Chapter 13 — Skirts (1)
When the alarm went off on Monday morning, Lin Mu had a strong urge to skip school for the first time. During breakfast, Lin Zhao found out that he still had yet to tell Lu Rong the truth, even keeping it from her over the weekend.
Lin Mu chewed on toast. Just like usual, the siblings woke up for school at 6 am. Lin Yanlai was preparing breakfast in the kitchen, and Lin Zhao signed sternly at her brother across the dining table, “You’re really a little liar!”
Silence lay on Lin Mu, knowing that he was at fault. He took a new piece of toast and smeared jam on it, handing it to Lin Zhao. “Don’t scold me anymore, have breakfast first.”
Lin Zhao took the toast, but continued scolding him, “You’ll get into trouble sooner or later. I’m not going to clean up your mess for you!”
“Clean up his mess?” Lin Yanlai carried a plate of poached eggs over, and then asked Lin Mu, “Did you provoke your sister again?”
Lin Mu nearly rolled his eyes. “How would I dare to provoke her?”
Gulping his milk down, he signed at Lin Zhao and Lin Yanlai, “I’m leaving now, there’s a morning recital today.”
Kunqian had the traditional of morning recitals for students. In such a high-pressure study environment, students would be selected to recite certain texts from memory. As a good student, Lin Mu was rarely selected, yet neither did he dare to slack off and skip the memorization.
When he arrived at school, it was only a few minutes after seven. There were already more than a dozen people in the class — including people like Sun Hai who came early to compare their homework answers.
“Didn’t you already call me last night to ask about it?” Lin Mu took out his workbook and him check his answers. “You still don’t understand how to do it?”
Sun Hai checked his answers while grumbling, “With the way you process the question, how could it be explained clearly over the phone?”
Isn’t it because you’re stupid? Lin Mu thought to himself.
Looking at the door, he saw Xu Yilu enter the classroom.
He called out, “Little Heron.”
Xu Yilu looked towards Lin Mu’s voice. Holding his white cane, he could only vaguely make out shadows. He gave a big grin, greeting, “Good morning.”
Lin Mu ran over to help him, but Xu Yilu pointed outside. “Dopey is here; he says he needs to borrow a textbook.”
Cao Zhan was standing outside their class, poking his head in and looking around. When he saw Lin Mu, he said, “I-I’d like to borrow your language textbook.”
His voice was a little loud, attracting the attention of many students. Many greeted him as well, calling him Dopey.
Cao Zhan took a shine to the nickname ‘Dopey’. His face would light up with a bright smile to anyone called him by the nickname.
Lin Mu took his language textbook and handed it to him. He could not help asking, “Didn’t Auntie pack your schoolbag this morning?”
Cao Zhan was born into a wealthy family, and they could be compared to An Jincheng’s family. The clothes he wore and the bag he carried were all recognizably expensive brands.
Lin Mu heard that Cao Zhan’s father managed a gaming company, its scope of business truly impressive, and even it even collaborated on projects with X-cent and A-X. His mother was a genius as well, but to take better care of Cao Zhan, she gave up her career to be a housewife.
“I wanted to pack it by myself,” Cao Zhan admitted honestly. He was a little disappointed. “I had checked many times before coming to school, but when I looked for the textbook just now, I couldn’t find it.”
Lin Mu frowned. His expression became a little grim as he thought about how Cao Zhan’s classmate bullied him.
“Is Jiang Tianhe there?” He asked.
Cao Zhan nodded.
Lin Mu clicked his tongue. “Tell him to stay back after school. I’ll meet him at the basketball court.”
Cao Zhan remained silent and thought for a while, seeming to ponder Lin Mu’s words. Finally, he shook his head and replied earnestly, “I’m not going to help you tell him that. You’re going to fight him, aren’t you? You can’t do that, it’s wrong to fight.”
Lin Mu was wordless.
On the first day of class, Lu Rong was late, as Chen Meihua threw a tantrum, refusing to get out of bed. She cried for a long time, and after coaxing her to get out of bed, he still had to prepare breakfast. By the time he hurried over to the school, the morning recital session was almost over.
There were some special circumstances among the first-year students every year. Hence, Chu Lin personally came to supervise and inspect them in person. Today, she was wearing a pair of 3-inch heels. One classroom after another, she patrolled the corridor, the sound of her heels clicking on the ground very distinct.
Lu Rong froze a little when he bumped into her. Bowing his head slightly, he greeted, “Good morning, Chu-laoshi.”
Chu Lin nodded. She glanced at Chen Meihua and spoke warmly, “If there are any issues, let your form teacher know, don’t be embarrassed and bear with it alone.”
Lu Rong replied softly, “Thank you, Chu-laoshi.”
Chu Lin was not a verbose person; she gestured at Lu Rong to enter the classroom. The boy had been arranged to sit all the way at the back of the class, and there was even a seat specially prepared for Chen Meihua.
Mo Xiaoxiao looked up from her textbook, flicking her eyes curiously at him.
Lu Rong shot her a quick glance without a word. Pulling his grandmother along, he sat down.
Nothing much happened during the four classes in the morning, except that Chen Meihua had to go to the washroom after every lesson due to her age. As it was not convenient for Lu Rong to go to the female washroom, Mo Xiaoxiao would accompany Chen Meihua. On the third trip, Li Zi suddenly came over and took the job.
“I’ll accompany Meimei this time.” Her hair seemed to be a little shorter than before. Her face was very small, her features highly defined and even a little sharp, and she tended to be rather expressionless.
Mo Xiaoxiao clearly admired her greatly. She loved making friends, and she really wanted to become good friends with Li Zi. “Sure, sure, let’s go together.”
As such, the three “girls” went hand in hand to the washroom. Since it was not convenient for Lu Rong to follow along, he could only lean against the classroom door and wait for them to return.
Social interaction among students of sixteen or seventeen years old was actually not that simple. Lu Rong was standing there quietly, yet no boys in the class took the initiative to speak with him. After the three days of military training, along with the weekend, the twenty-odd boys in the class were like male wolf cubs dividing their territory, gathering in cliques and ostracizing others.
Even if no one spoke to him, Lu Rong did not feel awkward or uncomfortable. He did not feel that making friends was something necessary. He had Meimei, and no matter how energetic young people were, taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient was still emotionally and physically draining.
No one would be willing to be friends with troublesome people, and Lu Rong was unconcerned about the entire matter. He looked across the flower beds on the first floor and saw a few second-year students gathering in groups on the basketball court.
Lu Rong watched them for a while, then looked down again, staring at his fingertips.
“Lin Zhao” came into his mind, the image of “her” wearing a small yellow duckling hairclip.
Although the twins were almost identical, the differences between them were quite obvious if one looked closely.
Their eyes, their lips, the shape of their ear lobes, and even their scent.
Lu Rong was a little surprised by himself for being able to remember their differences so clearly. Frowning as he took a deep breath, he ran his hand across his hair.
Mo Xiaoxiao and Li Zi had come back with Chen Meihua.
Lu Rong took his grandmother’s hand, asking her, “Did Meimei say thank you?”
“Yes, I did!” Granny smiled happily. “Meimei even sang a song! Everyone says Meimei sings really well.”
Mo Xiaoxiao praised her too, “It really sounds very good. You should sing more to us, Meimei.”
Lu Rong asked Li Zi, “She didn’t give you any trouble, did she?”
“No.” Li Zi remained expressionless. She looked at Lu Rong, speaking suddenly, “We met the senior from the last time.”
Lu Rong did not understand. “Who?”
Mo Xiaoxiao was a little excited. “Lin Mu, it was Lin Mu!”
Lu Rong closed his mouth, not saying a word.
Li Zi said, “Meimei called him Jiejie.”
Lu Rong sighed, “Meimei got the wrong person.”
“I don’t think so,” Li Zi answered indifferently. “As soon as she called him Jiejie, that senior agreed very quickly, scooting over to help us.”
Lu Rong did not know what to say.