take this burden - part 33
[ weak - ajr ]
Roughly an hour after Mo Guan Shan and Jian Yi retired, He Tian and Zhengxi shut off the lights and television and went their separate ways.
Zhengxi found Jian Yi stark naked, spread out across the mattress, fast asleep and smiled.
He Tian found Mo Guan Shan curled up under the blanket, unsure if his state of dress and frowned.
Something in the room felt…off but he couldn’t quite pin it down.
He say the fishbowl down on the desk and wondered how the cat would feel about this.
He crossed the room and crawled onto the slowly deflating air mattress, leaned back against the bedside table and opened the book he’d found on the desk.
Mo Guan Shan’s phone vibrated a few inches from his head, making him jump.
After 6 vibrations it stopped.
It then proceeded to vibrate several more times.
The pattern was different so he assumed it was now text messages.
He Tian wasn’t normally the type to look at someone’s phone without permission, but…
He sat up, checking If Mo Guan Shan was still asleep, and turned around to look down at the phone.
He pressed the home screen.
There were several notifications, one missed call and at least one text from an unnamed number.
‘Mo Guan Shan, I am SO sorry. I…’ and that’s where it cut off.
Mo Guan Shan didn’t have a lock on his phone.
He Tian felt a stab of guilt for betraying that apparent trust.
His own phone was locked with the fingerprint sensor and a random passcode.
He couldn’t check the others texts without showing them as read, but it wasn’t hard to imagine what they said and it was obvious who they were from.
He was tempted to pick up the phone and tell him exactly where to stick his fucking apology, and more tempted to just go to his apartment and fucking beat him to death.
Before he could do either of those things, he forced himself to turn off the screen and leave the phone alone.
He looked to Mo Guan Shan, just a lump under the blanket, and thought about the night’s events.
His lip was nearly healed.
The cut on his cheek was on it’s way to becoming a scar.
He had a job.
A new apartment.
He was safe.
He was taking steps to put all that behind him and this piece of garbage thought he could just wait a few days and crawl right back?
Over his head fucking body.
He Tian tried to stomp out the little sparks of anger and remain calm. Overacting wasn’t going to help, right?
He very nearly succeeded.
Then the phone went off again.
‘Stop being such a little bitch. You’re going to come crawling back to me just like last time.’
God. Fucking. Damn it.
He pulled his own phone from his pocket, copying the number down.
He wasn’t going to do anything…yet. It just seemed like a good base to cover, just in case.
He saved it under ‘S’ and returned to the home screen.
Pulling up his texts, he selected Zhengxi’s name and tapped out a message.
‘Are you awake?’
‘I am now.’
‘Let’s go smoke a cigarette.’
‘Miss me that much already?’
‘Fine. Give me a sec.’
They met on the small porch.
He Tian lit them each a cigarette.
‘What’s up?’ Zhengxi asked taking a drag.
‘She Li is texting Mo Guan Shan.’
‘He told you that?’
‘He’s asleep. I saw it on his phone.’
‘Do i even need to tell you that’s invasion of privacy AND a dick move?
‘You do not, no. It’s not like I went through it or anything. It just kept going off and it was on the lock screen…
‘Whatever you have to tell yourself.’
He Tian rolled his eyes.
‘What do we do?’
‘…seriously? Can’t he get in trouble for contacting him?’
Zhengxi shook his head, exhaling a plume of smoke.
‘He didn’t file a restraining order. He barely filled out a police report.’
‘But we know what happened.’
‘WE do, yeah, but that doesn’t mean anything. He was taken in for for being drunk in public, not for hurting anyone.’
‘But he’s talking to Mo Guan Shan.’
‘Also not illegal.’
He Tian sighed deeply, flicking the butt of the cigarette off the balcony and lighting another.
‘What can we do?’
‘Nothing. It’s not illegal to be a dick.’
‘Yeah, believe it or not, the justice system can’t read between the lines or prosecute people for laws they haven’t broken.’
‘No, He Tian. There are no buts. Legally, there is nothing I can do about this.’
‘That is NOT what I meant.’
‘Sure, sure. So…what’s his address.’
‘He Tian, I’m not getting fired for you.’
‘Some friend you are.’ he teased.
‘Look, in most cases, i would just happen to leave the address written down and unattended, but this is different.’
‘Because this dude needs to have his ass kicked.’
He Tian raised an eyebrow.
‘And I’m great at that.’
‘You’re too close to this.’
‘Meaning, I don’t trust you to stop at an ass kicking, and I really don’t want to arrest you.’
‘So send someone else to do it.’
‘This isn’t funny.’
He Tian had the good grace to pretend he felt bad for bringing it up.’
‘You’re right. I’m sorry, Zhan Xixi.’
I said I didn’t WANT to arrest you.’
He Tian held his hands up in surrender and they let themselves back into the apartment.
Zhengxi gave him a long look before turning away with a sigh and digging the notepad from the door next to the kitchen sink, illegally jotting down some information.
He held the paper out to He Tian, pulling it away at the last second.
‘You know I only have so much pull here, right? I can’t do anything if you get charged with murder.’
‘What about attempted murder?’
‘That’s not funny.’
‘Oh, it’s a little funny.’
Resigned, he handed the slip of paper to He Tian.
‘Please don’t make me regret this. Jian Yi will never forgive me if you end up in prison. For his sake…’
‘I’ll do my best.’
Zhengxi shook his head, defeated.
‘Thanks for waking me up to break the law.’
Zhengxi looked at him sadly and turned away.
He Tian looked down at the address, ignoring the feeling in his gut he’d come to associate with doing something really, really, stupid.