Chapter 682: Goodbye Kiss
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
As the time in university approached its end after four years, the class monitor and the secretary of the Communist Youth League Branch Committee  would begin organizing a ‘farewell meal’ that all students – even students who were not usually close to one another, had to attend. Needless to say, students in tight-knit cliques would not only attend this farewell meal, but they would already have had countless of such meals days before that as well.
Twain did not have a lot of friends during his time in school. In spite of that, there were quite a few students who went up to him for a toast during the farewell meal, saying a bunch of inappropriate things before lifting their necks and swigging down their glasses.
There was even a classmate who brought along a camcorder and recorded a video of the farewell meal. The footage was subsequently burned into a CD and distributed to every student as a memento.
Twain did not dispose of the CD that he was given, though he does not remember where he placed it or if he brought it along with him when he moved to Nottingham.
However, that meal left a lasting impression on him, so much so that he does not need to watch the video in the CD again to know what happened. That night, the students all gathered in twos and threes and began talking about things that they did not have the courage to previously under the influence of alcohol. Some were amusing and some were melancholic. There were students who zealously talked about how they will write a brand new chapter of their lives in the society, students who were busy confessing to their crushes, students who pretended to be tipsy and went around asking for hugs from girls, and students who would grab onto their best buds in university and drink gulp after gulp and glass after glass…
In a nutshell, there was only one recurring theme associated with the farewell meal: break up, goodbye or disband.
Even though Twain was aware that Shania was neither a transmigrator nor a university student in China before, he could not stop his restless mind from thinking about the possibility of a ‘farewell meal’.
“Uncle Tony. Thank you for all the care that you have given me for these past few years, but I think it is better for me to leave so that I won’t interfere with your life. Goodbye!”
If such words were to come out of Shania’s mouth, Twain really had no idea what he would feel.
It turned out that he has already grown used to life with Shania around.
He had never felt that the girl was truly away from him and his life, even though she worked in the United States, and they were separated by half a globe.
It is just that we can’t meet that often…
Lisa Aria’s words from this morning sent shockwaves through Twain.
The word ‘jealous’ had never surfaced in his mind before, but now he was forced to confront this issue at hand. Even though he has never had a girlfriend before in his life, does not have any plans to start a family, and did not have any successful experiences with love relationships in his past life, he still understood what ‘jealous’ means, and was also aware of the kind of people who will get jealous.
The issue… Appears to have gotten complicated.
Twain’s head was in the clouds for the entire morning. He was never able to focus his attention on the reserve team’s training. Trainings of such a level had nothing to do with him either way, so he simply put on a pair of sunglasses and mulled over the issue by the side of the field.
There was no training session in the afternoon, so everyone decided to head back home when the morning training session finished around noon. Dunn had intended to go home with Twain, but was rejected.
“I have something on…” Twain noticed that Dunn was looking at him without a hint of surprise, and immediately went on to explain, “I’m definitely not headed to some bar looking for a one night stand this time.”
“I know. It’s Shania, right?”
Twain nodded his head. “She called earlier and wants me to have lunch with her. Oh yes, Dunn, what do you think she will say to me?”
“She has already said that to me at my house late last night.”
“That was from me to you. It’s your birthday today. As for what she wants to say to you, how would I know?”
Twain thought about it and realized what he said made sense. Dunn was no love expert and was certainly not Shania. How would he know about such things? He was becoming a little too muddled this morning.
“Should I head back home and change into a new set of clothes?” Twain stretches out his hands and does a spin for Dunn.
“There’s no need for that. What I mean is, it’s the same no matter what you change into. Just head on over.” Dunn said with a smile.
With that, Twain headed straight off without changing. Of course, he did not forget to buy a bouquet of flowers along the way, intending to use that to apologize to Shania.
What does he have to apologize about?
Uncle Tony should not bring prostitutes back home…
Ah, Miss Lisa Aria, please sacrifice yourself one more time!
Twain got into Landy’s car and travelled to Beeston, which is located south-west of Nottingham. This was the first time Twain has ever visited this place, as Beeston is situated very far away from the city area of Nottingham. A river separates this small town from Clifton, which is where construction works are underway for Nottingham Forest’s new stadium.
Twain surveyed the sceneries of the streets beyond the window curiously and noticed that the cab came to a stop before a narrow alleyway.
“Tony, the Chinese restaurant that you told me about should be here… But I don’t see any shops around…”
Landy, the cab driver, turned his head around as he sat on his driver’s seat and pointed outside the window. There was a light box at the alleyway with the words ‘NOSH Sichuan Restaurant’ written on it in a combination of English and Chinese characters.
“There’s a sign but no shop. Chinese restaurants sure are mysterious.”
Twain smiled as he patted Landy on the shoulder. “In China, there’s a saying that has been circulating around that the tastiest, most authentic restaurants will always be opened in obscure places. The most run down shops have the most delicious cuisines. Thank you, Landy.”
Twain pushed the door open and got off. He followed the arrow as displayed on the light box and walked straight into the alleyway. As he came out of the alleyway, he saw that pitifully small NOSH Sichuan Restaurant.
A foreigner approached him. The staff from the restaurant came up to him enthusiastically, adopting a Chinese style of greeting for their customers. It was completely different from the ‘gentlemanly’ etiquette that was adopted in other foreign restaurants, which made people feel as though they were separated by a piece of glass. The staff’s greeting made Twain feel at home, which was something he has not felt in a while. This was likely a feeling that only the Chinese are able to understand…
“Sir, table for…?”
“Uh…” Twain was stumped by the question. He peered into the restaurant. It was lunch time and the small shop was full of customers, most of whom were Chinese students who were studying abroad. They had yellow skin, black hair and black eyes, and were speaking in either Chinese or its dialects, which made finding the person he was after much easier.
“I’m with her.” Twain told the staff as he pointed to Shania, who was reading newspapers in the shop.
He was brought before Shania. The beautiful girl glanced up at Tony, then lowered the newspapers and pointed at the seat across of her.
“Have a seat, Uncle Tony.” Her voice was a little cold.
Twain sat down and inhaled deeply, trying hard to start a conversation. “Smells of chili.”
“This must mean that this place is as authentic as it gets?”
“I asked around and they said that this is the most authentic Chinese restaurant in Nottingham. They also told me to order this if I ever visited…” Shania pointed at the plate of food that was already on the table.
Twain took a look at it and exclaimed, “Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce?”
“Try it. I don’t know how authentic it is, but perhaps you will know once you try.”
Twain did not move his chopsticks. He stared at the table full of familiar or unfamiliar Chinese cuisines. It was quite the feast, but he could not grasp Shania’s intention behind ordering a table full of food.
“Do you not have an appetite? Not hungry?”
“Uh… No.” Twain still did not dare to move his chopsticks. He was afraid that it will really turn out to be a ‘farewell meal’ once he ate.
Shania clearly interpreted his actions differently. She held up the glass of beer beside her and said, “That’s right, I forgot to say this. Happy birthday, Uncle Tony.”
It was surely rude to let a girl hold up a glass and wait. Twain did not figure out her intentions, but still raised the glass nonetheless. Before their glasses clinked with each other, he cautiously asked, “Your next sentence isn’t going to be ‘goodbye’, right?”
Shania, who had pulled a long face up till then, burst out into a short laugh, but quickly regained a straight face once more.
“Uh, I think I should apologize to you, Shania. About yesterday night…” He handed her the bouquet of flowers.
Shania put down her glass and received the bouquet with both hands. She brought it before her nostrils and sniffed. It was fragrant.
“Thank you, Uncle Tony… But I wasn’t mad. I think you are thinking too much. I have no right to be telling you how to live your life.”
“You are lying,” Twain uncourteously called her out on her lie, “The way you have been speaking up till now sounds very unnatural.”
Twain felt a little relieved after seeing Shania accept his flowers. He wanted to explain the previous night’s events to Shania, but he did not know where to start, or how to say it.
Shania rolled her eyes. “What do I need to do to sound natural? Actually, I did not treat you to this meal just so I can listen to you apologize or anything. This was a meal that I had arranged for a while back.”
“Huh?” Her words made Twain feel as though he had just plunged into a sea of cloud and mist.
“This was a meal that I ordered three days ago to celebrate your birthday. It’d be a waste if we don’t eat it. Also, your birthday present is in the parking lot. It’s the jeep that I drove away in yesterday.”
Twain had been completely turned to stone. He understood the gravity of Shania’s words even though she had only mentioned them casually.
He was no fool. He was well aware of what was going on. She gave him a car as his birthday present just like that!
Still, it was just a car, and it was something that was easy to put a price on, but, in contrast, the meal… Was something that one could not determine the value of.
Even he has not visited this tiny restaurant that was located in a remote area and was supposedly the most authentic restaurant in Nottingham before. He had no idea who Shania had to ask to get information about such a restaurant.
“I know you like Chinese cuisines… To be honest, British food is horrible.” Shania shrugged. “Going to Burns’ bar to eat all the time is just going to take a toll on your body one day.”
Twain picked up a piece of meat off the ‘Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce’ dish and stuffed it into his mouth wordlessly. He chewed slowly.
Hmm… It tastes a little more sour and sweet than the authentic ones in China. It’s also not spicy enough. But…
He raised his head and smiled at Shania. “This is really authentic.”
A small smile emerges on Shania’s face.
“Can you stop pulling such a long face, Shania?” begged Twain, who could not get used to the Shania who wore a cold expression on her face, just like the one she would wear as a model strutting down a runway during a fashion show.
“But I don’t feel like smiling now.”
“So you are angry with me… Honestly, that was all just a misunderstanding. That… That woman was just a… Uh… Prostitute that I met while I was out drowning my sorrows. You know how I need them sometimes…”
“Is that so?” Shania asked. She picked up the newspapers that she had set aside earlier and raised it before Twain’s eyes for him to see the headline that was printed on it.
“Shocking! Famous Premier League Coach Tony Twain’s Secret Girlfriend!!”
“Was it a prostitute masquerading as a beautiful journalist, or a journalist masquerading as a seductive prostitute?”
Seeing that article made Twain want to bury his head in the plate of ‘Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce’ before him.
“That journalist was crazy for a shot to fame. It’s a load of crap!” Twain quickly explained.
“Load of crap?” Shania shifted her gaze from Twain’s face and towards the narrow sky that could be seen outside of the shop.
Twain suddenly recalled Lisa Aria’s remark about being ‘jealous’ as he saw Shania in that state.
“Does Uncle Tony wish for that article to be a load of crap?” Shania reverted her gaze back on him.
Twain did not know how he should answer that question. He felt that the Shania today was odd. She kept on saying baffling things, and kept on displaying enigmatic and inscrutable expressions on her face.
“Do you wish for that?” Shania asked again after seeing that Twain was not responding to her.
Twain had no choice but to confront the issue. He carefully recalled every single moment that he spent with Shania and went silent for quite a while. This time, Shania did not urge him for a response.
After a long time, Twain finally raised his head. He looked at Shania and said, “I don’t know.”
Shania smiled and did not probe further. To her, the fact that Uncle Tony did not nod and say, ‘yes’ at once made her very happy.
The two of them were caught up in their own thoughts and they finished the meal in silence. The atmosphere was strange throughout the meal. Thereafter, Shania led Twain to the parking lot to take a look at his birthday gift.
“A Mercedes-Benz jeep. Hope you like it, Uncle Tony,” said Shania, who pointed towards the white jeep as they were in the parking lot.
Twain caresses the cool exterior of the car, unsure of what to say. At last, all he could do was laugh and say, “Shania, this gift of yours is too expensive. All I ever gave you for your birthday were cheap Totoro soft toys…”
“If you liked Totoro soft toys, I would have bought them for you too. If it’s a gift for someone you are keen to give to, nothing is too expensive or too cheap.” Shania did not want to hear those words from Twain. She shook her head and continued on, without waiting for Twain’s response, “Send me over to Heathrow Airport!”
“Airport?” Twain was taken aback.
“I had secretly snuck away to come here. I don’t have time to be playing around here. I have to rush back at once.”
“You flew back from America just to celebrate my birthday?” Twain looked at her incredulously.
“Yes, what of it?”
“Don’t you think… Don’t you think… It is too far and too troublesome?”
“I don’t think so,” Shania shook her head, “This is the first time I’m celebrating your birthday for you. I don’t want to just say a superficial ‘Happy Birthday’ to you over the phone.”
“Actually, I’d have been happy if you just called to tell me that, Shania.”
“I wouldn’t be happy! Like I’ve said, no matter how far it is, I won’t think it is far, and no matter how troublesome it is, I won’t think that it is troublesome if it is for someone I am keen to give to! Send me to the airport now!”
Without waiting for Twain’s response, Shania had pulled open the door to the front passenger seat and got into the car.
Twain could only shake his head as he pulled open the car door. He realized that the day had been strange. Ever since the moment he confronted Shania, he has never once gained the upper hand in their interactions. That was not how it had been in the past…
“All right, I’m saying this first. My driving skills… are terrible.”
“My life is already in your hands. Do what you can, Uncle Tony.” Shania began to fasten her seatbelt as she settled into the front passenger seat.
Twain admitted defeat.
“Do you have a lot on your mind recently, Uncle Tony?” Shania asked Twain, who was completely focused on driving, as they were travelling on the M1 highway en route to London.
“It’s nothing worth mentioning.” Twain wanted to make himself sound more authoritative, but it came out sounding weak instead.
“I’ve asked Dunn before, and he said that you’ve been smoking and drinking much more than you did in the past. Is it due to the transfers?”
“It’s normal for the manager to dwell over things like that.”
“How can that be counted as normal? You don’t need to rely on alcohol and cigarettes to relief your stress. Frankly speaking, Uncle Tony, I’m very worried about your health condition. Have you gone for a health check-up before?
“What good can come from doing that?”
“It’s better for you to go for it.” Shania began to count Twain’s ‘misdeeds’ on her fingers. “Irregular daily routine. Poor sleeping habits. A lot of stress from work. Alcoholic. Smokes a lot. Lacks exercise… Do you perhaps think that your life is too long for you, Uncle Tony?”
If not for the fact that he was currently driving, Twain would have held up both hands and surrendered. Today, he was truly scared of this girl.
“All right, all right. I will listen to you. I will go and do a check-up tomorrow, and quit drinking and smoking after that. I will make sure my life follows a set routine… But I don’t quite care about stress from work. There’s no such thing as a manager without stress in this world.”
“It’d be great if you really can do all that.” Shania clearly knows all about Twain’s trustworthiness. She sighed in exasperation.
The two had to bid farewell once Twain sent Shania to the check-in counter at the airport.
“Next time, don’t secretly sneak out anymore. You are just making things difficult for Mr. Fasal.” Twain handed a bag that he had been carrying to Shania, who had now donned a pair of wide frame sunglasses and a sun hat.
“If I don’t sneak out, it’s going to be very difficult to see you, Uncle Tony.” There was finally a hint of reluctance in Shania as she turned around to look at the counter.
“Are you that busy?” Twain asked.
“Uh… Once this season is over, I’d definitely go over to America and play with you for a while.” Twain did not know how else to console Shania and that was all he could say.
“I have to wait 10 months for that.” Shania pouted.
“To be exact, it’s 9 months. The league ends in May.” Twain corrected her.
“That is way too long…”
The two of them sank into a period of awkward silence.
Twain looked at the human traffic around them and reminded Shania, “It should be time to check-in, right?”
Shania nodded her head.
“Then… Goodbye, Shania.” Twain waved his hand to bid farewell.
However, Shania did not respond in the same way and say, “Goodbye, Uncle Tony.”
She stood very close to Twain. Shania had kept her head down and displayed reluctance initially, but she suddenly raised her head to look at Twain. Her fiery gaze enchanted Twain and sent him into a trance. He did not know what Shania wanted to do.
An announcement urging passengers flying to Los Angeles to finish their check-in processes began to play in the airport, yet Shania did not turn around to leave. She took a small step forward, almost nestling herself into Twain’s arms, then lifted her head and planted her tender red lips onto Twain’s.
The soft and moist sensation of her lips was like a knife that had stabbed and embedded itself in Twain’s mind. Shania’s every breath was fragrant. Twain felt intoxicated just from the scent alone, almost like there was a glass of fine wine that had just been placed right by his lips. Both his brain and body failed to respond, as if he had just consumed a lot of wine. His whole body was stiff and did not know how to react.
In between consciousness, he heard Shania murmur by his ear, “Maybe you’d think this is all too sudden, Uncle Tony. But I can’t wait any longer… I love you, Uncle Tony. I… Love… You.”
It was all too much to process for Twain’s brain. Too many outrageous things had happened in the span of one day and he could barely keep track of them all.
Shania’s brazen kiss from before had lessened the impact brought about by her confession.
As he continued to stand there in a daze, Shania had already leapt away from his arms, giggling.
“This is a goodbye kiss. Goodbye, Uncle Tony!”