Quality Check: Kittsune
First Published on Ainushi.
I blankly laid on top of my large comfy bed and vacantly stared at the ceiling.
Since the day that Mrs. Zhao came, I hadn’t stepped foot out of this room, and I also didn’t go to school. There was a huge frightening bruise after she had slapped my face. I didn’t want to go outside and make a disgrace of myself, but I also didn’t want to go downstairs and confront that poisonous woman when we mutually hated each other.
After she came to the Zhao residence, Zhao Yi Bo and Zhao Yi Xuan did not come to my room even once. I did not step out of this room, and they did not take the initiative to come see me either. In fact, I hadn’t even caught a glimpse of them since that night. Mama Yu continued to deliver my food.
Were they not interested in me anymore?
I guessed this, but I did not feel excited or lighthearted about this prospect. Rather, I felt heaviness and pain lurking deep inside.
I was confused. Didn’t I hate them? Didn’t I always look forward to the day I could escape from them? Wasn’t I always looking for my freedom? Why couldn’t I feel happy,now that my dream was before my eyes?
The door was rudely opened, and Mrs. Zhao self-importantly walked into my room, speaking as she approached me while I was laying on the bed.
“I can’t believe a bitch like you isn’t ashamed of leeching uselessly.On the eighteenth of this month, Bo and Xuan will be engaged. A person like you is just their little toy they’ve been amusing themselves with in their free time, and they’ll get bored of playing with you sooner or later. Did you seriously think a peasant like you could actually become a princess and marry into aristocracy?”
I lazily turned my eyes towards her, then turned my back to her. I didn’t want to say anything to a conceited and arrogant person like her.
“Such a cheap and rude woman! You dare treat me with this kind of attitude?! You really think you’re so invulnerable because there’s somebody protecting you? You’ll be chased out sooner or later! At that point, I’ll make you suffer so much you’d rather be dead!” She started to throw a fit inside my room as my manner infuriated her.
“I wonder what kind of manners I should use towards a woman who spews profanities whenever she opens her mouth? You know, I’d love to to know when I’m getting chased out. That way I’ll have time to pack my things, and it’ll save myself from the trouble of being rushed at that time,” I taunted as I propped up my head on my hand while looking at her flatly.
“You…” She furiously raised her hand, wanting to slap me. On her wrist, I saw a ring of distinct marks — a grotesque-looking bruise. Did Zhao Yi Bo do that to her on that day?
Her hand stopped in mid-air for what seemed like half a day, and in the end it never touched my face.
“We’ll see about that!”
She pulled back her hand, and after hatefully leaving behind a threat, she indignantly turned around and left my room.
After she walked out, I went back to staring at the ceiling in a daze.
At dinner, Mama Yu delivered my meal as usual. This time, she also brought a newspaper. On the front page, in eye-catching bold letters, the headline said, “The two sons of the Zhao clan, Taiwan’s leading electronics company will be engaged on the same day to the daughter of the chairman of Heng Yuan Merchandise, Miss Chen Yan Mei, and daughter of the chairman of Jue Shi Shipping, Yan Shui Lin.”
So Mrs. Zhao was speaking the truth. They really would be engaged. I had always assumed that there was no way they would listen to their parents and become engaged. They were always so haughty, so condescending. It was as if there was nothing in the world that could force them to do something they didn’t want. But why would they agree to the engagement? Was it a “mutually beneficial arrangement” among the wealthy? Or was it because those girls attracted their interests?
My thoughts were in utter disarray. An unfamiliar twinge rose up from the bottom of my heart.
On the next day, I went to school. It wasn’t because I wanted to go to class, but rather it was because I wanted to see Xia Mei Wei. She was my only good friend that I had in Taipei and I wanted to talk to her.
Sitting in a sweets shop close to the school, I hesitantly asked her, “If… if a guy says that he likes you, and some steamy stuff happens, but then later you find out he’s getting engaged to someone else, what do you do?”
“If I met a man like this, I’d cut him up into a dozen pieces and skewer him. Then I’d feed his dead body to the dogs,” she bitterly said as she chewed on the straw of her drink.
Kill them? I didn’t think that was physically possible, and I really didn’t want to become a murderer because of them and spend the latter half of my life in prison.
“Is there any other option?”
She continued to spill out the frightening ideas. “You could entice him, make him truly fall in love with you, and then dump him and make him so depressed he commits suicide.”
“Truly fall in love with you?” I didn’t understand. Was there such a thing as fake love and real love?
“Aiya, how are you so dense? If a man goes on to get engaged with a different person after sleeping with a girl, that means he simply doesn’t love the girl,” explained Xia Mei Wei and gave me a look.
I hurriedly added, “He said he loves her though!”
“Since when can you trust a thing a man says? ‘I love you’ is 80% likely to be something that’s just said on the bed. When a man’s brain is full of sperm, they’ll lie about anything and say it. If a girl takes words like those seriously, she’s honestly a huge idiot,” she said scorchingly.
So they didn’t actually love me, and only wanted to use my body to appease their desires? My chest started to hurt again when I thought about this possibility. This hurt even more than when I found out about their engagement in the newspaper.
Not wanting to lose my self-control in front of her, I bit my lip and endured the heart-piercing feeling I had, and I silently drank the beverage in front of me.
Xia Mei Wei’s attention was drawn by the delicious pastries on the table, and she started to take mouthful after mouthful. After she finished gobbling up the refreshments on the table with her voracious appetite, she carefully examined me with suspicion.
“Could it be this woman you’re talking about is actually you? Did you get dumped?” She asked curiously.
I struggled to smile, and shook my head. However, my expression wasn’t convincing at all.
She did not continue to ask any further, and only looked at me sympathetically. That kind of look made me feel extremely embarrassed.
I asked the last question that was hiding in my heart. “What if you always felt like you wanted to end this mess of a relationship with this man, but after hearing the news that’s he’s about to become engaged, you feel very lost and uncomfortable? What does this mean?”
“That means you already love him, though you haven’t recognized it yourself,” Xia Mei Wei responded softly, and the sympathy and pity in her eyes increased a little.
No! There’s no way I love them! I opened my mouth to loudly protest her conclusion, but my voice got stuck in the back of my throat and couldn’t come out.
I loved them? How could I come to love them after they treated me so cruelly? And it’s not like they truly loved me either?
These questions once again caused a familiar flurry of confusion and turmoil to rush to my head.