Chapter 2: Jiang Churan
Henyee Translations Henyee Translations
Suddenly, a loud ringtone wrenched Chen Fan's mind out of his reverie.
He glanced at the caller ID which read: Mom!
"Is this Fan? Are you almost at Chu Zhou City? Auntie Tang should be waiting for you outside the bus station right now. I told her to find a place for you in Chu Zhou City and help me take care of you while you stay there. Do not blame me for being such a tiger mom and sending you away. You know how low your grades are right now. If you do not work hard, you could not even make it into a good university. So, I had to pull some strings to send you to the best school in the city. You listen to Auntie Tang while you are in Chu Zhou City, you hear me? She was one of my business partners while I worked in Chu Zhou City. Really nice people!"
Hearing his mother's harsh voice for the first time after hundreds of years sent a warm current through Chen Fan's body; tears welled at the corner of his eye.
"Mom, I get it. I will study hard, I promise," despite the tears, he replied with a bright smile.
This was the first time he had heard his mother's voice ever since she passed away five hundred years ago, or a few years later, depending on which time-line Chen Fan looked at.
Mother had always been a distant and fuzzy concept to Chen Fan since they did not have many opportunities to meet each other.
His mother, Wang Xiaoyun, was the very definition of a willful woman. After having been held up as the object of ridicule by her own family, she had sworn to prove them wrong. In a fit of anger, she took Chen Fan's sister, An Ya, to the international metropolis of Zhong Hai, and created the Splendor Real Estate Group. By the time Chen Fan went to college, the Splendor Group had grown into one of the largest companies in Zhong Hai, and Wang Xiaoyun was known as the Queen of Real Estate.
Therefore, Chen Fan could not have remembered much about her, at this point in time in his past life. It was not until she died in a car accident did Chen Fan finally realize how much his mother meant to him.
She had always been the backbone of the family. Chen Fan remembered that his father's hairs turned gray overnight after her accident. It was as if the tragedy had sucked his father's soul out of him, rendering him into an empty husk.
"Ah! I almost forgot to tell you. The Tang family has a daughter, and her name is Jiang Churan. Unlike you, she is a straight-A student. Your Auntie is very keen on setting you two up, but I had to warn you that studying is your priority right now!" Wang Xiaoyun said.
Chen Fan laughed in his mind.
Chen Fan paused a second and then said, "Mom, do not worry, I will study hard. Promise me that you will pay more attention to your health and safety while you are in Zhong Hai, particularly when you are driving. Is Sister going to get her driver's license soon? When she does, you better let her drive. I do not trust your driving skills, Mom. Sooner or later you will have an accident! "
"Okay, okay, since when did you learn to preach to your mother? Anyways, I have to go. I have already wired some money to your account but try not to waste it!" Wang Xiaoyun hung up the phone.
Chen Fan knew that although his mother was a resourceful and talented businesswoman, she was not the most detailed and meticulous person. Without the help of his sister An Ya, her company would be plagued by minor mishaps and mistakes.
The thought of his sister An Ya brought another bout of pain to his heart.
Aside from Xiao Qiong, his sister and his mother were the two other greatest regrets of in his previous life.
"I owe her a big one, and I don't even know how to make it up to her." Chen Fan kept his silence; after all, how could he assign a value to familial ties.
As Chen Fan was engrossed in his reflection of his past life, the bus arrived at the destination.
Looking at the flood of people passing by him at the bus terminal, reality finally hit him. He was back; he was seventeen years old, younger, and better than he ever had been.
"Another life, another story." Chen Fan cracked a smile, and then he followed the crowd to the exit.
Meanwhile, outside of the Chu Zhou City bus terminal, something had caught the crowd's attention: an imported red Audi-A6.
This car's worth was seven hundred thousand yuan in 2007. It was no doubt a rare sight of luxury in the street of Chu Zhou City. However, the car was not what the public was gawking at; it was the two women standing right in front of it.
The older one looked like she was in her thirties; she had a beautiful face and was wearing a black dress tailored to her curves, a formal white shirt, and a pair of high heels. No doubt she was an elite-class woman with a white-collar job.
The younger one was no older than 16; she was tall and was as beautiful as the older woman if not more so.
They were Auntie Tang and her daughter, Jiang Churan. Jiang Churan surveyed the exit of the bus terminal with a frown.
"Mom, when will he be here, do you want to call him?" Jiang Churan asked impatiently.
"We have only been waiting for ten minutes." Auntie Tang refuted.
Chen Fan's mother had been her best friend in Chu Zhou City, and she could not let her down. Wang Xiaoyun trusted her, and naturally, she had to do her best to look after the child.
"Chen Fan is a very good child. Be nice to him! You two are going to be schoolmates, so I hope you will get along. This is the first time he's leaving his county, so he is not familiar with life in the city. You need to take care of him." Auntie Tang said.
"I know… I know, Mom! This is the thirteenth time you have told me the exact same thing!" Jiang Churan complained.
Because of the stupid country boy, she thought she had to waste her entire afternoon outside of this stupid bus station under the stupid sun. She could have been spending time with her friends at the Starbucks with a cup of pumpkin spice latte in her hand right now; but no, she had to be here and be miserable.
What's worse; she had noticed the way her mother had mentioned his name to her: she was trying to set her up with that boy. "Well, over my dead body!" Jian Churan thought to herself.
Suddenly, she heard a voice calling out to her mother.
"Sorry for keeping you waiting, Auntie Tang." The boy politely greeted her mother with a gentle smile.
"Is this Chen Fan?" Jian Churan quietly regarded the boy from head to toe while standing behind her mother.
He was of average height, 5'7″ if not less, the same height as she was in her flats.
His look was…. pedestrian at best, and his taste in fashion was definitely questionable.
She shook her head slightly. "He is overrated, not nearly as cool as Li Yichen."
Li Yichen was her classmate, president of the school's student council and the son of the deputy mayor of Chu Zhou City.
Li Yichen got both the good looks and a good family. He was one of the pursuers of Jiang Churan, one that Jiang Churan actually liked. The two were already regarded as a couple on campus.
Auntie Tang smiled at Chen Fan. She was very pleased with Chen Fan's courtesy.
"Xiao Fan, this is my daughter Jiang Churan."
"She will start her last year of high school next semester, and you will be schoolmates. She is three months younger than you. You can call her Ran-ran, make sure that you look after her for me at school, will you?"
Chen Fan nodded and smiled. "Don't worry, Auntie Tang, I will treat her like my own sister."
Afterward, he turned around to look at the girl who he had liked, hated, and eventually forgotten about in his past life.
Her name was Jiang Churan.
She was not only Auntie Tang's daughter, but also his high school classmate and the first girl that he had liked.
Chen Fan reminded himself that the year was 2007, before the real-estate boom and her mother's sudden rise to power. Therefore, in the eyes of the mother-daughter pair, he was just a country boy.
"That was the first time I left the backwater county to a prosperous city. I was young and foolish. How could I not fall for an upper-class beauty such as Jiang Churan?"
The flashback made Chen Fan lighthearted. What a foolish boy he had been!
He should have known better. There was no way that Jian Churan, the princess who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth would have had any feelings for him. Chen Fan shook his head.
"I remembered that she eventually fell in love with the most popular boy at that time, Li Yichen, the son of the deputy mayor of Chu Zhou City. Later, the two of them went to Zhong Hai University together and started officially dating each other. I had been quite devastated by that development."
Chen Fan was no longer the boy he had been five hundred years ago. What would he do this time? Would he make a proper closure to this secret infatuation?
Chen Fan took the initiative and reached out a hand. "Hello, my name is Chen Fan, from Si Shui County. We will be classmates in the future. Let me know if you ever need any help!"
Although Jiang Churan had hurt him once, he had made a promise to Auntie Tang that he would protect her.
Jiang Churan had to admit that although the boy was not handsome by a long chalk, he was not entirely an eyesore. The features on his face could even be pleasing to her eyes, depending on the angle she looked at them.
"Unfortunately, his family was too poor; we could be friends at best." Jiang Churan lamented in her mind as she shook Chen Fan's hand.
"Very well; I will take you up on it." Jiang Churan said, and then her lips thinned into a smile.
Her father was a high-ranking government official, and her mother ran a million-yuan company. She had never thought that she would ever need any help from Chen Fan.
Auntie Tang put in, "Get into the car, we will go to your new place and drop off the luggage first. Then we will go to my house for lunch. Where I will introduce you to your uncle."
"Okay." Chen Fan nodded with a smile.
After getting into the vehicle, they headed toward Chen Fan's new house in the Lakeside Community.
This was a mid-range residential property in the Chu Zhou City. The scenery was beautiful as it was surrounded by trees and was right next to Yangui Lake. It was also not far from the Ivy League High School where Chen Fan would be studying. Chen Fan was led to a large furnished one bedroom suite. It came with air conditioning, hot water, bathtub, TV, sofa, and a refrigerator. It was evident that Auntie Tang had spent a lot of time preparing for his stay in the city.
"Thank you, Auntie Tang, for all of this," Chen Fan said sincerely. Auntie Tang was one of the few people who had been genuinely nice to him.
She was a business partner of his mother, Wang Xiaoyun. She ran an architectural design company and was considered a successful woman.
Worried about her son's low grades, Chen Fan's mother sent him to the best private high school in the City of Chu Zhou: the Ivy League High School and Auntie Tang had been taking care of him ever since. Not only had she helped him with accommodations, but she had also packed him lunch from time to time.
Looking back on his past life, Auntie Tang had always been there looking out for him.
"You are too polite. Your mother has entrusted you to me so that I will take good care of you. Plus, I had always wanted a son," Auntie Tang said with a smile.
"Thank you." Chen Fan nodded, and he was ready to repay Auntie Tang's loving care in his past life.
Auntie Tang felt the sincerity in his words, and she was even more impressed by the boy. Compared to that cocky city boy, Li Yichen, Auntie Tang preferred Chen Fan as a son-in-law. Money and power were not the key to a happy marriage; honesty and integrity were.
After a while, they drove out of the Lakeside Community, and towards the Tang family residence.
Jiang Churan and Chen Fan were sitting side by side in the back seat. They only exchanged a few words before the girl completely lost interest in Chen Fan. She was out of his league. None of them spoke a word to each other, dragging out the silence. Chen Fan eventually put on a tired look and rested his head against the window and pretended to be sleeping.
Although Chen Fan had given her a good impression during their first meeting, she didn't like to talk to people who were less popular than her, especially when the boy was ignoring her in the first place.
She knew the likes of him: pretending he was not interested, thinking that he could make her feel jealous. She had seen too many boys play that trick on her, but none had succeeded.
However, Chen Fan was not even remotely interested in her, much less in the mood of playing tricks. His mind was occupied by his cultivation.