The moment Qi Xiuyuan set foot in ‘Ge An’, he went straight to the bar and requested a glass of liquor. Enjoying the atmosphere and the several gazes that met his, his mood became quite good.
He did not expect to run into anyone here but to his own surprise, he saw a familiar face.
Qi Xiuyuan turned to ask the bartender, “What’s going on with that person over there?”
The bartender finished wiping the glass and glanced over in that direction. He laughed, “Did you fall for him? He’s not cheap.”
Qi Xiuyuan’s brows pulled together, “He’s an MB11 here?”
“He doesn’t look like one, right?” The bartender covertly admitted then enthusiastically described that person. “He’s the type that attracts people. You know, delicate and pure looking. He looks just like a senior high school student the more you look at him.”
Of course, that’s a high school student, Qi Xiuyuan mentally commented. He angrily got up, walked over and patted the person on the shoulder.
“Jiang Xiaoning, did you finish your math assignment yet?”
Jiang Xiaoning was a pretty and delicate boy with a doll face and a nice slender height.
When he turned to look at the person behind him, the prettiness of his face distorted slightly to match that of his feeling. His eyes widened with Qi Xiuyuan’s image reflecting inside. He opened his mouth intending to say something, but nothing came out.
“Xiao Ning, aren’t you going to introduce us?” A tall and thin man sitting on the opposite side of the table from Jiang Xiaoning looked over at Qi Xiuyuan.
Jiang Xiaoning returned his eyes to that man and frenetically said, “This is Qi Laoshi, and this is… this is my older brother… Jiang, Jiang…”
“Jiang Xiaodong,” the man completed the name for him while wearing a faint smile. “Qi Laoshi, please sit.”
With no trace of courtesy, Qi Xiuyuan sat down beside Jiang Xiaoning and bluntly said, “Mr. Jiang, do you know that Xiao Ning is underage?”
“He’s not eighteen yet…” Jiang Xiaodong calmly answered, “But in the legal system, there’s a general rule that states, ‘a citizen sixteen year of age but not yet eighteen, who works to receive a decent income in order to support his own livelihood is considered a capable person.’”
As expected, the words that left his mouth was smooth and sounded as though he had said it countless times before.
“What kind of decent work is this?” Qi Xiuyuan questioned, his eyes now holding anger.
‘Jiang Xiaodong’ looked askance at the young boy, “Xiao Ning, it seems you need to have a nice chat with your teacher.” He said, standing up. “I’ll wait for your reply tomorrow.”
Jiang Xiaoning stood up, “Oh, okay. Take care.” He waited until ‘Jiang Xiaodong’ left before he sat back down. “Laoshi, you almost scared me to death.”
Qi Xiuyuan glared at him without saying a word.
Feeling guilty, Jiang Xiao Jiang lowered his head. A few seconds later, he lifted his eyes as if he had just realized something. He smiled hesitantly and asked, “Laoshi, you come here too?”
Qi Xiuyuan remained still.
It didn’t take much for Jiang Xiaoning to think that the aura looming over his teacher was scarier and more dreadful than that of the Chief of Education who normally stood in front of the school gate just to inspect whether or not the students were misbehaving.
After a long moment of silence and an endless sea of sweats cascading from his forehead, Jiang Xiaoning became somewhat angry which was mainly due to being ashamed. “Laoshi, what are you doing here? I didn’t steal or fought anyone, you know!”
At those words, Qi Xiuyuan let out an angry groan that instantly scared the daylight out of Jiang Xiaoning causing him to retreat back into his seat.
“I haven’t heard any news about Jiang Laoshi being short on money.”
Jiang Xiaoning blinked his larges eyes, smiling flatteringly. “Qi Laoshi, Qi Gege, Qi Shu. Please don’t mention this to my father. I’m begging you, I’m begging you, I’m begging you.”
“Then tell me exactly what is going on and say it all clearly.”
After grumbling for a while, Jiang Xiaoning eventually talked.
As it turns out, Jiang Xiaoning had found out a long time ago that he was not like other boys of his age. After being confused and at a loss for quite some time, he found Ge An. The first day he came here, he built up the courage and spent a night with someone pleasing to his eyes. When he woke up the next day, he didn’t expect that the person was gone and at the side of his pillow was a stack of money. Jiang Xiaoning was still young and was easily tempted. Not only had he experienced the beauty of sex, but the money seemed to have come easy. As a result, he simply considered that as a side occupation.
Jiang Xiaoning said everything thoroughly in one go then glanced anxiously at Qi Xiuyuan from the corner of his eye. “Qi Laoshi, you have to keep this from my father.”
Qi Xiuyuan could not help but rub the side of his head. “Then that ‘Jiang Xiaodong’ is not your older brother?”
“No, he’s a boss. Han Laoban.”12 Jiang Xiaoning replied, sounding as though he was presenting a treasure. “Qi Laoshi, have you heard of Jin Ting before?”
“I’ve heard.” Isn’t it just a hotel business or something?
“Han Laoban is in charge of Jin Ting,” Jiang Xiaoning said. “He wants me to work there.”
“Doing what?” Qi Xiuyuan was anything but reassuring by now.
“The same as what I do here, but Jin Ting is considered a high-class place compared to Ge An. Han Laoban also said that the clients there are all upper-class people. They—”
“Stop, stop, stop!” Qi Xiuyuan did not know if he wanted to laugh or cry. “You bastard! Are you fucking planning to do something like this for the long term?”
“Qi Laoshi, why are you swearing?” Jiang Xiaoning blinked his big innocent eyes several times in an attempt to act cute. “I made you angry.”
“Are you not afraid of humiliating your father?!” Qi Xiuyuan scowled.
Jiang Xiaoning did not say anything at first, but when he did, his voice was small. “Qi Laoshi, I don’t want to humiliate my father, but I’m happy doing this. I don’t think it’s bad either. Now I can make money and provide for myself. As a matter of fact, this isn’t considered giving him trouble, right?” He suddenly pouted, “My father is not short on money, but he never bought me anything either. I’ve talked about wanting an MP3 player with him several times and he always said he would buy it, but he would forget it the moment he turned his head away. But when it came to his students’ birthday, he remembered them all clearly…”
Qi Xiuyuan was dumbfounded by those words and the more he listened, the more grievance overtook him.
“… it’s been like that since I was a kid. When I had a fever, he would rather give his students extra lessons than watch over me. In the end, who exactly is his son? Even if I don’t see him, all he talks about are his students. He’s always comparing us. You know, in just half a year, I was able to get everything I wanted myself: a cellphone, an MP3 player, and even new clothes. But he still hasn’t noticed anything. Even if I sell myself, he still wouldn’t take notice of it!”
Silently watching as he talked until tears formed, Qi Xiuyuan could not help but think that he was hateful yet pitiful at the same time. He touched his hair as comfort.
“Jiang Laoshi is a very good teacher. You’ve been his son for more than ten years, you should know that a lot better than me, right? Don’t complain about how he doesn’t care about you. Think for yourself, if I give him a call and tell him that you’re an MB here, how would he react?”
“Don’t! Qi Laoshi, you can’t!” Jiang Xiaoning was scared as he pressed Qi Xiuyuan’s hand tightly. “My father will kill me! He’ll definitely kill me! He…he will definitely be broken-hearted…”
“Okay, okay, your tears are already coming down. How old are you, huh?” Qi Xiuyuan passed a tissue to him.
After Jiang Xiaoning wiped away his tears, he sat silently for a while to calm down his own feelings. Then he begged again, “Qi Laoshi, don’t talk about this with my father…”
“I don’t have to say it, but there’s a condition.”
“What condition?” Jiang Xiaoning gave him a quick glance, but suddenly, he covered his chest with both of his hands. “Qi, Qi, Qi, Qi, Qi Laoshi, don’t tell me—”
Seeing his reaction, Qi Xiuyuan instantly smacked the back of his head. “What are you thinking? I’m not a pedophile.”
Jiang Xiaoning pouted bitterly, “Then what’s the condition?”
“Don’t wander around here all day and attend school properly. Also, stay far away from that Han Laoban,” Qi Xiuyuan emphasized that name. “He doesn’t look like a good person at all.”
“Okay, I know.” Jiang Xiaoning nodded obediently, “Actually, I didn’t plan on going there. That would be prostitution, and it also requires a signed contract.”
Qi Xiuyuan smiled mockingly, “So, you’re not stupid after all.”
Jiang Xiaoning glared at him and continued, “I came here because I feel depressed. Also… I don’t dare to let my father know. At the least, I can find people that are the same as me here…”
Qi Xiuyuan touched his head again, “It must be hard for you, but don’t be foolish. If you have any problems, you can talk to me about it.”
In the end, Jiang Xiaoning cried again.
Feeling as though he had somehow pushed the kid into a corner, Qi Xiuyuan simply gave up for the time being instead of making it worse by forcing him.
After taking Jiang Xiaoning all the way home, he returned home – depressed.
During math the class of the next morning, Jiang Xiaoning was lively and full of enthusiasm. He answered all the questions and even made his desk-mate laughed with joy.
Qi Xiuyuan held in his laughter until class was over and thought, this kid is quite adorable.
Who could have expected that by the evening, an incident occurred?
At around nine o’clock, he received a phone call from Jiang Xiaoning.
His low and frantic voice transmitted from the other side, “Qi Laoshi, help me…”
“Xiao Ning, where are you?”
“I’m at Jin Ting, I… ah!” the phone call was cut short.
Completely taken aback, Qi Xiuyuan quickly dialed back but to no avail. With that, he rushed out of the door without explaining anything to Susu.