The Substitute Bride and the Cripple - Chapter 72
“What’s wrong?” Professor Sun fiddled with the medicine in his hand and glanced at Tang Qiu.
“Nothing!” Tang Qiu swallowed. She didn’t dare disobey Professor Sun.
“After you take the book, read it thoroughly. If you can’t finish it, the money you earned from working and studying this month will be deducted,” Professor Sun said casually.
“No, I can read it all!” Tang Qiu assured him, alarmed. Other penalties she could handle, but not having her earnings deducted.
Professor Sun snorted. Tang Qiu sat to one corner, reading, anxiety gnawing at her.
After a while, Qian Hongwei came in to talk about the data produced by the Traditional Medicine Club. He had written two papers for Professor Sun to take a look at.
When Tang Qiu heard about the Traditional Medicine Club, her eyes immediately lit up and she pricked up her ears to listen carefully. So, Qian Hongwei was the club president? she thought eagerly. This placed him in a whole new light in her eyes.
Qian Hongwei noticed Tang Qiu’s gaze and coughed lightly. He felt a little strange. She had never looked at him with such intensity before, and he had to stop himself from letting her attention go to his head, with Professor Sun in the room. He listened attentively to Professor Sun’s comments before exiting the room with newfound resolution.
Tang Qiu was disappointed when she saw him leave. She had missed her chance. She looked at the time again, hoping the rest of her duty would pass by quickly.
“What are you looking at? Are you interested in him?” Professor Sun had long noticed Tang Qiu’s gaze; her face was an open book.
“No.” Tang Qiu quickly dismissed the notion with a wave.
Professor Sun glanced away. “Don’t be shy. Far be it from me to get in the way of two young people dating. There’s no need for you to keep secrets from me.” It was obvious that Qian Hongwei had feelings for her too, from the way he had looked at her. If the affection was mutual, why skirt around it?
“I’m not hiding. Professor Sun, I…” Tang Qiu was a little embarrassed and hesitated. Should she tell Professor Sun about her marriage? But before she could finish…
Professor Sun interrupted her. “You don’t have to explain anything to me. I’m not interested. Anyway, you have to finish these books. If you don’t study hard when you’re dating, you’ll be wasting your time!”
“I’ll finish it,” Tang Qiu promised, lowering her head.
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Professor Sun couldn’t repress a smile. He had seen all this play out before. He could tell that Ning Mufan and Qian Hongwei–two of his top students–liked Tang Qiu. Her academics were not bad, but she seemed overly focused on studying; too dense to be aware of such emotional nuances. It was hard to say who would win the pretty girl’s heart in the end.
After her shift ended, Tang Qiu quickly packed her things and went to look for Qian Hongwei. At the end of the corridor, she saw a tall, straight-backed man standing by the window. Rays of sunlight bathed his face, highlighting its youthful lines. Tang Qiu quickened her pace and walked up to him. “Senior, I have a favor to ask of you.”
Qian Hongwei looked at Tang Qiu smiling brightly, as though it were a result of the sunlight. He couldn’t help but inch closer to her, their proximity filling him with a steadily growing warmth. “Go ahead. What is it?”
“I want to attend the Traditional Medicine Club to learn some skills,” she said, eyes sparkling.
“We’ll be opening up classes in six months. There’s no hurry to learn now,” Qian Hongwei replied, puzzled.
Tang Qiu explained, “I want to learn it now because I want to help my husband with his treatment. I don’t want to wait for half a year.”
Qian Hongwei’s expression darkened when he heard her mention Jiang Shaocheng.
“Senior, please do me this favor. I’ll work very hard. I’ll even help you out with some odd jobs if you need,” Tang Qiu begged, clasping her hands together.
Qian Hongwei was helpless. It was rare for her to ask him for help of her own accord. How could he refuse? He clenched his fists. “Alright, there’s an event at the club this afternoon. I’ll take you there.”
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“Thank you!” Tang Qiu bowed gratefully.
“Must you be so formal with me?” Qian Hongwei didn’t know whether to laugh or cry–it was almost painful, how sincerely she had bowed. But nothing irked him more than her asking him for help to cure her husband. Just then, he thought of something and his lips curled into a sardonic smile. If she wanted to help Jiang Shaocheng recover, he would make sure she achieved just the opposite. Sorry, Tang Qiu, he silently thought in advance.
He took her bag for her. “Do you make a habit of carrying stones around? It’s so heavy.”
“I can manage,” she replied, avoiding the hand he extended to her. “Inside are all the books Professor Sun gave me to read.”
“So many?” he asked, displeased. “Professor Sun is too hard on you.”