Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
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Yu Hao looked at Zhou Sheng, and Zhou Sheng’s intent was very clear in his gaze — this is the kind of work you like ba?
Yu Hao said, “I don’t have a background in media studies, nor have I undergone any systematic interview training……”
“What I want isn’t a professional reporter anyway.” Lin Ze said, “All those skills can be taught, what I need is an ‘investigative’ reporter.”
Zhou Sheng’s expression changed instantly. Yu Hao still remembered that occupation, but there were very few people doing it nowadays. This group of people were the most barbarous types of hoodlums, and the content of their interviews were almost entirely against the government. In the face of trans-provincial dangers, there were even some who would abuse their authority, resulting in a rather bad reputation.
Zhou Sheng said, “You want an intern who hasn’t even graduated yet to be an investigative reporter?”
Lin Ze nodded, “Yes.”
Yu Hao said, “Are there any investigative reporters who are still alive right now?”
Lin Ze nodded, “Yes — me.”
Yu Hao pondered for a long while before saying, “What about my boyfriend?”
Lin Ze said to Zhou Sheng, “I’ve considered your family’s background, I don’t think this job is suitable for you.”
Zhou Sheng couldn’t say anything in response to that.
“Will there be someone who will guide me?” Yu Hao asked, “There are……a lot of things that I don’t understand at all.”
“Of course.” Lin Ze said, “Someone will guide you; there are two reporter teachers, both of whom have a background in social work before they became investigative reporters, as well as an editor. If everything proceeds smoothly, this team will be very strong.”
Yu Hao said, “Can I confirm this again: I’ll have to work in Beijing?”
“You’ll work in Beijing.” Lin Ze explained, “But there will be frequent business trips that’ll require you to travel around the country.”
Yu Hao said, “I’ll have to think about it.”
Lin Ze said, “There’s no need to rush. I have one last question and this question will decide whether I want you in the team or not. Please answer truthfully, and tell me what you truly think. Because if our values aren’t aligned, you won’t be able to last in this team.”
Zhou Sheng and Yu Hao looked at Lin Ze together.
Lin Ze said in earnest, “Do you think journalists report the truth for the government, or the people?”
Yu Hao thought, chief editor boss, are you sure it’s okay for you to ask that? Are you trying to guide me into becoming a Public Intellectual or something? He couldn’t help but recall many of the arguments brought up in Southern Weekly, as if the more fiercely they quarrelled with the government, the more proof it was of their capabilities. Everyone who really wanted to do this job would probably answer in the same way ba.
Yet what Lin Ze asked was, ‘what do you truly think’, so Yu Hao earnestly considered the question for some time. What did he truly think? In accordance with all the experiences he had accumulated so far, he had come up with a vague answer in his heart.
“The government and the people shouldn’t be opposing each other in the first place.” Yu Hao said, “A lot of reporters like to place the country’s regime and public opinion on opposing standpoints, when in fact, we should be trying to create opportunities for them to understand each other……”
“Alright.” When Lin Ze heard the start to Yu Hao’s answer, he took out a pen and wrote down an address, then handed it to Yu Hao. “Report after National Day ba, you can report and take up your post at any time……”
“Are you really willing to come? This job will be a bit difficult for people who have just started working.” Situ Ye asked Yu Hao.
“He’ll come,” Lin Ze said, “I have faith. During your internship, I’ll give you 3,000 per month. A teacher will guide you for one project, while you’ll finish one project independently. If there are no problems with those two projects, you’ll become a full-timer with 4,800 for your basic salary, The bonus you’ll get for a manuscript won’t be much, but you can treat it as an additional stipend, though you’ll only get it once at the time it’s first issued……”
Yu Hao took the piece of paper, thought about it for a bit, then said, “Let me finish……there’s them, and there’s us, everyone is a part of society……”
Lin Ze said, “The world needs both Master Zhaos and bastards, that’s what it means; there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng, “……”
Lin Ze finished Situ Ye’s cup of coffee, then got up to say goodbye to them.
Zhou Sheng, “Will you solve the problem of a Hukou in Beijing for us?”
Lin Ze said, “In, your, dreams! If there was an opening, I would’ve wanted it for myself a long time ago!” Then he went out to hail a cab and left with Situ Ye, leaving behind Yu Hao who was holding onto the piece of paper with the address as he and Zhou Sheng looked at each other.
Yu Hao held that piece of paper and left the cafe with Zhou Sheng, then stood in the mall’s atrium.
He didn’t expect to have found an internship like this.
“Do I go?” Yu Hao asked.
“Didn’t you already have an answer in mind long ago?” Zhou Sheng smiled as he answered.
Yu Hao sorted out the leaflets and wanted to distribute it within the atrium. The air-conditioning worked well here. Zhou Sheng said, “I’ll book a ticket for you when we get back? I’ll find a job in Beijing, the money we have should be able to last us for a few months. If we run out of money, I could become a delivery guy?”
Yu Hao suddenly said, “Zhou Sheng, Hubby.”
The two of them held Fu Liqun’s leaflets. Zhou Sheng fell silent for a short while, and he knew what Yu Hao wanted to say. Ever since they got together, Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng has always had a sort of tacit understanding between them both.
“Go ba.” Yu Hao said, “Just like how you want me to become a reporter, I hope you can go abroad to further your studies too.”
“I won’t, the old man told you?” Zhou Sheng looked unconcerned. He held the leaflets and sat down with Yu Hao at the fountain in the mall. Opposite them was a row of luxury stores that looked as resplendent as royal palaces, and people adorned in glamorous attire went in and out of them. Two students sat by the fountain as they looked at the leaflets in their hands.
“Then, go to your father’s company?” Yu Hao asked.
Yu Hao cast a sidelong glance at Zhou Sheng, then looked at the papers in his hands.
“You won’t be an ordinary person who will live an ordinary life.” Yu Hao earnestly said, “Getting admitted to our college was just an accident in your life……”
Zhou Sheng looked at one of the shops not too far away.
“……just like all the courses in your class, whether it be cycling, or long distance running, or swimming……in all tests, either big or small, you’ve always ranked first. Once in awhile, you fail to exhibit your true abilities, so you ended up coming in last.” Yu Hao said, “You fell down temporarily, but padding the bottom isn’t how you should be living……”
“I padded the bottom for the sake of meeting you.” Zhou Sheng suddenly smiled a little sadly, “I’m grateful for padding the bottom this time.”
“I’m grateful for it too.” Yu Hao smiled as he said, “But I also know that it’s time for you to wholeheartedly go all out and get first place now. You can be a CEO, so why be a delivery guy? It’s not for anyone else, it’s just to prove to yourself that you can do it.”
Yu Hao had always been thinking about how to tell Zhou Sheng what he truly thinks these days —— every time he helped Zhou Sheng send out his resume, Yu Hao would be extremely doubtful that even if these companies do want Zhou Sheng, how meaningful would it be for Zhou Sheng to join them as an administrative, logistics, or sales staff?
He needed a place where he can act freely, to realise his own value, and shine with his own brilliance.
Zhou Sheng answered a phone call.
“Un okay, got it, 10.30 am the day after tomorrow?” Zhou Sheng said, “Which company are you calling from?”
An internship call came right at this time.
“Okay.” Then Zhou Sheng hung up.
Yu Hao asked, “Which company?”
“Real estate.” Zhou Sheng casually said, “For selling second-hand houses.”
Yu Hao couldn’t remember sending Zhou Sheng’s resume to an agency that dabbles in selling second-hand houses. He smiled at Zhou Sheng and shrugged. “Do you want to go? I don’t think you want to.”
At this moment, a delivery guy who was drenched in sweat came by the mall’s atrium as he walked in quickly. From the looks of it, he seemed like he was barely able to stand it anymore, and he stood by the edge of the fountain for a while.
“Take a seat, buddy.” Zhou Sheng said, “It’s seriously too hot outside.”
Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng quickly got up to make space for him. Zhou Sheng rummaged through his bag and got out an unopened bottle of mineral water that he had intended to give Yu Hao, then handed it to the delivery boy.
“Thank you.” That little bro was all tanned from basking in the sun and quickly nodded at them gratefully.
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng, “……”
Zhou Sheng looked at Yu Hao, and Yu Hao was stunned at once. He looked at Zhou Sheng — that person wearing the helmet of a scooter was Liu Pengxuan! Yu Hao’s gaze was filled with disbelief, Liu Pengxuan was actually a delivery guy now?
Zhou Sheng had seen him before in Yu Hao’s dream, but Liu Pengxuan hadn’t recognised Yu Hao yet. He was all tanned and skinny. He should’ve quit his drug addiction by now, but his body was in a really bad shape — his eyes were sunken in, and he kept gasping for breath, while the back of his yellow T-shirt was soaked in sweat. He drank two mouthfuls of the mineral water, stood up in the atrium, and looked up at the higher levels of the shopping mall. Amongst the dazzling line-up of takeaway shops, he confusedly tried to identify which takeaway the customers had ordered, then quickly ran up the escalator and went to grab takeout from the fourth floor.
“Why does he look like……” Zhou Sheng said.
“Pengxuan.” Yu Hao said, “Seems like him.”
Zhou Sheng, “Yes yes, your ex-boyfriend.”
“Not my ex-boyfriend!” Yu Hao said, “I only liked him for a short while during junior high.”
Zhou Sheng looked up and watched Liu Pengxuan go up to the fourth floor, then enter a barbeque shop to fetch takeout. “I’ll go up to him and beat him up for you?”
“If you think it’s appropriate, then go ba.” Yu Hao didn’t know if he should cry or laugh, “Beating up a delivery boy for no reason...if you can do it, I have no objections.”
After getting together with Zhou Sheng, he had already completely and thoroughly forgotten that person. There was even a short instant when Yu Hao couldn’t even remember what his name was.
“It’s actually him?” Yu Hao hadn’t recovered from his shock. He was delivering takeout now……but after thinking about it, it did seem reasonable……Liu Pengxuan didn’t get into college after graduating high school. If he wanted to support himself, then this would be the best choice for him……when he thought of this, Yu Hao couldn’t help but sincerely thank the advisor who had persuaded him to continue his studies. His advisor was practically his benefactor.
“But why didn’t he recognise me at all?” Yu Hao thought that even if Zhou Sheng went up to him and beat him up right now, Liu Pengxuan would just find it baffling ba?
Zhou Sheng said, “You’ve become more handsome now ah.”
Zhou Sheng fished his phone out and took a selfie of him and Yu Hao. Yu Hao asked doubtfully, “I have?”
Zhou Sheng scrolled through his album to find a photo of him on Mt. Tianqing three years ago. When the two photos were compared side by side……Yu Hao was wearing a set of shirt and pants that were so worn out they looked discoloured, and the words on his T-shirt were really blurry as well. He looked so incredibly old-fashioned, and only his looks were barely passable. Now, in the picture he took with Zhou Sheng, both of them were wearing custom-made T-shirts, fashionable jeans, and his eyes were both bright and filled with spirit.
Yu Hao thought okay then, there actually was such a huge change, then cast a doubtful glance at Zhou Sheng.
“How in the world did you end up liking me then?” Yu Hao said, “I looked so damn old-fashioned.”
“But a common cat has a cuteness unique to them too.” Zhou Sheng laughed to himself. He looked at the photo of them in the past and draped on arm around Yu Hao’s shoulders.
Liu Pengxuan took his takeaway, then ran down again energetically. When he was running out of the mall, he looked back.
He stopped running and looked at Yu Hao for a few seconds from afar, appearing stunned. Yu Hao thought that Liu Pengxuan might have recognised him, just that he was extremely uncertain and thought that it couldn’t have been the same Yu Hao. Zhou Sheng waved at him with much ease, then Liu Pengxuan left.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), kee.