Thanks to the Editor for pointing out issues
Bringing Along a Ball And Hiding From Foreign Devils
Chapter 25 – Panic
Ren Zhouyuan wanted to take that step forward, but he felt embarrassed. He thought how righteous he sounded when he rejected Leonid, and he even looked down on his kind gestures. Now that he might have to say, “I want to live with you”, which made him feel shameful.
He planned to wait for Leonid to make the suggestion again, then he’d accept it. Unexpectedly, he had to wait for one whole week, and Leonid had stopped asking him this or that. Every time he passed by, he just politely said hi, then he’d go back to his office in a serious manner.
Ren Zhouyuan felt uneasy. He thought to himself, had he scared Leonid away? But then, he instantly realized that he’s just overthinking.
Rowan wasn’t in the office these days, but Ren Zhouyuan still got calls from him sometimes. He’d dispatch some work to him remotely. Leonid even forwarded calls to Ren Zhouyuan, making it impossible for Ren Zhouyuan to talk about anything else.
Suddenly, Ren Zhouyuan had more documents to deal with. And everyone in the office became busier. Several managers were on business trips overseas. All these seemed to have happened all of sudden, making Ren Zhouyuan totally confused.
Initially, Ren Zhouyuan wanted to ask Rowan what was happening, but Rowan just seemed to have totally vanished. He couldn’t be reached by phone, and he wasn’t in the office either. Fortunately, after Ren Zhouyuan finished with his documents, he grabbed this opportunity to ask Leonid.
He knocked on the door lightly, then he slowly opened the door of Leonid and saw the inside.
Leonid didn’t see Ren Zhouyuan, as he was fully focused on his files. He frowned deeply, and his index finger covered his mouth, his thumb was supporting his chin. His other index finger was knocking the desktop, and he was clearly annoyed with a lot of things.
Ren Zhouyuan sensed that it’s not the right time for any discussion with Leonid. He didn’t want to disturb his work, but when he was ready to leave, Leonid raised his head.
Seeing that it was Ren Zhouyuan, Leonid’s eyebrows relaxed a bit, he paused what he’s doing and let him in.
Ren Zhouyuan walked in obediently and put the documents on Leonid’s desk. “This is the copy that Rowan told me about two days ago. Please see if there are any problem with the idea. If all is ok, I will translate it into Chinese.”
Leonid looked at it and nodded. There were no more instructions.
Ren Zhouyuan felt that the atmosphere was a bit awkward. He couldn’t sit down nor leave. He was just standing there, staring at Leonid.
Then, Ren Zhouyuan’s facial expression was becoming blank. When Leonid raised his head and looked at him, Ren Zhouyuan was a bit scared and he quickly took a step back.
Leonid laughed helplessly. At this moment, he finally put down his pen, touched his nose and let Ren Zhouyuan sit down.
Ren Zhouyuan still felt a bit shy and he scratched his head, “are you busy? I will not bother you then.”
Leonid made a gesture meaning that it’s fine. When Ren Zhouyuan sat down, he asked, “how’s your work lately?”
Ren Zhouyuan shrugged his shoulders, “I’m fine. But I’ve seen that everyone in the office is busy. Has anything happened?”
Leonid didn’t want to hide it from him anymore. He nodded, “lately, we’ve encountered some problems when entering the Chinese market. The political environment in China is too complicated, business and polices are interrelated, and for ‘imported goods’ like us, the Government has always been cautious.”
It has been quite some time since Ren Zhouyuan took the job, and he also had some understanding of what Leonid had said. The government wanted to suppress the power of Vichy, as it wanted to enjoy the fruits after its success. The education department wanted a part of it as well. It was going to use the syllabus directly, and make use of the excellent resources of Vichy to provide free training to the teachers. However, this situation has always been like that, and Vichy has always been handling it well, how come problems only occur now?
Leonid said, “if we want to operate independently, we must accept the strict requirements of the Government. They want us to prove that Vichy is accepted by the Chinese market. For this, we have submitted a large number of proposals and documents, and we have been expanding our enrollment. However, it’s still not enough.”
Ren Zhouyuan listened carefully to him and was thinking whether he could be of any help.
“We have searched for a group of scholars and we hope to find some scholars who simply study Chinese literature to endorse us. We hope to find these scholars to write for us. Such manuscripts will look more impressive than those who study Chinese and Western literature.”
Ren Zhouyuan raised his eyebrow. He probably understood this approach. The speeches of these scholars would be more valuable than most of the others. If they could invite some important scholars, even the governmental departments and the education department had to act more respectfully.
“We’ve been trying to invite one of them. Although that scholar has never made a public appearance, we know already that he’s a young scholar. He studies ancient Chinese literature and has remarkable achievements in archaeology. Compared with the old-fashioned scholars, we think that he’s more suitable, and maybe he can understand our new way of thinking and accept some western ideas as well.”
When Ren Zhouyuan was listening, he felt that there were quite a few suitable candidates around him. And later, he began to realize that the person described by Leonid seemed to be someone he knew.
“Then, what has happened to the person that you’ve just mentioned?” Ren Zhouyuan asked.
Leonid smiled bitterly, “he has recently rejected our offer.”
“Oh?” Ren Zhouyuan was a little surprised. According to the usual practice of Vichy, the fee for manuscript shouldn’t be low. He did not expect this scholar to reject the offer. There’s still something that Ren Zhouyuan didn’t understand, “if he refuses, then we can look for other scholars. Perhaps they wouldn’t be as good, but surely they can be useful?” It’s not like a person can cause a big earthquake in the company.
Leonid sighed and he was clearly exhausted, “we had great hopes for the scholar. Although he did not formally promise our request, he hadn’t rejected us either. We pinned all our hope on him, and we didn’t expect this.”
“The people of the Education Department knew about this and approached to us. After being rejected, here they are. If you put it in nice words, they’re here to look for cooperation. But they’re actually here to pressurize us. These days, we’ve been travelling everywhere, just to look for someone to replace that important scholar.”
In fact, both Leonid and Ren Zhouyuan understood that even if they could find these scholars to endorse Vichy, they might still not be able to solve their problems. However, this was the only solution somehow. They had to try anyway.
Ren Zhouyuan didn’t know what to say. Whatever he could think of, Leonid seemed to have already thought much ahead. It’s like whatever he said wouldn’t make much sense.
The atmosphere became awkward again. After a while, Leonid suddenly recalled his task during this time. After a few days, he almost forgot about his “wife pursuing plan”.
He asked a few things about An An. Ren Zhouyuan had adapted well these days, and he answered to Leonid’s questions. He was still thinking about what Leonid had just said. For a moment, he almost forgot the reason why he entered his office. Leonid seemed to ask unintentionally, “I will go to Haicheng in the next few days, do you want to move in with An An first? The home has been arranged according to the things you picked before. While I’m not there, you can also ask the driver to prepare some stuff for you.”
“Well?” Leonid’s tone was too normal, and Ren Zhouyuan couldn’t respond for a moment.
But Leonid was not in a hurry either. For some reason, he sensed that Ren Zhouyuan was a little different today. Therefore, he had some expectations, and he was quietly waiting for his response.
After a short while, Ren Zhouyuan finally made a decision. He blushed and stuttered, “oh? Oh…I…I will go there with An An straight?”
Leonid suddenly realized that there’s a chance! He tried not to get too happy, then nodded and said plainly, “then pack your stuff when you’re home, and I’ll pick you up.”
“Oh, oh…” Ren Zhouyuan dared not look at Leonid. He lowered his head and silently, and his chin could almost touch his neck. His heart was beating crazily, like Leonid had seen him through. He wanted to say something, but his mind went blank.
Leonid looked at him walking soullessly out of his office. He couldn’t help but make a victory gesture after closing the door. However, after a few seconds, there were again footsteps came from outside. Leonid immediately sat straight up, he was thinking to himself, was Ren Zhouyuan coming in to reject him again?
Ren Zhouyuan suddenly opened the door, and his face still looked red. He walked to Leonid’s table in three steps. He looked at him seriously, took a deep breath, and his face looked even redder.
Leonid was shocked by his gesture, but could not be more astonished by what he said next –
“The son is yours, and he’s mine too. I gave birth to him!”
After finishing this sentence, Ren Zhouyuan stared at him, his face still reddened, and walked out of the office. When he closed the door, he immediately heard things falling inside the office.
Ren Zhouyuan was shocked, but immediately smiled. He thought, Leonid had scared for so long by putting An An in his tummy, now it’s time for him to be scared.