A string of candied-fruit skewer
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Three stressful days had finally passed.
Early in the morning, when the sky was still dark, Gu Hai already woke up. First, he went to the park not far from his home to exercise for half an hour. When he guessed that the time was just about enough, he rode on his bike and went straight to Bai Luoyin’s house.
For the last two days, Bai Luoyin got used to walking to school, so he went to school a bit earlier. When Gu Hai was on his way to Bai Luoyin’s house, he had already arrived at Aunt Zou’s breakfast stall.
“Why didn’t you wait for me?”
Bai Luoyin lifted his head, and he saw a faint trace of joy pass through Gu Hai’s face.
“How do I know that you’ll come here to eat?”
Gu Hai took the bean curd that Aunt Zhou brought to him, stirred it gently with the spoon, and replied, “Don’t I always eat here every day?”
“But you didn’t come here for the last two days, right?”
There was a hint of amusement behind Gu Hai’s smile.
“Why? Did you miss me?”
Bai Luoyin replied him with a cold voice, “Why would I miss you? Your girlfriend went back already?”
Gu Hai nodded, he looked extremely relieved, “She’s finally gone.”
Bai Luoyin glanced at Gu Hai, his tone was neither cold nor hot, “You can’t be like this, she already told me to pay attention to you. Now, look at you being this shameful, I’m afraid that I can’t do this.”
“Did you take her words seriously?” Gu Hai conveniently placed the ham sausages from his sesame seed buns into Bai Luoyin’s bowl. “We’ve been together for three years, but she has always been so paranoid, honestly, I’ve never gotten physical with any other girls.”
Bai Luoyin couldn’t bear but to speak the truth, “With her looks, no wonder she would feel insecure.”
“I’m going to hit you, believe it or not.” Gu Hai said as he laughed.
Bai Luoyin lamented, “Dan Xiao Xuan suffered a beating for nothing.”
“I have no interest in her, she’s the one who came and stuck herself to me.”
“You’re not the least touched? A pretty girl like her, isn’t she better than that ‘tigress’ of yours?” Bai Luoyin teased Gu Hai on purpose.
Gu Hai didn’t get angry, not even a bit, it seemed like he got used to hearing these kinds of things.
“I don’t like a girl like her. I like the fierce and straightforward type. A girl like Dan Xiao Xuan, just by standing with her, I would feel tired already.” Gu Hai glanced at Bai Luoyin, “What kind of girl do you like?”
“The opposite of yours, I like the flirty type.”
Gu Hai firmly grabbed on Bai Luoyin’s nape.
“Then, why is it that whenever Dan Xiao Xuan came to me, you always ran away?”
Bai Luoyin joked faintly, yet there were thorns in his words.
“Her?….. I’ve had enough.”
“Candied— Fruit—- Skewer–!!”
The familiar shout surged into Gu Hai’s ears, his heart brightened, he really didn’t expect that there’re still street vendors who shouted loudly like this these days. It seemed like it’s been a really long time since the last time he ate candied fruit skewers, he used to live in a quiet and scary neighborhood before, forget street vendors, even snack bars were rare. He would occasionally come across a candied fruit skewer store on the road, but he had no desire to go inside.
“Uncle, please give me one.”
“Do you want the Shan Li Hong one or Ma Shan Yao one ?”
“Shan Li Hong.”
The bright red Shan Li Hong was coated with sparkling, crystal-clear malt sugar and wrapped with a layer of rice paper. It was held in a quivering hand.
Gu Hai hand it over to Bai Luoyin, “Eat this!”
Bai Luoyin was puzzled, “Why did you only buy one? Aren’t you going to eat?”
“I’m riding, I can’t eat it.”
Bai Luoyin sat on the back seat, then he took a crisp bite.
“It’s very sweet!”
Gu Hai in front pretended he didn’t hear that.
Bai Luoyin took another bite, intentionally teasing Gu Hai.
“Don’t you want to try?”
Gu Hai clenched his teeth tightly, his patience almost ran out.
After a while, Bai Luoyin didn’t speak at all, his mouth was filled with the candied fruit skewer, it sounded really crispy and delicious. Gu Hai was counting in the front, one, two, three…. it was almost all gone.
If he continued holding back this way, then he wouldn’t be able to eat even a bite.
Gu Hai was riding on a straight road, just when he was about to take a chance and turn his head around, he felt someone pat his shoulder.
He barely turned his head to the side, the half-eaten skewer of glistening hawthorn fruit was placed into his mouth.
He finally succeeded.
After he ate one bite, it’s really sweet! Gu Hai felt as if his entire heart was soaked inside a honey jar.
How can the candied fruit that was given by Xiao Bai be this sweet?
“Give me another one!”
Bai Luoyin guarded his food, “It’s gone.”
“Give me a bite!”
During break time, You Qi turned his body around and looked at Bai Luoyin.
“Let’s go downstairs to buy some things.”
Bai Luoyin nodded, then both of them stood up from their desks.
Gu Hai coldly tossed a sentence from the back.
“You even need someone to accompany you just to buy some things? Can’t you buy your things alone?”
You Qi really wanted to give Gu Hai a couple of kicks, it’s been a few times, he simply wanted to do something with Bai Luoyin, then Gu Hai would certainly say some sarcastic words to him. And you said that he’s really impatient with him? He is definitely the one at a disadvantage. Just look at the muscles on Gu Hai’s arm, that alone could shatter your teeth into pieces until you swallowed them into your stomach.
Well! I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear him.
You Qi just adopted a shameless attitude, then he pulled Bai Luoyin to go outside.
Gu Hai suddenly stood up, then he ran to the spot between those two guys, just like a leopard, his arm hung on Bai Luoyin’s nape, then smiled faintly at him, “Just ignore him, go downstairs with me to play ball.”
“Why can’t you go by yourself?” You Qi was annoyed.
Gu Hai’s cold and sharp gaze fell on him, “Can you play a ball game with only one person?”
You Qi ignored him, and he merely said a sentence to Bai Luoyin, “Anyway, you already nodded your head just now.”
After You Qi finished speaking, he planned to pull Bai Luoyin over. However, he barely managed to stretch his arm when viselike hands had pinched him. You Qi began to grind his teeth yet he didn’t utter a word, his face was almost purple, he had no choice but to seek help from Bai Luoyin.
“Quick! If you don’t help me soon, my arm will break!”
Bai Luoyin grabbed Gu Hai and You Qi’s arms, separated them and coldly replied.
“You two go by yourselves then, go where you want to go.”
After the third class, You Qi turned his head to the back while holding his exam paper.
“I didn’t understand this question, can you explain it to me?”
Bai Luoyin just woke up, he rubbed his eyes, then looked at the question on the exam paper, replied,
“First, you calculate all the given conditions, then you would understand how to solve it.”
You Qi took a piece of tissue to blow his nose, and he replied to Bai Luoyin while blowing his nose, “I calculated it already, but I still couldn’t do it.”
Gu Hai indistinctly glared on You Qi’s eyes, deep in his eyes, the challenge was evident in the depth of his eyes.
Bai Luoyin hastily answered You Qi’s question and asked him again, “Do you understand?”
You Qi shook his head.
Bai Luoyin explained thoroughly to You Qi once more, then asked, “Do you understand?”
You Qi still shook his head.
Gu Hai sneered in his mind, an act just like Dan Xiao Xuan? Okay, I’ll give you a similar fate as her.
“You still don’t understand?” Bai Luoyin asked one more time.
You Qi still shook his head.
Gu Hai’s voice could be heard faintly from the back.
“Come here, I’ll explain it to you.”
You Qi immediately withdrew his paper, “I suddenly understand.”
“You don’t understand.” Gu Hai stressed each word.
You Qi turned his body around, he felt a chilly wind pass through his back.
After five seconds, he felt like a hurricane blew over him, You Qi tilted his head, and he saw a pair of eyes resembling a bottomless black hole.
“I came to explain this to you, so you would understand it completely and make sure that the next time you see this question, you won’t make any mistakes again.” Gu Hai’s voice was very light, just like a blade, streaking You Qi’s sensitive and fragile heart.
One constrained shriek was drowned by the classroom’s noises and glee.
It’s getting colder these past few days when he’s riding his bike the wind would felt particularly cold and Gu Hai could only shrink his neck. He left his thick clothes at his home, when he left his home he forgot to bring any, now he was so embarrassed to go back and get them, Gu Hai was thinking to buy a few pieces.
“Hey, where can you buy the cheapest clothes in Beijing?” Gu Hai turned his head to Bai Luoyin and asked.
“At the zoo.”
Gu Hai nodded, “Then, accompany me tomorrow to go there to buy a couple of thick clothes.”
Unconsciously, Gu Hai found out that Bai Luoyin rarely rejects him now.
“Do you know how to bargain? Teach me.”
“You don’t need to learn it. When you’re there, you’ll naturally know how to do it.”
The next morning, Bai Luoyin and Gu Hai was on the subway, actually on Saturday it wasn’t supposed to be crowded, but they happened to be on the same carriage with a tour group, a huge crowd was packed inside the two railway carriages and it was overcrowded inside.
Gu Hai and Bai Luoyin stood at the corner. When Gu Hai noticed a group of people started to squeeze them, he hastily used both of his hands to support his body on the wall inside the carriage, so he could give a big space for Bai Luoyin and to let him stand a bit more comfortably.
Bai Luoyin pulled Gu Hai’s collar, “Come and stand a little bit closer to me.”
Gu Hai didn’t move.
There was a girl beside them who continuously fixed her eyes on Bai Luoyin and Gu Hai, her eyeballs were unlikely to shift from them.
Gu Hai realized and asked her with an icy tone, “What are you looking at?”
The girl quickly turned her head away.
Bai Luoyin turned Gu Hai’s head to him again, he didn’t know whether to get angry or to laugh at him.
“Say, what do you think she’s looking at?”
Gu Hai had yet to react.
“If you kiss me, then the whole people in this carriage will definitely look at both of us!”
“How much is this shirt?”
“I’m not selling this for less than 39 Yuan!”
Bai Luoyin immediately retorted, “I’m here to pick up stock, can you sell it for 15 Yuan?”
Gu Hai honestly felt that Bai Luoyin is very ruthless, in his eyes, 15 Yuan shirt is not clothes, but a rag instead.
“Even if you’re picking up stock I can’t sell it for 15 Yuan!”
“Then, forget it.”
Bai Luoyin turned around to leave, but the owner suddenly got up and stopped him.
“Young man, do you really want it? If you really want it then we can discuss it again.”
“I don’t want to discuss, it’s 15 Yuan.”
“Okay okay, just come over here and pick them. This young man, you’re too good at bargaining.”
Finally, the two people carried a large bag of clothes, but they only spent less than 200 Yuan, Gu Hai felt that it was very worth it.
They arrived at one stall, Gu Hai took a fancy on a piece of cotton-padded coat.
“How much is this?” Gu Hai asked.
The aunt inside the stall lifted her eyes to look at Gu Hai, “I won’t sell it for less than 200 Yuan.”
“I’m here to pick up stock, can you sell it for 15 Yuan?”
The aunt put down the knitting wool in her hand, she wore a mocking expression and looked at Gu Hai,
“Picking up stock? Even if you came here to rob me, I’m not selling it to you! 15 Yuan, are you kidding me?”
Gu Hai said decisively, “15 Yuan, if not then I’m really going.”
After he finished, he pulled Bai Luoyin and pretended to leave.
“You should hurry up and leave!” From behind them, the aunt added one more sentence, “Are you so poor that it drives you crazy? 15 Yuan! Do you think the inside of these coats is made of grass?”
 Tanghulu (candied-fruit skewer) is a traditional Chinese snack, which is a string of sugarcoated fruits on a bamboo skewer. The literal meaning of tanghulu is “sugar bottle gourd”, as it is coated with sugar and the shape resembles bottle gourd. The fruit commonly used is Chinese hawthorn. In this chapter, the two types of tanghulu sold were, Shan Li Hong, which is Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida var. major), and Ma Shan Yao which is Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita).