Shameless: Chapter 5A

Trouble Never comes Singly

Translator: Sae | Proofreader: Julieta

Since the city was closed to the water, there was still warmth from the daytime that lingered into the first half of the night which made it very comfortable. But once midnight passed, the atmosphere routinely became cool. Jiang Xiao Ning only had jeans and a short-sleeved summer school uniform on and was trembling uncontrollably beneath the park pavilion.

The bitter coldness that actively attacked his body, left an uncomfortable sensation. He shifted a bit further into the pavilion, hugged his knees and hid his face between his legs.[1]

The red and swollen palm print on his cheek had already become numb in the cold wind. At first, he didn’t feel anything, but now that it chafed severely on the rough cloth of the jeans, it burned and was extremely painful.

Jiang Xiao Ning hissed and sucked in the cold air. He lifted his face and thought of his father’s ruthless slap that nearly broke his tooth.

When his recent examination score dropped his rank by three spots, his father had scolded him without much care.

Since his mother passed away, his father had become a workaholic. At home, he only prepared and corrected piles and piles of examination papers. Even though there was another person living under the same roof as him, he never cared about him. And on the rare occasion that he did talk to Jiang Xiao Ning, aside from asking him about his exam scores, he always criticized him for not making efforts.

Jiang Xiao Ning had long been used to that kind of treatment. This time, he had also endured it. Once his father was done scolding him, he would just go and do his own thing. But, he ended up hearing that name yet again.

“My former student, Han Jia, his score in physics had always been perfect. He never slacked, and even studied on the bus. Who doesn’t like to relax? If he can do it then why can’t you? Han Jia, he—”

“Aren’t you sick of saying that?!” Jiang Xiao Ning shouted angrily, “All you say all day long is Han Jia, Han Jia. I am your son, not him!”

The father seemed to be confused by his sudden burst of anger. He was not good at dealing with this kind of situation, so he merely frowned at his son.

After holding back for several days, his resentment erupted all of a sudden. “Don’t mention the name Han Jia in front of me anymore. That name annoys me! Anyone named Han Jia is nothing spec…”

Something suddenly plundered his remaining thought and he couldn’t help but to stop his own mouth. As he stared at his father, his brows gradually tightened before he stood up abruptly and ran into his father’s room.

There was a glass pressed over his father’s work desk[2] and underneath that glass were graduation photos of his previous students in chronological order. Jiang Xiao Ning’s eyes scanned over it before he found the one with Han Jia’s name on it.

“Which one is Han Jia?” Jiang Xiao Ning took that photo out and held it up in front of his father who had chased after him. His hand was trembling as he pinched that photo.

How could he have forgotten? His father had shown it to him in the past while wearing a very proud expression. Since he was still very small at that time, he only remembered that his father’s favorite student was very thin and had dark eyes. Afterward, because he hated that his father always compared him to that Han Jia, he no longer looked at those photos…but, how could he have forgotten?

“That’s him.” The father pointed to that familiar yet strange face as he chattered away. “When he was your age, he had already won some regionals awards. But what about you? You must only know how to be lazy and waste your youth and talent…”

“What is he doing right now?” Jiang Xiao Ning asked sternly.

“Ah?” The father did not react.

“What is he doing now?” Jiang Xiao Ning raised his voice.

“I actually don’t know about that…” The father actually wore a rare expression of guilt that he rarely exposed for someone that had nothing to do with him. “His family’s circumstances weren’t good. When he received the school financial aid back then…what are you asking about these things for? All you need to know is that when it comes to studying, he is better than you!”

Since he was born, Jiang Xiao Ning has never been so enraged. Just like how the pressure in a can of beer would surge up violently when the lid is opened after a long time, he only felt the anger residing in his own heart going ‘boom’ and burning relentlessly.

You only know to pick at your son’s flaws. Do you know that he was almost raped? Is your student that good? He drugged your son!

Since those words could not be said out loud, the pressure made Jiang Xiao Ning’s anger flourish madly. He shook the photo in his hand and bellowed in rage. “Better at studying than me? Who knows what he is doing now? If he’s a pimp or sells his ass, are you also going to let me learn from him?!”

There was only a second of silence before his father’s palm landed on his face.

Having taught for his entire life, he never expected to hear such vulgar words from his own son’s mouth. It was almost intuitive as his arm flew out.

That slap was loud and ruthless. Jiang Xiao Ning was nearly struck unconscious, and when he returned to his senses, he was in disbelief. His chest rose up and down as he stared at his father for the longest of time only to see not even a hint of remorse. An insufferable pain raced into his heart before he pushed the door open and ran out of the house.

He didn’t know how long he had been on the street. He wanted to contact his most trusted teacher, but he was already on a business trip,[3] not to mention his own cell phone was already lost in Jin Ting… when he thought about that, his gloom deepened. He walked aimlessly without a concrete destination until he took a break and continued all the way to the park he was at now.

He hasn’t had dinner yet, he was cold and hungry now. When he could no longer endure it, he stood up and stomped his feet up and down, but he was still cold. In the end, he simply started to run.

Because of the raging anger, he actually ran faster and faster even though he was hungry. Running like that for some time made his whole body break out in sweats. Sensing how the resentment in his heart seemed to have unexpectedly dissipated a bit, his footsteps quickened even more.

When he saw that the entrance to Jin Ting was still brightly lit in the wee hours of the morning, he became aware of how deep his hatred was.

He stopped and stood stock-still for a moment, searching for a brick on the ground. He wanted to seize a chance when no one was looking, smash something and runoff. But the open space in front of Jin Ting’s entrance was too large. Beside a histrionic fountain, there was no other place to take cover. And although there weren’t many people going in and out at that entrance, the security guards were still pretending to walk back and forth earnestly.

He walked away angrily, staying in the shadow of the trees all the way to the side door.

There was only one burly man standing at that doorway, hugging his arms in boredom as he smoked.

Jiang Xiao Ning glanced at the man’s sturdy figure, then at his fierce-looking face. Just as he wavered from his intention, he saw the man stood up straight all of a sudden and put on a serious appearance as he looked into the distance.

With that, Jiang Xiao Ning followed his gaze and saw a silver-gray car approaching the front of the side door and slowly coming to a complete stop. The passenger door opened, and Han Jia stepped out. He leaned over to say something to the person inside, then closed the door.

The car drove away. Han Jia had on a jacket with a large neckline. Perhaps, it was because of the cold air, but Han Jia’s face was unusually pale when he quickly turned to the side door.

Jiang Xiao Ning stared resentfully at his back, and as soon as he raised his hand, the brick flew in the Han Jia’s direction.

Maybe, because he hadn’t had anything to eat yet, his strength was lacking. Or maybe, his energy was completely depleted from having run too much. But either way, the brick did not hit the target. It landed on the ground with a thud beside Han Jia’s foot.

Han Jia looked down, a bit surprised and then turned to the direction of where the brick flew from. Who knew whether or not he could clearly see Jiang Xiao Ning in the shade, but Jiang Xiao Ning could clearly see Han Jia narrow his eyes as a pejorative smile tugged at his lips.

At first, he only had the notion to hit him and immediately disappear. Shitty bastard, Jiang Xiao Ning cursed. He leaped out of the shadows and went straight toward Han Jia with his fist.

Fuck! I’ll punch you first then talk.

When Han Jia saw him, his expression was a little soft, but the contempt in that smile quickly deepened. He simply took a step back and hid behind the sturdy man who rushed over.

Having his wrist instantly caught by the sturdy man, Jiang Xiao Ning couldn’t move. He cursed, and as he lifted his foot to kick, that sturdy man kicked his knee causing him to let out a blood-curdling screech as he hit the ground. The man stepped forward, grabbed him, and tried to punch him.

“Stop, your Li Ge is protecting this kid. You can let him go or give him to your Li Ge to handle. Either way is fine with me.” Han Jia said. He paused then added, “It’s too cold, I’ll leave first.”

“Han Jia! Han Jia, stop!”

Not only had Jiang Xiao Ning not vent his anger, but he was also kicked, and Han Jia was actually the better person for helping him. He was nothing but annoyed as he struggled to get up.

Hearing that Xiao Li was protecting him, the sturdy man felt a bit guilty and lost his confidence. Although he still held him down firmly on the ground, he did not continue to beat him. Once Jiang Xiao Ning saw that Han Jia did not turn around and was about to disappear behind the side door, he shouted loudly. “Han Jia! Shi Qi High School, class five, Han Jia! *** You must have long forgotten the person name Jiang Yi Heng!”[3]

Han Jia’s body suddenly trembled before he quickly turned back—his face a terribly pale palette beneath the light.

“What did you say?” He rushed over and half squatted in front of him and asked with a stern voice.

Initially, Jiang Xiao Ning had made up his mind to punch him no matter what. He had only said his father’s name to draw him in, but he didn’t expect that Han Jia would make such a huge reaction. A strange feeling flitted over his heart, but he didn’t think about it too much as he stubbornly glared at him, “Let me go first!”

“Let him go.” Han Jia ordered, but when he spoke, he didn’t look at that sturdy man. Instead, he continued to scrutinize Jiang Xiao Ning as if he wanted to make out something from his facial features.

The sturdy man released Jiang Xiao Ning and stood cautiously to the side.

Jiang Xiao Ning slowly sat up from the ground and moved his wrist about. He smiled at Han Jia, who wore a complicated expression then sneakily gave him a right uppercut to the chin.

“Oof!” Han Jia was caught off guard. He was half-squatting on the ground originally, but Jiang Xiao Ning’s heavy punch forced him to fall backward.

Jiang Xiao Ning succeeded. He got up to run away, yet his shoulder sank down instead, holding him down in place. The sturdy man had reacted. He skillfully twisted Jiang Xiao Ning’s shoulder while his other hand had formed into a powerful fist that was ready to strike him any second.

“Don’t hit him!”

Han Jia’s voice was highly strict. He stood up from the ground with a trace of blood at the corner of his mouth. Without bothering to wipe it, he moved forward and stopped the sturdy man’s fist. However, the hand pressing down on Jiang Xiao Ning’s did not loosen.

Jiang Xiao Ning stared tenaciously at Han Jia while Han Jia also looked back at him. Under the light, those two pairs of eyes seemed unearthly, akin to the vast and clear ocean, harboring a numberless amount of complicated emotions.

“Let him go. I’ll handle him.” Han Jia ordered in a low voice.

When the sturdy man loosened his hand, Jiang Xiao Ning wanted to punch him again. However, Han Jia had already pulled his arm back and dragged him away.

“Let go, what are you doing?” He shouted. Unfortunately, the young man’s strength could not contend with Han Jia—he was not able to break free from his hold.

Han Jia did not turn around.

“Let me ask you a few questions, then you can hit me all you want.” He answered. “What do you think?”

Translator’s Note:

[1] like that, but under an opened pavillion                               [2] desk with a glass

              

[3] business trip – refers to Lawless c11 when QXY went to a seminar in Yuncheng county aka., he remembered XL’s phone number chapter lol

[4] Jiang Yi Heng – Jiang Xiao Ning’s father

**note, the chapter title is 常在河边走,哪能不湿鞋

(lit.) ‘you cannot avoid getting wet when you walk at the waterside often’ means, if you are in constant contact with something, you will sooner or later provoke a reaction

 

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