Chapter 374: Seeing Tan Qingling once more
Mr Xiang left.
Little Xiang Ning cautiously stepped out from behind the wall, her hand on her chest as she appeared very nervous. Still, she was smiling as she looked at Xu Tingsheng, as if she was saying: See, everything’s fine.
Xu Tingsheng too relaxed alongside this.
Still, because the young girl was feeling moved by the expression of genuine feelings from earlier, Xu Tingsheng walked closer to her, raising his arms if to hug her. He next retracted them, wanting to stroke her little face, wanting to kiss her on the forehead...
He had actually done all these things countless times before. Still, facing the young Little Xiang Ning at this moment, he hesitated, not daring to do anything.
Little Xiang Ning was able to tell what was happening. She leaned over, tiptoeing and kissing Xu Tingsheng on the cheek before resting her chin on his shoulder and saying softly, “You’ve fooled me over already anyway. You don’t have to continue being afraid...if you’re like this, it looks very much like I’m some kind of ruffian.”
Xu Tingsheng inwardly agreed with her as he smiled, saying, “When I’m being ruffian-ish, you’ll probably be scared off into running away.”
The little girl shook her head, pulling Xu Tingsheng’s hand over and placing it by her waist. She trembled slightly in all her nervousness, not uttering a sound.
Uncle Black Bear finally got his hands on the Little Pert Waist of Little Miss Honeybee.
Still, it was separated by a T-shirt. Xu Tingsheng was now unable to stop himself from sliding his hand downwards.
“Hey...you…” A small hand pressed down on a big hand, those watery eyes looking at Uncle to ascertain if he was being serious.
As their gazes met, the little girl nervously swallowed her saliva, finally still succumbing to her shyness in the end as she ran away, chuckling happily.
“Xu Tingsheng, Xu Tingsheng! It’s because I saw that you were starving so much that you even built a Little Pert Waist at Ning Garden that I rewarded you a bit. In the end, you’re indeed acting like a dirty ruffian. I’ll go back in first! You should hurry up too.”
Xu Tingsheng returned to the Xiang family home a little while after Little Xiang Ning had gone back in.
He drank a glass of wine with Liu Xueli, and then with Mr Xiang. Soon, many relatives of the Xiang family had come looking to drink wine with him.
Xu Tingsheng dared not have too much to drink. For someone who did not want to drink so much, there were only two methods. One was to not speak, and the other was to talk a lot.
With these people all being relatives of the Xiang family and Little Xiang Ning’s elders, Xu Tingsheng dared not put up a front in front of them. He could naturally only go with talking a lot.
Fortunately, he had a vast repertoire of knowledge and could enthusiastically put an arm over the shoulders of all those uncles, with them coming to address each other as bros. He could also calm down and chat about the education of the kids with the aunties who were present…
Xu Tingsheng was very well-liked by his elders.
When Little Xiang Ning’s friends from school as well as Liu Xueli and Li Linlin had departed, the four tables were condensed into two tables as they continued with their drinking.
Most of those present had already drunk quite a bit by now.
After a while, an uncle who was really quite inebriated could not help but ask Mr and Mrs Xiang, “Guoliang, Youmei…let’s set aside the gossip, everyone knows that it’s false...but why is it that I feel like it would be good if it were real?”
“Yeah,” A couple of new bros of Xu Tingsheng’s, Xiang Ning’s own paternal Uncle included, all began to cheer now, “How about we just let it be real.”
Having drunk quite a bit too, Mr Xiang smiled, “Well, you’re right. Tingsheng is a pretty good kid…”
Mrs Xiang pinched his waist, saying, “Hey, don’t you guys talk nonsense. Little Ning’s still young.”
“Young? What do you mean? Didn’t you run off with Guoliang when you were seventeen?”
It was Mrs Xiang’s big sis, Little Xiang Ning’s eldest aunt, who said this. As she brought this matter up now, Mrs Xiang was shut up completely by her.
Little Xiang Ning was sitting on an empty table a short distance away. As she heard this, her face reddened as she said nothing.
“If your family really doesn’t want him, I can introduce him to others then. I have a niece…”
“Hey, I have a younger sister too!”
The random aunties became enthusiastic in wanting to introduce girls to Xu Tingsheng, who saw Little Xiang Ning gnashing her teeth as he happened to coincidentally glance over at her.
When the drinking party finally ended, it was already a bit after 9pm at night.
Mr and Mrs Xiang had been a bit worried initially. Still, seeing that Xu Tingsheng really hadn’t drank much, they could rest assured in letting him go back on his own.
Standing behind her Mum and Dad, Little Xiang Ning called out with a face full of worry, “Drive carefully! And when you get home, remember to give...Dad a call…”
There really wasn’t any fault that could be found in this statement. Still, however one listened to it, it just seemed like a girlfriend calling out to her boyfriend.
Mr and Mrs Xiang could not flare up as there was really also nothing that they could say. They could only helplessly shake their heads, smiling wryly.
Less than half an hour after Xu Tingsheng had left, Xiang Ning sent over a text as she had probably already returned to her room: Are you home yet? I’m a bit worried.
Xu Tingsheng replied to her that he had already gotten back before giving Mr Xiang a call to report on his safe return.
When he hung up, another text had appeared on his phone. The little girl said out of nowhere: I’ll let you put your hand in next time, but you can only leave it there. You can’t move it around.
Xu Tingsheng sent back a text: What a female ruffian.
Little Xiang Ning was furious at her good intentions having been distorted as she sent back an expression composed of punctuation marks, no longer saying anything.
Actually, Xu Tingsheng had still not reached home yet. Being in too good a mood that night, he would not be able to fall asleep so easily anyway. He parked his car by the roadside and rested for a while, eventually deciding that he might as well head over to Bright Brilliance.
After entering and going upstairs with the intention of looking for Huang Yaming, Xu Tingsheng discovered him in the midst of furiously berating a male employee.
Only upon seeing Xu Tingsheng did he wave his hand to shoo the person away, concluding, “If this happens again, you can just get lost.”
Xu Tingsheng sat down, asking, “What is it?”
“What is it if not Rebirth...Fu Cheng sings here. In order to hear him sing, some women who usually don’t come to bars sometimes come here, elderly ones and even young ones too,” Huang Yaming explained.
“Isn’t that a good thing then?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“You could say that,” Huang Yaming replied, “Still, I’m afraid too. They let a bunch of underage ones come in last time, you know? A group of young girls, and they drank a lot too...what would I have done if something had happened?”
Hearing this, Xu Tingsheng nodded. Bars were complicated places at the end of the day. It was very difficult to guarantee one’s safety for sure. Therefore, it was still better to first ensure that the customers all possessed the responsibility and the capability to take care of themselves.
“It was even more ridiculous today,” Huang Yaming continued, “They let a mother in, one carrying a child who was just a few months old...I only learnt about this from the waiter. Fortunately, that mother just sat for a while before leaving.”
Huang Yaming began ranting for a time.
Xu Tingsheng smiled, “Forget it, just be careful in the future. Come, drink with me outside and listen to Fu Cheng sing.”
Huang Yaming hesitated for a moment, looking at Xu Tingsheng as he did not speak.
“What is it?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
Huang Yaming hesitated for a bit before standing up and clenching his teeth, “Let me take you to see an ex-classmate of ours.”
Xu Tingsheng followed Huang Yaming. By the corner of the second floor of the bar, he saw someone whom he would not have expected to see no matter what. It was Tan Qingling.
She was indeed an ex-classmate of theirs. They had been on rather good terms initially due to Huang Yaming.
Afterwards, Huang Yaming had suffered because of her for a long time, having become weak and depressed. Besides having sung <You Knit A Woolen Sweater For A Freaking Fool> to spiritually rebuke her, Xu Tingsheng and Fu Cheng had naturally broken off all contact with her.
Whatever the case, as they were ex-classmates and former friends at the end of the day, Xu Tingsheng maintained the necessary civility and exchanged greetings with Tan Qingling. He learnt that she had scored even worse when retaking the university entrance examinations, having gone to a third-rate school at Xihu City in the end.
Having gone gallivanting with a young boss during the year when she had retaken the examinations, it would instead really have been strange if she had scored well then.
Tan Qingling, though, appeared very enthusiastic as she constantly reminisced on their days in senior high together.
After chatting for a while, Xu Tingsheng found an excuse and walked away. Huang Yaming followed him, leaving somewhat awkwardly.
“What’s this all about?” Xu Tingsheng asked him.
“She said that she wanted to find a place to work during her holidays. Then, she found on the internet that I had opened a bar, and so she contacted me…” Huang Yaming explained weakly.
“She probably also learnt that the movie you’re sponsoring is coming out soon?” Xu Tingsheng asked, “What about that young boss of hers who drives a BMW?”
“She says that they broke up long ago.”
“And so? You became a freaking fool again?”
“When she first contacted me, telling me that she was coming over, I didn’t agree to it and even humiliated her, asking her to scram. In the end, she came alone carrying her backpack to look for me...at the moment that I saw her, I realised that I actually still seem to like her somewhat.”
“She’s been here for three days. I haven’t arranged any work for her to do. Still, she’s found some things to help out with on her own, wiping the tables, sweeping the floor, washing the toilets, basically anything that can be done…”
Xu Tingsheng already had a fixed evaluation of Tan Qingling from his previous life. As it was Huang Yaming whom he was speaking with now, he unreservedly repeated, “Tan Qingling is that kind of person with a very definite goal. It was like this when she persisted in retaking the university entrance examinations before, and it was like this afterwards...even now, she’s still…”
Huang Yaming remained silent.
“What about Chen Jingqi? Does she know?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“Yeah. I was drunk the day before yesterday, and Qiqi came to take me back. And they met.”
Ever since Huang Yaming had started out on his career with this bar, he who loved to gallivant in the first place now had a legitimate reason for messing around outside. He virtually got dead drunk once every few days. Chen Jingqi would diligently wait till the bar’s closing time every day before coming over to bring him home, taking care of him as he took a bath and went to bed…
She would prepare a nutritious breakfast for him the next day to take good care of his stomach and liver before going to work.
Because of this, Lu Zhixin had even mentioned to Xu Tingsheng before that Chen Jingqi was constantly dozing off at work, having made a couple of mistakes as a result…
“What happened then?” Xu Tingsheng pressed.
“How would I know. I was drunk!” Huang Yaming forced a smile, “Anyway, I think they talked for a while and brought me back together. When I woke up the next day, Qiqi had moved away, and Tan Qingling was making me breakfast.”
“The heck! Then…”
“Tan Qingling’s been staying at my place. Still, I’ve been going back to my dorm to sleep these past two days.”
“Have you looked for Chen Jingqi yet?”
“I did. Still, she wouldn’t speak to me.”
“When will Tan Qingling be leaving?”
“Well, probably not anytime soon.”
“What do you intend to do then?”
“I’m not really sure. Still, I told Tan Qingling that Qiqi is my girlfriend now. She said that it’s okay, that she’s only come here to work over the summer holidays. If she’s taking care of me, we can just treat it like she’s trying to make up for what happened before…”
Xu Tingsheng was rendered speechless.
Downstairs, carrying his guitar, still wearing his mask, Fu Cheng announced, “Next up, I’ll be singing for everyone: You Knit A Woolen Sweater For A Freaking Fool.”
Some customer yelled, “Bro, this is the third time you’re singing this tonight!”
Xu Tingsheng looked at Huang Yaming, asking him, “How does Tan Qingling find this song? What about you?”
Huang Yaming said nothing.
Xu Tingsheng waited till Fu Cheng had finished singing this song before grabbing him and going elsewhere to drink some alcohol together.
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