“Go to your house?” Qiao Shao never thought of this possibility. He said, “No, no, this is too embarrassing.”
Although he and He Shen were already familiar with each other, it was still too strange to meet his parents.
He Shen resolved his problem with one sentence. “I live alone.”
Qiao Shao’s heart shook and he was a little moved.
Qiao Shao asked, “Why do you live alone?”
He Shen said, “I didn’t want to live in the dorm, so I rent a place nearby.”
Qiao Shao wondered, “Your family isn’t with you?”
He Shen felt that Qiao Shao’s words were a bit strange. Normally, shouldn’t he say ‘your parents’?
But Qiao Shao used ‘your family’.
He said, “They’re busy with work, and it would be very inconvenient for them to live here.”
“Oh, so that’s it,” Qiao Shao said, “you’re amazing, you actually live alone.”
What he thought was that He Shen’s family was so big-hearted that they actually let a high school student go and rent a place by himself.
But after thinking it over, Qiao Shao now thought, ‘Probably no one cares, so this guy just let himself go, staying up late at night to play games and sleeping all day?’
Sigh … it’s also quite pitiful.
Qiao Shao felt a bit sorry for his seatmate.
He Shen saw that he was silent for a long time, so he added, “The fifth floor is for the quadruple rooms. By the weekend, there won’t be anyone on this floor.”
Students from the international class would sneak out to go play on weekdays, let alone on rest days.
Qiao Shao: “!”
He Shen also said, “Chen Su should also be going home?”
Qiao Shao had already asked. “Yeah … he’s also going home.”
He Shen said in a very gentle tone, “In fact, maybe it won’t be so boring for you. Maybe when the lights are all out, the ghosts might come out.”
Qiao Shao: “!!!”
He Shen smiled. “What, will you stay here with the ghosts, or go with me …”
Qiao Shao immediately said, “Please let me stay over!”
He Shen was perfectly satisfied. In a reserved manner, he said, “Then we’ll go.”
At noon, Qiao Shao called Qiao Zongmin. “Dad, I won’t go back this weekend.”
Qiao Zongmin was still fighting off jet lag. When he heard his son’s words, he was instantly sobered up. “What’s going on? Isn’t it a rest day?”
Qiao Shao didn’t dare say that he had sprained his ankle. He was afraid that once he went home, he wouldn’t be able to return to school. He had to find another reason. “I’ll just be home for one night. It’ll just be a waste of time.”
Qiao Zongmin said, “Your grandpa really misses you. Yesterday, he talked about you over and over. He’s waiting for you to come back to prepare delicious food for you.”
Now, Qiao Shao didn’t dare to go back even more. If he let his grandpa know that he had sprained his ankle while jogging, East High probably won’t have any more morning exercises in the future!
“I just came to a new environment and I want to spend more time with my classmates.”
When Qiao Shao mentioned the words ‘new environment’, it was particularly useful.
Qiao Zongmin hesitated. “Can you stay in your dorm?”
Qiao Shao didn’t want to hide this matter from him either. With anticipation, he said, “No, I’m planning to stay over at my seatmate’s house.”
Qiao Zongmin was evidently stunned. “Your seatmate’s house?”
Keeping his tone light, Qiao Shao said, “Yes, my seatmate, a boy who has no shortcomings except for not studying enough.”
Oh, and he might possibly like getting into fights. But he wouldn’t tell that to Old Qiao, otherwise he might launch a full investigation on He Shen.
Qiao Zongmin asked again, “Is it alright for you to go to his house?”
Qiao Shao said, “It’s alright, he lives alone.”
Qiao Zongmin suddenly thought, “He’s quite independent.”
Qiao Shao said, “So I want to go and see how he is doing by himself.”
Qiao Zongmin no longer objected, he asked, “Would you like to bring something? Dad will prepare it for you.”
Such as a full set of home renovation or simply a whole another house or something.
How could Qiao Shao dare to let his dad do that? He said, “No, classmates don’t pay attention to these things. I’ll just find a way to help him with his schoolwork.”
It’s like helping Lou Xiao write his homework and pay for the meal.
Qiao Zongmin laughed. “Looks like you studied well this week?”
“That’s for sure.” Qiao Shao smugly said, “Not only have I learned a lot of things, but I’ve also experienced many things, right k2026;”
He told him about Chen Su and the fact that he had to temporarily pretend to be a poor student.
Qiao Zongmin listened and the corner of his mouth raised slightly. “Very good.”
Qiao Shao exhorted, “So you must help me keep my secret.”
Qiao Zongmin said, “I understand.”
Qiao Shao trusted his dad. He said, “So that’s how things are. You don’t have to worry. Tell granddad and grandpa not to worry either. I’m fine, I’ll talk to them on WeChat when I have time.”
Qiao Zongmin said again, “If you feel uncomfortable or unwell, just call me.”
Qiao Shao looked at his foot and said rather guiltily, “I’m fine. My roommate’s back, I’ll hang up first.”
Hanging up, Qiao Shao went to discuss that morning’s physics problem with Chen Su.
On the other side of the phone, Qiao Zongmin stared at his phone and then dialed another number.
“Dr. Zhang,” Qiao Zongmin’s voice was low and restrained. “Xiao Shao had a good time at school. He’s not going to go home this week …”
A soothing voice, like tinkling of spring water, sounded from the microphone. “It is best for him to rely on his own strength to go out. President Qiao, you need to let go.”
There was a hard to conceal sorrow in Qiao Zhongmin’s voice. “How can I let go, his mother …”
Zhang Guanting whispered softly. “Children have to grow up. You also don’t want him to remain foolish and ignorant his whole life.”
After school, Qiao Shao packed a bunch of exercise sheets into his schoolbag.
He Shen carried it and asked, “You’re going to finish all of them?”
Qiao Shao said, “Of course!”
Although there was no guarantee he’d get them right.
He Shen wanted to tell him not to do so many exercises. It was very taxing on the spirit. But after thinking about it, he decided to keep quiet.
For Qiao Shao, his credibility was completely bankrupt. If he says anything about studying, this kid wouldn’t believe him at all.
He Shen’s home was really close to the school. It was separated by a street.
Qiao Shao asked him, “At which floor do you live?”
He Shen said, “Don’t worry. There’s an elevator.”
Qiao Shao breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s great.”
He was so happy to not need to climb stairs with his injured foot.
He Shen lived on the 13th floor. It was a very common apartment building. Qiao Shao has never been to this kind of place and looked around curiously.
There was no access control in the building. The elevator was actually unguarded, you could exit on any floor, and … this elevator was too small! Also there were ad postings!
Young Master Qiao has truly broadened his horizons.
He Shen took him into the room, and Qiao Shao was surprised after entering.
There were two rooms. It was clean and tidy. Everything was neatly or orderly put away.
“Very good …” Qiao Shao couldn’t help but praise him.
It was not easy for a boy living on his own to maintain this level of cleanliness.
At any rate, Qiao Shao wouldn’t be able to do it. If he didn’t have the cleaning aunt, he’d be a salted fish swimming in a garbage dump.
He Shen smiled. “What? It’s just an old and broken apartment.”
There were many things in life that this little shorty had yet to experience.
Qiao Shao knew that he had misunderstood, but it was fine. This way his poor student persona did not crumble.
Qiao Shao was surprised by their dinner. “You actually cook?”
He Shen said, “Don’t expect too much. You can only order home-cooked dishes, and the taste is average.”
Qiao Shao applauded him. “This is also pretty amazing.”
He didn’t even understand salt and MSG.
He Shen was in a good mood. He decided not to order extra takeaways and made the little shorty more delicious food. “Wait for a bit. I’ll call you when it’s ready.”
“En.” After Qiao Shao nodded, he looked around He Shen’s “home”.
The living room was a sofa and coffee table, in cool monochromatic colors. There were two bedrooms — one was a study, and the other had a double bed.
Qiao Shao went to look at the study and was astonished.
To the north, there were rows upon rows of bookshelves, filled to the brim with books. Many of the hardcover books were in pure English.
Qiao Shao was good in English, but even he couldn’t understand it.
Could He tongxue understand these untranslated books?
Maybe they belonged to the lessor? This was the only possibility Qiao Shao could think of.
In front of the bookshelf was a computer with a curved display. Although Qiao Shao didn’t know much, he could see from its looks that it had a good configuration and was a high-end machine.
“En …” Qiao Shao said to himself, “I guess this is the little goblin who’s been haunting He Shen every night.”
He walked around and then went back to the kitchen to stick his head in and look around.
He Shen didn’t look back but knew that he had come back. “The computer password is also 0101. Go play.”
Qiao Shao pouted. “I’m not going to play games, I’ll do the problem exercises.”
He Shen curved his lips. “That’s also fine. Go to the table and write.”
Qiao Shao answered half of the exercise sheet, and He Shen’s meal was served.
It was really home-y, and it didn’t look very delicious, but when he thought that it was a 17-year old boy who made it…
Qiao Shao praised him profusely. “Xiongdi, you really can cook!”
He Shen shot him a glance. “What ‘xiongdi’. You should call me ‘ge‘.”
Having received his kindness, Qiao Shao was very lenient. He honestly said, “Shen Ge is awesome!”
He Shen was just teasing him, and didn’t actually expect for him to call him that. For a moment…
He cleared his throat and sat down, “Eat.”
His ears felt a bit itchy.
In reality, Qiao Shao wasn’t a picky eater. Although the Qiao family kept wracking their brains to make him eat more, in fact, as long as he could taste the food, he would eat happily.
Maybe it was the new environment that gave him a good mood. In short, ever since he came to East High, he has eaten every meal quite well.
If he keeps it up, maybe he really could grow taller!
After eating, Qiao Shao couldn’t help to wash the dishes because of his lame foot.
After everything was tidied up, Qiao Shao started to do the questions again, and He Shen went to “play a game”.
The room was very quiet, but because the study room door was open, faint keyboard sounds could be heard and this made Qiao Shao feel very much at ease. His problem solving efficiency improved a lot.
At around ten thirty, it was time to sleep.
Qiao Shao had no intention of scrambling for the bed with He Shen. He said, “I can just sleep on the sofa.”
He Shen got up and exercised his lower shoulder and said, “You go to bed.”
Qiao Shao: “What about you?”
He Shen asked, “Is the bed not big enough, or have we never slept together?”
Qiao Shao couldn’t answer. He was very distressed. Sleeping at night wasn’t anything like an afternoon nap. Noon break was short and he could just make do.
But in the evening…
He couldn’t manage without his earphones.
But it was strange to wear earphones while sleeping. He Shen would ask, but he couldn’t answer.
Qiao Shao was tangled for a long while. “There’s really no need to squeeze in together. I’ll just sleep on the very spacious sofa.”
He Shen teased him. “Don’t worry, I’m a very well-behaved sleeper. I don’t have any quirks, whereas you…”
Qiao Shao’s heart tightened, his face a little panicked.
He Shen noticed, but he didn’t ask anything. “It’s ok, go to bed. I’m going to play.”
Qiao Shao was surprised. “You’re not going to sleep?”
He Shen looked at him. “I’m living based on American time, and now is a good time to work.”
Qiao Shao said helplessly, “So you’re going to be playing games all night?”
“En,” He Shen went to the study, “go to bed early.”
Although Qiao Shao didn’t approve of his day and night reversal, he couldn’t say anything.
He slept on He Shen’s bed and found it quite comfortable.
Clean and fresh bedding with the smell of sunshine.
Although his seatmate was a slacker, he was very capable of taking care of himself. It seemed that his simple life wasn’t bad.
Qiao Shao put on his earphones and fell asleep shortly after.
At two o’clock in the morning, He Shen got up to take a break. He went to the bedroom to see how Qiao Shao was doing.
The little shorty was laying on his side and sleeping very well. His hands were under the pillows, and his facial features became more delicate under the cold moonlight.
“Don’t forget to take off your earphones when you sleep.”
He walked over and carefullt took off the earphones for Qiao Shao.
He Shen yawned, ready to get back to work…
He heard something rustle.
He Shen turned around and found the sleepy teenager sitting up.
Under the cold moonlight, his open eyes seemed unfocused, and his pale lips trembled, as if he was trapped in a nightmare.
“Did you have a bad dream?” He Shen walked over and called out to him softly.
As he approached, Qiao Shao’s eyes seemed to regain their spirit. He turned to look at He Shen, and seemed to be trying hard to understand what was going on.
“What’s wrong?” He Shen asked him.
Qiao Shao was finally able to speak, “No … nothing.”
He Shen asked again, “Did I wake you up?”
“No,” Qiao Shao shook his head, and swallowed, “… dreamt of something not so good.”
“It’s okay,” He Shen coaxed him, “go back to sleep.”
“En …” Qiao Shao responded, looking around, “my …”
He hadn’t yet said the word “earphones”, He Shen said, “I put your earphones away. You shouldn’t wear them when you sleep.”
Qiao Shao’s face turned white for a moment.
He Shen thought that he was afraid of ghosts, and said kindly. “I was just joking with you this morning. How can there be those kind of weird and baffling things? Don’t think too much about it.”
Qiao Shao’s lips moved.
He Shen simply said, “Well, I’m tired too. Let’s sleep together.”
Without so much as a ‘by your leave’, he gently pushed Qiao Shao back on the bed. He then took off his shoes and got in as well.
Qiao Shao squeezed the quilt tightly, his eyes wide.
He Shen was really tired. If it wasn’t for the order, he would have already slept earlier on.
——Just a moment, to accompany this little pitiful child.
Qiao Shao was very panicked. The huge fear struck like a tide, almost taking away his ability to breathe.
He needed his earphones. He can’t stand it being so dark and quiet…
“Go to sleep, go to sleep ~” He Shen sang a lullaby in a playful tone, “My dear baby …”
Qiao Shao: “…”
Miraculously, the suffocating feeling that entangled him countless days and nights, faded away like the ebbing tide.
He really recovered his voice and grumbled at He Shen.
He Shen stopped. “You’re not afraid anymore?”
Qiao Shao was annoyed. “Sleep!”
He didn’t wear his earphones and he didn’t listen to music but he fell asleep again to the sound of another person’s uniform breathing.
Realizing that Qiao Shao was asleep, He Shen rose up reluctantly.
He couldn’t sleep even if he wanted to. He needs to finish that order soon so that he can get the final payment on it.
He Shen massaged his temples and got out of bed carefully.
He had just reached the door of the room, and was about to push the door out when he heard the sound of rustling again.
He turned his head, and sure enough the child woke up again.
He Shen’s pupils shrank, and he walked back quickly. “What’s the …”
“Don’t …” Qiao Shao trembled, holding his hand firmly, “Don’t go.”
His palms were all sweaty, and his voice seemed like he was on the verge of tears.