Monday, November 21, 2016

God's Left Hand - Book 1: Chapter 24

She thought Grunt was just asking casually; she hadn’t expected the sudden invitation.  After Ai Jing came into the room, Ai Jing mysteriously told her,  “He didn’t tell you everything; the one who’s playing against him this time is Solo.”
“You have found a man who likes to gossip.”  Ai Qing sulkily threw herself onto the bed.  “I warn you, don’t tell him anything about my past.  And, I’ll go home tomorrow; I need to report to the place I’m going to intern at.”
“How come I haven’t heard you mention this before?”  Her sister also laid down besides her.
“It’s an excuse.  Can’t you tell?”  She turned away, not wanting to bother with this person who had been carried away by love.

Her sister insisted on staying.  She went online to book an airline ticket and found out that for the next two days, all the flights to Hangzhou were sold out, the flights to Shanghai were sold out too.
“See, even heaven wants you to stay.”  Ai Jing was solicitously peeling the skin off of some grapes and put the green flesh into her mouth.  It was too sweet.  “His daughter is almost 7?  Maybe she will get close to you in an instant…...but I still think he’s not right for you.  You just turned 20 and going to be a stepmother just like that?  Do you know how to be a mom?”
She quietly gazed at her sister.

“I’ll go get some midnight snacks.”  Her sister soon realized that she had spoken too much.
“Didn’t you eat a lot when we were at the internet cafe?”  The food Dt bought was enough for more than ten people and they had shared it with other people at the cafe.
“It’s an excuse.  Can’t you tell?”  Her sister returned her words right back to her.
She shrugged.  Before her sister left the room, she abruptly added.  “The biggest difference between a master player and a not so great player is, except skill, their mentality.”  Her sister was at a loss from the words which came out of nowhere.  “What about mentality?”
Ai Qing waved her index finger back and forth in front of her face.  “Buddha once said, can not say can not say.  You can go ask Grunt…... Maybe you two can talk about the topic for the whole night.”
Ai Jing finally understood, smiled to the point that her eyes narrowed into slits, and smoothed her short hair to the back of her ears.  “Good idea.”

After Ai Jing left, the room became totally silent.  She put on her earphones and went online aimlessly.  She searched for the game that the owner of the internet cafe had told her about in the afternoon.  While she was captivated by what she found, she seemed to hear someone knocking on the door.  She took off her earphones and sure enough someone was knocking on the door.
She went over to open the door.
A big, tall man stood in front of the door and smiled like a delinquent young man. “Little Apple Dog, are you showing up in Chengdu suddenly just for the Beat It invitational?” Ai Qing looked at him in shock, opened her mouth, and didn’t even know how to answer.  He was All, a member of Solo’s team six years ago.  They hadn’t seen each other since the disbandment of the team five years ago.

It was so unexpected that he would show up here.

“Go change.  I’ll take you to see some old friends.”  All patted her shoulder.  “If I didn’t see Grunt by chance, I really can’t believe that you happen to be in Chengdu.”
“How are you?  Have you graduated from college?  What are you doing now?”  Ai Qing belatedly asked him.
“Very well.”  All rubbed his bald head.  “Ever since I was abandoned by you and Solo, I had no choice but to study hard.  I graduated last year. But I just can’t let it go, so I formed a team.  We are here for the Beat It challenge.  Xiaomi, who used to be on our team, is with me now.”
“That’s great.”  She couldn’t help but sigh.  “That’s great……”
They deviated but hadn’t given up after all.

“Come, come.  We will have plenty of time to talk about the past.”  All hinted for her to go change quickly. “I haven’t told them about you just yet.  Let’s go surprise them.”  “En, wait for me for a few minutes.”  She said and was about to closed the door, when she suddenly remembered what Grunt had told her.  “The old friends you mentioned…...does it include Solo?”
“He’s here.  He’s here for the star invitational, actually it’s an exhibition game.”  All could tell she was hesitating and added quickly.  “Don’t tell me you two can’t stand each other now?  Wasn’t it just a break up?  I didn’t even resent you two for the disbandment of our team because of what happened between the two of you ……”  She shook her head and wanted to explain that a lot of other things had happened afterwards, but she just smiled.  “It’s nothing.  It’s just that I haven’t seen him for quite some time now.  It feels awkward.”

All took her to a quieter bar.
It wasn’t noisy but it was not empty, rather it’s almost a full house.
When she walked in, she already saw her old friends sitting to the right side of the main stage.  Under the dim lights, it seemed that Solo hadn’t changed at all.  “Extreme skill”, “Godlike focus”, all praises belonged only to the Solo in competitions and not the Solo who’s sitting here reminiscing with old friends.
There were people getting up, people leaving, and people sitting down.
Some people found out about him and were quietly discussing with excitement.

With ups and downs for the past 7, 8 years, he had already gotten used to all the attention.  He didn’t react at all and continued to chat happily with old friends.  All took her to the booth, with an arm around her shoulder and announced loudly, “Look who’s here?”
All of those old acquaintances raised their heads to look, greeted her with surprise, and stood up.

Solo sat in the innermost position and was the last one to stand up.  Their sight was blocked by 3 or 4 people in between and they couldn’t see each other’s face clearly.

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha. And here I thought she'd be in cognito~ Thnx for the chappie!!

    ReplyDelete