Chapter 370: The time has come to put their acting skills to the test
At Hucheng during the weekend, at around 9am in the morning, Xu Tingsheng learnt that Li Linlin had received a call from Mrs Xiang to have dinner at their house that night. Li Linlin had thus enquired if Xu Tingsheng had received an invitation too. If he had, they could go together…
Xu Tingsheng gazed piteously as his phone which looked as if it was dead. What could he say?
Closer to 11am at Zhicheng, Lin Yixian specifically came informing Xu Tingsheng that the Xiang family had invited her for dinner that night. She asked Xu Tingsheng if she should attend or not.
Whether it was so as not to be exposed or because he really felt deeply jealous, Xu Tingsheng replied ‘mercilessly’, “Think of an excuse and refuse them. I’ll treat you to something next time.”
If not for phone calls frequently coming in from others, Xu Tingsheng would really suspect that his phone might be malfunctioning.
Close to 5pm in the afternoon, when Xu Tingsheng thought that even the sun was going to set soon, he had still yet to receive any news.
He secretly sent a text, asking Little Xiang Ning about this. She said that many people had already arrived at her house. Even her form teacher from junior high, Liu Xueli, was already there. As for why Xu Tingsheng’s invitation had not been conveyed, she too did not know why this was the case. She dared not ask her parents about this as well. After all, she had secretly overheard the news at the time as they had also not mentioned it to her afterwards.
Xu Tingsheng recalled that between himself and Liu Xueli, there existed the fake relationship of ‘distant relative’ behind his having become Little Xiang Ning’s home tutor back then. Hopefully, it would not become a problem.
Those who lied were destined to be unable to portray a full, unblemished story on all sides, only being able to constantly lie more and more. Xu Tingsheng had been lying his way through it all...
Xu Tingsheng was getting impatient. Any later and he would be late for sure. Uninvited, he now ‘piteously’ changed his clothes and brought his presents along, driving over to the vicinity of the Xiang family home and parking in an obscure spot. Finally, he sat in his car, grasping his phone as he awaited that invitation call.
Xishan Tower’s Xu Tingsheng was truly put in a rather pitiful, tragic state over this single dinner.
Back at the Xiang family home, Mr Xiang entered the kitchen and asked Mrs Xiang, “The others have already arrived, like that Miss Li and so forth. What, haven’t you called Tingsheng? What did he say? He can’t make it?”
“...How come I’m the one who’s supposed to call him?” Mrs Xiang asked, wiping off her sweat as she cooked the dishes.
“You were the one who said you’d call him! Yesterday, you said that you acted a bit overboard towards him before. If you called, it would appear more earnest and sincere…”
“I was only saying how I felt, how it should be. I never said that I’d call him, though. I’d feel a bit awkward if I had to call him. Oi, can’t you see that I’m busy now? You’d better call him yourself.”
Mr Xiang said rather despondently, “You want me to call him right now? He might not even be able to make it here on time. Also, won’t it appear a bit too insincere?”
Despite him saying this, Mr Xiang still made the call as soon as he exited the kitchen.
The call was answered right away.
“Tingsheng, this is Xiang Ning’s Dad…”
“Oh, hi Uncle.”
“Well, I have a piece of good news for you. Little Ning scored 727 points in her senior high entrance examinations and made it into a first-tier senior high. I heard that she may even be able to enter an experimental class.”
“Really? Wow, that’s great! Congratulations! Good, good. Right, it’s been a while, so I forgot. Xiang Ning has already taken her senior high entrance examinations, huh?” Xu Tingsheng’s acting was really a bit too exaggerated here.
Mr Xiang thought: Hah, I don’t believe you didn’t know about this.
Still, both of them had to keep up surface appearances at least.
“Thank you, thank you for your tutoring sessions with Little Ning from before. Otherwise, she would not have been able to achieve these results...hmm, you haven’t had dinner yet, right?”
“Well then, are you free to have dinner at our house now? We’re basically celebrating Little Ning’s results today.”
“Cough…” Mr Xiang cleared his throat, thinking: This kid, don’t you know how to at least put on a bit of a front? Making me have to pretend like everything is normal like this.
He said, “We’ll wait for you then, if you’re free. You may have to hurry up a bit. I thought that Little Ning’s Mum had made this call, while she thought that I had. It ended up coming rather late as a result, but we hope you don’t take it to heart...”
“No, no. I’ll be there soon. I’m coming over right now.”
Three minutes later, three minutes after the call had been hung up, Mr and Mrs Xiang, Little Xiang Ning, Liu Xueli and Li Linlin saw Xu Tingsheng standing outside the doorway, holding onto a book and a bear.
So emotional was ‘old, experienced swindler’ Xu Tingsheng that he completely failed to pay attention to the details. Really...flaws could be spotted everywhere in the story!
Not understanding the actual current state of affairs, Liu Xueli and Li Linlin only felt curious as thoughtful looks appeared on their faces.
Still, Mr and Mrs Xiang were well aware...he had arrived much too quickly, even having brought along presents too…
Driving to the Xiang family home in three minutes? Fine, even if you coincidentally happened to be nearby for real...how many minutes did it take to buy those presents?
Mrs Xiang shot a glare at Little Xiang Ning who stood behind Mr Xiang, knowing that she had something to do with this for sure. This daughter of theirs…
Little Xiang Ning would not be scared off by this. She was very happy now, though she dared not do or say anything excessive as she was simply smiling throughout.
Mr Xiang coughed dryly, forcing a smile as he felt emotional...hey, Xu Tingsheng, Xu Tingsheng! Someone like you who could successfully establish such a big company, why is it that...whatever, this old fella has to act on with you, whatever the case.
Four of those present were in the know as to what was really going on. Yet, none of them could voice it out directly, whatever their varying thoughts on the matter.
A major play was set to unfold right before everyone’s eyes!
The time had come to put their acting skills to the test.
“Congratulations, Uncle, Auntie...and Student Xiang too, congratulations. Long time no see.”
Hearing Xu Tingsheng’s ‘long time no see’, Little Xiang Ning was trying so hard to suppress her laughter that her entire body was trembling…
Xu Tingsheng thought: Don’t! Please do put on a good show, Miss Xiang.
Mrs Xiang replied, “Yeah, it’s been a long time…”
Mr Xiang said, “Yeah...long time no see. A busy person like you-we usually wouldn’t even have the chance to have you here.”
“...Right, I have presents for Student Xiang. I just casually bought these from a street stand, but I hope that you will like it,” Xu Tingsheng feigned greetings to Little Xiang Ning before extending the book and bear over, continuing, “Congratulations for entering into a first-tier senior high! You scored so well too...teacher is very proud…”
Little Xiang Ning received the two items. Hugging the bear, she buried her face in it, chortling endlessly…
“Even ‘teacher is very proud’ is out. Even Miss Liu didn’t say that...you’re acting way over!!!”
“Uncle’s acting is really too terrible.”
Mr Xiang replied, “No, we should be the ones thanking you. And you even bought Little Ning presents...and you’re Little Ning’s teacher too…”
Little Xiang Ning was really suppressing her laughter so much she felt like tears were going to leak out from her eyes, “Dad’s acting is so terrible too…”
Mrs Xiang was truly unable to watch this farce go on for much longer as she said, “Hurry up and thank Mr Xu, Little Ning!”
Little Xiang Ning only managed to hold back her smile with great difficulty as with a face which was totally red from suppressing her mirth, she raised her head earnestly and said innocently, “Thank you, Mr Xu. Hey, Mr Xu...how did you know that I like bears?”
The words of this little girl were the most arrogant and unbridled amongst the four present who were in the know.
“Uh, is that so? I just happened to buy it by chance...really, what a coincidence.”
Xu Tingsheng’s legs very nearly went weak and gave way at this as he dared not even shoot her a threatening glare right there and then…
“Hmm, yep, what a coincidence,” She said.
Mrs Xiang felt that if this act were not wrapped up now, this play would really be unable to go on any longer. Feeling slight exasperation and an inexplicable sense of amusement, she helplessly wrapped up the awkwardness for them.
“Don’t just stand there by the door, Tingsheng! Come in and sit. Dinner will be served soon. I’m going back to the kitchen. Little Ning’s Dad, serve the guests. Set up the tables too while you’re at it...Little Ning, you, move the stools.”
Little Xiang Ning smiled, “I’ll put my presents in my room first then. Well, come on in, Mr Xu…”
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