The dean again took up the time during recess to announce the punishment. When he said “Let’s start the broadcasting” to announce Lichen’s punishment on the campus radio, the students in Class 2 all looked at Zhiyuan at the back with surprise, gesturing and sending signals with their eyes.
Zhiyuan couldn’t help but look at Yansheng.
However, Yansheng didn’t look back, just touched the hair near her ear.
When the students in Class 8 heard the announcement, they turned their heads and wanted to make eyes at Lichen and send their ‘Congratulations’. He achieved another disciplinary achievement. They also knew that he didn’t care about any punishment.
But today, Lichen was out of his usual character, not having that proud and arrogant smile. He cast his eyes on the ground in front of him, as if there was no focus on his eyes at all, and they didn’t know what he was thinking.
The students kept making eyes at him and tried to call his attention for a long time, but he did not respond to any of them at all. So, this made them turn their head back from their boss in a boring manner.
After lunch, Yansheng wandered around the school for a while. She didn’t like to go back to the classroom and sit down as soon as she was full, especially in winter when the windows were tightly closed because the classroom would be stuffy.
But the other girls were too cold, so they all went back to the classroom first.
Zhiyuan took advantage of this empty gap to catch up with her and apologized to her.
Yansheng raised her head. “What are you apologizing for?”
“Just for the other night,” Zhiyuan said, “because my mother’s attitude was not very good.”
However, Yansheng didn’t mind it at all. “Aren’t all parents like that?”
She had seen a much worse attitude in her previous life. It was just a stranger walking on the road. After walking over, she heard her say to her child behind her: If you dare to dress up like that, I will kill you.
“Don’t mind it then.” Zhiyuan breathed a sigh of relief.
“It’s not a big deal,” Yansheng replied casually.
“Actually…” Zhiyuan pursed his lips and continued, “I am from a single-parent family.”
Yansheng slowed down and looked up at him.
“My father passed away when I was in the fifth grade. My mother took care of me alone and she never got married again. She just attached a lot of importance to me.”
“That’s for sure. She is your mother,” said Yansheng.
She hadn’t taken this matter to heart. Now that she knew about his family situation, her heart softened and her voice was a bit softer than usual. “You are the most important person to her. She must have very high expectations of you.”
Therefore, Zhiyuan’s mother was very much in control and strict with him because he was the apple of her eye.
“Hmm!” Zhiyuan admitted. “Her dream is for me to go to Q University.”
You definitely can, Yansheng said silently in her heart.
She felt an indescribable envy. She remembered that when she didn’t fully understand what was going on in college entrance examinations, she also uttered bold words to her mother, ‘When I grow up, I will pass the college entrance exam and go to Q University or B University.’
This was an ambition that almost every child would have when they were young. Her mother certainly didn’t take it seriously at the time, but she still smiled happily.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t be like Zhiyuan, who could really make her mother’s wish come true and make her proud of him.
Zhiyuan was an enviable ‘other people’s child’.
She smiled. “You will definitely be admitted there.”
Zhiyuan also smiled. “I found that you always have so much confidence in me.”
He scratched his forehead and spoke again, “Actually, I am very stupid. When I was in the first year of middle school, I wanted to go to a vocational high school, technical secondary school, or something.”
Yansheng was puzzled. “Huh?”
Zhiyuan was a little embarrassed and told her, “Because my mother raised me by herself, my family had a mortgage for many years. I felt that she was very hardworking, so I just wanted to go to work early to earn money.”
Yansheng could accept this idea from others, but not from Zhiyuan because he was the top scorer.
Her thoughts were obviously revealed through her expression. Zhiyuan was a little embarrassed and said, “Later, the homeroom teacher found out about it and called my mother, and my mother knew what I thought at that time. She was so sad that she cried. Then, she told me that I couldn’t be so short-sighted. Hard work for a few years is completely different from hard work for a lifetime.”
Yansheng was greatly relieved. “Auntie is right.” It was a good thing that his mother’s mind was very clear.
“Yes.” Zhiyuan said, “In fact, it’s ridiculous to think back now, but at that age, it’s really easy to get stuck or get confused. Fortunately, there were adults who woke me up, so I didn’t go the wrong way.”
These words touched Yansheng which made her silent.
After a while, she raised her head. “Then, have you figured it out clearly now? What are your thoughts on your future?”
“Actually, my mother really wants me to go abroad. When my father was still alive, he wanted me to study abroad when I grew up.” Zhang Zhiyuan continued, “But my mother and I have discussed it before. The cost is too high and we basically can’t apply for scholarships for undergraduate degrees. Based on the current situation of our family, we can’t afford it. My mother wants to sell our house, and she wants to borrow some from relatives and friends…
“But I stopped her. I don’t think it’s necessary. There are also good universities in China, 211 and 985, so there is definitely no problem with getting an undergraduate degree.
“It is easier to apply for scholarships abroad if you are studying at a graduate school. Of course, the premise is that you have good grades. I have researched a lot of information about it and I think it should be possible to do it by the time I am an undergraduate.
“Of course, the premise is that I have to go to a good enough university here in China first.
“In that case, these three years in high school are very critical and I cannot be relaxed.
“So you know exactly what you want and what you should do, and—” Yansheng said, “you are always on the right path and doing the right thing.”
Zhiyuan didn’t understand why there was so much emotion in Yansheng’s eyes now. He smiled and replied, “Isn’t everyone like this?”
Even in an excellent class like Class 2, some students only knew how to do the exercises in front of them but didn’t know where their future lay. Therefore, even if their academic performance was the same, there were still differences in the maturity of these students.
So last Saturday night, even if he had all the budding feelings of a teenager in his yes, what he said was that he had to study hard.
Under Zhiyuan’s youthfulness and gentleness, there was rationality and maturity which was beyond Yansheng’s expectations.
Losing your father at a young age was one of the three sorrows in life.
He lost his father at the same age as she lost her mother. His family might not have the bloodshed of having a stepfather or illegitimate half-siblings, but he had the financial pressure that he must bear.
But he chose a completely different path from her in her previous life. He chose to work hard for himself and his mother.
Indeed, this was the right path.
Yansheng sighed. She wished she could get that certain assh*le to come and listen to this and have a look, compare it with others’ situations, and accept this kind of flogging with her.
Some teachers would often drag the class, so the end of the last class varied from class to class.
However, the teachers had a tacit understanding that they generally didn’t need to drag the classes in Class 8. So when Yansheng arrived at the back of the subway station, Lichen was already there.
He was chatting with his driver and Yansheng’s driver, Mr. Zhou—after a long time, Mr. Zhou and the two of them actually became familiar with each other.
Seeing her coming, Lichen opened the car door and said, “It’s cold outside, let’s talk in the car.”
Yansheng told Mr. Zhou, “Wait for me for a while.” Then, she got into the car.
Lichen closed the car door for her, went around to the other side, and got into the car. After sitting down, he also closed the car door, turned his head, and asked Yansheng, “What about the evidence you mentioned?”
Yansheng took something out of her coat pocket and gave it to him.
The lights in the car were on and illuminated clearly—a square-folded piece of paper with horizontal partitions, neat on one side, and a little burr on one side. One could tell that it was a piece of paper torn from the homework book at first glance.
“This is it?” Lichen murmured with dissatisfaction and opened the folded paper.
Yansheng asked, “You didn’t go to question your parents on Sunday, did you?”
“Ask those farts?!” Lichen was annoyed. “I can’t even see the two of them at all!”
One man’s love could be a poison to someone.
Zhiyuan’s words revealed a sense of helplessness and pressure toward his mother for taking him too seriously.
But Yansheng envied him.
Moreover, she felt that if Lichen knew about it, he would be envious too.
“Ye Qingwen? Xu Mulin? Yinghua Experimental High School?” There were only three lines on the paper, two names and one school name. After Lichen finished reading it, he looked up at Yansheng and waited for her to explain.
Zhang Yansheng didn’t disappoint him as she said clearly, “Ye Qingwen is your father’s white moonlight.”
Lichen stared at her. “How can these words ‘white moonlight’ be so annoying when used on my father?”
Yansheng was speechless. “Well, I can’t find any other, more suitable words. She is your father’s first love, probably his goddess. She married a man who was much older than herself. At that time, that man was much better off than your father.”
“My father has told me countless times that he started from scratch,” Lichen said.
“Well anyway, her husband was richer than your father at the time. She was doing well, a full-time wife, and has a child, who seems to be a son too, I guess.” Yansheng didn’t remember the last point very clearly.
“Didn’t you say that the one she gave birth to was supposed to be my brother?”
“He was born later. She also had a child with her ex-husband. Anyway, I can’t remember whether it was a son or a daughter.” Yansheng continued, “In short, her husband went bankrupt and wanted to take her to die together. In the end, her husband, her parents who helped her with their child, and the child all died, and she survived alone. Her parents-in-law also said that she was a bearer of bad luck and kicked her out of the house. It didn’t make sense for her to fight for the house, because all their properties were later sealed off for liquidation and auction to pay off their debts.
“She had a miserable life. When your father heard about it, he went to be a hero to save the beauty.”
Lichen looked up at the roof of the car for a long time before gritting his teeth and nodding with a smile. “My father is so good to pick up a second-hand product, huh?”
“That’s why I said that she is his white moonlight, maybe even his one true love.” Yansheng didn’t understand it either.
Huan had no real love in his vocabulary. He just liked the young women.
If you asked him about his true love, maybe he would take Yansheng’s mother’s name out which was disgusting for Yansheng. With her understanding of him, the probability was quite high.
She couldn’t even think about it, she would vomit whenever she thought about it.
Yansheng continued, “Later on, she followed your father. When she was pregnant, your mother was pregnant with you first, and your brother was just a few months younger than you. But this woman has excessive mental stimulation and is very neurotic. Her own son disliked her attitude and I heard that your father disliked that too.”
If it isn’t true love, what else can it be? she thought.
“What do you mean?” Lichen was irritable now. “My father personally took her over and raised her as a baby, plus she is also a f*cking psychotic?”
Yansheng tried to recall this matter. “It’s not a mental illness, she’s just very neurotic. She wants to be with your father all day, she has to see him and wants to stick with him. If your father gets busy for several days and doesn’t visit her, she will be very upset or something. I don’t know the specific details.”
In fact, Yansheng knew many details because Lichen told her about it later on. Moreover, Qingwen, that woman, also influenced her at the time.
Her son failed the college entrance examination and Lichen’s father wanted to send him abroad, but Qingwen refused it no matter what.
Because she couldn’t do without her son, she would be hysterical if he went abroad. But she couldn’t leave Lichen’s father to follow her son abroad. She would also be hysterical leaving Lichen’s father.
Finally, because of her, Lichen’s father forced his illegitimate son to go to a local university not only in China, but also in K City.
In Lichen’s father’s heart, he loved his illegitimate son more than Lichen, but he loved his illegitimate son’s mother more than his illegitimate son. It was better to let the illegitimate son resent the two of them as long as he could satisfy his white moonlight’s needs first.
Huan should really be asked to come and have a look at this real great love saint.
At that time, Huan also wanted to send Yansheng abroad.
Yansheng was unwilling to leave her entire family to Yingying, so that she could be domineering and be happy. Qingwen’s attitude inspired her.
She was also determined not to go abroad and resolutely stayed in K City, disgusting Huan and Yingying.
On the contrary, Lichen was forcibly sent abroad by his mother.