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The Untold Story - Chapter 6

Published at 9th of December 2018 02:04:12 PM

Chapter 6

In that instant, Yang Zhao felt very strange .


 

She had yet to take a proper look at Chen Mingsheng . Even though she had spoken to him, and even brought him home to take shelter from the rain, she had yet to study Chen Mingsheng’s face up close .

This cab driver was not ugly .

 

Going by the standards of young girls these days, Chen Mingsheng was not handsome . He had no vitality, no refined yet winsome appearance . At best, you could say that he had regular features .

And yet, he fit the aesthetic standards of women of Yang Zhao’s age .

Chen Mingsheng’s appearance was very down-to-earth . He had a head of black, clean-cropped short hair, eyes that were not big, and a distinct profile . Yang Zhao still remembered how black and deep-set his eyes were .

Even though he was missing a leg, he did not look frail at all . Conversely, his body looked very well built . His chest was wide, his shoulders broad, and his waist narrow . When Yang Zhao mentally pictured him with his other leg, she discovered, with some surprise, that Chen Mingsheng was in fact in very good shape .

His lips were firm . Some people’s lips would slacken while sleeping, but not Chen Mingsheng . Even when he’s sound asleep, his lips were tightly shut, and a faint laugh line would crease the sides of his lips .

Yang Zhao once read a book on physiognomy that said that people with this sort of lip shape were inordinately stubborn . Whether or not this applied to Chen Mingsheng, Yang Zhao did not know .

 

Yang Zhao looked to the side, at the prosthetic leg that had given Yang Zhao such a fright . This prosthetic leg did not look like a high-end model . Xue Miao once had a client who was an amputee, an American . It was summer when Yang Zhao met him . He wore shorts openly, and had a prosthetic leg attached to his shank . It looked very high-tech, like the robots in American blockbuster movies . The way he walked was also no different from an ordinary person . Yang Zhao vaguely remembered the way Chen Mingsheng walked— Cumbersome, unnatural .

 

Hugging his arms, the man slept while sitting up, and his posture was a lot more upright than one would expect of someone deep in sleep .

Finally, after looking around, her eyes came to rest on the coffee table before her .

Atop the coffee table was a mug, packets of medicine, and her door keys . After a brief moment of reflection, Yang Zhao had a pretty good idea of what happened .

She got up and went to the bedroom to get changed .

In the span of this short walk, the first thought that came to Yang Zhao’s mind was—

 

He can keep that 5,000 yuan .

 


Yang Zhao changed into long-sleeved linen top and pants . She returned to the living room, took out her phone, and ordered two sets of takeout in the balcony . After sweating it out in her sleep, her fever had subsided, and even though she still felt unwell, it was bearable . She went back to the living room, sat on the sofa, picked up a mug and drank a sip . The water in the mug was still warm . She had no idea where Chen Mingsheng had conjured the warm water from .

 

Sitting there, mulling over this meaningless question, she quietly waited for Chen Mingsheng to wake up .

 

This driver had moved her a little .

 

Yang Zhao was a cold woman . Indeed, this coldness was a shortcoming that every member of the Yang household shared . Their interpersonal relationships were transparent and terse . Since childhood, Yang Zhao never participated in family gatherings besides her parents’ birthdays and New Year’s Eve family dinners . Not that she ever looked forward to them . Yang Zhao’s family members each lived within their own social circles, maintained tepid relations, and kept a policy of mutual non-interference .

Yang Zhao had two ex-boyfriends, one Chinese, one Caucasian . They did all the things men and women in love could do . Then they went separate ways . Yang Zhao would draw a blank whenever she tried to recall her exes . Even their appearances were a fuzzy blur .

The reason for both break ups was the same —due to incompatible personalities .

Yang Zhao knew clearly that her personality was aloof, but she had no intentions of changing .

 

And so she always had free time, her work revolved around antiques filled with their own colorful histories; life was varied yet fulfilling . Presently, bar her younger brother Yang Jintian, her life was a relatively predictable and uneventful one .

Which was why, the subtle way in which this driver had touched Yang Zhao left an unusually vivid impression .

 

Chen Mingsheng woke up while she was just idly sitting around .

When he opened his eyes, he paused upon seeing Yang Zhao, as if composing himself . Then he straightened up and rubbed his nose bridge .

“Sorry ‘bout that, I fell asleep . ”

Chen Mingsheng’s voice was deep and thick with sleep .

Yang Zhao looked at him and said, “I’m Yang Zhao . ”

Chen Mingsheng blanked, not knowing why Yang Zhao was reporting her name all of a sudden . “Hi, Ms Yang,” he said after a pause . He considered for a moment, then spoke up again, “I’m Chen Mingsheng . ”

Yang Zhao nodded . She peered at the medicine on the coffee table .


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“You bought this?”

Chen Mingsheng nodded . “Yeah, you had a fever last night . I took your keys, went out, bought the meds . I left your keys on the table . ” He looked over, only to realize that the keys were gone . Seeing his confusion, Yang Zhao said: “I’ve kept the keys . ”

Chen Mingsheng paused for a beat . “I got anxious and searched your pockets . Sorry . ”

Yang Zhao’s “I’ve kept the keys” sounded a lot like reproach, and both Yang Zhao and Chen Mingsheng had picked up on it .

Yang Zhao shook her head and clarified, “I didn’t intend it that way . Thanks for buying the medicine for me . ” Not knowing what to say, Chen Mingsheng replied with a simple “you’re welcome” . Then, silence .

 

Chen Mingsheng had half a mind to put on his prosthetics and leave, but the way the woman before him kept staring at him rooted him to the spot . Putting on his prosthetics was a troublesome affair that required him to hitch up the leg of his pants completely, and Chen Mingsheng wasn’t so easy-going that he’d casually expose his own deformity before a woman . He thought for a bit, then said to Yang Zhao: “Ms Yang, I’ve got to go . ”

Yang Zhao said: “You’ve not eaten yet, right? I’ve ordered takeout . It’ll be here very soon . Eat before you go . ”

Chen Mingsheng didn’t expect Yang Zhao to order takeout while he was sleeping . He shook his head and said: “No need, I’ll eat when I get back . ”

Yang Zhao said: ”What do I do? The order has been placed, I can’t finish them all by myself . It’d be a waste to throw them away . ”

Chen Mingsheng: ”…” He was going to press his case, but thought better of it upon seeing Yang Zhao’s resolute expression . “Alright then . Much obliged . ”

Yang Zhao said nothing . Silence again .

 

This time, however, the silence was not an awkward one . Yang Zhao could tell that Chen Mingsheng was not a chatty person . She noticed the mug on the table, and remembering something, said to Chen Mingsheng: “Where did you get the warm water from?”

Chen Mingsheng seemed to have thought of it too . “Nowhere,” he told Yang Zhao . “I boiled it . Opened your new pot . ”

Yang Zhao went silent .

Interpreting her silence as anger, Chen Mingsheng apologized again: “Sorry, I did it without your permission—”  

 

“I have a pot?”

“Ah?”

Yang Zhao looked at Chen Mingsheng with quizzical eyes .


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“I have a pot? Why don’t I know about this?”

Chen Mingsheng thought that this woman was a little random . After some deliberation, he said: “There’s one, unopened . It was in the lowermost kitchen cabinet . ” To help jog her memory, he added, “A milk pot, brand’s Supor, made of stainless steel . ”

Yang Zhao thought about it expressionlessly, then gave a soft “ah” .

“Right, it was a free gift that came with the kitchen wares . I remember it now . ”

Not knowing what to say, Chen Mingsheng simply nodded .

 

Yang Zhao eyed Chen Mingsheng and said abruptly: “Are you feeling unwell?”

Chen Mingsheng briefly looked her in the eye .  

“You don’t look too good,” said Yang Zhao .

Chen Mingsheng reflexively hung his head . He was feeling unwell . His clothes were still damp, and the way they stuck to his body made him feel awful . His right leg especially was throbbing something fierce . Chen Mingsheng very much wanted to go to the bathroom; he suspected that his leg was already infected .  

His silence confirmed Yang Zhao’s suspicions . She took the mug to the kitchen . There was still half a pot of water left in the milk pot . Yang Zhao poured away the remaining water in the mug, refilled it, and brought it back to the living room . She handed the mug to Chen Mingsheng and said: “Did you catch a cold too?” She held up the medicines on the coffee table and examined them . “You should take some medicine too . ”

Chen Mingsheng accepted the mug but did not drink from it . He told Yang Zhao: “Thanks, but I’m fine . I don’t need them . ”

He was being truthful . Even though he did catch a cold, it was not the root of the issue . These medicine could not treat his leg . Eating them would not be of any use .

 

Yang Zhao said: “What’s making you uncomfortable?”

Chen Mingsheng didn’t have the habit of explaining his condition to others, so he simply shook his head and said: “I’m fine . It’ll pass . ”

Yang Zhao took the hint and let the matter drop .

 

After some time, the takeout arrived .

Yang Zhao took the takeout boxes in, set them on the coffee table, and opened them up . She stopped mid-action .

Chen Mingsheng looked at her uncomprehendingly .


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Yang Zhao said, “There’s only one pair of chopsticks . ”

Chen Mingsheng said, “Just get another . ”

Yang Zhao raised her eyes to meet his gaze: “There aren’t any chopsticks in my house . ”

“…” Chen Mingsheng was truly at a loss for words . He rubbed his chin lightly and said: “You eat first . ”

 

“That won’t do,” Yang Zhao shook her head . “I ordered two sets of food, but they only provided one set of chopsticks . Go ahead and tuck in, I’ll make a call and have them send the chopsticks over . ”

Chen Mingsheng didn’t think the matter was grave enough to warrant another delivery just for a pair of chopsticks . He thought about it, then told Yang Zhao: “No need, I can use the rice paddle . There was a free rice paddle that came with the milk pot . ”

“Really?” Yang Zhao stood up and headed for the kitchen . Moments later, she emerged with a long rice paddle . “You’re sure about this?”

Chen Mingsheng nodded . “Positive . Pass it over . ”

Yang Zhao passed him the paddle, and the two began eating wordlessly .

Chen Mingsheng held the food box up to eat and shovelled his food down very quickly . Since the paddle was literally meant for scooping rice, he ate without issue . He ate quickly for a purpose: so that he could leave as soon as possible, before his leg reached its limit .

Yang Zhao ate at a much slower rate than Chen Mingsheng . Chen Mingsheng’s eating speed inexplicably pressured her . She did not eat much before stopping .

 

Chen Mingsheng polished the food off cleanly without leaving a single grain of rice behind . He placed the food box on the table and said: “Thank you for your hospitality . I’ve got to go . ”

Yang Zhao nodded . Indeed, it was about time .

Chen Mingsheng reached for the crutch lying on the right side of the sofa . He stretched, inadvertently applying pressure on the right side of his body . Yang Zhao watched as he paused, frowned, clenched his teeth—straining laboriously from the effort—before seizing hold of the crutch .

He hoisted himself to his feet . A split second later, his shoulder drooped sharply, as if unable to support the weight of his body .

Cold sweat beaded Chen Mingsheng’s head .  Great, he grumbled under his breath . The one thing he didn’t want to happen was now happening .

While his left leg trembled uncontrollably, Yang Zhao rose to her feet and made to support him without further thought .

 

“How are you feeling? Are you okay?”



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