See a tiger, pray; see a rabbit, open fire
“Reporter Yu, your boyfriend is a truly talented and good-looking person. He’s absolutely well matched with you.”
“Thank you, Han Laoshi. He doesn’t like to smile, so please don’t take offense.”
Not wanting to listen to their extremely hypocritical greetings, Jiang Xiao Ning lowered his head to Yu Xiu Jun. “I brought all the stationary that you asked me to purchase. I almost couldn’t fit it all, you know.”
‘You are so good’, Yu Xiu Jun coquettishly said as she stood on the tip of her toe and kissed his cheek. Then she walked away to call someone to move the boxes of stationery.
Han Jia stood at the same place and looked at him. “Should I go and move the things with you first?”
Jiang Xiao Ning did not speak. He once thought that he already hated this person to the very core—so, at that moment, he did not expect he could hate him even more.
His eyes shifted around Han Jia’s face, observing the details only to see that his skin color had darkened just the slightest without changing his looks…however, the expression in his eyes was different. After a while, he turned around and walked out of the school gate.
Han Jia followed closely behind and silently helped him unload the boxes from the car. Both had their sleeves rolled up, and from time to time, their arms would touch, but Han Jia did not have any reaction.
Soon, the other teachers came to assist them—while they moved everything, they made sure to express their gratitude to Yu Xiu Jun and Jiang Xiao Ning in a very lively tone. A middle-aged woman even pulled Yu Xiu Jun’s hand and said, “Thank you so much. You and your boyfriend should also come tomorrow. You can say a few words to the children during the opening ceremony that will encourage them to study hard and bring glory to their hometown.”
Yu Xiu Jun glanced at Jiang Xiao Ning and smiled before she grabbed that woman’s arm and pulled her to the side to say something.
Jiang Xiao Ning’s line of sight moved away from her as he and everyone else moved the stationary back toward the school building. Since there was no warehouse here, the boxes had to be piled up in an office, one by one.
Once he was done with those things, Jiang Xiao Ning was washing his hands in a basin that was in the office when he saw Yu Xiu Jun waving at him from outside.
He walked over and took a set of keys out of his pocket and handed it back to her. “Take your keys back.”
“You can hold on to it to drive the car.” Yu Xiu Jun grabbed his arm and smiled, “But you won’t have a chance to drive it. Perhaps, you will need to stay here and accompany me for a while.”
“Okay,” Jiang Xiao Ning simply said. “I fully support your career.”
He usually doesn’t pamper anyone at all, let alone, say those kinds of sweet words. Yu Xiu Jun was greatly moved and snuggled up to him, but after a while, she spoke with a somewhat apologetic tone. “Xiao Ning, can you do something for me then?”
“What is it?”
“Go sleep with that Han Laoshi.”
Jiang Xiao Ning froze.
“I know that it should be the two of us living together,” Yu Xiu Jun said in a spoiled manner. “But you have to support my career, right? Since I’m a girl, it’s inappropriate for me to stare at Han Jia twenty-four hours a day.”
‘Oh‘, Jiang Xiao Ning let out then nodded and said. “No problem.”
Yu Xiu Jun held his hand. “I have wronged you. I spoke to Zhang Sao just now and told her that since the two of us are not married, it’s wrong to live together. The people here are conservative, and Zhang Sao also felt that it was quite reasonable. I also suggested to let you and Han Jia stay together and she has already agreed to it. Let me tell you, Zhang Sao’s words are the most effective here. There’s no need for us to discuss this matter with Han Jia, she will do it for us.”
Jiang Xiao Ning nodded and looked back. Han Jia was pouring water from a thermos flask for a middle-aged teacher while happily talking about something.
After that, Jiang Xiao Ning and Yu Xiu Jun went out of the school and drove to a small town to buy a set of bedding, then returned to have dinner in the city.
Once they were done, Jiang Xiao Ning took Yu Xiu Jun back to Zhang Sao’s second aunt’s house. She was an elderly lady with thin hair that was combed into a bun, had poor eyesight and unclear speech.
“Han Laoshi lives in courtyard toward the west. When he came, there wasn’t enough room at the teacher dormitory, so he ended up living with Lao Liu. But in less than six months, Lao Liu got into a car accident when he went to the city. Since he didn’t have any children, everyone advised Han Laoshi that he could continue to live there. The yard is not big, but the house is spacious enough. Even if the two of you stayed together, it won’t be crowded at all. This is for you; the yellow is the main gate and the white one is for the house.”
Jiang Xiao Ning thanked her and took the keys. But before he walked out, the second aunt said, “The school will open starting tomorrow. Everyone is eating at the headmaster’s house. The keys I gave you are the ones that Lao Liu used. Han Laoshi also has a set, so you don’t have to wait at the door for him.”
After hearing that, Jiang Xiao Ning understood then nodded his head at Yu Xiu Jun. He walked out to get the bedding from the car and walked toward the courtyard as the second aunt had instructed.
The lock on the gate was a bit rusty and took quite some time to open. The yard was indeed very small—Jiang Xiao Ning only took seven to eight steps before he arrived in front of the house, opened the door and felt about for the lights.
The lights were very dim, making the inside of the house hazy. Jiang Xiao Ning’s eyes swept around the simply furnished house, and then he took a few steps forward and pushed the door to the room open.
The lighting in the inner room was far brighter. There was an open textbook on a table in front of the bed; it looked like Han Jia usually prepared the lessons in this room.
After looking around, Jiang Xiao Ning walked in and placed the bedding on the kang in the middle of the room. Then without tidying anything, he sat on a chair beside the bed.
It only then did he noticed that since he entered the courtyard, his heartbeat had already started to accelerate…and he could barely breathe now.
After taking a few deep breaths to calm down his feelings, he finally dared to think about Han Jia.
In reality, he did not expect to see such a Han Jia.
Jiang Xiao Ning had known of the name Han Jia from a long time ago—and during the most impulsive and reckless years of his adolescence, he had met Han Jia.
At that time, Han Jia can be described as enticing and coquettish. His lips were always bright red and moist, his smile always held a hint of vulgar and romance and his eyes were always slightly narrowed as he cast sidelong glances at someone. He was shameless and selfish. He looked like someone who was never bashful, worried, or had been deeply hurt, and lived solely for the pleasures of life. For the young Jiang
Xiao Ning, he was the embodiment of passion.
Their lives had only intersected for five months, then afterward, there was a separation of five years.
Five years was more than enough for a person to grow and mature—to know all sorts of people, to experience all sorts of situations, to learn all sorts of abilities. Now the once clear and bright eyes became deeper, the soft heart has hardened…everything has changed. However, the image of Han Jia in his mind had always remained the same.
Back then, when he slightly lowered his head to look at Han Jia, there would already be a teasing smile at the corner of his lips while his eyes were dark like a cold and piercing pool of water.
Just thinking of that Han Jia, it would immediately get hard…it doesn’t matter if he hated, it would still get hard.
But now, he was wearing a white shirt. Before, he used to say that only people with a dull personality wore white shirts.
He only needed to look up slightly to see himself.
The palms of hands were covered with a thin layer of callus now—so whenever he shook someone’s hand, it was strong and forceful.
His expression was of someone who was magnanimous and indifference as if he was actually an innocent person.
But, Han Jia’s changes were bigger than his.
Jiang Xiao Ning recalled the scene from when he saw Han Jia earlier in the day until the faint sound of the door moving pulled him back to reality.
Light and unhurried footsteps approached. From where Jiang Xiao Ning was, he could see the main door being pushed open. Han Jia wore a white shirt and a pair of grayish-blue trouser before appearing in the dim light.
Han Jia gave Jiang Xiao Ning a glance and switched off the lights in the main room while making his way into the inner room. “Mr. Jiang, the conditions here are not too good. If you are not in that room, then please turn off the light off…”
Whatever he was saying, Jiang Xiao Ning did not hear it at all. He stared at Han Jia as he walked in; stared at his calm and collected expression; stared as he tidied the bedding on the kang, then heard him say, “Since I wake up quite early, it will be too noisy for you. How about…”
At the end of his patient, Jiang Xiao Ning suddenly stood up and took a few steps over to stand near Han Jia who was stooping to set the bedding up. He pushed his shoulders down and pressed his face down onto the messy bedding.
It was obvious that Han Jia did not anticipate that as his body froze for a moment before he reacted and began to struggle by moving his arms back in an attempt to turn over.
Pressing his knee on Han Jia’s thighs, Jiang Xiao Ning slipped his hand underneath Han Jia toward his chest and started to tear his shirt off. Han Jia tried his best to push him away, to refuse him, but the strength that once made the young Jiang Xiao Ning unable to resist was not worth mentioning now. With only a couple of pulls, Jiang Xiao Ning was able to tear apart that poor-quality shirt. Then he pulled Han Jia’s arms back and easily took the shirt off before using it to tie a knot around his wrists in order to secure his hands behind his back.
The person that used to play with his feelings was now in the palm of his hands without the ability to resist. Thinking about that, even Jiang Xiao Ning’s breaths seemed to be elated.
Han Jia also gasped for air as his body had been tightly tied up. But when he felt Jiang Xiao Ning’s moved his knee away to undo his trouser, Han Jia used what strength he had to flip over and kicked Jiang Xiao Ning.
Jiang Xiao Ning quickly moved, but since he was too close to Han Jia, he was unable to avoid it. His calves were struck by a powerful kick causing him to stagger back. Seeing that, Han Jia took the opportunity to get up with the intention of running out of the room.
Jiang Xiao Ning rushed up and grabbed Han Jia’s arms that were tied behind him. He wanted to haul him back to the bed, but Han Jia stubbornly lowered his shoulders and continued to struggle even if it meant dislocating his arms.
Noticing that, Jiang Xiao Ning simply let go. Han Jia suddenly rushed forward but Jiang Xiao Ning ruthlessly slammed against his back, pushing him to the opposite wall and took unfair advantage of him.
During that process, neither of the two spoke and only the sounds of their clear heavy breaths and fighting blow poured into Jiang Xiao Ning’s ears—and Han Jia’s enticing body and touches were just as fascinating as five years ago.
Before pressing Han Jia against the wall, he was already as hard as a piece of iron.
With one wrapped around Han Jia’s throat, Jiang Xiao Ning reached his other hand out to undo his belt.
Han Jia let out a faint whimper, still struggling as he spoke.
“Xiao Ning, Xiao Ning, Xiao Ning…”
That voice was laced with grief and affection.
It didn’t take long for Jiang Xiao Ning’s eyes to become red as he cursed. “Shut the fuck up!”
One of his hand has stretched over to hold Han Jia’s mouth.
Han Jia opened his mouth and bit hard on that hand—the strength he employed was so strong, it seemed as though he wanted to bit straight into his bones.
The pain raced up Jiang Xiao Ning’s arm, and just as he forcefully pulled his hand back, Han Jia bit harder, refusing to relent.
“Open your fucking mouth!”
Jiang Xiao Ning rained cursing on him as the pain in all his fingers and heart had already provoked an irritable angry out of him. The words he blurted out was the complete opposite of what he wanted to say ten seconds ago, and that, made his chest ached even more.
Han Jia, you are really good! You still know how to play with people! He thought angrily. His other hand still held Han Jia’s neck as he moved closer to Han Jia’s ear and practically growled threateningly at him. “Open your mouth!”
Han Jia remained unmoved and deepened the bite until bright red bloodshed from his lips and flowed through Jiang Xiao Ning’s palm (that was at his throat).
As it seemed, Jiang Xiao Ning will always be the first to compromise. He loosened the hand holding Han Jia’s neck and hatefully voiced, “Open your mouth, I won’t touch you.”
Han Jia was still indifferent.
Jiang Xiao Ning roughly removed the knotted shirt around Han Jia’s wrists with his free hand. When he had tied it, he was afraid that it was not tight enough, but now he was extremely irritated by it.
It was certainly not easy to untie that binding. Jiang Xiao Ning stood as far as possible and said, “Now open your mouth.”
After three or four seconds, Han Jia slowly let go of the hand in his mouth and pushed away Jiang Xiao Ning who was behind him. He even took a few steps back, grabbed a chair and placed it in front of himself as a blockage.
There was blood at the side of his mouth and his lips were still pursed; his face that had turned red from being choked was not deathly pale beneath the light.
Jiang Xiao Ning put his own bloody hand to his mouth and licked it—lifted his head to look at Han Jia, then lowered his head again to lick his wound before looking up at him again.
After a while, Han Jia seemed to have roughly understood what he meant. Even though there was an expression of hesitation in his eyes, he simply sighed, turned around and walk away.
Soon, the sound of a cabinet being opened in search of something transmitted from the main room before Han Jia returned with a medicine box in his hand.
 heatable brick bed – 炕 kàng – is a traditional long (2 meters or more) platform for general living, working, entertaining and sleeping used in northern part of China, where there is the cold climate in winter. It is made of bricks or other forms of fired clay and more recently of concrete in some locations. Inside the bricked platform is an area for heat carried from a furnace (traditionally coal). A flue from the channel leads to the outside for exhaust. The heat is maintained throughout the day and night making for comfortable day-time activities and snug sleeping.