Seated at the dining table were a total of four people; Ji Nan Feng, Mo Li Xin, Wei Xiu Lan, and Ji Shi Bo.
Ji Shi Bo looked at the few people seated at the table and could not help but lament. It was not easy for them to be able to peacefully dine together. Truly not easy.
Ji Nan Feng was in a similar mood as Ji Shi Bo. In his previous life, after he married Mo Li Xin, he had distanced himself from his family. He had this notion that his marriage with Mo Li Xin was an elaborate trap set up by them. Hence, with a stomach full of resentment, he avoided them, causing them to seldom get together let alone have a meal.
It was only during Chinese New Year and festive periods that he would pay a perfunctory visit back home. Even then, he would bring along Duan An Ran who was full of dirty tricks. It led to quarrels and everyone left angry; every gathering would end on a bad note. Not only was he miserable, but even Mo Li Xin and his family were brokenhearted.
This life, he swore not to let history repeat itself. He would never let Mo Li Xin down again nor let his family fret over him.
“Mom, Grandpa, I’m going to let Xin’er seek employment.”
“Go out to work? You’re finally willing? Eh, that’s not right. How did you know that Li Xin doesn’t have a job?” Ji Shi Bo questioned.
“En, she must feel stifled being stuck at home constantly. Doesn’t she like designing wedding dresses? I have connections that can aid her in getting the job,” Ji Nan Feng chose to overlook the last half of Ji Shi Bo’s question. He recalled in the previous life after Mo Li Xin passed away, he unintentionally stumbled upon her diary and learned that she was diagnosed with depression.
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“Mbyv’p talyv! Nk Dkd byp yzoyup clld kdvlalpvle. Wwavblaxsal, pbl kp vyzldvle kd vbyv yaly vss. Zsw pbswzed’v fwpv cwau bla ealyx. Wasx vbl pvyav, usw pbswze byhl clld zkjl vbkp!” Kk Fbk Js alrasynble.
“Od, R jdso vbyv dso.”
‘R byhl y zkvvzl esdjlu…’ Xwv sq vbl czwl, vbl rbsdl aydt. Ys Nk Dkd’p qynl kdpvydvzu qzwpble kd lxcyaayppxldv.
“Mbyv, nyd R ydpola vbl rbsdl?” Ys Nk Dkd ypjle qllczu, cwv pbl oyp vbkdjkdt, ‘Qseeyxd, obu eke R qsatlv vs nbydtl vbl akdtvsdl.’
“Qs yblye! Ebu es usw dlle vs ypj qsa rlaxkppksd qsa vbkp?” Elk Dkw Nyd alrzkle rlarzlmle.
“Qs sd,” Bdeladlyvb vbl vyczl, Kk Lyd Wldt nzldnble bkp qkpv, alnyzzkdt vbyv vbkp oyp yzps sdl sq vbl awzlp bl xyel sd y obkx. Tl bye cyddle bla qasx ydpolakdt vbl rbsdl kd qasdv sq bkx.
‘Btb! Wwnj! R oyp y pnwxcyt,’ Kk Lyd Wldt clayvle bkxplzq.
Brsd alnlkhkdt rlaxkppksd, Ys Nk Dkd zlqv vbl zkhkdt assx vs ydpola vbl nyzz. Fbl lule vbl pnalld yde alnstdkgle vbl nyzzla RP. Rv oyp Dw Ckdt Yyd, bla wdkhlapkvu nzyppxyvl yde assxxyvl. Ms cssv, pbl oyp sdl sq bla qlo qakldep.
“Man Man, is something the matter?” Mo Li Xin was apprehensive after listening to the silence coming from the other end of the receiver.
At that very moment, in a basement apartment within the same city as Shui Xing Villa; a tall, beautiful, curly-haired woman was sobbing silently while holding onto the phone. The second the call went through, the tears started sliding down uncontrollably.
“Xin Xin, everything is gone, what should I do? You’re the only one I have left.” The woman on the opposite line was Xu Qing Man. Although her tears were constantly flowing from the corner of her eyes, she was still able to articulate coherently.
Mo Li Xin was unable to grasp what happened to her best friend, but listening to Xu Qing Man’s tone, Mo Li Xin knew that she must be in a bad place right now.
“Where are you? I’ll go to you immediately, are you at home?”
“Xin Xin, you’re so good to me. Do you know, they’re all demons, my parents are already dead. Why can’t they give me more time, I just needed a little bit… Why…”
Xu Qing Man became distraught and her speech was hard to decipher, but Mo Li Xin roughly understood what had taken place. Her bosom friend’s parents passed away, and it was potentially caused by the debt collectors.
Initially, Mo Li Xin wanted to grab her bag before heading over. After a second thought, she rushed out of the single-family villa with just her fluffy slippers and a thin woollen sweater.
She ran alongside the main road and with much difficulty, she managed to hail a cab to Xu Qing Man’s apartment. It was ten minutes into the ride before she calmed down and remembered to text and inform Wei Xiu Lan of her haste departure plus not to worry about her. It also allowed her time to mull over Xu Qing Man’s situation.
Shui Xing Villa and Xu Qing Man’s home were at opposite ends of the city. Hence, it took more than two hours for Mo Li Xin arrived at Xu Qing Man’s door. What she was unaware of was that her battery died shortly after she texted Wei Xiu Lan. Consequently, no matter how Ji Nan Feng bombarded her phone with calls, it could not get through. It never crossed her mind that Ji Nan Feng would call her out of concern.
“Man Man, open the door!” Mo Li Xin swiftly knocked on the iron gate. It was considerably dark as it was basement level. Mo Li Xin felt distraught as she observed the environment. Before she married Ji Nan Feng, she offered to help her many times, but Xu Qing Man was stubbornly independent. She preferred to shoulder all her burden herself, unwilling to accept help from others. Making there no alternative way Mo Li Xin was able to help.
Not long after, the door creaked open. None of the lights in the room was on, presenting a pitch-black room.
Before she could locate Xu Qing Man, she felt a weight landing on her shoulder. The familiar scent enabled her to identify that the ‘unidentified object’ was indeed Xi Qing Man.
“Everything will be okay. Haven’t they been arrested? This is evil having its retribution, I believe that uncle and auntie in heaven would not wish to see you like this. Try to cheer up. If your heart feels stifled, just let it all out by crying. I will be right beside you, and when you’ve tire from crying, we’ll have a hearty meal.
“You’ve taught me to transform grief and indignation into appetite. Let’s first have a sit on the sofa. Look at you, the cold must have penetrated your whole body! Even if we were to cry, we must do so comfortably,” Mo Li Xin coaxed her towards the sofa. She didn’t turn on the light because sometimes, darkness could act as a protective cover.
Xu Qing Man released her pent up emotions upon hearing those words. Her cries were uncontrollable and heart-piercing that Mo Li Xin inevitably shed some tears too. Mo Li Xin remembered meeting Xu Qing Man’s parents previously. The elderly couple were amicable and were fond of her. They often invite her to join them for a meal. She didn’t expect that the last time she bade them goodbye, they would be separated by heaven through life and death, never to meet again.
Xu Qing Man bawled for more than two hours without pause, it was as if she wanted to drain all the tears in her body.
Xu Qing Man ultimately cried herself to sleep. Mo Li Xin carefully covered her with a blanket, poured her a glass of warm water and turned on the night light. She also gently placed a warm towel over her eyes. This best friend of hers placed her appearance above everything else in her life. If she were to wake up and sees her eyes in that swollen state, Mo Li Xin reckoned that she could commit suicide.
Xu Qing Man slept deeply for more than three hours. Mo Li Xin meticulously reapplied the towel during that duration and under her diligent care, Xu Qing Man’s eyes swelling was reduced. Simultaneously Mo Li Xin cleaned up the disorganized apartment. Looking at the cups of instant noodle that littered the kitchen countertop, she shook her head, ‘This lass is hopeless.’
As the kitchen was being tidied up, Xu Qing Xan sluggishly awoke from her slumber. Slightly discombobulated from her dark surroundings, she suddenly remembered and called out for Mo Li Xin, “Xin Xin, Xin Xin are you there?”
Mo Li Xin had just finished clearing the last bit of garbage when she heard noises coming from within the room. “I’m right here,” She knew that when people were feeling helpless and alone, a sentence to affirm one’s presence was more effective than saying anything else.
“Xin Xin, I have nothing left, please accompany me, don’t leave, okay?” Xu Qing Man pleaded.
“Silly, of course, I’ll keep you company. Have I not rushed over from afar? I’ve spent the whole day spring cleaning your house and I barely ate a thing, so you have to treat me to dinner!” Mo Li Xin tried to divert Xu Qing Man’s attention.
Xu Qing Man understood that Mo Li Xin was comforting her by changing the subject, hence she squeezed out a smile, “Okay, I’m hungry too. However, I can’t afford too expensive a meal! We can only eat from food stalls.”
“Less talk and let’s go!” Mo Li Xin was starving. She rushed over before lunch was served, and up till now she only drank a few glasses of water to satiate her growling stomach.
Going out for a meal was also a splendid idea. Xu Qing Man could do with a change in scenery to help improve her mood instead of being suffocated at home by her negative thoughts.
Before heading out again, Mo Li Xin changed her shoes and swapped her sweater with one of Xu Qing Man’s thicker coats when she realized that it started snowing once again.
At the same time, Ji Nan Feng was driving towards her. He had been frantically searching for Mo Li Xin for the whole day. Only God knew how he felt when Mo Li Xin left and did not pick up his calls. The sense of loss he felt like she was never coming back again.
As it was getting dark, the roadside food stalls were starting to get crowded. Both of them found an area with relatively few people and sat down.
“You sit down and I’ll go get some food,” Mo Li Xin said.
The roadside food stall they chose served barbecued food. People would take the skewered food of their preference and hand it to the boss. After the boss finished grilling the skewers, he would serve it over.
Although many people were ordering from that stall, the boss was efficient thus, it did not take long before they received their food.
“Ladies, here’s your order. Do you want to order some drinks?” the boss asked.
Two voices sounded at the same time, the former being Mo Li Xin, and the latter was Xu Qing Man.
“Xin Xin, I want to drink today. Will you accompany me? Just this once.” Xu Qing Man pleaded with Mo Li Xin whilst raising her index finger.
Eyeing Xu Qing Man’s pitiful look, Mo Li Xin couldn’t bear to reject her and finally compromised. “Fine, but you didn’t eat anything today. And drinking on an empty stomach is not good for you. Why don’t you drink some warm milk first?”
“As you command!” Xu Qing Man obeyed. Due to external influence, her mood had significantly improved.
Both of them spent more than an hour eating; Xu Qing Man drank and vented throughout the meal.
“Man Man, why are you only telling me about this now? You should have informed me on first-moment notice!” Mo Li Xin chided.
“I tried to contact you but you can’t be found! You dare to blame me? I thought even you had abandoned me.” Xu Qing Man indignantly rebuked.
Only then did Mo Li Xin remembered her hectic week looking after Ji Nan Feng. She absentmindedly forgot to bring her mobile phone with her. It was only after Ji Nan Feng was discharged from the hospital today that she finally turned it back on.
“Then this meal is my treat, as a form of an apology. Today I’ll be your verbal trash can. I’ll listen to what you have to say, regardless of what you’re ranting,” Mo Li Xin guilty apologized.
Following that, Mo Li Xin patiently listened to Xu Qing Man air her grievance. She even obliged Xu Qing Man and finished half a bottle of beer. Those who knew her knew that she never touched a drop of alcohol. ‘Today is an exception, let’s accompany her through and through’ Mo Li Xin thought to herself.
After drinking and eating, Xu Qing Man became drunk, blabbering nonsense, swaying, and staggering. Mo Li Xin was in a slightly better condition but still drunk.
On the parasol path, the two beautiful women stumbled forward while supporting each other. One moment they could be shouting to the skies, another, they would be crying hysterically, making them look deranged.
“Xin Xin, do you remember? I once said that I wanted to make a lot of money and let my parents live in a big house, let them have great meals. Do you still remember? When they heard that, they were so happy…” Xu Qing Man’s eyes were squinted and hazy. Sitting under the orange street lamp, she looked up at the parasol leaves and lamented with a bitter smile.
“Yes! Make big bucks, buy a big house!” Mo Li Xin was drunk, hence her reply was illogical and of no relevance to Xu Qing Man’s question.
Unbeknownst to them, a few steps behind, Ji Nan Feng was watching her quietly.
“They are both dead. I tried so hard, worked so hard, but I managed to change nothing. On the contrary, things seem to be more difficult now. Xin Xin, tell me, everyone says that good people will conquer ill fortune, but why is that not the case for me?”
“Hehehe… Maybe God is playing mahjong and forgotten about you!” Mo Li Xin blurted nonsense.
“I used to believe that saying too, but… it’s okay, I’m still me, as long as I haven’t changed, it’s not considered a loss.” Mo Li Xin’s mind was muddled, she blabbed whatever came to mind.
Drunk Mo Li Xin is so cute… (~ω~)