First Published on Chaleuria
076 – You’re so unprofessional
Xie Yu had never said anything so mushy in his life. His tone was still cold and he leaned against the back of his chair, watching He Zhao without another sound. In his other hand was the iced Coke he had bought at the door, still radiating a chill.
You are He Zhao.
Just the way you are. Nothing else matters.
“……” He Zhao’s hand gradually tightened on Xie Yu’s. He Zhao was wondering if he had heard wrong, and coaxed, “Say it again?”
Xie Yu said, “I advise you not to push it.”
He Zhao had worn casual clothes today and hadn’t even put on his audacious ear studs.
Even so, he drew attention.
The lighting in the theater was bad and it was very dark in the last row. Some people turned around to look at them, and there had been continued whispers ever since they entered the theater.
On the bus back, Xie Yu couldn’t recall what the movie had been about. He Zhao had leaned toward him during the movie despite the armrest between them and stolen away all his breath in the faint flickering light of the screen.
His movements had been hurried and frantic, like he was colliding with him.
He was not fazed at all kissing him in public, completely heedless of whether people would see.
The sounds of the movie grew further and further away.
The sounds of the movie and the chattering in the theater aside, only He Zhao’s carefully restrained, murmured words remained. “…kill me.”
Near the end of the movie, the male and female lead had overcome all their obstacles and embraced.
Xie Yu leaned back in his seat, putting some distance between him and He Zhao, and asked hoarsely, “Are you going back to school later?”
He Zhao glanced down at his pants and made sure his sweater covered it, making it not too obvious, then said, “I’m going home. The school locks its doors at 4:30pm and I won’t make it.”
Erzhong was strict about curfew, especially on the weekends. To prevent students from staying out too long and getting into trouble, the school gates closed punctually at 4:30 p.m.
Xie Yu didn’t know what He Zhao was looking at and followed his gaze. His eyes landed on the same thing and he paused for a second.
“Wouldn’t be a man if I wasn’t.” He Zhao pulled the hem of his jacket down again and said, “Don’t look at me. Let me rest for a bit.”
Buses arrived frequently at Century City, one every ten minutes or so. Not long after they got on the bus—it had not even left the street Century City was on—Madam Gu, anxious, called Xie Yu. “Didn’t you say you’d be back soon… look at the time now. Are you eating dinner at home tonight or not?”
“I’m on the bus.”
“All you do on the weekend is play. You said you were with a classmate—which classmate? When will you settle down and study properly? How much longer till you get home?”
Xie Yu deliberately ignored half her words and just answered, “Half an hour.”
Madam Gu reminded him again to mind his safety, then kept lecturing him. Xie Yu listened quietly.
The feeling of, ‘I just secretly went on a date with my boyfriend,’ was getting stronger and stronger. It wasn’t a big deal. They had just done the usual, and had a meal and saw a movie. But Xie Yu felt that they had both done something incredible.
Madam Gu put down the phone. Xie Yu looked down, about to open his music app and listen to some music to pass the time, but he saw on his home screen that a certain chat app displayed 99 unread notifications.
He tapped in and found that Class 3 was having an unusually animated discussion. Even Old Tang and Wu Zheng, the teachers who usually left the class group chat alone, had been drawn out.
[Luo Wenqiang]: @InteriorAnglesOfAParallelLineTransversalAreSupplementary, hey, study rep, can we talk? I’m so curious what you just posted on your QQ.
[Wan Da]: I want to know too. How shocking. I understand too little about this world we live in.
[Liu Cunhao]: What’s this about? I’m going to see.
Liu Cunhao disappeared for a few minutes, then came back screaming.
[Liu Cunhao]: My god!! What the hell!!!
Old Tang had not been looking at his QQ notifications, and by the time he arrived in the chat, the key points of the conversation were far enough up in the conversation history he didn’t see them. Calmly, he sent a question mark.
[Mr. Tang]: ?
[Mr. Wu Zheng]: What is this?
[Wan Da]: Teach, come on, look at this too. [/Image]
[Luo Wenqiang]: Study rep is superhuman.
The screenshot was of Xue Xisheng’s QQ page.
Xue Xisheng didn’t often put up pictures on his feed or use many emoji. He mostly posted things like Compilations of High School Math Facts, Elegant Chemistry Experiments, or Ten Ways to Study Effectively.
The screenshot was of Xue Xisheng’s feed, where he had posted a heartfelt description of his encounter with the Question King Tournament app. He thanked the developers for organizing the offline meetup, then described in meandering prose his exciting day.
—During summer vacation, I was walking down the street when a flyer unexpectedly opened the door to studying. Everyone here loves learning and I could feel my heart beating wildly…
TopTenInClass’s presentation on his study methods was very useful to me. Now, I also want to make use of small pockets of time. The Birth of Einstein was a very exciting film and everyone cried at the end. The spirit never dies and learning never ends.
My only regret is that I did not personally witness the showdown between God X and Question King.
After the wall of text, there was even a picture.
It was a group photo of ten or so people each with a book in their hand, smiling at the camera.
Xie Yu: “……”
Xue Xisheng didn’t often check his phone while he was studying and only appeared in the chat after Class 3 had finished their heated discussion and was calming down.
[InteriorAnglesOfAParallelLineTransversalAreSupplementary]: It’s a study app. Very interesting.
Seeing the words ‘study app,’ Xie Yu remembered that to them, the showdown between God X and Question King had not yet reached a conclusion.
He hesitated a while, then tapped on the Apple of Knowledge icon.
Unexpectedly, the chat area was very calm and even seemed quite happy. The last time Xie Yu had seen the chat this happy was during summer vacation when he knocked Question King off first place.
[StudystudystudythatsallIdo]: I told you! God X is stronger!
[TopTenInClass]: I really want to see the study god do questions in person.
: Never expected it to turn out this way. Not in a million years…
Xie Yu got the faint impression that something was off.
He opened his friends list. He Zhao had changed his signature from ‘Victory is mine’ to ‘I admit defeat. God X, let me live.’
The bus reached an intersection. The light was red and it slowed to a stop.
Xie Yu leaned against the window, smiled, and cursed, “Idiot.”
Erzhong’s school anniversary celebration was next month.
There was still ample time to prepare, but after the novelty of the program had passed, they all grew lax at rehearsing. Even Luo Wenqiang, who had shaken his butt while cleaning the windows, had lost his enthusiasm.
The moment Xie Yu stepped into class, he met the arts rep who clearly had something to say to him. Xie Yu stood in the doorway looking at her. “What’s up?”
Xu Jing was about to say something, then stopped.
He Zhao had gotten there early, and now he sat in his seat with his leg up on the chair and said, “She wanted to ask if you practised the dance at home over the weekend. …No need to ask, of course you didn’t.”
Not only did Xie Yu not practice, he had completely forgotten about it. “What dance?”
Xu Jing was completely despondent. “Coolest Guy Group in the Universe. We agreed we’d make a bang. We agreed that this was our dream.”
Liu Cunhao had gone home over the weekend, and had played video games the whole time. While he collected homework, he said, “About that… Wan Da, did you?”
Wan Da said, “I can’t bear to say it. Next.”
Luo Wenqiang was still eating breakfast: he had a bag of meat buns in his hand. He swallowed his mouthful of food with much difficulty, then made excuses for everyone. “About that… we’re all very easily satisfied. We all daydream about it in the chat and that’s enough for us.”
The classroom was noisy. Some were reading aloud from their textbooks and others were copying homework.
Mad Dog walked past their window twice.
Each time he went past, the classroom went silent for a while.
“Well said, well said. With contentment comes happiness.” Liu Cunhao clapped, then counted the homework and found that although He Zhao had arrived to class early, he hadn’t turned in anything. Liu Cunhao called, “Zhao-ge, your physics homework? Yu-ge, yours, too.”
Xie Yu had just put his things down, and now he bent and looked in his desk for his physics exercise book.
This was the homework from last Thursday. It was just two pages, but he hadn’t done much of it—more than half the questions were blank, and the ones he did answer, he had answered incorrectly.
Before he could take the book out, He Zhao held his hand in place.
Xie Yu glanced at He Zhao’s hand. “What are you doing?”
“You’re so unprofessional,” He Zhao said in a whisper. “You’re just going to turn it in?”
Xie Yu was slow to react.
He had left questions blank and made mistakes all over. This was a homework set that might make the physics teacher call him to the office and personally instruct him.
Before Xie Yu could make heads or tails of it, he heard He Zhao say to Liu Cunhao, “There was physics homework?”
Liu Cunhao was speechless, but he had also completely expected it. He pulled an exercise book from the stack at random and tossed it to He Zhao. “Page 56. Quickly. I have to turn it in before class starts.”
He had thrown accurately. He Zhao caught it and whistled. “No problem. Two minutes is all I need.”
“How about that.” He Zhao found a pen and spread his hands; he would just copy a few questions for show. “Impressive?”
Xie Yu put a hand to his temple. “Impressive.”
Old Wu hadn’t had enough of the gossip from yesterday’s class group chat. Before the class bell rang to signal the start of the math self-study period, he inquired about it again. After hearing the class’s piecemeal explanations, he said, “Is that so? The app sounds quite good. You should all go download it.”
Luo Wenqiang said, “Ah, no, no, no, teach. It doesn’t suit us.”
Liu Cunhao said, “Can’t do it.”
Wan Da said, “I’ll die before I do it.”
The discussion grew more and more intense until the class bell rang. Old Wu rapped on the podium. “All right, class is starting. For self-study today I’ll go over a very tough question.”
Before Wu Zheng had finished speaking, He Zhao turned and asked, “Join a game?”
While they were playing, the team chat grew somewhat strange.
[Handsome He]: There are three solutions to that question.
[xy]: Two. Where did you pull that third one from?
[Handsome He]: Take the midpoint of the diagonal and join to point F. Look again.