“I prefer to think of myself as more of a... male madame. That didn't come out right.”

--Tiberius Jefferson “T.J.” Hicks, ‘Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo”

 

Chapter 266 – Difficult to deal with

 

For a ghastly few moments, the father and son duo looked around warily. There was an unnatural silence blanketing the upper floor of the teahouse that they were at. There had been a few other patrons when Huang Zheng and Huang Ming arrived, but they were left alone without realizing it.

 

“If we’re attacked, leave me and run,” Huang Zheng said, regretting the lack of a sword by his side.

 

“Please do not raise such death flags,” Huang Ming said without explaining.

 

A few minutes passed without anything happening.

 

“Maybe we’re just over-thinking it,” Huang Zheng said.

 

“Let’s just go,” Huang Ming agreed.

 

They made their way downstairs and found the ground floor to be more lively. Most of the tables were occupied and the waiters were busy scurrying around the floor serving them.

 

“Well, that explains why nobody was up there,” Huang Ming chuckled self-deprecatingly.

 

“Your paranoia is infectious,” Huang Zheng grumbled.

 

They paid their bill at the counter and made their way back home. Father and son walked side by side down the road.

 

“Still, it is a good lesson. Father, you should not be too cavalier with your life. There are many who would cheer at your sudden passing. Or mine, for that matter,” Huang Ming said conversationally.

 

“I am getting too old for this,” his father complained. “All I want is to bring your mother home, make sure the fort is in nice hands and then retire to await the arrival of children.”

 

“All part of the job, dad. The higher you are on the totem pole, the more easily you get knocked off.”

 

Huang Zheng slowed down his pace so that Huang Ming was a few steps in front.

 

‘When did he grow so tall?’ the general thought, finding himself needing to tilt up slightly to see the top of his son’s head.

 

“Something wrong?” Huang Ming turned to ask. Huang Zheng shook his head and resumed to match his son’s pace.

 

“Maybe you should…” his father started to say.

 

“It’s too late now,” Huang Ming interrupted. “I am in too deep. Besides, you always wanted me to take on more responsibility.”

 

Huang Zheng sighed. “I had always expected great things from your elder brothers, but you ended up in the highest seat of all. Are you sure you are comfortable being… as you say, at the top of the totem pole?”

 

“A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do,” Huang Ming drawled lazily.

 

Huang Zheng snorted, but was inwardly pleased.

 

“How far along is sister-in-law?” Huang Ming asked conversationally.

 

“...I don’t know,” Huang Zheng admitted. He flushed when his son stared at him. “I have far more important things to worry about!” he said defensively.

 

“Maybe that is why mom is mad at you.”

 

“What do you mean by that? Do you know something? Did your mother tell you why?” Huang Zheng demanded.

 

“Nobody tells me anything!” Huang Ming exclaimed and threw his hands up in exasperation. “Maybe we should stop by and buy a gift for her.”

 

“What for?”

 

“To apologize. For whatever it is you did.”

 

“I have done nothing,” his father insisted.

 

“And that is precisely why. You probably haven’t done anything for her recently. Am I right? Hmm?” Huang Ming grinned.

 

“Nghhhh,” his father grunted, refusing to admit it directly.

 

“Didn’t I write for you to buy something big for her?”

 

“She came here before I could give it to her,” Huang Zheng said testily.

 

“Ahh. So you felt guilty enough to take my advice back then.”

 

“Your mother wronged me too by running off here,” Huang Zheng complained.

 

“That is not how it works with women, dad. You should know have known this by now,” Huang Ming rolled his eyes.

 

“She never gave me a complaint before,” Huang Zheng deflected.

 

“Women expect you to know such things without them telling,” Huang Ming said sagely.

 

“Is that expertise the reason you’re entangled with two women?” Huang Zheng said derisively.

 

Huang Ming grimaced from the blow his father dealt him.

 

They soon reached the residence. Once more Huang Zheng hesitated at the gates, but Huang Ming merely pushed his way in without pausing.

 

“See, that wasn’t that too hard, wasn’t it?” Huang Ming smirked.

 

The general have his son a glare but followed him in.

 

“Is that you son?” Madam Li called as she walked out. “Isn’t it about time you start cooking… Oh.”

 

Huang Ming could literally feel the temperature drop. Certainly the look on his mother’s face could turn one into stone.

 

“Why are you here?” Madam Li asked frostily, focusing her terrifying eyes on her husband.

 

“Isn’t it time for you to come home?” Huang Zheng asked stiffly.

 

Madam Li arched an eyebrow. “Why?”

 

“You can’t stay here forever,” Huang Zheng growled.

 

“And why not?” Madam Li said imperiously.

 

“Why would you?” Huang Ming interjected. His mother gave him an incinerating glare to silence him.

 

“You should start making dinner,” Madam Li advised.

 

“Why are you doing this, woman?” Huang Zheng demanded. Then he became horrified, thinking of the unthinkable. He shakily pointed accusing fingers at her. “You… Are you having a fling?”

 

Madam Li grabbed an empty and conveniently placed flower pot and flung it at her husband. Huang Zheng ducked and the ceramic pot shattered into a thousand pieces.

 

“Leave,” she said icily.

 

“Fine! I’ll leave! I’ll go to one of those brothels Huang Ming frequent! The one with the biggest sluts! I’m sure he knows a few!” Huang Zheng roared.

 

“Eh…” Huang Ming gasped, feeling completely wronged by his father. Before he could protest further, his father grabbed him by the collar and dragged him out of the house, slamming the gates shut as they left.

 

“Damn it all to hell,” Huang Zheng huffed and puffed with a red face.

 

“Are we really going?” Huang Ming asked.

 

His father was still all worked up. “Go! Of course we’re going!” he insisted.

 

Huang Ming remembered the ridiculous situations that involved his family and brothels. There was the time when Huang Ke had slapped Cao Shuang around with a wet fish. And when Huang Lang plotted the downfall of Tong Xuan, it was also from within a brothel.

 

“…This isn’t just some hackneyed excuse just for you to visit a one, is it?” Huang Ming asked.

 

“Shut up. It’s not as if we’re really going to fool around,” Huang Zheng blustered.

 

“There is such a thing as digging a deeper hole for yourself,” Huang Ming reminded him.

 

“Your mother is just too much, this would do as payback,” Huang Zheng muttered, as if he was trying to convince himself.

 

“So… you want one with the biggest sluts?” Huang Ming smirked.

 

                        The wife was not docile,

                        And so, off to the brothel.