When I got back to Changsha I had a message from a student of mine called, Cherry Pie. This was a girl who never went home during the holidays in case the family that adopted her put her to work in the paddy fields. She heard I was leaving the school, and wanted to go out for dinner to say goodbye. No problem. I took her to a restaurant near my apartment, where we had a long talk. At the end of the night, when the last bus to the other side of town was due, I reminded her because I didn’t want her to miss it. She stayed in her seat, looking at me with puppy dog eyes.

She didn’t want to leave.

We went for a walk instead, and then there was only one place we could go. My apartment. We hugged, we kissed, she took off her dress and we got in bed.

And then she told me she was a virgin. the irony of her being called ‘Cherry’ wasn’t lost on me.

Some guys might be into that kind of thing, but it weirded me out. Just to be clear here, she was twenty years of age. I didn’t want to be the one to take the most precious thing she had from her, especially as I was leaving so soon. So for once in my life, I did the right thing. Or at least, what I thought was the best thing for all parties. I left her in bed, went out and got drunk.

All night I asked myself what the fuck I was doing with my life. There was a hot, naked girl in my bed at home, a virgin no less, and I’d chosen to go out drinking by myself rather than give her what she so obviously wanted. I was conflicted.

I half-hoped she’d be gone by the time I got back. But when I tiptoed in a few hours later, Cherry Pie was still there, still awake, and pretty upset with me. She didn’t understand why I’d gone out and left her. In her mind, she’d offered me the most valuable thing she had to give, and I refused. It was the ultimate rejection.

She only spoke to me once more after that night, a couple of years later. She asked me if I regretted my decision. I said yes, I most definitely did. Sometimes, there’s a price to pay for doing the right thing.

This is an extract from the #1 Amazon Bestseller Yellow Fever: Love & Sex in China, available on ebook and paperback now.


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