Part 4: First Day at New School
My New Partner
This problem was so difficult...
I stared at the test and it looked like some kind of ancient curse, torturing my fragile mind...
A box of chocolate milk suddenly appeared on my desk.
I opened it up and started drinking it. It was delicious.
Li Wen! What are you doing during an exam!
Thud. Ms. Yang pounded her fist on my desk.
My eyes went wide.
There was no test, no Ms. Yang, not even my favorite drink, chocolate milk.
I was lying in my own bed, still wearing the t-shirt I had put on for tennis last night.
How had I fallen asleep like this?
Suddenly, I remembered that I had found some strange things at my door last night.
I carefully opened the door and looked outside. There was nothing.
Was it all just a dream?
In any case, what time was it?
I checked the clock on the wall.
It was ten past nine!
I rushed to school as fast as possible.
The second period had just begun.
It was tennis class today.
Our school was famous for its emphasis on so-called Quality Education.
Which meant that unlike other schools we had classes in stuff like tennis, art, and so on, even for the senior students, so that they could get some exercise and release some of the stress from schoolwork.
Not many seniors enrolled in these classes, though.
Everyone had bet their whole lives on the upcoming Gaokao, the National Higher Education Entrance Examination.
However, I still had no idea what I wanted to do in the future.
Nor what major I would be interested in.
I supposed I would just go with the flow.
I carried my racket under my arm and ran onto the tennis court.
Usually I would just do some hitting practice during the class.
But today, I was here with a purpose.
Last time I had accidentally hit that knucklehead Rocky from Class 3 when I had been practicing my serve.
He insisted that I had done it on purpose, and challenged me to a match to settle the score.
What kind of obsessive, obnoxious man was this?
Well, today was the day of our duel.
I had agreed to his proposal, with 30 boxes of chocolate milk as the wager. My favorite.
We would play a doubles match for one set, and we got to pick a partner for the opponent.
I picked Wang Qiang as Rocky's partner first.
He was probably the weakest out of all of the people present today.
My darling chocolate milk... here I come!
Rocky pointed to someone behind me.
You'll partner with him then.
I turned around.
And I saw someone who was looking petrified... someone whom... I had never even met?!
The stranger introduced himself as Jimmy. He said he had just transferred from Hong Kong today.
Huh. A transfer student in the last semester of senior year, and from Hong Kong no less... that was peculiar.
Never mind. I needed to win my chocolate milk first!
Since he had enrolled in the class he could be really good. Maybe this would be my lucky day!
Just one game later, I realized I had been kidding myself...
That sneaky Rocky... he must have known this guy didn't know how to play at all!
Wang Qiang might only be a 2.0, but that would make Jimmy a... 0.2!
He barely even knew how to hold a racket...
No matter! For my precious chocolate milk, I would have to do it alone!
Half an hour later we were at the tie breaker.
The score was 7 to 8, their match point.
If I could win this next point, I still had a chance. Otherwise, I would have to go buy the chocolate milk myself at a 7-Eleven...
I was standing on the right side at the back. My hat was soaking wet, and sweat was dripping down my ponytail onto my t-shirt.
Jimmy was standing on the left side at the net, and I could see he was sweating through the back of his t-shirt too.
Here came the ball.
It was aimed at the center of the back court to my left. I squeezed the racket in my hand-----
A sudden twist of my ankle.
I fell to the ground and completely mis-hit the ball.
Even worse, it went straight into the back of Jimmy's head.
Oh no... did I just give him a concussion?...
But I clearly remembered that he was standing much further left, wasn't he?
[BGM: Sad Clown]
First Day at New School
My name is Jimmy.
Today was my first day at Yingnan High School as a senior.
I flew from Hong Kong to Beijing only a few days ago.
On my first night my suitcase, which held my laptop, still hadn't arrived at the hotel.
I was bored out of my mind and decided to go down to the arcade to kill some time.
There, I saw a girl with long hair.
She had come into the arcade with a basket of tennis balls, and she was sweating from head to toe.
She wanted to get the Ser Spotty doll from the claw machine.
I wanted to get it too, but earlier there had been a couple hogging the machine for a long time.
Throughout my childhood, my father would always buy me anything I wanted. It was usually Game Boys, computers and stuff like that, nothing outrageous.
So I never really understood the feeling of wanting something so badly but not being able to get it.
I looked at her from a distance.
I watched her fail and keep trying, over and over again.
Her expression looked so funny, and so cute.
I felt a strange urge.
I had gone to an all-boy school in Hong Kong, and I also wasn't someone who liked to go out that much. I had never really met very many girls.
And I had never learned how to pick up girls.
But today felt different. I really thought she was extremely cute, and I had a special feeling about her that I didn't really understand myself. I didn't want to miss the chance of getting to know her.
I mustered all of my courage and decided to get her attention.
I wrote down my email address on a piece of paper. Then I bought a drink and quietly left the cup on the counter of the claw machine, with the note under the cup. Now, I just needed to wait for her response.
The first night, I didn't get an email.
It must have been too late. She would write me back the next day, I thought.
The second day, all I got was junk mail.
The third day... (。 _ 。)
Maybe she had lost the note by accident?
Maybe she had washed it in her laundry?
Maybe... I could find out what her email address was instead?
All I needed to do was hack into the cashier system of the arcade; I could get information on all of the customers who had paid for tokens using mobile banking. And I could get more than just their email addresses, like their real addresses, and bank accounts...
So, I did it. I mustered all of my courage once again and wrote her an email.
Yet... (。 _ 。)
Maybe... she didn't really use her email?
I had told my father that I wanted to transfer to this school.
It didn't really matter to him and the school happened to be quite good too, so he agreed almost immediately.
If he had known the truth... he would have slapped me in the face and called me a disgrace. (￣ε(#￣)
I had also found out that she liked playing tennis.
So, of course, I bought myself a racket immediately.
I even finished reading all 42 volumes of the manga series The Kid of Tennis.
But I would have never thought that I would get the chance to partner with her in a doubles match on my first day at the new school.
And I had also never realized that, well, everything in the manga was a lie!
The only time I even touched the ball, it hit the referee.
Oh crap. I sucked so bad... She must hate me now...
We ended up in a tiebreaker for the match. I had read about this in the manga.
Basically, it was a quick way to decide the winner when both sides had been evenly matched.
If it wasn't for me she would have already won easily.
The ball was coming again.
It was a fast one, and it was flying towards my right side!
I was so nervous that my hand was shaking uncontrollably. I tried my best to hold the racket as steady as I could-----
I took a step to the right.
I rushed forward.
I took a step to the right almost out of instinct, but I still let the ball pass.
Even if I tried to hit the ball it would never go in.
From behind me, I heard her hitting the ball. Good job!
But before I could finish my thought I felt a sudden shock of numbness and pain from the back of my head; I completely blacked out...
I was in the infirmary when I woke up.
It was... already noon.
I looked around. There was no one else in the room but the school nurse.
Oh, Jimmy... what did you think was going to happen? (。 _ 。)