Technically, the time stamp on this post is past Peanut’s birthday, but over on my side of the world, I can still party for her. So, happy birthday to Peanuts!!
And now, the follow-up to that text that was like an indirect confession. Let the sweetness begin!
Chapter 6.3 – Quietly Advancing and Retreating (3)
Tong Yan contemplated for another long while before sending her text in reply: My phone battery might have died when I left the hospital, so I didn’t see your reply.
A text came back very quickly: No problem. I understand. TK
A very normal response, but coming from him, she could not help mulling repeatedly over it.
As she thought about those five phone calls, she quickly sent another text: As long as my phone is on, I will always answer any calls. Next time, if the screen doesn’t indicate that the call’s been answered, that means my phone must be shut off.
Gu Pingsheng: Alright. TK
Such a concise reply. He was probably busy? She set her mobile phone down on her desk and pulled out a textbook to read, only to discover that the one she grabbed was her International Commercial Arbitration Law textbook. Fine, arbitration it was, then. She would treat it as early reviewing for her final exam. Right as she was about to settle into serious studying, her mobile phone unexpectedly vibrated again.
Have you drunk warm water yet? TK
Is your throat sore? TK
A little …
Tomorrow morning, if it’s still sore, send me a text and I’ll go get you some antibiotics. TK
When she finished typing this one word, she could not refrain from adding another question: Teacher Gu, you’re home now?
But after she had written “Teacher Gu,” she suddenly deleted it again and changed it so that she simply wrote, “You’re home now?”
I’m still in Administration. I’m talking to the dean about the courses I’ll teach next semester. TK
Next semester, Maritime Law. TK
Tong Yan remembered, he had once said that he might only be teaching for this one term. Now, however, he was discussing his courses for next semester, so that meant he would be continuing to stay in Shanghai and continuing to stay in their school? Oh, why was she all of a sudden feeling so happy?
After several days, this news had basically spread throughout the entire faculty, and the ones most thrilled about it were the students. During Wednesday’s Commercial Arbitration class, a few of the female students simply could not hold it in any longer and forced the class prefect to personally ask Gu Pingsheng.
At the end of class, Class Prefect grinningly raised his hand. “Teacher Gu, one last question.”
Gu Pingsheng was holding a black thermos flask and drinking water from it. Seeing his raised hand, he nodded at him to speak.
“Teacher Gu, we want to know, what are you teaching next semester?” Class Prefect seemed to feel that his behavior was a little too eager and so, with a very proper expression, he added, “It’s so we can buy the learning materials in advance.”
“Maritime Law. But you guys don’t need to get any learning materials. Next semester, I intend on printing out the materials, so you will not need to buy any additional textbooks.”
From down below, a string of “whoa, yeah, whoa” rang up from the class in low cries of approval.
Since first-year university, for each course, the teacher would provide in advance a list of any required textbooks or references. Those who had the money would go buy them and those who did not would borrow the books to photocopy. In reality, they discovered in the end that it really did not make much of a difference whether you had the books or not because there were the notes taken in class anyway … But, out of respect for the teacher, they still needed to make the preparations.
It seemed that only courses like Marxism or Intro to Maoism would have the same textbooks year after year that were passed down as if they were antiques.
For the specialized courses, a teacher like Gu Pingsheng who provided all the learning materials himself was absolutely a marvel and an oddball.
Tong Yan lowered her head and kept her eyes fixed on her class notes, as if she was checking for errors or omissions.
“You don’t even know, yesterday, a few girls in our faculty from a lower year were asking me about Commercial Arbitration.” Shen Yao lamented in a quiet voice, “I even told them, what was their rush? They still had two semesters to go. But …” she sighed, “but looking now at Pretty Lady’s Bane, I really can’t bear the idea of him teaching other people. The good thing is, he doesn’t need to sub in to teach the double major students or those law courses open for non-law students, so at least he belongs solely to our faculty.”
Resting her hand on her chin, Tong Yan replied with an “mm” as she caught a glimpse of him still continuing to drink his water.
“Such a pity, though.” To the left of them, Wang Xiaoru also gave a seldom-heard sigh. “Next semester is our last term. We’re going to be on internship for our whole fourth year.” Turning her head to the side deliberately so that she was facing the outside of the classroom, she raised her voice and announced, “Fellow classmates, whoever has a secret crush on our teacher, you’d better hurry up and profess your love. There’s not much time left. Don’t give away this benefit to the girl classmates coming up after us.”
After this Sunday, there were only another five weeks. Thirty-five days.
With her pen, Tong Yan crossed off Saturday on her calendar. As she stared at the row after row of black pen markings, she suddenly realized that she did not need to count down the days to Gu Pingsheng’s departure anymore.
Since that day she had her bad cold, he had text messaged her everyday in concen and asked about her symptoms. Then, they had arranged to meet privately, and he had brought her many different medications. Gradually, the two of them began to send text messages to each other to simply chat casually. But today, from when class finished this morning to now, he still had not sent her any messages …
When Shen Yao saw that the lights had turned off, without prompting, she also shut off her music.
Tong Yan had just started to fall into a muddled, half-asleep state when the ring of a telephone suddenly sounded out. It was the middle of the night, yet the landline phone in the dormitory room was actually ringing … Right as she was about to pull her covers over her head and continue sleeping, she heard Shen Yao call her. “Yan Yan, Yan Yan, dearie, phone call for you.”
Shen Yao dragged the telephone receiver over to Tong Yan’s bedside and, with a peculiar expression on her face, handed it to her.
Taking the receiver from her, Tong Yan said a “hello” into it.
“Tong Yan, don’t sleep. Wake up, wake up.”
That voice sounded so familiar. She pondered for a moment and then remembered who it was — her high school classmate and also Lu Bei’s best friend, Cheng Yu.
“Mm. Go ahead, talk.”
Cheng Yu first said some polite niceties, stating that he was planning to come to Shanghai this Christmas and while he was here, he wanted to get together with Tong Yan.
Without even needing to think about it, Tong Yan declined his invitation. On the other end of the line, there was a long silence before he said, “Tong Yan, I promised Lu Bei I’d keep you company over Christmas. What’s the deal? Is it because, now that you’ve been accepted over to Shanghai, you’re looking down on the people who went to Hunan University? I seem to recall that our law faculty is supposed to be better than yours.” Cheng Yu deliberately used a joking tone.
For a long moment, she was quiet before finally saying, “Don’t try to force me. You know me.”
After getting her mobile phone number from her, Cheng Yu soon hung up the call.
While she was trying her best to bring back the sleepy feeling, Shen Yao had already put the telephone back, walked over to stand beneath Tong Yan’s bed, and arched her head back to look up at Tong Yan. “Tong Yan Wuji, I’m in love.” Tong Yan stared perplexedly at her. With an expression that showed she was reveling in her thoughts, Shen Yao continued, “I’ve fallen in love with that man’s voice. You’ve got to play matchmaker for us. I can’t stand it. I’m honestly in love with him.”
Tong Yan was thoroughly awake now.
“Is he a university student? An old classmate of yours?”
Tong Yan was at a loss over whether she should laugh or cry at this. “Yes. In the law school at Hunan University …”
“Oooh, one with a long historical standing … Definitely much better than our law school that’s only been around for three years.” Shen Yao’s eyes were sparkling. “Did he say he was coming to Shanghai for Christmas? Can you bring me along?”
“You listened in on my call.”
Tong Yan had not finished speaking, though, before Shen Yao had already kicked off her slippers, climbed up the ladder onto Tong Yan’s bed, and lifted up the covers to huddle together with her under them. “Hurry and give me all the details about him. You don’t even know, earlier on, when he just said hello, my heart leapt out of my chest. How can there be a man who sounds soooo nice when he talks?”
Under Shen Yao’s persistent pursuit for more information, Tong Yan, who was squeezed up against the wall, began nonstop to answer all sorts of different questions. However, she purposely avoided anything related to Lu Bei.
Shen Yao was wearing a serious expression that indicated she had plans to carry out a long talk through the entire night, and resignedly, Tong Yan picked up her mobile phone to glance at the time.
To her surprise, there was an unread text message.
“What does he look like? Do you have a picture?” Hugging a pillow against herself, Shen Yao leaned herself up against the wall. “You know I don’t really ask for anything in terms of looks. I just want to know what he looks like.”
It was not only looks that she did not really ask anything of; she basically did not have any requirements for anything. That was opposite to Xiaoru, who measured everything up against her set criteria.
“No photos, but he’s really quite good-looking. I’d give him a score of eighty or more.”
Inconspicuously, she opened up her text message inbox.
Gu Pingsheng: Are you asleep? TK
Tong Yan: Not yet. I’m chatting with Shen Yao.
Gu Pingsheng: I’m chatting with Pingfan, too. TK
Tong Yan: Don’t tell me it’s about relationship issues, too? Shen Yao just answered a call for me … She said she’s fallen for the boy who called. It’s just one phone call. That’s too fast.
“Tong Yan Wuji!” Shen Yao slapped her firmly on her arm. “This is about the future happiness of the rest of my life. Can you treat this more seriously? Who are you texting with, smiling so lustily?”
After saying this, she immediately leaned in closer to Tong Yan.
Panicked, Tong Yan clutched her mobile phone to herself. “You keep trying to look and I’ll kick you down off of here.” Shen Yao soon yielded and simply continued prattling off all kinds of questions.
Tong Yan discreetly changed the name “Gu Pingsheng” in her mobile phone to “TK.” But after thinking about it, she decided it still was not good enough and eventually changed it to her own name, “Tong Yan.”
This way, no matter who happened to see, they still would not be able to guess whom it was.
A reply soon came back from Gu Pingsheng: Perhaps it has to do with personality. Some people are cautious and will assess and weigh out everything. Some people tend to simply throw caution to the wind. TK
It could have been because it was late into the night, or perhaps it was because Shen Yao had out of the blue fallen into a baffling romance, but their conversation had somehow managed to slip into this type of topic. Over these last two weeks, although they had communicated frequently, it had all been on very ordinary subjects.
Tong Yan talked to Shen Yao for another little while before she finally mustered up the courage to, in the most nonchalant tone possible, ask him: What about you? What are you like?
Quite a length of time passed before he replied with a sentence written in English:
The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it finally arrives. TK
“Eh?” Seeing an open opportunity, Shen Yao swiftly took advantage of it and swept her eyes over the message. Instantly, a suggestive grin spread across her face. “Who’s that, huh, saying he’s going to wait for you?”
Tong Yan immediately stuffed her mobile phone under her covers. “Off the bed, off the bed. I need to sleep.”
“Calm down, calm down.” Shen Yao quickly raised her hands in surrender. “I didn’t see anything.”
Another text message seemed to have come in on her phone, but she dared not read anything in front of Shen Yao anymore. Afterwards, Shen Yao continued another long stretch of talking, but she only absentmindedly responded to her. Over and over in her mind, all she could think about was that one sentence.
When she was at last lying back down on her bed, she pulled out her mobile phone again. The glow of the phone’s screen was especially prominent against the darkness: To put it a little simpler, the longer you wait for something, the more it deserves to be cherished when you get it. TK
I know the very last message from Gu Pingsheng seems like it’s just a repeat of what he said earlier. That’s because, well, actually it is. He sent that message over in English, and then later, he followed up by restating it again in Chinese to make sure that Tong Yan was clear on what he meant. I struggled over that last text trying to rephrase it so that it sounded a little different and communicated the meaning a little differently, but… LOL.
Anyway, I don’t know if you guys are familiar with that English saying, but there is a latter half that is often seen with that quote:
The longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you get it, because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for.
(There’s actually a longer version of that, but this is the most commonly quoted one.) ❤ To Gu Pingsheng, Tong Yan is worth waiting for …
1 of 1 Prologue
18 of 66 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogue segments