Chapter 125: The legendary cohabitation
Having a woman in a house yet not having entered a marital relationship, perhaps known as an ‘initial familiarisation stage’, was a very blissful thing. Living together under such circumstances, one would still be trying hard to display the best side of themselves, also attempting to bring happiness and warmth to the other party every single day.
Xu Tingsheng had been in a few relationships in his previous life. However, there had only ever been a short period of time when there had been a ‘she’ in the house.
That was when Xu Tingsheng had started a business with his friend in Xihu City. Having been in her fourth year of university at the time, Xiang Ning had come over to stay for three days. Just with those three days in mind, Xu Tingsheng had carefully packed up and cleaned his room, persisting in not smoking at home for half a month. Other than that, he had also practised cooking some dishes that Xiang Ning liked to eat, learning how to stew fish soup both thick and white and also practising making handmade noodles.
When Xiang Ning had arrived, Xu Tingsheng had hurried to show off his culinary skills, while Xiang Ning had washed all of Xu Tingsheng’s clothes and sheets, whether clean or dirty, once.
“You’ll only marry me if I perform a little better,” Xiang Ning said.
“You’d only be willing to marry me if I perform a little better,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Those had been a most blissful three days. The kisses when waking up early and going to bed late, the peaceful slumber at night, the laziness in waking up in the mornings as both sunlight and her resided by his pillow.
While Xiang Ning had prepared lover-style pyjamas, she just liked to put on Xu Tingsheng’s big T-shirt as she ran around and around the room. Sitting on the sofa, Xu Tingsheng would see how she was just like a butterfly, dancing amidst the sunlight that filtered in through the window with an incandescent smile on her face.
He had once looked forward so much to a home with her.
They had gone for a stroll about Xihu Lake in the morning. The squirrels there would steal food from your hand with no hesitation at all. They had spent their afternoon in a small coffee shop on a street near the riverside. They had raised a cocktail laden with salt as they had celebrated their being together, celebrated it time and time again.
Then, they had staggered slightly along hand in hand, traversing the streets of the city wide and narrow till the entire city was illuminated by light.
Having reached home, Xiang Ning who had never watched football before had sat in his lap and accompanied him in watching football matches till the wee hours of the morning, commenting all throughout, “Wow, that Coach Uncle’s so handsome.”
“He’s called Mourinho, Jose Mourinho. An intractable and unruly man who always says that God is number one and I am number two, yet is willing to put on slippers and go out to buy a pack of cigarettes for his wife in the early hours of the morning.”
“Uncle, you have to be like this when you’re old as well.”
That day, they had chosen an English name and nickname for their future child: Jose.
A knock on the door interrupted Xu Tingsheng’s thoughts as having hung up the clothes to dry, Lu Zhixin asked him from outside, “Xu Tingsheng, have you gone to bed?”
“Not yet,” Xu Tingsheng put down his mouse, getting up and opening the door.
Lu Zhixin said, “If you aren’t tired, there’re some things regarding Hucheng that I’d like to talk to you about.”
Xu Tingsheng walked into the living room and sat down on the sofa. There was a bottle of red wine as well as two glasses on the coffee table before him, one of them being filled while the other was empty.
“I’ve got insomnia, so I’m used to drinking a little before sleeping,” Lu Zhixin said, “How about you? Want some? ...Maybe it’ll be better for conversation.”
Actually, for someone to have become an insomniac at the age of twenty was really not a good thing at all. Lu Zhixin might not be as strong as her outward appearance suggested. Xu Tingshneg nodded, and Lu Zhixin poured a glass for him as well.
“Have you seen Hucheng’s latest statistics?” Lu Zhixin asked.
Xu Tingsheng nodded. The number of parents currently registered in Hucheng was already close to ten thousand. There were more than 2 million people living in Yanzhou City, though. The number of registered parents was continuing to rise rapidly.
As compared to this, the number of registered home tutors had merely reached one thousand, with the situation of the supply being unable to meet the demand officially having been formed.
“First glass, to celebrate,” Lu Zhixin said.
“Thanks. It’s been hard on you,” Xu Tingsheng replied.
Wine could indeed alleviate awkwardness, boosting the atmosphere. After the first glass had been downed, their conversation grew much smoother. The first proposal of Lu Zhixin had to do with user costs for the platform. She provided very detailed analyses and data regarding the amount of money that should be charged as well as the evaluative risks.
Of course, most convincing were not these analyses but Lu Zhixin’s final statement, “Hucheng is lacking money.”
A problem that had always troubled Xu Tingsheng since his rebirth was that he just seemed to be unable to shake off his situation of always lacking money. He was clearly unceasingly devising ways to earn money, yet became even more lacking of money in the process.
“Are there any other solutions? I feel that the time is not right yet,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“There is. The method is to let Hucheng own its own training institute,” Lu Zhixin seemed to have foreseen that Xu Tingsheng would say this long ago, having already prepared a backup plan for it as she said directly, “We purchase that Modernity Training Institute.”
The Modernity Training Institute was a rather sensitive topic between Xu Tingsheng and Lu Zhixin. After Lu Zhixin had finished speaking, raising her head to look at Xu Tingsheng, she saw that his expression had changed slightly.
“I think that my biggest mistake was not acting the part of an ignorant, harmless little girl in front of you,” Lu Zhixin smiled rather bitterly, “Xu Tingsheng, do you know what the reason would be if you end up unable to succeed in life?”
Before Xu Tingsheng could answer, Lu Zhixin had already said, “Your personality.”
Before the winter holidays, Lu Zhixin had pointed out a path for Xu Tingsheng. And now, in simple and concise terms, she had clearly pointed out another path for him. This was a source of inner conflict for Xu Tingsheng.
“Tell me about it. Since you proposed it, I believe that you should already be confident of getting it done,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“That Modernity Training Institute can't go on.”
Lu Zhixin explained the current situation with that training institute. The revenue that Hucheng had been able to generate for them over the winter holidays had been limited. As such, they had already run out of available funds, lacking the money for even their teachers’ wages.
This was to say that even if Hucheng had led a certain number of students to their training institute after the new school semester had begun, they would not have been able to accommodate all of them.
“Two of their investors have already given up. Principal Tang is struggling to hold on,” Lu Zhixin finally said.
Reassured by the fact Lu Zhixin had not fiddled with the recruitment process, Xu Tingsheng asked, “You've talked?”
Lu Zhixin nodded, “Yeah. We can grab it within the price of 500000 yuan.”
“Grab it then.”
“...You've still got that money?”
Lu Zhixin was rather taken aback by Xu Tingsheng’s words. She saw the current funds in Hucheng's account. Also, she had long since learnt about the matter that had occurred in the Xu Family before the new year from Fang Chen. While the Xu Family had flipped the tables in the end, the incident had taken a lasting toll on its finances.
Therefore, Lu Zhixin had long since had an alternative solution ready for this. She kept silent, however, waiting for Xu Tingsheng's answer.
“At the end of last year, I was extorted once by Fang Chen. You should know that,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“I do,” Having entered Hucheng under Fang Chen’s name, Lu Zhixin naturally would know.
“She still owes me one million yuan. It should be my turn to be the bad guy.”
“But she’s got no money.”
“But she’s got ways.”
Lu Zhixin smiled, liking the intelligent and decisive look of this guy before her, “Xu Tingsheng, you’re right. Actually, Fang Chen has been participating in the matter of purchasing the Modernity Training Institute all along. She’s meeting someone from the bank on Saturday to discuss a loan over dinner. You should be there as well.”
It would be on Saturday, when Xu Tingsheng had to give Xiang Ning her home tutoring lessons. He had already missed it for a few weeks.
Xu Tingsheng hesitated for a while. If it was just dinner, he could move the lesson on Saturday evening over to Sunday morning, conducting a lesson on Saturday afternoon before hurrying over to discuss the loan at night. There shouldn’t be a problem with that.
Seeing him pondering, Lu Zhixin said, “Right, there’s something I forget to tell you about. While you were away these past few weeks, we arranged for someone to substitute you in your home tutoring. You don’t have to worry about that.”
“Li Linlin. How about you get her to go for another week?”
Xu Tingsheng was naturally able to set his mind at ease if it was Li Linlin. However, so long as it was possible, he still wished to go over himself.
He thought for a moment before saying, “I should really go myself this week. If I always have someone taking over for me, I wouldn’t be able to account for it to the parents. Relax, I will be able to make it in time for dinner.”
“That’s also fine,” Lu Zhixin did not insist regarding the matter.
“Right, have you asked Fang Chen what this loan will approximately amount to?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“Within one million yuan. There’s no collateral, after all,” Lu Zhixin said.
“We should try to strive for a little more money when the time comes. Just like this: We get that one million, then purchase the Modernity Training Institute. Afterwards, we’ll take another loan whilst labelling it as a training institute of Hucheng Education and using it for collateral...we should strive to get as much money as we can, the more the merrier.”
Xu Tingsheng proposed a plan that tried to obtain significant gains in not having done much at all. However, in terms of procedure, there was nothing too wrong with it.
Lu Zhixin asked in slight puzzlement, “You need so much money? Or...your family needs it?”
“It’s not that. I just feel like it’s more or less time for us to make a move. Soon from now, Hucheng’s got to quickly expand into other cities of the province as well as large cities like Shenghai City which are located nearby...we don’t have much time left,” Xu Tingsheng said.
While Lu Zhixin had not been able to understand Xu Tingsheng’s ‘we don’t have much time left’, she was able to recognise Xu Tingsheng’s ambitions. This was something that had always been troubling her. She had been worried that Xu Tingsheng might just be satisfied with something of this scale, being sufficiently contented with just these minor achievements.
The current Xu Tingsheng was the one she hoped to see.
A bright smile on her face, Lu Zhixin raised her wineglass, “This glass is for Hucheng, for you, finally raising up the sails and beginning a voyage.”
Having no way of telling Lu Zhixin that Hucheng was just one aspect of his plan, Xu Tingsheng raised his wineglass, smiling, “Thanks.”
The two unknowingly came to finish the entire bottle of red wine. Then, they said goodnight to each other. The good thing about the riverside residence was that a stream could always be heard trickling merrily away out through the window, accompanying one throughout the entire night...insects cried amidst the summer nights, the springs verdant and the autumn leaves red.
“I like this place. Goodnight, Xu Tingsheng,” Lu Zhixin said.
The next day, in the morning.
As knocks resounded on the door of the riverside residence, Xu Tingsheng and Lu Zhixin exited their rooms one after the other, opening the door.
Outside were those people of Room 602 whom Old Wai had brought along, coming over to look for Xu Tingsheng during the morning when they had no lessons. After all, he had been away for quite a long time...along with them had come Li Linlin and some other Hucheng staff members.
As soon as the door was opened, everyone outside was stunned.
“What the! You guys...are cohabiting?” Tan Yao was the first to yell.
Xu Tingsheng cared not about explaining to the others as he immediately grabbed Zhang Ninglang who was in the midst of whipping out his phone. He was Apple’s spy, one must know.
“Lil’ Bro, listen to me,” Xu Tingsheng dragged Zhang Ninglang into the living room.
“Yanzhou University’s Hero, Xu Tingsheng, is cohabiting with the flower of the foreign language institute, Lu Zhixin.”
This news spread extremely rapidly throughout the entire Yanzhou University. Throughout all of Yanzhou University this day could be found...shattered youthful hearts, male and female alike. Many people still remembered the confession on the football pitch that day...hadn’t it clearly been unsuccessful? Little Sister-in-law was really too unreliable.
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