“It’s already so late. Why aren’t you back yet? It’s dark at night, so you have to be careful on the road.” Li Na’s concerned voice sounded. Zheng Jiaxing only felt his heart warm up, but it was mostly ridden with guilt.
“I know, we” When Zheng Jiaxing said this, he saw Wang Qingzhi wave his hand at him forcefully, indicating to him that they had not set off yet and would only return later.
Zheng Jiaxing stopped short of what he wanted to say, but finally he said, “We are already on the way. I’ll be home soon.”
“That’s good. Drive slowly. It’s okay if you return late. What’s important is that you stay safe.”
“Yeah, got it.”
“Alright, there’s soup noodles in the pot. Have some before sleeping to warm yourself.”
Zheng Jiaxing’s heart warmed up even more as he felt himself choke up. He acknowledged softly, unwilling to say another word for he did not wish to lie to her again.
After hanging up, Wang Qingzhi patted him on the shoulder and shook his head. “You have been married for two years, but you are like a child. Sigh.” With that said, Wang Qingzhi walked away.
Zheng Jiaxing felt a little lost when he saw Wang Qingzhi’s back. What kind of person did he want to be? To be honest, he was envious of people like Wang Qingzhi who had full say in their lives. He felt that such a life was free, and what the life of an adult man should be like. It shouldn’t be like his, having to discuss with his wife anything he did.”
But when he thought of Li Na and his son, Zheng Jiaxing felt a lot better.
When Zheng Jiaxing stepped into the house again, he received adulation from the crowd.
“Jiaxing, you came back? It looks like you are going to sweep the tables clean.”
“Haha, Laoliu, it looks like you will be losing that bit of money of yours. Go home and eat dirt.”
“Jiaxing, show mercy.”
Zheng Jiaxing realized that he seemed to turn enlivened again after hearing all the flattery. He wished to sit back down and have a few more games, not returning before it was bright.
However Zheng Jiaxing gritted his teeth when he thought of his family. “Sorry guys. Home is calling quite urgently. I have to go home for now.”
The moment Zheng Jiaxing said that, there was an uproar.
“Jiaxing, that’s not nice. You leave after winning our money?”
“That’s right. Everyone is here just to have fun. Look, no one says anything when they win or lose. But to leave the moment you win, that’s not nice, right?”
“Jiaxing, no offense, but this only works at Laosi’s place. If you were to do that elsewhere, you would have been beaten up.”
“Jiaxing, you are currently on a lucky strike. If you return now, it’s like you will be losing out.”
Zheng Jiaxing’s face flushed red when he heard the response. He also knew it was not right, but Thinking back to the phone call, he said through clenched teeth, “Sorry. Tomorrow. We can continue tomorrow. I promise I’ll come! The one who doesn’t come is a son of a bitch.”
“Alright, alright. Don’t make things difficult for Jiaxing. He has a shrew at home. What happens if he gets eaten up by her if he returns late?” At that moment, Laosi, who had remained silent all this while, spoke out. However what he said left Zheng Jiaxing uncomfortable. He had the nagging feeling that being henpecked made him inferior to others.
The crowd delivered similar rejoinders as Zheng Jiaxing felt even more aggrieved. He left Wang Laosi’s place and returned home alone. As he touched the wade of cash in his pocket, he felt a lot better. He looked up into the sky at the setting moon, thinking to himself, “Regardless, I won. If I can win a hundred thousand a month, I can buy a tiny car. When that happens, Li Na will be able to enjoy the limelight with me.” Zheng Jiaxing turned excited for his mind could not help but fantasize about such scenes.
By the time Zheng Jiaxing returned home, Li Na was already up. The chimney in their house was already smoking. Everyone woke up early in villages as they needed to tend to the farms. No one slept in.
But Zheng Jiaxing realized that he was exhausted.
When he entered, Li Na asked with concern, “You came back so late. You must be exhausted. Eat something before you head to bed. I’ll go tend to the water pump later.”
Upon hearing Li Na, Zheng Jiaxing’s excitement instantly calmed down. It was as though the tiny bit of money he had won was trivial. He nodded and ate his meal before getting in bed.
However Zheng Jiaxing did not manage to get much sleep because his mother came!
“Mom, why are you here? You even brought a chicken?” asked Zheng Jiaxing.
“You don’t know?” Zheng Jiaxing’s mother looked at him in astonishment.
“You dimwit. Your wife is pregnant. How can you not know that? Eh? Where’s Little Na?” Zheng Jiaxing’s mother looked inside and outside the house and asked when she didn’t see her daughter-in-law.
Zheng Jiaxing jumped in fright when he heard that. His wife was pregnant? But
The moment he came to this realization, Zheng Jiaxing crawled out of bed immediately. He wore his shoes and dashed out.
At his farm, Zheng Jiaxing saw Li Na squatting by the water pump. There was no water in it, and it was obvious that something had gone wrong.
“Dear, you are pregnant?” Zheng Jiaxing asked nervously.
“Yeah.” Li Na nodded, feeling a little conflicted.
“Then why are you here laboring by yourself? Quickly return. Leave the rest to me!” Zheng Jiaxing exclaimed. Then he carefully walked Li Na back home. He personally stewed the chicken with mushrooms. When Zheng Yu returned home, they ate happily, with their mouths glistening with oil.
However, this mood was quickly destroyed by Wang Qingzhi’s arrival. Upon seeing Wang Qingzhi, Zheng Jiaxing knew it was almost time to gamble. His family was having a harmonious time chatting, and Zheng Jiaxing felt guilty that his departure would quickly chill the mood. But the thought of winning money and how his wife’s pregnancy would require more money He gritted his teeth and followed.
The excuse he used this time was to drink at Wang Qingzhi’s place. Li Na did not object to it.
Zheng Jiaxing went to Wang Laosi’s place with several bottles of beer. He had promised to treat everyone to a meal, but since he would be unable to fulfill that, he decided to bring some beer. Indeed, everyone was happier upon receiving his beer. The mood was as fervent as usual and Zheng Jiaxing was awash in excitement. He did not notice that the smiling face under the bulb was turning more grotesque, like it was about to begin swallowing him!
Zheng Jiaxing had brought enough money this time and planned to win a few rounds as a celebration for the impending addition to his family.
He won more than two thousand in his first round. He was so excited that he almost broke out in a dance.
But from the second game, Zheng Jiaxing encountered a string of losses. He lost five hundred, three hundred, three hundred
After losing six consecutive rounds, he had lost all his money. Zheng Jiaxing’s face was covered in cold sweat as he mumbled to himself, “What’s happening today? Why do I keep losing?”