Chapter 26 — He Had Once Thought About Ending It All (2)
The microscope boy Xu Yilu really gave Lin Mu a headache, and there was a problem with the couple he shipped as well. Yet he was very into it, refusing to listen to any persuasion, and whole-heartedly devoted himself to the pairing as he believed that it was real.
Lin Mu himself was quite worried.
Lu Rong and Lin Zhao might not be together now, but what if they really got together in the future?
When he came to this realization, Lin Mu discovered that he did not seem to have any rights to involve himself in the future of Lu Rong and his sister’s relationship.
As such, Lin Mu remained in this inexplicable awkwardness, while Lu Rong continued treating him like how he always did.
They were actually a lot closer than how they used to be when school had just started. They would clean the pool together, as well as have lunch together. Four more people joined Lin Mu at lunch — Li Zi, Mo Xiaoxiao, Lu Rong and Meimei.
In the entire school, it was rare to see people of different levels eating together. Even more so, most of the people occupying their table were very good-looking. Even though they only spent thirty minutes in the canteen each day, the splendid sight had become a hot topic of discussion on their school forum.
Meimei was very unwilling to let Lu Rong feed her. She was now revolutionary buddies with Cao Zhan, and both of them tended to spill food on the table. Jiang Tianhe would sometimes make sarcastic remarks towards Cao Zhan, but Cao Zhan ignored him, and there was nothing Jiang Tianhe could do about it.
Lin Mu helped Lu Rong cleaned up the rice Chen Meihua scattered on the table.
The rice grains were a little sticky, and they were not easy to pick up once left for a little too long. Lin Mu carefully picked them up, and just as he was scraping at some rice grains, Lu Rong’s finger suddenly extended towards him.
He helped to scrape the other side.
The rice grains were too small, and their fingers, whether intentionally or unintentionally, would often bump into each other. Lin Mu could not help but look at Lu Rong.
Lu Rong had his head bent down. His fringe covered his forehead, only revealing his straight and high nose bridge. Finally, the rice grains stuck onto his index finger.
Lin Mu pulled his hand, back, his ears burning. “I’ll throw them away.”
Lu Rong glanced at him. Without saying a word, he picked up Chen Meihua’s bowl and walked with Lin Mu to the bin.
Cao Zhan also hurried after them.
“Lin Mu,” Cao Zhan called out. “I need tuition.”
Lin Mu emptied the plates, answering casually, “Sure. You have half a day of classes on Saturday, I’ll tutor you after that?”
Everyone knew that there was a half-day tutoring session on the weekends in Kunqian. Cao Zhan was unable to catch up, and so he naturally fell behind for every class. Lin Mu wanted to help Cao Zhan, and he casually asked Lu Rong, “Do you want to join us?”
Lu Rong did not speak, seeming to be considering it.
Lin Mu was inexplicably eager. He quietly said, “You can bring Meimei along… It’s only an afternoon. It’s important to master the basics in the first year. Trust me, I’ll never lie to you.”
Lu Rong bit back a smile when he heard Lin Mu said that he would never lie to him. He glanced again at Lin Mu, giving a nod and answering, “Sure.”
With this agreement, when Lin Mu was home, he went through rummaged through his belongings and dug out all his first-year notes. Working with great enthusiasm, he did not even register that Lin Zhao was home.
The elder sister watched her little brother jump up and down, feeling a little scornful. When he was nearly done, she finally signed, “What are you doing?”
Lin Mu said, “I’m looking for my notes, I’ll be tutoring Dopey on Saturday afternoon.”
Lin Zhao was expressionless. “Dopey is in his second year, just like you.”
Lin Mu could only come clean. “Lu Rong will be there as well.”
Lin Zhao seemed a little uncomfortable. She vaguely felt that if this situation progressed any further, a problem would definitely crop up. Putting the issue of her brother cross-dressing to meet the other party, what was going on now? He was no longer cross-dressing already, and yet they were still meeting each other to study? The relationship between the two was really very close, did Lin Mu not find it odd at all?
Of course, there was no way she could clarify this with Lin Mu, but holding it back made her feel uncomfortable as well. As such, she could only change the topic by beating around the bush. “I heard that something happened on another street a few days ago. A new student from No. 3 High school bumped into some hooligans. The teachers from Kunqian are unable to cover that area during their patrol. Be careful when you’re going to school on Saturday.”
“What can happen to me?” Lin Mu was completely unworried. He flexed his arms, saying, “When has your brother ever lost in a fight?”
Half a semester had gone by, and the rankings for the mid-term examinations were out. Once again, Lin Mu was standing steadily at the top of the list, and he was praised by Mr. Yang when he distributed the papers.
However, the praise was one thing. Lin Mu still had to complete the punishment he received.
After November, the weather cooled down by a lot. When Lin Mu left his house on Saturday, he remembered to wear a jacket. In the group chat, he reminded Cao Zhan and Lu Rong to bring along their examination papers. By the time he arrived at the school, both Cao Zhan and Lu Rong were already waiting for him in the special education classroom.
Someone had pushed two desks together, and Meimei could also sit down next to Lu Rong. The three of them looked like good, obedient students waiting for class to start, and when they heard Lin Mu enter, they all turned their heads towards him.
Lin Mu was a little amused. He asked, “Have all of you eaten yet?”
Lunch was not provided for the morning tutoring sessions, but the school canteen remained open, and students could just swipe their lunch cards for food.
Cao Zhan hurriedly raised his hand. As though he was answering a question in class, he spoke loudly, “Yes!”
Lin Mu nodded. He put his bag down and started pulling books out from it.
No one had expected that he would bring even more books than they usually used in class. One book was placed on the table after another, and other than the second-year books, there were also first-year books, as well as workbooks. The blue covers of the workbooks all curled up from heavy use, and the notes inside were cramped and tidy.
Cao Zhan started to become afraid, faltering as he spoke, “There’s so many…”
Lin Mu said, “It’s not like I’m asking you to finish them all by this afternoon.”
Cao Zhan was feeling quite upset. “I didn’t manage to pass a single subject at all this time.”
Lin Mu, who was flipping through the books, paused. He held back his smile, “How many marks were you away from passing?”
Cao Zhan pulled his exam paper out. His scores in every subject were actually not that bad, and he only needed a couple of marks to pass. Lin Mu grumbled silently that the teacher was really too strict. If they had been a bit more lenient, Cao Zhan could have gained at least a few more points.
Lin Mu peeped at Lu Rong through the papers. The other boy was spinning his pen around. Lin Mu coughed, knocking on the table, “Where’s your paper?”
Lu Rong glanced at him, then pulled his paper out from the desk somewhat reluctantly.
Looking over, Lin Mu saw the marks scribbled in red.
Actually, it wasn’t too bad, and it was not as low as what Lin Mu was imagining. Lu Rong had managed to scrape a pass in four subjects, and he did quite well for his three main subjects.
“For a paper of 100 marks, this result is still salvageable,” Lin Mu commented. “However, you will be taking exams of 150 marks in your second year, and this result won’t be enough.”
Lu Rong pressed his lips together. He knew that Lin Mu was the top student among the second years. The results had been announced over the school broadcast, and it was hard for anyone to avoid hearing about it.
After looking through the papers, Lin Mu did not waste any more time. He placed a few other papers in front of the two people, resting his chin on his hand and smiling, “Come, try correcting these papers first.”
The biggest issue with Cao Zhan was actually not his intelligence. It was mainly his ADHD and his inability to focus. After going through half the paper, he started to get restless.
“I want to play with my bamboo-copter,” Cao Zhan said as he looked cautiously at Lin Mu, “just for a little while.”
Lin Mu knew of this issue, and so he nodded. “You can only play in the classroom, OK?”
Cao Zhan grinned.
A strange whistle came from him, and he rolled the stick of his bamboo-copter hard. Lin Mu watched him run around with it for a while. Seeing that Cao Zhan was fine, Lin Mu let him be, and Chen Meihua looked on curiously from the side.
She said, “Meimei wants to play too.”
Lu Rong had yet to finish the paper. He thought about it, and said quietly, “Meimei can’t run too quickly, OK?”
Chen Meihua nodded. “Meimei will definitely run slowly.”
Lu Rong sighed, “Go ahead.”
Chen Meihua was delighted. Standing up, she started running about with Cao Zhan.
They ran around the classroom, from the podium in front to the blackboard at the back, the from the board back to the podium. Cao Zhan’s whistles were very restrained, and Meimei chuckled along behind him.
While teaching Lu Rong, Lin Mu was a little distracted by the noise. He pointed at a question, repeating it twice, and Lu Rong finally could not help but look up at him.
“I understand this question already,” he said.
When running past the desks, Cao Zhan shouted, “Fly—!”
Lin Mu forced himself to focus. “What’s the answer?”
Chen Meihua ran past, laughing as Lu Rong gave the answer.
Lin Mu did not hear him clearly, and so he asked, “What?”
Lu Rong’s lips were like the equal sign. However, this sign disappeared quickly.
He said something that was unrelated to the paper or the schoolwork.
He asked, “Why are you so good to me?”
This time, Lin Mu heard it very clearly.
Cao Zhan was still playing with his bamboo-copter, and Chen Meihua was chasing after him as she laughed. As Lin Mu was thinking about how he should respond, that bamboo-copter suddenly landed on his head.
Lin Mu was speechless.
Lu Rong reached out and removed the toy. He rolled the stick between his palms, and it again flew up high.
Cao Zhan was extremely delighted, calling out, “How impressive!”
Lu Rong reminded Meimei to run a little more slowly.
He did not mention the question again but turned back and continued working on the paper. Lin Mu remained silent for a moment, then he could not help asking, “Are you still coming next week?”
Lu Rong did not look up. Still writing, he said, “I’ll come as long as you want me to come.”
Chen Meihua was the first to get tired. The old lady sat on her seat, catching her breath. Lu Rong packed up his books, waiting for Cao Zhan and Lin Mu.
The sky had already turned dark. When the four people left the school, the surroundings were cold and quiet, and Cao Zhan was a little scared.
He said, “Let’s go take the subway together.”
The school was located about five hundred meters from the subway station, and they also needed to go through an underground passageway to get there. Lin Mu remembered that some of the lights in it were broken, and it was dim and dark within.
Lin Mu consoled him, “Don’t be scared, we’ll go together.”
“I’m not scared,” Cao Zhan immediately refuted. However, his actions were the opposite of his words. “I want to hold hands.”
Lin Mu had no other choice. Before entering the underground passage, he took Cao Zhan’s hand.
Chen Meihua was also very scared, and she held onto Lu Rong’s hand. Lin Mu looked over, only to see Lu Rong watching him.
“You want to hold hands too?” Lin Mu asked, as though possessed.
Lu Rong did not say yes or no. Lin Mu suddenly felt a warmth surrounding his left hand, and Lu Rong’s fingers interlocked with his.
As the four people were hand-in-hand, no one seemed to find it strange.
Cao Zhan again squeezed towards Lin Mu. With no choice, Lin Mu’s arm was pressed snugly against Lu Rong’s. Their fingers were interlaced, their palms like iron welded together.
This was not a very long path.
Lin Mu’s thoughts were muddled.
He walked along the dark underground passage, all the way to where there was light, but Lu Rong still never let go of his hand.