“Wuuuuuuuu……..” Lingling started sobbing again. How could it be?
“After this call, you should have no more illusions!” Lu Anran looked at the time on her watch. From the time Lingling hung up the phone till now, it has been more than 30 minutes and she was still waiting for Lingling to stop crying.
“Eldest Young Miss… I….” Lingling wiped the tears on her cheeks. “I… have let you down…..”
“What’s there to be sorry about ah… Have you done anything to let me down?” Lu Anran shook her head. She has taken the initiative to look for Lingling this time. When Lingling first met Lu Anran, she was scared out of her mind. She never expected Lu Anran to forget all their old scores and to even give her a new phone to contact Lin Haosheng. She has previously called Lin Haosheng many times but the line was always engaged. When she called him again with the new number, she was now sure that Lin Haosheng has blocked her number.
“I….” Lingling pursed her lips and said. “My mother is very sick and needs to be hospitalised to undergo surgery. I really could not afford it, then…. Then Young Master Haosheng appeared. He gave me a lot of money, allowing me to take care of my mother…. I was very grateful to him, so….”
“So you were willing to keep watch on me for him, willing to put those…. things in my wine to drug me?” Lu Anran gazed at Lingling. “Do you know what would be the consequence of doing so?”
“I….” Lingling shook her head helplessly. “I have never thought that far.”
“You thought about it. But you did not dare to continue thinking about it.” Lu Anran retorted. “What about now? How does it feel to get deceived and toyed with?”
“…..” Lingling felt as though a knife was being twisted into her heart. She did not even have the strength to reply her.
“How pitiful ah!” Lu Anran reached out and lifted the chin of Lingling who bowed her head due to shame. “I really cannot bear to continue telling you…..”
“What do you mean?” Lingling looked at Lu Anran blankly with tears in her eyes.
“How could there be such coincidences in the world?” Lu Anran’s lips raised as she said. “When your mother was coincidentally ill, Lin Haosheng coincidentally appeared.” Lu Anran retracted her hand and continued talking smilingly. “Just like a hero or superman, or even like a prince in Cinderella’s heart! He has a gentlemanly temperament, a handsome appearance, and a tragic life that could attract the inherent motherly nature of all women!” Lu Anran gazed into Lingling’s eyes. “I think you should personally go to the hospital and ask the director of the hospital. Take your mother’s medical record and ask him if your mother really needs to do any surgery and take so many expensive drugs! Or if you trust me enough, I could introduce a reliable doctor to you!” Lu Anran paused momentarily and tilted her head before saying. “I am guessing that you did not personally hear nor see it with your own eyes if your mother needs surgery or take so many expensive drugs! Perhaps you have an elder brother? Or an uncle?”
“I have an uncle.” Lingling answered in a daze. “It was my uncle who told me. He also told me about the drugs. My father died early and I don’t have an older brother. We live together with my uncle.”
“Mm…..” Lu Anran looked around. Her place of residence was quite miserable. It took her a full hour to find this place. “Does your uncle treat you well? Has he ever crossed his boundaries with you physically or….. uh…..” Lu Anran observed Lingling’s expression.
“What?” Lingling was clearly a little nervous and took a step back subconsciously.
“That is, if he has….” Lu Anran repeated with great interest. “Anyway, you need to ask clearly!” Lu Anran stretched out her hand and tap on her jaw. “Next Saturday afternoon, I will go to the Peninsula bookstore to buy some books. That bookstore is close to your school, you should know of it.”
“I know that bookstore.” Lingling nodded.
“Then come over to look for me. I will be there until around 2PM…. and no later!” Lu Anran winked mischievously. “I believe that 5 days is sufficient for you to prove all these! Bye~” Lu Anran strode off. As she reached the entrance, she did not forget to add a sentence. “Oh right, you should never tell Lin Haosheng that your pregnancy was fake. You should just accept his money. Not only that, you should tell your uncle that Lin Haosheng gave you money to abort your child and you have decided to take it. As for the reason, I don’t need to be so detailed right? You shouldn’t be that stupid right?” Lu Anran waved as she left the shabby little apartment. Patting Lu Anhu, who has stood outside all these while, on his shoulders, Lu Anran said, “It’s been tough on you for helping me keep a lookout. Let’s go home!”
“It’s been all settled?” Lu Anhu asked as he followed Lu Anran.
“Almost!” Lu Anran smiled. “It’s not appropriate to spell it all out. We will know for sure next Saturday. Ask Ji Ling to come out next Saturday, and the both of you can accompany me to the bookstore.”
“Ji Ling won’t be home next Saturday.” Lu Anhu replied. “It seems to be her father’s Memorial Day.”
“Then forget about it.” Lu Anran continued walking away from the desolated area. If it wasn’t because she had to find Lingling today, she did not even know that the flourishing S City had such an area…..
On Monday, during the last class of the day, all of the class monitors were called to the activity room of the student union. The last class was a self-study period so it did not affect the progress of any student. When she reached the activity room, Lu Anran unconsciously avoided Long Yuxing’s gaze. However, whichever seat she chose to seat in, Long Yuxing would sit in the seat directly opposite of her. After changing her seat continuously for two to three times, Lu Anran realised that everyone was looking at her, so she could only clear her throat awkwardly before surrendering to fate. Long Yuxing also sat in the seat directly opposite of her. The ambiguous behaviours of the two of them caused the crowd to secretly laugh. However, Yue Ningshan’s and Qin Shumo’s expressions did not look very natural.
“Mm…. If Vice President Long and our little Anran is done with their little lover interactions, I would like to get down to business!”
“….” Lu Anran blushed and said, “President Feng, we are not lovers.”
“Soon! Soon!” Feng Lixing winked at her, cleared his throat and said, “Alright, let’s start talking about serious matters!” Feng Lixing signalled to Huang Ying.
Huang Ying pushed up her rustic spectacles and said, “It’s like this. There is an upcoming National Model Contest for high school students. There are prizes to be won and nationally recognised honorary certificates as well as benefits to enter a better school in future, which everyone should know!”
“The specific requirements and registration time are all in the leaflet. The registration form will also be distributed to each class monitor.” Feng Lixing said. “The head of Art and Culture division, Yue Ningshan will be placed fully in charge of this matter!” Feng Lixing looked at Yue Ningshan, “Yue Ningshan? Officer Yue? Oy!” Feng Lixing made a hollow circle with his fist in front of his mouth and echoed. “Yue….. Ning….. Shan…..”
“Hm?” Yue Ningshan returned from her daze and asked. “What?”
“You were distracted just now.” Feng Lixing shrugged, “What’s the matter?”
“Uh….” Yue Ningshan shrugged her shoulders, her eyes were a little evasive. “Perhaps I am a little too tired from all the studying and matters from the store.”
“Since it is so, then it would be better to hand it over to Tian Tian!” Huang Ying said to Tian Tian who was next to Yue Ningshan.
“It’s fine!” Yue Ningshan shook her head. Swallowing her saliva, she said, “I can do it.”
“You are too tired and need rest. Just leave it to Tian Tian!” Feng Lixing approved of Huang Ying’s actions. “Tian Tian, hand out the materials in the back pouch to each class monitor.”
“OK.” Tian Tian stood up with a smile and took out the leaflet and application form from the pouch.
Lu Anran looked over the leaflet with disinterest. When the meeting was over, she still brought the leaflet and application form back to the class to inform her classmates about it and told them that she had 10 application forms. Anyone who wanted to sign up should look for her however it seemed like no one was interested. Lu Anran took two of the application forms and handed it over to Qin Shumo. “Please stick them up.”
Qin Shumo nodded and stick the leaflet on the class bulletin board. When the after class bell rang, everyone said goodbye to each other and left the classroom.
One week of class ended quickly and it was soon Saturday afternoon. Lu Anran took Lu Anhu and Xue Dingan as well as Yang Xueying to Peninsula bookstore. This time, there was not many people in the bookstore and a sublease notice was stuck on the glass door of the shop.
“This bookstore has already been opened for several years.” Yang Xueying sighed with feeling as though this was the way of the world.
“Electronic e-books will certainly greatly impact paperbacks.” Lu Anran weaved her way through various bookshelves and said. “Nowadays, mobile phones, laptops, iPads and e-readers makes reading more convenient and cheaper. A lot of people are abandoning paperbacks for the more convenient electronic medias.” Lu Anran sighed. “Because of this, a lot of bookstore has gradually disappeared. This is quite common.”
“Ey……” Yang Xueying also sighed. “Is this the so-called doomed change of dynasty?”
“I still enjoy the feeling of flipping the pages of books. I like the touch of paper and the smell of ink.” Lu Anran flipped open an exam book and said, “If I can, I always try to buy the paper form.”
“After they sublease, will this still be a bookstore?”
“Not likely.” Lu Anran said. “This bookstore is located at the junction of the University town. It will be more profitable to open a restaurant instead!”
“Ey…. I can feel the coldness of the world.” Yang Xueying sighed heavily.
“Actually it is the decision of the boss! Whether or not, the boss is willing to compromise with the market demand.” Lu Anran glanced at the sublease notice at the entrance. “Yang Xueying, do you have money?”
“Money?” Yang Xueying pouted. “I have a little saving. What do you want to do?”
“I want to ask you about something!” Lu Anran hooked her finger at Yang Xueying. “Are you interested in opening a bookstore with me?”