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HMPS: Chapter 64

Extra Three: School IF Line (Back to 17 Years Old)

Chi Xueyan thought that it would be very difficult for him to refuse this sincere question.

He Qiao’s idea of making the turtle soup was too outrageous. He should indeed read more classic mystery novels.

At the very least, he should stop setting the soup base as a cold joke.

…But Chi Xueyan didn’t want to agree.

He always felt that there was something weird.

So he stared at He Qiao for a few seconds without saying yes or no.

He just snorted briefly. Then he withdrew his gaze and looked at the flowing clouds outside the glass window. He stared at the scenery in a bored manner.

In the classroom full of the sound of reading, the response was as light as an illusion. It was like the sound of popcorn being bittern in a dark theater as a movie was being shown.

Only those who were close could hear it.

The one who heard the sound of the popcorn let go of his worries.

He Qiao had been worried all weekend that this cold joke would be too terrible and have the opposite effect. It wasn’t until this moment that he finally felt the cold joke related to Mr Refrigerator and his lover wasn’t bad.

It was because Chi Xueyan was smiling as he looked at the clear sky and flowing clouds. The corners of his mouth were slightly raised.

After a moment, he ended his distracted thoughts and took the initiative to say, “Tomorrow, I will bring you a youth novel.”

He recalled the books he had read and finally thought of the one he wanted to lend to He Qiao the most.

Hearing this sudden surprise, his deskmate was taken aback for a moment before agreeing awkwardly.

Chi Xueyan heard the joy in his tone and said meaningfully, “You will like this book.”

He Qiao didn’t realize it. “Yes, the book that you like must be very good.”

The next day, he finished all of his homework early. Once it came to the evening self-study, he relied on the cover of the book pile on the table and couldn’t wait to open the novel that Chi Xueyan voluntarily lent him.

Beside him, Chi Xueyan was still lazily doing homework. Once he was tired of writing, he would fill in the Sudoku questions he brought with him to change his mood for a while.

Occasionally, he would glance over to He Qiao to admire this person’s reaction.

Chi Xueyan was in a very good mood as he saw his deskmate’s expression gradually change from anticipation to confusion and then a bit of apprehension.

It was a sense of pleasure in getting revenge.

The youth novel was ordinary. It was a school story about ‘he loves her and she loves him.’ It was dog blood and cliched, but there was a funny supporting character in it.

This supporting role was very nonsensical. On obviously very serious occasions, he would suddenly tell inappropriate jokes and ruin the confession atmosphere carefully prepared by the male protagonist several times. This caused him to often be beaten.

Chi Xueyan saw that the novel in He Qiao’s hand was stuck for a long time on the page where the supporting character was beaten by the violent male protagonist.

He put down the pen, pressed down on his fingers intentionally or unintentionally and said with a very friendly attitude, “Do you like this novel?”

“……” This time, He Qiao responded briefly in a cautious tone. “It is very educational.”

It seemed that Chi Xueyan, who was tricked by the cold joke turtle soup, once wanted to beat him but restrained himself.

He looked at his fellow deskmate who was making a threatening hint and should’ve felt grateful.

However, He Qiao’s eyes fell firmly on Chi Xueyan’s hand and his thoughts suddenly went blank.

With this movement, the originally white and thin fingertips revealed some strength.

It didn’t look like he was particularly good at fighting at all.

But it was perfect for holding hands.

He Qiao suddenly looked away in embarrassment.

Seeing this, Chi Xueyan felt that the purpose of his threat had been achieved. He shouldn’t hear any cold jokes that froze people to death in the future. This made him lower his head to continue filling in the Sudoku.

However, the person beside him didn’t care about the novel any longer and asked suddenly, “Which college do you want to go to in the future?”

It was currently the second year of high school and the third year was just around the corner. Students occasionally imagined their future that was getting closer and closer.

Chi Xueyan felt that He Qiao was deliberately changing the topic. He thought about it and decided to give this person some face, so he replied casually, “A College.”

There were several famous colleges in the city, among which the medical school of A College was the best.

Then He Qiao asked, “What major do you want to apply for? Literature?”

With Chi Xueyan’s grades, there should be no pressure to be admitted to this school.

His deskmate had many hobbies but the one that impressed He Qiao the most was his love of reading novels.

“No, I plan to apply for stomatology.”

He Qiao was quite surprised and instinctively asked, “Why?”

Chi Xueyan stopped talking, as if he didn’t want to have too many deep exchanges with He Qiao.

So He Qiao paused for a few seconds and took the initiative to exchange what he was going to apply for. “I want to study finance.”

By the way, a particularly detailed reason was attached.

“It is because I learned stock trading with my older brother during summer vacation and made money on my own for the first time.”

“My parents said that I am very lucky, talented and suitable for finance. My brother said the same and praised me for being smarter than him.”

“So I didn’t hold back and used all the money I earned to buy gifts for them.”

“I originally planned to use it to buy new screens and equipment. Next spring and summer, several new 3A game masterpieces will be released…”

The topic got further and further away. Chi Xueyan, who wanted to concentrate on Sudoku, couldn’t stand it and had to answer him. “It is because my dad loves sweets and he will cry when he has a toothache. That scene is very funny.”

Hearing this answer with a strange logic, He Qiao was stunned before nodding thoughtfully.

The conversation fell into stillness. The classroom at night was filled with the sound of the pen tips rubbing against paper.

Then he pretended to calmly turn his head away and couldn’t help smiling.

The incandescent light illuminates the beautiful side profile of his deskmate.

Chi Xueyan glanced at him.

He didn’t know why but he also smiled.

The relationship between the two of them was thus vaguely maintained like this.

He Qiao never confessed and Chi Xueyan never went to the teacher to change seats.

Due to the exchange of novels, He Qiao still wrote two copies of the occasional activity impressions that had to be handed in later.

Now He Qiao was smart. In addition to imitating Chi Xueyan’s style and handwriting, he also learned from his perfunctory attitude.

The language teacher originally thought that Chi Xueyan was infected by being at the same table as the number one student in language and finally ignited his enthusiasm for language.

He hadn’t expected that movie review to be a flash in the pan.

The teacher held his composition that had become confused again and deeply regretted it. “Chi Xueyan, you should learn from He Qiao’s correct attitude. This is a good opportunity to exercise your writing skills and it is helpful for writing essays.”

Chi Xueyan, who had always refused to listen to persuasion, nodded meekly. “I will definitely learn from him and read more of his compositions.”

This article was full of confusion between the lines but it was obviously also written by He Qiao.

The teacher’s eyes widened and he couldn’t help saying, “You are so easy to talk to today? I’m a bit flattered.”

Chi Xueyan continued to talk nonsense. “It is because I found that I really write too badly.”

As the only person who could understand, He Qiao wanted to laugh but couldn’t. He had to pretend to stare at the ceiling casually.

The dull and happy school time passed like water.

Similar to Chi Xueyan’s prediction before the start of school, he really had a happy life for the remaining two years of high school.

It was even happier than expected.

For example, Chi Xueyan never received the breakfast that gave him a headache again. Even the number of love letters was greatly reduced because many love letters were quietly delivered while he was away.

Not having to deal with these issues made him feel relieved.

Although in this matter, he wasn’t the only one who felt comfortable.

He Qiao didn’t do anything that crossed the line and he was no different from an ordinary friend. Therefore, Chi Xueyan could justifiably pretend not to know about his crush.

His previous rejection was obvious and He Qiao should know his answer.

Moreover, how long could the ignorant feelings born in adolescence last?

Perhaps He Qiao had given up and was now getting along with him as a friend.

In any case, the little middle school girl who gave him a croissant had already changed to another senior.

In the second semester, Chi Xueyan even saw it with his own eyes on the way to school.

The trees on both sides of the street were lush and green. The boy in a high school uniform was riding a bicycle while the girl in the back seat looked at the three forks in the road and excitedly said, “Brother, why is my ideal type still not coming?”

“…Can you stop talking nonsense? Huo Sihan, you are so annoying.”

The tall boy on the bike complained, but his eyes obediently looked at the intersection and he deliberately slowed down his speed.

Immediately afterward, the figure they were waiting for really appeared at the end of the intersection.

Seeing the new person the little girl liked, she formed a small horn with her hand and shouted, “Good morning, Brother Zhi Zhi!”

Her brother in front complained, “Hold on! Be careful not to fall!”

Then he cleared his throat and pretended to calmly greet the other boy who was riding a bicycle. “Good morning, what a coincidence.”

The gentle-looking teenager responded with a smile, “Good morning.”

Two bicycles rode side by side towards the bustling campus in the early morning, their uniforms swaying in the wind.

The bike seat was full of rickety youth.

Chi Xueyan watched from the sidewalk and accurately judged that this was also a crush.

He watched the figures riding the bicycle riding away and was missing the taste of the croissant when he saw a familiar figure across the road.

Under the tree with dappled light and shadow, He Qiao arrived at the school gate. He just happened to look over and waved to Chi Xueyan.

The pedestrians and traffic on the road were rolled up film, disappearing from view.

After crossing the road and entering the school gate, Chi Xueyan soon heard a good morning.

It was clearly early spring and a chill existed, but the warm sunlight made his ears warm.

He also smelled the fragrant aroma of baked goods.

“Good morning,” Chi Xueyan said. “Did you just go to the bakery?”

He Qiao was carrying his school bag and was empty-handed. He said when he heard this, “I heard that a new product has been released and it isn’t very sweet.”

He Qiao didn’t like sweets and he had never eaten the croissant full of flowing custard.

The two of them walked to the classroom together and Chi Xueyan asked casually, “What new product?”

“Little dinosaur biscuits.”

Chi Xueyan was silent for a moment before commenting briefly and forcefully, “Childish.”

“The taste is very delicious and it is particularly crispy when bitten.”

“It is still childish.”

“It is buy one and get one free this week.”

“……”

On the weekend afternoon when there was no class, Chi Xueyan appeared in a popular bakery and picked up two bags of childish-looking biscuits.

By his side, He Qiao picked two signature croissants.

“Don’t you dislike sweets?”

“I want to try it once in a while.”

On the photo wall behind the checkout counter in the bakery, there was the photo that made the croissant become popular. The cute little boy was eating an exploding custard croissant seriously and contentedly. His focused eyes made people feel as if eating was the happiest thing in the world.

Chi Xueyan had seen many students imitating this action and taking photos.

He finally did this childish thing today.

It was together with He Qiao.

The little boy in the photo was also in the store and happened to be the one taking the photo for the two of them.

The clear and immature child’s voice shouted, “Three, two, one, eggplant!”

The two teenagers took a croissant and each bit into the fluffy puff pastry in the middle. The fragrant and dense custard immediately dripped down.

The phone lens froze this bright moment in time.

Chi Xueyan took back the phone and looked at the photos. He felt it was silly but he didn’t want to delete it.

Forget it, don’t let his parents see it.

The little boy who was eager to help took the initiative to ask, “Is the croissant delicious?”

He Qiao replied politely, “It is delicious.”

It tasted better than he could’ve imagined. There was an indescribable sweetness.

Chi Xueyan also nodded in agreement. He saw that the child looked cute and couldn’t help reaching out to rub the other person’s head.

The little boy blinked. He saw the other thing Chi Xueyan bought and said with a frown, “The little dinosaur biscuits are also delicious.”

Chi Xueyan couldn’t hold back and reached out to pinch the child’s rosy cheek. He said jokingly, “Do you often eat these? Remember to brush your teeth carefully.”

As he was teasing the child, he suddenly felt the temperature of the store drop sharply. It was as if a cold air conditioner had been turned on.

When Chi Xueyan left the bakery with He Qiao in a slightly dazed manner, he found that the boy standing behind the cash register was glancing coldly at him.

He asked He Qiao, “Is that person the senior who led the school basketball team to win the league championship? He looks familiar.”

“It seems to be.”

Chi Xueyan walked far away but he still felt cold all over. He couldn’t help saying, “So our basketball team’s performance suddenly improved so much because he froze the opponents?”

He Qiao smiled. “Is this a cold joke?”

“…No!” Chi Xueyan glared at him. “Don’t mention those words to me.”

“I won’t mention it.” He Qiao paused before whispering with a smile, “But it is quite funny.”

It was similar to the Mr Refrigerator cold joke.

Chi Xueyan immediately ignored him.

He controlled his expression and looked at the end of the road. “The bus is coming.”

He Qiao glanced back and immediately quickened his pace toward the station.

“Hurry up or you’ll miss this one.”

“I won’t.”

Chi Xueyan’s tone was calm but he walked faster than the other person.

In the long spring breeze, they ran at almost the same time, chasing the bus that arrived at the station.

The doors of the bus closed. The young man had wind in his clothes and the little dinosaur biscuits jumped all the way in the bag as the bus drove to their next destination in the spring light.

During this free time on the weekend, the two of them first went to He Qiao’s favorite game arcade.

He Qiao won a big victory.

Then they went to Chi Xueyan’s billiard hall.

Chi Xueyan regained lost ground.

Once night fell, they went to the busiest snack street in the city to eat together.

The two people were hungry after playing for a long time. This time, they were evenly matched and tasted all the snacks that looked okay.

In the vast night, He Qiao looked at the messy hair of the person beside him being blown by the wind. He always remembered the way Chi Xueyan rubbed the child’s head in the afternoon and remembered the way he bent over in front of the billiard table.

The surrounding crowd was surging and it happened to hide his increasingly noisy heartbeat.

He Qiao failed to catch any of the wind hovering in his mind and felt that this weekend was too short.

So he subconsciously asked, “Where do you want to go later?”

It was best for the day to never end.

“I’m full and I want to take a walk.” Chi Xueyan thought that He Qiao wanted to go back and asked, “Are you going home?”

“No.” He Qiao immediately denied it. “There is no need to rush back. I can go anywhere.”

Chi Xueyan heard his hurried tone and felt amused. “Then I’ll take you for a walk to a place that is a bit far away.”

“Where?”

“A place that is close to the future.”

Chi Xueyan suddenly made a decision after hearing the serious tone of his deskmate emphasizing that he didn’t want to go home.

He took He Qiao to the college he wanted to go to.

They walked through the streets full of pine trees and saw two colleges facing each other.

As high school students, they didn’t enter the school. They just stayed at the school gate for a long time, staring at the life that was close yet distant inside.

It was a world they looked forward to and it seemed to shine.

The college students came out of the school gate and chatted with each other while smiling.

“Would you like to go over there and buy a beer?”

“You want to bring beer when going to the old park to sing, but you still say you haven’t broken up…”

“What’s the matter? Can’t I be happy?”

“Okay, okay.”

Chi Xueyan always did things as he pleased. He glanced at He Qiao and followed them tacitly.

It was to take a closer look at the life he might experience in the future.

They passed a quiet residential area next to the college and walked into a large park with trees and bridges.

The moment they entered the park, Chi Xueyan heard the faint sound of singing and music in the distance.

He was surprised. “Is it really singing in the park?”

He Qiao was also surprised. “I thought it was the name of a KTV.”

The sound of music was getting closer and closer. The two of them finally saw the scenery under the street light clearly.

It was a bit like a KTV set up in the open air, but the equipment was very simple. It was only a karaoke machine with a projection screen that was blown by the wind from time to time. There were two microphones that looked a bit old but were surrounded by people listening to songs.

They were deeply impressed by this novelty. Chi Xueyan and He Qiao watched silently for a while before realizing that this was an old tradition in the park. College students and uncles and elderly people huddled together and sang old songs that were popular a long time ago.

It was because there were only songs from 20 years ago in the library. They could sing a song for one yuan and only cash was accepted.

The college student they followed had indeed broken up in love. He ordered a love song about broken love and sang at the top of his lungs. He was crazily out of tune and tears were barely visible.

However, none of the listeners laughed. Some people sang along softly.

Different people’s eyes flickered with different stories that crisscrossed with the sound of music. There was no need to talk in detail. The cool air of the spring night disappeared in an instant.

Chi Xueyan stood in the crowd like this and listened for a long time.

This was until he heard the person beside him say, “Going to college around here seems to be a happy thing.”

He remembered He Qiao’s major and replied, “A College isn’t famous for its finance.”

The other person seemed to have already planned this. “But the finance major of the opposite college is very good. I should be able to get in.”

Chi Xueyan looked at him and stopped talking.

Instead, the middle-aged man next to them heard the conversation of the two of them and smiled, “Are the two of you high school students?”

He saw the two of them nodding and sighed emotionally, “I really want to go back to your age, to 17 or 18 years old.”

Chi Xueyan asked, “Why?”

The middle-aged man’s eyes seemed to have many wrinkles and his tone was relaxed. “Make up for regrets.”

“If you ask everyone who wants to go back to the past, the answer is to make up for their regrets.”

It was the regret of going wrong on this road and the regret of imagining another path.

As the song finished playing, he seized the opportunity to hand the one yuan coin he had been holding in his hand for a long time to the boss.

The stranger ordered the song released 20 years ago called ‘Back to 17 Years Old’.

Chi Xueyan stood quietly in the audience and said casually, “I’ve heard it before. It sounds pretty good but I can’t sing it.”

It was because Cantonese wasn’t a popular dialect here.

He Qiao said seriously, “I can. Do you want to listen?”

“…No.”

“…Oh.”

The next song soon began.

The unknown, middle-aged man held the microphone in a slightly rusty manner. He gazed at the old picture on the projection screen and his eyes flickered.

The sound of music was overwhelming and the lost youth was intertwined with the current youth that was happening.

“Come and sing a love song, repeat it from the beginning.

If the emotions are strong and tears flow, it is difficult to avoid.”

Chi Xueyan, who happened to be 17 years old, looked back as if he felt something.

He found that He Qiao, who was also 17 years old, was softly singing along in the vast sea of people.

He heard this soft voice and saw those gentle eyes.

“The scale rises and falls, the tempo changes.

The years have changed but I haven’t changed…”

Comment

  1. milui says:

    Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan are so cute hereee 😭 Also, I want to hear He Qiao’s singing too hehe

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