Finish What was Started
Looking at Pei Xuan in front of him, Wen Yu’s expression changed a few times, but he finally made up his mind.
“I’m sorry, I cannot hand you over to him.”
“Big Brother Wen Yu, don’t leave me with him!”
Both of them were surprised. They looked at each other, then, at the next second, Wen Yu made off at once with Ning Ning in his arms.
“Hold it!” Pei Xuan shouted and ran after them.
The staff members who were left behind looked at each other in bewilderment, wondering what had happened. As there were no customers, they got together and talked under their breath about what had happened.
As they were gossiping, two more people walked in.
They looked like a pair of father and son. The one walking ahead was slender in stature and feminine, he looked like a woman even though he was wearing a men’s suit. The man looked a little nervous as he kept adjusting his tie non-stop. A little boy who was seven or eight years old was by his side, who was also in a new set of clothes, he had both his hands behind his head, looking reluctant.
“Excuse me, I’m looking for someone.“ The man who looked like a crossdressing woman walked up to a staff member. The staff member was surprised when a man’s voice rang out, “Did you see a girl? She looks like…this.”
He took out a photograph from his chest pocket. In the photograph was Ning Ning making a heart with both her hands at the camera.
“I did.” The staff member took a look at the photograph. “A man brought her here earlier, he bought some snacks and drinks…”
“A man?” The little boy raised his eyebrows, then looked up at the man in the suit. “Father, guess I was right. That woman might have even called a few different men, for example that Director Chen that we just met… You are just one of them.”
“Bo Yue, shut up.” The man in the suit berated (the boy). He smiled and asked the staff member, “Where are they now?”
“They ran off.” The staff member told him animatedly, “Actually you guys are really not the only people who came looking for someone, let me tell you…”
Wen Yu was very lucky. Midway through running away, a taxi had coincidentally driven towards him. He raised his hand to hail the taxi, then hurriedly got on it with Ning Ning in his arms. He closed the door and said, “To the city.”
The car slowly turned around and drove towards the city, leaving Pei Xuan far behind them.
Ning Ning turned her head to take a look.
Through the windows, Pei Xuan was holding both his knees. Like a person who had just hiked up Mount Tai, he was gasping desperately for air…
That middle-aged man had terrible stamina…
On the contrary, although he had run with Ning Ning in his arms, Wen Yu only panted a little in the taxi then turned to ask Ning Ning, “Why do you not want to go with him? Wasn’t he a friend of your mother?”
“Because he is a bad guy.” Ning Ning looked at him innocently.
Wen Yu was taken aback. “Why did you say that?”
“A big sister told me. She was tricked by him.” Ning Ning told him sincerely.
Wen Yu had a grave look on his face. He was originally leaning back on the seat, but he abruptly sat up straight and gazed at her. “Tell me everything.”
“It was a big sister named Yu Sheng…” Ning Ning told him the story about Pei Xuan getting Yu Sheng to act as a rich lady once. “Now she is trapped in his house.”
Ning Ning did not lie. If Yu Sheng was still alive, then she would be locked in Pei Xuan’s attic, pretending not to be able to hear, not to be able to see, to be a vegetable.
Wen Yu closed his eyes while he pondered over something. After a while, he looked up at her and said, “No matter what, let us give your mother a call, so that she doesn’t worry too much.”
At the next phone booth, Wen Yu told the taxi to make a stopover, then got off and gave Ning Yu Ren a call.
“I’ve been told, you took off with my daughter.” Ning Yu Ren said.
“Please listen to my explanation,” Wen Yu said, “it’s regarding Pei Xuan…”
Ning Yu Ren interrupted him, “Can I leave Ning Ning with you temporarily?”
Wen Yu was stunned.
“As a matter of fact, I was clutching at straws and had gotten three people to look for Ning Ning.” Ning Yu Ren let out a bitter laugh. “Too many cooks will spoil the broth. If the three of them were to find out what I’ve done, they probably wouldn’t be happy about it, then they would not take care of Ning Ning willingly.”
“Can I ask a question?” Wen Yu asked.
“Go ahead.” Ning Yu Ren said.
“Why must you leave Ning Ning with someone else?” He looked at Ning Ning who was sitting by his leg. “She is still so young.”
“I have something to deal with recently. She’s…too young, she should not see these things.” Ning Yu Ren let out a laugh. “I’m usually busy with work, I don’t have time to make friends. I’m starting to regret it now. Once I’ve looked around, I could only find a few candidates to look after her…they are not the good kind either. You appeared at the right time, you have the conduct of Director Shi, I am very well aware of that. Can you do me this favour? Can you take Ning Ning in temporarily for a while?”
Ning Yu Ren was known as a person who was hard to get along with in the entertainment industry. She had money, she had fame, she had status, but she didn’t have many friends. She also very rarely asked for help. When she asked for help this time, especially in such a sincere manner, Wen Yu found it hard to reject her.
“For how long?” He finally sighed.
“A few weeks, at most a month.” Ning Yu Ren said, “Thank you… Finally, can you let me say a few words to Ning Ning?”
The receiver was swapped into Ning Ning’s hands. She heard Ning Yu Ren say softly, “Ning Ning, if he asks why your name has the character ‘Ning’ in it, just tell him it’s to commemorate Wen Xiao Ning…”
After the exhortation, Ning Yu Ren hung up. She was standing alone in the empty resting area. The corners of her lips were curved up, her eyes lit up in the darkness, like a beast that had finally found a chance to take revenge after getting hurt.
“Why don’t you turn on the lights?” The lights were suddenly switched on, the director stood by the light switch and asked gently, “How are you? Feeling a little better? Can you continue filming today?”
“I’m fine now.” Ning Yu Ren turned her head around. She had reverted to her usual demure as she smiled modestly. “Let’s begin filming.”
When she walked out of the room and past her assistant, she handed her mobile phone to them and casually gave an instruction. “Help me answer the phone if someone calls from home, tell them that I’m filming.”
But she knew in her heart that no one from home would call her until two days later—which was to say until Xiao Yu was done filming—Xu Rong would call her. Xu Rong would then cry in the call, saying that Ning Ning had gotten lost, that she had tried to look for her for a very long time but could not find her…
“Begin!” The director waved the script that had been rolled up in his hand.
Let it begins. Ning Yu Ren closed her eyes and thought.
I have to finish what I’ve started through Life Theater. I ignored everything else and came to the beginning just so I could correct the mistake I once made.
“Big Brother Wen Yu.” Ning Ning stood at the kitchen door and looked at Wen Yu who was busy in front of the stove. “Will you save Big Sister Yu Sheng?”
It was already dark outside, they were currently at Director Shi’s house. Director Shi was not around, he was said to be filming a martial arts film at a certain set. They did not have a helper, it was unsure whether Director Shi wanted to train his son or if Wen Yu liked to be independent and self-reliant.
“It’s late.” Wen Yu turned around. He was holding onto two plates and wearing an apron that had a kitten on it. “Let’s talk about it after we eat.”
It looked like, for the sake of a child’s taste, the dinner for the night was slightly sweeter.
“What else do you know?” Wen Yu placed the red bean steamed bun he was holding with his right hand in front of her. “Do you know where Pei Xuan lives?”
Ning Ning knew, but she did not want to seem to know too much about it in front of him. She wanted to make things more logical, that way, the evidence would be more logical when they were handed to the police.
“I don’t know,” she said, “I have not met with Big Sister Yu Sheng for a very long time.”
“When did you two last meet?” Wen Yu asked.
“It was the twenty-fifth of August.” Ning Ning’s shoulders shrank in fear. “Then she was hit by a car.”
Wen Yu was taken aback, then silently patted her head.
“…But,” Ning Ning said, “before she was hit by the car, she secretly gave me a note.”
His hand that was patting her head stopped. Wen Yu’s voice rang out from above her head, “Where’s the note?”
“She told me to give the note to a little big brother1.” Ning Ning said, “I have already given it to him.”
Ning Ning had pushed everything onto Yu Sheng, she could not come out to deny it anyway. Besides, if these things were to come out of Yu Sheng’s mouth, it would be more reliable than if it were to come out of the mouth of a little girl like her. What she had to do now was to turn Yu Shen into the mastermind behind the scenes, and herself into a messenger…
“What was written on the note?” Wen Yu asked, “Did you read it?”
“I did.” Ning Ning looked down in embarrassment, her two legs that were dangling in the air swayed. “But there were a lot of words I couldn’t read…”
She wrote every word, she could read every word, but she wanted Wen Yu to bring her and meet up with the person who had the note.
“Then would you still be able to recognise the little big brother who has the note?” Wen Yu asked.
“I would.” Ning Ning looked up, “I only gave him the note today, I saw where he lives.”
Then, she looked at Wen Yu with expectations, hoping for his next words to be: “Let’s go, we’re not eating anymore, bring a steamed bun to eat along the way, it’s more important to look for the person.”
“It’s more important to eat.” Wen Yu placed a red bean bun in her bowl with his chopsticks. “We’ll look for him tomorrow.”
…What do you mean eating is more important?! We wouldn’t die from missing a meal! There are only so many tomorrows, if we were to wait any longer, we might be too late!
Ning Ning grabbed the red bean bun and ate it up in two to three bites, then burped in an exaggerated manner and patted her stomach with both hands. “I’m full!”
Then she turned and looked at the clock on the wall. “It’s only nine! Let’s go out for a walk!”
Wen Yu looked out of the window, snow was fluttering outside…
Ning Ning, “I’m not afraid of the cold!”
Wen Yu looked at her silently. He reached out and opened the window.
Ning Ning, “Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough!!”
Wen Yu closed the window back and locked the snowy winds outside.
“Children shouldn’t push themselves.” He placed another red bean bun in her hand. “Leave matters in the hands of an adult.”
Ning Ning looked at the steaming bun in her hand, then slowly looked up at him.
The once skinny arms had become slender and strong, the once tender shoulders had become broad and stable, the child who had once required her protection was now telling her, “Children shouldn’t push themselves. Leave matters in the hands of an adult.”
At this moment in time, Ning Ning just wanted to retort…Yu’er! You think you’ve grown up! You don’t listen to your auntie anymore!!
In the end, she could not convince him. After their meal, she was dragged into the bathroom to wash her face then off to the bed to sleep. Wen Yu covered her with a blanket then switched off the table lamp. “Good night.”
After he left, Ning Ning tossed and turned on the bed, she could not fall asleep at all. At last, she looked out the window with a pillow in hand. The wind was whirring, snow was fluttering down, the world was clear and sparkling like a snow globe.
She knew that at this moment, in a certain corner of this snow globe, under the lightly falling snow, there was a pair of brother and sister standing under a streetlight, warming themselves with a pair of white gloves.
“Then, who would be the one who reads the note in the glove?” Ning Ning muttered while holding her pillow. “Would it be Mu Gua? Or Mu Er?”
The answer was…Mu Gua.
The next day, Wen Yu went out with Ning Ning.
The snow had accumulated on the streets, the ground was a sheet of white, the roofs was a sheet of white, the world was a sheet of white.
Wen Yu had Ning Ning bundled up tightly, there was even a red scarf wrapped around her face, only her eyes and nose were visible. She held his hand and brought him to an old broken down rented apartment.
Mu Gua was standing at the foot of the building. He seemed to have been waiting for them for some time, some snow had already accumulated on his shoulders.
He looked at Ning Ning’s…companion—Wen Yu, raising the note in his hand and saying coldly, “Did you write this note?”
A hand reached out from behind her and took the note out of Mu Gua’s hand before Ning Ning could explain.
He brought the note up to his eyes, letting out an exclamation once he had taken a look at it.
“What’s wrong?” Ning Ning looked at him with a weird expression.
“Nothing much.” Wen Yu smiled. “I just think that this handwriting…is a little familiar.”
Ning Ning, “…”
As Wen Xiao Ning, she would act at times, and tutor Wen Yu at others. Those afternoons, with the sun shining bright, she would hug him within her embrace, holding his finger and teaching him how to write, the memory was still vivid up to today.
She did not forget, he did not forget either.
1Little as in young, big brother as in older than her