Chapter 2 – Astray Youth (2)

Zhou Kaiji slept deeply for the whole night.

Yesterday, he had a cold and a fever. Perhaps it was because he took medicine before bed, his blanket was warm, the room door was closed, so he didn’t have to worry about the old, broken door that couldn’t lock suddenly being broken into by someone. Maybe it was the effect of the medicine; he didn’t wake up in the middle of the night as usual and slept until the alarm clock rang.

It had been a long time since he had slept so deeply. His mind was no longer as foggy as it was yesterday. He sat up, feeling unusually clear-headed.

Recalling what happened yesterday now, an overwhelming sense of absurdity washed over him.

He had met someone who told him that his biological parents were not who he thought they were, and he had followed that person back home.

Everything that happened after work yesterday was too unbelievable, yet everything was undeniably real.

He didn’t really doubt what he heard yesterday. Someone from that social class wouldn’t go to such lengths to deceive him, someone who had nothing and even owed a lot of debt.

He just felt absurdity, both real and absurd.

Light flashed through the crack in the door twice, followed by a knocking sound.

It was Secretary Chen, coming to wake him up.

The high school’s class schedule was indeed inhumane. Chen Luosong knocked on the door and yawned with his eyes closed. When he opened his eyes again, the door was already open.

“Oh, you’re already awake.”

The high school student was wearing a warm-colored knitted sweater. The sweater was originally loose-fitting, but it looked just right on him, with no extra space.

He looked quite energetic; the fever should have subsided.

Chen Luosong handed over the school uniform that had been washed and dried by Uncle Zhang yesterday and said, “Uncle Zhang took it to wash and dry yesterday. You can wear it now.”

Zhou Kaiji took the clothes and whispered a thank-you.

After a night passed, it seemed like he had gone back to the way he was when they first met, cautious and careful in every aspect.

Chen Luosong noticed but didn’t comment much. He glanced downstairs and said, “Freshen up, we’ll go downstairs for breakfast later, and I’ll take you to school after that.”

After saying that, he asked again, “Do you usually have breakfast?”

Zhou Kaiji shook his head.

Chen Luosong didn’t ask further and just said, “The breakfast made by the aunt here is quite delicious.”

Indeed, the breakfast was delicious.

There was porridge, soy milk, and steamed buns today, unexpectedly simple yet satisfying.

Perhaps because it was early in the morning, the person sitting next to him kept drooping his eyelids while drinking the porridge, looking sleepy, resembling a student going to early classes.

For the first time, having breakfast with strangers in an unfamiliar place, Zhou Kaiji strangely relaxed, not as tense as before.

Chen Luosong glanced sideways at the person sitting next to him.

The school uniform looked normal at first glance, but it seemed small on the high school student, with the sleeves and hem a bit short, like an old piece of clothing from a long time ago.

After just a glance, he slowly withdrew his gaze and yawned halfway through drinking the soy milk.

After finishing breakfast, they got back on the car from last night.

Chen Luosong leaned back in his seat and asked, “Do you have any other plans after work today besides your part-time job?”

Sitting next to him, Zhou Kaiji said no.

Today was Friday, so they finished school early, and his part-time job had more hours than usual, making it the busiest day.

“Alright then.”

Chen Luosong changed his position, trying to negotiate with him, suggesting to allocate some time this afternoon for something else.

He wanted to do a DNA test.

He wouldn’t make a mistake in finding the person, but he needed an objective judgment from a legal standpoint.

The high school student only needed to agree or refuse, and he would handle the rest.

Zhou Kaiji agreed.

He also wanted to know.

From yesterday until today, the time for him to process the information was too short. He didn’t have time to think about the deeper meaning of blood relations; he just wanted the truth.

Chen Luosong said, “Alright.”

The car drove past the roundabout, merged onto the main road, circled around the block, and finally stopped by the roadside.

The school gate was just a hundred meters away. Before Zhou Kaiji got out of the car, Chen Luosong waved his hand and said, “See you this afternoon.”

Zhou Kaiji got out of the car and politely said goodbye.

The person in the car still waved his hand.


Zhou Kaiji thought for a moment and then tentatively raised his hand, waving slowly and saying, “…See you this afternoon.”

The person in the car nodded satisfactorily and finally put down his hand.

Carrying his school bag, Zhou Kaiji felt the morning breeze blowing, but his clothes were warm, no longer as chilling as before.

The high schooler walked along the roadside, and as he entered the school gate, a black car drove away from the road.

Inside the car, Chen Luosong glanced at the messages on his phone with lowered eyes and also told the driver, “Inform Uncle Zhang to have the notary lawyer ready. The test results will be out tonight.”

The driver agreed and then asked if they were going to the company.

“No, turn around and go to the East District to meet someone,” Chen Luosong put down his phone and yawned again, “Let those people at the board wait for another two days.”


Zhou Kaiji studied quietly for the whole day.

Having rested well yesterday, he didn’t slump on the desk as usual after coming to school today, listening attentively in class and doing homework after class.

He had missed many classes before, falling behind in the curriculum for quite a while.

Seeing that he didn’t collapse in class, his desk mate seemed a bit surprised but didn’t say anything, just glanced over this way a couple of times.

It had been almost two years since the high school classes were divided, and he had been in this class for a year and a half. Classmates were familiar with each other, small groups were formed, and relationships were established to varying degrees.

Zhou Kaiji’s focus was mostly on studying and part-time work. He didn’t socialize much at school, so it was natural for him to be on the sidelines. No one paid too much attention to him, and no one asked about the change today. Only during casual conversations did someone mention, “The person who usually nods off in class didn’t sleep today.”

Zhou Kaiji lowered his head and continued writing, while there was commotion at the front door.

Someone had come to deliver documents to the class monitor, and people around rushed to see what was happening.

The person delivering the documents was Li Yue from another class. He had good grades and was handsome. He had spoken a few times as a student representative before, so both teachers and students knew him. Since the homeroom teacher was also the grade director, he often asked Li Yue to deliver documents to various classes.

Zhou Kaiji didn’t know him well.

During assembly activities, he usually caught up on sleep in the classroom, even after class.

Li Yue handed over a stack of documents and briefly glanced at the classroom while explaining to the class monitor. He saw the person sitting quietly in the corner, buried in their studies, and quickly looked away.

Recognizing a few people in the class, Li Yue greeted them and then proceeded to the next class with the stack of documents.

Li Yue delivered holiday notices emphasizing safety, a routine occurrence a few days before the weekend. Students were required to sign the notices and take them home for their parents to sign.

The arrival of the notices signaled the approaching holiday, which was welcomed by the students. During break time, the class monitor distributed the notices.

Zhou Kaiji tucked the thin sheet of paper into his backpack and continued working on his exercises with his head down.

In the final class of the afternoon, a few minutes before dismissal, the classroom began buzzing with activity as students quietly packed their bags, eagerly waiting to rush out of the classroom when the bell rang.

The teacher went overtime.

As soon as the class ended, some students dashed out of the classroom without a moment’s delay.

Zhou Kaiji walked among the crowd with his backpack on his back.

By this time, the school gate was crowded with students leaving, parents picking up their children, and even entire families gathered there, scanning the exiting students.

None of this concerned Zhou Kaiji.

He had never been picked up or dropped off by anyone. His usual route was from the school gate to the nearby bus stop. If it was close to his part-time job and he had enough time, he would walk directly to work.

But today was slightly different.

Stepping out of the gate, Zhou Kaiji stood still and scanned the crowd at the entrance.

His gaze moved from front to back, passing over heads of various hair colors. He looked around, but still didn’t see the person he had seen this morning.

Students continued to exit behind him, finding their parents or leaving in groups.

With one hand gripping his backpack strap, Zhou Kaiji withdrew his gaze and stood quietly in place.

As the number of students leaving the school dwindled, the surrounding crowd also dispersed.

No one came for him.

His part-time work for the afternoon had been canceled, and he had nowhere to go.

He could try contacting his supervisor now; maybe he could still go to work.

Zhou Kaiji stood quietly for a while, eventually ending up on a less crowded side of the road. He lowered his head and took out his phone, opening his contacts.

The phone, as usual, took a moment to respond before finally switching screens.

Scrolling down, there was a new contact above the supervisor, with the call history showing as [0].

His gaze skimmed over the new contact and finally stopped at the supervisor’s number. Zhou Kaiji’s hand holding the backpack strap moved slightly, then he pressed the call button.

“Have you been waiting long?”

The phone was old and sluggish. Even after pressing the call button, it didn’t immediately connect. Just before the call went through, a familiar voice came from behind him. Zhou Kaiji’s finger slipped and he pressed the back button.

Turning around, he saw the familiar features partially obscured by scattered hair.

He had arrived.

“Sorry, traffic was jammed on the way,” Chen Luosong wiped his face as if sweating (although there wasn’t any), chuckled, and said, “Two cats were fighting on the road.”

“Not long.”

Zhou Kaiji put away his phone and called out, “Secretary Chen.”

“Call me Brother Chen.”

Chen Luosong raised his hand to pat Zhou Kaiji’s shoulder and said, “I walked a bit and got a bit tired. Let me lean on you for a moment.”

Although he said that, he had already leaned on him before finishing the sentence.

Zhou Kaiji caught a familiar faint and pleasant scent.

Since parking wasn’t allowed here, the car was parked further ahead. Chen Luosong then led the way in a different direction.

The two figures blended into the crowd seamlessly, as if it was natural for them to be like that.

Halfway down the road, the person with his hand on the other’s shoulder led the way and patted his shoulder, saying, “Most people would ask why cats fight on the roadside at that moment.”

The person being patted seemed to think for a moment, then simply replied, “Is that so.”

The person beside them chuckled again, calling him amusing.

From childhood to now, Zhou Kaiji had always been the quietest and most reserved among his peers.

For over a decade, this was the first time he had heard someone say he was amusing.

Not knowing how to respond and unsure of what was amusing about himself, he fell into silence.

Secretary Chen temporarily acted as a guide, leading the way past the section of the road where parking was prohibited, past the corner, and onto another street.

After turning the corner, a row of parked cars came into view.

—Along with two cats in the middle of the road, entangled and meowing at each other.

Zhou Kaiji: “…”

So, there really were cats fighting on the road.

<< _ >>

Related Posts

Leave a Reply