[Chapter 044] Leaned against him while sleeping & the appointing of teacher Bian
His luck proved good, as he encountered numerous pointers which Bian JinYuan had emphasized before, and so he didn’t expend much effort in choosing his answers. When Lu YunFei finished his paper, there was still half an hour left. He circled option B for all the questions that he didn’t know the answer to before going through the paper once, and then handed in his paper when the bell rang.
Bian JinYuan was already waiting for him outside of their classroom.
Lu YunFei saw him and excitedly headed over to him on his crutch. He thought that if he wasn’t encumbered by his injury, he would have gone to hug him straightaway. Where else would a god descend to specially save him! Never before had Lu YunFei noticed just how benevolent his deskmate looked until today. Just like a buddha, he couldn’t help but want to place Bian JinYuan on a dais and pray to him thrice a day to wish to score 120 for English.
Bian JinYuan saw the happiness that he wasn’t able to mask on his face, and guessed that he likely did well.
“You did well?”
Lu YunFei’s eyes were bright as he nodded, and said excitedly: “I completed the vocabulary section, and the essay was written as memorised. Many of the multiple choice questions were what we had revised, and I remembered them.”
Bian JinYuan you’re virtually a god, do you know, now that I look at you, I think I see a halo around your body.”
Bian JinYuan broke into amused laughter at his words and said gently, “Let’s go, you should go home soon.”
“Okay,” Lu YunFei said obediently.
He got onto the bicycle and chatted with Bian JinYuan along the way while watching the scenery pass by. Perhaps it was because the English exams were over, he felt that the anxiety he had carried with him had finally dissipated. As they approached his house, Lu YunFei had somehow fallen asleep against Bian JinYuan’s back in the middle of them chatting.
Bian JinYuan felt his weight against his back and, noticing how he hadn’t made a sound, called out to him, only to hear no response. He called out again, before slowly decelerating, and turned back to see Lu YunFei hugging his school bag, his crutch sandwiched underneath it, his eyes shut in slumber.
Bian JinYuan saw this scene and didn’t dare to continue cycling, afraid that he would fall off his seat if he did. He stuck out a leg to prop them up and came to a stop, as he gazed at the darkening cityscape, quiet and peaceful.
Lu YunFei leaned against him as he dozed off lightly.
When his sleep got deeper, his hands loosened their grip on the bag which started to drop down, and that was when Bian JinYuan reached out to support him. As Lu YunFei jolted awake when he was touched by him, and he looked at him bleary-eyed.
It was rare for Bian JinYuan to see him this way. Most of the time, Lu YunFei was full of vigor and energy. The him now was inexplicably soft and cute.
Lu YunFei blearily nodded. He rubbed his eyes, and then seemed to recover his wits, “I dozed off?”
“How long was I asleep for? You should have woken me up.”
“Not long, around three minutes.”
Lu YunFei laughed, “Three minutes huh, not even enough time for a nap, hahahaha.”
Bian JinYuan couldn’t help but smile too.
After Lu YunFei’s fit of laughter was over, he regained his composure and looked at his watch, “Let’s go, we’re almost at my house.”
Bian JinYuan then released his hand and got him to secure his bag in his hands before continuing to cycle forward.
“My driver will be coming back soon,” Lu YunFei suddenly said, “If not tomorrow then the day after.”
“Mmm,” Bian JinYuan replied.
Lu YunFei grabbed the bicycle seat and said while looking at his back, “You won’t have to send me home when he comes back.”
“Okay,” Bian JinYuan said softly.
“But you mentioned that you’ve applied for half a month of leave right?”
“So,” Lu YunFei smiled, “Come be my tutor for the rest of this period.”
Bian JinYuan thought that he was quite stubborn.
Lu YunFei saw how he didn’t reply and continued, “I’ve already thought it over for you. We’ll go home together after school, and after you tutor me, my driver will send you home. It won’t take too long, you just have to stay until 8pm even after accounting for the time we arrive home plus dinner. Thrice a week, a thousand per hour. How about it?”
Bian JinYuan remained silent.
Lu YunFei saw how he hadn’t yet responded and stretched his arms out to wrap around his waist.
“What are you doing?” Bian JinYuan glanced at the hands on both sides of his waist.
Lu YunFei smiled and moved his fingers to tickle his sides.
Bian JinYuan was perplexed, “Do you think that I’m ticklish?”
Lu YunFei saw how he really didn’t seem to be ticklish and instantly started tickling him randomly. Like a blind cat chancing upon a rat, He decided to try his luck in finding his ticklish spot.
Nonetheless, he was still seated on a bicycle, plus his foot was in a cast. Bian JinYuan worried that something would happen to him and said, “Stop fooling around.”
“But you promised.”
“Stop it first.”
Lu YunFei could only stop as he exclaimed, “Teacher Bian, it’s so difficult to get you to be my tutor.”
Bian JinYuan smiled and applied the handbrakes to stop the bicycle, “You’ve arrived.”
Lu YunFei reluctantly got off the bicycle. Bian JinYuan took his bag back from him and saw the dissatisfaction in his eyes and said amiably: “The results will be out in a few days.”
“If I fail, you’ll ignore me?” Lu YunFei asked.
Bian JinYuan was stunned by his question, and replied after a beat, “I won’t.”
“Do you mean me failing, or you ignoring me?”
“Then why do you have to wait a few days?” Lu YunFei voiced his lack of understanding, “Must you really wait until the day when the exam papers get returned?”
Bian JinYuan looked at him and lapsed into silence.
It wasn’t necessary to wait for the day of results. It was just that him being Lu YunFei’s tutor without any basis didn’t seem appropriate. Perhaps it wasn’t a matter of propriety, but that he was unprepared to be responsible for someone’s school grades. He was also unprepared to step into Lu YunFei’s house — a house that differed so much from his own.
In Bian JinYuan’s opinion, the only ones that he took responsibility for were his family, Bian Jie and Shuang Shuang. To take Lu YunFei under his responsibility was not something that he would shoulder lightly, even if it was only for his English grades.
He was afraid that he wouldn’t live up to Lu YunFei’s expectations, and also afraid that he wouldn’t be able to help Lu YunFei improve. He was keen to help Lu YunFei, but was also afraid that he would wind up in the same boat as his other tutors, having nothing to show even after they had given their all.
Things such as exams had never been something that anyone could guarantee.
He looked at Lu YunFei and saw the clear confusion in his eyes. He was right to be confused, as he was still at an age of youthful naivety. His thoughts were straightforward and bright, full of vibrant ideas. His shoulders were light, burdened only with hopes and dreams. Responsibility was still something that was far from his mind.
Bian JinYuan looked at him and couldn’t help but become gentle, “How about this,” He offered, “I can be your tutor and go home with you, but firstly, before the results are returned, I won’t accept any money; secondly, if you fail this time, I also won’t accept any money until you pass the next time; thirdly, if you pass, then thrice a week, 20 per hour.”
Lu YunFei’s eyes widened, “20? You earn more than 20 at your part-time jobs!”
“I’m giving you a friend discount,” Bian JinYuan said, “We’re classmates after all.”
“Then forget it,” Lu YunFei disagreed, “Only 20 after an hour’s worth of time and energy? Don’t be my tutor then, I’ll just self-destruct.”
“Didn’t you just say that it was difficult to get me as your tutor, now you’re prepared to self-destruct?”
“Teacher Bian, I want you to tutor me. but I don’t want you to be a candle burning yourself out just to illuminate me okay? You earn 50 per hour at your part-time job. Now that you’ll be spending time and energy on me just to earn 20 per hour, it’s just like the buddha slicing off his flesh to feed the eagle❖. Do you intend to slice a piece of yourself to feed me?”
Bian JinYuan thought that he really knew how to string his words, “It’s not the same logic.”
“Of course it’s not,” Lu YunFei interrupted, “I want you to be my tutor, I don’t want you to shine me with your buddha halo! If you’re this way then I might as well lift you up on a dais and bask in your halo everyday.”
Bian JinYuan saw how he argued and conceded, “Then 50 should suffice, it’ll be the same rate as my part-time job.”
“So in your opinion, I’m merely equivalent to milk tea or cake?” Lu YunFei seized the chance to change the argument, “Am I that worthless?”
Bian JinYuan: …
Lu YunFei looked at him, “At the very least, I think I’m worth a few cups of milk tea and many more cakes. 500.”
“50,” Bian JinYuan stated.
“500,” Lu YunFei insisted.
“Then you’ll have to hire someone else.”
Lu YunFei: ???!!!
Lu YunFei could hardly believe this, “What did you say? You gave me up so easily.”
“Small business, not accepting 500 dollar orders,” Bian JinYuan said as he leaned on his bicycle.
Lu YunFei: …
Lu YunFei saw how undisturbed Bian JinYuan looked and reluctantly conceded, “Then 300 should be okay.”
“Are you buying vegetables at the market? Haggling like this.”
“The sellers at the market wouldn’t fault me for offering more.”
“Do I look like a seller at the market?” Bian JinYuan asked.
Lu YunFei: …
Bian JinYuan saw how he was struck dumb and seized the opportunity while he got the upper hand: “50, take it or leave it.”
“This isn’t appropriate.”
“I think it’s quite fair.”
“You really don’t understand the market value of tutoring.”
“I don’t need to peg myself against the market, I have my own pricing.”
Lu YunFei was going to be driven mad by him, “100 is the lowest I can go, otherwise I’d just be taking advantage of you.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not so easily taken advantage of.”
“Then it’s 100,” Lu YunFei pulled at his arm, “It’s a 90% discount, such a drastic discount, I really can’t offer it any lower,” he looked down at his foot cast, “Look, if I offer any more the cast won’t be able to hold it together#.”
Hearing that, Bian JinYuan looked at his foot in a cast and mused at how his thought process was so unexpected and amusing. Lu YunFei saw that he didn’t retort and hurriedly shouted, “One hundred going once, one hundred going twice, one hundred going thrice.”
And then he rang the bell on Bian JinYuan’s bicycle, “Ding ding ding” the bell sounded clearly, and Lu YunFei made the final call, “Sold!”
Bian JinYuan: …
Lu YunFei smiled, “Sold, you can’t go back on it now.”
Bian JinYuan massaged his forehead. He had never before seen someone as childish as Lu YunFei before, Lu YunFei really was a younger brother.
Lu YunFei was very proud of himself for being so quick-witted, “Then it’s settled.”
Bian JinYuan gave up and nodded, “Mmm.”
“Thank you teacher Bian, goodbye teacher Bian, be careful on your way home teacher Bian,” Lu YunFei respectfully greeted his teacher thrice.
Bian JinYuan sighed, “Goodbye.”
Lu YunFei waved at him as Bian JinYuan got back up on his bicycle to ride back home.
# Lu YunFei’s pun was lost in translation. He was talking about offering a discount (打折, dǎ zhé), and then linked it to applying a cast (打石膏, dǎ shí gāo). The pun here is the clever use of the word 打 (dǎ), which in this context means to ‘apply’.