No Protection Tonight
Chapter 19: Having a Baby
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My heart thumped beat after beat. If what I did with Tangsao counted as a guilty pleasure, what I was doing now might as well be naked bliss. Moreover, in Tangge and Tangshu’s eyes, I wasn’t even doing anything wrong.
“Hey, Yun. I’m in a car, so I didn’t look at my messages. Mm, go on to lunch without me, I’m with Feng at the moment.” Liu Jie picked up to speed, and started to call me by nickname.
Because we were very close, I could hear Lin Xiaoyun’s disbelief over the phone. “Hmph, I thought that punk was a cold bitch, but it looks like he ended up at the hem of your dress anyways. But don’t think you’re off the hook, picking dicks over chicks!”
“Hehe, see ya.” Liu Jie hung up her phone.
When the others weren’t looking, Liu Jie pinched my thigh. It was clear that she was warning me, but it wasn’t completely my fault. Her every move made my feelings unbearable, and Liu Jie’s scarlet face looked like it was about to gush any moment.
The ride was over very fast. Before I could properly enjoy myself, Saozi announced we had arrived.
As soon as the car parked, Liu Jie hurriedly climbed out the door, accidentally knocking her head against the roof. Tears streamed down her cheeks in pain. I felt a little sorry for her, and rubbed her forehead with my palm. “I wasn’t even hurrying you, what’s the rush?”
“Hmph, you dirty thing.” Liu Jie rolled her eyes at me, though she couldn’t even meet my gaze in her nervousness.
F**k, it was merely a biological reaction. Why was it filthy in Liu Jie’s words? How could any man in the world suffer through what happened between us just now without a scratch?
“What are you two mumbling about? Come on.” Tangsao called. We hastened our pace.
The restaurant was teeming with customers, and the first floor was pretty much full. Thankfully, Tangsao had reserved a table beforehand.
Besides the courses included in the deal, Tangsao ordered two extra house dishes and asked Liu Jie what she wanted. Liu Jie repeatedly refused, and Tangshu agreed, saying that enough was enough. He couldn’t stand wasting food.
Though he was a mayor, Tangshu was very frugal. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have brought so many bags and goods with him.
“Dad, you deserve a proper welcome from us.” Tangge said naturally. I noticed that he was indeed different from before. In my eyes, Tangge had always been trouble, and never respected his elders. When we were younger, he would always take a village girl to “roll around” in the canola fields, and never allow me to watch. Of course, I never figured out just what was so entertaining about the canola fields. Later, when they started “rolling around” too much, the girl’s family found out about what was going on. They stirred up a ruckus at Tangshu’s house; coincidentally, Tangshu was divvying up the village’s farmland, so he gave the family an acre more than usual to hush them up.
In his late teens, Tangge frequently peeped on the village wives, and quickly figured out their bedtime routines. He appointed me to be the lookout, and immediately blamed me whenever we got caught. I had no small share of spankings back then.
Although Tangge always managed to cause trouble, Tangshu still spoiled him. After all, the older you become, the more you treasure your descendants.
“This dish is at least eighty yuan, it’s too expensive. How can food that’s made at home taste any different? Be careful of how much you spend in the city, it’s best to keep track of your savings.” Tangshu shook his head.
“Dad, didn’t I tell you? I’ve taken up a new contract recently, and made a little cash. What’s wrong with celebrating a little?” Tangge spoke with a poker face.
His acting skills were so good, I felt a bit of admiration for him. He clearly had a load of debt steaming on his ass, but he still dared to insist that he was making dough. Of course, Tangge had especially asked me to keep quiet. Tangshu seemed quite surprised, and asked Tangsao if it was true or not.
Tangsao smiled as she nodded. “Dongliang, you’ve only made a couple dozen grand, there’s nothing to brag about.” *
*I know the conversion rate is 6 point something, but given the consideration of both China and America’s living standards, just divide by two. That’s how much USD he (cough) allegedly made.
Ah, Tangsao still cared about Tangge. Though Tangge didn’t really feel the same and even got violent with her, her love didn’t change for him. Maybe this was true marriage, after all. *
*It’s fairly obvious (not to the MC, of course), but in case you haven’t caught up, Tangsao is just playing up to her husband in order to protect Zhuang Feng and ensure that he keeps living under their roof. Just a tip.
Honestly, I envied Tangge. If I had such a wonderful wife, I would never be able to bring myself to even swear at her; I would love her dearly and hold her as tight as possible.
“Aye, it seems you’re not totally hopeless, after all.” Tangshu joked. A pleased smile curved his lips.
Tangsao got up to go to the restroom. She didn’t look very well.
A waiter walked to our table, and asked us if we wanted any drinks. Tangge ordered some white wine and chilled watermelon juice. But just as he was about to leave, I called out, “Hey, do you guys have any hot beverages?”
“We have cinnamon jujube tea, would you like that?” The waiter replied.
Tangge asked me, “Feng, I didn’t know you drank tea. I brought back a tin of Tie Guanyin leaves last time, it should still be somewhere in the house.” *
*Tie Guanyin is a breed of tea that is priced at a moderate range, but can become very expensive depending on the degree of quality. You should be able to buy some at any Asian/Chinese supermarket.
“No, Tangsao has a fever, so she can’t have anything cold.” I blurted out.
Right after I said it, I felt as if something was wrong. Tangge didn’t know about this; since I cared about Tangsao very much, I stood from her perspective on a lot of things. I must’ve seemed overly considerate, especially on small matters like these.
In no time, Tangsao came back and sat down. Tangge carelessly asked, “How are you feeling? If Feng didn’t bring it up, I wouldn’t have known you were sick.”
“Ah?” Tangsao paused, and changed topic. “It’s nothing to worry about. Come on, let’s eat while it’s hot.”
During the meal, Tangsao caught me spacing out, and kicked me under the table. “Pinch some food for Jie.”
“Oh, okay.” I picked a piece of braised meat, and moved to drop it in Liu Jie’s bowl. She batted my chopsticks away and said, “I can eat by myself.”
I felt an inkling of envy from her. F**k, things are just getting worse by the minute. I was already afraid of Tangshu and the others misunderstanding my attention for Tangsao, but women like Liu Jie are still sensitive enough to catch on to what was really going on. My instinctive awareness had displayed the weight Tangsao held in my heart for everyone to see.
Liu Jie had more or less felt it, but I sure damn hoped Tangge wouldn’t, too.
After a few drinks, the conversation at the table started to pick up. Tangge said that he needed an investment for his business, and that he’d put whatever money comes his way into the company’s stock shares for when his business takes off. Tangshu applauded him, and looked very relieved. He told me to study hard, and look up to Tangge.
Though I knew it was all bullshit, I didn’t show it. After a while of running in circles, Tangge finally asked Tangshu whether he brought money or not. He needed some to stabilize his business, and would return it to Tangshu in no time.
By then, I pretty much understood why Tangge had suddenly become obedient and respectful. Warm affection equaled cold, hard, cash. Indeed, if Tangge only relied on his meager salary, he wouldn’t be able to return his debt in his entire lifetime. Begging Tangshu was undoubtedly the safest and fastest method of solving the issue.
Tangshu was rather sensitive when the subject turns to money. As the mayor, he’d gathered his own small fortune here and there, but as a consequence, there was no lack of village widows running into his house all the time. My aunt passed away early, and how could Tangshu live through his years without feeling lonely every once in a while? As anticipated, he became intimate with some of the widows, and they each started to siphon off money from him bit by bit through the years. Tangshu had no grounds to deny them, either.
“Ah, Dongliang, you understand your pap’s situation more than anyone else. Back when you bought your house, I gave you three hundred thousand for down payment, and another hundred thousand for renovations. I’ll tell you the truth; I have four hundred thousand left tied to my will, and no amount of badgering by those idiot village women would ever convince me to give them a single cent of it. Once I’m six feet under the ground, that money will all be yours.” Tangshu refused, probably out of lingering doubt for Tangge.
“Dad, I know, but this business can really turn a profit around! If I miss this chance, there wouldn’t be any in the future. I’ll return the sum immediately after a week!” Tangge didn’t budge.
I knew what was really going on, but I had no right to meddle in their affairs as a younger generation.
“No, see, this money isn’t really mine. It’s your mother’s; before she passed away, she told me specifically to give you this money only if you were facing financial difficulties from having a child.” Tangshu said.
“Ach.” Tangsao choked on her tea. I wanted to laugh out loud, but I swallowed it down.
Tangshu couldn’t help but complain. “Why is your wife’s womb still silent after these two or three years? You should have a healthy little baby soon, so I can take care of it while I can still walk. I won’t be so lonely all the time, either.”