Serial Saturday #16: Not Going Back To Kaohsiung

The rain was unrelenting, but Wei-Ting didn't care. He was soaked to the bone within seconds and had no idea where he was going or what the plan was, he just kept walking. He made it all of three blocks before he heard the car pull up beside him. "Kid!" Pei-Shan had rolled down the window. He ignored her and kept walking.

"Kid, come on!"

He kept walking. It was over. His career was done. His one chance at a different life. Gone. He'd have to go back to Kaohsiung and back to his old life. Maybe Pei-Shan still knew the names of those dirty cops in Tainan so he could avoid his old crew. He wanted to laugh out loud at that thought, but  forced it back down and just kept walking.

"Kid! Would you stop for a second and listen to me?"

He ignored Pei-Shan and kept walking.

"Kid, if you're going to act like this every time you get suspended, you're going to have a bad time in this profession."

He stoppd and turned on his heel, walking up to the car and leaning down to poke his head in the open window. "What makes you think I'm going tomake it through the week? I'm still on probabtion. The Chief could fire me. I'm not going back to Kaohsiung. I won't do it. I can't-"

Pei-Shan recoiled at his sudden outburst. "Who, whoa kid! Okay... you won't have to! Just... you know, get in the car, so we can talk about this."

Wei-Ting looked at her for a long moment before he opened the car door and, recluctantly, not really knowing what good it would do, he got in and sat down. Pei-Shan waited until he had closed the door before pulling the car back into the road and accelerating away.

"So," Pei-Shan said. "Call me crazy, but what's with Kaohsiung? I've been there a few times. It's an okay place."

"You wouldn't understand," Wei-Ting said.

"Try me, kid," Pei-Shan gave a bark of laughter. "It's not like we've got anything better to do for the next week."

"It's... family," Wei-Ting said.

"Ah," Pei-Shan said.

"How long did you work in Tainan?"

"Eight years," Pei-Shan said.

"You've probably heard of my grandfather then," Wei-Ting said. "He owns the Golden Lotus."

"Oh shit," Pei-Shan replied. 

"Yeah," Wei-Ting said. "My mom had no problem living the life my grandfather provided until she met my Dad and decided to try and leave it all behind. It was hard, but they were doing fine until my grandfather called in some of my Dad's loans." He swallowed hard, forcing the grief back down at the memory. "They said it was a car accident that killed him, but... I'm not so sure."

"I wouldn't be so sure, either, kid," Pei-Shan said, shaking her head. "The Golden Lotus had a... reputation."

"That's what I found out," Wei-Ting said, grimly. "Anyway, my mom picked herself up and despite my grandfather's please, she spent the next ten years working herself to the bone, but finally saved up enough money to get me into University and I got a degree, got myself into the Police Academy and the day I got sworn in and she pinned the badge on my uniform was the happiest day of her life."

"So, you can't go back to Kaohsiung." Pei-Shan finished. "I get it, kid." She caught the look Wei-Ting gave her. "What? I do! I damn near went to jail, kid. Imagine having that conversation with your parents."

"Fair point," Wei-Ting replied. 

"But I wasn't wrong either," Pei-Shan said. "You can't treat every suspension like it's the end of the damn world." She slowed to a halt for a traffic light and turned to him. "The real question, what are we going to do now?"

"What can we do?" Wei-Ting said bitterly.

"You ran out of there so fast, I didn't have time to tell you," Pei-Shan said. She pulled out her phone and handed it over to him as the light changed and they began to move again. "I got a message from my sister last night. It's in my Whatsapp."

Wei-Ting found the app and opened it and his haw dropped open.

"See anyone you recognize?"

"The boyfriend," Wei-Ting said. "He's the one in the picture Shan sent me. The one who probably wrote her the letter." He tapped the screen and pushed his fingers outward to zoom in. "And it looks like he's in Taipei."

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