Chapter 13 — I Am Disappointed in You
Even till the end of class, Luo Zhiyu does not get a reply from Xiao Yan. The final bell rings for the end of class, and the art teacher leaves the classroom. Already noisy to begin with, the room explodes with movement.
First Metropolitan does not give students a long break for dinner; there is a study block right after dinner. Because of this, most students storm out right after classes end.
“Zhiyu, cafeteria?” Jing Ximing takes out his meal card from his pencil case, ready to charge towards the cafeteria.
“You go ahead.” Luo Zhiyu picks up his random doodle, “I have something to do, I’ll come in a bit.”
“What thing, what’s more important than dinner?” Jing Ximing does not understand.
The Second Year, Class 3 classroom is coincidentally just upstairs from Luo Zhiyu’s classroom; he has come once before, so finding it is no trouble at all. Just like in his own class, most of the students left the classroom the moment classes ended. There are tall stacks of textbooks on most of the desks, page corners curved from usage, and all kinds of bookmarks stuck in between.
Xiao Yan’s seat is next to the classroom window; Luo Zhiyu finds his desk right away — it is very clean and tidy, with nothing but a thermos on top. It seems like the owner had hurried to the cafeteria; he hasn’t even screwed on the cap properly, the water visibly steaming still.
[Not Zhiliao]: I have delivered your mini fridge.
[Not Zhiliao]: You can look at the drawing and think of the real thing.
[Not Zhiliao]: Taking this moment to remember my lost pot, too.
After sending his messages, Luo Zhiyu puts away his phone and leans against the railings outside Class 3. He folds the drawing into a paper airplane, takes a few steps back, eyeballs the distance, waves his hand — and throws.
“What are you doing?” Xiao Yan’s voice sounds from beside him. He seems to have walked over from the office, a thin notebook still in his hands.
Luo Zhiyu’s hand stutters a little, and the paper airplane leaves his hand wobbly, flying through the Class 3 window, going through some turbulence in the air, and nosedives into Xiao Yan’s thermos. The paper hits steaming water and dissolves immediately.
Just like that, the portrait of the mini fridge disappears in hot water.
Luo Zhiyu: “……”
Xiao Yan: “……”
“I messed up.” Luo Zhiyu runs immediately, “Goodbye.”
“Get back here.” Luo Zhiyu, in the middle of running and not yet out of the danger zone, gets tugged back unceremoniously by Xiao Yan. The notebook in his other hand is curved into a cylinder, striking a significant whack onto Luo Zhiyu’s palm, “A hit and run?”
“Of course.” Luo Zhiyu is already detained and gives up on running, freeing up a hand to massage at the palm that was hit. “I learned from you.”
“When did I ever teach you to bother others right after class?” Xiao Yan does not loosen his grip on Luo Zhiyu’s hand.
“Haven’t you heard of theory and application?” Luo Zhiyu struggles a bit, and the scar on Xiao Yan’s wrist comes into view again. Luo Zhiyu grinds his teeth, channelling his emotions from when he was three.
“What are you doing?” Xiao Yan feels like something is up.
“The two students there, are you not going to dinner?” Mr. Li, homeroom teacher of Second Year, Class 3, walks down the hallway with his own food container. He recognizes these two students as the talk of the school these days.
The school pays prioritized attention to this 0%.
Mr. Li immediately adds, warningly, “I hope you haven’t gotten into a fight, you two. The Director said, if Xiao Yan and Luo Zhiyu are caught fighting again, it will be an immediate credit deduction. It’ll go on your record.”
“We didn’t fight!” The two currently in a disagreement both turn around and yell at Mr. Li.
Mr. Li almost drops his food container to the ground: “…okay, okay, you didn’t fight, what’s the yelling for? What are you trying to prove?”
Xiao Yan holds up his and Luo Zhiyu’s hands, “We are very friendly. Mr. Li, look, would we be holding hands if we were fighting?”
“Yes, we are very friendly.” Luo Zhiyu points at the notebook in Xiao Yan’s hands, “Mr. Li, he was explaining a problem to me, didn’t you just hear me talk about theory and application?”
The evidence and suspects’ statements match perfectly. Even though Mr. Li is still suspicious, he still watches as the two students leave while holding hands, disappearing around the corner of the hallway.
As soon as they are out of Mr. Li’s line of sight, the students who were just buddy-buddy immediately glare at each other.
“Stay away from me.” Luo Zhiyu says, disdained, “Don’t make me smell like oranges again.”
“This is slander.” Xiao Yan says as they walk, “Other than the day we presented, I have been putting away my pheromones like a good person, unless……”
Unless that day, when Luo Zhiyu borrowed his uniform, he wore it without washing it first. Other than that, Xiao Yan cannot think of any other possibility.
“You wore it right away?” Xiao Yan pushes Luo Zhiyu towards the corner of the stairs, the curled-up notebook in his hands hitting lightly against Luo Zhiyu’s cheek, “A little pervert, are you?”
Luo Zhiyu: “I……”
He suddenly realizes that they are standing right where he asked Xiao Yan to borrow his uniform the other day.
The health class teacher’s voice still echoes in his head: “Some omega students…”
“I just remembered.” Mr. Li has not gone far, and walks back towards the stairway, “Xiao Yan, you’re not even in the same grade as xiao-Luo, what problem are you explaining to him?”
The stairway is completely empty, the people standing there already gone.
“Where are you going?” Luo Zhiyu discovers that Xiao Yan is not walking towards the cafeteria, “Are you not going to dinner?”
“There’s no dinner left at this point.” Xiao Yan walks towards the back entrance of the campus, “I ordered takeout earlier.”
“You said before not to use your own name when you order takeout.” Luo Zhiyu still remembers their conversation from the day before the entrance ceremony, “You didn’t screw me over by telling me that, right.”
“Put down teachers’ names.” Xiao Yan says, “Whichever teacher, but not Wu. Last year, the gate guard took in like ten takeout orders with Director Wu’s name.”
Luo Zhiyu: “……”
There’s no food left at the cafeteria, so Luo Zhiyu turns and heads back towards the classrooms. The self-study block isn’t that long anyway, what’s going without dinner? If anything, he will just eat when he gets back to the dorms.
When Xiao Yan makes it back to the classroom, Fan Yue and Tang Yuan are slumped over his desk, looking apprehensively into his thermos.
“What are you steeping?” Fan Yue lowers his head and takes a whiff, “Is this drinkable?”
“School-grass only, IQ-lowering tea.” Tang Yuan gives this drink a name.
“Not drinkable.” Xiao Yan picks up the thermos and goes to dump the water out, “It’s you and Class 7 on rounds tonight, right? I don’t have much to do at the Students’ Association this week, I need to head out for a bit later.”
“I’m going there now.” Fan Yue takes out his Students’ Association inspection pass from his desk, “It’s just to catch whoever is running around during self-study, I’ll be back soon. There’s so much homework today.”
“I didn’t bring my inspection pass.” Fan Yue says. “I’m going to sprint to the dorms to get it.”
“It’s fine, borrow mine.” Xiao Yan takes out his own from his bag, throwing it at Fan Yue, “It’s the same in the end, whatever credits get deducted are in the name of the Students’ Association.”
“Wow, what an aura, using the school-grass’ inspection pass to do rounds.” Fan Yue leaves the classroom with a Literature textbook.
In the First Year, Class 3 classroom, the students are in the middle of their self-study block. There are no teachers at the podium, and most of the students have their heads lowered over homework, a small minority whispering with each other.
[Fence-sitter]: What happened?
[Fence-sitter]: Are you okay? You haven’t moved in thirty minutes.
[Not Zhiliao]: Shh.
[Not Zhiliao]: I’m so hungry.
[Not Zhiliao]: The classroom is too quiet, what am I going to do if my stomach grumbles, aaaaah!
[Fence-sitter]: ……I didn’t bring any snacks, though they’re not allowed in the classroom anyway.
[Fence-sitter]: I’ll make some random noises to cover you?
Jing Ximing takes out all of his books, aggressively flipping through every single one, making everyone in the classroom look at him.
[Not Zhiliao]: Nevermind, nevermind.
[Not Zhiliao]: What if I just skip this class.
[Fence-sitter]: You can’t, there are teachers coming in the second half to go over the entrance exams.
[Not Zhiliao]: Okay, I’ll just go outside for a bit and swallow some air.
Luo Zhiyu pockets his phone and walks towards the rooftop. The door towards the rooftop is locked, so he sits next to the door, listening to music.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Not in class?
[Not Zhiliao]: Sigh, I’m hungry and can’t even get onto the roof to swallow some air.
When Xiao Yan gets to the top floor with an order of takoyaki, he finds Luo Zhiyu leaning next to the wall, eyes closed and listening to music. The uniform is a little big on him, making the teenager look even more slight. The red headphones cord travels from his collar and into his uniform jacket; under the soft light, his eyelashes cast gentle shadows under his eyes.
Xiao Yan nudges the bag against the tip of Luo Zhiyu’s nose. Luo Zhiyu opens his eyes and sees the person before him.
“Why are you here?” He takes out his headphones.
“Ordered too much takeout. Want some leftovers?” Xiao Yan waves the bag at him.
Luo Zhiyu takes the bag from his hands and watches as Xiao Yan takes out a key from his pocket, unlocking the door towards the rooftop.
“Where’d you get these keys?” Luo Zhiyu asks.
“From the Students’ Association, though some non-members have it too. Usually there’s no one here at this time.” Xiao Yan pushes the door open, “Over here.”
Temperatures vary drastically between night and day in the autumn; the evening breeze is chilly as it brushes by their faces. Xiao Yan sits down next to a wall, and Luo Zhiyu copies him, crossing his legs and opening the takeout bag.
This restaurant makes good takoyaki, a full serving taking up the entire container. The takoyaki is nicely arranged, a generous serving of sauce and toppings too, covered in a layer of dried pork floss. The food at the First Metropolitan cafeteria is average at best; since Luo Zhiyu arrived, he has not gotten a chance to eat food from outside the campus.
“Thanks.” However bad their relationship was before this, it is still worth thanking him for this meal.
His homeroom teacher is right, he should remember the good in others.
“How come you’re being so nice today?” Luo Zhiyu asks.
As he lifts his head to look at Xiao Yan, the unsleeping city lights shine from behind him, and scattered stars glitter from above. Some of the starlight left behind by the galaxy drops from the sky; they seem to have fallen into Luo Zhiyu’s eyes. He holds the bamboo stick in his hands, thanking him with a smile, unaware that there is some ketchup next to the corner of his lip.
“Who knows.” Xiao Yan avoids his gaze, not answering the question.
“It’s nothing.” Xiao Yan spaces out a little, lifting his hand to wipe at the sauce next to Luo Zhiyu’s lips, “If you like it, next time…”
Luo Zhiyu subconsciously licks at the sauce at the corner of his lip, the tip of his tongue accidentally touching Xiao Yan’s finger. The two of them are startled for a second.
A flashlight shines through, breaking the rooftop’s peaceful atmosphere. Two Students’ Association members on inspection duty follow the smell of food and head into the darkness.
“Holy shit, it smells so good.”
“Who is sneaking takeout?”
“No, the first question should be, where is this takeout from!”
“This is huge, gotta deduct their credits with no mercy, hahaha.”
Fan Yue stands in front of the two, proudly brandishing the inspection pass hanging at his chest, “Students’ Association inspection, we have caught you sneaking takeout, two credits deducted.”
Xiao Yan: “……”
“Huh?” Fan Yue recognizes his own deskmate, “What…..”
Fan Yue hasn’t finished his sentence, and Luo Zhiyu has made out the name and ID photo on the inspection pass, gulping down the last bite of takoyaki without chewing. He thinks for a moment with a frown, and eventually comes up with what seems like a reasonable explanation for the current situation.
Xiao Yan is suddenly being uncharacteristically nice, and buys him takoyaki takeout.
He brings him to the rooftop.
The Students’ Association is doing inspections and coincidentally catches him red-handed sneaking takeout.
The Students’ Association member wears Xiao Yan’s inspection pass.
His credits are going to be deducted.
Thus, as outlined above–
“So this is……” Luo Zhiyu looks towards Xiao Yan, a deeply hurt expression on his face, “a honey trap?”