Chapter 30: The night
December this year had been extra chilly. However, there was no snow for the winter in H City, the dry and cold weather accompanied by the breeze, made people shiver.
Meng Ting had been practising the piano for a month, she always secretly went over to Li Cai after her classes ended. Yet, she never met Jiang Ren once. They were from different schools, Jiang Ren was worried and dared not directly look for her. After the bus service was widely available, Meng Ting didn’t need to cycle home anymore. Hence, she couldn’t be easily found after school.
Right before Christmas Eve, Jiang Ren missed her.
Now, he seldom rode on his mountain bike and seldom drove.
He never wore his ripped jeans and his black hair was starting to grow out. He Jun Ming was extremely surprised that Boss Ren even quit smoking.
Although Jiang Ren’s reputation was still bad, it was slowly shifting towards the good end.
The day before Christmas Eve, Jiang Ren went out of his condominium alone. He lives just beside the sea in H City, right behind it was a newly developed property project. Snow didn’t come this year, but the rain had started to pour.
He hasn’t spoken to her for quite a long time. Skipping his dinner, he went to Meng Ting’s neighbourhood.
The small rain started to turn heavy, the wiper constantly scraped over, yet it still couldn’t block off the endless rain droplets.
Meng Ting’s house was on the third floor. Father Shu wasn’t back yet, and Meng Ting didn’t expect such a huge downpour. Shu Lan was playing games in her room and secretly bought a handphone for herself. Shu Yang, who was in the other room, was practising questions for the physics paper and did not care about what was happening outside.
Meng Ting hurriedly went to the balcony to collect the clothes and close the windows.
She tiptoed and used the pole to help collect the clothes, the silver-coloured sports car downstairs began to honk crazily.
The rain continued to fall, softening the noise from the honking.
Meng Ting carried a stack of clothes, looked down and saw a familiar car.
She bit her lips, her heart started to race but decided to ignore it.
After bringing all the clothes inside. She was scared that the thunderstorm would damage the electronic appliances, then proceeded to pull out all the plugs. Lastly, she went to close the windows.
Nonetheless, the honking still continued.
If she refused to meet him, he wouldn’t leave.
Meng Ting went back to her room and closed the door. Finally, the sound was softer.
Meng Ting was organising her performance attire. Since she decided to dance and play the piano again, this all could be put up to good use. Some were from 13,14 years old, and she couldn’t fit in them. Some could fit just right.
The honking stopped as if the owner had decided to give up too.
Meng Ting felt relieved.
During her past life, most of the time, Jiang Ren would look at her from a distance. However, in this life, he fell for her too soon. Her eyes haven’t fully recovered, he had already appeared in her life. Most of the time, in her past life, the group of guys would just walk past her.
The teenager was different, he would look back, staring at her, until she noticed him, and he would just glance away as if nothing happened.
They had very minimal contact in her last life, Meng Ting’s memory about him stopped after she was disfigured by the fire. Jiang Ren went back to the Jiang family and never came back.
His affection towards her was actually not that superficial.
Shu Zhi Tong came back after 11 pm. Recently, new projects were undergoing and newly arrived fresh graduates. He was constantly piled up with work.
Meng Ting knew Shu Zhi Tong accepted extra work that was not under his job scope. After Du Dong Niang came over, he left the honest man out of breath and was pressured to earn more money to pay back the debts.
Hence, winning the competition was her priority.
After 11 pm, Shu Yang and Shu Lan had slept. After all, high school life was very intense and stressful, students were still growing, hence they always felt exhausted.
Shu Zhi Tong came into the house softly, after putting down the umbrella, he decided to take a shower and head to sleep.
One of the lights in the living room was lit, Meng Ting gave him a hand gesture, with an airy voice: “ Father Shu, I have left some food for you, come finish it before you go to bed.”
She busily reheated all the dishes and brought them to the dining table.
Shu Zhi Tong was exhausted, and hungry. After finishing, only then he felt that his cold feet and hands had gained back some warmth.
Tomorrow was a Saturday, he was supposed to work overtime today. His gaze was soft and gentle: “Tomorrow is our Ting Ting’s birthday, dad doesn’t need to go to work. I can accompany you for the whole day.”
He fetched out the present that he had kept and placed it into Meng Ting’s hands, with a slightly shy tone: “ My colleagues told me that his daughter loves this, take a look and tell me if you like it or not.”
Meng Ting opened the box, it was a pink scarf.
It was actually overly childish, it was suitable for 13, 14 years old girls. His colleague’s daughter should still be quite young, Meng Ting smiled and nodded: “ Yes, I like it very much, thank you, dad.”
Shu Zhi Tong sighed in relief and asked her to go to bed early.
Meng Ting cleaned the dishes, Shu Zhi Tong murmured in doubt: “ Who does the car downstairs belong to? It is a luxurious car, did any family relatives come to visit?”
Meng Ting froze. Fortunately, Shu Zhi Tong did not ponder on, he had been working for the whole day, he was exhausted and went to rest.
Meng Ting dried her hands and went to bed.
She woke up from a nightmare at 2 a.m. In the dream, a truck crashed into them, her mother was holding her tight in her arms.
Once she opened her eyes, tears covered her pillow.
The thunder continues to rumble outside.
She couldn’t sleep anymore, she wiped her tears away and looked at the dark sky. She wore her slippers and walked to the living room to look downstairs.
The silver-coloured sports car was still there.
Why isn’t he leaving, how long has he been waiting?
The weather at night was very cold, and every family was peacefully asleep.
Meng Ting wore a winter jacket and took an umbrella along with her.
The wind outside was blowing crazily. The night was dark, the car’s engine was shut, but there was someone in the driver’s seat.
She wiped away the rain droplets on her cheek and softly knocked on the car window.
Jiang Ren froze for a moment, looked outside the window, and quickly lowered the car window. He saw the girl under the moonlight, she seemed frustrated: “ You should go home.”
On his phone, it shows that the game character had died.
He then killed his teammate, the boy on the other end of screen cursed.
Jiang Ren turned off the game, said with a hoarse voice: “ The weather outside is too cold, let’s have a talk inside the car.”
She shook her head: “You should go home now.”
When she was still a young child, she would be teased by her mother when young boys followed her home. However, as she grew older, they would learn to be more conservative, and none of them would do anything as such.
Yet, Jiang Ren was so thick faced.
After Meng Ting made her stance clear, she decided to head back upstairs, Jiang Ren opened the car door and ran out.
He was soaked wet in an instance.
“Yes?’ Meng Ting looked up, in the dark night, the corridor was so quiet that even a drop of a needle could be heard.
Jiang Ren’s grey eyes stared at her: “It’s nothing.”
Meng Ting: “If there’s nothing you want to say to me, you should go home quickly.”
It’s midnight, she didn’t want others to hear her, so her voice was very soft. Soft like a weightless feather, gentling tickling at one’s heart.
He got frustrated out of a sudden and grabbed her wrist.
Meng Ting’s umbrella dropped to the floor.
Under the dark light, both pairs of eyes met, he suddenly smiled: “ Hey, aren’t you being too heartless. I came to look for you at your school five times, yet you ignored me and continued to talk with your friends.”
Meng Ting felt awkward, she spoke in a soft tone: “ I have something that needed to be done at that time.”
“How about now? If you have nothing on hand, can you talk with me for a moment?” In the boundless silence, his emotions appeared oppressive but with a smile: “I really miss you a lot.”
Meng Ting bit her lips, the corner of her eyes turned slightly red:” I need to sleep now.” In order to make her words more firm, she even rubbed her eyes to look sleepy.
He lifted her chin, eyes smiling: “ Meng Ting, how can you be so cute.”
Meng Ting felt ashamed, she lowered her voice and couldn’t help but scold him: “Everyone is asleep now, only fools like you would run around.”
Jiang Ren couldn’t help but laugh loudly: “ Yes, only fools would run around.”
Meng Ting wasn’t fully awake yet, only now she realised what she just said and blushed red.
“You little fool, can you be my girlfriend.” His eyes were full of smiles, “ I promise I will treat you very well.”
Jiang Ren then said: “I have quit smoking, drinking and fighting. You can smell it, I don’t have the smell of cigarettes anymore.” He smirked: “Only the smell of masculinity, want to take a whiff?”
No one wants to smell that!
The tip of Meng Ting’s ear blushed red: “ I don’t think your brain is clear right now, I refuse to talk to you, I need to go to bed now.”
Seeing her talk seriously, his heart was struck by her cuteness.
He wiped off the raindrops on his head, and spoke with a joyful tone: “ I am not fully awake, but I have never been awake since I met you.” Fuck, why does he even like her so much?
There is no one correct answer to this, she couldn’t even argue over him! She was frustrated.
Meng Ting pursed her lips, picked up her umbrella and decided to go home.
“Please don’t go, I won’t say that again” He gently grabbed her wrist, and smiled, “ The reason I waited for you until midnight, was just to wish you Happy Birthday.”
Meng Ting looked up, with rain droplets still hanging on her eyelashes. He had the impulse to help her wipe them away, but he didn’t do so.
Jiang Ren was gentle: “ Go back to sleep now, I’ll bring your present tomorrow.”
He headed out impulsively as he thought that he wouldn’t be able to see her today.
“Tomorrow, at 7 pm, I will wait for you outside your neighbourhood. Is that ok?”
Meng Ting froze and shook her head at last: “ No, thank you. Jiang Ren, you should go home now.” She still has the piano competition to attend to tomorrow night.
She kept her umbrella away and told him solemnly: “I won’t be your girlfriend.” She held onto the umbrella tightly:“ I don’t have feelings for you. It would be rather disturbing for me if you continue on like this.”
The air fell silent.
She didn’t dare to look into his eyes.
Jiang Ren didn’t stop her this time when she left.
After moments, he clenched his fist, but what he grabbed was all just air.
Jiang Ren’s black eyes stared at her as she was leaving, after a moment, he smiled and thought that everything was fine. If she didn’t like him, he would like her even more. More and more, he would become gentle and more considerate, a good student with good grades, he would become what she likes.
During the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Shu Zhi Tong suggested bringing Meng Ting out for a celebration.
Meng Ting refused, then said: “Let’s go visit mom.”
Shu Zhi Tong, stunned, said in a careful manner: “Ting Ting, can we go on another day. Don’t you wanna have fun in the amusement park to celebrate your birthday?”
After Meng Ting’s mom was involved in the accident, Meng Ting had suffered the most pain and was deeply affected by it. Shu Zhi Tong always treated Meng Ting like a child, and had tried to avoid mentioning Meng Ting’s mom, he was scared that she would get sad about it again.
Meng Ting looked outside, it was raining. Father Shu said awkwardly: “The weather today is not suitable to go to the amusement park.”
He saw that Meng Ting was calm, so he brought her to the cemetery to pray.
The cemetery was quiet, Meng Ting bought a bouquet of daisies and placed it in front of her mother’s graves.
Her fingers touched the tombstone, she secretly said all the words to her mother. If her mother was still alive, her biggest wish would be that Meng Ting could live happily.
If her mother knew that she stopped dancing and playing the piano due to the incident, she would knock her head: ”You little cold-hearted girl, wasting all my effort.”
Meng Ting would laugh just thinking of it.
She wouldn’t waste away what her mum had taught her.
She wanted to let the kind-hearted Shu Zhi Tong live a better life.
Shu Zhi Tong felt relieved seeing as Meng Ting did not break down after visiting her mother. After all these years, he could finally let go of this burden in his heart.
Meng Ting told him to not buy cakes. Having dinner together was enough for her. After that, she carried her bag and went out.
She explained: “ I am going to participate in a piano competition. I would be back later, Teacher Song upstairs is responsible for the event. Don’t be worried, dad.”
Shu Zhi Tong was very happy for her, even his eyes turned red: “Do your best! Dad will pick you up later.”
Meng Ting said with a slightly nasal tone: “ Of course.”
Shu Yang looked up, his gaze was filled with emotion.
Shu Lan looked at Meng Ting in disbelief, isn’t she…..traumatised? She begged her for such a long time to help her participate in the talent competition, why would she go for competition again?
Meng Ting bumped into Xu Jia once she stepped out the door.
The teen was dressed neatly, he didn’t talk much: “Let’s go.”
“Are you going as well?”
Xu Jia said with a peaceful tone: “ Yes, my mom wanted me to accompany you.”
Meng Ting quickly rejected the kind gesture.
Meng Ting smiled: “I have no choice. My mom won’t let me in if you don’t come back safely. I haven’t been to such a huge competition before, I want to take a look around too. Let’s hurry up, we are going to be late.” He said in a humorous tone, peacefully, she felt rather relaxed with him.
Meng Ting couldn’t help but laugh.
Her lips curved and her eyes were clear. She smiled, the air was filled with her sweetness. Xu Jia said: “ I don’t know anything about the piano. I am just an outsider, don’t get too stressed.”
After three years, Meng Ting stood on the stage once again.
The lights were shining, after a moment of darkness, a piano was placed on the stage.
Xu Jia glanced at his watch, 7:18 pm.
Meng Ting changed her clothes since it was a competition. She had prepared her performance outfit in her bag. She lifted up her long hair and tied it up with blue lace.
When she came out, Xu Jia’s pupils shrunk.
After all these years, he finally got to see her look like this again.
Her beauty was still so mesmerizing, leaving the others breathless.