Ahmon and Yang Ping sat outside in the school courtyard. Yang Ping sat atop a picnic table, elbows resting on his knees. Ahmon sat on the bench to Yang Ping’s right, leaning back against the table. It was sunny and the two friends had just finished basketball practice.
“Hey, Yang Ping,” Ahmon said questioningly, “you seemed distracted today during practice.” The blond boy looked over at his dark-haired friend, startled. “Uh…I was just…tired! Yeah, that’s all, I was tired,” he stammered. Ahmon opened his left eye to glance at his friend and cocked his eyebrow. “Tired, eh?” he smirked. He closed his eye again and laced his fingers behind his head. Yang Ping stared down at his feet.
After a few moments of silence, Ahmon said, “You and Li Xiang are two of a kind.” The blond flinched at the mention of his crush’s name and stared at his friend. The dark-haired boy looked up and continued, “You both love, even though the love is not returned. You are both willing to do anything to make the object of your affection happy, regardless of how your actions will affect others.” Yang Ping turned away from Ahmon and bit his lip to stop the tears from spilling over. The truth in Ahmon’s words cut too deeply, though, and the tears fell.
“It’s true,” Yang Ping said between sobs. “I was willing to kill Qi Yue, only to get a smile in return!” He angrily wiped away the tears before turning back to face Ahmon. “I’m so disgusted with myself. I only want Li Xiang to be happy, but…deep down, I want her to be happy with me. Ahmon, teach me the secret to real love!”
Ahmon opened his eyes again and turned to study his friend. He smiled and stated, “My friend, you already know part of the secret! Take that willingness to make her happy and turn it to a willingness to make her happy with you. Pursue her earnestly. Perhaps she will see what a great guy you are.”
Yang Ping looked down at his feet again. “It doesn’t matter what I do. I know Li Xiang will never see me for me. She will only see the Devil’s advocate. I’m not like you, Ahmon. I can’t make someone see me for who I really am.” Ahmon shot his friend a questioning look. “No matter how nasty you acted to Qi Yue, she still saw that there was some good in you.”
“Yes, but I don’t think she would’ve seen it without your help,” Ahmon stated. “You made her see me as more than a devil. Now it’s time for you to take that magic of yours and use it on Li Xiang. Make her see you as more than the Devil’s advocate!” Yang Ping looked up at his friend again. A smile broke out on his tear-streaked face. “You’re right, Ahmon! I can do it! I’m gonna go talk to Li Xiang right now!” He stood up to leave, but Ahmon caught his arm. “Uh, Yang Ping, before you go…you might want to wipe your face a little bit. Li Xiang won’t want to know that the Devil’s advocate is a crybaby,” Ahmon said, running his fingers from the corners of his eyes to his chin and letting his mouth droop into a frown.