Qian Wei and Qian Chuan made an appointment to meet at a Korean barbecue restaurant the next day.
When Qian Wei arrived with Liu Shiyun in tow, Qian Chuan was already bored and playing games on his phone. When he looked up and saw Liu Shiyun his face flashed with a bit of suspicion and apprehension.
“Qian Wei, didn’t you say you were bringing your boyfriend to meet me? Wait, are you coming out?” He pointed to Liu Shiyun, “It’s her?” His face was full of rejection. “Even if you want to come out of the closet, can’t you find a more refined and elegant girl?”
The words ‘refined and elegant’ provoked Liu Shiyun’s anger, and she immediately retorted: “How can you have the nerve to question someone else’s taste in women? Why don’t you take a look in a mirror? What kind of clothes are you wearing? Green shirt, red pants, don’t you know that red has never gone with green since ancient times?”
On the side Qian Wei: Wait… Liu Shiyun, the crux of the issue here seems to be the issue of coming out of the closet, not taste…
“I’m a fairly open-minded and tolerant person, but if it’s Liu Shiyun, no, absolutely not.” Qian Chuan’s face twisted with anger. “She will never enter our Qian household! Never! I will always be the first to disagree! If she ever enters our family, I’ll write my name backwards!”
“No, no, no.” Qian Wei felt her head swelling. Why was it that, somehow, these two people, Qian Chuan and Liu Shiyun, would always be at each other’s throats the moment they met each other?
“I just brought Liu Shiyun to have a meal with us.” She explained.
“What about your boyfriend? Why hasn’t he arrived yet?”
Liu Shiyun glared at Qian Chuan: “Do you think everyone is like you? An idle person with nothing to do all day?”
“Liu Shiyun, I have to go to the bathroom. Could you come along?” Qian Wei saw that the two people seemed to want to start fighting again, so she hastened to find an excuse to drag Liu Shiyun away.
Originally, Qian Wei was only planning to formally introduce Lu Xun to Qian Chuan as her boyfriend today. However, last night, Liu Shiyun had seemed very heartbroken and Qian Wei was afraid that she might feel uncomfortable alone, so she asked her to come out with her together.
There actually weren’t any bathrooms nearby, and it took nearly ten minutes to go and come back and, by the time the two girls came back, a queue had formed that was so long it nearly went outside the barbecue restaurant’s doors.
When Qian Wei finally returned to her seat, she found that Lu Xun had arrived at some point in the interim. In fact, he had been planning to come over with Qian Wei, but he ended up being delayed by the school counselor, who wanted to discuss the speech that Lu Xun, as an outstanding student representative, would be making on A University’s 50th Founding Anniversary a few days later. At the moment, he had sat down opposite of Qian Chuan and the two men seemed to be getting along well.
Maybe he heard Qian Wei’s voice, because Lu Xun turned around and smiled at her. Seeing that smile, Qian Wei suddenly felt as if all the noisy hustle and bustle around her had become muffled and distant, and she felt something soft and tender inside, which caused a little shyness and apprehension to sprout in her heart. She wondered what he had talked about with Qian Chuan during her absence, and she wondered if Qian Chuan was surprised to learn that Lu Xun had become her boyfriend? All of a sudden, she felt a little embarrassed.
“Hey! Qian Wei! You’re back at last.” Qian Chuan waved at her. “I’ve already ordered.” He scratched his head. “I see you also called Lu Xun over, I never knew you two had such a good relationship.”
“Ah?” Liu Shiyun heard that and became suspicious. “Isn’t Lu Xun…”
However, just at that moment, the next table over became very noisy for a moment and Liu Shiyun’s voice was drowned out by the sound. Qian Chuan didn’t seem to doubt his analysis, and he continued with some dissatisfaction: “But where’s your boyfriend? Why hasn’t he arrived yet? What kind of man is he? So insincere when he’s coming to meet his brother-in-law for the first time? Doesn’t he know that my, Qian Chuan’s, time is also very precious!?” As he said this, it seemed to open the floodgates of all the complaints he had, and he rapidly continued, “When he arrives, I will teach him how a man needs to behave. At that time, Qian Wei, don’t try to protect him. First, let me give him a good lesson so he will understand how important it is to be punctual when meeting his girlfriend’s family for the first time. What’s more, this will let him understand the situation clearly, and he will have to be nicer to you in the future. He’ll know that if he ever dares to cheat on you or the like, I will come and beat him up.”
Qian Wei really wanted to tell Qian Chuan that he could stop at any time. Her boyfriend was already sitting in front of him!
However, before Qian Wei could say anything, Lu Xun stopped her with a glance. He smiled at Qian Chuan and said, “So how do you plan to give Qian Wei’s boyfriend a good lesson?”
Qian Chuan was feeling quite proud of himself, and he didn’t notice Liu Shiyun’s complicated expression or Qian Wei’s desperate attempts to wink at him: “Well, first I’ll find a reason to make a bet with him on arm-wrestling, where the loser will have to call the winner Big Brother. I’m actually very strong so that man is sure to lose, and I’ll let him call me Big Brother obediently first so that he can calm down a bit.” Qian Chuan narrated eloquently, “And, as you know, this Korean barbecue restaurant has a Beef Hot Pot with a pervertedly spicy soup that is used for the base, people say that it’s even spicier than Sichuan Hot Pot. So I’ll ask him to eat that beef hot pot with me later, and I’ll let him eat it until he doubts life hahahaha… and after that, of course, I’ll challenge him to drinking! I can drink a lot, so I’ll drink that guy under the table. Then, after having such a meal and being beaten three times in a row, that boy will know that I’m not someone he wants to mess with. From then on, he won’t be able to help but think that he has to be nice to Qian Wei, because otherwise, his powerful brother-in-law won’t let him go.”
Qian Chuan, beaming, looked over at Lu Xun and asked, “What do you think of my method?”
“It’s pretty good.”
Qian Chuan felt he was being sincerely praised and got even happier. He took another sip of his beer and patted Lu Xun on the shoulder: “By the way, brother, I forgot to tell you but Mo Zixin and I actually broke up. I know you had some thoughts about her before, but I really don’t recommend chasing her. That woman is the definition of a venomous beauty. In the past, it was my fault for being a little hostile to you because of her…”
Lu Xun had pressed his lips into a thin line, but now he smiled: “I won’t chase her. I have a girlfriend.”
“Ah?” Qian Chuan was surprised, “Who is it? Do I know her?”
“Who’s the lucky girl? I’m afraid she might end up as the public enemy of the whole school.”
Qian Chuan looked at Lu Xun in a daze. After waiting for a moment, he saw that Lu Xun didn’t speak further and he couldn’t help saying, “What did you call Qian Wei for?”
Lu Xun smiled: “Qian Wei, she’s my girlfriend.”
Qian Chuan’s face had an expression that clearly said ‘you are joking with me’. For a long while, his eyes wandered back and forth between Lu Xun and Qian Wei, until he finally asked, “What on earth do you see in my families’ Qian Wi?”
“…” Qian Wei suddenly didn’t want such a brother anymore. She wondered if she could throw him away in the trash can…
“I think she’s fine.”
Qian Chuan looked over at Qian Wei suspiciously, as if he was trying to find out which points of hers were any good…
“Then we can arm-wrestle now.”
Qian Chuan: ???
Lu Xun smiled and put his arm on the table: “Come on.”
Qian Chuan subconsciously put his own arm on the table and, by the time he reacted, the back of his hand had already been pressed against the table by Lu Xun. He was shocked, his strength was among the best in the whole Academy of Physical Education, and yet… He looked over at Lu Xun with disbelief and wondered if this guy was born with strange powers or something? Was it even legal for a liberal arts major to have such overwhelming strength?
“Hahaha, it seems I’m not in my top form right now after playing basketball so much yesterday, hahaha….”
“It’s fine, there are still two games left.”
“…” Qian Chuan’s tone was a little awkward. “Why don’t we just forget it? If I had known it was you, I would only have thought that my families’ Qian Wei was lucky to be your girlfriend. How could I want to teach you a lesson? Don’t you think so? Hahaha…”
However, Lu Xun was very persistent, and he smiled and said, “In order to win the heart of my future brother-in-law and for the sake of Qian Wei, how could I back out before passing all three of your tests?” Lu Xun spoke eloquently, and then called the waiter. “Please give us your famous pervertedly spicy Beef Hot Pot.”
Half an hour later–
Qian Chuan’s face was full of snot and tears: “Lu Xun, can we stop now? I don’t want to eat anymore… I throw in the towel, brother. No, I’ll call you Big Brother, Big Brother Xun, spare me.”
“Well, let’s get this hot pot out of the way then. Is it time for beer now?”
Qian Chuan wanted to cry but had no tears: “I admit my mistake already, my mouth was just spouting nonsense. In the future, I will always resolutely support you two, your relationship is like the CPC Central Committee and I will firmly strive only to build it up. It’s an honor for me to have a brother-in-law like you. It makes me happy! Overjoyed! I’m full of indescribable enthusiasm!”
Qian Wei couldn’t help but think that her brother sure changed his tune quickly, he went from ‘Lu Xun, that son of a bitch’ a few days ago to ‘Big Brother Xun’ today…
Lu Xun smiled and finally decided to show Qian Chuan some mercy: “Well, we will be a family from now on, so there’s no need to get so excited.” Then he naturally wrapped an arm around Qian Wei’s shoulder. “If I wasn’t by her side, my families’ silly Qian Wei would only have you to rely on.”
Qian Chuan was stunned, who was from Lu Xun’s family? Wasn’t Qian Wei from his family!?
But a wise man wouldn’t eagerly go forward to eat an immediate loss, so Qian Chuan nodded to Lu Xun as if he had been enlightened: “Of course, that’s natural, that’s natural.”
“Oh, right! Qian Wei, I found that love letter you asked me for last time!” Qian Chuan reached over and pulled something out of the bag hanging from the chair as if he just remembered. Reluctantly, he took out a slightly wrinkled envelope before offering it over like a treasure.
But as soon as Qian Wei was about to take it from him, Qian Chuan pulled it back. He glanced over at Lu Xun, his face twisted up like a small lackey, and said: “But Qian Wei, I think you should first report to our Big Brother Xun. You already have a boyfriend now, so you can’t casually receive these messy love letters anymore.” As Qian Chuan spoke, he shook the love letter in his hand. “But Big Brother Xun, you don’t need to worry, this person should be no match for you at all. Actually, I thought this letter was written for me at first, so I took a few quick glances at it, and the writing is very childish! It’s kind of creepy really! Unexpectedly, there’s still such a man in this era who doesn’t dare to confess his love face to face, but instead needs to secretly write a love letter. He must be really ugly! Compared to you, who is tall and noble, this guy is probably very short and shifty! It’s just suicide for him to try to compete against your radiance!”
“…” Qian Wei kicked Qian Chuan hard under the table. She wanted to say, big brother, you can stop now, can’t you notice that your Big Brother Xun’s face is turning a little stiff? She understood his intentions to flatter Lu Xun, but this was trying a bit too hard, wasn’t it?
“Qian Wei! Why are you kicking me?!” Unfortunately, Qian Chuan didn’t understand Qian Wei’s painstaking efforts on his behalf at all. He glared at her and said, “If I didn’t say it out, were you not going to explain these things to Big Brother Xun at all?” Qian Chuan looked over at Lu Xun and said, “By the way, Big Brother Xun, why do you look a little pale? Don’t worry, ah, this matter regarding the love letter, I will certainly stand on your side until the end!”
Lu Xun had been struggling to hold himself back, but finally, he couldn’t help but reply. He spoke in a tone that was struggling to be off-handed, “Well, the pace of modern society can be a bit too fast. I think it’s not a bad thing to return to simpler times and try out the feeling of exchanging letters once in a while. When we look back at things when we’re older a love letter may have a certain kind of appeal not found in other things…”
“How could that be possible?!” Qian Chuan didn’t seem to recognize Lu Xun’s intentions at all, and he continued to attack the ‘person who would write a love letter’, “Nowadays everyone is talking about transitioning to the paperless office, and the importance of being green! We all need to be environmentally friendly! And that means to do things electronically! Do we still need these old antiques in this era? Is there anyone still writing letters! It’s too primitive!” As Qian Chuan spoke, he got more and more worked up and his complaint switch seemed to have been pressed because he began to rant out of control. “Besides, this person seems like an idiot. He didn’t even sign his name when writing a love letter. What kind of man is that? At a glance, you can tell he has no sincerity for Qian Wei at all. Probably he wrote a bunch of these letters and handed them out all over the place so he could cast a wider net!”
Qian Wei coughed and said, “Come on, why don’t you eat some barbecue.”
Qian Wei really wanted to tell her brother to quickly plug up his mouth with meat so it wouldn’t say any more words. Couldn’t he see that Lu Xun’s face was turning black?
After listening to everything up to this point, Liu Shiyun’s love for gossip seemed to be aroused and she said: “Ah? Did you ever find out who wrote the letter though? Qian Wei is actually quite the homebody and her social circle is very limited. Could it be someone from our law school?” As she spoke, she looked over at the love letter in Qian Chuan’s hand. Because Qian Chuan had been waving it around as he spoke, the letter had unfolded slightly to reveal the bold handwriting within.
“Hm… This handwriting looks really familiar to me…” Liu Shiyun scratched her head thoughtfully and pondered aloud, “Where have I seen it before? It must be one of our classmates…”
Meanwhile, Qian Chuan continued to dig his pit: “How dare he try to rob from our Big Brother Xun?! I want to see what kind of idiot*…”
“Lu Xun!” Suddenly Liu Shiyun slapped her thigh and shouted. “It was written by Lu Xun! That’s Lu Xun’s handwriting!”
Qian Chuan looked at the dark-faced Lu Xun and swallowed the ‘idiot’ that was on the tip of his tongue. Ah, it seems the ‘idiot’ he was talking about was actually Lu Xun all along…
“In fact, when I think about it now, writing a love letter is actually something very meaningful and brings out a classical sort of feel. For instance, I remember a certain poem, ‘The nightfalls used to come late in the past, Everything was slow, the bike, the horse, and the post, a lifetime was all but enough to be in love with one.’**”
“So the fact that he wrote a love letter shows that this person is actually very in touch with his emotions, and he is a person who is serious about a long-term relationship!”
From the side Qian Wei couldn’t help but think: Qian Chuan, you are so eloquent and adaptable. It’s really a loss for the whole legal circle that you didn’t come to the law school to be a lawyer.
“And now that I think about it carefully, why would a man choose to write a love letter instead of expressing his love face-to-face? In fact, it’s not because he isn’t good-looking but, rather, he probably did it because he is too good-looking. He was probably afraid that if he met Qian Wei face-to-face, all of her attention would be on his face and she wouldn’t be able to see the true him of his soul. This shows that the person who wrote the love letter is not a superficial person, because he hopes that Qian Wei will fall in love with his heart and not just his handsome face…”
By this point even Liu Shiyun couldn’t stand it anymore: “Qian Chuan, do you have something you want to ask Lu Xun to do?”
Qian Chuan said solemnly, “In your eyes, is that the kind of person that I, Qian Chaun, am?”
Lu Xun took a sip of his tea, raised an eyebrow, and then smiled. In an instant, he gave off a bit of the aura of a domineering CEO: “Go ahead, say what you need. I will satisfy you.” He glanced at Qian Wei. “Who told you to be Qian Wei’s brother?”
On hearing that, Qian Chuan hurriedly smiled: “Big Brother Xun really is a real man. Actually, I don’t have any requests now, but soon we will graduate and go out into society, and modern society is a society ruled by law where, in truth, nothing can be done without entangling with the law. I expect there will be a lot of legal problems in the future…”
“Needless to say, you can always come to me for any legal problems you might have.”
“Thank you, Big Brother Xun!!!”
*He doesn’t say idiot in this or the next couple of lines, he says ‘二百五’ or ‘250’ which is slang that seems to be widely translated as ‘idiot’ or ‘simpleton’ or the like so… yeah. That’s what I went with
**another real poem (从前慢) whose translation I’ve shamelessly stolen instead of trying to retranslate myself. The mean is fairly self-evident I feel? My interpretation at least is the poet saying that times were simpler in the past and love was ‘more true’.
tl note: I always struggle with this brother / big brother stuff. In Chinese it’s just adding a ‘哥’, which is one syllable when spoken and one character when written, which makes the English ‘big brother’ feel really clunky by comparison but.. Eh. Seems to be the ‘most correct’ of doing it.