Chapter 396: I will be good in the future
No one accompanied Xu Tingsheng in leaving America as he flew straight to Milan, Italy.
The appointed time was already over and Xu Tingsheng had also constantly been unable to get in touch with Li Wan’er over this period of time. Feeling worried about her, he went to Milan to make sure that everything was okay.
He first went to Li Wan’er’s house in Milan which he had helped her to move to. In the end, despite knocking the door for a very long time, no one answered. It was an old lady from next door who, with a series of incomprehensible sounds and hand gestures, basically helped to get the message across that the person inside had already moved away.
Xu Tingsheng decided to look for her at the tailor workshop where she worked.
Li Wan’er was still nowhere to be found at the tailor workshop. Old Mister Angelo was absent too as he was perhaps off earning some extra income in Shenghai City again. There were still others in the workshop who had seen Xu Tingsheng before, though.
He had even conversed with some of them during his previous visit there.
An old tailor retrieved a letter and passed it to him.
Sitting by the roadside in the darkness of Milan’s night, Xu Tingsheng had a cigarette gripped in between two fingers of one hand and a letter clasped in the other.
If you’ve come to find me, you will see this letter. I have left it here rather than mailing it to you or simply calling to notify you because I actually don’t want you coming here to look for me.
Or maybe I do, actually, because that would at least mean that I am still in your mind.
Regardless of that, I’m sorry, Xu Tingsheng. I’ve come to regret my decision.
I no longer wish to abide by our earlier agreement. So, I’ve run away.
I’ve experienced your death once, you know? I fainted dead away in the hospital, then left soullessly like all the life had been sucked out of me.
They told me that you were dead, and only then did I finally realise that I am actually a woman who does not even possess the qualifications to show up at your funeral. I even had no way of finding out where your grave would be located so that I could go to visit you.
Can I or can I not be considered your woman? Perhaps you have never once thought so before in the first place, Xu Tingsheng.
Afterwards, upon returning to Milan, I had no idea how I should continue living. Everything which had supported me over the past half year, all the joy and the anticipation, was no more. It had all vanished alongside you, with nothing remaining whatsoever.
I wasn’t even able to look for someone to cry with over you, because there was simply no one I could tell.
These were the feelings I experienced that loomed over me like a boundless darkness, leaving me afraid.
Yet afterwards, when I finally mustered up the courage to search for your name online again, wishing to just calmly look at photos of you and reminisce, I learnt the news of your recovery.
I was over the moon, overjoyed. I wanted to come to look for you right away.
I packed my luggage and rushed out of my house, hurrying off to the airport…
Then, I regretted it.
Sorry, only after experiencing you leaving definitively for good once did I realise that I actually can’t do it. I can’t live with being with you for some time and then losing you, can’t live with us having a child of our own and then losing you.
Forgive me for my cowardice. I really can’t stomach ever bearing that kind of pain ever again.
Thus, regretting my decision, I’ve run away. I’ve decided to leave Milan.
I will always remember those times that belong to only the two of us, from our first meeting to when I did your tie for you, to the round rainbow in the skies back then, to the agreement that we made that day...
The only fault lies with how:
I fell in love with a young hoodlum who liked messing around, but you gave me Xu Tingsheng, extraordinaire…
In truth, I personally feel that it would be great if only you were just a minor hoodlum. I don’t eat much anyway; it wouldn’t be that tough on you.
I’m leaving now. If we ever do meet again someday, it will be my turn to tell you: We’re even.
From the ends of the world and beyond, till I die of old age, somebody is thinking of you everyday. I love you, Xu Tingsheng.
- Li Wan’er.
Perhaps it would be possible for him to find her if he really wished to do so.
Still, Xu Tingsheng was not qualified to look for her.
At Yanjing International Airport, Xu Tingsheng picked up Little Xiang Ning who was still caught up in the the excitements of her trip. It was Wu Yuewei who had accompanied her over. As for Apple, having jointly attained the best newcomer award, the best album award and the best single award in the important award ceremony, it had been difficult for her to even go out recently.
Xu Tingsheng said ‘thank you’ to Wu Yuewei.
Looking at Little Xiang Ning, Wu Yuewei said, “Her life is really full of joy. One’s got to be envious…”
Xu Tingsheng did not know what to say to that.
Little Xiang Ning was chattering on throughout the flight back as she described the music award ceremony to Xu Tingsheng. Apple had gone up on stage thrice to receive her awards, during which time her fans had competed with the other singers’ fans to see whose cheers were loudest. She had cheered till even her throat was hoarse.
“Luckily, we managed to win…” She said.
She was returning with a whole big bag of clothes and whatnot. Some of them she showed to Xu Tingsheng, while others she did not.
She spoke of how Qingbei was very beautiful, how big the library there was. She even took out a senior high study plan that Wu Yuewei had written for her which included study methodologies and things to take note of. It encompassed an entire small booklet.
She also recounted how they had joked together about how Xishan Tower’s Xu Tingsheng and Qingcheng Mountain’s Bai Suzhen(Lady White Snake) were so alike...both were devilspawn.
She was super happy.
Xu Tingsheng wondered how much pain Apple and Wu Yuewei must be suffering in secret as they talked like this. Maybe they were truly over him? ...But if so, why were they still doing this?
It was close to evening when the plane descended at Xihu City. Xu Tingsheng’s original intentions were to rent a car and hurry back to Yanzhou.
“But I’m very tired,” Little Xiang Ning looked at him, asking, “How about we go back tomorrow instead?”
How was Xu Tingsheng supposed to refuse her?
After eating dinner by the lake of Xihu (West Lake) and touring the area for a while, Little Xiang Ning waited till it really was ‘too late to return’ before giving her parents a call, telling them that she wanted to rest in Xihu City for the night.
Soon, Xu Tingsheng received a text from Mr Xiang that read: Little Ning is still young.
Xu Tingsheng hurriedly sent a reply: You can rest assured, Uncle. I know that.
The two followed the perimeter of the lake for a long time. In his previous life, they had once spent entire days walking along it. Those were the three most blissful days in Xu Tingsheng’s memories. She had came to Xihu City to see him, wearing his big T-shirt and flitting around the whole house like a little bird.
As they walked and walked, Little Xiang Ning eventually grew unhappy.
Xu Tingsheng didn’t know what the matter was. Xiang Ning indicated with her eyes at the other couples that were passing by. Xu Tingsheng still didn’t get it.
“Wah, Xu Tingsheng, your hand’s so big…” Little Xiang Ning said, “Let’s compare and see how much bigger it is than mine…”
Two palms, one big, one small, connected, and they were holding hands just like that.
The uncle and the young girl ended up feeling a bit awkward after joining hands as they smiled foolishly to themselves and walked on in silence for a long time. In the end, having gone too far, Little Xiang Ning ended up running out of energy as Xu Tingsheng had to carry her back.
Arriving at the motel, the most crucial trial had arrived. Uncle solemnly and majestically declared to reception in an upright and righteous manner, “Two rooms...”
Little Xiang Ning tugged at his sleeve, whispering, “But I’ll be scared if I sleep alone.”
Uncle decisively informed the front desk, “In that case, two beds.”
Perhaps to conceal her awkwardness, Little Xiang Ning began chattering non-stop after entering the room. She was able to continue talking on her own even when Xu Tingsheng would not entertain her, or she could also watch drama series while telling him all about the plots.
In any case, she showed no intention of going to take a bath at all as she simply rolled and leapt about her bed incessantly…
“She’s really too childish…” Uncle felt greatly pained, knowing that there was no hope for a brief romantic subplot here.
“In that case, I should probably go to bed earlier to spare myself the torture. Xiang Ning should sleep too. If she continues making a ruckus, she’ll probably not be up even by noon tomorrow.”
Xu Tingsheng momentarily adjusted his emotions before feigning a desire to hurry up and go sleep, “Little Xiang Ning…”
“Can we not go to bed yet?”
Maybe Xu Tingsheng had said something wrong, for the frolicking, chattering Little Xiang Ning suddenly fell silent, sitting still on the bed and hugging her legs with her furiously blushing face buried between her knees. And how she hesitated, how she struggled…
“No, not yet,” Finally, very softly, she forced out the words with great difficulty.
“What do you mean not yet?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“We can’t yet. I still can’t let you bed me. I’m still little. Mum said that.”
Xu Tingsheng collapsed onto his bed with an agonised moan, feeling greatly bitter within. While I may be a ruffian, this really isn’t the kind of going to bed I was talking about! His mother-in-law really was overly abstract and insufficiently rigorous in her definitions in educating her daughter.
Seeing his pained face, Little Xiang Ning said rather nervously, “Hey, no need to be so worked up! I’m just scared, and I’m too young too...I, I will be good in the future.”
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