The Banished Chen Haotian
Chen Haotian gave me his bank card number, I made a note of it and found a bank to transfer him 10 grand. Haotian said he’ll get to Qiling City by train ASAP and then call me.
The next morning I went to the home of Big Sis’ parents.
The construction team was already hard at work, the old house was in ruins. Burly men worked here and there, everything was going well.
Miaomiao’s school issue was also settled. I had found a decent kindergarten nearby, she could go there in a few days when school starts.
Big Sis was able to spend a whole day with Miaomiao yesterday. I could imagine her joy… If you were dead and could still spend time with your child, wouldn’t you be ecstatic? But I did warn her that yin and yang don’t mix; even if you could control your yin, it’s not a good idea to always be near your kid, it’s not good for her health.
So for now, Big Sis was back to her regular form. She stood next to me with her bleeding belly, and was visible only to me.
I had asked her why she wanted to simulate the bleeding with her Yin qi, she told me she was cultivating, just like a “roof-jumping ghost” would end up repeating the jump over and over again after death.
Since the construction was well under way, it was time for me to go home and check on everything. I returned to the hotel to check out. After telling He Xue my plans, I got on the bus to go home.
When I reached the suburbs, it was almost four in the afternoon. When I got to Xiaoling’s office, her door was open, and she was writing something at her desk. I knocked.
She said “Come in.” without looking up.
I didn’t go in but asked, “Miss, is this delivery yours?”
Hearing my voice, she looked up, her eyes curving like crescent moons with her smile. “Yes, it’s my order, c’mon in!”
I sat on the armrest of her chair and played with her hair.
“I have the day after tomorrow off, I was going to come find you.”
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
Seeing my expression, she asked “Why?”
I sighed, “Xiaoling, you know I was staying at a big hotel room, if you were there, we could have shared a bed. Why did I waste this opportunity?”
Xiaoling smiled like Mona Lisa. “You’re getting out of line all the time now.”
“I think we’re getting closer than ever.” I corrected.
She didn’t object but replied. “When did you get back?”
“I just did, you’re the first person I saw.”
“Haven’t gone home yet? Wouldn’t your Mom be mad?”
I chuckled. “Nah, Mom told me to pick you up and have dinner together tonight.”
Time went by so fast whenever I was with her. After dinner, I walked her back to her place. When it was just the two of us, things happened.
Big Sis stood in the corner, silent and content being the third wheel.
After our make-out session, Xiaoling made some tea and sat next to me. “How are things with Big Sis’ family?”
“Pretty good. The old house was torn down, the new one should go up in a month or two. Her kid’s school is settled too. I’m super efficient right? I think I deserve a prize…”
“Prize? Well… You get this cup of tea.”
Every time I visit Xiaoling, she’d make me a cup of tea, and I’d leave after drinking the tea. I would joke around with her, but never do anything outrageous, which Xiaoling appreciates.
The next day.
It was around three in the afternoon, I was home studying Old Swindler’s notes on being invisible when my phone rang. I saw a strange number and guessed it was probably Haotian.
I quickly picked up and it was Haotian. It sounded noisy where he was. ”Xiaolong, I’m at the Qiling City train station. Where are you?”
“You should have called me earlier, wait there, I’ll be there soon.”
“This is my new number. I’ll use this for now; call me when you’re here.”
I hung up and walked over to the door to put on my shoes. Mom asked, “Where are you rushing off to?”
“A friend is visiting; I’m going to pick him up at the train station.”
“Are you eating at home tonight? Should I cook something?”
I smiled and said, “No worries mom. We’ll grab something.” I left the house and got a taxi to the station.
I saw Haotian 20 minutes later. He was dressed casually but somehow stood out at the train station. He was a good looking man, his unassuming attitude also made him distinctive. When I recognized him, I walked over.
“Xiaolong, I’m afraid I’ll have to bother you for a few days.”
I chuckled, “You’re being too polite Brother Chen. You must consider me as a friend to come to me. I’m really happy you did. Come to my store with me.”
Haotian and I got to the copier shop. When we went in, the ghost couple was still arguing upstairs. When the female ghost heard us, she whispered to her husband, “It’s the shop owner, let’s get out of here.”
I had no time to deal with that crazy couple. I had Haotian sit down and filled two water cups. “Brother Chen, what do you think of my store?”
“This is pretty nice. Is this a front for you?”
“Not really, I actually want to make money too, business is very slow though, so I’m still losing money.” I put the water on the coffee table. “Please drink.”
Haotian gulped down the water. He was silent for a while before saying, “You must be curious why I was banished from my family.”
I’d be lying to say I wasn’t curious, but I only said, “Brother Chen, you must be pretty sad now, no need to talk about this.”
“There’s nothing to hide. Being born in a dynasty is a tragedy. You’ve heard of how ancient princes slaughter each other for the throne? It’s like that being born in a family like mine. I don’t want to kill anyone, especially my brother.” His tone was even and calm, not showing any emotion about being driven out of his family.
I listened without comment.
Haotian continued. “Ruoxue is not part of the Jiang lineage, so my family forbids me from marrying her. We fought about this for a long time, plus my brother was adding fuel to the fire, so my dad finally exploded and threw me out.”
His story sounded simple, but I know a lot of things must have happened in the last six months. Haotian had to break off from his family for Jiang Ruoxue, a girl he met not too long ago, defying his father and his family. He must be a passionate person; I think he is worth my friendship. I nodded. “Where is Ruoxue now?”
“After my family threw me out, I had nothing but the clothes on my back. Ruoxue was really worried not being able to find me the last couple of days. I just called her; she said she’ll try to find me here.”
“Brother Chen, you’re destined for greatness. You’ve shown your devotion to Ruoxue from what you went through, don’t be depressed.”
“I’m not, I feel free without my family trapping me.”
“Hahaha, Brother Chen, I’ll make some dinner reservations, let’s drink to that tonight.” I took out my phone and called a decent restaurant nearby. Then I called Xu Xiaoling and asked her to meet me at the copy shop after work.
The copy shop is in the alley behind the museum, so Xiaoling got to my store at five minutes after five. When she saw Haotian, she was surprised. “He’s…he’s… Xiaolong, what is going on?”
Haotian smiled and got up. “I’ve heard that Ms. Xu from the Xu Family was with Xiaolong a while ago. I must say you have found a good one.”
I chuckled. “Brother Chen, you’re too kind. I’ll skip the introductions since everyone knows everyone here. Let’s go to dinner.”
At the dinner, Haotian talked about his family’s banishment of him, and Xiaoling made all the right comments. Afterwards, I wanted to walk Xiaoling home, but she said, “Why don’t you hang out with Haotian. I’ll be fine.”
So I asked Big Sis to get Xiaoling home. I had wanted to make Haotian stay at my house, but he didn’t want to bother my mom; he wanted to stay at the copy shop. It was a good thing that Jiannan was still out, he still had five days left of his vacation. I could always get him a single bed when he’s back, since there’s plenty of space on the second floor of the copy shop.
I hung out and chatted with Haotian at the copy shop until past nine before going home to rest. I need to go back to the town the next morning and check on the house rebuilding.
The next morning, I told Haotian where I was headed and said to call if he needed anything, then I hopped onto a long distance bus going to the town. I thought of my copy shop’s dire business lately. It’s leeching cash like crazy, with school starting soon, I’d need money to sponsor schools and poor students too, I have to make some money fast to cover everything!
My phone rang. It was He Xue. I picked up. “What’s going on?”
She sounded anxious. “I found Ma Xiujun, but his tricks are too strange, I can’t handle it, you’ve gotta help me!”