The always gentle and calm Li Chongwen finally disappeared and now he was burning with emotion. His cheeks were abnormally flushed, and his normally peaceful eyes seemed very heated: “I don’t owe you any money, please don’t bother me anymore!”
“Then call the police. Do you think the police will help you?”
This middle-aged man was obviously a wily old scumbag. He knew that even if the police did come, they would only mediate when it came to such minor disputes. As long as he wanted to pester Li Chongwen, Li Chongwen could not escape from him at all. He was obviously very cunning.
Qian Wei winked at Qian Chuan: “That is my classmate, go and help him.”
Qian Chuan was briefly stunned but then he nodded strongly.
“Do you want to leave by yourself or shall I take you out to the police station?”
The physique of the boys from the Academy of Physical Education was nothing to scoff at. Qian Chuan stood at 185cm, his shoulders were wide and his legs were long, when coupled with his masculine aura, it was enough for him to just stand there and people would feel intimidated. As soon as he walked over and joined the situation, the middle-aged man’s arrogance suddenly weakened.
But even though he looked a little uncomfortable, his arrogant words did not change, he raised his head to face Qian Chuan and said: “Little brother, do not think that you are punishing evil and promoting good here.” He pointed at Li Chongwen. “Ask him why I come here to find him every day. It’s because he owes me money and refuses to pay it back. I have no choice but to come here to find him!”
Li Chongwen clenched his fist: “I’ll say it again, I don’t owe you any money!”
“Sure! It was your father who owed me money, but it is only natural for a son to pay their father’s debts. Now that your old man has run away, can’t I ask you for the money?”
“You can ask for the money from whoever owes it!”
“Everybody, come and see how the University A students bully others!” Seeing that Li Chongwen was unmoved, the middle-aged man began to make a ruckus and shout loudly, seemingly wanting to use public opinion to force Li Chongwen to submit.
Attracting the attention of onlookers was probably the last thing Li Chongwen wanted. And, as Qian Wei guessed, Li Chongwen’s calm face was now rapidly reddening because of the shouting middle-aged man, but it wasn’t like he could just rush up and beat the other party, so he could only stand there feeling embarrassed, bearing the eyes of inquiry from all directions.
“The son and the father are two different individuals. In our law, there has never been a concept of a father’s debt and a son’s repayment. If you think he owes you money and isn’t paying it back, you should go to court and sue him!” Qian Wei also stood up. “Since you are so justified, you should use the law to protect yourself. Do you want my brother to accompany you to the police station and the courts?”
“What does this have to do with you?”
“I’m sorry, but this is my friend. I can’t just watch you harass him like this. If you want to go on, you can go through my brother first.” Qian Wei finished speaking and patted Qian Chuan on the shoulder. “By the way, you should call your friends from the Academy of Physical Education. Don’t you know a Muay Thai boxer who has never lost a fight? He should definitely be called.”
“No problem.” Qian Chuan replied. Then he seemed ready to take out his cell phone.
The middle-aged man sized up the situation and felt things were not good. He immediately stopped his pestering. He cursed at them for a while and then left with a resentful look on his face.
As soon as he left, the restaurant finally returned to calm, and everyone continued to eat. No one paid Li Chongwen any more attention. Li Chongwen finally seemed to be able to breathe again and he bowed his head and began to clean up the food scraps from the table that had been overturned by middle-aged men.
He didn’t seem to want to talk, so Qian Wei didn’t rush it, she just motioned for Qian Chuan to help him clean up.
After half a stick of incense, Li Chongwen finally opened his mouth.
“It’s because of my father.” He spoke like what he was saying was very difficult, as if he had exhausted all his courage after every word. “He likes to gamble and every time he accumulates a lot of debt, he runs away and lies low for a while. That man just now couldn’t find him, so he came to me to collect the debt.”
Li Chongwen had always been proud and independent. In her last life, Qian Wei and her classmates knew nothing about his family history. Obviously, no matter how worn out he was he never had the intention to use his own difficulties to win attention and sympathy from other people, or even the intention to let people know about his problems. Now that Qian Wei and her brother had accidentally stumbled into the secret he had been trying so hard to keep, he must be struggling in his heart.
Qian Wei patted him on the shoulder: “You don’t have to explain to me. Qian Chuan and I just saw someone in trouble right before our eyes. Even if it was someone else, we would still help. You don’t have to think that because we helped you, you have to give us an explanation. You have your own difficulties and your own privacy, that’s fine.” She smiled. “Qian Chuan and I will keep what we saw today secret, including the fact that you are working here.”
Li Chongwen seemed stupefied but then he finally showed his first sincere smile Qian Wei had seen today. The smile was clean and pure without any haze. He looked at Qian Wei with bright eyes: “My family is not well-off so my tuition usually depends on scholarships and work-study programs. In addition to my own expenses, I also have to care for my sister and my mother who is sick and unable to work.” He paused, “I really don’t want others to know about these things, which is why I chose to work so far away from the school. It’s not because of vanity or because I am afraid that other people will dislike me for being poor, it’s just that I don’t want other people to give me any special treatment because of it. I can overcome these difficulties myself. I already have financial aid so I don’t want to accept donations from others and waste social resources. If my father wasn’t always gambling, doing part-time jobs and my financial aid would be more than enough for me. There are many people in our society who need charity more than I do, people whose lives and death can be decided by that small amount of charity money. How could I take it myself?”
Qian Wei was surprised that Li Chongwen just came out and told her the whole story. She was briefly stunned but then she gave him a smile. Yes, Li Chongwen had always been this kind of person. He always had his own story but he never used that story to stand out. He was always upright and principled and even his explanation was the same. He adhered to his own principles and pride. He could obviously live an easier life if he relied of the charity of others but he didn’t want to. He had his own persistence, even if he was not born rich, he still always held onto his compassionate heart. He knew that in this world, there were people who needed help much more than he did.
Qian Chuan patted her chest and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll keep it a secret. It’s better not to let anyone know about this kind of thing. God knows how people might react. If things went wrong a strange rumor might spread. Maybe if it got out, you could only secretly work to repay your father’s debts.”
Li Chongwen smiled: “Thank you.”
It was a pity that although Qian Wei and Qian Chuan were quite understanding toward Li Chongwen, the owner of the restaurant did not empathize with him so much. When he learned that there had been a dispute in the store, he arrived in a hurry. He took a look at the scene and turned pale.
“Xiao Li, I really have nothing to say about your work ethic but ever since last week, people have been coming to the restaurant to make trouble for you. I’m just running a small family restaurant here. If things go on like this, the business will be affected.”
How could Li Chongwen not understand the subtext in this remark? He lowered his head in thought and, in the end, he thanked the boss politely and humbly, and then offered to resign.
After the boss left, Li Chongwen turned around and smiled at Qian Wei: “It seems I’m now looking for a new job.”
Qian Wei had a flash of inspiration: “Qian Chuan happens to be looking for an English tutor. Your English is very good. Are you interested?”
Qian Chuan: ?
“He’s going to take the CET-4 in December this year but my brother is from the Academy of Physical Education and, you know, their cultural scores are never very good, especially English, ah~, it’s always very poor. The grammar is a mess. So I’ve been worrying about how to find a reliable English tutor to give him supplementary lessons. Because we want to pass the CET-4 in one fell swoop we’ve found several tutors but although their English scores were good, their lecturing skills were lacking.”
Qian Chuan: ?
Qian Wei continued to talk nonsense, “Last time when you talked to me about criminal law, I felt it was very easy to understand all of a sudden. I think you have a very suitable style for lecturing. So could you please help me by tutoring Qian Chuan? I really can’t find a good teacher. Please!”
“Well, I can just tutor him a bit for free. I’ll take it as a thanking you for your help today.”
“How could we do that?” Qian Wei said, “We have to follow the price of tutors on the market. As for thanking us, why don’t you just give us one free lesson.” Qian Wei smiled. “Then it’s settled! You can come and help Qian Chuan starting next week.”
Helping people with supplementary lessons and tutoring was the most common way for college students to make money. Qian Wei thought that this should be much easier than wiping tables and serving dishes in a restaurant. Also, Qian Chuan and Li Chongwen were on the same campus which would save on the costs and time involved with traveling. Plus, with this job, Li Chongwen could also find a part-time job with a better environment since he could afford to be pickier. And, on the other hand, every week Qian Chuan would have to spend some time with Li Chongwen, which would restrict his ability to chase Mo Zixin. It could be said to be killing two birds with one stone, which was great!
After the two left the restaurant, Qian Chuan was still very angry: “Why did you just sell me out like that? Although my other grades are not good, my English is at least okay! And I did the CET-4! I’ve already passed! Even if we were talking about the CET-6, I have already passed!”
Qian Wei said: “You should do me this favor. Besides, there is no end to learning. If you have already passed the CET-4 or the CET-6, you can still learn more to guard yourself against becoming arrogant and rash. Li Chongwen is a good teacher, under him your English skills will definitely improve.”
Qian Chuan almost fainted from rage. He retorted: “Don’t you have a crush on Lu Xun? You’re always buying him breakfast and kissing his ass like a lackey, for what? Now you have a crush on Li Chongwen? Qian Wei, I find that your mind is very dangerous. You can’t do this, ah~, you want to refuse to let go of Lu Xun and continue to buy him breakfast, but at the same time you want to start chasing Li Chongwen. Fine, even if you want to chase both of them, you should do it yourself. If you want to give money to Li Chongwen, do it yourself, don’t involve me!”
Qian Wei glared at Qian Chuan: “What are you thinking about? This is an investment in the future. Lu Xun and Li Chongwen are both dragons among men. If I become friends with them now, will they forget me when they get rich? I would have done it myself but Li Chongwen is my classmate so he knows my English is good. ” Qian Wei winked at him. “Anyway, it’s only once a week, just be a friend.”
“That’s fine, but you have to compensate me. After all, I’ll be spending my valuable time, which I would have spent working to make money, which I would then spend on the latest Nokia phone.” Qian Chuan blinked his eyes and looked at Qian Wei innocently.
Alright, you son of a bitch, just take advantage of me then! I don’t believe that you were planning to work! Although Qian Wei’s teeth itched with hatred, she was the one asking for a favor, so she agreed to this humiliating deal.
“You let Li Chongwen tutor you and I’ll buy you your new phone.”
Qian Chuan blew a kiss and said affectionately: “Qian Wei, many times between the closest of relatives, they often forget to say those three words: ‘I love you.’”
“But Qian Wei, what if you really catch both of them with what you’re doing? Who will you choose? Who do you prefer?” As Qian Chuan spoke, he analyzed, “In terms of appearance, Lu Xun is better; in terms of figure, Lu Xun is still better; in terms of family circumstances, it should be Lu Xun again. But in terms of temper, I think Li Chongwen is better than Lu Xun. Lu Xun’s beautiful face is very shady at a glance. Although he usually acts righteous, probably no one can beat him when he acts black-bellied, so maybe you would suffer in the future. But on the bright side, Lu Xun’s strength is more than enough to protect you, meanwhile Li Chongwen only looks stylish but does not look like a man who can use force. Ah~, it’s a hard choice.” After Qian Chuan said all this, he suddenly seemed to think of something. “Forget it, you’d better choose Lu Xin. From what I saw last time he’s very spectacular down there, so the experience doing ‘that’ will probably be better. After all, I’ve heard that sexual incompatibility is one of the important factors that leads to divorce in our day and age.”
“Qian Chuan!” Qian Wei covered her ears. “Aren’t you ashamed?”
“Gee, don’t think that I don’t know that the stories you read about men together with men are much more explicit and exciting than what I just said, okay?” He stared at Qian Wei, “I saw it last time! What kind of book were you reading? What was the name of it? ‘Ten Days of Pleasure’*? and then there were all kinds of indescribable things between two men. Plus there was even a man who got pregnant!”
Qian Wei did not speak, she just directly put her hand over Qian Chuan’s mouth: “You can shut up now!” At this time, the two had already returned to the campus and other students were around. Qian Wei really didn’t want some terrible misunderstandings to be born.
Qian Chuan lowered his voice: “Then tell me, who would you choose between Lu Xun and Li Chongwen?”
Qian Wei thought carefully: “It would be like this, Li Chongwen will be the main wife and Lu Xun will be the concubine.”
*I basically just made this name up. The Chinese is ‘浪叫十日散’ and the MTLs give me gibberish. Obviously ‘ten days’ (十日) is in there but beyond that I’m lost. The other three characters mean things like ‘unbridled’ or ‘rippling’ or ‘roaring’ but I can’t think of a way to add those together into something coherent… but is the name of the smut that Qian Wei used to read really that important >.>