Yan Yan feels the pressure from co-emceeing with Great Beauty Gu. Don’t worry, though. Teacher Gu always takes good care of her.
(Reminder that I’m following the published book. This chapter actually had quite a bit of filler material that is in the online version but was edited out when it went to the printing press.)
Chapter 4.1 – Those Beautiful, Little Things (1)
To her surprise, Gu Pingsheng’s experience as master of ceremonies was much better than what he had described of himself. After several rehearsals, they had already developed a good rapport with each other. On the day of the official dress rehearsal, Tong Yan and Gu Pingsheng were sitting in the waiting room backstage, and from outside their door, all sorts of cries and squeals of “Where’s my costume?” “Where’s my prop?” or similar were echoing up continuously. Her script in hand, she could not hold back her giggles.
Suddenly, someone charged in in a state of panic, then paused in surprise before immediately uttering sorry over and over again and hastily retreating from the room.
Both of them found this humorous and exchanged a look.
The assistant stage manager soon arrived to notify these two masters of ceremonies that the dress rehearsal was beginning.
The two of them walked onto the backstage area to stand just behind the huge curtain. Peeking out at the two or three rows of leaders and executives of the university, Tong Yan all of a sudden grew anxious.
Her heart was beating more and more rapidly, and her palms were starting to heat up… She instinctively glanced over at Gu Pingsheng. In that dim lighting, he seemed to detect her abnormal behaviour and lowered his head to gaze at her. “Nervous?”
Tong Yan nodded. So humiliating. All that talk about her being “very experienced” and that she could assist and support Gu Pingsheng in this. Why, then, was she nervous with just the first formal dress rehearsal?
Hearing the opening music begin to play, she took a deep breath. Not nervous, not nervous at all. It’s just twenty or more executives of the school, right? She silently recited to herself the mental trick that worked every time: The audience members are all just a bunch of big winter melons. Just winter melons that only know how to grin at you… Suddenly, someone squeezed her hand. Not too light, nor too heavy but with just the perfect firmness.
A warm palm. A familiar feeling… She did not dare even to breathe, let alone turn to look at him.
The music in her ear had lowered slightly in volume, and soon, the hold on her hand loosened. Gu Pingsheng’s voice was heard saying, “It’s alright. You still have me. If you forget your lines, just look at me.”
In the previous few informal rehearsals, she had established a system and understanding with him. Each time he was required to speak, she would look at him in advance while she finished saying her last couple of sentences to allow him to pick up his lines and continue.
“Tong Yan,” Zhou Qingchen addressed her from within her in-ear monitor. “Go.”
She immediately recovered herself. In this particular event, as master of ceremonies, she was required to be even more careful and attentive as all the programs and performances had to go through her to communicate with both the masters of ceremonies. If she made any mistake, Gu Pingsheng would not even have a chance to help her fix or cover up for it…
As a result of this pressure on her, Tong Yan’s performance was completely off during this official dress rehearsal.
Every time she looked over helplessly at Gu Pingsheng, she would see an obvious smile on his face before he quickly covered up for her mistake. His voice sounded as if he had had professional training before, for what echoed out from the microphone was completely different from his voice normally when he was carrying out class lectures. It was very clean and somewhat low.
It was like pure and refreshingly sweet spring water.
Great Beauty Gu’s performance was simply too good and served even more to emphasize how terrible hers was.
Even Zhou Qingcheng said to her, “Tong Yan Wuji, I had highly recommended you to emcee this, eh. How come it feels like you’re a rookie? Your voice is even trembling…”
Helpless, she covered her face with her emcee script and moaned in a sobbing tone, “I need to de-stress. The instant I think about the fact that I’m carrying the responsibilities of two people, I start getting anxious.”
Du Half-A-Beat was actually much more forgiving and relaxed. “It’s not a problem. This is just the first formal dress rehearsal. There’s still another two. Let yourself gradually get used to it.” When he finished speaking, his eyes shifted to cast a look behind Tong Yan. “Zhou Qingchen, go with Tong Yan to buy a new dress. This time, it’s the university’s Anniversary Gala, so let’s not have her wearing an old evening gown left behind by previous students.”
After he finished saying this, everyone looked towards Tong Yan’s dress. Sure enough, because she was so slender, a dozen or more silver pins were stuck close together across the back of the dress to secure the waistline that had been taken in.
Zhou Qingchen nearly bit his own tongue at this. “Teacher Du, my girlfriend would beat me to death. She even keeps a record of every time I just talk to another girl…”
Tong Yan was also feeling so awkward she thought she could die. “Teacher Du, as long as Students’ Union agrees to let me make alterations, I’ll just take it back, pull out the seam, take it in, and re-sew it.”
Many of the evening gowns belonging to the Students’ Union were actually once private property that had been specially left behind by former students who had served before as masters of ceremonies. Hence, most of them fit to the original owner’s measurements. It was not just Tong Yan. It would be the same situation for anyone who was given a dress, and they were all long since accustomed to this. Fortunately, Du Half-A-Beat did not continue to insist on his suggestion.
Once the two of them finished the dress rehearsal, they hurried together to class.
As Tong Yan took a seat, Shen Yao immediately began mocking her in delight. “Tong Yan, you don’t need to be so brazen about it, eh. The entire class is waiting for just you two. It’s been several weeks like this already. Even my gossips cells are exploding.”
Tong Yan gave her a vicious glare. “How about you take my place?”
While they were talking, the other students in their class were also blatantly cracking jokes and making some strange noises to tease Tong Yan, who was trying to put on a calm, unruffled front. After all, Great Beauty Gu could not hear them anyway, so they could even more rampantly have their fun.
“Tong Yan Wuji, in order to help bring you and Great Beauty Gu together, we’re even attending class on Saturdays.”
“Yan Yan, we’ve got to keep the good things within our own. That’s the teaching of our ancestors, you know.”
“Tong Wuji, do you know how to write the word, ‘jealous’? Please look at my face…”
She picked up her book and used it to block her face. She had rehearsal everyday and was already absurdly tired. She could not be bothered with responding to this bunch.
Due to the frequent rehearsals for the gala, she was late again and again for her part-time job on the weekends. Luckily, Miao Miao had been holding down the cash register duties for her the whole time. When Miao Miao saw her dashing in, the first words she said were, “Tong Yan, hurry, hurry. I’ve been telling our manager that you have diarrhea and were in the bathroom.”
Tong Yan was very grateful to her and at the same time, did not know whether to laugh or cry at the excuse. She was a full hour late. That French manager probably thought she had fallen into the toilet.
After several successive days of heavy rain, there was not really anyone in the store. She persevered until lunchtime, when she began to lower her head and tidy up. She was planning on randomly grabbing something to eat when, out of the blue, she heard a familiar voice calling her. The person she saw when she raised her head for a look, however, was completely outside of her expectations.
Gu Pingfan, Teacher Gu’s older cousin.
The greatest surprise was when she placed a paper bag on the checkout counter and then, from within, pulled out a royal blue evening gown. “This was what I wore during my graduation ceremony. TK said we have very similar builds and told me to bring it here for you to try.”
Tong Yan was basically frozen in astonishment. Gu Pingfan spoke again with a smile, “It’s used. Hope you don’t mind. I only wore it once.”
Of course she would not mind. Or perhaps Teacher Gu had actually been worried that she would refuse to accept this and that was why he had deliberately sent over a used gown?
“Do you need me to go with you to the bathroom and change into it to see how’s the size?” Gu Pingfan looked at her smilingly.
“No. Thank you, though.” Tong Yan hurriedly said thank you several more times, finding herself slightly at a loss for how to handle such a situation.
Owing to that dress, she was in somewhat of a daze for the entire afternoon.
That evening, while she was crammed inside the metro train, she finally remembered that she still had not expressed her thanks. Immediately, she with great difficulty pulled out her mobile phone from her schoolbag and sent Gu Pingsheng a text message: Thank you, Teacher Gu.
She felt she should say something behind those few words, though, so she quickly added another line: I got paid today at work for this month. Tomorrow I’ll first pay you back five hundred, is that ok?
Very soon, a text message came back in reply: It’s no problem. I remembered that Pingfan had worn that dress before. Royal blue should really complement your complexion. As for the money, there’s no hurry. TK
Gazing down at that little row of words, she contemplated for a long time but did not know how to reply. Without even realizing it, her inbox had already been overtaken by the name, “Teacher Gu.”
Her eyes fixed themselves on her mobile phone, and she inexplicably stared at it for a long while. Then, she opened up one text message after another and re-read each one of them.
A “ding” rang out. The speakers in the metro train car were starting to announce the next station. Abruptly, she pulled her mind back together.
Not good, Tong Yan. The way you’re headed right now is very dangerous.
 肥水不流外人田. Literally, this translates as “the fertile waters should not be allowed to flow into other people’s fields,” which basically means you should keep the good stuff within the family or your inner circle and not give others the opportunity. So here, they are joking that Tong Yan should “take” Gu Pingsheng as her own and not let someone outside of their faculty have him.
1 of 1 Prologue
10 of 66 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogue segments