Chapter 182: The concert that will never come
Xu Tingsheng discovered that listening to a shy girl reciting a dirty story was actually such an interesting thing, being even more interesting than comic dialogue and short artistic creations.
He finally managed to get through the night. After all, it wasn’t possible for anyone who was enjoying a tale so much that they were nearly doubled over laughing to stay ignited for long.
“So a lofty Qingbei student actually knows all this as well?” Xu Tingsheng teased at the end.
“Hmph. I’m off to bed,” Seeing such a ‘shameless’ Xu Tingsheng for the first time, Wu Yuewei was finally unable to bear it.
The next afternoon.
Xu Tingsheng found an excuse and rejected this time’s cooperation with Dexin. He also got one of his employees to covertly pay for the motel expenses this time to Dexin’s finance department.
After leaving Dexin, Xu Tingsheng received a call from Yu Xinlan very soon after.
“Boss Xu has given up?”
“What do you think?”
“I understand. Still, I’ll continue awaiting Boss Xu’s call. Shenghai City is not far from Yanzhou.”
Hearing this, Xu Tingsheng deleted Yu Xinlan’s number and phone records from his phone card and also threw the name card she had left behind into a trash can by the roadside just in case.
As for what exactly she had understood, Xu Tingsheng didn’t know that.
Originally, Xu Tingsheng’s plan had been to hurry back to Yanzhou as soon as possible. This was precisely the day that Xiang Ning should be returning from Yanjing. She would be attending lessons at Hucheng Training Institute very soon.
Aside from tuition for cultural lessons, Xiang Ning had originally wanted to attend Taekwondo lessons as well. Mr and Mrs Xiang had not agreed to it.
Still, she had Uncle.
“I’ll get you a special pass at the time. After the cultural lessons are over, you can attend whatever lesson you want to. Still, my suggestion is dance. Girls who dance have better figures,” Uncle ‘positively encouraged’ her.
“I want to learn Taekwondo.”
“How about dance?”
“I won’t be bullied by my boyfriend in the future. I’ll be able to fight him.”
“You definitely won’t be bullied by your boyfriend.”
“How do you know?”
“It’s a guess.”
“I’d best still learn it first then.”
It was because of Fu Cheng that their return was delayed. Before he had gone out early in the morning, he had agreed to return to the motel soon. Still, Xu Tingsheng returned to the motel and waited for a long time but to no avail.
Shenghai City was not far from Yanzhou. Seeing that there was still some time left before noon, Xu Tingsheng did not bother him.
In the end, when dinnertime was fast approaching and Fu Cheng had still yet to return, Xu Tingsheng could only give him a call.
“I was just about to call you,” Fu Cheng said.
“What’s wrong?” Xu Tingsheng hurriedly asked as he sensed some abnormalities in Fu Cheng’s tone.
“I might have seen her.”
“I don’t know what to do. She entered a buffet restaurant. I’m opposite the restaurant, by the roadside. I don’t know what to do.”
“Give me the address. I’m coming over to find you.”
After asking his employees to handle the extension of their stay at the motel, Xu Tingsheng took a taxi and travelled across half the entire city before he found Fu Cheng. Just as he had said, he was sitting by the edge of the sidewalk just opposite a buffet restaurant named ‘Spring Warmth’.
“Let’s go. Let’s go in and look,” Xu Tingsheng directly pulled Fu Cheng up.
Fu Cheng struggled, “What? So what if I find her?”
“You can decide on that when you’ve found her. At that time, just say whatever you want to say outright. If you really can’t, I’ll get a rope for you first. I’ll tie her up as soon as I see her, and you can slowly consider what to say to her then,” Xu Tingsheng told him.
Fu Cheng shook his head.
Sometimes, we think of someone all day and all night, yet do not dare to look for her. That doesn’t mean that we’re cowardly or that we aren’t actually thinking of her. We’re just afraid, afraid that she already doesn’t love us anymore. If we do know that she does still love us, we would be able to roll around the floor yelling unreasonable stuff, act shamelessly, do anything.
Our sole fear is that she doesn’t love us anymore.
Not going to look for her is not daring to directly face that which would shatter everything. At the very least, we would still be able to dream that way…dream that she does actually still love us.
“Let’s go back then. Pretend that you didn’t see anything today. Then, let’s go back to Yanzhou. Then, stop pretending that you’re still looking for her. Forget her and look for another girl to date and get married with afterwards.”
Xu Tingsheng’s words caused Fu Cheng to fall silent once more.
“I’m going in to look for her. Stay outside and help me to watch the door. Don’t let her run away,” Having thought things through, Fu Cheng smiled before carefully adjusting his clothes and hair, feeling incomparably nervous.
“Should I prepare a rope?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“No need. I’ll just capture her directly with a hug as soon as I spot her,” Fu Cheng replied.
Fu Cheng entered the restaurant.
The buffet restaurant was not large, having only two storeys. Fu Cheng carefully walked past every table, every corner, looked at every face as he went from the first to the second storey. Finally, he spent another twenty minutes waiting outside the female toilet.
As Xu Tingsheng watched people exiting the restaurant, he was thinking: I forgot to ask him just now. If you’ve found her, you can hug her. But what if it’s me who spots her? What if she runs? To hug, or not to hug?”
More than an hour later, Fu Cheng emerged from the restaurant. There was no one in his embrace, and no one standing beside him as well.
“You didn’t find her?”
“You wait here. I’ll look again, and grab a bite as well.”
Xu Tingsheng looked. He still couldn’t find her.
“Could you have seen wrong?” He asked Fu Cheng.
“Impossible,” Fu Cheng said.
“What do we do now?”
“The restaurant doesn’t have a back door, right?”
“Let’s sit here and wait then.”
“Alright, I’ll wait with you. I’ll buy you something to eat first. Some water and cigarettes as well.”
Shenghai City’s nightlife was even more bustling than in the daytime. The lights were all lit up brightly, a dazzling sea of neon. Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng sat by the edge of the sidewalk like two hobos, from 6pm all the way till 10pm, and then onwards till 12pm.
They waited till the restaurant began to close shop, even till all its employees had begun leaving one by one.
Rows upon rows of lights were extinguished, the restaurant now completely pitch black. Xu Tingsheng stood up, preparing to persuade Fu Cheng to return, “Maybe you did see wrong. Maybe you were thinking about her at that instant such that anyone would look like her,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“She’s there,” Fu Cheng said.
Xu Tingsheng raised his head and glanced at the restaurant opposite. A man and a woman were currently locking the door at the front of the restaurant. She was holding onto his arm, her belly slightly protruding. From her figure and side profile that were visible to him, Xu Tingsheng found that she indeed resembled Fang Yunyao greatly.
This would explain why the two of them had simply been unable to find her. She hadn’t been a customer there at all. She was the restaurant’s Lady Boss.
“What do we do, Tingsheng? Do we go back?” Fu Cheng’s entire body was trembling.
Xu Tingsheng propped him up, thinking for a moment, “Let’s go over and take a look. If it really is Ms Fang, just take it as if…as if we’re old friends, giving a greeting having coincidentally met.”
“I can’t do it,” Fu Cheng sat down again.
The couple opposite was currently heading down the street. The man was very considerate as he walked on the pavement by the roadside, shielding the woman who stood closer to the wall.
Xu Tingsheng dragged Fu Cheng along in running across the road. If the ending was really like this, he hoped that Fu Cheng would be able to face it straight on at the very least. However painful it might be, he would still have to face it and stop fooling himself. Then, things would no longer be as messy and futile as in his previous life where he had wasted half his life away.
Actually, Xu Tingsheng too needed to know whether this particular fated destiny that he had interfered with since his rebirth had finally arrived at a proper conclusion for good.
Many people who were walking up ahead turned back to see what was going on. That couple did so as well. Xu Tingsheng dragged Fu Cheng and got a little closer, looking at the bemused faces of that couple before them…it was very similar, but it wasn’t her.
“Sorry, we mistook you for someone else,” Xu Tingsheng bowed apologetically.
“It’s okay,” The man smiled, saying for the woman. The woman smiled and nodded as well. Then, they left together, arm in arm.
The next moment, Fu Cheng collapsed directly onto his knees where he was, “Hahaha, it wasn’t her, it wasn’t her…sob, sob, sob, it wasn’t her, where is she…”
Xu Tingsheng hurriedly pulled him up, maneuvering out of the onlooking crowd of spectators.
“They really look alike, right?” Fu Cheng was still crying even as he smiled, just that there was also some awkwardness on his face now.
“Bastard, you made this old man wait half a day with you. See how she’s pregnant already. How could it possibly be so fast?” Xu Tingsheng smiled.
“Actually, if it had really been her, having found a man like this and living so happily and stably, shouldn’t we be happy for her, not bothering her even if we did find her?” Fu Cheng asked Xu Tingsheng.
Xu Tingsheng had no answer for him. What if it was the future Xiang Ning? Her happiness and stability would already be enough, and he really shouldn’t try to bother her? But how could he be satisfied with just that?
Xu Tingsheng received a text message from Apple as they were on the way back in a taxi.
“Xu Tingsheng, I remember you saying that you’d come to see my concert. I’ve thought about that day so many, so many times. But it still hasn’t come. I’ll be in Xihu City tomorrow for my last contracted performance. There might not be any more after that…can you come and watch me? I want to sing for you once.”
It had been more than half a year since Apple had entered showbiz, and Xu Tingsheng had never attended one of her live performances before.