With only a week to go before the sports meet, Zhang Ganggang finally managed to pass the ball when trapped on both sides, rather than falling to the ground as he rolled and hugged the ball. Qi Fei felt that he had really completed a long and arduous task, and he no longer seek for anything more than that… Of course this was not the only improvement around.
For some reason, before the games, Ji Qinyang dyed his hair black.
When the boy appeared at the door of the classroom, he attracted most of the class’s attention. Xie Meng looked up to see Ji Qinyang watching him.
“Morning.” Ji Qinyang removed his earbuds. He seemed to conditioned his hair, it was not as shaggy as before, and dyed as dark as ink.
Xie Meng stared at him for quite some time. “Morning…”
Ji Qinyang smiled. His facial features were exquisite, and with his black hair, they looked even more prominent, looking as perfect as those male models on fashion magazines who had been photoshopped.
Qi Fei, “… Are you planning on going down the path of being an adonis?”
Ji Qinyang was very curious. “You mean, I’m not one?”
Zhang Ganggang thought about it, “Well, you’re the number one beauty in W High…”
Ji Qinyang was quite surprised. “How come I didn’t know about that?”
Qi Feig clapped his hands. “I remember it now! Last time, someone had post a ranking on the girls’ channel of the school intranet.”
Zhang Ganggang counted with his fingers. “Ji Qinyang, Xie Meng, Zhuo Xiaoyuan… We occupy 3 out of the top 5 ranks!”
“What we.” Qi Fei rolled his eyes. “Zhuo Xiaoyuan is from Class 6.”
Zhang Ganggang, “He knows Xie Meng. Xie Meng’s friend is our friend!”
Xie Meng, “…”
Ji Qinyang laughed. “That’s pretty interesting.”
Xie Meng glanced at him. Ji Qinyang also happened to turn his head. Their eyes met for some time, and only looked away when Maitreya arrived.
Qi Fei and Zhang Ganggang were still squabbling about Zhuo Xiaoyuan. Maitreya had to call out loudly to them to be silent a few times before they stopped.
Maitreya tousled Ji Qinyang’s hair. “Yo, you’ve finally dyed it back.”
“…” Ji Qinyang tidied up his messed up hair impatiently.
Maitreya chuckled, “It looks very good now, an obedient pretty boy.”
Xie Meng could not help laughing when he heard the words “obedient pretty boy.” Ji Qinyang stared at his laughing face, widening his eyes to make an innocent expression.
Xie Meng choked, and stopped laughing.
Zhang Ganggang and Qi Fei did not bother disguising their amusement. They laughed loudly non-stop.
Maitreya could not longer tolerate the noise, and they only stopped after he began scolding them.
As the next day was the sports meet, the students were all very inattentive in class. At the end of the school day, they even stayed back to practice their formation. The person holding the sign was changed to Ji Qinyang, and Qi Fei and Zhang Ganggang, standing by the side of the field, took turns to shout “W High’s No. 1 Beauty” and “obedient pretty boy”… Class Six was also lining up on the track. Zhuo Xiaoyuan, holding his class sign, collided head on with Ji Qinyang, and when they staggered apart, their fists even met for a bit.
The two classes practised their formations, and Xie Meng nodded at Zhuo Xiaoyuan when he walked past him.
As a result, Zhuo Xiaoyuan started shouting his class cheer. “Class 6 Class 6 we’re number one! Class 6 Class 6 we’ll kick some buns!”
Xie Meng, “…”
Qi Fei was about to die laughing. “This cheer is too funny! Hahahaha!”
Zhang Ganggang, “Hahahahahaha!”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan was angry. “If yours is better, then shout yours!”
Ji Qinyang supported the sign on his shoulder, and randomly said something. “Friendship first, competition second.”
“…” Zhuo Xiaoyuan, “You’re going to just shout this?”
Ji Qinyang shrugged, “As long as it’s not as dumb as yours.”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan, “…”
After the formation training, a few people still had to stay back and train. Chen Dong wanted to have a friendly match with Class Six. Zhuo Xiaoyuan had brought Zhuo Jinjin along, and the little girl sat obediently by the court.
“Qinyang-gege!” Zhuo Jinjin’s smile bloomed like a flower, and waved her arms.
Zhuo Xiaoyuan had a dirty look on his face. “Why did you call at him.”
Zhuo Jinjin was very honest. “Because he’s better looking than you, gege.”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan, “…”
Ji Qinyang walked over. Behind him was Xie Meng, and when Zhuo Jinjin saw him her eyes were about to fall out.
“Hello, Jinjin.” Xie Meng crouched down, smiling as he patted the little girl’s head.
“Ah ah ah!” Zhuo Jinjin shrieked as she hid behind Zhuo Xiaoyuan.
“…” Xie Meng froze, he was at a loss.
Zhuo Xiaoyuan clicked his tongue in displeasure.
Ji Qinyang gave a smile with an indiscernible meaning. “Her reaction wasn’t even that big when she saw me for the first time.”
Zhuo Jinjin peeped out from behind her brother with a red face, speaking shyly, “You’re so handsome~”
Xie Meng, “…”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan pressed his forehead into his palm. “Ignore her. She’s going boy-crazy.”
Qi Fei had the most experience handling children. If he compared the 10 year old Zhuo Jinjin with those wild children of his relatives, she was basically a little angel. Zhuo Xiaoyuan watched as he turned coins into flowers to charm his sister, and could no longer bear it. With a dark face, he said, “You should give up now. I won’t let my sister marry you!”
Zhuo Jinjin laughed and clapped her hands. “I want to marry Xie Meng!”
“…” Zhuo Xiaoyuan, “You just told me the other day that you wanted to marry Ji Qinyang!”
Qi Fei pretended to be heartbroken and held his hand to his chest. “I’m not good enough? I’m also very handsome!”
Zhuo Jinjin laughed joyfully. Qi Fei lifted her up and placed her around his neck, then motioned for Zhang Ganggang to bring the basketball over. “Let’s go shoot the ball into the basket.”
Zhuo Jinjin shot twice, and both missed. When Ji Qinyang took over and carried her, the little girl was a little shy.
“I’m not strong enough.” Zhuo Jinjin grumbled.
Ji Qinyang held her waist and stood under the basket. He looked up at Zhuo Jinjin, his gentle smile very pretty. “It’s not your fault. Qi Fei is just too short.”
Qi Fei immediately squatted down and acted pitiful. “Yeah, yeah, yeah… I stretched so much that my neck is now sore.”
Zhuo Jinjin giggled. She took the ball from Xie Meng, and looked at the basket with a serious look on her face. This time, the ball landed in easily.
Cheers rang out across the court. Ji Qinyang put Zhuo Jinjin down gently and hoked, “The pre-show has ended. Little princess, would you like to watch by the side now?”
Zhuo Jinjin looked at Xie Meng. “Will you go on court as well?”
Xie Meng smiled and nodded. “Yes.”
Zhuo Jinjin went over to hold Zhuo Xiaoyuan’s hand. She said confidently, “Although I like you a lot, my older brother will definitely not lose.”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan did not speak. He picked up his little sister, and the two of them hooked their little fingers together. Zhuo Jinjin clenched her fist, “Gege, fighting!”
“Sure.” Zhuo Xiaoyuan promised, and pushed his cheek towards Zhuo Jinjin. “Give ge a kiss.”
Zhuo Jinjin hugged him tightly and smacked her brother’s cold, fierce, slanting eyes with her lips.
Zhuo Xiaoyuan grinned and laughed foolishly.
The friendly match did not start off fiercely. Class 3 mainly wanted to practise their cooperation and teamwork. Zhang Ganggang’s skills could at most not handicap them, and Chen Dong tried his best to just pass the ball to only Ji Qinyang and Qi Fei.
Qi Fei like to charge into the restricted area by himself, but Ji Qinyang rarely did so.
At the start, Xie Meng was unable to make an immediate decision when he caught Ji Qinyang’s passes. However, his reactions started speeding up as he got used to it.
“Here!” On his right, Qi Fei signalled to him. Ji Qinyang glanced at him, and with the turn of his wrist, the ball was instead tossed to the left. Xie Meng swiftly threw off the two guards from Class Six on him, caught the ball and entered the restricted area with a turn. Ji Qinyang was already waiting under the basket. Zhuo Xiaoyuan wanted to intercept, and Xie Meng took a step back, positioning himself to take a shot at the basket.
“Get ready for the rebound!” Zhuo Xiaoyuan shouted.
The trajectory of the thrown ball was far, but it was not aimed directly at the basket. It was already too late when Zhuo Xiaoyuan caught on to Xie Meng’s plan. Ji Qinyang leapt up, caught the ball in front of the basket, and dunked it in.
Zhuo Xiaoyuan, “…”
“Wow!” Zhang Ganggang jumped onto Xie Meng’s back with a shout of laughter.
Ji Qinyang swept up his damp fringe, and held his hand out towards Xie Meng as he smiled.
Xie Meng slapped his palm against his. Unexpectedly, Ji Qinyang caught his hand and pulled on it, and his other arm wrapped around Xie Meng’s shoulders, tightly embracing him.
“Nice one.” Ji Qinyang pressed his palm against the back of Xie Meng’s neck. He seemed to find it insufficient, and even hugged the boy around his waist with one arm and lifted him off the ground.
Xie Meng, “…”
Fortunately, Ji Qinyang only hugged him for a while and released him. However, Zhang Ganggang was even more emotional than the both of them. He hugged them both, jumping and shouting, nearly bouncing around in a circle, and even Qi Fei could not drag him off.
“Don’t get too excited. “ Zhuo Xiaoyuan shot them a challenging look. “We’ve only just begun!”
The few of them bumped their fists against each other, and now the rivalry between two teams heated up. Xie Meng and Ji Qinyang’s teamwork was seamless, and Zhang Ganggang gradually caught up with the rhythm as well. However, Class Six was no weakling. Zhuo Xiaoyuan 3-pointers were lethal, and Xie Meng’s team of five was unable to defend against it. Both teams exhausted themselves on the court, and the match ended with Class Three trailing by two points.
“Yay—!” Zhuo Xiaoyuan ran off court and lifted Zhuo Jinjin onto his shoulders. The little girl smiled so hard that her eyes were closed.
Xie Meng lay on the concrete ground, panting. A pair of sneakers appeared in his field of vision. Ji Qinyang held his hand out to him and smiled, “Was it fun?”
Xie Meng nodded. He was not in a hurry to get up. Holding hands with Ji Qinyang, and one was lying on the ground with the other crouching, but no one found it weird.
“This is the first time I’ve had fun like this.” Xie Meng suddenly said. He raised his chin and looked into Ji Qinyang’s eyes, smiling, “It’s really very interesting.”
Ji Qinyang raised his brow. He looked down at Xie Meng’s smile, as though pondering over what he just said, then responded after a while, “Let’s play together next time.”
Xie Meng laughed for a long time, and the curve of his lips did not straight. Standing up with Ji Qinyang, he suddenly asked. “Why did you dye your hair?”
Ji Qinyang paused, then turned his head and looked at Xie Meng with a smile. “It doesn’t look good?”
“Of course not.” Xie Meng stretched out his hand and tousled the hair at the back of Ji Qinyang’s head vigorously.
“…” Ji Qinyang rubbed his nose. The tips of his ears, hidden in his hair, were a little red.
“It looks good even without dyeing.” Xie Meng thought about it, and earnestly said, “You’re pretty no matter how you look.”
Class Six had won the game, so naturally Zhuo Xiaoyuan had to give them a treat. A few boys headed out of the school gates to get some cold beverages. Ji Qinyang grabbed cornettos for himself and Xie Meng, and the two of them ate it in similar postures.
Zhuo Jinjin, licking at her ice cream cone, tugged on Zhuo Xiaoyuan’s shirt. “Gege…”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan drew his face towards her. “What’s wrong?”
Zhuo Jinjin leaned onto him, and pointed a finger asking him to look at the school gate.
Ji Qinyang looked back, and the smile on his face cooled.
Zhuo Xiaoyuan’s brows pinched tightly. He picked Zhuo Jinjin up and handed her to Qi Fei, heading towards the school gate alone.
Xie Meng, “?”
He wanted to turn around, but his shoulder was held on to by Ji Qinyang, and Ji Qinyang looped his arm around his head with some force.
Lin Hengjing leaned against his car door, and Zhuo Xiaoyuan glared at him coldly. “What do you want?!”
In terms of appearance, Lin Hengjing was the type of man who looked soft-spoken, and could even be called elegant. His eyes turned to Xie Meng who had his back facing him in the distance.
“I just want to talk to him alone.” Lin Hengjing raised his hands. “I won’t do anything.”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan, “He has nothing to say to you.”
Lin Hengjing laughed, “You’re not him, how would you know?”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan did not want to continue such nonsense with him, and asked him to fuck off. Lin Hengjing felt that he had no other choice, and suddenly shouted, “Xie Meng!”
“… You!” Zhuo Xiaoyuan was about to fly into a rage. Lin Hengjing again shouted, “Xie Meng!”
Xie Meng finally turned his head. He looked towards them for a while, then slowly walked over.
Ji Qinyang followed with an insouciant smile.
Lin Hengjing studied Xie Meng with a friendly look on his face. “It’s been awhile.”
Xie Meng gave a nod. “Why are you looking for me.”
Lin Hengjing saw Ji Qinyang put his hand on Xie Meng’s shoulder, and his eyes were drawn to that hand for a few seconds before looking away.
“I just want to talk to you alone.” Lin Hengjing lowered his bearing. “I don’t even have a job now, I won’t pose any threat to you.”
Zhuo Xiaoyuan wanted to say something, but was held back by Ji Qinyang.
Xie Meng thought about it and agreed, “Fine.”
Lin Hengjing leaned over and motioned to go to another side to talk. Ji Qinyang let Zhuo Xiaoyuan walk off first. He looked coldly at Lin Hengjing, then walked over to Xie Meng with his hands in his pockets.
“Call me if there’s anything.” Ji Qinyang said.
Xie Meng smiled, “Sure… There won’t be anything though.”
Ji Qinyang observed him, then reached out a hand around Xie Meng’s neck and adjusted his collar at the back of his neck. Xie Meng was stunned for a few seconds, then cooperatively lowered his head.
“It was wrinkled.” Ji Qinyang smiled softly.
Xie Meng laughed, “Mn. Thank you.”
Lin Hengjing waited for Ji Qinyang to be a distance away before he looked back. He carefully watched Xie Meng’s expressionless face, and smiled wryly. “You haven’t smile like that at me in a very long time.”
Xie Meng knitted his brows silently.
Lin Hengjing muttered, “You used to be so serious in my class, and even looked for me after class to ask me about the work… You clearly have no interest in me, but still gave such a good looking smile. Has that boy also been attracted by you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Xie Meng said coldly. “Ji Qinyang is different from you.”
Lin Hengjing smiled strangely. “How are we different? Because he’s younger than me, better looking that me…”
Xie Meng interrupted. “If this is all you want to talk about, then we have nothing to say.” He turned around, about to walk off.
Lin Hengjing grabbed his arm agitatedly. “How do you know that he doesn’t share the same thoughts as I do?”
Xie Meng, “…”
Lin Hengjing spoke incoherently, “You seduced me, and now you’re seducing someone else… It’s all your fault…”
Xie Meng fiercely shook off Lin Hengjing’s hand that caught his. Raising his palm, he grabbed the other person’s neck and slammed him onto the trunk of the car. Lin Hengjing was caught off-guard, and he screamed painfully as he banged his back against the bumper.
Ji Qinyang ran over, but did not pull Xie Meng away. He only asked, “Are you alright?”
Xie Meng nooded. He looked down at Lin Hengjing’s painful expression and said dispassionately, “It’s your business if you like pretty little boys. However, you shouldn’t arrogantly force your feelings onto others. Other than your apology, I don’t want to hear anything else from you.”
Lin Hengjing was in so much pain that his tears flowed out. He whimpered as he kept apologising, until Xie Meng let go of him, and he knelt on the ground, coughing.
“Scum!” Zhuo Xiaoyuan spat. “Aren’t you fucking off yet?!”
Lin Hengjing staggered as he stood up. Finally, he glanced over at Xie Meng, then stared at Ji Qinyang, reluctant to leave.
Xie Meng, “…”
Ji Qinyang, “?”
Lin Hengjing did not give up. “He… Does he also like men…”
Xie Meng could neither laugh nor cry. With a cold face, he shielded Ji Qinyang with his body and warned, “If you don’t want to be sent to the hospital again, don’t even think about him.”
Lin Hengjing’s face had an obvious look of fear. He hesitated for moment, and eventually got into his car in wretchedness.
When Lin Hengjing’s car drove off, Ji Qinyang still had a bewildered look on his face. “What did he mean just now?”
Xie Meng did not want to reply. He bought another two cornettos, one for himself, and the other, he passed to Ji Qinyang after removing the wrapper.
“Hush money is useless.” Ji Qinyang bit into the cornetto and spoke with his mouth full. “If you don’t tell me, I’ll keep asking.”
Xie Meng glanced at him and calmly said. “I didn’t understand it either.”
Ji Qinyang cocked his brow and laughed. He pulled half his earphone wires around Xie Meng’s neck, and pushed the earbud into his ear as he increased the volume a little. Xie Meng’s head was almost resting on Ji Qinyang’s shoulder.
The melody he had heard the last time played from the earbud.
Xie Meng heard Ji Qinyang quietly adding the lyrics to the song. “The years move on without rest, the days pass by, tender and slow. Little by little, bit by bit, the times never linger.”
The afterglow of the setting sun outlined Ji Qinyang’s delicate features. He leaned his head over and sang by Xie Meng’s ear. “Your smile of fleeting snow, lights upon my heart. Little by little, bit by bit, hidden under the traces of our lives together.”
Many thanks to Nyan for making the lyrics sound a million times more awesome that whatever crap I came up with! <3