Chapter 30:


Sweet like Honey

While I was doing research online to see if there was anything I could help Shirley with, I received a message from Travis.

“The case’s prepared, but…the Tang family’s lawyer contacted me, and it appears they want to settle this out of court before…the damages get too big.”

“Really?” I scoffed. It was a little too late for that. Shirley had streamed the videos live, which were in turn duplicated and circulated by her fans and followers on social media. They became so viral that total strangers would share them on their Face Tome pages and Tick Tock accounts. I hadn’t been paying attention because I had better things to do (and quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in anything that wasn’t anime, manga and games), but I had a few friends ask me questions on Face Tome when they saw that I was involved.

Friends from university, not high school. I realized I had a lot more friends than I thought. Once they found out I was in trouble, they reached out to me because of concern. Even though it wasn’t anything more than questions and messages, it still moved me. The sentiment was more than enough.

“Yeah. The Tang Hospital back home is in an uproar. Oh, and you will love this.” Travis was grinning on the other end of the video call. “The city hospital fired Victor because of this scandal. They have a reputation to protect, and one of their doctors hiring thugs to beat up people in the middle of the night, harassing someone in broad daylight and acting all arrogantly like some manhua villain? No, no. They can’t have that.”

His grin widened.

“I wish I can show you, but apparently, one of my sources said they saw him manhandled out of the city hospital by security, kicking and screaming. Protesting his innocence, even, despite all the video evidence to the contrary. The police have conducted investigations and rounded up those hired goons, who made a confession.”

“You guys work fast,” I said, though it had already been over a week since then.

“Not at all. Honestly, it’s thanks to your ex-idol girlfriend blowing the whole thing up on social media. I’ve heard from mutual friends that Victor will be returning to work in his dad’s hospital, but the staff there are getting upset about it and quitting en masse in protest. They’re complaining about the nepotism. Another lawyer friend told me that Victor has been…uh, well, reported for abuse of power and using his connections to bully the other doctors and sexually harass the nurses in Tang Hospital, and all of this is only just coming to light after Shirley’s videos got circulated on social media.”

“What is this, a manga video?” I had recently been enamored by the various manga videos posted on Me Tube. Victor Tang sounded like the primary antagonist from one of the many manga videos I had watched, the kind who picked on the protagonist, only to have karma hit him like a truck in the end. And gosh, when it rained, it really poured. As much as I disliked Victor, I had never imagined that he would behave like that even in the hospital. I had thought he was more professional and mature than that.

Clearly, I had given him way too much credit.

“Helen Huang has dumped him, and…” Victor grimaced. “From what I’ve heard, she’s approaching some of the guys still single in our hometown and trying to go out with them, but after what happened at the reunion, nobody wants to touch her. She’s considered a poisoned sack of rotten fruit now.”

“That’s…rough.” Helen, I felt sorry for. After all, I did wrong her back in high school. I no longer felt guilty, though. She had more than paid me back with her attempts at humiliation. I wasn’t going to let her gaslight me any longer, not when I had moved on and was now in love with one of the loveliest ladies I had ever met in my life.

“Anyway, here’s the deal.” Travis smirked. “Victor’s dad is offering you a hundred thousand dollars to keep the whole thing quiet. What do you think?”

“Sounds good enough to me.” I nodded. That sounded like 25% over the standard compensation for physical assault and battery, including damages for emotional distress. And since I didn’t go to the hospital after being beaten up, I couldn’t exactly claim any huge amount of medical fees.

“You can reject it and choose to take this up to court, if you prefer.”

“No. Even if Victor ends up in prison, it’s not like I’m going to benefit from it. On the other hand, I could use the money.” I was smiling as I thought to myself. I had been doing some research for the past few days, and I came across a possibility where I could help Shirley achieve her dream…at least in some form.

“Oh? What are you using the money for?”

“Oh…I should ask you for some advice.” I leaned over and told him my idea. “What do you think? Is it practical?”

“Hmm…” Travis thought for a while and nodded. “Yeah, I think you should give it a try. Given Shirley’s background, I’m confident that it will go well. With those funds you’re getting as compensation, yeah, it’ll be quite the investment. I won’t say you’re guaranteed any success, but there’s no harm trying, right?”

“My sentiments exactly.” I inclined in my seat and let out a weary sigh. “I’m used to failing by now, but I hope my experiences help me grow stronger. Even if I fail this time, I’ll just learn from it and try again. But I’m determined to have it succeed…not just for myself, but also for Shirley.”

“That’s the spirit.” Travis grinned. “I wish you luck, my friend.”

“Thanks.” I raised my hand in a mock cheer. “Let’s do this.”

And so, I did my preparations. After work the next day, before Shirley could leave the café, I called out to her.

“Shirley, do you have some time tonight? There’s something I wish to discuss with you.”

“Oh, you have a new anime to recommend me?” Shirley nodded. “Maybe I can go to your place and we can chill and Crunchy Flix.”

“Well…it’s something like that, but I actually mean to give you a media platform where you can sing without actually having to physically appear on stage.”

That caught Shirley’s attention and she stared at me intently. I swear I almost saw tufts of her hair raise like ears as she watched me eagerly, almost like a puppy.

“What? There’s such a method?! How?”

“Yeah.” I scratched my cheek awkwardly while trying to get over how cute she was. “Have you ever heard of VTubers?”

John Lee H. Wu
Steward McOy