Chapter 202: The Xu Tingsheng before his father
“No wonder there weren’t any calls at all.”
Zhong Wusheng had said that he was going to ‘tell on’ him. Thus, it was not that Xu Tingsheng was wholly unprepared for this. Still, he was inevitably feeling rather nervous now.
Hearing Xu Tingsheng addressing them as Mum and Dad, still clutching a spatula, Apple greeted incomparably nervously, “Hi Uncle, Hi Auntie.”
“Hi, you must be…”
Amidst Mrs Xu’s words, Fang Chen came out from her room. Seeing another one, Mrs Xu could not be certain as she withheld from saying the name ‘Xiang Ning’ that had been right by her lips.
Fang Chen had unknowingly just saved Xu Tingsheng’s life.
Seeing the incomparably nervous Xu Tingsheng as well as Apple, Fang Chen understood what was going on as she acted very obediently and called sweetly, “Hi Uncle, Hi Auntie.”
“Oh, hi,” Mrs Xiang was taken aback as she turned to look at Mr Xu.
Mr Xu felt rather confused as well. The last time he had come, there had just been one girl living in this flat, and it had not been either of these two.
Now, Lu Zhixin came down from the office upstairs and saw Mr and Mrs Xu. She had met Mr Xu before, having been interrogated somewhat by him back then as he had suspected her of being Xu Tingsheng’s girlfriend.
She hurriedly greeted now, “You’re here, Uncle. Hi, Uncle. Hi, Auntie.”
Three? Mrs Xu felt her mind spinning somewhat, her gaze moving between the three girls a good few times as she carefully appraised them, “They all seem okay, but…which of them is Xiang Ning, exactly?”
Three girls, three rooms. Therefore…
“Tingsheng, where do you usually sleep?” Mrs Xu asked.
“He sleeps with the dog, on the sofa,” Not afraid of things escalating, Fang Chen immediately replied before looking at Xu Tingsheng with a triumphant, gloating look on her face.
Mrs Xu’s face immediately sunk, “Didn’t Little Zhong say that you…you’re sick? Why’re you just sleeping on the sofa then?”
To a mother, her daughter-in-law could only be an outsider, with only her son who was her treasure. Therefore, Mrs Xu’s tone already carried a hint of rebuke as she questioned now.
She had originally come here with a bit of a temper, Zhong Wusheng having narrated to them all that had happened that day after having returned to Libei.
After having heard it, Mrs Xu’s heart had been ill at ease the entire day as she had rushed over at full speed with all urgency. She had come intending to give Xu Tingsheng a well and proper beating…if it wasn’t for the fact that she heard he was sick.
Now, her son who had just experienced a real tribulation and was sick as well…had actually been thrown onto the sofa just like this? Mrs Xu would not stand for it.
Hearing this, Apple was flustered as she looked like she was about to cry at any moment. Even the usually calm and composed Lu Zhixin appeared somewhat nervous and at a loss for words. There was only Fang Chen who still had on that look of nonchalance, though she did at least keep her mouth shut.
“Mum, I’m fine now. Don’t be angry,” Xu Tingsheng hurriedly said.
“Not be angry?” Mrs Xu said indignantly.
“Let’s talk outside,” Mr Xu proposed as he looked at the complexity of the situation at hand.
“You’ve really recovered?” Mrs Xu asked.
“Yes,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“You come out right now then,” Mrs Xu said.
Xu Tingsheng guided Mr and Mrs Xu up to the balcony on the top floor. Soon, he regretted his actions, for it was completely filled with various articles of clothing belonging to the three girls that had been strung up there to dry.
Mrs Xu carefully examined Xu Tingsheng’s body once over before pinching him on the arm, though she could not bear to exert real force as she spoke like she was crying, “Brat, are you trying to scare your Mum to death? After Little Zhong had told us, your Dad and I nearly fainted.”
“Bro Zhong must have exaggerated things a little,” In order to avoid his Mum pinching him again, Xu Tingsheng pretended to feel pained as he winced and rubbed his elbow, asking, “Look, aren’t I fine now? I guarantee that there won’t be a next time.”
“If there really is a next time, your Mum really wouldn’t be able to take it,” Mr Xu finally spoke.
Xu Tingsheng hurriedly guaranteed it over and over again till they were finally satisfied.
Ceasing to cry, Mrs Xu asked earnestly, “Those three girls…what’s up with them? Which of them is the one called Xiang Ning?”
Mrs Xu having suddenly uttered ‘Xiang Ning’, Xu Tingsheng felt dazed. How could his mother possibly know about Xiang Ning? He thought back on things a little, connecting it first to Zhong Wusheng and then to Fang Yuqing…he’d surely kill him dead later on.
“Which of them is the one called Xiang Ning?” Mrs Xu asked again.
Xu Tingsheng shook his head, “None of them.”
Therefore, Mrs Xu concluded, “So, there’s four in total? Or are there even more?”
Then, she turned towards her husband, saying, “Your son…teach him as you think fit. I’ll go help with the cooking downstairs. That girl doesn’t look like she knows how to cook at all. She’s even gripping onto the spatula with her fingernails.”
“Mum, remember not to mention Xiang Ning downstairs.”
“Sigh, you brat.”
“It really isn’t how you think it is.”
“Really. Wasn’t Little Ye great already?”
Mrs Xu who was still hung up on Ye Yingjing went downstairs, leaving just father and son on the balcony.
Mr Xu handed Xu Tingsheng a cigarette,“Calling you sensible, you were already so sensible since back during twelfth grade…calling you insensible, just from that matter Little Zhong spoke of after returning alone, if you had been present then, Dad would have had to beat you up.”
Xu Tingsheng properly explained things to his father, also giving him a guarantee.
“What about this matter your Mum’s concerned about? What’s up with those three girls?”
Xu Tingsheng had nothing to hide from Mr Xu regarding those three girls downstairs as he basically explained the gist of it all, especially Apple’s situation.
Mr Xu silently heard him out before saying, “Actually, such a situation-I’ve got one as well.”
“Huh? Dad, you strayed? Woah, no wonder people all say that men will turn bad after having become rich. No, I’ve got to go tell Mum.”
Xu Tingsheng knew, of course, that Mr Xu was not such a person. However, in order to help the current atmosphere and break free of his ‘sinner’ status, he still intentionally yelled astonishedly.
“You brat! I’m talking about when I was young. When I just met your mother, I too was plagued by indecision before,” Mr Xu slapped Xu Tingsheng right on the face, “Things like love-for men who have reached a certain age, who would not have had to make that difficult choice before?”
Mr Xu continued, “Therefore, the key is not betraying your heart. For matters of the heart, it is impossible not to hurt anyone at all. Therefore, they are actually the most selfish thing in this world. Also, one can only be selfish. At the end of it all, we can only just…follow our heart.”
Xu Tingsheng actually knew of the indecision that Mr Xu had just mentioned. Even though Mr Xu had never mentioned it in his previous life before, after Mr Xu had died in an accident back then, a beautiful woman whom Xu Tingsheng had never seen before had rushed over from far away despite all else, fainting dead away on the altar.
Mrs Xu had actually always known of this woman.
Logically speaking, she should have been the one who had been hurt. Yet, she did not hate him, still missing him greatly. She had sat together with Mrs Xu afterwards, chatting about how Mr Xu had been during his younger days.
“Who will experience together with you the good and the bad, providing mutual support whether happy or sad? Who will rush over from miles away despite all else, simply never able to forget? Not betraying your heart, and following it…is it really ever that easy?” Xu Tingsheng wondered.
“What do you intend to do?” Mr Xu asked.
“I don’t know,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Therefore, Mr Xu said, “It looks like it should be that Xiang Ning then. Tell me about her. I hear she’s a teacher?”
Xu Tingsheng didn’t know what specifically Fang Yuqing had mentioned, thus being unaware of how much Mr Xu knew. However, the topic of conversation having come to Xiang Ning…he was completely unable to give any explanation at all.
Unless one day, Xiang Ning officially appeared in front of everyone, appeared in front of Xu Tingsheng’s family, friends and Apple…
“Dad, I can’t talk about this right now. Is it alright if I don’t explain?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“Alright,” Mr Xu said, “Everyone has some things that they can’t talk about.”
“I haven’t seen you this way for a long time. Since you aren’t willing to talk, I won’t ask. Take care of yourself, and tell Dad if you meet with any trouble,” Mr Xu patted his son’s shoulder.
“Dad, can I cry for a while? I’ll cry in front of you for a while.”
Xu Tingsheng had buried his pain deep two days ago, not displaying it in front of anyone, only till now, now when he was before his father.
In front of Xiang Ning’s father just two days ago, Xu Tingsheng had agreed to those requests innumerable times. Whatever the former had asked, he had agreed to without question. Next, he had adjusted his mental state before only then returning to the riverside residence. No one had been able to tell anything from his appearance.
Before his father now, he said he couldn’t explain, asked could he not explain. Mr Xu said that it was alright. He asked if he could cry for a while. Mr Xu said that it was fine.
This was father and son.