“Here you are.” Han Jia said, slipping into Xiao Li’s private lounge after a stroll around Jin Ting.
Xiao Li was standing at the side of the window with a cigarette in his mouth as he looked outside the window. When he heard Han Jia’s voice, he let out a ‘yeah’ without turning around.
“Lin Zi is downstairs with his head hanging dejectedly into the ground as punishment.” Han Jia approached him, “Why did you curse him so severely like that?”
Xiao Li frowned, “What? He’s my subordinate, can’t I curse at him?”
Han Jia leaned against the frame of the window and turned his head to look at him. “He had cut you once before, I didn’t even see you curse him like that then. So what now? It wasn’t anything that serious. He only touched one of the girls a bit and ended up getting a good slap already. How could you continue to curse him with such unpleasant words?”
Xiao Li snorted.
“I’ve heard everything you’ve said,” Han Jia sighed. “What, ‘a reckless gangster doesn’t even understand his own importance,’ what ‘who could fall for a reckless person like you, they’re more likely to use you’. Geez, just from those alone, Lin Zi’s complexion was just, tsk, tsk – shitty.”
The wrinkles between Xiao Li’s brows tightened as he inhaled the smoke without speaking.
“Are you cursing him or are you cursing yourself, huh? “Han Jia asked, “Did Xiao Yang say something to you again?”
“No, I haven’t seen that kid for a long while,” Xiao Li said honestly.
“What’s wrong with your hand?” Han Jia stared at the wound on his knuckles, “Who did you hit?” But then as if he realized something, he laughed. “It’s not that beastly teacher, is it?”
“What are you mentioning him for?” Xiao Li irritably pressed the cigarette stub against the ledge of the window before he turned to walk away.
“It really is him?”
Han Jia burst out into a peal of laughter as he watched Xiao Li sit down and then follow suit to sit beside him.
“Haven’t I told you that he’s a beast, yet you still got close to him. Now you know, right?”
Xiao Li wanted to take out another stick of cigarette, but just as he looked around for one, Han Jia gripped his hand before he spoke sympathetically. “It’s hard to bear, right? You thought that he respected you, so you never expected him to have actually taken a liking to your ass instead.”
“Fuck off,” Xiao Li immediately flung his hand away.
Han Jia playfully fell on the sofa and then clutched his stomach before he tried to speak coherently in between his laughter. “You deserved it! Where would we find such a reckless gangster like you, huh? A gangster who envies a ‘righteous blue-collar worker’ and even tried to mix in with him. Why don’t you just surrender yourself to the authorities first? I heard you even went strolling around the street, shopping for clothes with him. Do you think you’re a white-collar worker? That’s fucking ridiculous. Hahahaha!! That’s right, he even gave you flowers back at the hospital. Even my girls won’t fall for that bullshit, yet you actually visited him. Hahahahaha!”
The laughter and berating remarks went on for a while before Han Jia wiped his tears and sat up straight – another cigarette had already been lit and was being smoked. Xiao Li’s face was sheathed with an ashy color.
“Hello, you are not that, right? Are you for real?” Han Jia felt a little stupid as he sighed, “I don’t know what to say to make you feel better. Have you been in the underworld for so long that you forgot how things work? There are only two types of white-collar men, one is Xiao Yang who will always look down on you and two is that beastly teacher who wants to take advantage of you,” he said while patting Xiao Li’s shoulder. “Then there are those dirty cops. They look down on you and take advantage of you. If things don’t develop as they want, they will double-cross you and have you locked up in prison. Come on, only if you’re brain dead would you actually want to be friends with those kinds of people.”
A dim sadness drew on Xiao Li’s expression, but he quietly nodded in agreement. “I know.”
Han Jia gave him a quick glance, “Really?! You’re the stupid fool and you still have the nerve to vent your anger on your little brothers. I will tell Lin Zi that he doesn’t need to stand there as punishment anymore.”
Xiao Li merely said ‘okay’ before Han Jia walked toward the door. When he looked back at Xiao Li, he hesitated but then still spoke. “Xiao Li, I’m only saying this for your own good. In regard to the matter that Qing-Ye mentioned to you, if I were you, I would agree to it.”
“Fucking leave now,” Xiao Li did not bother to look up at him.
After Han Jia left, Xiao Li remained on that sofa for a long time, and when his cigarette finally burnt out, he sobered up from his thoughts. Just as he was about to head to the bathroom to wash his hands, his phone buzzed. He picked it up for a look and to his surprise, it was Qi Susu. He hesitated, but still pressed the answer button.
“Xiao da-ge!” The sound of Qi Susu’s sobs transmitted through the phone. “Qi dage, he… huhuhu, what should I do?”
“Calm down a bit.” Xiao Li used a warm tone to comfort her.
Qi Susu controlled her weeping. “Xiao da-ge, the hospital called and told me that my brother was beaten by someone. I called Ah-Yang, but I couldn’t get in contact with him. Do you think someone will attack Ah-Yang too? Xiao da-ge, I’m home alone and I’m really scared…”
“First, don’t cry. Give one of your colleagues a call and let them accompany you to the hospital. I’ll go look for Xiao Yang, okay?” Xiao Li said.
“Okay, please tell Ah-Yang to give me a call when you find him.”
After Xiao Li hung up the call, he still felt hesitant but decided to go out and look for Xiao Yang anyways to ease his own mind.
However, before he could leave, Li Shiqing’s call came.
“Xiao Li,” Li Shiqing’s voice was gentle but carried a bit of sympathy. “Come over to where I am right now, something happened… to your brother.”