Hello, Mr. Major General – Chapter 0033
Chapter 33: Someone Picks Up, Someone Hangs Up
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
This was almost too much for Chen Lie. The pen in his hand was spinning so wildly it looked like it was about to take off any moment now. He said, “Nianzhi, could you hold for a minute? I have another call coming in.” As he said that he turned around and used the landline to call Huo Shaoheng on his private military number.
“What is it?” Huo Shaoheng’s voice sounded from the other end.
Chen Lie’s face was split into a massive grin. “Boss, can you talk right now? It’s about Gu Nianzhi.”
“Oh. Hold on.” Huo Shaoheng looked at the room full of men; they were all high-ranking officers, the lowest of them a Lieutenant Colonel. He said to them, “I have to take this call. Proceed without me.”
The field officers were all sitting solemnly; they were in the middle of an important military conference. Upon hearing Huo Shaoheng’s words they sat in stunned silence.
How important was this phone call, for him to interrupt a high-level meeting just to take it? Had the Special Operations Forces gotten into trouble outside the country? Or had they caught the most elusive of spies, the secret agent they knew the United States CIA had planted in their Empire?
Everyone in the room was actively engaged in intelligence gathering; it was part of their job description. They therefore had very active imaginations.
Huo Shaoheng knew what they were thinking, but he had priorities. Right now, anything to do with Gu Nianzhi was of the utmost importance to him.
He walked out of the conference room, his face betraying nothing, and found a seat in the small office next door. He opened the blinds, looked out, and said, “Go on.”
Chen Lie was a little surprised. “Were you in the middle of something?”
If Huo Shaoheng had been in the middle of something important, Chen Lie felt that he might have been a little too rash in calling him.
A joke now and then was perfectly fine—but there were limits. Chen Lie was feeling uneasy right about now.
“It’s nothing. Go on, you said something about Nianzhi?” said Huo Shaoheng. He called Zhao Liangze on the internal line and told him to bring him his personal, civilian-use phone. When it was brought to him he discovered that he had missed a number of calls from Gu Nianzhi.
Chen Lie quickly said, “Oh, it’s nothing important. Nianzhi called me to say that she couldn’t get ahold of you, so she told me to ask you instead: her class rep wants to court her, and she wants to know if you’re okay with that.”
When Huo Shaoheng realized that Chen Lie had called him over something so silly and trivial, he slammed his personal phone down on the table in anger. “I told you to only call if it’s important. So why are you calling me about this nonsense?”
“Don’t be angry!” Chen Lie voice was high and panicky. “Why don’t you call Nianzhi when you’re free? You know she listens to you, right? All you have to do is frown and she’ll dump the poor guy, no questions asked.”
Huo Shaoheng wasn’t listening. “I still have a meeting to attend, I don’t have time for this. We’ll talk later.” He ended the call, rose from his seat, and returned to the conference room to continue the meeting.
On the other end, Chen Lie switched back to his call with Gu Nianzhi, and found that she had been waiting on the line the whole time. He felt bad for making her wait, so he decided to console her with a white lie. “Nianzhi, Huo Shao is in a meeting, I can’t get ahold of him, either. I asked the operator to leave a message for him, so he’ll call you once the meeting’s over.”
Gu Nianzhi looked out the windshield. Mei Xiawen had already stopped the car.
They were at the specialist building for C University. He Zhichu lived here.
She quickly said to Chen Lie, “Uncle Huo is always so busy. It’s all right, don’t bother him. I’ll talk to him later, when he has the time. You take care too, Brother Chen.” Having said that, she hung up and turned to look at Mei Xiawen, who had been watching her in silence. She spread her hands in a gesture of helplessness and said, “Class Rep, you heard everything. It isn’t me; my family really is too busy.”
Gu Nianzhi had made a number of phone calls, waited for what seemed like forever, but still hadn’t been able to speak to her guardian.
This made Mei Xiawen think of his own parents. They were also busy and important people, but no matter how busy they were, they always made sure to take his call as soon as possible. They would have never left him hanging like that.
This was probably the difference between blood relatives and adopted families, he supposed.
Mei Xiawen looked at Gu Nianzhi with sympathy and pity. He hadn’t intended to make things difficult for her. He said in a voice that was even more gentle than usual, “That’s okay. I’ll wait for you to get your family’s approval.”
“Thanks for understanding, Class Rep.” Gu Nianzhi was grateful to see how reasonable and considerate Mei Xiawen was being. She was even more impressed with him now.
The two of them got out of the car. Mei Xiawen led Gu Nianzhi to the specialist building, briefing her on He Zhichu along the way: “He may be young, but he’s already a partner at the largest law firm in the United States. He got his Ph.D in Law from Yale Law School, and is a tenured professor at Harvard Law School. As you can see, he’s actually earned his right to be arrogant, but at the same time, he’s like a very typical American— he’s only interested in the facts. He doesn’t discriminate or bear grudges. As long as you’re in the right, and can find the words to convince him, he’ll listen.”
Gu Nianzhi made a mental note of everything Mei Xiawen said, nodding from time to time to show that she was listening attentively.
As Mei Xiawen spoke he led Gu Nianzhi to the elevator in the specialist building. He produced a card and accessed the 18th floor with it.
The elevator steadily rose. Gu Nianzhi looked at Mei Xiawen and said, “Class Rep, why do you have an access card?”
The elevator in the specialist building could only be used by those with an access card, and only stopped at the floor of the card owner’s unit. Going to another floor required getting the necessary approval from the relevant department in the university, and then getting one of the service staff in the specialist building to escort you. Security was tight here.
Gu Nianzhi’s original plan was to call He Zhichu’s place from the first floor, or perhaps stick around to see if she could catch him when he either came downstairs or entered through the front door.
Mei Xiawen put his hands in his pockets as he watched the floor number steadily increase on the elevator display. He smiled and said: “I told you, I want you to be my girlfriend. Naturally, I have to show you I mean it. Getting the access card for this place is the least I can do to show my sincerity.”
Gu Nianzhi’s face was red, but luckily for her the elevator had reached the 18th floor. The doors opened and she walked out, relieved that she did not have to give a reply.
Mei Xiawen followed her out, pointed to the last room down the hallway on the left and said, “Professor He Zhichu lives there. You can call him from here.”
There was a payphone on each floor of the specialist building.
Once again, it was Mei Xiawen who took the initiative: he walked to it and helpfully dialed the number for her.
Gu Nianzhi accepted the receiver nervously. After ringing twice, someone picked up the phone.
“Who is this?” The man who answered the phone had a clear and brisk voice, but there was also a hint of weariness in it, having matured there over a period of years it seemed.
Gu Nianzhi’s heart pounded in her ears as she hastily asked, “Is this Professor He Zhichu? My name is Gu Nianzhi.”
As soon as she said that, the phone went dead silent. Even the sound of shallow breathing had disappeared.
Gu Nianzhi waited for a while, astonished by the sudden silence. The call was still connected, so she decided to press on.
“Is this Professor He Zhichu? My name is Gu Nianzhi. I applied for a spot as your graduate student, but I fell really sick. It was all very sudden, and I missed the interview. I just wanted to ask—”
Whoever it was on the other end had actually hung up on her.
Gu Nianzhi looked at the phone, bewildered and unsure. She tapped the receiver, said a few “Hello’s”, then looked up at Mei Xiawen and said, “Does Professor He live alone?”
“Yeah. He has a teaching assistant, a woman, but they don’t live together.” Mei Xiawen had done everything in his power to help Gu Nianzhi, and that included extensive research on He Zhichu. He knew more about He Zhichu than even Yin Shixiong.
“Well, that means Professor He hung up on me.” Gu Nianzhi bit her lip. She was not giving up. “I’m calling him again!”
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