Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 19: Unworthy
The summer heat was frightening. Shang Mengxian’s friend asked her, "How's it going?"
Shang Mengxian couldn't possibly tell the humiliating story of almost being bitten by a dog. She contemptuously spoke in her defense, "It's okay. I walked with him for a while, and he took the initiative to talk to me."
Her good friend Hao wasn't surprised, "You're probably the best looking girl he has ever seen. And maybe no one's gonna like him in his life, so it's normal for him to get a little excited."
Shang Mengxian opened her mouth and closed it again. How could she say the man's reaction was particularly bland, but on second thought, as her best friend had said, he probably wouldn't even get the chance to meet a better-looking girl. It was only a matter of time before he would be swooning over and trying to please her.
She had no shortage of admirers, but a crippled and aloof admirer, that sounded challenging.
It's possible to be liked by such a person and turn him into a Lapdog. However, he was still good-looking, cold, and resolute. Otherwise, Shang Mengxian would not endure nausea to approach him. What's more, she heard that he was the first in his grade.
Shang Mengxian knew that this kind of person lacked the love most. In the afternoon, she took the imported chocolates sent by other boys from her drawer and went downstairs to the first class of the seventh grade before the class started.
Shang Mengxian stopped a student from that class, "Can you call Pei Chuan from your class for me?"
When the boy saw the famous beauty from the second grade of the junior high, he blushed and agreed.
Pei Chuan heard that someone was looking for him outside, so he put down his book and went out.
The midsummer cicadas were buzzing, and the fan hanging overhead in the classroom was moving slowly, and time appeared to be slow.
When Pei Chuan went out and saw Shang Mengxian, his expressions remained unchanged, "What's the matter?".
"This is the chocolate that my mom's friend brought from abroad. It's quite delicious. Thank you for showing me the way before. I'd like to share it with you."
Pei Chuan swept his eyes at the chocolates in her hand. He also had this brand at home. Jiang Wenjuan's colleague brought them from abroad, but Pei Chuan didn't like to eat them, so he gave them all to Bei Yao.
He was not stupid. He could very well perceive the contempt inadvertently revealed in Shang Mengxian’s tone. Her tone was as if it was a very rare thing that he had never seen in his life.
Pei Chuan didn't take it, and with a cold face, he turned around to enter the classroom.
Shang Mengxian's face turned red. It was the first time she was refused in front of the whole class. She couldn't keep her previous expressions, but somehow managed to show an accommodating smile and went upstairs back to her own class.
Pei Chuan went back to the classroom and looked at the third row in the middle where Bei Yao was lying on the table to sleep. Her long eyelashes were dark and curled down like two weightless butterfly wings.
Pei Chuan retracted his sight and began to read the physics book that he was supposed to learn in the third year of junior high.
This matter that Pei Chuan's didn’t even take to his heart was imperceptibly fermenting in the school.
By the time Bei Yao heard the news of the baseless accusations, Shang Mengxian’s act of sending chocolates had evolved to be very detrimental to Pei Chuan.
[T/N: (捕风捉影) pinyin: bǔ fēng zhuō yǐng - Chase the wind and clutch at shadows. This idiom denotes ‘groundless accusations’ or ‘speak or act on hearsay evidence’.]
Pei Chuan had worked hard to get rid of the sympathetic gazes of everyone at the elementary school, but he had fallen into an even worse situation overnight.
A boy in the back row of the seventh class went to the toilet and said to the others, "I thought he was cold and arrogant, but he secretly went to impress Shang Mengxian and took her to the new park."
Another boy zipped up and answered approvingly, "He doesn't think about his own condition. What does he have to offer! A toad trying to eat swan meat. Shang Mengxian took pity on him and gave him chocolates, but he refused it."
"Can Shang Mengxian fancy him? He is a cripple with no calves. Not to mention Shang Mengxian, even Chen Xiaomei from our class wouldn’t like him......" Chen Xiaomei had some buck teeth.
The word ‘cripple’ was not light, and another boy quickly winked at him.
The boy who said the word ‘cripple’ followed his classmate’s gaze and saw Pei Chuan coming out of the shadows.
Pei Chuan expressionlessly passed by them and turned on the faucet to wash his hands. The sound of flowing water spread, and for a time, this was the only sound in the men's room. After all, the cruel and vicious words were heard by the subject of discussion. The boys didn't speak again.
Pei Chuan had been very calm. He just washed his hands especially hard, so hard that his slender pale fingers turned red. When Pei Chuan was gone, the boys looked at each other.
"Did he hear us?"
"Of course he heard that. He's not deaf, and the toilet is only that big."
"If he heard it, then why didn't he respond."
"Who knows?...... What are you afraid of? Anyway, what we said is not a lie."
Perhaps it was because the boys were jealous of Shang Mengxian's extra attention to Pei Chuan, or perhaps they were upset with Pei Chuan's aloof personality and steady position at the top of the grade. In short, these groundless accusations were spreading more and more.
A small group of people in the class spoke in a particularly unpleasant manner.
The good news was that a large number of people thought that these words were too detrimental and humiliating, so they didn't participate with the other group. Unexpectedly, Fang Minjun also became one of the members of this "large number of people".
She became much thinner now, so her face looked a bit mean, "You guys are making assumptions about others all day long. I think you are the most disgusting people. What’s wrong with Pei Chuan? He has good character and good grades, and he doesn't speak ill of people behind their backs like a noisy long-tongued woman."
The boy’s face flushed with anger, "F**k… Fang Minjun, you are just jealous of Shang Mengxian that’s why you are speaking for Pei Chuan"
Fang Minjun sneered, "What am I jealous of ah? There are plenty of people in the world who are more beautiful than Shang Mengxian."
"Those who are better looking than Shang Mengxian will never look at Pei Chuan." The boy laughed brazenly. Fang Minjun’s fighting power was not as good as him, but she was very angry.
Bei Yao's expressions changed when she heard the gossip.
She was sleeping that noon and didn't see Shang Mengxian coming to look for Pei Chuan. She didn't expect everyone to suddenly become like this. Obviously, when the first day of school started, because everyone had grown up and knew how to avoid other people's pain, they kept their mouths shut about Pei Chuan's disability. However, Bei Yao didn't expect that a Shan Mengxian would change Pei Chuan's situation so severely.
The embankment of a thousand miles collapsed in an ant nest.
[T/N: 千里之堤，溃于蚁穴 (pinyin - qiān lǐ zhī dī, kuì yú yǐ xuè) - A small ant hole can break a thousand miles of long dyke embankment. It means small things that people usually don’t pay attention to can cause a disaster.]
Bei Yao was not only worried about Pei Chuan's state, but she was also afraid that he really liked Shang Mengxian now. In her opinion, Shang Mengxian was not at all good, and Pei Chuan would only hurt in the end. Bei Yao was not happy about this because she knew Pei Chuan was so stubborn that if he really liked Shang Mengxian then no one could persuade him.
The last session was an English class. Bei Yao had already packed her things, so when the bell rang for the end of the school day, Bei Yao immediately followed the teenager to leave the classroom.
Pei Chuan, who was not more than fourteen years old, had a youthful and elegant face. Only when Bei Yao was close to him, Pei Chuan abruptly turned around, "What are you following me for?"
Bei Yao could sense the anger in his words, so she softly said, "Don't listen to their nonsense. My mom said that children who talk nonsense will grow up to have rotten mouths. They are bad guys, so they are going to have rotten mouths in the future."
The sun shone on her soft hair, turning it into warm and lovely, light golden brown. His repressed and impenetrable emotions suddenly burst out, "They are not talking nonsense. Should I say you are stupid or that you are naive? Obviously, you also know that’s the truth. That woman wants to play games, but what about you? What do you want to do by following me?"
Bei Yao looked at him, a little sad, "I don't want to do anything."
Her school bag was changed, but the little panda was still hanging on it. It was pitifully swaying in the wind of the summer evening.
"Is it hard for you to......"
Her teary eyes were filled with sadness and amity. Pei Chuan wanted to say something even more vicious, but in the end, nothing could come out.
Pei Chuan knew that although what those people said was harsh to hear, it was indeed the truth.
His cold eyes were accustomed to seeing the cruelties as well as sympathies of the world, including the one called Shang Mengxian's playful and mocking attitude, to begin with. In his first year of junior high school, they taught him a vivid lesson, telling him plainly that he would never be loved in this life.
Fondness, crushes, and emotions were all luxuries and distant things for him.
When he was an ordinary friend, it was all fine. At that time, everyone would give him care out of "sympathy". But once the young heart of love was given, he would become a filthy existence that everyone shunned.
There would be no girl in the world who was so big-hearted as to accept his disability without a problem.
Not to mention, a pretty girl.
His black pupils quietly and silently looked at Bei Yao in front of him.
What's she going to look like when she grows up?
The culprit of this matter was Shang Mengxian. However, Shang Mengxian herself did not expect that things would turn out like this. Then in a blink of an eye, she thought that now when Pei Chuan was receiving thousands of men’s accusations, if she went to care of him, it would be easier for him to fall in love with her, right?
In the past few days, Bei Yao had thought of many ways to get Pei Chuan out of this bad situation. She also thought of Shang Mengxian. It would be much better if Shang Mengxian could speak for him.
Bei Yao went upstairs to the first class of the second grade of junior high school to find someone and happened to meet Shang Mengxian talking and laughing with someone.
"Shang Jie, can I talk to you?
Shang Mengxian stopped laughing and looked at Bei Yao.
The little girl in front of her was still somewhere between a teenage girl and a child. Her cheeks looked soft with some baby fat, and she was very cute and lovely. Shang Mengxian frowned, "Well, what do you want to talk about?"
When they stepped into the cherry blossom forest in the school trail, Bei Yao took the lead, "Do you remember me? The person who chased the puppy away that day."
Shang Mengxian reluctantly said, "Remember."
"Senior sister, Pei Chuan has been getting nasty words now. Can you explain to everyone what happened before?"
Shang Mengxian said, "What's there to explain? It's not like I said those words out loud."
"But it was you who wanted to follow Pei Chuan home, and then give him chocolates later in front of everyone. Because of the jealousy and envy of the other boys, he has become guilty of the crime. He's having a hard time right now." When Bei Yao saw that Shang Mengxian didn't retort, she knew she was right, and it was really Shang Mengxian who took the initiative to find Pei Chuan.
[T/N: 怀璧其罪 (pinyin - huái bì qí zuì) - Literally, this idiom means treasuring a jade ring becomes a crime. Getting into trouble on account of a cherished item. Figuratively, it means a person’s talent will arouse the envy of others.]
"What does it matter to me? He didn't come to me by himself to say this. Who is he to you that you're needed to say it to me?"
Shang Mengxian could guess that the girl in front of her was probably a friend of that teenager. Bei Yao bravely chased away the barking dog that day, and even though this girl was afraid herself, she still stood in front of her and Pei Chuan. However, Shang Mengxian also firmly believed that this young girl wouldn’t have any relationship with Pei Chuan. Who's going to take a boy like that to their side?
But she didn't expect Bei Yao to sink her face.
The little girl lifted her fair cheeks and was incredibly serious with every word, "He is someone that I've been protecting for almost ten years." He is not a plaything or a waste in your eyes. He's a boy I coaxed to grow up. I want him to be safe and happy for the rest of his life, just like before. Even if his personality is cold and unpleasant, he will grow up happily.
Bei Yao was not discouraged when her negotiations broke down, but there was little she could do. Shang Mengxian refused to explain, then Bei Yao explained one by one. Fortunately, there was a good change because of the conversation that day - Shang Mengxian stopped going to Pei Chuan.
Such a feeble thing has been her persistence for a long time. It lasted until the second year of junior high school, and then the past had been gradually forgotten by everyone. Shang Mengxian made a boyfriend, and all of them completely let go of Pei Chuan.
Pei Chuan only erupted once. When he was in the second year of junior high school, he also seemed to have forgotten about the incident and nobody mentioned it again.
The teachers didn’t know that Shang Mengxian, who was in the third year of junior high school, had a boyfriend, but the news spread like crazy among the students. Whether it was in the past few years or in later generations, puppy love is a dead zone that students can't touch. The teenagers were envious of the person whom Shang Mengxian was in love with, and they also secretly admired her courage.
One day Shang Mengxian's boyfriend came to the school to give her roses. Red roses bloomed ostentatiously. The boy wearing sunglasses and dyed yellow hair hugged Shang Mengxian outside the classroom.
The junior high school class went crazy with excitement, whistling incessantly.
The boyfriend of Shang Mengxian was not from this school. It was said that he was two years older than Shang Mengxian. Bei Yao was also dragged out by Hua Ting to watch the excitement. When she looked at the boy's side profile from afar, she felt a little familiar, but she couldn't tell where it looked familiar.
Bei Yao knew that Pei Chuan had a good memory. She asked him after school, "I always feel that the boy who came to our school today looked familiar. Didn't you see him? Do you have an impression of him?"
Pei Chuan didn't squint as he said, "No."
Bei Yao kicked a pebble beneath his foot. Is it that he didn't see that boy? Or that he doesn’t have any impression?
He looked over at her, "Don't worry about other people’s affairs, prepare for the high school entrance examination." He paused and asked her, "Which high school do you want to go to?"
There were three famous high schools in C city. They were the first, third, and sixth high school.
Bei Yao instantly became high spirited. She studied hard in her last life, but because she wasn't as smart as other people's children, it was very difficult to get into the sixth high school. The atmosphere of the sixth high school among the three was relatively relaxed. Her eyes were brilliantly glowing like tiny stars, "I want to go to the sixth high school. The sixth high school is also close to home."
"Yeah." He echoed while making a mental note.
With his grades, there was no problem with which high school he wanted to attend. Pei Chuan hadn't measured his IQ, but he felt that he was much better at learning and memorizing than everyone else that he could have skipped a grade. Yet he didn't. He was growing up step by step, orderly and persistently.
Pei Chuan went home and took a shower first.
His house was empty at this time of the day as his parents were both still at work. Pei Chuan calmly returned to his room and took out a note from the drawer with Ding Wenxiang's contact information written on it.
Ding Wenxiang was the boy who once had to forcibly look at his prosthetic leg by lifting his pants in the sixth grade. Ding Wenxiang lost two fingers on his right hand. Now he was all grown up. He wasn’t studying anymore and was in a mixed society. This man was not good at anything else, but he was first-class in pretending to be rich.
Ding Wenxiang was the current boyfriend of Shang Mengxian, so she couldn't see the lies clearly. Ding Wenxiang and Shang Mengxian, both of them had mutual misgivings, but they were also enjoying it.
Bei Yao thought that Shang Mengxian had let Pei Chuan go after the conversation, but she didn't.
After that day, Pei Chuan was furious because Shang Mengxian still hadn't given up.
Shang Mengxian stayed away from him because he used a special method or rather, despicable method. Since that year, Pei Chuan's high IQ had not been used in the right way.
Pei Chuan tossed the note into the toilet, pressed the flush button. In the vortex, it disappeared completely.
Thanks to the impure-minded Shang Mengxian, who had taught Pei Chuan that he didn't deserve to be loved in this life.
He was not worthy.
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