Side Story Five
On a warm spring day at Zhen Lang and Lin Tu Shen’s old school, sunlight shone on a footpath and reflected off a lake.
Lin Tu Shen looked into the lake and he contemplated for a long time. His reflection cast a lonely figure above the lake surface.
‘How does it feel to be back here? Are you reminiscing about the past? Are you remembering an old love under a shady tree?’ Zhen Lang asked.
Lin Tu Shen’s eyes returned from past memories. ‘Um. I’m remembering our old love. Do you want to recreate our time in bed together?’
Zhen Lang and Lin Tu Shen looked at each other and they laughed about their past.
‘We have an hour until we need to make our speeches, I’m going for a stroll,’ Zhen Lang said. He looked at the lake for a while and he winked at Lin Tu Shen. ‘Do you want to go on a stroll with me? It’ll give the students here another surprise.’
‘Go to h.e.l.l!’ Lin Tu Shen cursed. He laughed and shook his head. ‘I want to stay here and reflect for a while.’
Zhen Lang nodded his head, put his hands in his pants pockets and he walked leisurely. He wasn’t a nosey person and didn’t like to pry into another person’s secrets. But he guessed the look in Lin Tu Shen’s eyes related to an unresolved past incident and he knew it was best to give Lin Tu Shen private time to reflect by the lake.
Like Lin Tu Shen, the school conjured old memories in Zhen Lang’s heart. Zhen Lang thought about how he secretly wanted his wife to go to the same college as him.
‘Zhen Lang! I heard you want to go to the best college in the city,’ Chen Wei said.
Zhen Lang turned around and he glanced at the girl who called his name. He remembered her name was Chen Wei, because her name appeared under his name on the exam bulletin board.
Zhen Lang smiled politely. ‘The teachers chose the college for me.’
‘Today the teachers spoke to me too. They said I should go to the best city college too. Then we can still be cla.s.smates,’ Chen Wei said.
Zhen Lang wrinkled his forehead and he spoke politely. ‘Then do your best with your studies.’
Chen Wei blushed. ‘What do you want to study in college?’
‘Medicine,’ Zhen Lang said and he reflected for a while. ‘I want to take care of the people close to me.’
Zhen Lang’s mum had a heart condition and his dad encouraged him to study medicine. But his dad left the final decision to him.
Zhen Lang’s eyes looked pa.s.s Chen Wei. His eyes focused on the rowdy group of trainers in the distance. He thought the atmosphere was always lively wherever Gu Jing was.
‘Hey, Gu Jing are you going to partic.i.p.ate in the compet.i.tion with our rival school? You should because you’ll definitely win,’ a student asked.
Gu Jing unlocked her bike chain and she jumped on her bike. ‘I’m not going to compete. I need to pa.s.s all the entrance exams to go to the best college in the city. I’m going home to prepare for the theory exams.’
Gu Jing’s thoughts were consumed with pa.s.sing all the entrance exams to go to the best college in the city so she can continue to compete with Zhen Lang to death.
Gu Jing immersed herself in the taste of victory within her grasp that she didn’t notice two students in the distance, one of which was Zhen Lang who she hated to the point it made her arms and legs itchy.
‘You’re a filial son,’ Chen Wei praised.
Zhen Lang watched Gu Jing ride away on her bike and he smiled. ‘It appears that way.’
Zhen Lang wanted to take care of his mum’s weak heart, and he wanted to take care of Gu Jing too. Gu Jing was restless, reckless and she didn’t take good care of her injuries. She needed someone to take care of the injuries on her body. He knew Gu Jing pa.s.sed the practical exams to get into the best college in the city, but he wasn’t certain if she could pa.s.s the theory exams.
‘In the future I’ll need to bother you,’ Chen Wei said shyly.
Chen Wei didn’t dare to look at the dazzling smile on Zhen Lang’s face, she turned around and she walked away embarra.s.sed.
Zhen Lang jumped on his bike and he pedalled home. He pedalled for ten minutes and he saw the back of Gu Jing’s short hair. She was sitting on the ground and checking her bike.
Zhen Lang braked and put his feet on the ground to steady his bike. ‘Gu Jing, what happened?’
Gu Jing raised her head, she saw Zhen Lang and she mumbled an incoherent curse.
‘Do you want me to help you with anything?’ Zhen Lang asked in a teasing tone familiar to Gu Jing.
Gu Jing glared at the hateful Zhen Lang and she took a deep breath to calm herself. ‘I knew a jinx like you was nearby otherwise the wheel chain on my bike wouldn’t come off for no reason.’
‘I need to keep my distance from you to stay away from your unlucky aura,’ Zhen Lang said teasingly.
Gu Jing cracked her knuckles. ‘If you don’t want to eat a knuckle sandwich then keep your distance.’
Zhen Lang pedalled two metres away from Gu Jing. Suddenly he braked, turned around and he smiled at Gu Jing. ‘Are you actually taking the best college in the city’s entrance exams?’
Gu Jing’s facial expression darkened. ‘It’s none of your business.’
‘You’re lucky you pa.s.sed the practical exams. But you still need to pa.s.s the theory exams. I recommend you quit to avoid embarra.s.sing yourself,’ Zhen Lang said in a mocking tone familiar to Gu Jing.
Gu Jing’s face flushed. Unlike other school girls, she wasn’t shy in front of Zhen Lang. She only regretted she couldn’t rip the hateful smile off Zhen Lang’s face.
Gu Jing struggled to pa.s.s the practical exams. But she wasn’t going to let the hateful Zhen Lang deter her from her goal to study photography at the best college in the city.
‘Be careful the wind doesn’t blow your tongue away. We haven’t taken the theory exams yet, why are you so sure of yourself?’ Gu Jing said.
Zhen Lang waved textbooks in the air. ‘The teachers gave me pointers what’s likely to be in my theory exams. As long as I study of course I’ll pa.s.s my theory exams. Besides…’ Zhen Lang said. He winked at Gu Jing. ‘I already received a scholarship. I just need to think about after another month I can be far away from you, don’t need see you anymore and I’ll be very happy. Why don’t you turn back and go compete before it’s too late and they stop accepting partic.i.p.ants.’
Gu Jing breathed heavily. She quickly fixed the wheel chain on her bike then she jumped on her bike and rode away from the Zhen Lang’s smug face.
At home Gu Jing studied. She flipped one page after another page. Her heart only needed to think about Zhen Lang’s smugness and it motivated her to continue studying. She thought it wasn’t none of Zhen Lang’s business whether she could pa.s.s her theory exams or not. There was no need for him to rub it in her face that he received a scholarship! She was determined to pa.s.s her theory exams for Zhen Lang to see!
The day college letters were sent to senior students, at Gu Jing’s home the whole of upstairs and downstairs were shaken. No one was surprised Zhen Lang received an acceptance letter from the best college in the city. Everyone was surprised Gu Jing who wasn’t an academic scholar, managed to get into the same college as Zhen Lang and her theory exam scores were two points above the college acceptance benchmark.
The following two days after Gu Jing received her college acceptance letter, the front door of her home was nearly knocked down. Many neighbouring people came to see the miraculous Gu Jing, and they wanted to put her on an operating table to dissect her.
The numerous praises resonated in Gu Jing’s brain and she felt overwhelmed. She escaped to quiet place outside her home, sat on the ground and took deep breaths. She looked at her pitiful swollen, black and blue arms from excessive praises. She rubbed her sore cheeks and sighed.
‘Not bad,’ Zhen Lang praised. ‘We have an affinity with each other.’
Gu Jing didn’t need to look at the jinx’s face to know the hateful voice belonged to Zhen Lang. ‘Who has affinity with you?’
Zhen Lang’s back leaned against a wall. ‘Gu Jing, are you secretly in love with me? What other reason is there for you to stake your life to study at the same college as me?’
Gu Jing like an enraged little kitten jumped off the ground. ‘I’m secretly in love with you?’
Zhen Lang laughed softly. ‘Isn’t it true?’
‘That’s right, I’m secretly in love with you. I really love you!’ Gu Jing said sarcastically. She fisted her hands. ‘Right now I regret I can’t rip off your clothes and lay on you…’
Gu Jing wanted to skin Zhen Lang, take out his intestines, drink his blood and tear his body into pieces! She was emotionally overwhelmed and nearly choked on her saliva. She took a deep breath and she wanted to say everything but suddenly she heard aunty Zhen’s voice.
‘Gu Jing…’ Mrs Zhen said. ‘Aunty and uncle’s Zhen Lang has always belonged to you. But you’re only seventeen, isn’t it too soon?’
Gu Jing fell on her bottom and she swallowed her curses. ‘Aunty… aunty Zhen?’
Gu Jing turned her head around and she saw aunty and uncle Zhen and her parents. There were also their neighbouring friends who stood behind her and heard her ‘love declaration.’
‘Listen to your dad, I think there is no need to wait until after your graduation to love someone. But right now don’t you think it’s too soon?’ Mr Gu said.
‘It’s ok,’ Mrs Gu said. She crossed her arms. ‘They can love each other and take care of each other. But…’ She glared fiercely at her daughter. ‘You can only love Zhen Lang. You’re not allowed to force yourself on Zhen Lang.’
‘It’s ok, Gu Jing you can force yourself on Zhen Lang,’ Mr Zhen said. ‘You have my permission to force yourself on Zhen Lang as long as you use protection.’
Gu Jing’s teary eyes looked at the different pairs of eyes that didn’t give her the chance to explain about their misunderstanding.
Zhen Lang silently stood next to Gu Jing. He pretended to smile like someone who felt shy about receiving a love declaration in front of his parents, aunty and uncle Gu and the neighbouring guests.
Two days after Gu Jing’s ‘love declaration,’ rumours about her being secretly in love with Zhen Lang spread to her college. Everyone knew Gu Jing, whether high in the sky or deep in the ocean she wanted to follow Zhen Lang. Gu Jing’s ‘love declaration’ was forever immortalised at her college.
End of Side Story Five