This was the first time Xia Lei was drunk. His head felt like it had two litres of paste in it and all his thoughts were cloudy. Weirdly enough, the vision in his right eye was blurry but the vision in his left was very clear and not affected by alcohol at all. However, his brain was still not processing what his left eye was seeing and his reaction still lagged by five or six seconds even though he had some notion of what was going on.
“Ugh, why drink when you can’t hold your liquor,” said a woman’s voice in his ear. She sounded reproachful. “Don’t you know how to find an excuse to get out of there? Didn’t I teach you what to do? Buy stockings for me - where’s my stockings?”
“I… can’t drink anymore…” mumbled Xia Lei.
Pah! A slap landed on Xia Lei’s buttocks. The woman’s voice could be heard again, “You’re in this state and still talking about drinking? Be honest - did you touch those women?”
Xia Lei’s words were slurred. “Don’t… cling onto me… Si-Yao will… will not be happy… hurmumph…”
The woman laughed. “Looks like you didn’t; that’s more like it. You’re a dumbass though. Why mention me to those women? They, they’ll think that I’m your ‘old woman’.”
“Don’t touch me!” Xia Lei waved his arms.
“Ah! You!” She cried in surprise and quickly swatted his hands away, then gave his buttocks a hard smack.
Xia Lei did not quiet down. He wriggled and grabbed at things around himself blindly.
“You’re not a good boy when you’re drunk, are you… Ah! You grabbed that place! Are you shameless, or what?” She hurriedly blocked his hands.
Xia Lei settled down once both his hands were caught. He could sense that he was being supported on a woman’s shoulder because she smelt good. He also sensed her helping him up some stairs, opening a door and tossing him on a bed.
She brought a hot towel to wipe his face with and removed his shoes and socks. He could sense these but did not react. He got too sleepy afterwards and blacked out.
He had a dream. He dreamt that someone had kissed him on the lips and said many things to him but he could not see that person’s face nor hear what was said clearly.
The rays of dawn chased away the darkness blanketing the Earth and the sky brightened. It was autumn and the wind which blew through the window carried an obvious tinge of frost. Xia Lei awoke with a start, perhaps due to this coldness.
His right eye was still blurry but his left was clear.
It was his room; his bed. However, his jaw dropped in surprise when he saw the woman lying next to him.
It was Liang Si-Yao! How did he get home? And why was Liang Si-Yao on his bed?
She was lying next to him, face-to-face with an arm around his waist. She was fast asleep and seemed to be having a beautiful dream, judging from the sweet smile on her face.
‘Did I get drunk and do… that… to Si-Yao? Why don’t I remember feeling it? It’s such a waste if that was my first time… to have not felt it… No, hold on, she’s still wearing clothes - we shouldn’t have done it.’ Xia Lei’s mind was a mess and trying to figure out whether he did it or not.
“Shameless.” Liang Si-Yao suddenly muttered in her sleep. She then lifted one of her long legs and pressed it on Xia Lei’s leg.
His thoughts warred on but the probability of them having done it soared in his head.
Xia Lei thought nervously, ‘If we didn’t do it she’ll have underwear on under her skirt. If we did, she won’t.’
This thought was like a little devil, luring his hand to the hem of Liang Si-Yao’s skirt and slowly lifting it.
He could have actually used his left eye to check just by thinking about it but his hand had already lifted her skirt while his body was fighting his mind.
At that moment, Liang Si-Yao opened her eyes and saw Xia Lei with one hand lifting her skirt.
The atmosphere in the room became tense the next second.
Xia Lei let go of her skirt in one second and it dropped from his hand soundlessly. His face reddened and he said awkwardly, “Senior Disciple, that, um.. Actually… It’s not what you think.”
Liang Si-Yao seemed to snap back to reality at that moment and looked at the positions Xia Lei and herself were in, the arm she had around his waist, and the leg she had draped over his. She froze for a second, then let out a loud scream and punched Xia Lei in the right eye on reflex.
Bam! Xia Lei saw stars.
Liang Si-Yao jumped off the bed and said anxiously, “Sorry, I… I didn’t do that on purpose. Why would I hit you?”
Xia Lei held his right eye and looked at Liang Si-Yao wordlessly.
“Does it hurt?” asked Liang Si-Yao in concern.
“Of course it does,” said Xia Lei gloomily.
“Well, why did you lift my skirt and peek then? You, you’re shameless; of course I had to hit you.”
She didn’t mention her hugging him while she slept. Only women could understand another woman’s tyranny.
“I… didn’t do that on purpose either.” Xia Lei explanation could only be understood by himself, too.
The two of them looked at each other and were silent for a full minute. It was all calm on the surface but they were both furiously trying to recall the previous night in their heads.
“Um, Senior Disciple, I was drunk last night. Did you send me home?” Xia Lei finally broke the silence.
“Who else could it be? I couldn’t stop worrying after you went to the karaoke bar and gave Monk a call. He said Zhang Sen and his cronies were making you drink and even arranged women for you. I got so worried I came for you.” She rolled her eyes at him. “Good thing I came in time or you would’ve been duped into sleeping with those women.”
Xia Lei scratched his nose in shame. “I don’t remember that.”
“I was going to bring you to my place but I was afraid that my dad would scold you if he saw you drunk so I brought you here.”
“But…” said Xia Lei carefully, “How did we…?”
Liang Si-Yao’s pale jade-like skin blushed. “I wiped your face and gave you water over and over again. Then I got sleepy and I fell asleep without realising it. What did you think it was? Dream on!”
“I wasn’t thinking that… I’ll go make breakfast.” Xia Lei got up to get his trousers.
Liang Si-Yao caught sight of the very obvious bulge and her face reddened further. She muttered quietly to herself, “Not thinking, my foot. Who’s he bluffing? Despicable.” She remembered something she hadn’t talked about which Xia Lei didn’t know about and her face became so red it was as if she’d applied a layer of rouge to it.
Xia Lei got dressed and went to the kitchen. Liang Si-Yao left his room as well and went to the balcony. The rays of morning sun lit her face and the smile on it. She was, for some reason, happy.
Xia Lei spoke as he worked in the kitchen. “I had some great gains last night, Senior Disciple. I got to know two bosses and they both have good connections. If nothing goes wrong, they’ll send their people over today to talk business and help us sell our products.”
“I know it’s tough for you but don’t go to places like those in the future. Plus, some people will never be your true friend; you need to be able to tell who they are,” said Liang Si-Yao.
“I know. I’ll keep that in mind,” said Xia Lei.
A morning breeze blew on the balcony and a pair of Xia Lei’s briefs which had been hanging on the drying rack suddenly dropped on the floor. Liang Si-Yao grinned and bent to pick it up and hang it back on the rack. As she straightened, she suddenly caught sight of a woman glaring up at her from the balcony below.
She knew this woman - Xia Lei’s childhood friend, neighbour and old classmate, Jiang Ru-Yi.
Jiang Ru-Yi’s little mouth was frozen in an O and she managed to speak after half a beat, “What are you doing here?”
“Hmm? What’s so strange about me being here?” Liang Si-Yao shook Xia Lei’s briefs and smoothed it twice right in front of Jiang Ru-Yi, then slowly hung it on the drying rack.
“You’re washing Lei’s underwear?” The sourness coming from Jiang Ru-Yi could be smelt from ten metres away.
“What does me washing Lei’s underwear have to do with you?” Liang Si-Yao looked back and said, “Lei, I washed your underwear. Cook me some sugar-poached eggs*. Last night tired me out; I need some extra nourishment.”
“Shameless!” Jiang Ru-Yi bit her lip, turned her head huffily away and walked off.
Liang Si-Yao laughed. “What a happy morning. Heh heh.”
In the kitchen, Xia Lei was a little confused. ‘Aren’t I wearing my underwear? The pair she washed? And she said she was tired from last night… What’s this situation? Damn it, I can’t ever be drunk again.’
* Sugar-poached eggs.
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