Hey guys! I’ve been suuuuper busy the past few weeks haha. Can’t believe this journey is closing somewhat soon though! With eight installments left and seven short stories, we hope you keep enjoying this ride with us! Leave some comments let us know how we’re doing! 🙂
While Ji Bai and Xu Xu were staying temporarily in the mountain region, Lin Qingyan stayed with Yao Meng as she gave her statement at the police station. Then, they returned home to Lin City.
Yao Meng soaked in the bathtub for a long time, scrubbing clean every inch of her body. She had already cried herself dry. What had happened the previous night seemed to be a fuzzy dream.
She did not know how much time had passed when she looked up and saw Lin Qingyan leaning against the door. On his quiet and handsome face was an expression of cruelty and coldness that she had never seen before. He stood in a cloud of smoke, and watched her without speaking.
Yao Meng did not know what to say, so she got up quietly, and wrapped herself in a bathrobe.
After a while, footsteps sounded behind her, and Lin Qingyan embraced her from behind. He lowered his head to kiss her. His breathing was somewhat agitated, and he kissed her forcefully, while his big hands pushed aside the folds of her bathrobe and caressed her. His movements were rough and forceful, not at all his usual style.
Yao Meng’s body trembled, and she reflexively pushed him away.
He stopped kissing her, and only held her without moving, “You are my angel, and no one can sully you. Tan Liang is dead. What he did to you, I will take it that it never happened.”
Yao Meng felt her heart wrench, and she momentarily choked with emotion. She heard him whispering into her ear, “Do you know how much I love you?”
Three months later.
The winter sun was warm. Xu Xu sat in her father’s study, reading the local news on the Internet. Her father was in the kitchen cooking up a storm.
The lead story reported: “The provincial task force has announced a break in the airport explosion case. One of the culprits has been captured, and the police are in the midst of pursuing his accomplices.” The article was accompanied by a picture of several criminal investigators holding down a criminal, their faces sombre. The person standing on the outermost edge, wearing a black coat, with a tall and straight figure, had his face obscured. However, she took one glance and knew it was Ji Bai, and could not help laughing.
There were some other news about the ‘Forest Killer Tan Liang’. Two months ago, the provincial department had already announced that the case was closed. Lin City, which had been roused to a frenzy, gradually resumed its usual state of peace. However, the discussions regarding Tan Liang on the Internet were always very lively. The article quoted the analysis of an unnamed psychological expert, who felt that Tan Liang’s abnormal behaviour was due to the many obstacles he faced in his undertakings. Previously, he had held one of the most important positions in the county’s Forestry Department. However, because he had offended a superior, he had been relegated to watch over an area in the forest, and his original position had been taken over by a relative of his superior. There were also people posting that this superior, due to the pressure of public opinion, had been detained and interrogated. (双规 – an extralegal system within the Chinese Communist Party for detaining and interrogating cadres who fall from grace)
Xu Xu looked at the news for a while, then shut off the computer. She took out a case file, and retrieved the photographs and information related to the case.
She was totally engrossed, when a hand suddenly appeared from the side and snatched the photographs away. When she looked up, she saw Xu Jun frowning at her. Not only that, he also swept aside all the information on the table, and tossed the papers onto the sofa, “Are you looking at these again? In your belly is my nephew. In future, I do not want him to be a police officer.”
Xu Xu smiled. Looking at his suit and leather shoes, he must have just knocked off work, “You’re early today.”
Xu Jun tossed her a children’s book of paintings, “Your husband is a civil servant, but he’s not home a lot of the time. As your brother, what am I supposed to do?”
Xu Xu laughed as she flipped through the pages of the book. Xu Jun noted her tranquil expression, and said, in a measured tone of voice, “When on earth are you guys going to get married? Are you really going to wait until the child is born?”
“Yes. Right now would be too rushed.”
“Previously, you said you were going to register your marriage. Have you done it already?”
Xu Jun frowned again, “Why are you dawdling? The child is going to be born soon. It must be really difficult for Ji Bai to deal with your slowpoke ways.”
Xu Xu could not help laughing.
It was eight o’clock by the time dinner at her father’s place was over. Xu Xu called Xiao Liu, the private nurse, who quickly drove over quickly to pick her up.
At the station, Xu Xu had been assigned to a desk job as a result of her pregnancy. Thus, she could leave work on time every day, and did not have to handle cases. Ji Bai was still extremely busy, and had to be away on a work trip for several months. He discussed the issue with Xu Jun, and they decided to hire a private nurse for Xu Xu. Xu Xu did not think it was necessary, but the three men had been adamant, so she acceded to their wishes.
The nurse was from Beijing. Although a lady, she was both tall and solidly-built, and had previously served as a soldier. She was open-hearted and meticulous, and took care of Xu Xu’s daily needs, in all aspects.
They reached home very quickly. Both entered the apartment, and saw someone lying on the sofa in the dark living room. Xiao Liu was about to switch on the lights, when Xu Xu stopped her, saying softly,, “It’s ok, go on home.” Xiao Liu nodded, and left, closing the door behind her.
Xu Xu switched on the lamp, and sat across from Ji Bai.
He was actually scheduled to return the next day. He had probably hurried to get home tonight, so his face was etched with weariness, and his breathing was deep and long. He had to be extremely exhausted, as he slept without twitching a muscle.
It was just as Xu Jun had said. Xu Xu had not seen him for at least half a month. Looking at him carefully, she saw that he had lost weight, and his chin was covered with stubble. Xu Xu was unwilling to wake him, so she covered him with a blanket and tiptoed into the bedroom.
When Xu Xu woke upawoke, it was already bright. She heard rustling and movement in the living room, so she sat up calmly and waited. (好整以暇 – to remain calm and unruffled in the midst of chaos or a busy time)
After a while, Ji Bai appeared in the doorway. He had already changed into his pajamas, and shaved off the stubble. In the morning light, his handsome features looked mild and gentle.
“Did I wake you?” He sat at the side of the bed.
“No, I woke up just a while ago.”
“I’m resting at home for a few hours, then I have to go back to the station to work overtime.” He hugged her, “The bombing case has not yet been resolved.”
“What’s ok? Why didn’t you wake me up last night? Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve held you for an entire night while sleeping?”
“Uh . . . 43 days.”
There was laughter in Ji Bai’s eyes as he lowered his head to kiss her. After a while, he said, “Tonight, I’ll try my best to get home earlier. I have something to say to you.”
Xu Xu looked at his deep, dark eyes, and nodded.
They got out of bed when the sun was high in the sky.
It was Saturday. Ji Bai put on his clothes and got ready to return to the station. Xu Xu rubbed her stomach, and smiled gently, “Third Brother, today we’ll be doing an ultrasound scan, and will be able to see his face. I’ll bring the picture home for you to see.”
Ji Bai smilingly nodded. He thought, when he came home that night, would she be willing to change her opinion? His entire being burned in anticipation, and he resumed kissing her before going out.
Downstairs, Ji Bai sat in his car and called Da Hu, “What’s the situation with Lin Qingyan these days?”
Da Hu yawned. He was currently sitting in a car outside the Lin home on surveillance duty, “Chief, you’re back? He’s just the same. Recently, he’s been going to the hospital everyday for treatment.”
“What about Yao Meng?”
“She’s still living a secluded life. Sometimes, she accompanies him to the hospital, sometimes she doesn’t go.”
Ji Bai, “Ok. Understood.”
Da Hu hesitated briefly, then said, “Chief, yesterday Zhao Han and I ran into the Department Head, who asked why we were not investigating the bombing case. We answered vaguely. Do we have to continue watching Lin Qingyan? I think, he’s not going to agree to it much longer.”
It had been three months since the serial killer case was active. In the beginning, Ji Bai was able to assign several people to trail Lin Qingyan every day, and protect Yao Meng. However, other cases had emerged, especially the more recent bombing case. The entire police force was so busy that their suffering and misery were beyond words. At this point in time, only Ji Bai still persevered in assigning people to a 24-hour, all-weather watch on Lin Qingyan. Even the Department Head had some choice words about it. Thus, Da Hu and the others all had their doubts as well.
Ji Bai quietly pondered, then replied, “Continue watching him. We cannot relax.”