“What’s this, just coming back to Tong City and you’re making enemies already? This should be interesting. Want Uncle Han to clear the way for you for a bit?”
I laughed a little, “Let me have some fun by myself for now. It isn’t anything serious. Though I would appreciate it a lot if you could help me sort out what’s happening with Lin Fang. Next time you come back to Tong City, we’re definitely going to have to find a time to sit down over a meal or two. You’ve helped me so much. I don’t think I could ever repay you for all that you’ve done for me. Oh, one more thing, please contact the marketing department for me, and pass on the message that throughout the entire Junran, including all of its subsidiaries, not a single person should have anything to do with a woman called Chu Xiaoxiao.”
Not that I held a particular grudge against her, but that I always said what I meant and meant what I said. If I said I’d do something, I would see to it that the job would be done. It was a habit I picked up while I was in the forces.
Han Kun laughed, surprisingly merrily, “I like this character of yours. Alright, so be it! I’ll go back to the country as soon as I was able to finish off whatever I had to do here in Denmark. I haven’t seen you in person for such a long time, long enough to make me start missing you, and whatever strange antics you may be up to. Alright, call me if you need me again. Just remember, in Tong City, nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to do. Those who dares to offend you, offends the entire Junran and all who associates with Junran.”
“Thank you, Uncle Han.” I thanked him, from the bottom of my heart.
If it hadn’t been for Han Kun, so selflessly honoring my parent’s will and signing my inheritance over to me when I came of age, I would still be a nobody today, living under the shoes of people like Chen Yuzhou.
On the entire way to the hospital, Lin Fang’s eyes were red with tears. I kept comforting her and telling her that everything would be fine, but she seemed unsettled, looking out from the window as if she was in thoughts and conflicts. From the looks of things, there was definitely something more that she hadn’t told me yet.
“You go on ahead, I’ll be with you shortly after I find a park for the car.”
Said me after we arrived at the hospital. Lin Fang nodded. She reached for the door handle, hesitated, then said to me, “Zhang Chao, I think, maybe you should go back, and I’ll handle it myself.”
I paused, and frowned, “Just what happened?”
Lin Fang pulled on the door handle and got out of the car, “Nothing. From now on, just leave me to deal with my own problems.”
Looking at her, turning her back to me and walking away, I felt a pain as if my heart had been stabbed.
Pulling the key out of the car, I jumped out of the car and chased after her. I grabbed her wrist, stopping her midway, “It was Chen Yuzhou right? It was him behind all this isn’t it?”
Lin Fang shivered, and turned her eyes away from mine.
“You let go of me, I...”
She shook my hand off, and walked towards the hospital entrance. I tried to follow behind her, but she turned around and pleaded with eyes reddened from desperation and frustration, “Don’t, Zhang Chao, don’t be like this. I really don’t have a choice.”
I overtook her and blocked her way. Stepping in front of her, I supported her shoulders with both of my hands, and reasoned as earnestly as I could, “It was only fifty grands right? I have it, right here with me. If you take his demand this time, what’s stopping him from making another demand of you next time, and the time after that? After seeing all that he has done, can you still not see what kind of person he is?”
For all this time, Lin Fang has been holding on to her tears. Hearing me say that, it was as if a trigger has been flipped, and her tears began falling uncontrollably.
The two of us were standing right at the main entrance of the hospital. Many passerby came and went, staring at the commotion we caused as they walked by.
Lin Fang shook her head, then shook her head harder again, “It isn’t just about the money. If I don’t obey him, no hospital in Tong City would take my father in! What could I possibly do? Zhang Chao, there is no other way. There is no winning against him!”
I cursed at him under my breath again, at the depth that he would sink to just to achieve his ends.
To be fair, I had expected some form of retaliation from him. But, I never thought that he would go as far as to hold another innocent life hostage. Has he abandoned his humanity altogether?
“This time, he already threatened you with your father’s life. Next time, what do you think he will do.. or rather, what do you think he wouldn’t do? What are his terms?”
Lin Fang sobbed softly, “When I went back to my room to get changed just then, he called. He demanded that I agree to become his girlfriend...”
“He has other women too! Are you sure he wanted you for his girlfriend or his plaything!?”
Hearing what Lin Fang said made me momentarily lost in the heat of anger, and I subconsciously raised my voice. For a while, all was quiet all around and all eyes were looking at us. Suddenly becoming the center of attention of prying eyes and ears, Lin Fang was taken aback by a sense of shame and humiliation. She struggled out of my arms.
“And what difference will it make!? I don’t need you telling me how to deal with my own problems!”
For a short while, all words left me and all I could manage was a broken stammer, “I... sorry, I didn’t mean... what I wanted to say is...”
Lin Fang shook her head again, and apologized as well. Leaving me behind with one last glare, she stormed off into the elevator.
I wanted to follow her up, but for some reason my foot has lost its usual strength. I stopped in front of the elevator, feeling angry and dejected, at myself for losing control, at Lin Fang for not believing in me, and all the while feeling bad for Lin Fang about her predicaments.
Regardless, I would never abandon Lin Fang to fend for herself. No matter what happens, I would never let her be bullied around by Chen Yuzhou.
Coming to terms with myself and renewing my determination, I ruffled my hair hard to vent out the last remaining bit of frustration. As I was about to go to Lin Fang again, my phone rang. An unfamiliar number.
I thought it might be someone from Junran. Perhaps they have some messages for me. I took the call, and what came through was a woman’s voice.
“Zhang Chao! You! You did this to me, didn’t you!?”
“Who are you? Talk properly if you have anything meaningful to say.”
Just by the tone of voice, I knew for certain that it couldn’t possibly be someone from Juran. I was never one to indulge in pleasantries on the phone with a stranger, much less one that was rude and uncivilized like this one.
“Who am I? You’ve gone ahead and did this to me and you’re saying you don’t know who I am!?”
I ran out of patience for her, and simply swiped and ended the call. With what just happened, I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with a random stranger.
As soon as I ended the call, my phone rang again. I looked at it. It was Han Kun this time.
“Master Zhang, what is happening over there? I received words that Lin Fang was crying her eyes out and making a scene in the hospital. I’ll get my people onto her father’s case right away.”
“Wait, hold it for a while.” I said to him.
Han Kun asked, sounding confused and suspicious, “What’s going on? Was there something odd about Lin Fang?”
“No, that’s not it, Uncle Han. I just want to see how much reach Chen Yuzhou has in this hospital. I want to know just how many people are answering to Chen Yuzho, so I can get rid of them in one fell swoop.”
Lin Fang’s father will be having his operation here, and I’m sure that he would be undergoing other checkups and evaluations after the operation as well. If I didn’t weed out all Chen Yuzhou’s underlings now, there would be endless troubles coming their way in the future.
I had dealt with thugs like Chen Yuzhou before. With these types, if you didn’t slug them a really good one, they would never know not to mess with you again. Unless you give them a really good lesson, they would continue buzzing around and pestering you like annoying flies.
I went inside the elevator and pushed the button that would take me to Lin Fang’s father’s floor. Waves and waves of frustration hit me as I remembered how hopeless and helpless Lin Fang looked as she uttered those words to me. If Chen Yuzhou would appear before me right now, I would love to have a chat with him. With my hands around his neck.
“Dr. Zhu, please! I’m begging you! I will definitely come up with the money. Just give me a few more days. Please, just a few more days!”
When the elevator opened, the quiet hospital hallway was filled with Lin Fang’s pleas.
Following her voice, I began heading in her direction. When I saw her, Lin Fang was in tears, begging in front of a middle aged man wearing a white doctor’s coat.
“In our hospital, we have protocols and regulations to follow. Your father has been hospitalized for more than twenty days. We can’t keep him in here any longer.”
“But his life will be in danger if he is discharged right now! Doctor, please, have mercy and kindness. Give me just a few more days!”
I didn’t go to her straight away, but kept myself out of sight listening and assessing the situation around a nearby corner.
Chatting with Han Kun back then reminded me. In a hospital, especially in a government funded public hospital, a mere no name doctor would never have the guts to act so harshly out of line. There must be someone in a higher place, backing up and giving instructions to this Dr. Zhu.
“I already said no. Leave me be. I have other things to attend to.”
“You... if you ignore me, I’ll... I’ll file a complaint on you!” Lin Fang said, with desperation in her voice.
Dr. Zhu was walking away already, but when he heard what Lin Fang said, he stopped and turned around. A cold light gleamed in his eyes behind his glasses, as he returned her threat with a glare, “Go ahead, and try all you want. You don’t know who you’re messing with. Well, I guess that’s fine too. It would do you good to hit a brick wall once every so often. At least that will teach you your proper place.”
Before Dr. Zhu even finish speaking, the door behind Lin Fang opened, and Lin Kang walked out.
“Sis, what are you making a scene for? I filed countless complaints already. It was useless. They have rules and regulations in the hospital. Everything he did was lawful and fully in his rights to do so.”
Lin Fang exclaimed, her spirit broken, “That’s impossible! That man in the bed beside father’s, he had been here for more than three months! How could any of this be right!?”
“How could you not know how? That man you mentioned has connections, and money. And us, what do we have? Really, I really don’t understand what’s wrong with your head, sis. Mr. Chen was so nice to you, and rich, and powerful, and had such a nice personality to go along with all that. Why would you not take him? Something is seriously messed up in your head.”
My knuckles whitened from gripping my fists too hard. Right now, I would love nothing more than to give Lin Kang a good knock over his head.
“You! Just how much did Chen Yuzhou pay you to say that!? You’d sell me off to him for what, just for some skins in some cheap games? I’m your very own sister for crying out loud!”
“I... err, I didn’t say it all for myself you know! See, with our father lying here suffering in pain in the hospital, you can’t be so selfish as to think of only yourself.”
“Selfish and... only thinking about myself? Lin Kang, you’re twenty odd years old already, why are you pushing all the responsibilities and blames onto me!?”
“...! We’re... we’re all one family right. Our problem is your problem too. Well, you do what you want, but if anything happens to father, it’d be his blood on your hands! I’ve already done my bit by calling Mr. Chen here. He’ll be here soon, but what you need to do is to save father now!”
At this point, I really couldn't hold it any longer. I stepped out from the corner and walked over to Lin Fang. Seeing me, Lin Kang flipped his eyes and almost spat, “You again. You’re the one who has been filling my sister’s head with all kinds of crazy things. I was wondering why she changed so much over these few days.”
Dr. Zhu walked back towards us, “This is a hospital, so keep your voices down. Lin Fang, it was only because of Mr. Chen’s that I let your father even stay in the hospital over the past twenty days. Today, I really can’t allow it any longer. He will be discharged today. If he doesn’t go home, then he’ll sleep in the streets.”
Hearing me calling out to him, Dr. Zhu eyed me up and down with obvious contempt in his eyes. Seeing that I wasn’t dressed as if I was a rich man, he nudged his glasses impatiently, “What do you want?”