Chapter 20: So Gentle
Bai Jin Xi looks up at the group photo on the billboard.
She reads and searches through the names slowly.
She finds it.
The guy in the photo is still twenty something; a fair white face, handsome looking with a tall nose. Even though everyone’s head is small in order to fit in the group photo, it’s obvious that he is good looking.
It seems to match up with the man that she has seen in her dreams. But it also feels unfamiliar.
This is what Ye Zi Lu has told her just now: her ex-boyfriend’s name is Zhao Zi Xu, who was also in the same class. They got together during their second year. But when they were about to graduate, they broke up for some reason. It was said that it was because Zhao Zi Xu was pressured by his family.
“He has already returned to his home in the Gansu Province. His family arranged work for him, and he got married last year. I still have his phone number,” Ye Zi Lu hesitates, “Do you want it?”
“Please give it to me.”
Upon receiving the number, Jin Xi doesn’t dial it. When she’s saving it into her phone, she types his name one character at a time: Zhao……Zi……Xu.
She suddenly feels depressed.
Even his name feels unfamiliar.
She looks up at the group photo again.
She turns left and right, there’s no one. Only Xu Si Bai is standing not far away, watching her quietly.
She smiles at him, stands on her tip-toes, reaches out her hands, yanks the photo, shoves it into her pocket, turns around and walks out of the school.
Xu Si Bai comes to her in surprise, “You……”
She tugs his elbow, “Let’s go.”
They get back into the car. Xu Si Bai looks at the photo feeling a bit of a headache, “How could you tear it off? If you wanted it, you could have asked the office for one.”
Bai Jin Xi takes a sip of water and answers, “I don’t have that kind of time. If they start asking me all kinds of questions, I would have to keep explaining that I lost my memory. I don’t want to talk about it!” She points to a spot on the photo, “This one.”
Xu Si Bai is stunned as he looks to where she’s pointing.
Xu Si Bai doesn’t comment.
Bai Jin Xi smiles, “He’s good looking, isn’t he? He’s already married with kids. I guess that solves one of my worries.” She puts her arms behind her head, leans backwards, and closes her eyes.
Xu Si Bai starts the car.
After a while, his voice comes on, “Bai Jin Xi, don’t feel sad.”
They get back in the evening.
Probably because she’s feeling a little down, so Xu Si Bai doesn’t ask her to go eat dinner with him. He drives back to the lab by himself.
Jin Xi walks up to her apartment by herself. It’s already night time, so the apartment is dark. She sits on the side of her bed for a while without turning on the lights. Through the dim lighting, she stares at the photo quietly for a moment, and then puts it inside the drawer. She takes out a cigarette and match, and walks to the balcony.
The old city district below her looks like a desolated painting; it hasn’t changed much in the past four years. She lights up her cigarette, slowly starts smoking, and can’t stop her tears from flowing.
Let’s get married after you graduate. I won’t marry anyone else but you in my life.
She actually doesn’t feel anything after seeing Zhao Zi Xu’s photo today. But when she recalls the words in her dream, she still feels the urge to cry.
She has thought about this many times: if the person still loves her, and if he just doesn’t know how or where she is, or if he just can’t come and look for her due to some reason, what should she do?
If that’s the case, she would go through all lengths and hardships to find him.
But it turns out that reality is unexciting.
She stops her tears very soon. It’s just that it’s rare for her to let herself loose like this, inhaling from the cigarette one breath after another. After smoking for a while, she hears her cell phone beep.
Her cell phone also rang in the car, but she didn’t bother with it. Now that she takes a look, it’s actually a text message from Han Chen: “Got it.” The cell phone has been alerting her until now.
She puts the cigarette down, and replies, “Okay.”
She stops smoking. She rests her head on her arms over the balcony, and looks to a distance with her nose feeling sour.
About four to five minutes later, she receives a text message.
“What’s the matter?”
Bai Jin Xi is a bit stunned reading the text.
It’s the simplest kind of greeting, and it’s from Han Chen. For some reason, it makes her heart skip a beat.
She replies: “Nothing. I went to visit the police academy today, so I’m a little tired. Are the things good?”
He responds very quickly: “Very good.”
Bai Jin Xi can’t help but laugh, and replies: “Thank goodness I didn’t let you down!”
On the other side, Han Chen is sitting in his office staring at his cell phone, smiling.
It’s Saturday night and there isn’t anybody at the office; everyone has gone home, or gone out to have fun, so many of the lights have already been turned off.
Only he is left sitting under the lights doing nothing and has no place to go.
He gets a text message from Bai Jin Xi. It only contains one word, which doesn’t seem like her style.
Perhaps in this lonely darkness, the man has become confused. Reading her text that faintly shows a sense of sadness, he types back “what’s the matter” subconsciously; the sentimental feeling of gentleness actually surfaces inside his heart.
It’s just that this gentleness subsides quickly.
She says that she went back to the police academy.
If he remembers correctly, she graduated from Shajiang police academy.
Every city that he has gone to, he would search extensively for his fiancée, and the first thing he does is to look up all details of the police officers there. According to Bai Jin Xi’s record, she has lived in Province K since she was little including studying at school and working; she has never been to Beijing. She doesn’t know him either, and there are no signs of disguising her details.
She’s not the one that he’s looking for. He knows this very well.
He slowly puts away his smile, places the phone back into his pocket, gets up, and walks out of the dimly lit office.
Seeing that he doesn’t reply her after waiting for a while, Bai Jin Xi sends another message: “What are you doing?”
No reply either.
She feels a little dispirited, as well as a little hurt after finding out about Zhao Zi Lu, but she’s already done her cigarette. She tosses the phone away, and looks up at the dark night sky.
Tomorrow will be a brand new day.
The morning of the next day.
The instant that Bai Jin Xi steps into the office, she sees Zhou Xiao Zhuan staring at her excitedly.
“What’s up?” she takes off her hat and throws it onto the table.
Xiao Zhuan grabs the hat and puts it back onto her head, “Why haven’t you gotten ready yet? At 10am, our station will be having a conference meeting with the provincial station! You have to report your findings from your criminal psychological analysis on the Chen Li Jiang case!”
Bai Jin Xi is stunned as District Chief comes out from a room and calls her to go inside looking delighted.
It turns out that the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Investigation team at the provincial station read the Chen Li Jiang case report and felt that it was a very good case example, so he requested the Guanhu station’s criminal investigation team, who was responsible for solving the case, to hold a conference meeting and share their experiences. The provincial station is always quick to react; their leadership team has just confirmed the event at 8am, and they’ll be holding the meeting at 10am.
District Chief pats her shoulder, “Give it your best. It’s okay if you mess you, you’ll just be in embarrassment in front of the Public Security Bureau Police Chief as well as in front of all the elite officers.”
Bai Jin Xi says, “……District Chief, is this how you encourage others?” She reads the meeting notice in her hands, and says slowly, “Who will be participating?”
District Chief dictates, “What are you wasting time here for? Hurry and get ready.”
Although she has been given a big task in such a short period time, Bai Jin Xi doesn’t feel nervous about it. The report is readily available. She prints it out, sits in her seat, and starts reciting it.
But Zhou Xiao Zhuan just won’t stop bugging her, “Leader, are you nervous? Are you excited?” After a while, he says pretending to be scared, “Do you think Han Chen will participate? I’m a little scared.”
Bai Jin Xi picks up a book and hits his head with it.
It’s soon time for the conference.
Bai Jin Xi, Zhou Xiao Zhuan and the others follow District Chief into the room. Everyone sits with their backs straight as they wait for the others from the provincial station.
The video conference has been connected. Bai Jin Xi and District Chief are facing the camera, and the TV screen in front of them is showing the conference room at the provincial station, which has no one in it.
After a while, someone comes in.
The Deputy Chief, the captain of the criminal investigation team, investigator A, investigator B, investigator C…..sit down one after the other.
And then Han Chen comes in.
He’s wearing his uniform today. Bai Jin Xi has never seen him wear one before, so she’s actually a bit stunned by it. He walks to the corner of the table, takes off his hat, puts it on the table, and then ruffles his hair with his hand. He looks up at the camera.
Bai Jin Xi doesn’t know why, but she lowers her head subconsciously to avoid his gaze.
They always say that a man in uniform is the most handsome, but how can he be so incredibly gorgeous like this?
She remembers the message that he sent her last night: What’s the matter?
It’s like someone is tickling her heart.
The conference meeting starts. Deputy Chief gives an introduction, confirming the success of the case and its value. Bai Jin Xi retrieves her focus, and listens attentively.
And then it’s District Chief of the Guanhu station to speak. He gives a brief summary and expresses his efforts to work even harder from now on.
And then it’s Bai Jin Xi’s turn.
She stands up, and starts reading her report very seriously. Zhou Xiao Zhuan is also all serious, listening to see if she reads any of it wrong. He is also helping her to observe the expressions and reactions of the audience, which he plans to tell her later.
But what Bai Jin Xi doesn’t know is that when she stood up, the officers from the provincial station got all excited.
“Holy, there’s such a beautiful officer at Guanhu station?” someone says in a low voice, “She just defeated our station’s beauty in a second.”
Another also sighs, “Bai Jin Xi. Her name is pretty and her voice is nice. She’s reading the report in such good manners. She must be a very gentle person.”
Han Chen, who’s sitting within the crowd, smiles as he listens to their words.
“Brother Han, is this the beauty that you partnered up with when you were at Jiangcheng?” someone asks, “How come you didn’t mention it to us buddies? Oh, don’t tell me that all those specialty snacks were sent by this beauty too.”
Before Han Chen answers, someone butts in, “What do you guys know? Brother Han has very high expectations. Even an angel like Xin Jia has chased after him from Beijing to City Lan, yet he doesn’t even look at her.”
The smile on Han Chen’s face slowly fades away. With one hand on his knee, he says, “Shut up.”
The leadership team is here, so the guys don’t dare to get too out of hand. Therefore, they immediately stop talking.
It’s finally peace and quiet again. Like the others, Han Chen is staring at the woman on the screen.
She’s wearing a uniform today. Her long hair has been tied back, and she has her police hat on, tucking away some of her voluptuousness, and adding a bit of elegance. But those pair of eyes are still glittering. Her eyebrows are dark like they’ve been painted with ink; curvy and long. Right now, her full concentration is on the piece of paper in her hands; just like what the others say, she looks well-mannered and refined.
Han Chen’s gaze shifts back to her face again.
It’s been a little more than a week since they’ve seen each other, and for some reason, he feels that her face is fuller now. Although her face isn’t big and she’s far from being chubby, those fair white cheeks just simply feel plump……
And Bai Jin Xi’s concentration slowly drifts away.
A woman’s senses are really something odd. Even though many people are staring at her right now, all she can feel is the blazing gaze from Han Chen. She doesn’t need to raise her head to sense it; he’s staring at her every moment. Of course, this could all just be her imagination.
In the middle of the crowd, no one senses this weird sensation of hers, but her face slowly becomes red.
No matter where you go, I will find you in the crowd.
The voice from a blurry looking man suddenly says in her mind.
Bai Jin Xi is struck dumb, and her voice stops.
Seeing that she has suddenly stopped reading, Zhou Xiao Zhuan kicks her leg quickly under the table. Bai Jin Xi comes out of it, and continues reading again.
All investigators have sharp eyes; everyone notices her suddenly falling into a daze. Someone says in a low voice, “What happened to Beauty Bai just now? The way she falls into a daze makes me want to be affectionate to her.”
Han Chen notices it also. He stares at her quietly, grabs a bottle of water, twists the cap open, and drinks it. He keeps calm.
Half an hour later, the reporting is done. The leadership team at the provincial station asks a few questions, and District Chief and Bai Jin Xi answer. The leaders exchange their glances, feeling quite satisfied. The Deputy Chief stands up, “Let’s end the meeting here. Guanhu station has delivered an exceptional performance. This female officer, Bai Jin Xi, is really not bad. I’ve remembered her now. I still have another meeting, so I’ll get going now. You guys can continue sharing your experiences.”
The other leaders also leave with him. Only Captain Qin Wen Long and his criminal investigation team are still in the room, and on the other side, District Chief has also left in satisfaction, leaving Bai Jin Xi and the others behind to socialize with the other side.
Since the leaders are gone, the atmosphere is naturally more lively. Qin Wen Long doesn’t restrain his team either as he lets a young investigator ask, “Investigator Bai, how come your criminal psychology analysis is so incredible?”
Bai Jin Xi smiles. Just when she wants to answer politely, she spots the familiar figure on the screen stand up, make his way through the crowd, and leave the room.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan interrupts and teases, “Oh? How come Super Detective Han left? I still wanted to ask him some questions.”
Qin Wen Long smiles, “He has a strong addiction to smoking, so he probably went out to smoke. He doesn’t like to socialize with others anyway. I’m quite surprised that he was willing to come today. Don’t bother about him, let’s continue.”
Zhou Xiao Zhuan says, “Oh……”
Bai Jin Xi smiles immediately, and continues chatting with the others.
Outside of the meeting room is a long hallway, and below is the spacious lobby of the office building. Han Chen leans against the railing, lowers his head, and lights up a cigarette.
He hooks onto the police hat with one hand, and holds the cigarette between his fingers with the other hand, and looks up. Through the door crack, he can see Bai Jin Xi on the TV screen.
He smokes quietly while watching her.
Every now and then, Bai Jin Xi would say something and inside of the meeting room would be full of laughter. She laughs as well, looking a bit embarrassed.
With the cigarette in his mouth, Han Chen also smiles.
Someone must have asked a difficult question. Bai Jin Xi scrunches her eyebrows slightly, and her eyes move around as if she’s thinking of a solution. This rare expression of hers makes her seem clever and pretty, attracting the gazes of all of the investigators.
It also attracts his gaze. The cigarette in his hand burns away quietly as he stares at her in full concentration.
Someone walks past and doesn’t feel odd about seeing Han Chen smoking outside of the meeting room. Han Chen continues standing there, watching from afar, until the meeting is over. Seeing that everyone is about to come out, he presses down the cigarette, flicks it into the garbage can, puts on his police hat, turns around and goes down stairs.
When Bai Jin Xi walks out of the meeting room, she is surrounded by applauses.
The reporting is a success today, and she also feels joy inside her heart. She cups her fist with her other hand (like in martial arts) and thanks everyone around her, and says a few humble words before returning to her seat.
She can’t help but feel a bit of disappointment inside her heart, but she doesn’t know why.
And at this instant, she sees Zhou Xiao Zhuan comes rushing out cheerfully from the District Chief’s office. He stops in front of her.
“Leader! Big news!” he says in a wicked voice, “There’s two spots available for a rare training opportunity at City Lan starting next week. It was originally only available to the public security bureau subdivisions, but the deputy chief has advised just now that he will let Guanhu have two spots. District Chief said that us two youngsters should go. We’re going to City Lan!”
Chapter 20: So Gentle