It is time to meet the Parent! I am pretty sure it should be Parents, if someone had been able to control his eagerness, ha-ha, but things happen don’t they? The dynamics of Qiao Feng’s family is hilarious and I think Wu Wen is very much like his Dad although I think his assertiveness probably comes from his mother. Compared to Yang Xiao Xiu’s mother, Qiao Feng’s parents are really nice and I am glad that they are going to become Lan Shan’s in-laws instead of someone who looks down on her.
And for readers from the States, happy Independence Day!
Chapter 68: Return
Qiao Feng takes some tissue and wipes Lan Shan’s hand carefully as if it is a priceless antique. Both are feeling embarrassed by what just transpired and are spotting equally flushed faces although when she sees his crimson earlobes, she wonders why he is acting like a rabbit when he is so obviously a wolf just minutes ago.
When he is done, he kisses her hand gently and she jerks her hand back. She announces that she is going home and makes a beeline for the door as Qiao Feng says to her retreating back. “Thank you.”
Lan Shan feels so weird; is she supposed to answer “you are welcome” in such a situation? Deciding to ignore him, she opens her door and suddenly feels a furry sensation at her ankles. Schrodinger has appeared from nowhere and is meowing at her cutely as he rubs against her. Confused, she looks at Qiao Feng who offers his take on his cat’s behavior. “I thinks he wants to follow you home.”
Lan Shan guesses that Schrodinger is probably heart-broken over his owner’s treatment and is …. running away from home? She smiles at his adorable face. “Can he stay over at my house tonight?”
Qiao Feng is surprised by her question. “Can he?”
“Can you let his owner stay over too?” The question is said very softly and she did not catch it across the distance. “I beg your pardon?”
“Nothing. Can you please take him home? I will send over his dish and cat food shortly.”
She leaves with Schrodinger and Qiao Feng takes the opportunity to shower and reflects on what just happened. He remembers the sensation of her soft hands on him, and the feeling is so incredible, it seems to have left a lasting imprint on his brain. When he finds himself stirring again, he quickly changes his line of thoughts. He changes into a clean shirt and pops over to Lan Shan’s place with Schrodinger’s stuff. When he sees his cat – who appears very comfortable in a new environment with no signs of discomfort whatsoever – his eyes become full of jealous admiration.
The next day, Lan Shan is woken up very early when Schrodinger jumps onto her bed and starts scratching her face. Suddenly understanding why Qiao Feng is such an early-riser, she rubs her sleepy eyes … and packs him home to his owner.
Qiao Feng has already made breakfast, which consists of bacon fried rice, egg soup and fruit platter. He has cut a red apple into the shape of a swan and has placed it among a “sea” of orange. Lan Shan inwardly sighs that his feminine-side is acting up again as she wonders how is she going to eat such a pretty fruit platter?
After she has finished her breakfast, Lan Shan first duty as jobless person is to tally up her assets. Her conclusion: “Wow, sister me actually has 300 over thousand (dollars).”
Qiao Feng puts down the newspaper he is reading. “Is that a lot?”
Lan Shan knows that she is dirt poor compared to him and can only reply. “What I mean is, I will not be going hungry in the short term.”
Her sentence makes even less sense to Qiao Feng. “How can you go hungry when I am around?”
Although Lan Shan laughs at his words, in truth she is very touched. “Even so, I must still look for a new job.”
“Why must you look for a new job?”
“Your question is so weird. If I do not work, should I only live off my savings?”
“I can provide for you. If you need anything, just let me know and I guarantee that I will be able to get it for you.”
She holds up her hand. “Hold it, that is not what I mean. I know you are good to me, but since I am healthy with arms and legs, there is no reason for me to spend your money.”
He speaks with confidence. “It is the boyfriend’s duty to provide spending money for his girlfriend.”
“Er….. where did you heard that from?”
“This is from the ‘Guidebook on how to be a Good Man’.”
….. what is that stuff?! Lan Shan shakes her head. “You sure read a lot.”
Qiao Feng takes it that she is praising him and nods proudly. “That is but of course. I think you should just spend my money and forget about looking for a job. In any case, I have more in my bank account than you can ever spend.”
Lan Shan finally understands why Xie Feng Sheng thinks that Qiao Feng is a prime little lamb for slaughter when he is this casual towards money. She has no ready retort and answers his question with another question. “Since you do not lack money, let me ask you – why are you working?”
“Of course it is to realize my purpose in life. I have chosen to delicate my life to science and contribute to the progress of mankind.”
What else can she say? She sticks up her thumb. “Our Qiao Feng is indeed a man of great aspirations.”
Qiao Feng is very proud at her praise and after fidgeting for a moment, he gives her a quick peck on her cheek. She responds by covering her face. “Shoo-shoo, go away! I am thinking on what to do with my life.”
He ignores her and leans his face closer as rests his chin on her shoulder. “And what have you figured out?”
“I also have a purpose in life, which is why I am going to look for a job.”
“What you said is true. So do you think a sales job is going to fulfill your purpose in life?”
“Let me rephrase my question. What do you hope to achieve?”
“Or I can phrase it this way; what is your ambition?”
“I…..I….. when I was younger, I have dreamt of being a scientist, an author, a sportswoman, rearing horses, flying an airplane….”
“These are not counted.”
Lan Shan looks a little depressed. “Then I have nothing.”
Qiao Feng is unwilling to see her unhappy and presses the corner of her lips which has curved downwards. “It is okay. There are many people who have no idea what they want in life. There are also people who know what they want but because of whatever reasons, are unable to realize their dreams.”
“You are different.”
“I am lucky. But since we are together, I want to share my good fortune with you. Lan Shan, I have no objections that you want to look for a job, but I hope that whatever work you end up doing, it will bring you happiness. Your work should not be a burden or something that takes up too much of your time. After all, life is not just measured by the number of breath we take but also by the moments that take our breath away. If possible, do what you love and not worry too much about how much you can earn from it. If you cannot find a job that you enjoy, is it not better staying at home with me? At least when we are together, you are happy right?”
She gasps at him. “I think I have just been brainwashed again.”
He smiles and tousles her hair. “I am only stating a simple fact. Take your time to look for a job and use this chance to think carefully on what you want to achieve for yourself.”
She nods and he checks his watch. “I have something that I need to do at campus and I will not be back until evening, so I will not be able to fix lunch for you.”
She is curious. “Isn’t it the school holidays now? Why do you need to go to campus?”
“Yes it is the school hols but some teachers want to meet and discuss some matters. Then there are some papers that I need to mark and grade…. hmm, why not I fix lunch for you before I go?”
She shakes her head. “Please don’t bother. In fact, why not I buy you lunch today? You can let me know where you like to eat that is near your workplace.”
The 2 agrees to meet at his campus during lunchtime and after he leaves, Lan Shan starts to do some serious reflection, which makes her thirsty after a while, and she went downstairs to buy herself a cup of milk tea. When she sees a vendor selling ice-cream, she struggles mentally but surprisingly, she did not give in to her craving and only buys the milk tea in the end.
When walking back to her apartment, she spots a suspicious-looking man peering into the peephole at Qiao Feng’s door. The man seems to be in his mid-fifties, of medium height, plumb, wears a pair of long-sighted glasses, dressed in a grey-white stripe shirt, grey pants, and black leather shoes.
Although he does not look like a thief, she decides to check him out and approaches him carefully. When he finds that something is blocking his light, the elderly man turns around and surprises both himself and Lan Shan as he yelps. He nearly trips over his suitcase and Lan Shan reaches out a hand to steady him.
He straightens and pats his chest as if to comfort himself. “Thank you, Lan Shan.”
“You….. know me?”
He holds out a friendly hand. “Ah, I have forgotten to introduce myself. I am Qiao Feng’s dad.”
Lan Shan is surprised by his announcement and shakes his hand automatically. “Uncle Qiao! How do you do?”
He looks a little embarrassed. “Err….my surname is ‘Wu’.”
Now is Lan Shan’s turn to be embarrassed. “Sorry, sorry, I have forgotten. Uncle, are you looking for Qiao Feng? He just left for campus and is not at home. Do you want to call him?”
“I have already done that but he is not answering. Maybe he has switched his phone to silent. “ He shakes his head and continues. “I have forgotten my keys when I left and am thinking to take my spare keys which I keep at QIao Feng. But now…. sigh.”
Lan Shan lets him into Qiao Feng’s apartment with her key and makes him sit in the living room while she pours some water for him and cuts some fruits. While she is busy, Lao Wu whips out his phone and starts getting busy with his WeChat.
Lao Wu: I have seen her! She is even prettier in person and is very courteous and well-mannered!
Xiao Qiao: I want to go home! I want to go home! I want to go home!
Lao Wu: And the fat cat likes her. My gosh, how is it possible that he likes her when he does not like me?
Wu Wen: Neither does he like me ==
Xiao Qiao: Me too.
Chapter 69: Threatened
To Lan Shan, Uncle Qiao has proven his identity when he recognizes her and knows that she is Qiao Feng’s girlfriend. This meeting is too unexpected and without Qiao Feng around to make the introductions and make conversation, she feels a little awkward and nervous.
As Lao Wu drinks his water and eats the watermelon that Lan Shan has cut, he sees her nervousness – she is sitting very straight as if in an interview – and he smiles and tries some small talk. “You seem pretty familiar with his home. Do you come by often?”
“Yes, I live next door.”
Lao Wu already knows that since the family has dug out a fair amount of tidbit on her and has shared it in their chat group. He puts down his glass and continues. “How come you are not working today?”
This question makes her even more embarrassed. “I have just quit my job and is looking for a new job.”
Lao Wu is gleeful that no one in their chat group seems to know about this latest information, but he manages to keep his face straight. “I see. You should take the opportunity to try out more things when you are young.”
Lan Shan nods and asks him about his trip to Japan. Since both are the conversational sort, it isn’t long before Lan Shan relaxes around him. She pauses halfway in their conversation to call and text Qiao Feng, but there is still no reply. When she turns around, she sees that Lao Wu has opened his suitcase and is holding out a prettily packaged box to her. “Here, take this. I do not know what you like so I have gotten you a small toy. Hope you like it.”
Lan Shan is surprised. “For…for me?”
He smiles. “Of course! Come on, take it.”
Lan Shan is very touched – she has only been with Qiao Feng for a few days and already his father has bought her a present from Japan. No matter its content, the present symbolizes his family’s sincerity towards her and she gives him a big smile. “Thank you Uncle!”
“You are most welcome.” Lao Wu smiles as he keeps his luggage, and discovers his ‘forgotten’ keys. He jingle his keys and laments. “Aiya, so my keys are here. I am really old already, really old.”
Lan Shan smiles. “I often forget where I put my things as well, but so long as the item can be found, all is well.”
When Lao Wu nods, his handphone rings. Lao Wu has just contacted Wu Wen and the latter is now calling to let him know that he will be coming to fetch him. Lao Wu turns down Lan Shan’s offer to lunch together and let her walk him down to the main gate of her apartment. Wu Wen is already waiting for them when they are down and Lao Wu waves goodbye to her from his passenger seat as the car pulls away.
Wu Wen: “So how do you find her Dad?”
Lao Wu nods. “She is a nice child.”
Wu Wen is a little proud. “I am a good judge of character you know; you should have more faith in me when I tell you so. But I have say, you are really too eager – how can you check her out without waiting for Mom to return first?”
“Your brother is already 25 and this is his first girlfriend. Of course I am curious.”
“What first girlfriend? Have you forgotten the one from the States?”
Lao Wu huffs. “How can that one be counted?”
“That is true.” Wu Wen thinks about the selection process devised by his weirdo brother and thinks that that rascal is really one of a kind. “If you are so curious, why did you not join them for lunch?”
Lao Wu shots him a look. “Do I look like a blockhead to you? With my sudden appearance plus insistence to tag along, what if I end up scaring off the young lady?”
Wu Wen is unfazed by his reasoning. “You are just worried that my mom will scold you if she finds out what you are doing.”
Lao Wu snorts, displeased, but Wu Wen is not the kind to back down against his dad and he pulls his car to stop and types into his phone.
Wu Wen: Latest development. Dad may be joining Lan Shan for lunch.
Da Wu: Wifey, I am not!
Xiao Qiao: Wait till I am back.
Da Wu: Sure!
Wu Wen keeps his phone. “Dad, you are so man.”
“Is there a son who talks like that to his old man? Start the car, start the car!”
When they reaches Lao Wu’s home, he take out another present from his suitcase. Although this son is always making trouble for him, he is his flesh and blood after all and not picked up from the streets, so no matter what, a present is necessary.
Wu Wen unwraps the parcel and looks at his present dubiously. “What is this thing? Sushi? Gauging from its size, it is big enough to be a hamburger, how can it be sushi?”
“This is an external harddisk shaped like a sushi, the Japanese specialty that you asked for.”
Wu Wen is even more dubious. “There is nothing inside the disk correct?”
Lao Wu rolls his eyes. “What are you thinking? Do I look like the sleazy sort to you?”
“That’s fine then.” Wu Wen keeps his storage disk. “Thank you. Seems like you really are my biological father after all.”