Chapter 22: Where’s Your Red Armband Hidden?
More importantly, he was standing, but An Lan didn’t feel oppressed.
An Lan felt a bit regretful; Gu Liyu should speak more often so everyone could hear his voice.
“Are you talking about the egg roll pancake? I bought two; I was thinking of treating you to one, but it fell on the ground.” An Lan took out the bag to show Gu Liyu. When he bought it, he did think of treating Gu Liyu to one, but regretted it when paying.
Initially, An Lan was prepared to let Gu Liyu taste it, but after buying it, he thought Gu Liyu might not eat this kind of street food. An Lan had been eating cold noodles, spicy hot pot, and skewers since he was young. His stomach was quite robust, but Gu Liyu probably didn’t eat them often. If he accidentally upset his stomach and affected his studies, it wouldn’t be good.
After showing his sincerity to Gu Liyu, An Lan was about to put the egg roll pancake back in the drawer. However, Gu Liyu directly took both egg roll pancakes.
His fingers were long, and when grabbing the pancakes, it seemed like he even held An Lan’s fingers.
“Since you originally intended to give it to me, then it’s mine.”
After saying this, Gu Liyu placed the takeout bag on An Lan’s desk and then went back to his own seat
An Lan’s gaze followed Gu Liyu. He still couldn’t believe it… even if Gu Liyu took it, just a couple of bites for a taste, he should leave it aside after, right?
Qiao Chuluo poked An Lan on the side, “Hey, is our school grass exchanging dinner with you?”
“I don’t know.”
But indeed, Gu Liyu placed the takeout bag on An Lan’s desk.
“Hurry up and unpack it! I’m curious about what our school grass originally planned to eat for dinner tonight.” Qiao Chuluo looked excited.
An Lan turned to glance at Gu Liyu, who had his face turned to the side. With one hand supporting his chin, the other held an egg roll, bringing it to his mouth. He opened his teeth and bit into the edge of the roll, then his lips met it. He chewed slowly and swallowed.
He didn’t frown or check what was inside the roll. Instead, he ate it bite by bite, as if this roll was no different from what he usually ate.
An Lan felt relieved; Gu Liyu didn’t seem to mind. Since he had promised to treat Gu Liyu to a meal, he would have to do it properly.
The classroom returned to its noisy state. Xiao Chen walked out with his hands in his pockets, and Xu Xingran, who had stood up earlier, also sat back down.
An Lan opened the paper bag, taking out the eco-friendly degradable meal boxes inside. Two square boxes were stacked together, and there was a round box, likely containing soup.
Qiao Chuluo couldn’t wait any longer. He helped An Lan open the square lunch box. In the first layer were vegetables, with fragrant mushroom sauce sprinkled over beef slices and tender asparagus with shrimp. It was delicately prepared. The second layer contained half mashed potatoes and half egg-wrapped rice. As for the bowl of soup, when opened, its rich aroma filled the entire classroom, and An Lan couldn’t resist taking a sip.
“Our school grass lives such a refined life,” Qiao Chuluo exclaimed.
“He just eats a bit better, and you call it refined?” An Lan retorted.
“Tsk, you have no demands in life. Have you seen the watch on our school grass’s wrist?” Qiao Chuluo lifted his chin.
An Lan turned to look, and indeed, there was a watch on Gu Liyu’s left wrist. However, it wasn’t a mechanical watch for adults attending business meetings or showing off; it was a discreet black electronic watch.
“That’s the latest smartwatch with all kinds of unimaginable functions, such as high-definition photography, environmental analysis, and most importantly, pheromone detection.”
No need to say, the price is probably several months or even a year’s worth of An Lan’s pocket money… or maybe more.
“We’re all guys; what’s wrong with spending money on electronic products?”
“Take a look at the shoes on our school grass’s feet. The limited edition from Life Emotion, powerful shock absorption—you can only dunk a basketball wearing these…”
Dunk it on Li Zhennan’s face.
Of course, the sentence was left unfinished. Qiao Chuluo realized he had said too much, although he didn’t know if Li Zhennan could hear it, Gu Liyu definitely could.
“Why stop talking?” An Lan asked with a smile.
“What’s the use of talking a lot? We can’t afford to buy or wear them,” Qiao Chuluo replied.
An Lan didn’t have a resentment toward the wealthy. Gu Liyu’s preference for high-tech watches and comfortable sneakers was within his affordable range, driven by functionality rather than vanity or show-off. So, An Lan was only envious of the smartwatch but not jealous.
To avoid wasting the delicious food, An Lan eagerly picked up his chopsticks and took a bite of the beef, savoring its explosively good taste.
“Give me a bite, hurry!” Qiao Chuluo had an expectant expression, leaning towards An Lan like a puppy.
An Lan smiled and squinted, asking, “Does it make sense for our school grass’s life to be so refined?”
“It makes sense,” Qiao Chuluo nodded, indicating for An Lan to feed him a bite of the egg-wrapped rice.
An Lan smiled and fed him a bite.
Qiao Chuluo had a conscience and knew An Lan needed food. After tasting two bites, he stopped.
An Lan finished all the food and took a couple of sips of the rich bone soup, turning the evening self-study into a delightful experience.
He wasn’t a fool; he knew Gu Liyu probably saw his dinner fall to the ground and deliberately swapped with him.
At this moment, Qiao Chuluo sent another message to tease him.
Little Qiao: [I’ve been thinking, doesn’t today’s dinner from the school grass seem like it was ordered for you?]
An Lan: [???]
Little Qiao: [Beef, bone soup, and eggs all seem suitable for a growing teenager.]
An Lan was speechless: [Your school grass is a professional shooter. He ordered an athlete’s standard meal, even the calories were calculated.]
Little Qiao: [You really are not romantic.]
By now, An Lan’s phone was heating up from the omega group bombarding him with questions about his relationship with Gu Liyu, the dinner incident, and how it felt to exchange dinners.
An Lan continued to play dead until the math teacher in charge of tonight’s self-study came in. The questions in the group didn’t stop.
The math teacher placed his thermos on the podium, unconsciously scanning Xiao Chen’s seat with a look of loss, like an old father sighing because his son didn’t come home. Then he sniffed forcefully.
“You kids, your dinner looks sumptuous. As an honored teacher of the people, I only have a steamed bun for dinner. Is this a distortion of human nature or a decline in morals?”
Laughter erupted from the students.
Xu Xingran spoke up, “Teacher, I remember you have fatty liver, so there are many things you can’t eat, right?”
The teacher paused, pointed at Xu Xingran, and said seriously, “Relying on favoritism.”
It meant that Xu Xingran, relying on his excellence and good relationship with the teachers, dared to undermine the teacher’s authority in front of so many students.
An Lan instinctively turned his head to look at Gu Liyu. He was curious whether Gu Liyu really thought the egg roll was okay or if he was just being polite.
But Gu Liyu remained calm, looking toward the podium as if nothing had happened.
Self-study continued until 10 pm.
As soon as An Lan and Qiao Chuluo left the school, they headed straight to Nandeng Street, just two hundred meters away.
This was the snack street of South City, also the liveliest place at night. After evening self-study, students from nearby schools would come here to grab some snacks to fill their stomachs.
“You had such a big dinner, and you’re still hungry at night?” Qiao Chuluo heard An Lan’s stomach growl again and couldn’t help but say softly.
“I can’t help it. Three mock exams are too brain-draining. I need to replenish now.”
They arrived at a noodle shop at the entrance of the snack street. The owner was stirring a big pot over an open gas stove, and inside was the fragrant egg-fried noodles. Although the ingredients were simple, the aroma was mouthwatering.
An Lan’s mouth was watering.
“What should we order? One portion each or share?” Qiao Chuluo asked.
“Can you finish one on your own?” An Lan gave him a look that said, “Are you really asking?”
“I can’t finish one, but you can eat a whole cow.”
The owner, who was frying noodles, spoke, “Students, have you decided whether to order one or two? Have you made up your minds?”
An Lan and Qiao Chuluo exchanged another look, silently saying, “Woe to the poor couple,” and An Lan was about to say, “One portion,” but someone behind them beat him to it.
“Make it three.”
Although the clattering sound of the ladle and the roaring noise of the gas stove were loud, the voice coming from behind was clear and melodious.
When An Lan turned around, he met the smiling face of Xu Xingran, which seemed somewhat unreal in the worldly hustle and bustle.
“Class Monitor? What are you doing here?” An Lan showed a caught expression.
Just a few days ago, the school emphasized that senior students should not eat roadside food to avoid unhygienic conditions. In case of stomach upset, it could affect their learning progress.
“Just hungry after evening self-study.” Xu Xingran said with a smile.
His hand reached out and grabbed the back of An Lan’s head. Unprepared, An Lan’s head almost bumped into Xu Xingran.
Perhaps because his sense of smell was too keen, An Lan caught a whiff of Xu Xingran’s scent.
Apart from the everyday laundry detergent, there was also the fragrance of ink and rice paper.
Oh, right, the class monitor was rumored to have beautiful calligraphy.
Qiao Chuluo became surprisingly quiet, sitting upright with a serious expression. An Lan found it amusing and deliberately poked him.
Xu Xingran went to the owner and brought three portions of fried noodles. He placed one bowl in front of An Lan and another in front of Qiao Chuluo.
An Lan was really hungry and quickly picked up his chopsticks to take a big bite.
Looking at Qiao Chuluo, Xu Xingran teasingly said, “Why so nervous? I’m not the homeroom teacher.”
After saying that, Xu Xingran also opened his chopsticks, rubbed them together, removed the burrs, and handed them to Qiao Chuluo. “Eat.”
Qiao Chuluo was stunned, and An Lan could read his thoughts. Thoughts like, “The class monitor is actually giving me his chopsticks?” or “These are chopsticks handed over by the class monitor.”
“Little Qiao, are you reluctant to use these chopsticks? If you are, give them to me…”
An Lan intentionally said this, and sure enough, Qiao Chuluo was afraid that An Lan would take the chopsticks away and quickly grabbed them, lowering his head to eat the noodles.
Noodles should be eaten hot, and it seemed that Xu Xingran also had some family education about “eating without speaking.” He lowered his head, picked up the noodles, and sent them into his mouth. An Lan admitted that it looked pleasing to the eye.
He ate leisurely, without the pretentious “cultured” manner. By the time An Lan finished half a bowl, Xu Xingran had also eaten about half.
At this moment, the owner shouted, “Who ordered spinach and pig liver soup?”
Xu Xingran stood up, “I’ll go get the soup, you guys continue eating.”
An Lan and Qiao Chuluo originally thought it was Xu Xingran’s own order, but he ordered three.
“Have some soup.” When Xu Xingran pushed the soup in front of An Lan, An Lan felt a bit embarrassed.
“Class Monitor takes care of things meticulously, right down to the smallest details.”
Just now, An Lan wanted to drink pig liver soup. This shop’s pig liver soup was also one of the specialties. The spinach was tender, the pig liver was smooth, and ginger exploded with flavor when cooked with the pig liver, making it especially fragrant.
“Who said I’m meticulous? Do you know that just now, while standing in front of the boss, your eyes kept glancing at someone else’s table with pig liver soup?” Xu Xingran laughed.
Xu Xingran’s usual smile had a neat and organized feeling, as if he had studied how to smile just right to make people feel comfortable. But now, he leaned on his hand, and his other hand’s fingers tapped the edge of the soup bowl rhythmically. There was a lazy and content look about him after a satisfying meal.
“Class Monitor, you’re making fun of me. I was just craving everything.”
After saying this, An Lan suddenly remembered the joke Xu Xingran made earlier, something about “signs of pregnancy.”
“But… Class Monitor, do you usually come to Nandeng Street for meals?” Qiao Chuluo asked curiously.
“Of course not. I followed you two after you left the classroom in such a hurry.” Xu Xingran answered.
An Lan and Qiao Chuluo exchanged glances.
Every week, there would be a rotation of class monitors at their school. They would handle disciplinary issues within the school, such as latecomers and copying homework, and record activities like playing games in internet cafes and fights with students from other schools. But in reality, what happened outside of school was mostly ignored.
Xu Xingran, as a rule-abiding class monitor, had even led the way in accepting the school’s suggestion not to eat street food recently. But now, he followed them all the way—something was off!
“Class Monitor, where’s your red armband?” An Lan leaned over to look.