Here’s an excerpt from my latest short story, Fun in the Fitting Room:
I had really done it this time. Perhaps father couldn’t buy my way out of this mess, and I’d actually have to pay for what I had gotten myself into. I know that Yuke was likely shitting her pants right about now. She was right, the whole thing blew up in our faces, and I’m sure she’s sitting there smugly congratulating herself about it.
Father’s lawyer had just arrived and entered the Ministry of Public Security office. Now we’ll get down to business, and I’ll hopefully get out of here with a slap on the wrist. I could hear raised voices, which seemed to go on forever. I stole a few glances at Yuke, who was giving me quite the stink eye. I tried to smile at her, but that only seemed to make her more hostile. I thought I was being reassuring, but I’m sure she didn’t see it that way.
The uniformed police officer just came out of the Administrator’s office. I let out a sigh of relief as they didn’t even look my way. But I can’t believe my eyes, they’re arresting Yuke right in front of us. What is going on? Why would they take her and not me?
“Father, you have to do something! They can’t do this,” I pulled on my father’s arm as I begged him.
“Shut up, Luli! You better not make it worse than it is.” Father knocked my hand off of his arm and gave me a look that chilled me to the bone.
“I’m sorry.” I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Yuke was never going to forgive me for this. Hell, I wasn’t going to forgive myself.
Yuki’s parents were sobbing, and her mother was begging for forgiveness as they took her daughter away in cuffs. The Administrator asked us to come back into the office to finish our business. Everyone looked as if someone had died or someone was about to.
“Now, we have to finish up this business with Luli.” The Administrator passed a folder with several documents inside. “As we’ve stated, Luli can’t go unpunished. From all appearances, she’s the one who instigated the whole unsavory act, but her co-conspirator is the one that will actually do time. Let me be clear, we’ll penalize Luli as well, if you do not agree to this college reformatory.”
“Fine, we’ll enroll her this upcoming school year” My father looked at me, and I could tell he was embarrassed. He shifted in his seat and leaned on his armrest as if he’d been defeated.
“I’m afraid that won’t do. We have to let the public know that we acted on this immediately. She must leave for the college this weekend.”
“Father, no!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Not another word, Luli!” My father’s face was reddish purple, and I saw a level of anger in him I had never seen before. “How do we know she’ll be able to get into another university after she’s done her time at this one.”
“We’ll make sure of it. They take pride in correcting bad behavior in troubled cases.” The Administrator looked at me, and I could swear that I saw a slight smile creep over her lips. “Once the Dean is satisfied that she has been reformed, they will notify us and we will purge her records. She should be able to go back to the University after that. You should consider yourself lucky. You could always have the same fate as your friend.”
“Fine, I’ll leave you to work out the details with our lawyer. Luli, let’s go.” My father got up and waited for me to rise and leave in front of him.
We walked down the hallway, and I felt my own anger and defiance build up in me as we made our way to the car. How dare he send me off like some child who needed to be scolded. I am 20 years old, and I don’t have to go to this college if I don’t want to. I got into the car determined to take a stand.
“Father, I know you’re angry, and I know I went too far. I’m sorry about that, and I will apologize to all involved, but I’m not going to this prison of a college you want to ship me off to.”
“Yes, you will,” Father stated quietly as he started the car.
“No, Father, I will not. I’m an adult, and you can’t make me.”
Father turned off the car and sat there breathing rather loudly. Suddenly, I felt much less assured of myself.
“Luli, you are an adult, and if you want to be treated like one, you can go to jail like your friend Yuke. This is China. We do not take such transgressions lightly here. It’s not like you are living in the United States where everything goes. Otherwise, if you expect me to save you one last time, you will shut up and go where I tell you to. If you don’t, consider yourself cut off from the family. No more shopping, no more trips, nothing. This discussion is over.”
Father started the car once again and drove off campus. I turned away from him and looked out the window so he couldn’t see me cry. I dared not make a noise so he wouldn’t know he got to me, but I was devastated. I had finally pushed my father too far, and I felt the limits of his love.
The next few days at home were cold and lonely as I packed. I tried to find out what happened to Yuke, but no one would talk to me. Mother said I should just take my medicine and not test my father any further. I agreed and packed my bags for the new college that I would go to on Monday. Every night I wished somehow I could take it all back and choose to listen to Yuke from the beginning. Every morning I woke to my new nightmare.
On the trip down to the new college, I had plenty of time to think about the events that brought me here. Yuke and I had been out shopping on daddy’s credit card once again. Yuke is my childhood friend, but her family isn’t as well off, so I take her with me when I’m buying clothes so I can get her some things as well. We ran into Bo, a friend who I used to date back in high school. He was looking really good. He had filled out so much since then, so muscular and manly. I had to admit that I was immediately turned on by him, and I could tell that he wanted me too.
We flirted mercilessly, but the funny thing was that Yuke was flirting with Bo as well. Surprisingly, it didn’t make me jealous. I encouraged her because she had not been with a boy yet, and all the girls teased her to the point of tears.
We all went out to lunch together in Sanlitun and had some drinks, which really got the dirty talk going. Bo didn’t want to leave our side after that, so he decided to join us when we continued shopping. That’s when we made our big mistake. I wanted to try something on and went to the fitting room in the back of the store. Bo was feeling randy and followed behind me. No one was looking so we both went inside and started kissing. That’s when Bo made a suggestion that I should have dismissed.
“Let’s have Yuke film us.” Bo kissed my neck. “She needs some lessons and she can watch it later.” Bo gave me a devilish smile.
“Bo, you’re terrible. It will embarrass her.” I giggled as I thought how red her cheeks would be.
“I think you’re the one who is too shy.” Bo started moving his hands up my shirt.
“I don’t care. Yuke has seen all of me. Maybe you don’t want her to see your little…”
“You must be kidding. She will be afraid at how big it is.” We both laughed and kissed as he pulled my shirt off.
“Yuke, can you come here for a second,” I leaned out of the door and whispered for her to join us.
“What? You want me in there with both of you?”
“Yes, hurry, hurry, before someone sees you,” I whispered as I pulled her in. “Get your phone out, we want you to film us. Bo thinks he’s such a hot lover that he should make a professional video.”
“You can watch it later when you’re missing me, Yuke.” Bo leaned over and gave Yuke a kiss on the cheek.
Yuke blushed and pulled out her phone. She started filming us but soon felt that we were pushing our luck.
“I don’t think we should be doing this. We could get caught, and we might get in really big trouble. I think this is illegal. What if they lock us away?”
“Yuke, please, you worry too much,” I dismissed her concerns as Bo pulled down my bra straps. I couldn’t believe we were actually going to have sex in front of my friend.
“But, Luli, please, I think this could really go bad for us, especially me.” Yuke looked really worried.
“Little Yuke, you are so sweet and innocent. I love that about you.” Bo kissed Yuke on the lips, and you could see all of her fears melt away. “Do you want to join us?”
“Oh, I should probably just film you,” and with that Yuke no longer protested, but instead started following Bo’s direction.