Alright, if a couple of chapters ago, it was considered a turning point in mindset, this chapter is just a turning point. Period. 😉
Chapter 6.2 – Quietly Advancing and Retreating (2)
“So, Jingjing,” she said, holding the last segment of orange up to Wen Jingjing’s lips, “there’s nothing about me worthy of your envy. I also lose in love, also get sick, and also have lots of secrets that I don’t want others to know about.”
She tilted her head upwards and took a glance. There was not much left in this bottle, but on the IV pole’s metal hook, there was still another full bottle that need to be finished tonight.
“I remember, one time when I was a kid, we needed to run eight hundred metres in gym class. Someone stepped on my shoe from behind, and I took a huge tumble. There should have been about three or four classes right then that were having gym out on that sports field, and they all saw. At the time, I felt so humiliated. How could I have such awful luck? So terrible, practically like the sky had fallen. But now that I think about it, it was just a fall, right?” She stood and was about to go find the on-duty nurse.
“You must have felt something like that before when you were a kid, like the sky was falling on you. Jingjing, five years from now, when you look back, it’ll also just simply be like you took a fall. Pull yourself back up, change into some clean clothes, and treat it like nothing ever happened. Family and background, natural talent — there’s so many things that you’re just born with. Just like anyone can be envious that Liu Xiang won the World Championships, but it’s only just envying for a bit.”
That night when she went back, Tong Yan started to show signs that she had caught a cold. By Monday, it had completely turned into a bad case of the cold.
There were not many people at the on-campus medical clinic during noontime. After she was prescribed some cold medicine and was walking back down from the second floor, someone unexpectedly tapped her on her shoulder. Turning, she discovered it was that Shen, um… Class Rep Shen. He was standing beside another boy. When Tong Yan turned around, that boy’s eyes immediately flickered away, and he beamed, “I’ll go out and wait for you.” After saying this, he gave a wicked grin and darted away.
Shen Heng unconsciously pushed up his glasses. “You’re sick? Is it serious?”
Tong Yan smiled, “It’s just a cold.”
“That night’s Anniversary Gala, I watched the live broadcast inside my dorm room.” Class Rep Shen seemed to be searching for the right words, and he paused briefly before saying, “You did such a good job emceeing.”
If it were any other time, she would have said a few more casual words to help pass through the moment. However, the whole previous night, her nose had been stuffed up so she had not slept well, and now, she simply did not have any energy to talk.
Fortunately, this boy was quite shy, and he walked down the stairs with her in silence. At last, when they were standing by the doors of the university medical clinic, he finally hesitantly asked her, “You really don’t look so good. How about I take you back to your dorm?”
He spoke this in a very polite manner, with a slight sense of probing in his voice.
“No, it’s alright. I still have to wait here for my classmates.”
Putting on a look as if she was waiting for someone, Tong Yan watched as Shen Heng and his classmate left, and then she breathed out in relief. She felt in her pocket, pulled out a pile of neatly folded toilet paper, and began to wipe her nose …
All of a sudden, she received a text message.
She reckoned that it was likely from Shen Yao. Those three girls had left the dorm at the same time as her, and they should have been in Gu Pingsheng’s office just now receiving their chastisement. She had not expected that, when she pulled out her phone, it was actually a text message from Gu Pingsheng: You’re sick? Is it serious? TK
These exact same words, Shen Heng had asked just a moment earlier.
But now that it was him asking them, her lips unconsciously turned up in a smile.
Those three girls from her dormitory must have mentioned her when they were being reprimanded in order to try to change the topic. The last text message in her inbox was actually the one he had sent her three weeks ago.
Standing there at the doors of the medical clinic entrance, she hesitated for three seconds and then, for some reason, as if guided by a supernatural force, she wrote this message back: Mm-hmm … It’s a little serious. The school doc said it’s best if I go to a hospital off campus … But it’s so far. Don’t want to go.
When she sent it, her heart suddenly started thumping hard — thumping her straight into a fluster.
Every time Shen Yao was in a phase with a boy where she was wondering whether she should start a romantic relationship with him or not, she would always probe like this, trying to feel out, did he care about her? Would he get anxious for her? If the boy was all anxious and concerned, that meant there was room for them to progress the relationship further. If his reaction was calm and lukewarm, then she would act as if nothing had ever happened.
Each time she saw Shen Yao beaming while she was text messaging with an amorous expression on her face, Tong Yan would find it very funny. But now, she, too, was waiting nervously for his response.
Several of the school doctors walked past her, chatting and smiling and looking as if they were going for lunch. When that group had exited the main doors and had walked far enough away that she could not even glimpse their shadows, her mobile phone still lay in silence. There was not a single reply. Feeling somewhat dejected, Tong Yan tucked her mobile phone into her schoolbag and walked back along the walkway by the medical clinic.
Lunchtime was the period when there was the most people out on campus. She hesitated over whether she should go have some lunch or head straight back to the dormitory and make a pack of instant noodles instead. All of a sudden, someone slapped her on the back from behind her.
Tong Yan turned around and looked up into Shen Yao’s grinning face. “And here I was saying that we should go back to the dorm to find you. Teacher Gu said he’s going to treat everyone in our dorm room to lunch. Why is your phone dead?”
Standing not far behind Shen Yao was Wang Xiaoru and Wen Jingjing, as well as … Gu Pingsheng.
There was no International Commercial Arbitration class today, and so his attire was slightly more casual. Light blue jeans with faded white marks and a casual black top. Plain and simple. He did not look at all like he had come deliberately to give these three girls an admonishment.
Wen Jingjing was speaking to him right then. He gazed directly at Wen Jingjing until she finished speaking and then said something to her in response before turning his head to look in Tong Yan’s direction.
He nodded in acknowledgement but did not speak. He was behaving as if he had never sent her the text message and never received anything either.
When Shen Yao brought up that Gu Pingsheng was treating them to lunch, her entire being was completely radiant. Tong Yan knew that she was thinking again how she could swindle an expensive meal out of Gu Pingsheng, and immediately, she grabbed Shen Yao by the arm. “Let’s just go eat in the east dining hall. My head’s all heavy and dizzy. I don’t want to go too far for lunch.”
Shen Yao let out an “ah,” but before she could say anything further, she was dragged directly into the university dining hall.
Originally, Shen Yao had wanted to order some feature dishes or a mini hot-pot or something along those lines, but Tong Yan expressed that she and Jingjing were still sick with colds. And as a result, she successfully managed to lower the class of the meal by another level, such that it really was not all that different from what they would normally do, where everyone simply each ate their own food. The only difference was, Gu Pingsheng, the one who was like “sunny spring days and white snow” [exceptionally handsome in a clean way], was with them.
Throughout the entire meal, Shen Yao was especially loquacious. Gu Pingsheng only managed to take a couple of bites at the very beginning, and then very soon, he set down his chopsticks and quietly watched them speak. In the end, Tong Yan could not stand watching this situation any longer. Tugging on Shen Yao’s arm, she reminded, “You’ve been talking the whole time. How is Teacher Gu supposed to eat?”
“Huh? Ah!” Shen Yao all of a sudden clued in. “Teacher Gu, go ahead, have more to eat. You don’t need to watch me talk the whole time.”
He told her that it was alright and then began drinking his water in large swallows.
Tong Yan scanned his meal that was in front of him. It practically had not even been touched it. She had eaten with Gu Pingsheng a few times now. Compared with other men, the amount he ate most certainly could not be considered a lot, but neither was he like some girls who would eat so little it was like a little kitten taking two or three nibbles.
Shen Yao wanted to say more, but after raising her wrist for a look, she yelped, “Only another five minutes until one o’clock. Time for class! I’m doomed! Why am I always late when it comes to advanced math class?”
She picked up her bag and started to run, taking two or three strides forward before doubling back to say, “Teacher Gu, ‘listening once to your wise words is more valuable than ten years of studying.’ So now, I’ve finished the ‘studying’ part. It’s time to go do some math problems. Farewell, farewell.”
And after saying this, she hastily raced off.
With her departure, everyone else could only put down their chopsticks, contemplating how they could take their leave as well.
“You guys go first. I need to discuss some things with Tong Yan.” He finally set down his glass of water.
When everyone had left, Gu Pingsheng finally truly looked at her. “I’ll take you to the hospital this afternoon.”
So he had received the text? She continued to poke and stir at her noodles with her chopsticks. There were actually just a few strands left, mingled with some chopped scallions inside the soup.
“If you got the text, why didn’t you reply?” she murmured under her breath.
She raised her head. “It’s okay. I just went and filled a prescription for some medication. I’ll go back and take some, and I’ll be fine.”
“Let me see the meds you were prescribed.” From her bag, she pulled out several medications, handing over two boxes and one bottle of cough syrup. He took them from her, turned the boxes over to the back, and fixed his attention on the rows of small print.
Tong Yan was quite perplexed over what he could be looking at, but unfortunately, she was sitting in front of him and could not sneak a peek.
He was truly so focused and serious in his reading, and Tong Yan, unable to restrain her curiosity, eventually reached over and waved her hand in front of his eyes. “What are you looking at?”
“I’m looking at the composition of these meds,” he answered. “When you got the prescription, did you specifically request the doctor to give you these particular medications?”
Startled, she nodded. “I get colds and coughs really easily. I got used to taking medications, and now, only if I take these few brands will I get better.”
He smiled, “I noticed. These ones you asked for are all ones given to patients with serious conditions.” He picked up the cough syrup. “The codeine content in this one is relatively high.”
Tong Yan stared blankly in surprise. Recalling that Shen Yao always liked to say that cough syrup could be addictive, she asked, “You’re talking about the type that can cause people to become addicted? Shen Yao always says that if I take cough syrup, I’ll definitely develop an addiction to it one day.”
“It’s not that serious.” He gazed amusedly at her. “But if you drink several dozen bottles of them a day, that might be possible.”
They were sitting at a long rectangular table that could seat more than a dozen people, and each seat was directly opposite another one.
When the start time for class had passed, there only remained the two of them, sitting in the seats closest to the floor-length windows, and another couple sitting in the far outside seats.
Sunlight shone through the thick glass and cast a comfortable warmth upon their bodies. Demonstrating a spirit of learning, Tong Yan asked several more questions about the topic. The two of them chatted casually with no real specific topic to their conversation.
By the time one of the wait staff came over and took away the plates on their table, they had already been talking for a long time.
“Teacher Gu, what did you want to talk to me about?” She remembered his initial reason for asking her to stay behind.
“I had originally wanted to take you to the hospital.” He put away her medications. “If it’s just a simple cold, then don’t be in a rush to take meds for it. Drink lots of warm water. Usually, you’ll be better within a week. Tomorrow, I’ll go get some appropriate medications for you, and if you’re still not better after a week, then you can take them.”
Tong Yan nodded, her heart suddenly seeming to beat rather softly.
Ever since she was a child, she was the type of person who would only report good news and would hold back any news that was unpleasant. For a long period during middle school, she had lived with her mother, and she had always simply rummaged through the medications in the medicine cabinet herself, read them over to know basically which drug was anti-inflammatory, which was for colds and flus, etc. and then would just indifferently find one to take until gradually, she got better. She had only ever gotten simple fevers, colds, or flus and never any serious illness, so she had always felt that she could take care of everything herself.
This was the first time anyone had ever taken her medication from her and even carefully read through the specific composition.
When she returned to the dormitory room, she was the only one there.
Tong Yan pulled out her charger and charged her mobile phone. The instant she turned her phone on, six or seven text messages all came in at once. One was from Gu Pingsheng and the remainder all came from a number she was not familiar with.
She first opened up a text message from the unknown number. It turned out to be a notification message informing her she had a missed call. This particular function had actually been included for free from her mobile services provider, but she had never used it before and had long forgotten about it.
There was one missed call from Shen Yao. The remaining five missed calls were all from Gu Pingsheng.
If it had been a normal person, after hearing the operator prompt stating that the mobile phone he was dialing was turned off, he would definitely not call again.
Sitting there on a chair, she stared at her mobile phone. She could even imagine Gu Pingsheng, who could only keep his eyes fixed upon his phone’s screen to determine whether she had answered the call or not, but unable to hear the voice inside the receiver saying over and over again, “I’m sorry, the phone number you have dialed is currently turned off …”
From out in the hallway, bursts of laughter could be heard, but inside her room, it was unusually quiet.
Only after a long time had passed did she carefully and hesitantly open up the one and only true text message. There was only a short row of words: Don’t be pouty. I’ll take you to the hospital. TK
 刘翔. Liu Xiang is China’s former 110m hurdler and is both an Olympic gold medalist (Athens 2004) and World Champion (2007). He is now officially retired from the sport.
 阳春白雪 “yang chun bai xue.” Literally, this means “sunny spring and white snow” This is a saying that actually is used to describe literature and art that is exceptional, cultured, and sophisticated. In modern, colloquial language, it is used to describe women who are beautiful, pure, elegant, and refined, like the sunlight that shines on a spring day or pure, white snow. Using this saying on Great Beauty Gu is a way of complimenting his clean, exceptional handsomeness in a joking way by using a saying that is normally reserved for women.
 听君一席话，胜读十年书. A Chinese idiom. “A single conversation with a wise man is more valuable than ten years of studying.”
 撒娇 “sa jiao.” To “sa jiao” is to act pouty like a little child would. However, it usually does not carry negative connotations. Instead, it is describing someone who is pouting in a cute way to get what he or she wants. A young child can pout and act cute to adults to win them over. A grown adult can still “sa jiao” and pout cutely to her own parents. A girl can pout cutely to her boyfriend/husband, and in such a relationship, can be a form of flirting.
Let’s talk more about my footnote : being “sa jiao” or being “pouty.” Like I said in the footnote, saying someone is pouty in this way is not negative. The important piece is, you can only “pout cutely” to someone who actually will dote on you. That person implicitly grants you the right to do so because he or she views you with affection and finds this type of pouting endearing and adorable. You would most certainly not pout like this to your teacher, no matter how he or she likes you as a student, unless there is something else to the relationship. Therefore … *drumroll*… For Gu Pingsheng to tell Tong Yan not to “sa jiao” or “be pouty” means he is indirectly stating his endearment and affections (and attraction!) towards her . ❤
And *that* is why this is a turning point chapter. ❤ ❤ ❤
1 of 1 Prologue
17 of 66 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogue segments