Memory Lost (美人为馅): Chapter 12 16


Chapter 12: My True Love

Bai Jin Xi seems to know more about Han Chen now.

Although he tied her up on the first time they met, causing her to dislocate her shoulder, and he hasn’t been friendly either when they’re working together, thinking about them now, she feels that she owns half of the responsibility——it takes two hands to clap after all.

If she thinks more thoroughly, he’s actually quite a character.  She has heard rumors from her colleagues recently that the Han family in Beijing has a background in the Public Security Bureau.  Han Chen can be considered as a young master of a wealthy family, yet he has given up the big opportunity to be a young specialist at the Ministry of Public Security and insists on becoming an ordinary criminal investigator of a district instead.

However, his traits as a young master still shows; let alone other things, just from the way he dresses and the cigarettes he smokes.  Furthermore, he’s also quite harsh and unruly in the way he talks and does things.

But Bai Jin Xi’s impression of him has changed.  For one, although he ignored her in the past, on the night they were chasing the suspect together, he immediately helped her after knowing that she was afraid of heights.  It shows that he isn’t a cold-hearted person.

The second reason is because he helped her solve the case just a few days ago.  His point of view was clear and simple, and his attitude was focused and dignified.  Of course, a sexual assault case such as this can probably show only a speck of his talent.  But regardless, Bai Jin Xi has a completely different impression of him now.

Therefore, in Bai Jin Xi’s heart, her unhappy and vindictive feelings towards him have gradually vanished in the progress of the case.

_____

At the time of sunset.

Bai Jin Xi is sitting inside a truck eating a chicken drumstick.

There are six surveillance monitors in front of her, watching over Blue Star Mechanical Factory’s front entrance, inside the workshop, the dorms, and etcetera.

The suspect has been confirmed.  In order to avoid alerting him, they have been keeping an eye on him for 24/7.  Once they obtain the evidence or if he makes another attempt to commit another offense, they will arrest him immediately.

It’s Bai Jin Xi and another investigator named Xiao Qi’s turn to be on duty.  Xiao Qi has gone to buy some water, so Bai Jin Xi is watching over by herself.

The night slowly arrives.  Bai Jin Xi finishes her take-out, stretches her back, loosens her muscles, and continues to stare attentively.

Kerruuuush!  The truck door is opened and someone steps in, letting the heat rush in from the outside.

Bai Jin Xi doesn’t bother turning her head, “You’re back?”  She grabs the plastic bag carrying the empty take-out box and holds it out behind her, “Throw it out for me, will you?”

Two seconds later, her empty take-out box has been taken from her.

She hears the sound of the truck door opening and closing behind her.  Bai Jin Xi feels much better now that the smell of food has subsided a bit.

She reaches out behind her again, “Where’s my milk tea?”

She waits, but nothing is placed in her hand.  She curls her finger to gesture, “Hurry, you’re so slow.”  Just when she’s about to turn around, she hears a calm and deep voice, “There’s none.”

Bai Jin Xi turns her head immediately.

Han Chen.

He’s wearing a black Polo shirt and grey casual pants today.  There isn’t much lighting inside the truck, making his face blurry, but yet his eyes look rich dark brown.

Bai Jin Xi: “……Super Detective Han, you’re here.  I thought you were Xiao Qi just now,” which is the only reason why I asked you to help me throw out the garbage.

Han Chen’s expression doesn’t change.  He sits on the chair behind her, and then glances at her, “Pour me a cup of water.”

Bai Jin Xi: “……”

Just as she thought, how could he possibly do as others say?

There’s a big barrel of spring water sitting at the corner of the truck.  She quietly gets up and pours him a cup.

He takes the cup and drinks it slowly.  Bai Jin Xi notices that the way he holds the cup is very gentle; his long slender fingers grasp the side of the cup lightly, giving off a sense of prudent yet relaxed demeanor.  Although he’s drinking slowly, it’s obvious that he’s thirsty; the cup is soon empty.  Bai Jin Xi takes a quick glance and sees that his shirt is damp from sweat, and his pants have gotten dirty with mud.  He has clearly been running outside for a long time.

Mysterious.  Extremely mysterious.

Recalling the rumor about his unorganized and undisciplined recurrent disappearance on vacation leaves, as well as his frequent visits to the slums and red-light districts, Bai Jin Xi speculates: he’s trying to find something or someone.

He hasn’t given up throughout all these years.  Super Detective Han sure has great perseverance.

He hands her the empty cup; his eyes just happen to meet her scrutinizing gaze.

Now that Bai Jin Xi has put the past behind her and is working cooperatively with him, she is also talking to him more casually.  She smiles slightly, “Super Detective Han, are you thirsty?  Would you like the lowly me to pour you another cup?

A hint of smile brushes across Han Chen’s eyes.  He answers in his usual calm voice:

“It’s okay.  Let’s talk about the case.”

The truck’s door is opened once again.  Xiao Qi has returned.  He’s a little startled from seeing Han Chen, but immediately shows his reverence and respect.  Bai Jin Xi gives Han Chen a copy of the general information that she has and starts talking.

“Chen Li Jiang, twenty-seven years old, a machine technician at Blue Star Mechanical Factory.  When he first started at the factory, he used to do packaging.  He’s single after a divorce.  His ex-wife Xu Ying is a tour guide who had an affair a year ago, so she got a divorce with him.”

All three of them look towards one of the surveillance monitors at once.  That is Chen Li Jiang’s home.  He has just walked in after getting off work.  He’s wearing a blue coverall.  He has broad shoulders and long arms.  His face is surprisingly handsome.

The photo in their hands is even more apparent.  Chen Li Jiang has fine eyebrows and prominent features.  He has double eyelids and deep set eyes.

“According to his performance review at the factory, Chen Li Jiang is timid, works hard, and is quite intelligent.  He picks things up very fast.  It’s just that he has a rather big temper.  He sometimes likes to drink by himself, and when he is drunk, he likes to beat up others.  He’s been in a few fights with his colleagues.  He was not at work during the two incidents and does not have any alibis,” Bai Jin Xi says softly, “In the surveillance videos of the common travel paths that we reviewed, he was the only one who appeared over 20 times.  Furthermore, his travel routes and times highly matched with our two victims!”

Xiao Qi points to another surveillance monitor and says, “Chen Li Jiang bought an apartment when he got married, and it’s still his after divorce.  He sometimes goes home and sometimes stays at the dorm.  These few are his co-workers who are also from the same dorm.”  He picks up the files and starts reading the names off of it, “Zhang Yuan, Zeng Fang Ping, and Xu Zi Da.  They are all factory workers in their twenties.  Zhang Yuan is an honest and straightforward person.  He and Chen Li Jiang are quite good friends.  Xu Zi Da is more of an introvert and doesn’t hang out much with Chen Li Jiang.  Zeng Fang Ping is the youngest, who just turned twenty.  He’s also an introvert, but is very close with Chen Li Jiang.  He often hangs out at Chen’s place.  If we want to make an arrest later, we can try and obtain more details from these guys.  Since they live under the same roof, they must be able to tell whether or not Chen Li Jiang has been acting strangely.”

Bai Jin Xi and Han Chen both look towards the monitor.  The factory workers are all buff and tall.  Only Zeng Fang Ping has pale skin and looks refined.  He’s saying something to his dorm-mates; an obvious shy and reserved boy.

Bai Jin Xi comments, “We don’t have any evidence right now, so we must not act rashly.  Just to monitor him, we’ve already had to ask the factory supervisor to cooperate.  We’ve advised them many times that they must not let anyone know.”

Now that they’re done discussing the case, Bai Jin Xi thought that Han Chen would leave immediately.  Who knew that he would continue sitting at where he is and start smoking leisurely.  Bai Jin Xi and Xiao Qi are a bit perplexed, but it’s not like they can kick him out.  Therefore, the three of them stay inside the truck quietly.

Time ticks away as Bai Jin Xi watches the monitors in boredom.  Whenever she turns her head occasionally, she sees Han Chen still sitting there.  The shape of his face is blurry through the faint smoke, but his features are still outstanding.  The hand that is holding the cigarette is lowered beside the armrest; he lifts it up to inhale the cigarette every now and then, making him seem especially peaceful.

He doesn’t bother Bai Jin Xi anymore whenever he needs water.  He holds the cup, leans and bends over to pour the water, and slowly drinks it.

Time passes away for the night just like this.

At 12am, Zhou Xiao Zhuan and another colleague come to take over their shifts.

They’re a little surprised to see Han Chen, but don’t ask about.  Bai Jin Xi advises Zhou Xiao Zhuan on a couple of items and prepares to leave.  She yawns as she picks up her bag.  She catches a glimpse of Han Chen at the corner of her eye——how long does he plan to be sitting here?

But then she sees him stand up.

He’s a tall man, so once he stands up, the inside of the truck immediately seems crowded.  Everyone looks at him.

He looks at Bai Jin Xi, “You’re getting off?”

Bai Jin Xi answers, “……Yeah.”

He bends downs, hops off the truck, and stands beside it, as if……he’s waiting.

Bai Jin Xi watches him complete his actions blankly.  Zhou Xiao Zhuan and the others behind her are already making faces at each other.  Zhou Xiao Zhuan spotted Xu Si Bai showing jealousy towards Han Chen at the office the other day, so he has been keeping an eye.  He lowers his voice and says excitedly while feeling troubled, “Leader!  What’s going on?!  Why is Super Detective Han picking you up from work?  I’m so nervous!  Should I let Forensic Investigator Xu know about this?!”

Bai Jin Xi glances at him, “You’re really, thinking, too, much!”

She hops off of the truck as well.

Han Chen takes a look at her and starts walking in the front.  Bai Jin Xi follows him quickly.  After a few steps once they’re far enough from the truck, she says, “What’s the matter?”

Han Chen bends his finger and flicks the already put out cigarette into the garbage can on the roadside.

“I’m leaving the day after tomorrow.  Help me with something tonight.”

_____

The city’s Public Security Bureau’s old archives library is in an old building in the East.  It’s already late night.  Thick clouds are covering half of the moon, darkening everywhere.

Bai Jin Xi walks to the archives library’s entrance, and turns her head to take a look at the man beside her.

He has a cap on.

The brim is covering his eyes, revealing only his nose and chin.  He looks more like a killer than anything else.

Bai Jin Xi doesn’t ask him any questions and leads the way.  They walk up the stairs and knocks open the office door.

Old Zhou, who’s on duty, is an old friend of Bai Jin Xi.  She’s a sweet talker, so she has friends in all departments, making it easy for her to get some things done.  Han Chen has probably heard about this so that’s why he has asked her for help.

Old Zhou glances at them with his sleepy eyes.  He slowly pulls out the keys as if he has done this many times, “Xiao Bai, you’re here to research on a case again?  You sure know how to pick the right time.  I was just napping.”

Bai Jin Xi giggles, “Thanks Uncle Zhou.  I’ll bring you some premium cigarettes another day.”

After unlocking the doors, Old Zhou mumbles his way back to his little office.  Bai Jin Xi switches the lights on, lighting up the quiet room.

She turns around and looks at Han Chen.

He takes off his cap, throws it onto the table, and raises his head to look around.  She’s not sure whether or not she’s imagining it, but his gaze seems to be different; those beautiful yet cold eyes are usually serene yet provoking; but as he is looking around the room full of book shelves, his eyes are calm and focused.

It’s as if this is what he truly cares about.

Bai Jin Xi asks, “What are you looking for?  Maybe I can help you?”

“You don’t need to bother,” he walks into the rows of shelves.

Bai Jin Xi doesn’t insist further.  She finds a chair and sits.  She watches him from behind while tapping her fingers on the armrest.

Technically, the District Chief should have more connections with the various departments, and also more respected.  However, he didn’t ask him for help and yet he asked her, a small potato, for help.  In the middle of the night in pitch black darkness, he even wore a cap to cover his face.  He didn’t come to the archives library through the proper standard process——this proves one thing, which is that he doesn’t want others to know.

Okay fine, she will definitely not press him.

After sitting for a while, she feels very sleepy; most likely because she has been busy all day.  A good criminal investigator has the ability to sleep anywhere at any time.  She lifts her eyes to take a look around.  Since it’s not comfortable to sleep sitting on a chair, she climbs up onto the table, curls up her body, and sleeps.

_____

Han Chen is standing in front of the shelf labeled, “Missing and anonymous identities of the deceased.”  He lifts his eyes to take a look, and then pulls out over ten folders.  The spaces between shelves are very narrow and not well lit.  He carries the pile of information and walks towards the central reading table.

But the moment he comes out, he sees Bai Jin Xi lying on the table sleeping peacefully.  She is curled up on the right, facing him.  She’s not short, and her whole body is scrunched up at the moment; a position that shows that she lacks the feeling of security very much.

Han Chan glances at her, walks to the corner of the table, and sits.  Keeping a far distance from her, he starts reading the information.

“Cough……this Xiao Bai,” Old Zhou slowly walks inside with a blanket.  Han Chen glances at him and continues to read.

“Although it’s the summer, she shouldn’t just sleep like this,” he lays the blanket over Bai Jin Xi, “Young fellow, please watch her.”

Han Chen raises his head.  He can see Bai Jin Xi’s face straight across from where he’s sitting.  At this angle, her eyes are relaxed and her lips are slightly pursed, making her face look a little plump.  Her sleeping face is not as attractive as when she’s awake during the day.  Instead, she looks a bit silly.

“Mm,” he hums softly in acceptance, “Uncle, can we smoke in here?”

Old Zhou waves his hands, “Go ahead, go ahead.  Just be careful not to light up other things.”

Han Chen tilts his head to light up a cigarette.  He taps up another one and hands it to Old Zhou.  Old Zhou doesn’t hold back and walks over to light it up as well.  He inhales and exhales with his eyes squinting.

“Great smoke,” he clicks his tongue and glances at the archives that Han Chen has taken out, “Who are you trying to find?  Old Zhou here is familiar with every piece of information in this library.  Tell me and I’ll help you find it.  It’ll save you from wasting your time.”

Han Chen keeps his silence for a moment while holding the cigarette between his fingers, and then says, “I’m trying to find a woman.”

“Hm……” Old Zhou nods squinting his eyes, “In this library, among the missing and the anonymous deceased, there are 147 females in the past few decades.  Which one are you looking for?  What’s her name?  How old is she?  Do you have a picture of her?”

Han Chen tilts his head while looking at him.  He takes a deep breath from his cigarette and then answers, “No name, don’t know what she looks like, and I don’t know if she’s dead or alive.  She went missing or died five years ago.  Or she might have come to Province K from Beijing.  She’s about……22 to 30 years old.  This is all that I know.”

“Hah!” Old Zhou exclaims, “No name, and you don’t know what she looks like.  How are you supposed to find her?”  He thinks for a minute and continues, “Off the top of my head, I can’t recall any that fits your criteria.”

Han Chen smiles, “It’s okay.  Thanks anyway.  I’ll continue looking.”  He goes back to reading with his head down.

Old Zhou probably feels bad for not being able to help as he stands beside him and says, “Young Fellow, the person that you’re trying to find, what is her relationship with you?  I can keep a look out for you.”

Han Chen’s hand pauses for a split second at turning the page.  He keeps his silence for a rather long while this time.

“She’s my fiancée,” he says softly.

“Oh,” Old Zhou says and is suddenly stunned from his response, “Fiancée?  How come you don’t know her name or what she looks like then?”

Han Chen closes his eyes, inhales two breaths of smoke, and says impassively, “I was injured five years ago.  I can’t remember some things clearly.”


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