Chapter 17: “I’m not looking for you, I’m looking for Zhou Zui.”
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xiao Ke’s two lessons were the first to be tested in their college, and the papers should be ready at the end of December. As long as the assignments were handed in, and there were no absences in the few times when the class was randomly checked, then the students could basically pass if they got a perfect score.
Although the test paper was not very easy, the usual grade accounting for 40% was also a bit too much.
The young class president sent a Weibo chat to pry information from him, politely asking if he could reveal some key points.
Xiao Ke told them to review well, and he would not give them the key points.
The small class president was very sad when he sent a, [Please be accommodating, Handsome Xiao. The book is too thick so we have no idea where to start reviewing from. I carry the task given by the whole class to ask. I can not be accountable for this without asking something.]
Xiao Ke replied to him, [So, let’s do it this way- if I give the key points, then I can change the usual grade to 20%. You can consider it.]
The small class leader immediately said, [No Professor Xiao, do not need the key points. 40% is OK.]
Xiao Ke replied to him with an [Ok] expression.
After a while, the class president asked again, [Did you take the medicine you got last time? I’ll get you some more in a few days.]
Xiao Ke looked at this text message and thought about it before replying to him, [I appreciate the thought, but I didn’t take the medicine. Give me the contact information directly.]
In fact, Xiao Ke did not eat that medicine as he really could not take Chinese medicine pills since it would kill him. He took the medicine pills directly back to Old Xiao since Old Xiao was not afraid of bitterness, and also loved to take them.
The small class leader did not insist and sent him a number directly.
Xiao Ke saved it and planned to buy some for Old Xiao when those ones were finished as according to Dr. Xu, the effect was quite good.
Xiao Ke put away his phone and continued to think about the difficulty of the exam paper. In fact, he read it several times before he finally went through it again and thought it was okay and then sent it to the Director of Education. He still had two weeks of classes left in the semester, and after the exams, he was basically on semi-vacation.
Except for a case study he had to follow, he basically had nothing else to do this winter.
In the past, Xiao Ke did not care that much about going to work or going on vacation, but now it was different as he was looking forward to the vacation. After all, Professor Xiao was on a mission now.
Xiao Ke was packing his things to leave work when he received a WeChat. It was surprisingly Jiang Tao. They had not contacted each other since adding each other as friends, and this was the first message in the chat interface besides the friend authentication.
Jiang Tao, [Professor Xiao, is it you who ordered the massage chair? My mother said it was particularly comfortable. I let you go through the trouble, Professor Xiao, thank you.]
Xiao Ke sent back to him, [Working is not easy, so it’s great if Auntie is comfortable with it.]
Jiang Tao said, [Then I will not say thank you. In the future, if there is a need for me, don’t hesitate to say it.]
Xiao Ke smiled back at him, [Don’t worry, I’m sure I won’t be polite to you.]
Jiang Tao was an honest man and spoke in a straightforward manner which was unlike Fang Xi and Old Cao who were so familiar. However, Xiao Ke had a very good impression of him as a child from the mountains where that air of purity still remained.
That massage chair cost Xiao Ke more than 10,000, as he had bought the same one for Old Xiao and Dr. Xu. Fang Xi hid 20,000 yuan and it was directly returned, however, this massage chair would not be returned to Xiao Ke. Since the elders were using it, it was really good and heartwarming. He was not in the circle of people, and he was tied to Zhou Zui as an outsider. He was actually doing a favor for Zhou Zui. Xiao Ke knew that in his heart, and Zhou Zui also understood.
It was impossible for him not to run to Zhou Zui on weekends, but his heart had always been thinking about it so he was sure to go whenever he was free. Before going this week, Xiao Ke took a special detour and went to the florist to pick up flowers by himself. The flowers he was given that day were very fresh, champagne-colored, white roses which looked very pure and youthful. Xiao Ke felt like he was 18 years old when he got his hands on them while chasing his first love in life.
Xiao Lin 1 was giving free manicures in the front lobby, and when she saw Xiao Ke enter, she greeted him with a smile. “Hi.”
“Good morning.” Zhou Zui also greeted her.
Xiao Lin lifted her hand and pointed towards the inside while whispering, “The boss is here, working, he started early today.”
Xiao Ke nodded and walked inside.
As soon as he came in, he saw Zhou Zui who was tattooing someone on the second floor against the railing, and he was tattooing the back shoulder. He was sitting sideways while very focused, so he did not see Xiao Ke when he walked in.
Xiao Ke stood downstairs for quite some time, and kept looking up at Zhou Zui who was working.
The man who seriously worked was the sexiest, and this saying had been said to the death. However, this time, Xiao Ke really felt that there was truth to this saying. Zhou Zui was so focused while his every movement, every look, the tensed arm muscles, and his cold hardened jaw line were all fascinating.
“Brother Zhou, it hurts a little.” The man sitting in front of Zhou Zui was a strong man that had an inch of hair and was dressed quite trendy like a fashionable chubby man.
Zhou Zui did not respond and finished that small piece of color before stopping to ask him, “Can you not stand it? Want to take a break?”
“It’s okay, I can hold on, but just now, that spot was particularly annoying.” The strong man was sitting backwards in the chair so that he could rest his arms on the back of the chair.
Zhou Zui adjusted the color material, and when his eyes looked at the picture swept downstairs, he saw Xiao Ke. It was an inadvertent glance since there were always people downstairs so he did not take it seriously. He was about to continue when he suddenly paused. He turned his head to look downstairs, and saw Xiao Ke holding a flower bouquet in one hand while half-leaning on the side of the sofa while smiling at him.
Zhou Zui froze for a few seconds before he said, “Why didn’t you speak up?”
“I saw you were too busy to interrupt.” Xiao Ke raised the flowers in his hand and shook them. “Teacher Zhou, your flowers have arrived.”
Lu Xiaobei was downstairs in a room doing tattoos and heard Xiao Ke speak inside so he shouted, “The flower god has come?”
“Ah, do your work.” Xiao Ke also raised his voice and said, “I’m not here to see you.”
Xiao Ke heard Lu Xiaobei laugh and say “fuck.”
He went upstairs with the flowers, and Zhou Zui’s coil machine was buzzing. Xiao Ke was standing next to him with the flowers in his arms so Zhou Zui paused his hands and hooked a stool with his foot before he swung it to the side and tilted his chin. “Sit.”
Xiao Ke then sat next to him and watched quietly.
Today, he was working on a hawk where the lines were intermittent. Xiao Ke also knew that Zhou Zui’s drawings were not always full of lines while some of them did not even follow the process of outlining and directly sweeped the colors to make the matte surface. Today’s drawing, Xiao Ke could only see the skeleton of a wing which seemed to be a wing, but looked more like a human’s winged scapula.
The strong man in the front probably was in a little pain as he had a grimace on his face which looked hideous. Xiao Ke looked and wanted to laugh.
Xiao Ke was still staring at the drawing and pondering about it when Zhou Zui suddenly spoke up, “Put down the flowers?”
Xiao Ke looked at him and hooked the corners of his mouth. “It’s okay to hold it. You look at it twice more. Otherwise, it will go straight into the bucket later.”
The strong man in front of him suddenly made a sound and looked back at them both, “You two…?”
Xiao Ke smiled and nodded at him as he was very sure of his tone, “Us two.”
The strong man opened his mouth and looked at Zhou Zui, “Brother Zhou you…You’re pretty wild, huh?”
“That’s wild? I’m just sending flowers, how is that wild? My flowers are not pure?” Xiao Ke pointed to his flowers. “Look at my flowers again, are they wild?”
The strong man laughed and turned back.
Zhou Zui gave him a look. Xiao Ke’s eyes were frank and straightforward, and he blinked a little. Zhou Zui felt a little helpless, “Stop it, Professor Xiao.”
Xiao Ke then nodded his head and agreed very quickly, “Okay, fine.”
He sat while quietly watching him work on the drawing that became clearer and complete under his hands which was a process Xiao Ke found very enjoyable and amazing. Every once in a while, he could feel that Zhou Zui’s reputation was not without reason, and that his skills were really excellent and powerful. Finally, the outline came out to be a human-headed bat that had human bones in the wings which was a bit scary at first glance.
“Tired? There is a bigger chair over there.” Zhou Zui said with a sideways glance.
Xiao Ke shook his head. “I’m not tired, don’t mind me.”
Sitting in front, the strong man was quite tired and would every now and then have to change positions in small increments. He had a bunch of snacks and drinks on the shelf in front of him, and Xiao Lin came up after a while to ask him if he wanted to eat anything and if he was thirsty. She also asked Zhou Zui twice, but Zhou Zui shook his head.
Xiao Ke later put down the flowers and went to pour Zhou Zui a glass of water. From the moment he sat here, he didn’t see Zhou Zui move so he hadn’t drunk any water.
“Drink water.” Xiao Ke handed him the glass of water, but Zhou Zui didn’t take it and shook his head before he said, “No.”
Xiao Ke didn’t take it away and said, “Drink, your mouth is dry.”
Zhou Zui looked up at him and did not say anything, but he took off his gloves to drink the water before putting the cup back into Xiao Ke’s hand. Then he changed his gloves again before squeezing on some disinfectant and rubbing them.
“Tch,” Lu Xiaobei’s voice suddenly sounded downstairs, and he looked up at Xiao Ke before he said, “You should have fed him mouth to mouth. We are working with our hands, inconsiderate Brother Xiao.”
Lu Xiaobei said this on purpose and smiled with an ambiguous expression. “Next time, remember this, or do not give him a drink. Mouth to mouth or you delay the tattoo.”
Xiao Ke actually had not thought of that. He stood up to pour water while pondering in his heart what the result would be if he wanted to be reckless by putting it directly into Zhou Zui’s mouth, but in the end, he was afraid; afraid he would not really drink. He still couldn’t figure out Zhou Zui’s bottom line, and didn’t know how far this person could take it before he felt offended.
Xiao Ke asked Lu Xiaobei, “Are you done with your work?”
“Yes, I’m done. I was sending my client back, and I looked up and saw you delivering care,” Lu Xiaobei said.
Zhou Zui didn’t even look up, just cleared his throat before he said, “Shut up and draw your tattoo.”
Lu Xiaobei pursed his lips and went out to the front room to squat as he smoked.
In the front room, Xiao Lin was still doing nail art for a little girl, who asked Xiao Lin in a whisper, “Inside…They are a couple, right?”
Xiao Lin pursed her lips and laughed, but did not say anything.
Lu Xiaobei was indebted and took a puff of his cigarette. “Them? Do they look like it to you?”
“Yes.” Some young girls were interested in this, and she said this while laughing and blushing a little, “I think they look quite good together. The brother who just held the flowers is so handsome…” The little girl also asked Xiao Lin in a whisper, “Are these two really together? They sound pretty sweet…”
“Sweet,” Xiao Lin said with a smile. “They’re sweet.”
In fact, the outside talk could be heard inside, but the voice was small so only some words were audible. Xiao Ke looked at Zhou Zui who only smiled and did not speak. Zhou Zui lowered his head to work and did not look up so he did not know if he heard or not.
It was a perfect day so Xiao Ke just ordered a lot of dishes for everyone to have a big dinner later on, but was also thinking about the need to add two bottles of wine.
The idea was interrupted by Lu Xiaobei.
Lu Xiaobei’s voice sounded very angry, “Have you come to be a dick? Hurry up and get out! Fuck off! If you’re too slow, this master will help you leave.”
The other party’s voice was hard to hear, like there was a cut on the vocal cords that made hoarse and harsh. The man laughed and said, “I’m not looking for you, I’m looking for Zhou Zui.”