Upon entering the Ning family house, Ning Qing went straight to Grandma’s room.
As she pushed open the door, she saw that her grandma was sitting on the cashmere carpet playing with stones.
“Grandma…” Ning Qing cried out, but her grandmother did not look up. She was babbling nonsense and scratching her head like a child as if she did not know how to play with the stones.
There was a servant in the room, whose job was to take care of Grandma. The servant said helplessly, “Young madam, you’re back. The old madam climbed into the back garden this morning and picked up a lot of stones. She took them to the room to play. The carpet’s cold but the old madam wanted to sit down. She’d sat down for the entire afternoon and would not listen to anyone’s persuasion.”
Ning Qing nodded her head to show that she got it. She handed the cake to the servant, walked over to Grandma, and squatted down.
She looked at the stones, then stretched out her hand and divided the speckled stones and the spotless stones into two piles. On the cashmere carpet, there happened to be a grid. She placed a stone on the grid.
Grandma’s attention was immediately set on her. She followed Ning Qing and placed a stone down.
After playing a few times, when five speckled stones had formed a line, Ning Qing laughed and told Grandma, “Grandma, this game is called Five in a Row. Grandma won!”
“I’ve won, I’ve won, yay…” Grandma suddenly smiled brightly. She grabbed all the stones in her hands and wanted to play again. But she suddenly thought of a question, “Who are you, little girl?”
Ning Qing tilted her little head and blinked pitifully at her grandmother. She pouted her lips and said, “Grandma, I’m Qingqing, you don’t even recognize Qingqing now.”
“Qingqing?” Grandma repeated a few times. She had indeed forgotten Ning Qing, but looking at the sad eyes of the little girl, she tried to recall. After thinking for a minute, her eyes shone as she realized and said, “Oh, it was Grandma’s baby Qingqing, come here Qingqing, let Grandma hug you.”
Grandma stood up and opened her arms wide. Ning Qing smiled and threw herself into her grandmother’s arms.
Grandma’s embrace was as warm as her mother’s. It’s so nice.
They hugged for a while, then Grandma held Ning Qing’s little hand and brought her to a milky white piano. “Qingqing play the piano for Grandma.”
Grandma used to love listening to her play the piano the most. She’d played this piano ever since she was a child, she hadn’t expected it to have been moved to Grandma’s room now.
Ning Qing sat down, and her fair hands played several notes on the black and white keys. She turned her head to her grandmother and said, “Grandma, Qingqing shall play twinkle twinkle little star.”
“OK, OK!” Grandma danced around in joy like a child. When the familiar melody sounded, Grandma held the servant’s hands and clapped along, she’d even sung along with Ning Qing’s sweet voice: twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are…
When Xu Junxi came upstairs to visit Grandma, he saw this scene through the gap in half closed door. Ning Qing was wearing a white dress and a turquoise knitted cardigan today. The relaxed and cheerful melody slipped out from her fair fingers. Half of her face, which was bathed in the golden sunlight, was as pink as peach blossoms, and her delicate and ink black eyes were looking around.
The big palm on the doorknob slowly loosened. His hands fell into his trouser pockets as he leaned lazily against the door.
If Ning Yao’s voice was like an oriole’s, then Ning Qing’s voice was as sweet, waxy, and gentle as the Jiangnan women. When she would sing, when she used to call him Junxi, her voice was soft, not fake and coquettish.
Unfortunately, she has changed. She was no longer the simple beautiful girl she used to be. She had become selfish, bitter, and even dirty after entering the entertainment industry.