The Whole World is Waiting for Your Heart to Flutter – Chapter 13 (2024)

A wave of heartache.

“You got here just in time. Can you lower your voice a bit, though? We don’t need everyone hearing our conversation,” Yan Zhen asked, pulling Lu Wanwan aside in the corridor.

“Fine, I’ll keep it down,” Lu Wanwan replied irritably. “Going back to get your keys? Who are you trying to fool? Isn’t your Aunt Rong at home? And what was that delicious smell — what did you eat?”

Yan Zhen pouted, acknowledging Lu Wanwan’s shrewdness. “You have a nose as keen as a dog’s. I’ve got some chocolate chips ready for you. In fact, I just swung by home last night to check on things.”

“Snacks won’t bribe me. You’re still hiding things from me,” Lu Wanwan said, slightly angry.

“Hey,” Yan Zhen said, looking around before whispering to Lu Wanwan, “I think Liao Ying and her group are deliberately targeting Gu Qinghe.”

“Why do you think that?” Lu Wanwan asked.

Yan Zhen frowned, knowing she had no proof and couldn’t say much. She couldn’t just claim that her and Liao Ying’s fates1 were inherently incompatible.

“What do you know about Liao Ying’s family background?” Yan Zhen asked, seemingly casually.

Lu Wanwan looked at her strangely and countered, “You don’t know?”

“I don’t pay attention to her. Why should I know?” Yan Zhen retorted with a disdainful glance.

“Her family’s quite influential; her uncle’s a big shot, I heard. All in all, she comes from a strong background. Zhan Wen, who’s close to her, also comes from a wealthy family,” Lu Wanwan said, leaning on the railing. “Moreover, Liao Ying is academically successful, attractive, and articulate, which makes her quite popular at school.”

Yan Zhen raised an eyebrow and countered, “Articulate, huh? I always thought she spoke in a strange and mocking tone.”

Lu Wanwan gave her a look and muttered, “That’s because she doesn’t want to be friendly with you. Anyway, she knows how to impress the teachers.”

“I don’t remember ever offending her. Let’s not focus on me, though. I just feel like she’s deliberately targeting Gu Qinghe. She’s quite calculating.” After saying this, Yan Zhen glanced into the classroom. Gu Qinghe was sitting quietly in the back row, reading a book. Thinking back to how she had teased Gu Qinghe earlier, she felt her cheeks burning.

Lu Wanwan truly didn’t understand why Yan Zhen was so concerned about Gu Qinghe. “Anyway, just mind your own business. Better to keep your distance from Liao Ying and her group, especially Zhan Wen. They’re not easy to deal with.”

“It’s not like I want to be involved with them,” Yan Zhen muttered under her breath, patting Lu Wanwan’s shoulder to signal that the teacher had arrived and it was time to return to their seats.

Teacher Zhang walked in with a smile, seemingly in a good mood, her expression radiating an indescribable excitement.

“Students, today the school received some excellent news. Two of our students have simultaneously received pre-admission offers from one of the top universities in the country. Both won the gold medal in last year’s CGMO, and their performance was based on their academic achievements throughout the year. These students are our very own Gu Qinghe and Liao Ying.”

As soon as the announcement was made, the whole class erupted in surprise, with almost everyone casting envious and jealous glances at them. Sitting beside Gu Qinghe, Yan Zhen was genuinely astonished at her deskmate’s impressive achievement. She was momentarily stunned, then quickly turned to Gu Qinghe and, being the first to start clapping excitedly, whispered, “Congratulations.”

Following Yan Zhen and Teacher Zhang’s lead, everyone began to applaud and congratulate them. Gu Qinghe, a bit uncomfortable with the attention, lowered her eyes and turned her head to look at Yan Zhen, who gave her a warm smile. Yan Zhen was genuinely happy for her, even though she found some of her actions hard to understand…

The other praised student, Liao Ying, somewhat bashfully stood up amidst the applause. She smiled shyly, her voice sweet and pleasant, “Thank you, everyone. I will continue to work hard and certainly not let down the teachers and my classmates.”

Hearing Liao Ying’s words, Teacher Zhang sincerely admired how sensible and worry-free her students were. Smiling, she said, “I believe Gu Qinghe thinks the same way. Please continue to be role models for your classmates. You both are now the pride of the entire school.”

Liao Ying nodded shyly, “Actually, I should be learning more from Gu Qinghe. She truly is the model of learning for our classmates.” After saying this, she smiled and looked towards Gu Qinghe, who sat silently the whole time.

Everyone thought Gu Qinghe might say a few words, but she merely glanced at Liao Ying in the front row without any change in expression, which made the atmosphere a bit stiff.

Gu Qinghe was probably going to leave the impression of being unapproachable again. Yan Zhen thought to herself that Liao Ying really knew how to play this game, deliberately doing this even though she was fully aware that Gu Qinghe was not good at expressing herself.

“Teacher Zhang, I see you didn’t bring your textbook. Does that mean this class is for free study?” Yan Zhen raised her hand, breaking the awkward silence.

Teacher Zhang, in a good mood, didn’t mind Yan Zhen’s joke. “Ahem, today, there’s another matter to inform everyone. The Education Bureau2 is coming for an inspection, so I ask for everyone’s cooperation. Starting this class, the school will have a collective cleanup. Please follow the class monitor’s arrangements, work in groups of three, and actively complete the cleaning tasks.”

As expected, as soon as Teacher Zhang finished speaking, there were sighs throughout the classroom; nobody wanted to do the big cleanup. Yan Zhen was puzzled; wasn’t the cleanup better than a regular class? So, she happily accepted it.

The class monitor, Li Yao, was a tall boy and considered handsome in the class. He was reputed to have an easy-going personality. Therefore, when the teacher left, quite a few students approached him, asking to be assigned easy tasks for their groups.

“Yan Zhen, who are you grouped with?”

Li Yao was arranging the groups one by one. Almost all the students in the front rows had already formed their groups and registered. Only a few scattered students, including them, were left ungrouped.

Yan Zhen glanced at Gu Qinghe beside her, pointed to her, then bent down to pull up a sulking Lu Wanwan from the floor, and with a smile revealing her small canine teeth, she answered, “The three of us.”

“Okay, good,” Li Yao marked it down in the register, walked to the podium, and said, “Our class is now fully divided into groups. I will now inform you of the areas each group is responsible for cleaning. Let’s aim to finish early.”

“Lu Wanwan, I know you have a crush on Li Yao, but don’t think that being part of a big cleanup will warm things up between you,” Yan Zhen teased Lu Wanwan in a low voice while watching the class monitor distribute tasks on the podium.

“I was hoping to be in his group, but you had to drag me over here,” Lu Wanwan complained, frustrated but unable to resist Yan Zhen.

Yan Zhen rolled her eyes at her, “If you had left, how would Gu Qinghe and I have formed a group, just the two of us?”

“There are other people, too,” Lu Wanwan responded quietly, her gaze on the figure at the podium filled with longing.

Yan Zhen observed Lu Wanwan, completely head over heels3 for the class monitor, and thought to herself disdainfully, No backbone. She glanced at Li Yao on the podium, thinking if he was really a good guy, she might consider playing matchmaker.

But then——

As Yan Zhen was wringing out the cloth and wiping the handrails of the corridor staircase again, she began to curse, “That Li Yao and his gang are all damn worthless!”

“Zhenzhen, please stop cursing. Will it change the facts?” Lu Wanwan said, rubbing her temples in frustration at Yan Zhen’s cursing. Although she was also angry, the target of the cursing being the class monitor made her even more upset.

Yan Zhen gave Lu Wanwan a death glare and angrily threw the cloth onto the handrail, not wanting to continue the work.

Here’s what happened——

Initially, Li Yao had reasonably assigned tasks to each group, like wiping tables, mopping floors, and cleaning windows. But then the school leaders said their class, being close to the corridor, should take the lead in cleaning all the staircases of the six floors of the south building, which involved not just sweeping but also wiping the handrails. Li Yao ended up assigning this task solely to their group.

“Li Yao, assigning such a huge workload to just one group of students, don’t you think that’s quite unreasonable?” Yan Zhen felt it was unfair and directly challenged him in front of the class.

Li Yao gave Liao Ying a helpless look as she signaled him from the side. He paused for a moment, then continued, “Everyone has already been assigned tasks. This was something the school leaders added later. I really had no say in this matter. But don’t worry, other classes will be joining in the cleaning too. And if it gets too overwhelming, our group will come and help you out once we’re done with our tasks.

“Really? Do you promise?”

Yan Zhen raised an eyebrow at Li Yao. To be honest, she had noticed Liao Ying’s subtle gesture earlier, which made her quite annoyed.

Liao Ying approached them, glanced at the slightly angry Yan Zhen, then looked at Gu Qinghe and said, “Gu Qinghe, how about I join your group? It seems like Yan Zhen is not very keen on cleaning. If your group can’t finish, you’ll be criticized. I actually want to clean the stairs with you.” After saying this, she gave a smile that seemed understanding.

“You…”

Just as Yan Zhen was about to roll up her sleeves and start scolding, she was quickly pulled back by Gu Qinghe. Suddenly, a splash of blue ink splattered onto Gu Qinghe’s body and face.

Yan Zhen looked on in shock, then quickly pulled Gu Qinghe to face her. She frantically grabbed some tissues and tried to wipe the ink stains off Gu Qinghe’s clothes, but she couldn’t get them out.

Her ears were filled with Zhan Wen’s unreasonable and hypocritical words.

“Ah sorry, I didn’t expect this to happen. I was just trying out a new pen and it splattered…”

“Shut up!” Yan Zhen shouted out loud in front of everyone. She didn’t care about student etiquette at that moment; all she wanted to know was if Gu Qinghe was alright.

She carefully wiped the ink stain off Gu Qinghe’s face with a tissue, knowing that someone with a penchant for cleanliness would definitely be upset by any dirt on their face.

“It seems a bit hard to clean off; I’ll try using water later…” Her voice was anxious and even trembled slightly.

Gu Qinghe lifted her eyes, and at such a close distance, she could clearly see the tears welling up in Yan Zhen’s eyes, her face on the verge of crying.

“The school uniform isn’t anything expensive; is it necessary to wipe it so meticulously?” Zhan Wen mockingly put away her pen. To be honest, she was a bit annoyed; she had intended the ink for Yan Zhen.

Zhan Wen’s disdainful voice came from behind her. Yan Zhen bit her lip, her eyes ablaze with anger, as she clenched her fists tightly.

“It’s okay,” Gu Qinghe said, and took her hand.

Hearing Gu Qinghe’s calm voice only intensified the aching feeling in the depths of Yan Zhen’s heart.

The author has something to say:

Classmate Xiao Gu is a relatively stoic person.

  1. 八字 (bā zì) — “Eight-character Chinese fortune-telling. It is believed that a person’s birth year, month, day, and time each correspond to two characters, making up a total of eight characters. According to these eight characters, one can supposedly determine a person’s fate.” ↩︎
  2. “The Education Bureau (EDB) is responsible for formulating and implementing education policies.” [1] ↩︎
  3. 七荤八素 (qī hūn bā sù) — “Seven meat and eight vegetarian dishes”: It is often used to describe someone who is disoriented or overwhelmed by emotions or a situation, much like how a table full of various dishes can be overwhelming. ↩︎

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The Whole World is Waiting for Your Heart to Flutter – Chapter 13 (2024)
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