to get closer to Yang Xuan and when no one was paying attention, he would stare at Yang Xuan with an unbridled gaze, and even he himself was not aware of the greed and desire revealed in that gaze.
However, when Yang Xuan intended to approach him, he could not control himself and wanted to escape almost immediately.
Later, Tang Junhe gradually figured out his contradictory state of mind, perhaps because he was obsessed with the imaginary Yang Xuan, the only glimmer of light in his dull childhood, he wanted to escape simply because he was afraid that the current Yang Xuan would ruin the Yang Xuan in his memory.
After all, he knew nothing about the current Yang Xuan.
One day, a month later, Zhou Lin appeared again.
When Tang Junhe stepped down from the bus that day, the night had completely fallen, and the moon, half covered by clouds, hung in the sky, humming a song he didn’t know while walking slowly and briskly through the wooded path where the cicadas were singing.
The man’s figure came together with the sickening smell of alcohol. Zhou Lin rushed up and hugged his waist, trying to put those lips soaked in alcohol on Tang Junhe’s face.
“You fucking …! ” Tang Junhe gritted his teeth and cursed out an expletive, trying to get rid of him. The drunken Zhou Lin showed an amazing strength, and both of his arms tightened around Tang Junhe.
Tang Junhe’s heart sprawled with a hint of fear, and it was only in this moment that he clearly realized the gap between himself and the adult Zhou Lin, who might actually drag him to some secluded corner and do something to him if he couldn’t break free.
This fear drove him to make a full effort to break free from Zhou Lin’s two iron-clamp-like arms, and then pulled his legs to escape. Zhou Lin jumped up and pulled his arm, begging him not to go.
“Xiao He, you stay with me, OK? Don’t go, okay…? “
Tang Junhe tried with all his might to pull his arm out of Zhou Lin’s hand, he kicked Zhou Lin hard one after another, but all his strength fell short, Zhou Lin crouched down like a scoundrel, dragging him with both hands, refusing to let him move a step forward.
“I… I lost my job” Zhou Lin’s face, which could not be more ordinary, shed ugly tears, “I went to many schools, and they refused to take me… I… I can’t be a teacher anymore!”
“Xiao He, I have nothing to live for! I only have you now…”
Tang Junhe was tempted to say ‘he deserved it’ but the Zhou Lin in front of him really scared him, he tried to draw back his arm in fear, and then desperately found that all efforts were to no avail.
“Let go of me, you bastard!” Tang Junhe kicked Zhou Lin’s legs, body and shoulders one by one, each with full indignation and force, and Zhou Lin did not resist, but firmly tugged at Tang Junhe’s arm and refused to let go, he curled up into a ball and whimpered, his mouth muddled with pleading words, begging for Tang Junhe’s mercy and company.
At this time, the night patrol police with flashlights shone over from afar: “Hey, what’s going on over there?!”
Zhou Lin fiercely retracted his hand, staggered straight up, rushed to the corner before the police came over in a panic and fled.
“Hey! Did you just hit him?” The police officer came over and asked, looking at Tang Junhe with a critical gaze.
“If a murder occurs here, will you take responsibility?” Tang Junhe said as he held his painful and hot wrist and looked at the policeman with cold eyes.
The police officer’s heart jumped at the grim look in his eyes and said inexplicably, “What did you say?”
“There may be a murder case here over the past few days… that man just tried to kill me and I am asking you to do your job properly.” Tang Junhe finished, looked back at the road where Zhou Lin ran away, ignoring the policeman scolding him behind his back, and walked away without stopping a step.
The police are no help at all, Tang Junhe always thought so, he had tried to call the police before but it was useless, they can’t control this kind of rogue stalking by Zhou Lin.
Perhaps because of the shock, this night, Tang Junhe had another dream where Yang Xuan did not appear, only he and Zhou Lin. He dreamed that Zhou Lin jumped on him and tried to close his lips with his, that reeked of alcohol. He took the knife prepared in advance, and at the moment when Zhou Lin was about to get his way, he stabbed him hard in the stomach, stabbed him once and then stabbed him a dozen more times. Zhou Lin’s blood spurted out several meters high, splashed on his face and body. He watched Zhou Lin fall in front of him in a pool of blood and his heart rose up with a feeling of revenge.
In the dream he was relieved and felt an unprecedented sense of relief.
After waking up from that dream, Tang Junhe gingerly walked to the living room, picked up a fruit knife, and then went back to his room in the dark.
By the cold moonlight, he looked carefully at the sharp fruit knife and thought, expressionlessly, that maybe he should kill Zhou Lin, kill the shadows of his childhood that he once brought to him as well as all the desires he now brings to Yang Xuan.
Kill Zhou Lin and these things will all be over. He will no longer be haunted by that maggot-like eyes, and can completely get rid of the shadow of being stalked.
Either way, for someone like Zhou Lin, death is deserved no matter what. After all, Zhou Lin, as a teacher, not only had tried to molest him but also put him through the source of cold violence on campus…
Tang Junhe held the knife, thinking about his six years of encounters being intermittently followed by Zhou Lin, and gradually fell asleep.
Also, I found this cute picture of Xuan and Junhe in chapter 3.3 ♥︎