It was evening time; the crimson sunset was shining brightly and the on-and-off melody was drifting from the piano room.
But the music sounded different from her usual skills.
Gu Miao’s dark eyes flickered and he quietly walked in with his lips pressed.
The evening wind slightly blew against the curtains.
Gu Miao’s gaze looked past the gaps and saw the girl with her head lowered, intently studying her phone, and then lifting her head to play the piano keys.
He let out a sigh of relief and returned to his spot, further away from her.
The golden-yellow sycamore leaves drifted to the ground and several of them swirled in the air before landing on Gu Miao’s shoulders.
He peacefully stared at the window not too far away.
His usual wary and indifferent eyes finally revealed some radiance.
In the past, the last class on Wednesdays and Thursdays was his happiest time of the week.
In the chaotic campus life, quietly listening to the melodious piano while standing outside the piano room number eight, had become his only consolation.
Because just by standing there, he can feel that he was closer to her.
So close that even his dull heart seemed to be filled with vitality, trembling slightly with each note from the piano.
But this time, the music from the piano sounded very strange; it’s not as smooth and steady as usual.
But Gu Miao’s heart didn’t waver.
He felt like a dirty eavesdropper, shamelessly hiding in the corner, listening to the piano music that didn’t belong to him, and desiring the person who does not belong to him.
The setting sun gradually faded away and Gu Miao heard the music in the room coming to a stop.
Then a woman’s voice appeared.
“The day is about to end, let’s check how you’ve practiced.”
The piano room was quiet for a while until Gu Miao heard Cheng Chu speaking in a low voice: “Teacher, I haven’t finished practicing yet.
Can I do it next week?”
I already gave you so much time.” The woman’s voice turned strict.
A dim yellow street light was lit on the side of the road.
A few seconds later, the disharmonious piano sound flowed from the small room.
But within a few seconds, the melody was interrupted.
“Stop, stop, stop! What are you playing? Cheng Chu, even if you didn’t practice for a week, your skills shouldn’t worsen this much!”
Gu Miao’s heart tightened in worry.
Then he heard the girl’s low voice saying: “Sorry teacher… I didn’t practice last week.”
“What’s the matter with you? Weren’t you usually the most diligent one? How did this happen? With these skills, don’t even think about going to Haiyin University.
No music institution would want you.”
The woman’s voice was loud, sharp, and stern.
Gu Miao could clearly hear her scolding from miles away.
His hands trembled slightly.
“I’m sorry.” He heard the girl’s small sniffles and her apologies in a guilty voice.
“What good is it apologizing to me? You should stay after class and practice an additional hour before going home.”
The door slammed shut.
A few seconds later, the piano sounded again in the cramped room.
The school bell rang in the distance.
The sound mixing with the piano melody.
After an hour, Cheng Chu closed the piano cover.
After class, Ji Mingyue walked towards her, carrying a violin on her back.
Having heard what happened with Cheng Chu’s practice, she decided to wait for her at the gates but was persuaded by Cheng Chu to go home.
By the time Cheng Chu walked out of the piano room, the sky was already dark and the dim yellow lights on the side of the road spilled into the corridor.
Cheng Chu walked with heavy footsteps.
The classrooms were already empty; the tables and chairs were neatly arranged, empty without a trace of people.
Cheng Chu walked toward her seat and slowly began to pack her school bag.
She put her hand in the drawer but touched something wrapped in plastic.
Only one light was lit in the classroom, not providing much light.
Cheng Chu lowered her head and saw a packet of strawberry-flavored toffee lying in the drawer.
It’s from her favorite brand.
Cheng Chu pressed her mouth in confusion and tore open the candy wrapper.
The sweetness from the toffee melted in her mouth like a spring breeze blowing away all the bitterness deep in her heart.
She sniffed and stared out the window, feeling that even the moonlight had become gentle.
The next day, Cheng Chu met Ji Mingyue on the way to school.
She lightly patted her on the shoulder and said gratefully: “Thank you for the candy yesterday.”
“What?” Ji Mingyue blinked her big eyes in reply and said confusingly: “What candy?”
Cheng Chu frowned: “Didn’t you put the candy in my drawer yesterday?”
Ji Mingyue shook her head and tugged her sleeve, saying with a smirk: “What candy? He he he… Maybe some boy who has a crush on you did it?”
“Alright, don’t talk nonsense.” Cheng Chu was half a head taller than her, so she could easily put her arm around her shoulder and said: “Let’s go, or we’ll be late.”
If it’s not Ji Mingyue, then who is it?
Ji Mingyue was in the Liberal Arts class; therefore, not on the same floor as Cheng Chu.
After the two separated, Cheng Chu walked to her classroom alone.
There were still ten more minutes before the start of the first period and only a few people scattered around in the classroom.
Cheng Chu saw Gu Miao sitting in his seat, looking down at his book.
The morning wind blew against his forehead and the tip of his nose caught a familiar fragrance.
Gu Miao’s eyelashes trembled in anticipation.
“Good morning, Gu Miao.” Cheng Chu said with a smile.
Gu Miao lifted his eyes, the originally dull gaze was embellished with a hind of radiance.
He curled up his lips and smiled at her.
It was a very faint smile, as shallow as the misty clouds on the distant mountains, fleeting yet beautiful.
Cheng Chu was stunned; her heart couldn’t help but jump with joy.
This is the first time Gu Miao smiled at her!
Like a child who received a gift, Cheng Chu shifted her chair back in surprise and chirped happily: “Are you reading a book?”
“Oh, it’s the Chinese textbook.
This A Happy Excursion is so difficult to memorize, have you finished memorizing it?”
“That’s amazing! Did you also memorize Ode to a Lady’s Pipa Play?
The conversation continued as one question and one answer.
But she only ever received a one-worded cold reply, “Mhmm.”
Cheng Chu felt like a police officer, interrogating a prisoner who refused to cooperate.
For a brief moment, she thought that the fleeting smile from before was her imagination.
Cheng Chu turned around, a little discouraged, and stopped talking.
Several people came into the classroom one after another, loudly pulling the chairs which made many obnoxious squeaky noises.
Gu Miao lowered his head in shame and once again resented his stutters.
If only he could speak normally, then at least when she was talking to him, he could say a few more words.
Maybe her gaze could land on him for a moment longer.
He pursed his dry lips and looked up at the girl’s back figure.
His dim eyes filled with bitterness.
From outside the window came the birds’ crisp sing-song voices.
And within a short while, the classroom was filled with students.
The first period was originally English class, but the chemistry teacher came.
He adjusted his glasses and said: “I have changed classes with Teacher Luo.
Today is chemistry lab.
Everyone, clean up and follow me to the chemistry laboratory.
The whole class was elated.
Compared to the boring lectures, everyone obviously prefers the interesting experimental lab more.
Cheng Chu held her chemistry books and walked side by side with Luo Qian Qian to the laboratory building.
“Chu Chu, later who are you going to team with?”
Cheng Chu was puzzled and asked: “Isn’t it random grouping?”
Luo Qian Qian answered: “Nope.
It’s according to the student’s class id.
For example, number one is with number two, number three is with number four.
The teacher said it’s easier for him to grade that way.”
“Oh? I see.” Cheng Chu hasn’t been in Class 3 for too long so she’s still a little unfamiliar with the rules.
She knew that she had replaced the student who left Class 3, so without a doubt, she should be number three.
Then number four is her partner.
Cheng Chu tugged at Luo Qian Qian and asked: “Who is number four?”
Luo Qian Qian had a complete list of student’s class id numbers.
She pulled out the form from her book and her fingers stiffened.
“It’s Gu Miao.”
The late autumn leaves fell and scattered across the floor.
The ground covered in dull yellow color seemed lonely and bleak.
In contrast, Cheng Chu felt as if little flowers were blooming in her heart.
This is a great opportunity to get closer to Gu Miao!
She quickly spun around in happiness and jumped with joy.
Even her steps seemed to lighten up, and her doe-like eyes glowed with radiance.
Luo Qian Qian weirdly glanced at her, only to think that her new deskmate was a bit strange.
Usually, the people who were partners with Gu Miao would be upset and try to worm their way out of the situation.
She had seen the previous number three student privately speaking to the chemistry teacher many times, wanting to change her partner.
But why is Cheng Chu so happy knowing she’s Gu Miao’s partner?
Luo Qian Qian scratched her head in confusion.
The two of them were walking behind everyone, so by the time they arrived at the laboratory, almost everyone else was already seated in pairs.
The chemistry lab was very large.
Gu Miao was sitting alone at the back, staring at the chemistry equipment in front of him in a daze.
His indifferent eyes, cold as night, were covering all his complex emotions and turmoil.
Gu Miao had long known that his partner was Cheng Chu.
From the moment she stepped into the classroom and replaced another girl’s student class number, he had dreamed of this day countless times in his heart.
But, the day came unexpectedly fast.
He hasn’t even finished practicing to speak yet.
As lab partners, they can not avoid communication.
Meaning, he can’t just reply with simple terms like “mhmm”, “oh”, and “yeah”.
The bright sky outside shined through the window, but Gu Miao could only feel his inner self consumed in waves of shame and inferiority.
He quietly clenched his hands.
The chair next to him moved slightly, without a sound.
Gu Miao’s hands trembled in fear, and he stared down at the textbook as if to evade her eyes.
“Hi, Gu Miao.
I didn’t expect to be your partner.”
Cheng Chu flipped open the textbook and looked in Gu Miao’s direction seemingly unintentionally, and said: “I’m not very good at chemistry, so I might trouble you a little more later.”
Gu Miao silently nodded.
The classroom was large and the teacher did not have a speaker, so he opted to speak loudly, talking about the precautions of the experiments.
But Gu Miao couldn’t comprehend a word.
His everything seemed to exist only for the girl next to him.
Even if she just turned her pen slightly, it could attract his attention.
“Alright, now you may start your experiment.”
As if receiving a decree to be free, the quiet laboratory suddenly exploded with chatters and movements.
The assigned experiment is to configure 100 ml, 1 mol/L of sodium chloride (NaCl) solution.
Before the lab begins, the mass of the required substances needs to be measured and calculated.
Cheng Chu turned her head to look at Gu Miao with a gentle look in her dazzling doe eyes.
“Can you do the math? I don’t know how.”
Gu Miao breathed a sigh of relief because he could answer her with one word.
Thus, he nodded and said softly: “Yeah.”
The light in the lab was bright, and as Gu Miao stared at the girl’s profile, he felt as if all the light from the world had entered his heart.
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