Chapter 279: The philanderers
After eating outside, the trio bought back some food for Huang Yaming.
In the single ward, with an arm propped up and dragging around an injured leg, Huang Yaming was painstakingly shifting off his bed with much difficulty as he carefully packed his belongings.
“What’s with you?” Xu Tingsheng asked Huang Yaming as he placed the boxes of food on the table.
Huang Yaming was biting onto a plastic bag as he tried hard to put on his belt with one hand.
He muttered, “I want to leave the hospital.”
Xu Tingsheng was flabbergasted, “Stop messing around! You’ve only just entered. Also, your injuries are so serious. What are you all in a rush to get out of the hospital from?”
Huang Yaming took off the plastic bag, allowing his pants to drop freely as he said in an incomparably sincere manner, “I thought about it. You’ve been spending money in so many areas recently. Staying in hospital is too expensive. I should save some more money for you.”
Xu Tingsheng looked at him, “When have you ever felt pained about money on my behalf? Stop messing around and lie down properly. Eat your lunch first.”
Huang Yaming gave up on explaining things, shifting over towards the door bit by bit as he said determinedly, “I don’t care. Anyway, I’m leaving this hospital. Tan Yao, Fu Cheng, either of you come over and help me out of this place and this bro will remember how good you are for life.”
“The two of you, just ignore him. Something’s definitely up. Let’s see what play he’s gonna act now,” Xu Tingsheng said.
As neither of the two moved to assist him, Huang Yaming shot them a resentful look before lowering his head and heading outside step by gradual step on his own. Seeing his clenched teeth and resolute expression, the trio exchanged glances, unable to get their heads around it.
“What, the nurses aren’t pretty enough?” Tan Yao asked Huang Yaming, the two being the most emotively connected on this level.
It was a clear female voice that replied him, resounding from the doorway, “Bed 408, follow-up X-ray in the afternoon. If your bones aren’t connected properly, we’ll break them and go again.”
A tall nurse in white uniform and hat entered the ward. As her gaze swept across Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng, she halted for a moment, nodding in greeting.
“Figure’s great, eyes are so big and so beautiful. This isn’t right! When it’s like this, how could you bear to leave the hospital? Did you hit your head?” Tan Yao whispered to Huang Yaming.
Huang Yaming just sighed, uttering not a sound as he went back to lie down on his bed.
Xu Tingsheng pulled Fu Cheng, saying, “Why is it that I seem to find her a little familiar.”
Fu Cheng said, “I find her familiar too.”
Hearing their exchange, the nurse hesitated for a moment before pulling down her face mask, next smiling and nodding to the both of them, “We’ve met before. My name is Chen Jingqi.”
Xu Tingsheng realised what was up as he stifled a smile and also his awkwardness, saying, “I remember now. Long time no see. How come you aren’t in Jiannan anymore, but in Yanzhou?”
A hint of bitterness flashed through Chen Jingqi’s eyes before she smiled, “Something came up with my health. I took a two month break and didn’t go back to work there. Then, this hospital just happened to be hiring, so I came. I’ve just been here for a while. I didn’t know that this hospital even doubles as a veterinary hospital. They even treat beasts.”
Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng just nodded, not knowing what they should say to this.
Chen Jingqi walked over to the side of the bed, putting down the medical record before casually pinching Huang Yaming’s wounded arm, smiling as she asked him, “Does it hurt?”
Huang Yaming hissed in pain, smiling ingratiatingly as he guiltily dared not evade or answer.
“Yes, it’s good that it hurts. Otherwise, if your bones aren’t connected correctly, the nerves wouldn’t transmit sensation. Oh, right, I nearly forget-you can’t feel anything anyway,” An expressionless Chen Jingqi said.
Huang Yaming dared not retort.
The other three held back their laughter with great difficulty.
As she was about to exit the room, Chen Jingqi told Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng, “I’ll go for a round around the other wards. I’ll be back in a while. Coincidentally, I’m in charge of this ward. So, you can rest assured. I’ll definitely do my best. Also, you’ll need the doctor’s signature for getting discharged. I believe that he won’t approve of it.”
She placed extra emphasis on the words ‘do my best’ as they were really directed towards a certain person.
That certain person was now completely at her mercy.
A piteous-looking Huang Yaming looked pleadingly at Xu Tingsheng.
Chen Jingqi had only just exited the room when Tan Yao immediately closed the door, leaning against it as he asked excitedly, “There’s something, I can tell. Quick, what exactly’s up here?”
Huang Yaming tried to cover it up, “It’s complicated. Long story. You should really just forget it.”
“It actually isn’t complicated at all. Four words are enough to explain it,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“What four words?” Tan Yao asked.
Xu Tingsheng said, “Bedded her."
Fu Cheng finished, “Ran away.”
Tan Yao said, “...I understand. This...dang, enemies meet on a narrow path. Wow, this...no, I’ve got to go see our family’s Sis Nurse again.”
Tan Yao exited the room.
The original trio was left exchanging looks in the sick ward. Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng began to laugh.
What goes around comes around. Revenge inevitably follows.
After the cannon has sounded, an echo will definitely resound.
Chen Jingqi was the young, pretty nurse that Huang Yaming had shamelessly picked up in the IV infusion room back when Fang Yunyao had been hospitalised in Jiannan City. Afterwards, when Chen Jingqi had gotten serious, Huang Yaming had bedded her and run away, even changing his handphone number to that end.
Now, revenge was here.
Huang Yaming cocked his head, looking at Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng, “Stop laughing, you guys! What do I do now? I’ll die if I don’t change hospitals. You weren’t here earlier. When she came in here and saw me, she just stood there and stared quietly at me for at least five minutes. I think she was trying to think of how to render me dead.”
“You didn’t mistake her for another pretty young nurse and try to flirt with her?” Fu Cheng asked.
“How’s that possible? Those big eyes, how could I forget about them? I’ve even dreamt of them a good number of times,” Huang Yaming said rather unnaturally.
“You just can’t forget about her? Then, you…”
“Yeah, I like her! I’ve never met any girl just like her before. The problem is that she was serious, you know? Just one time in bed and she was fantasising to me about our future happy family of three. Look, how would I be able to settle down? How old am I, and what kind of person am I? Y’all know that the heavens decreed that I live a life of debauchery.”
Fu Cheng said earnestly, “Yaming, it was Tan Qingling who hurt you. It has nothing to do with anyone else.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I think Chen Jingqi’s pretty good. She doesn’t look any worse than Tan Qingling. You hurt her to such an extent, and she didn’t come looking for trouble for you…”
Tan Yao who had just gone out to scout returned with a rather strange expression on his face.
“What is it?” Huang Yaming asked.
“Slumped over the desk in the shift rotation room, crying,” Tan Yao said, “Just crying and crying.”
They all froze.
After a while, Huang Yaming feigned a casual tone, “Ha, anyway, I didn’t see it, right? Who cares about her, time for lunch. Hey, with my arm like this, which of you three will feed me?”
The remaining three people exchanged looks. Male feeding male-they really couldn’t stand it.
Huang Yaming determinedly opened the food boxes on his own, painstakingly scooping up the contents with a spoon.
Xu Tingsheng dragged Fu Cheng and Tan Yao outside to smoke.
Right after the three left, Chen Jingqi returned with the face mask back on her face.
Huang Yaming was clumsy at using his left hand. Due to his nervousness, he spilled a spoonful of braised pork and yellow beans on his chest.
Chen Jingqi watched on for a while before walking over, expressionlessly helping him to clean up the food that had fallen. Then, she grabbed the spoon and sat down, bringing a spoonful of food over to Huang Yaming’s mouth.
Looking at her reddened eyes, Huang Yaming asked uneasily, “Did you just cry?”
“No,” Chen Jingqi said.
Huang Yaming opened his mouth and ate the food. Chen Jingqi brought another spoonful of it by his lips.
“How have you been doing recently?” He asked.
“Not bad,” Chen Jingqi said.
“Sorry,” Huang Yaming said.
Chen Jingqi spoke no longer.
In the afternoon, more people came to see Huang Yaming.
Song Ni came. Some of Huang Yaming’s classmates, roommates and friends came as well. Even an apologetic Lu Zhixin came over to visit Huang Yaming. Despite their awkwardness, they still managed to hold a civil conversation.
Chen Jingqi did not appear at all over this period of time.
Finally, the visits ceased as only the few of them were left in the ward.
Hearing Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng mentioning Chen Jingqi, Song Ni who had the greatest sense of ‘righteousness’ amongst them started relentlessly criticising Huang Yaming.
After this had gone on for quite some time, Huang Yaming got impatient as he retorted, “Hey, enough already! Didn’t this old man just bed her once?”
Chen Jingqi pushed the door and entered the room, walking over to Huang Yaming.
“I didn’t mean that. What I meant is…” Huang Yaming tried to explain himself.
A slap flew in.
Taken aback, Huang Yaming asked in a small voice, “Can you be more civilised? Why are you hitting people?”
Chen Jingqi began shedding tears.
Huang Yaming said rather helplessly and despondently, “Look, it was clearly you who hit me, but why are you the one crying? Does your hand hurt? Use this then, hit till you’re all vented.”
Huang Yaming passed Chen Jingqi the medical record.
Chen Jingqi said, “You bastard.”
Huang Yaming said, “Yes, I’m a bastard. Stop crying, okay?”
On the way back to the university.
“How do you see this?” Fu Cheng asked Xu Tingsheng, “If it’s really necessary, we should help Huang Yaming to change hospitals. I’m not worried about him, I’m just afraid that he might hurt someone again. That girl’s pretty good.”
Xu Tingsheng considered this before saying, “We should watch and see. I feel that he wouldn’t have avoided her if he didn’t like her in the first place. Also, I’ve never seen him fear any girl so much after Tan Qingling. We should give them two days. Let him give her a proper explanation at the very least.”
“What about dinner? If we all go back, no one will get him his dinner!” Fu Cheng exclaimed.
“Someone will make sure he gets it. That girl still likes him,” Xu Tingsheng said confidently.
Song Ni had come to know a couple of nurses in Jianhai City when taking care of Fang Yunyao. Calling them and asking about this, she learnt that Chen Jingqi had just graduated recently and was still not yet a full-time contracted employee. She had previously taken two months of leave for some unknown reason, also having refused to explain this. The hospital had found someone else to fill in her position and removed her from it.
Everyone felt rather uneasy as they learnt of this.
Fu Cheng sighed, “No wonder she came to Yanzhou.”
“Being all alone here, it’s definitely pretty tough on her. Being a nurse is very tiring, and if it’s as a part-timer, the pay also isn’t high,” Song Ni said.
Lu Zhixin who had still yet to completely get her head around the situation asked with a face full of puzzlement, “Why hasn’t she gone to look for Huang Yaming at his school then? Doesn’t she know where Huang Yaming studies at?”
“She should be able to find out even if she doesn’t. There are just these few universities in Yanzhou, and she also recognises us. Maybe she feels that Huang Yaming is still attending university and cannot afford to bear this burden, and so she bore it herself. Or maybe Huang Yaming’s actions have thoroughly hurt and disenchanted her.”
Fu Cheng closed his eyes and leaned back against his seat. Chen Jingqi’s appearance had clearly evoked clear memories of the past in him once more.
Those who had no wish to reunite had reunited. Yet, she who he was painstakingly searching for might never be seen by him again.
“What now then? If she isn’t contracted to an organisation, we can actually consider letting her come to Hucheng to work. Doing information checks is easy to learn, and the pressure is also much lower than in the hospital. The wages are also a bit higher. There’s even the five social insurance payments.”
Logically speaking, Chen Jingqi’s field of expertise and educational background did not fit the rules for Hucheng’s personnel applications. Still, Lu Zhixin ignored such principles this time. It was unknown if this was because she wanted to express her apologetic intent towards Huang Yaming or because she empathised with Chen Jingqi as a woman herself.
Looking at Lu Zhixin, seeing her nod earnestly, Xu Tingsheng turned and told Fu Cheng, “Send Huang Yaming a text and tell him about this incident and Zhixin’s idea. See what he thinks of it.”
Some time after the text was sent, Huang Yaming called.
“Have you eaten?” Xu Tingsheng asked him.
“Yeah,” Huang Yaming answered.
“She bought it for me.”
“What are your intentions now?”
“I’ve told her about the job. She says she’ll consider it.”
“What about you? What are you thinking?”
“Well, I definitely can’t be in a proper relationship. Still, you guys should still help her to settle her job issue. Do it yourself, and not through me. I’ve asked about it from other nurses. These part-timers all stay in communal hostels with poor conditions and low wages. Also, the chances of managing to go full-time are very low.”
“Are you sure? If she’s at Hucheng, you’ll definitely have to meet each other from time to time.”
“I know. That’s fine. It really is very hard for her, working here. As a rookie and also not a local, she’s easily bullied. She has to work the night shift for several nights a week.”
“Your heart still aches at that?”
“I know that I’m inhuman.”
Xu Tingsheng thought for a moment before saying, “No one can force you in things like this. We won’t blindly interfere. Do as you see fit, and tell me if she’s decided on coming to Hucheng. If you do really decide to change hospitals, I’ll help you with it. You should account for things to her at least. Don’t hurt her anymore.”
Huang Yaming said, “I know.”
Fu Cheng took the phone, asking, “How are things between the two of you now? Most importantly, really, how is she now?”
Huang Yaming said, “I can’t say for sure.”
“What do you mean you can’t say for sure?”
“She’s fine one moment and erupts the next. I can’t keep up with her at all.”
“What do you mean?”
“She fed me food. She was pretty meticulous, and pretty warm too.”
“Isn’t that pretty good then?”
“After a while, she suddenly glanced over, then overturned the whole bowl of food on my face.”
Fu Cheng did not venture a reply as he turned on the loudspeaker.
“After a while, she cleared away the food and apologised to me. Because I’m in the wrong, I was just about to say nevermind. In the end, she glanced at me again, raised her hand, and overturned the whole bowl of food on my face, again.”
Everyone repressed their laughter as the entire car was literally shaking.
“This isn’t normal! Does she have split personality disorder?”
“It’s too normal. This is love and hate intermixed.”
This might be a day for reunions and past relationships.
It was a little after 2am in the morning that Xu Tingsheng received a call from Li Wan’er. Inside his dormitory, hearing that irrepressible sobbing trasmitted from the other end of the phone, he hurriedly clambered up and ran out to the balcony.
He listened to her crying for a long time.
When the sobbing finally subsided, knowing that it would be awkward for Li Wan’er to speak, Xu Tingsheng took the initiative and asked her, “What is it?”
“My mother’s condition worsened after the surgery. She’s gone. It’s just me now,” Li Wan’er said.
All alone in the world now, Li Wan’er remembered that little hoodlum. He had said that he would take her away. She also didn’t eat much.
Xu Tingsheng said, “...My condolences.”
Li Wan’er was silent for a long time before she mustered up all her courage and finally asked, “After everything is settled on my side, can I go and look for you?”
Xu Tingsheng told her, “You should leave and go back to Italy. That’s where you really belong.”
Hanging up, Xu Tingsheng stood alone on the balcony for a while. Tan Yao came over and handed him a cigarette before lighting up one of his own. In the early autumn, the morning winds were already getting rather chilly.
As soon as the commotion at a bustling place has quietened down, it always feels exceptionally quiet.
Tan Yao said, “Sorry, I just happened to overhear a little just now. I heard crying. What, another ‘bedded her, ran away’?”
“No. I didn’t ‘bed’ her. That was Li Wan’er,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Having met Li Wan’er before, Tan Yao said exaggeratedly, “You should have bedded her then!”
“It’s precisely because I fear that I may not be able to resist sleeping with her one day that I had no choice but to drop it and run,” Xu Tingsheng smiled, “What about you? It’s so late, why aren’t you asleep yet? You still can’t bring yourself to accept it? Just totally ignore her from now on.”
Tan Yao hesitated for a moment and sucked in a deep breath of smoke before saying, “It isn’t just that. You definitely won’t believe it, but I’ve been thinking about that matter of Huang Yaming’s the entire night. Thinking about it, I just can’t help but envy him a little.”
“What’s there to envy him for? Getting slapped?”
“Hey, you’re actually right,” Tan Yao said, “I just wonder if there may also be a girl who thinks of me and hates me so much so that she gives me two tight slaps first thing she sees me the next time we meet. It would mean that she can’t stop thinking of me, at least.”
Xu Tingsheng looked at Tan Yao.
Tan Yao continued, “You must feel surprised, huh. I don’t know when it began, but those girls who roll around in the sheets with me all seem to understand the situation very well, having a sort of tacit understanding with me. Right after we wake up in the morning, they say goodbye, without any intent of being unwilling to part with me or wanting to harass me at all. In the past, that’s exactly what I would be afraid of. But now, I even feel a little depressed at times.”
“That’s just your thoughts running wild,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Tan Yao thought about it, “Perhaps. Still, I just cannot but wonder if there’s any girl in this world who likes me for real. Even if they hate me, it’d also be fine. Otherwise, there’s just this empty feeling inside. Just like how I mix with their bunch of people sometimes. It may be especially passionate and lively, but after the commotion’s died down, I always feel especially lonely, especially depressed.”
“I’m an orphan,” Tan Yao said, “Forget it, let’s not talk about this.”
This was the first time Xu Tingsheng was hearing about this, this actually being something that all their other roommates as well as Huang Yaming who had hung out with Tan Yao the longest were unaware of. Tan Yao had never mentioned it and exhibited no signs of it. With his cheerful and optimistic personality, he had always seemed to be living very happily.
Xu Tingsheng patted Tan Yao’s shoulder, changing the topic.
“What about you? Who do you like?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“You know, Yuqing’s big sister,” Tan Yao smiled bitterly.
“She’s a lesbian, right?”
“Once, I got a room with a girl and left in the morning. Fang Chen just happened to be exiting the room right next to mine...seeing it, my heart just broke. In the end, it was another girl who followed her out of the room, a fourth year female senior from our university. I recognised her.”
“What the hell is this!”
“Then, Fang Chen saw you too?”
“No, I hid. And can you guess what I did next?”
“What did you do?”
“I slept with that female senior and broke them up completely.”
“So, Fang Chen freaking got dumped, hahahahaha...when she finds another one in the future, I’ll bed her and break them up too. Don’t they all say that women like women because they’ve lost all hope in men? I’m going to make her completely lose all hope in women.”
At the same time, in a sick ward of Yanzhou Central Hospital.
Huang Yaming rested his arm that had three whole fractures right across Chen Jingqi’s body, threatening, “Don’t struggle or move. If you do, my arm will break into five. At that time, it’ll be your heart that hurts.”
“It’s better if it breaks. I’d rather you were dead,” Chen Jingqi said.
“You move then,” Huang Yaming said.
Chen Jingqi straightened, but was ultimately unable to defeat Huang Yaming’s shamelessness as she frowned, “What’re you doing? I’m on duty now.”
“Duty my ass. I’ve asked, you aren’t even on the night shift today. You’re just worried about me, I know. You just lie here and sleep for a while. I can’t sleep anyway. I’ll sit here and look at you, and wouldn’t it be more convenient to call for you if anything happens?” Huang Yaming asked.
“There’s a bed in the shift rotation room. I’ll go back there to sleep.”
“I saw a nurse on duty bring her boyfriend in just now. You’re going back to watch the show?”
“Relax, I guarantee I won’t touch you.”
“I’ll kill you if you dare to.”
Silence descended in the room as Huang Yaming took out a cigarette and looked at it before putting it down again. Chen Jingqi pretended to be sleeping till tears soundlessly leaked out from the corners of her eyes.
“Why did you run away without saying a word back then? I called your number for half a month, you know?”
“I, I’ve never thought about being in a proper relationship before, about properly liking someone.”
“I got pregnant.”
“Huh? …You’re a nurse, don’t you know how to use aftercare preventive measures?”
“I did take the medicine. I don’t know why, though, but I still got pregnant.”
“...You aborted it?”
“Right, I ate the medicine, so I couldn't keep the kid. Also, you ran away.”
“I rented a flat and lived there alone to recuperate. I took two months of leave, but the hospital found someone and replaced me in the end.”
“...Why didn’t you come to look for me then?”
“I felt that you’re still attending university. I’m already working, at least. Also, you were already avoiding me. What use would there be in looking for you?”
“Actually, I thought that I would never see you again. In the end, entering the sick ward in the afternoon and seeing you, I thought: The heavens are really too much. Why have they got you appearing in front of me again? Also, why is it merely just a broken arm? Why aren’t you dead?”
“What, dead? So you hate me so much.”
“If you were dead and lying before me, I wouldn’t have to think about anything at all. I’d just cry there heartily for you, and then the hatred would be over, and the love would be over. What do you want me to do now that things are like this?”
Huang Yaming thought for a moment before asking, “Right, I hadn’t asked. How old are you?”
“Twenty-two, why? We graduate early,” Chen Jingqi answered.
“You’re still young, no rush. You should go to Hucheng to work. You won’t be bullied there at all,” Huang Yaming said, “If you meet someone you like in the future, just go ahead and like them. If you don’t find such a person, if it’s a few years later and I’ve grown up and am no longer such a bastard, you can see if you still want me then.”
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