Chapter 34: A New Earth
Lin Changyu said that the first time he saw Tan Xilu was on a rainy day.
Lin Changyu really hated rain. The continuous, damp raindrops shattered on the ground, making the entire city wet and gloomy. The sky turned dark, accompanied by occasional raging winds, always causing irritation. Most importantly, Lin Changyu had spent most of the rainy days before escaping from that home enduring violent beatings from a man.
Raindrops hit the glass with a “bang,” and the man’s slaps followed suit. Lin Changyu was frail, and each blow left a ringing in his ears. The man seemed like a crazed monster trying to crush him. Thunder roared, and Lin Changyu was lifted and kicked down the stairs. In the pitch-black basement, within five minutes, the cries of children would fill the air. Lin Xiaozhi would hold him, saying, “Brother, I’m scared.”
The basement door was closed, leaving only a small window. Outside, raindrops pattered, and inside, the cries were miserable.
Children feared the dark and pain, clutching Lin Changyu’s clothes, asking, “Brother, I miss Mom.”
Tired of comforting the vulnerable child, Lin Changyu, he said, “Mom will come back at night.”
But the inadequate mother didn’t return that night. In the pitch-black basement, the two children heard the man in the living room on the phone, angrily scolding, “It’s just a beauty salon. Can’t you manage without it? You’re not even coming home at night?”
The man’s irritability turned into violence on that rainy night. He kicked open the basement door and vented his frustration on the two children with a long wooden stick.
Escape, escape from here.
Lin Changyu thought when he saw Lin Manling ignoring his beatings.
I can’t go on like this.
He began to plan a route; he wanted to find a safe place; he wanted to live alone.
The air during the rainy season was damp, green moss climbed on the stone slabs, and his worn-out canvas shoes made his steps slippery. Lin Changyu almost fell and had to grab a nearby pillar. When he looked up, he saw a teenager on the opposite basketball court, sweating profusely.
Lin Changyu was skilled at disguising himself. Despite several scars hidden under long sleeves, he could always put on a smile, making others think he was happy.
Qin Sizhe thought the same way, so he was completely unguarded when Lin Changyu intruded into his life.
Lin Changyu entered through a side door and said to the teenager in the rain, “Can you teach me how to play basketball?”
Lin Changyu had a plan. The truly energetic teenager was very kind, so Qin Sizhe naturally agreed. He taught Lin Changyu how to dribble, how to slam dunk, and how to avoid dirty tricks from other players.
In exchange, Lin Changyu became Qin Sizhe’s confidant, listening to the troubles that bothered him.
Qin Sizhe said he had a crush on someone, but that person wouldn’t like him. He didn’t know what to do. He used to have a bad temper, but he was willing to change for that person.
Lin Changyu had only seen Qin Sizhe’s good-natured side, and he was curious about the boy’s past. But only the person Qin Sizhe liked had seen it.
Lin Changyu didn’t even realize that he was beginning to feel jealous of that man.
The day Lin Changyu and Tan Xilu were in the office together was actually Lin Changyu’s idea. He regretted it afterward, realizing he shouldn’t have taken that risk.
Falling in love with Tan Xilu was something he hadn’t anticipated. But once it happened, a dark flower of obsession blossomed in his heart. He wanted to sever the ties between them, yet at the same time, he desired to get closer.
He leaned against the office desk, enduring the pain in his lower back from the corner of the desk.
Tan Xilu looked at him, his eyes filled with innocence, no hint of suspicion. He asked, “Is it really going to work? Will Chi Yexing really come?”
“As long as he’s even a little concerned about you, he’ll definitely come,” Lin Changyu replied with a smile.
The plan was Lin Changyu’s idea. He knew that Tan Xilu was unwilling to stay in unrequited love, and his feelings for Chi Yexing were too overwhelming. He couldn’t control himself; he wanted to touch this person, to kiss them. But before they could be together, none of these things were possible.
So he came up with this plan: he and Tan Xilu would engage in intimate actions in the office, and if someone happened to witness it, they would report it to their parents.
They wanted to gauge Chi Yexing’s reaction and see if he would get jealous.
In reality, it was a rather foolish idea. They couldn’t guarantee that Chi Yexing would actually come because of Tan Xilu, and they couldn’t predict the consequences. If Chi Yexing did get jealous and Tan Xilu confessed, it might end well. But what if he didn’t? Chi Yexing might think that Tan Xilu was behaving immaturely in the school office, which could be repulsive.
But Tan Xilu couldn’t control his emotions anymore; his feelings had clouded his judgment.
Lin Changyu looked at Tan Xilu in front of him, their proximity so close. With just a bit more initiative, he could kiss him.
He heard footsteps in the corridor, someone was approaching. On a whim, he thought, this might be their only chance. Suddenly, he grasped Tan Xilu’s waist tightly and rashly pressed his lips against his. Outside the office, someone cursed loudly, and he heard the sound of a camera shutter.
Startled, Tan Xilu pushed him away, staring at him in bewilderment. He asked, “What are you doing?”
It was an overcast day today, but there was no rain. The afternoon wind swept through the room, making them feel slightly cold. Lin Changyu stumbled back, his lower back, which had collided with the corner of the desk, starting to ache. He smiled provocatively and tore off his facade, replying to Tan Sizhe: “I’m kissing you.”
Seeing Tan Xilu’s slow reaction, he squinted his eyes and asked, “Hey, Tan Xilu, you can’t still not see that I like you, can you?”
Upon hearing this, Tan Xilu was dumbfounded.
Then he furrowed his brows and asked, “Was this also part of the plan?”
Lin Changyu: “…”
He said, “No.”
After a pause, he added, “Tan Xilu, someone took a photo just now.”
“What?” Tan Xilu was visibly stunned, then he realized that Lin Changyu was referring to the kiss he had just planted on him.
This was not part of their plan. Their plan had only involved hugging, and he didn’t know whether the person had captured the kiss on camera. If they had, it could be a tricky situation if the image got circulated around school.
After a moment of contemplation, Tan Xilu suddenly grabbed Lin Changyu’s hand and pushed him towards the door of the office, saying, “You need to leave the school quickly, avoid the school surveillance, use the back door, there’s a low wall there, climb over it.”
Lin Changyu was puzzled, not understanding what Tan Xilu meant. He asked, “What are you doing?”
He repeated the same question he had asked earlier.
Tan Xilu said, “I can’t drag you into this. Today’s mess is my fault, so I’ll take responsibility. You go first.”
Why was Tan Xilu blaming himself? Lin Changyu couldn’t comprehend his thought process. It was him who had initiated the kiss, so if anyone was to blame, it should be himself.
“Hurry up and go,” Tan Xilu’s voice suddenly grew louder, and he pushed Lin Changyu again. “Get out of here, or I won’t talk to you anymore.”
Lin Changyu always felt that Tan Xilu could be quite childish in some aspects. He was a grown-up, yet he was saying things like “I won’t talk to you anymore” at a time like this.
He glanced at Tan Xilu one last time and reluctantly headed outside.
Following Tan Xilu’s instructions, he climbed over the low wall at the back door.
As he landed on the other side, he saw a black car driving by, and the person inside was talking on the phone. It was a very handsome profile, one that Lin Changyu had seen countless times in Tan Xilu’s phone.
It was Chi Yexing. He had come to the school.
Sitting on the bleachers, he glanced at Tan Xilu sleeping peacefully on the floor and said to Tan Xilu, “I didn’t think the consequences would be so serious. If I had known, I wouldn’t have kissed him. I also didn’t expect that guy to be so ruthless. If he doesn’t like Tan Xilu, he could have just declined him. Was it necessary to crush his heart like that?”
“Teacher Tan, do you think it’s wrong to like someone?” Lin Changyu suddenly asked.
“Of course, there’s nothing wrong with liking someone,” Tan Xilu thought for a moment and added, “But when you like someone, it’s like putting an extra layer of shackles on your own heart. Just like Tan Xilu right now, even though he’s already hurting all over, he’s still willingly bound by those shackles. But in the end, when he finds the key to unlock those shackles, he’ll realize that liking someone isn’t all that important.”
“Yeah, when will Tan Xilu be able to unlock his own shackles?” Lin Changyu wondered. “Or perhaps, can I unlock my own?”
The setting sun’s residual radiance filtered through the window glass, creating a marvelous halo around the place where Tan Xilu lay. Lin Changyu stood up, walked over to Tan Xilu’s side, and looked at him for a long, long time. Finally, he gently tapped his shoulder, waking him up.
He said, “It’s time for you to go home.”
Tan Xilu was a bit groggy from his deep sleep. He hadn’t slept this well in a long time. He opened his eyes and saw Lin Changyu. Suddenly, he remembered that he had just cried in front of him and felt a bit embarrassed for no apparent reason. Then, he noticed Tang Xilu descending from the bleachers and he said, “Teacher Tan.”
Tang Xilu looked at him, patted his shoulder, and didn’t say anything.
Only Lin Changyu gave him a hug and finally kissed him on the cheek, saying, “Tan Xilu, go home.”
Tan Xilu looked at Lin Changyu as if he had read something in his eyes. Then, he nodded and said, “Okay.”
The mottled rays of the setting sun played on the memories of Tan Xilu’s heart as he left.
T/N: Wishing you all a good September and welcome to Bad End month! There is plenty more where that came from, so stay tuned! And stay healthy! Straighten your posture, so some stretches and drink some water before continuing hehe~
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What about the perfect, most non-toxic male lead ever? Laws of Love
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