Chapter 8 – Phoenix Man (8) *edited
Leaving the car wash, Yan Jingze first went to buy some essential household items and then went to the school.
It was Saturday today, but the university canteen still served meals. The food there was particularly cheap.
Yan Jingze bought six chicken legs and six pork chops, along with a few vegetables and two portions of rice, packed them up, and brought them home.
At lunch, he and Grandma Jiang each had a chicken leg and a pork chop. They also finished the vegetables and rice, eating until they were comfortably full. After finishing, he went out to buy some rice, noodles, and vegetables.
He decided that in the future, he would buy meat dishes from the school and cook rice and vegetables at home to save money and maintain health.
Regarding this, other than thinking that the food was too good, Grandma Jiang had no other objections.
This old lady had always been disliked in the village due to her being a death bringer, so she didn’t really find anything bad in the city. She didn’t mind staying at home alone, though it felt a bit constricted. She refrained from touching many things in the house.
But she learned to use the television in her room. Although she couldn’t understand Mandarin, she enjoyed watching TV, even the commercials.
Yan Jingze pondered that he could find a way to connect the television to the internet. This way, he could let Grandma Jiang watch some funny cartoons, like “Unlucky Bear,” which she could understand even without knowing Mandarin.
In the afternoon, Yan Jingze went to the tutoring center for class. After finishing the class, he returned home to have a meal with Grandma Jiang, then went back to the tutoring center.
Around 9 in the evening, he rode his bicycle again to pick up Jiang Pingxiu.
This time, he didn’t carry Jiang Pingxiu on the bike. On the way back, he let Jiang Pingxiu ride the bike while he followed behind. The twenty-minute journey turned into forty minutes, with Jiang Pingxiu being fine, but Yan Jingze ended up sweating profusely.
After all that, he was hungry.
Fortunately, he wanted to fatten up Jiang Pingxiu a bit, so he cooked congee intentionally. Yan Jingze and Jiang Pingxiu had the congee together, along with the remaining chicken legs, before they took a shower and went to bed.
Before sleeping, Yan Jingze also took away Jiang Pingxiu’s phone and turned off the alarm clock.
Early the next morning, Yan Jingze stir-fried the leftover rice into fried rice with eggs. He reheated the leftover chicken legs and pork chops and cooked some vegetables. He made sure Jiang Pingxiu had a hearty meal before sending him off to work. In the evening, he went to pick him up again.
During this time, Yan Jingze also bought a second-hand bicycle.
Starting from Monday, he would need to attend classes at school. He wouldn’t have time to send Jiang Pingxiu in the morning, so Jiang Pingxiu would have to ride the bike to work.
But in the evening, he could still go and pick Jiang Pingxiu up. On the way back home together on the bicycle, they could talk.
Yan Jingze’s life became stable, and time passed from early December to the end of December.
The end of December brought Christmas, followed closely by New Year’s Day. Additionally, the semester was coming to an end, and A University organized various activities.
Yan Jingze didn’t participate in any of them. On Christmas day, he prepared some food as a gift for Jiang Pingxiu.
After all, he was too busy… he was constantly occupied with earning money.
Yan Jingze thought that in his original world, he must have been a very intelligent person, maybe even a programmer, because he quickly grasped knowledge about computer programming.
It was precisely due to this that he received a long-term and stable job offer in early January – to work for a small foreign company.
This job was relatively intricate and had a certain level of difficulty, but the income was quite good. He could earn 3,000 US dollars a month, which was more than 10,000 RMB!
Yan Jingze took the job seriously, and he didn’t neglect his work at the tutoring center either.
Although teaching children programming was a bit troublesome, it wasn’t physically demanding. He could even take the opportunity to rest a bit.
Busy as he was, Yan Jingze didn’t realize it, but he had been neglecting his classmates at school. Even Huo Liang, who had a good relationship with him, wondered, “Yan Jingze, what have you been up to lately? You disappear right after class and don’t even come back to the dormitory.”
“I found some part-time jobs and have to figure out a way to earn money,” Yan Jingze said.
“Why are you in such a hurry to make money when you haven’t graduated from college? Our most important task is to excel in our studies,” Huo Liang couldn’t help but say.
The academic workload at A University wasn’t light. If Yan Jingze focused on part-time work and neglected his studies, it would likely be counterproductive.
Yan Jingze actually knew this point. Fortunately, he was quite sharp: “I don’t have a choice. I can’t just go hungry! But don’t worry, I’ll definitely attend every class.”
Many classes required attendance, and it was helpful to be present in case he had questions about his part-time work. He could always ask the teacher during class, which was beneficial.
Huo Liang heard Yan Jingze’s response and suggested, “The school has financial aid for students in need. Would you like to apply for it?”
After some consideration, Yan Jingze declined. The financial aid for students in need wasn’t substantial enough to improve their living conditions. Moreover, he was currently renting an apartment off-campus. If he accepted the aid, how could he explain that a “financially needy” student was living off-campus?
Yan Jingze had lost some weight due to being too busy, and the excess fat around his waist had disappeared. On the other hand, Jiang Pingxiu had gained weight and appeared to have grown taller!
Speaking of which, although the car wash provided accommodation, there weren’t many meat dishes available. Moreover, no one cooked in the mornings. The owner simply left some boxes of instant noodles for people to eat as they pleased.
At that time, even though Jiang Pingxiu could eat his fill, he didn’t have the best diet.
Now, things were different.
Every night, Yan Jingze made sure Jiang Pingxiu had a late-night snack. Breakfast was also quite substantial. As a result, Jiang Pingxiu gained a lot of weight and looked much healthier.
Not only that, the person who used to keep to himself and work without speaking much was now always chatting with others.
“Brother Zhang, my brother makes late-night snacks for me every night!”
“Brother Wang, the braised chicken legs in A University’s cafeteria are so delicious!”
“Master Chen, my brother comes to pick me up every night!”
He used to stutter a bit when talking, but now he didn’t even stutter anymore!
Furthermore, whenever he had free time, he would stick close to Master Chen and learn his skills.
In addition to car washing, their shop also provided automotive detailing services, which was the most profitable aspect. Master Chen’s skill in repairing cars was the reason for his high salary and regular nine-to-five work schedule. Jiang Pingxiu wanted to learn Master Chen’s skills so he could earn more money in the future.
In the blink of an eye, winter vacation arrived.
Most of A University’s students went home, but Yan Jingze didn’t. He even took on more work from the tutoring center – he still needed money!
However, he didn’t have to rush to attend school anymore, which made things a bit easier. He had more time to spend with Grandma Jiang.
Grandma Jiang was an easygoing elderly lady, and she genuinely believed that Yan Jingze was omnipotent. She was compliant with whatever Yan Jingze said.
In front of Jiang Pingxiu, she occasionally complained a bit, feeling that the food was too good, and eating so well every day might displease the heavens. But in front of Yan Jingze…
Yan Jingze gave her as much food as he wanted, and she obediently finished everything she was given. At most, she’d eat less rice if there were too many vegetables. After being taken care of like this for over a month, the previously thin old lady became as plump as Jiang Pingxiu.
Yan Jingze observed the changes in these two people by his side and was quite satisfied.
He liked his current life.
Jiang Pingxiu liked his current life even more.
He even felt that his recent days were like a dream!
His grandmother had come to be with him, Yan Jingze lived with him… and Yan Jingze was treating him exceptionally well!
All of this made him uneasy, but he couldn’t bear to let it go.
This day happened to be a rare day off for Jiang Pingxiu.
Recently, he hadn’t been having breakfast at the car wash shop. The instant noodles at the shop were almost gone. Xiao Zhang handed him a few packs to take home. That afternoon, Jiang Pingxiu cooked instant noodles and had them with his grandmother.
“These instant noodles are really delicious! There’s so much flavor!” Grandma Jiang exclaimed as she ate, “When you were a child, the instant noodles I bought for you had just one seasoning packet.”
Jiang Pingxiu nodded in agreement, “Yes, they are really tasty, Grandma. Instant noodles come in many different flavors!”
Grandma Jiang continued, “I’ve been living quite well lately… I even get to eat meat and eggs in every meal. In the past, I never thought life could be this good!”
In terms of food, Jiang Pingxiu wasn’t as sentimental as Grandma Jiang. He knew that city people ate meat in every meal.
However, he was just as amazed as Grandma Jiang that such good things could happen to him. Throughout his life, he had always been b*llied and disliked, but now, Yan Jingze liked him.
He finally had a home he liked!
Jiang Pingxiu and his grandmother enjoyed their instant noodles and soup. They ate contentedly. Just as they were eating, Yan Jingze returned.
Seeing Yan Jingze, Jiang Pingxiu felt a bit guilty and wanted to hide the bowl he was holding.
He had previously asked Yan Jingze not to prepare breakfast or late-night snacks for him. He said he could just eat instant noodles at the shop. But Yan Jingze hadn’t agreed and even said that instant noodles were junk food and he shouldn’t eat them too much.
Now, he was secretly eating instant noodles without Yan Jingze knowing, which…
Yan Jingze indeed didn’t want Jiang Pingxiu to eat junk food like instant noodles. However, when he saw Jiang Pingxiu eating, he wasn’t angry.
Especially when Grandma Jiang was there saying, “Xiao Yan, you’re back? These instant noodles are so delicious, do you want some?”
“Grandma, I’m good,” Yan Jingze smiled and then took the meat and vegetables he had just bought into the kitchen.
The school cafeteria was closed, so from now on, they would have to cook their own meals.
In addition, Yan Jingze had something else to discuss with Jiang Pingxiu.
After lunch, when Grandma Jiang went to sleep, Yan Jingze called Jiang Pingxiu into the room, “Pingxiu, there’s something I want to discuss with you.”
“What is it?” Jiang Pingxiu asked.
“After the New Year, would you consider quitting your job at the car wash shop and continuing your studies?” Yan Jingze asked.
“Studying?” Jiang Pingxiu was puzzled.
“Yes, going back to school. You’re still young, and it would be good for you to study,” Yan Jingze said.
“But what about money? I need to earn money…” Jiang Pingxiu was suddenly a bit flustered.
“I can earn money,” Yan Jingze showed his phone to Jiang Pingxiu, “Look, now I can earn over ten thousand a month. I can support you.” He had gained confidence after receiving his own salary, allowing him to bring up this topic with Jiang Pingxiu.
“But… but…” Jiang Pingxiu didn’t know what to say. His mind was flooded with thoughts.
Of course, he wanted to study. How badly he wanted to study!
But he simply didn’t have the money to do it right now.
Living in the city with his grandmother required money for everything – food, drink, clothing, and shelter.
Yan Jingze was earning a lot of money now and could indeed support him, but he felt that he couldn’t use Yan Jingze’s money.
“How can I use your money?” Jiang Pingxiu said.
“If I can use your money, why can’t you use mine?” Yan Jingze countered.
Jiang Pingxiu fell silent for a moment.
When he gave Yan Jingze money, he felt satisfied that Yan Jingze needed him. But if he used Yan Jingze’s money, would Yan Jingze dislike him? Would he be unwanted in the future?
He wanted to be with Yan Jingze, wanted to be with him forever.
Yan Jingze continued, “We were poor before, that’s why we couldn’t afford to let you study. But it’s different now. We have money, and you must go to school.”
Seeing Jiang Pingxiu still hesitating, Yan Jingze ruffled his hair, “Think about it. When I graduate from university in the future and work in a big company, sitting in an office, what should I tell people when they ask me what my partner does? Should I tell them you wash cars?”
That wouldn’t do; it would be too embarrassing for him to say that. However… would Yan Jingze be willing to be with him forever?
Jiang Pingxiu had never been confident. He had always believed that he and Yan Jingze would eventually separate. But now… was Yan Jingze really willing to be with him forever?
Jiang Pingxiu stared at Yan Jingze without blinking.
Yan Jingze couldn’t hold back and kissed his forehead, “Pingxiu, I believe that as long as you study hard, you’ll definitely get into a university!”
Jiang Pingxiu froze completely – Yan Jingze had actually kissed him!
Yan Jingze didn’t care how complicated Jiang Pingxiu’s mood was. He took Jiang Pingxiu to the bedside and placed his junior high school textbooks in Jiang Pingxiu’s hands, “Starting today, whenever you have time, read these books. I’ll try to figure out a way for you to attend a senior high school in the next semester.”
Jiang Pingxiu had just graduated from junior high school half a year ago. He could go sort things out, restore Jiang Pingxiu’s school record, and find a private high school with lenient enrollment requirements for students who didn’t make it to regular high schools. If that wasn’t possible, a vocational school was an option too – many vocational schools now offered the possibility of advancing to higher education and even pursuing master’s degrees later on.
As long as he was willing to study, there was always a way.
And studying a few more years in school was definitely better than engaging in manual labor at such a young age!
“I didn’t study well in junior high, I might not understand these books.” Jiang Pingxiu felt anxious.
“If you don’t understand, you can ask me,” Yan Jingze said. “You should quit your job by the end of the year and spend the next six months at home reviewing.”
“Brother Jingze, can I really go to high school?” Jiang Pingxiu looked at Yan Jingze. Almost all the students from their previous junior high school stopped studying after junior high. High school seemed distant to them.
“You can!” Yan Jingze said, “If you can’t go to high school, you can go to vocational school. As long as you work hard, you will definitely be able to go to university in the future.”
Yan Jingze sounded so confident, as if sending Jiang Pingxiu to school was an incredibly simple matter.
Jiang Pingxiu looked at him and suddenly felt a surge of courage.
He was going to study, he was going to show Yan Jingze that he was amazing.
“Brother, I will definitely work hard and find a way to get into university.” Jiang Pingxiu’s face was serious, his eyes shining with determination.
Unlucky Bear – here’s a Link for a short clip. He’s an unlucky bear who gets into accidents most of the time. lol
I got confused a bit with the timeline here, like the new year part. But then, oh right. He’s probably talking about the Chinese New Year. lol