Lovely Allergen - Chap 49
The expression on Song Yu’s face didn’t really change, and he also didn’t reply to Shen Mi’s question.
“It’s basic manners to introduce who you are when you’re at someone else’s door,” he mildly said.
The other person smiled when he heard this. He raked a hand through his hair and said, voice unconcerned, “That’s right, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Yue Zhishi’s classmate, in the same class. I’m Shen Mi.” He then glanced at the house number again. “I haven’t gone to the wrong place. I was here last time, and it was auntie who opened the door for me. You are?”
Song Yu appeared calm and composed, and the eyes looking at Shen Mi — they contained a naturally born aura that made it hard for others to get close to him.
“I’m his older brother.”
Shen Mi’s face looked slightly surprised. “He has a brother? Ah, that’s right — I think I’ve heard other people mention this before, but Yue Zhishi has never said anything to me.”
Song Yu raised an eyebrow. “He has also never said he has a classmate called Shen Mi.”
“No way? I’m already so close with auntie.” Shen Mi pulled out his phone, grinning, and opened his photo gallery. He scrolled until he found a video he’d recorded, clicked play and held it up to Song Yu.
He’d used an app to record Yue Zhishi while they were in class. In the video, Yue Zhishi was eating some snacks, and he kept using his hand to block the camera as he laughed, calling out Shen Mi’s name and telling him to stop recording.
“See, I sit behind Le Le.”
Song Yu watched the entire video, his face calm.
Shen Mi put away his phone. “But that’s fine, we can be considered as acquainted now. Bro, can you help me call him down? Since we have to go back to school to clean out our desks today, I wanted to go together with Le Le and play basketball afterwards.”
“He’s still sleeping.” Song Yu lowered his head to glance at his watch, and then he lifted his eyes again. He leaned against the doorframe and methodically said, “Let me remind you. Modern day science has resulted in something called a cellphone. You completely could have called Yue Zhishi a day ago and told him you wanted to go to school together with him at 9am on June 9th. This method is more likely to succeed than directly knocking on his house door. After all…”
Song Yu chuckled. “You wouldn’t know what he was doing last night or if he would be up late, would you?”
The grin on Shen Mi’s face faded a fair amount after he heard Song Yu speak, but it was only for two, three seconds before he nodded again, saying in a warm voice, “True, that’s on me for not thinking of everything. It’s just that I live nearby, so I came over in the spur of the moment. You don’t know this, but he’s normally very hard-working. He’s always the earliest to arrive in the morning, so I didn’t expect him to stay up late and laze about in bed as soon as the entrance exams were over.”
The smile on his face and the intimate way he phrased his words were all telling Song Yu: they were very good friends.
No matter how you look at it, blocking your younger brother’s friend outside was not a respectable way for an older brother to behave.
“Uhm, bro, I just ran over and am a bit thirsty. Can I come in for some water?” Shen Mi watched Song Yu. “I can also wait for him in the meantime.”
At the end, he entered, just like he wanted.
“Water’s on the kitchen island. There are other drinks in the fridge, take what you want.” Song Yu returned back to the kitchen counter after he finished speaking. He opened the packaged bottle of milk and poured it into a mug, putting it into the microwave to warm up.
Shen Mi also entered the kitchen and poured himself a cup of cold boiled water. Sound drifted down from upstairs after he silently drank half of it.
“Gege? Ge…” Yue Zhishi shuffled around in his slippers. He saw Song Yu’s open door with no one inside the room; he looked from upstairs into the living room, and it also didn’t look like anyone was in there. Thinking he wasn’t at home, he picked up Cotton Candy who was passing by and used a different way of calling as he played with Cotton Candy’s paws. “Song Yu?”
Song Yu carried the cup of milk and walked out of the kitchen. He tilted his head up and looked at Yue Zhishi once he got to the living room. “Who are you calling?”
Yue Zhishi’s hair was messy and disordered from sleeping. He gave Song Yu a guilty, yet silly, smile and called him gege, plopping onto the handrail.
Someone else appeared next to Song Yu, and Yue Zhishi froze in surprise. “Shen Mi? How come you’re here?”
“I want to go to school with you to clean out our desks. Did you forget the day before the exams we promised to play ball together after they were over?” Shen Mi placed his two hands on his hips and looked up at Yue Zhishi, smiling. “I can’t believe you’re still sleeping. Look at where the sun’s at?”
Yue Zhishi remembered. “Ah, yes. I played too late with my ge last night, I’ve completely forgotten about picking up my books.”
“Really?” Shen Mi sighed. “I ran over so early just to look for you. You can’t be standing me up, right?”
“No, but I don’t really want to play ball. Why don’t we just go clean out our stuff first.” Yue Zhisi looked again at Song Yu as he hugged Cotton Candy. “But Aunt Rong just called me and said we should go to Yanghe Qizhe for lunch.”
Song Yu didn’t speak. Instead, Shen Mi replied in excitement, “Really? That’s so good, auntie’s food is super yummy.”
Yue Zhishi was a bit apologetic about changing his mind about playing basketball, so he compensated by bringing up a suggestion he thought was a very good idea. “Then how about this, let’s first clean out our desks and then go to Yanghe Qizhe for lunch together.” He turned to look at Song Yu again, his face changing to an expression he always had whenever he wanted something. “Gege, can you drive me to school?”
Song Yu was silent for a second. “Am I a tool?”
Yue Zhishi immediately refuted, “Of course not, I just want you to go with me.”
At the end, Song Yu still agreed.
Yue Zhishi changed his clothes very quickly and came downstairs, and he even ran over very naturally to drink the warm cup of milk Song Yu was holding. Even though he wasn’t very happy about it, Song Yu still changed his clothes and went out with him when he thought about how inconvenient it’d be for Yue Zhishi to lug his books into a taxi.
Their journey to school now included one more person, and Song Yu in the driver’s seat suddenly became a bit unnecessary. Yue Zhishi sat in the passenger seat, and all the things he talked about with Shen Mi, who was sitting in the back, was about their class 10 — like the gratitude dinner party for their teachers, or who stayed overnight in an internet cafe or who confessed to whom after the entrance exams.
These were all blank areas Song Yu wasn’t familiar with; this was the first time he experienced the absurd idea that he actually didn’t understand Yue Zhishi as well as he thought he did.
The road to school also coincidentally made people impatient. They once again hit another red light, and Shen Mi was already talking about their summer plans. He chattered about a comic convention coming up in a month, and the topic just so happened to be what Yue Zhishi was most interested in.
“Are you going too?” Yue Zhishi twisted his entire body over. “I want to go too!”
Song Yu threw him a glance. “Sit properly. It’s dangerous.”
Yue Zhishi sat back down and faced ahead very obediently after he was chided. He peeped at Song Yu, and then he stretched out a hand to touch Song Yu’s arm. “Such a long red light.”
Song Yu felt this was one of Yue Zhishi’s ways of pacifying him — Yue Zhishi seemed to be really skilled at accomodating his moods. He pretty much only needed to reach out a hand, and he was able to cleanly, precisely catch his moods. But Song Yu thought again — maybe Yue Zhishi himself didn’t even know he was pacifying him.
Maybe he was just used to his temper and knew exactly how to handle it.
At the back, Shen Mi suggested going together and even said he had already prepared for it. “You can relax, you definitely won’t get lost if you follow me.”
The red light turned green, and Song Yu once again pressed on the accelerator. Yue Zhishi agreed to Shen Mi’s invitation.
Song Yu wasn’t able to go in when they were clearing out their desks; he was only able to wait in the car. Yue Zhishi and Shen Mi went back and forth a few times, and Shen Mi helped Yue Zhishi carry things in a very friendly manner He busied himself with every little thing, as if he himself didn’t have many books to clear out.
“Nope!” Yue Zhishi placed the last bundle of books into the car trunk. “I have everything.”
Shen Mi stood behind Yue Zhishi. “Thank you, brother Song Yu. Or else we might’ve needed to call a taxi.”
Song Yu closed the lid of the trunk, not speaking, and went directly to the driver’s seat and drove to Yanghe Qizhe. The timing was just right — Lin Rong was ordering the waiters to get the dishes ready just as they arrived. She saw Yue Zhishi enter the courtyard through the ceiling to floor windows, and when she saw Shen Mi also closely following behind him, she came out enthusiastically to welcome them.
Shen Mi knew exactly what to do. He went up to Lin Rong and said: “Auntie, I’m here to bother you again. Your food is just too delicious.”
“What’s all this nonsense about bothering me. If you like my food that much, then you can come here every day.” Lin Rong smiled as she pulled him in, not giving her own son a single look.
It was like Song Yu was an invisible person as he silently walked behind them. Only Yue Zhishi looked back, tugging at his arm, and said, “A young school sister gave me some milk tea earlier.”
Song Yu asked in reply, with not much inflection in his voice, “Was it nice?”
“I didn’t take it.” Yue Zhishi entered the restaurant, their table near the window. “I’m not the kind of scum man who takes someone else’s milk tea with a clear conscience even though I don’t like them.”
Song Yu lightly laughed. “You better not be.”
Yue Zhishi sat down and lifted his head to Song Yu, wrinkling his nose in uncertainty. It felt like there was a strange undertone to his words, as if he was angry at someone — and he even sat across from him.
Seeing Song Yu not speaking, Yue Zhishi actively went to sit next to him. “When does your summer holiday start? Let’s go swimming together, a new indoor pool opened nearby. The water’s really clean.”
“Indoor pool?” Shen Mi was helping Lin Rong bring out dishes. After he placed down a plate of sweet and sour fish, he sat across from Yue Zhishi. “Are you talking about the one near the subway? I just opened a membership.”
Song Yu hooked up the corners of his mouth and said to Yue Zhishi, “What luck, there’s someone to go with you to everything you want to do.”
Yue Zhishi looked at him and frowned. “You’re not going?”
Song Yu didn’t directly give him a response. Lin Rong came over, and Shen Mi shifted over slightly. “Auntie, you’ve worked hard!”
“It’s fine, there’s a few new dishes this time. I’m planning on promoting these this season, so why don’t you guys give them a try?”
As they ate, Lin Rong questioned how Shen Mi’s exams went. Shen Mi laughed as he gave a piece of fish picked free of bones to Yue Zhishi. “They went quite well, I should be able to get into the university I want to go to.”
“Not bad.” Lin Rong asked, smiling: “Where do you want to go?”
Song Yu’s chopsticks paused the instant the words left Shen Mi’s mouth.
“You want to go to Wuhan U too? Me too.” Yue Zhishi ate a piece of cherry pork meat, and then he picked up an even larger piece to give to Song Yu. He quietly said to him, “This is really good, you should try it.”
Shen Mi glanced at the fish Yue Zhishi had yet to touch. “I know, you’re always talking about Wuhan U this and Wuhan U that — my ear’s about to fall off.”
“That’s fantastic, it’ll be so good if you guys can get in together. You’ll be able to take care of each other.” Lin Rong was very happy and gave Shen Mi a bowl of dried shrimp and spare rib soup. “Our Le Le’s like a little child. I’ve been worried about him being cheated or bullied by other people ever since he was a child. If you do end up going to Wuhan U, please take care of him.”
Shen Mi smiled as he took the bowl of soup. “That goes without saying. Auntie, don’t worry.”
Yue Zhishi wasn’t very satisfied by this conversation. “I’m not a child anymore. Besides, gege is at Wuhan U too, I’ll look for him if anything happens.”
Lin Rong purposefully teased, “Your brother’s busy enough to die, how does he have the time to worry about you.”
“So Song Yu bro is also at Wuhan U.” Shen Mi’s face looked a bit startled. “What a coincidence. Then we’ll be senior-junior brothers — that’s fantastic.”
Song Yu flicked a look at him, too lazy to respond. He only silently said in his heart, it’s not a coincidence at all, the person sitting in front of you is only going to Wuhan U because of me.
Yue Zhishi was incredibly excited at being able to praise his gege. “That’s right, my ge is super amazing. He’s already doing experiments with postgraduate seniors.”
“Wow.” Slight admiration appeared on Shen Mi’s face. “Le Le, you and your brother give off entirely different feelings. You really don’t seem like brothers.”
Yue Zhishi didn’t like these words at all and lifted up his chin in dissatisfaction. “He’s still my ge.”
“You’re so cute,” Shen Mi abruptly, very straight-forwardly said.
Song Yu raised his head, his eyes squinting slightly. He focused on Shen Mi, who was smiling like a ray of sunshine.
He suddenly realised there truly was a large disparity between people. When Xia Zhixu smiled, he too was like a ray of sunlight — but the smile on his face was always comfortable to look at and could very easily make people feel closer to him. But the person in front of him — the more he looked at him, the more Song Yu disliked him.
Before today, Song Yu thought his instinctive dislike of Shen Mi came from his prejudice towards him. He’d thought he should be less narrow-minded, but after meeting him today, Song Yu overthrew his own doubt towards himself.
Shen Mi was completely different from any of Yue Zhishi’s previous friends.
Song Yu was very clear on this.
“Right?” It was like Lin Rong identified herself in Shen Mi. “Did you know, Le Le was even cuter when he was younger. I was always noticed when I went out with him. When I picked him up from kindergarten, everyone would always call me the mom of ‘that western doll’, and it gave me so much face.”
Shen Mi widened his eyes. “Are there photos? I really want to see him as a kid, did he look pretty much like one of those child models?”
Yue Zhishi immediately rejected him. “No way, you can’t see me as a kid.”
For the majority of the time, Yue Zhishi didn’t like it the other people called him cute. To him, the term ‘cute’ meant being childish, innocent and not mature enough.
He had a target he really, really wanted to catch up to — and so he always tried his best to downplay the distance between them.
Lin Rong ignored Yue Zhishi’s rejection and said to Shen Mi: “The photos are at home. I’ll take them out for you to look at the next time you come over to play. We used to have two large album, but for some reason—”
And here, Lin Rong looked a bit puzzled, “—we only have one left at home. I can’t find the other one no matter where I look.”
Song Yu choked as soon as Lin Rong spoke. He coughed, head lowered, and Yue Zhishi immediately gave him his own cup of water, patting his back and softly asking if he was okay.
“Did you choke on a fish bone?” Shen Mi was very concerned. “My mom says drinking some vinegar can help. Do you want to try?”
Yue Zhishi shook his head and very sincerely refused. “That’s just a folk remedy.”
Song Yu took a sip of the water Yue Zhishi had given him and said in a low voice that he was fine.
“By the way, there was a girl just now who wanted to give Le Le her name badge.” Shen Mi chuckled. “But she was brutally rejected.”
“Name badge?” Lin Rong doubtfully queried. “Isn’t that the thing you guys have to wear every day at school? What’s the point in taking someone else’s, it’s not like you can wear it.”
“You wouldn’t know this auntie, but nowadays, giving your name badge away is the same thing as confessing.”
Lin Rong’s gossipy heart was lit aflame by this knowledge. “Really~ Then Le Le, why didn’t you take it?”
Yue Zhishi opened his mouth and choked, and after hesitating for two seconds, he quietly said, “I already have one from a long time ago. I don’t need anyone else’s.”
“Really? Whose did you take? When? You didn’t even tell me.”
From Lin Rong’s reaction, Yue Zhishi felt like he was about to light himself on fire. He also didn’t know why, but his words started to falter. “…Giving or taking a name badge doesn’t have to mean that. Sometimes good friends can also give their badges away as a memento.”
He was rarely like this — most of the time, he spoke openly, confidently and very frankly.
Maybe it was because he didn’t sleep enough last night and was feeling out of sorts, Yue Zhishi comforted himself.
Lin Rong persistently refused to give up. “So whose did you take?”
Without waiting for Yue Zhishi to open his mouth, Song Yu admitted very bluntly: “Mine.”
The other three people around the table looked at Song Yu, but he continued looking indifferent, like this entire matter had nothing to do with him. He said, with a poker face, “Yue Zhishi asked me for it when I graduated high school. He wanted to steal some luck since I tested so well.”
Lin Rong thought this was quite reasonable. “I see, so it was like that.”
She picked up the ladle, stirring the soup in its bowl, and joked, “Your brother’s name badge must’ve definitely been hard to get. Who knows how many girls are still thinking about it.”
Shen Mi was a bit dazed, but he smiled again very quickly. “Are the two of you breaking off each other’s peach blossoms?”
“I don’t have all that many peach blossoms.” Yue Zhishi was eager to brush over this topic — he thought how he’d just mentioned being given milk tea, and Song Yu didn’t have a good reaction.
He didn’t want to put Song Yu in a bad mood.
When he lowered his head, he realised Song Yu was wearing the same pair of shoes as he was. It was the same style, just in a different colour — it was such a tiny, trivial similarity, and yet Yue Zhishi became happy because of this.
The reasons for his mood changes were always very simple.
Lin Rong gave Yue Zhishi a bunch of water spinach. “You can slowly gather peach blossoms if you don’t have any. You’re about to start university. Don’t be like your brother focusing only on your studies and living like an acetic monk. At your age, you should go out more and meet more friends.”
“Auntie’s right, I was thinking like that too.” Shen Mi said, “I want to find a place to work at over the summer holiday and earn some pocket money. I don’t want to ask my parents for money anymore after going to university.”
Shen Mi’s image in front of Lin Rong was originally a friendly and sensible child. After hearing this, Lin Rong appreciated his way of thinking. “Not bad. Then have you found a suitable job yet?”
Shen Mi shook his head and sighed. “It’s not easy looking for work. Very few places want to hire someone who’s just graduated high school.”
Seeing how worried he looked, Yue Zhishi thought of an idea. “Why don’t you try home tutoring?”
“There are too many home tutors now, and parents only want students from the big brand name universities.”
Lin Rong thought for a while. “Why don’t you come to Yanghe Qizhe. You know how to talk, and you have a good personality too — you can come and help me.” She patted Shen Mi’s shoulder. “Auntie will treat you well.”
“Really? Auntie, you’re too good of a person!”
Song Yu had nothing to say as he watched the lively scene across from him. He only turned his head over and said to Yue Zhishi, “Since you already have a major to think about, relax at home over the holiday. Read some books, and polish yourself a bit.”
“I know.” Yue Zhishi said, as if he didn’t need to think about it at all. He grasped Song Yu’s wrist under the table, whispering, “Can I go to Wuhan U to see you? People say Wuhan U’s library is very good.”
“It’s too far,” Song Yu said.
But he rapidly added, as if he was comforting him, “I’ll come back during the summer holiday.”
Lin Rong also persuaded Yue Zhishi. “Listen to your brother and rest at home. Study after you’ve refreshed yourself.”
Shen Mi watched Song Yu and Yue Zhishi and said, after a long while, “You two have a great brotherly relationship. I’m jealous, I really wanted an older brother when I was younger too.”
Yue Zhishi was rather pleased with himself. He secretly thought, even if Shen Mi had an older brother, he’d definitely wouldn’t be as good and outstanding as Song Yu — he felt even luckier thinking about it.
Lin Rong sighed emotionally: “That’s right, Le Le has clung to his brother the most since he was a child. He refused to be even half a step away when he was younger and wanted to eat and sleep together.”
Shen Mi looked at Song Yu and laughed again. “Then what’ll happen after they both get partners? They wouldn’t be able to live together at that point anyway?”
The two people across the table grew silent at those teasing words. Yue Zhishi fell into a bit of a daze, blinking a few times. The table abruptly shook — it was Song Yu’s cellphone. Song Yu left the table with it and connected the call once he reached a ceiling to floor window not too far away. Yue Zhishi mutely gazed at his back, Shen Mi’s question still circling in his brain.
Song Yu returned after a little while. Lin Rong asked if he had something he needed to do.
“Mn. A senior brother just called to tell me we need to have an unplanned group meeting this afternoon. He said I needed to report the data from earlier during the meeting.”
Yue Zhishi was a bit disappointed. “Then do you need to leave?” He always felt a bit guilty whenever he requested something, so the sound of his querying voice turned softer. “Can you ask for a day off?”
Song Yu nodded, drinking some water before placing the cup down. “I have to go to the meeting. We need to talk about the progress of our recent work with the other people in the group. All the data is with me, so it’s irresponsible if I ask for a day off so casually.” He took his car key once he finished, as if he was already preparing to leave.
Since it was already like this, Yue Zhishi had no other way to stop him. His brain considered the possibility of forcefully going with Song Yu later that afternoon, but since Song Yu needed to go into a meeting, there was no way he could sneak inside — he might even cause him some trouble.
“Your brother’s truly amazing.” Shen Mi once again sounded like he was in admiration. “Not like me — I only know how to take you places to play without thinking about studying or working. If it were me, I definitely wouldn’t go back for the meeting since I’m already here.”
Song Yu was already weary of these little obvious, surface-level tricks.
But Shen Mi clearly was not — he added, “He’s clearly only older than us by three years. How come he’s so mature.”
Song Yu stood up. He gave Shen Mi a kind smile.
“Maybe because I’ve gone to university.”
The author has something to say:
Little brother Shen is simply an assist, he’s not a villain hhh he’s not a bad person at all, but gege is truly a Tea Connoisseur.
ps: I’ve successfully managed to write a new way of appreciating green tea?