Chapter 560: Seeing them off
The Fang family had long since been prepared to leave the country. Xu Tingsheng received the required documents that night and set off back for Yanzhou.
Xu Tingsheng had called and borrowed a white BMW from Hu Shengming. Zhong Wusheng was driving, with Xu Tingsheng in the co-driver’s seat. In the backseat was a sulking young girl with her school bag who was stubborn as stubborn could be.
“If my Mum didn’t cry, I would never go along with you. You should know, and remember, that I really hate you,” Fang Ruli said disdainfully towards the back of Xu Tingsheng’s head.
Xu Tingsheng turned back exasperatedly, “I got it. This is the fifth time you’re saying it now.”
“Once over there, I’ll stay at that training institute. I have money, so stay out of my business.”
“Alright. I will.”
“Anyway, it’d be best if before going overseas, I don’t have to see you anymore. Sick pervert.”
After responding till that feisty girl was finally satisfied, Xu Tingsheng turned to face the front again. Zhong Wusheng glanced at him and the two exchanged looks, smiling wryly.
Fang Ruli’s mother, who had married the second son of the Fang family, was relatively unique within the Fang family. She held no job, much less any position in the public service. She was simply a full-time housewife at home.
This dutiful wife and mother had now become the only person of the Fang family’s second generation who still had their freedom. She rationally knew that she could not hold the fort. Therefore, she had neither put on airs nor decided things unilaterally as if she knew best.
After sending the children overseas to ensure their safety, she would remain behind to accompany her father-in-law and send him into the next life. She would also calmly await judgment on the fates of her husband and the others of the Fang family’s second generation. This was her courage, her fulfilling her responsibility.
Still, as a mother, she would inevitably still have her own agenda. In order to let Xu Tingsheng bring Fang Ruli to Yanzhou to spend the rest of her time before going overseas, she gave two reasons in front of everyone:
Firstly, Fang Ruli was too young. It would be bad for her to remain cooped up in the depressing atmosphere of the hospital all day long.
Secondly, Xu Tingsheng’s Hucheng had a training institute in Yanzhou. Since Fang Ruli was to go overseas, it would also be good for her to go there to acquire some language skills etcetera.
While both reasons sounded ever so reasonable, Xu Tingsheng was actually aware that Fang Ruli was proficient in English to the point that she could rant on at someone for half an hour in different scolding forms each time, even using more obscure language for fear that they might understand.
Therefore, it was actually not that difficult for him to grasp her mother’s mindset.
Right now, with the Fang family having already been defeated and with the old man already no longer able to speak, what little Xu Tingsheng owed the Fang family could fully be overlooked. To put it another way, Xu Tingsheng’s sole connection to the Fang family right now was really only Fang Yuqing, and perhaps Fang Chen too. This was to say that he could definitely only take care of the two of them and ignore the fates of the rest of their family.
By some stroke of fortune, Fang Ruli had had some interactions with Xu Tingsheng. While inferior to that with Fang Yuqing and Fang Chen, he was still more familiar with her than the remaining Fang family at the end of the day. She wished to increase the contact her daughter had with Xu Tingsheng, obtaining some brotherly feelings, friendship, even just sympathy. This was enough as long as it could bring an added layer of security to her daughter’s future.
This was one of her considerations. The second one was this. As compared to the Fang family’s base camp, where else could possibly be safer than remaining by Xu Tingsheng’s side?
Such was the simplest ‘scheme’ of a woman, the purest ‘selfishness’ of a mother.
Therefore, Xu Tingsheng had not refused her.
Fang Ruli had wanted to refuse, but just as she had been about to cause a scene, she had been pulled off somewhere by her mother. After talking for a while, the two had returned with reddened eyes, Fang Ruli obediently walking behind Xu Tingsheng with her school bag in tow. Her head had been lowered, she saying nothing.
She had only regained her true, noisy colours after getting onto the car.
Xu Tingsheng opened the door to find Xiang Ning and Du Jin sitting in the living room and watching <<Autumn In My Heart>>. The two of them were all teary-eyed from it. This was normal for Xiang Ning who always cried, but what was with their burly bodyguard, Du Jin?
On seeing Xu Tingsheng, Du Jing frantically wiped her tears and tried hard to regain a cool expression. Despite clearly having had things weighing on her mind for the entire day, Miss Xiang, in contrast, acted nonchalant and did not even look back as she simply said, “You’re back.”
“Yep,” Xu Tingsheng said to this very normal response, “Why haven’t you turned on the air conditioning in this heat?”
“Big Sis Du Jin has a stomachache. She can’t have air conditioning,” Xiang Ning explained.
“A stomachache? ...Oh, I get it,” Xu Tingsheng spoke like he had had a revelation.
“You’re so disgusting, you sick pervert.”
Fang Ruli emerged from behind Xu Tingsheng with a disdainful expression on her face.
Having long since known that there was someone behind Xu Tingsheng, Du Jin was simply watching on objectively at this moment. Xiang Ning, in contrast, was astonished and curious as she looked at Xu Tingsheng.
“I’ve found an added burden for you two. Let me introduce: This is Fang Yuqing’s cousin. She’ll be having some lessons for going overseas over here. I’ll be leaving her to the two of you after this. Xiang Ning has to go to the training institute for tuition anyway, so Du Jin can help to look after her too while you’re at it.”
Du Jin nodded. When Xu Tingsheng had said that this young girl before her was from the Fang family, she had already understood what this ‘looking after’ truly entailed.
Xiang Ning smiled, expressing her goodwill.
“I’m not an added burden! I can take care of myself,” Fang Ruli retorted.
“Right, y’all can call her stinky fish,” Xu Tingsheng added.
“I’m not a stinky fish. You’re the stinky fish,” An aggravated Fang Ruli retorted and went inside to put her bag down before she walked over to Xiang Ning and asked, “I’m Fang Ruli…you’re his girlfriend?”
Xiang Ning nodded rather awkwardly, saying, “Fang Ruli? Hello, Little Carp. I’m Xiang Ning.”
She tried hard to look like a mature big sister.
“She clearly isn’t a hundred times more beautiful…” Fang Ruli muttered to herself before saying to Xiang Ning, “Alright, you can call me Little Carp. Hey, do you know that your boyfriend is a pervert?”
She seemed to bear no hostility towards Xiang Ning.
Looking at Xu Tingsheng, Xiang Ning held back her laughter, saying earnestly and sincerely, “Yeah, I know. He is a pervert.”
“Right. Isn’t it?!” Fang Ruli’s eyes shone.
Her grudge towards Xu Tingsheng ran deep, whereas Xiang Ning was similarly unhappy due to Wu Yuewei’s matter. Not being angry with Wu Yuewei, she planted the score fully on Xu Tingsheng’s head.
The two quickly found a common topic in putting down Xu Tingsheng together.
From that night onwards, Fang Ruli ended up staying with Xiang Ning.
With the two little connivers as well as Du Jin who only knew how to show Xu Tingsheng a neutral, respectful face, Xu Tingsheng was isolated by the three in his home just like that.
The finals for prospective teachers in their third year of university was as relaxed as Xu Tingsheng expected. As compared to that, the ease of the relevant procedures for going overseas somewhat exceeded his expectations...with money opening the way, there was absolutely no obstruction at all as the Ling and Xiao families appeared to be fully oblivious.
He asked his father about this.
Mr Xu simply explained, “It is a major taboo for local officials to be overly close with or have private contact with members of overseas embassies.”
Xu Tingsheng was enlightened with that.
Everything went just as planned.
In early July, after weeping sorrowfully with Xiang Ning in a gut-wrenching farewell, Fang Ruli left Yanzhou with Xu Tingsheng. Amidst the night, the two travelled to Shenghai International Airport to meet with the remainder of the Fang family’s third generation, including both direct and branch lines.
Outside the security check passageway, Fang Ruli stood with the pink luggage that Xiang Ning had helped her choose, not looking at Xu Tingsheng.
“Sick pervert, I wasn’t going to talk to you at first,” She said, “Still, I thought about it, and I have to remind you not to hook up with other women behind Big Sis Little Ning’s back, got it? She’s even been willingly cheated by you. You’ve got to treat her well.”
“Alright. Thank you, stinky fish,” Xu Tingsheng smiled.
“You’re not to call me stinky fish again,” Fang Ruli said, “Forget it, you can call me Little Carp once today.”
“Alright. Thank you, Little Carp,” Xu Tingsheng patted the head of Fang Ruli, who unexpectedly did not dodge.
She raised her head and said, “I promised Big Sis Little Ning that when you’re married, I will come back and be her bridesmaid. But as you know, I really don’t want to see you, so I might not be able to keep my word too. You had better prepare a few more bridesmaids. There is no need to definitely wait for me to come back.”
“What if your Big Sis Little Ning, not seeing you return, refuses to marry me? So, you’ve got to come back. There’s still a lot of time anyway. You should be a little older and be able to wear a formal gown by then,” Looking at her raised face, Xu Tingsheng stopped smiling and earnestly said, “When you’re over there, you’ve got to take good care of yourself. You must study hard and be strong...if there’s anything, tell your Big Sis Fang Chen or Big Bro Yuqing about it. If there are really some difficulties, you can also call me and your Big Sis Little Ning.”
“Right...wrong, like I’d call you. I’ll definitely be fine. Even if my Mum and Dad and my big brother aren’t with me, I still won’t be afraid, because I’ve already grown up. I’ll get into a very good university and become very good at earning money after I graduate, even better than you...that way, I’ll be able to take care of my mother,” While Fang Ruli spoke like she was already grown up, tears were flowing down her cheeks as if she was still merely a child.
Xu Tingsheng handed her a piece of tissue paper.
Fang Ruli held it in her palm.
“I’m leaving, sick pervert. I finally won’t have to see you anymore. How great is that,” Fang Ruli said as she turned and walked into the security check passageway.
Xu Tingsheng looked at her gradually diminishing back figure, watched her refusing help and stubbornly insisting on lifting her luggage up on the platform herself. Strenuous though it was, she grit her teeth and refused to give up.
Along with her big suitcase, this thin fourteen-year-old girl was about to begin a long, solitary term of study in a foreign country. Fang Ruli was well aware of the fact that she was no longer that little princess who had been doted on to the heavens by her parents and elder brother. She was no longer that free, uninhibited Little Carp.
“I’m off,” Fang Yuqing said.
“I’m off,” Fang Chen said.
The two were the last to pass by Xu Tingsheng. What should be said had all already been said long ago. As he calmly watched the figures of brother and sister vanishing behind the security check passageway, Xu Tingsheng’s mind was full of scenes of the past, with Fang Chen’s craftiness and deviousness and Fang Yuqing’s silliness and enthusiasm.
Feeling rather emotional and unwilling to part, finally free of a major burden, Xu Tingsheng turned to leave the departure hall.
As he walked, he suddenly halted, “I just feel like something is wrong...but I can’t grasp that exact point. Where exactly is this coming from?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter