Chapter 66: Dreams of youth on a green train
Exiting the KTV, Xu Tingsheng supported Apple as she stumbled along unsteadily.
Only now was he free to ask her, “We’ll be going home tomorrow. Why did you come here?”
Drunk people seemed able to be happy about anything as Apple skipped about, saying, “I’ve come to go back to Libei with you guys! It just happened that Grandma called a while ago and said she missed me. Because of that, Mum let me return on the 1st October holiday to visit her.”
“I was raised by Grandma… she’s old, and can’t really see anymore.”
Apple appeared to be in rather low spirits as she said that last part.
Xu Tingsheng could only embrace her by the shoulder, consoling her, “Don’t be sad. I’ll accompany you to see your grandma when we get back.”
Apple leaned on Xu Tingsheng a little as if ducking away from the wind before nodding lightly, “Okay.”
Suddenly remembering something, Xu Tingsheng hurriedly asked Apple, “I just remembered that the 5 of us already booked the train tickets this morning.How are you supposed to go back with us?”
“That’s right. Song Ni did the bookings, and she booked mine together with yours as well,” Apple said triumphantly, “This one has already become best friends with Song Ni, you know.”
Hearing her words, Xu Tingsheng understood. He understood how much effort this girl had put in, how much effort she was putting in in establishing a closer relationship with Fu Cheng, Huang Yaming and Song Ni.
From purely a bystander’s standpoint, some might think her goal-orientedness to be too strong, benefit-seeking and insincere. However, as a directly concerned party, Xu Tingsheng was simply moved by it. When someone was willing to do all these for you, what was there still that could not be tolerated?
Apple would be staying at Song Ni’s room tonight, but her legs had already grown weak as she had some difficulty moving.
Xu Tingsheng walked before her, patting his own back, “Get up.”
Apple leapt enthusiastically onto Xu Tingsheng’s back like a little kid, whispering in Xu Tingsheng’s ear as he walked, “A long time ago when I was young, my Dad carried me and walked just like this. It’s already been ten years since I last saw him, though…I almost can’t remember how he looks like anymore; all I can remember is how prickly his moustache was…but for some reason, he just loved to prick me…Xu Tingsheng, do you have a moustache?”
Apple reached out and stroked Xu Tingsheng’s lower chin for a moment before shaking her head regretfully, “It’s just a little…sigh, Grandma says no hair on mouth, no reliability to trust.Young men are unreliable…still, I feel like you should clearly already be a grown up just like Dad is…”
Xu Tingsheng was wondering how this even added up, but how would the words of the drunk even make any logical sense?
Apple continued, “Xu Tingsheng, other than that person in your heart, you are not allowed to wantonly spread your legs anymore, alright?”
“Oh…then, Xu Tingsheng…other than her, you are not allowed to go around hooking up with other girls left and right, okay? Just let me be the only one waiting for you, okay? Even if she doesn’t want you, even if she bullies you, there’ll still be me. I’ll always be here for you.”
Xu Tingsheng was left momentarily at a loss for words. This was actually a problem he had always been unwilling to think about in this life thus far: What if Xiang Ning doesn’t want me?
Also, with all this that Apple was currently doing, was he being fair to her?
Apple continued slurring, “Xu Tingsheng…honestly speaking, was that Fang Chen trying to seduce you today? Old witch, she’s definitely a witch. You should keep further away from her.”
It was unknown whether Apple’s fierce tone was her threatening Xu Tingsheng or from her really harbouring a grudge with Fang Chen over this.
Xu Tingsheng thought: Your sister! The one whom she wants to seduce is you; you’re the one who should keep further away from her.
However, Apple had already changed the direction of her thoughts as she said, “Xu Tingsheng, you can rest assured. I’ve only stuck so close to you in front of so many people knowing that that person in your heart is not in this university. If she were here, I wouldn’t do it. I would just stand quietly by the side…you can rest assured…rest assured…”
“How did you know?”
“Heh, I won’t tell you…I’ve placed a spy by your side; none of your actions can escape the grasp of my palm,” Apple made continuous grabbing movements with her little palm, wobbling right before Xu Tingsheng’s eyes.
“It’s Zhang Ninglang, isn’t it?” Xu Tingsheng purposefully asked.
“…Like real, don’t malign him,” Apple denied with her remaining strength of consciousness.
“With him helping you like this, do you really have a cousin to introduce to him?”
“That’s right, but…my cousin…is only eight…”
Those who were drunk were indeed very easy to swindle words out of. While Xu Tingsheng had already long known the truth, he didn’t know how he should break the ‘nightmarish’ news regarding Apple’s cousin to Zhang Ninglang.
As Apple began sliding backwards, Xu Tingsheng pulled her and propped her back up a bit, ferocious waves crashing up against his back.
“It’s just like last time…teehee,” Apple said, “Last time, I asked you whether they were big, but you just refused to say…”
“They’re big,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Ha,” Apple said, “Hers definitely aren’t bigger than mine…hmph.”
Xu Tingsheng recalled that even Big Xiang Ning’s weren’t big. If it was Little Xiang Ning…stop, this was too immoral.
After handing Apple over to Song Ni, Xu Tingsheng returned to his dormitory room.
Upon Xu Tingsheng’s return, the people of Room 602 all had some apologetic sentiments. One by one, they told him whom they had invited before apologising for it. Xu Tingsheng could only say that he was very happy due to having avoided paying the bill and even seen a great beauty as he comforted his roommates, putting them at ease.
At the same time, he also expressed his gratitude towards their loyal actions back then.
Actually, Huang Keshen should be the most embarrassed one. It was he who had invited Cao Qing over, and also he who had leaked some information regarding Xu Tingsheng to Cao Qing. They both came from the same hometown, their parents working in the same department. Cao Qing’s father was even Huang Keshen’s father’s ultimate boss.
However, Huang Keshen did not speak, feigning drunkenness as he lay on his bed. Naturally, there was nothing Xu Tingsheng could say to this.
Actually, there was one other thing regarding Huang Keshen. His roommates had never seen that rumoured girlfriend studying in Jianhai University ever call here before. Lu Xu and Li Xingming had jokingly asked about it a few times, with the result of him being infuriated. Naturally, no one had then brought it up again.
The next morning, Xu Tingsheng’s group of 5, Apple included, went to the city district to meet up with Fang Yunyao. They first strolled around the area a little and bought gifts for everyone before rushing over to the train station.
Xu Tingsheng bought a suit for his father and skirts and shoes for his sister and mother, spending more than half of his ten thousand yuan. Apple assisted him in choosing them.
Other than that, Xu Tingsheng also specially prepared a gift for Apple’s grandmother, asking Apple to bring it to her. Apple refused, asking him to do it himself.
Over this period of time, the most amusing thing was Apple not knowing about the relationship between Fu Cheng and Ms Fang yet blindly pushing them together all the time. Often, the two would turn completely red, whilst she alone remained completely ignorant.
For example, she asked, “Fu Cheng, do you think these clothes look good on Ms Fang? Give us an opinion.”
Actually, she merely felt that Fu Cheng had better taste in clothes than Huang Yaming and Xu Tingsheng. However, at times like this, the atmosphere would generally turn strange as Fu Cheng lowered his head and said that they looked nice while Fang Yunyao, originally having been thinking of buying the clothes, was now left completely unsure over whether she should.
Finally, it was still Song Ni who told Apple this secret in private, reminding her with the utmost earnestness not to tell anyone else about it.
It seemed that the conveyance of this secret had the connotation of Apple finally merging into this ‘shocking little bunch’ for good. Excited and curious, she now often secretly observed Fu Cheng and Fang Yunyao. Whenever they drew near, she would pull Xu Tingsheng over to watch with a face full of nervousness and excitement.
Truly staring till Fang Yunyao and Fu Cheng didn’t even know how they should walk.
After having an early lunch, they entered the station, standing on the platform and waiting for the train.
Currently, the trains headed from Yanzhou to Jiannan were still those slow green trains. These trains had always been the mainstay of China’s railway transport system, having already existed for a very long time.
The green trains were slow. Countless people had once disdained them for their speed.
Despite the slowness, who knew how many tearful partings they had accompanied, how many precious things they had brought away.
Despite the slowness, who knew how many of these partings would be eternal, how many hims(or hers) would never again return.
Despite the slowness, who knew how many of its passengers had gone from ‘unripened’ to ‘blossomed’ on it. Amidst the bustle of those rapid high speed trains, it would no longer be possible to re-visit those feelings of the past.
Slow was good-you would be able to clearly watch her waving to you through the window.
Slow was bad-how would you be able to bear continuously watching him running after you through the window?
Xu Tingsheng remembered a video that he had watched in his previous life. Bobby Chen had sung a song for Rene Liu on a programme. It was a song in the Minnan dialect called <The Pure Dreams of Youth>.
The first line of the lyrics: Sending you to the head of the train, looking up (turning away, walking off) as I see you off.
The master Bobby Chen had sung till his disciple had been reduced to tears. He had written <Crazy For Love> and <Kite> for Rene Liu, also introducing her movies to act in, assisting her in rising from a little assistant all the way to a famous superstar before saying, “You’ve grown up; don’t look for me in the future.”
The host of the programme asked Chen Shen, “Do you love Rene Liu?”
He and all the members of the audience had held their breaths, thinking that the married Bobby Chen would not answer this question.
Unexpectedly, however, he confessed candidly, “Of course I love her. Otherwise, why would I have done so many things for her?”
Apple stood excitedly on the platform, waiting for the train. They would be travelling together this time. Then, what about in the future?
Xu Tingsheng asked himself whether he loved Apple, but he could find no answer.
However, he was willing to do many things for her. If this conclusion could be flipped around to arrive at such, it would then mean that he did love Apple.
However, this conclusion could not be flipped around.
Xu Tingsheng stood before the green train, re-entering the dreams of youth.
Slow was good.
Slow was bad.