Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 8: Abandoned
Yu Qian disagreed with the plan proposed by Teacher Zheng. It had been a while since the preschool started, but she noticed that Pei Chuan had not raised his hand once to ask the teacher to help him with the toilet.
When Yu Qian saw the little boy’s chapped lips on hot summer days, she understood it all at once.
Pei Chuan was a sensitive child with high self-esteem. Although his mood had not changed much, no one knew what he was thinking. As changing seats might cause him great harm, Yu Qian thought it was a bad idea.
However, Teacher Zheng brought up the matter of Pei Chuan pushing Bei Yao, which also made it difficult for Yu Qian.
If Pei Chuan really bullied Xiao Bei Yao, it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to sit with him again.
Yu Qian thought about it and decided to observe it all for a day before saying anything.
In the morning, Teacher Yu brought Fang Minjun to the classroom and asked her to introduce herself to the children.
The four-year-old Fang Minjun was wearing a white princess dress and her long, soft hair was loose. As she always kept in mind that she had to learn Chang Xue’s every gesture and smile, so her young face didn’t have much expression. She spoke solemnly, “My name is Fang Minjun, I’m four years old this year, and I hope to get along well with the children.”
This was what Fang Minjun’s father, Fang Xin, had taught her. As Fang Minjun finished speaking, Teacher Yu Qian led the applause. This year, Fang Minjun was undoubtedly clean and pretty, and the classroom was genuinely applauding.
Bei Yao wore a green coat over a cotton yellow pullover with short sleeves and a pair of knee-length bean-green shorts underneath.
This bright color was vibrant and wouldn’t get dirty easily. She didn’t have white clothes since she was a small baby as Zhao Zhilan was afraid of her child getting dirty.
Fang Minjun was probably the only one in the class who could wear a white princess dress.
Fang Minjun was temporarily seated alone at the first table, specially set up for her at the entrance of the classroom. She was still young, so she felt quite aggrieved by being arranged to sit at the front.
Fang Minjun thought everyone had a tablemate except her. It wasn’t like that in kindergarten, the kids in kindergarten liked to play with her. Moreover, that legless Pei Chuan had a table, so why should she sit alone? Didn’t it use to be Pei Chuan sitting all by himself? She wanted to go home and missed her mom, but when she saw Bei Yao with her school bag on the far left of the classroom, she felt that she couldn’t go back!
After the end of the first class, several children suddenly surrounded Fang Minjun.
There were children who used to go to kindergarten together, as well as those who thought Fang Minjun was pretty and looked like Sister Chang Xue on TV. Fang Minjun felt better inside as she was now being cared for by everyone.
Bei Yao carefully took out the clean apple from her school bag.
The big red apple was given to her by Zhao Zhilan, who was afraid that she would be hungry in preschool.
She looked at it endearingly and turned to look at Pei Chuan, “Pei Chuan, do you eat apples?”
Pei Chuan was writing in the Tianzhi grid workbook. The sun was shining through the window in September, and it was a bit dark on the side against the window. Pei Chuan quietly lowered his eyes and his gaze fell on his workbook. He ignored her, and Bei Yao understood that it meant not to bother him.
She turned around happily and asked Ni Hui and Gu Xinghua whether they would eat.
The two children in the back row nodded.
Pei Chuan gripped his pencil. At last, he was too young to stay calm. He turned to look, his little tablemate’s head was tilted, and she was dividing the apple with a pocket knife. The ribbon of her flower bud flickered as she was having a hard time dividing it.
His eyes turned to the pocket knife, the one that Bei Yao used to sharpen pencils. Perhaps because the girl’s mother had taught her, Bei Yao had carefully washed the pocket knife with water before starting to cut. His lips pursed into a straight line.
Pei Chuan was not happy.
He did not eat the apple. He had no problem if Bei Yao could eat it all by herself. But Ni Hui and Gu Xinghua also got a share out of it, seeing this an uncontrollable irritation came out instantly.
This quiet, stupid, and easy-tempered little dumpling had caused his unhappiness and irritation to reach its peak.
When Bei Yao finished dividing the apple slices, Chen Hu came.
Fatty was greedy and thick-skinned. He asked Bei Yao for a piece of apple, and Xiao Bei Yao’s third-grade memory was pretty simple and dull, so she didn’t have too many thoughts and calculations in her mind, so she gave it generously.
Chen Hu bit the sweet apple, his cheeks puffed up, and he compassionately said, “Bei Yao, this New Year’s Eve, I’ll take you to catch sparrows.”
Bei Yao’s almond eyes became bright and she nodded her head with a smile.
Chen Hu walked away humming a song.
Pei Chuan’s pencil lead snapped off abruptly.
He suddenly realized that Xiao Bei Yao was good for everyone. He wasn’t the special one. He thought that... He thought he was...
He dropped his eyes, fetched his pocket knife, and began sharpening his pencil.
His fingertips were pale, but sharpening the pencil was sharper than her cutting apples.
Bei Yao did not know that Pei Chuan was unhappy. Pei Chuan, whether happy or unhappy, had the same cold expression all the time. She couldn’t understand his mood as although she had memories within five years, yet her mind was still a child.
It was the hottest day in September. The sun was high in the afternoon, and the temperature was comparable to that in midsummer. In the afternoon, Bei Yao kept drinking water during class. She was so greedy for the sweetness that she would put a little sugar in the water, but she didn’t have much water left. Usually, if she drank all the water, she would ask Pei Chuan for more.
The water in his cup was always full, he would not drink a mouthful of water himself, and he often gave it to Bei Yao as she would stare at his water cup.
Bei Yao drank her own water and turned her head to look at Pei Chuan.
The boy’s eyelashes were long but not raised, and his downcast eyes would do well to hide the emotions. The side of his face was somewhat harsh beyond the crisp profile.
“Pei Chuan, I want some water.” She said softly in her milky voice, uncovering the water cup and stretched her small arms forward to ask him for water.
Usually, by doing this, Pei Chuan would unscrew his own water cup and pour it inside her cup.
But Pei Chuan didn’t move today, and she eagerly watched him.
He slowly raised his head and looked at her with his dark eyes.
--I’m not happy.
Even though his eyes couldn’t quite hide the emotion yet, Bei Yao couldn’t read it. She stared at him blankly and thinking that he understood what she meant; she happily put her water cup on his side of the table.
Pei Chuan: “.......”
Pei Chuan pushed back her water cup, then took out a pencil and clearly drew a “38 line” from the screw on the end of the wooden table to the other end.
(T/N: 38 line or 38th parallel, are popular names given to latitude 38° N that in East Asia roughly demarcates North Korea and South Korea. The line was chosen by U.S. military planners at the Potsdam Conference. The Demarcation Line is often confused with the 38th parallel, but the two are not the same.)
He was very meticulous, and he didn’t take advantage of her, nor did he let Bei Yao have a little bit.
A small wooden table was divided in half between the two of them.
His attitude was cold-hearted enough to block her out.
Bei Yao stared at it blankly.
Wasn’t this a dividing line that would only start to appear in first and second grade? Were she and Pei Chuan the first kids in the class to have a “38 line”?
She sadly realized that this little boy hated her.
Yu Qian, in front of the podium, frowned as she looked at this scene. Could it be that Mr. Zheng was right that Pei Chuan really didn’t like Bei Yao and would bully her even if they sat together?
If that was the case, and Pei Chuan didn’t want to sit at the same table as Xiao Bei Yao then it would be best if Bei Yao sat with Fang Minjun.
Teacher Yu decided to ask some of the children what they thought. She had asked Fang Minjun before. Fang Minjun said, “Teacher, I want to sit together with a child.”
Then she went to ask Pei Chuan.
There was still time before Pei Haobin would come to pick up Pei Chuan from school, and Teacher Yu pushed the wheelchair to let Pei Chuan wait in the teacher’s office. Then she asked the little boy, “Don’t you want to sit with Xiao Bei Yao?”
Pei Chuan lifted his face.
His black eyes were as pure as the kids should have at this age. They looked like deep dark glass marbles.
He didn’t say anything, so Yu Qian had to ask him frankly, “Now there is a little sister in the class, called Fang Minjun, and today Xiao Chuan also got to know her. Teacher would like to ask you if you would like to sit alone, or with Xiao Bei Yao, or with Xiao Fang Minjun?”
Yu Qian was apprehensive. She was most afraid of hearing the last answer.
Although it was a multiple choice question given to Pei Chuan, and it seemed that the initiative was in Pei Chuan’s hands, Teacher Yu was afraid that he would choose Fang Minjun. After all, if Pei Chuan was willing, Fang Minjun would most likely be unwilling.
However, Fang Minjun was indeed a pretty child and had the title of “Little Jade Girl”, so it would be most difficult if Pei Chuan chose Fang Minjun.
September had not yet ushered in the coolness of autumn, and Pei Chuan’s lips and throat were so dry that they were tingling.
He said in an almost inaudible voice that Yu Qian could barely hear it, “I want to be alone.”
Teacher Yu was relieved to hear this answer, but at the same time, she was a little despondent. She gently said, “Xiao Chuan, children need to drink plenty of water to be healthy. If you want to go to the toilet, you can ask the teacher. Teacher Yu is very happy to take care of you, so don’t hold it in if you want to pee, okay?”
Pei Chuan didn’t respond.
When he said, “I want to be alone”, he tried his best to be calm, but he was only five years old. His eyes were already sore and he was almost on the verge of tears. This was already his limit, he couldn’t calmly answer the teacher’s second question anymore.
When the children left, Teacher Yu Qian told Pei Chuan’s answer to Teacher Zheng.
Teacher Zheng nodded and said, “That’s quite good. Let Bei Yao sit with Fang Minjun tomorrow.”
That was all that could be done.
By the time she came to class the next morning, Bei Yao had already forgotten about yesterday’s unpleasantness. She pulled open her school bag and took out a small and cute bamboo dragonfly from inside.
All small wooden thorns, sharp wooden edges, and corners of the bamboo dragonfly were neatly polished.
Bei Yao didn’t understand how she made Pei Chuan upset yesterday, but when she went home at night, she asked her father to make her a “little dragonfly”.
She helped Bei Licai sweep the floor, but the four-year-old girl looked a little funny as she had a hard time holding the broom. Bei Licai couldn’t laugh or cry, so he made a beautiful bamboo dragonfly for her.
At this moment, Bei Yao handed over the bamboo dragonfly to Pei Chuan and said, “This one can fly”. Bei Yao showed him how to make it fly and the bamboo dragonfly flew out to the front corner of the classroom, hitting the wall and then slowly falling down.
However, the force she used was small, so the bamboo dragonfly could not fly far.
Pei Chuan watched her as the breeze came through the window, blowing her fine hair and the ribbons on her flower buns. She happily ran over and picked it up, spreading her small hands and giving him the bamboo dragonfly, she said, “It’s for you, don’t get angry.”
Pei Chuan couldn’t tell what he felt.
Those little hands did not seem to learn the lesson. The hands that were crossing the “Chu-Han border" between them, were tender and soft apparently without any aggression. But they still made him feel uncomfortable for no reason.
He also ignored the existence of that dividing line and took the bamboo dragonfly with a bit of inexplicability. And he saw her almond eyes light up in an instant.
It was Mid-September, and it was approaching autumn soon. She lowered her head to open the lid of the water cup to drink, her little face was almost buried inside the cup.
She didn’t know anything. She neither knew that he had already “abandoned” her nor that he was not angry anymore.
Pei Chuan’s pale hand fondled the bamboo dragonfly. His father was an excellent detective, but he couldn’t make such a toy. It was the first time he saw an inanimate object fly lightly by itself. Pei Chuan didn’t need such a toy because he didn’t have legs, and if he let it fly far, then he wouldn’t be able to pick it up by himself.
The only thing he could do was to hold it in his hand.
At the end of class, Teacher Yu Qian said, “Bei Yao, you go sit with Fang Minjun.” With this remark, the boisterous preschool class became quiet for a moment. All children subconsciously looked at Pei Chuan and then at Fang Minjun.
Bei Yao nervously clutched the little panda on her school bag and quietly raised her head. She first looked at the teacher Yu Qian, who didn’t seem to be telling jokes; then at Fang Minjun, who had a stern face at a young age, sitting on the far right of the classroom, before finally turning to look at Pei Chuan.
There was a little naivety and ignorance in her eyes, like the fog smudged in an ink painting; as she wondered in confusion why she was asked to leave.
Pei Chuan averted his eyes and looked calmly and coldly at his empty pant legs.
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