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The Untold Story Chapter 2

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2

"The driver who committed a.s.sault was you, wasn't it?"

When Yang Zhao said this sentence, the two cops stiffened. Old w.a.n.g was the first to react. Plastering a smile on his face, he looked at Yang Zhao and said: "a.s.sault? Why, it was just a little tussle. How does private settlement sound?"

Yang Zhao did not look at Old w.a.n.g; Her attention was fixed upon that shadowed figure.

"Were you the a.s.sailant?"

Song frowned: "What's the matter with you, woman? What're you putting on airs for? Both parties are in the wrong here. Your younger brother's guilty of drunken mischief, what else do you want?"

Yang Zhao turned to look at the younger cop.

"Both sides are in the wrong? Drunken mischief?" Yang Zhao said flatly. "They flagged down the cab first. Is there a law that states that one must yield their cabs to elders above eighty years of age? Besides, who threw the first punch?" Yang Zhao said as she stared at the shrouded figure.

"I know my younger brother. Even if he did not yield the cab, he would never throw the first punch. The rest of them are so wasted they can barely stand straight. Judging from that, the one who made the first move has to be you. As for the rest of you," Yang Zhao swept her eyes over the two policemen standing by the desk, "I do not know why you're on the side of this driver. However, it is useless trying to intimidate me. If this driver does not compensate and apologize, we shall see you in court."

Yang Zhao's words left no room for negotiation. The two cops lapsed into stunned silence. They'd never encountered a woman who was immune to their good cop/bad cop routine before.

"It was I who made the first move. How much do you want in compensation?"

The person in the corner finally spoke up. His voice was very low and calm.

Yang Zhao said: "An apology, then a payment of 5,000 yuan."

Song immediately piped up: "5,000? Just a few yanks and a red wrist and you want 5,000 yuan. Is this an extortion?!"

"Okay."

"Sheng! Bro!" Song walked to the corner and whispered to the man: "This is pure extortion. You don't have to agree. I'll negotiate on your behalf."

That person shook his head. "No need. Thanks a lot guys." He turned to Yang Zhao: "Can you give me a couple of days? I can't cough up so much cash right now."

"You can apologize for now." said Yang Zhao.

That person was silent for a moment. Then he said quietly, "I'm sorry."

Yang Zhao opened her mouth to speak, but Jintian stopped her. "Sis, forget it."

Yang Zhao turned back to look at him. Jintian's head was bowed as he looked down at his fingers. Yang Zhao was silent for a moment. Then she said to Old w.a.n.g: "Can I take them away now?"

Old w.a.n.g also felt that 5,000 was too much. Still, he frowned and motioned, "Go, go."

"Wait."

Before Yang Zhao could lead Jintian and company away, the man in the corner stopped her. Yang Zhao turned back to see Song hand her a slip of paper.

The man said: "This is my contact number. Give me half a month. I'll pay you back."

Yang Zhao glanced at Song. This man had some influence; Even the cop had to play errand boy for him. She took the paper. A mobile number was written on it. Yang Zhao stuffed the paper into her pocket and left with the group.

When they reached her car, Yang Zhao settled the three drunken youths into the backseat. Jintian took the front pa.s.senger seat.

"I'll send you to the hospital first."

Jintian had no objections; His wrist was still hurting a great deal.

Yang Zhao wound down the windows but did not smoke. She always restrained herself from smoking whenever Jintian was around.

"Fighting with an eighty-year old lady over a cab. You sure are heroic."

"I didn't want to!"

Yang Zhao started the car and made a turn towards the highway.

"How did you get into a fight?"

"It was that driver!" Jintian scowled. "That driver was looking down on us!"

"It's difficult not to, considering the behavior of you lot." said Yang Zhao.

"He was looking down on us from the very beginning!" Jintian raised his voice. "You didn't see the way he was looking at us. It was as if— As if he was looking at garbage, f.u.c.k!"

Yang Zhao stopped talking. Jintian turned his head sideways and watched the pa.s.sing road signs outside.

Yang Zhao drove to the nearest hospital. It was bustling with people even at night. Yang Zhao instructed Jintian to wait in the car while she went to get a queue number.

"Come."

Yang Zhao saw the doctor with Jintian. After an X-ray was taken, they waited for the results along the corridor outside the Radiology Department. Yang Zhao smoked a cigarette in the toilet during the interim.

When the results were out, Yang Zhao took out the lab report to read. Then she put it back, stood up and said: "Soft tissue injury. This is simple a.s.sault. Let's not settle this privately anymore. I want to sue that driver."

"Sis."

Yang Zhao turned. Jintian was seated on the bench. He glanced at Yang Zhao and said quietly: "Forget it. Don't look for him."

"How did he hit you? Did he use any tools on you?"

"I said, forget it!" shouted Jintian. Everyone in the corridor turned to look. With his head hung, Jintian's youthful figure looked exceptionally frail.

Yang Zhao walked over and gently caressed his head. Jintian put up a brief struggle before giving up and collapsing into Yang Zhao's embrace. Yang Zhao felt her younger brother tremble a little.

"Sis, am I garbage?" Jintian finally broke into tears. Yang Zhao sucked in a deep breath. "No, Tian," she whispered, "you just haven't come to yourself, that's all."

"I don't want to either…"Jintian sobbed bitterly. "Sis, I don't want to…I can't help it…"

Yang Zhao stroked her younger brother's hair and comforted him softly.

It was long past midnight by the time Yang Zhao was done sending her pa.s.sengers safely back home. When Yang Zhao's parents questioned Jintian's wrist injuries, Yang Zhao lied and said that he'd tripped on a flight of stairs on the way home.

By the time Yang Zhao was back in her apartment, she was so tired that she went straight to the sofa without taking off her clothes and shoes, laid down, and fell asleep.

The next morning, Yang Zhao was awoken by the sound of her phone ringing. She got up groggily and fished her phone out of her bag. On her screen flashed the name 'Xue Miao'.

Yang Zhao flipped herself over and received the call.

"Hey."

"You sound dead. You're not up yet?"

Yang Zhao ignored the question and said, "What's up? Is something the matter?"

"How's the restoration process going?" asked Xue Miao.

"That broken bowl's so damaged, the fragments look like slag. What do you think?"

Xue Miao laughed. From the other end of the line, Yang Zhao heard crisp, clattering sounds, like cutlery sc.r.a.ping against porcelain. "Are you eating?" asked Yang Zhao.

"Mn," Xue Miao pierced a chunk of beef with his fork, "Mind you, don't let it break. If it breaks, my heart will break too."

Yang Zhao chuckled. "Give me one more month."

"I'll give you 50 days," Xue Miao swallowed the beef and said graciously, "I know that the process cannot be rushed. Take all the time you need."

"Okay."

Xue Miao spoke again: "By the way, why won't you come back to this side? The work environment here's way better than your current one. I can also a.s.sign you a few a.s.sistants."

"No need." Yang Zhao rested her other hand on her eyes to block out the sunlight streaming through the window. "It's hard to agree on things when there are too many people involved. I like working solo."

"Okay, suit yourself." Xue Miao smiled, "Do a good job."

Yang Zhao hummed agreement placidly, said a few more sentences, and then hung up.

Yang Zhao lazed around on the sofa for a little longer before getting up to bathe. She felt much better after stepping out of the shower.

She ordered takeout by phone, then went to the study to wait for her food to arrive. Yang Zhao's study was huge. When she first moved in, she deliberately converted the largest room in the apartment into her study. The study was a mess, with all kinds of books and doc.u.ments scattered everywhere. Her books were of different genres. Being too lazy to sort them into categories, she stacked them into piles.

A silk painting hung from the wall of Yang Zhao's study. It looked rather old. At the lowermost corner of the painting was a carp. A large tract of blank s.p.a.ce dominated its upper part. Yang Zhao's seat was in front of this painting. She put on her gla.s.ses, picked up a random book, opened it, then as if remembering something, paused. She picked up her phone and rang the takeout place she'd called earlier.

"Hi, I just placed an order from the Golden Huaken a while ago. May I know if my takeout has been sent out?"

"Oh good, could you add an additional bottle of mineral water to my order, make it a large."

"Alright, thank you."

Yang Zhao put down her phone and resumed reading.

A clock hung above the entrance to her apartment. The hands of the clock ticked steadily on. This apartment was considered to be a high end unit in the city. The yard was deep and it was rare to hear the sound of cars on the road outside.

Sunlight shone through the window shafts. The apartment was so quiet, it was as if it was devoid of any living creature.

After a while, the doorbell rang.

Yang Zhao stretched her neck, marked the page that she stopped at, and set it aside.

She opened the door. The delivery person was a young girl.

"Hi, would you be Ms Yang?"

"Yes."

"Here's your takeout. That would be 78 yuan."

Yang Zhao took out a 100 yuan bill from her wallet and handed it to the girl. The girl bent her head as she rummaged for change. Yang Zhao took her takeout inside first.

The girl pa.s.sed the change to Yang Zhao. "Ms Yang," she said, "you seem to order from our shop rather frequently."

Yang Zhao smiled at her. "Is that so, you remember me?"

The girl said, "Well you see, Ms Yang, our shop is having a promotion. If you become a member, you'll get 12% off across all dishes."

"What?"

The girl added quickly: "However, the promotion is limited to takeout dishes. If you dine in-house, there will be no discounts."

"How much is the members.h.i.+p card?" asked Yang Zhao.

"The minimum recharge is 300 yuan." said the girl.

Yang Zhao considered for a moment. "Okay, I'll do it. Wait here." She went back into her apartment and came back with 300 yuan.

The girl wasn't expecting to score a deal so easily and was obviously delighted.

"Ms Yang, the food in our shop is really value for money."

Yang Zhao smiled politely. After taking down Yang Zhao's particulars, the girl turned to her and said: "Ms Yang, I haven't got a members.h.i.+p card on me and I have to record your particulars into the card. Would you prefer to follow me back to the store, or should I deliver it to you during your next order?"

Yang Zhao said: "Deliver it to me next time."

The girl smiled. "Will do. Good-bye, Ms Yang."

After sending the enthusiastic delivery girl off, Yang Zhao returned to her living room and took out the takeout dishes. She put a few of the dishes in the fridge and ate the rest for breakfast.

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