Chapter 8: Are you there?
A Bird (‘He’ Means Crane) Born in Autumn (‘Qiu’ Means Autumn)
There were hundreds of notifications about the transaction, the majority of which had been automatically cancelled by the system due to a lack of response from the seller. He flipped through a long series of notifications that had already turned gray, and silently exclaimed at Di Qiuhe’s popularity in his heart.
This person… God is rewarding me with money for a meal, huh!
Putting out the sudden flame of jealousy in his heart, he deleted the expired transaction notifications, and tried to remember where the autograph was. Feeling slightly guilty, he moved his fingers, and prepared to delete the For Sale listing.
System Reminder: The item has finished bidding. The final transaction has reached 1000 yuan. Deletion of goods will cause an automatic deduction of 5% as commission. Do you still want to proceed?
What? Someone bid on it? And they even spent 1000 yuan?
That’s not right, wait a second, automatically deduct 5% as a commission fee? How are they going to deduct it? From where are they going to deduct it? Who are they deducting it from? Why are there handling fees when all you’re doing is deleting a listing?
He ·Poor As Fuck· Bai clicked open the page that explained in detail the fees for transactions on the campus network with a stunned expression on his face. Ten minutes later, he went back to the campus network homepage, quickly selected Listed Goods, and looked at the both red and gorgeous looking words underneath the item that read, “Winning Bid: 1000.” He clicked the button to agree to the transaction, and then quickly sent a private message to the buyer, asking for their shipping address and contact information.
He would never have thought that in order to prevent students from arbitrarily using the resources on the campus network, the school’s leaders would set up so many rules and regulations for the buying and selling of goods. And people like him, who listed goods for ten days to half a month without responding to requests for transactions (people who only list goods but don’t actually follow through), were the focus of these commission fees!
After waiting for several minutes without any response from the buyer, seeing that it was getting pretty late, he threw his phone under the pillow and covered his head with his blanket.
So dangerous- he almost lost one meal (with meat)’s worth of money.
At some upscale apartment complex, Di Qiuhe had just finished taking a shower before drying his hair and picking up his phone. Seeing that there was a new notification from the campus network, and two private messages, he stopped drying his hair for a moment, and then quickly threw the towel aside. His fingers hesitated before he clicked open the private messages first.
White and Whiter: Are you there?
White and Whiter: Sorry to keep you waiting for so long. The transaction was successful. Please send me your shipping address and contact information, and I will send the goods to you as soon as possible. PS: If you’re a student from the North District, I can even send the goods to your door hehe. Thank you for your patronage ^-^
What do you mean “hehe?” And what’s up with that smiley emoticon!
Di Qiuhe raised his eyebrows, and poked at the smiling emoticon at the end of the private message. He clicked reply, and wrote a whole bunch of words, but his fingers cramped up before he could send it out. He then even more angrily deleted everything he just wrote, and sent him a short reply with an expressionless face.
A Bird (‘He’ Means Crane) Born in Autumn (‘Qiu’ Means Autumn): I’m here.
A Bird Born in Autumn: I’ve already left school to do practical training, so I’m not at school. It’s too late today– add my WeChat XXX to discuss the transaction in further detail. Let’s talk whenever you’re free. Good night.
After sending out this message, he cleared his thought, raised his chin slightly, and used a kind of expression that an emperor would use when his subjects came to pay their respects to him. He started staring at at the phone screen with his eyes squinted in focus.
Two minutes later, he had still not received a response.
He moved his body a little, and pressed his chin down slightly.
Five minutes later, there was still no response from the other end, and also no new friend applications on the WeChat page that he opened just in case.
He glared at the screen, and then clicked on the page for purchased goods, and moved his fingers.
A Bird Born in Autumn: I accidentally pressed the button used to remind the seller to deliver the goods. I didn’t wake you up, did I?
After he finished typing, he hesitated, and added a smiling emoticon at the end of the sentence.
Half an hour had passed, and the hour hand turned to twelve o’clock. His half-dry hair had already thoroughly dried. He threw the silent phone to the side, and lay on his bed with a stinky expression on his face. He poked the little “pup”arazzi’s dimple in his heart a hundred times before unwillingly closing his eyes.
That damn little “pup”arazzi!
“Xiao Bai, what are you looking for?” Wang Hu, who had toothbrush hanging from his mouth, looked strangely at He Bai, who was turning over all of the things in his desk the minute he woke up. He asked with a tone of uncertainty, “Did you lose something? Do you need any help?”
“I found it!” He Bai took out the slightly wrinkled piece of notebook paper from the corner of his drawer, took a sigh of relief, and explained the situation to Wang Hu. Then, he took out his phone, opened the private message that he received the night before, opened WeChat, and added the other person as a friend—— It was good thing that he didn’t lose the autograph. Otherwise, it would be horrible of him because not only did he make the buyer wait so long for his response in the first place, but he would also have to cancel the transaction altogether. Not to mention, the other party had such a good attitude about it all.
Using a book to press the piece of notebook paper flat, he smiled while walking into the bathroom. He brushed his teeth while saying to Wang Hu, “I just completed a business transaction without using a cent of my own money. When I get the money, I’ll invite all of you guys to eat !”
“Okay.” Wang Hu also wasn’t polite with him, pulled the towel off the hanger to wash his face, and answered while smiling, “It’s almost the end of the semester. Getting everyone together to have fun would be perfect. We’re going to that place in the old alleyway, right?”
He Bai stuffed his toothbrush into the side of his mouth, and gestured a sign of affirmation at him.
When the semester started drawing to a close, all of the professors would start to review the important points of their classes. As a person who was reborn, and forgot everything to do with university classes, He Bai needed to work even harder than other people when it came to reviewing and studying. He made sure he paid attention at all times during classes, and didn’t touch his phone even one bit… So Di Qiuhe, who had ran to Red Guest Photography in the early morning, was not happy again.
He had a sour expression on his face as he curled into the sofa, and kept poking at his cell phone here and there.
“So…” Jiang Xiuwen sat opposite him, and tried to ask in a pleasing way, “Qiuhe, have you had breakfast yet? There’s a noodle place that just opened nearby, and the food’s pretty good.”
Di Qiuhe’s raised his eyebrows, put down his phone, and looked him over carefully, squinted his eyes, and said, “There’s something you’re hiding from me.”
“How, how is that possible. How can hide anything from you?” Jiang Xiuwen avoided his line of sight, and smiled dryly, pulling over a pillow and hugging it in his arms. He nervously poked at it over and over again.
Seeing him like this, Di Qiuhe was more and more certain that he had guessed correctly, thought for a bit, and furrowed his brows, “The last time I came over, you were still pretty normal. So the reason you’re like this right now… is it because Uncle Jiang was next to you when I called you yesterday? And he heard the things I said to you?”
“Not exactly that…” Jiang Xiuwen carefully glanced at him, with his voice getting lower and lower, “I just wanted to help make more opportunities for you to talk with my dad. It just so happened that yesterday, when you called me, my dad was right next to me, so…”
“So that phone call was actually picked up by Uncle Jiang himself?” Di Qiuhe’s eyebrows furrowed even further.
Jiang Xiuwen nodded, and seeing that the expression on his face was even worse now, explained, “I helped you explain afterwards. It’s going to be alright. My dad doesn’t have a negative opinion of you, so you can rest assured.”
“But there isn’t any positive opinion.” Di Qiuhe answered expressionlessly, and then sighed while falling back onto the sofa, rubbing his forehead, “I guess this is fine too.” When he kept on failing to get Uncle Jiang’s approval, he had already considered exposing part of his real personality to the other party. With the current situation, he didn’t need to hesitate anymore.
Masks couldn’t be worn for a lifetime. A little truth here, and a little lie there, would be able to get the job done even better. He had also been too careless. He had clearly decided that no matter where he was, he would never take off his disguise, and relax his ever tense nerves. But, he ended up forgetting a lot of important things without even realizing it, just because of the little “pup”arazzi that ended up suddenly coming into his life.
He had really been too relaxed lately.
“Qiuhe…” Jiang Xiuwen saw the expression that had just started to have a little bit of a shadow of Di Qiuhe’s past self, gradually being replaced by that familiar mask, and his heart felt sour. Finally, a strong sense of powerlessness came over him.
It was a terrible feeling to see a good friend struggle to get out of a swamp, and not have any way to help. Everyone else in their twenties, like himself, were still recklessly spending their parent’s money because of their parents’ love and indulgence. [T/N: In Asian countries, children, especially children with rich parents, rely on their parents for a long time after what we usually consider independent in Western countries]. But, the other party had already started wearing a mask in front of other people very early on in life, for a future where he wouldn’t get hurt. Di Qiuhe has had to live in an isolated and helpless situation, having to watch himself every step of the way.
“Don’t look at me like that. I’m fine.” Di Qiuhe got up, and patted him on the shoulder. He smiled at him, “Thanks for your hospitality. I’ll come over to have breakfast next time.”
Jiang Xiuwen was stunned, “You’re leaving? Where are you gonna go? Is there still work you haven’t finished?”
“I’m going to go apologize to Uncle Jiang.” Di Qiuhe put on a baseball cap and sunglasses, and took out his mask to put on his face. He waved his hands at Xiuwen, “Uncle Jiang has always treated me sincerely, but I let down his expectations. Fortunately, it’s not too late to try and fix things. Xiuwen, thank you.”
Jiang Xiuwen watched him leave, had his shoulders collapse in exhaustion, and took a long sigh.
The buyer agreed to the Wechat’s friend request, but didn’t end up responding.
They were probably busy with something.
He Bai took out his phone, carefully laid the autographed piece of notebook paper flat, and carefully placed it into a cute gift box. He also added some photographs as a free gift, and then took out a piece of paper to write a congratulatory message. After placing the message on top of the photographs, he put the lid back on the box, and clumsily tied a bow around the box with ribbon.
“If I didn’t know otherwise, I’d have thought that you were giving this to your girlfriend. It’s just an autograph. Is it worth you going out to buy a box just to put it in?” Niu Junjie used his fingers to play with the rather ugly bow, and pretended to dislike it, “Xiao Bai, your technique in tying this bow is really horrible.”
“The other person spent 1000 yuan on a piece of paper. If I don’t make the packaging at least look a little nicer, then I’d really become a mean-spirited businessman.” He Bai slapped his hand away, and pushed him away like he was trying to shoo away a fly, “Even if it’s ugly, it’s still the thought that counts. Not only is the buyer patient, but they also have a good attitude. It’s definitely a young girl with a good personality. She won’t mind if the bow is ugly or not.”
“And what if it’s a big, strong man?” Niu Junjie laughed at him, and put an arm around his shoulders, “Do you wanna bet? If the buyer is male, then I’ll get hot water for you for two months [T/N: In Chinese university dormitories, hot water has to be taken and carried from a different location, so it’s considered a chore]. If the buyer is a girl, then I’ll let you use my computer for two months. I won’t play games for the entire summer vacation! Lao Da and Lao Er can both be our witnesses!”
Chen Jie and Wang Hu laughed and shouted words of encouragement.
He Bai immediately understood the reason why Niu Junjie was teasing him after listening to his last comment. The smile on his face grew bigger, and he didn’t poke through the other party’s attempt at a bad joke. He patted the gift box, and answered, “Let’s make that bet! That buyer’s WeChat avatar was of an extremely cute cartoon drawing of a dog. I just don’t believe that a big ol’ man would use that kind of picture for their profile!”
“You little brat, you’re just too naive. Trust me, I’m gonna have you prostrate before me and call me Daddy!” Niu Junjie said confidently, and as a result, was poked and prodded by He Bai. The inside of the dormitory instantly became a mess.
At some teahouse, Jiang Guanshan drank the tea that Di Qiuhe handed to him, and didn’t give any response to his apology.
Di Qiuhe was sitting opposite him with his back straight as a rod. The hands that he put on his knees tightened lightly.
Ka-da, the door of the boxed room was pushed open, and an old man with grey hair walked in after the waiter who had showed him the way.
Di Qiuhe looked over to see who had arrived. After getting a clear look at who the man that walked in was, he stood up hurriedly and greeted politely, “Elder Xu.”
“Yo, so Qiuhe is here too.” Xu Yinrong nodded in his direction, and then sat down opposite Jiang Guanshan. He looked back at Di Qiuhe, who was in the middle of pouring tea for him, and his eyes flashed a bit of understanding. He looked at his good friend to ask, “Why did you call me over in such a hurry? What’s going on, have you decided to use him for the role of Cheng Jun?”
Di Qiuhe’s hand that was pouring tea shook a little, but went back to normal very quickly.
“I kind of had that in mind.” Jiang Guanshan still refused to pay any attention to Di Qiuhe, and put down his tea cup to say in a calm manner, “But, the script was written according to the characters and storyline that you provided. As the only person around, who has ever had personal contact with Cheng Jun, how do you think he would do?”
Di Qiuhe unconsciously started breathing more lightly, put down the tea pot, and placed the tea that he had finished pouring in front of Xi Yinrong. Looking sideways at him, his expression was calm, but his hands couldn’t help but clench together even tighter than before.
Xu Yinrong saw the look in his eyes, and thought of the two pictures that his student had sent over that had left him feeling amazed. A slight smile appeared on his face, and he nodded, “He’s not bad. There are a lot of parts to him that we have yet to discover. He can play the part.”