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109 Dont Copy Me

 In the evening, Wen Shouyi swung by in her car to pick them up for dinner.

Yin Shixiong did not go; he wanted to keep all interaction with Gu Nianzhi's teachers and students to a minimum. He came up with an excuse about meeting up with his friends, and told Gu Nianzhi to go to dinner with Brother Huang.

When they were seated inside the car, Wen Shouyi noticed that Yin Shixiong wasn't with them. She asked, "Nianzhi, where's your guardian? He's welcome to join us."

"That's okay, he has stuff to do, too. He has so many friends here, he's been flooded with dinner invites since arriving in America. He's so much more popular than I am." Gu Nianzhi laughed lightly as she placed the gift box she had brought with her next to her feet.

Brother Huang saw the gift box, and smacked his forehead. "Oh duh! I forgot my present. Can you wait here? I'll run up and get it."

Wen Shouyi had already started the car. "No, don't worry about it. Let's have dinner, your present can wait."

Gu Nianzhi and Brother Huang sat in the back. They stared curiously at the Boston suburbs, taking in the summer scenery.

It was nearly evening, and the heat from the sun had dissipated. There was a gentle breeze in the air. The road was flanked by large, leafy trees. There were grass lawns, climbing vines, and flowers of all colors everywhere.

They left the car windows open as they drove along the small road.

A breeze entered the car, carrying with it a hint of the summer sun and the subtle scent of flowers.

There was a magnificent sunset, hanging low on the horizon. The air was full of the fragrance of beautiful flowers.

Gu Nianzhi took a deep breath. She closed her eyes and relaxed, savoring the fresh air and the scents and sounds of summer.

Wen Shouyi brought them to Four Seasons, an Italian fast-casual restaurant.

There was no such thing as "American cuisine"-unless you counted hot dogs and barbecue...

The high-end, fine dining restaurants in America were all either French or Italian restaurants.

British cuisine was considered lowbrow in America, not worthy of being served in proper restaurants.

Four Seasons was an Italian restaurant, but it was decidedly not a high-end restaurant. It was just an ordinary chain restaurant that was famous only because it was everywhere. Still, it was a little bit classier than a fast food joint.

When they entered the restaurant, He Zhichu was already seated at a table.

Their table was next to a window in the large restaurant hall. It was only a small table meant for a party of four, not a private room.

The rectangular dining table was sandwiched on both sides by two-seater sofas.

He Zhichu wore a snug, light blue shirt. His black trousers were smooth, straight, and entirely devoid of wrinkles.

One arm was casually laid out on the table, the cuffs turned up to reveal a Patek Philippe Platinum watch.

Gu Nianzhi's sharp eyes spotted the inscription on the platinum dial: "Made especially for Z.C. He" and "Geneva Observatory Bulletin No. 12"...

This was the famous Patek Philippe Platinum Geneva Observatory watch!

And it had been custom-made for He Zhichu.

Gu Nianzhi clucked her tongue. That watch was worth at least 10 million dollars.

Was Professor He in the habit of carrying his entire family fortune on him, wherever he went?

Gu Nianzhi smiled as she seated herself opposite He Zhichu. She imagined an ignorant, uncultured thug snatching the watch off He Zhichu, and finding out it would be impossible to keep or sell it, not with the inscription on it. The poor sucker...

He Zhichu's other arm was resting on the back of the sofa. He lifted his almond eyes and looked at her. His expression was cool and indifferent, but his gaze was as dangerously alluring as a baited hook: it dug into her heart and sent it racing.

"What are you laughing at?" He Zhichu raised an eyebrow at Gu Nianzhi. He turned his head to look at Brother Huang, who was still standing by the table. "You, sit next to her."

Brother Huang finally seated himself. Unlike Gu Nianzhi, he had politely waited for permission to sit down.

Gu Nianzhi was very embarrassed.

They were just students having dinner with their professor-surely they were allowed to sit wherever they wanted?

Had she broken protocol by sitting too early?

Wen Shouyi smiled and seated herself next to He Zhichu.

He Zhichu nonchalantly withdrew the arm resting on the back of the sofa. He tossed the menu over to Gu Nianzhi and Brother Huang. "Order whatever you like."

A waiter in a white uniform was already waiting next to their table, notepad and ballpoint pen at the ready.

Gu Nianzhi glanced through the menu. She had never tried any of the food on it. She shut the menu, and looked at He Zhichu with her large, sparkling eyes. "Professor He, why don't you order for me? I'll have whatever you think is good here, I'm not picky."

Wen Shouyi snorted as she suppressed a laugh. "Nianzhi, you're asking too much of Professor He. Most of the time, I have to order his meals for him..."

"Philly cheesesteak, skip the onions. Mediterranean seafood platter. Crab soup. Two of each, for me and the young lady opposite me." He Zhichu had begun placing his order before Wen Shouyi could finish her sentence.

Wen Shouyi flushed. Her face was as red as a tomato as she awkwardly added, "...but then again, you're special, of course. Professor He has always been extra nice to you."

"Oh no, that can't be right." Gu Nianzhi smiled as she got out the gift box she had prepared. "Professor He cares about all his students, that's why everyone is so eager to be his student. Isn't that right, Professor He?"

Sweat was pouring off Brother Huang's brow as he listened to Gu Nianzhi. The girl was absolutely fearless-and also absolutely shameless when she was in suck-up mode, it seemed.

He quickly backed her up: "You're absolutely right! Professor He's admission exam is the most difficult exam in our university, but everyone tries for it anyway. It's a real privilege to be able to study under him."

He Zhichu looked at Gu Nianzhi. He picked up the menu and ordered a complete meal for Brother Huang as well: an appetizer, a main dish, a side dish, and even a slice of cheesecake for dessert.

He also ordered a bottle of red wine as a starter, to whet their appetites while they waited for the food to be served.

Wen Shouyi ordered a Caesar salad for herself. "I'm on a diet," she said, smiling and winking at Gu Nianzhi. "I want to be as thin as Nianzhi."

Gu Nianzhi smiled back. "I don't like it when others try to copy me." She lifted the gift box she had stowed next to her feet, and held it out to He Zhichu with both hands. "A present for you, Professor He."

The gift box was a sapphire blue, and rather bulky. There was a light blue bow tied around it.

He Zhichu accepted it, and casually placed it next to Wen Shouyi so she could put it away.

Gu Nianzhi objected to this. She narrowed her eyes as she stopped him. "Professor He, aren't you going to open it? I heard that in America, you're supposed to open your presents right away-it's rude not to."

"Is that so?" He Zhichu glanced at her, his brow slightly furrowed. "You seem to be very knowledgeable. You've been to the States before this?"

"No. But this is the age of the internet, we can travel the world without leaving the comfort of our homes." Gu Nianzhi did not care what anyone else at the table thought; she was adamant that He Zhichu open her present.

He Zhichu was left with no choice. He said to Wen Shouyi: "Open it."

Wen Shouyi inwardly shook her head. She gracefully undid the bow, removed the wrapping paper, and casually lifted the lid of the gift box.

As soon as she saw what was inside, she froze.

There were two shattered cameras inside the box...

The jet-black cameras lay in striking contrast to the clean, white gift box.

"...What's the meaning of this?" He Zhichu looked at Gu Nianzhi, perplexed. "Two broken cameras-is that your idea of a gift?"

Gu Nianzhi pointed to Wen Shouyi with her chin. "You'll have to ask your assistant, Miss Wen, about that. I found those cameras inside the apartment she booked for me..."