Title: Everything in the world is as changeable as chess (is)
When he first entered Jin Ting, Han Jia was often asked about the words on his back. The person who asked was different, and his explanation was different. There was a time when this word even became his selling point.
In fact, he didn’t mind others asking. When he entered Jin Ting, he always had to expose his body in front of others. Could such an obvious mark conceal the past? He had already been mentally prepared.
Xiao Li had never asked. If he asked, Han Jia was prepared to tell him the truth, but Xiao Li was obviously afraid that he would mind, so he never inquired about it.
Jiang Xiaoning had never asked, though it was impossible for him to have not seen it. He had also admitted when Han Jia asked him, but he didn’t have any intention to ask further. After that, Han Jia would sometimes see Jiang Xiaoning’s eyes drift toward his back, but Jiang Xiaoning had never taken the initiative to mention a word.
Han Jia did not expect that he would choose to tell him this way.
When he finished speaking, Jiang Xiaoning seemed very surprised. He immediately went silent, and even the sound of his sobbing stopped.
Han Jia heard him stand up, followed by footsteps, and then Jiang Xiaoning’s fingers carefully met his back.
He caressed all the way along the longest scar, like he was afraid, his touch was very gentle, but Han Jia could still feel the trembles.
Slowly, Jiang Xiaoning’s trembling became more intense, and with an inexplicable sigh, he held Han Jia tightly from behind and pressed his cheek demurely between the nape of his neck.
This was exactly the reaction that Han Jia had expected. He laughed helplessly, “Are you an idiot, Jiang Xiaoning?”
Jiang Xiaoning didn’t move.
Han Jia pulled away the hand that wrapped around his waist and turned to look at him.
Under the light, Jiang Xiaoning’s eyes overflowed with pain. This semi-grown boy, a teenager whose life was all messed up, was actually sad for him.
Han Jia felt a dark fire slowly rising in his heart. He looked down at Jiang Xiaoning, “Ever since you saw the injury on my back, you’ve been particularly good to me. Now that you know who caused the injury, have you started to feel bad for me?” Without waiting for Jiang Xiaoning’s response, he laughed again, “When I tell you a more tragic plot, would you die for me? “
Jiang Xiaoning didn’t know what he meant and blinked anxiously.
Han Jia wanted to say something more, but he was confused by that look in his eyes. He took a step back and sighed, “Jiang Xiaoning, let’s talk properly.”
Jiang Xiaoning’s eyes became wary: “Talk about what?”
“Talk about us,” Han Jia said as a smile slowly appeared. “You don’t want to talk about it?”
“Us?” The look in Jiang Xiaoning’s eyes became even more intense, “I don’t know…… I……”
“You’ve already cried for me.” Han Jia looked at him, “And also want to get involved in my life, what else is there to be bashful about?”
Jiang Xiaoning suddenly turned red in the face, and who knew what he was thinking when it then turned pale without as he speechlessly looked at Han Jia.
“If you think there is nothing to talk about, then it’s my misunderstanding. You can leave now and don’t come again.”
Han Jia no longer looked at him and walked to the sofa to sit down.
Jiang Xiaoning hesitated, looked at the spot to his side but chose to sit opposite of him instead.
Han Jia looked at him and remained silent for a while. When he spoke, it was as if he was talking about someone else, “When I was your age, I was already thriving in Jin Ting.”
Jiang Xiaoning looked up at him all of sudden like he was stabbed with a needle and stuttered to ask, “Weren’t you……”
“Yes, I was a high school student back then.” Han Jia paused, “Attending classes during the day, and having sex at night. I was quite busy.”
Jiang Xiaoning’s complexion turned white again.
Han Jia looked at him and smiled, “I was 16 years only when I had my first sexual relationship with a man. That person wasn’t ‘gay’, he wanted to play with me. Playing was just playing, so what? It’s not like I couldn’t. But…… my mother saw it and went mad with anger and cut this word on my back.”
Jiang Xiaoning was shocked and looked at him with his eyes wide open.
Han Jia laughed out loud. “But I still went to Jin Ting in the end, not to let one person play with me, but to play with a lot of people. I counted in the first year, combining the long-term and short-term relations, there were a total of 18 men. In the second year, I didn’t count. At 16 years old…… up until now, it’s been seven years. Why don’t you guess how many men I’ve slept with?”
Jiang Xiaoning’s complexion withered as he stared at him, still speechless.
“Even as a pimp, I’m still sleeping with men. Sometimes it’s for the benefit, sometimes it’s just for the fun.” Han Jia’s voice was pressed really softly. “Sometimes I have the absurd idea that I might have been straight, but going down this road, only men can make me climax. But it doesn’t matter anymore, climaxing was climaxing no matter who the person was. What differences were there?”
Jiang Xiaoning finally couldn’t resist standing up. He gasped for breath and stared at him for a long while and asked, “Saying these things……. what do you mean by saying these things?!”
“It doesn’t mean anything.” Han Jia smiled lightly, “I want you to know what kind of person I am, and how cheap I am. A person like me… who’s pretty good-looking, knows how to flatter others, and good in bed, I’m not surprised a man would want to play with me, but if anyone likes me…… Jiang Xiaoning, don’t you think that that’s even cheaper than me?”
Jiang Xiaoning started to shake: “You, you……”
Jiang Xiaoning’s thoughts were all written on his face – all the rage and embarrassment, all the grudges and pain could be seen with just one glance. Han Jia looked at him and felt pain somewhere in his heart, but still said it.
“How am I?” He asked, “Am I not telling the truth? As you can see, I’m rich, I have a home and I’m not afraid of anyone, but I’m still mixed up in Jin Ting, and I don’t want to leave. Enjoying the present ah, as long as I’m happy, it’s enough. What’s there to be ashamed of? Besides——”
“I don’t believe it!” Jiang Xiaoning interrupted him loudly, “I don’t believe it!”
Han Jia watched him, looking as if he was about to burst into tears but also enduring it. He sighed, “Then I can only say that you’re very forgetful. Did you forget what I did to you? I drugged you and almost sold you. You were so angry you wanted to kill me. What happened? Have you completely forgotten this?”
Jiang Xiaoning couldn’t speak as he tightened his fist and stared at Han Jia.
“See, you remember. You’re just so pathetic.” Han Jia continued, “Jiang Laoshi ignores you. You have no friends. You are willing to come to me, willing to let me make amends, all because you have no other place to go, no one to talk to…… for the sake of Jiang Laoshi, I’ll say these words to you: Jiang Xiaoning, don’t be delusional and open your eyes. When a person is lonely, even a bitch could be seen as an angel.” He looked at Jiang Xiaoning with a gentle smile, “If you’re confused now, what are you going to do when a real angel comes along?”
The impact of those words was undoubtedly huge for Jiang Xiaoning. His expression was covered with utter confusion and hopelessness – he looked like a wounded beast as he looked at Han Jia.
Han Jia didn’t shy away from his eyes, he looked back with a lazy smile and a gentle tone. “Putting you first, you are more important than anyone else, I can do it, but you don’t need to reciprocate it. That will only make you lose my respect and make you……. The laughingstock of a bitch.”
“Enough!” Jiang Xiaoning couldn’t stand it anymore. He shouted and staggered a few steps back but tripped on the sofa behind him. Han Jia had already held his tongue, but he seemed to have not noticed and shouted again, “Enough!”
There was still a sobbing tone in his voice; one that mingled with extreme sadness and anger.
He never looked at Han Jia again, and almost crawled back up from a difficult position before he rushed to the door, opened it, and ran out; the door was swung back by him with a loud noise.
Han Jia was startled by the sound; a burst of tremble spread throughout his body. He leaned back into the sofa and covered his eyes with his arms as countless crazy ideas fluttered in his head – all turned into a word: if.
If…… if…… he kept thinking: If he wasn’t Han Jia, if he was some other person who had known Jiang Xiaoning through another mean; if he had made another choice, if he didn’t enter Jin Ting and didn’t spend seven years of his time like this; if he didn’t give up his qualification, no, if he didn’t lose his qualifications, and still had his innocence, there would be no shame in facing all the criticisms; if everything changed, if everything started again, if everything could be overturned once more; if he had known there would be such a day, if he wasn’t so young then, if he had the courage and wisdom; if, if, if…… if he didn’t fall in love……
Before he realized it, he let out a sob.
If he didn’t fall in love…… he actually fell in love with Jiang Xiaoning.
He actually loves this grumpy yet kind boy.
He didn’t know before, but he knew now.
But it was ridiculous. There was nothing more ridiculous than this.
A burst of coolness emerged in his heart, and his stomach began to stir. Han Jia felt like vomiting.
He stood up unsteadily, wanting to go to the bathroom to wash his face.
The door sounded.
He had said such degrading words, would Jiang Xiaoning actually come back? Han Jia frowned and stood still without moving an inch.
The doorbell rang continuously, and after a while, there was a rapid knock on the door.
Han Jia sighed, picked up the coat from the ground, and walked to the door while wearing it.
When the door opened, it was Zhang Xueming wearing an expression of uneasiness instead.
“Han Laoban, I’ve been searching for you all day……. you don’t look too good, did something happen?”
Han Jia snorted, intending to close the door.
“Han Laoban, you dropped these in the car.” Zhang Xueming reached out to hold the door and said servilely, “Your phone and a bag.”
Han Jia collected himself. Zhang Xueming took his things out of his bag and handed them over while saying, “I saw someone when I came up the stairs. It was the person we drugged a while ago; the boy that was taken away by Xiao Li. I saw him here twice today……. Han Laoban, did he come to look for you?”
Han Jia did not know what he wanted to spy on and impatiently said: “He came to find me. A reckless little thing who refused to come to Jin Ting with neither gentle nor forceful methods.” After saying that, he took his things and sneered, “Zhang Xueming, you’re powerless to defend yourself yet you will have the mind to be concerned about others?”
Zhang Xueming held the door to keep him from closing it, revealing a very difficult appearance. He pleaded repeatedly, “Han Laoban, I know what I did was wrong. I can bring the kid back tomorrow. I will not take personal work any longer. I promise—”
“You found the kid?” Han Jia interrupted him, “She……”
“She’s okay, she doesn’t know anything.” Zhang Xueming pleaded, “Han Laoban, I don’t know whether or not you’d mind it, but I promise to handle this matter well. Later on—”
“You still want to have a ‘later’?” As soon as Han Jia heard that the child was okay, he immediately felt relieved, and thought that this person had done something to this small child which would have endangered her life, he couldn’t help but tell the truth. “Bring the kid to me and I will tell Xiao Li to let you leave Jin Ting with your limbs intact.”
“Han Laoban, I know what I did was wrong.” Zhang Xueming was sweating all over as he hurried to speak, “I’ve brought the kid back, no matter how we put it, I shouldn’t be thrown out.”
Han Jia looked at him, “There’s no use begging me. Don’t you have connections with those of higher status? Keep begging him.”
Zhang Xueming desperately begged for mercy, but Han Jia was not in the mood to deal with him. He frowned, intending to lock him outside.
Seeing that he was unmoved, Zhang Xueming’s voice was no longer soft and instead was harsh. “Han Laoban, I don’t understand why you are targeting me. It’s not because I’m also a pimp, is it?” He sneered, “Yes, I know that Jin Ting doesn’t do business with children, but is that boy an adult? He wasn’t willing, yet didn’t you also drug him? What’s the difference between you and me?”
Han Jia was unable to refute and was stabbed at a sore spot by him. His mood had worsened as he coldly said, “Of course I am different from you. In Jin Ting, I am in charge.”
“So you’re admitting to abusing your power to avenge a personal grudge?” Zhang Xueming firmly said, “Don’t think that I don’t know, Han Laoban. Aren’t you trying to make things difficult for me in regard to Manli for personal reasons? If your mother hadn’t been a drug addict, how could she have sold you? So what if you’re in charge of Jin Ting? Isn’t it all because you don’t have the ability to find the main perpetrator that you’re taking out your anger on me?”
For a moment, Han Jia couldn’t even react and then he asked, “What the fuck are you talking about?!”
“Am I wrong?” Zhang Xueming thought of something and suddenly smiled, “Do you actually think that you’ve kept it hidden that well?”
That was exactly what Han Jia had really thought. After the death of his mother, the other person had always kept silent. He thought that no one would use his past to trouble him; was he actually deceiving himself all along?
The knuckles on the door had already been whitened by the force, Han Jia heard his own voice, hollow and wane. “So what? I have a personal enmity, who can stop me?”
Zhang Xueming looked at him and kept his voice down: “Han Laoban, if you really want to take revenge. I’m afraid you should have not come to me for revenge.”
“What do you mean?” Han Jian asked with alertness.
“How do you think I know about this?” Zhang Xueming’s eyes shimmered with what seemed to be cruelty and exhilarated, “I heard a drunk bragging that day, saying that he was your first man, how he deflowered you and also that he and your mother teamed up—”
“Shut up!” Han Jia grabbed him by the collar, dragged him into the room and slammed the door shut.
He felt himself trembling and his hands were weak, but Zhang Xueming came in without resistance, still looking at him with that cruel and excited smile, and almost disdainfully said: “That sort of a man, you still had to obediently be his underling, please and flatter him, and readily call him ‘Ming-ge’…… Han Laoban, you’re quite brave ah.”
Han Jia calmed down at this moment. His palms were all cold and sweaty, and he clenched his teeth so hard that his cheeks ached painfully, but he unexpectedly calmed down.
He looked at Zhang Xueming in silence for a few seconds and slowly spoke, “What the hell do you want to say?”
Zhang Xueming remained silent for a few seconds, and finally made up his mind as well. He lowered his voice and clearly said, “Let’s make a deal. If you let me stay in Jin Ting, I can make Yan Ming miserable and live a life that is worse than death.”
I don’t know about you guys but the plot is so good to me T.T The story needs to be appreciated more lol it works so well with working off of Lawless and cluing us on the scenarios that happened behind the scenes of Lawless huhuhu my poor Han Jia and Jiang Xiaoning – both suffering.
Han Jia loves Jiang Xiaoning but had to push him away because he just thinks he is not good enough for someone to love him – whyyyyyyy T_T