Chapter 353: So and so’s kid
Xiang Ning possessed a forthright personality. As she would frankly express whatever came to her mind, many reservations simply did not exist.
For example, in Xu Tingsheng’s previous life, she would tell the most obvious lies, shamelessly refusing to break up. She would hide a shirt of his and refuse to return it, would request a kiss inside a self-study room, would say that Xu Tingsheng definitely had to send her over to the door of her dormitory, causing Uncle’s heart to soften every time.
It was just like in this life. When she had begun considering whether her age difference of five years with Uncle was a lot, whether he liked her, she had begun muttering to herself in the car, bringing out her parents’ age difference to talk about. She had even asked Xu Tingsheng some silly little question like ‘What will Little Xiang Ning become when she grows up?’...
She was simple, pure and direct.
In Xu Tingsheng’s previous life, Xiang Ning had once asked him this question: What does Uncle like about me?
Xu Tingsheng told her, “You make my world a simple and happy place.”
Then, Xiang Ning had said very disdainfully, “It’s clearly because I’m pretty! Hah, my legs are so long and my waist’s nice too...see, you’re looking...hey, no touching...oi, you dirty ruffian...you…”
Having conquered the pretty girl, Uncle was panting slightly, “...I was praising your inner beauty just now. You mean I can’t do that?”
Xiang Ning lazily cuddled into Xu Tingsheng’s embrace like a figurine of porcelain, saying shamelessly, “Like I want inner beauty. Just say that I look good...I want to be a vase,” Then, she turned and blocked her eyes with her arms, asking, “Look, nice, right? I’ll let you see it all.”
This was Xiang Ning. She made everything seem so simple and pure.
Take for example how Xu Tingsheng had built a Ning Garden for Xiang Ning before thinking of a way to ‘gift’ a flat into the hands of Mr and Mrs Xiang. Right, even as he was confessing, commemorating and making up for the regrets of his previous life, he also wished to make use of this to move and win over her parents.
Some people might find this to be materialistic, benefit-driven and scheming indeed.
Yet, this was not the case for Xu Tingsheng himself. There were no impurities mixed within his goal whatsoever, only a desire to treat their daughter well. While trying to do so, he also sought to prove to her parents how much he cared about and cherished her...working diligently towards such a goal-where was the fault in that?
Xu Tingsheng was already no longer just a young boy in his teens. He was no longer at the age where just buying a popsicle for a girl, he already dared to proclaim that he would give her the entire world.
This was not the case with Xiang Ning as well, because she was not a person who thought about these things in the first place. She might not even come to consciously realise them.
When Mr and Mrs Xiang had wondered why with Xu Tingsheng’s wealth, status and capabilities, he had actually still been willing to be a home tutor for their family for a year and had treated their daughter with such care, they had ended up feeling fearful about this. In contrast, Little Xiang Ning herself...had similarly never even considered such matters in the slightest.
This was because she did not care about these things in the first place, whether or not Xu Tingsheng had or had not acted in a particular way.
Unlike how others might see Xu Tingsheng, he was just special to Little Xiang Ning as someone who was especially good to her. That was all there was to it.
Even if someone reminded her of this one day and asked her to think about it, she would simply be even more confident as a result that Uncle liked her. At the same time, she would be more certain of what Mrs Xu had said before, that she was exceptionally cute and charming and pretty.
And when she learnt one day that Ning Garden had come about because of her, she might just say, “Wow, Ning Garden, what beautiful flats! But Uncle really is shameless! Yep, it must surely be the Ning from Little Xiang Ning, not the Ning from Big Xiang Ning.”
To express this profoundly, it would be ‘heart like a clear mirror, untouched by the mortal dust’. In a more mainstream, cheesy manner, it would be ‘she possesses a clear, transparent soul’.
Still, ever since the end of the senior high entrance examinations, even though they were communicating via phone every day for around a week, Little Xiang Ning never once requested to come over to see Dongdong.
If she requested to come over to see Dongdong, that would be equivalent to requesting to see Uncle. She was waiting for Xu Tingsheng to bring this up.
The little girl ultimately ‘squirmed uneasily about doing nothing’. As she saw it, after all, their next meeting should probably be considered a date. With Uncle set to become her boyfriend, that could be considered a student-teacher relationship. How embarrassing that was.
Also, there were the words she had told him after consuming alcohol back then, ‘You can make a move. Make a move, you.’ And there was ‘Two eight sweet sixteen supple delicate sweet’ too.
Little Xiang Ning had already looked up that poem as she was basically aware of what kind of book <<The Golden Lotus>> was.
Anyway, Xu Tingsheng only had to briefly mention what had been said that night over the phone for Little Xiang Ning to be greatly flustered and panicked, immediately interrupting him before continuing to talk about the stories of her summer holidays, stuff like how many people Su Nannan had been confessed to by again.
Yet, why had Uncle still not suggested a visit yet?
“If he still doesn’t ask...what do I do?”
These days, Little Xiang Ning’s gaze was constantly hovering about the cabinet where Mr Xiang kept his wine…
19th June, the day before the release of the results for the senior high entrance examinations.
The Xiang family home.
Mr Xiang told Mrs Xiang rather unhappily, “I’m not going. Why go anyway? It’s not like it’s some festival, so why’s there the need for a meal? It’s probably that your older brother or sisters have something worth showing off again...you can go yourself if you want to. Anyway, I’m not going.”
Mrs Xiang said rather helplessly, “This is for a meal at my Mum’s house. It was my Mum who called-dare you not go? Besides, even if they show off a bit, aren’t we used to it already? It’s also not like you’ll end up missing a few whole chunks of flesh, right? What’re you afraid of?”
“Who’s afraid?” Mr Xiang retorted unhappily.
“That’s right! I know you’re not afraid. However well that nephew of mine did, didn’t you say that our Little Ning will definitely get into a first-tier senior high too? Relax, there’s nothing anybody can laugh at. Also, aren’t I looking for an excuse to borrow money? This can be considered a chance too. I intend to bring it up first and see how they respond to this,” Mrs Xiang ventured.
So and so’s kid. This topic seems to be a shared painful memory of all flunkie student buddies. In Xu Tingsheng’s impressions, the super flunkie student Xiang Ning hadn’t really cared much about this herself in his previous life. Still, it was evident that Mr and Mrs Xiang did mind that quite a bit.
Mr Xiang said nothing.
Mrs Xiang switched her approach, continuing, “If you don’t go, I won’t too. Since her Grandma called, Little Ning will definitely be going. If the two of us aren’t there, if anything’s really said, it will all be said to Little Ning. Little Ning…”
Mr Xiang rose to his feet and returned to his room for a change of clothes before he said, “Let’s go.”
Mrs Xiang just called for Xiang Ning who was doing some casual reading in the study before muttering as she followed Mr Xiang out, “Look at how you dote on your daughter. As soon as you hear that your daughter may get bullied, all reservations and fear just fly away and vanish.”’
Mr Xiang retorted exasperatedly, “Look at those relatives of yours. Comparing from primary school till now, from jobs to flats to whatever. I’d like to see them compare whose kid looks better! Which of their kids are even half as good-looking as my daughter, I’d like to know?”
Chasing after them, Little Xiang Ning clutched her Dad’s hand, saying, “Dad’s soo right…”
“Exactly,” Mr Xiang said.
Looking at that father and daughter pair, Mrs Xiang just shook her head, smiling wryly.
And so they went over for lunch.
As soon as the dishes were served, Xiang Ning’s maternal uncle, Shi Youshu, raised his wineglass, saying with a triumphant look on his face, “It’s like this. Actually, this meal should have been at night. Still, I’ve got to invite my son’s teachers for a meal tonight to thank them for nurturing him. So, it could only be lunch.”
He left part of his words unsaid, clearly doing so for people to ask more deeply into this matter.
Xiang Ning’s second aunt inquired at the appropriate moment, “Brother, what’s the occasion?”
Shi Youshu smiled, feigning his composure, “I got someone to help check early for me. My son scored 726 points and got into a first-tier senior high. I even heard that these results should be enough to enter an experimental class. Still, that’s not for certain. You can just take it as some baseless speculation on my part...haha…”
Amidst voices of congratulations, the first glass of wine was downed.
Shi Youshu waved his hand, saying, “It’s nothing. This was expected, really...considering his usual results...it’s just that with something good happening, it’s only right for us all to gather.”
“More like get together to show off,” Mr Xiang thought to himself.
Still, he was actually feeling a bit of unrest because of what had been said about checking results early. If that was the case, could Xiang Ning’s results be checked now too?
As he was hesitating over whether to ask this question, Xiang Ning’s eldest aunt beat him to it as she asked, “Checking early? Can you check university entrance examination results then? My daughter’s taking it this year. Logically speaking, those results should also nearly be out.”
Shi Youshu chuckled for a bit before replying, “Well, it seems that you can only check results for the university entrance examinations in the province. With my connections in the city, I probably wouldn’t be able to do it for you. I’ll help ask later.”
That aunt looked slightly disappointed for a moment before she said, “Forget it, there’s no rush. My daughter said that she’s never gone below the line for first-rate universities during her mock examinations. She estimates that she’s probably going to surpass it once again. No rush, really.”
Therefore, another wave of congratulations came as the second glass of wine was downed.
Actually, the children were at the table as well. The two who were praised looked overjoyed as they raised their drinks together with the adults...from time to time, Little Xiang Ning raised her glass that contained orange juice too.
Then, she would continue eating the dishes on the table very earnestly.
Sadly, the conversation topic went around and soon landed on her. Even though Mr and Mrs Xiang had stifledly kept themselves from asking if Shi Youshu had a way of helping to check Xiang Ning’s results too, Shi Youshu eventually thought of this himself.
“Oh, look at me. Isn’t Little Ning taking her senior high entrance examinations this year too?” Shi Youshu held his forehead, “Look at that memory of mine! I forgot to ask them to help check Little Ning’s results too.”
“It’s okay. It’s just one day, it can wait,” Mr Xiang said.
“Nah, better for a peace of mind earlier,” Shi Youshu’s wife interjected, “Well, Little Ning should still be able to get into a second-tier senior high, right? That’s not bad too. They do still produce quite a few undergraduates every year.”
Mr and Mrs Xiang had kept Little Xiang Ning’s gradual improvement over the past one over year to themselves, having repressed themselves from saying it. One one hand, they were afraid that they might accidentally end up exaggerating. One the other, to be honest, they did indeed have a bit of the intention of giving these relatives a shock when the examinations results came out.
Thus, when that aunt predicted Xiang Ning’s results based fully on past performances, it was really raising Xiang Ning’s capabilities to say that she could make it into a second-tier senior high. As for whether this had been done with good intentions or bad, that was difficult to tell.
The person in question was still focused on the meal, thinking, “Uncle’s food still tastes better! Sigh, stinky Uncle, why aren’t you looking for me yet…”
Her phone now vibrated as a text came in. So she took a look at it.
The ‘very cultured’ eldest maternal uncle looked at Xiang Ning, saying, “Little Ning, don’t play with your phone when in the middle of a meal...everyone’s asking you now! How do you feel your exams went?”
Little Xiang Ning kept her phone and put an eggplant into her mouth with her chopsticks as she mumbled indistinctly, “Oh, it looks like I got into a first-tier senior high too. I got 727 points.”
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