that he transferred to the school in first year, and that he and his two friends were an arrogant little group.
The rest were all rumors.
Rumors that he wasn’t from around here.
Rumors that his family was well off.
Rumors that he transferred after hitting a teacher, because the teacher was too annoying.
Rumors that he’s really good at fighting.
But to this day, he’s never seen Kou Chen fight.
Wei Chaoren lit a cigarette, continuing to rub the tiles in his hands.
“Hurry up, you’re gonna rub them blank.” Xu Chuan knocked the table impatiently.
“Hey,” Wei Chaoren laughed, throwing down the tiles in his hands.
“I really did rub them blank.”
“Pung.” Kou Xiao picked up the tiles.
“No way Jie?” Wei Chaoren was shocked “Even this?”
“Put out your cigarette.” Kou Chen said.
“What?” Wei Chaoren turned to look at him.
“Are you blind?” Kou Chen glanced at him.
“I’m telling you to put out your cigarette.”
“…What does that have to do with if I’m blind or not?” Wei Chaoren put out the cigarette.
“Can’t you see that my sister’s here?”
“Sorry Jie, it wasn’t on purpose, just out of habit.” Wei Chaoren clasped his fist in the other hand in apology.
“It’s fine, it’s fine.” Kou Xiao waved her hand, throwing down a tile, asking, “Did your class list come out yet?”
“Yeah.” Kou Chen nodded.
“I went to look,” Xu Chuan said.
“Nothing special, just that, that one, Huo Ran, I thought he was gonna be in Sciences, but he’s in the same class as us.”
“Which Huo Ran?” Kou Chen asked.
“The one that talked shit when we were playing ball last time.” Xu Chuan said.
“The one you said was cute.”
“Ohh.” Kou Chen said.
“I’ll take back the cute part.”
“How come?” Xu Chuan laughed.
“His fucking temper’s way too bad.” Kou Chen said.
As opposed to the rumors about Kou Chen, Huo Ran’s temper being bad is far from being a rumor.
Not only do the students know, even the teachers did.
At the end of every term, he would receive advice from them, saying ‘Fix your temper’.
At the beginning of every term, his mom would follow behind him and say, “Don’t get angry.”
“…I’m not angry.” Huo Ran sighed.
“Little Huo.” His mom called again.
“Ah?” Huo Ran turned.
“Stay safe.” His mom smiled.
“…Yeah.” Huo Ran nodded, carrying his bag on his back, pushing his bike towards the elevator and pressing the button.
His mom didn’t go back inside nor close the door.
She leaned against the wall and looked at him with a smile.
Huo Ran stared at the elevator for a bit, before finally giving in to the urge to look back at her, “What is it?”
“My son’s so good-looking.
Cute.” She said.
“Ah——” Huo Ran yelled out.
Glancing at the elevator’s floor display, he picked up his bike and ran down the fire escape as his mom laughed.
Jiang Lei circled around the flowerbeds on his little electric bike, moving over as he saw him come out, staring at the bike he pushed along.
“Is this the bike you just worked on? Lemme try.”
“Our crotch heights aren’t the same, you might not find it comfortable.” Huo Ran said.
Jiang Lei parked his electric bike.
“Fine, just say that my legs aren’t as long as yours, what’s with the ‘crotch heights’ and all that.”
“What if your legs are longer? The crotch height is still different.” Huo Ran said.
“My ass, I’m half a head shorter than you, what do you mean my legs are longer.” Jiang Lei picked up the bike from the frame.
“Holy shit, it’s so light.”
“Carbon frame.” Huo Ran sat down on his electric bike.
“Ten or so pounds.”
“Let’s go!” Jiang Lei kicked off on the bike.
“Straight to school, or?” Huo Ran followed on the electric bike.
“Xu Zhifan’s still waiting at the beef noodle place.” Jiang Lei said.
There was a beef noodle place in Xu Zhifan’s neighborhood.
Huo Ran thinks it’s disgusting, it’s a pitiful amount of meat and noodles with a ton of MSG soup.
But Xu Zhifan and Jiang Lei loved it, forcing him to go there every time.
All he gets after eating there is a mouthful of MSG flavor, nothing else.
But Xu Zhifan was still wiping his lips happily as they got to the building.
“Don’t you think Humanities classes are being treated a bit too harshly?” Huo Ran glanced at the building up ahead.
“Putting us in the haunted building?”
“We Humanities have to experience the importance of history like this.” Xu Zhifan said.
“Not putting us in the real haunted building is good enough…” Jiang Lei rubbed his arms.
The school was an old school, having been around for a century.
There were many buildings like this one, with wooden floors from the stairs to the hallways to the classrooms, ceilings peeling to reveal the wooden boards under them.
They were all said to be haunted, and this particular one was the only one still in use.
It was said that they’ll knock it down and rebuild it next year.
The paint on the floor has long since peeled off, but it was made of solid wood.
Who knows how many pairs of feet have walked on it in its history.
Knots in the wood protruded, giving off a sense of nostalgia when you stepped on it.
“Humanities 1, second floor.” Huo Ran looked at the sign.
There were a total of four classrooms in the building, Humanities 3 and 4 were on the floor below.
“No assigned seats?” Jiang Lei said as he walked, “Let’s sit together, us and Hu Yi.”
“Mhm.” Xu Zhifan nodded, “Let’s sit towards the back.”
“Last row.” Jiang Lei said.
Huo Ran climbed up the stairs.
The classroom only had one door, facing the front of the room.
From it you could see the backs of a bunch of heads.
“Having the door behind you gives no sense of security at all.” Xu Zhifan sighed.
Most people were already there, he recognized them all, although not necessarily by name.
“Two or three rows from the back.” Huo Ran said.
The back row was already full, but there were empty spots further up.”
“Okay.” Xu Zhifan followed him.
As Huo Ran walked towards the second last row, someone sitting at the back suddenly stood up, if Huo Ran didn’t put his arm out, they would’ve collided, but it made him step on a wood knot and almost twist his ankle.
“Fuck.” Huo Ran frowned, feeling annoyed.
“Watch where you’re going.”
The person in front of him didn’t speak, nor did he move.
Huo Ran looked at his face, and he also stopped moving.
It was Kou Chen.
Perhaps it was because the whole school knew about the time they almost got into a fight playing ball, and now they’re facing off on the first day of school, the whole class grew excited.
Huo Ran could literally feel it suddenly go quiet, and he knew what they were all thinking.
“Huo Ran.” Xu Zhifan called his name softly from behind.
He knew what he was trying to say.
Although Kou Chen’s attitude staring at him like that was very unpleasant, he still decided to bear it.
He paused, and said: “Move.”
Right as he opened his mouth, Kou Chen’s body already swayed to the side slightly, evidently about to get out of the way.
Huo Ran sighed inwardly.
Of course, after hearing him, Kou Chen moved again.
Standing in front of him, with no sign that he was about to move out of the way.
Huo Ran narrowed his eyes, looking at him.
Kou Chen stayed silent, only meeting his eyes, looking as calm as ever.
They stood like that for a few seconds, before someone walked up and cleared his throat.
Huo Ran knew him, it was the trio’s Xu Chuan.
Xu Chuan patted Kou Chen on the shoulder, “Kou…”
Before he could finish, a cracking sound came from the floor.
Still not having processed what just happened, Kou Chen’s face disappeared from his line of sight.
He looked down in shock, saw that Kou Chen was still there, but had one leg stuck in the crack in the floor, and an arm supporting himself on the desk, shock evident on his face.
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