Sponsored Chapter by: Henny
Tang Junhe dodged into the room, quickly locked the door and sat in his room in shock, waiting for Tang Xiaonian to come knocking on the door again. While waiting, he couldn’t help but reach out and touch his lips, reminiscing about the shallow kiss that had just been parted at the first touch.
Perhaps because his whole face was burning hot, Yang Xuan’s lips then seemed a little cool. The moment they touched, the kiss was like a snowflake falling on his lips—a little cool at first and then melted quickly. He pursed his lips, his heart was beating hard.
He reached for the glass on the desk and pressed it to his overheated cheek to cool it down.
Another set of footsteps sounded outside the door, and Tang Junhe waited somewhat apprehensive for the knock to sound, but Tang Xiaonian seemed to have given up on this plan and was left to her own devices to clean up the house in the living room. Although an older aunt comes over regularly every day to clean, Tang Xiaonian still maintains her old habit of cleaning up on weekends, and being idle makes her feel uncomfortable.
Tang Junhe lowered his eyes and listened to the movement outside the door. After a while, he stood up and walked over to the door, pulled it open, and called out to Tang Xiaonian in the living room, “Mom.”
Tang Xiaonian, who was bending down to wipe the table, paused for a moment, but she didn’t look back and continued to do the work at hand. In Tang Junhe’s memory, Tang Xiaonian always seemed to be doing these things, bending over to mop the floor or wipe the table, with a few strokes of hair falling from her forehead, fluttering slightly with her movements. From the old dimly lit old house to the current large house with bright windows, Tang Xiaonian seems to have changed a lot, and seems to have remained the same.
Tang Junhe’s heart surged with a sense of shame, he went to the bathroom to pick up another rag, wet it with water, walked next to Tang Xiaonian, and silently wiped alongside her. Almost finished wiping the table, the two pieces of rag were squeezed to a table corner before Tang Xiaonian sighed and said out loud, “Go back to your room and study, you don’t need to do these things.”
When Tang Junhe finished washing up and returned to his room, Tang Xiaonian walked in with a cut fruit plate. The cold war which started unannounced ended with a tacit agreement.
Tang Xiaonian picked up the cream on the corner of the table, and scooped up a bit with her index finger. She then supported Tang Junhe’s head with one hand, and applied it to his face with the other hand in a lighter motion. In the past, Tang Junhe would have avoided it. Not only did he dislike the cream that Tang Xiaonian would put on his face, but also because Tang Xiaonian always dug a big piece and made him feel like his face was covered with a layer of oil afterwards. As well as the way Tang Xiaonian always seemed to treat him as an overgrown child, such ubiquitous concern made him feel overwhelmed. But this time he didn’t dodge and let Tang Xiaonian even out the cream on his face.
After applying the cream on the scar on the corner of his forehead, Tang Xiaonian sighed again: “The last scar finally faded, and then this time it was knocked again here. You… *sighs* I really don’t know if the fall damaged your brain.” She put the cream back in its original position and then stepped into the subject, “Why did you lock the door?”
Tang Junhe searched his mind for an answer that would make sense, but Tang Xiaonian took his silence as a silent rebellion. As she observed the look on Tang Junhe’s face, she sulked and said, “You think you’ve grown up and don’t want me to control you, am I right? You didn’t even open the door when I knocked. You even slept until almost ten o’clock… to what extent do you want to learn from Yang Xuan?”
Hearing Yang Xuan’s name from the mouth of Tang Xiaonian, Tang Junhe’s heart trembled, and his face immediately started heating. Luckily, Tang Xiaonian thought he was ashamed, and continued: “I told you not to get too close to him. No matter if he approached you with impure motives or not, he smokes and fights with his peers all the time. If you continue hanging out with him, you will end up learning bad things.”
Tang Xiaonian reached out and pushed the hair on his forehead to the side, “, haven’t you learned that principle already?”
Tang Junhe tried to convince Tang Xiaonian: “But Yang Xuan is really not bad. Mom, you shouldn’t always be prejudiced against him.”
Tang Xiaonian heard him still speaking out for Yang Xuan, but this time she didn’t get angry: “What’s the matter with you fighting then? Tell me, why did you fight?”
Tang Junhe is silent. To his mother Tang Xiaonian, there is no way he can say the word “mistress”.
Tang Xiaonian relentlessly pursued: “Speak up, if you don’t, I can always find someone to answer my questions.”
Tang Junhe lowered his eyes and thought for a second before lying: “I fought with Feng Bo because…” he reached out and pressed the scar that had fallen off his forehead, “because of what happened last time in the mountains.”
She stared at him for a long time and said with a cold face, “And you say you’re not learning badly, I haven’t seen you fight like this before.”
In a small voice, Tang Junhe argued defensively, “I’ve also thought about killing people before.”
Tang Xiaonian choked on her breath and stared at him, “What nonsense!” She frowned, and after a while, pulled Tang Junhe over and took a bitter stance: “You can’t learn to be bad, if you learn to be bad, all the hardships we have suffered over the years will be in vain, understand? In order to give birth to you, I turned down the opportunity to become a star. If I wasn’t still pregnant with you, I would have gone with the talent scout and probably made several hundred million dollars by now.” Tang Xiaonian spoke of these years of suffering and couldn’t stop herself from crying, “After giving birth to you, the doctor said that you have poor health. I worked for others during the day and carried you to the hospital at night. For a week without a full night’s sleep, I got a mouthful of blisters from inflammation and couldn’t even get mad… At one time when I worked as a nanny for others, I was able to earn several thousand a month, but since you were still small at that time and always cried when you woke up and couldn’t see me, I decided to quit that job…”
Tang Xiaonian chatted on and on, starting from the time when Tang Junhe was not yet born, saying that it was not easy for her all these years. She has said these words many times already, and whenever Tang Junhe disobeyed, Tang Xiaonian had to say it all over again from the beginning. Tang Junhe’s ears were calloused from listening to these words since before, he can even repeat them from beginning to end in one breath, but he didn’t interrupt Tang Xiaonian and just listened in silence.
Tang Xiaonian spoke intently, not forgetting to point at the end: “I have suffered so many things for you, and now you’re saying that you’re learning to be bad? You don’t even feel sorry for me…”
All of her words pressed Tang Junhe out of breath, and he became more and more aware of her desire to control him. What sort of friends to have, how to fall in love, which university to attend… are all within Tang Xiaonian’s control, and if anything deviates, it will certainly provoke her discontent. Yet he felt a deep fear of this control, so much that he wanted to flee.
If he had been living in that dim old house, perhaps he would have followed the route planned for him by Tang Xiaonian, for there was no other choice. But he happened to meet Yang Xuan, and his expression was tugged by Yang Xuan’s every move. Everything in the room next door was appealing to him—all of it meant freedom and adventure, being unrestrained and indulgent. It was another life that he had never tasted in the sixteen years since he was born.
On Monday, at the end of the second period physics class in the morning, Qiu Li, the homeroom teacher, came toward the back of the classroom, and stopped next to Yin Cong to address the people on either side of the aisle, “Yin Cong and Tang Junhe, and Wang Jing and Miao Yulin, you guys switch seats.”
Except for Tang Junhe, the other three people whose names were mentioned were all stunned.
After Qiu Li finished, she turned to Tang Junhe and asked, “Has the review been written yet?”
“Yes.” Tang Junhe took the review out of the desk hole, handed it to Qiu Li, and whispered again, “Thank you, Ms. Qiu.”
Qiu Li took it, looked down and flipped it over, nodded and said, “Okay, that’s all for now. Please change your seat during the class break.”
“Why do you suddenly want to change seats?” Yin Cong stood up puzzled, and began to move her single desk while bending down.
“Can I switch with you?” Tang Junhe suddenly voiced out.
“Eh?” Yin Cong was stunned for a moment, then reacted and whispered, “You want to sit in front of Yang Xuan?”
Tang Junhe nodded, “Is that okay?”
“Of course it’s fine with me,” Yin Cong said indifferently, “but should I talk about it first to the homeroom teacher?”
“She will agree.” Seeing the disbelief that passed over Yin Cong’s face, Tang Junhe calmly explained, “I was the one who proposed to her to change seats.”
“Huh?” Yin Cong was surprised, “Why?”
Tang Junhe didn’t answer this time, but just moved a step towards her table and said, “Let me help you move it.” After saying that, he bent down and helped her lift the desk.
“I think I got it,” Yin Cong slyly came to his ear and asked, “You want to sit near Yang Xuan, don’t you?”
Tang Junhe nodded his head unabashedly, “Mm-hmm.”
“You two–” Yin Cong, as if trying to find the right word in her brain, thought for a moment before continuing, “…made up?”
Tang Junhe nodded his head again.
When the others in the class heard the sound of table legs rubbing against the floor, they looked back curiously, but when they saw that it was just a common change of seats, they turned back numbly. Tang Junhe moved Yin Cong’s desk to the side of the aisle as if no one was watching, and heard one of the people who had to change seats complain, “What’s the point of changing seats, it’s a pain in the ass.”
He ignored it and retreated, lifting his desk up with Yin Cong, going around to the back of the classroom and moving the desk to Yang Xuan’s side of the aisle. Yang Xuan went out of the classroom after class and was not in his seat at the moment.
After waiting for the original desk to move away, Tang Junhe pushed his desk in front of Yang Xuan, then sat down and continued working on the physics competition problem at hand.
A few minutes before the bell rang, the math teacher had come over with the test paper in her hand, and when she reached the door she urged the few people standing in the corridor, “Hurry into the classroom! What are you standing there for? Feeling the breeze by the window? Can this wind blow you to Peking University or Tsinghua University?” After saying that, she also did not forget to mention Yang Xuan. “If you still turn in a blank paper today, copy the test a hundred times, you hear me?”
“I’ve never turned in a blank paper.” Yang Xuan said as he walked at the end.
The math teacher took the test paper and gave him a not-so-gentle slap on the back: “Not just!”
Yang Xuan headed down to his seat, and heard a low “ge–” in his ear. He was slightly stunned when he saw Tang Junhe, sitting in front of his desk, tilting his head slightly towards him.
Yang Xuan just glanced at him, and then sat down in his seat.
“The next physical education teacher has something to do so we can use the two class periods to do an examination paper,” the math teacher counted the papers she brought, split them into several copies and put a few together, “these are the questions selected from the previous year’s college entrance examinations, consider this exam as a college entrance examination and we’ll check it today to see how many points you can score.” After that, she stepped down from the podium and handily distributed the test papers to the students in the front row.
After passing from front to back, a wave of white paper clattered in the classroom, reaching Tang Junhe, who took a copy of the test and then passed the rest to Yang Xuan. Yang Xuan did not pick it up, and waited for him to put the test paper down, but Tang Junhe stubbornly held it up behind him and refused to let go, and had to wait for Yang Xuan to pick it up. Yang Xuan could only impatiently reach out and take it over.
After the test papers were passed around, the class automatically quieted down, leaving only the sound of the pen tip scratching across the paper to check the calculations. Tang Junhe has always been fast in answering questions, not to mention that he has done all the college entrance examination questions in the past ten years, and some questions can be answered directly without the need to calculate.
The class had just started but he had already finished his paper. Outside the classroom, the raucous sounds of other classes leaving for another class rang out. The math teacher got up from her seat, walked down the podium and closed the door behind her, isolating the sound to the back of the door, then strolled up and down the aisle in the classroom.
Tang Junhe pondered and took the square notepad in the corner of the table. He tore off a piece of paper and quickly transcribed the answers from the test paper onto it, then folded it and held it in his hand. When the math teacher walked past, he quietly stretched his right hand behind his back and turned his face to call out in an airy voice, “Ge–“
Seeing that Yang Xuan did not pick it up, he could only put the answer on the corner of Yang Xuan’s table, and then without moving his head, he went back and began to do his ownproblems.
The math teacher circled around the classroom and turned back, stopping behind Tang Junhe. Tang Junhe swallowed nervously, if Yang Xuan did not take the answer away, it was likely that the math teacher would find it—but would Yang Xuan take it away this time? After all, he hadn’t seen him take the answer when he handed it to him before.
“Do it right.” The math teacher’s voice rang out overhead, this was said to Yang Xuan, and as she said it, she also knocked on Yang Xuan’s desk with her hand, and then walked past Tang Junhe.
Tang Junhe looked up at the back of the math teacher and was breathing a sigh of relief when something suddenly fell into the collar of his school uniform, stinging his neck a bit. He reached his hand into the collar, took out a small ball of paper, held it in his hand and saw that Yang Xuan actually tucked the small piece of paper with the answer back in—but this… Tang Junhe remembered when he handed it over, he carefully folded it. Anyways, since it was returned to him Yang Xuan did open it and looked at it, right?
Tang Junhe curiously opened the paper ball and saw that the answer to one of the multiple choice questions had been crossed out and changed from D to A.
“……” Looking at the “A” written in one stroke, Tang Junhe was a bit stunned. Math is his best subject, and rarely does he make a mistake, let alone the fact that he has done all the questions on this paper before…… He hurriedly took the paper from the corner of the table and unfolded it to find the penultimate multiple choice questions.
It was a solid geometry problem involving calculations, and Tang Junhe looked at the question carefully, and realized that he had just done it too quickly, and had misread one of the conditions, and the answer that Yang Xuan had changed for him was actually correct!
Tang Junhe corrected the answer in a complicated mood, and was no longer interested in continuing to do the IMO. He fell into deep thought as he looked at the corrected answer…
Dozens of weekly exams, monthly exams and finals, without exception, Yang Xuan was at the bottom of the class. As he slept in class and blanked out on exams, Yang Xuan’s lack of desire for results was extremely thorough. Almost all of the teachers in the class mentioned him, shaking their heads, saying that he was wasting his talents.
As his mind began to wonder, Tang Junhe couldn’t help but think of a shocking outcome… All this time, was Yang Xuan just pretending? More than being shocked, he could not help but start thinking along this trail. If Yang Xuan is pretending, then maybe they will be able to get into the same university and Yang Chengchuan will not need to send Yang Xuan out of the country… The idea of them getting into the same university, and going far away, and being together unrestrainedly… Thinking about such a future, Tang Junhe couldn’t help but be a little distracted.
There was a light snowfall at the end of the school day, and many people gathered under the school building to look up at the snow. Every year, the first snowfall is extra exciting, and this year it came especially early.
On the way to the basketball court, a snowflake fell on Tang Junhe’s outstretched hand, then quickly melted by the warmth of his palm, which reminded him of that cool kiss a few days ago in the morning.
Due to the snow, the basketball team’s training ended a little early. Yang Xuan was still wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt, and his school uniform was on his arm, as if he couldn’t feel the sudden drop in temperature.
Tang Junhe’s hair was covered with snow, and when he saw Yang Xuan, his eyes immediately became hot as he called out his brother.
Yang Xuan answered with an “en”, and walked straight towards the school parking lot. For what happened that morning, Yang Xuan did not mention a word, and even his attitude to him remained the same. This kind of indifferent attitude makes Tang Junhe almost suspect that what happened that morning was just another one of his wet ‘dreams’.
But then he guessed that maybe Yang Xuan’s apparent indifference was just because of his inner wavering? After all, they are half-brothers, and the kisses and solace between them are contrary to virtue.
For Tang Junhe, virtue is something that he doesn’t care about, he doesn’t need the existence of other people in his world, their vision and moral values are just a passing cloud to him, they may block his view for a while, but they will never stay for long. But Yang Xuan and he are not the same.
“Gege,” asked Tang Junhe, following Yang Xuan and suppressing the leap of joy at finding out his secret, “you actually know how to do all those questions, right?”
“No.” Walking to the parking lot, Yang Xuan put the black cotton jacket on his body and zipped it upward and said.
Seeing a look of obvious disbelief on Tang Junhe’s face, he added, “That question just happens to be something I can do.”
“How could it be so coincidental?” Tang Junhe sat on the back of the bike and deliberately asked rhetorically.
“Is it so strange for it to be so coincidental?” said Yang Xuan, sitting with his back slightly arched across the bike seat, “Aren’t you overthinking it?”
“So which other questions can you do exactly, ge?”
“All the solid geometry ones.”
Tang Junhe intentionally looked for loopholes in his words, “But that problem involves more than just solid geometry, it also involves calculations.”
“Is it?” Yang Xuan pedaled the bike against the wind without losing speed, “I don’t use calculations.”
Tang Junhe was somewhat puzzled: “Then how did you figure out that the result was 2 without calculations?”
“One look and I can tell. It’s something like knowing the way one should go.”
His tone was normal, without any semblance of joking or deliberately arguing, and because it was so normal, it made people somewhat suspicious that what he said was the truth. After all, in the past, a math teacher did mention that for people with a good sense of space, the answer to a solid geometry question might come out with just a glance.
Thinking about this, Tang Junhe was a little frustrated. He watched the snowflakes flying in front of him confusedly—if that’s really the case and it was just a coincidence, Yang Xuan would still be sent abroad by Yang Chengchuan… What shall they do then?
As the cold wind blew, Tang Junhe’s arms tightened around his brother and he tilted his head to look at Yang Xuan, following his instincts, he asked, “Gege, what do you want to do in the future?”
The wind at that moment was suddenly very strong, so the words were blown away and perhaps didn’t reached Yang Xuan’s ears. At that instant, Yang Xuan just rode in silence and did not say a word.
Imagine having a mom like TX…