No Protection Tonight

Chapter 10: The Bitter Taste of Being Lovesick

 

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One night, while I was preparing to go home, the student on janitorial duty* asked me to carry the garbage with him. I didn’t refuse him, since helping out in the classroom was something everyone should do.

 

*In China, it’s very common for classrooms to assign different duties to people, similar to a student council except, within a class. The classroom janitorial duty is a role that switches randomly or by the order of classmates throughout the year. It mainly involves sweeping and mopping the room’s floor, throwing away the trash, cleaning the blackboard, wiping down desks, etc.

 

I hefted the trash can with Liu Sanmao and started trudging towards the dumpsters. When we passed the bulletin boards, I heard the sounds of a loud argument.

 

“Liu Jie, don’t act innocent with me. Don’t assume that I don’t know about you and Li Zhiyuan. F**k, at least give me your pantyhose to remember you by!”

 

“Guo Tao, you bastard, what the hell are you talking about? You’re so irritating! Let me go, or else I’m going to scream for help.”

 

Listening to their conversation, I stopped in my tracks. Liu Jie was our class queen, with a face like a gentle blossom. Plenty of boys had a crush on her, and Guo Tao was the tyrant from the neighboring class. He always manages to make trouble; not only to classmates but teachers, too.

 

At this moment, Liu Jie had started to panic, but then she noticed our presence. “Sanmao, Zhuang Feng, come help me!”

 

Liu Sanmao ignored her, and whispered to me, “Go, go. Don’t meddle with matters like these, or else you’ll get caught up in the mess.”

 

Because it was very quiet, Liu Jie heard his words. Anxious tears streamed down her cheeks. “Liu Sanmao, are you a man?! Are you just going to leave me here to suffer?”

 

His face reddened at her words. Guo Tao laughed maliciously and started to grope her thigh. I couldn’t watch any longer. I set down the garbage can and hastened over.

 

“Guo Tao, how could you bully a girl?” I curled my lips in contempt.

 

He got angrier and spat back, “Get out of my way and mind your own f**king business, or else don’t blame me when I beat you to death!”

 

As someone from the countryside, I’ve always kept a low profile at school. Even though it’s been two months, there were still a few people who didn’t know me.

 

People like Guo Tao only liked to scare their fellow students. If it really did come to a fight, I wasn’t scared at all.

 

He swung his fist at me with a naive smile on his face. I sidestepped his punch and launched a kick to his stomach. Saliva shot out of his mouth like bullets.

 

“F**k, just you wait!” Guo Tao was turning green with pain. He wasn’t stupid though and didn’t press on another attack.

 

He stumbled away and Liu Jie exhaled in relief. Her small face turned pink as she said, “Zhuang Feng, thank you, I would’ve been a goner if you hadn’t been here.”

 

“Mm, it’s fine. We’re classmates, so of course I’d help out. You should hurry home.” I realized that Liu Jie’s black stockings gave off a lovely feeling along with her school uniform.

 

“That Guo Tao is really horrible. I was jogging on the track when he came up and said the teacher was calling for me. I can’t believe he dragged me out here just to mess with me. Here, could you walk me back to the dorms? I’m afraid he’ll come back,” Liu Jie asked expectantly.

To be honest, I didn’t really mind, but it was already nine-twenty. If my internal schedule was correct, Tangsao should be taking a shower at nine-thirty, which meant that if I hurried, I could still catch a glimpse of her in her bathrobe. I often left the house early and came home late, so I rarely got to see her.

“I’m sorry, I need to hurry back and memorize my vocab words. Guo Tao ran off that way, which is opposite from the dorms, so it should be fine,” I apologized.

Disappointment flashed past her eyes, but she couldn’t really blame me. Liu Sanmao stood awkwardly to the side. “Hehe, I could’ve beaten up Guo Tao too, I was just giving him the chance to prove himself.”

“Hehe, you’re always the one to brag the most, but you can’t be counted on when it really matters. I have no respect for you.” Liu Jie glared at him, waved at me, and then sashayed away.

The next day, our little incident spread to all corners of the school. Guo Tao even said that he was going to teach me a lesson, but I didn’t really care. Liu Jie was truly scared, though. “Zhuang Feng, don’t worry. I’ll run to the principal immediately if Guo Tao tries to even touch a single hair of yours.”

I’m a grown adult, and you’re saying I need a woman to protect me?

“How am I worried? It’s cute how you’re so nervous. If he tries to mess with me, I’ll make him regret it.” I think that was the first time Liu Jie talked to me because she wanted to. There was no lack of dinosaur women in our class, and girls with her type of body and features were quite rare.

“Okay, I’ll let you in on a secret. My dad knows the principal personally, so if Guo Tao does anything funny, they’ll definitely remember this!” Liu Jie stated with confidence.

It was clear that this chick really did care about me. Then, she gave me a bag full of snacks. I refused it at first, but she stuffed it in my hands anyway, saying that she couldn’t finish them all at home. I wasn’t that reluctant, though. I did have some of my own savings, but I never used them to buy snacks. The idea seemed too luxurious to me.

A lot of our classmates noticed Liu Jie’s actions and started whispering to each other that Liu Jie liked me. She blushed out of embarrassment, then quickly returned to her seat and buried her face into a jacket.

Honestly speaking, she was indeed beautiful and had a great physique, but I wasn’t really all that interested in her. After living with Tangsao for such a long time, I’ve started to prefer mature women.

But just because she gave me snacks didn’t really mean that she liked me. So I kept my silence, like a wooden doll.

Though Guo Tao swore to get his revenge, he never made a move. I felt a little confused—was he just a pussy after all? I quickly forgot about the whole ordeal.

The real thing bothering me wasn’t Guo Tao, but rather, not being able to see Tangsao. To be more specific, it was Tangsao who seemed to avoid me. I didn’t know if Tangge had noticed my odd actions and ordered her to keep some distance. I lived under the same roof as Tangsao, but my daily activities almost completely contrasted hers. I could only somewhat relieve my longing by looking at her underwear drying on her bedroom window.

This feeling was like Romeo and Juliet; wishing to meet but not being able to. Of course, maybe I was just holding on for too long. Maybe Tangsao had already forgotten the little secret between us.

I was afraid, too. If Tangsao were to get drunk one day and blurt out what happened, Tangge would beat me to death. But, worries were just worries. As long as Tangge didn’t come and talk to me, everything would be fine.

These thoughts didn’t diminish over time—rather, they strengthened. Sometimes, I would knock on their door to ask trivial questions. Did they want to eat noodles tonight? Should I pick up some soda at the convenience store? Tangsao would always decline without hesitation. If I hadn’t heard her voice, I would’ve thought she wasn’t in the house.

Ah, it would be great if I could see her. Even a brief chat would be well appreciated.

These thoughts continued up until yesterday at noon. Tangsao suddenly appeared at my classroom door, holding a thermos as if she came specifically to deliver my lunch. Her graceful aura, curvy butt, and busty torso attracted much attention.