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Chapter 8: Omen


After sex, I was smoking on the bed, and the woman by my side asked why I hadn’t been visiting her as often recently.

I knew it was because I spent all my time with that goddamn Lin, but seeing her curious eyes, I kinda wanted to play a prank, so I sighed, “I fell in love with someone.”

Her face naturally froze for a moment, but she quickly put on an understanding look and asked, “Someone that doesn’t even bow down to Master Ou? Who is playing so hard to get?”

I didn’t take it to heart, just explained that I had been pursuing someone for a long time, but whatever I did, I couldn’t proceed to the final step.

She wrapped her bouncing boobs with a blanket, and lay her head on my arm, “Then maybe this woman wants a stable relationship. Does Mr.Ou want to marry her?”

I was honest about it, “He[1] is quite refreshing and interesting, so I just want to try it out. I know this type is just for fun, not for a long-term relationship.” Speaking, I squeezed her cheek, “Even if I want to settle down one day, I will go for someone like you – caring, cute and understanding. If I stay with that person, my head will explode within one day.”

“Then why does Mr.Ou still like her?”

“Just for the novelty, you know? I can’t convince myself to give up. He has let me kiss him, touch him, but just won’t let me fúck him.”

She chuckled, “So this person is an expert in this.”

I laughed too, “Yup when he was goofing around with others, they even gave him cars.”

She clung onto me like a cute little bunny, rubbing my chest with her soft hair.

*** *** ***

My company finally got listed on the SME board with a listing price of ¥60. In less than four months, it dropped to 48. Some of my friends tried persuading me to take the money and leave, but I insisted that the price drop was due to the second quarter report not meeting the market expectation. Once the economy recovered, the price would eventually go past 100. Everybody thought I was speculating, and listed my company only as a scam, but I truly did have an ambition in the industry.

Although the stock price was low, my assets still grew fourfold than before. The investment bank analyst who helped me in listing told me this was the magnification effect of capital. To congratulate me, Chu Yuan Jiang specifically got me a Cadillac as a gift.

When I went to his place to get the car keys, he had just come back from the golf court. The white casual outfit made him look very refreshing and neat.

Although he had a plain face, his masculinity and adamant manner gave him a unique aura. I was trying out the car and driving it out of the garage when I saw him strolling towards me from the garden. The sunlight gilded his robust body with a golden frame that looked almost dazzling, and a sense of pride rose inside me – hey, that’s my brother!

I drove the car next to him and rolled down the window. “Where have you been?”

He looked at me with the sun beaming behind him, suddenly bent down leaned on the window, and patted on my shoulder. “Do you like it?”

I grinned, and knew that this car was not acquired in a legal way, “This car looks very expensive huh?”

“I spent no money. Someone gave it to me. Smuggled stuff and the license plate is theirs so that you can drive it at will, and if you get booked, they will pay for it.” He explained as if it’s nothing.

Normally I would not get myself involved in these type of shady businesses, but of course, it’s different when it comes to Chu Yuan Jiang, so I thanked him, “That’s cool. Thank you so much! I was just thinking about replacing my sh*tty old car.”

Then I insisted on driving him to a meal. On the drive, I was excited and couldn’t stop rambling, but he was pretty quiet.

When we were eating, I sensed something weird. After a while I noticed, even though Chu was smiling on his face, his eyes betrayed him and made him looked depressed. I was confused. From what I knew, Chu Yuan Jiang just destroyed Han Dong, so he should be the happiest and content at this time, why was he…

So after the meal when we walked out I grabbed his shoulder and asked casually, “What’s going on recently? You seem to have a lot going on in your mind. Don’t keep them to yourself! You can always discuss things with me.”

“There’s nothing…” He sighed, shook his head.

“Are you sure?”

He squeezed out a smile, “I can handle it… Don’t worry.”

I sighed, “We are brothers for this many years, and I just have one thing to say. Whatever you do, don’t burn yourself out. I am here right behind you. No matter what goes wrong, at least I can afford to support you until you’re back on your feet.”

Chu Yuan Jiang remained silent.

My heart quivered. I looked at Chu, couldn’t hold back my shock…

True, what I said just now was from the bottom of my heart, but it was also a test. If there were nothing serious, Chu definitely would have laughed at me, “You? Supporting me? I will pray for you not stirring up more troubles only for me to clean up the mess!”

But now there was only silence.

I pretended to be lighthearted and turned around to get the car in the parking lot. The gloomy light dragged my shadow long and thin on the ground. Behind me, Chu suddenly asked, “Why didn’t you stay with me at that time?”

My hand paused, holding the keys. I turned my head and looked at him, but couldn’t see the expression on his face.

I thought he would never ask that question ever again.

I thought this would be forever a taboo between us.

“Get in the car.” I walked to the other side of the car to open the door for him.

I started the car and he didn’t say anything. I didn’t talk to him either, and drove the car out of the parking lot, into the hustle and bustle of the colorful night.

The stars that were once everywhere in the sky, were no longer to be seen in the mist of the neon lights.

But still, I remembered the color of the night in the old days. Once the dusk fell, the starlights were everywhere.

At that time, we promised each other, to fight our way up together.

But I withdrew in the last minute.

That year, he was seventeen, and I was sixteen.

The payment was already on our bank account, a grant of several wan[2]. It was the first time I saw such a large amount of money. The payer told us to cut someone’s leg off, and this half was only the down payment. After the job was done, we could get the other half.

I cowered, following Chu Yuan Jiang, murmuring, “Let’s not do this deal, shall we?”

He didn’t say anything, just opened the creaking door with the rusted keys, squatted down and took out the bucket that we used to collect the dripping water from the ceiling for two days, and got the mosquito net that was being dried outdoor, covered the new moldy spot on the wall with a rug, then finally turned around and asked me, “Then why didn’t you speak up when we were buying the knife just now?”

I gritted my teeth, “I thought this was easy money, one stab for several wan…but…I…I can’t do it.”

He stared into my eyes, with the determination that I couldn’t understand, “Jun-zi[3], the most important thing in this business is to keep our word. We have got the money, and know what’s the request, then we have to do it for them.”

I just begged him, “A-yuan[4], I am begging you, let’s forget about this. If we run away with this money, who will be able to find us? Let’s do some small business together shall we?”

He gave me a cold and sharp look and said nothing.

Later, while I was not home, he secretly took the knife and went out alone.

He ended up in the juvenile jail for this, but I didn’t know that, so for me he just disappeared in my life suddenly, and I had no idea where he went. I inquired everywhere from everyone I knew, and finally got to know where he was kept.

He was not willing to see me however worried I was. I couldn’t do anything but hoped that ten years’ sentence would soften his heart, and let me see him once.

But soon, ten years became five, and five years became three, then three years turned into parole.

When he got out I didn’t get the news, and was busy managing my small booth on the market street. I opened three booths at that time, and hired two people to help me take care of them.

I still remember the gloomy sky of the day, indicating the incoming rain. The young man I hired ran towards me panting when I was squatting on the ground fanning myself, wondered why the weather was so stuffy.

“Brother Jun, someone comes to collect the ‘management fee’ again.”

I frowned, “But I have already paid the management fee the day before yesterday…” I stood up and asked him to take care of the booth for me, and took a pack of cigarettes and went out. It pained me so much to think that this nice pack of cigarettes that I was reluctant to enjoy had to be given out as a tribute today.

I froze the second I stepped out.

A bald man walked to me and seized my pack of cigarettes.

I finally regained myself. “When the fúck did you come out mother fúcker? It’s been such a long time and I received no information whatsoever about you….” I didn’t finish and pounced on him to fight him…who the hell did he think I was worrying so much about that I spent so many sleepless nights?

Finally, he threw me on the ground with a kick to my chest. Before I struggled up he had already opened the cigarette package and lit one up. “But there is no fun visiting me in the jail. You are so poor, what you could bring to me was not even comparable to what I robbed in the jail for myself.”

Then he pointed his chin at me and said, “Hey, Junzi, I want to eat noodles.”

“Eat your own sh*t! Fúck off to where you are. You’re motherfúcker who likes noodles, but I don’t.”

He just stood there looking at me, and I gritted my teeth, and closed down my booth and took him to a noodle shop, trying my best not to let him see my teary eyes.


Footnotes:

[1]In Chinese, all third-person pronouns are pronounced the same as “ta,” so “he/she” and “him/her” reveal no information about gender in the conversation. Ou was talking about a man and saying ‘he/him’, but the woman thought he’s talking about a woman.

[2]wan(万) is a unit in Chinese number system, 1 wan = 10 thousand

[3]Jun-zi: -zi is a suffix to names to show intimacy(usually to someone of similar age or younger)

[4]A-yuan: a- is a prefix to names to show intimacy(usually to someone of similar age or younger)


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