Edited by: Planetes
As their classmate’s mistake had affected the progress of their project, everyone had to recalculate their results.
The portion Fang Zhaomu was in charge of was not difficult, but needed a lot of time, and he could not leave the lab as the experiment was ongoing. He started it in the afternoon, but by 5pm, the progress was less than half.
Everyone had left the lab one after the other. When it was 7pm, Fang Zhaomu was the only one left. With nothing to do, he dozed off next to the analyser. Bolstering his spirits, he took a look at the time, then walked to the window and looked at the weather outside.
The winter sun set early in C City, and it was again dark outside.
It was not that Fang Zhaomu had never gone home alone before. It was only because he had just received a fright from the car last night, and now, seeing the darkness outside, an uncontrollable apprehension welled up from within.
There was a lounge in the lab, but Fang Zhaomu did not like sleeping in public areas, and so never used it before. Time ticked on, and Fang Zhaomu was very hesitant. After examining the progress of the experiment, Andrew happened to ask him if he had eaten yet. Fang Zhaomu then told Andrew about his current situation, and seeked his opinion, “Should I just sleep in the lounge?”
Andrew might have been busy, and did not immediately reply Fang Zhaomu. Fang Zhaomu then turned on his computer and browsed through some online sites casually.
When it was nearly 8pm, the door to the lab suddenly opened. Fang Zhaomu looked up to see Song Yuanxun entering with a few books. Taken aback, he shifted his eyes back to his computer.
Just as he expected, Song Yuanxun did not acknowledge him. He first went upstairs, then came down twenty minutes later and walked to a position near Fang Zhaomu, picking up a record book and reading it.
Song Yuanxun was really very tall, and his posture was very straight. In the lab, he was set apart from the rest of the classmates, very outstanding. Even though he was very distant and moody, he was still the type where people wanted to get closer to him.
Before knowing Andrew, Fang Zhaomu was very bored, and often spoke to himself in his room or let his mind wander about. He wondered about when he could end this suffering of loneliness, and what exactly about him did Song Yuanxun not like.
At that time, Fang Zhaomu often thought, if Song Yuanxun could be a little nicer, and not so stern, and stop silently approving of how Zhang Ranyu and Zhou Meng outcast him, how nice would it be.
Fang Zhaomu had no expectations of being his friend.
Although there were two people in the lab, but no one made a sound. It was silent.
Fang Zhaomu thought and thought, and his eyes drifted in the direction of Song Yuanxun. About to look away, the alarm he set on his phone rang, and Song Yuanxun too looked in his direction. Their eyes met, and Fang Zhaomu’s heart jolted when Song Yuanxun looked at him.
The alarm was still ringing. Lowering his head, Fang Zhaomu picked up his phone in a flurry and switched the alarm off. He then gave a tick on his lab book, it was time for the second-last addition of the reagent.
The reagent to be added was in the cabinet in front of Song Yuanxun. Fang Zhaomu had no choice but to walk over and stop a few steps away from Song Yuanxun. Without looking at his eyes, Fang Zhaomu looked down, “Excuse me… I want to get a reagent.”
Song Yuanxun took a step back, giving him the space in front of the cabinet. However, he did not go far. As Fang Zhaomu stood in front of the cabinet, he kept feeling that Song Yuanxun was too close to him, and he was extremely nervous.
Fang Zhaomu opened the cabinet, wanting to quickly get it over with. He took out the reagent, but as his action was too big, the bottom of the reagent bottle bumped into another glass bottle. He saw that the bottle was about to fall, and his body tensed up. When he wanted to grab it with his left hand, Song Yuanxun suddenly reached out and caught the glass bottle in time.
Fang Zhaomu sighed in relief. Turning his head to thank Song Yuanxun, he discovered that their current positions were somewhat abnormal. Song Yuanxun’s left hand that caught the bottle circled around Fang Zhaomu to replace it in the cabinet, and the cabinet was against the wall. It seemed like Fang Zhaomu was being embraced by Song Yuanxun.
Fortunately, after Song Yuanxun had replaced the bottle and helped Fang Zhaomu closed the cabinet door, he retreated. Fang Zhaomu again thanked Song Yuanxun. Song Yuanxun nodded at him, and suddenly seemed to think of something. He pointed at his own throat, and waved his hand.
Fang Zhaomu understood, and asked Song Yuanxun tentatively, “You have a sore throat?”
Song Yuanxun nodded his head.
“Oh.” Fang Zhaomu slowly answered, and suddenly felt that Song Yuanxun really did not seem to be ostracising him that much.
“Then…” Fang Zhaomu paused. “I’m going up to have some water. Do you want some? I’ll get you a cup.”
Song Yuanxun nodded again.
Fang Zhaomu added the reagent and headed upstairs. He first drank some water, then poured Song Yuanxun a cup of warm water and brought it down for him.
Watching Song Yuanxun drink it, Fang Zhaomu spoke up. “With a sore throat, you shouldn’t drink water that’s too hot.”
“When I bumped into you earlier in the day, did it hurt?” Fang Zhaomu asked.
Song Yuanxun put the cup down and shook his head.
Fang Zhaomu smiled at him, “I still thought you’ll be angry about it.”
Song Yuanxun shook his head. As usual, he looked emotionless, but Fang Zhaomu did not see the irritation Song Yuanxun used to have for him in his eyes.
The both of them interacted like this peacefully, and it did not seem to be as difficult as Fang Zhaomu thought it would be.
Fang Zhaomu walked over to the analyser and observed the progress again. He looked at his phone, it was already nine plus, but Andrew had yet to reply his message. He then turned towards Song Yuanxun, “You’re staying till so late tonight?”
Thinking about Song Yuanxun’s sore throat, Fang Zhaomu smiled in embarrassment at him. “I forgot that you can’t speak now. Just go ahead with your work then.”
Song Yuanxun picked up a book and wrote a few words for Fang Zhaomu. “You too?”
“My experiment’s taking too long,” Fang Zhaomu sighed. “I might have to sleep in the lab tonight.”
Song Yuanxun wrote again, “How much longer is it going to take?”
Fang Zhaomu looked at his lab book. “Another half hour.”
Song Yuanxun drank some water and then wrote, “I’ll send you back.”
This time, Fang Zhaomu was really overwhelmed by him. Without thinking, he rejected him, “No need, no need.”
Song Yuanxun closed the book and looked at Fang Zhaomu sternly. Fang Zhaomu said, “There’s really no need, the lounge is very convenient.”
Song Yuanxun did not write any more words for Fang Zhaomu. However, just now when he finished looking at the record book, he did not do anything else. He sat by a nearby table, his back facing Fang Zhaomu and fiddled with his phone, looking just like he was waiting for Fang Zhaomu.
Fang Zhaomu finally received Andrew’s reply. “I’ll help you call a taxi.”
“No need,” Fang Zhaomu carefully replied him. “It seems like my classmate wants to send me back.”
“I thought you don’t have any classmate that’s close enough for you to hitch a ride?” Andrew asked him.
Fang Zhaomu too did not understand the reason behind Song Yuanxun’s sudden change in character, and could only reply Andrew, “Theoretically speaking, I really don’t have any classmates that I’m close enough with.”
“Maybe it’s because you changed your body wash.”
Fang Zhaomu felt that Andrew’s reply was a little sour, then he remembered Andrew’s cold manner of speaking, and could not help but laugh. He then glanced at Song Yuanxun’s back, and took his phone with him as he walked to the corridor outside the lab and called Andrew.
Andrew only picked up after a few rings. Fang Zhaomu asked him, “Andrew, what’s with you? Your words are strange.”
“They’re not.” Andrew denied.
“My classmate’s very straight,” Fang Zhaomu said. “Don’t worry, ok?”
Andrew did not ask Fang Zhaomu why he should not “worry” if other people was sending Fang Zhaomu home. He only said, “Is that so?”
“Andrew,” Fang Zhaomu paused for a few seconds before continuing. “Are you bothered by it?”
Actually, Fang Zhaomu was not sure how Andrew felt about him, but he was afraid that Andrew would not be happy about it.
“I’m not,” Andrew hesitated, and reasserted himself. “There’s nothing to be bothered about.”
“Fine,” Fang Zhaomu looked at the ajar door of the lab. “I’ll talk to you when I’m home, I still have to finish up my experiment.”
Andrew agreed. Fang Zhaomu was about to hang up, but thought about Andrew’s tone in his reply. His heart jerked a little, and called out to Andrew. “Actually… My classmate’s only being nice and sending me home. But if it’s you, when you return to C City, and pick me up at night, you can bring me to your home.”