Belated happy Mid-Autumn Festival to everyone! 🙂
Gun has a childish, I’m-need-to-get-even side beneath his cold exterior. So, is this the true reason why he came back?
Chapter 28 – Starting All Over Again ((●’◡’●)！
In the end, when they were on the road, he did not show any of that demeanour he had displayed at her school and merely drove quietly the entire time.
Sitting in the front passenger seat, Tong Nian snuck frequent glimpses at him.
So… where were they going?
But that friend in the backseat, Little Bai, was practically like a unit installed specifically to create tension and caused her to not even dare ask anything. Plus… Little Bai was once an ACM-ICPC world champion? She… had absolutely no recollection of this…
T.T What is it I even do every day? Ugh…
Before the car was about to pull into a gas station, Dt’s mobile phone vibrated. “I have a call. Just let me off on the side of the road.” Raising his phone in his hand, he got out of the car first. The car came to a stop, waiting in line.
Only now did Tong Nian steal a peek at his forehead.
Gun detected it. “What are you doing?”
“Right there,”—Tong Nian pointed at the bruise on his forehead—“how is it?”
“Does it hurt?” In a very small voice, she continued to offer her concern.
With a self-mocking grin, he turned so he was looking at her.
All of a sudden, there was a blur in front of her eyes. “Ow!”
Tong Nian abruptly covered her forehead with her hand. That hurt so bad!
Why’d he flick me in the forehead? …
“Does it hurt?” he even deliberately asked.
She was grimacing from the pain, and tears spun in her eyes, bullied to the point where she was tongue-tied and unable to produce any words for the moment.
At last satisfied, he gave her an offhanded pat on the head. “Just teasing you. What’s there to cry about?”
Consequently, after Dt stepped back into the car at the exit of the gas station, he discovered that the forehead of the little girl sitting in the front seat was red, and so were her eyes. Somewhat perplexedly, he glanced at that man who had resumed driving nonchalantly.
A new way of getting their kicks? Dt mused puzzledly on this.
The vehicle left the gas station and sped along the entire way. When it turned into a frontage road and entered a residential community, Tong Nian finally could not contain herself and asked in a quiet voice, “Where are we going?”
“My home.” He turned his steering wheel and rapidly circled through a roundabout.
Stepping down on the accelerator, he flew down the road and headed directly to a villa district in the northernmost part of the community.
Ah? She looked around.
The car had soon driven into the parking garage. Dt was the first to open his door, and hopping out, he headed straight into the elevator.
Gun at last explained, “The elder of my family wants to see you. Help me out and stay to have a meal with us.”
“Oh.” She nodded, feeling slightly downcast.
So this was to cover up for the lie.
He undid his seatbelt.
“It’s actually no big deal. He’s considered an elder whom you know, right, Tong Nian?” she silently comforted herself. Still, she could not help feeling disappointed, and hence, she remembered only to unfasten her seatbelt but forgot to actually step out of the vehicle.
Seeing that she had not moved and that her entire face was covered with feelings of “so dejected” and “so that’s what this is,” Gun crooked his finger at her.
Huh? She leaned in toward him.
His lips tilted into a slight smile. “Just this one time. It won’t happen again. You got to touch, and you got to kiss. Just a suitable bit of compensation now?”
She instantly bristled and with a whoosh, sat up straight.
Stay calm, stay calm…
It’s just a little thing, just a little thing… Don’t blush. Tong Nian, don’t blush, aaaah…
But she could not help it. It was as if his one sentence had once again thrown her back to that night…
Arms wrapped in an embrace…
Skin that was burning hot…
Legs pressed tightly against one another…
And also… her lips as they slid over his collarbone… and chin… and earlobe… and face… and nose…
Her brain was buzzing. She clutched her bag tightly, her entire mind filled with—
“What gift do you want?”
“Hmm? What do you want?”
She did not know when he stepped out of the car. Only when a knock sounded out on the window beside her did she finally snap out of her daze. Seeing, through the car window, his hand motion that indicated she should get out of the vehicle, she immediately flushed and opened the door.
She dared not even lift her head as she followed after him.
Step into the elevator. Step out of the elevator. Open the door. Change into slippers.
The elderly man sitting on the living room sofa, a thick, hardcover book on his knees, noticed the two of them walk in one after the other. At once, he removed his reading glasses and smiled, “Nian Nian, come, come.”
Her brain was still in the same state as a glob of glue. Obediently, she walked over.
“And here Han Shangyan was saying that you weren’t free, but look, aren’t you here now? You’ve finished attending classes today?”
“Mm-hmm. All finished.”
“What’s wrong here? It’s all red.” The elderly man saw the red mark on her forehead.
“… It’s nothing.” She touched that spot on herself.
“I will be leaving to go back home next week. I am guessing it won’t be very likely that I’ll make such a long trip, flying back and forth, to come to China again.” Grandfather smilingly patted her head and asked, “I heard your parents mention you’ve had a fear of flying since you were young? Is that still the case?”
Fear of flying? Gun tossed a dubious glance at her.
“Ah… Mm-hmm. I’m a little scared of flying.” She thickened her skin and forced herself to say this.
In fact, it was not any fear of flying. Her parents merely did not want her to step out of their zone of influence and control, for fear that she would not know how to take care of herself. Therefore, they had simply told friends and relatives that she was scared of flying, and this averted many people’s ideas of taking her out of country for leisure travel.
With a single glance, Gun could see that she was fibbing. However, he had no interest in exposing her.
“Oh… Then that will be a bit troublesome.” Grandfather’s brows creased in a slight frown. “The wedding will need to be held here in China, then?”
Marriage?! She stammered over this. How was she going to make something up for this…?
“We never said anything about getting married,” Gun nonchalantly stepped in and answered.
These words had just left his lips before a hardcover book was flying past Tong Nian’s eyes with a whoosh and heading toward him.
Gun raised a hand and blocked it, narrowly avoiding having it crash into his face.
“Told you to find someone whose age was suitable, but you just had to go con a little girl into being with you instead. Alright, you’ve conned her, but now you won’t get married. What is it you want to do, then?!” Grandfather was so enraged he began to pound his cane against the floor. “Pick up that book for me!”
He shrugged. Moving around the arm that had been struck, he determined that there should be no broken bones… Very quickly, he bent down, picked up the book, and brought it back over, setting it down.
Tong Nian was stunned by this display.
“You, stand still!” Grandfather shouted at the man who was about to leave. “Where are you going?”
“Upstairs for a meeting. I’m flying to Guangzhou tomorrow. For dinner, just have the two of them keep you company and eat with you.” Saying this, he gave a wave of his hand, his back to the two people who were sitting there in the living room.
“You get back here right now!”
This sentence echoed out hollowly. There was no response.
The man had already gone upstairs…
Livid, Grandfather banged the tip of his cane against the floor. “Video games again! Video games! From since he was a teenager, all he knows is video games!” The elderly man coughed a couple of times. Then, taking Tong Nian by the hand, he pulled her down to take a seat. “Nian Nian, I’m sorry. This truly is so unfair to you. This grandson of mine is so disappointing. All he knows is video games… He isn’t young anymore,”—he heaved a sigh—“yet he still doesn’t think to do any decent, proper work.”
He’s really quite… good.
She silently thought this. After holding herself back for a while, however, she still could not refrain from defending him. “I haven’t been unfairly treated. I quite like that he games.”
The elderly man paused in surprise, then sighed. Sure enough, she was conned purely by that brat’s looks.
“It’s true.” Tong Nian found that Grandfather did not believe her, so with earnestness, she explained, “Even though I’m not good at playing video games, I know that for him, he is not just playing. It’s a sport, an official sport recognized by the country. Ten years ago, when he first started out, it was a very difficult and challenging environment. There were no coaches, no eSports organizations, no highly-experienced, senior players. But their team was still able to break out and cause the entire gaming world to know that there was a team from China called Team Solo, that there was a person from China named Gun. That’s so amazing…” Softly, she said, “In particular, when I read his final declaration when he retired, my heart especially ached, and I could especially understand his passion and love for eSports.”
“Final declaration when he retired?” Clearly, the elderly man did not know what this was.
Final declaration when he retired from professional play.
Those words he had left behind back when he, at the peak of his career, had disappeared overnight.
Words once used by many fans as their signature line.
To date, it was still recorded down in hundreds of forums, personal homepages, and official websites:
“In these past two years and three months, I have won, and I have lost; I have laughed, and I have cried; I have been called into question; I have been the subject of rumours; I have been criticized; and I have been falsely accused. Never have I defended myself. There is no need to defend myself. Tonight, the glorious banquet has at last come to its end. Achievements and fame are but follies in my eyes.”
She recited this.
Word for word, she recited all of it.
These were words the elderly man had never before heard.
But it was evident that he was not truly against eSports, for, after all, in the family, his two grandsons whom he was most pleased with had both entered this profession. As a result, he had more or less been subject to some brainwashing on it. It was simply that, he surmised that when the future in-laws learned that this eldest grandson’s heart truly was set only on video games, there would be… some mutters of discontent and criticism.
However, from the looks of things, the little lady genuinely worshiped and, furthermore, understood him.
The elderly man’s mind was slightly set to rest.
She kept him company in this way and chatted with him for an hour. The elderly man was clearly showing signs of fatigue.
Taking hold of him, she supported the elder into his bedroom on the second level, then retreated back out the room door, gently blowing out a breath.
When she turned around, though, she saw Gun, who at some unknown time had appeared at the top of the staircase, one hand in his pants pocket and the other holding a black glass. From high above, he stared down at her while drinking the water in his glass.
1 of 1 Prologue
28 of 49 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogue