Picking Up Stars

Picking Up Stars

Chapter 2 - Chapter 2

Chen Ke doesn't usually curse much, but he let out a string of expletives this time, clearly furious.

In comparison, Qin Fang was much calmer. At first he was a bit surprised and didn't know what to say, but then he actually laughed and told his roommate over the phone: "Okay, got it."

After hanging up, Qin Fang's pace didn't change at all. When he got to the supermarket downstairs, he even bought drinks for his roommates.

No wonder Chen Ke said "it stinks like hell" on the phone. It really did stink. Before Qin Fang even entered the dorm area, he could already smell the pungent odor of paint from the small supermarket outside. After entering the courtyard, he shined his phone flashlight towards his car. He didn't intend to look closely at first, but now he approached and examined it for a few moments, raising an eyebrow.

"What's going on, Fang bro?" a guy Qin Fang knew from the dorm yelled down from a balcony upstairs.

Qin Fang put away his phone, looked up and saw quite a few people peering down. He called out: "Sorry guys, it's pretty smelly."

"Hey, no worries!" Someone upstairs said, "Let us know if you need any help!"

"Thanks man!" Qin Fang waved his arm at the people above, then got in his car and drove it far away. Parking it downstairs was too stinky. Qin Fang found a deserted spot and left it there. When he returned, the original parking spot was already covered by a few bedsheets, the corners weighed down by bricks, likely the work of his roommates. This helped reduce the smell quite a bit, so the whole dorm area wasn't reeking of paint fumes.

As soon as Qin Fang opened the door to his dorm room, Chen Ke had just finished showering and their other roommate was sitting at the desk memorizing vocabulary. Qin Fang tossed them the drinks and asked: "You two put down the bedsheets?"

"Ah," Chen Ke asked him, "What are you going to do about the car?"

"It's fine," Qin Fang took off his jacket and draped it over a chair, grabbing a towel to go shower. "I won't say thanks, we're family."

"Screw your thanks," their other roommate Shen Dengke chimed in, "You're buying me a couple new bedsheets later."

"No problem," Qin Fang patted his shoulder, grinning. "I'll get our Dengke ten or eight of them."

Chen Ke snickered: "For Dengke to hang himself with?"

"What do you care what I use them for." Shen Dengke retorted.

"I'm worried you'll go crazy from studying and want to hang yourself." Chen Ke said.

Qin Fang didn't stick around to listen to their banter. He was reeking and couldn't stand it, so he went to the bathroom to shower.

As the water poured over his head, Qin Fang shook his hair and wiped his face. After a whole night of this, he was actually a bit tired and irritable. He wasn't heartbroken over the car. It wasn't some luxury vehicle to begin with, just an SUV his dad gifted him for his 18th birthday a couple years ago. He usually only drove it for getting around off campus or going home. It wasn't overly flashy - there were several nicer cars than his parked downstairs.

Earlier he had only taken a quick look using his phone light, but after driving it out to see clearly under the street lamps, he understood.

Nice color - emerald green paint.

An entire bucket of green paint was used, not a drop wasted, all splashed on his car. This color was a bit of a sensitive choice. If they just wanted to mess with him, a bucket of white paint would have sufficed. If they wanted to be eye-catching, they could have gone with red.

Deliberately choosing a bucket of green seemed rather intentional.

Qin Fang had no clue where this paint came from. He had been keeping a low profile recently, not getting into conflicts with anyone. He went to class every day like a good boy. When he didn't have class, he would hang out and fool around with Hua Tong and the others, living like a model student. Or rather, he was a model student to begin with.

His two roommates were furious. Qin Fang's pre-bedtime activity that night was listening to them curse people out. But he himself wasn't angry, just a bit baffled. Right now he had no idea who did it or why, so there was nothing to be mad about. Getting angry now would just make him look like an idiot.

The next morning, Qin Fang skipped two classes and called Hua Tong and a few other good friends over to help him clean up.

The green paint couldn't just be left spread out on the ground like that. It looked awful, like an unsightly blemish marring the dorm courtyard's smooth cement. If Qin Fang didn't clean it up himself, the janitors would have to, so he didn't want to trouble them. Wearing a black t-shirt and sweatpants, Qin Fang squatted there scrubbing diligently, with four basins of water and a pile of cleaning pads and rags stacked beside him.

"Fang bro, what's the situation?" a guy who just arrived was still a bit confused, not understanding what was going on.

"Help me out with some work," Qin Fang looked up at him from his squatting position and tossed him a cleaning pad. "Someone turned me green*."

*T/N: Analogy for being cuckolded.

"Huh?" The guy was even more baffled. "...Turned you green?"

"Yep, green in the face." Qin Fang said with a laugh.

The friends beside him all laughed too. Hua Tong squatted next to Qin Fang and nudged his arm, asking in a low voice: "Jokes aside, where did this 'green' come from? Have you figured it out?"

Qin Fang had been squatting for a while and his legs were getting numb. He shifted his weight to the other leg and said: "Haven't figured out anything."

Hua Tong looked at him and asked quite directly: "Have you asked Gong Qi?"

Qin Fang didn't reply, just shook his head.

Qin Fang was reluctant to suspect the girl without evidence. When he first started pursuing Gong Qi, she had said she was single. Besides, there was no way to ask about this. Whether they had a relationship or not, bringing it up would be quite awkward, as if he didn't trust her.

But Hua Tong couldn't be blamed for mentioning Gong Qi. Qin Fang's last girlfriend was a year ago. They broke up not long after the semester started, and Qin Fang had been single ever since. Although he and Gong Qi weren't official yet, she was the only one that could tenuously link Qin Fang to the color green right now.

Qin Fang said: "Maybe they just picked the color at random. Don't overthink it."

"Yeah, let's wait and see," Hua Tong let out a long sigh. He stood up to stretch his legs before squatting back down. "We need to find out who it was first."

Qin Fang wasn't worried about this at all. If the other party disliked him or deliberately wanted to provoke him, they wouldn't stop at just a bucket of paint. There would definitely be more to come.

In the end, Qin Fang directly sent the car to a shop to have it cleaned. He also had them touch up a few scratches from before. After picking up the car from the shop, Qin Fang went straight to the classroom. He had a politics class that afternoon in a lecture hall with over a hundred people. Qin Fang found a seat at the very edge, planning to nap for a couple hours.

While he was half-asleep, his phone kept buzzing nonstop in his pocket. Qin Fang took it out with a frown. It was Hua Tong.

In the chat window were several surveillance video clips Hua Tong had sent over. The last line of text read: Case solved, it was Zhou Siming, a junior from the chemistry department.

Qin Fang clicked on a video. The person in the footage clearly wasn't afraid of being caught on camera. He carried a bucket of paint and dumped it directly onto Qin Fang's car, not wearing a mask or hat. He probably didn't care if Qin Fang came to find him in the first place.

Qin Fang replied to Hua Tong: Awesome.

Qin Fang didn't know this person and had never even met them. The only contact he had with the chemistry department was with two male students from the student union, both quite honest science guys. Other than that, he didn't know anyone from the chemistry department.

They even knew who it was. The school was just that small, and they could instantly figure out everything about this person. With the person's contact information in hand, Qin Fang didn't go directly to find them. He was in his twenties and not that stupid. Qin Fang went to class when he had to and went home on weekends, not affected at all.

He hadn't been home for nearly a month, and Jian Muyang almost turned the house upside down. Qin Fang couldn't get through the main gate by taxi. The newly changed security guard at the guard booth didn't recognize him and asked Qin Fang whose home he was going to. Qin Fang gave the door number, and the security guard thought he was visiting and told him to call the homeowner.

Qin Fang didn't want to explain too much and was too lazy to say he was Jian Mingtao's son. He definitely didn't want to make this call; it was too ridiculous. So Qin Fang got out of the car and walked in by himself.

It was quite a long walk from the main gate to the Jian family's small building. Qin Fang walked for a long time and only made it halfway. A car came up behind him. Qin Fang didn't look back and moved aside to let it pass.

"Brother!" The car slowly stopped beside him, and Jian Muyang's voice came over, full of pleasant surprise.

Qin Fang turned his head to look. It was the driver who had just picked up Jian Muyang from school. Qin Fang smiled, "Oh, the young master is back?"

"Brother, get in!" Jian Muyang pushed open the car door. Qin Fang took off his backpack and got in. The driver greeted him, and Qin Fang responded.

"Brother, why are you walking home?" Jian Muyang asked him, "Where's your car?"

"Didn't drive," Qin Fang took out the chocolate he had brought for Jian Muyang from his backpack and tossed it on his lap, "Did you miss me?"

"I did!" Jian Muyang snuggled up to him, hugging his arm, "I have to keep reminding you, otherwise I'm afraid you'll forget you have a younger brother."

"I won't forget," Qin Fang reached over and pressed Jian Muyang's head, messing up his hair, "You call me four or five times a week to summon me. How could I possibly forget about you with such effort?"

Jian Muyang was ten years old this year, a little handsome guy. Although naughty, he was also very likable. Even though Qin Fang didn't like Jian Muyang's mother, he had never really disliked Jian Muyang since he was born.

Blood ties are very mysterious. Even if you had hostility and prejudice towards him before he was born, from the first moment you see him, it can still soften your heart.

This tenderness was Qin Fang's only concern for the Jian family now. He couldn't say he resented or hated the other people, but if he had to get to the root of it, it should be indifference. If it weren't for Jian Muyang, Qin Fang might not come back even once a semester now. There was nothing to miss, so naturally there was no need to return.

"Yangyang is back?" As they opened the door and entered, Dong Yin walked out of the kitchen and said, "I brewed you some fruit tea. Didn't you say you wanted something sweet in the morning?"

When she finished speaking, she saw Qin Fang, paused for a moment, then smiled and said, "Xiao Fang is back too? I was just talking to your dad about you yesterday. You haven't been back for quite a while."

Qin Fang gave her a faint smile.

Dong Yin was thirty-six this year, but looked very young. Even at home without makeup, she was very beautiful and had a lot of elegance. Her hair was casually tied in a bun at the back of her neck, and she was wearing a long cotton dress. When Qin Fang's gaze swept over her body and paused for two seconds, Dong Yin followed his gaze and raised her hand to stroke her slightly bulging belly.

Qin Fang looked up at her face. Dong Yin smiled at him gently and said softly, "You should come home more often in the future. You're going to have another little brother at home, or maybe... or a little sister. I hope it's a little sister."

"I also hope it's a little sister," Jian Muyang was still holding two of Qin Fang's fingers and hadn't let go even at this point. He raised his face to look at Qin Fang, shook his hand, and asked him with a hint of caution, "Brother, what do you hope for?"

Qin Fang looked down at Jian Muyang, at his fair little face with a pair of clean, big eyes. Qin Fang Gently tugged at the corner of his lips and said, "...Either is fine."


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