“It’s true that I’m not yours, but you are mine!”
Zhong Yuan pulled at his hair and said vengefully, “Don’t forget that we signed a 15-month contract where you sold your body to me.”
Oh my god! I didn’t sell my body, I sold my labor… I felt wronged, but seeing Zhong Yuan lose his temper, I didn’t dare rebel. Having my wages deducted sounded horrifying.
Zhong Yuan vented some more, and I listened piously with an expression that read ‘I was wrong. I’ll do better. Please give me another chance.’ This guy seemed to eat soft food and not hard food.1 In the end, he didn’t do anything to me. He scowled and scolded me, and then said, “Anyway, since you did something wrong, you have to suffer the consequences.”
Sweat. I knew this guy wouldn’t just let it go. A person shouldn’t be so petty.
Worried and on edge, I asked him, “So what kind of punishment did you have in mind?” Please don’t deduct my pay…
Zhong Yuan considered for a moment, and then he answered, “Deducting your pay?” My heart sank.
“Of course you wouldn’t agree to that.” He looked over at me. “How about this? We’ll add another month to your body-selling.”
Tears burst inside of me. To me, freedom was so fleeting… Also, I’m not selling my body!
The next day was Sunday, and Zhong Yuan had another game at N University. In order to ‘keep me from getting into trouble’, he dragged me along to the game to be part of the cheering squad.
Probably because soccer is an unspoken pain for the people of China, there’s usually a lot less interest in soccer than say, basketball. For example, a school basketball game could bring out everyone at the university, but few people even knew about this city-wide soccer match. Zhong Yuan was just a reserve player on the business school’s basketball team at B University—and not even a glorious one at that—but he still got more attention than he did as the soccer team captain. Only some of those blind, infatuated fangirls who knew everything about him really cared.
And the school treated the soccer team the way a stepmother treated their stepchild. They didn’t even have an official cheering squad. As for promotional banners and flyers and stuff, those were just extravagant hopes.
All right, I’ve gone a bit off the point. What I wanted to say was that I seem to have become the only official cheerleader…
The school must have had a tiny shred of conscience though because they did rent a bus to take the team to N University. As the only female creature on that bus, I attracted the brutal attention of the team. One of them was an educated-looking degenerate in glasses, and he said, “If I knew, I’d have brought my girlfriend too.”
What?! Quietly, I explained, “I’m not his girlfriend.”
Zhong Yuan was in a window seat, resting with his eyes closed. He casually said, “Save it. They’re not going to believe you anyway.”
Everyone gave a dubious laugh.
I buried my head, unsure what I could say. To be honest, I was so irritated, I think I started seeing things. It felt like there was a flock of crows circling my head.
As much as I hated Zhong Yuan, I had to admire how he kept his cool. I shook my head and sighed. I just have to keep my skin thick.
The grass on N University’s field was nice. I wanted to roll around on it. Of course, as a cheerleader, I had to stay off to the sidelines. Anyway, the bleachers were looking pretty desolate, but what surprised me was that there were actually some students from B University sitting there to cheer on the team. How amiable!
The match started shortly. As the only official cheerleader for the team, I was assigned to watch over everyone’s belongings. Wah.
I didn’t understand soccer. At best, I was just watching along with the crowd, not quite knowing the rules. Of course, after watching the game progress, I did figure the basics out.
In the first half, B University performed really well. We led, 2–0. At the start of the second half, N University made some adjustments, and it was clear that they’d tightened up their offense. They nearly made a goal on several occasions. Fortunately, however haphazardly put together2 Zhong Yuan seemed, he was useful in the crucial moments. When he defended the goal, he was stable and accurate. I saw one of the N University players, number 10, look at Zhong Yuan like he wanted to eat him alive… Soccer truly is a violent sport.
Number 10 currently had control of the ball. A few of the B University players surrounded him when he formidably kicked the ball to the goal!
The ball flew towards the goal in an arc and Zhong Yuan spread his arms to block it. It looked like the ball would head straight into his hands, but as it dropped, it suddenly changed direction…
Later on, I found out that it was called a banana kick. Because the ball continued spinning as it traveled in the air, that produced a change in its trajectory. When I heard the explanation, I only vaguely understood it.
Anyway, while the ball didn’t land straight in Zhong Yuan’s hands, he did end up blocking it. He just had to sacrifice himself… because the ball ended up hitting his family jewels…
That’s right. My eyes weren’t mistaken. That soccer ball, traveling with such great force, hit Zhong Yuan in his very important area…
Zhong Yuan fell to the ground and his face went pale, but he still held tightly to that lethal weapon.
I… Oh, not just me. Everyone present, including the referee, stared at him with gaping mouths.
So the face of horror had many variations. This was such a diverse world. I looked up at the clouds in the sky, and then I suddenly realized that God did treat me generously…
Zhong Yuan was switched out. He walked over to me with great difficulty and sat down. I looked at his pale face and the sweat beading on his forehead. I asked in friendly way, “Are you OK?”
Zhong Yuan twisted open a bottle of water and shook his head. “I’m fine.” He leaned his head back and downed some water.
I tried to comfort him, “Well, it’s not bad to cleanse the six organs and senses.”3
Zhong Yuan was like a spray bottle, spitting out a mouthful of water, part of which landed on himself. He held his bottle and lowered his head, coughing. The veins on his forehead were all popping out.
I realized my slip of the tongue and quickly got up. I pulled out a napkin to help him clean up.
Zhong Yuan looked up, smiling slightly. “Cleanse the six organs?”
“Haha hahaha…” I was just making a joke, OK? Would it kill you to go along with it, Zhong Yuan?
Zhong Yuan let me help him clean up. With a sinister smile, he looked at me. “Do you want to test if my organs are clean?”
Sweating. I’d always thought that Zhong Yuan had a poisonous tongue and treacherous side, but it was only that day that I realized he was such a rogue…
I thought I’d be able to laugh at him just a bit, but then he suddenly turned the tables. I shook my head and sighed. My world would forever be miserable.
I straightened up, wanting to say something to regain my face. But instead, I saw Zhong Yuan’s expression change as he shouted, “Watch out!” He grabbed my arm and pulled me down, causing me to fall onto him.
A soccer ball flew overhead, only stopping once it hit the wire netting.
Thank goodness Zhong Yuan had fast reflexes, otherwise I’d have been hit.
Zhong Yuan and I were both on the ground, and it felt like I was lying entirely on top of him. Zhong Yuan lied on the ground, eyes half open, watching me. His eyes were dark yet shining. How I envied it.
I moved slightly, and then I discovered something very awkward.
Zhong Yuan seemed to be… hard…