For The Rest Of Our Life – Chapter 84

Why should there be regrets?

The girl who ran away crying has been gone for a while now. The people who had finished lunch and returned to sit around the office desk outside the meeting room couldn’t hear what was being said inside. The most attentive among them could only faintly hear the beautiful girl inside raising her voice and asking, “Xiao Wanqing, what are you afraid of?” But through the glass window, they could see every movement and gesture happening inside. The onlookers couldn’t help but exchange glances, as they mentally rehearsed their descriptions based on what they saw.

Xiao Ke came back later and only watched for half of it. She looked at Xiao Wanqing, who had been standing with her head down since Lin Xian left, facing away from the glass window. Then she looked at her colleagues whose expressions had started to change, unable to bear it any longer.

She walked to the half-open door of the meeting room and lightly knocked twice. She stood behind Xiao Wanqing, shielding her from the prying eyes outside, and asked with concern, “Chief Editor, are you okay?”

Xiao Wanqing closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She straightened her back, turned around, and lifted her head. Her eyes were slightly red, clearly showing signs of having cried. She looked at Xiao Ke and shook her head gently. In a low, hoarse voice, she explained, “There’s something going on at home, some conflicts. I’m sorry for making everyone witness that.” She wasn’t just saying it for Xiao Ke’s benefit, but also for those outside who were eager to watch the spectacle.

As for whether others believed her or not, she didn’t really care anymore.

She glanced at her watch, realizing there was still some time before work. So, she forced a smile towards Xiao Ke and instructed, “I’ll tidy myself up in the bathroom. When it’s time for you to start work, could you please organize and check the materials needed for the afternoon meeting with the advertisers?”

As if she couldn’t see the covert glances her colleagues were casting her way, Xiao Wanqing’s gaze remained calm, her expression cold. She walked steadily and calmly past them, and calmly turned into the adjacent restroom.

Inside the cubicle of the restroom, as she closed the wooden partitioned door, it felt like she had finally found a safe haven. Facing the closed wooden panel, she suddenly lost all strength in her body. She crouched down, hugging her knees, silent tears streaming down her face.

She bit down hard on the inside of her lower lip. The taste of blood, like rusty iron, gradually filled her mouth, but she was oblivious to it. She raised one hand and tightly grasped the fabric covering her chest, which felt as if it had been torn apart. Choking on her sobs, she couldn’t catch her breath, suffocating and unable to make a sound. Her entire body trembled with her tears.

I’m sorry, Lin Xian. I’m sorry for hurting you, I’m sorry for being the way I am…

I’m sorry…

Lin Xian didn’t know how she managed to wipe away her tears. Amidst the bewildered and curious gazes of passersby, she walked all the way to the parking lot, retrieved her scooter, and mechanically drove towards the home that no longer had Xiao Wanqing.

Her heart was in pain and turmoil, completely lost and unsure how to continue on the road ahead.

She had researched many experiences and planned it all out. She would drop hints to her parents little by little during her university years, and once she graduated and became financially independent, she would have the negotiating power to come out to her parents. She would handle her own issues and spare Auntie Xiao from worrying. She would never run away, and she wouldn’t go abroad either. That had once been her parents’ dream for her, but now she had a new dream—to be with Xiao Wanqing.

She was willing to overcome any obstacles for Xiao Wanqing, to intertwine their life paths and become one. Wherever Xiao Wanqing went, she would follow.

But what if Xiao Wanqing had never considered walking alongside her? Lin Xian took ninety-nine steps towards Xiao Wanqing with great effort, but Xiao Wanqing didn’t want to take a single step towards her. In fact, when Lin Xian tried to take the hundredth step, Xiao Wanqing forcefully pushed her away. It seemed like everything was nothing more than Lin Xian’s wishful thinking.

Was she causing difficulties for Xiao Wanqing?

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On Lin Xian’s wind-kissed cheeks, there were once again traces of wetness.

She didn’t say anything because how could she know what Xiao Wanqing was afraid of? How could she accompany her in conquering each obstacle that frightened her? Lin Xian was young and there were many things she didn’t understand, but she was willing to help her grow and strive to reach a height where they could stand side by side.

As long as Xiao Wanqing was willing to give her a chance, and not push her away.

But, she won’t.

“She won’t,” Lin Xian murmured to herself, crying uncontrollably. Her little sheep, as if mirroring its owner’s despair, gradually slowed down, eventually coming to a halt.

Its battery had drained, unable to sustain the long journey from Lin Xian’s school to Xiao Wanqing’s magazine office.

Lin Xian parked by the roadside, leaning on the dashboard of her scooter, whimpering in distress.

Even you are bullying me…

Even you are abandoning me…

It seemed as if she had spent the entire day crying out all the tears she had held back for the past years. She didn’t know how long she had been crying until there were no tears left. Lin Xian lifted her head and gazed at the deep blue sea under the bridge, the ebb and flow of the tide, and the waves hitting the shore.

She slowly wiped the tears off her face, pushed her scooter, listened to the sound of cars whizzing by and the waves crashing, slowly calming her emotions, slowly comforting herself.

Compared to the long journey of life, every moment we experience is but a grain of rice in a granary. All the sadness and pain are momentary. As long as we endure this moment, everything will eventually pass.

In the grand flow of history, each person’s life is a mere speck in the ocean. In such a fleeting life, every moment in this one-time existence, not knowing when it will end, knowing that you also like me, why should we miss each other, why should we regret, why not be brave, why not strive, why should we compromise?

She didn’t want to regret. At least, she didn’t want to regret at this moment.

Auntie Xiao said, “I don’t want you to regret in the future.”

But, life, if it’s not going well now, why think about the future? If we live every moment well, accumulate it minute by minute, second by second, isn’t that the bright future we want right now?

Exhausted, Lin Xian finally pushed her scooter back to Xiao Wanqing’s house. Along the way, she had figured out all the reasons to persuade herself to be brave, to persist, and not to be sad.

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But, it’s still so hard.

She casually responded to Aunt Liu who was hesitant to speak: “Auntie, I will not eat dinner tonight.” Then, she locked her room, pulled the curtains, and went straight to sleep.

It’s okay, just sleep. When you wake up, everything will be better.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow’s Lin Xian will be full of courage again.

Lin Xian was extremely tired. She didn’t know how long she had been sleeping when she woke up to the sound of someone persistently knocking on the door.

She pulled the curtains, and the room was still dark. She couldn’t tell if it was day or night. She replied hoarsely, “Wait a moment.” Then she rubbed her eyes, picked up her phone to check the time, and got out of bed to answer the door.

It was already ten o’clock the next morning. She had actually slept for so long.

When she opened the door, she saw Aunt Liu looking at her, with a somewhat awkward yet pleasing smile, muttering, “Xianxian, I was just a bit worried about you. You see, you didn’t eat dinner last night and breakfast this morning.” Lin Xian didn’t seem right when she came back yesterday, so Aunt Liu couldn’t help but call Xiao Wanqing. Xiao Wanqing was silent for a long time, only telling her, “It’s okay, she’s just in a bad mood, let her be alone for a while.”

But Lin Xian always kept a regular schedule, and it was unusual for her to still be asleep at this time. Aunt Liu couldn’t help but be a little scared. Lin Xian had been acting unusually since that inexplicable series of questioning phone calls. Even if she couldn’t figure out what had happened between Xiao Wanqing and Lin Xian, she could tell that Lin Xian was not in a good mood or condition. If something really happened to these young people, what could be done?

Fortunately, it was only her overthinking.

Lin Xian still looked a bit down and didn’t seem as energetic as usual, but at least she smiled politely at her, reassuring her, “I’m fine, sorry to have worried you. I’m going to wash up and eat now. Is there still breakfast?”

Aunt Liu breathed a sigh of relief, quickly replying, “Yes, yes, let me heat it up for you.”

Lin Xian nodded gently, picked up her change of clothes, and followed her out to freshen up.

While washing her face, she cupped the cold water, splashed it on her face, and her mind gradually cleared. Regardless of the problem, they had to face each other and communicate to possibly solve it. But, she couldn’t find Auntie Xiao.

She didn’t even know, how had Xiao Wanqing been spending her days? If she was going according to her plan, waiting for her to leave before coming back, where was she supposed to stay for such a long time? Could she get used to it, could she be okay?

Today was the weekend, and as usual, Xiao Wanqing wouldn’t go to work unless there was overtime or social engagements. But apart from the magazine office, where else could she find her?

Lin Xian dried her face and almost without hope, made a call to Xiao Wanqing. As expected, the call went unanswered until the ringtone automatically hung up.

Lin Xian’s eyes dimmed. She put away her phone and turned to leave.

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She stood by the dining table, took a couple of bites of the toast, quickly downed the milk in one gulp, and then walked out: “Auntie, I’m going out for a bit. I probably won’t be back for lunch or dinner.”

Aunt Liu was in a dilemma, “Your aunt asked me to supervise…”

Before she could finish her sentence, Lin Xian lifted her ink-black eyes, her gaze deep as she solemnly said, “If she doesn’t like what I’m doing, please have her tell me to my face.” She tied her shoelaces, stood up, slung her backpack over her shoulder, and with long strides, opened the door and left: “I’m going now.”

She walked straight to the edge of the housing estate, hailed a taxi, gave the address of Xiao Wanqing’s magazine office, and headed there.

Standing across from the magazine office, Lin Xian looked at the open glass doors of the building, craning her neck to see the floor where Xiao Wanqing was located. She couldn’t tell whether Xiao Wanqing was inside or not.

But she didn’t dare to go up.

She heard Xiao Wanqing’s choked question echoing in her ears, “Lin Xian, how do you want the whole company to see us, do you want me to become the talk of the town?”

She knows that rumors and gossip can trouble and hurt a person. But your true inner thoughts are always more important than the thoughts of irrelevant people. So, she was not afraid, she did not retreat.

But Auntie Xiao was afraid. Her Auntie Xiao, who appeared gentle and strong, was actually more soft and fragile than she had imagined.

She clenched her fists, took a deep breath, but in the end, she didn’t move a step forward. She found a flower bed, leaned her body against the tiled platform, her eyes unfalteringly fixed on the entrance of the building, not daring to miss any people coming and going.

From when the sun was high in the sky, she waited until the lights were dim. The figure she yearned for never appeared.

It was half-past ten, and there were only a few lights on in the entire building. The floor where Xiao Wanqing’s magazine office was located, both the upper and lower levels, were completely dark.

Lin Xian moved her legs, which had become stiff from standing, and for the last time scanned the entrance of the building that no longer had people coming in or out. She took out her phone from her pocket and dialed Xiao Wanqing’s number again.

The call connected, but the next second, it was hung up.

Lin Xian’s throat tightened, and she dialed again.

This time, the call didn’t go through.

“Hello, the number you are trying to reach has been turned off.” The mechanical female voice gently declared a ruthless fact.

Auntie Xiao had blocked her.

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Tears welled up in Lin Xian’s eyes in an instant, betraying her once again.

The next second, she raised the back of her hand, wiped away the tears, turned around, and started running on the empty streets late at night. As she ran, she surveyed the few remaining shops on both sides.

After running through several streets, she saw a small shop still open, selling mobile phone recharge cards in an alley.

She opened her backpack, took out her wallet, and grabbed all the red banknotes from the innermost layer to buy an unknown number of mobile phone recharge cards. Like a lunatic lottery player waiting to scratch her winning ticket, she scratched off the password on a recharge card, dialed a number to recharge Xiao Wanqing’s mobile phone as per the prompt, and then dialed Xiao Wanqing’s number again.

“Hello, the number you are trying to reach has been turned off.”

Scratch off, recharge, dial again.

“Hello, the number you are trying to reach has been turned off.”

She didn’t know how many times she had repeated this process. When she was about to scratch off the password on the next recharge card, the phone screen finally lit up as she wished, with the three big characters “Xiao Wanqing” flashing on the screen.

In that moment, Lin Xian wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.

She bit her lip, her hand trembling as she answered the phone, holding it carefully to her ear as if she were holding a precious treasure that had been lost and found again.

Neither of them spoke, their ears filled only with each other’s faint, barely audible breaths.

After what seemed like an eternity, Xiao Wanqing’s voice, exhausted to the core, came through the speaker. She pleaded with her sorrowfully, “Lin Xian, stop causing a scene, can you let me catch my breath?”

A sudden pang of pain hit Lin Xian’s heart, and tears fell again. Her breath grew heavy, and she choked out, “I just want to know where you are. Can’t we sit down and have a proper conversation?”

“Lin Xian, I’ve said everything that needs to be said. There’s no point in meeting again.” Her voice was low, hoarse, filled with a sense of helplessness.

It was she who was cowardly. It was she who was afraid. It was she who dared not face Lin Xian. She feared that seeing her again would melt her with the girl’s passionate love. She feared that seeing her again would persuade her with the girl’s sincere words. She feared that she would be overwhelmed by the surging heartache and reluctance in her own heart.

She was almost out of strength to struggle.

Lin Xian didn’t respond to her, only the heavy sound of her breathing, beating against Xiao Wanqing’s heart one after the other.

After another long silence, Xiao Wanqing spoke again, her voice gentle, “Lin Xian, it’s so late, don’t wander outside.”

This time, Lin Xian sniffled, her voice nasal and strained, but she responded to her, “Okay.”

A few seconds later, Xiao Wanqing hung up the phone.

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