Goodnight, Miss Rose chapter 9

Chapter 9

With a cup of hot Americano and a messy conversation, Tao Ting successfully had insomnia till five in the morning.

When the garbage truck clanged below, she finally reached the brink of breakdown. She turned over and buried her face in the pillow, sobbing.

After soaking half of her pillow with her tears, her head was swelling badly, and her pulse rate and heartbeat were rapid. Tao Ting was certain that she would suddenly die in the next second.

Feeling a foreign object in her throat, Tao Ting retched. She felt the wall for the light and squinted as she walked to the bathroom.

The person in the mirror was pale, but the cheeks were flushed in a sickly colour. Tao Ting rinsed her mouth and scooped a handful of cold water to splash onto her face. When she felt more clear-headed, she returned to her bedside, picked up her phone and asked her superior for half a day off.

Tao Ting laid weakly on the bed, but her mind was in a complete mess.

Look, without her, Xu Linyue would still have a new young girl by his side very quickly. He even brazenly asked that she take care of her.

How could she believe his deceiving words? Nobody would ever know how much of his skillfulness and ease in front of her were real.

No matter how much she liked him, she would have to first love herself.

As she thought about it, her eyes turned red again. Tao Ting rubbed her eyes and pulled the blanket over herself.

The world climate had turned extreme. The winter was frigid and long, making it extra difficult to get through.

The planning department had employees enter one after another. Tao Ting was promoted to supervisor, and she moved into her own office.

When she was packing her desk, she saw that the flowers in the vase had withered and shrivelled. Tao Ting then realised that it had been a long time since she had changed them.

“Xiao Liu,” Tao Ting called her subordinate over, “go ask the logistics department why flowers weren’t delivered the past several days.”

“Oh, okay.”

After the last intern had finished reporting in the morning, Tao Ting held a simple department meeting.

There were two with outstanding abilities among the new employees and were both top students from the 985 universities (first-class universities in China) [1]. One of them was Jiang Zhen, who was bright and beautiful, with good business skills. She even had experience in the field. The other was Song Qingqing, the girl whom Xu Linyue had asked her to take care of specially. Even though Song Qingqing had recently graduated and looked gentle and quiet, she was decisive and orderly when it came to working. Her resume had indicated that she had always been serving the student council, and thus, was not just eye-candy [2].

To think that he could even “eat” someone that was this young. Was he not afraid of choking? Tao Ting criticised internally.

However, she will not be partial to anyone and will naturally not be deliberately against anyone. This was strictly business, and she would treat everyone equally.

At noon, she treated everyone to a meal. It could be considered the department’s first gathering.

They found a Chinese restaurant below the office. Tao Ting passed the menu to her subordinates and got them to order what they wanted.

“I want to eat steamed eggs with shrimps! This restaurant cooks it really deliciously.”

Tao Ting sipped the black tea in the cup, maintaining her composure as she raised her eyes to glance at the girl diagonally in front of her.

Song Qianqian clearly came to this restaurant to eat often. She had called out the dishes very familiarly.

Tao Ting accidentally drank a piece of tea leaf. The tip of her tongue was coated with a tinge of bitterness, and Tao Ting furrowed her brows.

Although Tao Ting did not usually smile, her employees did not fear her. In private, everyone would play and laugh whenever appropriate.

Yu Bing was best at livening up the atmosphere and could not help but share gossip with the new colleagues.

That little mouth of hers was just too good at babbling. Even a glance between the cleaning auntie and the security guard uncle could become a bitter, deep love through her mouth.

“Hey, I was eating with Adela two days ago, and she told me that our CEO Xu seemed to have something going on,” Yu Bing suddenly lowered her voice. Her mysterious look aroused everyone’s curiosity.

“What is it?”

“Say it, quickly, quickly.”

Tao Ting picked a piece of fish and plucked out the fish bones, one by one. She lowered her head and seemed concentrated, as though she did not care about this at all.

Yu Bing paused right at the climax, keeping them all in suspense. Only under everyone’s urging did she then continue unhurriedly, “I heard that CEO Xu’s young girlfriend is in our company.”

“What?”

“Holy shit!”

“Ah? Who?”

Yu Bing’s mouth twitched, and she coughed out two laughs, “And… She seems to be in our marketing department!”

Song Qingqing had the biggest reaction out of them all. The sound of the scraping of the chair was heard, and she stood up, excitedly asking, “Oh my gosh! Who is it? Who is it?”

Tao Ting furrowed her eyebrows. Why did she look the most surprised out of everyone? Was it an act?

Before the situation turned out of control, Tao Ting coughed and raised her voice, saying, “Let’s not spread groundless rumours and talk about such useless things. Let’s eat.”

Yu Bing pursed her lips and justified herself, “But Adela told me that CEO Xu would often send… (to our department)”

“Enough,” Tao Ting interrupted, “let’s eat.”

Yu Bing made a sound of acknowledgement and obediently shut her mouth.

Before getting off work, Tao Ting received a call from Yang Fanghua. She wanted Tao Ting to make a trip to the school before going home. A teacher gave everyone strawberries, so she wanted Tao Ting to take them home first and put them in the refrigerator.

Six o’clock was the evening rush. Even though the journey was less than five kilometres, the cars moved slowly, and the drive took nearly an hour.

She had not eaten dinner. Tao Ting parked the car and hastily glanced at the Bentley in front, finding it somewhat familiar.

She did not think much about it and quickly walked into the school.

Yang Fangua was in the office and seemed to be talking to the parent of a student. A tall, thin, young girl was standing at the side, with her head lowered.

Tao Ting knocked on the door frame and called out, “Mom.”

The seated man just happened to turn his head a little, and Tao Ting abruptly froze in place.

The two of them locked eyes, and surprise was written in both their eyes.

“You’re here?” Yang Fanghua handed Tao Ting a basket of strawberries, “wash yourself some to eat when you reach home. If your dad sees them, he would definitely steal them from you.”

Tao Ting nodded, carrying the basket and about to leave.

“Hey, Tao Tao,” Yang Fanghua stopped her and smiled at the man beside her apologetically, “I’ll have a word with my daughter.”

The man was considerate and made a gesture for her to go ahead.

“Earlier, Teacher Tang said that his nephew had returned to China. He’s around your age. I’ll send you his WeChat later, do remember to add him.”

Tao Ting closed her eyes, and her speech was fast as she replied, “I’ve got it. I haven’t eaten dinner yet, so I’ll go back first. You can get back to work.”

Then, without turning back, she walked off in her high heels.

On the way back to her car, Tao Ting took a deep breath and ruffled her hair frustratedly. What even was this situation?

Ding— Tao Ting glanced at her phone.

【Xu Linyue: Wait for me.】

“Who’s waiting for you?” Tao Ting snorted. Without caring for him, she inserted the car keys but hesitated to turn them.

Around ten minutes later, Xu Linyue came out with the young girl from earlier. One had his hands in the pocket and was strolling idly, while the other was carrying her school bag and following after him.

Tao Ting was leaning against the car. When she saw them walking over, she straightened up and shouted, “CEO Xu.”

Xu Linyue made a “huh” sound, as though very surprised, “Turns out you’ve not forgotten who I am.”

Tao Ting put on a fake business-like smile, “I did not want the relationships in the room to turn messy, so I didn’t think that it was necessary to greet you then.”

Xu Linyue nodded, but his tone was uncertain, “You’re right.”

The young girl beside them darted her round, black eyes between them both and asked, “Uncle (mother’s younger brother), who is this?”

Xu Linyue grabbed her by the collar and pointed at Tao Ting, saying, “Song Feifei, greet Auntie Tao.”

When introducing Song Feifei to Tao Ting, Xu Linyue bluntly said, “This is my youngest niece (sister’s daughter). She was drawing manhua (manga/cartoons) during Chinese language class, and her parents were called. They were too ashamed of her and sent me instead.”

Tao Ting held back her laughter and nodded.

“Let go and eat,” Xu Linyue moved forward as he spoke. Song Feifei hurriedly followed.

Seeing Tao Ting standing and not moving, Xu Linyue turned back, “Let’s go.”

Tao Ting looked up blankly, “Ah?”

Xu Linyue let out a laugh, “What do you mean by ‘ah’? Do you need me to hold onto your hand? Didn’t you say that you were hungry?”

Tao Ting confusedly followed both uncle and niece into the car and into an elegantly decorated restaurant selling Jiangsu and Zhejiang cuisines.

Xu Linyue ordered the dishes, asking for Tao Ting’s opinions perfunctorily and ignoring Song Feifei’s requests.

Seeing the pout on the young girl’s face growing, Xu Linyue finally gave in and added the salted eggs chicken wings.

Song Feifei asked Xu Linyue, “Uncle, what are we doing later after dinner?”

Xu Linyue poured hot water once over the three pieces of tableware [3], “I’ll send you back to school for the evening self-study period.”

Song Feifei was immediately unhappy. She disappointedly sounded out an “ah”, saying, “Don’t. Just send me back home. I’ll do my homework at home.”

Xu Linyue looked askance at her, “Your sister is out shopping. You’ll be alone at home.”

“Then let me be alone. I don’t want to play with her anyway.”

Xu Linyue snapped his fingers and took his phone out of his pocket, “I almost forgot to report your glorious deeds in school to Xiao Lü (Little Green) [4].”

Xu Linyue pressed on the voice record button and deliberately spoke sarcastically, “My oldest niece, it seems like our Xiao Hong (Little Red) [4] sure is outstanding now. During Chinese language class, everyone was reciting “Ballad of the Lute“ but she was drawing Yuan Zhen and Bai Juyi kissing [5] on her book. Isn’t she awesome? She even shocked her teacher so much that she could not speak.”

Song Feifei was both flustered and exasperated as she shouted, “Don’t call me Xiao Hong! Also, my drawings are decent fanart!”

Tao Ting, who had been holding in her laugh for a long time, finally could not keep it in any longer and let out a burst of laughter.

Xu Linyue put his phone down and raised his eyes to look at her, “I thought you were going to give me an attitude the entire night.”

Tao Ting blushed at his words, “No, I just don’t like smiling.”

Xu Linyue raised the corners of his mouth, “Smile more. You look good when you smile.”

Tao Ting picked a piece of pumpkin and stuffed it into her mouth, filling her mouth up and not speaking.

Later, no matter how much Song Feifei coaxed and pestered, Xu Linyue’s standpoint remained firmly unchanged.

The young girl kept turning back as she walked, hoping that her uncle would suddenly regret his decision.

“Be good and go in. Don’t be distracted in class again,” Xu Linyue raised his voice and shouted inside.

As Tao Ting watched her enter the school building, she said, “She’s rather cute.”

Xu Linyue made a sound of agreement, “I’ll have to trouble Teacher Yang to keep an eye on her.”

Tao Ting nodded in consent, “Sure, I’ll go home and tell my mom.”

With the absence of the noisy Song Feifei, the awkwardness between them returned again.

The street lamps were dim, and the ground was covered with dead branches and leaves.

Xu Linyue’s skill at starting a conversation was still poor as ever, “How are you doing lately?”

Tao Ting replied, “Pretty good.”

Xu Linyue touched his eyebrows and pretended to be bringing up the topic casually, “I heard your mom mention that she was going to arrange a blind date for you?”

“Ah, I’m of marriage age but still single [6], so my family is anxious. I’m unlike CEO Xu, who is outstanding. Even the rumours of your young girlfriend have reached my ears.”

She said it in one breath. When Tao Ting looked up and met Xu Linyue’s gaze, both of them were, unexpectedly, a little stunned.

Her brain had “short-circuited” earlier, and she had stepped over the line with her words. Tao Ting opened her mouth, wanting to remedy the situation, but she could not think of anything to say even after a long while. Hence, she simply chose to escape, “It’s getting late. I’ll head back now.”

“Stop,” Xu Linyue stood in front of her and blocked her.

“Tao Ting.”

Tao Ting raised her head and, in a trembling voice, “Ah.”

There was a hint of an exasperated smile on the corners of Xu Linyue’s lips, “Don’t you think that there seems to be some misunderstanding between us?”

Tao Ting’s mind had completely crashed, “What misunderstanding?”

Xu Linyue sighed, “Let’s talk about what you just said first. Young girlfriend? What’s that about?”

Tao Ting blinked, “Promise that you won’t investigate the employees responsible for this first.”

Xu Linyue agreed, “Okay.”

“Someone said that your young girlfriend is in our company, and it seems that she’s in our marketing department.”

Adela said that?”

Tao Ting took a sharp breath.

Seeing her reaction, Xu Linyue coldly snorted.

Tao Ting only felt her back tingling and silently recited “Amitabha” in her heart.

When she opened her mouth again, her words were fumbling, “That… You… You should still be more careful. If such rumours spread, it would reflect badly on… on Song Qingqing.”

Xu Linyue was puzzled, “What does it have to do with her?”

Tao Ting gave him a “what do you think?” look, “Don’t worry, I’ll help both of you keep it a secret.”

Xu Linyue laughed instead, “There’s no need. No matter what she does, it won’t be as embarrassing as what her younger sister just did. I’m already used to it.”

Tao Ting was utterly confused. Were they on the same frequency?

Xu Linyue hit his forehead, “Oh, did I not tell you? She’s my oldest niece.”

Tao Ting asked, “What about Song Feifei then?”

Xu Linyue replied, “Her incompetent biological younger sister.”

Looking at Tao Ting’s baffled expression, Xu Linyue finally understood, “You wouldn’t have thought that Song Qingqing and I were having an improper relationship, would you?”

Tao Ting turned her head away and did not say anything.

Xu Linyue pinched her cheeks and turned her head back front, smiling as he continued questioning her, “Would you?”

Tao Ting’s face was filled with bitterness as she admitted, “Yes. Who exactly is your young girlfriend then?”

Xu Linyue raised his eyebrows and used his eyes to convey, “what do you think?”

Tao Ting pointed at herself with uncertainty, “It’s not me, is it?”

Xu Linyue said, “I told Adela to order flowers for you back then. She must’ve misunderstood.”

“Ordered flowers?”

Speaking of the flowers, Xu Linyue questioned her about her “crimes”. “I was thinking that it was weird. I’ve sent you flowers for a month, yet you didn’t have any reaction, not even a ‘thank you’.“

Tao Ting was speechless, “No, you… If you’re sending flowers, why didn’t you leave your name or say who it was for! I thought the company mass ordered them for each department as decorations!”

Xu Linyue explained himself, “I was afraid that you wouldn’t like the public display.”

Tao Ting retorted back without thinking, “Who said that I won’t like that?”

Xu Linyue uttered an “oh” and said, “Okay, I’ll replace the image on the front page of the company’s official website with yours, and add the title ‘CEO’s Wife’ next to it. Would that be public enough?”


TRANSLATOR’S NOTES

[1] Project 985 (985工程) is a constructive project for founding world-class universities in the 21st century conducted by the government of China. The name derives from the date of the announcement, May 1998, or 98/5 according to the Chinese date format. As of today, 39 universities are included in the project, and these universities are given funding to build new research centres, improve facilities, hold international conferences, attract world-renowned faculty and visiting scholars, and help Chinese faculty attend conferences abroad. (Credits 12Source)

[2] 花瓶 (huā píng), literally, “flower vase”. This phrase carries a negative connotation and is used to describe women who are attractive but lack genuine depth (i.e. attractive looks but without intellect and heart to match). (Credit)

[3] It is not a custom, but some will pour hot water over the tableware before using them to disinfect them. In Hong Kong, however, it is custom for Chinese restaurants to provide you with a huge bowl where you will place your tableware inside and wash the tableware with the first brew of tea. The three pieces of tableware that Xu Linyue washed are most likely the three most common tableware used in Chinese restaurants – the bowl, chopsticks and spoon.

[4] Xu Linyue’s nickname for his two nieces are Little Green (小绿) for Song Qingqing (宋青青), where both 绿 and 青 means green, and Little Red (小红) for Song Feifei (宋绯绯), where 红 means red and 绯 means dark red.

[5] The “Ballad of the Lute“ (琵琶行) is a poem composed by Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi (白居易). You can read the translated poem here. Bai Juyi is said to be very close friends with Tang dynasty poet Yuan Zhen (元稹).

[6] 大龄 (dà líng) literally means “old age”, and is used to refer to being above the average age for marriage, while 剩女 (shèng nǚ) is an internet slang which literally translates to “leftover women”. Therefore, the term, 大龄剩女 (dà líng shèng nǚ) refers to women who are close to 30 years old, but still single/unmarried. In China, especially among the older generation, many still have the traditional thinking that women who are of married age but still unmarried are “leftovers” and will be looked down upon, regardless of the success they may have in their careers. However, in huge cities like Shanghai and Beijing, such traditional thinkings are slowly changing, and competent, career-driven women are becoming increasingly common. (Source)


Goodnight, Miss Rose

Goodnight, Miss Rose

晚安, 玫瑰小姐
Score 8.2
Status: Completed Type: Author: Released: 2021 Native Language: Chinese
A story where both career achievements and a boyfriend must be gained.The Approach: Placing equal importance to both love and career and working on both simultaneously.

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