Chapter 18: Returning Home (3)
The Farce of the Elite Association.
The next time I met Fang Yuke was at the meeting of the elite association of students.
Even though I had racked my brain- even considering breaking my arms and legs in order to formulate an excuse to skip the gathering, I had no idea where my mother had gotten ahold of the fact that this gathering was happening. She escorted me to the school entrance without explanation before releasing me.
As I walked into school, I used the shortcuts I was familiar with, passing all the popular people. The popular people from my school were like a few big pieces of stone- each and every one of their names had tested into the big schools like Peking University and Tsinghua University. Their head busts could even be carved in stone. This time, Fang Yuke and my head could be added to the stone. Actually, I never understood why they wanted to use this kind of a method to encourage their younger classmates. If you looked at it in a particular way, it was like these were columns of shame. We had been stiffly nailed upon these columns of shame; and if you looked at it for what it was, they really resembled tombstones. See, they distorted my face until I looked like the mother of stinky fried tofu everywhere. When I first tested into Peking University, I decided that I would never come back to my old school. This was because I wanted to avoid having to witness this kind of scene. Ugh. These celebrities who threw you away after using you really encouraged one to forget one’s roots.
A total of 40 students had all arrived, including the top 20 students of the liberal arts class. Everyone was in the living room. Besides Class Chairman Fang Ying Yi and Fang Yuke, I didn’t know any of the 37 people even though I did have some impressions of some of their faces. I felt extremely embarrassed because I heard that the top twenty students would often meet up and were extremely close. This was probably also the reason why Fang Yuke was suspicious about my intelligence on the first day that he met me.
Fang Yuke and I were different as he was the champion of Science while I was the champion of Liberal Arts. While we were eating, we were asked to say a few words. Principle Fang, who was also Fang Yuke’s grandfather spoke in an extremely loving tone to Fang Yuke: “You both belong to the same school, and usually you always take care of Zhou Lin Lin. But this time let the ladies take priority. Let Zhou Lin Lin speak first.”
I hated these kind of situation. I hadn’t even eaten but I had gotten hit with such a stroke of bad luck that took away my appetite. I bit the bullet** and stood up, facing the 4 tables of elites. Then, I cleared my throat and said, “Since Principle Fang has let me say a few things, I’ll say a few things. First: everyone should eat well. Second: everyone should play well. Third: I’m done.”
- (**bit the bullet- Endured
I sat down, drank a mouthful of water and waited for Fang Yuke to make a long speech. A few people already began to laugh at the side, especially a comrade whose face was full of pimples.
He laughed until his shoulders trembled.
Laugh? What are you laughing at? This is a gathering. Shouldn’t you eat and play well?!
Fang Yuke stood up and there was a thunderous applause from the 4 tables of elites. A few ladies even shamelessly kept glancing at him, secretly tidying themselves up, pretentiously showing off. Life is cruel!
“What I want to say is, after you have all eaten, there are activities going on in the Chess Room. Everyone come buy my thin noodles, you definitely have to participate. I’ll treat.”
Everyone applauded even more excitedly.
Only I became increasingly bored. I thought it was only going to be an hour long meeting but I didn’t expect that the time would be extended.
After drinking 3 rounds of wine, every shy and bold elite quite gratefully toasted Principle Fang. Principle Fang could no longer handle his alcohol and retired first, leaving the naughty group of elites behind.
The comrade whose face was full of pimples walked over and said to me: “Zhou Lin lin, I am Yan Shou. I messed up during the university entrance exams and didn’t manage to enter the same school as you. It’s really a pity.”
I hurriedly stood up and said, “That’s way too bad. However my sudden achievement was quite abnormal, otherwise we really might really have went to the same school.”
This time, Yan Shou could not control himself and his shoulders began to shake. He immediately laughed heartily: “Zhou Lin Lin, you are too humorous.”
As he laughed, the pimples on his face began to pop.
From the table, Yan Shou was the only one who bothered himself with me. Even if the class president was around, we were only mere acquaintances who would nod at each other if we met and nothing else. None of the 37 classmates were interested in getting to know me, and neither did I have any plans to get to know them. I only hoped that the time would pass by peacefully. After that, I would find a reason to flee for my life.
I didn’t expect that my plans would be so subject to change. Fang Yuke pulled me to every table to toast our wine, meaning that I should finish it all. Strangely, while raising the cup of wine, I felt that I was too submissive. The moment Fang Yuke gave an order, I would follow without error. No matter what I should rebel, ah. If not, I couldn’t live up to my title of the Peerless King Kong Beautiful Maiden.
At the second table, the male elites began to jeer: “Are you guys having a wine tasting demonstration? But at least we get to see what a newly wed bride and groom look like when they’re toasting the guests.”
I snapped: How can it be that elites also like to crack such nonsensical jokes? The female elites are all watching, if you continue saying these things, a massacre will occur.
Fang Yuke was like a fish in water, who was full of energy while I was weak. As the enemy advanced, I retreated and argued with others, until a beautiful girl with eyebrows shaped like willow leaves stood up and came over to toast to me.
This beautiful girl (who, because of her eyebrows, made me want to refer to her as Amy Yip**) raised her wine glass and said, “in the past, my dream was to test into Peking University. Who would have expected that I fell short by a few points and could only go to Fudan. Heaven did not help me!” After saying this, she smiled bitterly.
- Look her up, but she’s known as a sex symbol in HK apparently
I didn’t really understand. Fudan and Peking University were not that different. Why would she still feel so upset even though half a year had already gone by? I suppose that people who had dreams are really different from people like me who don’t really have goals or structure in their life.
Just as I was about to drink, she advised me: “Zhou Lin Lin, in any case you have managed to ride your way into Peking University. How could you just drink [something light like that] and finish it like that?” After that, she said to everyone else: “You guys are too protective of the fairer sex, right?”
I immediately said, “All right, I will drink whatever you drink with you.” I could feel her hostility. Peking University was a dream she had for many yeras, but this nobody, namely me, had taken it away from her. Did it make her feel like Peking University had been trampled or that she had been trampled on? Even though it wasn’t my fault, I understood her for a moment. In my eyes this was just like the time when I had always wanted to buy something from the display windows in the stores when I was little. When I saw it become someone else’s toy on a given day, a hatred towards that child would arise.
I refilled my beer, smiled and said, “Fudan is in a town near us, whenever you want to go home, you can go home in just 2 hours. It’s not like Peking University. You need to sit on a train for ten-ish of hours. I kind of regret it a bit.”
My original intention was to comfort her, but I didn’t know if it would look like I was showing off, by speaking in this manner. I had gotten an advantage cheaply but was pretending to be a good guy. Leafy eyebrows said emotionlessly: “Do you think we don’t know that you’re being sarcastic?”
Fine, I admit that my words required more effort in their composition, but I could not be like Holy Mother Mary. If you hit me on the left cheek, was I supposed to stick our my right cheek for you to hit it some more?
I smiled: “I had no ill intentions, and I’m sorry if you misunderstood. However, feel that [nothing as drastic] as marrying the wrong guy has occurred so there’s no need for a lifetime of regrets. How about this, I’ll toast to you and just treat it as I’ve sinned and said the wrong thing, if you will.”
After saying this, I poured another glass of beer.
Leafy eyebrows was so irritated. She was probably feeling wronged from being bullied by this layman and she threw herself on the table and cried.
I was struck dumb. Unless, I had really spoken too harshly and made the other person so angry that she cried? Did I really have that much skill?
The female elites surrounded us, ignoring the entire context of the situation, generously standing beside Leafy eyebrows. One of them said, “Ah Rui, don’t cry anymore. After testing into Peking University her tail would definitely stick up.” Another one said, “So what if you test in? I heard that even graduates from Peking University still have to sell pig meat when they come out. Even if you were lucky enough to test in, whether or not you are able to graduate is uncertain-” These words really hit me where it hurt.
However, the circumstances of this elite group of friends were the same as mine. If a friend was in trouble, we would go through water and fire to group up and beat the enemy. Also, the degree of their poisonous and vicious words did not lose to ours. If Yao Zi was to cry, I reckon that I would not bother to find out what really happened and immediately take the enemy captive. Of course, the one who made Yao Zi cry would have to be beaten into nonexistence.
Fang Yuke who had been silent the entire time finally opened his mouth: “Ah Rui, from an objective point of view, I don’t think she said anything wrong. From the beginning, she hasn’t always been a very considerate person. The quality of the school is not a measure of a person’s success. Not to mention, your grades were also not bad. Before the college entrance examinations, I made preparations to go to second and third rate schools, and there’s no point staking everything on things like your school. Don’t be too sensitive. This should be a happy occasion. What’s the point of turning this into a battlefield and ruin everyone’s excitement?”
After Fang Yuke finished speaking, Ah Rui wiped away her tears and didn’t say a word. Although I appreciated Fang Yuke coming up to rescue me, I scoffed at the part about him “preparing to go to second and third rate schools”. If he went to these second and third rate schools, wouldn’t Principle Fang get a brain hemorrhage?
Fang Yuke said to everyone: “Let’s go to the royal chess room. I’ve already booked a private room. Let’s change the atmosphere and have some fun.” After he gave his order, all the male elites were released from the heavy atmosphere and started clamoring about playing cards. The female elites couldn’t avoid giving Fang Yuke some face, as they settled their emotions and prepared to go off. I looked at the situation clearly and prepared to take my bag and leave.
I didn’t expect that Fang Yuke would say in front of everyone: “You definitely have to come. You were the one who destroyed the atmosphere just now, so you have an obligation to repair it.”
You arrogant showoff! Was I the one who destroyed the atmosphere just now? However, I couldn’t be bothered to argue with him. Anyways, I didn’t have the ability to reason with him. At most, I would have to hold on for just a few more hours.