Chapter 10 – Astray Youth (10)

Upon returning to the banquet hall, Yuan Yan immediately went to get a drink. As he turned around, he ran into his group of friends. One of them asked, “Where did you go just now? We’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

Another friend glanced at him and remarked, “Your clothes look a bit disheveled, what happened?”

“Just went outside for some fresh air,” Yuan Yan unconsciously adjusted his tie again and said, “Why were you looking for me?”

His friends found it a bit odd and gave him another look before one of them said, “We wanted to invite you to come watch the excitement with us.”

Not long after, a hotel security guard rushed up and said someone from downstairs had seen what looked like someone about to fall from the upper floors. They checked the balcony but didn’t see anyone in danger of falling. The security guard had left, and it seemed to be a misunderstanding.

Yuan Yan wiped his face, unconsciously took another sip of his drink.

“Don’t drink too much,” his friend advised, “Your face and neck are all red.”

Standing together, another friend dressed in flashy attire approached with a fruit tray, pointing in a direction and saying, “Look, isn’t Secretary Chen’s tie clip missing?”

The person he pointed at was standing quietly in the center of the crowd, listening to others talk. His deep blue tie was still neat and tidy, but the usual silver tie clip was nowhere to be seen.

Yuan Yan had one hand in his pocket and took a slow sip of his drink.

Chen Luosong only realized the missing tie clip after being reminded by others. Some people wanted to ask for help from the hotel to search for it, but he didn’t seem to care much and said it wasn’t necessary.

Someone asked about his plans for tomorrow.

By the time the dinner ended, it would certainly be late, so he would most likely stay here for the night. If his flight was late the next day, he would have some time to spare. He usually stayed in A City and rarely came to the south. When he did come, it was always for specific reasons. Opportunities like today were rare, so he would make the most of it.

Chen Luosong said, “I’m going back tonight.”

The person next to him was surprised, glanced at the time, and asked, “It’s so late, are you still going back?”

Chen Luosong nodded and confirmed his decision.


A City

The alarm clock placed by the bedside rang as the sky was still dim. The person sitting at the desk stopped writing, stood up, and walked towards the bed. He bent down to turn off the alarm clock and picked up his phone lying nearby.

There were no new messages.

Zhou Kaiji opened the top chat box, but the latest message was still from last night.

He lowered his head and put the phone in his pocket. Then, he returned to the desk, closed the open book, and put it in his backpack. Carrying the backpack, he went downstairs.

The breakfast table was still empty this morning.

As he quietly put down his backpack, Aunt Zhou, who brought breakfast over, greeted him with a good morning and then smiled, “It’s snowing today, it looks beautiful outside.”

Zhou Kaiji glanced towards the window.

When he woke up, it was still dark, so he didn’t notice the snow. Now that it was a bit brighter, he could vaguely see the white on the trees outside the window.

He withdrew his gaze and slowly took a sip of the porridge.

He wondered if Secretary Chen’s place was also experiencing snow.


The vibrating sound of the phone placed on the table, Zhou Kaiji reached out and picked it up.

On the originally blank screen, there was now a notification, indicating a new message.

[It’s snowing, wear warmer clothes.]

The butler passed through the corridor and immediately noticed the person sitting at the table with a faint smile on their lips.

On winter mornings, the time from darkness to dawn was not particularly long.

It had snowed the night before, but today the weather was good. The sun was out, shining through the windows into the room, making it brighter than usual.

After breakfast, Zhou Kaiji put on his backpack and headed out.

It was indeed cold today; even the doorknob was freezing. Upon opening the door, there was nothing but a blanket of white outside.

The bright golden sunlight reflected off the snow, creating a dazzling glare. In the midst of the white snow, a figure stood quietly.

With his hand still on the icy doorknob, Zhou Kaiji looked over and slightly widened his eyes:

“Brother Chen?”

The person standing in the snow turned his head and waved briefly.

With his backpack on, Zhou Kaiji stepped into the snow, quickly approaching the figure. His footsteps left a series of messy prints in the soft snow.

Standing in the snow, every breath produced visible white vapor. Stopping in front of the quietly standing person, he said, “Brother Chen, you’re back.”

His tone was calm but with a hint of unease.

“Since Brother Chen’s back, why not come in?” Seeing the white snow mingled in Secretary Chen’s hair, he asked again, “How long have you been here, Brother Chen?”

Chen Luosong said it hadn’t been long, then added, “There’s a smell of alcohol on me, just airing it out outside.”

Last night, he didn’t drink much, but he still carried a strong smell on him. Although most of it had dissipated on the way, he still wasn’t used to bringing that scent back to his room.

He should have been able to return earlier and take a shower, but due to the complicated weather, the flight was delayed, taking off later than expected.

The high schooler looked at him, momentarily silent with wide eyes.

Having spent some time together, Zhou Kaiji also knew some of Secretary Chen’s habits, such as taking a shower before resting after work.

With the lingering smell of alcohol on him, it meant he hadn’t rested yet; he rushed back immediately after the dinner ended.

While the high schooler was momentarily distracted, Chen Luosong conducted an impromptu inspection of his attire. After the inspection, he patted the person’s back and said, “I told you to dress warmly.”

This person responded quickly to messages but didn’t add an extra layer of clothing.

Zhou Kaiji was sent back to put on more clothes.

This time, he seemed to run both ways, coming back panting with an extra scarf in his hand. Finally, he looked a bit more energetic, typical of someone his age.

The scarf was red, a very vibrant color contrasting sharply with the white snow.

He had brought this scarf for Chen Luosong.

It was the high schooler’s first time tying a scarf for someone else, and his technique was quite clumsy, showing signs of nervousness. He ended up sweating profusely while tying it in the snow.

Secretary Chen didn’t refuse him and patiently waited for him to adjust it.

With the task completed, Chen Luosong praised the high schooler, then patted his shoulder and said, “Let’s get in the car.”

The driver was already waiting at the entrance with the car running, the interior warmed up nicely. As they got into the car, they instantly felt the warmth.

The two sat in the back seat, Chen Luosong taking off his thick coat as the car began to move slowly.

Originally, Zhou Kaiji was sitting with his backpack, but then he turned his head to look at the person sitting next to him.

Normally, Secretary Chen wore only a shirt underneath his thick coat, with the tie loosely hanging around his neck.

Looking down, Zhou Kaiji asked, “Where’s the small clip on Brother Chen’s tie?”

“The tie clip?” Chen Luosong glanced down as well and said, “It fell off.”

Not particularly concerned about the tie clip, he turned his gaze to the high schooler, briefly gesturing around his eyes, and asked, “How did you sleep last night?”

Zhou Kaiji wanted to say he slept well, but when his gaze met the light-colored pupils, he hesitated and said, “I couldn’t sleep.”

He couldn’t sleep so he simply stayed awake until the alarm went off for studying.

Chen Luosong asked, “Did you have a nightmare?”

Zhou Kaiji nodded.

Chen Luosong half-opened his eyes and looked over, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Zhou Kaiji lowered his head and said, “It was too late at that time.”

It was just a nightmare, no matter how real it seemed, it was just a dream, just a minor thing. Such trivial matters were not worth disturbing Secretary Chen.

Then, his hair was roughly ruffled.

After the high schooler’s hair was left in disarray, Chen Luosong finally withdrew his hand and smiled, saying, “Next time something like this happens, come find me, even if I’m not around, send a message.”


The car moved along the road, and outside the window, there was an ever-changing landscape of white, reflecting light under the sun.

Zhou Kaiji couldn’t tell if it was the light from the snow outside the window or the smile half-hidden in the red scarf that was more dazzling.

He just held his backpack tighter and said, “Okay.”

The snowfall that began in the evening continued until the bright morning without any signs of stopping.

With the snow making the roads slippery, the driver drove even more cautiously and slowly than usual today. By the time they reached the usual drop-off point, it was almost time for classes.

Running out of time, the high schooler still managed to say goodbye as he got off the car.

Chen Luosong waved goodbye with a smile.

As the high schooler left, the vehicle resumed its journey. Just as it left the school area, the bell for class rang.

In that instant when the class bell rang, Zhou Kaiji stepped into the classroom right on time.

At this point, the teacher hadn’t arrived yet. Li Hua, who sat beside Zhou Kaiji, looked up and down at his tablemate, finally fixing his gaze on the disheveled hair and asked very seriously, “Did you go through a tornado on your way here?”


The next few days were dedicated to discussing exam papers.

By Friday, after nearly a week of anticipation, the students finally received their grades. The report cards were posted on the blackboard, and a crowd quickly formed around them after class.

Zhou Kaiji didn’t go, but Li Hua did, along with a bunch of others around him. They charged bravely into the crowd.

The brave ones went in courageously but came back weakly, drenched in sweat.

Zhou Kaiji, quietly working on his problems, was silently surrounded by a few of these brave warriors. Blocking out most of the light, he lifted his head and looked at the people standing by his desk.

In a silent exchange of glances, Li Hua slammed the table in frustration, “Zhou Kaiji! You cheated on us behind our backs!”

They seemed very emotional, especially Good Brother behind them, a massive figure with tear-filled eyes, looking as if he were on the verge of tears.

Zhou Kaiji didn’t say anything, lowering his head to look at the problem he had just started, and Li Hua also followed suit, looking down at it.


Li Hua fell silent for a moment.

He suddenly remembered that Zhou Kaiji had never cheated behind his back.

While he was lying down during breaks, this person was studying; when he was secretly eating snacks, this person was still studying; even when they went to check their grades, this person was still working on problems.

This person had always been open about studying, it’s just that Li Hua hadn’t paid attention.

Before he could finish his accusatory words, Li Hua couldn’t help but wipe his face.

What started as a scolding session ended up with him offering snacks, asking the hidden Learning God to help the neighbors around him.

While sharing the snacks, Li Hua also indulged himself with a few bites, cracking sunflower seeds. He also mentioned some news he had heard at the entrance: “I heard there will be scholarships at the end of this semester. Five thousand for first place, three thousand for second and third, and two thousand for fourth, fifth, and sixth place.”

He remarked, “That’s a hefty sum.”

As he made his remarks, the neighbor in front also turned around quietly to share some sunflower seeds.


Zhou Kaiji didn’t join in snacking, instead, he looked down at the tip of the pen in his hand and the unfinished problem, his fingers moving unconsciously.

He wondered how much a tie clip would cost.

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