Chapter 72: Old Wai’s distress call
Xu Tingsheng’s desire for success was not so great that it had corrupted the way in which he interacted with people. For example, while the building up of connections was a consideration in him hanging out with Fang Yuqing, this was to a greater extent due to him truly rather admiring this person. He felt that Fang Yuqing was truly someone whom he could be friends with.
Truthfully speaking, Xu Tingsheng would really not be able to feign friendliness with those he felt disgusted by.
Xu Tingsheng’s definition of connections was very broad. Those like Fang Yuqing who possessed great background and power were connections. Those like Zhong Wusheng who possessed special skills were connections. Those ordinary roommates and classmates of his, whether they would suddenly achieve great heights one day or remained normal and unassuming their entire lives, were all connections as well.
Connections did not lie with how many people you knew. Instead, it was as seen by how many people would be willing to help you when you were stuck in a difficult predicament and needed help.
Those with the ability to give you a whole warehouse of food when you were hungry were your friends. Meanwhile, those who could only give you half a piece of bread even while going all out were your friends as well.
Xu Tingsheng did not have the time to participate in organisations like student clubs and associations. However, he spent a lot of his time interacting with others. He could basically be considered as being on friendly relations with his classmates, and he exhibited a perfectly appropriate level of enthusiasm towards his football mates, his seniors and those who gave advice to him as well. He did not try to be overly close, whilst also not strongly pushing others away as well.
This stemmed from a fault of his in his previous life. In his previous life, Xu Tingsheng had only exhibited friendliness and enthusiasm towards a very small circle of people around him. Towards everyone else, he had possessed an automatic self-enclosing mechanism.
In truth, there are many others in society who are similarly not proficient in interacting with those they are unfamiliar with.
A simple example: If a classmate of yours whom you aren’t really acquainted with or even a total stranger carries a basin of water as well as a hot water bottle as he or she painstakingly walks by you with great difficulty, upon being requested for help, you would generally be happy to lend that person a helping hand.
However, if the one carrying a basin of water as well as a hot water bottle is you, you definitely wouldn’t ask them for help. Even if your classmate or the stranger offers to help you on their own accord, you would still in all likelihood reply, “Thanks, but it’s fine.”
Actually, helping others as well as accepting others’ help are ways of making friends as well. Meanwhile, those with automatic self-enclosing mechanisms are generally willing to give help when so asked, yet are unwilling to personally ask for help as well as accept help.
In his previous life, Xu Tingsheng had been the type that was not proficient in such human relations. Now, he was in the midst of working hard to overcome that and change himself.
Of course, Xu Tingsheng comparatively spent the most time interacting with his roommates, the few of them growing closer in the process. After all, the special thing about universities was that while their base units appeared on the surface to be classes, it was actually the dormitory rooms that were the base units.
Despite having rented a place outside, Xu Tingsheng still stayed in the dorms most of the time, discussing university life and girls with his roommates, smoking as they watched ‘movies’ in front of Old Wai’s computer together, together shamelessly waving at the girls studying Medicine in Yanzhou University whose dorms were located a distance away right opposite theirs.
As long as the girls had pleasant-looking appearances, wearing large white coats or nurse uniforms or whatnot, it would inevitably be easier for them to have untoward thoughts.
Every day, some of Room 602’s guys would shamelessly stand on the balcony and yell, ‘Sister Nurse, Sis Doc…I want an injection!’. Xu Tingsheng was amongst them as well. Most of the time, he did not wish for himself to live so seriously, so calmly, not wishing to still be living like a 31-year-old whilst having already returned to his youthful days.
Zhang Ninglang already knew the cruel reality that Apple’s cousin was only eight years old. Still, he continued lowering his voice and helping to feign attendance for Xu Tingsheng every Tuesday afternoon during Archeography.
Li Xingming attended the activities of virtually all the university’s student associations, managing to obtain countless handphone numbers. Still, he remained unable to win the favour of a fair lady, shedding his virgin self.
Actually, girls sometimes just required a right mood and a right atmosphere. Meanwhile, he had always appeared much too desperate, his gaze resembling that of a starving wolf as flames even seemed like they might spew out from within. All were scared away by him without fail.
Tan Yao began often spending nights out of their dorm, circulating between many different girls, yet never having a single fixed girlfriend. Soon, his reputation had spread far and wide, yet none had ever heard of any ‘ex’ scolding or blaming him.
Even while they had only been temporal relationships, he was still always able to leave his partners with a good impression of him as they were left unable to forget him. This too could actually be considered a skill of his.
As Xu Tingsheng saw it, this was actually his method of socialisation. Not asking to be acquainted with numerous under the heavens, merely wishing for loving ties across the land. When he met with a problem in the future, where others would look for their bros, he would be able to summon hundreds of ex-girlfriends with but a wave of his hand. Actually, that line-up would be rather intimidating.
Lu Xu came to know a girl who studied environmental design. It was rumoured that despite her long hair, long legs and pretty face which made for a pleasant appearance, she lived just like a tough man. She had already had a black belt in Taekwondo before graduating from senior high, having once taken third place in a provincial youth competition.
Lu Xu’s roommates would sometimes joke with him that if he got in the mood and lunged over one day…‘Ha!’. He would be sent flying with a single kick.
Actually, Lu Xu and that girl, Bao Peijun, still remained at the stage where they both had positive feelings for each other, yet had still yet to attempt that final step.
Every time the two met, Bao Peijun would bring along a bunch of chicks while Lu Xu would bring along a bunch of wolves. In the end, without them yet having made their relationship definite, a number of pairs had already formed amongst those around them.
Therefore, more and more people were filled with a sense of participation towards the dates between Lu Xu and Bao Peijun. Under all their gazes, it would be hard for them to make any progress even if they wanted to.
Comparatively speaking, Old Wai’s relationship was the most stable one amongst all the roommates. Having quit smoking as well as lost a good number of bad habits, he treated Li Linlin whose appearance was merely ordinary like a goddess. Xu Tingsheng rather respected him for that.
Sometimes, while crowding around Old Wai’s computer watching ‘movies’, some of them would be unable to resist asking him, “Bro, you’re already someone with a wife. Why then are you still like us, always only able to learn through observation rather than test things out yourself? …Tell us, where’ve you gotten to so far?”
Every time this happened, Old Wai would stand up and take off his pants, showing everyone his big hairy thighs which were covered in numerous big bluish-black patches.
“See for yourself…would I dare to make a move? One move, one pinch, another move and another pinch…really, I’m almost crippled now. Sigh, I probably won’t be able to make it past our first year,” Old Wai complained aggrievedly.
The onlookers revelled in his sufferings as they pointed towards the most serious bluish-black patches on his thigh and asked him, “This one’s especially vicious. Where did you make a move on?”
Old Wai bragged like an old soldier showing off his battle-scars, “How can I tell you that? Anyway, I moved, and she pinched. However much she pinched, however much it hurt, this bro bore it all the same, not letting go no matter what…how about it? Strong, right?”
“I say, Old Wai, stop bragging. Looking at the way the two of you normally walk together, I bet that you haven’t even kissed her on the mouth before,” The experienced Tan Yao launched a verbal blow on Old Wai from the side.
Old Wai had no reply to this in a silent admission of these words.
Xu Tingsheng especially admired Li Linlin who was independent and self-cherishing, tough and resilient, having already began earning money outside not long after the semester began. Much of her time out of lessons was spent busily on work, yet she always wore a smile on her face.
Li Linlin became a home tutor for two students outside. Due to this, having before seen trouble befall some female classmates in his previous life who had worked as home tutors, Xu Tingsheng reminded Old Wai about some things. It was not all that safe for girls outside. He had to be clear on the situation and background of the students being tutored. Also, it was best that he escort Li Linlin when it was dark out, and if he could afford to, buy her a phone so as to be able to make sure of her safety at all times.
Old Wai scrimped and saved for two months in order to buy a handphone for Li Linlin. She adamantly refused to accept it.
Old Wai said, “If you don’t want it, there’s no way that I’d be able to live…I’d die due to being too worried about you.”
With such mushy, disgusting words by Old Wai, Li Linlin could only accept the phone.
One day, Li Linlin had just received her third home tutoring job. The one who had contacted her was a man, but because nothing had gone wrong with her previous two jobs and the salary that was being offered was rather high, Li Linlin had been very adamant on it, while Old Wai had also slackened his guard regarding this.
Old Wai accompanied Li Linlin to the corresponding suburb on the bus. She did not let him escort her up, saying that it would leave a bad impression if the parents saw it. Old Wai did not force her, staying there for a while and having a phone conversation with her before, feeling that everything was okay, finally catching the bus back to Yanzhou University.
Right on that bus, Old Wai received a call from Li Linlin. His phone only rang twice, the call then disconnecting before he was able to pick up his phone. He immediately tried to return the call, but no one listened the first two times, and the next time he called, the phone was turned off.
Old Wai grew panicked, sweat trickling profusely down his body amidst the coldness of winter.
Xu Tingsheng was hanging out with Fang Yuqing and Zhong Wusheng when he received Old Wai’s call. They had been casually chatting at the wonton stall.
“Bro Xu, something may have cropped up over here. Linlin may be in trouble,” Old Wai explained the situation over the phone.
Xu Tingsheng began to worry as well, hurriedly asking, “Have you called the police? Call them, quickly.”
“I’ve called them. They asked over the phone if I was reporting a missing person or something like that. They told me how long it has to be before I can report a missing person. Then, I told them about Linlin’s situation and they said that they would send some people over to take a look. I’m currently hurrying over as well.”
“Alright, I’m on my way. Find the place first; don’t panic…I’ll call you in a bit.”
After hanging up, Xu Tingsheng shot up and said, “Fang Yuqing, drive me to the city district for a bit. The girlfriend of one of my roommates is a home tutor there, and something may have happened to her…”
“Bro Zhong, can you accompany me there? If the police aren’t able to make it in time and there’s a situation, just Yuqing and I alone may not be able to handle it.”
“Well then, don’t just stand there! Hurry up, let’s go,” Zhong Wusheng said.
“Come on, get on my car. Go get those baseball bats lying in the trunk,” Fang Yuqing said.