Edited by: Planetes
As he paced around wondering if he should go look for Andrew, Fang Zhaomu’s busy week passed.
Not very contented with remaining in the lab previously, as Fang Zhaomu prepared to finish his project, he signed up for other electives. During the day, he worked on his experiment with his groupmates. He was so busy that he could not spare time to be concerned about other matters. At night, he called his family to discuss the issue of signing up for electives. The school fees of T University was expensive, and he had yet to be independent, so he needed to talk to his family about it first.
His family agreed to his request. However, Fang Zhaomu realised that since Song Yuanxun had sent him home, his relationship with his lab classmates had seemed to change subtly.
Zhou Meng had suddenly became a bit friendlier to him, and would even sometimes ask if he wanted to eat with her. As for Zhang Ranyu, he no longer antagonised Fang Zhaomu. And Song Yuanxun… his throat seemed to never recover.
At the same time, Andrew had been a little strange the past few days. He became even more unforthcoming than before, and more aloof. He said that he was busy, and would often disappear. With Fang Zhaomu’s one-sided enthusiasm, after he kept getting no response for a long time, he felt aggrieved. He did not know what he had done wrong, and so did not know what he should change, and his life again became stale.
On Friday, Fang Zhaomu received the remittance from his family, and he was also nearly done with the first draft of his thesis.
From the lab, he slowly made his way out of the school. The sun had yet to fully set. There were still many people on campus, and small clusters and groups walked past him. Everyone seemed to have many things going on in their personal lives, all except for Fang Zhaomu.
In the afternoon, Zhou Meng had asked him if he wanted to go to the city with Song Yuanxun and her, but Fang Zhaomu declined graciously.
He took out his phone and looked at the message he sent Andrew in the morning. He had asked about Andrew’s weekend, but Andrew had yet to reply him.
After dinner, a professor from back home whom Fang Zhaomu was quite close with suddenly contacted him. He told him that he had a quota for a direct PhD, and asked Fang Zhaomu if he wanted it.
That professor had always approved of Fang Zhaomu. He said that Fang Zhaomu was smart, that he could come up with ideas, and had strong focus, and had talent for research. As for Fang Zhaomu, there were many times when he himself was unsure of what he wanted exactly. He rarely thought about his future career, and in his mind, if he could continue studying, he, of course, would want that opportunity.
After coming home and taking a shower, Fang Zhaomu saw a message from his friend back home. He was asked if he had any arrangements for his birthday.
Fang Zhaomu looked at the calendar, his birthday was really on this coming Sunday. Recently, he had been so busy that he even forgot about this. Thinking about it, Fang Zhaomu replied his friend. “I don’t have any arrangements.”
He might just go to the city alone to walk around, buy a cake, and bring it home to eat.
On Sunday, Fang Zhaomu woke up very late. He lazily got up and headed out of his place, taking a bus to the city. On the bus, Fang Zhaomu received many birthday wishes one after another. His little sister, Fang Zhaoling, had borrowed her teacher’s phone, and sent him a very long text.
It mainly talked about how, despite often bickering at home, but now that she did not get to see Fang Zhaomu around, she really did quite miss him. She also wished him many happy returns of the day.
As Fang Zhaomu read this message, he found that there were still people who thought about him.
He got off the bus. After walking about, he didn’t see anything he wanted to buy, and so went to a famous bakery and bought a cake that was enough for himself after queueing for twenty minutes, taking it as his birthday present.
Fang Zhaomu did not talk to Andrew for the entire day. When he reached home, he placed the cake on his table.
Sitting down and facing his cake, he could not help but think about that person who claimed that he was very busy. He thought that on his birthday, he should follow his heart, and so took a photo of the cake and asked Andrew a question that even he himself felt was very stupid. “Emergency! If I light the candles, would I set off the smoke alarm?”
After a few minutes, Fang Zhaomu received a call from Andrew.
Feeling that this was a request that he had made, he answered the call, his nose a little stuffy. “Hello?”
“It’s your birthday today?”
“Mn.” Fang Zhaomu drew his fingers along the table surface.
“Why didn’t you mention it earlier?” Andrew’s voice sounded a little anxious and vexed, unlike his usual calm. This instead made Fang Zhaomu feel a little more at ease.
Fang Zhaomu thought about it, but decided to be honest. “You haven’t been responding to my messages recently, so I didn’t mention it.”
“It’s not that I…” Andrew paused, and struggled to explain. “I’ve been busier the past few days.”
“Mn.” Fang Zhaomu felt that his excuse was quite feeble, but did not probe into it. “I know that, thanks for calling me.”
Andrew was silent for quite some time before asking Fang Zhaomu, “How did you spend your birthday?”
“I went to the city and bought a cake. I also received many well wishes today as well. A lot of my old classmates had sent me messages, together with my little sister and my parents. My mom even gave me a red packet, although I won’t be able to use it.”
“Little sister?” Andrew asked.
“Yes, a biological one.” Fang Zhaomu bragged a little to Andrew. “My sister is very pretty and talented, she’s currently in high school.”
“Oh?” Andrew said in a low voice, “You’re also very pretty.”
Fang Zhaomu was taken aback, and did not respond. He thought, no matter how pretty I am, you also don’t seem to like me anyway.
The two of them were silent, and Andrew spoke up. “Happy birthday… Xiaomu.”
“Thank you.” Fang Zhaomu answered reflexively.
He actually still had many things he wanted to say to Andrew. So many things had happened over the past few days, and he had not have any chance to tell them to him. However, now that they were on the phone, Fang Zhaomu no longer wanted to tell him about it.
The silence dragged on. Fang Zhaomu put his phone aside, and placed the candle on his cake. Lighting it with a match, he then casually asked Andrew. “In the future, what sort of person do you think you’ll be in a relationship with?”
The candle wax almost dripped onto the cake, but Andrew still did not reply. Fang Zhaomu then laughed, “Forget it, I won’t ask anymore. I’m going to eat the cake, bye-bye!”
He hung up the phone, and blew out the candle.
Fang Zhaomu used his fork to clean up the wax on the cake. Cutting out a slice, he only had two bites before he received a very strange text from a foreign number.
“Hi, this is Song Yuanxun. My car has broke down near your place, and I just got your number from someone else. I’m unable to speak now, and I can’t communicate easily, can you come downstairs and help me out?”
Fang Zhaomu read this text three times, and confirmed that he had not understood it wrongly. He felt that this Song Yuanxun really had something wrong with him, always making people worried.
However, even helping someone repair his car was better than eating a cake alone. Hence, Fang Zhaomu stored Song Yuanxun’s number, told him that he was coming down, put on his jacket, and headed downstairs.