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Jian Suiying had always liked to eat spicy crayfish, and his mother especially loved to eat spicy food. When he was a child, she often took him out to eat. Her gentle hands would peel the skin off the crayfish before it was placed in the bowl for him. But his father had never gone with them, proclaiming that those things were not clean. More often than not, his parents would quarrel over that kind of superficial and painless matter.
His mother was the young daughter of an influential family whose ancestors had accumulated a generous amount of money. During the war, they had donated a ton of gold to the Communist Party and when the War of Resistance against the Japanese Aggression1 broke out, the ambitious young people in the family had also joined. Consequently, they did not suffer much during the Cultural Revolution2 due to their high sense of awareness.
His paternal grandfather’s side was different. For eight generations, their family was made up of poor farmers. However, that did not stop them from upholding their dignity and having strong moral standards.3 When he was younger, they were so poor that they couldn’t even afford to wear suitable pants or have a proper meal. That eventually made him follow the revolutionary party, never expecting that he would make it to where he was today.
Later, his paternal grandfather and his maternal grandfather established a profound friendship during the revolution and had Jian Suiying’s mother marry into the family.
Who could have imagined that everything would eventually become like this? Compared to that woman’s gentle and obedient nature, regardless of whether or not it was fake, his mother fell to a disadvantageous position.
After those rotten events, Jian Suiying’s paternal grandfather no longer had the face to confront his maternal grandfather. He simply did not concern himself with family matters anymore and went to the countryside to farm.
After his mother died of an illness, his paternal grandfather did not speak a single word to his father for four or five years. It was not until his maternal grandfather passed away, and Jian Suiying had grown up, that they properly reconcile their relationship, and his paternal grandfather finally let his dad return.
When he was a child, Jian Suiying hated that woman and his father with his entire being.
At that time, to what extent did he rebel? Anything that would make his father lose face and feel completely miserable, he would do it.
He remembered he once threw the seven or eight-year-old Jian Suilin into the swimming pool and fastened a rope around his hand. Then he squatted at the edge of the pool and watched as he splashed in the water. After he watched him splash enough, he pulled him up and repeated the process three or four more times.
When his action was later discovered, his father beat him severely until he couldn’t get out of the bed for a month.
From the look of it, that was not the most outrageous thing that he did.
In short, considering how insensible he was as a child, it was a miracle that he did not kill Jian Suilin or gotten himself beaten to death by his father.
Now, he had no interest in doing those things.
Thinking of when he was little, his actions were solely based on his restless mindset, adding the appearance of Jian Suilin who seemed to be especially thoughtful of him, he honestly felt that the way he treated him now was pretty good. Not to mention, for the past two years he had been educating Jian Suilin on business trades, how to speculate in stock4 and invest, as well as supporting him with over $200,000.
Therefore, the fact that Jian Suilin was kind to him, he treated it as an obligation—a type of filial piety.
At that moment, Jian Suilin was agilely peeling the crayfish, while Jian-dashao ate it one at a time.
“This restaurant makes it good. Xiao Linzi, peel a few for Li Yu.”
Li Yu calmly said, “I can do it myself.”
“Just let him do it. Don’t let it get on your hands, it’s hot.”
Li Yu said expressionlessly, “I’m used to doing things myself,” before he started to peel the crayfish with a raging flame in his mind.
He was especially disgusted with how Jian Suiying instructed Jian Suilin.
In his eyes, Jian Suilin possessed a kind of elegance that was rare for boys of his age. He was gentle and courteous to others, which made his relationship with everyone at school exceptionally good. Even his father had said, “that kid knows how to conduct himself, he will do great things in the future.”
For nearly a decade, he had been looking forward to seeing Jian Suilin again, and now that he was able to interact with him every day, he was truly happy. For him, the interactions were precious. However, Jian Suiying casually treated Jian Suilin like a servant, ordering him around as he pleased.
It was like this: when something is seen as a precious jewel in your eyes, you will be quite satisfied with just a glance at it. But in the eyes of others, it was just a stone used to press down a jar. It can be used, but it can also be left unused. That huge psychological gap filled him with a large sense of resentment and indignation toward Jian Suiying.
Jian Suiying did not seem to hear the irony in his words as he drank the Yanjing beer.5 “You two shouldn’t eat too much, it’s very spicy. I am afraid that your stomachs won’t be able to endure it. Also, don’t drink too much alcohol, it’s too cold. We can eat but be sure that you’ll be in a normal state tomorrow. Don’t get diarrhea or anything that won’t allow you to rest well.”
Jian Suilin smiled and nodded his head, “Ge, don’t worry.”
Jian Suiying said, “Are you nervous?”
“No, I’m not.”
Jian Suilin smiled, “Really. I’m mentally prepared.”
Jian Suiying also smiled and asked, “Li Yu, are you nervous?”
Li Yu shook his head, “I don’t feel anything.”
“Not bad, you’re bold. When I took the college entrance examination back then, I wasn’t nervous at all either. That’s because I knew early on that I wasn’t going to test well, but that doesn’t matter. I didn’t rely on a diploma to make a living.”
Jian Suilin quickly said, “Ge, you’re smart.”
“En, of course. But you are different, you’ve had good grades since you were young. The family has even higher expectations for you. Later on, you may be in politics or business, but who can say for sure right now? Getting into a good school is very beneficial for your future career, so do well tomorrow. If you can get into X University…”
Hearing those words, Jian Suilin looked at him with great expectation.
“If you pass, what do you want?”
Jian Suilin’s eyes brightened up, but he did not say anything.
Jian Suiying smiled, “You haven’t thought of it yet? That’s fine, just keep it in mind. Once you know, we can talk about it again.”
“Thank you, Ge.”
Jian Suiying looked at Li Yu again, “Where do you two want to go after the examination? Ge will take you guys out.”
Li Yu glanced at Jian Suiying and remained silent. The summer vacation that he was expecting was coming soon and it would be great if he could spend it with Jian Suilin, but he really didn’t want to see Jian Suiying.
Jian Suilin was a bit excited. “Ge, you want to take us out? Don’t you have to go to work?”
“Being your own boss, isn’t it up to me if I go or not?”
“Ge, what do you think? I can go anywhere as long as it’s convenient for you.”
Jian Suiying thought about it for a moment but didn’t know where to go. If he was only bringing Li Yu, there were plenty of romantic places, but with his own brother… maybe the amusement park?
Jian Suiying glanced over at Li Yu with a somewhat insatiable expression, thinking about how long it was going to take until he could interact with Li Yu alone.
By then, their lips were quite red from the spice and despite the air conditioner blasting at full power, their entire body still broke out in a sweat.
The pile of spicy crayfish gradually disappeared.
The amount of alcohol that Jian Suiying could drink was already displayed on the table. It was not easy to get him drunk, but the alcohol effect was easily visible on his face. With one drink, his face became red, and after two or three drinks, his entire body and even his toes turned red.
Jian Suilin and Li Yu did not drink. They simply stared blankly as Jian Suiying soaked up the alcohol until his skin slowly reddened.
Jian-dashao was a fashionable gay, the clothes he wore, and his manner of dressing was truly worthy of praises. When he went out that day, he had on a beige knitted shirt with a large V-neck that reached all the way down to his chest, slightly exposing his beautiful and smooth muscles. With the addition of his powdery white skin and watery eyes, the four waitresses who came to add more soup in their hotpot within the span of only ten minutes did not dare to look at him directly. Instead, they shyly took a glance and quickly ran away.
Jian-dashao was completely unaware of the unfading male hormones he was exuding. The main reason being that there was already an attractive person in front of him. He didn’t have any thought of shifting his eyes around to see whether or not there were any other pretty boys in his surroundings. Naturally, he didn’t know whether or not a pretty boy was looking at him either.
With Li Yu sitting beside him, Jian Suiying inched his face closer to chat with him. That closeness caused the scent of his body to float into Li Yu’s nostrils. The smell of cologne mixed in with alcohol was honestly not a good match, but it gave Li Yu a peculiar sense of excitement. He didn’t know how to describe that kind of feeling, he only knew that he had never wanted to touch a drop of alcohol before, but right now, he suddenly wanted to drink a little.
As they chatted some more, his conflicting feelings toward Jian Suiying loosened up a bit. Jian Suiying was experienced and knowledgeable; he could explain everything that you wanted to know clearly and logically, and he loved to joke around – talking with him was very interesting.
After they were done eating, Jian-dashao was a bit tipsy, but since he did not need to drive, he let himself relax and drink.
Once they arrived home, Jian Suiying remembered that he hadn’t prepared the bedding for them yet. That kind of trifling matter was not something he wanted to do with his own hands, so he continued to order his all-purpose younger brother. “Xiao Linzi, spread out the beddings in the two guest rooms.” After that, he forgetfully staggered to the sofa and collapsed on it, “Pour me a glass of water.”
Jian Suilin poured him a glass of water and entered the room to make the bed.
Li Yu also followed in, “I’ll help you.”
Jian Suiying felt like his head was spinning as he lazily lied down. It felt very comfortable and he started to doze off just like that.
Just as he was half asleep, he heard the sound of laughter coming from the guest room.
He closed his eyes for a moment, then stood up and walked over.
Standing at the side of the door, he saw that the two boys were hitting each other with the quilt while laughing out loud very excitedly.
The innocent and natural smiles could make anyone who looked at them feel comfortable, and consequently, the corner of Jian Suiying’s mouth couldn’t help but rise.
The next day, Jian Suiying did not get up. He called for his chauffeur to send Li Yu and Jian Suilin to the school and also instructed him to pick them up at noon.
When he woke up around 10 o’clock, he called and asked a restaurant to prepare a few dishes then thinking of how they were returning at noon, Jian Suiying unconsciously became a bit nervous.
He began to wonder how they did on the exam, like whether or not they answered well, made any mistakes, or what their frame of mind was like and such. That kind of mindset really gave off an illusion of him being a parent.
In the end, he couldn’t help it and told the chauffeur to return home to pick him up first. That way, the two of them could go and pick up Li Yu and Jian Suilin together.
1 War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (Second Sino-Japanese War 1937-45) – a conflict that broke out when China began a full-scale resistance to the expansion of Japanese influence in its territory (which had begun in 1931). The war, which remained undeclared until December 9, 1941, maybe divided into three phases: a period of rapid Japanese advance until the end of 1938, a period of virtual stalemate until 1944, and the final period when Allied counterattacks, principally in the Pacific and on Japan’s home islands, brought about Japan’s surrender.
2 Cultural Revolution – in full Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Chinese (Pinyin) Wuchanjieji Wenhua Dageming or (Wade-Giles romanization) Wu-ch’an Chieh-chi Wen-hua Ta Ke-ming, upheaval launched by Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong during his last decade in power (1966–76) to renew the spirit of the Chinese Revolution. Fearing that China would develop along the lines of the Soviet model and concerned about his own place in history, Mao threw China’s cities into turmoil in a monumental effort to reverse the historic processes underway.
3 根正苗紅 – Normally in Chinese, four characters words are an idiom, but in this case, it is not. It’s more of a description of a collection of characters. These characters mean: a person born into a family that was working-class or a farmer but are regarded as good, kind-hearted, pure in nature people with good morals, dignity and not twisted and evil. They don’t have an expectation of their status or have to be born into a rich family to be pure. In other words, they have dignity and are kind-hearted, their view is positive, not twisted, no matter how poor they were.
4 speculate in stock – is the purchase of an asset (a commodity, goods, or real estate) with the hope that it will become more valuable in the near future. In finance, speculation is also the practice of engaging in risky financial transactions in an attempt to profit from short term fluctuations in the market value of a tradable financial instrument—rather than attempting to profit from the underlying financial attributes embodied in the instrument such as capital gains, dividends, or interest.
5 Yanjing beer –