Chapter 347: When father and daughter discuss a man
In the restroom.
Apple tried her best to appear her calmest, apart from staying totally silent.
Tianyi’s employees successively called out to her before exiting the room.
Just as Li Juan was about to leave too, Apple grabbed her hand, gazing at her from the bottom up as she did not let go.
Li Juan patted the back of Apple’s hand, smiling, “It’s alright. You didn’t do anything wrong. Just do whatever you’d like to do. Give him a terrible scolding before running away at most. You can take part in marathons; he surely wouldn’t be able to catch up with you.”
Crying and also laughing all at once, Apple answered, “Right, yeah.”
“If you want to kick him, though, it’s best if you don’t use too much strength. He already looks quite old. Being emotional as just now wouldn’t be good,” Li Juan smiled, voicing her worries.
Yet, Apple instead pressed her lips together and cried at this.
In truth, when she had previously described her father whom she had not seen for twelve whole years to Xu Tingsheng, her impression of him had still been good. She had preserved her best memories, not attributing any difficulties and hardship to him, just being unable to understand.
Yet, she felt uncertain now, not knowing how she should be viewing all this.
When Cen Qishan entered the restroom, he tripped over the carpet at the doorway. This man who clearly presently possessed an extraordinary status appeared rather panicked as he now looked rather awkwardly at Apple.
Apple had already wiped off her tears as she stood up before he could speak, giving him a bow before saying, “Thank you for today’s matter, Mr Cen.”
Just this sentence pushed this man who should originally be addressed as Dad so far away. He was Mr Cen.
The hair graying on his temples, Cen Qishan’s eyes were reddened as he said, “Sorry, Xiyu. It’s been so many years that…I haven’t been taking care of you, only having returned now.”
This man had yearned to hear her call him ‘Dad’. At this moment, however, he already dared not hope for it.
He had imagined Apple maybe plunging emotionally into his embrace, laughing and crying at the same time. He had also imagined her yelling at the top of her lungs, filled with hatred. The only scenario he had not imagined might be her being as cool and composed as she was now.
This might just be the scariest of them all.
He had said ‘returned’.
Hearing this word, Apple fell silent for a time, a bit of an anticipatory glow appearing in her eyes as she said, “You, will you be going to Libei? Mum and Grandma are both there. Grandma can’t see anymore, and her mind has grown muddled too. Maybe…she still remembers you.”
Cen Qishan did not speak.
He only replied after a while, “I’m sorry, Xiyu. I have to go back to Japan later today. When it is so possible in the future, I will do all within my capabilities to provide you with help. There’s no need for you to worry any longer.”
Cen Qishan was clearly avoiding the mention of Apple’s mother and maternal grandmother.
Apple pointed at herself, asking hesitantly, “Only me?”
Cen Qishan slowly nodded, “Xiyu, Dad has already striven for twelve years to be able to do this. There are many things that I cannot explain to you. If your mother doesn’t learn about this, don’t tell her. If she does, help me to tell her that I’m sorry.”
Apple’s gaze dimmed, but she instead smiled, saying mockingly, “It looks like things are really not easy for you. Saying it like it’s so hard, you don’t intend to tell me that you have difficulties that you cannot readily voice out, do you? Or maybe your new woman is really too powerful.”
Then, her smile froze as she finally asked, “You, have you been well?”
“…I have,” Cen Qishan answered.
“That’s good then,” Having received this answer, there seemed finally to be a resolution to Apple’s inner conflict as she said, “In the future, we, I mean I, Mum and Grandma, will all be living very well too. The most difficult days are already past us. I can take care of them. Next, you and we can live good, nice lives of our own…never appear again.”
Cen Qishan quietly placed a name card on the table, on which there were only his name and telephone number.
Apple said, “I don’t need it.”
Seemingly having many things he wished to say yet being unable to say them, Cen Qishan looked silently at his daughter all grown up in front of him, hesitating for a long time before asking, “That fella surnamed Xu-has he been good to you?”
Hearing Cen Qishan mentioning Xu Tingsheng, Apple was taken aback for a moment before she answered, “Yes. If not for him, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I don’t know what I would have become.”
“I’m a bit disappointed in him this time, though,” Cen Qishan said, “If he can’t be wholeheartedly devoted to you, Dad will help you to take care of it. He can’t choose; he can only be good to my daughter alone.”
Apple looked at him.
Cen Qishan suddenly seemed to have turned into a different person, a formless aura wreathing him yet again. He had been living on a whole different level these past years as he was already long since no longer that Language teacher from a senior high school.
“Xiyu, help me to tell him this. I am very grateful for how he took care of you before. If things go well between you, I would be willing to provide him all the help that is within my capabilities. But if he ever causes you to be disappointed again, just like this time…I’ll leave him with nothing at all all over again.”
Looking at Cen Qishan before her who suddenly looked even more of a stranger than before, Apple resolutely declared, “I won’t let you lay a hand on him.”
Cen Qishan could see the determination in Apple’s eyes, being totally heedless of all else.
“I don’t know whether what I’ll be saying next would be considered unfilial,” Apple said, “Just now, I cut off all ties between us, everything that happened in the past. You are a stranger to me. But if you really do something to him, I think that…you will become my enemy.”
Cen Qishan left behind his name card, regardless of whether Apple would take it in the end.
When leaving the restroom, this man shook his head, smiling bitterly. In truth, however badly the earlier interaction between them had gone, this might be his warmest smile over the past twelve years.
It was within expectations that he would fail to win over his daughter. In truth, the two of them could not be too close even if Apple was willing to.
What he had striven for and attained just amounted to this.
Still, that scene from earlier…
Cen Qishan had already not felt like a father for the past twelve years. Yet, in the circumstances from earlier, he had experienced the most conflicted and helpless emotions that every father, or perhaps every father who had a daughter, would have to experience.
While this emotion might be termed as helpless, to Cen Qishan, it was actually very fortunate too.
When father and daughter discuss a man, the man the daughter loves, perhaps every father will feel first jealousy and next worry, just wishing that they can handcuff that brat on a torture rack and give him a proper interrogation, next extracting the greatest guarantee which is possible.
Yet, his precious daughter was already on someone else’s side now.
Due to the unique circumstances pertaining to Cen Qishan, he lacked even the qualifications to feel jealous, it seemed.
“That fella surnamed Xu…what exactly are you doing? My family’s Xiyu isn’t good enough? …From what happened before, it was like I should sit down and have a glass of wine with you. From the way things are now, it is like I should give you a good, painful beating. But the problem is that if I find trouble with you, Xiyu will definitely have it out with me. It may really end up in enmity. What’s to be done now?”
Cen Qishan was overwhelmed by a father’s emotions, feeling conflicted whilst also happy.
His bodyguard and personal assistant came over, saying, “Mister Kasai, it’s time to go to the airport.”
Apple gave Xu Tingsheng a call, asking amidst repressed sobs, “Can I come to Yanzhou? Will it affect you guys? I’ll just stay for two days before leaving, returning to Libei to accompany Mum.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “It won’t. Come on over then.”
Huang Yaming drove and brought Apple back to Yanzhou with him.
Xu Tingsheng hurried back to the riverside residence. There, he saw Fang Chen, Lu Zhixin and Yuqing all sitting on the sofa.
“Where’s Apple?” He asked.
Apple exited the bathroom, holding onto a shirt of Xu Tingsheng’s, “I’m helping you to wash your clothes.”