Qiu Linsong happily pulled He Nuo towards the restaurant, “Why aren’t you and San Ge happy? Don’t worry, after seeing you here, San Ge won’t be unhappy anymore. In fact, he might just run over to accompany you for lunch later. He didn’t eat much just now cause he kept saying that he had no appetite.”
He Nuo still rejected his lunch invitation because he needed to take the coach back. This reason was too reasonable; Qiu Linsong just remembered that He Nuo had to go back today, and there was only one return coach at 2pm. If they went to eat lunch, their time might be a little tight. But if they didn’t eat, then even if He Nuo had eaten breakfast, he would still have to endure his hunger for an entire day because he would only reach back around 7pm. A bright idea occurred to Qiu Linsong; he insisted on sending He Nuo off in a cab later, so they would have a little more time before he had to get to the station.
He Nuo waited for the cab while Qiu Linsong left for a bit. He came back with bread, sausages, peanuts and fish fillets in hand. He Nuo went to pick up his bag in embarrassment, Qiu Linsong pressed his hand down, “Do you only treat San Ge as your friend, but not the rest of us? If you keep being like this, I’ll get restless.” When they fought over the few dollars of taxi fare just now, the driver also got to watch their brotherly quarrel. He doesn’t believe that He Nuo would draw the line this clearly with his San Ge too.
“You’re leaving before you even got to talk to San Ge, he’ll definitely scold me later.”
Qiu Linsong was just joking and never had the intention of blaming him, he didn’t want He Nuo’s apology.
“Ai, why are you and San Ge at odds with each other? We all thought that he was fighting with his girlfriend, but we all saw his girlfriend treat him quite well just now. Turns out he’s fighting with you. Say it, why are you guys fighting? I can help you.”
“He didn’t say it, but it’s not like we’re blind. He looked like a corpse the entire week, if you met him in the toilet at night, I guarantee you’ll think that you just saw a ghost. His whole face is all bluish, though it might have been due to constipation. I forgot that he only became like that after he returned home, and only remembered about it when I saw you. Even a fool would know that the two of you are fighting.”
He Nuo laughed softly, “How scary can Shi Yan be? When he gets angry, he’ll at most bare his fangs and brandish his claws; his thunder might be loud, but it’s always just a drizzle.”
“What’s wrong? Say it, I’ll speak up for you in front of San Ge.” Qiu Linsong patted his pocket, “My words are more useful than this.” (the letter was inside)
He Nuo chuckled but didn’t say anything. Qiu Linsong knew that he was a reserved person by nature and probably wouldn’t be willing to tell others about it, but San Ge had been angry for an entire week, so he guessed that He Nuo could be in the wrong this time. He didn’t force him but instead comforted, “It’s fine. You’ve also said that San Ge has a loud thunder when it’s just a drizzle, he’ll be okay in two days. You’ve already come all the way here, how could he still stay angry at you?”
He Nuo thanked him gratefully and seemed to be in a bit of dilemma. Qiu Linsong asked him, “Is there anything else?”
“Oh, not really? Forget it.”
“Don’t say ‘forget it’, if you need something just say it.”
“There’s one more thing I’d like to trouble you with, but I don’t know if you,”
“What is it?”
He Nuo hesitated. Qiu Linsong placed his arm around his shoulders, “We’re friends, just say it.”
It was only when He Nuo got on the coach that Qiu Linsong knew that he had only bought his return ticket after he reached in the morning, so there were only standing tickets left then. As he looked at the coach that looked like a can of packed sardines and He Nuo’s skinny figure that was sandwiched in between the crowd — and especially when He Nuo flashed him a grateful smile that was filled with the most heartfelt of thanks — Qiu Linsong made up his mind: no matter what, he had to help them reconcile. He still remembered what had happened when school reopened during their third year, he didn’t know why but San Ge treated He Nuo like a stranger for a month, but didn’t they still suddenly reconcile in the end? And after that, he became even more concerned for He Nuo than ever.
He Nuo was a clean and pure guy, even if he really did something to offend San Ge, he definitely wouldn’t have done it on purpose. Also, Qiu Linsong could somewhat understand He Nuo’s environment. How difficult must it have been for him to come here just this once? Just from this, he could see how much He Nuo cherishes San Ge. While his San Ge…even if you beat Qiu Linsong to death, he wouldn’t believe that his San Ge really plans on breaking off with He Nuo with a ‘1’1. In fact, throughout all the years that he had known San Ge, He Nuo was the person that San Ge had done the most for. In any case, they would reconcile sooner or later, so why fight at this kind of juncture? He Nuo’s gonna take his college entrance examination soon, so no matter what his San Ge should be the more magnanimous one.
When Qiu Linsong returned, everyone was around. He only said that He Nuo had to rush for the return coach so he had already sent him back, but he didn’t take the letter out immediately. He wasn’t willing to let the rest know that San Ge and He Nuo were fighting. Even if everyone had suspected it, he didn’t want to take out the letter on the spot lest a few assholes snatch it away to look at it — that would make He Nuo feel embarrassed in the future.
After this bunch was almost done with their food, they began to play poker. That was when Qiu Linsong walked over to the Shi Yan who was just spectating and dragged him to sit down on a bed. He took out the letter and passed it to Shi Yan, and without saying anything, the latter knew who the letter was from. Shi Yan took the letter and flipped through the empty letter without any expression on his face, then casually stuffed it underneath his pillow.
“You’re not going to read it?”
Shi Yan cast a glance at him, then he wanted to go back to watch the rest play.
“What’s the matter?” Qiu Linsong grabbed him, “He Nuo went back without eating anything, he didn’t even get a seat when he squeezed onto the coach.”
Shi Yan’s expression immediately turned ugly, “He didn’t eat anything?”
Qiu Linsong snickered to himself, and deliberately said, “What could we do? Time was so tight, we barely caught the coach after we hailed a cab, and he even fought over the fare with me.” He unconsciously stuffed his hand into his pocket, and touched…….the hand he took out was holding onto two extra five yuan notes. As he looked at this ten yuan, Qiu Linsong laughed, “Never mind, he was the one who paid for it.” Actually the cab fare was only six yuan, He Nuo had settled the bill for their meal too.
Shi Yan stared blankly at the money in Qiu Linsong’s hand, then suddenly grabbed the letter and ran out. He was so quick that Qiu Linsong didn’t have the time to react before he disappeared.
“Did He Nuo come over to apologise to Shi Yan?” Qin Mingxu chuckled.
“What apology? What’s there to apologise for?” Qiu Linsong retorted.
“You’re still pretending. Shi Yan didn’t even say a single word to him just now, and after he came back he even chased Bei Gege (the woman who was holding onto him just now) away, if he isn’t angry then what’s wrong with him?”
“What are you being all happy about? It’s not like they’ve never fought before, and they always got tighter afterwards.” Wang Feng felt like Qin Mingxu was taking pleasure in Shi Yan’s misfortune and wasn’t being a loyal friend.
The Shi Yan who was standing at the end of the corridor held an empty envelope in one hand, while he held a stack of money in the other. So fucking cruel, he didn’t even leave behind a single word. Shi Yan had passed this week in a dizzy state: he had always felt empty as his soul wandered around in the day, but fortunately he could seek some comfort at night. When he saw He Nuo just now, if it wasn’t because Gege was holding onto him tightly, he might have just ran up to him and hugged him in front of everyone — even if he had to break some bones or tore someone’s skin off, he would have still wanted that person in his arms. Yet Qiu Linsong embraced him as they left; Qiu Linsong had ignored his scorching line of sight, and had embraced him.
He Nuo had cut off all their ties. Although he said that they could be friends, Shi Yan himself knew that since they couldn’t do it, saying that they could stay friends was merely empty talk. He thought that he had gotten used to it, but his numb heart began to feel again, and it started to ache like someone was gouging his heart out. Shi Yan laughed; he laughed in a low sobbing voice: if we were going to talk about cruelty and mercilessness, if He Nuo wanted to be no.2, who would dare be no. 1?
When Shi Yan went back, Qiu Linsong cast a cursory glance at him and saw that he still seemed normal, so he went up to him, “You’ve finished reading it?”
“You don’t blame him anymore?”
“There’s no need.”
“That’s right, what’s there to fight over between bros? He’s going to take his exam soon and he looks quite stressed, so San Ge should be a little more magnanimnous?ba. When I saw how He Nuo looked like just now, I felt so uncomfortable.”
Qiu Linsong couldn’t find the right word to say. He clumsily blurted out three words, “My heart ached.” Yet he felt like these words weren’t right, so he just laughed, “In any case, although he was smiling, my heart just felt particularly uncomfortable. His time is so tight with his studies now, yet he came all the way here to see you. So San Ge, don’t be angry with him anymore, if He Nuo falls sick again, wouldn’t we be the ones worrying anyway?”
Shi Yan almost sneered. He did come all the way here to see him — just to completely sever all their ties.