Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 28: Despicable
Bei Yao tilted her head in hesitation, “Pei Chuan?”
Pei Chuan’s heart sank. He thought of the best solution to this situation almost instantly. He could mention anyone else’s name. Since kissing her fingers was too intimate for someone who was only a playmate.
Bei Yao never knew about the dirty thoughts that Pei Chuan had. As long as he would randomly said another person’s name, Bei Yao would understand that he was drunk.
He opened his lips, but no words came out. He squinted his eyes at Bei Yao before collapsing onto the table.
Bei Yao's fingers subconsciously went over the area where Pei Chuan’s lips were before. She looked at him puzzled, was it just a hallucination?
Pei Chuan was not even close to her anymore after they’d grown up. He also hadn’t looked at her the entire night but was talking to another girl.
What was her name? Ah yes, Wei Wan.
Bei Yao had never got him to smile in front of her. Pei Chuan was always unhappy around Bei Yao but smiled in the company of other people. She thought that his first crush is probably that girl named Wei Wan.
He must’ve thought I was Wei Wan.
“Sorry to disappoint you,” she smiled gently at him, “I’m Bei Yao.”
The boy’s finger that was resting on the table moved.
The summer breeze glided through the curtains. Bei Yao waited until Pei Chuan fell into a deep slumber. She then left to call for a staff member at the main hall, trying to not make a noise.
The staff recognised her and smiled, “Is your friend alright?”
Bei Yao nodded and replied, “Thank you for the hangover soup.”
“You’re welcome, this is no problem.”
Bei Yao didn’t go home just now, instead, she requested a hangover soup at the main hall. Unfortunately, even though there were lots of alcohol in The Glamorous, there weren't any hangover soups around. Nonetheless, this staff member still helped her to prepare one.
Bei Yao asked, “I know this may be rude of me, but can I borrow an aircon blanket?”
After covering Pei Chuan with the blanket, Bei Yao left without a noise again.
She didn’t know where he lived. She can’t bring Pei Chuan anywhere on her own. He became more of a stranger, maybe he didn’t like her anymore. Bei Yao knew The Glamorous would provide him with good hospitality. She could only do so much for him.
When Bei Yao got downstairs, Shi Tian was casually waiting for her at the lobby.
“Thank you for waiting for me, senior.”
Shi Tian shook her hand, “You’re welcome. I have to bring you girls back safe and sound. Let’s head back, the sky is turning dark.”
It was 8 p.m sharp.
When a staff member knocked, Pei Chuan replied, “come in.”
The staff looked around. The room had a warm, yellow light still left on. Pei Chuan was holding onto the aircon blanket, staring outside the window.
“Do you wish to stay over at The Glamorous?”
“No, I’m leaving now,” Pei Chuan replied before pausing, “also, add this to my bill.”
Afterwards, the latter left with the aircon blanket.
Cities were chilly in summer. Pei Chuan called a cab and returned to his now-owned condominium. He fished out his keys to unlock the door. The interior was pitch black, with no signs of warmth nor liveliness. Pei Chuan was already used to this by now. He turned on the light and headed towards the shower.
As the water streamed down from his head, he recalled Bei Yao’s odour.
A boy, aged sixteen turning seventeen, an age full of energy.
He could control his actions, but not his reactions. Pei Chuan pressed his lips tight, as he tried to suppress his memories of her.
He knew he was disgusting. Moreso his thoughts of her, how despicable they were.
He turned down the temperature of the shower, leaving his mind to divert to think about other things.
Pei Chuan hid completely under his blanket for the entire night.
In the wee hours of the morning of the next day, he rubbed his forehead that was hurting. Silently, he tossed his dirty pants into the washing machine.
Pei Chuan leaned beside the washing machine. After being fully awake from the effects of the alcohol, he stared at the aircon blanket. He made a disgusted look, intended for himself.
He recalled what he did last night. Bei Yao must be scared, right?
He knew his delusions were atrocious, yet he can’t control his instinct.
July was hot and humid. End of year examinations was just around the corner. Pei Chuan sheepishly stepped into the classroom. His eyes appeared lazy and exhausted. He had his hands tucked in his pants’ pocket. It was already past 9 a.m., and he was late.
His English teacher was currently delivering a lecture, and Pei Chuan’s late arrival caused the former to glare at the latter, detested.
Jin ZiYang however, was elated, “Chuan bro come here, let’s game.”
Pei Chuan signalled and sat beside the former.
Zheng Hang at the front row whispered, “Chuan bro, did you stay up all night coding again?”
His deskmate Ji Wei pushed his spectacles and said softly, “Yup, most likely.”
After two rounds of gaming, the lecture ended. The English representative went around to collect class assignments.
The English representative was a petite girl with freckles on her face. She arrived at Pei Chuan’s place, demanding, “Pass me your class assignment.”
Jin ZiYang giggled, “Xiong JingRu, what’s the homework?”
She replied, “The teacher assigned it during class, to be collected after his lesson. If you guys don’t submit, I’m going to record your names.”
Jin ZiYang grabbed his heart and whined, “I’m so scared, what do I do?”
Zheng Hang smiled and teased, f**k.
He patted the shoulder of his deskmate, Ji Wei. “Go go, Ji Wei.”
Ji Wei fished out his assignment to be submitted to Xiong JingRu awkwardly, followed by another three assignments. Just as Xiong JingRu was about to collect, Ji Wei added, “Wait, I forgot the names.”
He took back the assignment, added “Pei Chuan, Jin ZiYang, Zheng Hang, Ji Wei.”
Xiong JingRu didn’t know what to say.
Jin ZiYang rested his hand on Ji Wei’s shoulder from the back and complimented, “Nice one, Wei bro.”
Ji Wei brushed away the former’s hand and replied in a stern tone, “I’ve told you many times, don’t call me by that name.”
“I say, Wei bro. You put in so much effort, yet your results are just slightly better than mine. Your family is rich too. Why bother, just let it go, you don’t have a penchant for studying anyways.”
Ji Wei ignored Jin ZiYang. He had a passion for studying and proceeded to revise for physics.
The Third High School was realistic. The seating arrangement was according to students’ grades. Hence, Ji Wei who had a passion for studying sat together with them. Pei Chuan finished coding last night and was feeling dizzy. He fished out a packet of cigarettes under his desk and started smoking without a care in the world.
A girl named Liu Yan in the front row said, “Look at his guts, isn’t he aware that the principal’s patrolling recently?”
Another girl commented, “He isn’t scared of records.” She then suddenly started whispering, “I heard from a rumor, Pei Chuan came to the Third High through the ‘back door’.”
Liu Yan was surprised, “That has to be fake, right?”
“Who knows, it’s just a rumour anyways.”
Wei Wan showed interest in him after hearing the conversation. She tilted her head towards Pei Chuan’s direction.
Under the fan, the boy was smoking a cigarette, gaming on his phone, together with Zin ZiYang. The former was staring at the ground with his legs crossed, sitting boldly. Wei Wan was from a middle-income family. She knew these boys weren’t scared of their phones being confiscated. They’ll just get a new one afterwards.
Besides, Jin ZiYang’s mother was the vice-principal. They’ll never be expelled.
Wei Wan had a crush on Pei Chuan for quite some time now. Even though he was the coldest amongst the boys, she found that a cold personality could be the most charming.
Wei Wan was known amongst the boys. Although Jin ZiYang was always flirting with her, Zheng Hang was the actual one that had a crush on her.
Wei Wan tapped on the phone that she secretly borrowed. She stepped forward to Zheng Hang first, and said, “I heard there’ll be an interesting summer camp this holiday, do you guys want to participate together?”
She clicked on the registration page.
Zheng Hang peeked at her, “I have no issues, how about y’all?”
Jin ZiYang said, “Let me have a look.”
The screen-printed: Summer August invites you to ‘Youthful adventure Summer Camp’.
Below it lies a few pictures – Lakes, fishing, all made up to look like an uninhabited forest.
This piqued the boys’ interests.
Jin ZiYang said, “Hey, this isn’t bad, we’re bored anyways.” He passed the phone to Pei Chuan. Pei Chuan’s eyes showed a slight irritation. He planned to reject the offer but caught sight of Wei Wan’s phone’s random notification.
His pupils shrunk. He paused for two seconds.
He replied, “I’ll consider.”
Pei Chuan didn’t reject the offer. Wei Wan thought of this as a surprise in store. She smiled as a reply, took her phone and left.
When she left, Pei Chuan hesitated and searched for the headline from his memory.
“Wedding of a disabled man.”
A news article popped out.
It featured a video.
Pei Chuan turned off the volume and clicked on the video.
A thirty-year-old Mister Zhang was kissing his bride.
The bride was an elegant woman. The crowd present was showering them with wishes. Mister Zhang kissed the bride’s lips ecstatically.
The bride held onto the groom’s waist. However the groom couldn’t hug her—he didn’t have arms.
Pei Chuan gripped the phone harder.
“Chuan bro what’chu watching?” Jin ZiYang butted in, “Huh, what’s so interesting about another's wedding? ...Wait, this guy has no arms?”
The sleeves of the suit were limp, empty.
Jin ZiYang’s loud voice made Zheng Hang turn back, “Let me see… quite interesting.”
Pei Chuan closed his phone. Afterwards, he stayed absentminded the entire morning.
After a long time, when school was almost over, he suddenly asked Jin ZiYang softly, “Why would that woman marry him? He didn’t even have an arm.”
He won’t even be able to offer her a single hug.
Jin ZiYang didn’t think too much and said, “Just because of love. The news also mentioned that the man had no money, even the wedding budget was loaned. The woman can’t possibly be scheming.”
Pei Chuan smirked, “Is there anyone who would marry a disabled without an agenda?”
Jin ZiYang hadn’t finished his line when Ji Wei who sat in front —in charge of doing four people’s homework— butted in. “To question what is love, to die alongside them it is.” He continued, “Ever heard of The Ladder of Love? An old man crafted a ladder beside a cliff for fifty years using only his bare hands, just to be with a woman who was ten years older than him. Kind girls do exist, and she will embrace your imperfections.”
Jin ZiYang complained, “F*cker, can’t you speak properly? Reading a poem is gross.”
The boys all had goosebumps. Pei Chuan however, kept silent.
At the teenager stage, little believe in love.
However, at this age where they have raging hormones, several anticipate romance.
Since that day, the news was etched in Pei Chuan’s mind, constantly appearing in his thoughts. Fogging over his initial thoughts of leaving Bei Yao.
His first interaction with romance was in secondary school, where a drama was played on a coloured TV. A man and woman stripped and got together.
Pei Chuan then realised, for the first time, living with a partner was far more than being together.
A normal wedded couple’s life requires sincerity towards each other.
However, his missing limb that even caused his mother nightmares, sealed the fact that he would never show it to anyone else.
He would make her disgusted.
To the extent that she will leave and disappear from his life, just like the kinship he craved from his parents. Bit by bit, till there is nothing left.
Yet, during this year where he was at his lowest, he saw this news in 2005.
Surprisingly, even a useless person like him might have a golden opportunity to have a grasp at happiness.
Even if it was an opportunity of one in ten thousand.
Pei Chuan recalled the last year in kindergarten, he gave up on a deskmate. Bei Yao sat together with Fang MinJun in the end.
Fast-forwarding to primary one, he then used a despicable method to make Bei Yao his deskmate for six years.
Midnight came, Pei Chuan was unable to sleep. He finished one whole packet of cigarettes. Some things must be earned. If not, one could never possess it for their entire life.
In front of him posed a great desire.
She was still clueless at this age, a kind and gentle, yet silly girl. She hadn’t fallen for anybody yet. Do I want to let her go on the account that she had taken care of me for years? Or should I play some tricks to make her mine?
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