Autumn's Concerto / Next stop, happiness 下一站幸福 Chapter 8.3


Chapter 8.3 - 8th Stop: Recalling The Painful Memories (3)

What was going on?

Yiqian stood outside of the house and was shocked to see her fiancé eating at the same table with another woman and a little boy. They were happily chatting while they tucked in.

He was rarely this happy even when he was with her. Most of the time, he was just depressed and blue.

The most shocking and scary thing was; she recognised who that woman was; it was Liang Mucheng.

6 years ago, Guangxi went against the school board because of her. 6 years later, he’s now going against Huanyu Constructions for her sake…

Did their passion re-ignite? Has Guangxi regained his memory?

Yiqian clenched his fists. She had heard about Guangxi going against her father and she had specially made a trip down from Taipei to question him about it. But she was shocked, worried and lost as she didn’t expect to see something like this at all.

She knew about Mucheng’s existence 6 years ago and yet she worked with Fang Derong and kept Guangxi in the dark about it. She knew that was the only way to make Guangxi hers.

She liked and admired him. She fell for his daring attitude after the first time she saw him playing ice hockey. She never cared so much for someone before. She wanted to be part of and share all of his feelings.

Was this her retribution for being selfish back then?

Yiqian was rooted to the ground. She was lost and didn’t know what to do at all. Then Guangxi turned around and saw her.

“Yiqian, why are you here? Is there something wrong?” He walked out of the house and asked.

“I came… to see you. I heard from the village head that you’re staying here.” She answered him while still in a daze.

“Yes, I’m just living with Mu… I mean Miss Liang temporarily. That’s because there isn’t any motels here in this village.”

Was he embarrassed? Or perhaps he was feeling guilty?

Yiqian stared at her fiancé. She wanted to see if he showed any signs that he had regained his memory but she couldn’t seem to get any clues from his face—perhaps, she still had a chance.

“Guangxi, I heard about you wanting to sue Huanyu Constructions on the villagers’ behalf. Dad is very angry about it.”

“I guessed so too.” Guangxi couldn’t help about giving her a weak smile. “But Huanyu Constructions is really too much this time and I can’t leave my hands out of this.” He tried to explain to his fiancée but she just shook her head.

“It’s okay. I understand.” She paused and looked into his eyes. “I’ve decided that I’ll try to help you convince Dad to give up on owning the land here.”

He was doubtful about Yiqian’s suggestion. It was good news for him but he wondered if a sly fox like Director He would give up so easily.

“Dad loves me the most. I’ll try my best to convince him.” Yiqian promised him after she saw his doubts about her suggestion.

“That’s great. Thank you for your help then.” Guangxi was elated.

“But you must promise me something.” Yiqian stated her terms.

“What is it?”

“Let’s get married right away. I can’t wait anymore.” She immediately leaned forward, placed her arms on his shoulders and gave him a long kiss.

***

He was going to get married!

She didn’t hear the news from him but rather from the villagers. It was rumoured that He Yiqian had spoke to the village head and explained to him that she had already persuaded her father to give up on the ownership of the land. He also promised to help with the pollution problem. At the same time, they’d be ordering flowers from Huatian Village for their wedding as a gesture of apology.

He was finally going to get married.

Mucheng didn’t know if she should be please or upset about the news. She just felt emptiness and loneliness in her.

The villagers were over the moon because of the news. They thanked Ren Guangxi and looked upon him as if he was a saviour of the world. They also planned a farewell party for him as they wanted to send him off happily.

Everyone in the village was happy, everyone except her. She felt like a deflated balloon; wobbly and helpless. She drifted around and wasn’t sure of what she was supposed to do.

“What’s the matter with you? Brace yourself!” Tuoye knew what Mucheng was upset about. He was both jealous and worried. “Look at you. How are you going to take care of Xiaole like this?”

Yes, she still had Xiaole.

Mucheng braced herself. She had almost forgotten that Xiaole would be depressed to know that Guangxi was leaving soon.

She knew she couldn’t do this anymore. She had to be strong so that she could comfort her son.

On the eve of Guangxi’s departure, Mucheng specially whipped up a feast for him. Mucheng prepared the dishes that Guangxi liked too other than the Braised Beef Rice that Xiaole wanted.

“Uncle, my Mummy’s Braised Beef Rice is the best! You must have some.” Xiaole recommended it to Guangxi. He still had no idea that Guangxi was leaving tomorrow.

Guangxi couldn’t bear to bade him goodbye too so he pretended as though that nothing was wrong and even joked with Xiaole. He then tucked into the Braised Beef Rice. The taste of the Braised Beef Rice was food.

“Is delicious, isn’t it?” Xiaole asked proudly.

Guangxi didn’t answer him but he felt that this Braised Beef Rice tasted really familiar. It seemed like it was a taste he missed after having tried it for once. “Who did you learn this dish from?” He stared at Mucheng.

“It’s from a recipe that my mother left for me.” Mucheng noticed that he was staring hard at her and her heart raced. She was worried that he would recall something.

But Guangxi just nodded. “It’s not too bad. It’s pretty delicious.”

“Oh.” Mucheng felt disappointed. On one hand, she was worried that he’d recall something but on another hand, she was sad that he couldn’t recall anything.

She was distracted throughout the entire meal. After dinner, Guangxi invited Xiaole to take a bath with him. He then tucked him into bed and told him a bedside story.

She stood by the doorway and looked at them. She felt that this was really a bittersweet moment.

They really look like father and son like this…

“Your son is really picky.” He said to Mucheng, smiling, after Xiaole went into slumber. “I must perform too while I tell the story. Otherwise he won’t go to bed. I bet you were the one who spoilt him right?”

She didn’t reply him. She just looked at him and gave him a weak smile.

They just looked at each other quietly. Guangxi noted that she seemed to have a lot to tell him.

“I’m going back to Taipei tomorrow.” He said hoarsely after a while.

“I know.” She nodded and tried to avoid his eyes.

“Please give this Xiaole on my behalf.” Guangxi passed a box to Mucheng.

Mucheng opened the box and was stunned to see a wristband lying in it. It was the very same one that she had given him.

Guangxi heaved a sign. “Do you know? I’ve been dating Yiqian for 6 years already. But I’ve been delaying our marriage plans. It’s not only because of the fact that the two of us are busy with our careers; it’s also because of the fact that I’m afraid.”

“Afraid?” Mucheng was lost.

“It’s because I couldn’t remember the past. I was afraid that there might be one day, something or someone from the past might look me up again. That was why I never dared to go ahead with my marriage plans with Yiqian. But…” He paused and smiled slightly. “You were right. I can’t keep thinking about the past. I must learn to grasp the present… This wristband is like my past memories, it has been clinging onto me and therefore I must let go of it.”

That was it. It was really over for them.

Mucheng held onto the wristband and was on the verge of sobbing.  She didn’t tell him that there was a memory card in the wristband when she gave it to him 6 years ago. That memory card contained the memories of them together and today, he told her that he’d be letting go of them…

But, it was time to let go. It was not only for him but also for her.

“I thought I might as well give it to Xiaole then. He can take this as the communicative device he was talking about the other time. He can call me anytime if he needs my help.”

“No problem. I’ll hand it over to him.”

Mucheng promised. The two of them looked at each other and they saw a look of dismay on both their faces. This was wrong. They were just very ordinary friends.

Guangxi raised his hand and he wanted to stroke Mucheng but he stopped when he almost touched her face. “You can call me too when you need my help, Mucheng.”

“Okay.” She said, nodding, with tears welling up in her eyes.

But they both knew; she’d never call him. It was highly possible that they may never meet again—

***

The villagers held a farewell party for Guangxi the next day. Everyone in the village was there, including Tuoye. But Guangxi just couldn’t seem to find Mucheng and Xiaole amidst the crowds.

“They won’t be coming.” Tuoye knew what he was thinking about and decided to answer his query for him. “Mucheng has gone to pick Xiaole up from school and they’d be heading straight for home. She said that Xiaole would create a din if he knew that you were leaving.”

“That’s good in a way too.” Guangxi smiled bitterly. Frankly speaking, he was afraid to say goodbye to Xiaole too. After all, he had developed feelings for that little boy during his period of stay here. He’d be so embarrassed if they were to break down in front of the other villagers.

It’s best that Mucheng and Xiaole weren’t present.

But even so, Guangxi still couldn’t stop his feelings from pouring out from him. He knew that he shouldn’t let that happen but he really hoped to see the mother and son for the last time. He didn’t mind even if he had to do it secretly.

Thus, he slipped away when the villagers didn’t notice and arrived at the kindergarten.

The compound was empty and almost all of the children had already gone home. Guangxi loitered around. He suddenly felt that what he was doing was extremely stupid and silly.

It’s definitely not of a man to be so wishy-washy.

He turned around and wanted to leave. Suddenly, he heard someone playing the piano. It wasn’t very clear but it had mysteriously touched his heart.

He traced the source of the music and then he found that it was really clear to him now. He was stunned and that melody was so familiar that it made his heart ached.

It was the “Air on the G-String”.

He didn’t know how he had managed to know the name of the tune immediately. He hummed along with the melody.

Then, he began to recall certain images. His head ached… What was that? Why were there those images? He seemed to see a girl who resembled Mucheng and she was playing the piano.

I’ll play the piano for you every day after you knock off from work.

He seemed to have recalled something…

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