Chapter 4: Chapter 4

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

On Tuesday, Tong Jia didn't have many classes. She packed up and prepared to go home. She’d recently bought new cookware, and she had some free time today, so she’d thought of making a few dishes to treat herself. When she’d lived abroad before, she hadn’t been used to the food there, so she’d learned a few simple dishes from her grandma during the holidays. Later on, for her own sake, she would refine her skills whenever she had time. It was quite amusing to say that her roommate wanted to return to China with her.

When Tong Jia walked out of the supermarket and was about to take the bus home, she found someone who shouldn’t be there—Song Chi. Tong Jia took out her phone and looked at it. Song Chi was supposed to be in class right now.

The principal had had a chat with the teachers concerning Song Chi, hoping that they would show him more solicitude these days. Even if he wasn’t listening to the class lectures, there’d be no need to reprimand him.

Tong Jia knew that the school library and the swimming pool, which were currently being prepared for renovation, had all been funded by the Song family. Whether it was the administration or the teachers, they had always paid more attention to Song Chi—let alone now that all of these things had happened. Even Tong Jia was very sympathetic towards Song Chi.

Song Chi was sitting at the edge of the fountain at the public square. Since it was still bright out, the fountain was not operating at the moment. Tong Jia hesitated for a while before walking toward Song Chi with her bag. She sat next to Song Chi and noticed that he was looking at the ground motionlessly. Tong Jia followed his line of sight, but there was nothing on the ground.

"Classmate Song, you..." Tong Jia originally wanted to ask for his reasons to not attend class but swallowed her words instead.

She paused for a while before asking, "Are you hungry?"

Students would always have classes, but right now, things were different. She thought to herself that she shouldn't say such unpleasant words.

Song Chi was stunned. He slowly turned his head and spat out a single word, "Yes."

As a child, she would donate her pocket money to the beggars she would see on the street. While she was abroad, whenever she had free time, she would go volunteer as a social worker. She liked helping strangers, so what more if it was her own student? Tong Jia decided to take Song Chi to her house.

"Would you like to sit down and watch TV?"

After Tong Jia turned on the TV, she handed the remote control to Song Chi.

Song Chi didn't refuse. He spoke very little and didn't answer any of Tong Jia's questions.

Tong Jia went to the kitchen with a plastic bag. Before washing the vegetables, she called the class teacher, Zhang. Teacher Zhang was over forty years old this year and took special care of newcomers like her. Tong Jia simply told Teacher Zhang about the basic situation.

"Well, Teacher Tong, you are doing a good job. This child is still young, and it is always dangerous for children to roam outside. Well then, I will contact his family now. Let him stay with you for the time being."

Teacher Zhang's voice was very gentle, which made Tong Jia relieved.

After hanging up the phone, Tong Jia began to cook. It took her more than half an hour to finish up, then she called Song Chi to eat.

There were a variety of dishes, such as braised pork ribs, shredded green pepper, fried green vegetables, and seaweed and egg soup. The combination of meat and vegetables was nutritious and healthy.

She didn't know if Song Chi had had lunch or not. He was not at all polite. He took the porcelain bowl and started to eat ravenously. Seeing Song Chi like this, Tong Jia actually felt very sad in her heart.

The Song family was so rich. If Song Yancheng really died, Song Chi's life would be very difficult. No matter how mature he usually seemed, he was still a child.

Perhaps eating a full course meal had made Song Chi ease up a lot. When Tong Jia washed the dishes, returned to the living room, and saw a few red notes on the tea table, she was startled.

"Classmate Song? Is this your money?"

Song Chi looked at her, his voice was as low as ever.

"Thank you."

Tong Jia wanted to laugh. She sat next to Song Chi and said gently, "This is the teacher's treat. You should keep the money."

"Why?" Song Chi had a look of doubt. For him, if someone showed him kindness, he should also pay them back with something—like money.

"The teacher invited you over, and we’re not at a restaurant, so you don't have to pay."

Tong Jia explained patiently. She was actually very surprised. Song Chi's expression was not fake. It was very natural without any awkwardness as if it was a perfectly justified action.

For the first time, Tong Jia wondered how his brother usually educated him.

"Oh." Song Chi nodded, took the money back, and casually stuffed it into his school bag as if he was not taking money but scratch paper.

After a while, Teacher Zhang came over to pick up Song Chi. She had a very irritated expression because she had called Song Chi's home, just to find out that no one cared about Song Chi. They were saying that he had money, so he would come back. Those people in the Song family were now busy robbing Song Yancheng’s property. When would they have the time to take care of a helpless child?

Song Chi walked to the doorstep and stopped. He turned to Tong Jia and said, "You cook very well. Can I come again?"

Tong Jia was dumbfounded for a bit before replying with a smile, "As long as you don't skip class, you're always welcome."

Song Chi threw one last glance towards Tong Jia. He also didn't know what he was thinking.

He hurriedly followed after Teacher Zhang.

Instead of returning to the Song residence, he went to the hospital. Several relatives stood at the door of the ward. When they saw Song Chi coming, with the faces still filled with smiles which failed to reach their eyes, they asked, "Hey, where did Xiao Chi go? Your brother's condition worsened again."

Their tone was filled with schadenfreude*. Song Chi pursed his lip and stood tall. Standing at the door of the ward, he saw his brother lying in bed through the glass window. He leaned over the door while blinking his eyes. His brother wasn’t actually very good to him. In fact, he rarely cared about him, but for the first time, he felt that he needed his brother.

[TL/N: Schadenfreude is a German word for “to enjoy others’ misfortunes.”]

Three days later, Tong Jia and Zhou Heng went to Zhou Yanchen's house.

According to the local saying, today would be the day that Zhou Yanchen would be reborn, which meant this was his last day in this world. Tong Jia and Zhou Heng weren’t the liveliest at the moment. Tong Jia found out that Zhou Heng had lost a lot of weight when she met him again. His profile had become clearer but he also looked haggard.

"Ah, I almost forgot, how are you and Qin Yue?"

The two did not speak much along the way. Zhou Heng glanced at Tong Jia who was sitting in the passenger seat, and took the initiative to break the silence.

Actually, if Zhou Heng hadn't mentioned Qin Yue, Tong Jia would’ve forgotten that such a person existed. This may sound very heartless, but he was still, after all, her first love. However, she had gone abroad after the college entrance examination. During the beginning of the year, they would occasionally contact each other. Later on, she got busier and the gap between their exchanges also widened. As time passed, Qin Yue no longer contacted her again.

When others would mention their first love, they seemed to have many unforgettable memories, but when Tong Jia thought of Qin Yue, her heart didn’t skip a beat. Why had she been with Qin Yue in the first place? Even she, herself, had forgotten.

"We haven't been in touch for years." Tong Jia replied honestly.

Zhou Heng was a little surprised.

"Strange."

It was indeed quite strange. Last year, during their reunion, someone had asked Qin Yue about Tong Jia. That time, Qin Yue had clearly said that when she returned home, they would be preparing to get married. It was also back then that Yanchen had behaved unusually and had left without staying any longer.

Now Tong Jia said she hadn’t been in touch with Qin Yue for a long time? What was the matter with that Qin Yue?

"What's wrong?" Tong Jia saw Zhou Heng's expression, which was a little strange, and asked.

Zhou Heng smiled and shook his head.

"Nothing, nothing."

Sarcasm was written all over his face, but at the end of the day, it had nothing to do with him. It didn’t matter whether what Qin Yue said was true or not—Yanchen was already gone. It didn’t matter to him who Tong Jia was with or not. Zhou Heng was just determined. As long as Tong Jia needed him, he would definitely help.

Zhou Yanchen's parents lived in a county town in A city. At the moment, Zhou Heng drove just ahead of the traffic light before stopping. Next to them was a newly developed estate. In recent years, the development had been quite good as there had been several more real estates in the county.

Zhou Heng rolled down the window and turned his head to Tong Jia and said, "Yanchen earned some money in the past two years. Originally, he intended to move his parents to the city, but uncle and aunt were already used to this area, and they refused to come. So instead, Zhou Yanchen bought them a new house in the county. It has just been renovated, if you have time, would you like to see it?"

Even in the county, nowadays, it took a lot of money to buy a new house plus renovate it. It’s obvious that Zhou Yanchen really had a promising future. Tong Jia's face had a trace of regret.

"Okay, I don't have any classes today anyway."

Tong Jia is now convinced that Heaven really was jealous of his outstanding ability.

[TL/N: 天妒英才 the idiom means that God makes a person's fate bumpy because he is jealous of his talent. OR people who are very intelligent and outstanding die at a very young age!]

When Zhou Heng and Tong Jia arrived at Zhou Yanchen's house, a few monks were coming out from the courtyard. After meeting each other, Father Zhou welcomed them in.

As he walked to the main room, he said, "At last, I am at ease. The old master said that Yanchen had embarked on the road of reincarnation, so his mother and I were finally comforted."

Father Zhou seemed to be in high spirits. Tong Jia knew that some people would come to chant Buddhist scripture at the funeral for the time being—which had nothing to do with faith. Tong Jia had some peace of mind at Father Zhou's words.

Mother Zhou was sitting in a chair, holding Zhou Yanchen's clothes. Although she was still very sad, compared to the beginning, she was still a lot better.

This is Tong Jia's first time coming to Zhou Yanchen's home. His home was a single-family residence with a courtyard. It was quite comfortable to live in. Unfortunately, the area was being demolished recently. She hadn't seen several houses along the way. She imagined Father Zhou and Mother Zhou would also have to move to a new house sooner or later.

At the same time, the doctors had previously told the Song family to prepare for the funeral, but after one night, Song Yancheng’s condition suddenly improved. In contrast, the atmosphere was different outside the ward. Suddenly, Song Chi let out a cry. He sounded very excited, because Song Yancheng's fingers slowly moved, followed by the gentle fluttering of his eyes.

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----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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