Memory Lost (美人为馅): Chapter 47 (1 of 2) 23


Chapter 47: Our Promise (1 of 2)

Lanzhou, Gansu Province.

The mountain range is at a distance.  The extensive city landscape stretches out from the edge of the Yangtze river; its prosperity carries a sense of age from vicissitude.

Han Chen is at a coffee shop at the end of a street, which is where he is meeting Zhao Zi Xu.

Just like in the photo of class 56, Zhao Zi Xu is a tall and handsome man.  His facial features are symmetrical.  He is wearing a simple shirt and long pants.  He looks at Han Chen and reveals a peaceful smile, “Hello.  You are a colleague of Xiao Xi?”

Han Chen nods, “Do you mind if I smoke?”

“Not at all.  I smoke as well.”

Han Chen lights up a cigarette and hands one to Zhao Zi Xu.  They start smoking quietly for a moment without knowing what to say.

Han Chen called him earlier with a very simple and straightforward reason, “I’m Bai Jin Xi’s colleague.  I’m passing by Lanzhou and would like to meet you.”

Although Zhao Zi Xu was a bit surprised, he agreed to meet anyway.

After remaining silent for a while, Zhao Zi Xu asks, “How is she now?”

“Not bad,” Han Chen answers, “She’s currently at the station in Province K.”

Zhao Zi Xu smiles, “Not bad at all.  Congratulate her for me.”  He glances at Han Chen, “You’re her current boyfriend?”

Han Chen inhales from his cigarette and then nods.

Some things don’t need to be explained between men; especially when Zhao Zi Xu seems like an understanding person.  He gives Han Chen a once-over and says frankly, “I was with her for a year during college.  We later felt that we weren’t compatible and my family also wanted me to come back and be a civil worker, so we broke up.  She’s a nice girl though.”  He picks up the coffee in front of him, “I wish you two the best.”

Han Chen picks up his mug and hits it lightly against his.

After sitting for a while, Han Chen gets up, “Thank you for your time.”

The moment he steps out of the coffee shop, his cell phone beeps.

It’s a text message from Cold Face: “Xiao Bai is leaving the hospital tomorrow.”

_____

It’s already past 10pm when Han Chen arrives in City Lan.  Visiting hours are already over at the hospital, so he drives back to the station directly.

The office is pitch black and is empty.  He walks behind his desk, sits down and throws all the information that he has gathered onto the table.

He lights up a cigarette and starts smoking quietly.

Bai Jin Xi.  From the day she was born, her history records are clear and precise.  There are also many pieces of evidence proving that she was born in Hongshan, studied at the Shajiang Police Academy and has never been to Beijing, which means it’s impossible for her to have participated in the case.

This woman can’t possibly have had any interactions with him, Han Chen.

Before taking this trip, his thoughts were that Bai Jin Xi must have forgotten about him, and the memories they had together must have been wiped away or hidden away from them by some powerful group using some kind of method.

But now, his thoughts have changed.

Even though there are no obvious loopholes on the surface level, the moment he attempts to dig deeper into any part of her past, he discovers that……there is nothing.

Building taken down, damaged archives, a fire…Coincidence?  Or were they all caused by someone?

The answer that’s in front of him right now is that the “Bai Jin Xi” from the past has left him with only a general outline of the traces of her life; so blurry that it’s hard to make out.  Whereas the “Bai Jin Xi” right now is real and exists intricately.

And between the two, there seems to be many details and habits that are not the same.

Han Chen lifts up his hand and inhales from his cigarette lightly.

There have always been people who look alike in this world, and people’s faces can also be changed.

What if the current Bai Jin Xi is not the original Bai Jin Xi?

What if she’s not Bai Jin Xi, and she’s his fiancee……

Thinking about this makes Han Chen’s heart ache.

Who is it that has swapped them and has hidden her here?

Who is it that has caused her to become oblivious and is living with another person’s identity, believing that she is only a little town girl whose parents have passed way?  And has forgotten him and forgotten about their unforgettable love?

He feels chills in his heart.  But the images of her smiling and frowning float across his mind, tugging his heartstrings.  He breathes out a long smoke ring before putting out the cigarette and getting up to leave.

_____

At night of the same day, Bai Jin Xi tosses and turns in bed.

Xiao Zhuan had already advised her before leaving that he and Chatterbox will come pick her up at the hospital tomorrow.

She stares at the pitch black ceiling and can’t help thinking about Han Chen.

It’s been five days, and it’s already time for her to leave the hospital.  Where has he gone to?  What has he been doing?  And when will he come back to City Lan?

This feeling of longing makes her frustrated from not being able to suppress her own emotions.

The more she thinks about it, the more annoyed she gets.  She fetches for her cell phone and reads the time on it.  It’s already 12am.

Even though she knows she shouldn’t be doing this, she can’t control her hands from sending him a text message:

“Where are you?  When are you coming back?  Let’s talk in person.”

“I’m downstairs.”

Jin Xi is stunned.  She reaches out her hand to turn on the lights, slips out of bed and stands in front of the window.

It’s very dark tonight; there are no stars or the moon in the sky.  Traffic lights and other neon signs flicker from afar, while the inpatient department is in still and quiet.  His car is parked right under a street lamp.

And he is standing beside the car with a cigarette in his hand while looking up at her.

The light draws out the shape of his figure as well as illuminating his face.  He is looking at her without blinking, letting his cigarette burn away quietly between his fingers.

It’s such a peaceful scenery.  But seeing his face lit in the dim lighting far away, Jin Xi suddenly feels her eyes stinging.

When did he come?  Why is he standing there and watching the place?

She picks up her cell phone and sends him a text message:

“What are you doing here?”

He looks down at his phone.  His fingers move a few times.

He then puts the phone down and continues looking up at her.

“Waiting for you to be discharged from the hospital.”

They’re only a few simple words, yet they’re like invisible waves rushing into her heart.  Jin Xi remains silent for a second before turning around and squatting down.

Despite she’s staring at the ground, the image of him from just now floats into her mind.  She digs her hand into her long hair.  All of a sudden, she misses him very much.

Thinking about him who’s only one floor below.

_____

Han Chen watches her disappear from the window suddenly, but the lights are still on.  He smiles thinking that she must be lying in bed on her stomach feeling frustrated and annoyed.

The night is young.  He rests his arm on top of the car and looks up into the sky.

He’s waiting for tomorrow; waiting for her to come down and be by his side.  She might call him a “lunatic” or a “bastard.”

But Bai Jin Xi, do you know that Han Chen’s heart and mind have become restless because of you, making him sleepless at night.

After a moment in quietness, he suddenly hears footsteps coming from the entrance.

He turns to look.  His hand that’s lifting up the cigarette stops in midair.

Bai Jin Xi.

She’s wearing a patient’s gown and slippers with a jacket hanging on her around her shoulders.  Her face looks pale while her eyes are red and are looking at him.

Han Chen stands up straight immediately and lowers his hand with the cigarette in it.  He watches her come close as she glares at him.

“Are you crazy!?” she scolds but her voice is shaky as if she’s about to cry, “What are you doing coming here in the middle of the night?”

Han Chen stares at her quietly for a moment.  He flicks the cigarette away, pulls her to him and hugs her.

Jin Xi’s face is up against his chest.  Her tears start to flow uncontrollably.  She wants to push him away, but she doesn’t have the strength to.  His distinctive body scent surrounds her like a spell luring her to walk deeper into the water.

Jin Xi feels even more depressed in her heart, “You bastard!”

“I’m a bastard,” he agrees softly.

“Let go of me!”

Right after she finishes, his breathing comes closer as he lowers his head and kisses her.

Jin Xi’s whole body becomes stiff, and she forgets about breaking free from him.  She can only feel both of his arms tighten around her waist, and his lips are kissing her even more passionately and aggressively than that night.  There’s a cool scent of cigarette coming from his mouth.  His tongue penetrates her mouth and chases, teases, and twists with hers.  Jin Xi’s body begins to shake.  Unlike the last time, where her mind was a blur, she can make out the shape of his face clearly as it comes close; her emotions are sensitive yet strong at the same time.  She watches his eyelids close halfway.  She can feel his hands rubbing her waist through the clothes.  Even though it’s just a kiss, it feels as if their bodies are intertwined together.  His breath invades every inch of her hair and skin, making her unable to reject him.

After a long while, his face finally moves away.

They stare directly into each other’s eyes.  His eyes are bright and clear, while hers are watery and blurry.

“Go back up first.  I’ll wait for you here.”

His deep voice actually carries softness in it.  Jin Xi feels her nose sting and tears fall from her eyes again.

“Why did you kiss me?  You think you can kiss me just because you want to?” she punches his chest.

Han Chen grabs her hand, pulls her into his embrace and looks downward at her, “Yes.  I’ll kiss you whenever I want to from now on.”

Jin Xi’s heart shakes.  She grabs his shirt and pulls it tightly without a word.

“You don’t want to go back up?” he whispers in her ear.

Jin Xi actually doesn’t know how to answer.

In the next second, he frees up one hand, pulls open the backseat door and sits inside while carrying her.

The car is small and dark.  He puts her on his lap and stares at her at a close distance.

“Have you been missing me for the past few days?” he asks.

Jin Xi turns her head, “No!”

She feels something on her shoulders; a jacket carrying the man’s body scent covers her.  He’s only wearing a shirt.  He pulls her into his chest again.

He then lowers his head and rubs his face lightly against her long hair.

“Do you feel anything towards my kiss now?”

Jin Xi’s heart melts from his actions.  She leans against his chest quietly for a long while before finally answering softly, “Yes.  My feelings have never felt this strong before.”

Before she finishes her sentence, she feels the arm around her waist tighten.  He holds her face in his palm, closes his eyes, lowers his head and kisses her again.


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