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the formula for love

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It had been a week after the official IMO competition had come to an end. Nathan had anticipated this a bit and quite disliked to think of it being over without him having participated. However, he knew the cost of his absence came with his reuniting with Zhang Mei and so he was satisfied. 


Having had the wonderful opportunity to get a ticket for China just in time, he thanked his mother for his trip with Zhang Mei. Somehow, he had been able to figure out which train she was taking. Or, to be more precise, he had merely called her and gotten an answer two seconds later. She had been shaky when she answered, but her excitement soon returned near the end of "What train are you taking?" 


Zhang Mei didn't think she would ever see him again. And to think she was starting to think it was for the best. She couldn't blame Nathan for her absence at the IMO and her mathmatician uncle's rage. It's not like she had done anything wrong though. 


Of course she didn't really believe that she had only been put in the team because of Uncle Deng but unfortunately, it was what people thought when they realized they were related at all. Zhang Mei didn't care what they thought. She quit because math wasn't her thing. She quit because she felt the need to. She quit because she wanted to quit and Uncle Deng couldn't force her to continue. It was true that she had come so far, but she didn't see the point on trying any further. Nathan had suggested it when she was packing her things, but her mind had already been made, as much as she wanted to see him again, she had to tell herself that there were many other beautiful minds out there... Right? 


Not as beautiful as Nathan. As she boarded to train to China, it broke her. A foreign math prodigy, she thought. A high school student in love with numbers. A quiet, sweet boy with darling blue eyes. She couldn't stop thinking about him.


Nathan couldn't stop thinking about her either. His mind was always full of numbers, but this time it had another elements that was alien to him. An element that was taking time to get used to. It made him feel strange and vulnerable and it made his stomach turn and his heart ache. This element was called love.


How he had tried to solve a formula for it. He simply could not do it. Out of all the mathematical problems in the world- Nathan could not figure out the formula for love. 


"As far as I'm concerned, no one has either." His mum had told him. It made him at ease for a few seconds  before he felt the loss again. A piece of his value had been subtracted from him by Zheng Mei, whom he had shared so much with, and he felt less than what he did before as soon as she walked out the door. His happiness was great when he heard his mum say,"Wanna fetch her back?" Because that was exactly what he wanted to do. 


Now he was there in the train with Zhang Mei. His mum had so generously paid him a ticket and with quick planning, he was going with her on a trip to her home country of China. Thanking time for being so kind, he decided to lean back and let his worries escape him in the day of July 14th. School would not start again until August. 


Zhang Mei had her head leaned over his shoulder- slightly tilted to the right with dewy eyes that closed every few seconds. Nathan wasn't smiling, but his expression was so different than what he normally had that it would seem like he was. It was as if he had been exposed to utmost mathematical grandeur that he himself had created, except it was at the hands of a clever Chinese girl that he liked more than he liked ice cream. 


"Why did you run away?" asked Zhang Mei. The voice coming from her lips sounds like twinkling stars. Nathan feels himself giving into the calm until he realized he doesn't know what to say, like a lot of the time. 


"I ran because..." He started, softly. Zhang Mei didn't stir one inch. He felt her listening intently. "I had better things to do." Surprisingly, he found the right words. "I had to find you."