Ch9 – portrait

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Guo Jingyu worked through mock tests at Li Tongzhou’s house for a while, then went back early.

Li Tongzhou saw him to the door, still repeatedly urging him to apply medication. 

Li Tongzhou’s mother’s name was Jiang Min, her figure delicately pretty and graceful, with a head adorned with exquisitely fine permed curls in the latest fashion at that time.
She also came to see him off.
Jiang Min carried a large bag of snacks which she stuffed into Guo Jingyu’s hand, smiling as she said: “Jingyu, I’ve already heard all about it from xiao Zhou, while I was away for work these past few days you’ve had to step in and cook, thank you.”

How could Guo Jingyu have the nerve to accept, he thanked her hurriedly in turn: “Ayi, there’s no need, really no need, when I come over it’s Li Tongzhou who helps me with my homework! And anyways when the food’s done I also eat, it’s no extra trouble, you should just treat me as part of the family, don’t be formal with me!”

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Jiang Min persisted in trying to give him a gift, she was genuinely grateful, she knew her own son very well, her family’s Li Tongzhou has never had many friends from when he was very small to now, after he entered high school she hadn’t just worried a little, just itching to spend money to give his classmates some gifts, if there was someone who could befriend her son that would be good.
Thus, starting from the first year of high school, she remembered Guo Jingyu, the one that Li Tongzhou mentioned the most at home, the only companion Li Tongzhou has ever brought home to play.
Jiang Min giving this gift carried a somewhat grateful flavor.

Guo Jingyu’s face burned flaming red, carrying the big bag of snacks forcibly stuffed into his hands and glancing pitifully toward Li Tongzhou. 

Li Tongzhou smiled: “Take it, my mom bought two portions.”

 

They each had one, it’d practically become the norm already.

Guo Jingyu scratched his head, saying very embarrassedly: “Then ayi, next time I come over I’ll bring you some tea leaves from my hometown.”

“This kid, why be so courteous with ayi, it’s just a little bit of snack to eat, there’s no need to bring anything in return.”

 

“That’s not the same, over at my grandmother’s house, I’ve got a small plot of tea leaves! After some time, I’ll personally harvest them for you, picking the best, the cream of the crop!”

Guo Jingyu was sweet-mouthed and he was quite pretty, exactly the sort that middle aged women with families most adored.
Coaxed into an incredibly happy state, Jiang Min nodded and agreed.

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Guo Jingyu returned at night, his mother saw that enormous bag of things and couldn’t resist going on about it for a few sentences, Guo Jingyu told his mother about the harvesting tea leaves thing, she thought for a bit, nodded and said: “That does seem to work, though our tea on the mountain isn’t tea that’s that good, it’s fresh, in a few days we’ll take you back for a trip, you’ll follow your uncle up the mountain and bring a lot back.”

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Guo Jingyu said: “That’s good, I’ll also go see grandma, it’s been a long time since I last saw her, really miss it.” Their family’s old lady was long lived, she was incredibly healthy even at eighty something years old, every day she carried her own swords out to practice taiji 

Guo Jingyu’s mother said: “This trip there’s another thing, your uncle just rented that store in the tech district to sell phones and whatnot, I’ve contacted him, have him help match you with a computer.”

Guo Jingyu said, pleasantly surprised: “Ma, when do you intend to go back?”

 

“Wait until after you’re done with your summer homework.” 

“….”

We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.

Guo Jingyu’s book bag was stuffed full of mock tests, teachers of every subject had sent them out as if their lives depended on it, saying it was so they could feel the atmosphere in advance, the volume of homework was no different from the usual load given during the school year, every day was calculated into it, not omitting a single sheet.

Different situations call for different actions.

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Lf yfujc ab gjlrf atf yjccfg bo “gfnlrlbc raevslcu,” jcv gjc ab Ol Kbcuhtbe’r tberf ab vb tbwfkbgx. 

Ktja yflcu rjlv, tf bcis vlv atf kbgx obg atf atgff wjlc mijrrfr tlwrfio, atf wjpbglas bo atf gfra kjr mbqlfv.

Li Tongzhou saw him picking and choosing the mocks he did, observed for a while, and asked: “Next semester you’ll choose humanities?”

 

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Guo Jingyu nodded: “That’s right.”

Li Tongzhou said: “Then I will also….” 

Guo Jingyu said: “Don’t, you do as you planned, I won’t even stay for half a year in the humanities class anyway.”

“What’s the matter?”

“I’ve decided to study something specialized: test into the arts.”

Guo Jingyu executed a beautiful pen flip on his finger, gathered his ballpoint and smiled towards him: “You haven’t seen me draw yet right? I’m actually really good at it, before, my teacher who taught….I mean, a teacher I encountered before praised me as a genius.” 

Li Tongzhou was skeptical, half believing and half doubting, he really hadn’t heard Guo Jingyu bring this up before, had only seen him execute the announcements on the blackboard, and temporarily couldn’t see any markings of a genius.

Guo Jingyu hadn’t encountered someone who dared to question him on professional matters in years, he immediately raised an eyebrow and said: “If you don’t believe it I’ll draw something for you to see right now?”

He did as said, without choosing any particular implements, he conveniently used the pen in his hand to sketch out an outline of Li Tongzhou’s side profile on draft paper, at first only casually putting down a few strokes, but as soon as he became invested he couldn’t resist taking a few more looks at the other party, then, according to the desire in his heart, meticulously portrayed the other on paper.

He’d only drawn pictures of Li Tongzhou. 

Before, when he’d just started learning to draw, he’d always felt his skills weren’t perfected, so was embarrassed to draw the person he liked and wanted to wait, wait until he was a little more impressive, so he’d be able to draw the other perfectly, and then collect it.
But he didn’t know, after waiting two years, there would never be a chance to draw this person again.

Guo Jingyu was extremely attentive as he drew, there was no trace of the playful attitude he’d had before, his eyebrows had gathered together, his entire line of sight converged on his face.

This was actually the first time Li Tongzhou was watched like this by him, and was a bit stiff for a while, but after some time he slowly relaxed.

This was Guo Jingyu, not other people, so he could accept being eyed like this. 

Li Tongzhou would also take advantage of when he lowered his head to draw to look at the other, because his eyes were downcast, his eyelashes seemed ever denser, casting a small patch of shadow, in contrast with his pale skin.

The pen in Guo Jingyu’s hand made sha sha sounds as it touched the paper.

Li Tongzhou’s line of sight went from his brows and eyes to his upright nasal bridge, until it fell on his lips, even if Guo Jingyu wasn’t smiling or laughing the corners of his mouth still naturally quirked upwards, the same as his double lidded upturned peach blossom eyes, which easily made people feel good, made people want to get close to him.

When Guo Jingyu raised his head to look at him, Li Tongzhou subconsciously withdrew his gaze, landing on the textbook in front of him, though his eyelashes trembled a few times, he pretended to be unperturbed. 

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He heard Guo Jingyu laugh, but Guo Jingyu always loved to laugh, so he had no idea why the other laughed now.

Really wanted to ask.

 

Wanted to ask what he was thinking, and what he was laughing about.

Wanted to ask him: these things, did they have a little to do with himself? 

As Li Tongzhou absentmindedly thought on, his gaze also became more mild, bearing a hint of warmth.

Guo Jingyu finished drawing quickly, he gave it to Li Tongzhou boastfully, “Look, is it drawn well or what?”

Li Tongzhou lowered his head and looked, it was his face in side profile, but he didn’t understand how to evaluate art, only felt it was somewhat similar to himself in photos, but also was much better looking than that, probably it carried the artist’s own subjective take, he himself already thought the person in the piece was not bad.
He thought for a while before he nodded and said: “Very good, the execution of the shading, looks very complete.”

Guo Jingyu said smugly: “It’s alright, the main thing is the model’s handsome.” 

Li Tongzhou said: “Then you can draw facing a mirror, since you’re more handsome.”

Guo Jingyu lifted his head to look at him, attentively observed for a while before he discovered that Li Tongzhou didn’t intend on teasing, that he was simply taking Guo Jingyu’s words seriously and extending them further, and was so amused he began to laugh.

Li Tongzhou saw him starting to use a small knife to cut the borders of the paper, baffled, asked: “What are you going to do?”

“Tidying it up a bit, later take it home to hang it up, ai, at first I didn’t even think I could draw this well, if I knew I’d have used legitimate drawing paper instead.” 

Li Tongzhou didn’t understand these things, but the handicrafts he made were fairly good, so he helped Guo Jingyu cut it out.

Guo Jingyu gave directions for a bit, then handed it off to him to do, taking the opportunity to copy homework again for a while.

Tonight as per usual Li Tongzhou’s parents were not there; compared to that day when they’d encountered Jiang Min, the empty home now was the norm.

Guo Jingyu saw that it was more or less time for dinner, didn’t allow Li Tongzhou to call a restaurant for delivery, went to the kitchen himself and searched around.
The Li home’s fridge didn’t really have any fresh vegetables in it, probably Li Tongzhou’s mother didn’t plan on having her son cook, having left a lot of money.
Guo Jingyu asked one question, and Li Tongzhou fished out a few hundred from his pocket and handed it to him. 

Guo Jingyu’s pocket only had a few coins left in it, and this was actually his public transportation fee, at once his heart filled with admiration, “Ayi is so good to you.”

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Li Tongzhou said: “For you.”

Guo Jingyu waved his hand: “Don’t, I’ve already stopped accepting protection fees.”

Li Tongzhou said: “Mine isn’t a protection fee, it’s a gift to you.” 

Guo Jingyu thought about it, drew out one of them and said: “Then it’ll be as if I borrowed this from you, in a few days there really is a bit of business outside to deal with.”

Li Tongzhou nodded, not saying anything.

 

The Li family’s kitchen actually had a comprehensive stock of seasonings and sauces that lacked nothing, Guo Jingyu took out meat and shelled shrimp from the freezer, first diced them into small cubes and stir fried them on high heat with scallions and ginger, added chili bean sauce after and covered the pot tightly for a while.
The cubed meat had a little bit of fat attached, were all thoroughly suffused with the sauce and liquids, leaping about inside the pot all gulugulu, the skin of the meat was soft and sticky and gleamed red, a fragrant smell quickly came out.
Guo Jingyu kept an eye on the fire while he efficiently cast a handful of noodles into the pot next to it, passed that under cold tap water after it boiled, then took it out and set it aside, around this time the stir-fried sauce was also pretty much done, waves of the meat’s fragrance and the shrimp’s freshness made their way into the nose, just smelling it was incredibly appetizing.

At night they ate zhajiangmian, Li Tongzhou particularly liked it, though his mealtime behavior was refined, the speed at which he ate was not at all slow, in a short amount of time he ate a full bowl, and moved to serve himself another. 

Guo Jingyu asked him: “Is it good?”

Li Tongzhou nodded.

Guo Jingyu ate while he summarized his experience, “It’s just that it’s not exactly like zhajiangmian, put too much sauce, it should be better if paired with rice.
Next time I come over I’ll buy some groceries, cook you luroufan.”

Li Tongzhou agreed, ate two more bites then asked: “Where are you going in a few days?” 

Guo Jingyu was a little surprised, lifted his gaze to look at him and said, smiling: “You didn’t ask just now, I’d thought you didn’t want to know, in a few days I’m going to my uncle’s house in the provincial capital, my mother entrusted him to buy me a computer, I’m following along to pick one.”

Li Tongzhou said ‘oh,’ Guo Jingyu thought this matter was over with, but didn’t expect that when he finished eating dinner and was preparing to go home, Li Tongzhou stood at the entryway with slightly pinched brows and asked: “Can I go?”

Guo Jingyu didn’t react in time: “Go where?”

Li Tongzhou said: “The provincial capital, I’ll advise and help you decide?” 

 

T/N: sorry for missing a week! i’ve been rather unwell and fell behind on just about everything.
in other news, this author sure loves run on sentences huh? sdk;csdkc

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