There Is No One Like YouChapters List
Chapter 3: What’s Up With Him?
Chen Yi slept through the entire morning self-study session. As soon as the class bell rang, he woke up.
It was only the second day of school, and the classroom hadn't developed a strong academic atmosphere yet. Once the class was over, it erupted with noise and excitement, like boiling water.
Leaning lazily against the wall, Chen Yi's eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep. He watched the classmates running around without much energy or enthusiasm.
His new desk mate wasn't there either. The textbook was spread open on the desk, and the pages rustled in the wind, the name written on the inner cover flashed by in the breeze.
Chen Yi lowered his head and yawned, shrugged his shoulders. Just as he was about to stand up from his seat, someone suddenly rushed out from behind and hung onto his back, pressing down with the weight of half their body.
This weight caused him to bend slightly, but he managed to stabilize himself by pushing on the desk with his hand, avoiding being toppled over.
"Are you stupid, Jiang Rang?" Chen Yi chuckled and scolded.
Jiang Rang, with a mischievous smile, walked from behind him to the front, took the book that Ruan Mian had placed on the desk, and sat on it. He propped his feet on the bar of the stool. "What were you doing during the summer vacation? You didn't come on the first day of school."
Jiang Rang and Chen Yi had been classmates since the first year of high school. They used to hang out with two other boys, one named Shen Yu, who was now in the adjacent Class 2.
Another was Liang Yiran, who chose liberal arts track and was the only one among the four of them.
"Mr. Wang organized a competition camp, and I went for it," Chen Yi rubbed his neck. "Including the competition, it lasted exactly ten days, and yesterday was the last day."
Mr. Wang, whose full name was Wang Yang, was their physics teacher in the first year of high school. Before the summer vacation, he had a physics competition with vacancies, and once Chen Yi found out about it, he grabbed an application form.
Jiang Rang gave Chen Yi a thumbs up and continued to babble incessantly, "So how did you do in the competition? Can you win an award? How much prize money? Let's make a deal, if you win an award, I'll treat you to a meal."
Chen Yi ignored him, lifted his foot to move the stool, and sat down.
Jiang Rang flipped through the biology book in his hand and saw the name written on the inner cover. He leaned forward, leaning his body toward Chen Yi and said, "Your new desk mate is a super genius."
Chen Yi casually responded with a nonchalant "Hmm," associating the name with the face of his new desk mate in his mind.
"We had a preliminary test yesterday, and she scored perfect marks in biology," Jiang Rang jumped off the desk. "It was a test paper by Zhou Hai. We've had so many tests from him in the first year, but how many people have you seen score full marks?"
Chen Yi raised an eyebrow, his expression tinged with surprise. "That's impressive."
"Yeah," Jiang Rang beamed with pride, occasionally patting the textbook in his hand. His tone then carried a hint of regret. "It's just that she looks plain."
"... " Chen Yi raised his hand and took the book Jiang Rang was holding. "If Mr. Yu knew you were using words so loosely, he would probably come back from First Middle School immediately."
Jiang Rang burst into laughter, his eyes shining brightly. "Alright, forget it. I won't talk to you anymore. It's time to visit Mr. Zhou's office."
The news of Jiang Rang's absence from morning self-study class probably reached Zhou Hai even before the class ended.
After Jiang Rang left, Chen Yi opened the biology book in his hand. In the bottom right corner of the inner cover, he saw a name written in a completely different style from Ruan Mian's calm appearance.
Chen Yi softly muttered the name, then closed the book and put it to its original position. He stood up and walked out of the classroom.
After class, Ruan Mian was called to Zhou Hai's office, regarding a competition. Every year, Eighth Middle School would cultivate a group of students who would be recommended to universities through competitions.
Zhou Hai believed that Ruan Mian had the potential and intended to have her participate in a biology competition jointly organized by Eighth Middle School and several other top middle schools.
"This is the registration form, take it back and fill it out. Submit it to me by this Friday," Zhou Hai reassured her, afraid that she might feel pressured. "It's not a major competition, consider it as practice, an opportunity to experience the atmosphere of a competition."
Ruan Mian had participated in competitions before, and as a newcomer, she didn't want to leave a bad impression on the teacher by being uncooperative. She nodded and said, "Understood, thank you, Mr. Zhou."
After discussing the competition, Zhou Hai also asked about her relationship with her classmates in the class.
Ruan Mian couldn't help but think of Chen Yi but didn't know how to bring it up. She simply replied, "It's fine."
"That's good," Zhou Hai said. "Most of the classmates in the class were unfamiliar with each other before. Now we are a new class. Just treat it as being assigned to a class where you don't know anyone. Give it a few days, and it will be fine."
"Yeah, I understand," Ruan Mian replied.
Before they could say much, someone knocked on the door.
Ruan Mian and Zhou Hai turned their heads to look. Jiang Rang stood at the door with his hands in his pockets, a smile on his face. "Good morning, Mr. Zhou."
He then glanced at Ruan Mian with an amused smile. "The new student is here too."
Ruan Mian nodded in acknowledgment.
Zhou Hai didn't even let Jiang Rang enter, looking somewhat exasperated. "The usual rule, a thousand-word self-reflection. Submit it to me by noon today."
Jiang Rang made an OK gesture with his hand. "Alright, I'll go write it. I promise it won't happen again."
Zhou Hai frowned, looking slightly disgusted. "Just go."
Jiang Rang left promptly, being quite decisive.
Ruan Mian bit her lip in astonishment, took a few seconds to adjust her emotions, and hesitantly asked, "Then, Mr. Zhou, can I go back now?"
Zhou Hai's expression immediately turned from sunny to cloudy. "Uh, yes, you can go back."
Ruan Mian walked out of the office and reached the classroom door. She saw Chen Yi and Jiang Rang standing in the corridor, their blue and white school uniforms accentuating their tall and slender figures.
He leaned against the railing, and under his fair skin, the veins on his arms were distinctly visible. His expression was nonchalant yet captivatingly lazy.
As Ruan Mian entered the classroom, another boy joined Chen Yi and Jiang Rang. The three of them chatted and laughed, their voices resounding without restraint.
"Liang Yiran just messaged me. He has to help the teacher organize the test papers at lunchtime and won't eat with us," Jiang Rang's voice was full of vitality. "I heard that their Chinese teacher for this semester is Wu Yan."
"Dean, huh?" Chen Yi asked.
"Do we have another teacher named Wu Yan in our school?" There was a hint of schadenfreude in Jiang Rang's laughter. "Wu Yan said last semester that she only planned to teach one class this semester. Who would have thought it would be Liang Yiran's class?"
"Our little Liang has been offended," Shen Yu added, unable to contain his laughter. "This is just too unfortunate."
Chen Yi also laughed along with them, though it wasn't very obvious amidst their laughter. But Ruan Mian was like a detector tuned to his voice, always able to avoid all distractions and capture it accurately.
Soon, the bell rang, and the classroom became like birds returning to their nests. But the noise only existed for a moment. When the bell stopped, the classroom fell completely silent.
There was a slight sound of a stool being dragged and someone sitting beside Ruan Mian. She held her pen, her thoughts in turmoil, unsure of what to do.
This state persisted throughout the day. And on that day, Ruan Mian quickly established a friendship with Meng Xinglan when they went to the girls' restroom together, forming a bond that would later evolve into a revolutionary friendship through the forging of time.
Of course, these are stories for later.
Meng Xinglan and Chen Yi were not in the same class in their first year, but they had some interactions due to Liang Yiran's relationship.
"Chen Yi is a proud son of heaven, excelling both academically and in appearance. Many girls in school admire him," Meng Xinglan's tone was purely appreciative. "He has a relaxed and easygoing personality, has many friends, and both teachers and classmates like him. Especially the girls. I can guarantee that out of the sixteen girls in our class, fourteen of them have had feelings for him."
"What about the other two?" Ruan Mian didn't catch on immediately.
"The other two are you and me," Meng Xinglan turned off the faucet, speaking confidently. "Liking someone like him, the sadness is bound to outweigh the joy. But liking someone should be a happy thing. I don't want to look back in the future and only feel sorrow in my memories."
Unintentional words, but listeners have their own thoughts.
In the sound of the trickling water, Ruan Mian vaguely saw her future self. She closed the tap, shook off the water from her hands, and calmly said, "Let's go, it's time for class."
In the afternoon biology class, Zhou Hai asked Chen Yi to introduce himself, though it was completely unnecessary as almost everyone in Eighth Middle School knew Chen Yi.
Even Ruan Mian, who had just transferred, had learned a lot about him from Meng Xinglan's explanations.
Chen Yi probably knew this as well, as he stood up, said his name, and then there was nothing else.
Zhou Hai asked him to sit down and quickly announced the other class cadres in the class. As for the class representative, apart from Ruan Mian, who had already been determined in advance, the selection of representatives for other subjects was left to the teachers themselves.
After the class ended, Meng Xinglan pulled Ruan Mian to get water.
Their growing friendship quickly caught the attention of Zhao Shutang. On the way home that evening, Zhao Shutang made some sarcastic remarks.
At their age, it was nothing more than childish squabbles. Ruan Mian didn't take it to heart and didn't mention it to Fang Ruqing.
Rebuilding a family was already difficult, and becoming a true family wouldn't happen overnight. The only thing she could do was to cause as little trouble as possible for her mother.
When she returned home, Ruan Mian took out the registration form from her backpack and filled in the information one by one. When she stopped writing, she looked up at the window.
Across the street was the Pingjiang Residence lined with the villas. In the dark night, the distant lights resembled a low-hanging galaxy, sparkling and colorful.
Gradually, the words Meng Xinglan had said during the day resurfaced in her mind—
"Chen Yi's family members are all remarkable individuals."
"His father is an expert in astronomy, and his mother is a dancer. He has an uncle who is an officer in the military, a retired general as a grandfather, and a doctor as a grandmother. His grandfather and grandmother are well-known figures in the literary world."
"He is the only child in his family, born in Rome, always being someone else's child from an early age."
"He lives in the Pingjiang Residence, where the houses are extremely expensive, and it's not a place you can buy with money alone."
Ruan Mian heard her own voice in her memories, carrying a calm and indifferent tone after putting on a disguise. "So, Chen Yi, his family is so outstanding, has he ever thought about what he wants to do in the future?"
"Yeah," Meng Xinglan pondered for a moment. "During the freshman speech in the first year, he said he wanted to join the military in the future. Well, boys, they all have that heroic patriotism, especially since he comes from a military family. But whether he has changed his mind now, I don't know."
The conversation was abruptly interrupted by the ringing of the bell, and Ruan Mian snapped back to reality. She put the registration form back into her bag, unlocked a drawer, and took out a notebook from inside.
She flipped to a page.
Two lines were written on it.
—August 16, 2008.
—Chen from 'Er Dong' and Yi from 'stars adorn as presence soars'.
Ruan Mian turned to a new page and wrote a few words.
—August 31, 2008.
—What's up with him?
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