Edited by: Planetes
The next morning, Fang Zhaomu woke up very early. He went to the lab first to complete what he had not finished yesterday, and then took a bus into the city.
Previously, when Fang Zhaomu had asked Andrew if he would like to meet up, it was only a casual query. He had a huge amount of daily necessities that he had to buy, and if Andrew had agreed to the meet up, he really had no idea where he should keep those items.
Reaching the supermarket, Fang Zhaomu tossed the things he needed into the shopping cart according to his shopping list.
There was not much activities that he would do for fun, and so even if it was just browsing through the supermarket, it made him happy. There were not many people there today, and when he was nearly done with his shopping list, he started strolling down the aisles. As he pushed the shopping cart, Fang Zhaomu saw a shelf filled with nutritional packs that were on promotion. The brand was called XXXAndrew1, and so he used his phone and took a silly shot of it for Andrew, attaching a voice message to it. “Are you busy with work? Did you remember to take your lunch?”
Just as he finished, Fang Zhaomu heard someone sniggering behind him. Turning his head around, he saw Zhang Ranyu, Zhou Meng and Song Yuanxun standing there, looking like they were browsing the supermarket casually.
After receiving a look from Fang Zhaomu, Zhang Ranyu shifted his eyes away, pretending that he was selecting an item from the shelf.
Fang Zhaomu ignored Zhang Ranyu’s provocation, but he was no longer in the mood to browse the supermarket. Looking at his shopping list dispassionately, he confirmed that everything on the list was in his cart, and headed to the checkout counters.
After paying, Fang Zhaomu picked up the bags and headed out. He then received Andrew’s response, and struggled as he took his phone out. Andrew told Fang Zhaomu, “I’ve already eaten. You?”
“I’ve eaten too,” Fang Zhaomu placed the bags in his hand on the ground, relaxing his wrists. “I’ve just finished doing my shopping, and am about to head home. All because someone’s too busy with work, and doesn’t want to meet up with me.”
He took a photo of his two big bags and sent it to Andrew, telling him, “They’re heavy!”
“How are you going back?” Andrew asked him.
Andrew might have managed to find a short break during his busy work, and his replies came faster than usual. Fang Zhaomu’s hands were aching after carrying the bags, and so remained standing by the side, replying Andrew. “I’m taking the bus.”
“Can’t you take a taxi?”
Andrew, unaware of the hardships of life, asked a very silly question. Fang Zhaomu’s lips curled up, and he patiently explained to Andrew, “The taxi fare from the city to my school is very expensive.”
Within seconds, Andrew gave Fang Zhaomu a suggestion. “Aren’t there any classmates with cars?”
“There’s no classmates that I’m close enough with to hitch a ride with,” Fang Zhaomu poked as his bag with the tip of his shoe. He then rubbed at his wrists and asked, “Do you drive?”
Fang Zhaomu had wanted to joke with Andrew and tell him that he could drive him to the supermarket next time. However he could not say it aloud, as he felt that it was not very suitable for him to tell Andrew things like this.
The dating app was not a help-wanted app. It was fine to joke and tease him occasionally, but to actually request help from a person that he had never met before, Fang Zhaomu was unable to do so. He returned his phone to his bag, then picked up the bags on the ground and headed out of the supermarket.
Only after a few steps, Fang Zhaomu’s ankle twisted, nearly falling down. The bags in his hands too fell onto the floor, and the things he bought scattered across the ground.
Fang Zhaomu stood there in a daze for a few seconds with his mouth open. Limping slightly, he picked everything up. Just as he was about to walk off, he looked up to see Song Yuanxun standing not too far from him, looking at him expressionlessly.
Fang Zhaomu’s ankle was really hurting very badly. He could not be bothered to give Song Yuanxun any acknowledgement, and hobbled past him.
When he walked past Song Yuanxun, Fang Zhaomu looked down. He saw a car key in Song Yuanxun’s hand, and could not help but think about his conversation with Andrew. As a conventional 29 years old mechanical engineer, Andrew would definitely not have expected that in the famed University T, there would be such childish ostracisation going on within its campus.
Song Yuanxun was very tall, and standing upright in the midst of other tall caucasians, he would still attract a lot of attention. Just like usual, he did not speak to Fang Zhaomu, but stood by the side quietly, seeming to be waiting for someone.
Fang Zhaomu headed for the bus stop, enduring his aching wrists and ankle. He thought, that person whom Song Yuanxun would wait for, must be a very lucky, very special person who was favoured by the gods. Song Yuanxun was such a proud man, it was very difficult to believe that he would be willing to give anyone a moment of his time.
When he reached the bus stop, Fang Zhaomu looked at his phone as he waited for the bus. His mother had sent him a message, asking him how he had been recently, and told him that his little sister had won a prize for her violin competition, and even took a photo of the certificate and sent it to him.
Fang Zhaomu grew up in a ordinary and happy family. Both his parents were middle school teachers, and he had a pretty and outstanding little sister. Since young, his life had been smooth sailing. Other than hiding his sexual orientation, he did not have many troubles in his life.
He told his mom that everything was fine, and asked everyone not to worry.
At this time, the bus arrived. Fang Zhaomu picked his bags up and followed the other passengers up the bus, then discovered an empty window seat at the front. Fang Zhaomu would get carsick when he sat at the back of the bus. He was delighted with this unexpected surprise. He carried his bags, forgetting all about the discomforts of his body as he joyfully took the seat.
Before the bus left, Andrew sent another message to Fang Zhaomu, asking if he was on the bus already.
Fang Zhaomu told him he was on the bus already, and continued. “I think the ear studs you picked for me might be lucky ear studs. On my way to the city and back, I’ve managed to get a seat in the front both times. I was still afraid that if I had to sit in the back, I’ll vomit before I even arrive back at school.”
“Oh?” Andrew replied.
“Have you been slacking at work today?” Fang Zhaomu asked Andrew. “Why do you keep texting me?”
It seemed like Andrew was feeling guilty. Fang Zhaomu only received a reply when he was about to fall asleep. “No.”