No Protection Tonight

Chapter 15: No Remorse for Forcing a Kiss

 

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Tangsao wasn’t prepared for the slap at all, and it hit her fully on the face. Her refined eyebrows furrowed. “Feng, what the hell are you doing?!”

“Are you crazy? It’s really dangerous to be with a guy like him, don’t you understand that?” I flared up. This was the first time I yelled at her, yet I didn’t know the reason why I was mad.

After all, this was her home, and I didn’t have any right to interfere with her personal life. Tangsao paused, and she looked very angry, “Why should you care about my decisions? Who do you think you are?!”

Her retort stunned me. I thought that I had a pretty good relationship with Tangsao, but her sudden coldness made me feel as if we had returned to those earlier days.

At that moment, I was speechless. “Oh, then alright. Whatever.”

Honestly speaking, I felt a little disappointed. Though she was very good to me and didn’t blink an eye at bribing me out of trouble, her common sense was just lacking. Even I, a country bumpkin, could see that the glasses man was bad news.

Does she always have to regret it after it’s too late? But, she had a point. If anyone had to manage her, it was Tangge—what right did I have?

I went back to my own room. Soon, I heard Tangsao throwing up in the bathroom; drinking too much alcohol wouldn’t feel very good afterward. I hesitated but didn’t go to her.

Tangsao tried to retain some of her dignity by keeping the noise down, but my hearing was too sharp. As time dragged on, I became more and more uncomfortable, like there were pin pricks at the back of my mind. When it grew quiet, I tiptoed outside and acted as if I was going to the bathroom.

I saw Tangsao lying on the sofa, curled in a fetal position. Her small face couldn’t conceal her fatigue. I wanted to carry her to her bed, but I was afraid of waking her up and getting criticized for it.

Whatever, it’s the summertime, anyway, so she shouldn’t get a cold that easily. So I took a light blanket and carefully covered her with it. Then, I poured a cup of hot water and set it to the side.

I just couldn’t understand why Tangsao had snapped at me. I was still looking out for her, so could it be because of what I said at lunch about keeping our distance? She got mad, so she went to stay with that glasses jerk?*

*This is ZF’s assumption/guess, not what actually happened.

I had never appreciated the saying “A woman’s heart is a needle at the bottom of the ocean” more than I did at that moment. I didn’t get much sleep that night.

The next day, I woke up to get ready for school but found that the blanket was on the floor and the air was chilly.

I looked at the remote, and saw that it was set at a whopping sixteen degrees.* That’s not right, I clearly remembered that I’d set it to twenty-seven last night. The cup was empty. I suddenly knew what happened—her body started burning up from the hangover, so the blanket and AC had made her uncomfortable.

*16°C = 60.8°F

I felt her forehead and was shocked. It was scorching hot! I lifted her up, carrying her in my arms, when Saozi suddenly woke up. She glared at me and admonished, “What are you doing?!”

“You’re burning up. I’m taking you back to your room,” I said nervously.

“You’re the one who’s perverted*, so put me down. Saozi doesn’t want to get angry.” Because I was from the countryside, my accent made Tangsao think I was trying to d*ck her down.

*Okay, time for a little ching-chong Chinese lesson here. “Burning up/have a fever”, which is 发烧, is pronounced “fa shao”. On the other hand, 发骚, which means “doing naughty things/being a pervert”, is pronounced “fa sao”. See how easy it is to mix that up? ZF’s countryside accent didn’t make it any easier.

“No, feel your own forehead. It’s really hot, you’re sick!” I didn’t let go of her as I carried her all the way to her room. Ever since Tangge came home, I never got the chance to come back in here. An indescribable feeling of both unfamiliarity and closeness rose in my heart.

“Ah, I’m fine.” Tangsao sat up and pushed away the covers. Her exquisite, tempting legs folded at a seductive curve. It was only then that I realized that she was wearing panties. I remembered a few weeks back, she had shown me an office porno where the secretary was wearing a tight skirt and nothing else underneath. The male actor straight up f**ked her in that outfit.

Now that I thought about it, my blood started to boil.

“Just please lie down nicely and don’t kick off the covers, will you? Oh, my goodness.” I didn’t know when she’d stop. Tangsao should have woken up plenty of times during the night, and she’s still trying to stir up trouble? Did the fever knock some of her brain cells loose or something?

“Hmph, that’s more like it. Don’t scream and shout at me, or else you’re no different from your tangge.” She pouted her lips, and a content smile lit up her face.

I momentarily let out a breath of relief and then nodded. So Tangsao thought I was being mean to her, though this wasn’t much of a surprise. Tangge was always suppressing both her everyday life and any feelings of romance. As the years dragged on, her heart had slowly been eaten away. If I were to act the same as him, she would naturally wouldn’t put up with it.

If I spoiled her like a little princess, of course she’d be overjoyed. Ah, women are really burdensome creatures, always having a loli side to them no matter their age.

I busied myself left and right, bringing her wet towels and boiling some herbal cold medicine. The temperature was supposed to be moderate, but Tangsao insisted that it was too hot. I blew on it for a long while before she took a sip and complained that it was too bitter.

“That’s definitely not right, I added sugar.” I took a small sip. It practically tasted like honey, it wasn’t bitter at all.

An impish smile appeared on Tangsao’s face. “You little brat, you must’ve kissed me earlier! Treat me well, or I’ll tell your tangge!”

“Huh.” I felt incredibly awkward. So Saozi was trying to honeypot me, but why would she feel the need to do that?

“No, Saozi, don’t you remember? That you forced a kiss on me last night?” I felt confused.

She blinked. “Feng, watch what you’re saying. How could Saozi ever force a kiss on you?!”

“It’s true. If you don’t believe me, take a whiff, you can still smell the wine on my breath.” I leaned towards her. Ugh, did she have alcohol poisoning, or was she just pretending to have amnesia?

Tangsao paused for two seconds and screamed. She ran to the bathroom and started to frantically brush her teeth.

I felt exasperated—I was the real victim here. Thinking about last night’s short-lived intimacy, a strange emotion crept up my heart.

“Feng, you must’ve remembered wrong. Saozi drank too much wine, so you took advantage of me. Hmph, I should’ve never thought of you as a good man. All crows under the sky are the same shade of black after all.” Tangsao rolled her eyes at me, spreading an air of temptation that struck the deepest cracks in my heart.

Living with her was hands down the biggest challenge of my life. If a fellow peer could calm themselves as well as me and refrain from looking suspicious, they would only be one step away from success.

“See, look at those perverted eyes of yours. You’re totally exposed.” Before I could explain, Saozi hammered down what sounded like her final words.

Ah, I had nowhere to cry. I shook my head with vigor, “No no no, this only proves that I’m not gay. Saozi, you should lie down and get some rest. I’ll go make some porridge for you.”

“There’s no need, it’s already seven o’clock. You should go to school.” When she heard me mention porridge, Tangsao swallowed down a gulp of hungry drool, but she didn’t want me to be late.

“No, how could I go to school while you’re sick? I’ll go excuse myself to the teacher later.” My firmness didn’t leave Tangsao with any choice in the matter.

While the porridge cooked, I picked up the phone and dialed the teacher’s number.