No Protection Tonight

Chapter 20: Douche

 

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Conceiving a child seemed to be a rather difficult task for Tangge. Last time, when Tangsao got drunk, she told me personally that he had been consistently incompetent in bed after their marriage. As to what extent exactly, I had no idea.

Tangge could only laugh dryly in response to Tangshu’s complaint. He said that men have to put their livelihood as their first priority, and that he wasn’t planning to have any kids in the next two years. Tangshu’s face hardened, and came clean with Tangge: no pregnancy, no money.

Tangge looked a bit exasperated, grumbling that Tangshu was narrow-minded and stubborn. But Tangshu didn’t care, and kept eating in silence.

Though, his reaction was expected. Village families usually have more than a few kids in their home, but Tangshu only had one son due to his circumstances. Now that he was reaching his twilight years, it was no surprise that he had long prayed for another heir.

Tangge was someone who valued face very much, so he never acknowledged that he was the problem. Whenever the matter came up, he always dumped the blame onto Tangsao, saying that her womb just wasn’t good enough. This was the reason why Tangshu and Saozi’s relationship was always so rigid; this was the reason why Saozi never visited the village.

After all, there were no secrets in the countryside. There would definitely be no lack of whispers and gossip. Staying comfortably in the city spared Saozi much unwanted trouble and anxiety.

With the conflict between the father and son, the atmosphere took a bizarre turn.

I quickly changed the topic, and asked how my parents were doing. Tangshu answered that they were fine, and opened his wallet to hand me a roll of wrinkled cash.

“Feng, this is two thousand yuan*, they were afraid that you wouldn’t have enough money to spend. What’s more, you even have a girlfriend now, so this pile would definitely burn right through in no time.” Tangshu beamed at me. “Ah, at least no one has to worry about you, young man. At least you have some sense of what you’re doing.”

*I figure two thousand yuan is about three or four hundred USD in terms of medium-range restaurants and clothes.

It was evident that Tangshu’s comment was directed at Tangge. In his view, building good character was the most important task of every man.

Parents in the city will do everything in their power to stamp down any inkling of a relationship their children manage to cook up, but in the countryside, a teenager could become a husband and father at sixteen or seventeen years old. Before I left, my mother even told me that if I failed at my studies, she would forgive me if I brought a wife home.

However, Liu Jie was the one to blush. “There’s no need, Feng can spend my money, I don’t care as long as he’s happy.”

F**k, I don’t want to be some degenerate and have my girlfriend pay for our stuff. Though, I was glad that Liu Jie was playing along nicely.

As we were eating, I saw a douche with his hair dyed blonde saunter across. He had a selfie-stick in his hands, and I noticed that he was headed right in our direction.

“Hey, girlie.” He tapped Liu Jie’s shoulder and grinned in a very punchable way.

“What?” Liu Jie furrowed her brows, obviously annoyed.

“I’m doing a live video right now. Look, there’s fifty thousand people watching. They’ve all been asking me to get your number. Bear in mind, having a hottie like me talk first isn’t something that happens every day.” The douche ran his fingers through his hair.

“Sorry, but I already have a boyfriend.” Liu Jie pursed her lips. At least she was being courteous about it.

“Oh, no worries, I just want to be friends, nothing else. I’m at Chengbei High School, you can message me whenever you’re in that area. I’ll make sure you have a good time.” The douche was totally shameless.

“Not interested. If you keep this up, my boyfriend will get mad at you.” She glared at him, and nudged at my foot.

I didn’t ignore her. “Hey, you better behave.” My voice wasn’t loud, it was nothing more than a warning.

The idiot was looking at his screen the whole time. “Aha, man, you have good taste. The young miss nearby is much more appetizing. Okay, since you guys are so supportive, I’ll ask her, but I might get beat up!” The douche blabbered to his phone.

His eyes fell upon Saozi. “Sup, hottie? How about you come to my place sometime? Don’t worry, I’ll send you a big red packet* in the morning!” The douche looked like a pervert with a stupid grin on his face.

*Red packets are a popular way of wiring money over a widely-used social media app in China called WeChat.

This retard. I could barely tolerate the fact that he tried to bother Liu Jie, and now he’s insulting Saozi? I couldn’t take it, and stood up suddenly. I clamped down on his shoulder, and applied a bit of pressure.

With his skinny frame, the douche was in no way prepared. He groaned in pain, and the nearby customers looked over at our table.

“F**king sh*t, let go of me, I’ll send you flying if you don’t.” I ignored his threats. I doubted that he could do anything with his tiny strength.

“Sure, come at me. Don’t hold back.” I taunted him expectantly.

He lifted his leg to kick at my nuts, but I caught his ankle. Then, I yanked upwards, hard.

Crack. The sound of the crisp break rang throughout the hall, along with a shriek that could be mistaken for a dying pig’s. The douche’s face was contorted and he started to shake slowly on the ground.

“Whoa, this guy is way too hardcore.”

“The hell do you mean, that guy deserved it. There are too many of those live-video freaks running around and causing trouble these days.”

“Hehe, this guy’s got some spunk. I respect that.”

I let go of him. “Go f**k off where I’ll never see you again.” The douche’s eyes shone with hatred, but he didn’t dare lift a finger.

The edges of Liu Jie’s mouth hinted at a smile. “See, I love it when you give people what they deserve. You look really, really cool when you do!”

“Ach, you’ve finally realized after all this time?” I pinched affectionately at her ears.

“You doofus.” She pinched me back teasingly.

Ah, since when did this become a couple poking fun at each other? I looked at Tangsao, and didn’t see any significant change in her expression. For some reason, my heart felt like it dropped to my feet.

The douche didn’t challenge me again, but he ran to the reception desk. In no time, the manager of the restaurant came into view, and the douche pointed in our direction.

The manager quickly walked to our table. “Your violent actions earlier have bothered our other customers. Please vacate the restaurant.”

“What are you talking about, that guy was totally asking for it.” Liu Jie put her hands on her hips. She looked sweet and cute before, but in a blink of the eye, she had turned into an overbearing princess.

“I didn’t see what happened, but your table is paying by Groupon, right? You’ve passed the time limit already, so to not affect the customers waiting in line, I’ll give you two minutes to leave.” The manager’s tone grew more rigid.

“Hey, hey, we’ve only been eating for barely half an hour, how could we have passed our limit? Are you discriminating against us?” Saozi retorted.

“You have a minute and a half left.” The manager didn’t waste any time to start counting down.

Tangshu started to get worried. “Should we just bag our food as takeout? It’ll be a waste if we don’t. Zhuang Feng, you need to control your temper, beating up someone over such a small matter. Now we can’t properly have lunch.”

Tangge sighed. “Feng, the city’s different. You’ve seen me stroll around in the village like nobody’s business when we were younger, but I don’t even raise my voice here in the city.”

I felt incredibly bitter at their blame towards me. How were the douche’s jeers a small matter?

“Don’t worry, we’ll just pick a different place to eat. I’ll pay the bill.” Liu Jie said. Saozi shook her head, saying that it wouldn’t be right for her to do that at all.

Just when we were about to leave, a deep and compelling male voice resonated from behind us. “Eh, Jie, why are you here?”

I turned around and saw a slightly overweight, middle-aged man walk down from the second floor. He wore a business suit and Buddha beads on his wrist, exerting a wealthy yet low-key aura.

“Ah, I’m eating lunch with my classmate.” Liu Jie seemed surprised.

“Classmates? Why are there so many people?” The man raised his eyebrows.

“These are his relatives.” Liu Jie shrugged, and turned away. Something seemed to be on her mind.

“Aha, Mr. Liu, I’m glad to see you here. I’m Zhuang, do you remember me? I stood behind Mr. Wang at the business meeting last time.” Tangge’s eyes gleamed, and hurried over to offer him a cigarette, but the man didn’t seem to notice him.