Edited by Isalee
The noisy music, gaudy lights, and the wildly writhing young people made the capital’s newest, trendiest bar even more wanton. The bar had already turned down the temperature as much as possible, but due to the heaving, heated masses, Bai Xinyu huddled in one corner of a couch, sweating heavily. Vexed, he undid two buttons of his shirt, and dropped the liquor glass onto the marble table.
“What’s wrong? We’re out to have fun, but your face is pissy as hell. What a wet blanket.” Zou Hang grasped his neck and pinched at it. He grinned, “Is it because there’s no girl worth looking at?”
“Ah, fine. I know exactly what you’re like. What else can you be thinking about? If they’re not good enough, we’ll swap them for a new batch. I’m paying today, no need to save money for me.”
Bai Xinyu pushed his hand away. “Who’s saving money for you? I’m really just not in the mood.”
Zou Hang slapped him on the thigh. “Seriously, what’s going on?”
Bai Xinyu tugged at his freshly-dyed chestnut coloured hair. “I bumped into my cousin a few days ago.”
“Your cousin? Which one? Jian Suiying?”
Zou Hang grinned, clicking his tongue. “He beat you up again?”
“No, but he was definitely there for that purpose. However, I was in the car, so I immediately drove off.”
“How did you piss him off again? That cousin of yours is really too harsh. To be honest, I’m also a little scared of him.”
Hearing Zou Hang badmouth Jian Suiying, Bai Xinyu was not too happy about it. However, he did not rebut him as Zou Hang was not wrong. He thought about it, then said, “Actually, he’s pretty nice to me…”
Zou Hang patted him on the back. “You’ve been conditioned to accept the abuse.”
Bai Xinyu drank a mouthful of liquor. “I won’t chat anymore. Have fun, I’m going back.”
“Eh? You’re really going? It’s still early.”
Bai Xinyu gave him a kick. “I’ll slaughter you the next time.” He left, picking up his keys and wallet.
Stepping out of the bar, the air no longer felt so murky and thick. However, today was also too damn hot, and his body still felt sticky with sweat. His head was also dizzy, and when he got into his car in the parking lot, he adjusted the air conditioning to the lowest setting, then leaned back into the seat and sighed heavily.
Ever since he bumped into his older cousin, he had been feeling a continuous sense of anxiety. Recalling the sinister look on his cousin’s face, his hands would keep shaking.
Jian Suiying was his older cousin, the only son of his mother’s younger sister. His aunt was unlucky in life, pressured to death by a mistress, and caused his cousin to lose a mother at ten years old. His mother’s heart ached for his cousin, and so she was exceptionally nice to him. As for Jian Suiying, he grew up to be very capable, and he was very good to Bai Xinyu in return. Although he had never stopped scolding him since he was a child, but even as a kid, he would give him pocket money, involve himself in fights for him, invest in his businesses, and settle his gambling debts. There were many incidents like these, so although his cousin was a little fierce, he really was pretty good to him. He had always been scared of his cousin. Whenever his parents were unable to control him, each time his cousin made an appearance, he would straight away become obedient. He had no choice, because he was really scared. A glare from his cousin was enough to make him feel as though a box was about to land his face. As such, he really did not know, half a year ago, how he had the guts to cheat money out of his cousin.
Thinking about what happened half a year ago, a look of chagrin appeared on Bai Xinyu’s face. He clutched onto the steering wheel and hit his head on it a few times, and the car horn sounded.
At that time, because of betting on football, he owed the loan sharks over three million dollars. He really did not dare to bring it up to his dad, and so he bit the bullet and looked to his cousin for a loan. In the end, his cousin too flared up, berating him and kicking him out, even saying that he would not bother about him again. At that time, a thought of wanting to commit suicide actually appeared in Bai Xinyu’s head. Unexpectedly, his cousin’s step-brother, that mistress’ son, came looking for him, telling him that he could help him. Then, he truly had been driven into a corner, with no way out, and so he collaborated with that guy to cheat his cousin out of three houses. After selling them, he finally had the money to pay his debts. Upon settling this matter, with great regret, guilt and fear, Bai Xinyu then ran off to Europe, where his aunt lived, to hide for half a year.
However, being stuck in a foreign place where they spoke a foreign language, he was without a friend. Staying at his aunt’s manor, he could only play with the dog and almost went stir-crazy. Finally, he could no longer endure it, and came back. After he was home, he did not dare to announce it. Who would have thought that only a few days after he was back, as he brought a little pretty model he had just met out, he would bump into his cousin at the parking lot. In a fright, he sped off. Even thinking about how his cousin was yelling at him made his heart tremble in fear.
He felt that he was dead, really dead. Who knew his cousin would deal with him? He was so frightened that he even did not dare to go home. As for his cousin, he had yet to call him or his parents. Did that not mean that a storm was brewing? Recalling his cousin’s methods in giving people a hard time, he shuddered. He was so anxious that he nearly cried.
Sitting in the car for nearly an hour, he had pretty much sobered up from the alcohol. Thinking it over, as he had not much money left, and sooner or later, he still had to go home. Home was still the safest. At least if his cousin came to his house looking for him, he would still have to give his mother some face and would not beat him to death. If he was caught outside instead, he would definitely be half-dead. Young Master Bai was moved by his own logic and quickly drove off, heading back home.
It was already past 1am. Bai Xinyu parked his car in the garage, soundlessly opening the door to his house and making his way upstairs in the dark. Before he even took two steps, the lights in the living room suddenly came on. Bai Xinyu leapt in fright and turned his head. His parents were sitting on the couch, their faces solemn.
A chill jolted Bai Xinyu’s heart. He hurriedly looked around the huge living room, but did not see a trace of his cousin. Still, he did not let go of his vigilance. He had only been back for a few days, his mother should not have been done missing him yet, it was not possible that she would turn cold so quickly.
Oh no, Ge must definitely have looked for my parents.
In trepidation, he spoke, “Ah, Dad, Mom, it’s so late at night, why haven’t you slept? And you also didn’t turn on the lights…”
Bai Qingmin pointed at the couch. “Sit here.”
Bai Xinyu’s knees shook a little. He said in a small voice, “Dad, what happened?”
Bai Xinyu looked pleadingly at his mother, but she turned her head away. He swallowed, then walked over and sat down.
Bai Qingmin glared at him. “Tell me, did you go gambling again after coming home?”
Bai Xinyu looked mournful. “Dad, you’ve wronged me. I’ve only been back a few days, I didn’t gamble.” This time, he was not lying. He had not gambled, not because he was controlling himself, but because he had no money. His dad had been very strict with him recently, and since he was in such a situation, he had no face to go out and play.
Unfortunately, he had lied too many times in the past, and his dad did not believe him at all. His father slapped the table, “Suiying came to our place today saying that you didn’t learn your lesson in Australia. Also, ever since you came back, you’re still mixing around with Zou Hang, those good-for-nothings, gambling and whoring about. Look at yourself, dying your hair yellow, there’s nothing proper about you!”
Bai Xinyu shrank. “Dad, what did my cousin say? What happened to you today? You were still fine earlier…”
He knew his cousin had definitely stirred up the hornet’s nest. Why else would his father’s attitude towards him change so quickly? His parents always listened to his cousin because their family’s main business basically relied on his cousin to sustain it. They were also very close to the point where anything to do with his education, his cousin could make the decision, and so he was scared. He was scared that his cousin would tell his parents about him collaborating with Xiaolinzi to cheat his cousin’s money. If they knew, his dad would definitely beat him to death.
Bai Qingmin inhaled deeply. “You’re always full of lies, who at home would still believe you? Suiying is concerned about you, and that’s why you told us about what you’re doing outside. If not, as a big boss, why would he keep caring about your crap?”
In his heart, Bai Xinyu sighed in relief. It seemed that his cousin did not tell them about the most serious matter, but he still had an ominous feeling. He again looked pleadingly at his mother, signalling her with his eyes.
Li Weizhi nudged at her husband, sighing, “Just get to the main point.”
Bai Qingmin looked at Bai Xinyu in disappointment. Bai Xinyu straightened up nervously, not even daring to breathe too loudly.
Bai Qingmin said, “If Suiying hadn’t told us about it, we wouldn’t have known how notorious you are outside. You’re already 22 this year, how long do you plan on fooling around like this? Always hanging around with people like Zou Hang, can you afford it? Zou Hang’s family has a business worth hundreds of millions, can our family compare to that? If you continue on like this, our Bai family will really have no one left to carry it on.”
Bai Xinyu was anxious. “Dad, don’t say all this. I will change, I want to run a business too. But there are profits and losses in a business, next time I will…”
“Profits my ass! The only reason why you haven’t made a loss is because Suiying is there to watch over you. How much money have you earned yourself? You only know how to have a good time, but do you plan to do this for the rest of your life? In 10, 20 years, when both your mother and I are dead, who will provide you with more money to spend? With our family’s assets, how long can they last before you fritter them away?”
Bai Xinyu felt very aggrieved by the scolding, but at the same time, he felt a little lucky. If his cousin’s way of disciplining him was just to tattle about him to his family, then the punishment was really too light. He really should thank his gods, since his dad’s nagging would only enter one ear and exit from the other. Later on, when he did not have any more money, he could just whine to his mother about it, and his mother would definitely not ignore him. Looking at this, Bai Xinyu tried his best to lower himself and cajoled, “Dad, I’m wrong. I won’t fool around anymore, I will work hard, I won’t just look for fun, I won’t waste any more money. Why don’t I go back to school?”
“Bullshit!” Bai Qingmin was furious.
Bai Xinyu shuddered in fear. He muttered silently, what was going on today? Ever since he was a child, his skin was thick, and his tongue honeyed. Any time he made a mistake, his attitude towards admitting his mistakes was always excellent, all just to try avoiding getting hit and nagged at. Also, if this method did not work, his father would usually calm down after venting his anger, but why was his fury so strong today?
“You even dare to talk about school? I spent money to let you study overseas, but after you finished using your money, you came back home. You can’t even get into the good universities in our country, tell me, having lived for so many years, have you done anything that could make your parents proud? Have you?!”
With his head bowed, Bai Xinyu kept silent. Although his shamelessness was trained to a very high level already, there were still times when he would feel that his pride had been pricked. In fact, it was not that he did not want to study, that he did not want to run a business like his cousin, but it was that he just was not capable of doing so.
Li Weizhi again nudged her husband. “Enough, don’t scold him anymore. Going on and on, would he still be able to continue listening?”
Bai Qingmin turned his anger to his wife. “You still have the cheek to say that? It’s all because of you that’s why he’s like that!”
Li Weizhi’s face changed. “Did our son come from me alone? You were never home, and I was the only one taking care of him when he was young. Now, it’s all my fault?”
Bai Qingmin’s face turned pale. Li Weizhi still wanted to continue, but she choked back her own words before she could work herself up for the tirade. Her eyes reddened a little, “What’s the point of arguing about this now? You better quickly get down to business.”
When the word “business” was mentioned, Bai Xinyu murmured silently again. What was this “business”? Were they going to cut his allowance again?
Bai Qingmin cleared his throat, suppressing his rage a little. “Xinyu, when Suiying was here today, the three of us had a good discussion about your future, and we have a plan.”
Bai Xinyu shivered slightly. He felt that what he was going to hear was definitely not going to be good.
Bai Qingmin looked at his only son, his feelings complicated. He thought that he could still be considered to have some achievements, and his genes were not lousy either. Such a handsome son, with a regular IQ, and a good family background with a healthy upbringing, but why did he grow up to be so useless? He hardened his heart. “We plan on sending you to the military for a few years.”
This was a bolt out of the blue to Bai Xinyu. He nearly knelt down, crying out loud, “Dad—”
Bai Qingmin waved his hand. “Even if you pray to your ancestors, it’s useless. We’ve already decided.”
“Dad!” Bai Xinyu stood up, flying to his father, his eyes full of tears. “Dad, I’m not going. Please, I beg you. I’ll die before I go!”
“Then you can just die!” Bai Qingmin looked at his worthless son, anger and resentment in his heart. He steeled himself and pushed Bai Xinyu away.
“Dad, I beg you, I will really die in military training. You know that I’ve never been able to endure any suffering since I was a child. I don’t want to go, Dad, I will behave properly in the future. I’ll do anything you want me to do, don’t make me go into the army, please, please Dad.”
Bai Qingmin turned his head away, refusing to look at him.
Those were not Bai Xinyu’s pretend tears, they were real. When he had been kicked out of the school in England and came back dejectedly, his parents had thought of sending him to the military then. At that time, he cried, howled, and rolled around on the ground, and thus managed to stay. What a joke, was the military even for humans? Thinking about having to train both in the morning and at night daily, hanging out with a group of fellows like that the whole time, they might as well just kill him. Who would have guessed, he had once managed to dodge this, but it still came back to bite him. This time, his parents even pulled out his past misdemeanours, and it seemed like they had made up their minds. Thinking about his fate, Bai Xinyu sobbed, crying his head off. He saw how determined his dad was, and immediately shifted his target, flying into his mother’s arms. “Mom, can you bear to let me go into the army? If I’m gone, who would go shopping with you, who would bring you out for fun? Mom, say something.”
A conflicted look was on Li Weizhi’s face. Looking at her fair son with red eyes, she was really reluctant to do so. Actually, her husband was right. Her son had been spoilt by her. She had no choice. Her son was her life, and she always let him have his way since he was a child. She knew that it was not good, but she could never resist her son’s whining, and would try her best to give him whatever he wanted. In the end, when her son was this old, he completely had no sense of independence, and instead, became a prodigal son. Today, Suiying had talked to her for a long time, and some of his words were quite harsh, but it also enlightened her, and so she hardened her heart as well.
She sniffed. “Xinyu, you’re really too absurd. This year alone you’ve already spent over 3 million, and although we don’t lack money, we’re also not rolling in cash. We can’t afford your lavish ways. If I could support you for the rest of your life, I’d live with it, but I can’t. Your dad and I will leave someday, and you can’t expect Suiying to look after you forever. If you continue like this, how can we ever feel relieved? This matter… it’s settled. You should just go, we’re all doing this for your sake, we won’t harm you. Joining the military can help with your temperament and let you mature. Also, you’re not suitable to be in business. In the future, we’ll let your cousin use some of his connections and let you have a position in the army. Then, you won’t have to worry about making a living, isn’t that good?”
Tears poured down Bai Xinyu’s cheeks. “Mom, I won’t last there, I really won’t. Mummy, I don’t want to go, quick, persuade Dad, Mummy, Mummy, please.”
Bai Xinyu’s arms tightened around his mother’s waist, begging and pleading. His mom’s biggest soft spot was him. She was his only hope.
Bai Qingmin could not help but kick his son. “Have some backbone, what are you doing?! Stand up!”
Li Weizhi complained, “Enough. Our son’s going to leave already, why are you still so fierce? For all we know, we won’t be able to see him in the next few years. We’ll see how much you’ll miss him then.” Then, her tears started falling too.
Bai Qingmin sighed. He turned his head around and started smoking.
Bai Xinyu cried even harder. “Mummy, how can you bear to let me go? I don’t want to go, you only have one son, doesn’t your heart feel the pain? The military is tough and exhausting, I won’t be able to endure it. Mummy, please, I beg you, talk to my dad, talk to my cousin, don’t let me go in, please, Mummy, please, please.”
Li Weizhi stroked his hair, speaking hoarsely. “Son, I’m reluctant to let you go, but this is not a matter of whether I want to or not. Look at how you’re loafing about. I’m anxious looking at you, you really can’t go on like this. Stop begging me, it’s useless. I’m not the one making the decision here. Even if I am, you… you still have to go. We’re doing this for your own good, you should go obediently, and come back as a proper being.”
Bai Xinyu found that his whines and pleas no longer worked, and cried loudly, “I’m not going, I’m not going! Even if I die, I’m not going!”
Bai Qingmin raged, “If you don’t go, don’t even think about getting a cent from us in the future. Your house, your car, your credit cards, I’ll take them all back from now on. When I’m dead, I’ll donate all my money to an orphanage, you won’t get any of it. If you don’t go, I, Bai Qingmin, would not have a pathetic son like you!”
Bai Xinyu’s sobs stopped, his tears and snot still all over his face. A good-looking face had now turned wretched-looking. That weak and useless unfortunate image roused Bai Qingmin’s anger even higher.
Bai Qingmin viciously stubbed out his barely smoked cigarette in the ashtray and stood up. “This matter is settled. You’re not allowed to go out and play for the next few days. Stay and home and prepare, once Suiying is done with the procedures, we’ll send you off.”
Bai Xinyu’s butt fell right onto the ground, feeling that his world had collapsed.