Despite the fact that Qian Wei and Lu Xun were only college students, Lawyer Cheng was obviously very serious and sincere about their cooperation, and when they were finished talking he even insisted on personally sending Qian Wei and Lu Xun downstairs.
However, as soon as their group arrived downstairs, Qian Wei was startled to find that there was a huge banner that had appeared in front of the doors of the office building.
Looking more closely, the big banner was actually carried by several people who looked to be in their forties. These people all had faces that were full of equal parts helplessness and indignation.
‘Wang Yue, the lying lawyer from Rui Yi Law firm, is a man with no professional ethics and who cheats people out of their money!’ So read the banner in big bold characters.
Of course, because people carrying a big banner like this in front of the office building would affect the image of every company that worked in the building, so the building’s security guard was already outside negotiating with the group of middle-aged people. After a while, the anger of the group of people seemed to calm down a bit, but then it suddenly flared up again explosively.
They all started to shout a man in a suit who was walking by: “Wang Yue! Give us our money back! Back then, you made all sorts of guarantees and even told us that there was no way you could lose our case, but what was the result? It was a terrible loss! You need to compensate us for our wasted legal fees!”
Qian Wei couldn’t help but look over at the target of those angry shouts, and she saw a man in a suit. He was probably in his late twenties or early thirties, with thick glasses and a wide forehead, he looked to be a greasy and cunning character. By this point, he had already passed through the gate and was walking towards the elevator without even blinking. He was obviously trying to ignore the angry people protesting outside.
But then one of the middle-aged protesters pushed past the security guard and ran over towards Wang Yue. He grabbed Wang Yue’s arm and said in an angry voice that had a hint of pleading: “Give me my money back! That was the college tuition I was going to leave for my daughter! Didn’t you tell me you could win? I don’t care whether the case is won or lost now, I just want the lawyer’s fee back.”
Wang Yue shook off the other man’s hand and said coldly, “When did I promise you that I could win?”
“Isn’t that what you told me back when I first consulted you? You said that if you couldn’t win, you wouldn’t charge me the lawyer’s fee. Now that the case is lost, you need to give me back the ten thousand yuan in fees that I paid! My family really needs that money.”
“No lawyer can guarantee that a case will be lost or won before it goes to trial, so how could I ever make such a guarantee? In the first place, the outcome of the lawsuit will always depend on how the judge interprets the facts and applies the law. I explained all of this to you long ago, but now you want to slander me and say that I promised that you would win? Why don’t you give me some evidence? Do you have a recording?”
The middle-aged man was so angry that his whole body was trembling: “Why would I have a recording? But you know that is what you said…”
Wang Yue shrugged his shoulders and sneered: “A person can eat randomly whenever they want, but they can’t speak randomly whatever they want. You can’t just slander me like this. ‘If we don’t win the case, we’ll return the lawyer’s fees’? This kind of thing is simply unheard of in this industry. However, I do have the contract that you signed, where everything is written down in black and white. The contract clearly states that there is always a risk of losing any case, and it also states that my professional legal services have costs associated with them that will not be refunded no matter the outcome of your lawsuit. It was all written down clearly, duplicated, and we both signed. You should have your own copy too, so go home and have a good look at it.”
The middle-aged man was just an ordinary person who had no knowledge of the legal profession, so he had no idea that his verbal agreement with the lawyer without an audio recording or something similar was more or less impossible to prove. And he had signed that contract but, after all, many ordinary people didn’t pay much attention to these sorts of contracts since they never had to encounter them in their daily lives, so they would just sign the contract without looking at it carefully, as this man was the same.
The end result was naturally that he had signed away his rights and now had no ability to protect himself. Soon, several more security guards appeared and pulled him away, and Wang Yue turned to walk into the elevator while casually smoothing down his hair. However, before he entered, he happened to see Lawyer Cheng standing there. The two men obviously didn’t like each other, and Wang Yue only briefly glanced over Lawyer Cheng, who had Qian Wei and Lu Xun behind him, before giving the other lawyer a provocative smile and disappearing into the elevator.
Lawyer Cheng had an expression of disgust but, in the end, he could only sigh helplessly. After that, he politely guided Qian Wei and Lu Xun to the door before saying goodbye.
The group of ordinary people who had been tricked had already been ‘invited’ out of the building by the security guards, and now they were standing around outside the building unhappily. Although they were still holding up their big banner, their faces had turned uncertain and at a loss. It seemed that the money was gone, and they couldn’t get it back.
On the way back to school, Qian Wei was filled with righteous indignation: “The scariest things are thugs with an education. Is that really a lawyer? Isn’t he just a thug?! Where did he study law? Didn’t they teach him about the principles of fairness and justice under the law at all? And he’s so thick-skinned! He’s just a disgrace to the legal circle!” Qian Wei pulled Lu Xun’s sleeve and continued in an impassioned tone, “Lu Xun, we must run our website well! We need to expand the platform so that more people can enjoy our pro bono legal service, at least until people aren’t being deceived by lawyers like that Wang Yue. I believe that so long as we develop the platform well those low-end rogue firms will have less and less room to survive. With their high fees, poor business ability, and deceptive practices, it’s only a matter of time before they all go bankrupt!”
Because of this episode, Qian Wei paid more and more attention to her business plan, to the point that she wanted to devote herself to her website 24 hours a day, until one day she was reminded by Liu Shiyun.
“Qian Wei, how are your and Lu Xun’s rehearsals for the play coming along? Why don’t we all get together and rehearse together in a couple days?”
Because everyone had their own schedules, it was impossible to bring them all together to rehearse together every time. In the end, they had all been divided up into several groups according to their roles in the play and everyone had been rehearsing the parts related to their respective roles in small groups of twos and threes for the initial stages. They had planned to find a time to rehearse the parts that involved everyone and then go through the whole play from beginning to end, and that was what Liu Shiyun was asking about now.
Liu Shiyun was very attentive to the play for the drama club this time and, while Qian Wei and Lu Xun were spending all of their time working on their business, she was seriously going out to rehearse every day. Although it was true that there were many scenes to rehearse between her and Li Linlin, there were also many scenes between her and Qian Chuan. So recently, though Liu Shiyun had been trying to cover it up, Qian Wei somehow felt that she could smell the scent of spring in the air.
“Anyway, I’m going to rehearse with Qian Chuan right now, but you and Lu Xun should also take this seriously. Although you two have supporting roles, they are key to the production.”
Qian Wei looked over at Liu Shiyun, who was wearing a sporty and casual outfit, and asked curiously, “Why aren’t you wearing that white skirt of yours? Isn’t that what you usually like to wear when you go out? Why do I feel like I haven’t seen you wear it for a long time? Also, recently your high heels have just been gathering dust, and you haven’t been wearing much makeup either.”
Liu Shiyun idly ran her fingers through her hair and replied, “Well, I just don’t feel like wearing skirts or high heels anymore. With the winter here, although I look good in a skirt, it makes my legs cold and I worry that it might damage my skin in the long run. As for the high heels, I just don’t like them. It feels like walking on stilts and they make it so I can’t walk naturally, I can’t run, and they just aren’t comfortable at all.” Liu Shiyun crossed her arms as she spoke and, although she was wearing sporty clothes and light ‘natural’ makeup, Qian Wei somehow felt that her friend was more gorgeous than ever. “Why would I wear something like that that’s only good for looking good for other people? If I live like that, how will I be able to live comfortably in the future? After all, I am me, my own unique firework!”
“Weren’t you the one who used to say that women who don’t wear skirts, makeup, and high heels are all too rough for a normal man to like?”
“I, Liu Shiyun, am already so rich, what do I need a man to like me for?” Liu Shiyun smiled, “When I look at my bank account every day I can even laugh in my dreams. I’ve figured everything out now. After all, I’m so rich, men should be lining up and trying to worship me as an ancestor, so why should I think about how to change myself to please them? If they don’t like me, that’s their problem ah, even if no man likes me I’ll still like myself! Anyway, my father is so rich that I’ll never have to worry about being alone. Even if I don’t find a partner, in the worst case, I can just raise a dog when I’m older.” She paused and added, “Besides, maybe someone will like this kind of me? After all, I’m not an ordinary woman, so the man who likes me also won’t be an ordinary man. Ordinary men might not like me, but I don’t like them either, and I don’t want to pretend anymore. Real love won’t need that kind of pretending, real love would mean that I can always be myself boldly.”
Liu Shiyun said all that, then cheerfully laughed aloud before disappearing from the dorm room. Seeing the door that shut behind her friend, Qian Wei couldn’t help but smile.
It felt good to see that Liu Shiyun had changed back to her usual self-confident self now. Maybe she didn’t realize it herself, but the truth was that Liu Shiyun was like a little sun. She always shone beautifully, seeming warm and passionate, frank and straightforward, and full of an indescribable kind of affinity that made people unconsciously look at her and want to get closer to her.
Qian Wei never pointed it out, but she could also see the way that Qian Chuan’s eyes would follow Liu Shiyun whenever they were together these days. Even though the two people still quarreled from time to time, their quarrels were now accompanied by a gentle sort of atmosphere that made it hard for a third party to interrupt. Clearly, there were some wonderful chemical reactions taking place between the two.
But Liu Shiyun’s words did remind Qian Wei about the play, so she called Lu Xun and soon the two of them were ready to go to the room the drama club had secured to rehearse some of their scenes together.
However, when the two of them pushed open the door of the room, there was no one else inside. Qian Wei was a little skeptical: “Liu Shiyun left just now while saying that she was heading here to rehearse with Qian Chuan, so where are they?” She pulled out her phone. “I guess I’ll call them and ask where they are.”
But Lu Xun took her phone out of her hand and said: “Liu Shiyun and Qian Chuan are obviously together, but they are not rehearsing.”
Qian Wei was stunned into silence.
“Besides, I don’t want them here.” Lu Xun pulled her into the room and then casually locked it behind them, “It’s good that it’s just the two of us.”
“Huh? Why are you locking the door?”
Lu Xun said solemnly, “The lines in the scenes we’re rehearsing today are actually quite embarrassing. What will happen if I’m acting with you and then someone suddenly rushes in and sees me? Wouldn’t that just be too damaging to my image? So, if the door isn’t locked, I’ll always be worried that someone else might barge in, and I won’t be able to properly immerse myself in my role, and my acting skills will be hampered.”
“Anyway, let’s begin.”
Qian Wei slowly opened her script and said: “We have a total of more than a dozen scenes together but we don’t have that much time. Should we just pick a few key scenes to rehearse for now?”
“En.” Lu Xun nodded and then opened his own script, which he had marked with a fluorescent pen before arriving. “I’ve already taken a look, and these scenes are the ones that are most important to rehearse, so let’s start from there.”
Qian Wei took a look at the scenes he had marked and said, “Huh? Why are all these lines so weird… What’s this ‘I really want to kiss you a hundred times’? Or this ‘Will you kiss me’…”
In the first scene selected by Lu Xun, the second male lead was still immersed in his feelings for the heroine, so Qian Wei, as the vicious second female lead, was trying to seduce and tease the second male lead so he would forget the heroine. Her lines were all crude and direct, and when Qian Wei saw them she couldn’t help but blush a little: “How could I say these lines…”
“Why don’t we set this scene aside for now. We can do the next scene first, and then go back to this scene one I’m more immersed in the role.” However, when Qian Wei turned to the next scene that Lu Xun had marked down, it was another scene where the second male and female leads were flirting around, so she flipped to the next scene, and it was still more flirting.
“Lu Xun! Did you just go through and mark down all the shameful lines in the script when you were picking scenes?”
Lu Xun kept his usually calm expression and said in a righteous tone: “Do you know what is the biggest challenge is for actors, aside from their acting skills? It’s remembering and reciting their lines. Many actors will stumble when it comes to reciting lines because their lines are long and hard to remember or else because they are words they aren’t used to saying. I selected the lines that I did precisely because they are so embarrassing and flirtatious, which means that we seldom use these sorts of words in our daily lives and they are thus more difficult to remember. Because of that, these lines are the most likely stumbling blocks for our performance and, because our time is limited, we naturally have to start with the most difficult scenes. Anyway, we can first go over these more difficult scenes first and then just casually go over the easier ones later.”
“…” Qian Wei thought, do you really think I’ll believe your nonsense?
Fortunately, Qian Wei, who had been flipping through the script this whole time, finally found a scene with slightly less shameful lines.
“Okay, let’s do this one first!”
Lu Xun took a look, coughed, and said solemnly, “I don’t think the tension in this scene accurately captures the feeling of the rest of the play, maybe we should start with a different scene?”
Qian Wei insisted: “No, we’re doing this one! It’s not negotiable!”
Although Lu Xun was somewhat dissatisfied, he finally pursed his lips and accepted Qian Wei’s decision.
The scene she picked was one of the scenes that illustrated how the relationship between the second male lead and the second female lead was slowly getting better and better. In the scene, the two of them were snuggling up on the second male lead’s sofa, feeding snacks to each other, and talking about the latest TV drama.
“Anyway, let’s check our lines first.” Qian Wei coughed awkwardly and then picked up her script.
She read the melodramatic line: “Ah Heng, why do you think no one else in the drama can see that girl is in pain just because she acts strong?”
Lu Xun’s face turned a little red, but he was able to read his lines very calmly: “If it were you, I would certainly see through your facade of strength because I love you.”
Meeting Qian Wei’s slightly embarrassed gaze, Lu Xun gently urged her to continue with his eyes.
Qian Wei could only channel her strange mood into her acting: “If it were you and me, I probably wouldn’t act so strong.”
“Because whenever I face you, I subconsciously become weak, and unconsciously I only want to rely on you, so that prickly armor would automatically disappear if it were you.”
Having overcome her initial sense of shame, Qian Wei was able to continue reading her lines and slowly immerse herself in her role.
Like that, the two people began to act seriously.
“So how much do you like me?”
Lu Xun was silent for a moment, then stared into Qian Wei’s eyes and said, “I like you too much to describe. Every night before I go to sleep, I need to hear you say good night to feel at ease. Every night I dream about you, and every morning I want to wake up a little earlier so I can see you a bit sooner. I like you more than I can say, to the point that I almost forget myself while drowning in my love for you.”
Qian Wei was stunned, and she lowered her head to check her script before saying: “Huh? That line isn’t in the script, you…”
However, before she could finish speaking, she felt the cool temperature of Lu Xun’s lips on her own.
“It wasn’t a line.” He kissed Qian Wei again and then looked a little embarrassed. “Sorry, I was so immersed in looking at you that I forgot to act.”