It was as if the air itself was frozen solid, and so was both of us. Neither of us knew how to react to what had just happened.
An awkward silence later, Lin Fang hurriedly pushed me away from her.
“You... if you have something to say, say it after you’re... properly seated.”
Lin Fang blushed so furiously that even the bottom of her neck became bright red. I looked down, and found my hand still on top of her thigh. She pulled at the hem of her top, trying to shield her bare skin from my eyes, then peeked at me with her eyes filled with tear still.
I coughed, drily, “I just want to say, that I won’t laugh at you. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I won’t look down on you because of it. When we used to be in school, I lived a much rougher life, and I managed. I know how difficult it is to be in need, and how humiliating and frustrating it feels, and no one should have the right to make such unwarranted accusations.”
Lin Fang asked, holding back on her tears, “Do you really think so?”
I gave her the biggest node I can give, “I do. Come on, don’t cry now. This 50 thousand, I’ll lend it to you. Over the years of being a soldier, I didn’t have many things to spend on, so I’ve managed to save a little bit of money myself.”
To me, particularly now, 50 thousand amounts to almost nothing. Even if for nothing other than old time’s sake, I would still be willing to offer a helping hand.
Though I still hesitated a little, unsure of whether or not she had been aiming for this from the beginning.
“No, this isn’t right. This is your hard earned money from serving the country as a soldier, how could I possibly take it? And, likely, I won’t be able to return it within a year or two.”
“Your father’s health is much more important now. Don’t be so stubborn.” I sighed, and felt ashamed for being so suspicious of her. Lin Fang really is a good girl! And here I am, doubting her and assuming the worst of her character...
Lin Fang was adamant, “I said no. And, I don’t want you to think that I became your friend just for your money.”
Lin Fang’s father has a heart condition, and needed money to perform the surgery. The operation will cost roughly about 200 thousand dollar. With his medical insurance, though about half of the cost can be claimed, even despite her best efforts, Lin Fang just couldn’t put together that much money in such a short period of time. Right now, she was still 50 thousand short.
Seeing how she refused my offer of lending it to her so adamantly, it looked like I need to think of another way of somehow getting the money to her, perhaps even anonymously.
One day, during the lunch hour, Lin Fang called me over to sit with her on the table.
After getting to know her better, we often ate together on the same table, so much that just about everyone in the company were used to the sight of the two of us sitting together. Sometimes I could even hear some of them whispering to one another, wondering if the two of us were a couple.
“Aren’t you looking good today. Something good happened recently?”
I eyed at her, it was quite a rare sight to see her smiling so happily, especially of late.
Lin Fang said, “My best friend came back from abroad, and she’s treating me to dinner tonight. I think you would know her too, Chu Xiaoxiao.”
I uttered a response, and rolled my hypothetical eyes in my heart.
I could almost say for certain that just about everyone on earth, or at least those that had ever laid eyes on her, knows about Chu Xiaoxiao. She was a constant source of my pain and suffering in my school days. A loud mouthed girl, good looking, but arrogant and unreasonable. Not someone that I was comfortable being around.
Suddenly, out of the blues, I felt a softness. Lin Fang put her little hands over mine on the table, and my mind erupted into an explosion. This was the first time that Lin Fang ever held my hand.
She laughed a little, her expression calm as always, “Will you come with me tonight?”
Personally, I really didn’t know Chu Xiaoxiao well, but I wasn’t about to refuse anything that Lin Fang asked of me.
But, why did Lin Fang want me to go together with her? Has she changed her attitude towards me?
When I asked Manager Lu for a leave around that time, it was nothing but a field of flowers blooming in my head. Before going, I hurried back home and made sure that I was aptly dressed for it, packaging myself from head to toe completely.
When we came to the KTV that Chu Xiaoxiao had booked tonight, I found that it just happened to be another one of Junran’s franchises.
Chu Xiaoxiao invited all of her friends during high school. This girl, after graduation from school, she went abroad for further education. And, other than academic knowledge, evidently she has acquired the partying attitude of the West as well, complete with booze and music and hypes.
As soon as we went inside, a tall girl wearing a thin tight tank top welcomed Lin Fang passionately with a hug, “Fang Fang! It has been so long, I missed you so much! And what’s this, your boobs, it got bigger? Again!? Our Yuzhou really is a ‘lucky’ man, isn’t he?”
More than saying it, she even began groping and kneading at Lin Fang, bring a panicked scream to her, as I watched speechlessly.
With one hand guarding at her chest, Lin Fang hit Chu Xiaoxiao with the other, “Don’t be saying nonsense girl. Here, a welcoming gift. So good to have you back.”
Chu Xiaoxiao happily let go of Lin Fang to receive her gift with a smile. With that, Lin Fang went a few steps inside the room, and I followed her in. Seeing me walking in, everyone who were chatting with each other before fell silent and quietly asked around wondering as to who I am.
I paid no attention to them, but as I walked further in, I found Chen Yuzhou here as well. He looked back at me with a surprised expression, obviously didn’t expect to be able to see me here.
Now I finally realized why Lin Fang had brought me here with her. She was afraid of Chen Yuzhou.
Che Yuzhou tried to strike up conversations with Lin Fang, but she simply ignored him.
Since I knew more or less none of the people here, I kept to myself and found a quiet corner to sit down. The games on my phone should keep me occupied until this gathering ends.
It has been quite a while since Chu Xiaoxiao and Lin Fang last saw each other. Finally together again, the two of them has a lot to say to each other.
“I’m starting up an advertising company. We’ve already got an agreement from Junran to give us a contract for an advertising project as soon as my company is up and running. Fang Fang, come help me when I’m in business, don’t work under that pervert Lu Tao anymore.”
“Oh, I’m so jealous! We contacted Junran too, but we didn’t make the deal. Xiaoxiao, you’re so good at this. You’re bound to be successful.”
“I just got lucky this time. If it wasn’t for Junran agreeing to give us a project, our investors might not be willing to stick with us. After all that’s said and done, I think it was Junran’s name that gave us an edge in this.”
Having being a recon specialist when I served in the forces, my senses were trained to be a lot more perceptive than most people in the general public.
Sitting at a corner, though I didn’t look up, I can sense a constant contemptuous stare, from Chen Yuzhou’s direction, as I would expect. But after a while, I felt another set of eyes staring at me with similar contempt. I turned my eyes to its direction, and there I saw Chu Xiaoxiao, pouting and asking Lin Fang, “Who’s this that you’ve brought with you? He’s not bad, not bad looking at all, but how could you bring another man here?”
Lin Fang couldn’t quite understand what she was getting at, “Didn’t you invite all our classmates during high school? He was our classmate when we were in school as well, and he is also my colleague at work, so I called him to come with me.”
“Even then, how could you? Aren’t you more or less giving Chen Yuzhou’s face a slap by doing this? I heard about it, how you had a fight with Chen Yuzhou a while back, but it comes with being in a relationship. It was a normal thing, you don’t have to be so angry about it.”
“Xiaoxiao, please stop, you don’t know what happened. Chen Yuzhou and I, we’re through, it’s impossible between us. And, Zhang Chao is a good friend, and a good person too...”
Hearing these, a sweetness sweeter than honey filled my heart. Turning my head around in the other direction, I saw that Chen Yuzhou has been listening as well. His face almost turned green from anger, and his fingers gripped his cup so tight that he looked as though he might crush it and start picking a fight with me at any moment.
Not that it gave me any worries. Looking at him, I raised my brows slightly, giving him an eye that said “you’re welcome to try... if you dare”, very clearly. Probably remembering what happened last time when I crushed his hand in a handshake, he stayed put and didn’t make any commotions.
Chu Xiaoxiao bit her lips, and said, “I don’t buy it. This guy, he must be taking advantage of you. I’m going to meet him.”
Finishing her words, Chu Xiaoxiao took her drink, and walked to me in large strides with her long legs bared wearing a skimpy short shorts.
And suddenly, everyone stopped doing what they were doing and looked at us. Chu Xiaoxiao was always the center of attention wherever she went. And since she came to me, all eyes were focused on us.