Chapter 31

Translator: XHu

Editor: Isabelle

Quality Check: Kittsune

First Published on Ainushi.

 

In the end, I ended up passing my marketing economics quiz. However, it wasn’t all due to my own effort. My brain wasn’t as smart as the twins’, and in the past my good grades were due to how much harder I worked than everyone else. It took time and energy to work hard, and a pop quiz didn’t leave me with enough time to prepare.

When I thought I would surely and mercilessly be failed by the steel-hearted professor, Zhao Yi Xuan gave me a notebook titled “Summary of Main Points and Exam Practice Questions”. The fine and carefully printed handwriting in the first half of the notebook was Zhao Yi Xuan’s, while the brazen and messy handwriting in the second half was Zhao Yi Bo’s.

If I were a little more ethical, I would have refused to look at this notebook. If I hated them just a tiny bit more, I would have completely disregarded their expression of kindness. However, imagining the severe look on my professor’s face and the threat of the fifteen percent of my grade made me spare no regrets.

I spent two entire days memorizing all the summary points and practice questions in the notebook. After the quiz, I successfully managed to maintain my academic rank at the top of the Informatics Department, and I strengthened my reputation as a talented woman.

The twins always seemed very busy. Aside from going to school for classes, they also went to the Zhao family business to handle some affairs. Sometimes, they would stay up late into the night working in the study, and wouldn’t come to my bed until very late. Since they only hugged me to sleep, sometimes I wondered if they weren’t making love to me because they were so busy that they didn’t have the strength or weren’t in the mood to.

Despite all this, they still managed to prepare a booklet of summary points and practice questions for me. This thick packet of materials must have taken them a significant amount of time.

Should I be thanking them for this? I didn’t know! The only thing I was sure about was that I felt my heart soften a little bit because of this.

“Shi Qing Xia, come to the Emerald Western Bar by the campus entrance at 4 PM today. Someone wants to see you.” The hateful entitled rich girl, Chen Yan Mei, once again showed up in my classroom. Her appearance stirred up quite a frenzy, and the male students in the class gazed at the outwardly beautiful campus belle with curiosity and admiration. The girls stared with envy and jealousy at the priceless clothes and accessories she was dressed in. However, they all seemed to be wondering the same thing: why did such a precious beauty come looking for such a worthless, average-looking woman like me?

I wasn’t in the mood to pay any attention to her, and I didn’t want to meet a stranger I didn’t know. However, I was curious about what kind of person could make the high-and-mighty Chen Yan Mei convey a message for them.

At 3:40 PM, my last class of the day ended, and I decided to call Mama Yu so we could go shopping at the supermarket for some fresh groceries and meat. Right now, I was so poor that I couldn’t even buy a loaf of white bread, so I could only depend on Mama Yu to pay the bill. I wanted to make a fine dinner for the twins to repay them for preparing those exam notes.

“The young masters both like to eat mild things. Young Master Bo is preferential towards fresh fish, particularly salmon. Young Master Xuan likes chicken.” While we were at the supermarket selecting ingredients, Mama Yu simultaneously spoke about the Zhao brother’s preferences.

“They like to eat plain things? But why are you always making intensely-flavored dishes? For instance, yesterday we had mapo tofu [1] and braised red beef [2],” I asked doubtfully. Aside from the days that I was just recovering from my injury, the table was always covered with strong Sichuan or Shandong-style food [3]. I had always assumed that they liked to eat strong foods like these.

“Since you like to eat strong-flavored foods, the young masters especially ordered me to make them.” Mama Yu said this to me as she examined the fresh fish on the shelves.

I blanked for a moment. It was true that I liked to eat strong-flavored foods, especially spicy [4] things. The spicier it was, the better. These days, the food that we had every day was very compatible with my tastes, so I was always very happy to eat. On the other hand, I never paid attention to exactly what they liked to eat, but they had been observing me for the things that I liked the entire time. In order to match my tastes, they even changed their eating habits.

A faint feeling bubbled inside me. The hatred that I had for them seemed to slowly and gradually ease little by little as I continued to find out more about them.

Perhaps I would be able to forgive them one day, but today was not the day.

Women’s shopping habits were truly frightening — it took quite a lot of effort for Mama Yu and I to lug our spoils from grocery shopping home. The kitchen was so full that it made me feel as if we had practically brought the entire grocery store back with us.

I started to prepare dinner, and Mama Yu acted as my assistant chef. Very quickly, we completed a full set of dishes that looked, smelled, and tasted great. The set included Zhao Yi Bo’s favorite pan-sauteed salmon and Zhao Yi Xuan’s favorite fried chicken and scallion.

The doorbell rang. Since it was about time for them to come home, I untied my apron and got up to answer the door.

But the person at the entrance wasn’t the Zhao brothers. Rather, it was a woman I had never met before. Before I was even able to ask who she was, a sudden slap harshly struck my face.

I brought my hand to the burning part of my cheeks, and I was so startled that I didn’t know how to respond. I only continued to take one vicious slap after another from this woman.

What the heck was going on?

 

Translator’s Notes:

 

[1] Mapo Tofu: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapo_doufu  [back]

 

[2] Braised Red Beef: http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/04/red-braising-with-chili-bean-paste-irish.html  [back]

 

[3] Sichuan-style food is particularly famous for being spicy, and it is common to find restaurants that serve this type of food in the West. Shandong-style food is not as common in the US — it’s a provincial cuisine style that’s notable for its fried and roasted foods. [back]

 

[4] “Mala” – A particular kind of spicy in Chinese cuisine that is more numbing than hot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mala_sauce [back]

 

 

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