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Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Chapter 22

Chapter 22

On the Saturday of the lunar New Year, more than a year later, the undergraduate student union of V University held a New Year’s party on the rooftop terrace of Vice President Zhou Linjiang’s new penthouse apartment.

The number of undergraduate students studying at V University is not large, totaling around forty. After subtracting those who were absent and those who had family members visiting Boston for the New Year or were celebrating with their significant others, there were only thirteen single students left. They gathered together, keeping each other warm and company for the New Year.

In order to catch the Spring Festival Gala broadcast from China, everyone spent the previous night at the vice president’s house.

Zhou Linjiang’s penthouse apartment was spacious. Three girls occupied the master bedroom, while ten boys competed for beds, sofas, and carpets.

Ji Bie was skillful and arrived early. He and Zhou Linjiang were in cahoots, creating distractions and chaos. They rushed into the guest bedroom and locked the door, ignoring the storm outside, enjoying themselves on the guest bed.

This year, the Duan family gathered at their old house in the suburbs of Boston to celebrate the New Year. Duan Zhu had gone there the day before yesterday, but concern did not come too late. When Ji Bie saw Duan Zhu’s incoming call, he asked Zhou Linjiang to turn off the game music and answered it.

“Haven’t you slept yet?” Duan Zhu asked him.

It was a trap, a language trap.

Ji Bie neither confirmed nor denied it, very obediently telling Duan Zhu, “Waiting for your call.”

Zhou Linjiang glanced at Ji Bie and turned off the game.

Ji Bie transferred to V University this semester. He had a lively and outgoing personality and was well-liked, but there had never been any romantic indications. Suddenly speaking in such a suggestive tone immediately triggered Zhou Linjiang’s gossip-loving instincts to care for his classmates.

Ji Bie obviously also felt Zhou Linjiang’s gaze. He quickly muted the phone and informed Zhou Linjiang, “*Family head.”

*家长 – head of family/patriarch/parent/guardian.

Zhou Linjiang suddenly realized and reopened the game.

The guest bedroom also had a small balcony with glass windows. Ji Bie took his phone and pushed open the door to step outside.

Duan Zhu asked him, “Are you already at Zhou Linjiang’s place?”

“Mmh, I’ll be up early tomorrow,” Ji Bie said honestly.

Ji Bie’s new life didn’t separate from Duan Zhu, but it wasn’t as close as before either.

He transferred to the same school as Duan Zhu, but whether Duan Zhu had helped behind the scenes, he didn’t know. At least on the surface, it seemed like he hadn’t.

Duan Zhu was very busy, and they didn’t interact much at school. Few people knew about their private relationship. Duan Zhu had become much more restrained than before. Even during the process of Ji Bie renting an apartment, he didn’t interfere. At most, when Ji Bie was considering sharing an apartment with someone else, Duan Zhu would lean in and say, “Just rent whatever, I can live anywhere.”

Ji Bie had no choice but to rent a decent apartment. Unless there was something urgent, Duan Zhu always stayed at Ji Bie’s place.

Duan Zhu had been used to a life of luxury since he was young. Before, the house was taken care of by a steward before he moved in. Ji Bie hadn’t noticed it before, but now that they moved into a new house with nothing, Ji Bie realized how difficult Duan Zhu could be. There were always deliveries every day, none of which Ji Bie would have bought.

Ji Bie had hesitated for a while, feeling that Duan Zhu didn’t need to be so hard on himself. If they were going to move in such a superficial way, they might as well move back. When Ji Bie brought it up, Duan Zhu surprisingly disagreed. Duan Zhu genuinely enjoyed the feeling of living in a small space with Ji Bie. He said that this way, Ji Bie would always be under his watch, and he wouldn’t be distracted when doing things.

The traces of Duan Zhu’s life at home were too strong. He even left company documents scattered around. Ji Bie didn’t dare to let anyone visit.

Once, when Duan Zhu wasn’t home, Duan Weiran came to find Ji Bie for something. Ji Bie thought there was nothing to hide from her, so he took her upstairs.

Duan Weiran briefly thought that Ji Bie and Duan Zhu had broken up, but when she went upstairs and saw that Duan Zhu’s valuable items were scattered all over the apartment, she realized otherwise.

“I had a deadline before and pulled an all-nighter at the library, didn’t have time to tidy up,” Ji Bie explained when he saw Duan Weiran’s silence.

Duan Weiran waved her hand and said, “I understand, I understand.”

Ji Bie gave the items to Duan Weiran, and the two chatted for a while. Duan Weiran described to him the atmosphere during the Chinese New Year a few months ago when the relatives from the Duan family’s side pursued and flattered Duan Zhu.

Ji Bie’s affair with Duan Zhu didn’t affect Duan Zhu’s position at home. However, since that incident, every Chinese New Year, Duan Zhu spent it with the elders. The older members of the Duan family also visited Boston more frequently. Although Ji Bie didn’t communicate with Duan’s family members, when they came, Duan Zhu didn’t return to Ji Bie’s place. But he did call Ji Bie, and there was never any avoidance.

“Oh, those people definitely wouldn’t have imagined that the young master is now living with you—” Duan Weiran said halfway, feeling uncomfortable, so she didn’t continue.

“It’s a bit of a hardship for him,” Ji Bie didn’t get angry. “I’ll get a bigger place next year.”

He had made some investments with the trust fund, and the returns were decent. Including Duan Zhu in his plans didn’t seem inappropriate; instead, it gave him peace of mind.

Ji Bie used to refuse to face it.

People need independence, their own lives, and to pursue careers they love. These are all correct, but Duan Zhu is different. Duan Zhu is his home.

No matter how far he goes, he will always come back home.

On the eve of New Year’s Eve in Boston, it suddenly started snowing. The snowflakes hit the glass window of Zhou Linjiang’s balcony one by one, and the air was filled with swirling white flakes.

Duan Zhu asked from the other end, “Ji Bie, are you listening?”

Ji Bie snapped out of it, paused for a moment, and asked Duan Zhu back, “What?”

“I said,” Duan Zhu patiently repeated, “your New Year’s gift is on the bedside table. Take a look tomorrow and see if you like it. I’ll try to come back early.”

Duan Zhu still treated Ji Bie like a child, enjoying preparing gifts for him.

Ji Bie also began to keep Duan Zhu in mind wherever he went. Both of them were adapting to a new way of love, starting from scratch to learn how to get along, speaking their minds, staying grounded, and progressing step by step.

After saying okay, Ji Bie and Duan Zhu chatted for a while. Duan Zhu had to go and pay respects to his grandfather, so he hung up the phone.

Back in the bedroom, Ji Bie looked at Zhou Linjiang, who was lying on the bed playing a mobile game. After thinking for a moment, he said to him, “Lin Ge, I have to go out for a while.”

“Sure,” Zhou Linjiang replied without looking up. “Where are you going?”

“To find someone,” Ji Bie said.

Ji Bie went downstairs with his car keys. For convenience, he had bought an ordinary car himself.

He still had some psychological shadows about the old house, but thinking of Duan Zhu, he still drove there.

There weren’t many pedestrians on the road, and the snow was intermittent. The ground wasn’t covered in much snow. Ji Bie didn’t dare to drive too fast on the slippery road, and he wasn’t very familiar with the route. When he saw the gate of the old house, it was almost dawn. He drove around the perimeter wall and saw only one room with its light on. The lights in the other rooms couldn’t be seen, whether they were all asleep or the curtains were drawn.

Ji Bie took out his phone again and hesitantly dialed Duan Zhu’s number. Duan Zhu answered quickly. Ji Bie asked him, “Where are you?”

“In the room,” Duan Zhu said.

“Look out the north-facing window of your room,” Ji Bie said.

Ji Bie saw that the curtains of one room were pulled open, emitting a bright warm light.

“Can you turn off the light?” Ji Bie asked him.

Duan Zhu was ready to sleep, but when he received Ji Bie’s call, he still did as he said, opened the curtains, and turned off the light. Ji Bie then hung up the phone.

The snow outside started falling heavily, and even through the darkness, the snowflakes could be seen falling steadily.

A light suddenly appeared in the dark night. Duan Zhu was stunned for a moment, looked outside, and pulled the curtains open a bit more.

The light flashed on and off, with varying lengths, repeating twice. After repeating it once more, the light paused for a moment before lighting up again.

Duan Zhu carefully noted it down and realized that Ji Bie didn’t say anything cheesy.

HNYGN

Happy New Year, Good Night.

Indeed, he just wanted to accompany Duan Zhu to cross over the New Year, even if they couldn’t meet in person. Knowing that they were very close, he said good night to him again.

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