The subway arrived at Qiao Luo's station. He hurried to get off while saying bye-bye to Fu Shizhou, and he stepped into his classroom right as the bell rang out.
Most people were just like Qiao Luo. They'd yet to adjust the biological clock they'd set themselves on over summer break. Everyone was delirious with drowsiness. The morning self-study period passed in complete silence as each student waged a fierce battle against the sleepytime bugs in their system.
Qiao Luo valiantly fought through his drowsiness and stayed awake through morning self-study. After breakfast, he sprawled over his desk for a while before finally starting to come to his senses. As soon as his mind started to really wake up, a jolt shot through his heart:
What did Zhouzhou-gege say?!
He'll call to wake me up?!
Cell phone usage in class was strictly prohibited, but Qiao Luo seriously couldn't resist. He took out his phone and, hiding his hands and phone in the cubby of his desk, sneakily typed out a WeChat message: Zhouzhou-gege, will you really call me every day to wake me up?
He thought for a moment, then added another line: Or was I dreaming again…
By the time Qiao Luo's morning self-study ended, Fu Shizhou's roommate had also woken up.
He groggily sat up and grumbled at Fu Shizhou, "What the hell are you doing over there? What'd you get up so early for? What time was it, when you started disturbing my sweet dreams? Was it even six?"
"Six on the dot," Fu Shizhou said.
His roommate was silent for a moment. Then: "…what are you doing?"
Fu Shizhou checked the message Qiao Luo had sent him. He answered: Not dreaming. I promised.
Then, he lifted his head and said to his roommate, "The little kid from back home can't get up in time for high school. I'll be calling to get him out of bed."
The roommate looked at Fu Shizhou as though he were looking at a lunatic. "The… the one who gave you that ugly dinosaur? The one who stayed in our dorm over the summer?"
"Mm," Fu Shizhou confirmed. He lowered his head and returned his attention to his chat with Qiao Luo.
He had no idea what the little brat was hesitating over. The chat interface kept saying 'The other party is typing…', but no new messages showed up.
Meanwhile, his roommate was already howling in misery. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! Day in and day out, I have to watch you worry about that kid's grades. When he gets sick, you go home to spend time with him. Whenever he's unhappy, you have to call to comfort him. And now, just because he's starting high school, you have to go out of your way to wake him up with a call?
"Is that really necessary?! Fu Shizhou, you're hopeless!"
Fu Shizhou spared a glance for his melodramatic roommate. "It's necessary. If he's late, he'll be scolded by his teacher. If he's scolded, he'll be unhappy. He'll cry and whine, and in the end he'll come whimpering to me anyway."
His roommate promptly lost the will to live. "Why did I end up with such a brocon for a roommate… ugh!"
Fu Shizhou blandly remarked, "Friendly reminder. Back when you copied my work, what you said was, 'Bless the administrative system for assigning me such a good roommate.'"
His roommate glared at him. "If it weren't for your work back then, you would have been beaten to death by my pillow today."
Fu Shizhou wasn't afraid of any pillow. "Another friendly reminder. I'll be waking him up for the next three years. If you kill me now, you won't be able to copy anyone's internship report. Just be glad that you won't be sharing a room with me once our internships start next week, and pray you won't be assigned to my room when we enter grad school."
The roommate weighed his options. He could either suffer a week of this nonsense, or he could murder Fu Shizhou now and give up any chance of copying his internship report later. After letting out a miserable wail, he stomped into the bathroom to wash up.
Qiao Luo finally sent another message.
The little brat wrote: You don't have to… I can get up by myself.
Fu Shizhou took one look, and his face instantly darkened.
Oh, sure. Fine. Sure. This little thing called him at the crack of dawn, and now he knew how to act like a good boy? Fu Shizhou had felt bad for the little brat, for not being able to sleep in. He'd offered to get up with him, to call, and this guy had the gall to say 'no thanks'!
Fu Shizhou tapped out a firm response: Then don't call me after you get up.
Qiao Luo deflated at the sight of that message. He frowned as he thought of not getting to see his Zhouzhou-gege and not getting to hear from him. Dejected but obedient, he typed out a one-word answer: Oh.
Fu Shizhou's bad mood persisted all day. He stuffed his phone into his pocket and didn't check it even once.
It wasn't until that night, when he was about to go to sleep, that his cell phone started vibrating. It buzzed so hard that it jumped and jolted right over the side of his bed, crashing onto the floor with a thud. Fu Shizhou finally picked it up and checked the screen.
It wasn't broken, but notifications of countless WeChat messages and missed calls flooded the screen. All of them had come from Qiao Luo.
Fu Shizhou called back with an icy expression affixed to his face. The call connected in an instant, and Qiao Luo's voice—which sounded heavy and choked with the threat of tears—instantly smashed into his eardrums:
"You said you wouldn't ignore me! You didn't pick up your phone, you didn't answer your texts, you don't want me anymore!!!"
The buzzing in Fu Shizhou's head exploded, and he could only swallow his pent-up anger and keep it tamped down in his stomach. He awkwardly looked for an excuse: "I didn't have my phone with me. What are you crying for?"
Qiao Luo had indeed played the part of a good boy during the day, but he'd started regretting it as soon as he got home that night. He'd planned on whining to Fu Shizhou, taking back his words, and begging Zhouzhou-gege to wake him up every morning after all.
But after Qiao Luo sent over one, two, three messages… Fu Shizhou didn't answer. After Qiao Luo tried to call once, twice, thrice… Fu Shizhou didn't pick up.
Qiao Luo relived the horror of being ignored for a whole month.
He was scared to death. His heart beat out of control. He didn't know what he'd done to make Fu Shizhou upset with him again, and he didn't care. Once Fu Shizhou finally called him back, he just kept shouting, "You ignored me, you ignored me, you ignored me!"
Fu Shizhou was exhausted. "I didn't."
Qiao Luo sprawled out in bed. He quieted down and mumbled, "I miss you."
Fu Shizhou took a moment to skim through the texts he'd missed. He could tell he'd really scared the little brat again. Otherwise, Qiao Luo wouldn't sound so dejected.
Fu Shizhou gave a rare response: "I'll come back to see you over the weekend."
Qiao Luo instantly took the opportunity to recant his earlier words. "No, not good enough. You have to call me every morning to wake me up."
Fu Shizhou fell silent.
This kid was stupid, right? Fu Shizhou had clearly agreed to that. He'd been the one to offer. And now, after rejecting him once, Qiao Luo was throwing a fit and bringing that up again?
Fu Shizhou had just started massaging his temples when Qiao Luo softened his voice and played the part of a spoiled, sweet boy: "I swear I'll pick up as soon as you call, okay?"
He whined and whimpered some more, then complained, "I have to get up early, and Zhouzhou-gege ignored me today. I'm hurt."
Fu Shizhou ultimately said, "…fine."
Qiao Luo squirmed under the covers and stretched out in bed, settling in and closing his eyes. "I'm already in bed. I'm going to sleep soon, like a good boy. Zhouzhou-gege, you absolutely have to call me, 'kay?"
Fu Shizhou hummed his acknowledgement, then added, "Wait two minutes before you go to sleep. I'm sending you a file."
After hanging up, Fu Shizhou sent Qiao Luo an audio file over WeChat.
Immediately afterwards, he followed up with a text: Set this as your ringtone for me.
Qiao Luo plastered his phone to his ear and hit 'play'.
It was Fu Shizhou's voice. The clip was very short. Just one line:
"Luoluo, wake up."
Qiao Luo was inexplicably overcome by elation. His heart ran wild in his chest again. The ear pressed against his phone turned faintly, hotly red.
Gentle Old Fu: "Luoluo, wake up."
Explosive Old Fu, on the phone: "Luoluo, wake the hell up!"
Gentle 14: Please bookmark, please interact, please leave some starfish???
Explosive 14: All of you, bookmark now! Gimme starfish! (Ah, suddenly shy… goodbye…)