Chapter 603: A farewell is a new beginning

Chapter 603: A farewell is a new beginning


Ling Xiao went to Yanjing. This was her last chance at turning the tables. Xu Tingsheng did not know who that major figure might be. He had suppressed the feud of the Ling and Xiao families with the Fang family for over twenty years, ultimately washing his hands off it as he promised he would definitely not intervene.

The feud that had been buried for over twenty years had finally erupted like a volcano.

The Ling and Xiao families had an intricately woven net that they had spent over twenty years building.

To some extent, the Fang family could ultimately only rely on Xu Tingsheng who had sprung up from nowhere.

At some level, old man Fang had actually lost completely way back. Having fallen this low, the thoughts of the old man in the past twenty over years were very hard to guess as the price the Fang family had paid was also tragic enough.

Now, things seemed to have seen a sudden reversal, virtually toppling completely in favour of Xu Tingsheng and the Fang family-if the Fang family could be thought of as still existing, that is.

It was just that stuff like politics...in actuality, no one could determine the attitude of ‘that person’.

Xu Tingsheng knew that the ‘final gamble’ the old man had once entrusted him with might very soon play out.

……

A few days later, Dongzi and Old Dog sat at the bottom of a vessel from Ye Qing’s Yuanhang Corporation, set to flee overseas for the second time.

What was different from last time was that this time, they would likely never be able to return.

The two found it frightening just thinking about it. Not able to understand anything, not able to do anything and having to hide themselves. Still, what could they do about it? Xu Tingsheng had already been benevolent in not taking revenge, not pursuing the matter, not silencing them. Additionally, on top of that, he had even given them a sum of money.

Amidst the dim light, Dongzi sat in a corner, munching on a biscuit with a defeated look on his face.

Old Dog threw Dongzi a bottle of water, saying softly, “Like what they say in the dramas, at least you’ve loved before, right? While there’s completely no hope now, at least you can still think of it in the future, making things a bit easier to bear.”

Dongzi spewed a vulgarity and complained, “Bitch. I asked for a photo for commemoration from her way back, but she wouldn’t even give it to me. Now, I’m leaving, and we’ll never meet again. Bitch, so heartless.”

As the sound of footsteps resounded, Old Dog immediately stopped Dongzi from speaking.

Most of the people on this ship did not know that the two were there. After all, with how things were, it was impossible for them to leave the country legally. They were stowing away illegally. If they were discovered, no one would stop forward to protect them...the two management personnel who were in the know that Ye Qing had arranged to help them included.

The two shrank back into the darkness, not daring to utter a sound. At the same time, they pressed down on an old cargo box beside them, preventing the person inside it from struggling or flailing about.

The footsteps stopped, right outside where the two of them were hiding themselves.

Dongzi and Old Dog both held back their breaths, their heartbeats quickening.

“Dongzi, were you just scolding me? To think I was even being nice and delivering some hot food to the two of you…” The person outside said.

……

Xu Tingsheng knew that Dongzi and Old Dog would be sent away today, with Ding Miao in tow.

He did not have to personally handle this matter.

At the time they had previously agreed upon, he made a trip to Tongtong’s house.

He knocked on the door. There was no response. He knocked again, but it was the same.

Xu Tingsheng called her phone. Tongtong did not answer it. Instead, a reply came via text: I’m not home. The key’s on top of the door.

Xu Tingsheng replied: Do you have something on? In that case, I’d better wait for you to come back. No rush.

Tongtong replied: Don’t wait. I won’t be coming back. And don’t worry. You can ask Bro Zhong and clarify your doubts.

Xu Tingsheng did not get any further reply from her.

He called her, but she had already turned off her phone.

Xu Tingsheng switched to calling Zhong Wusheng’s number.

Zhong Wusheng said, “Tongtong’s gone.”

“What do you mean gone? Where’s she gone to?”

“Overseas. She’s leaving the country legally. Still, she’ll be remaining there and won’t be coming back.”

“Why? Why does she have to leave? Have you guys asked me about it? Did you force her away?” Due to the unexpected nature of this incident, Xu Tingsheng was rather furious.

Zhong Wusheng said cordially, “Calm down, Tingsheng. It was Tongtong herself who insisted on leaving. I, Uncle Xu and Yaming all know about it. Still, she didn’t let us tell you about it before. Your Dad and I were against it at first. Still, after hearing Tongtong talk about her reasons...we decided to support her. Uncle Xu helped her with her visa and gave her a sum of money. Huang Yaming gave her a sum of money too. Relax, she’ll be fine.”

“What do you mean she’ll be fine? She can’t even speak a word of English. Even if she has money, what can she as a girl do overseas? What will she do?” Xu Tingsheng was still very emotional.

“Tingsheng, Tongtong knows English. Although she’s not that proficient, she has no problem with basic communication.”

“She knows English? ...How is that possible?”

“The bar often has foreign customers. Also, basically all the wine is imported. When Tongtong was still at Starry Splendour, since the time you told her to be ready to come manage wine at Bright Brilliance, she already started studying it. She was working her socks off everyday to learn it...though she hasn’t had much education, she really managed to achieve it,” Zhong Wusheng’s tone grew a bit agitated too, “Tongtong knows English. She went from rather lousy sentences to being able to hold normal conversations. Huang Yaming, even Ye Qing and Fang Chen’s lot all know about it. It is only you, Xu Tingsheng, you alone who don’t know about it. Do you get what I mean?”

“I…”

“You’ve never truly paid attention to her before, only occasionally expressing your gratitude or making up for your guilt. In truth, you don’t have any commitment you can spare...understand?”

“I know.”

“Then, do you know that Tongtong likes you, likes you to the point that she was actually willing and prepared to die for you this time round?”

“I...know.”

“You know, but you cannot do anything at all, right? You can only feign ignorance…” Zhong Wusheng tried hard to calm himself, saying, “Do you know Tongtong’s reasons for leaving?”

“Initially, she said it was because she was afraid that by staying around you, she might be a threat to you in the future. Your father and I staunchly disagreed with her leaving, telling her that there’s no need to worry about all this. Afterwards, she finally came clean and said it’s actually because she likes you. As she likes you, she doesn’t want and doesn’t dare to stay near you any longer. She doesn’t want to like you while feeling inferior, letting her thoughts run wild and feeling tormented throughout…”

“She wants to have a fresh start in life, leaving Yanzhou and going overseas, thereon never having an older brother who takes drugs and forced her to work at a nightclub. Someplace where no one knows of her former identity, where she can forget about someone whom she clearly knows it’s impossible to be with. She’ll have a new life...don’t let her go? Shackling her for her entire life? Just who are you to do that?”

“You don’t know how many times it’s been during this time at Bright Brilliance that a customer has pointed, asking: Aren’t you one of those selling yourself at Starry Splendour? Do you know how many people mock her for overestimating herself every time she rejects being introduced to a boyfriend, saying that she thinks she’s Huang Liangmeng?”

“I...sorry, Bro Zhong...you’re right,” Xu Tingsheng said after some silence, “I’m just a bit worried about her...after all, she’ll be going overseas.”

Zhong Wusheng thought about it and said, “Firstly, Tongtong is already no longer that useless girl you met at Starry Splendour. Bright Brilliance was solely managed by her for a long period of time this time too. She already has the capabilities to manage a bar like Bright Brilliance. Also, it was precisely because she was so composed in dealing with Ding Miao while turning Dongzi and the other guy that we were able to resolve this incident so easily, don’t you remember?"

“Secondly, we will have people keeping in contact with her, providing her with help. Anyway, only you are definitely not allowed to disturb her. Understand now? Can you rest assured?”

“Yes. Thank you,” Xu Tingsheng responded.

“A day may come when having found her own happiness, she is really able to face you calmly, just as a friend...she will contact you then. Right, regarding that flat, your Dad has helped her to pay the housing loan and is letting her keep it. She says she’s left the key to you...I don’t know how she’s notified you about this. You should go take a look when you have the time,” Zhong Wusheng said.

“Right. Got it,” Xu Tingsheng said.

After hanging up, Xu Tingsheng retrieved the key from above the door and opened it.

This house that was not big had already changed completely from when it had been bought. There were a beautiful sofa, chairs, dining table, curtains...a lovable carpet, intricate little accessories...various minor details that were filled with joy and attentively constructed…

Xu Tingsheng seemed to see how she would buy something back whenever she had enough money saved up, happily placing it in a certain position and shifting it ceaselessly till she was satisfied with it. She was always saying: Xu Tingsheng, you can come take a look when you’re free…

Because it was a house that Xu Tingsheng had bought for her, she had weaved a dream here.

Sunlight entered through the window. A small bottle sparkled on the windowsill.

Xu Tingsheng recognised that bottle. It was a present he had carelessly given her a very long time ago. While he had claimed that it was a one-of-a-kind French perfume, that had actually been a lie.

He picked up that perfume bottle. He found that it had never been opened, had not suffered even the slightest scratch.

So this gift from him that had been packaged by a lie had always been so cherished by her…

There was a note under the perfume bottle with around a dozen rows of words written on it.

“Xu Tingsheng. I’m leaving. I daren’t even say goodbye to you in person. Sorry.”

“I still remember the first time I saw you. I still remember...many things. Still, I’ll quickly forget all of it. See, I can even leave behind the perfume you gave me. I’ll definitely be able to do it.”

   

“I’m still very happy to have met you in this lifetime. There wouldn’t have been such a change in my life otherwise…”

“Forget it. I should be honest. Actually, I’d rather I never met you, rather I have muddled through my life just like that. It was already too late. When I met you, it was already too late...I’ve very dirty. I have sinned.”

“If I could choose, I’d choose to always be working at the factory. Maybe, when I walk past you on the road one day, you’ll glance at me and think: This country girl is actually pretty simple and pretty. It’s great even when she isn’t saying anything.”

“Maybe I’d be a bit bolder. Because I’d heard of you and seen you, I’d go off to work as an attendant at Bright Brilliance. That way, I’d be able to secretly look at you. Maybe I’d even get to speak to you every once in a while, then start letting my thoughts run wild and blissfully having a crush on you just like other girls.”

“How I wish I could have been pure and clean when I met you! Sadly, I have no way to erase that part of my life. Afterwards, I was afraid to even like you. Today’s the same. I was going to say to you before we parted: Xu Tingsheng, I really, really like you...in the end, I still didn’t dare to. Because I’m so afraid that my dirtiness will disgust you.”

“That sort of feeling is so painful, so unbearable.”

“So, this time, I’ve decided to leave.”

“I’ll start afresh in another place, properly live my life. Maybe I’ll be a capable career woman. I’ll change my name too. Henceforth, there will no longer be that girl named Tongtong in this world. I’ll forget that segment of the past and strive to be a great person. I’ll forget you, and then I’ll be very happy.”

“Farewell, Xu Tingsheng.”

Maybe because she hadn’t thought of her new name yet, there was no sign-off on the sheet of paper.

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