Published at 16th of April 2020 07:44:15 AM

Chapter 36

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Yang Wei closed the video and clicked on her teaching software to start her art lecture. During the break, the music teacher gave her a call to discuss their shared sports performance.

"I found a song with a simple, educational lyrics!" Teacher Zhou’s voice sounded as excited as if she had just found an oasis in the desert. Unable to help her own curiousity, Yang Wei pinched the yogurt box on the table and inquired, "What song is it?"


Her eyebrow leapt up. "Pi?"

"It's a song whose lyrics consist entirely of pi. It has more than 10,000 decimal places and goes for over an hour."

Yang Wei: "..."

More than 10,000! Were you serious?! Her level was still in the age of Zu Chongzhi!1

Teacher Zhou added, "But an hour's too long. I found a simplified version that goes to two thousand decimal points. It's just four minutes."

Yang Wei was silent for a while before asking, "Do you know who holds the world record for reciting the most digits of pi?"

"No, I don't. Who is it?"

"I don't know either. But it's not me."

Teacher Zhou: "..."

She thought about it, then suggested, "We could get you a teleprompter?”

“Is the budget for that coming out of your salary?”

Teacher Zhou: “...”

“Let me think about it.” Teacher Zhou hung up. Yang Wei put down her phone and rolled her eyes. Two thousand digits? Maybe Qi Xiao Yan might be able to take on that challenge.

When her online lecture was over, Teacher Zhou called again. “Perhaps we could have a retro performance?”

Lying in bed, Yang Wei asked, “How so?”

“Kind of the feeling of the 40s and 50s - a cheongsam, curly hair... kinda like Zhou Xuan2!"

Yang Wei frowned dubiously. "I'm not sure if I can pull off the sound of that era."

"I can rearrange the music and accompany you on the piano. You just go ahead and sing it like a modern person." Teacher Zhou paused. "<Eternal Smile> would be a good song, but do you have a cheongsam?"

Yang Wei considered it. "My mother does, and I should be able to fit into it."

"That's it then! I'll put together the song tomorrow, and we can start rehearsing Monday."

"Sounds good." Although Yang Wei had agreed readily in the moment, now she would have to go home and see her mother tomorrow... it would have to be a quick nip in and out, just grab the cheongsam and leave!

She picked lunch hour, Mother Yang’s busiest time, to return home, sneaking out the spare key like a thief. As soon as the door creaked open, she smelt the distinct smell of stir-fried bamboo shoots. She could see her mother cutting vegetables in the kitchen as she tiptoed through the living room. Father Yang was on the balcony, reading his newspaper. She flew into the bedroom and opened her mother's closet.

She remembered her mother having a long red cheongsam with a large peony embroidered on it. The story she heard was that it had been a pledge of love from her father when they were young, but she had only ever seen her mother wear that cheongsam in photos.

Behind her, the unlocked door opened quietly. Still rummaging about in the closet, Yang Wei heard nothing. Mother Yang took two silent steps in her direction before suddenly saying, "Wei Wei, when did you get back?"

Yang Wei screamed and jumped a foot off the floor. "Mom! How do you walk so quietly?! You scared me half to death!"

"I haven't even asked what you're searching for yet. When did you get back? And what are you sneaking around for?"

Patting her heart, Yang Wei asked, "Mom, I remember you have a cheongsam, don't you? Can I borrow it?"

Mother Yang’s eyes flashed. “What for? A blind date? "

Yang Wei looked at her reproachfully. "For the school sports festival."

Mother Yang gave her a look of surprise. "Wei Wei, you're performing? Remember to record it for your dad and I. You can show it to your blind date later, too."

Yang Wei: "..."

Her mother must be one of the best graduates from China's matchmaking university.

"The cheongsam is in that cabinet." Mother Yang opened a different wardrobe door to pull out a red cheongsam, laying it in front of Yang Wei. "Goodness, our family's Wei Wei has just as lovely a figure as I did."

Placing the cheongsam in her bag, Yang Wei withdrew. "Then I'll be off."

"So soon? Not staying for lunch?"

"No, I'm supposed to have lunch at noon with Sheng Lei.”

As she proceeded outside, Mother Yang stayed on her heels. “I heard Ming'er say something the other day about Qi Xiao Yan having and affair with some female celebrity. What was that all about?”

Yang Wei’s brows drew together. “Ah, it's been clarified. You can read the latest about it in the tabloids.”

“And what about that handsome Maserati boy who's chasing you? What's happening there? When are you going to bring him home for Mom to look at?"

Yang Wei opened the door weakly. "He's the guardian of one of the students in my class."

"The guardian?" Mother Yang frowned. "To have been married with a child, and what's more the child is your student... No, no. This relationship is a bit too awkward."

Yang Wei nodded. "That's right, I think so too."

Right as she was about to step out the door, Mother Yang grabbed onto her. "The last time I went to see your aunt, she offered to introduce you to a boy in their unit and asked me to take you there some time so we could all have a meal together."

Yang Wei hastily cried, "Mom! Don't you think it's a bit abnormal that my little brother's about to graduate college, yet hasn't even had a girlfriend yet?"

"Don't change the topic to your brother. I'm worried about him, too." In times like this, Mother Yang was always terribly quick-witted. "Don't you think that you needn't be in a hurry because you're still young. Time flies. You'll be thirty in two years."

Yang Wei: "..."

Professor Qi would absolutely have abused this use of computing power to death.

"Your cousin offered to introduce you to someone too - that young man is a welder. Oh, but don't look down on him because of that, his family is full of experienced senior technicians. He has a high income, good looks, and vision. He's never gotten a girlfriend, and they get married early in his profession so he's in a hurry.”

A little spark of curiousity lit. “Why must he get married early?”

Mother Yang threw her a 'you just don't get it' look, and lowering her voice, whispered, "Welding's harmful to the body. I hear that long-term employment in that job affects the quality of their sperm."

Yang Wei: "..."

"By the way, since we're talking about that, I figure that the quality of Qi Xiao Yan's must have been excellent. "

Yang Wei: "........................"

"Well, mom, it's been great to see you, I'm heading out, goodbye!" She yanked back her hand and fled.

As she walked into the yard, Yang Wei covered her flushed cheeks with her hands. Was her mom getting crazier and crazier? The quality of Qi Xiao Yan's... Yang Wei seemed to think of something, and her cheeks burned more.

She tried on the cheongsam at home - it fit very well. At school the next day, she showed Teacher Zhou a photo. The tune had already been rearranged; though the melody had not changed, Yang Wei only needed to sing it out in a modern tone.

The two ran through it a few times and felt pretty good about it. Teacher Zhou even predicted that they might win the first prize in the show. In the prize, Yang Wei expressed no interest. "Did you really want a set of stationery so badly?"

"No, it's the toilet paper and soap I want!"3


When they emerged from the music room, they ran into a group of students who had just been using the classroom next door. Teacher Zhou closed the door and turned to Yang Wei. "Look at that. Last year's top ten singers are going to sing <Go to Hell, Exams>. What a strong lineup!"

Yang Wei frowned. They had to be compared against this kind of effing song? How had the organizing committee actually let this pass? If she had known, she would have chosen <Elder Sister Won't Work Tomorrow>.

"I'm gonna go buy some water. What do you guys wanna drink?" As champion of last year's top ten singers, Liang Ming Hao generously extended the invitation to all.


"Me too!"

"Me three!"

"Me four."4

The students formed a queue. Yang Wei raised a brow. Good thing Teacher Yao5 wasn't here right now, or she'd be quite annoyed.

When the top ten singers saw Yang Wei and Teacher Zhou, they greeted them with enthusiasm. Teacher Zhou patted Gu Lei on the shoulder. "That's not how 'me three' works."

Yang Wei: "..."

Please don't say stuff as if the words really exist.


In short, the sports festival began and was in full swing. On the day of, Yang Wei deliberately left a little earlier, but when she got downstairs who did she see but Qi Xiao Yan, the faintest shadow of whom she had not seen for several days. He was standing by his car, apparently waiting for her.

How unexpected. "Why are you here?"

"Isn't that thing now in the past?" Although it was still a hot topic on Weibo and the online forums were brimming with enthusiasm, it no longer had anything to do with him. Yang Wei nodded noncommittally and followed him to the car.

Driving out from their neighbourhood, Qi Xiao Yan glanced at the paper bag she was holding. "What's in there?"

"A cheongsam." Yang Wei showed it to him. "Today is the performance day of the sports festival."

Qi Xiao Yan gave her a sidelong glance. "What are you going to perform?"

"Zhou Xuan's <Eternal Smile>. I'll have to do my hair later, too."

"Can you record a video?"


Qi Xiao Yan said no more until they reached school. There, he parked the car and stopped Yang Wei, who was about to get off. "Darling."

Puzzled, Yang Wei looked back. Qi Xiao Yan leaned over and kissed her on the lips.

Every part of her was stunned. Qi Xiao Yan's lips were ever so slightly upturned. “You look beautiful today.” Yang Wei stared at him a moment in some embarrassment, then jumped out of the car and fled.


When the opening ceremony for the school sports festival ended, the stadium swelled in excitement, and the incessant sounds of cheering nearly covered the sound of the radio. Students who were not actively competing were contributing to the radio station, and the radio announcer, infected by the atmosphere, was belting out his script enthusiastically.

Your figure is like the most beautiful cloud in the sky, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Your ponytail swings as you run on the track, just like an engine.
Ah, lovely girl, the texture of your flesh as you run is more attractive than the meat they serve at lunch.
Our journey is like a sea of ​​stars, and at the end of the race track I will wait for you.
If I don't see you, I won't leave.
- Contributed by Liang Ming Hao of Class 2, Grade 5.

Yang Wei: "..."6

Not long later, the teaching director stepped onto the rostrum and took the microphone. "Dear students, please do not share your love poems, and especially not the ones that don't make any sense."

Yang Wei: "..."

At the end of the first morning match, several smaller events were held in the afternoon before the highly anticipated social assembly. Yang Wei had her hair done during lunch, and was now waiting with Teacher Zhou for their turn on the stage.

This assembly was open to any parent or guardian willing to attend.

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Therefore, Fang Cheng Ran, on behalf of Liang Ming Hao’s parents, stood in the playground, waiting for Yang Wei's turn to come. All around him, female teachers and parents were secretly eyeing him, and the bolder ones would even make excuses to strike up a conversation. Seeing Yang Wei standing on the edge of the stage, talking with the relative of a student, he made his way toward the stage.

She was silently reciting the lyrics when she caught sight of him and showed a hint of surprise. "Fang Cheng Ran, are you here to see the show?"

"Mmhmm." Looking at her, he nodded and smiled. "You look lovely in a cheongsam. The hairstyle suits you, too."

Yang Wei blew up her cheeks. "Thank you."

"Are you nervous?" he asked with a smile.

"Just a little."

"Ever tried to drawing the character for 'person' on your palm?"

Yang Wei couldn't help but laugh. "I'm not a child."

Teacher Zhou, who had been listening in the whole time, finally couldn't help but inquire, "Who is this...?"

"Liang Ming Hao's uncle." Yang Wei introduced. "This is Teacher Zhou. She teaches music."

"Teacher Zhou, I'm pleased to meet you." Fang Cheng Ran smiled.

Teacher Zhou's expression seized up, and her soul flew to the sky. "Un... Uncle, I'm pleased to meet you too."

Yang Wei: "..."

Fang Cheng Ran: "..."

Rather fortunately, the host called for their program right at that moment, and Yang Wei dragged Teacher Zhou onto the stage.


As the piano's prelude sounded, Yang Wei's nervous, pounding heart settled down inexplicably. Following the rhythm, she crooned into the microphone-

"My heart's lover, with a smiling face, in the late autumn you show me the splendour of spring."

Though her singing wasn't that of a professional, her voice was sweet and pleasant. Her cheongsam brought the audience back to the 40s and 50s.

When she finished the first sentence of the song, the students of Class 2, Grade 5 made great efforts to applaud, even whistling. Yang Wei was now completely relaxed, singing smoothly and not forgetting a single line. Toward the end, there was a sudden commotion in the audience, and she followed their gaze to see Fang Cheng Ran walking up with a bouquet of roses.

At this point, not only the students but even the teachers were whistling. Yang Wei, on the other hand, was puzzled - she hadn't seen any flowers in his hand just now. Where on earth had these come from?

Though she was a little flustered, fortunately he only presented the flowers and then stepped off the stage. Liang Ming Hao silently took a video of the scene with his phone and sent it to his mother.

Their show ended to warm applause. With Teacher Zhou and the flowers in her arms, Yang Wei bowed to everyone and then hurriedly stepped down from the stage.

Walking over to Fang Cheng Ran, she accused, "You scared me half to death!"

He chuckled. "Did you think I was going to confess in public? You guys did great. The flowers are dedicated to the show."

Yang Wei glanced at him, her lips curled up, and turned toward the teaching building. "I'll go put them away."

Teacher Zhou followed her to the office, gazing enviously at the roses. "How lovely."

Yang Wei thought a moment, then took the bouquet apart and gave half to her. "We performed together, so of course they're half yours."

Moved, Teacher Zhou gave her a hug. "I'll go put them in water!"

Yang Wei, too, dug out a vase from somewhere in the office, then went to the bathroom to get some water and placed the roses in the vase. Placing the vase on her table, she looked at the gorgeous blossoms with a little frown. Wasn't this what she had always looked forward to, a beautiful bouquet? Why was it not as exciting as in her imagination?

She tsked, then left. Back at the playground, the host was currently announcing, "Next on the stage are the voted top ten singers from last year! Today, they're bringing us a show entitled, <Go to Hell, Exams!>"

As soon as the title was announced, all the students resonated with it. The applause was shocking. The ten students came on the stage, and cheerful music rang out.

"Tests can all just go to hell, I wanna go home and live my dreams!...

In school you can't let your hair grow out, how old fashioned!
And they tell your parents their child is just awful..."

Yang Wei: "... ..."

This was the first time she had ever heard this song. Hearing it sung out by the tender voices of young children, it was certainly sort of... fascinating.

That song won the longest and most popular applause from the audience, taking first place with no suspense at all.

In the crowd down below, Fang Cheng Ran also quietly recorded the entire song and sent it to his sister.


When the assembly ended, the students began cleaning up the venue. When cleanup was accomplished, Yang Wei held a short meeting in the classroom, reminding everyone to pay attention to safety and to arrive at school on time tomorrow.

She got off work even later than usual that day, but when she left school, she found Fang Cheng Ran still waiting outside the door.

Worse, Qi Xiao Yan's car was also outside the door.

The two of them stood in front of their cars, ignoring each other loftily like the two kings of independent kingdoms.

Yang Wei's face was set in the expression of the character 囧. This was going to be bad!

Meanwhile, the fat security guard at the door was in a state of extreme excitement. The Maserati and Audi were meeting for the first time!! Which of the two contenders would represent KFC7... no, wait, he meant which of the two would Teacher Yang choose?!


"Yang Wei."

Upon seeing her coming out, Qi Xiao Yan and Fang Cheng Ran called out at the same time. Yang Wei paused in place a moment, then moved toward Fang Cheng Ran. He grinned. On the other side, Qi Xiao Yan's face was dark as the bottom of a pot.

Stepping up to him, she asked, "Were you looking for me?"

"If you're free this evening, could I take you out to dinner?"

"Ah... I'm sorry. I have classes this evening."

The smile on his face slowly melted into a straight line. "Then, shall I send you home?"

"No need; Qi Xiao Yan said that he would." She licked her lips and met his gaze with some embarrassment. "Fang Cheng Ran, as I told you last time, this is very unfair to you."

He looked at her a while, then sighed. "I understand. But until you promise to remarry him, I won't give up."

When he finished speaking, he turned to get into the red Maserati. Yang Wei watched it disappear down the road before turning and walking toward Qi Xiao Yan's car.

The Audi moved out onto the road with ease. Head cocked to one side, Yang Wei looked at Qi Xiao Yan. Her mouth hooked up. "You in a good mood?"

"Not bad."

Though his voice was as cold as usual, she recognized the smile radiating out from inside him. Wrinkling her nose, she said to him, "Smug bastard."

Qi Xiao Yan said nothing, but a tiny smile showed itself on his face.


He followed her upstairs after arriving home. Changing her slippers in the living room, Yang Wei cast a habitual glance toward the balcony. Then she rushed over in excitement. "Curly-bae, come look! The flowers are all blooming!"

The roses, which had originally been in bud, had opened. Their green leaves were dotted here and there with tiny splashes of red. Though it was not a breathtakingly stunning show, they had their own charm.

"It smells lovely!" Yang Wei approached to take a sniff, then directed her smile toward Qi Xiao Yan, who was nearby. He turned to walk away. "I'll go and cook."

Yang Wei looked at his disappearing back, raised her eyebrows, and took out her phone, choosing an angle from which to take a photo of the roses. After posting it on Weibo, she thought a moment, then wrote a caption and sent them out together -

My heart's lover, how many treasures do you have, that in the dark of the night, you can give me the sun? 8

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