SWFM 210

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Chapter 210: Conversing with Apple

 

For just that one moment, Xu Tingsheng felt as if ‘heartbroken’ wasn’t actually a metaphorical term but a literal one. It could be felt, it could be heard, it could even be seen. He should open the door and rush out without care for everything else.

Yet, he remembered Mr Xiang’s ‘Uncle’s begging you’ and ‘give me a guarantee’. He saw that because it was raining, Apple was currently in the midst of diligently moving the flowerpots off the windowsill one by one.

Apple yelled, “Xu Tingsheng, hurry up and come help!”

Xu Tingsheng navigated the room and went to the balcony, only then discovering how torrential today’s rain actually was. So, it was amidst a huge rainstorm at Xinyan Junior High, via a public telephone that was perhaps installed in some obscure corner…that she’d dared to cry like this.

The violent winds and the torrential rain would have prevented the sounds of crying from being heard. Then, she would have traversed this rainstorm, going back and revealing a smiling face.

Li Linlin had said this, “She’s doing pretty well. I see her smiling all day long. She’s very polite and also very conscientious.”

This was just like the her of the past. Having been bullied by Uncle, she had cried, yet none of her close friends in university had been aware of this at all as they had still believed that she had met an Uncle who was full of boundless tolerance towards her, always doting on her.

“I’ve got to build up a good image of you in front of them. Like this, if we argue someday, they’ll speak up on your behalf, helping to mend our relationship and prevent us from falling apart. You don’t understand; words between close female friends sometimes really influence things a lot,” The she of back then had told him.

When Apple turned over, her entire face was wet with rain, the front of her clothes completely soaked. Her drenched hair was stuck to her forehead as her face was full of worry and panic.

Xu Tingsheng asked, “You needn’t be so hardcore? It’s just a few plants. Don’t make yourself catch a cold.”

Apple replied, “You don’t know how hard it was for me to grow so many of them. Such a resolute will to live-of course I would treasure them. Don’t just talk, hurry up and help.”

Xu TIngsheng peeked outside before shrinking back his head again. He pulled Apple away from the stormy balcony before taking off his T-shirt and rushing into the rain, moving the whole line of flowerpots over to the side of the wall one by one.
The pouring rainwater enveloped him completely, running down his face and his entire body.

“Why is it that you look so thin, yet you’re actually really rather fit? Especially with rain pouring down over you like this, it really causes one to…” Apple leaned against the doorway.

“Causes one to what?” Xu Tingsheng wiped the rainwater off his face, asking loudly.

“Really causes one to want to peek on you in the bath!” Apple yelled back.

Xu TIngsheng was rendered speechless as he just smiled wryly, “Really, hurry and go get yourself dry. I’ll be done in a moment.”

“Okay,” Apple turned and went to the washroom.

Xu Tingsheng went back to the room after having moved the flowerpots. Apple threw a towel over, which landed on his head.

“Hurry up and wipe yourself,” She said. But then she smiled and changed her mind, going forward and taking the towel herself before she began helping to wipe Xu Tingsheng down.

Through the towel, her palm stroked his head, his face, then his ears, his neck…till it reached his chest. Her actions suddenly began slowing unconsciously, losing their force.

Apple’s clothes were still wet, plastered tightly to her body as they defined her alluring curves.

The breathing of the two grew somewhat heavier.

The towel had already fallen onto the ground. Apple’s palm was pressed against Xu Tingsheng’s chest.

“What to do, Xu Tingsheng?” Apple was breathing heavily as she leaned over and whispered into Xu Tingsheng’s ear, “Do we stop? It’s really not feigned this time round. I’m really panting, uncontrollably.”

Xu Tingsheng stabilised his mind, “How about we talk about something else?”

“Right. Think of something, quick,” Apple said.

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking,” Xu Tingsheng clapped his face, “I…I feel that for those plants, they would have had to experience such torrential rain in their natural environment that they grew up in, isn’t it? Also, they might have experienced it countless times. Why is it that they would have been able to get through it originally, yet are just unable to now with better fertiliser and care?”

This seemed to conform very well with his education methods that he had used as a teacher in his previous life.

Yet Apple changed the topic somewhat, shifting the focus, “That’s just like me. I was originally that strong plant out in the wild, having lived solitarily for so many years…then I received your warmth, and became unable to stand independently and staunchly.”

“Are you regretting it? Say, if I hadn’t carried you on my back that day, would the story then be different from how it is now?” Xu Tingsheng asked.

“It would still be like this. You don’t know, but I do,” Apple smiled, “I’ve actually been thinking about this over this period of time. When you were burning up that day, you feverishly told me that you’d actually already died once. That time, I had a life of my own and was living very well. Was that a dream you had?”

Even now, Xu Tingsheng still felt fearful at those words that had escaped his mouth that night.

“Right, it was a dream. I was all burnt up and delirious then. It felt like it had really happened,” Xu Tingsheng said.

“Yeah,” Apple said, “But I’ve been thinking about it afterwards. In your dream, did you love me? Did I love you? If I loved you, why was it that although you died, I was able to live even better?”

“In the dream, I didn’t love you, and you didn’t love me. We were merely classmates for a short one year. Then, we led lives of our own,” Xu Tingsheng said.

Apple thought for a moment, “You can know that you didn’t love me, but how could you have known that I didn’t love you? Maybe in that dream of yours, because there wasn’t a suitable opportunity, I wasn’t able to express it to you like I did in reality.”

This question stumped Xu Tingsheng.

“Did Apple like me before in my previous life?”

“She also approached me in my previous life. All that happened that night before I carried her was actually basically the same as what happened before. In this life, it became love. In my previous life, then, was it merely that she approached me with a goal in mind, without any feelings being involved in it at all?”

“Or is it really like she said, and she just lacked a suitable opportunity, ultimately never having expressed it? The sole thing that is for certain is that even if such feelings did exist then, they definitely wouldn’t run as deep as they do in this life.”

“Then, if she had expressed it back then and we had continued interacting, would I have understood her, fallen in love with her? If that had happened, how would our story have eventually gone?”

Apple raised her hand, waving it before Xu Tingsheng’s face, “Thinking deeply about it? Or has your mind drifted away? Actually, I just want to tell you that I love you. Xu Tingsheng, I love you when you feel that I love you, and love you even when you feel that I don’t love you.”

Xu Tingsheng said, “Thank you. How about we pretend that we never stopped just now?”

Apple dodged, laughing, “Dream on.”

She threw Xu Tingsheng’s T-shirt back to him, continuing, “Actually, I’ve been regretting not asking you when you were all feverish that day-do you really love me, or not? Actually, I know that I’m sick. Because of that, I’m afraid that you might only have accepted me because of this.”

Xu Tingsheng said, “Some things are just like this. You don’t do them because it’s necessary; you do them because you’re willing.”

“What do you mean?”

“The precondition for being willing is that I love you too.”

Apple frolicked about joyfully for a while, “Whatever happens in the future, Xu Tingsheng, I’ll remember it, remember what you just said, that you love me. I’ll remember it for my entire life.”

Young girls ultimately wouldn’t remain stern and serious for long.

The happy Apple began chattering along, “Hey, Xu Tingsheng, I’ve actually been very curious all this time. Are you a virgin?”

“Huh? Why? I mean-why’re you suddenly asking this?”

“Because your self-control is really too good, just like you’re a really experienced person.”

This was a very difficult question to answer. Even Xu Tingsheng himself was unsure of it. Still, regarding the current situation, he answered, “Yes.”

“Yes, you’re really experienced?”

“I’m, a, virgin.”

Uncle Xu Tingsheng…flustered and distressed…stumbled into the door and staggered outside.

Apple was laughing loudly behind him.


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