During class, Zhan Weiyang buried his head and took a pen to write in a notebook.
As soon as class was over, Chen Youyou turned around, picked up his notebook and looked at it. He saw the word “plan” written in large letters at the top, followed by a list of several bullet points. Only the first point had some writing next to it, and it said: “Follow Xie Ling.”
“You want to, follow Xie Ling?” Chen Youyou found it unbelievable.
Zhan Weiyang raised his hand and put his index finger to his lips, “Shh— Keep your voice down.”
Chen Youyou said, “When?”
Zhan Weiyang lowered his voice and said to him, “After school at noon on Saturday.”
The entire high school section of their school had to make up classes on Saturdays. The first and second year students only had half-day classes in the morning, while the third year senior students had to attend the whole day.
Zhan Weiyang planned to follow Xie Ling after school at noon on Saturday to see where he lives.
“So what, if you know?” Chen Youyou asked him, squatting in the corner of the field.
This period was a physical education class. After warm-up exercises and running two laps on the field, the teacher dismissed the groups and told everyone to move freely.
Many boys in the class were invited to play basketball together, but neither Chen Youyou nor Zhan Weiyang went.
Zhan Weiyang didn’t have many friends. In fact, he was a clean and handsome young man, easily giving people a good first impression. Many people initially approach him voluntarily, especially girls. However, once they got closer to him, those people started to feel that he was somewhat different from ordinary people and gradually distanced themselves from him.
Similarly, Chen Youyou didn’t have many friends. It was not that he didn’t like playing with boys of the same age, but he didn’t like others to imitate him in speaking, and he couldn’t stand others calling him a stutterer. When he first entered the school as a freshman in high school, Chen Youyou happened to be a deskmate with Zhan Weiyang. He didn’t pay much attention to Zhan Weiyang at first. Later, as time passed, he found that Zhan Weiyang was the only one who didn’t care about his lisping. Treating him as an ordinary friend, the two gradually became close to each other.
Zhan Weiyang could play basketball. He learned it from Zhan Weiguang when he was a child, and his skills were quite good. However, Chen Youyou had never been willing to participate in such group activities for boys in the class, so Zhan Weiyang stopped going in order to accompany him.
At this time, Zhan Weiyang squatted under the shade of a big tree, straightened his neck and looked at the basketball court. He answered Chen Youyou casually, “I don’t know. I just searched on the internet for ways to pursue someone, thinking maybe I can escort him home in the future.”
Chen Youyou rolled his eyes unobtrusively.
Zhan Weiyang naturally didn’t see it and continued, “If he gets sick, I can go visit him and bring some gifts to his parents. Maybe they will like me.”
Chen Youyou said, “You, are like a stalker.”
Zhan Weiyang sat cross-legged on the root of the big tree, with his back against the trunk, and said, “I won’t let him see me.”
After class at noon on Saturday, Zhan Weiyang dragged Chen Youyou to follow Xie Ling.
Chen Youyou didn’t want to go, “I want to go home to e-eat!”
Zhan Weiyang said, “I’ll treat you to food.”
Chen Youyou still shook his head.
Zhan Weiyang said anxiously, “Please.”
Chen Youyou couldn’t bear to refuse anymore.
Fortunately, the teacher in the last class didn’t drag on the lesson, so as soon as the class ended, they grabbed their backpacks and rushed out of the classroom. They headed towards the direction of the first-year classrooms. In the hallway, they saw Xie Ling coming out of the classroom with a backpack on his back.
It was time for school to end, and they were surrounded by students in school uniforms. Zhan Weiyang and Chen Youyou were inconspicuous among them, and Xie Ling didn’t notice them either and walked straight towards the school’s bicycle shed.
Chen Youyou said, “He had a bike.”
Zhan Weiyang wanted to follow Xie Ling to the bike shed.
Chen Youyou pulled him and said, “Let’s g-go to the school gate first, and l-look for the shared bicycles.” The more anxious he became, the more he stuttered.
Zhan Weiyang looked at him and said, “You are so smart.”
The two of them squeezed in among the students after school and ran towards the school gate. They found two shared bicycles on the roadside. They scanned the QR code, and each occupied one. Then, they returned to the school gate and waited for Xie Ling to ride out of the school.
The sky was sunny and cloudless, a refreshing azure blue.
Zhan Weiyang and Chen Youyou were riding bicycles, one behind the other, following Xie Ling from a distance. After riding for a while, Zhan Weiyang’s back was sweating from carrying his schoolbag. He heard Chen Youyou ringing the bell from behind and moved slightly to the side. In the end, Chen Youyou passed him with a smile. He quickly rode his bike to chase her, and the two teenagers chased her back and forth, following Xie Ling as they rode toward the outskirts of the city.
They rode for almost half an hour. The tall buildings around them gradually decreased, and the streets became narrower. This was originally a factory on the outskirts of the city. Later, the city expanded, and the factories were relocated, leaving many old houses built with the factories in the past, which had not yet had the time to be renovated.
There was an intersection ahead. After Xie Ling rode through the intersection first, the traffic lights started flashing.
Chen Youyou wanted to rush over at once, but Zhan Weiyang stopped first and grabbed Chen Youyou. The traffic light on the opposite side turned red.
The two of them watched Xie Ling’s back from across the street, saw him ride his bike into an alley, and then disappeared.
Chen Youyou seemed even more restless than Zhan Weiyang. They waited until the light turned green and immediately chased him on their bikes. When they turned into the same alley, they could see the end at a glance, but there was no trace of Xie Ling at all.
Zhan Weiyang rode slowly along the alley, and at the end of the alley, he saw a gate without any signage. Inside the gate, it looked like a very old neighbourhood, and the houses in the neighbourhood were still the same kind of four-storey buildings with many families in a long corridor. Long bamboo poles protruded from the side of the corridor guardrail, covered with clothes.
They rode to the gate. Zhan Weiyang poked his head in and took a look. He saw a guard room next to the gate, and an old man was sitting at the gate watching TV.
Zhan Weiyang looked around and saw the old man suddenly turning his head to look at him and quickly retracted his head.
Chen Youyou asked him, “How is it?”
Zhan Weiyang said, “Forget it, let’s go back.”
Chen Youyou looked up at the building, stretched out his hand to push Zhan Weiyang, and pointed him upstairs.
Zhan Weiyang saw their school uniforms hanging on a bamboo pole on the third floor.
Chen Youyou said, “It’s, right here, g-go and have a look.”
Zhan Weiyang put his head through the door again and saw the old man still staring in the direction of the door. He quickly exited and said, “I’m not gonna look. Let’s go.”
Chen Youyou said, “Then, let’s go eat.”
Zhan Weiyang nodded, “Okay.”
They rode back through the alley, which was too narrow. Zhan Weiyang rode in front, and Chen Youyou followed him.
Zhan Weiyang’s bike swayed from side to side, a little distracted. He didn’t know what to do. Even if he knew where Xie Ling lived, he still didn’t have the courage to catch up and talk to Xie Ling.
The road ahead was uneven, with a slanted small step. Previously, they had ridden down directly, and Zhan Weiyang’s buttocks were jolted heavily on the cushion. Now, with his mind blank, Zhan Weiyang attempted to ride up directly. However, the step was higher than he had imagined. The wheels slipped at the edge of the step, causing Zhan Weiyang to fall off the bike.
“Zhan Weiyang!” Chen Youyou called him in surprise, stopped his bike and jumped out.
Zhan Weiyang fell to the ground with his knees on the ground. The palms of his hands rubbed against the concrete floor, and he felt a burning sensation.
Chen Youyou walked up to him, bent down, put his hands on his knees and looked at him, “Are you okay?”
Zhan Weiyang climbed up slowly while holding on to the ground, subconsciously patting the dust on his palms and shaking his head.
At this time, a middle-aged man rode a bicycle toward the alley. When he passed by them, he rang the bell vigorously. The two people quickly backed away and watched him pass before returning to pick up the bicycle that had fallen to the ground.
Chen Youyou said, “Don’t ride anymore. Let’s go, back by my bike.”
Zhan Weiyang felt pain in his palms and knees. He looked down at his hands and found that the skin on his palms was broken, and he could even see the bright red tender flesh underneath. So he unconsciously used his fingers to rub the dust stains next to the wounds and said at the same time, “Still have to go to eat.”
Chen Youyou saw that he was lowering his head when he spoke and couldn’t help but bend down to see if Zhan Weiyang was crying. He found that Zhan Weiyang just looked a little blank and did not shed tears. He breathed a little relieved and said, “Forget it. I will, eat at home.”
Zhan Weiyang said, “But I agreed that I would treat you to dinner.”
Chen Youyou said, “I’m not hungry, you go back.”
They pushed the car out of the alley, locked it on the side of the road, and walked to the bus stop to catch the bus. It was almost one o’clock at this time, and there were not many people on the bus, but when they got on, there was not a single seat left.
Two men stood by the back door.
When he arrived at the next stop, Chen Youyou saw a person in the priority in front of him getting up and getting off. He poked Zhan Weiyang with his finger to ask him to sit down, but a tall young man standing next to them walked quickly towards the seat.
The two people followed him with their eyes until he sat down, and then they looked away and looked at each other in silence.
After a while, Chen Youyou got off the bus and went to transfer. He told Zhan Weiyang to be careful, jumped out of the bus from the back door, and waved to Zhan Weiyang from the platform, so Zhan Weiyang was left alone, staggering along with the bus as it continued on its way.
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