Chapter 249: One man, one dog
With Hucheng’s personnel having already assumed their positions in Dexin, Xu Tingsheng and Lu Zhixin’s work there was basically complete. Still, since it was a Friday when they completed the matter of the acquisition, the two of them were not in a hurry to return as they stayed for a day longer.
That night, Xu Tingsheng went out shopping with Lu Zhixin for the first time, experiencing the capabilities and ‘shopping acumen’ of a wealthy young lady for the first time as his shoulders ached with all those bags he carried, so much so that he felt like he could hardly lift them up.
Early the next morning, having finished packing his luggage, Xu Tingsheng knocked on Lu Zhixin’s door.
Dragging along two suitcases, Lu Zhixin opened the door. Then, she handed him one of them.
“This suitcase contains the things I bought yesterday. Help me to bring them back to Yanzhou first,” Lu Zhixin said.
Xu Tingsheng asked rather blankly, “You’re not going back?”
Lu Zhixin said, “I’m going to Hong Kong for a few days. I’ve already applied for leave with the university. I’ll be catching a plane in a while.”
Xu Tingsheng was taken aback, “I’ll send you to the airport then.”
“Didn’t you not send even Apple off?” Lu Zhixin asked, “Alright, you send me over then.”
On the way to the airport, Xu Tingsheng finally still wasn’t able to resist asking her, “Why’re you suddenly going to Hong Kong? I didn’t know about it at all before this.”
Lu Zhixin ran a hand through her hair, gazing ahead, “Have you ever cared about me? I spent a few days applying for a visa, then called to book an air ticket right beside you. Didn’t you notice any of that at all?”
Xu Tingsheng was silent for a while before he said, “Sorry.”
Lu Zhixin seemed to be in low spirits as she said, “Well, you definitely wouldn’t know then that I switched courses this semester. I’m in finance now.”
“You switched courses?” Xu Tingsheng was astonished.
It was not just the matter of Lu Zhixin switching courses that was surprising. It was also because she had even switched to a completely different faculty. Also, she had failed two modules during her first semester. Logically speaking, she should be insufficiently qualified to switch courses.
As for why she had switched to finance, that was not hard for Xu Tingsheng to understand.
As if able to read Xu Tingsheng’s mind, Lu Zhixin explained, “My results didn’t meet the standard. It was Fang Chen who helped me to get it done. From when this was publicly announced over a month ago, the university’s post box was stuffed full with reports several times. There was also scolding on forums, calls to the principal’s hotline, education bureau…”
At the end of it, Lu Zhixin even commented casually in a joking tone, “Being your girlfriend in name actually draws quite the bit of hatred.”
Xu Tingsheng was instantly overwhelmed by guilt.
It was a long time before he asked, “What can I do for you?”
Lu Zhixin said earnestly, “Stack it up.”
Xu Tingsheng smiled wryly, “Alright, you’ve accrued quite a bit already.”
After parking at the carpark, Xu Tingsheng accompanied Lu Zhixin into the airport.
Before checking in, Lu Zhixin told Xu Tingsheng, “I’ve already more or less arranged all the company’s matters. You can rest easy and attend your lessons. Still, it’s best if you go take a look whenever you’re free. They’ll be in direct contact with me here at Dexin; you don’t have to worry about that.”
“Also, about Dongdong. I’ve already prepared the dog food. It’s in the top cabinet of the living room. Remember to feed him everyday, and try to take him out for a walk every morning and evening. Also, don’t randomly bring your friends back, lest the place gets all dirty and smelly.”
“Also, the new soap, shampoo, your toothbrush and whatnot-I’ve kept them all in the bathroom cabinet. Also, if you want to change your bedsheet, I’ve already washed that set from earlier. It’s in the cabinet at the left of your room, the second layer. Also…there doesn’t seem to be anything else. If there’s anything, just call me.”
These words being said now seemed just like that of a wife who was about to leave their home.
Xu Tingsheng suddenly felt that he was very unfair to Lu Zhixin, all this merely being because of her ‘superhuman’ exterior. Due to this exterior of hers, Xu Tingsheng often unconsciously overlooked many things, including the fact that she was actually still just a girl.
Lu Zhixin noticed the change in Xu Tingsheng’s expression.
She smiled and asked, “You feeling guilty?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “Yeah.”
“Actually, if…” Lu Zhixin thought for a moment, “Forget it. How about you give me a hug? While I’ve been your girlfriend in the eyes of others for so long, you’ve never actually hugged me yet.”
“Alright,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Having agreed to hug, the two of them instead felt rather awkward. They smiled as their eyes met, only able to avoid looking directly at each other as they gingerly spread apart their arms, gingerly maneuvered them to encompass the other, gingerly hugged…
Gradually, Xu Tingsheng found that Lu Zhixin was hugging tighter and tighter, tighter and tighter, even using her full strength in the end as she was unwilling to let go even after a long time.
“Can you tell me what exactly you’re going to Hong Kong for?”
From this hug of Lu Zhixin’s, Xu Tingsheng was able to sense an unprecedented feeling of loneliness and helplessness from her. The usually independent her seemed like she really needed something to grab onto at this moment, needed support and something to rely on.
Xu Tingsheng sensed that this was definitely related to her current trip to Hong Kong.
“My Dad’s in Hong Kong,” Lu Zhixin said.
“I know,” Xu Tingsheng made no attempt to hide the fact.
Lu Zhixin was taken aback for a moment, but very quickly recovered.
She released her grip, switching to a calm expression as she forced a smile, “It’s nothing, really. It’s just that Dad’s not feeling too well, and I’m just feeling sort of overly nervous from worrying.”
While this reason seemed insufficient, since Lu Zhixin was unwilling to speak further on this, there was really no way Xu Tingsheng could press her about it.
“How about I accompany you there?” Xu Tingsheng blurted out.
Lu Zhixin laughed, speaking in a seldom seen coy tone, “Why didn’t you say that earlier? How is there still time now? …I’m going to go now, hurry up and go home. Drive carefully while its dark.”
Xu Tingsheng could only say, “Alright. Then, just call me if you need anything.”
Lu Zhixin nodded and waved.
It was already nighttime when Xu Tingsheng arrived at Yanzhou. While his dormitory had still yet to close for the night, Xu Tingsheng did not return there as he sat alone on the sofa in the living room of the riverside residence.
Apart from him, there was only a dog in the room.
Xu Tingsheng had actually not been alone like this for a really long time. Thinking back, there had been three girls living there not long ago as he had been forced into sleeping on the sofa. Yet, the place was now…completely empty.
In order to avoid those unnecessary thoughts, Xu Tingsheng got up and found himself things to do. He watered the plants on the balcony, changed his bedsheets, swept the floor, took a bath, read the email that Cen Xiyu had sent over from America, replied to it, then saw that no reply was forthcoming as she should probably still be in the midst of lessons now…
Then, he had nothing left to do again.
He grabbed a handful of dog feed and threw them to Dongdong one by one.
“Dongdong, I’m just like you now. We’ve both been abandoned.”
Xu Tingsheng did not consciously realise that he was actually talking to a dog.
In the past, he had thought that he was the one who was being relied on, whom everyone was reliant on. It was only now that he suddenly discovered that he too was actually reliant on them as he relished that feeling of being cared about by others.
Who doesn’t need to be cared about?
Apple had become Cen Xiyu and left. She should be attending lessons now.
Lu Zhixin had left. She should be taking care of her father now.
Wu Yuewei had come once, having left without even setting foot in this place. She had said, “Senior, please try not to appear in front of me again.”
Xiang Ning had not come, and it was unknown when she would, or even whether she would. Mr and Mrs Xiang’s current attitude towards Xu Tingsheng was like a towering mountain that stood between them.
Her dog was here.
But as Xu Tingsheng talked to Dongdong, that slutty dog…did not even raise its head, not even deigning to wag its tail.
In his previous life, Xu Tingsheng had once experienced over three years of such a lifestyle.
Looking at the time, Xiang Ning might not be asleep yet. Still, she had not called ever since that call from last time. As for her current situation, Xu Tingsheng was only able to feign casualness as he ‘inadvertently’ inquired about it from Li Linlin now.
He had heard that she was doing well, her results having improved yet again.
For those three years in his previous life, Xu Tingsheng had been used to drinking a little before going to bed.
Now, he dared not drink any. Drinking wine alone actually only ever made one lonelier the more they drank.
A knock on the door resounded.
Xu Tingsheng opened the door.
Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng stood outside.
One of them was carrying snacks that went well with wine.
The other was carrying wine.
“One man, one dog. Heck, how have you become so tragic?” Fu Cheng asked.
“Ha, to think such a day would actually come for you?” Huang Yaming said, this being the first time he was talking to Xu Tingsheng on his own accord ever since their argument in Shenghai.
“Now you’re finally the same as us,” They said.
While it wasn’t anything nice that they were saying, Xu Tingsheng’s mood suddenly brightened greatly.
Sometimes, feeling down and melancholic isn’t the worst thing.
Those two who can drink with you not being there is far worse.
Fortunately, they were here.