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When I Think About You
Lin Qingyan Extra Part 1.2: Before the Angel Killer case
One day, the clerk from the school’s general office called Lin Qingyan to answer the telephone.
It was his previous head teacher. Her voice was as warm and gentle as ever, but Lin Qingyan had gotten quieter.
As the conversation drew to a close, the form teacher’s voice was choked with emotion, “Qingyan, how did you turn out so badly? I’ve heard that you are always keeping company with those hoodlums, and your heart is no longer in your studies. How could you change so drastically?”
For the first time in his life, Lin Qingyan felt a deep, raw pain. How could he have succumbed to this point?
A 15-year old youth, what could he possibly say?
After hanging up, Lin Qingyan walked in the direction of the classroom, his head a jumble of thoughts. At that time, he had grown very tall, and was skinny and fair. He was usually gloomy and reticent, so his classmates would often detour around him whenever they encountered him. As he walked past the teachers’ dormitory, he saw Du Tie walking into the dormitory with his hand on the shoulder of another short, male student. Lin Qingyan recognised him as being a first year student. His face was thin, his eyes were huge, and he normally had a naive smile on his face. His family situation was also very dire.
Lin Qingyan stood in the dappled sunlight under the big tree, staring blankly as the dormitory door shut behind Du Tie. After a while, he saw that the curtains had been pulled shut.
Lin Qingyan had only eaten a steamed bun and two big bowls of vegetable soup at noon that day. Suddenly, he felt nausea roiling in his stomach. He held on to the tree, and vomited everything up.
From that day onwards, Lin Qingyan began to study with a great ferocity. Despite the fact that his surroundings were chaotic, despite the fact that Du Tie mocked and ridiculed* him, he stubbornly achieved the best results in the entire village, and gained entry to the best high school in the county. After that, even the muddleheaded gang leader who sat next to him patted him on the shoulder, and told other people: “This is my pal! He’s super awesome! From now on, no one in Dao will dare to bully you.”
*(冷嘲热讽 – literally, frigid irony and scorching satire)
Of course, Du Tie also had no opportunity to bully him. In fact, when he entered high school, he did not encounter Du Tie for a very long time.
The final time they met, was after many years, when he had inherited President Qin’s total estate. He had transformed into a rich Hong Kong merchant and had returned to the village to make an investment. At that time, he had already become so familiar with the skill of killing people, so much so that it was like second nature to him, and his mastery of the skill was superb.
He intentionally stayed in Dao for a month, and Du Tie also disappeared for the entire month. That period of time, during the day, Lin Qingyan would participate in the various activities organised by the village government. At night, he would return to his villa basement, where he would watch Du Tie howling in anguish. He was also the only person whom Lin Qingyan slowly tortured to death. In the end, the body was cut into small pieces and burned, and he scattered the ashes under the big tree in the school compound.
These would all happen later, and Lin Qingyan’s entire high school life was filled with silence and hard work. There were also quite a few girls who handed him love letters, but he never replied to them.
Lin Qingyan, all alone, entered University.
He was all alone in the world, because his grandfather had sold the family home with its two ramshackle rooms in order to raise the money for his first year of university education. From then on, the two of them lived in abject poverty. Moreover, when he went to Xi’an City during the summer vacation to look for work, his grandfather took sick and died in a grass hut by the side of the field. By the time he returned, the body had been in a state of decay for a great many days, for no one had come across it in the field.
He was the most determined individual in the village. Alone, he carried the corpse and walked an entire day to reach the deep mountains, where he dug a pit to bury his grandfather.
He did not feel sad. He knew his grandfather would die one day; with an early death there would be early relief.
Lin Qingyan studied Mathematics in university. This was the second period of happiness in his entire life.
He had really liked mathematics while in high school, and now he was finally able to immerse himself in the subject as much as he liked. He felt that mathematics was really too beautiful: it was concise, clean, and infinitely mysterious. This kind of mystery was not accessible to the outsider. He was the only one who could get deeply engrossed in it, to the point of being intoxicated*.
*(如痴如醉 – as if drunk and stupefied).
However, there were unhappy times. This was because, in his third (junior) year, he liked a girl.
The university’s male student dormitory always reeked of hormones. When he saw other people pairing off, even to the extent of hanging curtains in the dormitories and tumbling in bed, Lin Qingyan was not as calm as his outward expression might seem. Under cover of the blanket, he would also take hold of his own desire, bury his face in the pillow and suppress his sweaty panting, like a secret agent whose actions must not be exposed.
The female university students were not as pure and simple as those in high school. Everyone knew that Lin Qingyan was poor, and worked three jobs in order to support himself, as well as applying for student loans every year. There were still one or two students who pursued him, but Lin Qingyan remained indifferent towards them.
The one he liked, was the most innocent-looking girl in the entire faculty. She was not necessarily the most beautiful, but she had a soft, fair, oval face and eyes as black as ink. She wore an elegant Bohemian-style long skirt, and her smile was as bright and clear as spring water.
The night of the graduation party, the girl left early, without anyone noticing. Lin Qingyan quietly followed her, walking steadily all the way, intending to confess his feelings.
They had just reached the university’s east gate, when he saw her getting into a luxurious limousine. The man seated inside looked to be about 40 years old and wore gold-rimmed spectacles. He grasped her waist, and lowered his head to kiss her sweet lips.
Lin Qingyan stood in the dark shadows cast by the trees, and watched the limousine disappear in a cloud of dust. For the second time in his life, he felt an intolerable nausea of loathing. And that summer afternoon all those years ago, the rustling of the fan, the shady and dusky room, the feeling of Teacher Du Tie’s soft yet powerful hand rubbing his buttocks, suddenly came vividly and distinctly to his mind. Lin Qingyan squatted in the shady hollow outside the university gate and threw up until he was a total mess.
This world is so vile and despicable, how can there be clean skies and land?
The university Lin Qingyan attended was okay, but it wasn’t a top-notch university. As a graduate from the Mathematics faculty, his job prospects were not great. However, he did not want to continue studying or conduct research. He did not want to be mired in the sour pit of academic poverty for his entire lifetime.
Years of hard work had not gone to waste. He surmounted all difficulties* and finally fulfilled his desire to enter the country’s best investment company as an assistant analyst. Despite the low position, the pay was pretty good, and he became the object of his schoolmates’ envy.
*(过五关斩六将 – literally, crossing five mountain passes and slaying six generals)
It was also in this year that he encountered Qin Shuhua.
One day in mid-September, the local office received news that the CEO of the corporation would be visiting from Hong Kong to inspect their work. The entire investment department went to the magnificent* first floor hall to receive her. As Lin Qingyan was the lowest qualified employee, he remained on duty in the department.
*(金碧辉煌 – literally, gold and jade in glorious splendour)
When Qin Shuhua walked in, the huge office was extremely quiet – so much so that Lin Qingyan did not hear her footsteps. When he raised his head, he saw a middle-aged woman with light make-up standing at the door, looking at him.
By now, Lin Qingyan was able to tell a person’s status or rank at a glance. He observed that she was extremely well-dressed, and wore diamond earrings, so he smiled at her courteously: “Madam, who are you looking for?”
Qin Shuhua immediately laughed – so, there were still people in the company who did not recognise its CEO.
A lot of people entered soon after. When the department manager noticed President Qin standing at one side with a smile that was not quite a smile, and Lin Qingyan still seated with no inclination to move, he immediately held his head: “Xiao Lin, quickly pour some tea for the chairman.”
Lin Qingyan had only started work the previous month, and had not yet familiarised himself with all the company leaders. His pale face flushed slightly, and he immediately got up to pour and serve the tea.
Qin Shuhua waved her hand: “There’s no need.” Without a second look at the insignificant Lin Qingyan, she swept out grandly with her attendants.
Where men are concerned, there are many kinds of ‘handsomeness’. At first glance, no one would make a stunned proclamation that Lin Qingyan was an incredibly handsome guy. From a first impression, it was his delicate eyebrows, his height and fairness, his quietness and gentleness, as he wore a white shirt and black pants, that made one feel comfortable.
However, until the day she died, Qin Shuhua always asserted that Lin Qingyan was the most handsome boy that she had ever seen. She had met so many men, and was able to see with one look that Lin Qingyan was no ordinary person. Looking at this boy’s delicate and cleanly-delineated eyebrows for a long time gave one a kind of bright feeling. His limpid black, slender eyes, carried fathoms of meaning. He possessed a calm that was beyond that of his peers, but also had a child-like naivety; and while his wild ambition was hardly disguised, yet he also seemed to display indifference and disgust towards reality.
When Qin Shuhua looked at him, she saw a younger image of herself who had been built up from nothing. Moreover, after being single for so many years, for the first time in her life, she suddenly wanted a man. She wanted to possess this extremely delicate, almost deceptive beauty.
What happened thereafter, was simply a game of cat-and-mouse, where the disparity in strength was obvious.
A month after Qin Shuhua inspected the local office, Lin Qingyan was informed by his superiors that he had been transferred to the Hong Kong branch to participate in a project run by the head office.
“This is an exceptional opportunity for promotion,” said his manager. “Xiao Lin, you must grasp it tightly.”
Lin Qingyan was not flattered by his superior’s attention. He felt himself to be an outstanding person, and thus, if any opportunities came up, they were rightfully earned.
It was said that this project dealt with the group’s strategic issues, and came directly under the supervision of President Qin’s assistant. At times, they worked till late, and the assistant would also personally direct Lin Qingyan to carry out some tasks, such as to deliver documents to President Qin, prepare coffee for her, or drive her to the shopping mall to buy some things. In the course of time, Lin Qingyan became more familiar with President Qin. He saw her being aggressively decisive in business, as well as late at night, exhausted and lonely, after she had finished dealing with people on official matters with extreme courtesy. Slowly, he came to highly esteem this strong woman.
The situation became clear two months later. That day, the assistant was driving, as he (LQY) was to accompany President Qin to a reception at the Ministry of Commerce. This was also a great opportunity to make interact with important business contacts, and thus, was an occasion to be doubly cherished. When the event ended, it was very late. President Qin had drunk some wine, and felt giddy after getting into the car. He was originally going to sit next to the driver, but the assistant said: “You sit at the back and look after President Qin.”
Lin Qingyan did not suspect anything, and sat beside Qin Shuhua, and carefully and dutifully poured her water, handed her a handkerchief, and covered her with a light blanket. Qin Shuhua appeared half-drunk. She looked up at him, a small smile tugging at her lips.
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