He Nuo found it amusing, why is he making such a big fuss over a form of address? Haven’t they always called each other by their names anyway? “I’ll just call you the same way others do?bei.” He knew that his gang all called him San Ge.
Shi Yan refused resolutely. His rejection made He Nuo feel upset; people who called him San Ge were those who have been friends with him since childhood, so the bonds of friendship they had formed were unordinary. When He Nuo thought of the difference between them, he fell silent.
His sweetheart’s body stiffened up slightly, so Shi Yan knew that he was overthinking. This lover of his has always been very broad-minded, gentle and indifferent; yet he was now much more delicate and sensitive. But Shi Yan felt glad that he was like this — if he didn’t care, then why would he be sensitive? Shi Yan didn’t like how he could never touch his heart no matter what he did in the past. Shi Yan had never been able to see He Nuo’s bright and indulgent laughter; no matter what happens or when it happens, He Nuo’s laughter has always been reserved, so Shi Yan couldn’t find the passageway to that could lead He Nuo’s laughter to his heart. Thus, He Nuo had never been able to reveal a smile on his face that truly came from the bottom of his heart.
“San Ge, Yan Ge, those are the names they call me. You’re different from them, so the name you call me will belong only to you.”
He Nuo turned around to lean back into his arms. Even though he was still silent, he felt satisfied because of that remark.
“Try it, call me Gege.” Shi Yan urged.
He Nuo’s voice disappeared in his throat — it was stuck there and couldn’t come out no matter what. It was only after Shi Yan took out his trump card and kissed him until he lost his soul while leading him with the “Gege, Gege”s he uttered at his ear before He Nuo shouted it out. A crisp electric current shot up his spine and into his Baihui acupoint; Shi Yan’s whole body felt comfortable after He Nuo called him that.
“Nuonuo, Nuonuo, you’re really killing me.”
In order not to be discovered by his family, Shi Yan and He Nuo got up early in the morning. Shi Yan wanted to go out for breakfast by himself so that He Nuo could sleep in a little more, then he would waste some time until 8 or 9am before coming back openly to find He Nuo and return to his college in the afternoon. He Nuo insisted that he couldn’t fall asleep after he woke up and wanted to go out with Shi Yan. After they had breakfast, they saw that it was still early so Shi Yan said that he wanted to go to the station to check what time the coach would arrive in the afternoon.
Once they arrived at the station, these two inexperienced people realised that there were only two coaches a day that went to the city where Shi Yan’s college was situated in. The tickets for the afternoon session were already sold out, now only tickets for the coach at 7.30am in the morning were left — and only a few of them were left too (standing tickets). Suddenly, they had to separate a few hours earlier, so both of them lost the smiles on their face. As he watched Shi Yan get on the early coach, He Nuo thought about how Shi Yan had to stand for several hours just because he came to see him and his heart ached. Shi Yan wanted to disguise himself with a relaxed smile, but he could feel that his facial muscles weren’t obeying his commands. How could he be willing to have just the one night with He Nuo that they had spent in a hurry? He still had so much he wanted to say to him.
After he got home, He Nuo sat in front of his bed in a trance for awhile as he took in Shi Yan’s scent. A moment later, he opened up his books. The sadness of separation could only fade when he was immersed in his books; He Nuo had a strong impetus for his studies now — under no circumstances could he fail to get into A College (in the same city as Shi Yan’s college).
Shi Yan wrote him a letter the moment he went back to his college. He reassured He Nuo that he had a smooth journey, and that it wasn’t difficult for him at all. He also told He Nuo that he had consulted other people; apparently, tickets would be on sale one day in advance and tickets for the Sunday afternoon coach was especially popular. So two weeks later, when Shi Yan sneaked back again, He Nuo went to the station at 5am on Saturday to help Shi Yan buy a coach ticket for 1pm on a Sunday afternoon.
Shi Yan used his savings for his trip back this time — his income from his lucky money. Because Shi Yan came back prepared and had selected the coach number in advance, he managed to arrive at his home in the afternoon. He took advantage of the time when his parents were at work to take all his money out. When his parents visited him at his college last week, he had thought of asking them to bring it over for him, but he realised that it would cause them to pay attention to his expenditures so he decided to sneak home and take it himself instead.
When Shi Yan passed his 1000 yuan to He Nuo, the latter said he would rather die than take it. Shi Yan told him that this money would be spent on both of them — for example, whenever He Nuo had to buy a ticket for him before he came back. The money was left behind, but He Nuo didn’t use it. Shi Yan was enduring so much hardship while he sat idly to reap the fruits of Shi Yan’s hard work, so He Nuo wanted to make a little contribution as well. Thus, He Nuo would always use his meagre savings to pay for the tickets. His fourth bro would also give He Nuo five yuan every month when he was paid his salary.
Within a twinkling of an eye, it was May 1st — Labour Day. Shi Yan’s and Qin Mingxu’s parents who had a day off went to their college to find them together, then brought him and his buddies around the suburbs for a stroll. Shi Yan had already known that his parents were coming in mid-April, so he had notified He Nuo that he could only return in the middle of this month. On Saturday, He Nuo purchased a ticket excitedly. He hadn’t seen Shi Yan in almost a month, so he couldn’t restrain his lively thoughts after his afternoon classes ended. He couldn’t care less as he often looked towards the entrance and waited for that familiar figure to appear. But up till school was over, He Nuo didn’t even see a trace of that figure’s shadow.
When he was at home in the evening, He Nuo had his ears pricked up as he did his homework because he hoped to hear some movement outside his window. It was only when he couldn’t endure his sleepiness any longer that he lied on his bed to sleep. But he was still worried, so he left his window bolt slightly open. When it was 8am on a Sunday morning, He Nuo believed that Shi Yan must have been delayed by something, but he secretly blamed him for not calling today even if he couldn’t call him yesterday night. Or did he forget that he had said that he would be back this weekend? He Nuo went to refund his ticket with a little resentment.
He hadn’t even refunded his ticket before it was bought by someone who was waiting in line for one, so he didn’t make a loss because of the refund fee. He Nuo thought about going back to write a letter to “scold” Shi Yan for breaking his promise. He thought that the next time Shi Yan came back, he would surely apologise and try to make up for it shamelessly again — as he thought of this, the edges of He Nuo’s lips curved up.
He Nuo turned around and was about to walk out when he suddenly stopped, he widened his eyes after he blinked as if he was in disbelief. Shi Yan! It’s Shi Yan! But He Nuo didn’t call out to him happily, and didn’t rush over to him either, but instead stood behind a door in fright. That guy who had a beautiful girl hooked around his arm was Shi Yan? He Nuo felt like his feet were rooted to the ground as he gazed foolishly at the man and woman whose ears and temples would graze against one another from time to time.
He Nuo went home; his mind was enshrouded in a mountain mist and he felt confused as he couldn’t figure out if his eyes were playing tricks on him. He walked over to his parents’ side, picked up the phone and dialled the number that he could recite fluently in his heart even though he had only called it once. Before he pressed down on the key for last number, He Nuo hung up the phone. He walked to an area far away from his house and found a public phone, then called Shi Yan’s house. After Shi Yan’s father picked up the phone and shouted for Shi Yan to take the call, He Nuo hung up.
Under the splendour of spring, He Nuo walked home with an icy cold body.