Chapter 282: What liking someone means
Hucheng’s training institute in Yanzhou was located in the suburban district between the academy city and the city district. For drivers, whichever direction they were headed in, they would definitely have to enter the national highway via the mud path outside the academy gates.
A short distance away from where the training institute and the national highway intersected, on a side road that was private property, hidden by tall trees, could be found a heavy-duty lorry loaded full of rocks and earth. It had already been parked there for nearly three hours.
The two burly men in the driver’s cabin exchanged a few words. Then, one of them who had a green tattoo on his neck took out his phone and dialled a number.
The call connected.
The burly man said, “Bro Sen, we’ve waited the entire afternoon, but we really haven’t seen that Mercedes-Benz G500 driving out…you said the meeting would end early. It ended over an hour ago at least. Many cars left, but we just didn’t see that Mercedes-Benz you were talking about.”
On the other end of the phone, a rather wild look on his face, Ding Sen hesitated for a moment before saying, “Wait another half hour.”
“No, Bro Sen,” The tattooed man explained, “I asked Dongzi to go take a look just now. Even the gates of the training institute are already locked. There’s only an old security guard who’s still there. See, should we still wait like this?”
Ding Sen had just been about to speak when a commotion resounded over at the other end.
“What happened? What is it?” Mentally picturing the two of them being discovered by the police, Ding Sen broke out in a cold sweat as he asked nervously.
“It’s nothing. It’s just the family whose road we parked on. The old woman’s especially fierce. She’s scolded us for the entire afternoon already. She’s probably scolding us for blocking their road and trying to shoo us away. She’s speaking some dialect and doesn’t understand common speech, so it’s useless however much we scold her and try to threaten her…She, the heck, she’s gonna splash a bucket of shit water at us…”
Hearing this explanation, Ding Sen relaxed slightly, wiping off his cold sweat as he said, “Never mind then, no need to wait anymore. You guys leave and stay clear of Yanzhou for a while. We can’t act again for the time being.”
“What’s wrong, Bro Sen?” The tattooed man asked.
“A vice-captain of the Vice squad has led his team over here a couple of times, asking around the place with photos. The two of you got caught on the hotel’s surveillance cameras. They’re probably suspecting me, just that they fortunately haven’t any evidence,” Ding Sen explained.
“No, but we wore masks!” The tattooed man’s body tensed up entirely.
“I know. If they had managed to capture your faces, they wouldn’t just be asking about you. They would be putting up an arrest warrant for you already. The surveillance cameras got the tattoo on your neck and that scar on Dongzi’s arm. You two should leave first. Don’t go too far, though. Find a nearby county and hide there for a while, and come back again when I say you can. I won’t be giving up on this matter. I’ll just have to tolerate it for a while.”
“Got it, Bro Sen. We’ll be waiting for your call then. It’s just that…the…money from that previous incident…”
“I’ll transfer you the money in a bit along with twenty thousand for your living expenses. Hurry and leave. Bring that phone along and wait for my call. Also, remember not to bring me any trouble,” With that, Ding Sen hung up.
The two people in the truck cursed at the old woman for a bit before driving onto the national highway with that dreadful stench and driving off in the opposite direction from the city district.
In the driver’s cabin, Dongzi said to the tattooed man, “Ding Sen was pretty generous this time. Thirty thousand plus another twenty, fifty thousand. Still, if we had really done this and escaped today, how do we know that Ding Sen wouldn’t have gone back on his word? Such a huge sum of money-what if he didn’t transfer us the money afterwards?”
“Relax,” The tattooed man passed his phone over, “I record all of our conversations. I’ve also never deleted any of the texts and pictures he sent me before. Keep this phone well. If we ask him for money next time and he refuses, we’ll threaten him with this and say that we’d drag him down together with us. He’d definitely give it then. These rich kids aren’t like us, whose lives are worth nothing anyway.”
Dongzi nodded, pressing a few buttons on the phone’s keypad. On the screen now appeared a photograph of Xu Tingsheng’s Mercedes-Benz G500.
“If the car had come out just now, would we really have rammed it?” Dongzi asked, a bit fearful as he thought about this eventuality now.
“Duh! 1.2 million! How many lifetimes would it take for us two to earn that?!” The tattooed man replied.
“Then, what if…what if we got caught?”
“Even if we got caught, it’d just be a car accident. They wouldn’t be able to give us the death penalty, I’m well aware of that.”
“Oh,” Dongzi calmed down before he smiled, “This Ding Sen’s pretty interesting. Lost a fight over a girl and he wants the other person dead. He’s even more scrupulous than me.”
The tattooed man said rather emotionally, “From what Ding Sen said, we’ll be handling this sooner or later. I’ve thought about it. After getting the money, we’ll escape over to Vietnam. From what I hear, the costs of living are low there. With just 1.2 million, we’d probably be bigshots already. At that time, you won’t have to camp on the internet and invite women everyday anymore.”
“Heh, I’ve already thought about that. When we find a hiding place, even if it’s the countryside, we definitely must have internet access! I don’t even know how long we’ll have to hide this time. I’m afraid I might not be able to hold myself back,” Dongzi said with a perverted look on his face.
“The hell you’re thinking. You’d better restrict yourself well for now, you hear me?” The tattooed man scolded him.
Xu Tingsheng did not know how he had just avoided a major tribulation by the skin of his teeth.
If he had ended his meeting as originally scheduled today or if he had successfully fended off Tang Yufei earlier, when he drove off in his G500, the heavy-duty lorry which had been waiting for him would have rammed straight over…
Now, he was sitting inside a private room at a KTV, surrounded by over a dozen young girls of around fifteen or sixteen.
Uncle had just been confessed to.
Su Nannan said very bluntly, “Mister Xu, no, Xu Tingsheng, I like you. Can I be your girlfriend?”
Xu Tingsheng thought about this. Su Nannan’s ‘liking’ of him was likely related to that park incident during the summer holidays. In the eyes of a girl who liked to associate with those small-time hooligans, Xu Tingsheng had really been too cool and awesome that day, very befitting of someone she could rely on indeed…
Coupled with his more than decent appearance and his wealth, the little girl thought that if she had a boyfriend such as this, she would definitely feel especially prestigious, especially happy.
Upon reaching home that day, Su Nannan had sent over a text, apologising to Xu Tingsheng and informing him that she had already broken up with that small-time hooligan. Perhaps she saw Xu Tingsheng as a ‘big-time hooligan’ whom she could rely on.
Xu Tingsheng did not reject her straight out. Even though he was an Uncle, he did still have some feelings of his own regarding this. He was just like someone in a tiff with his lover, the target of his dissatisfaction naturally being Little Xiang Ning. Who asked her to have helped cheat him over to be confessed to?
“My heart has always been loyal to the bright moon, yet why does the bright moon illuminate a ditch?”
Who cared how old she was? Xu Tingsheng was still going to be in a huff with her. This was something that he had no way of controlling.
“But I’m five years older than you,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“It’s just five years! It’s very normal. Also, I’m turning sixteen soon,” Su Nannan replied.
“But I’m already in university, and you’re only in ninth grade.”
“I’ll be attending senior high very soon! Also, we’re both in Yanzhou, so this doesn’t matter anyway. We can meet during weekends, and you can come to school to see me often. I can also go to your university to meet you after school is over.”
“Cough, if you come to look for me, others will say that I’m abducting a little girl.”
“They won’t! I’m already 1.62 now. Also…” Su Nannan puffed out her chest, “Others wouldn’t be able to tell.”
Little Xiang Ning was actually the one who suffered the greatest impact from this conversation. Apart from Su Nannan having puffed up her chest at the end and she not having…didn’t she have everything else that had been said? It was exactly the same.
“So why is it that Su Nannan can think this way and I can’t? Uncle’s relationship with me is clearly best.”
“Also, from the looks of it, Uncle Liar does not intend to reject her…how can he do this?”
Little Xiang Ning began regretting it now. Su Nannan had previously asked her if she liked Xu Tingsheng, but she had said ‘as if I would like that hateful old man’. Today, she could actually have just refused to help call Xu Tingsheng over. She knew that if she had not called him, he would definitely not have come. Yet, she had called him in the end. She had regretted it a little midway through, but it had already been too late then.
Little Xiang Ning’s imagination was already beginning to run wild now:
After Xu Tingsheng becomes Su Nannan’s boyfriend, it will be someone else he dotes on from now on. Su Nannan loves showing off so much. She’ll definitely tell everyone about it, and she will definitely bring Uncle out every time she goes out. Will they hold hands, standing right in front of me? Will Su Nannan kiss him? Will she kiss him someplace where I kissed before?
So the next time he goes up on stage to sing, it will be for Su Nannan? He’ll definitely tutor Su Nannan too. He isn’t all that busy in the first place. Maybe Su Nannan’s Mum and Dad won’t treat him like how my Mum and Dad treat him…
As they conversed, Xu Tingsheng secretly shot a few glances in Little Xiang Ning’s direction till he saw her expression stiffening, “Who asked you to throw me over to your friend, cheating me over here and abandoning me…”
“Mister Xu, if you’re not going to say anything, we’re going to take it that you agree,” A girl said on Su Nannan’s behalf.
A few cheeky ones were already beginning to jokingly call Su Nannan ‘Ma’am’ now.
Xu Tingsheng was waiting.
There was someone who was sitting in between Little Xiang Ning and Xu Tingsheng.
Finally, just as the cheering was growing increasingly louder, a slender hand reached over, lightly clasping Xu Tingsheng’s hand that was on the sofa. Then, she gently shook it.
“Is she saying ‘you can’t’ with this?” Uncle felt triumphant.
Xu Tingsheng had just been about to speak when Little Xiang Ning stood up.
“Hey, you’re all taking too long. I can’t hold it in anymore. I’m going to the toilet,” With that, not waiting for a reply, Little Xiang Ning left the private room.
“So, she’s given up again? Saying that I can do whatever I want?”
Feeling a little despondent and a little worried as well, Xu Tingsheng hesitated for a moment before saying to Su Nannan, “Thank you very much, but sorry! I already have someone I like.”
Su Nannan looked disappointed for a while before she asked, “Does she like you back then?”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Xu Tingsheng forced a smile, “Look, never having been confessed to by a girl so young before, I’m all nervous to death. I’m heading out to smoke a cigarette. You girls have fun on your own first.”
KTVs were not all that bustling and crowded in the afternoons. Xu Tingsheng quickly managed to find Little Xiang Ning who was standing by a corridor before a bend.
Xu Tingsheng walked over, asking, “Why aren’t you going back in?”
Seeing Xu Tingsheng, Little Xiang Ning tried hard to compose herself before she asked, “Why have you come out? Weren’t you going to be together with Su Nannan?”
“Isn’t that what you’re hoping for? Knowing what Su Nannan was intending, you even helped her to call me over,” Xu Tingsheng said exasperatedly.
“You be together with her then. Like I care,” Little Xiang Ning refused to give in as well as she said in a huff.
“Alright, I’m going back then.”
Xu Tingsheng made as if to return, then discovered that a hand was grabbing onto the back of his clothes.
He looked back.
Little Xiang Ning’s lips were pressed together as tears welled up in her eyes, “Xu Tingsheng, what does it mean to like somebody? Could you tell me that, please? I just don’t know at all.”
Xu Tingsheng considered it for a moment before saying, “If you like someone, when you have that person, you’ll never ever envy anyone else, because you’d feel that there’s no one who is luckier than you. And after you’ve lost that person, you’d only ever envy your former self then.”