My Mandarin

By Mo Bao Fei Bao

My Mandarin Chapter 1

My Mandarin Chapter 1

Hello All,

Hello All,

We'll be posting a chapter of My Mandarin every Saturday and might do more releases a week later as time permits.

We'll be posting a chapter of My Mandarin every Saturday and might do more releases a week later as time permits.

For those who've forgotten the prologue, here's a handy .

For those who've forgotten the prologue, here's a handy .

My Mandarin

My Mandarin

Chapter 1: A Brief First Love That No One Knows (1)

Chapter 1: A Brief First Love That No One Knows (1)

There was a small courtyard alongside a small street near Jingan Temple. When one pushed open the wooden gate and walked in following the cobblestone pathway, one could find a small nail salon there. Chu Jian was the owner of that salon.

There was a small courtyard alongside a small street near Jingan Temple. When one pushed open the wooden gate and walked in following the cobblestone pathway, one could find a small nail salon there. Chu Jian was the owner of that salon.

There was a business building at the end of the small street.  A nail technician training company was located on one of the floors. Chu Jian owned that company as well.

There was a business building at the end of the small street.  A nail technician training company was located on one of the floors. Chu Jian owned that company as well.

These two were her actual businesses.

These two were her actual businesses.

As for the studio, it was simply because Tong Fei had suffered setbacks in her business and came to cry over Chu Jian’s shoulder for half a night.  Finally Chu Jian decided to take out all of her savings since graduation to support her best friend for over ten years to start her own studio.

As for the studio, it was simply because Tong Fei had suffered setbacks in her business and came to cry over Chu Jian’s shoulder for half a night.  Finally Chu Jian decided to take out all of her savings since graduation to support her best friend for over ten years to start her own studio.

But Chu Jian always believed that she didn’t have much to do with the entertainment business.

But Chu Jian always believed that she didn’t have much to do with the entertainment business.

Chu Jian and Tong Fei flew back from Macao and went their separate ways at Hongqiao Airport. Chu Jian went back to her small salon and checked the appointment book.  Business was pretty good today. It was almost eight o’clock by then, with only two customers left who were close to finishing.

Chu Jian and Tong Fei flew back from Macao and went their separate ways at Hongqiao Airport. Chu Jian went back to her small salon and checked the appointment book.  Business was pretty good today. It was almost eight o’clock by then, with only two customers left who were close to finishing.

Jian Bianlin called her unexpectedly right before she tried to find someone to eat a late night meal with.  He said he was coming over to look around but he did not say for what……

Jian Bianlin called her unexpectedly right before she tried to find someone to eat a late night meal with.  He said he was coming over to look around but he did not say for what……

Chu Jian realize it until after he hung up the phone.  Did he land at Shanghai?  Why did she remember that Tong Fei had said that Jian Bianlin was flying back to Beijing directly?  Because the studio had worked with Jian Bianlin’s company, so Tong Fei should know his itinerary very well……

Chu Jian realize it until after he hung up the phone.  Did he land at Shanghai?  Why did she remember that Tong Fei had said that Jian Bianlin was flying back to Beijing directly?  Because the studio had worked with Jian Bianlin’s company, so Tong Fei should know his itinerary very well……

Did he change his travel plans?

Did he change his travel plans?

An hour and half later, a man wearing a hat with a large brim that almost covered his entire face walked in along the cobblestone pathway.  He push open the door and gave her a firm answer:

An hour and half later, a man wearing a hat with a large brim that almost covered his entire face walked in along the cobblestone pathway.  He push open the door and gave her a firm answer:

Yes, he had changed his itinerary.

Yes, he had changed his itinerary.

Cold wind blew in from the door. She pulled the blanket on her knees up a little bit and pointed to the small membership card on the counter.  “I added money to it for you.  Is this card yours?  Or is this your agent’s?”

Cold wind blew in from the door. She pulled the blanket on her knees up a little bit and pointed to the small membership card on the counter.  “I added money to it for you.  Is this card yours?  Or is this your agent’s?”

He coughed uncomfortably.

He coughed uncomfortably.

“I wouldn’t have used it if you said that it wasn’t yours earlier……”  She didn’t feel comfortable using it since she didn’t know his agent that well.

“I wouldn’t have used it if you said that it wasn’t yours earlier……”  She didn’t feel comfortable using it since she didn’t know his agent that well.

Jian Bianlin raised his chin slightly to ask Chu Jian to give him the cup of hot water next to her.  He coughed twice more, she could tell that he had heavy cold.

Jian Bianlin raised his chin slightly to ask Chu Jian to give him the cup of hot water next to her.  He coughed twice more, she could tell that he had heavy cold.

“You have a cold?”

“You have a cold?”

She passed the cup to him, but retracted her hand when he stretched out his hand to accept it.  “No. This is my cup. Wait. Let me find another one for you.”

She passed the cup to him, but retracted her hand when he stretched out his hand to accept it.  “No. This is my cup. Wait. Let me find another one for you.”

Jian Bianlin did not say anything.

Jian Bianlin did not say anything.

Chu Jian did not eat much on the airplane and she was very hungry now.  Originally she planned to go eat right after he took back the membership card. But now, she didn’t want to rush him when he wore such an exhausted look.  She carefully and quietly worked on her calculator to balance the book.  She peeked at him hoping that she would be relieved soon.

Chu Jian did not eat much on the airplane and she was very hungry now.  Originally she planned to go eat right after he took back the membership card. But now, she didn’t want to rush him when he wore such an exhausted look.  She carefully and quietly worked on her calculator to balance the book.  She peeked at him hoping that she would be relieved soon.

He slowly drank half of the hot water. Then he took over her accounting book and turned a couple of pages.  “You have invested in Tong Fei’s studio?”

He slowly drank half of the hot water. Then he took over her accounting book and turned a couple of pages.  “You have invested in Tong Fei’s studio?”

“That’s right.  Didn’t you already know it?”

“That’s right.  Didn’t you already know it?”

“How much have you invested.  Half a million?”

“How much have you invested.  Half a million?”

Two million.  She sold her small house.

Two million.  She sold her small house.

Chu Jian didn’t want to tell the truth.  “Not much.”

Chu Jian didn’t want to tell the truth.  “Not much.”

She explained to her parents at the time when she sold her small house that she was expanding her nail business and she was going to open three new stores in Guangzhou and Beijing.  She somehow managed to convince them.

She explained to her parents at the time when she sold her small house that she was expanding her nail business and she was going to open three new stores in Guangzhou and Beijing.  She somehow managed to convince them.

She could not tell the truth to Jian Bianlin because he was the person closest to her parents.

She could not tell the truth to Jian Bianlin because he was the person closest to her parents.

He turned around on the spot as if he was an inspector.  He also looked with interest at the glass wall which displayed more than a hundred nail polish bottles of various colors.  He seemed to be in deep thought.

He turned around on the spot as if he was an inspector.  He also looked with interest at the glass wall which displayed more than a hundred nail polish bottles of various colors.  He seemed to be in deep thought.

She did not know what else he could ask.  After she prayed for him to leave a third time, he, with both hands inside his jacket pockets and a pose just like the one in the cop movie he had just finished shooting in Macao, said to her,  “I called Tong Fei to have a late night meal together on my way here.  Are you coming?”

She did not know what else he could ask.  After she prayed for him to leave a third time, he, with both hands inside his jacket pockets and a pose just like the one in the cop movie he had just finished shooting in Macao, said to her,  “I called Tong Fei to have a late night meal together on my way here.  Are you coming?”

“I have not finished balancing my book.”  Halfway through her sentence, she saw him take on a serious look and changed her mind.  “But it’s ok.  I’m famished.”

“I have not finished balancing my book.”  Halfway through her sentence, she saw him take on a serious look and changed her mind.  “But it’s ok.  I’m famished.”

Chu Jian thought she must have owed him something in the previous life.

Chu Jian thought she must have owed him something in the previous life.

Chu Jian didn’t really know how things had turned out this way.  It went back more than ten years ago when they were classmates in elementary school.

Chu Jian didn’t really know how things had turned out this way.  It went back more than ten years ago when they were classmates in elementary school.

Jian Bianlin’s parents had divorced and he moved to Hangzhou with his dad from Guangzhou. They rented the house right next to hers.  So Chu Jian’s mom liked to volunteer to take both of them out whenever they had nothing else to do.

Jian Bianlin’s parents had divorced and he moved to Hangzhou with his dad from Guangzhou. They rented the house right next to hers.  So Chu Jian’s mom liked to volunteer to take both of them out whenever they had nothing else to do.

Over time, their two families became very close.

Over time, their two families became very close.

When they were in middle school, Chu Jian was still oblivious about love, but the whole class, nay, the entire grade had automatically treated her as his girlfriend.

When they were in middle school, Chu Jian was still oblivious about love, but the whole class, nay, the entire grade had automatically treated her as his girlfriend.

But she found that she did not have that kind of feeling towards him at all.

But she found that she did not have that kind of feeling towards him at all.

One day after school, while he was helping her lock her bike onto the railing in the corridor downstairs, she mustered enough courage to confess to his back…...Actually I really don’t like you.

One day after school, while he was helping her lock her bike onto the railing in the corridor downstairs, she mustered enough courage to confess to his back…...Actually I really don’t like you.

At the time, he only looked at her for more than a minute, then he carried both their backpacks to upstairs.  He didn’t show any sign of objection.

At the time, he only looked at her for more than a minute, then he carried both their backpacks to upstairs.  He didn’t show any sign of objection.

As the story developed, they should’ve faded out of each other’s life and have little contact after graduation.

As the story developed, they should’ve faded out of each other’s life and have little contact after graduation.

Unfortunately, their two families were too close, they still went out travelling together, even now…...The two became buddies. But during these years, she always felt that she was the one who betrayed him, mercilessly dumping him. She always felt a subtle feeling of guilt.

Unfortunately, their two families were too close, they still went out travelling together, even now…...The two became buddies. But during these years, she always felt that she was the one who betrayed him, mercilessly dumping him. She always felt a subtle feeling of guilt.

His agent, Xie Bin, reserved the place for their late night meal. It was a small store and they were frequent customers.

His agent, Xie Bin, reserved the place for their late night meal. It was a small store and they were frequent customers.

He reserved a private room and checked around to make sure that no one could take pictures from the outside. Then the rest of them casually sneaked into the store one after another.

He reserved a private room and checked around to make sure that no one could take pictures from the outside. Then the rest of them casually sneaked into the store one after another.

Chu Jian thought that Tong Fei would not be happy to come out at this hour.  After all, she worked too hard in Macao, sleeping only two or three hours each day.  Her face had turned ashen gray when she got off the airplane and she swore that she would not answer a single call about work that night.

Chu Jian thought that Tong Fei would not be happy to come out at this hour.  After all, she worked too hard in Macao, sleeping only two or three hours each day.  Her face had turned ashen gray when she got off the airplane and she swore that she would not answer a single call about work that night.

But now her face was sparkling.  She walked in with a young hunk who had just signed on with her studio.  She hurriedly greeted and introduced to him that this was Mr. Jian and Mr. Xie.

But now her face was sparkling.  She walked in with a young hunk who had just signed on with her studio.  She hurriedly greeted and introduced to him that this was Mr. Jian and Mr. Xie.

However Tong Fei and the young hunk did not have a chance to talk after they sat down.  Chu Jian was earnestly explaining to Xie Bin about the profit model of her nail business.

However Tong Fei and the young hunk did not have a chance to talk after they sat down.  Chu Jian was earnestly explaining to Xie Bin about the profit model of her nail business.

“Don’t you know, you absolutely can’t imagine that the main sales platform of this business was on Weibo.”  She used the tongs to flip over her favorite spicy chicken gizzards on the grill rack.  “The owners of those smaller nail salons only need to search on Weibo, then they would come to me to look at the merchandise and place orders.  If there were five or six fixed customers each month and each order has an average of fifty thousands and over then I am absolutely profitable.”   

“Don’t you know, you absolutely can’t imagine that the main sales platform of this business was on Weibo.”  She used the tongs to flip over her favorite spicy chicken gizzards on the grill rack.  “The owners of those smaller nail salons only need to search on Weibo, then they would come to me to look at the merchandise and place orders.  If there were five or six fixed customers each month and each order has an average of fifty thousands and over then I am absolutely profitable.”   

Xie Bing showed his admiration.  “You have quite a business going on here, superwoman.”

Xie Bing showed his admiration.  “You have quite a business going on here, superwoman.”

Jian Bianlin sipped the plum wine and put down the small glass.

Jian Bianlin sipped the plum wine and put down the small glass.

The ice cubes inside the glass glanced off each other with a light clink.

The ice cubes inside the glass glanced off each other with a light clink.

His eyes were quieter than usual.  He watched her repeatedly turn the meat on the grill using the stainless tongs in high spirits.

His eyes were quieter than usual.  He watched her repeatedly turn the meat on the grill using the stainless tongs in high spirits.

She was concentrating on grilling and he was watching her attentively.

She was concentrating on grilling and he was watching her attentively.

He actually didn’t ask much.  As long as he could see her whenever he came by Shanghai.  It was enough to see her guilty expression when she tried to turn him down and force her to come out eat and chat with him.

He actually didn’t ask much.  As long as he could see her whenever he came by Shanghai.  It was enough to see her guilty expression when she tried to turn him down and force her to come out eat and chat with him.

Chu Jian wanted to continue the conversation on her business, but she understandingly stopped when Tong Fei stepped on her foot under the table.  She pointed to the young hunk.  “Everyone.  This Lin Sheng is the new actor Fei Fei just signed on.”

Chu Jian wanted to continue the conversation on her business, but she understandingly stopped when Tong Fei stepped on her foot under the table.  She pointed to the young hunk.  “Everyone.  This Lin Sheng is the new actor Fei Fei just signed on.”

Jian Bianlin slid the rim of the glass for half a circle with his index finger.

Jian Bianlin slid the rim of the glass for half a circle with his index finger.

He did not say anything extra, actually he did not speak a word.  He just followed her finger to symbolically glance at the big boy.

He did not say anything extra, actually he did not speak a word.  He just followed her finger to symbolically glance at the big boy.

Then he continued to watch her afterwards.

Then he continued to watch her afterwards.

It was Xie Bin who laughed.  “Have I seen you before?  You are not really a new actor?”

It was Xie Bin who laughed.  “Have I seen you before?  You are not really a new actor?”

Lin Sheng smiled with restraint.  “Yes, we met before in Macao.”

Lin Sheng smiled with restraint.  “Yes, we met before in Macao.”

“Ah, right.  I remember now.”

“Ah, right.  I remember now.”

“This time I went to Macao to persuade him to sign on with me.”  Tong Fei added.

“This time I went to Macao to persuade him to sign on with me.”  Tong Fei added.

Lin Sheng signed with a producer before, but the producer’s situation was grew worse and worse, before he even got a chance to make his debut.  So he cancelled the contract, went back home to sell pork jerky and started to make a rather good living.  Tong Fei got hold of his data by accident, then she went to Macao several times to convince him.  She even asked his parents to help and at last, he signed on with her.  She was going to take him to Beijing to train him.

Lin Sheng signed with a producer before, but the producer’s situation was grew worse and worse, before he even got a chance to make his debut.  So he cancelled the contract, went back home to sell pork jerky and started to make a rather good living.  Tong Fei got hold of his data by accident, then she went to Macao several times to convince him.  She even asked his parents to help and at last, he signed on with her.  She was going to take him to Beijing to train him.

Xie Bin cleared his throat.  “Let me put it this way.  I want to collaborate with your studio.”

Xie Bin cleared his throat.  “Let me put it this way.  I want to collaborate with your studio.”

Tong Fei stumbled.  “Collaborate?”

Tong Fei stumbled.  “Collaborate?”

It was totally a surprise.

It was totally a surprise.

The deal he offered was very attractive.

The deal he offered was very attractive.

“Our company bought the copyrights to several large IPs.  We need to make new stars.”  Xie Bin said.  “I want to ask the screenwriter of your studio to write the script.  Jian Bianlin is the leading actor.  Other than the newcomers in our company, you can pick up the role of the third leading actor and assign it to Lin Sheng.”

“Our company bought the copyrights to several large IPs.  We need to make new stars.”  Xie Bin said.  “I want to ask the screenwriter of your studio to write the script.  Jian Bianlin is the leading actor.  Other than the newcomers in our company, you can pick up the role of the third leading actor and assign it to Lin Sheng.”

Tong Fei coughed and her face turned red from excitement.  Jian Bianlin had lately refused to act in TV dramas and solely wanted to focus on movies.  If he was willing to act, then it must be a superb production and it was so much easier to make a new star.  As long as he could act alongside Jian Bianlin, at least he could be a familiar face recognizable by the audience!

Tong Fei coughed and her face turned red from excitement.  Jian Bianlin had lately refused to act in TV dramas and solely wanted to focus on movies.  If he was willing to act, then it must be a superb production and it was so much easier to make a new star.  As long as he could act alongside Jian Bianlin, at least he could be a familiar face recognizable by the audience!

Everybody was happy after the late night meal.

Everybody was happy after the late night meal.

They dispersed after they ate.  Naturally, Jian Bianlin drove her home.

They dispersed after they ate.  Naturally, Jian Bianlin drove her home.

Chu Jian rented an apartment in Shanghai in order to take care of her business.  Her parents visited her from Hangzhou frequently to improve her living condition.  So of course, Jian Bianlin asked her mom to rent a place for him to stay, too.  The apartment was right across from hers……

Chu Jian rented an apartment in Shanghai in order to take care of her business.  Her parents visited her from Hangzhou frequently to improve her living condition.  So of course, Jian Bianlin asked her mom to rent a place for him to stay, too.  The apartment was right across from hers……

Thus it was unavoidable for Chu Jian to go home with him.  Her mom saw Jian Bianlin after she opened the door, she pulled him in immediately.

Thus it was unavoidable for Chu Jian to go home with him.  Her mom saw Jian Bianlin after she opened the door, she pulled him in immediately.

Chu Jian was exhausted, so she went back to her own room.

Chu Jian was exhausted, so she went back to her own room.

He sat down in the dining room to rest.  Chu Jian’s mom found that he was sick and had forced him to take cold medicine.  She served him hot water and fussed over him as if he was her own son.

He sat down in the dining room to rest.  Chu Jian’s mom found that he was sick and had forced him to take cold medicine.  She served him hot water and fussed over him as if he was her own son.

“Are you tired?  Why are you still filming when you are sick?”  Chu Jian’s mom sat down in front of him.

“Are you tired?  Why are you still filming when you are sick?”  Chu Jian’s mom sat down in front of him.

Jian Bianlin took off his hat.  His hair was soft and stuck to his forehead in a mess.  His eyes watched Chu Jian’s closed door.  “Auntie. I am alright.”

Jian Bianlin took off his hat.  His hair was soft and stuck to his forehead in a mess.  His eyes watched Chu Jian’s closed door.  “Auntie. I am alright.”

Chu Jian’s mom sighed.  “You keep saying that.  Look at you.  You are losing weight from exhaustion.”

Chu Jian’s mom sighed.  “You keep saying that.  Look at you.  You are losing weight from exhaustion.”

“Actors are slim so they look good on camera.”  Chu Jian, in a pair of cotton slippers, passed by the living room holding her cell phone.  She went to look for juice in the kitchen.  “Losing weight is even more painful if he gains weight.”

“Actors are slim so they look good on camera.”  Chu Jian, in a pair of cotton slippers, passed by the living room holding her cell phone.  She went to look for juice in the kitchen.  “Losing weight is even more painful if he gains weight.”

She opened the refrigerator while speaking.

She opened the refrigerator while speaking.

“Is Jian Bianlin at your home?”  Tong Fei was still in state of excitement after the big business agreement tonight.  She sighed immediately after Chu Jian answered her.  “Ai.  I want to ask you a specific question.  As your closest friend, can you tell me secretly?”

“Is Jian Bianlin at your home?”  Tong Fei was still in state of excitement after the big business agreement tonight.  She sighed immediately after Chu Jian answered her.  “Ai.  I want to ask you a specific question.  As your closest friend, can you tell me secretly?”

“What’s that?”  She found there was no drink in the large refrigerator, then she walked out of the kitchen.

“What’s that?”  She found there was no drink in the large refrigerator, then she walked out of the kitchen.

She patted the chair Jian Bianlin sat on and indicated him to move forward a little bit.

She patted the chair Jian Bianlin sat on and indicated him to move forward a little bit.

Jian Bianlin glanced at her and moved his chair forward.  She squatted to open the small refrigerator.

Jian Bianlin glanced at her and moved his chair forward.  She squatted to open the small refrigerator.

Tong Fei cleared her throat and coughed twice.  Then she lowered her voice and said very ambiguously.  “Did you and him, in the past …... do it or not?”

Tong Fei cleared her throat and coughed twice.  Then she lowered her voice and said very ambiguously.  “Did you and him, in the past …... do it or not?”

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