Chapter 480: That conniving old dame
In the end, second auntie’s husband clenched his teeth and estimated, “It’s got to cost three to four hundred thousand at the very least.”
Holding a piece of jade that had got to cost at least three to four hundred thousand, Mrs Xiang felt a little panicked.
Right now, Xiang Ning’s eldest uncle made perfect sense. It was Xu Tingsheng’s parents who had given Xiang Ning the necklace, signifying the Xu family’s acceptance of her. Since Xiang Ning had accepted the necklace at the time, for them to return it now...would not be polite at all.
This object which everyone was staring so enviously at was something they could neither return nor put on. The Xiang family felt so helpless at that.
“You can’t return it. Just keep it for now,” Xiang Ning’s grandmother passed over a handkerchief with a white base and blue sides.
Mrs Xiang took the handkerchief and wrapped up the necklace securely, tying two dead knots on the handkerchief’s four corners. She carefully placed it inside her bag before zipping it up.
Before even taking her next bite, Mrs Xiang unzipped her bag, taking the object out again.
“I’m scared I might lose the bag. What if I accidentally misplace it...” She said uneasily.
“Maybe I should keep it,” Mr Xiang extended a hand and said.
And so, the necklace eventually ended up in Mr Xiang’s inner shirt pocket.
After personally helping to zip up that pocket, Mrs Xiang asked, “Is it safe?”
Mr Xiang nodded, “It’s right over my heart. I can feel it even when it moves just a bit. Relax, it’s safe here.”
Mrs Xiang finally heaved a sigh of relief. It was the same for everyone else too as it was like they had all just experienced some major affair. Their voices were hushed as they acted all solemn and mysterious.
Little Xiang Ning felt so helpless. She was thinking: Should I tell everyone how I donated Xu Tingsheng’s ten thousand last time? Nah, I’d better not say it. From the looks of it, I’d probably be beaten up.
Then came something even more vexing. While watching the New Years’ Gala in the living room after dinner, the whole family was looking at her forehead rather than the television screen. She had not discovered anything very special when looking into the mirror, but her family members seemed to be very enthusiastic about this.
“Truly blessed with great fortune and wealth, these Fuxi bones…”
“Little Ning is so blessed.”
“Isn’t she? Maybe some of it will rub off on us. Don’t you think, Little Ning?”
Xiang Ning was thinking: If only it weren’t so expensive. Now I can’t wear it anymore.
The sixth act of the New Years’ Gala started. The song <<The Sun Over The Plains That Never Sets>> played.
Mrs Xu patted Xu Tingsheng’s shoulder from behind him. As Xu Tingsheng turned to look at her, she indicated with her chin for him to go outside to talk.
With his mother suddenly acting so mysterious, Xu Tingsheng really felt a bit panicked.
“What is it, Mum?” After following his mother to the kitchen, Xu Tingsheng asked rather nervously.
“Nothing much. Mum just wants to ask you...having you really decided on that little girl? Tell Mum the truth,” Mrs Xu cut to the chase.
Xu Tingsheng was taken aback, “Why are you suddenly asking about this?”
“Don’t you mind that. Just tell me-Yes, or no?”
“Well, yes, I guess.”
“Got it. I’m not a picky person. I won’t care so much like Fu Cheng’s parents. It’s enough if you like her,” Mrs Xu nodded straightforwardly, “She’s actually not bad, just that she’s a little thin and needs to put on some weight. Her personality and character are pretty good too, and she’s not fake at all. I saw all this at the hospital. The only thing is that she is...too little. Really too little.”
“Well, there’s nothing that can be done about that. I’ll just have to wait,” Xu Tingsheng smiled.
“Wait? Maybe you can wait, but I can’t,” Mrs Xu said very sternly, “Next year will be your fourth year of university, and then you’ll graduate. But how old is she now? She will only graduate after another five, six years, right..and no way that’s okay! How am I supposed to wait that long?!”
“But there’s really nothing I can do!” Xu Tingsheng smiled ingratiatingly while thinking to himself: You think that I’m not frantic?
“Says who? There is a way. I found this out long ago,” Mrs Xu declared rather triumphantly and with a lot of conviction too.
“What is it?” Xu Tingsheng asked curiously.
“After graduating from senior high, send Xiang Ning abroad to study, to that, that America...then, you go there too. I heard that the legal age for marriage there is eighteen. There are also many girls who give birth before the age of twenty there; it isn’t uncommon at all. Go over there, get married and give birth to one first before anything else.”
To such a crazy notion, Xu Tingsheng could only remark, “Huh?”
“What huh? Can’t you see how Mum is longing for those three crawling on the floor inside the house? Mum even wishes you could learn from Fu Cheng and secretly give birth to one,” Mrs Xu exclaimed rather emotionally, “Anyway, I’m just telling this to you. It’s settled, no argument allowed. Wait till she graduates from university? Wait till you’re twenty-eight, twenty-nine? Ha! Definitely not. Most definitely not!” Mrs Xu chopped down decisively with her hand in one swift motion.
In a flash, Xu Tingsheng thought back to those three years in his previous life when his business had failed and he had yet to marry. He recalled the envious gaze when his mother looked at other people’s grandchildren and how she would sometimes stare at him, wanting to say something yet holding it back.
In his previous life, afraid of putting even more pressure on he who was having a tough time, his mother had repressed all her innermost feelings and desires.
This life was different, though. With their current glorious state, there was nothing Mrs Xu had to be concerned about. Therefore, her stance was naturally completely different from before.
“No, Mum. Your idea’s not bad,” Xu Tingsheng pacified his mother and got her to sit down before venturing cautiously, “But we can’t act just based on how our family feels, right? We must also respect what Xiang Ning’s family thinks...they only have one daughter, so going overseas is pretty…”
“Even the betrothal gift has been accepted…” Mrs Xu muttered to herself with a triumphant look on her face.
“What? What betrothal gift?” Xu Tingsheng asked in bewilderment.
If his parents had delivered the betrothal gift and the Xiang family had accepted too, how was it that the two related parties, he and Xiang Ning, both did not know about it?
“That necklace,” Mrs Xu said, looking at him.
“...That’s considered a betrothal gift?” Xu Tingsheng felt a little like laughing as he thought: Old woman, how petty of you. Our family is so rich, you just gave a small piece of jade, and it even counts as a betrothal gift?
“Something that costs over three million as their first betrothal gift-isn’t that enough? Whatever else can still be discussed. However much they want, they can have it,” The way Mrs Xu was acting ‘rich and boastful’ here was actually kind of interesting to watch.
Seeing that his mother did not look like she was joking, Xu Tingsheng asked hesitantly, “No, Mum. You said it cost...over three million?”
“Well of course!”
“But it’s so small.”
“How would you know? The materials that I bought from your Dad’s friend alone already cost over 2.6 million. Adding the crafting fees from the grandmaster...I tell you, over three million is already putting it mildly.”
The current Mrs Xu was of a completely different status from in his previous life, hence knowing this stuff better than he did for real.
“Two top quality materials in a single piece of natural jade-have you ever seen that before? With a transparent base and an emperor green, and yet in that emperor green is perfectly carved out the likeness of a being-do you think that is so easy to find?”
Xu Tingsheng thought back on this. That necklace around Xiang Ning’s neck seemed really like his mother had just said, its base transparent and without a single hint of impurity and the green portion fully concentrated in perfectly carving out the likeness of Fuxi…
Xu Tingsheng had thought at the time: This thing might also cost over ten thousand.
Now he knew...over three million...hanging around Little Xiang Ning’s neck…
“What the!” Xu Tingsheng immediately felt frantic.
He was not so worried about it falling and getting damaged as he was this-what if she ran into a bad guy who recognised its worth?
Mrs Xu was still muttering, “Since they have accepted it, they will have no choice and no voice. Either they return it...but that would mean that they look down on you, look down on our family. Or they don’t return it, and when I bring this up to them then, how would they be able to refuse us?”
This was basically equivalent to bullying the ignorant Little Xiang Ning and burying a trap for her. Indeed, Little Xiang Ning had foolishly fallen hook, line and sinker just like that. That conniving old dame...Xu Tingsheng patted his forehead helplessly. It was fortunate that he had not told those of his family about that flat in Ning Garden.
Of course, as a woman who came from a village family, it was actually only natural that his mother thought this way. By that logic, she should be lauded for her wit, even.
“Mum, I still have to think about this. I’ll go make a call first,” Xu Tingsheng said frantically.
Before his mother could react, he dashed out of the house and dialled Little Xiang Ning’s number.
The call connected.
“That necklace, the one my Mum gave you, you can’t wear it outside. Get your Mum and Dad to keep it for you, and keep it safe...I’ll buy one for you that you can wear outside later.”
Xu Tingsheng did not feel so good openly reporting the price of the necklace.
“Why is that so?” Xiang Ning asked laughingly, but then answered before Xu Tingsheng himself could, “Because it’s very expensive, right? I know that! My family was all nervous earlier. Relax, Mum and Dad have already kept it properly.”
“That’s good then,” Xu Tingsheng heaved a sigh of relief.
“Still, that really is expensive!” Xiang Ning exclaimed in wonderment, “Second auntie’s husband said that it might cost three hundred thousand! Is it really that expensive?”
Xu Tingsheng froze for a moment. Ten percent? They had been swindled, yet they did not even know to what extent they had been swindled. How sad was that...what would that conniving old dame think if she knew about that, he wondered.
“More or less,” Xu Tingsheng thought that this was a good thing as he decided not to report the actual value.
Instead, he reminded her, “Still, if anyone tries to buy it for that price, you definitely can’t sell it! Get your Mum and Dad to keep it safe and hide it well.”
“Right, I won’t sell it. It’s your Mum who gave it to me. I won’t sell it no matter the price.”
“That’s good then…”
“Auntie is just too good to me. I feel a little embarrassed.”
“Uh...right, my Mum...is pretty good.”
Xu Tingsheng was feeling a bit guilty...well, she’s good, but she fooled your eighteen-year-old innocent little self.Previous Chapter Next Chapter