SWFM 104

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Chapter 104: The Xu Family’s Fireworks (1)

 

“Hey, brat, you’ve been smoking in my car!”

Xu Tingsheng hadn’t expected that the first thing Mr Xu would do upon getting on the car would be to turn and give him a slap on the face. Xu Tingsheng knew that his father was truly concerned about this car. At the same time, he also wished to liven up the mood a little.

Shrinking his head back, Xu Tingsheng said, “Dad, don’t hit me! I’m driving here.”

“Right, when did you learn how to drive?” Mr Xu asked puzzledly.

“I came to know a friend who owns a car in university. When we hung out together, I took his car out for a spin a couple of times. My skills are definitely better than yours, just that I haven’t got a license,” Xu Tingsheng said, smiling.

“No driving license? Pull up by the side of the road. I’ll drive,” Mr Xu said.

“It’s fine. There’s no one with the leisure to stop us today.”

After that, Xu Tingsheng told Mr Xu in detail about everything regarding this incident that could be told. Mr Xu was rendered rather dazed and speechless by his words. He had originally thought that the Xu Family had merely survived this tribulation, temporarily securing Happy Shoppers.

Never would he have thought that his son might actually be able to…he’d actually covertly and silently taken down the massive entity in Libei that was the Huang Family.

Mr Xu was perhaps one of the first few people of Libei County to come to know of the Huang Family’s collapse. Currently, the news of what had happened at that meeting was still being strictly kept under wraps. What people were currently still discussing and speculating on were still whether the Xu Family would be able to usher in this new year, the reappearance of the Xu Family’s car as well as what the large banner hanging from the third floor of Happy Shoppers entailed.

The current Huang Family.

Mrs Huang asked Huang Gui, “It’s almost 11, but your Dad still isn’t back yet and I can’t get through to him as well. How about you go down to the bureau and take a look?”

Just having woken up, Huang Gui yawned, “Nah, I’m busy. I’m going out with my friends.”

“Those trashy friends? You’re already 27, yet all you do all day long is bring a bunch of hooligans about in swaggering along the streets. Totally useless,” Miss Huang said.

“Why do I have to be useful? It’s fine as long as Dad is here. Look, I spend every single day playing outside without going to work, but aren’t I still going to be promoted to a section manager soon anyways? And about money, do you think that our Huang Family doesn’t have enough of it for me to waste throughout my entire lifetime?”

“…Now, all we’ve got to do is wait for Uncle to get those supermarkets run by the Xu Family. Now those are really geese that lay golden eggs, with decades worth of money to spend,” Huang Gui said.

Mrs Huang thought about saying that there would surely come a day when his father was no longer there to run the family, but then changed her mind, thinking about how inauspicious it would be to say such a thing over the new year. She remained patient, continuing to wait.
……

The Xu father and son did not stay long in the county, merely making a single trip to Happy Shoppers. Just having received their year end bonuses, knowing that these had been distributed to them amidst the family’s most difficult times, most of Happy Shoppers’ employees were feeling deeply appreciative of their boss and his family.

Finding such good bosses was not an easy thing at all. Speaking from deep down within, there was not one of them who would wish for Happy Shoppers’ downfall or it changing hands.

Seeing the Xu father and son appear now, they all felt greatly reassured as they all hurried over joyfully to congratulate them. Mr Xu reciprocated all their feelings in kind, especially Li Xiu’s. Mr Xu had already learnt from Xu Tingsheng everything that Li Xiu had done for the Xu Family over this period of time. He felt that however much he tried to express his gratitude in words, he would still come up lacking.

“Dad, regarding Sis Xiu, just mere thanks alone wouldn’t be enough. Look, I had this long prepared for you,” Xu Tingsheng took out a generous, thick red packet and handed it to Mr Xu.

Xu Tingsheng had already discovered long ago that while Li Xiu had distributed year end bonuses to the employees of all the six branches of Happy Shoppers across the five counties, there was still she herself whom she had intentionally overlooked in doing so. She had done so out of consideration for the Xu Family.

Without the slightest hesitation, Mr Xu took that red packet which contained sixty thousand yuan and stuffed it into Li Xiu’s hands, saying with the stern authority of a boss, “You cannot refuse this.”

“Thanks, Boss,” Beneath everyone’s gazes, Li Xiu happily received the red packet, opening it on the spot to find a super thick wad of 100 yuan bills.

A sixty thousand yuan year end bonus was definitely shocking and unheard of in the year 2004.

Be it the onlooking employees or the customers, all of them involuntarily coughed upon seeing this as their eyes were filled with envy.

After the red packet had been given, Xu Tingsheng said loudly from behind Mr Xu, “Sis Xiu, do you still remember what I said to you before? My Dad will definitely return home to usher in the new year. The Xu Family’s ship will not sink.”

“I remember!” A smiling Li Xiu answered loudly.

“Before getting off from work later, ask your kid’s grandma to bring him over. I’ll drive over and fetch you guys over to our home for the reunion dinner.”

“Yeah, okay.”

The red packet had been given in front of everyone, and the words had been said in front of everyone. Li Xiu had coordinated very well with him, opening the red packet on the spot and also responding enthusiastically to his words.

This was just the effect Xu Tingsheng wanted. He wanted everyone to understand that the Xu Family would eternally remain steadfast and unyielding, meanwhile never forgetting all who had been loyal to and all who had been of assistance to them.

It was not hard at all to imagine how hard the employees of Happy Shoppers would be working after the new year had arrived and this news had spread throughout its six branches across the five counties, how invigorated and enthusiastic a scene that would be.

Even now, with it still being a couple of months away, many Happy Shoppers employees were already beginning to brag to their friends and relatives about their all expenses paid free tour of Hainan in the middle of the upcoming year.

The father and son had only made a simple appearance at Happy Shoppers, not staying for long before they had gotten on their car and left. Still, this was already sufficient. The news spread like wildfire throughout the entire Libei County: The Xu Family, had not been defeated.

Many people began remembering the words that the son of the Xu Family had previously said. He had said ‘My Dad will definitely return home to usher in the new year’. He had achieved it.
……

Reaching home, Mr Xu took a shower and exited the bathroom.

Xu Tingsheng handed Mr Xu a namelist, saying, “Dad, I’ve got a list of names here. These are the people over this period of time whom our Xu Family is indebted to. You should personally pay them a visit and invite their entire families to our reunion dinner later.”

Mr Xu looked at the namelist in his hands. It contained his old employees, such as Uncle Rong, as well some people whom he had originally not been so well acquainted with, such as Uncle Zhao and a few others.

Mr Xu smiled appreciatively before asking Xu Tingsheng, “You won’t be coming along with me?”

Xu Tingsheng smiled, “I’ve got to help with the cooking first. Also, later on, I’ll still have to drive to the county as a chauffeur.”

“You know how to cook too?” Mr Xu asked astonishedly.

“I learnt it in university! I’m even more awesome than Mum now. You’ll know it when you taste it,” Xu Tingsheng said, laughing.

Mr Xu exited the house, and everyone saw-the Xu Family’s Xu Jianliang…had returned home to usher in the new year.

Even while they did not know how it had happened, even while they felt that the Xu Family would not be able to pass their days as well here on out now that they had gotten on the Huang Family’s bad side, everyone still could not help but feel admiration: Against the most powerful local snakehead of Libei County, the Xu Family had tided through it, unharmed.

An apron around his waist, Xu Tingsheng busied himself around Mrs Xu and a few aunts, helping with the cooking.

“Right, Mum. Have you called that friend whom you borrowed money from last time? Can they come? If they are coming, I’ll go drive them over later,” Xu Tingsheng asked Mrs Xu.

Smiling a little mysteriously, Mrs Xu said, “I’ve called them. They’ve arranged to eat their reunion dinner at their kid’s maternal grandmother’s house this year. The day after tomorrow then. The day after tomorrow, I’ll bring you along in personally paying them a visit to express our gratitude.”

“Yeah, that’s only right,” Xu Tingsheng replied.

As he was speaking, a Happy Shoppers truck covered by a black cloth stopped by the Xu Family’s doorway. Exiting the kitchen, Xu Tingsheng guided the truck over to a grain sunning ground by the side of the Xu Family’s house and helped to unload the goods.

As for what exactly the truck contained, he retained his silence on it.

The Xu Family’s annual reunion dinner saw two rows of tables extending from the front lawn all the way to an empty stretch of land a distance away. Many people had come, but some of the tables were still empty. This was due to the words that Xu Tingsheng had previously said.

He had said: When my Dad’s returned, for all those who feel like you can still stand up straight before our Xu Family, you are welcome to come over and have a glass of wine.

As a man from the neighbouring village prepared to leave his house, his wife tugged at him, asking, “You’re really going?”

“Why can’t I go?” The man asked, “While I didn’t speak up for the Xu Family like Old Zhao did back then, I also didn’t pressure them to return me my money.”

“But I feel that in hosting such a great banquet just after the person has been released, isn’t the Xu Family blatantly standing in opposition to the Huang Family this time? …If you go, the Huang Family might view you negatively as well,” His wife continued.

The man hesitated for a moment before flinging up his hand dismissively, “The hell I’m scared of them! Whatever. Anyway, I’m going.”

The man walked over to the Xu Family. Having after all arrived uninvited, he instead felt a little hesitant at this point. Just then, the Xu father and son came over to greet him.

“Bro Lin, you’re here! Come, sit,” Xu Tingsheng said.

More and more people gradually trickled in.

Of course, there were many who were successfully persuaded by their families not to go as well, with many people still in the midst of hesitating.

A little after 8pm, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng arrived as well. They had come to toast Mr Xu with a glass of wine. After the toasting, however, Xu Tingsheng still had something else in mind for them.

Xu Tingsheng brought Huang Yaming, Fu Cheng and a few other youths over to the grain sunning ground.

The entire grain sunning ground was filled with fireworks.

“Light ’em up,” Xu Tingsheng said.

At this moment, scattered fireworks were already being set off all around Libei County. Many people stood on their balconies or leaned out of their windows, watching the fireworks.

Suddenly, they watched on as a major, sizeable portion of the horizon was illuminated red in the distance.

The village in which the Xu Family lived was just a short 20 minutes walk away from the county, and the main reason for this was that one would have to bypass a large mountain along the way. In terms of direct distance, it was actually not far away at all.

Thirty thousand yuan worth of fireworks shot into the night sky, a heaven-shaking boom resounding as the brilliant glow left everyone sighing in wonder at that awe-inspiring sight.

“Where’s that?” Someone asked.

“Able to create such a momentous scene; from that direction, who else could it be? The Xu Family, of course!” A bystander promptly exclaimed.


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