That weekend when evening came, Qian Wei didn’t follow her usual routine of reading a novel in bed, instead, she got up and got ready to go out.
Liu Shiyun was busy playing mahjong online when she noticed Qian Wei getting ready, she glanced over and said: “Bring me some dinner back too!”
“I’m not eating on campus today.” Qian Wei explained, “I’m going out to see a movie.”
Liu Shiyun looked up her computer and gossiped: “Wait, are you going on a date?” She glanced at Qian Wei and frowned. “But why are you dressed up in that big black coat? It’s so ugly! Don’t mention what a man might think, even I want to break up with you when I see it! Change quickly! Do you need me to give you some advice?”
“No! This one is perfect!” Qian Wei glanced at her watch and quickly slung her bag over her shoulder before heading out.
She had made an appointment with Lu Xun to meet at 4:00 p.m. in front of Daguang Theater, which was a theater one bus stop away from University A. Although Qian Wei acted like she was in a hurry in front of Liu Shiyun, she actually had plenty of time to spare and she ended up arriving in front of the theater at 3:45 p.m.
But even though she arrived a quarter of an hour early, when she arrived she saw Lu Xun there, already waiting at the door.
Back when she had worked with Lu Xun, if he had an appointment with a client at 8:00 a.m., he would arrive at exactly 8:00 a.m., not a minute earlier or later. She had asked him once and, according to him, his consultation fee of 5000 yuan an hour meant that his time was worth 83.33 yuan per minute.
Many people know the words ‘time is money’ but Lu Xun was a man who indeed treated his time as his money. But apparently, for Mo Zixin, he was willing to arrive early. Not only did he arrive early, he was actually even willing to wait for another person! Qian Wei just had to sigh, this was really the power of love, ah~!
“Have you been waiting for a long time?”
Lu Xun looked somewhat embarrassed after being exposed, but quickly regained his composure: “No, I just arrived.”
Tch, who are you kidding? Qian Wei thought. I could see you even from a block away. How did you even grow your face to be able to attract so many bees and butterflies like that? Is it fun to stand out from the crowd wherever you go?
Qian Wei had sharp eyes and she instantly saw that Lu Xun was holding something in his hand. It was a bag of snacks and, looking at that bag of snacks, Qian Wei immediately felt some relief. It really wasn’t an easy road but it seemed that Lu Xun, who had a negative EQ, finally learned that he should prepare some things in advance when going on a date with a girl.
And this time Lu Xun had obviously been very considerate, he not only prepared some food, but he also brought along some drinks. Qian Wei took one look at a bag in his hand and everything was clear. The bag was from Molly Milk Tea which, because they used real milk instead of powdered milk, was a tea shop with a reputation for the pure and fresh taste of their drinks. Qian Wei remembered that for a long time this milk tea shop had been dominant within the university town and, around this period, it had been very popular, to the point that Qian Wei remembered seeing long lines inside the shop every time she passed by. Every time she herself had wanted to buy a cup of milk tea back then she had to wait for at least half an hour. Lu Xun said that he had just arrived, but the milk tea in his hand had already exposed his lie, considering the popularity of Molly Milk Tea, he must have been waiting for at least half an hour.
Ah~, love was really wonderful. It could unexpectedly even make the stingy Lu Xun become so warm and considerate!
It was a pity that, before Qian Wei had even had time to internally sing praises for the greatness of love, she noticed something was off. When she looked closely she saw that… God damnit! Sure enough, Lu Xun is still an evil capitalist*! He had only bought two cups of the difficult to buy milk tea. One cup was already in his hand, and there was only one more left inside the bag!
Qian Wei knew without thinking that the second cup of milk tea must have been bought for Mo Zixin.
Could it be that light bulbs don’t deserve to enjoy milk tea? Could it be in Lu Xun’s eyes, apart from Mo Zixin, other people were not human beings? Qian Wei felt enraged!
It was a pity that even while Qian Wei was full of anger, the villain Lu Xun took the initiative to complain to her first.
He looked at Qian Wei’s black coat and frowned: “Why are you wearing that?”
See! He even dared to dislike her clothes! For a light bulb, was it important to pay attention to things like truth, goodness, or beauty?!? Wasn’t anything fine?
So Qian Wei thickened her skin and said, “Didn’t you buy this for me? Didn’t you say that it suits me?”
Lu Xun choked: “That doesn’t mean you should wear it all the time!”
“Since you bought it for me, I always feel honored to wear it! I think of this coat as your approval for me!” Qian Wei shook her head. “Isn’t it a good thing for me to cherish something you bought for me so much? Or could it be that you actually think this coat is ugly?”
This time Lu Xun could only be speechless.
There were only five minutes left before 4:00 p.m. and the movie would begin at 4:10 p.m. Qian Wei looked around uncertainly: “Why hasn’t Mo Zixin arrived yet? Is there some sort of delay?” Qian Wei could not help complaining, “I would have brought her with me myself if I had known.” Then she glanced at Lu Xun. “But no, you said that Mo Zixin wanted to come alone and told me not to go look for her. Now see, look at how things have turned out. What if there was a traffic jam? The theater has already begun to check tickets, if she doesn’t get here soon we’ll miss it!”
But compared with Qian Wei, Lu Xun seemed very calm. He probably had confidence in himself and felt that, with his charm, Mo Zixin would certainly come.
Unfortunately, by 4:05 p.m., no matter how energetically Qian Wei looked around, Mo Zixin still did not arrive.
Qian Wei was pacing nervously until finally she said: “I’ll give her a call.”
But it was at that point that Lu Xun finally decided to take the initiative. He quickly stopped Qian Wei and said: “I’ll call her.”
Maybe he was feeling a little shy because Lu Xun moved a few steps away from Qian Wei before pulling out his phone. Qian Wei watched him hold the phone to his ear and say a few words. Then, before long, he hung up the phone and walked back over to Qian Wei.
“What did she say?”
“She said can’t come.” Lu Xun said succinctly, “She suddenly has diarrhea.”
Qian Wei was much more shocked than Lu Xun. She cried out, “How could that happen?”
Lu Xun was probably suffering right now. He had had great confidence but now he had suddenly been dealt a devastating blow. But his face was dreadfully calm, as if his mood was not affected at all.
Qian Wei remembered reading that some theoretical studies had shown that for some people, when they were hit too hard psychologically they would react with excessive calm. But, in fact, this was only a psychological defense mechanism that protected their minds and, the calmer those people seemed on the surface, the more stormy they were on the inside.
Qian Wei looked at Lu Xun and thought to herself: Lu Xun, this guy, could be described as someone who had been successful all his life. He had always been able to get what he wanted no matter what it was. But it was generally said that when a person’s life was too smooth their ability to resist setbacks would be very poor.
Qian Wei didn’t dare to ask Lu Xun what he wanted to do next. She was afraid that Lu Xun’s state of mind might directly collapse.
Fortunately, after only a moment of silence, Lu Xun said, “It seems she can’t come. But we’re already here at the door to the theater and I’ve already bought the tickets, so we shouldn’t waste them.” He looked up at Qian Wei. “You should come and watch it with me.”
Lu Xun seemed so calm, but how painful he must be feeling inside his heart!
When Qian Wei thought about this she felt a little sympathy for Lu Xun. Plus, how could she dare to stimulate Lu Xun? So she quickly nodded along and said: “OK, I’ll watch it with you!”
“Here. Take this milk tea.”
Qian Wei was really thirsty so she happily took the milk tea and took a sip. Ah~, it was even her favorite flavor. As she drank the tea, she felt sorry for Mo Zixin. It was so rare for Lu Xun to take the initiative, so how could she fall sick? If she had come the two of them could have built an unforgettable world for two together today! But now the opportunity was wasted.
“Let’s go in!” Qian Wei said.
Lu Xun nodded but then he paused again and looked at Qian Wei as if he had just thought of something: “Since Mo Zixin was not feeling well today I hope you won’t ask her about it afterward. I don’t want to put pressure on her or make her feel like I’m blaming her.” Then he added, “And by the way, I want you to keep everything today a secret.”
Qian Wei understood everything clearly in her heart and agreed: “I understand! I understand!”
Mo Zixin was unable to come because she was not feeling well but, no matter what, for a man, being stood up by the girl they liked was something truly unbearable and they would lose face if anyone said it out. Plus, if Qian Wei went to ask Mo Zixin about it face to face it would be easy for Mo Zixin to misunderstand and think Lu Xun sent Qian Wei to blame her for standing him up. It would look like she was acting on Lu Xun’s orders, not just because she was concerned for Mo Zixin.
Qian Wei looked at Lu Xun with some admiration in her eyes. It seemed that this guy could really be taught after he had been enlightened. She almost couldn’t believe that Lu Xun could think so carefully and comprehensively! It was commendable!
After Lu Xun handed the milk tea to Qian Wei he also handed her the snacks. Then the two of them finally managed to find seats in the theater a minute before the film began. Qian Wei sat down and opened the snacks and what she saw surprised her. Qian Wei knew that Lu Xun had no habit of eating snacks so she had always assumed that he didn’t know anything about snacks either. But unexpectedly, Lu Xun had really worked hard for Mo Zixin this time. These bags of snacks were all delicious and imported from abroad. In 2009, as compared with in 2018, imported snacks weren’t something you could find just anywhere. If he wanted to buy imported food in 2009, Lu Xun couldn’t have done it in just a day or two. Qian Wei was afraid that it must have taken him some real painstaking efforts to collect so many snacks.
While thinking so, Qian Wei tossed another imported chocolate into her mouth. The strawberry-flavored chocolate melted slowly in her mouth and Qian Wei enjoyed the sweetness while thinking sympathetically: Poor Lu Xun, how bitter he must be feeling in his heart now!
But unfortunately, soon after that Qian Wei was also feeling bitterness in her heart. In order to promote the relationship between Mo Zixin and Lu Xun, Qian Wei had arranged for them to watch a horror film. So the atmosphere of the film was very gloomy, especially the soundtrack, which could simply be called terrifying. Qian Wei had always been afraid of ghosts and monsters but she had thought she wouldn’t have to watch the film anyway, because the plan was for her to leave midway. But now it seemed that she had picked up a stone and then smashed it on her own foot.
She secretly glanced at Lu Xun beside her. He was sitting upright as if he was completely unaffected by the horrors on the screen. Meanwhile, Qian Wei had already begun to tremble and shrink in her seat.
Qian Wei tried to meditate on Marx’s theories of materialism inside her heart while telling herself that ghosts were nothing but fake feudal superstitions, but whenever a scary scene would flash by, the timid Qian Wei would shudder with fear. Because she knew she could not scream inside a theater and ruin things for the other movie-goers, she could only vent her fear with action. So, without even thinking about it, she subconsciously grabbed Lu Xun’s hand which was resting on the armrest between their seats.
When she grasped his hand it moved slightly but, in the end, it did not pull away. It just quietly submitted to being grabbed by Qian Wei.
A bloody scene flashed by and Qian Wei quickly grasped the hand.
Another ghost appeared on screen and Qian Wei grabbed the hand once again.
Even though she was obviously feeling scared to death, Qian Wei had already agreed to accompany Lu Xun and she felt that she should not break her word and run away midway, so she could only try to brace herself and continue watching.
Finally, the movie seemed to be entering a climax. There was a particularly gloomy set, a crescendo of scary music, and then a sudden onslaught of ghosts on screen. But just when Qian Wei was ready to start screaming, a hand reached over and calmly covered her eyes.
“If you’re afraid, don’t look.”
Qian Wei heard Lu Xun’s voice in the darkness close by. In order not to disturb the people around them who were watching the movie, he had leaned over toward Qian Wei’s ear, and deliberately lowered his voice. She didn’t know why but even though the theater was filled with horror music at the moment, his low voice seemed very clear.
“Do you want to go outside?” Lu Xun’s hand was still covering Qian Wei’s eyes. Qian Wei had heard that when a person’s vision was limited the rest of their senses would become sharper. That was probably why Qian Wei could feel the warm breath on her ear and, she didn’t know why, but she could even imagine the gentle movement of Lu Xun’s lips. The strange visualization made her heart throb erratically.
Qian Wei thought to herself: Now that I finally have practical experience and I can honestly conclude that: inside a dark theater, when a boy leans close and speaks in a low and sexy voice, it really was very moving. This trick would definitely work for chasing girls! She knew this because she noticed that even her own thoughts were heading in a very dangerous direction at some point. She could only silently recite the core values of socialism in her heart for a while before she felt that she had returned to the right path.
At the same time, she really felt sorry for Lu Xun when she saw how perfect it would have been if Mo Zixin had been sitting next to him instead of her.
While Qian Wei was lost in her wishful thinking, Lu Xun, who’s hand wad being gripped by Qian Wei as if it were her last life-saving straw, pulled Qian Wei up and then began to walk her out.
“Since you’re so scared, don’t look.”
And so Qian Wei was pulled along by Lu Xun through the rows where the rest of the audience were seated. As they passed by Lu Xun would quietly murmur his apologies and, after a short period of walking through the darkness, Qian Wei finally saw light again.
As soon as she left the theater Qian Wei checked the time and then felt really ashamed that she had only stayed inside for half an hour: “I’m sorry, Lu Xun, It’s all my fault that you had to leave before you finished watching the movie. It’s really a waste of the movie tickets you bought.” Qian Wei clapped her hands together and said. “I will make it up to you!”
Lu Xun was probably still reeling from the blow of Mo Zixin standing him up because, at the moment, he didn’t seem to care about the movie at all. Instead, he seemed very interested in Qian Wei’s offer to make it up to him: “How will you compensate me?”
“Tell you what, I’ll treat you to a movie next time! We can watch a funny movie!” Then Qian Wei thought to ask, “But do you like watching comedies?”
Qian Wei felt some regrets after saying that and she secretly glanced at Lu Xun to see his reaction. In her last life, Qian Wei’s mother had introduced Qian Wei to some young single men of the right age several times because Qian Wei had always been busy with work and didn’t have the opportunity to meet many people herself. At most, she would add some people as friends online and chat sometimes. But when she met those men, every time she talked about the movies she loved they would suddenly lose interest. As soon as Qian Wei would mention her favorite funny movie the other party would always suddenly become quite disdainful.
They would say something like:
“I like House of Cards. It’s pretty good, you should watch it too. But I guess a girl like you might only want to watch comedies or Korean dramas.”
“A funny movie? That’s not very good. Don’t you think it’s a waste of time?”
Until eventually Qian Wei became too embarrassed to introduce the comedies she liked to other people.
“I know that a lot of people look down on comedy films. Maybe they feel that because there is nothing other than some laughs, and because there is no profound theme or deep meaning, that they aren’t very good. But I quite like comedies because I think it is easy to have a good time while watching them. After all, watching movies is just a pastime, so there’s no need to only pay attention to style or exclusively watch those strange and obscure movies all the time, right? People need entertainment in their lives, right? I think it’s pretty good already if it’s able to make people laugh…” Qian Wei felt a little embarrassed saying so many words to save her own face. After all, this was Lu Xun. How could he like funny movies! Lu Xun, who was so cold and aloof, he really felt like the kind of person who was more suited for watching frigid independent films from Europe while elegantly sipping red wine. Then thinking of the movies that she liked, which were only suitable for watching while munching popcorn and laughing aloud, it was obvious that Lu Xun would not like them!
“I like watching comedies.”
Lu Xun smiled: “Qian Wei, you don’t have to say so many words. I don’t look down on funny movies or the people who watch them. After all, I like funny movies too.”
Hearing that, Qian Wei quickly regained her spirit and began recommending some of her favorite Chinese and foreign comedy films to Lu Xun. But, to her dismay, no matter how obscure the comedies she mentioned were, Lu Xun was always able to remember the plotlines accurately and even recall the punchlines of the jokes.
In her previous life, Qian Wei had hardly ever talked to Lu Xun about topics other than work. So now she was surprised to find that she and Lu Xun actually had a lot in common. While they chatted, Qian Wei found that they actually got along quite well. In the past, she would never have thought that one day she would have such a lively chat with Lu Xun, who was famous for being cold and difficult to approach. What’s more, she even got to hear him tell a dry joke with his usual solemn voice that made her laugh out loud.
*she actually calls him a ‘周扒皮’ (zhou bapi / zhou the exploiter) who is apparently a famous ‘evil landlord’ stereotype.