Chapter 184: I owe you in this life
The previous night, Fu Cheng and Xu Tingsheng had left the small bar having finished hearing the tale of the ‘Flowers Blossoming’ female singer. Discovering Xu Tingsheng to have started tearing some time along the way, Fu Cheng asked, “Now, will you go to Xihu City?”
Xu Tingsheng shook his head, “I won’t go. I should let it end just like this. It’ll be better for Apple, and it’ll be better for me this way as well.”
Fu Cheng thought that Xu Tingsheng’s tears were from him having thought of Apple due to the tale of the bar’s female singer. In truth, Xu Tingsheng had only heard ‘three years’ and ‘I’m still waiting for him to return’.
That was a story that belonged to Xu Tingsheng and Xiang Ning.
Unable to convince him, Fu Cheng did not insist on his opinion.
The two semi-drunken guys decided to walk the remaining journey back on the streets of Shenghai. It was already after 1am in the morning. An inadvertent tale which had resulted in great difficulty for both sides seemed like it would finally be coming to an end just like this…
If it wasn’t for Xu Tingsheng having received a call from Song Ni this very night.
Song Ni asked, “Xu Tingsheng, will you be coming tomorrow? I just asked Apple, but she wouldn’t say. I’m in Xihu City together with Apple and her assistant right now. Will you be coming tomorrow?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I won’t.”
Song Ni said, “But, but Apple’s in a very bad state right now.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I know. After she gets through this, she’ll be fine.”
Song Ni said, “No, you don’t know, you don’t know. It’s not just all that. It’s that Apple really is in a very bad state. I…I’ll get Apple’s assistant to speak to you.”
Apple’s assistant got on the line. Xu Tingsheng remembered that she was a slightly chubby girl. Back then, when Apple’s company had dispatched a car to collect her in Jiannan, Xu Tingsheng had seen this girl before, having given her a friendly smile.
“Hello,” She said.
“Hello,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“I think that Apple has depression, and it may be very serious,” She went straight to the point.
Walking along the streets in the middle of the night, Xu Tingsheng suddenly trembled slightly.
While depression didn’t sound as serious as those incurable diseases, it was the second killer of human beings that was inferior only to cancer. Millions of people worldwide died of depression every year…some professions with comparatively greater pressure had a particularly high risk.
Now, Xu Tingsheng learnt that Apple had depression, and it might also be very serious.
Xu Tingsheng tried hard to compose himself, asking in a voice that was still trembling somewhat, “Why? What I mean is-how do you know? Was there a hospital checkup?”
“No. I asked Apple to see a psychologist before, but she wouldn’t listen, and even threw a very huge tantrum…Actually, she treats me very well. We’re just like sisters. She would never have thrown a tantrum at me before.”
“Still, I really can tell that it’s depression. Over these past two months, she’s grown from lively and mischievous to rarely talking. Also, she almost doesn’t sleep at all, and only eats a little. She’s already thinner by more than twenty kilograms now.”
“Once, I entered her room in the morning and discovered that her bedsheets and pillowcases had all been removed and ripped into long, thin strips. She’d been doing it for the entire night, her fingernails broken, her hands bleeding. When I entered, she was still in the midst of ripping.”
“Also, when our Boss wanted her to ask for the songs from you guys last time, she didn’t utter a single word from start to end. She was like this over in his office, and she was still like this when she had gotten back. She just sat there, not sleeping, not uttering a sound. When I call her now, it takes a very long time before she finally reacts.”
“I…” Xu Tingsheng didn’t know what he should say, because the assistant’s narration was already virtually sufficient for a conclusion to be made.
“Believe me, I can really be certain of it!” The assistant said urgently, “Because…because, her current situation is very similar to a a singer whom I used to follow before. It’s virtually exactly the same. That singer had depression, and she’s already no longer singing now.”
“What was that singer called?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
The assistant reported the name of a female singer whose surname began with the letter ‘L’. It was a singer who had been very popular in the country before. The assistant had said that she no longer sang, while Xu Tingsheng…he had heard the news of this female singer ultimately leaping off a building and committing suicide due to depression in his previous life before.
Since the assistant was saying that Apple’s situation was virtually exactly the same as hers and she was the one who usually spent the most time with them, Xu Tingsheng had actually already gotten his answer.
“Got it. I’ll contact you guys tomorrow morning.”
Xu Tingsheng hung up and sat down by the street, looking dazed, dismal.
“What’s wrong?” Fu Cheng cautiously asked him.
“Apple’s got depression,” Xu Tingsheng looked up and said, yet could only continuously open and close his mouth afterwards as he was just unable to say anything else.
“How is that possible? Apple’s so lively, mischievous, roguish, demonic, shameless as hell,” Fu Cheng tried hard to find descriptive words for the past Apple. He wanted to find more, because these words were all so positive right now, all so precious.
Indeed, she had once been a person like that.
Xu Tingsheng remembered how she had been shameless as hell in devising various methods of all kinds to get close to him initially. He remembered how she was so easily satisfied, so easily made happy. She loved to smile, loved to mess around, loved to ‘tease’ him like a true demon.
The happiest he had seen her was on the day of his university matriculation. She had sent him to school before calling him ‘hubby’, ‘hubby’ for the entire day, messing around the whole time.
Afterwards, even though Xu Tingsheng had given her the cold shoulder and spoken ruthlessly, she had still been able to take it easily, saying that when he fell in love with her, she would bully him to death. Even whilst sad, she had still run into the snow, mimicking Chick Bao’s Taekwondo stance, yelling ‘Ha!’
“But, it seems like I really haven’t seen that Apple for a long time,” Fu Cheng suddenly said.
This reminded Xu Tingsheng that he too indeed already hadn’t seen that Apple for a long time. Some time along the way, Apple had stopped messing around in her interactions with him, had stopped speaking in that mischievous manner of hers.
She had begun speaking and acting cautiously, always ending those conversations that she had actually still yet to get her head around with a ‘right’.
Fu Cheng sat down beside Xu Tingsheng, asking, “Is it very serious?”
“Very,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Seeing his tears, Fu Cheng said, “Don’t blame yourself too much. It’s actually isn’t your fault. It’s mainly the problem of that industry, and also that agency of hers. A young girl like her having to face all these on her own, with endless commercial performances and no future so to speak of. There might also be some impure things as well, such as unseen conflicts, suppression, and…”
Fu Cheng’s ‘and’ might originally have been referring to Xu Tingsheng having sold the songs to Tianyi. Still, seeing Xu Tingsheng’s current state, he did not say it out loud.
“Actually, even if it really is your fault in some way, it wouldn’t be the fault of your feelings. After all, feelings just can’t be forced by anyone. It’s just that over this period of time, you didn’t give her a window, even having pulled away her inner support, which is you,” Fu Cheng said.
“Actually, all of it is because of me. Truly, all of it is because of me,” Xu Tingsheng raised his head, gazing upwards at the sky.
Fu Cheng thought that Xu Tingsheng was just blaming himself thoughtlessly in a state of extreme guilt. He did not respond.
There was not a single person in this world who would be able to truly understand the meaning of Xu Tingsheng’s words. That was a fact. It was he who had changed the trajectory of Apple’s originally blissful life, pushing her to where she was today.
Even if it hadn’t been intentional, the fact was that it was he who had caused all of this.
Xu Tingsheng had been working very hard in his reborn life, whilst for himself, also more for others. As a result, everything seemed to have been going well.
The fate of the Xu Family had changed, and it was even thriving, doing better and better.
Things had turned out better for his friends. Song Ni had avoided tragedy; Huang Yaming had found a direction in life. Even Fu Cheng and Fang Yunyao-while they were currently far apart, they had still avoided the tragedy of his previous life, having experienced blissful times before.
Wu Yuewei, Xiang Ning-it seemed, at least, that they were doing better than in that previous life.
Even Xu Tingsheng’s former roommate, Zhong Ming, had avoided a major incident with his help.
Things had become better for all of them, because of Xu Tingsheng. Things might be even better for all of them in the future, because of Xu Tingsheng.
There was only a sole exception, Apple. There was only Apple’s fate who had become so terrible, and was becoming more and more terrible…because of Xu Tingsheng. Xu Tingsheng had destroyed her originally blissful life with his own hands. What then? Abandoning her to pick up the pieces and bleakly face things all by herself?
Xu Tingsheng had owed someone in his previous life. That was Xiang Ning. In this life, there was now someone else whom he owed. That was Apple.
Xu Tingsheng stood up, hailing a taxi by the roadside.
“You…” Fu Cheng asked.
“I’m going to Xihu City now. I’ll be taking care of her from now on,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“What about Xiang Ning then?”
What about Xiang Ning then? This was a question that Xu Tingsheng was unable to face, “…I’ll leave it to fate. Maybe there’ll still be me, maybe there won’t be me. Maybe if there isn’t me, it’d instead be better for her.”
Xu Tingsheng’s final words included things that Fu Cheng would similarly never possibly be able to understand. For example, ‘Still be me’.