Chapter 689: Life and death is but meeting again
The party arrived at Yanzhou around 4pm. Next, they all tacitly gave Xu Tingsheng space to see Xiang Ning, no longer interrupting him.
Having vaulted over the mountains and seas, even having defied death, Xu Tingsheng was actually rather nervous as he walked up the stairs…
It was just like those three years after he had left in his previous life. He had once visited that noodle store she liked the most, wishing to see her so. Yet, for what might just be someone with a similar silhouette, he had been nervous to the point of not knowing where to hide.
Finally, he had similarly suddenly vanished in this life, similarly caused her to feel lost as she waited.
Also, before he had left this time, they should actually be considered as having broken up...not having been in time to reconcile.
He took out his keys and opened the door.
Xiang Ning was not in the living room.
Xu Tingsheng stood rather nervously at the doorway.
A while later, Xiang Ning emerged from the kitchen. Wearing a flower-patterned apron and a dark blue silk hairband with a big butterfly knot on top, she had a spatula in her hand.
“You’re back? I was just about to start cooking,” She said.
Her tone was very normal, as if circumstances were normal and Xu Tingsheng had just returned from a business trip lasting a few days.
“Yes. I was in a bit of a rush to get back and didn’t get you any presents...here, snacks,” Xu Tingsheng set down the plastic bag in his hand, “I actually just bought this at the small supermarket nearby.”
Xiang Ning nodded, “Right, it’s okay. So, sit here for a while first. I’m going to start frying the vegetables.”
In the past, this would basically be no different from Miss Xiang announcing that she was going to start blowing the house up. Xu Tingsheng would definitely stop her. Now, however, he simply listened to her and obediently closed the door, going over to the sofa to sit.
“Do you want to drink water?”
“I can pour it myself.”
Xiang Ning turned and returned to the kitchen.
There was the sound of the tap and water flowing, the sound of washing vegetables...the sound of pots, plates and stuff clanking...after a while, low sobs were added into the mix.
Feeling a bit of heartache, Xu Tingsheng walked to the entrance of the kitchen and saw Xiang Ning’s back figure as she washed vegetables. Her small frame trembled from time to time due to her sobs.
He asked carefully, “Are you still angry at me or do you feel distant because we’ve not seen each other for too long? If you’re not used to it…”
“Of course not,” Xiang Ning did not turn as she sobbed, saying, “I’ve just been waiting at home alone for the entire afternoon. The whole time, I’ve been preparing, preparing. In the end, it feels overwhelming instead.”
“Like I’d be scared of you,” She emphasised.
Xiang Ning had been waiting alone for Xu Tingsheng at home that afternoon...this virtually overflowing sense of anticipation had caused her to feel panicked, even unconsciously growing increasingly nervous.
So, she had gone out to buy groceries. Then, she had carefully swept the entire house. Next, she had begun to change her hairstyle, try hairpins. Then, she had changed into different sets of clothes…
Wanting to give Xu Tingsheng her best self, she had decided on what to say to him first, thought about giving him a forceful hug, thought that she had best not cry, thought of kissing him just like that...
In the end, however, at that moment when she finally knew that he was just about to arrive, she realised then that all her earlier preparations were useless.
Then, she became like what Xu Tingsheng was seeing now.
“How about you go take a bath first. Your pyjamas are in the wardrobe,” Xiang Ning feigned calmness as she said.
Xu Tingsheng finished taking a bath. Opening his wardrobe, he saw the clothes hanging neatly inside, the socks rolled into pretty little bundles...he saw a shirt with a small note attached to it: Sorry, this broke while I was washing it.He tried to imagine how Xiang Ning would have spent her time alone in this house everyday. He imagined her hanging up those clothes again and again, again and again, sorting out what actually did not have to be sorted out in the first place.
At that time, had she been crying sorrowfully? Or had she been smiling sweetly? Also, what about those three years from his previous life?
At that instant, his emotions from his two lives finally intersected completely.
Sensing light footsteps behind him, Xu Tingsheng dared not look back for fear of scaring her away.
He waited, waited...finally, slender arms wrapped around his front. Xiang Ning hugged Xu Tingsheng very tightly, her entire person sticking closely to his back.
The waterworks finally erupted.
“I thought you didn’t want me anymore at first. I was just waiting, waiting…”
“I really missed you after that…”
“I’ve been very obedient. I studied hard.”
“I...just really miss you…”
She spoke as she cried, her tears virtually soaking Xu Tingsheng’s back. When she was angry, she would bite his shoulder. When she felt sorry, she would stroke his body…
Gradually, her emotions were all vented out. Xu Tingsheng knew that the Miss Xiang he was familiar with was finally back…
He turned and embraced her.
At that instant, all quietened except for the tears. Neither of them said anything as the two hugged each other just like that for a long time.
Finally, Xu Tingsheng said gently, “Rest for a while. I’ll go cook.”
Miss Xiang raised her head in his embrace, her tearful eyes innocent and pitiful, “You’re still thinking of eating first at a time like this? The timing has already exceeded by a lot…”
“Huh?” Xu Tingsheng did not understand what timing had already exceeded by a lot.
Xiang Ning shot a look at him, “Do you still remember that lot?”
“Separated in life, reunited in death…” Xiang Ning said while pulling Xu Tingsheng’s hands, guiding his fingers to undo the strings of her apron behind her, “We’ve already been separated in life. That’s no longer allowed. Reunited in death means that we have to be together even if we die. Even if we grow old and die, I’ll wait for you too in my next life...remember, you must definitely find me.”
As she said so, the flower-patterned apron also left her body, falling on the nearby floorboards.
“So, what are you still worried about?”
“Eat me first, okay? I’ll cook for you later.”
Right, the mountains and seas had already been levelled. What further reservations were still necessary? Xu Tingsheng reached out with slightly trembling hands. For the first time, he did what he had actually done countless times before in his previous life.
When the last article of clothing was about to leave her body, the brave Miss Xiang finally timidly closed her eyes, no longer cooperating as she fell limply in Xu Tingsheng’s embrace.
Xu Tingsheng scooped her up, placing her lightly on his bed…
“Don’t be scared. I won’t kick you now,” Her eyes closed, Miss Xiang said gently.
Xu Tingsheng gently kissed her body.
Gradually, Miss Xiang’s breathing grew heavier and heavier, “You dirty ruffian, why, why are you kissing everywhere?!”
“Because I terribly miss every inch of your body,” It could also be heard from Xu Tingsheng’s voice that he was breathing heavily.
Finally, accompanied by Xiang Ning’s muffled groan, Xu Tingsheng completed a ‘glorious undertaking’.
“Does it hurt?” Xu Tingsheng dared not move at all as he asked carefully.
Xiang Ning frowned but shook her head slightly, “Compared to every day of you not being around, it doesn’t hurt at all.”
Xu Tingsheng pecked her lightly on the lips.
“No, not like that…” Xiang Ning said, “Can you not, can you not kiss me very forcefully while also...ah.”
“What is it? Are you afraid of the pain?”
“No, it’s...it’s that I’ll let out strange sounds. I can’t help it...how unlucky! I feel so embarrassed.”
Xu Tingsheng smiled, “I don’t care about that.”
Finally, on the silk blanket, the little boat rode the gentle waves, rocking, rocking...Miss Xiang’s Little Pert Waist that Black Bear Uncle coveted so was wriggling about like a little snake…
At 10pm, Miss Xiang who had said she would cook for Uncle later got hungry.
Of course, the one cooking had already changed to Uncle. Also, when he was done, he still had to carry it to the bed and feed Miss Xiang spoonful by spoonful. Otherwise, if Little Xiang Ning frowned and yelled that it hurt, saying that he hadn’t heeded her pain at all earlier...how would Xu Tingsheng be able to bear it?
Having completed a major deed in her life, after having eaten, Xiang Ning was completely ‘revived’.
She took her diary and showed it to Xu Tingsheng. Leaning in his embrace, she pointed at the words from time to time, chattering on:
That day, I wrote and wrote and began to cry.
That day, I thought of the past again.
That day, the rain was so heavy...you weren’t there.
The next morning, the two both blearily slept till nearly 10am.
When Xu Tingsheng extricated his arm from beneath Xiang Ning, Xiang Ning woke up. Looking at his bare upper body, she blearily leaned over and kissed his chest, saying ‘good morning, dirty ruffian hubby’. Then, she went back to sleep.
Xu Tingsheng shook her shoulder, saying gently, “Since you’ve woken up, get out of bed.”
“No, I don’t wanna,” Xiang Ning said daintily.
“But your school starts today. You have to go to Yanzhou University to report,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“I can go in the afternoon! It’s so close anyway,” Xiang Ning raised the blanket.
“Do you have to pack?”
“Pack for me...it still hurts,” Xiang Ning deliberately acted pitiful.
“Oh, right. Will you have to stay at school for a week?” Xu Tingsheng suddenly asked.
“In that case...can we…” Xu Tingsheng leaned into her ear and quietly asked something.
Xiang Ning raised her head and looked at him, “Dirty ruffian, your true nature is exposed now, huh? You even pretended not to be lustful before.”
Xu Tingsheng smiled rather awkwardly.
“In that case, you pack.”
“Send me there to report.”
“But of course.”
“You must also help me to register, lay out my bed…”
“It’s not that I’m unwilling, but that’s the girls’ dormitory!”
“It’s fine since it’s the first day. I don’t care. Anyway, I won’t do anything at all. You do everything...alright? Ow, it hurts.”
Xu Tingsheng had no choice but to accept all her conditions.
Xiang Ning smiled craftily in secret before biting her lips and looking at Xu Tingsheng, an alluring gleam in her eyes and a hint of triumph from finally having proven that she really possessed a lot of charm.
She said softly, “Well...alright then.”
And so came another round of pleasure.
That afternoon, Xu Tingsheng drove Xiang Ning to Yanzhou University.
After finishing up the procedures and reaching her dormitory, Miss Xiang who acted pitiful and frail really didn’t offer any help at all as she completely became a bystander. Of course, it was actually more or less the same for the other kids coming to university too, most of whom had their parents help them out instead.
Like that bunch of uncles and aunties sending their kids to school, Xu Tingsheng rolled up his sleeves and got to work....the toilet was very crowded. He took a face basin and went out to get water.
Not long after he had left.
“Oh, how sad!” A new roommate of Xiang Ning’s said, “If only we had come two years earlier...we’re late by two years. Xishan Tower’s Xu Tingsheng has already graduated.”
Her words instantly attracted the attention of the other girls in the room.
“You’re right! It was because of this that I heard of Yanzhou University and applied for this place. I wonder if senior will come back to play. He’s a direct senior of ours in Chinese.”
“Sounds unlikely. Hasn’t senior been missing for a year, having gone who knows where to have fun? I think that we’ll only be able to see him at school anniversaries or whatnot.”
“Sigh, when will that be? How I wish to see senior! Even better if I could hear him sing. <<Outside the Peony Pavilion>> is fine, <<Within A Few Kilometres>> would be even better…”
Now, Xiang Ning interrupted, “If you all see him, would you be able to recognise him?”
“I can, I can!” A roommate who had just arrived not long ago raised her hand, “I saw news, photos and videos on senior everyday over the summer holidays. As long as he appears, and I see…”
Right then, Xu Tingsheng entered with a basin of water, the towel he was preparing to use as a rag on his shoulder.
“Him,” Right after finishing her sentence, that girl exclaimed in amazement, “Wa, Xu Tingsheng!”
They all turned to look.
Xu Tingsheng nodded, knowing that it was impossible and also unnecessary to continue hiding this, “Hello. I was also from Yanzhou University’s Chinese department. I’ve already graduated, though. I’m...that...Xu Tingsheng.”
Beneath their flabbergasted gazes, Xu Tingsheng sweated profusely as he busied himself around Xiang Ning, wiping the table, laying out the bed...doing this and that.
“Um, senior is your…” Finally, a girl emboldened herself and asked Xiang Ning.
“Maid,” Miss Xiang joked.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
The long-awaited reunion!