Chapter 209: I just really miss you
“Then…do you want to touch? Black Bear,” Said the honey, Miss Xiang Ning.
“Waist?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“Then…touch, just a bit,” Xiang Ning rested her feet against the protective padding, swivelling around. She lowered her head, closed her eyes and clenched her teeth like an innocent lamb awaiting slaughter.
“I said, waist(yao),” Xu Tingsheng helplessly enunciated again.
“Huh? Oh,” Xiang Ning was greatly embarrassed as she distressedly explained, “I thought you said, “Want(yao).”
She swivelled back over, “Hmph, I won’t let you touch anymore.”
“Like I care,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Say that again.”
“Like I care.”
“Like, I, Care.”
Xu Tingsheng had thought that they were merely having a childish, petty squabble, everything really going fine between them.
Yet, Xiang Ning’s mouth suddenly deflated, her lips trembling as she sobbed, “I just knew you don’t care about me anymore. I knew it. You weren’t like this originally. Afterwards, you told me that you wanted to enter a relationship with someone…then, you became busy, not teaching me anymore, thinking me unwanted…do you think I’m stupid? You obviously had a change of heart.”
Xu Tingsheng was rendered speechless.
Xiang Ning had actually been able to feel all those changes that had happened with him over this period of time.
“Xu Tingsheng, even if I’m very hateful, very insensible, uncute, not pretty, simply insufficient, and you won’t even find me when you’re playing ruffian…then, does that mean that you also don’t like Big Xiang Ning anymore? You also couldn’t care less about Big Xiang Ning, right?”
“That’s not it,” Xu Tingsheng raised his head higher, not letting Xiang Ning see his face.
“Are you crying? Xu Tingsheng.”
“Will you really not care about me next time?” Xiang Ning pushed Xu Tingsheng’s shoulder, “Xu Tingsheng, you’ve seen me thoroughly already, you know? How can you stop caring about me?”
“Seen her thoroughly? This…is false?” Xu Tingsheng smiled wryly as he considered, “I’ll still care about you, just with a different method. Do you still remember that number I gave you?”
“I’ve still got the note, and as for my phone…I’ll save it as soon as Mum returns it to me.”
It seemed like Xiang Ning thought that the new handphone Uncle had bought for her had merely been confiscated by her mother. Xu Tingsheng had no way of telling her that it was already back with him now.
He could only say, “No, that’s not enough. You’ve got to memorise it, remember it well such that you can recollect it anytime, anywhere. If you meet with any problem in the future, just call me, and I will come.”
“Till the day I die.”
“Does missing you count then?”
“What might count then?”
“Like if you’ve suffered an injustice, if you’re being bullied…”
“Like I’ll be bullied again! Anything else?”
“Like if you’ve grown up, and one day, you suddenly….want to buy an island.”
Xiang Ning didn’t allow Xu Tingsheng to remove that piece of paper with the ‘Xiang’ character attached to his back, making him depart through the gates of the training institute just like that. Her reason was still the same, “You’ve seen me thoroughly already.”
Xu Tingsheng walked on the left, while Xiang Ning walked on the right. She carried her school bag, grabbing onto his clothes and not letting go.
If someone were to watch from the distance, they would see that the male had a ‘Xiang’ character on the back of his shirt, while beside him walked an adorable, long-haired girl.
This scene that appeared so blissful was actually the prelude to their imminent separation.
“Walk slower,” Xiang Ning said.
“It’s already very late,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“It isn’t…oh, Dad.”
Xiang Ning’s Dad stood by the gates of the training institute. Perhaps because Xiang Ning had been late to come home, being worried about her, he had made a trip here. Then, they had met coincidentally just like this. As they ran into each other now, Xiang Ning was still tightly gripping onto Xu Tingsheng’s clothes.
Mr Xiang first shooed Xiang Ning away before turning back and walking over to Xu Tingsheng.
Xishan Tower’s Xu Tingsheng, Hucheng’s boss, a shareholder of Tianyi media and a member of the band Rebirth, was like a student who had committed a mistake as he was rendered totally at a loss.
Mr Xiang did not speak.
“I’m sorry. I guarantee that this is definitely the last time. I just gave her a final lesson and explained to her that I won’t be able to tutor her in the future due to being too busy. I have stopped my lessons as well. The last one was today,” Xu Tingsheng explained.
“Sorry,” Xu Tingsheng said again.
“Thanks. The school will begin supplementary lessons in a week’s time. You can get Miss Li to come then. Little Ning actually likes her quite a bit,” Mr Xiang finished before he turned and left.
Xu Tingsheng stood there just like that, not daring to let him see that ‘Xiang’ character that was still pasted on his back.
Afterwards, Xu Tingsheng spent all his time working crazily like a workaholic on steroids.
Hucheng Education had expanded the services of its platform while retaining education as its primary focus, officially naming itself ‘Hucheng Tongcheng(Mutual Sincerity Across Cities)’. The platform’s services had spread to encompass up to thirty cities over this period of time, basically encompassing the majority of the important coastal cities at the south and east of the nation.
Hucheng’s employees discovered how this boss of theirs who had originally followed the motto ‘three days fishing, two days drying the net’ suddenly began enthusiastically convening meetings, began participating in all matters regardless of their importance, began habitually working overtime together with his employees who worked the night shift late into the night and into the mornings.
Lu Zhixin was the happiest seeing such a Xu Tingsheng.
“What’s caused you to suddenly have so much motivation?” She asked Xu Tingsheng.
“I hope that I will have enough to be able to afford an island someday,” Xu Tingsheng told her.
“Right, an island.”
“Your target’s a little small.”
“How is it small? It’s still unknown which island it’ll be now. Hmmm…is Greenland for sale?”
“Hah! Greenland’s currently considering a public voting for self-governance.”
“Huh, oh well. Anyway, one that’s somewhat famous. Those wouldn’t come cheap, right?”
Lu Zhixin smiled, “That’s true. After you’ve bought it, according to the share ratio, ten percent of it should go to me?”
Xu Tingsheng retorted, “Why would you want some of mine? Buy one of your own!”
Apple was diligently trying to pick up some skills. She began to be able to fall asleep alone, began to get used to a busy Xu Tingsheng.
Yet, he still cooked for her everyday, ran with her every morning and went for a stroll with her every evening, going shopping or watching movies with her from time to time. Once in a while, Xu Tingsheng would even bring her along to participate in some meetings, personally teaching her some things.
Quite a few of the plants that she had planted began to grow, the balcony outside the flat starting to possess colour. This was already a feat in itself. She began to be able to check registration information for the platform on her own, happy and joyful as her morale surged.
Xu Tingsheng didn’t wish for himself to grow idle.
However late he went home every night, Dongdong who was growing increasingly fatter as well as lazier would be lounging beside the sofa. It would raise its head and glance at Xu Tingsheng before wagging its tail. Next, it would lower its head once more and peacefully go back to sleep.
As Xiang Ning began ninth grade, her school began conducting summer supplementary lessons.
The home tutoring did not stop. Li Linlin had already gone there six times in total.
Xu Tingsheng found a time and asked her in private, “Hey, in these few times that you’ve gone, has Student Xiang seemed happy? Has she shown any rebellious signs? Is she studying hard?”
Li Linlin said, “She’s doing pretty well. I see her smiling all day long. She’s very polite and also very conscientious.”
“That’s good then. Sorry for the trouble.”
“You can rest assured, I’ll definitely help her get into a first-tier senior high. It’s just that the home tutoring has been changed to twice a week now, and I still have to give lessons. My work here at Hucheng has been delayed quite a bit as a result.”
While she didn’t ask, Li Linlin was actually feeling very puzzled as to why Xu Tingsheng would be so concerned about a mere tutoring student of his…maybe it was because she was his very first student, and so he felt somewhat emotionally concerned about her.
“That’s fine. We’ve been recruiting people in batches anyway; we’ve got sufficient manpower,” Xu Tingsheng hesitated for a while before asking hesitantly, “She, that Student Xiang-has she asked you anything about me?”
Li Linlin thought hard for a bit, “I don’t think so…right, she didn’t.”
“Oh, I see….that’s fine then. Anyway, just pay more attention to this area.”
Xu Tingsheng didn’t know if he should be feeling dismal or happy about this. Maybe everything was just that easy to forget for a child of this age? He tried to calm himself as much as possible.
Just in the midst of walking away, Li Linlin suddenly turned back, “Right, there was something strange, though. It was when she was studying CGSS. She was suddenly especially interested in geography. Every time, she would ask me-can islands be bought? The Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean, she was asking if there are any islands there that are very beautiful whilst inexpensive.”
“Good,” Xu Tingsheng could not help but grin as he repeatedly nodded forcefully.
“Good?” Li Linlin was bemused, “Bro Xu, you’re smiling like a kid.”
“Oh, isn’t it because her question is interesting?” Xu Tingsheng explained.
“Oh. I’ll be off for my lesson now then.”
Xu Tingsheng felt like he could finally set his heart at ease.
Then, one night, he suddenly received a call from an unknown number.
No one spoke. There was only the faint sound of breathing.
Xu Tingsheng realised who it was.
“Xiang Ning, is something the matter?”
Xiang Ning still didn’t speak.
Her quiet breathing persisted for a minute, two minutes, three minutes…
Xu Tingsheng listened quietly.
Crying could be heard over from the other end of the phone, the kind that had been arduously repressed deep within for a very long time.
“I’m fine. I’ve been very obedient; I’ve been working very hard. I just really miss you.”