The birthday cake that Qian Chuan had ordered arrived just before lunch, and the whole family then happily celebrated Qian Wei’s mother’s birthday together. Later that afternoon, Qian Wei and Qian Chuan accompanied their parents a shopping mall that had recently opened near their home. Qian Wei had some money from working her part-time job so she bought a lot of presents for both of her parents and, after they finished shopping, the family went and watched a funny movie together in the theater. The day was busy but also quite fulfilling.
After they returned home that evening, Qian Wei received another call from Liu Shiyun, who was naturally tired after the first weekend since she and Tang Lu had officially started dating.
“He took me out to listen to a piano recital. In fact, I started to feel sleepy as soon as the piano started playing but, in the end, I finally managed to stay awake. I was afraid he would see through me, so I especially brushed up my knowledge about the piano and classical music in general before I went to the recital. I stayed up late last night studying like crazy.” Liu Shiyun sighed, “If I had this kind of energy when I was taking the college entrance examination, I would probably be going to Tsinghua or even Peking University* by now.”
She continued speaking, but sounded a little shy, “But isn’t Tang Lu worth it? He’s so perfect that I would feel like I’m not worthy of him if I didn’t work hard to cram all this elegant knowledge into my head!”
“Oh, that’s right!” Liu Shiyun finally seemed to remember why she called after she finished talking about her date with Tang Lu. “Earlier, after the concert ended, I happened to run into Mo Zixin. She actually really likes the piano and knows a lot about it. Qian Chuan was busy at home with his mother’s birthday, so she came to the recital alone. Anyway, I asked her to come along to dinner with Tang Lu and I, and she agreed. I’m glad she was there because whenever I didn’t know how to continue the topic she would always be able to pick it up, if she hadn’t come along with us it might have ended up being a bit awkward.”
“But Qian Wei, have you forgotten our promise?”
“Hmm? What promise?”
“Back then, we said that when we both had boyfriends in the future, we would get together with all four of us and play mahjong!” Liu Shiyun’s tone turned a bit regretful, “It would be nice if we could at least do a double date or something. It’s more lively to go out shopping or playing when you have more people. In the end, I’ve found a boyfriend, but what about you? Where is your date? There isn’t even the shadow of one! I thought you were doing well with Mo Tao, but it turned out to be a cover!”
“Are you sure Tang Lu can play mahjong? Well, it doesn’t matter, your luck is so bad that, even if he can play, he would probably break up with you in a fit of anger if he had to play on your team!” Qian Wei retorted.
The two people chatted for a long while, having fun, until Qian Wei finally hung up the phone.
After the call ended Qian Wei saw the time and realized that it seemed to be getting really late. She suddenly realized that she hadn’t gotten a phone call from Lu Xun today either.
Right before she left for her parent’s house, Lu Xun had especially called her to invite her to dinner. It seemed that he had something to discuss. Qian Wei picked up her phone and looked at Lu Xun’s number. She hesitated for a while but, in the end, she didn’t call him. After all, if she took the initiative to call him, wouldn’t that just be reminding Lu Xun of how she had turned down his invitation? That wouldn’t be any good.
But despite persuading herself like that, Qian Wei couldn’t help but looking up at the wall clock from time to time and then, after looking at the wall clock, she would subconsciously pick up her phone to see if there were any missed calls. Unfortunately, the call from the number she wanted to see never appeared.
Qian Wei went through this strange pattern of looking at the clock and then at her phone so many times that even Qian Chaun noticed it.
“Qian Wei, have you fallen in love?”
Qian Chuan smirked at her and said, “You’ve checked your phone six times in the last ten minutes. Don’t you know that you are acting like someone who has just fallen in love? I was the same back when I first fell in love. I couldn’t help but check my phone countless times even though only ten minutes passed. If I didn’t see her number back then, I would feel so lost, as if I had been abandoned. The whole world seemed gray, and everything seemed to make me feel irritable and listless. But then if I happened to receive a message from her, even if it was just an emoji, I would be overjoyed, like the whole world had lit up again. Anyway, when you first begin a passionate relationship, you’ll always want to stick with the other person no matter what. Being apart for even a day will seem like a painful trial.” Qian Chuan took a shrewd look at Qian Wei. “I already heard about Mo Tao, you’re not really his girlfriend, so who’s call are you waiting for now? I’d like to see what kind of man is so capable that he can even make our iron-willed Qian Wei act so listless, ah~.”
Qian Wei subconsciously disguised her emotions and retorted: “Don’t talk nonsense. I have some important business, so I’m waiting for a call. Don’t bother me.”
Qian Chuan had on a face that looked like it needed to be taught a lesson, and he didn’t relent at all. His tone suddenly became very sympathetic: “Qian Wei, you’re already finished.”
Qian Wei: “Ah?”
Qian Chuan patted her on the shoulder: “I understand. You really aren’t in a passionate relationship, are you? Considering your state, it should be a crush or an unrequited love.”
Qian Wei felt inexplicably irritable and restless after hearing his words: “What are you talking about?”
“You’re obviously in love with someone but you don’t even know it. You don’t even realize yourself that you’ve fallen in love.” Qian Chuan had an expression like he was a relationship expert as he continued, “That’s why you’re already finished. The one who falls in love first loses Qian Wei.”
Qian Wei defended herself: “If you say any more nonsense, I’ll hit you!”
Then she muttered, “He’s just a friend. We used to be in touch every day because of a certain reason, so now that I’ve been away for the last couple of days and we haven’t been contacting each other it feels a little strange.”
Qian Chuan did not argue with Qian Wei anymore because Mo Zixin suddenly called, and he happily ran away while talking on the phone.
However, his words left Qian Wei feeling a little uneasy.
‘…At the same time as you are showing her more and more of your strengths, you should also be increasing contact between you two and letting her get used to your presence by her side. Then, before you know it she will become dependent on your presence and, at that point, you will quickly back away. For example, you will make up some excuse to disappear for two days and won’t take the initiative to contact her during that time. When that happens she will realize ‘Ah~, I need him by my side. I feel uncomfortable whenever he is away.’…’
By some strange coincidence, Qian Wei suddenly remembered the ‘earnest instructions’ she had given to Lu Xun before. She suddenly felt that the development of this situation was not quite right… why did it seem like all the tricks she had taught Lu Xun before were matching up with the situation she was in now…
Qian Chuan’s words also woke her up a little bit, and she became a little nervous and preoccupied with the thought that she might have become a bit fond of Lu Xun…
Qian Wei looked in the mirror and patted herself on the face: “Qian Wei, Qian Wei, your thoughts right now are very irrational and dangerous…”
However, that night, although Lu Xun never called, Li Chongwen did.
“Qian Wei, are you free on Sunday night?” Li Chongwen’s voice was filled with unconcealed happiness and a rare sense of peace. “I’d like to invite you to dinner. You’ve always been the one who inviting me to dinner in the past, but this time I’ve just gotten my salary so I want to buy you a meal for once.” Li Chongwen paused and chuckled. “Actually, there have been a lot of good things happening lately, it’s really worthy of celebration, so I wanted to talk to you.”
“What good things happened?”
“I’ll tell you when you come.”
Qian Wei also smiled: “Alright!”
After that, the two agreed on a time and place. Qian Wei especially chose a family restaurant near campus where the food had a good performance-to-price ratio and a low per capita consumption.
On Sunday night, Qian Wei hurriedly caught the bus back to school. Although she had left very early, by the time she got to the family restaurant she was already five minutes late for her appointment with Li Chongwen because of the terrible traffic.
Li Chongwen had chosen a seat by the window. Qian Wei first saw him, he was looking down at the menu, but soon he looked up, saw Qian Wei, and smiled brightly at her.
“I just ordered some dishes. Do you have anything you want to add?”
Qian Wei looked at everything he had ordered and felt surprised: “You really ordered too much! How can we eat it all?”
But before Li Chongwen could answer, a familiar voice cut in.
“It’s not only you two, I’m also here.”
Qian Wei followed the voice to its source and felt even more surprised: “Lu Xun? Why are you here?”
The family restaurant’s lighting was a bit dim, so Qian Wei didn’t know if it was her illusion, but Lu Xun’s face seemed to look very bad right now. And although his tone of voice sounded like it usually did, and the sentence he said was also very normal in terms of the words inside it, somehow Qian Wei mysteriously felt that his tone was full of resentment.
After he heard the question that Qian Wei had unconsciously blurted out, Lu Xun’s face looked even worse: “Oh, it seems that I’m interrupting you two.”
However, although he put a strange emphasis on the word ‘interrupting’, Lu Xun didn’t act like he thought he was interrupting them at all. On the contrary, he neatly sat down in the seat between Qian Wei and Li Chongwen.
Li Chongwen smiled at Qian Wei: “Lu Xun happened to visit my dorm while I was on the phone with you. When he heard that we were going to this restaurant he was very excited, and he wanted to come together. He told me that he’s wanted to try the food at this restaurant for a long time, but never found a good group to go with.”
Qian Wei took a skeptical look at Lu Xun. She thought: Are you kidding me? According to her knowledge of Lu Xun, this guy had always looked down on these kinds of family restaurants. Could it be that his tastes were really so different when he was young?
Lu Xun, who she was probing with her eyes, didn’t say anything. Instead, he drank cup after cup of chrysanthemum tea. Before their order even arrived, his tea cup was emptied and then refilled again and again. Qian Wei couldn’t help but think that today’s Lu Xun seemed a little off.
Since she was a little worried, Qian Wei asked: “Is something wrong? Why are you drinking so much?”
Lu Xun glanced at her and then at Li Chongwen: “I’m very angry, it’s like there is a fire in my belly. So I can only drink this tea to try to put out the fire.”
“Oh…” Qian Wei blinked uncertainly. “Even if it’s just tea, you shouldn’t drink too much at once. It will put a great burden on your kidneys and, if you’re unlucky, you could get water poisoning.”
She didn’t know why, but this sentence seemed to stimulate Lu Xun, and his face blackened: “My kidneys are just fine, you don’t need to worry about them.” With that, he raised his teacup and drained another cup of tea.
Qian Wei was a little baffled. What happened with Lu Xun today? Did he eat gunpowder or something? It seemed to be really serious!
In the end, Qian Wei decided to ignore Lu Xun for now. She turned to Li Chongwen: “By the way, didn’t you say on the phone that you had some good news you wanted to share? What happened?”
Li Chongwen smiled: “My sister did very well on her college entrance examination. She won the first prize in the Science and Technology competition for senior high school students that I encouraged her to take part in. Not only did she win the prize, she was also chosen to represent the school and attend a Science and Technology camp in Australia that will happen over winter vacation. With her current momentum, the results of her college entrance exam will probably be good enough to get her admitted to our University A on a scholarship.” He took a sip of his tea. “In addition, the grades of the students I’ve been tutoring have improved by more than a hundred marks, so I’m also very happy. In short, a lot of good things have been happening. Even my mother’s health has improved a little, so I’m just feeling like my life has been getting better and better recently.”
After saying all that, Li Chongwen glanced at Qian Wei. “Speaking of which, I’ve always felt like you are my lucky star or something. Ever since I met you, it seems like my luck has been getting better.”
Because his diet had become more regular, Li Chongwen’s face seemed more healthy now and his eyes were very bright. When Qian Wei heard that his life had been getting better and slowly getting back on track, she felt sincerely happy for her friend: “Maybe I’m just a lucky person I guess? If it’s like that, then I’m fine sharing half my luck with you.”
The staff of the family restaurant worked very quickly, so their table was covered with dishes after only a few moments. Qian Wei and Li Chongwen chatted about his current situation a bit before moving on to other topics. However, while they were chatting, Lu Xun didn’t say a word at all. Instead, he spent the whole time firmly burying himself in the meal and he didn’t even look up at the other people at the table once. When Qian Wei saw him like that, she started to really believe that he had come because he wanted to eat the food at this restaurant.
Not too long after they started eating, Li Chongwen’s phone rang. He smiled at them apologetically and said: “You guys eat first, I need to take this call.”
Then, as soon as Li Chongwen left, Lu Xun, who had been eating silently until now, finally opened his mouth.
“A ‘lucky star’.” He snorted coldly, “How can a modern college student still believe in that kind of feudal superstition? A person’s fate is in their own hands, not in the hands of some illusory thing like luck.”
“Also, if you’re so lucky that you don’t mind giving him half, why don’t you give it to me instead?”
Qian Wei looked at Lu Xun and said, “Didn’t you just finish telling me not to believe in those feudal superstitions? Have you forgotten that we are law students and we should only think about things rationally? Anyway, since you don’t even believe in luck, what’s the point of giving it to you…”
Lu Xun’s brows furrowed and his lips pressed into a thin line. He glanced over at Qian Wei angrily, but didn’t say anything. Instead, he picked up his recently refilled cup of tea and downed it all in one gulp.
After drinking the tea, his mood seemed to relax a little and he looked back up at Qian Wei: “Don’t you have anything you want to tell me?”
“Me?” Qian Wei pointed at herself confusedly. “No, ah~, I have nothing to say.”
After she said that, she didn’t know why, but her sentence seemed to have somehow touched Lu Xun’s reverse scale**. Even though he had just gulped down all that tea and seemed to have calmed down a bit, his temper suddenly exploded again. As she watched from the side, Qian Wei felt that if she painted an image of Lu Xun right now, it would probably look more than a little bit like a pufferfish.
*two famous real life universities in China
**‘touching someone’s reverse scale’ just sort of meaning ‘prodding them in a way that enrages them’ since mythical Chinese dragons supposedly had a ‘reverse scale’ that, if touched, would enrage them.