First Published on Chaleuria
105 – He didn’t dare sleep.
“Do you know how to wear your clothes properly?”
Xie Yu pointed at the shirt He Zhao was wearing.
He Zhao closed the bathroom door, completely focused on drying his hair. He had initially wanted to come out of the bathroom shirtless. “You’ve already seen me naked before, don’t be shy.”
Xie Yu shifted and turned over to straddle the chair, the front of his body facing the back of the chair. His wrists loosely hung from the backrest and his slender legs were bent. He curled his index finger to summon He Zhao from this position.
He Zhao finished rubbing his hair with a towel carelessly, then slung it over his neck.
When he got closer, Xie Yu reached out to help him button his shirt starting from the bottom button, one button at a time.
Xie Yu’s fingers worked slowly, occasionally brushing his abdomen through the fabric with a force that was neither too heavy nor too light.
At first He Zhao thought nothing of it, but they were so close and once Xie Yu’s fingers finished the buttons at his abdomen and moved to the buttons at his chest, it finally became a bit too much for He Zhao to take.
Xie Yu’s gaze trailed upward as his fingers continued to work with the buttons, his eyes meeting He Zhao’s when he reached the top buttons.
Neither of them spoke.
After staring into each other’s eyes for a few moments, He Zhao bent down slightly. Just as he was about to lower his head, loud knocks came from the door to their room.
“Are you there?”
Several voices came from outside the door. Wan Da’s loud voice stood out. His call of “big bro” was especially enthusiastic.
He Zhao’s Adam’s apple bobbed. “…Fuck.”
Hearing that, Xie Yu was a bit amused. His hand moved upward a few inches, simply grabbing He Zhao by the collar and yanking him closer without another word.
He Zhao immediately lost his balance.
Xie Yu didn’t control his strength very well and his actions were straightforward and rough. He pecked He Zhao on the lips in a placating manner.
And then, Xie Yu let go and pointed at the door with his chin. “Go open the door.”
The students of Class 3 who lived in the dorms waited for a couple of minutes in front of the door. Just as they were ready to bang on the door again, it was pulled open from the inside before they had a chance to touch it.
He Zhao blocked the view through the door and asked, “Is there anything you need?”
Wan Da shoved an apple snatched from another dorm room into his hands. “Zhao-ge, we heard that you moved into a new dorm room? Congratulations on moving into your new room, we are here to celebrate with you.”
Holding the apple, He Zhao thought that this bunch was just too enthusiastic. “Thanks… I’m only moving across the corridor.”
“You’re welcome, moving across is still moving!”
Although they stated it was to celebrate his moving, it was only an excuse. Every one of them carried thick workbooks in their hands, looking as if they would take out little stools and sit down in a row to listen to the teacher’s lesson at any moment.
There were just too many questions to ask and Xie Yu was not the kind of person who would patiently answer them again and again. He pressed the spot between his eyebrows and told the guy at the back of the line, “Try feeling the question out by yourself again.”
He Zhao added, “Close your eyes and feel it with your heart.”
Wan Da sighed while holding the math workbook. “I’ve already spent more than forty minutes in my dorm trying to connect with this problem on a spiritual level. I’ve tried feeling it for so long but I still don’t know what it wants to say.”
After sighing, Wan Da glanced between the people in queue at the half-finished test sheet on Xie Yu’s desk.
With how hard those questions were, he wouldn’t be able to solve them even if he was given forty hours to do the test, much less forty minutes.
He Zhao’s arrogant declaration of the homework being too easy surprisingly didn’t really upset the teachers. They gave these two students a different set of assignments according to their ability. Wu Zheng, in particular, even assigned them math problems as hard as those given out by the top-tier schools.
Wan Da had heard Wu Zheng talking cheerfully in the office. “I always suppress my desires as there are many difficult problems that I shouldn’t assign …I don’t believe I can’t stump them with these. Do they think I’m one to be underestimated?”
After the question-and-answer session ended, it was almost time for the lights to go out. The dorm supervisor downstairs whistled as he walked back and forth, the flashlight he was holding flashing in different directions. The light occasionally passed through a dorm room’s window, illuminating the whole dorm room.
Xie Yu was just about to send them away when he realized this bunch had gotten together and started chatting and the topic quickly drifted off into a weird direction, “I downloaded a movie last weekend, want to watch together?”
“What kind of movie?”
“What kind of movie could it be? A movie for men, of course.”
There were only a few ways for guys to spice up their night lives.
Xie Yu had no intention of joining in the high school boys’ passionate midnight chat and neither did he want to watch a movie to spice up his night life. However, the three words, “no, get lost,” were no use as the classmate had already found the video on his phone. “Let me tell you, this one’s really exciting. It’s a movie so exceptional you can’t get enough of it–”
Others were fascinated. “Oh?”
“Don’t mess around, go back to your own room to watch…” He Zhao said.
Before he could finish the sentence, a terrifying and harsh sound effect burst out in the dorm room.
Mysterious, spooky, trembling.
A silhouette slowly appeared on the previously dark screen of the phone. The figure was holding a dirty doll in their hands as the lens zoomed in on them—when the camera couldn’t get any closer, the figure finally raised their head in a sudden motion, revealing a face littered with frightening scars which had been hidden behind their long locks!
They had an odd smile on their lips and the corners of their mouth lifted up as their smile grew wider and wider.
Title of the movie: Harassed by a Malicious Spirit
He Zhao grabbed Xie Yu’s hand almost as soon as the sound effect blasted out. He froze for a few moments as a swear word stuck in his throat. He managed to swallow it down with difficulty.
“I know about this one. It’s adapted from a novel and the original author wrote really well. I didn’t dare to sleep for two consecutive nights when I read it as a kid.” Only after Wan Da finished speaking did he realize the two big bros seemed to have said something. “Yu-ge, what did you say?”
He Zhao heard his conscienceless boyfriend beside him correct himself. “Nothing, the movie is alright.”
“Right, what about Zhao-ge?” Wan Da asked again.
With Xie Yu’s knuckles against his palm, He Zhao’s grip grew tighter.
“I don’t think it’s that good.” He Zhao’s first-class acting ability showed no flaws. “The plot is so cliché. It looks fake and there’s no mood at all. You couldn’t sleep for two nights because of this?”
The others didn’t notice anything wrong with what he said and were instantly won over.
Xie Yu couldn’t hold back from saying, “Shouldn’t you let go of my hand before saying this?”
“I’m not letting go,” He Zhao replied.
The dorm room with the lights off was pitch-dark and you couldn’t even see the outlines of your own hands clearly.
The light from the phone illuminated the guys’ faces and, coupled with the movie’s sound effect, it was actually quite eerie.
Xie Yu didn’t react much to the horrifying scenes. It was all because of this bunch’s jumpy and nervous reactions that the roughly made and deliberately cryptic horror film’s atmosphere was raised to an unexpected level.
“Is this one going to die too?”
“My hand is a bit sore, wait a second, let me find a place to prop up this phone…”
He Zhao could only pretend to be brave in front of Wan Da and company. After everyone was completely immersed in the movie’s plot, he finally said in a low voice, “This movie is too damn scary.”
Xie Yu used his own words to call him out, his words a perfect imitation, “The plot is cliché and there’s no mood.”
He Zhao responded, “Really, that’s enough.”
He Zhao’s grip was tight.
Xie Yu didn’t speak again. His eyes stayed on the screen of the phone while he moved his wrists and his five fingers wriggled in between He Zhao’s fingers.
The table was too short and the person holding the phone up was a bit tired, so he searched everywhere for a place to prop up the phone.
In the middle of the search, a scene of the malicious spirit suddenly appeared. Someone to the side panicked and pulled at whoever was closest to him and the phone was dropped in the chaos.
It was an arduous experience to watch this movie of one and a half hours. During this period of time, the phone was dropped three times.
“Be still, don’t drop it, do you still want this phone or not?”
“I’m still, but someone’s pulling at me.”
After the credits scene rolled, this bunch hesitated for a while before leaving, hoping to group up to go back to their rooms. “Is there anyone else headed to the fourth floor?”
As they walked through the corridor, Wan Da couldn’t help but exclaim, “The big bros are really big bros, they were so calm.”
However, the calm big bro who had looked down on the person “not daring to sleep at night” asked the instant he closed the door, “Why don’t we sleep together?”
Xie Yu gave him a look from his seat on the bed, “Don’t tell me you don’t dare sleep alone.”
He Zhao was a flexible person. “I don’t.”
The night-time movie sessions were probably the only pastime for the second year students who lived in the dorms.
Third year, the college entrance exam.
This topic was mentioned again and again upon entering high school as a first year student, but they had never felt the urgency of it. They thought there was still plenty of time and it was still a long way off.
However, the rankings of the joint exam of the four schools brought on the stress of the college entrance exam for the second year test-takers sooner than they expected.
It was also the first time they felt the exact stage of life they were at and what one more step meant.
The third year of high school was only a few steps away.
“If nothing unexpected comes up, we have to cut our summer vacations short and return to school. The school has decided to schedule additional lessons earlier to try and finish a round of review before summer vacation ends.”
After the midterms ended, it was time to prepare for the finals right away. Many students were looking forward to the vacation and Old Tang decided to give them a reminder, “Don’t worry if you didn’t do well on the rankings this time, we still have more than a year’s time….”
During self-study period in the morning, Old Tang made an all-around divergent speech on the subject. In the end, the speech dovetailed into another direction and Xie Yu stopped listening halfway through.
He had slept crammed together with He Zhao the whole night and now he felt uncomfortable all over. He was itching to kick the person back into the room across the corridor.
The only thing was that He Zhao’s state after waking up was so particularly overwhelming that it even soothed Xie Yu’s grumpy temper.
Not to mention his habit of sleeping in, even if he was made to get up, he would put his head on Xie Yu’s shoulders with half-lidded eyes. With a toothbrush in his mouth, he’d murmur, “Wanna sleep.”
They had often visited each other’s room before, but there still seemed to be something different after they moved in together.
With his chin resting on his hand, Xie Yu looked at the person beside him and thought back to He Zhao’s words from when he was moving his stuff over. “…see him when I open my eyes everyday.”
Lyra translated this chapter – thank you!
The Fake Slackers Vol. 1 ebook has been released – check it out on Amazon.