“Keep your voices down, this is a hospital corridor, don’t disturb others.”
From the corridor outside came the voices and footsteps of the group of people. Lin Shiyu recognized the familiar voices and looked at the door in astonishment.
Leading the way was Li Zhong, swaggering with his hands behind his back, looking like the leader of the group. Following him were Mao Silu, Gao Jie, Ruan Zhikai, and Tao Chen with Zhong Qi walking in the rear, holding a basket of fruit. When they entered the room, his eyes met Lin Shiyu’s.
Now, Lin Shiyu was utterly baffled.
“Teacher Li, why are you here?” Lin Hui quickly stood up, equally puzzled as she looked at the group of students behind Li Zhong. “Who are these…”
Li Zhong stepped forward and greeted Lin Hui. “They’re all Lin Shiyu’s classmates. They insisted on coming to see him. They called me four or five times last night, pestering me until I had no choice but to bring them here.”
Mao Silu and Gao Jie greeted Lin Hui politely, while Zhong Qi and Ruan Zhikai placed two large bags of fruit baskets by the bedside. Tao Chen picked up a pink bag and said, “Hello, ma’am, we brought some fruits for Shiyu, and this is chocolate. It’s very delicious, and for both you and Shiyu.”
She placed the bag on the bedside table, which was now filled.
“Oh.” Lin Hui looked at them in a mix of surprise and joy. “Are you all here to visit Xiaoyu?”
Tao Chen nodded. “Yes, Xiaoyu got bitten by a snake because of me, and I felt really guilty, so I thought I had to come to see him.”
“Okay, thank you, thank you for coming to see him.” Lin Hui said, overwhelmed with emotion. She didn’t know where to put her hands, and turned to Lin Shiyu, saying, “Xiaoyu, your friends are concerned about you.”
Lin Shiyu had been holding his spoon and watching this group of people since they arrived, his face full of confusion. “What are they here to see me for?”
“This child… always like this,” Lin Hui said apologetically to Li Zhong, and lightly tapped Lin Shiyu’s arm. “Teacher Li…”
Li Zhong waved his hand, indicating that he understood, and said, “Think of it as taking them out for some fresh air. They’ll have to be locked up again later; so you don’t need to worry about them.”
Mao Silu squeezed onto the bed and touched the bandage on Lin Shiyu’s arm. “Shiyu, are you okay now?”
“I’m fine,” Lin Shiyu replied.
Tao Chen stood by his bed, looking guilty. “I’m so sorry, Shiyu, it’s all my fault.”
Lin Shiyu coughed. “It’s nothing.”
Zhong Qi had been silent at the foot of the bed, then spoke up, reminding them. “If you don’t eat soon, it’ll get cold.”
It was only then that Lin Shiyu remembered his meal. He held the spoon, ready to continue eating, but his spoon was snatched halfway. Gao Jie, with an air of importance, quickly moved closer to scoop up his rice. “Come on, let me feed you. A wounded soldier shouldn’t eat on his own. Ah…”
Lin Shiyu snatched his spoon back. “Are you crazy?”
“Don’t move, don’t move, you’re still on a drip,” Mao Silu hurriedly reminded him.
Li Zhong said, “I told you to be quiet and not disturb others!”
He then turned to Lin Hui and said, “Sorry, these kids are quite lively.”
“It’s okay, it’s quite nice.” Lin Hui looked at the kids playing around and smiled gently. “Xiaoyu said he didn’t make any friends, but clearly, he has so many friends who care about him. This stubborn child.”
After Lin Shiyu finished his meal, Lin Hui put away the thermos and placed it in a bag, saying, “I’ll be leaving now. Xiaoyu, you can spend some time with your friends.”
Tao Chen asked, “Auntie, are you leaving already?”
Lin Hui nodded. “His little sister is still at Peizhi School, I have to go pick her up.”
Lin Hui suddenly stopped talking and didn’t continue.
Mao Silu asked blankly, “What’s the Peizhi School?”
Lin Shiyu shifted his gaze. Zhong Qi didn’t react when he heard the name, but he saw Lin Shiyu’s expression, which seemed to resist, as if something unpleasant was about to come out of him.
“Auntie, thank you for your trouble,” Zhong Qi politely said to Lin Hui. “You can go ahead, we’ll keep Xiaoyu company.”
Tao Chen also realized what was going on and quickly said, “Yes, we can go back later in the evening.”
After Lin Hui left, the atmosphere became somewhat awkward. Mao Silu had a vague feeling that he had done something stupid again and cautiously said, “I just–”
Li Zhong interrupted in time. “Gao Jie, you can take out the fruit and share it.”
Gao Jie quickly started unpacking the fruit baskets, and Ruan Zhikai casually took out a sweet orange. He said to Mao Silu: “Here, I’ll peel an orange for you to eat. It’s rich in vitamins, good for your brain.”
Mao Silu: “???”
Gao Jie peeled an apple, cut off a small piece, and once again tried to feed Lin Shiyu: “Come on, Xiaoyu, it’s a sweet and crunchy apple, ah…”
Lin Shiyu, finding Gao Jie’s approach annoying, pushed his hand away. “I’m not eating.”
“You have to eat,” Gao Jie insisted earnestly. “It’s the first time I’ve ever peeled an apple for someone.”
Lin Shiyu was left speechless, with a piece of apple in his mouth.
They stayed by Lin Shiyu’s bedside for a while longer, until Lin Shiyu’s IV drip was finished. Li Zhong checked the time, and said it was time to go. They all stood up to leave.
Tao Chen suddenly took out her phone, her eyes brightening. “How about we take a photo together?”
Lin Shiyu was absolutely baffled by this group of people. “What’s there to take a photo of?” They wanted to take a picture of him lying in a hospital bed?
“It’s okay; you still look handsome, and you’re not wearing a hospital gown,” Tao Chen said. “I think this is the first time we’ve all gathered like this, and Teacher Li is here too. It’s especially memorable. Please, let me take a picture.”
Lin Shiyu wanted to say something, but Gao Jie and Mao Silu had already squeezed in, one on each side, excitedly saying, “Come on, we are taking pictures. Mr. Li, you come too.”
Li Zhong shook his head helplessly. “You guys are the only ones with more tricks.”
“Don’t sit in the backlit area. Yes, sit by the bed, move the blanket to the side, squeeze in a bit.” Tao Chen sat in the front, holding her phone high and adjusting the camera until everyone was in the frame. “Smile!”
In the photo, Tao Chen had a brilliant smile, and Gao Jie and Mao Silu were grinning cheekily. Lin Shiyu, sitting in the middle with an awkward expression and bandages on his arm, stood out. Behind them were Zhong Qi, Li Zhong, who managed a smile and Ruan Zhikai, who looked a bit arrogant. Zhong Qi stood on the far side, his gaze directed at the camera, calm and unwavering.
The wall behind them cast slanting rays of light, highlighting their distinct features and diverse expressions, like a cluster of flowers bathed in sunlight growing on a white wall, radiant, full of vitality.
Edited by: Jaisland