COR Chapter 13

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Sunset

Bian Shengjian couldn’t tell how he felt for a moment until the broom in his hand was gently taken away and he came back to his senses–

“Looks like your hand is throbbing with pain, give it to me.” Lu Shen said.

Bian Shengjian glanced at him and was too lazy to pretend to be polite. “Okay.”

“Shengjian, you’ve worked so hard.” The squad leader holding a broom, patted his shoulder with a smile. “I can see that your physical strength is very good.”

“Generally average, third in the world.” Bian Shengjian said modestly.

“Shut up. But this time, you really held on and pretended to be fine.” Zhou Li waved his broom and pointed at several girls in the crowd. “Look, after knowing that you are going to be punished with sweeping the playground, a bunch of your little fans came and joined right away. I couldn’t stop them!”

“Zhou Li, shut up! Don’t be annoying!” The blushing girls hidden within the crowd laughed and scolded Zhou Li.

“Thank you.” Bian Shengjian opened his mouth but was at a loss for words. He could only silently retreat to the side while massaging and stretching his sore arms as he looked at the group of people chatting with enthusiasm and sweeping the ground.

As Lu Shen dumped a handful of fallen leaves into a big trash can, when he turned around, he saw the painful expression flashing on Bian Shengjian’s face. “Are you alright? Is it still very painful? Do you want to go to the school infirmary?”

“It’s alright,” Bian Shengjian sighed, “it’s just that I haven’t exercised in a while, so it’s a little strained.”

Lu Shen didn’t speak anymore, stopped, and watched the elongated shadows of the group of people for a long time in the light of the setting sun.

Bian Shengjian suddenly felt that this was a very novel experience. The runway track was dyed golden due to the sunset, the sound of sweeping dried fallen leaves was in his ears, as well as the laughter and voices in the distance. 

“You used to be alone.” Lu Shen sat down on the grass near him and the setting sun’s rays hit his side profile. That’s why when Bian Shengjian looked down at him, he could almost see the tiny hairs on Lu Shen’s face.

“Don’t be lazy, are you not ashamed that while others are working, you’re just sitting here?” Bian Shengjian gave him a sidelong glance, but he still sat down beside him.

Although the school ground was still hot and dry, the wind blowing on the face was quite comfortable, and it also smelled of grass and soil, which was much better than the artificial grass that was laced with rubber and plastic from his previous school. Bian Shengjian squinted his eyes and couldn’t help taking a few deep breaths before letting it out slowly. “What about you?”

“I’m not always alone.” Bian Shengjian turned his head and glanced at Lu Shen, and suddenly found that his face, which was lit by the sun, looked quite beautiful, but his expression while facing forward was too calm at the moment and even looked a little sad.

“Hmm?” Lu Shen tilted his head at him. Looking confused as to why Bian Shengjian didn’t believe his words.

“Don’t act cute.” Bian Shengjian poked out a finger in disgust and slowly turned his head away, “Why do I not see you talking to our classmates?”

“Don’t I talk to you?” Lu Shen rubbed his nose and smiled.

“I’m serious, tell me the truth.” Bian Shengjian frowned, “Are they shunning you?”

Bian Shengjian first felt that Lu Shen had a weird temperament. He would also often say that he was a ghost and other messy things. But after having gotten along with Lu Shen for a while now, Bian Shengjian is beginning to think Lu Shen was not too bad.

“What is really going on in this person’s mind?”

“Why does he want to stay away from the crowd?”

“Why does he seem to be as incompatible with the public as me?”

“Why… did he choose to approach me from the start?”

When these thoughts popped into Bian Shengjian’s mind, he couldn’t help but lean back, his eyes still fixed on Lu Shen. “Come on, tell me why?”

“Third brother,” Lu Shen’s tone was very light, but it sounded a bit strained. “Do you think that people like me seem to be particularly nosy and annoying?”

“I didn’t ask you about this,” Bian Shengjian interrupted him impatiently, “Haven’t you already been concerned about little things regarding me since the beginning of school? I’m asking why you don’t get in touch with other people but come to me every day like a stalker. “

“I looked like a stalker? I shouldn’t be ba!” Lu Shen couldn’t help laughing a few times, but raised his eyes and saw faint anger behind Biang Shenjian’s eyes. “Okay, just pretend. Pretend to be stupid, that’s all you do.”

Lu Shen paused for a moment, and then he heard Bian Shengjian say word by word, “Let me tell you this Lu Shen, I like men.”

Lu Shen looked at him in astonishment.

“So,” Bian Shengjian took a deep breath, “everything that you do to me may seem like nothing when done to others, but not with me. I’m also always fucking cranky. I easily get uncomfortable or disgusted, do you understand?”

Lu Shen still looked at him silently and nodded lightly for a long time.

Bian Shengjian retracted his gaze and rubbed his temples with his fingertips. Crazy. Really crazy. To come out to someone so casually, and to come out so confidently and naturally. ‘Third brother, are you being thick-skinned again?’

“Then I will…” Lu Shen hesitated for a while before slowly saying, “Be more careful next time.”

‘Do you actually hear yourself saying that! Why don’t you just say stay away directly?’

Bian Shengjian raised his head and glared at him. “In short, since I’ve already told you that, you can figure it out yourself in the future.”

“Then since you’ve said your secret, Third Brother, let me tell you a little secret of mine too.” Lu Shen lowered his eyes and laughed suddenly, “Do you want to listen?”

“Do you have to speak like squeezing toothpaste?” Bian Shengjian was a little speechless. “Isn’t it annoying? Hurry up.”

“I actually…feel quite inferior about myself.” Lu Shen’s eyes were a little dim, and he raised his finger and pointed to the group of people in front of them. “I don’t know how to get along with other people, and I don’t know if others will notice my existence. Sometimes I take a breath when I feel intimidated and I’m also afraid of crowds. That’s why I was used to being alone before.”

“No. Lu Shen, were you just talking nonsense without even blinking?” Bian Shengjian looked at him in shock, “You have low self-esteem? You like to be alone? Were you fucking possessed by ghosts before?”

“But you are an exception,” Lu Shen hesitated for a few seconds, probably influenced by what Bian Shengjian said just now, and then tried his best to express it euphemistically. “I just feel very comfortable staying with you, but it doesn’t really mean anything else.”

“…What on earth makes you have this illusion?” Bian Shengjian twitched the corners of his mouth, remembering the scene where he was very reluctant to walk inside this school for the first time, and then thought of the current situation of being told in front of his face that Lu Shen felt comfortable being with him, he really doesn’t want to believe it.

“Are you fooling me again?” Bian Shengjian said through gritted teeth.

“I’m serious.” Lu Shen looked at him and said seriously. “Actually, you’re a good person, but you don’t know it yourself.”

Bian Shengjian stayed silent.

“Brother!” “Shengjian!”

There were two shouts in the distance. Zhou Li rushed up with a smile on his sweaty face. “It’s done! Aren’t we just awesome!”

“You’re all awesome.” Bian Shengjian looked around and saw that there were no more fallen leaves on the ground. He sighed with relief and bumped Zhou Li’s fist with his. 

“Thank you for your hard work.”

“It’s alright. It was a piece of cake.” Zhou Li said and wiped off his sweat again. Bian Shengjian noticed his palm was rubbed red, and immediately snatched it and looked at it over. “Is the skin broken?”

“Huh? No.” Zhou Li quickly pulled his hand back, “I’m not a little girl, and my hands are not that tender.”

“Okay.” Bian Shengjian frowned and nodded slightly to the class monitor behind him.”To thank you all, I’ll treat everyone to a meal tonight. Treat it as payment for your hard work.”

“Really?” Zhou Li raised his head abruptly and touched his nose a little embarrassedly. “This is not very good, we have so many people, you might spend a lot of money on us.”

“Not at all.” Bian Shengjian sighed, “I use RMB to wipe my butt when I go to the toilet, so I don’t lack money for a meal.”

“Damn.” Zhou Li laughed so hard that he almost choked, “Okay! I’ll go and talk to a few of them, where are we going to eat tonight?”

“Go to…” Bian Shengjian paused for a moment. Before, even if he had to close his eyes, he could name all the delicious and fun things in the streets near his home, but can’t now, since he’s still a newcomer and unfamiliar with the place. When it comes to choosing a restaurant, even if he himself had only gone out for one meal, he had absolutely no idea where to take this large group of people at all. “Why don’t you choose, I don’t know any good places.”

“Okay, when I was working part-time, I found a good hotpot restaurant on North-South Lane,” Zhou said and snapped his fingers. “Their beef louver is really good! And their celestial coriander beef is also amazing! “

“What celestial…….just go there.” Bian Shengjian nodded in consternation. “Anyhow, I’m not familiar with it.”

“Brother will take you tonight! Let you feel the atmosphere of our small city!” Zhou Li smiled and hugged his shoulder, which happened to pull Bian Shengjian’s sore arm. He had to grit his teeth and said in a low voice, “…Zhou Li! You’re looking for death!”

Standing not far away, Lu Shen folded his arms and watched and couldn’t help laughing out loud. After laughing, he suddenly became emotional. He turned his back to Bian Shengjian and quickly wiped his eyes with his hands.

Bian Shengjian didn’t know that hot pot restaurants can still be opened in such corners.

Lao Dao Hotpot Restaurant. Well, the name sounds quite domineering. But isn’t this shop a bit small, and the decoration was also so down to earth. Wait, the floor isn’t also tiled?

(t/n Lao Dao- Old Knife or Old Sword)

 Bian Shengjian was immediately overwhelmed by the spicy hot pot fragrant as soon as he entered, but when he saw the environment in the store, he subconsciously disliked it. “This place…”

“Boss lady! Is there any private room?” Zhou Li suddenly shouted at the store.

“Yes! How many people!” The proprietress shouted back.

“A dozen!” Zhou Li waved his hand aggressively.

Bian Shengjian, who was about to speak, was surprised by the loud exchange that just happened in front of him. After digging out his ears, he inexplicably followed a group of people into a small private room. The waiter had to bring a few chairs from outside because there weren’t enough. As the number of people entering increased, he felt that it was crowded. When everyone around sat down, he felt like they were sitting on a meat paste, forcibly expanding the narrowed space.

“Or, we might as well change to a bigger place?” Bian Shengjian squeezed a little harder, feeling that even the air was thinning.

“This is already the largest private room,” the waiter said amid a crowd of noisy people.

“Order!” Zhou Li waved again.

Bian Shengjian used to go out to eat hotpot with three other people, and he had never tried to squeeze inside a large group of crowd. The scene was chaotic like a vegetable market. He let Zhou Li decide on what to order and as for the taste of the dishes… Bian Shengjian silently glanced at this large group of people and sincerely felt that as long as they were full, everything else was unimportant. 

“Brother, do you want to drink?” Zhou Li flicked the menu and raised his chin, “How about your drinking tolerance?”

“Better than you.” Bian Shengjian said.

“Okay!” Zhou Li excitedly called the waiter. “Two dozen ‘Xue Ha’, four bottles of ‘Niu Er’!”

“I invited you for a meal, not to drink to death.” Bian Shengjian rubbed his forehead.

“Don’t worry, these people can hold their liquor very well.” Zhou Li pointed at the boys sitting next to him with a smile, and the topic changed again. “But you girls should not drink. No one would dare to carry you back once you’re all drunk.”

“It’s alright, we’ll just drink juice.” A girl named Huihui shook the cup in her hand and smiled at Bian Shengjian. “Thank you, Young Master Bian, for inviting us to dinner.”

“No, you…” Bian Shengjian felt helpless, “You don’t need to call me that, just call me Xiao Jian.”

“Doesn’t that sound like an insurance seller?” Zhou Li burst out laughing.

“Xiao Jian?” At this moment, when Bian Shengjian heard someone talking to his ear, his scalp exploded. “Shouldn’t you be called Third Brother? Hmm?” 

“Go away.” Bian Shengjian roared threateningly in a low voice, “I’ll beat you if you dare come here.”

“…sorry, but it’s already crowded.” Lu Shen said helplessly.

“It’s here!” Someone shouted in the crowd, and before Bian Shengjian could turn around, the few dishes that had just been brought to the table were dumped into the pot, and a bunch of chopsticks had already gathered around the pot. Counting down the seconds for it to be ready to eat.

“Eat, eat, treat yourselves tonight!” Zhou Li roared, and then put his chopsticks into the pot.

Bian Shengjian could only stand up and join in the battle. In his more than ten years of life, he had never eaten around such a lively hotpot. Even the grabbing of a piece of meat depends on your skill. After finishing the first round, the speed of wolfing down the food and snatching meat had been greatly accelerated. Just following the rhythm of pouring the meat into the pot one after another and then rushing up to grab it, he was already leaning on his seat for a short while.

“Fuck…” Bian Shengjian reached out and touched his stomach.

The taste of the hotpot in this shop was really good. Although the ingredients were not top-notch, they tasted fresh.

“Brother Jian, here’s a toast to you!” Zhou Li stood up with a bright face and raised his cup at him. He drank it in one go and said, “Done!”

Bian Shengjian didn’t speak, just raised his cup and took a sip. “Thank you.”

“Shall we take a photo? Something to remember.” The girl named Huihui suddenly stood up and looked at Bian Shengjian carefully, “Is it alright?”

“Sure.” Bian Shengjian hesitated for a while and nodded, although he didn’t know what to commemorate. But looking at the mess around him, he couldn’t get a decent photoshoot mood. “How about we change to another place?”

“Don’t worry! It’s fine here.” Zhou Li yelled and called the waiter in again, turning his head to look at Bian Shengjian. “Brother Jian, can we use your mobile phone to take pictures? Here, your mobile phone is the most expensive, so the quality must be much better.”

“Okay.” Shengjian handed over his phone.

“Look at the camera! Come on. 1! 2! 3!” The waiter aimed the camera at the group of people.

“Cheese!” Zhou Li yelled. Everyone immediately moved in response to the sound and squeezed into a ball. Bian Shengjian instantly felt that he was squeezed flat. He could only helplessly tilt his head to the side which also happened to meet Lu Shen’s smiling eyes and his two shiny little tiger teeth.

“Are you happy tonight?” Lu Shen bent his eyes at him.

“I’m happy.” Bian Shengjian sighed.

“Look at the camera.” Lu Shen suddenly grabbed his shoulder, and the hot temperature of his palm seemed to penetrate through Shengjian’s clothes and onto his skin. He felt helpless and could only glare at Lu Shen before giving up.

“Young Master Bian will pay the bill tonight!” Zhou Li shouted with joy.

“Shut up!” Bian Shengjian gritted his teeth and shouted, but the moment the shutter was pressed, a smile appeared on his face, looking very wanton.

Lu Shen glanced at Shengjian from the corner of his eye, the strength in his hand tightened slightly, and he also showed a bright smile.

The author has something to say:

I also want to eat hotpot. 

Continue tomorrow.

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