Chapter 373: Eloping
Xu Tingsheng had really failed to recognise Li Meng.
Their previous meeting had been intentionally arranged by Mrs Xiang. Li Meng had meticulously put on heavy makeup and dressed herself up...this time, however, not knowing that Xu Tingsheng would also be here, she had not made any such preparations at all.
Women look very different indeed when they have or do not have makeup on, are or are not dressed up. Moreover, Li Meng had not left a deep impression on Xu Tingsheng previously…
There were just too many people who would jokingly call out to Xu Tingsheng in greeting when at school or in the academy city. He would not recall their faces as a result, however beautiful they were. As for Li Meng? A brief meeting which had not been all that special. He had long since forgotten about her.
Failing to recognise Li Meng, Xu Tingsheng had politely enquired about her identity.
And just like that, inadvertently…
All the lies of Li Meng and her mother were exposed now as they thoroughly lost their face along with it.
“She’s the daughter of Little Ning’s Mum’s cousin, Li Meng.”
A relative helped to jog Xu Tingsheng’s memory.
“Oh, Li Meng...I remember now. Student Xiang’s cousin! We met before, at her house, and even talked a bit about football too, right?” Xu Tingsheng who still did not understand the situation felt apologetic as he frantically apologised, “Sorry! It’s been so long that I’d forgotten. I really didn’t recognise you at first there, sorry, sorry…”
Xu Tingsheng was apologising very sincerely. After all, as he saw it, she was a relative of the Xiang family like everyone else present. He would not want to mindlessly offend any of them.
As a result, there was a sense of panic and helplessness visible in his apologetic expression.
People could naturally judge the veracity of it for themselves.
Moreover, Xu Tingsheng really wasn’t acting.
Still, ‘We met before, talked a bit about football. I’d forgotten, really didn’t recognise you there…”
Could things be any more obvious?
The answer to this was no.
Li Meng glared hatefully at Xu Tingsheng, yet dared not erupt in fury as she turned and stomped off, finding her mother and departing from the Xiang family home at once…
The malicious slander that they had spread had already come back to make a joke out of them. Out of those present, who would not tell others about it after going home? Who would not say that they thoroughly deserved it?
For a period of time afterwards, at least, this mother and daughter pair would have to shut their mouths and refrain from randomly going around stirring up gossip everywhere…
Xu Tingsheng was totally befuddled as he felt awkward and greatly uneasy too.
“I’m done for. In coming as a guest, I’ve offended the Xiang family’s relatives. What am I to do from now on? It’s finished...heck, why didn’t I recognise her? I wrecked the atmosphere which was totally great at first. I really hope Mr and Mrs Xiang won’t blame me for this…”
Having come to the Xiang family home for a meal, he had angered their relatives to the point of upping and leaving. The innocent Xu Tingsheng, he who had already been on tenterhooks in the first place...was so frantic he really felt like crying now.
Meanwhile, eldest uncle’s wife sighed. It seemed like ‘Comrade Cousin’ had been talking utter nonsense before. She had probably just randomly linked the totally unrelated Xu Tingsheng to the matter of that flat for no good reason...how was she to ask about that then?
There were many who shared the same thoughts as her.
The atmosphere at the scene was actually still not bad as they chatted and laughed happily. It was just that many discussions had arisen, with Mr and Mrs Xiang also smiling joyfully despite having appeared slightly awkward at first.
Still feeling rather uneasy, Xu Tingsheng went over to the dinner table. Of the three teachers, Liu Xueli was sitting at the main table while making use of their relative youth, Xu Tingsheng and Li Linlin had requested to sit together with the kids.
In the meantime, other than when Mr and Mrs Xiang came over to offer a toast and he drank a glass of wine too, Xu Tingsheng had a dismal expression on his face as he ate mechanically, his face buried over his food.
Little Xiang Ning felt rather worried upon seeing this. Not knowing what the matter was with Uncle, her expression turned rather panicked too.
Su Nannan who was at the same table as her relentlessly went over pressuring Xu Tingsheng to speak with her after having drunk some wine. Xu Tingsheng really felt that he was not up to the task as he gave an excuse of having to go to the toilet and hid by the road outside whereupon he found a dark corner and secretly lit a cigarette.
A short while later, a tender voice resounded behind him.
“What's up with you? Why're you unhappy?”
Xu Tingsheng looked back and saw Little Xiang Ning standing there with a worried look on her face.
He hastily flung the cigarette away.
“I offended your relatives into leaving angrily right away, that cousin and aunt of yours…” Xu Tingsheng explained a bit uneasily, “Your Mum and Dad probably blame me for it...look, it was so difficult for them to invite me here to your home already. I also remember that you asked me to work hard for your Mum and Dad to like me again...but in the end...I'll go look for them and apologise for it later.”
Little Xiang Ning frowned and considered it for a moment before looking up and saying, “Why do you have to fear them, Xu Tingsheng? My relatives. With how awesome you are, it should be they who daren’t offend you, right? But why are you the one who's afraid?”
Xu Tingsheng looked at her, not knowing what she was getting at.
Before he could say anything, Little Xiang Ning continued, “It's because of me, right? Because of me, the awesome Xu Tingsheng is afraid to even offend a random one of my relatives, worrying even though you clearly did nothing wrong. Because of me, whatever my Mum and Dad say, however they bully you, you daren't even argue with them. Because of me, you were beaten up to the point of vomitting blood, yet dared not even tell my parents that it was for the sake of protecting me. Because of me, even gifting my Mum and Dad a flat is like something wrong that you must do sneakily, like some robber or thief…”
Now, Little Xiang Ning pursed her lips, starting to cry, “I don't want it to be like this, Xu Tingsheng. I don't want you to have to suffer so.”
With that, she hugged Xu Tingsheng from behind.
Xu Tingsheng was very moved. Yet, his first instinct was still worry, “Don't! Be careful that someone doesn't see it, afterwards telling your Mum and Dad about this…” He said rather panickedly.
“I just want to let them know. I'll tell them about it later, tell them all that I told you just now...they’re too much! Like I'd be afraid of them.”
Xu Tingsheng forced a smile, thinking, “Well, hats off to you...but I can't do that!”
Also, Xu Tingsheng was actually very much able to empathise with Mr and Mrs Xiang. Considering that they were parents of a girl who was only fifteen, sixteen years of age, what they had previously done was actually not wrong.
Moreover, things were already starting to take a turn from the better now…
“Little Xiang Ning.
“You can't wreck things for me! Don't be wilful. Let me gradually work on it myself.”
“I’ll help you.”
“How’s that even helping? It's more like you're getting ready to toss a grenade, shoot a bazooka…”
“I don't care. Anyway, I don't want you being bullied like this anymore. At most, right...we can just elope at most. Then, we can come back to take care of my Mum and Dad when I'm a bit older and have given birth to a child. Worst come to worst, I'll give them a call every week.”
Elope? Xu Tingsheng was thoroughly confounded.
“Student Xiang, where did you learn all this?”
“From my Mum and Dad.”
“Yeah, that's right. That's exactly what they did! They even told me the story very triumphantly. They said that when they returned and carried me in front of Grandma, I smiled at her, and her heart softened all at once. She carried me right away and then just focused on kissing, coaxing me, no longer opposing their being together. She even treats me exceptionally well and is very good to them too…”
Miss Xiang had never mentioned this in his previous life before, perhaps having forgotten about it since she had never really thought that there was any need for them to elope then. It was only with how difficult the situation was now that she had come up with such a plan, learning from the ‘role models’ that were her parents.
If this were really to happen…
Xu Tingsheng imagined the expressions of Mr and Mrs Xiang. Should they be crying or laughing at that?
Despite finding the thought amusing, Xu Tingsheng definitely dared not do such a thing for real. There was no need to do so, and he wouldn’t be able to bear doing so...he carefully explained things to and lectured Little Xiang Ning for a bit before footsteps resounded from not far away...
“Tingsheng, are you outside?”
It was Mr Xiang’s voice.
Xu Tingsheng quickly got Little Xiang Ning to hide behind a wall. Just as he was about to reply, Mr Xiang had already walked over to him.
“I guessed that you’d come out, Tingsheng. You didn’t seem quite right in there earlier. Are you feeling worried because of what happened with Li Meng and her mother?” Mr Xiang got straight to the point.
“Sorry, Uncle. I…” Xu Tingsheng tried to explain himself.
“It’s got nothing to do with you. Actually, Uncle should even thank you…” Mr Xiang explained to Xu Tingsheng some things that were not awkward to say and could be said, finally concluding, “
It’s more or less like that, anyway. So, you’ve actually helped to clear us of that slander and saved us from a difficult predicament. Also, Li Meng and her mother leaving is their own problem. It was totally not your fault in any way at all.”
Xu Tingsheng was finally able to rest assured at this.
The two talked for a bit more before Mr Xiang said, “I still have to play host to the guests. I’ll be going back in first. You should hurry back in too! Let’s drink a couple of glasses together.”
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