Fu Cuo returned home, only to find that his phone was not dead, but broken. It would turn off automatically soon after charging and starting up.
The next day was the weekend, so he went to take his phone to a nearby repair shop. When he entered the door, he saw several familiar figures hanging around the counter.
They were the boys who cornered Sui Qingchi to “borrow” his phone in the corridor that day.
The boys were holding an iPhone 6+ in their hands. It seemed that they were going to sell it for money. He really couldn’t help but worry, “Is that yours?”
One of the tall boys turned to him. He raised his eyebrows and said, “Of course!”
Fu Cuo took the phone and turned it on. He handed it to them and asked, “Can you unlock it?”
The three boys tried to enter the password 5 times, naturally failing to get the right one. When they wanted to try for the sixth time, the boss said, “If you get the password wrong again, it’ll be locked.”
The three immediately stopped.
The boss confiscated the phone, telling the boys to leave. Before leaving, the tall boy seemed unable to swallow his breath. He turned back and pointed to Fu Cuo. He warned, “Mind your own business!”
Fu Cuo didn’t answer them, but he was also surprised. Sui Qingchi told him to “Mind his own business,” too. The same words sounded like buzzing flies.
His guess was mostly right. The phone belonged to Sui Qingchi, but with Sui Qingchi’s personality, it was estimated that if the phone was robbed, he wouldn’t report it to the teachers or his parents.
School bullying… When he thought of these two words being pressed on a teenager with such high self-esteem, he felt very …sad.
Sui Qingchi went back to school on Monday and was stopped by the female monitor as soon as he entered the classroom.
“Director Yang asked you to go to his office.”
A little confused, he subconsciously frowned, “Why?”
“I don’t know,” the female monitor looked at him more and said, “It should be fine.”
After all, Sui Qingchi’s grades were all so good.
Sui Qingchi didn’t go immediately. He went back to his seat, put down his bag and sat there for a while. He reassured himself, it shouldn’t be a big deal.
He wasn’t the only one called to the office, it was also the three boys who had robbed him of his phone in the corridor. There was an iPhone on Director Yang’s desk. When he came in, he said to him, “Come and see if this is yours.”
The three boys looked nervously at Sui Qingchi.
Sui Qingchi glanced at them, and walked forward without saying a word. He picked up the phone, entered the password and unlocked it.
He then nodded and calmly said, “It’s mine. I couldn’t find it in my desk.”
The three boys immediately jumped to their feet and cursed, “Sui Qingchi, fuck you! This is obviously what you want!”
Sui Qingchi was pushed by the angry boy. He staggered back two steps before standing still. He didn’t fight back. He just asked, “Why would I want to lose my phone?”
The boys went silent.
Director Yang stared at the three with a dark face. He waved his hand to Sui Qingchi to take away his phone. Sui Qingchi said, “Thank you, Director,” and left, but he didn’t go far.
Director Yang’s reprimands soon came from the office. Several boys were still arguing, but it didn’t help. Director Yang didn’t believe them at all.
Sui Qingchi listened from the corner with a cold face, before turning around to leave.
At noon, the school radio station made a notice to the whole school, the three boys were all reported. The whole school knew that they were thieves, but they didn’t know who the iPhone 6+ was stolen from. The news spread like wildfire, it was discussed madly in the campus.
Fu Cuo returned to school after lunch. When he went upstairs, he also heard a demerit recording notice. AK next to him turned his head and looked at several girls in the bathroom corridor who were full of gossip, “An iPhone 6+? There’s a rich second generation in our school?”
Fu Cuo went up the building without a sound. Tan Si, who was in front of him, looked back and said with a smile, “They found it after it was stolen. Is there a Sherlock Holmes here?”
Sui Qingchi listened to the announcement in class. He threw his phone into the bottom of his desk, and got up to go to the bathroom.
The cold water flowed on his fingers. He didn’t turn off the tap until the bell rang. He felt like his fingers were just pulled out of a ice cavern.
After returning to the classroom, there was a physics quiz. The test papers were handed down from the front. The female monitor in the front row saw him take over the stack of test papers with his red, freezing hands. She was shocked.
During the exam, he couldn’t even hold his pen properly. He had to take breaks to breathe, and yet his heart was happy and warm, like the scorching sun outside the windows.
In late November, Sui Qingchi had another birthday without blessings. From today on, he was 16 years old. He’s one step closer to his expected adulthood.
It was the weekend. When he came to the basketball court with his ball, he heard the sounds of a bouncing ball from the distance. Someone got there first.
He turned to leave, but he hesitated for a moment before turning back. For some reason, an idea came to mind – at least see who it was.
Around the wall, he saw the shooting figure under the ring.
His vision soared with the arc drawn by the three-pointer. The ball hit the basket and bounced up with a “Thud.” The dazzling winter sun was reflected on the corner of the backboard, glaring right at him, making him squint.
The 17-year-old boy picked up the ball, turned around, and saw him. After a while, he raised his hand to him, “What a coincidence!”
Sui Qingchi pressed down his baseball cap. He dribbled the ball as he walked over.
Every time the ball hit the ground, his anxiety melted like caramel in the sun. He didn’t expect to spend his 16th birthday with this person.
At that time, he was still reluctant.
How would he know that many years later, he’d wish to spend every birthday, every day, and every second of his life with this person.
Fu Cuo had been used to the reasonable and unreasonable collision whenever they played together. When his feint passed, Sui Qingchi grabbed his clothes as usual.
Maybe since it was in late autumn, everyone wore a little too much clothes, and as the ground were a little wet. Both of them lost their balance and fell to the ground.
Sui Qingchi felt that Fu Cuo’s body weighed heavily on his stomach. His brain suddenly froze, his eyes were empty. He couldn’t see anything, it was all black.
“You okay?” Fu Cuo got up to pull him, but he saw Sui Qingchi curled up on the ground, pressing his stomach. He seemed very uncomfortable, like he was in pain. “What’s wrong? Did you break something?”
Sui Qingchi repeatedly took slow breaths in that position. After a while, he saw something slowly appearing before his eyes. Fu Cuo squatted down to help him.
As soon as he pulled up his hand, his wrist fell on his palm like nothing. The weight was as light as a butterfly. He couldn’t help but be nervous, “Do you want to go to the hospital?”
“I’m kind of hypoglycemic,” Sui Qingchi said, his eyes were still unfocused as he wobbily stood up. “I’ll just sit down for a while.”
He couldn’t help but add under his breath, “It’s fine, don’t be scared.”
The boy beside him seemed to really be trying to calm down, holding his hand and squatting beside him.
Fu Cuo had never met anyone who’d faint due to low blood sugar. All he could do at the moment was to wait and see. The sunset shone on Sui Qingchi, trickling down his thin back.
Thin, he’s so thin, he thought. But he’s so rough when he hits me–
Sui Qingchi hung his head feebly, but his eyes couldn’t help glancing at the person beside him. Finally, he said, “Scared?”
Seeing that he’d regained his rebellious tone, Fu Cuo released his breath. He sat down beside him and asked, “Does this happen often?”
“If i’m hungry, yeah.” Sui Qingchi said.
Hearing this, Fu Cuo patted his shoulder and stood up, “Let me buy you something.”
“Senior,” Sui Qingchi shouted at him.
Fu Cuo turned his head and saw Sui Qingchi pointing at his back. As he didn’t have much strength, after briefly pointing, Sui Qingchi put his hand back on his knees, “Your pants.”
Fu Cuo turned around and saw the mud marks on the back of his pants. He laughed as he patted it off.
Sui Qingchi watched him go away. He couldn’t understand why, he just reminded him to pat his pants, but this person laughed. He had to admit that the smile blooming under this sunset glow, in this particular early winter, was incredibly beautiful and tender.
Five minutes later, Fu Cuo bought back some bread and yogurt. He took the yogurt cup with the straw inserted to Sui Qingchi, who was a bit dazed when he took it.
… It’s like a birthday cake with a candle, he thought to himself.
But then he sighed, he really was hopeless, wasn’t he?
Feeling his phone ringing in his pocket, Sui Qingchi silently drank his yogurt as he took a look it.
Fu Cuo notice that it was different. It wasn’t the previous Apple phone, but a domestic one. He was surprised, “Did you change your phone?”
Sui Qingchi didn’t answer. He chucked his phone away, “Don’t meddle in other people’s business next time.”
Fu Cuo didn’t understand, “And let you starve?”
“Not that,” Sui Qingchi lowered his head and discretely licked the corners of his lips. He was worried that it might’ve been stained with yogurt. He then stabbed and tore open the bread package.
Fu Cuo suddenly chuckled.
Sui Qingchi frowned, “What are you laughing at?”
“Say, did you really call me ‘Senior,’ before? I thought you’d never call me that.”
Sui Qingchi thought, That’s it? What’s so funny about that? A smile like that shouldn’t be given away so cheaply.
When he finished drinking the yogurt, he crushed the empty box, and threw it into the garbage can two meters away from them. He said, “Then I must’ve called you wrong.”
Fu Cuo uttered an “Ah?” and Sui Qingchi, who was chewing on his bread, didn’t say another word. Obviously, he was used to him. He had to “Oh,” again with a helpless smile. He sat and looked up at the sky, watching the red turn purple, it was just like their youth; full of bruises that would slowly heal.
Less than half a month after the phone theft, another violent incident occurred in the school. The protagonist this time was Sui Qingchi.
Fu Cuo heard people say that Sui Qingchi had a fight with someone in the basketball court. The other side was one of the boys who’d been recorded with a demerit before.
According to the witnesses, Sui Qingchi was very strategic when he fought. He knew that he couldn’t fight three people alone, so he only locked on one person. He got his target and beat him up.
The scene at that time was how Sui Qingchi rode on the boy, punching him until his mother couldn’t even recognize him. The other two boys pulled and kicked Sui Qingchi behind his back, but it was useless. They dragged him so frantically and kicked him horribly. The difference was like a hyena and a lion.
When the PE teacher came to pull them apart, many boys at the scene saw the tragic nosebleed. They all said, ‘Sui Qingchi won.’
Mr. Xu let the onlookers disperse and asked what the matter was. The three people rattled on Sui Qingchi with their tongues in their mouth.
Teacher Xu asked him, “Did you move firs—”
Sui Qingchi confessed before he finished asking. He was too bold.
The teacher felt a headache brewing as he asked him, “Why?”
Sui Qingchi shrugged, he pulled up his coat and said, “Because he’s ugly. Such an eyesore kept appearing in front of me.”
In the end, no one knew why Sui Qingchi actually fought them, but it was certainly not because of the phone theft. How long has it been since that incident? It was impossible to want to settle accounts after a whole season passed.
Fu Cuo was always a little concerned. According to the informed students, Sui Qingchi went to the locker room on the first floor to store his changed uniform after PE class.
His face looked grim as he walked to the infirmary to ask the teacher for a bandage, which was wrapped around his hands. At that time, no one knew that he was preparing to hit someone. They all thought that he just injured himself while playing.
The lockers were in the lobby on the first floor. Sui Qingchi’s lockers were in the row near the outside. It was very easy to find. Fu Cuo changed his sneakers and came out. After a long time of conflict, he walked past the door.
Someone nervously pulled the cabinet door, but it really wasn’t closed when they were done. Before he made up his mind to open it, the cabinet door was slammed back with a loud “Bang!”
Fu Cuo was startled. He saw Sui Qingchi standing next to him, unknown to him when he had came. He didn’t make a sound when he approached. But this slam made the whole row of cabinets tremor. The grumpy sound reverberated in the cold, first floor hall.
Sui Qingchi put his hand on the locker door and coldly looked at him, “I told you to mind your own business.”
Fu Cuo glanced at the edge of his sleeve, his eyes widened with shock.
Sui Qingchi didn’t look at him. He locked the key, and turned around to walk away.
After being beaten by Sui Qingchi, the boy was sent to the infirmary and didn’t return to class all afternoon. Logically, Fu Cuo knew that most of this had nothing to do with him, but he couldn’t get rid of the feeling that he might’ve caused a butterfly effect.
After a restless class, he decided to go to the infirmary.
On the one hand, he was worried about whether Sui Qingchi would cause more trouble. He felt that he was determined not to be merciful. But on the other, he just wanted to know what the truth was.
When he arrived, the healthcare teacher wasn’t there. The injured boy was lying on his side on the bed. He heard his footsteps and immediately turned his head like a frightened mouse.
Seeing that he was still able to hold a phone in his hands, Fu Cuo knew that it was probably just a flesh wound. He let out a breath in relief, it’s nothing serious.
“What are you doing here?” The boy sat up and looked at him warily, obviously remembering him.
“What did you put in his locker?” Fu Cuo asked.
“Oh, he has no face to tell you?” The boy was beaten black and blue, and yet he was still able to ramble, “Because his mother is his father’s secret little bitch. That day, his mother was slapped in the face in Xintiandi square. Many people saw her. She’s a well-known whore, and he’s a wild bastard!”
Fu Cuo was stunned. He felt like he was the one who was slapped in the face. That kind of burning shame, anger and indignity had not struck him in a long time.
He immediately understood what Sui Qingchi was doing. He knew too well that it was one of those things; the few things in his life that he’d never want anyone to know.
When he was young, he was always asked, “How come you’re called Fu CuoT/N: His ‘Cuo’ could mean ‘Mistake,’ if you forgot.?”
He always heard people he knew, and even sometimes don’t, muttering behind his back. Pondering about how could a parent name a child like this.
This name was like an ugly scar. There was a time when he dreamed of changing it. He wanted to have a name that would portray the love of his parents like other children, but when he was given the chance, he found that this name was already inseparable from him.
Even if he changed his name, he couldn’t change the Fu Cuo in people’s memory. He can’t change the years he lived as Fu Cuo. He can’t change how he came, and stayed in this world.
There were so many good names, but none of them was him. Only Fu Cuo was. He was Fu Cuo.
“It’s your fault,” the boy’s hiss interrupted his trance. “I didn’t want to stimulate him like this, but who asked you to rat on us?”
“If you knew that I did it, why didn’t you come to me?”
The boy punched the pillow, “Because that bastard Sui Qingchi lied! Anyway, there’s no one here, let me tell you. We asked him to borrow his phone that day. He threw it into the urinal and said he didn’t want it anymore.”
He repeated as he scolded, “He threw the phone into the urinal himself. He said he didn’t want it, and let us pick it up by ourselves if we wanted it! Don’t you think he’s a son of a bitch?!”
Fu Cuo was really surprised. To humiliate them, Sui Qingchi threw his phone into the urinal without hesitation. And what’s more was that these guys were actually willing to fish it up from there for money.
His head was filled with various thoughts until after school.
He, Tan Si, and AK was heading to the factory to rehearse together. When he passed the trash can outside the school, his footsteps subconsciously slowed. He remembered that Sui Qingchi seemed to throw something in it when he walked away last time.
“Fu Cuo?” Tan Si called to him from the front.
“…I think I left my phone in class,” he touched his pockets as he said, “You guys go on ahead.”
Tan Si nodded, while AK said to hurry as the two walked away, talking and laughing.
Fu Cuo watched the two walk across the road, came to the trash can, and glanced inside. Sure enough he saw something torn into pieces. As he picked them up, he realized that it was a printed screenshot from an AVAdult Video; porn. film.
The screenshots that came out were already unsightly, but the words, “Son of a Bitch,” were written clearly on top of it.
The ire made him clench his fists. He wanted to throw it back immediately, but he stopped himself. He tore the scraps of paper more until they couldn’t be identified, then threw them into another trash can a dozen meters away.
Lifting his head, although there were filthy things in the trash can, he saw that the sky was still so blue. He couldn’t help thinking of his first encounter with Sui Qingchi on the bus.
Was it like what they say, ‘love at first sight’, I wonder.
When he finally reached the rehearsal site, Tan Si noticed how he seemed to have something on his mind and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Fu Cuo smiled reassuringly. He put down his guitar case, and asked curiously, “The boy who fought this morning, Sui Qingchi, do you know him?”
“From the fight in the gym?” Tan Si’s hand on the bass strings paused. He said with admiration, “I didn’t before, but I do now.”
“I know him!” AK put down his drum sticks and gossiped, “My cousin is in the same class as him. The person who had his iPhone stolen last time was also him. He’s a rich second-generation. Well, his family seems to be rich, but I think he has a bad relationship with his mom.”
He continued, “I heard that his grades were pretty good. My cousin said that he’s always in the top ten of their grade. But see, one time, on the day of a parent-teacher meeting, I don’t know what the head teacher said, but they must’ve said something. Because as they left, Sui Qingchi and his mom were arguing, like really loudly! Near the gates, just before his mom got in the car he apparently yelled, ‘Just leave!’ to her!”
Fu Cuo quietly listened. He then got up and plugged in his guitar. He said, “Let’s rehearse.”