Urban Tales of Demons and Spirits
Vol 1 Book of Thunder – Chapter 49 Quarrel
First Published on Chaleuria.
Chapter 49 Quarrel
It didn’t take long for my mom to see me. She stopped, almost as if she hadn’t recognized me, and then her expression immediately changed. Even her eyes almost seemed to be spitting fire.
“Mom —” I walked until I was in front of her, not even daring to fully raise my head. The word wasn’t even fully out of my mouth before I felt the sharp pain of a vicious slap hitting me across my cheek.
My mother’s face was twisted in anger as she glared at me.
A lot of people looked in our direction curiously, some laughing, others reaching out to point towards me, and there were others who were discussing us in low voices.
— That’s right, she wouldn’t eat me.
The most she could do in public was to slap me a few times and swear at me a bit. The most that could happen was that I be viewed like a circus act by passersby again. I had gotten used to that long ago.
I had to endure this because if I resisted now, I would only call down even more of her fury and even more curious glances from passersby.
“Gu Yu!” My mother’s face was twisted in fury, grabbing me by the collar and dragging me over, her body trembling. “You were lying! Look at you like that! What happened to your hair? When did you secretly cut it off? And who let you wear such a debasing shirt and jeans?”
“Mom, can you not do this here…” I forced out my words between clenched teeth, trying to move from being in full view in this crowded place.
“You dare argue back?! Going to school has given you some guts has it?” My mother’s emotions were stirred up and after she heard my words, she grew even angrier. She lifted her hand to slap me for the second time.
I flinched back reflexively, closing my eyes. However, the pain I expected never came.
Someone grabbed my mother’s hand in mid-air.
I raised my head, meeting Wen Jiubo’s smiling face.
“Auntie, I don’t think that doing this in such a public place is acceptable.”
“Who are you?” My mother slapped away Wen Jiubo’s hand, turning her ire onto him. “Who do you think you are?! What does me disciplining my own son have to do with you?! Get lost!”
Wen Jiubo continued to speak, wearing a smile, neither obsequiously nor superciliously. “Then that’s quite strange. Since you know that your child is your son, then why are you forcing him to grow his hair and wear female clothes?”
“That’s got nothing to do with you!” My mother grabbed my clothes again, and I staggered a bit before I could regain my balance.
This was the worst. Getting yelled at wasn’t a big deal, but unfortunately, Wen Jiubo was here and could see the full extent of my sorry life.
“But I’m really very curious.” Wen Jiubo said, unobtrusively putting himself in front of me, deflecting with a smile. “Even if it’s an internal family issue, there still would be a reason right? Otherwise, it’ll count as domestic violence and that’s a reportable offense.”
“Why are you such an annoying troublemaker? I think I’m the one who should be reporting you to the police!” My mother glared back, not backing down an inch. “What domestic violence? I’m doing this for my own child’s benefit. How would an outsider like you understand?”
“I actually don’t really understand.” Wen Jiubo stroked his chin, pretending to be completely baffled. “You’re forcing a boy to dress up like a girl, how is that for his own benefit?”
“Look at him, look at how nice his skin and features are, he just doesn’t know how to dress himself up!” My mother picked me up as if I was a tiny chick and waved me in front of Wen Jiubo’s face. “The way he is now, what sort of good man would fall for him? I’m just thinking about the second half of his life. He’s still too young and still can’t understand how evil people are. As his mother, of course, I have to think about it for him.”
My mom was still the same, making it seem like all of her coercion and threats were ‘for my own good’. That sort of righteous rhetoric, that sort of matter of factness spoken in that tone of voice, even I almost could believe it.
“So that’s how it is.” Wen Jiubo nodded his head thoughtfully. “Then, in that case, the entire aim of disciplining Gu Yu now is so that he can find a good man in the future?”
“Of course!” My mother responded forcefully.
“Then, haven’t you already reached the aim of your discipline?” Wen Jiubo blinked at her innocently.
My mother furrowed her brows. “What do you mean?”
I was also slightly confused, looking towards Wen Jiubo, puzzled. He flashed a sly grin.
Oh no! I felt an uneasy feeling well up inside me. I hope this guy doesn’t cause trouble for nothing in front of my mom!
Wen Jiubo cleared his throat, smiling slightly as he put his arm around my shoulders. “Auntie, to be completely honest, I’m your son’s boyfriend.”
Both my mother and I both froze at the same time. No one spoke for quite a period of time.
“As a matter of fact, to me personally,” Wen Jiubo was still saying, “Even though Xiaoyu in female clothes is very sexy, but I still prefer him like this, with short hair and wearing a simple shirt and jeans. This Gu Xiaoyu is the most real and isn’t a puppet in the hand of his mother. Don’t you think so, auntie?”
My mother’s throat worked, bobbing up and down. Her eyes were as wide as saucers as she looked at Wen Jiubo, then looked at me. Her finger shook when she reached out to point at me. “Y-you two. You — get out of my sight! Both of you! What do you think you are, Gu Yu? Fuck off!”
“Mom, that’s not it. Listen to me—” I desperately wanted to explain but was cut off mercilessly.
“I’m not listening. I don’t have a son like you! Get out of my sight!”
I still wanted to explain, but Wen Jiubo grabbed my hand without hesitation. Of course, if I didn’t leave now, what awaited me was probably an even more brutal beating.
Wen Jiubo pulled me, quickly weaving through the curious crowds, leaving the train station behind. When I looked up to see his expression, that guy was still smiling.
“What are you smiling about! Stop smiling!” I said angrily.
“Don’t you think my performance before was extremely good?” Wen Jiubo asked shamelessly, bumping my shoulder. “Your mom couldn’t even get a word out.”
“Good your face!” I turned my head away, feeling a headache build. “Thanks to you, I’m now homeless!”
“If that’s your home, then you’re better off without it.” Wen Jiubo exchanged his frivolous expression with a more serious one. “I’ll pay, you can go stay in a hotel.”
“You make it sound easy! It’s not your home after all!” I couldn’t help but yell at Wen Jiubo, but I quickly realized that I was in the wrong.
It wasn’t Wen Jiubo’s fault, after all, he was only trying to help. However, before this, he didn’t even ask if I wanted or even needed his help. Now we ended in this type of situation and things had gotten even more complicated.
“Fine, thank you for helping me out of a tight spot just before,” I said quietly, measuring my breathing. “But let’s part ways here now. My family matters don’t involve you.”