Comparing Sophie and Big Quinn, the gap between their social classes was distinct.
Sophie's family was not exactly rich, but at the very least they belonged to the middle class. But what about Big Quinn? He didn't know what kind of people his parents were.
The lady doctor went to college to study medicine and received a five-year scholarship. That meant she didn't have to spend the college fund her parents had set up for her.
But Mr. Martin did not save the money, because when Sophie was very small, her father had bought her education insurance whereby the insurance company would issue a payout for her university tuition fees.
When Mr. Martin received the payout from the insurance company, he handed it to Sophie. In addition to the insurance payout, Mr. Martin also gave Sophie another sum of moneyher college fundwhich included her tuition fees, living expenses, books, and other miscellaneous fees at college.
In other words, with the two sums of money on hand, Sophie did not have to worry about money in college at all.
This was a substantial amount of money. Since high school, Sophie had been working. When she started college, majoring in medicine, she used all her free time to either study or work.
Most internships didnt pay very well, but there were exceptions.
Sophie's parents were university professors and the Chinese saying, "the peach and plum trees all over the world," applied to them; this meant that they had a lot of students. They had, therefore, wide social connectionsSophies job had been obtained through the recommendations of their social contacts. And the pay was not low either.
While she and Li Du were in the car, Sophie told him all this stuff: when to do what kind of work, how to make rational use of family resources, how to strike a balance between learning and work, and so on.
Sophie was very familiar with this kind of planning because of her parents. To her, these were simple things.
Big Quinn wasnt as good at planning as Sophie, and Li Du doubted that his parents had given him a college fund or helped him find a jobSophie was very lucky in that regard. When Big Quinn went to college and found out that his wife was pregnant, he had to leave school for work.
At this point, Li Du could also understand in greater depth why Big Quinn wanted his children to leave the bad neighborhood.
He wanted to change the environment his children were in; if they mixed around with the children of thieves and drug-addicts every day, there was a possibility that they could become like those people.
After listening to what the lady doctor said, Li Du exclaimed, "Youre really good at this, Sophie. Youre too humble. In fact, you know how to live your life."
Sophie chuckled, "Of course not, I can only do well in a small place like Flagstaff.
She paused then added, "Youre much better. You bought the Iron Knight and then the Hellcat. Youre obviously ahead of the pack in this job."
Being educated in different environment bred different types of thinking. Big Quinn, Hannah, and many others would only notice that he was earning a lot when they saw he had bought the car and the truck.
What Sophie noticed was deeper: that Li Du was excelling at being a treasure hunter.
With the contrast between Big Quinns and Sophies living arrangements, Li began to think about buying a house.
The property laws of the United States did not place restrictions on non-citizens for owning real estate. An individual could own property in America even without a green card.
This was not a problem for Li Du, who now was staying in the United States.
However, the house could wait. They drove to the church; some cars were parked on both sides of the road. He then entered the parking lot with the Hellcat and they arrived at their destination.
The church was famous in Flagstaff. It was called Chapel of the Holy Cross. It had a simple, vintage style but was grand and impressive. It had thick red granite pillars and a massive cross etched on the front of the church.
From the appearance of the church, it had existed for a long period of time. The statues on the square were somewhat variegated. There was rust on the metal windows of the church and some of the mural paintings had faded.
However, this was, after all, God's territory. As Li Du stared at the church, his heart held reverence for the holy place.
After they got out of the car, the people who were chatting in the square in front of the church waved to them:
"Hi Sophie, good day. Whos the young man beside you? He looks cute."
"Long time no see, Sophie. I was just talking about you with your mom and dad."
Mr. and Mrs. Martin were also in the square; they came over to give Li Du a hug and a kiss on the cheekthey were very warm to him.
"I heard from Thomas about what happened the other day in the Forest Park," said Mrs. Martin gratefully. "It was so dangerous, but fortunately you were there, Li."
Sophie was perplexed by their conversation and asked, "What is it? Whats so dangerous?"
Li Du waved his hand with a smile. "Its nothing. Mr. Martin and some friends were pestered by some hooligans. Big Fox and I helped mediate the dispute."
Old man Martin patted Lis arm and added, "It was not just a simple intervention. Young man, you did a great job, and you behaved like a real man."
A number of old men walked over when they saw Li and the Martins. They were all dressed formally, which was very different from the hunting gear they had worn when Li Du first met them. Thus, it took Li some time to figure out who they were.
Terry gave Sophie and Li a glass of fruit juice each and said, "Come, have some cold drinks. The weathers blazing hot."
Li Du said his thanks and started some small talk. "I think it might rain soon? Todays rather hot and stuffy."
A bearded man said, "No, son, you still have to adjust to the weather in Flagstaff. Theres not that much rain in this city."
Sophie wanted to introduce the man to Li. "This is"
Li Du stretched out his hand and greeted, "Mr. George? Nice to see you."
The bearded middle-aged man grinned. "How do you know me?"
Li Du recounted, "About three or four months ago, I saw you in a truck dealership. I was holding a little ocelot in my arms."
When he had gone to a truck dealership to buy the Iron Knight, he had been busy chatting with Sophie, and forgot all about Ah Meow in the Ford F650. When he went back to find Ah Meow, they met George, who teased him and Sophie.
George cackled. "Young people have good memories. Id forgotten about it until you mentioned it. I can remember that your ocelots very adorable."
With the Martin familys help, Li Du mixed very easily into the Church circle. Although he was not a Christian, they didnt seem to mind that fact and rarely talked about church-related matters.
He met an acquaintance, the Lynch Investment Company's CEO Russel Lynch. Both of them were glad to see each other and chatted enthusiastically.
Lynch had also helped Li Du to expand his social circle by introducing a few friends to him, describing him as a talented young man to his contacts.
Li mixed around with the Christians and was perspiring when he walked up to Sophie.
Sophie handed him a wet towel and said, "Its really hot, right?"
Li Du shook his head in response. "No, Im just nervous, it feels like Im meeting parents and relatives."
Sophie gently slapped him on the arm, and asked with a slightly annoyed tone, "Meeting whose parents?"
Li Du drew an exaggerated circle in the air and said, "All these people have children of their ownthey are parents."
Sophie was not satisfied with his cunning answer. "Youre so ambitious," she said sarcastically. "The many parents youve met do have beautiful daughters."
Sophie was flirting with him. Li Du was immediately full of energy.
Unfortunately, there were some people who did not want them to deepen their relationship. A blonde young man came over to them said, "Hi Sophie, Im very glad to see you here."