On the lobby of the hotel's 13th floor, the specially-hired orchestra was rehearsing for the performance that would be shown few days later.
As the person in charge of the banquet, Ms. Zhang Qingrui from the Zhang family was also meticulously checking the layout of the venue.
That was because she didn’t want any slip-ups to happen on Old Zhang’s eightieth birthday.
Even though it was her eightieth birthday, Old Zhang, who was not used to showing ostentation and extravagance, would actually have such a feast unexpectedly and even invite many celebrities to come. This confused Zhang Qingrui a little bit.
But the confusion didn’t ruin Ms. Zhang’s joyous mood---How many people could live to 80 years old? Her granny reached 80 years old in the pink of health, wasn’t that something pleasing?
String instruments had stopped now. The conductor of the orchestra put down the baton, walking towards Zhang Qingrui with a smile.
The orchestra’s conductor who was wearing a tuxedo was approximately over 50 years old. He was actually Gu Yue Zhai’s customer. His attendance was all due to the dignity of her grandma.
"You’ve worked hard, Uncle Fang." Zhang Qingrui smiled, "Tomorrow must be a wonderful banquet."
Fang Ruchang smiled as well, "That’s all right. It’s my pleasure to perform for Mrs. Zhang’s banquet tomorrow… well, Jiping, come here."
Fang Ruchang now waved to a renowned fiddler in the band--- he was a handsome young boy, walking slowly to him like a gentleman.
Fang Ruchang said, "Let me introduce you, this is Fang Jiping, my son… and this is Ms. Zhang Qingrui from the Zhang Family."
Fang Jiping started to attend to violin lessons since childhood and now he was a violinist in his father’s band. The band was quite famous after attending many performances throughout these years. Fang Jiping had connections with people from the high society, so he spoke leisurely and behaved naturally with elegance.
"Hello, Ms. Zhang." He smiled faintly and stretched out his hands gradually. A simple ‘hello’ could be hundred times more fair-sounding that any other praise.
Zhang Qingrui stretched out her hands and grabbed Fang Jiping’s fingers gently, "Hi."
Stopping at where it should, Zhang Qingrui said faintly, "It’s true that the best way to learn is to learn from the best."
Fang Jiping said indifferently, "Thanks… well, excuse me, Ms. Zhang and dad, I’ll continue tidying up my stuff."
Fang Jiping left after sending a simple greeting. Fang Ruchang smiled as he saw his son leaving, commenting slowly, "Dear, please don’t mind. My son is perfect except the fact that he is a little bit dull."
Perhaps he was introducing his son to a potential marriage partner.
Zhang Qingrui went easy with socializing, knowing clearly about Fang Ruchang’s intention… At this time, it was better not show any expression implying that she was fond of him. She changed the topic of conversation tactfully. "I heard Uncle Fang is preparing to go to Belgium after this?"
"Yeah, I have that plan." Fang Ruchang explained with pride, "This time I want to take Jiping to attend Queen Elizabeth International Violin Match held in Brussels. Hopefully, he can have a good performance. Well, Qingrui knows about this aspect quite well. Seems like you interested in music too?"
Quite a good language trap… he could even wind it up. And the name changed from Ms. Zhang to Qingrui all of a sudden…
Zhang Qingrui felt quite reluctant to speak this way, but she couldn’t get mad. High society had its own problems too. The hand that had been grabbing her cellphone was sliding sneakily without realization in an instant.
The reason was she picked the bell sound, which was the same as her ringtone sound… well, this was used exactly during such occasions.
The bell rang at the moment.
"Excuse me, I have to receive it." Zhang Qingrui showed an apologetic face to him.
Fang Ruchang said, "No, you’re busy with Mrs. Zhang’s birthday. Several days later after the performance, I’ll come to congratulate Mrs. Zhang on my own."
Zhang Qingrui smiled and pretended to be answering the phone, nodding her head and walking away from Fang Ruchang.
In a little while, Fang Ruchang walked towards Fang Jiping’s side, with a not-that-kind expression. He looked at his son, "This Zhang Qingrui looks pretty enough and is handling things with deep consideration. I’ve heard that she has no boyfriend."
"Dad, I only want to practice playing the violin." Fang Jiping shook his head.
Fang Ruchang said coolly, "The Zhang Family has an unimaginably large of wealth. The competition is important, yet if you can gain the support of the Zhang Family, you can really own the opportunity to become famous and successful in the world. You have a good fortune, seize the opportunity."
Fang Jiping’s heart felt agitated, "I already have someone I like."
Fang Ruchang gave a start, then smiled, "Is she the Miss Wang of last time? Or the earlier Ms. Li? I’ve seen you chatting with them well."
"Neither of them, don’t guess blindly, dad." Fang Jiping added, "I’ll introduce you if it gets to the right time."
Fang Ruchang nodded, "That’s all right. But remember, for those women who are useless to you, don’t take them seriously. Now, nothing is comparable to the upcoming competition to you."
"I understand." Fang Jiping murmured.
The commercial street.
In front of the ice-cream shop, the boss gazed at an old woman with disheveled hair and a dirty face. "Get out of here, don’t disturb my business! Too smelly! How can I do my business if you stay here?"
There were many patches seen everywhere on her clothes. She was hunchbacked, carrying with her a large gray-white sack, and looked more than 60 years old.
Something seemed to be wrong with the old woman’s eyes. They were full of whitish fluid. She got close to the direction of the boss until her hands touched the front. Nonetheless, she drew out a pile of wrinkled white paper from the sack expertly.
There was a half-length black and white photo with a 4 or 5 year-old kid printed on it. The old woman stretched out her quivering hand to pull it out, asking with hope, "Boss, have you seen this kid?"
"Go away! Go to the police station to find the lost children! This is my shop, go away!"
"Boss! Boss! I beg you please, take some time to have a look, please…"
She had to leave by touching the wall, putting the leaflet back to the bag with care.
She took out a bamboo pole that was tied up onto her body, using it to touch the ground while walking to the next shop.
She had been suffering from cataracts for years; therefore, her eyesight had deteriorated to the extent that everything was like a lump of objects in her eyes… She might be totally blind soon.
One shop after another, she touched the wall while walking towards there. Some kind people would suggest her to go to the police station, others would give her some money. Of course, some people cursed at her.
But these were not what she wanted.
She just hoped to hear from some people if they had any news about the kid on the leaflet.
Even just by saying ‘I seem to have seen this kid somewhere.’
All of a sudden, she seemed to touch a door, maybe a wooden door. The cool air coming from inside made her feel comfortable in this scorching summer.
Then she heard a clear and melodious ringing.
"Welcome to the club, dear guest. What can I do for you?"
This was the first time the old woman heard such a voice with such polite words… To her surprise, there was someone who didn’t despise her because of her dirty appearance.
She then entered the club.