Chapter 51: A-Tao’s Rage
By the time A-Jiao and Jiang Zhengkai left the art studio wrapped in each other’s embrace, it was already completely dark outside. They rejoiced in the fact that A-Jiao did not have to teach any students that night, which meant nothing would get in the way of their quality time together. The two of them slowly walked back to A-Jiao’s old house. A-Jiao pressed her body snugly against Jiang Zhengkai’s, while his arm tightly held her shoulder. It was as if both of them were afraid that the other would pull back and leave.
“A-Jiao, why did you have to go to Tibet?” Jiang Zhengkai quietly asked her as they were walking down the road.
“Could you call me Ziyuan?” A-Jiao raised her head from his chest and looked longingly at him. “I like it better when you call me Ziyuan.”
“Okay,” Jiang Zhengkai nodded. He knew A-Jiao wanted to use this new persona to help him forget the old one, and he was more than willing to oblige her. “Ziyuan, why did you have to go to Tibet?”
“Because I was stupid, I guess!” A-Jiao said in a witty reply. “Back then, I thought you didn’t want me, that you thought I was unclean. That’s why I went into hiding.”
“Then why did you come back? Why didn’t you hide forever?” As he spoke, he pulled A-Jiao back into his embrace and held her tightly. “Was it because you missed me? You couldn’t let me go?”
“You? Dream on!” A-Jiao replied with pouted mouth while still in his embrace. “I had to come back for my check up. I was afraid Old Lady Wang would be concerned for me.”
“Hehe!” Looking at A-Jiao’s expression, Jiang Zhengkai couldn’t help but laugh out loud. This really was a stubborn girl! “When’s your next check-up then?” he asked as he stared into her eyes. In his opinion, A-Jiao’s jet-black eyes were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. It was as if they sparkled with the brightness of a million stars.
“Umm… tomorrow. Do you want to go with me?” She placed her head back on Jiang Zhengkai’s chest. She very much enjoyed leaning into his embrace.
“Yeah!” Jiang Zhengkai answered crisply. “We’ll show Old Lady Wang that we’re not afraid of her!”
“Alright! You promised!” A-Jiao sweetly answered as she raise her head, revealing a face full of joy.
“You still haven’t answered my question. If you don’t answer me here, I’ll have to send you to an interrogation room.” Jiang Zhengkai gently squeezed A-Jiao’s nose as he continued to press her about going to Tibet. What he really wanted to know was whether she had had any other reasons for going to Tibet. He knew that based on her current mood, she was willing to tell him just about anything.
“No reason, really,” A-Jiao shook her head, before placing it back onto his chest. “At that time, I thought you would never like me. I was a little too sentimental, so I decided to find a place far away where I could hide and recover.” At this point, A-Jiao paused and once again raised her head. “Brother Jiang, did you know that when I was in Shigatse, I stayed at a temple for twenty-one days? Everyday, I meditated, prayed to Buddha, ate a vegetarian diet, and listened to the sutras.”
“Hehe, you really are something! You could understand what those lamas were chanting?” Jiang Zhengkai smiled as he looked upon the woman in his arms. He knew that even if a person didn’t understand the holy texts being chanted, simply being in that kind of an environment was enough to purify her soul.
“Nope!” Sure enough, A-Jiao shook her head. Then she smiled and said, “It’s not like I was looking to be ordained as a Buddhist nun. Plus, my heart still desired you, so I had no way of achieving enlightenment, hehe!” She cutely bat her eyelashes as she looked at Jiang Zhengkai’s face. “Brother Jiang… I want to… I want to…”
“You want to what?” Jiang Zhengkai thought she was especially cute when she had that embarrassed look on her face. To him, the old A-Jiao was like a girl whose skin was thicker than the walls of the Forbidden City.
“I want to call you honey…” A-Jiao blurted out, but she avoided eye contact with Jiang Zhengkai and placed her head right back onto his chest again.
“Honey…” Hearing A-Jiao calling him that left Jiang Zhengkai a bit stupefied. Well, now that they were officially dating, she could call him that! But could he call her “honey” back? Five years ago, that term of endearment had belonged to another woman who had also deeply loved him. Would he be able to accept using that term for someone else now?
“Brother Jiang… you…” A-Jiao could feel that something was on Jiang Zhengkai’s mind, so she raised her head and looked intently at his face, her eyes full of concern and worry. Hearing her calls, he snapped out of his stupor and once again pulled A-Jiao into his embrace. “Well… I used to be married, so you can call me ‘honey,’ but can I continue to call you Ziyuan for the time being?”
“Okay, that’s fine,” A-Jiao crisply agreed. Jiang Zhengkai felt the woman in his embrace hugging him even tighter than before. “As long as you’re happy, as long as you’re with me, you can call me whatever you want!” she murmured in his arms.
“Thank you, Ziyuan!” As he spoke, tears had already welled up in his eyes, but he tried his best to keep them from flowing down onto his face.
“Why are you thanking me?” A-Jiao asked as she happily left his embrace. “Honey! Honey! Honey!” she joyfully yelled at Jiang Zhengkai. Seeing no reaction, she pouted her lips again and asked, “Why aren’t you responding?”
“Oh, hehe, I’m here!” Jiang Zhengkai helplessly replied.
“Excellent! Hehe. I must be the happiest woman in the whole world!” She once again entered Jiang Zhengkai’s embrace. It appears that when a person is excessively happy, she becomes completely uninhibited in her actions. Could the two of them not get a room and make their public displays of affection less public?
Around the corner, a well-built young man hid behind a building and silently observed Jiang Zhengkai and A-Jiao. He had followed them all the way from the preschool, but he seemed to be satisfied by what he saw now. He quickly turned around and disappeared into the night. The only thing that gave him away were his special forces combat boots. He was A-Meng, the man A-Tao had assigned to protect A-Jiao.
“You’re back early,” A-Tao remarked when A-Meng walked in, sitting at the front desk of his internet cafe looking bored. “Did A-Jiao go back home?”
“No!” A-Meng replied. He looked all around him before continuing in a whisper, “A-Jiao’s with a pig right now, so… so that’s why I came back.”
“What? A pig?” exclaimed A-Tao as he raised his head and looked at A-Meng with slanted eyes. “Are you saying A-Jiao’s with a pig right now? Which one?”
“The one named Jiang,” A-Meng truthfully replied. “The two of them looked pretty touchy-feely, so I–”
“A-Jiao’s with that Jiang guy?” asked A-Tao as he jumped out of his seat behind the counter. His hands shot out and forcefully grabbed A-Meng’s collar, lifting him straight off the ground. “Say it again!” yelled A-Tao as the veins in his neck started popping. He cracked his neck left and right before asking again, “Who is A-Jiao with again?”
“That pig named Jiang!” A-Meng grabbed onto the counter with all his strength and forced the words out from behind gritted teeth. Under A-Tao’s tight grip, A-Meng had become flush in the face and was noticeably short of breath.
“Motherfucker! How dare he touch my little sister!” cursed A-Tao as he released his grip on A-Meng’s collar. He leaned his body slightly backwards and then viciously kicked the counter. If A-Meng hadn’t been holding onto the counter from the other side, A-Tao’s kick would’ve knocked it over despite its considerable heaviness.
Hearing commotion at the internet cafe’s front entrance, the guests turned their heads one after another to look at what was going on. “What the fuck are you looking at, you motherfuckers?” A-Tao angrily yelled at his customers. “I’ll beat the shit out of anyone who keeps looking!”
As A-Tao’s yells filled the air, the atmosphere in the internet cafe suddenly became tense. The guests shuddered in fear and quietly returned their attention to their computer monitors. Everyone who frequented this internet cafe had some idea about A-Tao’s background. Even though they didn’t know A-Tao was the infamous “Bald Wolf,” they nevertheless knew A-Tao was a gang leader that shouldn’t be trifled with.
“Tomorrow! Go and find A-Jiao tomorrow!” A-Tao ordered as he pointed his shaking finger at A-Meng. “I want to ask that pig of hers just what exactly he’s up to!” With that, he got up and left the internet cafe. “Fuck, I need some air to cool down!”