Chapter 85: Luckily, I won’t be playing
That night, Fu Cheng released a statement on Rebirth’s small webpage:
‘Rebirth’s sole female member will be officially entering the industry early next year. That’s all.’
Just this short sentence, without even so much of an ‘Await in anticipation’. However, it was precisely because of this that more speculation arose. And the more speculation that arose, the more the news would be circulated and discussed.
“Sole female member. Is she ugly?”
“She should definitely be. After all, she comes from that Rebirth that’s rumoured to be so ugly that they don’t dare to come out and meet people.”
“Still, one would still be greatly filled with anticipation for it, right?”
“Entering the industry? Which company?”
“Just her alone? What about the guys?”
“An internal split in the band?”
“Early next year? When’s that, exactly?”
“The entire process was just cooking things up! There’s a management company behind all of it, intentionally acting mysterious probably just to raise this female singer up as she makes her debut. Shame on you all for still being unable to understand it.”
Other than speculation, there were naturally rumours as well. It first began as heated discussion on the internet, after which some media entities began reporting on it as well. Apple seemed to have embarked on a path of popularity without even having yet entered the industry.
Of course, with greater anticipation, it would also entail greater pressure.
Fu Cheng asked Xu Tingsheng: What else is there that we should do for Apple?
The trio of Fu Cheng, Huang Yaming and Song Ni stood unanimously on Apple’s side in this matter. Whilst having been full of admonishments for Xu Tingsheng, they also hoped that they would be able to do a little something for Apple.
Xu Tingsheng said that just preparing the letter of authorization for Apple would already be enough. Apart from that, as long as the management company Apple signed with was not comprised of incompetent fools, they would naturally think of a way to capitalise on this tide of popularity.
Actually, Xu Tingsheng thought it best that the management company not be too hasty. They could leverage on their relationship with the media to sustain the topic’s popularity, sending Apple for professional training in the meantime and only officially promoting her later on when the time was right.
However, two days later, Fu Cheng had already received Apple’s call, saying that she had already reached an agreement with the management company.
Two days after Fu Cheng had sent out the authorisation agreement, this management company, Sky Music, announced that Apple would soon be relaunching Rebirth’s duet song alongside their lead male artiste. The music video of the song would be released on the day of the Lantern Festival.
The entire process felt too rushed. Perhaps Apple was too hasty; perhaps it was the management company that was too hasty. Xu Tingsheng was completely in the dark regarding how things worked in the entertainment industry, being totally ignorant regarding this management company that Apple had chosen as well.
“Is that male singer very popular?” Xu Tingsheng asked Fu Cheng.
“He’s not bad,” Fu Cheng said, “What, you feeling jealous? …You deserve it.”
The phrase that Xu Tingsheng had heard the most these past few days was precisely ‘You deserve it’.
He had not called Apple, and Apple had not called him as well. Even for some matters related to the authorisation agreement, she had instead contacted Fu Cheng regarding them. Perhaps both of them felt that this topic just should not be broached between them.
Apple harboured guilt, while Xu Tingsheng didn’t know what kind of attitude he should be bearing. Everything seemed to have changed between them. Even as he wanted to voice out the worries that he harboured, he was afraid that Apple would misunderstand upon hearing them.
The examinations continued. Estimating that he probably wouldn’t fail anything, Xu Tingsheng spent more of his time on the education platform. On the one hand, Old Wai and Li Linlin really had too much on their plates. On the other, being busy could keep one’s mind from harping too much over things.
Happiness came more easily to those who thought less.
While the growth of the platform these past few days could not be compared to the day on which the flyers had been distributed itself, it was still a cause for celebration. With half of the examinations having ended, there were already close to 800 registered parents. Meanwhile, there were around 500 registered home tutors.
On the surface, the supply-demand relationship had finally reversed, with a deficit of home tutors having appeared. In truth, however, many had merely registered with the mindset of grabbing a spot for potential future use. There weren’t that many university students who were willing to give up on going home for the new year, nor were there that many children who required tutoring over the winter holidays.
Additionally, a university student who would be remaining here over the winter holidays would still be able to take up four home tutoring jobs at the very least. Like this, the demand and supply on the platform currently existed in a relative state of equilibrium. The number of agreements reached between parents and home tutors daily was not too disjointed as well.
There was one exception, however. It was Lu Xu’s Chick Bao.
Chick Bao registered on the platform just for fun, her area of inclination being: Private Taekwondo Coach.
This was a one-of-a-kind prospect! With that whole bunch of certificates and trophies that she had as well as her being a female, she received more than 60 inclination applications in just two short days, with many people even having specifically registered on the platform just for her.
Amongst them were parents, female white collar workers, young rich ladies…and also men. Amongst the sixty odd applicants, more than half of them were male…this didn’t seem very good.
As Chick Bao sat in front of the computer, a profusely sweating Lu Xu busied a hand with snatching the mouse with his other arm placed around her shoulder, “Male, male again. You aren’t allowed to respond to all of them. Why is this one even sending photos? Hurry up and delete them! You’re not allowed to look at them…daughter-in-law, please stay your hand! No, you’re really wanting my life here.”
Chick Bao replied, “I’m just not going to! I want to find a young and handsome one, becoming his private coach…It’ll earn me money whilst also being pleasant to the eyes-how good is that?”
As this rival-like couple was arguing up a ruckus, Xu Tingsheng, Old Wai and Li Linlin were discussing the arrangements for the upcoming holidays by the side.
Old Wai would definitely be returning home for the new year these winter holidays. As for Li Linlin, she had originally intended to remain, yet had been persuaded by Xu Tingsheng into returning. As he had said earlier, he hoped that Li Linlin would buy some presents for her family members with the new year. It was just not okay for her not to return home.
“It won’t be much of a difference for me anyway. I can still use my computer when I’m back home,” Old Wai said, “As for Linlin, she probably won’t be able to help. Earlier, she contacted two girls who’ll be remaining here over the winter holidays. They’re willing to help, and are reliable as well…It’s just the area of wages. We can give them a little more; after all, they’ll have to be busy even through the new year…Bro Xu, what do you think?”
Xu Tingsheng nodded, “Of course it’s fine. It is only understandable for higher wages to be given over the new year period. Linlin, make use of the time before the holidays begin to get them familiarised with the system. Old Wai, you make a few more copies of the relevant information from the website. Then, Linlin can return home for the new year in peace.”
After having finished with the arrangements for the winter holidays, what remained was just peacefully waiting for the holidays to arrive.
Oh, that wasn’t right. Xu Tingsheng suddenly remembered with a start that there was still a football match that he had to be in. He might even have to act out some big confession show.
Actually, he had been secretly hoping all this while that Lu Zhixin might suddenly change her mind and give up on this crazy farce. However, as the day of the match drew steadily near, Xu Tingsheng had still yet to receive any news from her at all.
The match was set to take place on the Sunday just right before the final examination he had to sit for.
On Saturday before afternoon training, Xu Tingsheng was finally still unable to resist giving Lu Zhixin a call.
“You…won’t reconsider?” Xu Tingsheng asked carefully.
“You want to go back on your word?” Lu Zhixin’s tone carried a hint of resentment and desolation.
Xu Tingsheng could only say, “No, it’s not that. I just felt that you might have changed your mind. That’s why I called to ask you about it.”
“Thanks, but my mind’s made up.”
“Oh, that’s fine then.”
Hanging up the phone, Xu Tingsheng felt like he finally seemed able to understand Apple’s words somewhat: ‘It will be very exhausting for you like this, forever trying to take care of every single person…You don’t actually have to do this; it’s not like you’re Superman. Also, what if people get used to it? What if people misunderstand?’
After afternoon training had ended, the coach began announcing tomorrow’s starting lineup as well as substitutes.
Xu Tingsheng was not amongst the starting 11. As a newcomer, he hadn’t even played for Yanzhou University in an official match before, this being a perfectly understandable thing. Following this came the list of substitutes.
Those who had not entered the starting lineup all listened intently, hoping fervently. It was just that even as all the others were hoping against hope that their own names would be called, Xu Tingsheng was praying to all the gods and Buddhas of the heavens: Please don’t let there be me…
“Chen Xiao, Guan Xiaoyi…An Zixuan.”
The list had been announced, and Xu Tingsheng had not been called. Amidst the desolate sighs of those others who had not been chosen, he almost felt like leaping up and whooping for joy.
“Luckily, I won’t be playing.”
Xu Tingsheng took out his phone, preparing to call Lu Zhixin to tell her the ‘terrible news’.
The team captain went up and told the coach, “Coach, it’s like this. Chen Xiao pulled his tendon a little at the end of training just now…”
The coach asked Chen Xiao, “Is it serious?”
Chen Xiao tested his leg a little, “I can’t exert too much pressure on it.”
The coach fell silent, his brows furrowed as he looked at the namelist in his hands and pondered for a while before finally he raised his head and yelled, “Xu Tingsheng, come here for a bit!”
“You’re replacing Chen Xiao.”