Chapter 5 – Wait a moment

In the wind and rain, I took a taxi back to the run-down neighborhood where I had lived for two years. After getting off the car, I instinctively looked around to see if Mi Cai’s Audi Q7 was parked downstairs.

Luckily, the car was not there. Even luckier, I hadn’t returned the house key to Mi Cai yet. I optimistically thought to myself: since Mr. Ban is only staying for one night, if she doesn’t come back tonight, everything will be smoothly resolved.

I quickly ran back to the house, put my luggage back in its original place, and made the bed. Then I stood under an umbrella at the bus stop, waiting for Mr. Ban’s arrival.

After about fifteen minutes, a bus from the long-distance bus station slowly arrived. I looked up and indeed saw Mr. Ban getting off the bus with a briefcase in his hand.

I waved and shouted at him, “Mr. Ban, over here!”

Mr. Ban came over to me with some surprise and asked, “Weren’t you going out to eat with your colleagues?”

“Eating is a small matter, but you coming here is a big deal. I can distinguish between priorities,” I said as I took the briefcase from Mr. Ban’s hand.

Mr. Ban remained silent and followed me into the neighborhood.

I complained, “Mr. Ban, since this is a business trip paid for by the government, can’t you just take a taxi next time you come here? It’s not like it won’t be reimbursed!”

“Even if it’s paid for by the government, it’s still money. Saving a little bit is still saving,” Mr. Ban said seriously.

“Our government has trillions of foreign exchange reserves stored in the United States, so they won’t be short of money for your taxi fare!”

Mr. Ban didn’t say anything. It was clear that he didn’t want to argue with me about values. He was always like this. If he believed something was right, he never wanted to explain. It was as if he was an independent world, and he had been a deputy section chief in this independent world for fifteen years.

Back in the house, Mr. Ban took out a stainless steel lunchbox from the other bag besides the briefcase and said to me, “This is the wild crucian carp I caught last week. Your mother cooked it and asked me to bring it to you. Just heat it up when you want to eat it, it’s fine even if it’s not hot.”

“Let’s eat it tonight.”

Mr. Ban looked at me with confusion and asked, “Didn’t you already eat with your colleagues?”

“I did, but you came, so I came back halfway.” Then I quickly changed the subject, “By the way, did you bring the glutinous rice wine my mother made?”

Mr. Ban nodded and took out a bottle from the bag that was originally filled with orange juice. Inside was the glutinous rice wine that I liked to drink.

Mr. Ban and I each poured a glass of glutinous rice wine, ate the cooked crucian carp and peanuts, and waited for the rice porridge cooking in the rice cooker while chatting casually.

I was somewhat absent-minded, afraid that Mi Cai would suddenly come back. It wouldn’t matter if she got scared, but if I revealed my true intentions in front of Mr. Ban, I would be done for.

Just as I finished drinking a glass of glutinous rice wine, footsteps could be heard outside the door, followed by the sound of a key being inserted into the lock. I panicked a bit, glanced at Mr. Ban, and then at the door that was within reach.

The door opened, and indeed, Mi Cai walked in. The scene in front of her made her stunned, but Mr. Ban didn’t react much. He just treated Mi Cai as someone who shared the rent with me, or maybe even as a girlfriend.

Before Mi Cai could speak, I grabbed her arm and asked with concern, “You’ve been drinking, right? Let me help you into the house… Don’t thank me, we’re roommates, it’s what I should do.”

I said politely, but from an angle that Mr. Ban couldn’t see, I raised my hand and covered Mi Cai’s mouth, then pushed her into her room in a few steps.

“Scum… Let go of me!” Mi Cai struggled and mumbled.

“Don’t scream!” I said in a low voice.

Mi Cai struggled again and took out her phone from her pocket. Even a fool would know that she was going to call the police to deal with me. My actions could indeed be considered as trespassing a private residence.

I snatched the phone from her hand and pushed her onto the bed, straddling her to prevent her from continuing to struggle. I couldn’t care less about how thuggish this position was.

In a low and nervous voice, I said, “Stop screaming, if my dad hears it, I’m dead!”

Mi Cai completely ignored me, her expression filled with fear. She instinctively raised her hand and tightly grabbed my hair.

It hurt so much that I felt like I was going to collapse. I gritted my teeth and didn’t dare to make a sound. “Be gentle, you’re almost pulling out all my hair!”

“Scum…” Mi Cai mumbled with her mouth covered.

“I am indeed a scum!” I angrily said.

Then I whispered, “But in my dad’s eyes, I’m not! He has high blood pressure. If he knows that I’m broke and don’t even have a place to live, he’ll be so angry that he’ll have a heart attack… Sister, just pity me and put up with it for one night. He’s here on a business trip and will leave tomorrow morning… I promise I won’t bother you in the future!”

Mi Cai finally stopped struggling, released my hair, but her beautiful eyes still stared at me with hatred and disgust.

I cautiously removed my hand covering Mi Cai’s mouth. This time, she didn’t scream again.

I let out a sigh of relief and only then realized that I was still straddling Mi Cai’s body. Just as I was about to apologize and get up, Mi Cai twisted her body and pushed me hard. I fell straight off the bed with a loud thud.

“Zhao Yang, what were you doing in there?” Mr. Ban heard the noise and asked.

I endured the pain and said, “I bumped into the cabinet…”

Mr. Ban didn’t ask further. Mi Cai finally looked at me with a revengeful smile mixed with anger.

“I warn you not to talk nonsense! My dad really has high blood pressure. He can’t handle any shocks. Stay in your room and don’t come out!”

Mi Cai neither agreed nor disagreed.

I made a pleading gesture, but she still didn’t say anything. I could only console myself that she had tacitly agreed. I looked at her imploringly before closing the door and walking outside.

In the living room, Mr. Ban had already filled three bowls of rice porridge and said to me, “Zhao Yang, go and bring a bowl of porridge to that girl. She should eat something after drinking. Can’t let her go hungry.”

“You should let her rest.”

As soon as I finished speaking, Mi Cai came out of her room with a handbag in hand…Given all the wrongs I had done before, it wouldn’t be too much if Mi Cai decided to skin me alive. Revealing my true colors in front of Mr. Ban now, it was indeed my retribution.

Just as I was getting nervous to the point of my legs going weak, Mi Cai, without a sidelong glance, walked towards the door. It seemed that she intended to leave the room to me for the night.

Just as I was about to breathe a sigh of relief, the usually reticent Mr. Ban spoke to Mi Cai, who was about to step out of the door, “Miss, I’ve made you a bowl of porridge. Have it while it’s hot.”

I wished for nothing more than for Mi Cai to leave quickly. I kept giving her signals with my eyes, but to my surprise, Mi Cai looked at me, then nodded at Mr. Ban, saying, “Thank you, uncle.”


The two people who were just at each other’s throats were now inexplicably sitting at the same table, eating porridge. I remained silent like a guilty suspect, always on guard against Mi Cai saying something she shouldn’t.

I occasionally glanced at Mi Cai out of the corner of my eye, not knowing what she was up to. However, it seemed that she had no intention of exposing me to Mr. Ban, and was just quietly sipping her porridge.

Mr. Ban, always reticent and more focused on his meals than others, finished his bowl of porridge first. He got up, picked up his bag, and said to me, “Since you have a guest, I’ll go stay at a hotel.”

I looked at Mi Cai and said to Mr. Ban, “Mr. Ban, don’t leave. You can sleep with me later.”

“I’ve been snoring heavily lately. You have to work tomorrow, I can’t disturb your sleep.” Mr. Ban shook his head, then took out a sweater from his bag and handed it to me, “Your mother knitted this for you.”

I took it and looked at it, somewhat puzzled, “Why did she knit two?”

“One for you and one for your future partner. The sweaters knitted at home are warm!”

I was a bit helpless. I knew Mr. Ban and my mother were subtly reminding me to find a girlfriend soon.

I looked at Mi Cai, who was still sipping her porridge, and teased, “It’s getting cold. I’ll give you a sweater later!”

Mi Cai glared at me, but ultimately didn’t lose her temper in front of Mr. Ban. I was secretly pleased.


When he was about to leave, Mr. Ban took out 3000 yuan from his wallet and handed it to me, “Take it.”

I laughed carelessly, “Why are you giving me money? I’m not short of money!”

Mr. Ban stuffed the money into my hand, “You’re my son, I know you too well. How many times have I told you, you need to plan your spending… Pay your utility bills when you have time.” He glanced at the utility bill reminder that had been dropped on the floor a few days ago.

I suddenly felt a lump in my throat. I really wasn’t a son who could make my parents worry-free. I pushed the money back into Mr. Ban’s hand, “I really don’t need it. My mother is not well, you keep it to buy her some medicine. I’ll get my salary next week.”

Mr. Ban didn’t say much, he left the money on the table, took a look at Mi Cai, and walked out the door alone.


I caught up with Mr. Ban and saw him off downstairs. The always silent him said to me, “That girl just now is not bad, she’s pretty!”

I stopped Mr. Ban, pointed to the Q7 parked nearby and said, “Mr. Ban, give up your fantasies. She’s not my type… See that car? It’s hers.”

Mr. Ban followed my gaze to the red Q7, looking puzzled. I guess he was also surprised why Mi Cai, who drove such a car, would live in such an old place.

Mr. Ban eventually chose to remain silent as usual. He was helpless about my terrible situation. Whether we like it or not, we are indeed living in an era where love needs to be proven with money. So I told him to give up his fantasies, and I was even less willing to fantasize!

That night, after Mr. Ban left me with a “work hard”, he walked away in the rain with his umbrella.

Looking at his aging figure in the rain, I read his expectations in his words. He hoped that I would work hard, marry a good girl, and give him a grandchild… But Mr. Ban, I’m living in my own helplessness and struggle, in the heaviness and pull of reality. Those many good things to be realized, can they wait a bit longer?… Is that okay?

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