Chapter 21: As Cute as Her
September at City Lan is already getting cold. It’s slightly foggy in the morning, and there are cool winds at night. The city is prosperous, pretty, and comfortable, like a pearl surrounded by the rivers.
It’s a little past 5pm when Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan arrive at the hotel. It is the public security bureau’s (provincial station) designated hotel, and they will start training tomorrow.
Standing in front of the window in the room looking at the Yangtze River and mountains afar, the Chinese parasol trees and the streets, Bai Jin Xi feels refreshed.
Xiao Zhuan feels absolutely no shame in lying on her bed with his legs crossed as he asks, “My classmate’s car is here. You really don’t want to come eat dinner with us?”
Bai Jin Xi replies without turning her head, “No.”
Xiao Zhuan gets up, walks to her side, and says slowly, “Xiao Bai, I think you’re becoming more and more dangerous lately.”
Bai Jin Xi glares at him, but he walks away while humming a melody.
Bai Jin Xi goes back to sit down on the bed, and leans backward. Xiao Zhuan’s words make her think about last night’s dinner with Xu Si Bai.
He also felt surprised after hearing that she would be going to City Lan for a one-week training, “Didn’t you hate training and meetings the most? How come you’re willing to go this time?”
What did she say at the time?
“Old Xu, my awareness will also increase. At times, I also want to get some training to upgrade myself.”
Thinking about their conversation, she smiles, and then……she takes out her cell phone.
The last text message in her inbox is from Han Chen from one week ago; a brief chat they had that night.
Thinking for a moment, she types: “What are you doing?”
She waits holding the phone.
The screen continues to be dark. The sky outside of the window also becomes dark.
An hour passes.
Bai Jin Xi breathes out a long breath of air, stuffs the phone into her pocket, gets up, and goes down stairs to get food.
There is a commercial street outside of the hotel with delicious foods everywhere. Bai Jin Xi decides to shop around and eat; she has an enjoyable night buying a few things.
It’s 9pm when she returns to the hotel, but her neighbour Zhou Xiao Zhuan isn’t back yet. She’s stuffed from all the food she ate. She takes a bath first. When she comes out, she spots her cell phone flashing on her bed.
She quickly rushes to grab her phone. When she sees “Sender: Han Chen,” her heart skips a beat and feels delighted inside.
“Doing overtime. Something’s up?”
It’s from twenty minutes ago.
Bai Jin Xi stares at the message for a while, and then replies: “Nothing. Goodnight.”
She waits for a moment, and doesn’t receive any reply from him. Bai Jin Xi stuffs the phone under the pillow feeling a bit upset as she lies down with her arms and legs spread out wide. She’s going to bed!
Han Chen wasn’t able to reply to her first text right away because he was really doing overtime.
He has just returned from outside, still carrying the coolness of the night with him. He sits behind his desk, takes off his hat, fetches his cell phone, and then sees the message that Bai Jin Xi has sent him a few hours ago.
He lights up a cigarette, smokes for a while, and gets a response from her again:
Han Chen holds the cigarette between his fingers in one hand while staring at the message. He falls into a daze.
Someone passes by and pats his shoulder, “Han Chen, what are you so concentrated on looking at?”
He tucks his phone and stands up, “Nothing. Let’s go.”
Bai Jin Xi starts her one week intensive training. There will be a graduation ceremony at the end of it, and then they’ll take the train to return to Jiangcheng directly. There are no breaks, and not a second wasted.
Every morning, all trainees will go for a 5km jog. And then it’s a full training course; their breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all eaten at the hotel. Sometimes they will have seminars at night until 8 or 9pm. After four to five days, Bai Jin Xi and Zhou Xiao Zhuan are completely exhausted.
Since it’s tiring, it also feels like they have learned a lot, so they don’t have time to think about other things. Their grades are not bad, and during discussions or tests, they are always first and second place, so their District Chief is overjoyed when they tell him.
It’s almost Friday.
It’s pretty much the end of their group training. They’ve arranged to visit the various departments of the public security bureau such as the office, the operational base, and museum to learn about the exceptional traditions and history, and have a feel of its culture.
It’s almost 6pm when they make it to the provincial station. The bus slowly drives into the entrance as the group chit-chats excitedly. Zhou Xiao Zhuan is also full of energy. Only Bai Jin Xi is sitting quietly by the window, thinking: they won’t bump into Han Chen, will they?
Just as this thought flashes across her mind, under the tree in the front, she sees a……Han Chen walking over!
Bai Jin Xi stares at him blankly.
The weather has been getting colder; he’s wearing a thin black jacket with his usual dark colour polo shirt underneath and a pair of long black pants. From where she’s looking, his face is fair white, and his facial features are prominent.
In the next instant, the bus has already driven past him, and he continues walking, leaving her with a brief view of his side profile.
Bai Jin Xi leans against the window, turning her head subconsciously.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan beside her also leans close to her, “What are you looking at? What are you looking at?”
Bai Jin Xi blocks his face away with her hands, “Pretty girls. I refuse to let you see.”
The bus with a noisy crowd drives into the parking area. After Han Chen walks forward a few steps, he suddenly stops. He turns around as if he senses something; he looks at the bus with both of his hands in his pockets.
The trainees get off the bus one after another. They follow their training supervisor and enter the provincial station’s building.
They head to the lobby on the ground floor first, and then make their way to the history and heroic events section. They spend quite a bit of time at these two places.
And then it’s the criminal investigation team.
Standing at the open area before the office, their training supervisor introduces with a smile, “This is the nationally famous criminal investigation team of Province K, which has exceptional investigators like Qin Wen Long, Han Chen, and Wang Zi Mu. They’re either off work right now, or are out investigating a case. You can take a look around and have a chat. Let’s go to the cafeteria for lunch in ten minutes.”
There isn’t much to see at an office for this kind of occupation. Therefore, the crowd either only take a peek from passing by the doorway, or they stop at the doorway to have a chat with an investigator and then leave.
Bai Jin Xi takes her time and falls back to the end of the group. When she makes it to the office’s doorway, she walks right inside to take a tour around. After all, she still has ten minutes.
There are still a few investigators around. They all turn to look at her. She gives them a friendly and natural smile back to greet them, and then holds up her guest name tag that’s in front of her chest.
She soon makes her way to the deep end of the office.
Based on her understanding of Han Chen, he would definitely choose a seat by the window, in a corner, and isolated from everything else; a cold and noble spot.
Just as she thought, she looks around and has her eyes on one of the desks.
The desktop is very tidy with not many things laying on top of it. A few file boxes are standing on the right corner, and the side of them have his pretty printing on it.
She walks over, flips open the notebook on the table, and the front page does indeed have “Han Chen” written on it.
Bai Jin Xi can’t help feeling proud of herself. She looks around to ensure that no one is looking. She picks up the pen on the table, flips to the last page of his notebook, and writes: “You still owe me a meal! Goodbye!”
Just as she is finishing writing “bye,” she hears a voice speak behind her, “What are you doing?”
Her shoulders shake from being startled. She turns her head, and sees his dark brown eyes.
With one arm pressing against the table and the other in his pocket, Han Chen stares at her.
Her face flushes immediately. She stands back up straight as if nothing has happened, “Nothing. I’m here visiting.”
Han Chen glances at her and flips through the notebook in front of her. Bai Jin Xi watches his side profile, and feels the urge to escape right away.
His gaze lands on the line of words.
He lifts his head to look at her.
Bai Jin Xi looks far away to somewhere as if she has nothing to do with it.
“Let’s go,” he stuffs both of his hands into his pockets and walks towards the exit.
Bai Jin Xi is struck dumb, “What?”
He turns his head to look at her, “I’m fulfilling my promise. I’ll treat you to lunch.”
Bai Jin Xi wants to laugh but she holds it in. She actually feels quite embarrassed to be caught right at the moment by him. It’s as if she really cares about the free meal. Moreover, she still has other activities with the group, so how can she possibly go?
Therefore, she also stuffs her hands into her pockets, and walks over in big steps, “You really think I care so much about the meal? I only have a few minutes before meeting up with the rest of the group, so I can’t go with you. It’s okay, I really have to go……”
When she passes him, her wrist is suddenly grasped on to.
Bai Jin Xi’s heart pounds. And from the corner of her eye, she sees his fingers wrapped around her wrist.
He’s standing beside her, and his face is very close to hers.
He lets go almost instantly, but he is still staring at her.
“Ask for leave, and wait for me downstairs. I’ll go get the car.”
Bai Jin Xi stares into his eyes, and can’t find the words in her mouth. All she can say is, “Oh, okay……”
Chapter 21: As Cute as Her