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Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Chapter 7

Chapter 7

Ji Bie had something on his mind, but he still slept well, and in the afternoon, he slowly walked from the hotel to the school for class.

Monday afternoons were for elective courses. Ji Bie arrived at the door of the French class and happened to meet Zhu Yin, the president of the debate club. Zhu Yin pulled him to the back row, and they sat together. Zhu Yin asked him why he left last night.

Ji Bie didn’t say anything, so Zhu Yin asked again, “I heard Duan Yuan went back to China?”

In Ji Bie’s school, as long as the students’ academic performance wasn’t too bad, they could generally transfer from the middle school department to the high school department.

The number of students in the school was also small, and most people knew that Duan Yuan and Ji Bie had always been at odds, often conflicting. It wasn’t until Duan Yuan went on an exchange program in high school that things calmed down a bit. People also knew that in front of his little followers, Duan Yuan always referred to Ji Bie as “the dog he raised at home.”

Ji Bie went to school with Duan Zhu every day, which was never a secret.

Zhu Yin and Ji Bie weren’t in the same class, but they had known each other for a long time. Zhu Yin even helped Ji Bie fight back in junior high, almost getting disciplined together. Ji Bie didn’t hide anything from him, so he said, “Came back the day before the competition.”

“Did you go back to stay last night?” Zhu Yin opened his textbook and asked him.

Ji Bie vaguely replied, “I stayed outside with a friend.”

Zhu Yin nodded, and the class started. They both listened attentively.

As Ji Bie sat in class, he was distracted, thinking about the past.

Initially, Ji Bie didn’t attend this school because Duan Yuan said, “He’s not worthy.”

Mr. Duan never bothered about Ji Bie’s affairs—he believed that his wife, a prestigious house’s well-bred lady, wouldn’t mistreat Ji Bie in such trivial matters.

Mrs. Duan arranged for Ji Bie to attend a public school downhill. That school started earlier, and in mid-August, they had to go for military training, and there were no dormitories.

At that time, Duan Zhu went abroad for an exchange program in advance. Ji Bie was addressed as “Young Master Ji” in the Duan household, but he couldn’t order around the driver, nor did he want to. So every morning, he had to walk half an hour to the bus stop halfway up the mountain, take a bus for forty minutes, and then transfer to another bus to get to school.

On the day Duan Zhu returned for Christmas break, it rained heavily.

Ji Bie’s umbrella broke in the wind, so he walked downhill in the rain. The temperature was low, and the water soaked him from head to toe. Ji Bie was too tired to be angry; he just wanted to reach the bus stop as quickly as possible to find shelter from the rain.

Halfway there, a car sped past him, splashing Ji Bie with water.

Ji Bie had no energy to be angry. He numbly continued walking. After a while, the car that had just passed him returned. The window rolled down, and Ji Bie saw Duan Zhu’s face.

Duan Zhu looked at Ji Bie with a subtle expression and asked, “Where are you going?”

That gaze remained fresh in Ji Bie’s memory.

Ji Bie always felt that Duan Zhu probably thought he was dirty from being soaked. Duan Zhu had the driver turn around to ask out of courtesy. After all, when Ji Bie was in the first year of middle school, he didn’t interact much with Duan Zhu. At most, when Duan Zhu was at home, Ji Bie would sometimes awkwardly follow him around to temporarily cease hostilities, but they didn’t often talk.

However, Duan Zhu had never admitted that his gaze was one of concern.

Ji Bie got on the car, dripping wet. A pool of water quickly formed on the genuine leather seat, flowing towards Duan Zhu.

Seeing the water about to flow towards Duan Zhu, Ji Bie immediately pointed at Duan Zhu’s leg and said, “Stand up quickly!”

But it was too late; Duan Zhu’s pants were also wet. The driver could only drive them home.

Duan Zhu asked Ji Bie, “Where are you going?”

Ji Bie said he was going to school. Duan Zhu frowned, looking at Ji Bie’s appearance, he probably knew what happened while Ji Bie wasn’t at home.

Duan Zhu didn’t ask further, but a few days later, Mr. Duan suddenly came back home. Mrs. Duan cried, and Ji Bie’s school records were transferred to a new school, in the same grade but different class as Duan Yuan.

All the students in the new school came from powerful or rich families, but they were all decent people. Ji Bie had a good personality and was interesting; he was popular at school. Duan Yuan’s usual tactics of ostracizing people didn’t work here; everyone revolved around Ji Bie instead, which made Duan Yuan hate him even more.

It was fine when the two didn’t meet, but whenever they did, Duan Yuan would surely provoke Ji Bie.

Duan Zhu arranged for a car to take Ji Bie to school, and when he returned from his exchange program, he and Ji Bie went to school together.

When Ji Bie was in middle school and Duan Zhu was in high school, the middle school ended classes half an hour later than the high school. Ji Bie had to wake up half an hour earlier every day. When he was sleepy, he could fall asleep anytime, anywhere. At first, he would doze off by the window, and later, he would doze off leaning against Duan Zhu.

Although Duan Zhu was usually cold, he never pushed Ji Bie away—or maybe he did, but Ji Bie was asleep and unaware.

Later, there were a few times when Ji Bie woke up and found himself lying on Duan Zhu’s legs. Duan Zhu didn’t say anything and even placed his hand on Ji Bie’s shoulder, as if preventing him from falling. At first, Ji Bie would apologize politely, but later, he would just lie directly on Duan Zhu’s legs.

Duan Zhu was indeed good to Ji Bie, and Ji Bie could tell. Even though Duan Yuan verbally took advantage of him and called him a dog, Ji Bie didn’t take it to heart.

The French teacher summarized the main points on the podium and allowed the students to have free conversation.

Zhu Yin glanced at his phone and leaned over to Ji Bie, saying, “Tonight, Duan Yuan is inviting people out for dinner.”

“Did he manage to make plans?” Ji Bie asked casually.

Zhu Yin shook his head and replied, “Only a few of his cronies are willing to go.”

Ji Bie shrugged, lowered his head to look at his textbook, and Zhu Yin glanced at him for a while before asking again, “Didn’t you say last time that you wanted to move out of the Duan family’s house?”

“Yeah,” Ji Bie said as he picked up a pen and started writing words, “I want to live in the dorms. Duan Zhu hasn’t agreed yet, but once I’m legally an adult, nobody can stop me.”

Ji Bie wasn’t sure what Duan Zhu meant by “wait and see,” but Duan Zhu wouldn’t harm him, maybe there were other arrangements; Ji Bie just couldn’t guess what they were.

“Even when you’re legally an adult, you’re only in your second year of high school. What can you do?” Zhu Yin said.

At that moment, the French teacher walked over, and the two pretended to engage in conversation and didn’t continue the topic.

After Ji Bie’s father passed away, there was a large compensation payment, half of which went to his mother, and the other half Mr. Duan put into a trust for him, which he could access when he turned eighteen.

Ji Bie planned to move out of the Duan family’s house by then; he shouldn’t be living there once he was legally an adult. He also planned to visit his father’s hometown. Over the years, he hadn’t had any freedom at the Duan household, so he didn’t dare to make any extra requests. There were many places he wanted to go, but Ji Bie had never been to any of them.

He had a thick notebook where he recorded every penny the Duan family spent on him since he could remember and recognize characters(words). When he started earning money in the future, he would pay it all back.

The auxiliary class ended early, and Ji Bie took his backpack and wandered towards the teaching building for seniors. As he passed the playground, he ran into Duan Zhu and his classmates.

Duan Zhu walked over to Ji Bie immediately, wanting to carry his backpack for him, but Ji Bie didn’t allow it.

Ji Bie often went to save seats for Duan Zhu, and Duan Zhu’s classmates were also familiar with Ji Bie. They teased Duan Zhu, saying, “Brother Zhu, your real little brother is here. You don’t see anyone else in your eyes, yet you still want to carry his bag.”

“No, no, no,” Ji Bie said with a shiver, sounding disdainful, “I don’t want to be his little brother.”

“Mmh,” Duan Zhu raised his hand and patted Ji Bie’s raised hair down, whispering, “I don’t want that either.”

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