Chapter 352: Sweet sixteen
On the night of 11th June, Xu Tingsheng received a call from Little Xiang Ning.
With the senior high entrance examinations right around the corner, the little girl ultimately still felt nervous. This nervousness was due to to her own hard work over the past one, two years, the expectations of her parents as well as her promise to Uncle.
This might also be due in part to her hope that the memories of the happy times when Uncle had been tutoring her weekly could reach a perfect conclusion.
As they were chatting, Xu Tingsheng consoled Xiang Ning, “Relax, your luck bursts forth whenever an important examination comes, allowing you to perform exceptionally well.”
Little Xiang Ning asked astonishedly, “How do you know? I haven’t even taken an exam yet.”
Xu Tingsheng thought: Of course I know, you former super flunkie student. In the past, you were always saying triumphantly every time how you never needed to work hard at all, just erupting with fortune during the senior high entrance examinations to get into Yanzhou’s second-tier senior high and doing the same in the university entrance examinations to get into Jiannan University.
Back then, she had been triumphant and easily satisfied, not minding the fact that these two schools were actually not all that good at all.
“Hey, looking down on me? I already did pretty well as compared to some of my classmates, okay?” She would often say this shamelessly back then.
Even during the teacher recruitment examinations nearing university graduation, she had not taken it that seriously as she had ended up doing some last minute work. Even her graduation thesis had been hastily written with Uncle’s help.
In the end, as Xu Tingsheng had said, she had still managed to get in. While her score had not been the best, it had still been acceptable.
Anyway, the she of back then had always been easily satisfied, happiness coming to her easily.
Yet, there were already too many things she was concerned about now at a young age. As a result, the pressure on her would naturally be magnified as she grew nervous more easily.
Finally, she made a request of him: During those two days of the senior high entrance examinations, she had to see Uncle before and after every exam.
This was actually a very difficult thing because Mr Xiang would definitely be sending her to the examination venue before waiting outside for her those two days. Still, Little Xiang Ning didn’t care about that. Xu Tingsheng definitely had to do what she had asked.
Xu Tingsheng could only borrow an old Volkswagen Santana and give Xiang Ning its license plate number. He would drive the car over to the examination venue early on both mornings, camping there throughout.
When Little Xiang Ning appeared on the first day, she got off her father’s motorcycle and quickly gazed around the carpark as her father was parking it.
Xu Tingsheng pressed the horn, pressing out a heavy sound and a light sound.
Little Xiang Ning secretly gazed over in his direction. She saw Xu Tingsheng as he peeked out of the car, blinking towards her before raising his fist to cheer her on.
She smiled and blinked too, raising her little fist before taking in a deep breath and walking into the examination venue with a calm look on her face.
And that was how Xu Tingsheng waited outside the examination venue for two days. There was a close shave during this time. Mr Xiang stood outside his car window for over an hour, smoking till the floor was filled with cigarette butts. He appeared very nervous as well.
Actually, Xu Tingsheng was nervous too.
Usually, for an examinee with two ‘family members’ waiting outside for her, both of whom were so nervous, it would really be great if they could smoke and chat as they waited. Yet, Xu Tingsheng dared not even show his face.
When the two days of examinations were over, the naturally vivacious and cheerful Little Xiang Ning finally regained her usual liveliness.
She actually consumed some alcohol on the night of her graduation party before giving Uncle a call.
“Wow, wow. There’s a girl who is already sixteen this year and is about to enter senior high right away. Also, she’s grown to 1.64 m. Her legs are so long, and her waist’s nice too. What a grown up young lady,” She said shamelessly over the phone.
“So?” Xu Tingsheng resisted the urge to smile, asking.
“Well, did you know? Only those below sixteen years are called lolis. Those sixteen and above aren’t anymore…”
“What are they called then?”
“Ravishing young maid...hah...hahah...why aren’t you saying anything, Xu Tingsheng?”
“I’m just listening to you laughing for a while.”
“Huh? Do you find it very pleasing to the ear? Is it like, tinkling wind chimes laughter?”
“Alarm clock chimes.”
“...I’m really mad now.”
“What should I do then?”
“Answer one question of mine then, Xu Tingsheng.”
“Are you going to start pursuing me?”
“...Aren’t you still too young?”
“No, how could that be? Many of my classmates are already dating! I’m already sixteen, and in senior high. You can, you can make a move now...make a move, you.”
“...” Xu Tingsheng smiled wryly, deliberately saying, “Sixteen is really still too young.”
Over on the other end, Little Xiang Ning thought for a moment before saying, “Two eight sixteen, right? Have you ever heard of ‘two eight sweet sixteen supple delicate sweet’?...Hee...teehee…”
Xu Tingsheng asked, “Student Xiang Ning, why are you playing the ruffian now?”
“Huh? I’m not! I was reciting a poem, really,” Little Xiang Ning defended herself.
“And where did you hear this verse from?”
“I can’t remember. I just happened to see it somewhere.”
“Do you know what the latter three verses are and where they come from?”
“No, I don’t.”
“This poem comes from <<The Golden Lotus>>. The entire thing reads: Two eight sweet sixteen supple delicate sweet, sword drawn from waist hacks foolish husband. Seeth not the head fallen on ground, yet covertly consigns husband’s marrows into decay.”
“...Is this about a female hero? Sword drawn from waist hacks foolish husband. Head fallen on ground, marrows into decay...is it about murder? How scary. But it’s not like I’ll kill you, though.”
Xu Tingsheng smiled wryly, thinking: If you want to kill me that way, why, do it then.
Then, he solemnly replied, “Anyway, this is actually a poem that make girls sound like ruffians when they recite it. You should normally refrain from reciting it in the future…”
“It’s even more ruffianish than Mulan has no elder brother? ...Normally refrain? ...When can I recite it then?"
“Let’s not talk about that now,” Xu Tingsheng said helplessly, “How did your exams go? You feeling confident for a first-tier senior high?”
Actually, if he definitely had to, Xu Tingsheng actually had a way to get Xiang Ning into a first-tier senior high even if her results weren’t actually good enough. It was only that it was difficult to tell what Mr and Mrs Xiang might think of this. Also, Little Xiang Ning herself would probably lose quite a bit of happiness from this.
“Yup,” Xiang Ning declared confidently, “I am. I’ll tell you right away as soon as the results are out.”
“I should be the one to tell you. I’ll definitely find out earlier than you do,” Xu Tingsheng said.
He currently had quite a number of connections and familiar faces in the education bureau. Finding out about results for senior high entrance examinations would be a piece of cake.
“Okay then. I have a phone again now. Mum says that she’ll let me use it during the holidays. It’s not the one that you gave me, though. Mum says that that one’s lost...”
The two chatted for a long time. Little Xiang Ning talked about how she looked forward to life in senior high, how she would have to go to the new school district for Yanzhou’s first-tier senior high in the future which was so far away from home. She said that she wanted to come see Dongdong, and also that...she wanted to meet Big Sister Apple.
Besides the last thing which he quickly glossed over, Xu Tingsheng talked about everything else in detail with Xiang Ning till she said over the phone that her Dad had come to pick her up.
In the upcoming period of time, Xu Tingsheng awaited Little Xiang Ning’s senior high examination results as the advertisements for Ning Garden came onto display all around…
Xu Tingsheng could expect a call from Little Xiang Ning almost every day. However minor the matters they talked about, these days were just so blissful for him. In this post-rebirth life, he had gotten Xiang NIng to fall in love with him again. While it had taken quite a bit of time, it seemed that there weren’t so many difficulties besides that of her parents...if this was love.
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