Chapter 4 – Caring Mother
First Published on Ainushi
“OFF, why weren’t you online yesterday? I waited for you until 4.00 AM in the wee hours of the morning and didn’t have an ounce of proper sleep last night.”
“I’m sorry. I had things to attend to.”
“Do you still remember the new superior I talked to you about before? I got into another big fight with him again yesterday.”
“That jerk had no faith in my capability and even spoke a shit-ton of nonsense. But now that I think about it, it’s all just some trivial matters so it really wasn’t worth it to mess up my relationship with my boss like this. But whenever I see his face, my blood will boil and I will spout everything I shouldn’t have said in one breath.”
“Seems like the both of you clash with each other in nature.”
“I also don’t understand the reason why I’m so repulsed by such a person. Truth to be told, perhaps it was done out of jealousy. Born with a golden spoon in his mouth, he has everything at his beck and call. He’s completely oblivious to the hardships faced in life. How could I not be fuming with anger when I’m reprimanded by a young master like him?”
“Actually, the wealthy have their own share of problems too.”
“Yeah, they’re busy worrying about how to spend all their money.”
The other party sent over a bitter smiling emoticon.
“By the way, OFF, I recently got to know an adorable and beautiful girl with a peerless personality. She’s a newcomer in our company. She has very good manners and I think she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet. I really want to try my hand with her.”
“Really? I’ll support you.”
“OFF, you’re handing me over without putting up a fight? I’m hurt.”
“I’m definitely not some amazing, beautiful girl with a peerless temperament.”
“Regardless of who you are, whether you’re a beauty, or hideous in appearance, you’ll always be number one in my heart. Seriously, OFF. I’m honestly sick of facing the screen looking at your name while imagining how you look like…”
“OFF, why don’t we meet up?”
After I tossed out that last question, I knew I was done for.
As expected, OFF’s avatar instantly turned from green to red. I wasn’t sure if OFF had truly went offline or blocked me. There was a chance that he had even deleted me…
As though I was possessed by a devil, I kept making one mistake after another for the past few days.
I quickly typed up a super long email and sent it to OFF, apologizing and swearing a deathly oath that I would never do that again. Simultaneously, I also logged in to the MACD forum, sending countless direct messages to OFF. I hoped that OFF would accept my sincere apology.
I was aware that the word ‘meet-up’ had always been OFF’s taboo, yet I kept jabbing at it recklessly and finally got my just desserts. Staring at the still avatar, I had never felt so regretful in my heart.
Ling Fei came to work dejected with a disheveled chicken nest for a hair. He naturally got poked fun of unsparingly by Qiao Yuanhai.
“Ah Fei, what’s wrong with you? Your large, round face looked like you’re heartbroken. Just one look I can tell that you must’ve been dumped by someone.”
“Ahhhhhhh….” Ling Fei faced upwards and gave out a long yawn, before dropping his dispirited gaze at the chair. “It’s feels about the same as being dumped.”
He had been camping beside his computer for almost the entire night, blindly waiting for a short text from OFF. However, his email account and private messages were completely bereft.
It was truly terrible beyond measure. His online relationship had already ended before it even began.
How could anyone be more unfortunate than him? He hadn’t even figure out if the other person was a man or a woman, pretty or hideous, or was old or young, and he was already removed from the play without any form of explanation. If Chi Kai had found out, he would definitely laugh his head off.
“Young man, losing your love is like farting. It’s no big deal. Just look for another one.” Qiao Yuanhai patted him with sympathy.
“Thank you for comforting me.” Ling Fei glared at him dispiritedly.
At that moment, Ouyang Ran walked by the office lounge with a briefcase in hand. He appeared to be in a haste to get somewhere. When he passed by Ling Fei’s desk, he briefly shot a glance at him dully.
The two men’s gazes interlocked with each other for one mere second and sparks instantly flew before immediately shifting their eyes away.
“You are still at it with the manager?” Qiao Yuanhai finally spoke out in a low whisper after Ouyang Ran’s figure disappeared at the door. “You were in a hot argument with the manager yesterday. Everyone in the office heard you. It’s not like I’m reprimanding you or anything but I know it’s good to be young, however if you are always this impulsive, careful not to get fired from your post.”
“I’m not afraid.” Ling Fei raised his brow, the air of haughtiness completely evident in the corner of his eyes.
“You should really change your bullheadedness. I’m saying this for your own good.” Qiao Yuanhai shook his head and remarked sincerely.
“I understand. Old Qiao. Thank you for that but I’m afraid I won’t be able to change my attitude anymore.”
If he could changed his character, he would have changed it a long time ago.
“When a new boss is in charge, other people are in a hurry to butter him up. But you, on the other hand, insisted on going for his throat. Will you die if you stomach this just once?” Qiao Yuanhai looked at the time before standing up. “Let’s go and find something to eat. I’m already seeing stars after staring at the wheat market for the entire day.”
“You go ahead alone. I already made plans with someone else.”
“Who is it?”
Ling Fei snickered in glee. “She’s a newbie in the Fund Management department, a super gorgeous woman indeed.”
“You brat! What a quick move you’ve made! Good for you!” Qiao Yuanhai’s palm was as large as the mountains. When he smacked him with it, he almost lost his footing and collapsed face-first into the ground. “I won’t be your light bulb then. I’ll make a move first.”
“Alright. See you later.”
Ling Fei went to the washroom and used water to flattened his messy hair. After he straightened his tie, he once again carefully examine his looks…
As expected, no matter from what angle he’s observing his face from, he was still a handsome and promising man.
Feeling narcissistic beyond satisfaction, he made a move to go upstairs. Ouyang An’er was currently bustling about at her desk. When she lifted her head to see him, she smiled sweetly.
“If you hadn’t come over, I would have almost forgotten to eat lunch. Now I feel a little hungry once I saw you.”
“I never realized you didn’t take our date to heart. I’m so hurt.” Ling Fei pretended to be saddened by it.
“No. I’m just really busy. I didn’t forget it on purpose.” Ouyang An’er burst into a smile, her face sparkling and pure akin to a blossoming flower.
Every bachelor of the appropriate age in Fengtai was aggressively making their moves on Ouyang An’er in full swing. Reportedly, the roses she received per day was up to a dozen or more.
Ling Fei couldn’t figure out why would she say yes to his invitation. Apart from his pretty good looks and height, there wasn’t anything that stood out about him. What’s worse, he was impoverished. In this materialistic world, having good looks was completely not that attractive when compared to the savings from Fengtai.
Perhaps he was reading too much into it. Ouyang An’er might just be treating him as a normal friend. Besides, eating lunch together really didn’t really count as anything more.
Dispelling his uneasy thoughts, Ling Fei very gentleman-like gave his elbow a slight bend. “Then, let us make a move.”
“Okay.” Ouyang An’er naturally wrapped her delicate hand around his elbow.
It was only after they walked over to the elevator shaft and pressed the button to go to the first floor, they heard a man’s calm voice coming from behind them. “An’er.”
“Manager Ouyang? Why are you here?” Ouyang An’er cheerfully asked the man. She instantly let go of Ling Fei and ran over to the man in small steps.
“I’m free today so I came over to have lunch with you. Why? Did you already made plans with someone else?” When Ouyang Ran met Ling Fei’s gaze, both of them were surprised.
“Yeah but it’s okay. I will just decline him.” An’er turned around and said to Ling Fei, “Ling Fei, I’m sorry. I want to have lunch with Manager Ouyang. I’m really sorry. You go ahead on your own. I will accompany you next time. Is that okay?”
If it was some other woman who backed out before him after making plans already, Ling fei’s egoistic attitude will not allow such a ridiculous thing to happen. He would have already left with a flung of his arms, without any moment of hesitation. However, the person standing before him now wasn’t just any other person, it was Ouyang An’er.
Love is blind. Similar, Ling Fei naturally wouldn’t fall that far off from the spectrum.
“Oh..It’s…It’s alright. Just let me know when you’re free.” Ling Fei endured the jealousy bubbling in his stomach, pretending to be magnanimous.
“Thank you!” Ouyang An’er burst into a dazzling smile as she wrapped her hand around Ouyang Ran’s arm. She then intimately looked up to say something to him…
Ouyang Ran nodded repetitively at her words, yet his eyes slightly shifted over to where Ling Fei was. His pair of sharp eyes suddenly let out a cold gleam. No matter how Ling Fei took it, it looked like he was trying to exert his prowess. Ling Fei tightened his fists, as he tried to restrain himself from grabbing the bastard and beating the crap out of him on impulse.
“Give way.” Ouyang Ran’s graceful lips slightly moved and said a few words, upon seeing that Ling Fei didn’t move from his place and was currently blocking the elevator.
“Manager, please.” Ling Fei forced out a smile, purposely pressing the button to the lobby in a polite manner.
“Thank you, Ling Fei! See you later!” Ouyang An’er closely cuddled against the man’s arm as she stood inside the elevator, waving at him.
“See you later!”
The moment the elevator door shut tight, the smile on Ling Fei’s face instantly collapsed. That bastard was without a doubt his natural enemy!
Although he understood at first glance that this man was definitely not the kind of person he liked, now he was one hundred percent positive compared to before. In order for him to be with Ouyang An’er, the most important thing to do now was to eradicate him first!
How great was it? Regardless of whether it was a private or a public affair, he will be at odds with this man!
The natural rubber market seemed to have reacted to the horrible experience Ling Fei endured at noon. Without any warnings, it plummeted steeply by 800 points.
Unlucky in love, but lucky in play. Who on earth came up with that saying?
It was completely bullshit!
With a calm and collected look on his face, Ling Fei meticulously examined the market situation, and once again mulled over the newly created technical analysis. He was worried that he missed something important.
The current market situation was highly likely due to the leading players singing and playing alone. From the rankings in the trade volumes made, the top ten seats were occupied by a couple of futures corporations such as Jinmao Futures, Dongfang and Tianyuan. The leading player was more likely to be using their own funds to take advantage, shaking up the market in a short time in order to attract more small investors to get involved. Thus, it earned them a price difference in the short term, so that a more relaxed environment was provided to those who joined later.
Ling Fei decided that he shouldn’t get worked up over this yet and should continue to survey the market for a while longer.
Until 4PM that afternoon, the natural rubber was still fluctuating non-stop around 10440 points. It once plummeted below 800 points and soon soared to its original position. It seemed like the small investors wasn’t that blind compared to the leading players and was instead more cautious in their trades. Perhaps this was due to the reason that majority had already lost their money on natural rubber before.
The office hall was busy, no different than usual. Phones rang on incessantly…
The door to the manager’s office was shut tight. Majority of the time, Ouyang Ran was nowhere to be seen and had only appeared once at noon. Ling Fei’s office desk was by the hallway so he could always see Ouyang Ran going in and out. Their eyes always meeting by chance….
Whenever he saw that meticulous, noble and estranged countenance, Ling Fei would always uncontrollably fumed with anger. What kind of look was he throwing him? It was so dark and shady as well as that icily arrogant curve of his lips. That man was always shitting on him, so no matter how he looked at him, Ling Fei would get pissed off.
Ling Fei seriously did not want to undermine himself. But he knew well deep down that if An’er liked men like Ouyang Ran, he wouldn’t have much a chance in the first place.
But, before it really ended, he would not easily admit defeat.
The entire afternoon quickly went passed as he dived deep into the natural rubber market. Before Ling Fei realized, it was already way past the time to get off work. He was unable to focus on the market trend since his mood was perturbed, so he simply ended his work earlier and went home in steps heavier than usual…
The window to the apartment was brightly lit. It seemed like his roommate Chi Kai was still at home.
“I’m home. I bought some lunch boxes. Let’s eat together.” Ling Fei shouted out and placed the Cantonese-style lunch boxes which he ordered for take-out on the dining table.
Chi Kai was sitting on the couch in the living room, facing the TV screen. He then turned his head around to say, “Ah Fei, your mom called. Hurry and call her back.”
“Really? Okay. I will make the call now.”
As he called the number that he knew by heart, the phone rang for a bit, soon it was followed by the sound of his mother’s gentle and aged voice. “Is this Little Fei?”
“Yeah. Mom, you called me just now? What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing. I haven’t heard from you for a week now so I wanted to check if you are alright.”
His mother’s voice didn’t sound different from usual so Ling Fei slightly felt at ease. “Mom, I’m sorry. I wanted to call you yesterday but I forgot since I’m busy with work.” Ling Fei scratched his hair.
Calling his mother who lives in the South once a week, was Ling Fei’s must-do chore every week. He was just really busy lately so he forgot to do it.
“I know you are busy, but no matter how busy you are, you have to take care of your health. Have you received the black fungus, dried longan and the wolfberry I sent you last time? Whenever you are free, follow the recipe I wrote for you and make a stew out of it to drink. You always leave for work so early and come back so late at night, and even to the extent of staying up all night. So you have to take in more nutrition. Tonic food is the best.”
“Okay, mom. I will make it when I’m free so please stop nagging.”
Basically, they would always talk about the same topic again and again. There was nothing new to this.
His mother’s life was well-disciplined, compared to his lifestyle of leaving early in the morning and returning home late. Saying so would only serve to amplify her worries, so naturally, the topics they conversed in was limited.
However, he was satisfied as long as he could hear her voice and know that she was doing fine. He was sure his mother thought the same too.
“If it wasn’t for my bad leg, I would have rushed over everyday to cook you something nice. How could I ever allow you to ignore your meals alone and buy take-outs when you’re hungry? It’s so expensive and unhealthy…” His mother continued to nag.
“That’s not true. Mom, I cooked meals like vegetables and fried eggs by myself too. I know how to make them… Also, the ingredients you sent here are sold in the market. Mom, you have a bad leg, so don’t trouble yourself to buy all these things. I have already told you countless times and you never listen to me.”
Repetitive nagging easily make one distraught, so Ling Fei’s tone uncontrollably became slightly rude.
His mother quietly replied him. Yet, he wasn’t sure why, her timid voice only served to make Ling Fei felt more distressed and angry.
“I just didn’t want anything to happen to you! If you’re hurt, I’m not there with you! What would you do alone?”
“I’ll be careful…” She seemed to have realized that her son was upset, so her voice also sounded more softer than usual from the receiver.
“Mom, that’s enough. You don’t have to worry. I can take care of myself.” Ling Fei restrained his emotions and lowered the tone of his voice, calming his mother.
After he hang up on her with much difficulty, Ling Fei loosened his tie and let out a heavy sigh. He sat in a daze on the seat to the dining table, and poured himself a cup of water.
“Be more patient. Your mom is doing this for your own good.” Chi Kai stood up, tidied up the dining table and opened his lunch box as well as pouring himself something to drink. It looked very well-coordinated.
If it weren’t cup noodles, then they would have lunch boxes instead. To be honest, it saved time and of course, it was also because they were lazy.
“I know.” After calming himself down, Ling Fei felt ashamed at his impatient attitude earlier.
His mother is the most important and the most beloved woman in his life. He knew that he was the same to his mother as well. So why is it that at times, people will still deeply hurt the person who are most dear to them without care? He had to call his mother properly tomorrow to make her feel at ease.
“I feel like I’m not a good son…” muttered Ling Fei.
“Love shouldn’t be a burden. Ah Fei, your desire to make a name for yourself is too great. You just want your mother to be proud of you so badly. Don’t doubt yourself. You’re a good kid.” Chi Kai seemed to know what he was thinking.
“Ah Kai…” Ling Fei stared at his best friend with glistening eyes.
“Don’t look at me with such disgusting look on your face! Eat!” Chi Kai scrunched up his face in disgust.
The lunch boxes were bought from a Cantonese-style take-out store next to the community area. Ling Fei bought Chi Kai his favorite barbecued pork with egg rice while he bought himself roast pork rice, with a side of baby choy sum. The dishes looked appetizing. This take-out store provided a large portion and the taste was good too.
Both of them were a little hungry so they devoured their food ravenously.
“Sometimes, you will wish that you’re alone without anyone to care about you and no one to bother you. It feels easier that way.” As they ate, Ling Fei suddenly spoke out.
“Like me?” Chi Kai moved his chopsticks expressionlessly.
“Yeah. I really envy you at times. You’re completely free and can go anywhere you want.”
“But I remembered that your dream is to be at the apex of your career, not being free and wandering about.”
“Dreams can change too.” laughed Ling Fei.
Chi Kai glanced at him and scoffed.
“Ah Kai, freedom is amazing, but don’t you ever wish that you want someone to accompany you? That single lady, Miss Duan who lives above us seems like a nice girl. Every time she bumped into you at the elevator, she will always flirtatiously look at you. I’m certain she’s interested in you!”
“Not interested.” Chi Kai replied coldly.
“You want to be single forever?”
“There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“You win. You’re the strongest man of the century, Dugu Qiubai. I can never do that.” Ling Fei raised his hands. “I want to be successful in my career before the age of thirty, get married to a sweet and gentle wife and bring my mother here to live. We’ll have a kid one year later and perhaps have more than two kids in the future. Of course, that will depend on whether my wife is willing or not. But I figured she will definitely not disagree. I want to give my children the best education there is to offer and send them to study at the best universities. For all of this, I want to start working hard to earn my living!”
Ling Fei happily described his future plans. The future prospects were bright and splendid. He knew that this picture he painted was within arms reach as long as he worked hard for it.
He had always firmly believed in this.
Chi Kai only listened quietly, occasionally smiling at his words. Even when he was smiling, his countenance was still and calm as usual, as though as nothing has ever developed in his deserted past, present and future.