Zhou and River Yu have their only son to inherit the house. Fujin feels the press of the weight, but still seems intent on finding a way to do what he wishes.
It had always been assumed that with Fujin’s natural capabilities, he would go to University. It was the natural progression of things. Fujin, however, was having second thoughts. He was smart, yes, but he was so much more than that. He didn’t want to be one of those people pigeon-holed into some old stereotype. He wanted to be who he was, Fujin, without any binds or confines forcing him into some little, rigid box.
He had contemplated many ways of telling his parents. So far, he was still too chicken.
Fujin knew that passing up on University would really slim down his chances of meeting that one, special person. His parents had gotten together in college, after all. A long, rough road paved with stubbornness and adversity. Still, they seemed pretty happy now, something that further fueled Fujin’s own desire to have that someday.
Fujin sat alone at the old playground, lost in his thoughts. Rain poured down around him, tapping against the plastic roof over his head. He was much too old to play on the equipment, but he often came here for some quiet when the kids were all still in school. He was surprised, then, when he heard someone climbing the other side.
“Hey,” a female voice said rather rudely, “you’re in my spot.”
“It doesn’t have your name on it,” Fujin joked.
Grace Saunders climbed the rest of the way up and sat down on the plastic floor. She looked over at Fujin, regarding him apprehensively.
“You’re Fujin Yu. I give you noogies all the time.”
“Yes, yes you do,” Fujin replied, giving her a wary look. “You’re not going to try it in here, right? It’s a little cramped.”
“No,” she replied, leaning against the plastic wall behind her. “You’re safe, for now.”
“Great, I’m relieved.”
“You’re not your usual annoying and cheery self,” Grace noted, eyes closed. She leaned forward on her legs, toned arms still slightly slick from the rain. All that noogie giving really gave the girl a good work out. “Shouldn’t you be home with your happy, empty house?”
Fujin quirked a curious eyebrow, “I’m not sure my parents would be to happy if they found out I didn’t want to go to University.”
“Oh, please. It’s not like you’re all that smart, anyway,” Grace shook her head, waving her hand dismissively in the air. “Big deal. You don’t want to go be a stupid frat boy. Whatever. At least your house is quiet and your not constantly compared to your statuesque mother who refuses to get old, wrinkle, or do anything normal like normal parents.”
“I’m plenty smart,” Fujin quickly replied, slightly offended.
“You’re more weird than smart. I’m smarter than you. I’m two grades behind you and not only can I beat you up, I’m in one of your AP classes.”
Fujin was pressed to argue, but there was no point. She was right. He sighed, “it’s just expected of me, that’s all. Can’t you understand that?”
“Sure I can, but can you? People can expect all they want, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Look, you should go home. This is my spot and my house sucks more than yours. I deserve this spot, you don’t. It’s for meaningful moping, not your… silly moping.”
“The rain’s stopped, I guess I can go,” he said, rising from his spot slowly. He glanced at her as he moved to the edge. “You’re not going to follow me down and noogie me, are you?”
“Not today. I just want you out of my spot.”
“Good, and hey, Grace?”
“That’s a nice tan,” he said, pausing at the ladder. She looked up at him a smiled, a genuine combination of lips and eyes. “See you.”
She watched him climb away, her voice barely audible as she spoke, “…thanks.”
Fujin returned home, determined. He was going to sit down and talk to his parents, he just needed to figure out what he was going to say. It was on the eve of his high school graduation before he decided to come out with it. He had sent out University papers, just in case, but he was pretty sure he wasn’t going anywhere.
“So, I was thinking…”
River looked up from her plate, “what’s on your mind? Are you nervous about university?”
“Er, not exactly,” he fumbled. “I don’t really want to go.”
River nearly choked. She put down her fork and stared at her son in complete horror, “w-what?!”
“I… I don’t want to go to university.”
Zhou was quick to mediate, stepping into the middle of the fray, “now, hold on, River. Let him speak.”
“Speak? Are you insane, Zhou? He doesn’t want to go university!”
“It’s not because I’m lazy,” Fujin offered, his voice quiet and careful. “I… I just, I don’t think it fits me.”
“Fits you? Do you realize what kind of opportunity you’re passing up? You won’t get the chance to even remotely follow in your grandfather’s footsteps with a decision like this!”
That hurt, but Fujin was adamant. He wasn’t giving in, this is what he wanted and he’d thought long and hard about it, “I… I know. I’ll figure something out, I will. I just, I’m not going. I’m not going to University.”
After the travesty that was his “university” speech, things settled down. His mother eventually resumed speaking to him and his father was sure to reassure him. Zhou had never really cared for University, he only went for River. At first, Fujin had been uncomfortable about his decision, but as time passed and his birthday approached, it felt right.
Rosa still came over. She didn’t talk about what had happened with Francis or Emma, but Fujin was sure it wasn’t good. She just seemed down, but he wasn’t going to press the issue. Dealing her all emotional and angry wasn’t exactly something he enjoyed.
“You’re cheating!” Rosa snapped, shaking her controller in an angry fit.
“I don’t cheat,” Fujin replied calmly. “You just need to focus.”
“You’re such a cheat, Fujin. I’ll catch you someday.”
He sighed, “maybe you’ll pick up how to be calm and focus in the process?”
She smacked him on the arm, causing him to recoil in pain, followed by a laugh. Even as an adult, Rosa was the same. She would never change.
Fujin may not have been able to follow in his grandfather Tsung’s footsteps, but he was still able to mess around with drafting and architectual ideas on his downtime. The room with Tsung’s old drafting room was his favorite and he spent countless hours in there. He knew he should be trying to find a special lady, but Fujin moved at his own pace. Right now, his mistress was the drafting board and that was just fine with him.
Note from Mao: Another update, yay. Fujin is so laid-back, he’s a nice breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the hood. I had him relaxing at the playground when Grace popped up, prompting that scene. Grace is the type to get moodier as she gets older, she takes after her father, after all. Rosa came over on her own, just as she used to come home with Fujin from school when they were teens. She always seems to get angry when they play video games, lol.
If you didn’t get the noogie comment Grace made, it’s mentioned at the end of the Saunders, Round 26 entry.