Chapter 18 — New Year’s
“It’s not serious, just needs a disinfection.” The doctor used iodine to cleanse the wound and gave her two band-aids. “Don’t let the wound come in contact with water. Give all the work to your boyfriend for the next few days.”
Ning Xi silently turned, forcing herself not to look at Chang Shi Gui, pretending not to have heard the doctor.
“Now, the times have changed. There’s no shame in the man making a meal.” The old doctor pushed his glasses up his nose and turned to look back. “People who care about you will feel distressed. Don’t burden yourself.”
Doctor uncle, if you keep talking like this, I can never face Chang Shi Gui. She quickly spoke, “Doctor, he isn’t…”
“You’re right. People around her will certainly feel distressed.” Chang Shi Gui looked at Ning Xi, a warm smile on his face. Seeing this, Ning Xi felt increasingly embarrassed.
The doctor handed a bottle of iodine and some bandages, stressing again that she shouldn’t let her wound touch water.
Ning Xi had a stiff smile on her face as she stepped out of the clinic. She looked at the two big shopping bags that Chang Shi Gui was holding. She thought these two bags had dramatically reduced his usual ‘president’ aura.
“Thank you, Mr Chang. My house is right in front. Thank you for dropping me off.” She took the two bags from his hands and laughed, turning and walking forward.
“Wait!” Chang Shi Gui ran up to her and handed her her hat. “You left your hat behind.”
“Thank you,” Ning Xi said, taking the hat and turning away again.
Chang Shi Gui watched her walk farther and farther away standing in the same place until her figure became tiny. He then looked away.
He looked at his shoulders and saw that he hadn’t even noticed the snow piling up on them.
When he sat back inside his car, the middle-aged woman sitting at the back smiled at him and asked, “Is that young woman your friend?”
Buckling himself into the car seat, Chang Shi Gui shook his head. He didn’t want to explain the situation.
Seeing him reticent, the woman smiled and let the topic go.
Chang Shi Gui glanced at his mother. “Did you like the necklace I had ordered for you that day?”
“Of course I liked it! Everyone is jealous of me for having such a good son! Yesterday, Mrs Bai and a few other women were playing cards when Mrs Bai praised you so much, saying that she wished you were her son.” His mother had a look of triumph on her face. “Her son didn’t live up to her expectations. That family still favours sons over daughters. They would rather their company be destroyed by their son than let a woman meddle. I think that family is really…”
She shook her head. “It’s a pity for the daughter of the Bai house.”
Chang Shi Gui remembered an incident a few years ago, when that school teacher recalled the events that happened to the Ning family, she had said, “It’s a pity for Ning Xi, that good child.”
When he went back to her high school to inquire about Ning Xi, she had already left the school. No one knew where she was. Only, her class teacher had mentioned that she had gone abroad to study. No matter how much he inquired after that, it was all in vain.
Since then, he hadn’t heard about her again.
“I heard that you rejected Chen family’s plan of cooperation?” Chang Mu sighed. “In the last couple of days, Chen family asked your aunt to talk to me. I was going to mention it to you to give your aunt face, but after all, every decision in the company is up to you.”
“Is there a relationship between my aunt and the Chen family?” Chang Shi Gui’s tone was cold. “The philosophy of the Chen family’s business is very different from mine. I will not, at any cost, cooperate with them.”
“If that’s the case when your aunt asks about it again, I’ll reject it on your behalf.” His mother smiled. “You need to change your personality a little. If you meet a girl you like, she will directly ignore you if you aren’t careful.”
“Mom,” Chang Shi Gui turned to look at his mother. “You have used this tactic to get me married last year.”
“Is that so?” His mother was stunned and earnestly began thinking about whether she had used that method before.
On New Year’s eve, it snowed heavily in the capital. When Zhang Qingyun suggested that Ning Xi go home for the holiday, she refused. The beginning and end of a year was the day when families celebrated. She was an outsider who would merely intrude in their celebration. Things wouldn’t be as good as if she were alone.
Wearing plastic gloves, she washed the ingredients, set up a rice cooker and put the boiling pot on the stove.
Hot-pot was a New Year’s Eve dinner which had both meat and vegetables.
The comedy actor on the television was trying to make the audience laugh, but Ning Xi really couldn’t laugh. After sending New Year’s greeting message to everyone on her contacts list, she went to the company’s WeChat group to send her best wishes.
The group was very lively. The younger generation was complimenting the senior artists. The seniors had a gentle and easy-going attitude. Occasionally, people would send red envelopes to make the group livelier.
When grabbing red envelopes, Ning Xi’s hands were quick, but her luck was so bad that while others could grab hundreds and thousands of them, she only got a few cents.
Seeing her luck being so bad, the people in the group had some sympathy for her.
Zhou Zhengchuan: Xixi, didn’t you wash your hands tonight?
Shi Pang: This luck… I can’t bear to see it.
Everyone was laughing at her expense.
There were a lot of actors in Jiuji Entertainment, but there were few actresses who could stand tall with them. Therefore, although she wasn’t very famous, her popularity in the company was not bad.
Seeing these people ruthlessly making fun of her, Ning Xi sent a contemptuous emoji and sent a red envelope with a password.
The password was: Queen Ning is the ruler of unrivalled luck.
Then, she saw these people enter the password one by one to grab the red envelope and obediently remove their messages.
At that moment, she thought that Jiuji Entertainment couldn’t be very good. Were these actually popular artists?
Zhou Zhengchuan: I’m going to be on stage soon, wait for me to come back.
When the news came out, the chat group exploded with cheers and encouragements to Zhou Zhengchuan. A short while later, Ning Xi saw Zhou Zhengchuan appear on television for the live broadcast of the Spring Festival Gala.
“Buzz.” A new message alert came on her phone.
When she opened the message, it was a new year’s greeting from an unknown caller ID and strange number. She didn’t know who this person was. In order to not offend this person, she replied to the message.
Less than a minute later, a reply came from that number.
Stranger: Thank you. How is your wound?
Seeing this message, Ning Xi bent down to pick up a visiting card from her drawer. The number printed on the card was the same as the stranger’s number.
President Chang took the initiative to send her New Year’s greeting message?
She rapped her head. She couldn’t believe that it was the same number and checked again. Her eyes hadn’t deceived her. In that second, she became very tangled.
Should she be warm or polite in her reply? This was the complex feeling of being unable to choose.
There was no movement on the phone while she stared at it for two minutes. Her hands then unlocked the screen and finally sent a message.
Chang Mu peeped at her son’s nervous behaviour from the corner of her eye. She quickly looked away to the TV, pretending not to have seen anything.
Ah, the once energetic, singing and jumping young man had grown up and was now mentally ready to make a family and bring home a wife.
In the eyes of all mothers, their children would always be the most beautiful.
“Miss Ning,” Chang Shi Gui stood up from the couch and walked to the window. Listening to the voice on the other end, his mouth curled up unconsciously.
Ning Xi didn’t expect Chang Shi Gui to call her. Her hand shook with surprise that it almost fell into her bowl.
“Mr Chang, happy new year.” She blew at the food on her chopsticks and put it in her mouth before she realised that it was impolite to eat while talking to someone. She chewed a few times and swallowed.
Hearing the harsh sound of coughing from the other end, Chang Shi Gui was silent for a few seconds and then asked, “Miss Ning, are you okay?”
“I’m okay, I’m okay,” Ning Xi drank two glasses of water and rubbed her neck unconsciously. “It was an accident.”
She wiped away the tears from her eyes. She suddenly felt dispirited. She had intended to become a goddess. How did she end up in this embarrassed state?
Chang Shi Gui couldn’t help but smile. Watching the snow fall outside the window, his mood became even more pleasant. “The timing of my call was too bad.”
“No, it’s not your fault…” Ning Xi scratched her head, looking at the broken pot. “I blame myself for making the hot-pot too hot.”
These were obviously very common words, but Chang Shi Gui felt that a thin silk revolving around his heart, each strand causing pain. “Well, it’s nice to have hot-pot in the snow.”
“Right, I just wanted to eat hot-pot. It’s no fun eating dumplings. You’re right.” Her laughter was very bright with no hint of dampness.
“Yes,” Chang Shi Gui heard himself say, “Happy new year, Miss Ning.”
Fireworks exploded in the sky and created a beautiful scene, but all his attention was on the phone.
“Thank you, I wish you the same. May all of Chang’s companies prosper,” Ning Xi said with a smile. “More importantly, I wish you and your family peace and good health.”
“I will tell my mother of your wishes.”
He looked back at his mother. “Can you see the fireworks from there?”
Ning Xi froze. She put down her chopsticks and walked to the window, sliding the curtains.
Outside were firecrackers blooming like flowers in the sky, just like heaven on earth.
“I can see it,” She smiled, relaxing. “It’s beautiful.”
There was no sound from the other end, but as more firecrackers burst, the sounds came through the phone too.
“I heard that eating hot-pot, watching the Spring Festival Gala, and enjoying the sight of fireworks was the best way to spend new year’s day.”
Ning Xi was first startled, then she laughed.
Hearing her laughter, he said softly, “I won’t bother you while your eating hot-pot. Good night. And… happy new year.”
“Good night.” Ning Xi laughed at his sentence and waited for him to hang up. Thirty seconds later, the call hadn’t ended.
Hearing his words, she felt very strange. “Goodbye.”
This time, the call really came to an end. Ning Xi looked at the dark screen and looked back at the hot-pot. She suddenly screamed.
Her cooking technique was getting old.