By the time he was stripped and shoved into his bed, Xie Meng still had yet to register what was going on. Ji Qinyang climbed into bed from the other side, and Xie Meng felt a heat upon his feet. Ji Qinyang was holding his ankles.
“Don’t…” Feeling Ji Qinyang’s kisses on his toes, Xie Meng blushed, embarrassed. “They’re dirty.”
Ji Qinyang ignored him. His kisses moved from his toes to the top of his foot, then trailed up his calves, and to his thighs. When he started sucking on the skin of his inner thighs, Xie Meng had a very evident response in the lower part of his body.
The boy covered his face with the back of his hand. Ji Qinyang slowly kissed up to his waist and belly, finally popping his head out from under the blanket, and licked Xie Meng’s nipples.
The hand Xie Meng was using to cover his eyes was pulled away by Ji Qinyang. Clasping their hands together, Ji Qinyang held the hand down next to the pillow. He kissed him on the forehead, and finally stopped at the slightly damp corner of the boy’s eye.
Xie Meng opened his eyes and looked at him.
Ji Qinyang kissed as he mumbled, “As expected, you’re very handsome.”
Xie Meng shook his head, reaching out and holding onto Ji Qinyang tightly.
They spent the entire morning in bed, with Ji Qinyang kissing Xie Meng from head to toe several times. During the blowjob, Xie Meng covered his mouth, refusing to let his moans out. After coming, Ji Qinyang still refused to let him off, and his collarbone was covered with kiss marks.
Ji Qinyang too had a reaction, but he refused to let Xie Meng help him out.
“You should sleep,” Ji Qinyang hugged him through the blanket.
Xie Meng was so drowsy he could not open his eyes. Burying himself in the crook of Ji Qinyang’s neck, he sniffed at the clean scent of sunshine from the boy.
Ji Qinyang pressed his lips against Xie Meng’s forehead. He hummed for a while, and when he looked down again, Xie Meng had fallen asleep.
He slept all the way till 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Covering himself with the blanket, Xie Meng sat up. He could hear Zhang Ganggang and Qi Fei speaking in the living room.
“You’re awake?” Ji Qinyang entered the room with clean clothes. He closed the door, and sat down next to Xie Meng.
“Why didn’t you wake me up…” Xie Meng rubbed at his face. “How long have they been here already?”
Ji Qinyang smiled, looking at Xie Meng’s expression. Reaching out, he stroked his face. “You look so much better.”
Xie Meng held his hand. “I slept very well.”
“Seems like it’s all thanks to me.” Ji Qinyang leaned in and kissed the boy’s lips. “Raise your hands.”
“?” Baffled, Xie Meng raised his arms. Ji Qinyang wrapped his arms around him, and pulled him onto his thighs with a little bit of strength.
“Come, Gege will help you dress.”
Zhang Ganggang had brought along with him his mother’s cooking. Qi Fei was in charge of buying fruit, and the two almost filled Xie Meng’s refrigerator entirely. As they ate, Zhang Ganggang’s eyes were red.
Xie Meng looked at Ji Qinyang, and the latter shrugged innocently, implying that he did not know what had happened.
“Don’t, don’t be sad…” Zhang Ganggang choked up as he placed some food in Xie Meng’s bowl. “This too will, will pass…”
Xie Meng was rather helpless. “I’m not even crying, why are you crying?”
Zhang Ganggang cried aloud. “I-I’m crying on your behalf…”
Xie Meng, “…”
After spending quite a lot of effort to coax Zhang Ganggang, the four of them sat in the courtyard during the evening and chatted. Qi Fei asked what plans did Xie Meng have now.
“For now, there’s no problem with money. There’s still some left over from my parents’ insurance, and my grandmother had savings as well.” Xie Meng took the bankbook out and made some calculations. “If there’s not enough, I can work after the college examination, and earn the university fees.”
Qi Fei, “You don’t have to work. The country has scholarships to help students, and in your situation, you can apply for them.”
Zhang Ganggang was more concerned about other matters. “Then where are you planning to apply to? You’re not going to Beijing?”
Ji Qinyang did not speak, but turned his head to look at Xie Meng.
“My grandmother’s greatest wish before she died was for me to go and study in the capital. So…” Xie Meng said slowly, meeting Ji Qinyang’s eyes and smiling faintly. “I’ll try my best, and get into Beijing.”
Zhang Ganggang cheered. Ji Qinyang raised his brow, reaching out and giving Xie Meng a high-five. Qi Fei clicked his tongue, “If you’re all going to the capital, it seems like I’ll be the only one left in Suzhou then.”
Zhang Ganggang urged him, “You should go to Beijing too.”
“This is something you won’t understand,” Qi Fei folded his arms, speaking solemnly. “I’m developing my tyranny over Suzhou here. Later on, when you guys are no longer able to handle being out there, and you want to come back, I’ll take care of all of you!”
Ji Qinyang punched him lightly, giving a lazy laugh. “What a good buddy.”
Qi Fei was smug. “Of course!”
Emotionally, Zhang Ganggang hugged Qi Fei. “Mama Qi! I’ll definitely be very filial towards you in the future!”
Qi Fei exploded. “… Who the fuck is your Mama Qi?! Let go! Let go of me now!”
After seven days of mourning, Xie Meng returned to school. Early in the morning, he bumped into Zhuo Xiaoyuan outside class.
“Morning.” Zhuo Xiaoyuan’s eyes fell onto the boy’s left arm, where a piece of black silk was hung. “Has everything been settled?”
Xie Meng nodded. “Everything was fine.”
“Is Ji Qinyang back?”
“Yes.” Xie Meng revealed a small smile. “Is Jinjin still ok?”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan shrugged. “It’s still the same situation, I’m used to it already.”
Xie Meng thought over it, and said slowly, “She’s still young, there’s still hope ahead of her.”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan looked at him, raising his brows. “I know, I won’t give up so easily.”
Compared to Ji Qinyang who would be taking the arts route, Xie Meng and the three of them were immersed deep in the life of studying. Even though Qi Fei and Zhang Ganggang had chosen the liberal arts course, they still had the insurmountable mountain of mathematics in front of them.
Zhuo Xiaoyuan was pretty good at mathematics, but weak in English. The one thing he did the most everyday was to memorize his vocabulary and grammar.
Xie Meng planned a schedule of translating the ancient Chinese texts for himself, and also needed to help tutor Zhang Ganggang and Qi Fei in mathematics.
In the end, the one who was most relaxed was Ji Qinyang. The boy just wore his headphones everyday and wrote his songs. After class, he would go buy food for the few of them.
“Zhang Ganggang, didn’t you sign up for a weekend cram school?” Qi Fei listed the formulae on a piece of draft paper. “Why haven’t you improved at all?”
Zhang Ganggang happened to be eating fried noodles, and with an oily mouth, he mumbled, “That cram school was for people like Xie Meng… I’m about to be kicked out soon.”
Xie Meng glanced at him. “Who is the one who keeps talking to Han Dong about Rourou during the class? You spend half the class reading a letter, and the other half writing a letter. Other than Rourou, there’s nothing else going on.”
“…” Zhang Ganggang responded guiltily, “But the questions are really very difficult… And that Han Dong is really too impressive! He clearly doesn’t listen to anything, but he knows everything! He’s just a monster!”
“I remember that Han Dong got second in the Olympics competition.” Ji Qinyang split the chopsticks and handed the fried rice to Xie Meng. “Why are you comparing yourself with this kind of people? Of course he doesn’t need to study, but can you do that?”
“… I don’t know.” Zhang Ganggang’s mouth fell open blankly. “He lied to me, saying he was here to play…”
Qi Fei could not bear to see him like this, and patted his head. “Son, you should just stay by my side. There’s too many bad people out there.”
Xie Meng requested for leave during the cram school on Saturday, saying that he was going out to play with Ji Qinyang and to relax himself. Zhang Ganggang wanted to follow, but was sent away by Ji Qinyang’s “you still need to write and exchange your diary with your Rourou”.
Unwillingly, Zhang Ganggang headed to the cram school. Han Dong was still sitting in the same seat, looking at him annoyed.
“Why are you so late?” He glanced at Zhang Ganggang’s expression, cocking a brow. “You don’t want Rourou’s letter anymore?”
Zhang Ganggang muttered, “It’s not like you’re Rourou…”
Han Dong smiled coldly. “What did you say?”
Zhang Ganggang shut his mouth. Taking an envelope from his bag, he pushed it across the table. Then, like a quail, he hunched in his seat, no longer moving.
Han Dong glared at him. “What do you mean by this?”
Zhang Ganggang seemed to still be very afraid of him. He hemmed and hawed for a long time, before speaking aggrievedly, “Everytime I ask you why Rourou never come out to meet me, you’ll just answer me perfunctorily… It’s not like I’ll do anything to her.”
“…” Han Dong sighed, rubbing between his brows. “Didn’t I already tell you that her family is very strict?”
“Can’t you just help me take a photo when she passes you the letter?!”
Han Dong laughed aloud, then snorted. “Didn’t you say that you don’t care how she looks like? Were you lying?”
“…” Zhang Ganggang immediately deflated. “No… I’m just curious… I want to know, that’s it…”
Han Dong sneered. “What’s there to be curious about. It’s just a nose and a pair of eyes. What she has, I have them too, it’s enough for you to just look at me.”
The last final exams of the third year of high school was equivalent to being the last exams they would have before the college examination. Zhang Ganggang was so nervous that he could hardly sleep. Not only did Xie Meng had to revise the ancient Chinese poems, he still had to prepare a few math problems for the few of them to do.
“I heard that this time, the exams will be the same for all schools.” Zhuo Xiaoyuan selected a few geometry questions. “It doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough just to look at our own school questions, right?”
All along, Zhang Ganggang had always believed in practising questions over and over again. “Then what should we do?”
Xie Meng considered it. “I’ll go ask Han Dong for some of their school papers. S High has always been very good at picking questions.”
Han Dong answered very easily and frankly. “I’ll send them over… Where are you?”
Ji Qinyang took the phone. “We’re at the McDonald’s on Shi Street. How long will it take for you to come over?”
“About ten minutes.” Han Dong asked, “Zhang Ganggang’s there too?”
Ji Qinyang glanced over at Zhang Ganggang sitting across him.
He still had that innocent, childlike face. “?”
“Yes.” Ji Qinyang sold him without feeling any guilt. With a relaxed tone, he added, Bring something to drink when you come over, Xie Meng’s not used to the milk in McDonalds.”
The five people did not wait long before Han Dong arrived, and he really did bring milk for Xie Meng. His eyes sweeping across the group, then fell on Zhang Ganggang’s face.
The latter glared at him as though he saw a nemesis.
In between the both of them, Qi Fei felt a little awkward. “Want me to move aside?”
Han Dong glanced at him. Putting his bag down, he took the papers out and spread them on the table. Xie Meng looked through them, and was delighted. “As expected, S High’s questions are really of a higher standard.”
He asked Han Dong, “You’ve done them all already?”
“Mn.” Han Dong nodded. Pretending to be indifferent, he spoke calmly, “You can do them first, and I’ll explain it to them?”
Qi Fei and Zhuo Xiaoyuan naturally had no objections about that. Before Xie Meng could say anything, Zhang Ganggang leapt up in a hurry.
“I, I’ll wait for Xie Meng to be done and he can explain it to me!”
Narrowing his eyes, Han Dong stared coldly at him.
Zhang Ganggang forced himself to say, “I’m too stupid, you won’t be able to teach me!”
“At least you know you’re stupid.” Han Dong snorted disdainfully, “Since you’re stupid, just listen to me obediently, understand?”
Zhang Ganggang, “…”