SWFM 225

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Chapter 225: If only it weren’t him

 

Li Wan’er returned to the sick ward dispiritedly, her thoughts floating about restlessly.

The word ‘hotel’ was inevitably quite a sensitive one for the current Li Wan’er. Now that it had left Xu Tingsheng’s mouth…what did this entail?

“This scoundrel who bullies people! He just has that scoundrelly thought? That…thought? Or is it something else, which he didn’t feel comfortable voicing out directly?” It would be very difficult for Li Wan’er not to think deeply into things…

She ground her teeth the more she thought about it.

Her cheeks reddened the more she thought about it.

Lying down on her side on her sickbed, as Li Wan’er’s mother saw her daughter’s expression constantly in flux, she called out gently to her. Seeing no reaction forthcoming, she raised her hand and waved it in front of her, asking, “Wan’er, are you okay?”

Broken out of her reverie, Li Wan’er was a little flustered as she shook her head, “I’m fine, Mum. Hurry up and sleep!”

Mrs Li smiled, clasping her daughter’s hands as she ventured cautiously, “That person who helped our family, the one who sent you over. Has he left?”

“Yeah,” Li Wan’er replied.

Li Wan’er had already told her mother the good news earlier, during which she had also mentioned that there was such a person who had helped her. It was just that due to Xu Tingsheng’s age and various other reasons, she had not dared to go into much detail.

As for how ‘he’ held a special place in Li Wan’er’s heart, she as a mother had already long since understood it just from the expression and behaviour of her daughter as she had been speaking then.

“Still thinking about him? Can’t bear to have him go?” Mrs Li asked.

Li Wan’er nodded unconsciously in reply, after which she immediately shook her head frantically.

Mrs Li sighed, “Speaking of which, it’s all your Dad’s fault…now that our family has become like this, everything has fallen on your shoulders alone. How will you be able to handle any of this? This time, Mum may not be able to make it through this. If something happens to me, you’d be the only one left in this world. Wan’er, I can’t help but feel worried for you.”

Hearing this, Li Wan’er hurriedly stood up, “Mum, don’t say things like this! You’ll get better.”

Mrs Li smiled consolingly at her daughter before saying, “It’s just in case of that off chance! Even if I manage to get make it through this, I won’t be able to be by your side for that many more years to come. Wan’er, you’re also not young anymore. If that person really is good…Mum can actually tell that you really think that he’s good. In that case, we don’t have to be concerned over whether he’s rich or poor or things along that line. It’s fine as long as he’s willing to properly take care of you. Do you get what Mum means? Mum’s afraid that you might miss out on this chance. Go with him! Having someone who is concerned about and cares for you is more important than anything else.”

“I, I’m not going to leave.”

Li Wan’er secretly held back her tears, revealing a smile as she chatted with her mother.

But there was no way for her to tell her mother, “I still don’t know for sure whether he likes me. You don’t know how unseemly he is! He’s a hoodlum, a ne’er do well of society. If you knew that, you definitely wouldn’t be able to set your mind at ease. And I’m so much older than him, and even a divorcee. He might even spurn me. I could be taking this seriously, while he’s just treating it as a joke. Maybe I’m just a game to him, and after tomorrow…”

To go, or not to go?
……

The next morning, Li Wan’er accompanied her mother in going for some pre-surgery checkups.

She still needed a little more money for the surgery, thus currently feeling troubled as to where she might be able to borrow it from. No one had been willing to lend her any money before the previous night, and considering what had transpired then, it instead became that there was no way for her to voice out such a request now lest the truth be exposed as a result.

She dared not show any of this in front of her mother.

As for the matter regarding Xu Tingsheng, Li Wan’er tried hard not to think about it, at least not in the morning and not in the afternoon.

“Even if I do really go, I still can’t go too early. Otherwise, that bastard will definitely scoff at me again…no, that isn’t right. I’m not going, so why am I even worrying about this?!” Li Wan’er rubbed her nose unconsciously, as if she could still feel Xu Tingsheng’s warm breath on it from when he had leaned in the previous night.

After watching her mother finish eating her lunch, Li Wan’er went home. She took a bath, changed and got ready to leave the house. Then…

Li Wan’er did not go out right away. Instead, she sat on the sofa, by the window, in the balcony, the bathroom, her bedroom, ceaselessly moving about restlessly with a perturbed state of mind.

Her handphone rang. She inhaled deeply.

Yet, the screen displayed that it was her cousin who was calling. When Li Wan’er’s family had been doing well in the past, this group of relatives had virtually been living off them. When they had fallen into dire straits, however, they had just easily gone their separate ways just like that. Even when Li Wan’er had requested their help, they had sidestepped this with various reasons.

This was really the first time Li Wan’er had received a call from these relatives of hers recently.

For some reason, Li Wan’er’s cousin was incomparably enthusiastic this time as she continually hinted at their close familial ties. Li Wan’er grit her teeth, deciding to make use of this chance to attempt to borrow money from her once more.

“Stop joking around, Wan’er! Why would you even need to borrow this money now?” Her cousin exclaimed excitedly, “Let me tell you, I’ve already heard all about what happened last night. I’ve even helped you to look that person up on the internet. You’re so lucky, Wan’er! Wan’er, Big Sis is calling you now to to tell you that you should really hold onto this person well. Put some more thought into it, understand?”

A distressed Li Wan’er asked, “What, put more thought into what?”

Her cousin laughed, “Hey, Wan’er, you’ve also been married before. You surely understand this? That person is twenty years old, young and hot-blooded and just ripe for the picking. And most importantly, of course, he’s still not married yet…get what I mean? You’ve got to capture him properly. You don’t need me to teach you how, right? Big Sis tells you, you definitely can’t compete with all those young girls in acting all demure now. What he wants, you should just give it to him. What he hasn’t thought of, think up some ideas yourself and give it to him. You can ask me if you run out of ideas.”

“You’ve got to know how to make use of your assets, understand? Like this, after he’s been thoroughly entranced by you such that he just can’t leave your side, even if he doesn’t marry you in the end, you’ll still be the one with whom his favour lies.”

Now that Li Wan’er understood what her cousin meant, her originally flushed face turned an even deeper shade of red as she stuttered hopelessly, “Sis, you, you shouldn’t say stuff like that!”

Li Wan’er’s cousin sighed, “Wan’er, it’s because I know you’re like this that I had to call you. Just continue being silly. Do you think a person like this would have a lack of women going for him? He’s into you now because of the novelty. If you keep on going like this, not putting any effort into capturing his heart, he’ll just forget about you and throw you away one day, believe me?”

“I….”

“Stop ‘I’-ing! You know all that you should, right? If you don’t, I’ll teach you. Now, this is how you should do it…”

Her cousin was a bold, fiery woman who had no qualms whatsoever talking about such things.

As the things that were narrated became increasingly extreme, Li Wan’er began unconsciously imagining herself appearing before Xu Tingsheng in such clothes, saying all that she was being taught to say and doing all those things, all those movements…

“I’ve got to be…that kind of woman? He will like it?”

Feeling her thoughts going perilously off-kilter, Li Wan’er hurriedly found an excuse and hung up before trying to calm herself down.

After a while, having expelled those unhealthy thoughts, Li Wan’er remembered that there was actually something else that her cousin had reminded her about. She had gone on the internet and done research on that person, that person whom that fella had been masquerading as the previous night…

A curious Li Wan’er turned on her computer as well.

“Their names are pretty similar,” Li Wan’er thought to herself as she typed in Xu Tingsheng’s name, “If it isn’t right, it’d also be fine if I looked him up instead. Could there be information about him on the net as well?”

Then, the page finished loading.

An entire screen’s worth of information, comments…Li Wan’er felt amazed the more she read…

Finally, she even managed to find a few photographs.

At that instant when she saw the photographs, Li Wan’er stared blankly at her computer screen.

Li Wan’er had mentally done a ‘two-choose-one’ last night.

Two twenty-year-old youths with vastly different identities. One of them was a legendary young magnate subject to countless admiring gazes, the other an unreliable hoodlum who had roared at her, bullied her. He always claimed to be very good at fighting, professing that he would beat up whoever bullied her…

Back then, Li Wan’er had chosen that hoodlum without the slightest hesitation, believing that even if the two of them really appeared simultaneously before her, were she really entitled to make a choice between them, she would still choose that hoodlum without question.

But now she knew: They were the same person. The hoodlum and the legendary young magnate were one and the same.

There was no excitement that Li Wan’er felt, for the only thing she wished was that this wasn’t actually the case. She would rather he just be that poor, ne’er do well hoodlum.


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