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You are My Strength novel Chapter 1

The sounds of life stirring outside the partially covered windows, combined with the light snoring of the man beside her woke the protagonist up from her sleep.
Confused, she tried to recall whose room she was in. Did she accidentally slept with her friends again? Looking around, she had a feeling that she did not. Her head was throbbing, no doubt the after effect of the drinking session yesterday.
Following her recollection, Zhen Kai Xin gently took the man's hand that was on her chest and placed it aside before getting out of the bed. She had trouble remembering most of last night's events but she knew that she was not forced into it. Hell, she thought, "I probably volunteered for this again…"
It had been 3 months since she last had any physical intimacy. So when the man came up to her at the bar, she found herself attracted to him on a purely physical level. That – and the fact that she was horny as hell – made his quest easier.
"I really need to get a release more often." She noted to herself as she got dressed. Things like these would be awkward to explain if she bumped into anyone she knew. After all, thanks to social media, everyone seemed to know everyone. After all, it was a world with only 6 degrees of separation.
The man on the bed was still snoring when she tiptoed out of the apartment. Kai Xin held her breath and only took a deep breath the moment she was out of the apartment.
"Bloody hell, Zhen Kai Xin! You are 26 years old! Stop having one night stands with strangers. Urgh!"
She grumbled to herself as she walked to the bus station, her movements clumsy and she nearly tripped over her own feet twice.
Checking the bite marks on her neck from her reflection in the glass covered advertisement board at the bus stop, she sighed ruefully, "Damn. How rough was he last night?"
"Had fun?"
The words startled her and she turned around. A man she had never seen before stood there with a smirk on his face.
The first things she noticed were the stubble and his height. It was not often that she met someone as tall as him. His expensive looking suit was rumpled and his shirt was wrinkled as hell. Even his tie was crooked. In other words, he looked kind of like a drunk albeit rich salaryman.
"W-What?" She stuttered, afraid that he might recognize her from somewhere.
"Obviously, you had fun last night." He pointed to his own neck as he smirked. He had love bites all over his neck as well and was showing it off to her as if they were they were some sort of achievements.
"None of your business!" Kai Xin glared at him as she stood further away from the stranger.
"Such a creepy person. As if I'm the only one doing the walk of shame." She cursed him in her heart but still pulled her collar up subconsciously to try and hide the bite marks. While waiting, her phone suddenly rang and Kai Xin answered it lazily when she saw the caller ID, "Hey Jane. Morning. What do you want?"
"That's odd. I did not expect you to be so cheery in the morning," said Jane with no less than a cup full of sarcasm, "Wanna grab brunch later? I am running an errand at your area and I would be free around 11am."
Kai Xin looked at her watch, "Uh, make that lunch. I'm outside now."
"Where are you at? It's only 9am in the morning. Your ass don't normally wake up so early on weekends."
"I went drinking and stayed out last night."
"Stayed out?" Kai Xin pulled the phone away from her ear as Jane shrieked, "Zhen Kai Xin! Did you sleep with a random stranger again? How many times have I told you not to do that?"
"I'm an adult. I can sleep with whoever I want. Anyway, the bus is here. I'll talk to you over lunch later. Byeeee." She quickly hung up before Jane could question her any further. She loves Jane but this friend of hers did not understand her at all. Perhaps, no one in this world really understood her.
Zhen Kai Xin. Her parents named her that so that she would be a really happy kid. However, she failed to meet their expectations. Unlike her brother, Kai An, she was a solemn child. To her, life is just life. If something was funny, she would laugh. If something was not, she would just stand there with a blank expression.
However, her parents were worried about this attitude of hers and when she was younger, they would press her to smile more often. Her father would often threatened her if she refused to smile. Oftentimes, the pressure from her parents made her cry instead. She found it hard to understand the need to fake a smile. She did not understand what "keeping face"[1] meant.
Of course, she eventually learnt how to fake a smile and laugh on cue. Years of practice in front of the mirror paid off.
She showed different faces to different people, and rarely did she show her true emotions. To her, life was a constant battle and those who were unable to control themselves were nothing but weaklings. Of course. The years of suppressing her true self took a toll on her health, both physically and mentally, and she often felt lethargic for no obvious reason.
Among her friends, Kai Xin was infamous for her one night stands. Her friends often told her about the dangers but they did not understand her need for no strings attached intimacy. Nor did she ever explained the true reason she did what she did.
All of them had boyfriends and girlfriends and they all expected her to follow suit. But Kai Xin was simply not them and might never understand their need for a committed lover.
She did not want a boyfriend just so she could have someone to have sex with occasionally. She had her contracted lover for that – and he was much less of a hassle. There were those who jokingly told her to become a nun, of which she just dismissed it.
It was annoying when she was younger. She was always horny but there was no one to help her out when her lover was out of town. Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, Kai Xin had no trouble searching for fresh meat every time her desire peaked – At least when she craved human touch and her lover was away for a prolonged period. To her, this kind of arrangement was better than having a boyfriend that she did not care about for anything other than physical intimacy.
With strangers, she could be who she really was. There was no reason for deception or half-truths. Both parties understood what they were in for and they understood that when morning came, they would part ways and never see each other again.
Kai Xin liked this kind of arrangement. She did not have the time, energy, or financial capability to keep someone by her side.
It was not that she had not given the whole relationship thing a try before. A few years back, she went out with a junior from college as an experiment. After about a month, she ended the "relationship". They were not boyfriend and girlfriend. They were two people who were seeing each other, and were committed to each other for a short period of time. However, he proved to be a disappointment.
After giving him three chances, she decided to end it. Obviously, as she had not invested much time or energy into it, she felt nothing about "breaking up". Rather, she felt free because she now had an understanding of what she wanted from a relationship, and that standards are there for a reason.
When she finally arrived home, she went straight to the refrigerator and took out a stick of ice cream. "Mum, I'm having ice cream for breakfast again!" She yelled out, knowing that no response would return. Her mum was at work as usual.
It was the weekend, and knowing her older brother, he would be at his girlfriend's place. She took a quick peek at her mum's and brother's rooms. Once she was sure that no one was at home, she took off her top and bra, exhaled a satisfactory groan, and lay down on the couch with a stick of ice cream in one hand, and her phone in the other.
She was scrolling through Instagram when she remembered she still had her makeup on from last night.
"Fuck…Need to remove." She quickly finished off the ice cream and went to remove her makeup in her bathroom.
Kai Xin had a love hate relationship with makeup. She often thought of them as a necessary evil. Some people used makeup to hide their insecurities and flaws, but for people of her kind, they used it to gain power. Kai Xin hated the aftercare, but she loved the way makeup could transform her into anyone she wanted to be.
She looked at her reflection in the mirror and sighed. Luckily, she chose not to wear mascara last night. Otherwise, she would have looked horrible on the way home. Kai Xin took 10 minutes to wash her face – twice for good measure, then put on the compulsory toner, lotion and essence, before taking her time for a quick mask routine. She fell asleep on her bed with the mask on.
She dreamt of the time when she was young and was playing with her mum's old makeup in one of the rooms when she heard loud noises coming from her parents' room. She stepped out and saw her brother standing nearby.
He motioned for her to be quiet as she walked over. The two of them stood there for quite some time, listening to their parents' argument. Her brother eventually walked off with a sigh while Kai Xin continued to listen. When her legs got tired, she sat outside the room as she listened to her mother's voice. She could tell that her mother was crying.
When there were no more sounds coming from the room, she quickly snuck away to her playroom and built a fort. Then, she just stayed there with a few books as she tried to block out the memory. 


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