Pearl Throat
Pearl Throat: Chapter 18

18: Teacher

Xie Hou attended a foreign joint-venture private high school, where his classmates were either wealthy or well-connected. He seemed out of place among them. However, due to a personal invitation from the principal, he enjoyed certain privileges. He could arrive late, leave early, or even skip classes altogether.

Not only his classmates but even the teachers had become curious. They believed that Xie Hou couldn’t be as poor as the rumors suggested, nor could he have been favored by the principal solely for his high intelligence to help the school achieve a reputation for producing top-scoring students in the college entrance exams. A young boy who had been forced to drop out of a prestigious university due to massive debts, and who had returned to high school to prepare for the exams that offered a seven-million-yuan scholarship… it didn’t seem like a reason to receive such special treatment.

It wasn’t until tonight, when they saw who accompanied Xie Hou after school, that everything became clear.

It turned out he had the protection of a big shot; no wonder.

In recent years, this private high school had adopted the teaching methods of regular high schools, which meant attending school six days a week with one day off. As the students were leaving for the weekend on a Saturday evening, a multitude of luxury cars like Mercedes, BMW, Maybach, Lotus, Bentley, McLaren, and others were waiting outside the school gates for their young masters and misses. One car, in particular, stood out.

A Rolls-Royce Phantom, with a global production limit of only three units, costing over 180 million yuan, gracefully exuded the scent of wealth with its two-tone paint and the butterfly-winged trunk. On the cigar-shaped body, rose gold and pearl pink hues glistened and sparkled. In the dim moonlight, it appeared even more extravagant, attracting the attention and admiration of countless onlookers.

The car door opened, and Xie Yan descended, dressed in an all-black suit like the night itself. He had a broad frame, long legs, and a mature, handsome face that made him seem like a self-made tycoon. His presence alone was enough to dominate the car.

A woman in a blue dress looked at him with a bright smile, as if she were contemplating which rich young man had returned from overseas. She wasn’t the only one with this thought; many men and women lingered around the private high school, hoping for a stroke of luck to snag a wealthy person. If they succeeded, they could ascend to heaven in a single step, drowning in piles of money.

However, Xie Yan, under their curious gazes, walked to the other side of the car. He slightly bent over and welcomed the true owner of the car.

This person had pitch-black hair that cascaded like a cloud. The loose ends were tied with a red string, and thin black leather gloves rested lightly on the car’s edge, revealing a section of pale white forearm. Xie Yan knelt down to support the person’s ankle when Christian Louboutin red-soled leather shoes were about to touch the ground.

Xie Yan’s back had a slightly dark skin tone, with powerful and robust veins. There were rough calluses on his fingertips, but his fingertip gently held a corner of a silky handkerchief, gently wiping the shoe surface. He didn’t let the shoe get tainted by the dust.

The two had such a distinct difference in stature that when Xie Yan held this person’s ankle, it appeared very ambiguous in the night, especially amid the shadows of the luxury cars. People, intoxicated by extravagance, felt like they had been effortlessly played with. It was lavish and dazzling, eye-catching yet not excessive. On the contrary, it was enticing, something people longed for and admired.

However, the distance between these two was set at an unattainable and unassailable level, which made onlookers stop in their tracks.

Shen Cizhu.

This person seemed like he was destined to be this way, surrounded and sheltered by money and wealth wherever he went. This was why Xie Yan kneeling in front of the luxury car and polishing the shoes seemed perfectly reasonable.

“Okay, get up. Don’t let your little brother see… You think I’m bullying you, huh?” Shen Cizhu softly laughed, as if he were in a very good mood.

“It’s something I should do.” Xie Yan tossed the handkerchief into the car’s glove compartment and adjusted his cuff.

Shen Cizhu stared at Xie Yan’s face for a moment. “You don’t look very well.”

“Did you get sick in America? Were you in the hospital when I called you yesterday?” Shen Cizhu released Xie Yan’s ankle from his grasp and stood up, slightly bending over to tidy his sleeve cuffs.

Xie Yan had just returned to the country, possibly suffering from jet lag, which might explain why he didn’t look too well today. His face was pale, and his lips had turned white.

Shen Cizhu furrowed his brow, looking at Xie Yan’s face with a hint of annoyance.

“No, don’t worry. I won’t get into trouble,” Xie Yan spoke slowly, his tone comforting.

In reality, under his suit, several layers of bandages were tightly wrapped around his chest, as an emergency measure following the bullet removal. His wound had not yet fully healed, and it could rupture and bleed at any moment.

“Is that so?” Shen Cizhu didn’t know about this, so he didn’t pay much attention to it.

He changed the topic and asked Xie Yan, “Why hasn’t your little brother come out yet? School’s over, isn’t it? Don’t let a young guy like him skip our dinner. I’ve already made a reservation at the restaurant.”

“He’s not the kind of kid who would skip,” Xie Yan explained hastily. “He never lies.”

“Do you know him that well?” Shen Cizhu raised an eyebrow.

As he chatted with Xie Yan, he walked slowly towards the school. Since Shen’s family was the absolute majority shareholder of the school, Shen Cizhu had the freedom to do as he pleased. He leaned against the car waiting for the students, while Xie Yan stood in the shadow behind him.

By this time, the number of cars outside the school had gradually decreased, with only a few left. Occasionally, people came to strike up a conversation but were silently intimidated by Xie Yan, who exuded the aura of an adult wolf, causing them to back away fearfully.

“I thought you didn’t even like your little brother. How come you haven’t taken care of him when he came to the capital? I’ve never seen you looking out for him,” Shen Cizhu expressed his curiosity.

Shen Cizhu had noticed that ever since their first meeting, Xie Yan hadn’t said a word to Xie Hou. This was true in the club as well. Not to mention that after the night Shen Cizhu and Xie Hou experienced an arson attempt, there was no sign of Xie Yan showing any concern for Xie Hou.

It didn’t seem much like a brotherly bond. Who had such a cold relationship with their siblings?

“Are you two really biological brothers?” Shen Cizhu’s eyes held a mixture of laughter, mocking and curiosity.

Two biological brothers who had such a strained relationship, what made them any different from him and Wen He, that heartless white-eyed wolf?

“We have the same father but different mothers,” Xie Yan confessed after thinking for a moment. “My mother passed away ten years ago, and my father married Xie Hou’s mother much later. His mother passed away early, and he is… someone I’ve raised.”

“I see,” Shen Cizhu looked into Xie Yan’s eyes. He found Xie Yan to be very honest, and he was patient. “Xie Hou isn’t a bad kid. He’s just too independent, and he doesn’t want me to worry, so he doesn’t live with me. He’s always made me proud.”

“As for him dropping out of school and returning to the capital… ” Xie Yan appeared to reminisce and looked somewhat troubled, just like an ordinary older brother who worried about his younger brother. “I found out about it recently. The debts are strange too. His mother doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would gamble. This debt is quite unusual.”

Shen Cizhu knew that this debt was unusual, but he didn’t have enough information to verify its authenticity. He would have to start with Xie Hou, the actual victim.

As for why he brought Xie Yan, it was simple. Shen Cizhu wanted to give Xie Hou, his only family, a warning. If Xie Hou didn’t tell the truth, Shen Cizhu wouldn’t mind using Xie Yan for something.

“What do you think…” Shen Cizhu began, but he stopped himself. He suddenly chose to swallow his words.

Shen Cizhu was not inclined to trust Xie Yan, so what he said was mostly deceptive.

“It’s been a while since you had a meal together as brothers, hasn’t it? So, let’s get together tonight. He’s only eighteen, and you still need to take care of him,” Shen Cizhu expressed concern for his former boyfriend’s little brother like an elder.

“Xie Yan, I’ve been a failure as an older brother, and I don’t want you to fail either.”

Shen Cizhu was skilled at lying, so everything he said about bringing Xie Yan from the United States to have this meal was merely a threat to Xie Hou. If Xie Hou didn’t tell the truth later, Shen Cizhu couldn’t guarantee the safety of Xie Yan, which meant Xie Yan’s ability to leave safely.

The wind picked up, blowing directly on Shen Cizhu’s face without any obstruction. He talked on the phone with business partners about tomorrow’s meeting as he watched the school with disinterest.

Two minutes later, Xie Hou finally emerged from the school.

He wasn’t wearing the summer custom-made British-style school uniform, which cost about seven thousand RMB. Instead, he was wearing personal clothing, just like always, a black T-shirt and athletic pants. His forearms had a white and almost cold appearance, with a school bag slung over his shoulder. His hair in front was getting long and beautifully black, slightly covering his eyebrows.

After Xie Hou finished grading papers for the teachers in the office, he left the school. According to the original plan, he was supposed to take the subway to give private lessons to Sheng family’s second son, but tonight he was going to have dinner with Shen Cizhu.

Private high school students were always very busy. They had to attend private tutoring classes, undergo teacher evaluations at etiquette schools, and accompany their parents to various evening events. As a result, the area outside the school was sparsely populated in just a few minutes.

Xie Hou looked at Shen Cizhu not far away. After Shen Cizhu threw his folding phone to his brother, he raised his fingers slightly. Under the faint starlight, his black leather gloves were long and thin.

“Let’s go,” Shen Cizhu said with a teasing smile, curling his two fingers like he was calling a dog. His slender neck caught Xie Hou’s attention.

Xie Hou glanced at him briefly and then looked away.

After getting into the car, Xie Hou sat in the back seat while Shen Cizhu and his brother sat in the front. The car’s interior featured a dim starry sky with a sapphire blue dome. The mechanical sound of the car doors opening and closing resonated with the low growl of the engine as they sped onto the elevated bridge.

“Do you like it?” Shen Cizhu suddenly said.

Xie Hou raised his eyes slightly and locked eyes with Shen Cizhu through the rearview mirror.

“The streets are usually too crowded with cars, but today, we have the road to ourselves, and driving a sports car with the top down feels great,” Shen Cizhu’s serpentine eyes moved away from the rearview mirror, and the word “great” sounded as if it was merely an auditory illusion.

Under Xie Hou’s gaze, Shen Cizhu loosened his seatbelt. He leaned over, and his thin, black gloves concealed his slim back.

While Xie Yan was driving, Shen Cizhu’s fingertips brushed against Xie Yan’s waist. His fingertips trailed upwards, from Xie Yan’s waist to the muscular male back, which was evident even under the form-fitting formal suit. The snow-white hand, emerging from the glove, contrasted with Xie Yan’s inky-black suit and the luxurious leather seat.

Shen Cizhu’s hand moved gently over the muscles of Xie Yan’s back while his gaze carried a teasing smile as he looked at Xie Hou.

He was trying to seduce Xie Yan right in front of Xie Hou. Xie Yan gripped the steering wheel with ten fingers, and it seemed he said something helplessly to Shen Cizhu.

Shen Cizhu tilted his head and his lips moved slightly.

The roaring sound from the sports car driving was too overwhelming, and Xie Hou couldn’t make out their conversation.

Xie Hou only saw Shen Cizhu’s hand, which had appeared to seduce his brother, being withdrawn.

Shen Cizhu fastened his brother’s seatbelt once again.

He sat upright in his seat, his posture upright and his slender back straight, showing no signs of the turmoil and ambiguity that was just happening. It was as if he had nothing to do with any of this.

Amber-colored eyes glanced outside the car at the rapidly retreating scenery. The elevated bridge was far above the ground, making everything appear aloof. The high trees on both sides of the dim and nearly night-bound road seemed drowsy. A gust of wind suddenly swept down, obscuring the sky.

Xie Hou’s face was shrouded in darkness, and his eyes appeared particularly cold, almost reaching a pathological level of indifference and restraint.

He looked at the bloodstains that had been squeezed out by his five tightly clenched fingers.

Shen Cizhu.

This was a dangerous, enclosed space for the three of them to coexist, seemingly quiet but with hidden undercurrents. Even though the wind was howling and unsettling the silence, it couldn’t dispel the myriad thoughts of the three individuals.

The restaurant Shen Cizhu had booked for tonight was once rated as the most difficult reservation to get for a Western-style northern European cuisine. It was located on the fifth floor inside a building. Customers didn’t have to take the elevator directly but were greeted in advance by young waiters dedicated to serving VIPs, who then led the customers to the waiting area.

The interior of the restaurant was spotless, with the main colors being cool white and gleaming gold. While waiting in the lounge area for a brief moment, the waitstaff provided caviar and champagne. Xie Hou had just come of age, so he couldn’t drink alcohol, and Shen Cizhu had a poor tolerance for alcohol.

Xie Hou replaced their champagne with fruit tea, which was somewhat unconventional, but who cared when they had money.

At this moment, Xie Hou received a phone call, and he only left after receiving a nod from Shen Cizhu.

Now, it was just Xie Hou and Shen Cizhu.

The open kitchen was nearby, with a bright glass that allowed people to see everything in the kitchen. Shen Cizhu obviously had no interest in peeking at other people. He just sat on the sofa and conversed in Korean with the head chef. The first course was an appetizer, caviar flowers with a crispy tart shell. The caviar inside the crunchy tart shell was a fresh product from Acipenser stellatus and Atlantic sturgeon, displayed in the exquisite shape of a rose made of rose gold and placed on a crystal pearl lamp. This was followed by albacore tuna with nori seaweed and Canadian spot prawns, with a faint aroma of white truffle.

Shen Cizhu didn’t like seafood, so he pushed it all towards Xie Hou.

Xie Hou appeared as though he had never eaten Western food before. He remained silent, seemingly embarrassed to admit that he hadn’t, so he refrained from eating.

Shen Cizhu found him quite aloof.

Shen Cizhu raised his hand to signal the chef to leave. He looked across at Xie Hou and spoke warmly, “When caviar is served as an appetizer, don’t eat too much. Eating more than one serving is considered impolite.”

Xie Hou looked at him, and for once, he was seeking guidance, “So, how should I do it?”

Men always wanted to be satisfied, and Shen Cizhu was no exception, especially when a proud person like Xie Hou was voluntarily asking for advice. So Shen Cizhu, like any other man, became quite adept at performing.

“When you eat, don’t chew on the caviar. Let your tongue slowly touch the surface of the fish roe,” Shen Cizhu demonstrated by picking up a portion and lightly licking the soft skin of the caviar with his tongue.

“Would you like to try?” Shen Cizhu put down the food since he never ate more than a taste of it. He wiped his hands while looking up at Xie Hou.

When Xie Yan returned, he saw Shen Cizhu teaching his younger brother how to eat Western cuisine.

Xie Hou raised his hand to mimic Shen Cizhu, attempting to taste the caviar.

His manner of eating was quite refined, as if it came naturally to him. He showed no embarrassment or awkwardness. He was a clever young man who learned quickly.

Shen Cizhu had never taught anyone how to use cutlery or eat properly, but he proved to be quite a successful teacher from his very first attempt.

“Haven’t you ever taken him out to eat Western food?” After sitting down, Shen Cizhu asked with some dissatisfaction, “Once he enters the working world, if he doesn’t even know the basics, how will people perceive him?”

“I didn’t have the time, it’s my fault,” Xie Yan replied, looking at his little brother, who still wore a calm expression and didn’t give him an inch of goodwill.

Xie Yan sat in the center of the table, quite close to Shen Cizhu. He could even catch a whiff of Shen Cizhu’s fragrance.

He watched Shen Cizhu teach his brother some dining etiquette.

Ten courses were served, and Shen Cizhu instructed Xie Hou to hold the knife or spoon with his right hand and the fork with his left.

“Dining etiquette for Western cuisine can be quite intricate, and you don’t need to learn too much for now. Just remember a few key points. If you need to leave the table during the meal, make sure to place the knife and fork together in the shape of a figure-eight with the tips facing yourself. This signifies that the food is still yours and that you will come back to continue.”

“When engaging in conversation, it’s best to put down your knife and fork and make polite eye contact with the person you’re talking to. No matter how out of control your emotions might be, don’t ever toss your knife and fork carelessly on the table. The blade must always be facing yourself.” Shen Cizhu continued with these instructions, and Xie Hou looked up, watching him.

“Is there anything else? Can you teach me a bit more?” The young man had clear, cold phoenix-like eyes and a captivating charm that was gradually emerging as his body was still growing. In this tranquil space after renting the whole restaurant, with gentle music playing, he seemed somewhat ethereal, an air of maturity settling over him.

He was beginning to look a bit like Xie Yan.

Shen Cizhu cut a piece of steak for him. He appeared to be in a good mood tonight.

“There’s another thing: when holding the knife and fork, press your index finger against the blade when it’s the knife, and when it’s for soups, hold it as you would a pen. You’re a student, so you’re naturally more skilled at holding a pen than me. Would you like to try?” Shen Cizhu rested his chin on his hand, smiling as he looked at Xie Hou. His legs were crossed beneath the table, and the tips of his shoes swayed lightly.

He pushed a piece of steak toward Xie Hou, continuing, “American dining etiquette typically involves holding the knife in your left hand, resting it against the food, and cutting it with your right hand. After cutting a properly sized piece of steak, you set down the knife and fork and switch hands. Use your right hand to deliver the food into your mouth.”

As he watched Xie Hou place this piece of steak into his mouth and begin chewing slightly, Shen Cizhu’s eyes twinkled with luster. “I don’t like fish, so they didn’t prepare it. If you attend any business dinners in the future, remember, after eating a fish bone, don’t swallow it directly or spit it out. It’s best to use a plate, cover your lips with a napkin, and then place the fish bone at the edge of the plate.”

“It’s uncomfortable if a bone gets stuck in your throat, right? Just thinking about it is quite distressing, isn’t it?” Shen Cizhu hinted, looking at Xie Yan, whom he had deliberately ignored since Xie Hou’s arrival.

Xie Yan ate in silence, showing no negative emotions. It was as if he didn’t mind Shen Cizhu’s patience in teaching his eighteen-year-old brother Western dining etiquette, which caused Shen Cizhu to forget about his presence.

This should have been an embarrassing situation, but Xie Yan wasn’t that kind of person. He even poured a glass of fruit tea for his brother to quench his thirst, and he awkwardly engaged in small talk with his brother.

“Are you used to living alone? Do you want to live with me?” Xie Yan asked.

“No need,” Xie Hou shook his head.

The gentle music from the performer covered everything like a gauzy skirt, and the suspended rose petals released a misty radiance.

At this moment, Shen Cizhu lightly lifted the tip of his shoe, and at a very close distance, his shoe touched Xie Hou’s lower leg.

Xie Hou was wearing knee-length casual sports pants, and if they moved a little higher, there would be no obstacle to delve into the exposed thighs.

But at this moment, someone held onto his ankle, urging him to move it away.

It was Xie Yan.

Shen Cizhu looked at Xie Yan, who had reached under the table curtain, and controlled Shen Cizhu’s teasing, which had started with silence and tenderness, in the palm of his hand.

Xie Yan continued to communicate with Xie Hou without changing his expression. The two brothers exchanged words, and the initial awkwardness seemed to have disappeared.

At this point, Shen Cizhu’s phone vibrated slightly, and he moved his ankle out of Xie Yan’s grasp and left.

In the VIP lounge, he looked at his face in the mirror, feeling increasingly irritated. He then heard two young female staff members outside in the corridor pushing a food cart and whispering.

“Mr. Shen brought that young guest with him tonight, and he clearly knows how to use cutlery. I’m absolutely sure I didn’t see it wrong. He must be very proficient in that kind of thing, so why would he pretend not to know? And why would Mr. Shen teach him in such detail?” One of the staff members questioned.


Certified member of the IIO(International Introverts Organization), PhD holder in Overthinking and Ghosting, Spokesperson for BOBAH(Benefits of Being a Homebody), Founder of SFA(Salted Fish Association), Brand Ambassador for Couch Potato fall line Pajama set.

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