No Protection Tonight

 

Chapter 26: Blow, Don’t Say a Word (Part 1)

 

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“What’s the big deal about basketball? Can I make some money out of it?” I had only agreed to play for the class’ honor, but I’d never anticipate things would escalate to this degree.

Coach Sun looked exasperated. “With an annual salary of two hundred thousand, along with season win commissions, I doubt you’ll have any problems with money.”

The nearby students gasped in surprise.

“Whoa, a direct invitation?”

“This can’t be real, Coach Sun, look at me, I definitely have talent as well!”

“Hell, from today on, I only have one idol, Zhuang Feng in Class Five, Year Three. He’s got a two-hundred grand salary at eighteen years old, what about you guys?”

To me, the sum was an astronomical number. I could understand the others’ envy; after all, we were all high school students. The ultimate goal of studying and getting a good job was to make bank, and I had bypassed that with nearly no effort at all.

I was practically a nobody before, but I’d become someone to be gawked at in a single leap. The moment I walk away with Coach Sun was the moment I become of different worlds than everyone else around me.

“Sorry, but I’m not interested.” After a momentary pause, I refused Coach Sun’s offer.

“Eh.” Like the currents of an ocean, before they had recovered from the initial shock by the coach, they were again struck dumb by my response.

“Oh dear lord, is this kid out of his mind?”

“If it’s not because he thinks that’s too little, then his head must’ve been kicked by a donkey!”

“A snake can’t swallow an elephant.”

“This brat is really getting ahead of himself!”

Coach Sun looked awkward, too. “Name your price then, young man.” He said reluctantly.

“Ahem, coach, I didn’t mean it that way. I just think I have better things to do.” I shook my head. How could I be that greedy? Of course, I couldn’t just say that it was because of Saozi.

“What?” Coach Sun looked at me strangely.

The other students pricked up their ears, eager to hear my reasoning.

“As a student, I feel like studying is the way I want to go about my life.” I spoke firmly.

“Psh.” Everyone snorted.

“F**k, is he joking? How could studying get you anywhere nowadays?”

“If he doesn’t get hold of this chance, he’ll come to regret it.”

“I wish it were me.”

Coach Sun fell silent. Then, he patted my shoulder, “Alright, if that’s the way it is, then this old man won’t pressure you. Here’s my business card; if you change your mind, just give me a call.”

“Okay, thank you.” I felt relieved. With the coach exposing the truth, the player from Class Eight was benched for breaking the rules, and the rest of the match flew through in a breeze. The score ended 52:0, and Class Eight’s unbreakable winning record came to a standstill.

“Shutdown!” At first, that outcome was what everyone had predicted, but never in their wildest dreams did they think it would be us that would win.

A bunch of girls shrieked, “Zhuang Feng, you’re too cool!”

“Look here, look here. I’m taking a photo.”

“Take me, daddy. I’m single~”

Their calls irked Liu Jie, who hurried over and took my hand. She grumbled, “He’s my boyfriend, so all of you better back off!”

I felt wave after wave of bliss from her creamy touch, but it also attracted the fiery gaze of the homeroom teacher.

“Jie, tone it down a bit. Teacher Liu’s gonna get angry.” I reminded her, and she unwillingly let go of my arm.

As promised, I received the six thousand yuan of prize money. I was intending to split it evenly, but they kept refusing to let me. Finally, I managed to convince them to take a thousand, and they looked quite happy with themselves. After all, they worked hard for it.

Teacher Liu kept complimenting me for my decision to put my studies first and praised me for my ambition, making me embarrassed.

Then, she told me to not flaunt my romance in public, or else it would harm the class’ reputation. It was best for the both of us to try our best and get into a good college under the circumstance that we wouldn’t interfere with each other’s studies.

I agreed, and as soon as Teacher Liu left, Liu Jie appeared by my side like some spirit. She giggled, “Feng, you must’ve rejected Coach Sun’s offer because you didn’t want to lose me, right?”

“Eh.” What kind of logic was this girl on about? Before I could say anything, she said, “Don’t deny it, that score of 52 is clearly a confession.”

Indeed, with Li Zhiyuan’s class scoring 0, it read as 520 along with ours. I had no words to refute Liu Jie’s incredulous explanation. *

*520 is Chinese internet slang for “I love you”.

 

Part 2