Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Simulcasting Love - Chapter 1: Part 2

The damn cell phone began ringing again.  He could tell that it was Lao Deng —— his dad’s personal assistant, again by the tone of ringing.  He had no opportunity to vent his anger.  So he picked up the cell phone and shouted: “What’s wrong with my dad again?  Tell him until he listens!”
There was a pause on the other end.  The voice of a somewhat older man was heard.  The voice was colored with anger and prestige: “You damn boy.  I asked your doctor and you don’t have depression~~~not at all, get back home immediately!“
It was Mr. Da Tang.  Tang Shuoran took a deep breath: “My elder brother, younger brother, and younger sister are already home with you.  Enough.“

“Why did you lied to us?  Why lie about having depression?  You’re an accomplished translator, incomparable to anybody.   Why can’t you come home to and help negotiate for our Tang family business, it’d be easy for someone like you?!! “  Mr Da Tang’s tone was very aggressive at first, but for some reason, began to sound more like begging.

For a short instant he felt some guilt, but it quickly turned to hatred after he remembered how he was unable to see her for the last time.  Though he knew it was his father, the closest blood relation he has, he was still unable to forget what had happened in the past.  Finally, he managed to keep his composure.  He answered gently: “Wait until my illness is cured.  We’ll talk about it later.”
“What illness?”  Mr. Da Tang roared.
“Of the heart.”

The roar on the other ended silent abruptly.  After a while, Tang Shuoran heard the sound of a sigh and the call ended.
He almost collapsed and dropped the cell phone into his pocket.  He managed to take one step out, but he felt as if he had kicked something.
Tang Shuoran crouched down without regards to his gentlemanly image and began fumbling with his hands around his feet.  The hit was too strong just now, so it must have been about 1 meter in front of him when he touched something – he began feeling the contours of the object, it was a small hand bag.

Did it belong to that girl?  He hesitated a little.  He opened the bag and reached into it carefully.  There was a wallet inside.  The long rectangular stuff might be lipstick.  Was the other thing there a diamond?

Originally~~~ he had thought to give the bag to the staff of the Convention Center and let them handle it.  His mind was completely changed after the long rectangular box opened by accident as he was rummaging about.  The beautiful sound of music flowed out of the box filled him with emotion.

It was a delicate music box.  The sweet melody sang out once the box was opened.
He blankly leaned against the wall and took out the music box.  He kept opening and closing it, just so he could listen to this melody he was all too familiar with.

His cell began ringing again.  It was Lao Deng this time.
“Mr. Xiao Tang, please come back.  You know your father very well.  He wouldn’t call you to compromise unless he --- has encountered a huge setback……”
“Mr. Xiao Tang?  Mr. Xiao Tang? ?  Are you alright? “
“Ok, I’ll go home.  But you need to take me to a bar today —— so I can listen to some music. “
Lao Deng gasped:  “Mr. Xiao Tang, you --- Ah! Ok!  I am coming over.“

After Lao Deng arrived at where Tang Shuoran had been standing, he opened the wallet that was in the purse.  There was an id card with the name “Zhang Shanxue”.  Lao Deng read her name aloud.
Tang Shuoran said: “I found her purse.  Let’s return it to her.”
Lao Deng showed a worried expression: “How do you know that she’s in this bar?  Was she a singer, too?”
Tang Shuoran pouted and walked towards the road.
Lao Deng did not encroach on the subject.  He trotted in front of him and lead the way.
“Mr. Xiao Tang, this way.”

Tang Shuoran walked to the car.  He bumped his head as he bent into the car.  Lao Deng’s heart froze.  He was worried that Mr. Dao Tang might blame him, he was not an easy man to deal with.
Tang Shuoran spoke nonchalantly:  “This car must be replaced too if you want me to go home.”

They soon reached the KEYS BAR.  Lao Deng nearly suffered a heart attack after entering.  It was filled with heavy metal music, it was not a place for older folks.  Lao Deng was only a little over 40 years old, but he hadn’t been to a place like this for years.  In addition, it was too dark inside.  Lao Deng’s behavior was more like a blind man compared to the actual blind man he led.  He subconsciously stretched his hand forward.  He dared not move, as his eyes had yet to adjust to the abrupt change to darkness.

Tang Shuoran shot ahead of Lao Deng easily navigating through the crowd.  He fully utilized his cane helped by experience for sensing his surroundings through touch.  He broke out of the crowd in very little time.  The edge of the bar was a seating area.   Several tables were arranged in circles.  Candles flickered on the tables.  Lao Deng was gradually able to see more of his surroundings.   But the situation was very awkward because it was Tang Shuoran who led the way.  Lao Deng was holding Tang Shuoran’s clothes.  Up to this point, he had not released his hand yet.

This proper man tried to hurriedly release his hand like he had done something wrong.  But it was too late, a couple of men on the neighboring table looked at him with friendly but teasing smiles.

But Tang Shuoran did not notice it.  He was subconsciously looking around.   Lao Deng finally spoke up: “Mr. Xiao Tang, let’s sit here…..”
“Take my name card and show it to Manager Sun --- if he is still working here.”

Lao Deng sighed.  He knew there was trouble the minute he had heard the name KEYS BAR.  It seemed that Mr. Xiao Tang was still in love with that girl who had the same profession.   But he was not going to go against his will.   Nobody wanted to see the same result as what had happened before.
“But Mr. Xiao Tang, I don’t have your name card…….”
“Then just tell him that Solomon is looking for Manager Sun.  Ok.”  Tang Shuoran looked like it was something very difficult for him.  He refused to say another word.
After a while, Lao Deng came back with Manager Sun.

“Solomon…..” yelled Manager Sun.  He found that the current Solomon was no longer the old Solomon….. He looked at Lao Deng surprisingly.   Lao Deng did not say anything, but he pointed to his own eyes and nodded.
Tang Shuoran stood up without holding his stick with an outstretched hand towards the direction of voice.  Manager Sun hugged him.
“Haven’t seen you for a long time! “
Both men stood there.  After a while, Tang Shuoran asked: “Did she ever come here afterwards?“
“Oh, no……”  replied Manager Sun.  “I would have contacted you immediately if she had come.”

Tang Shuoran paused for a bit.  He took the small bag out of his pocket: “I found it.  It seemed to belong to somebody in your bar.  Do you have a singer named Zhang Shanxue here?”

Manger Sun wiped away a bead of sweat: “Sorry, we don’t have singer with this name..….maybe it belongs to a customer…..”
Tang Shuoran’s expression became a tad gloomier and his voice became more listless: “Then please return it to the customer.”

Manger Sun walked to the stage as a song had just finished.  Manger Sun took the microphone: “The lady named Zhang Shanxue, a customer found your hand bag.  Please come to the left aisle of the stage to get it.“

Immediately after he finished, the bar had become incredibly quiet.  A girl excitedly screamed during this time. She ran forward and jumped onto the stage even before Manager Sun stepped off the stage.  “Fantastic!  My lost purse was found!  Nothing can beat how good I feel right now!  Let’s see, inside there’s my card 310……28, and my lipstick shaped music box, and my birthday gift, a small diamond ring,  hahaha!”

Manager Sun verified her identity and returned the bag to her.  She was still hyper because today was Zhang Shanxue’s birthday.  Originally, she was frustrated that she had lost her purse, but it was found and returned to her very soon.  She felt that her good luck had returned.  So she grabbed the microphone from Manager Sun: “I am very grateful such a good-hearted person!  Today is my birthday, so I cannot explain my excitement …... Let me sing a song to express my appreciation!“

She walked straight to the keyboard player of the band and whispered.  She then returned to the front of the stage: “Today, I am going to sing my favorite song VINCENT…...”

Tang Shuoran’s heart tightened.  Why did it have to be this song?  But…...her music box also played this song…...he didn’t have a clear reason for coming here, wasn’t it because he couldn’t forget that song?

Zhang Shanxue was getting more and more excited from the crowd.  She asked the audience in an easy-going manner: “YOU KNOW?  ‘starry starry night’? Right?  That’s it! …... Band!“

Manager Sun stood on the side, his arms crossed over his chest.  This girl was interesting.  She didn’t have an ounce of stage fright.  He didn’t know that Zhang Shanxue was one of the top ten singers from her college.  But he was apparently interested in her.  He wanted to hear how good her voice and singing skill was.

Tang Shuoran shot up from his chair, this girl was really going to sing.  His heart suddenly began to pump faster and he swallowed, there was a faint bitter taste.  He didn’t pay any attention to this and unconsciously leaned towards the stage as if he wanted to as close as possible.

Zhang Shanxue counted: “One Two Three, Go~~~”

The band started to play music, rock and roll that boomed like thunder.  Zhang Shanxue began to sing.  The lyrics of Vincent, originally a blues song, had been transformed into a rock and roll song by her!  That slight feeling of sadness disappeared.  What Tang Shuoran heard was quite ironic..  She wasn’t her!  This elegant song full of sadness now sounded ridiculous!  But the young men and women under the stage didn’t think so, quite the contrary.  They loved this dynamic and energetic revised song.  They were yelling and screaming throughout the song.

Tang Shuoran bit his lower lip.  He lost interest with everything that was occurring before him.  He buttoned a middle button of his suit and deftly grabbed his white cane  He stood straight up and told Lao Deng: “Take me home, at once.”

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