Chapter 50: Hand in Hand (1 of 2)
In the classroom, the ceiling fan is spinning and humming above their heads.
This class is about Maoism. Just like the majority of the guys in the class, Jin Xi is sleeping with her head down on her desk. Someone pokes her arm, “Hey Beauty, Gao Han, the most handsome guy in the 4th class, asked me to give you his love letter. Hurry and read it!”
Jin Xi is in a bit of a daze from napping. She answers crisply, “Tell him to get lost. Miss Beauty here is already taken.”
The classroom falls into complete quietness. Their professor is also struck dumb.
Then follows by the thunderous sound of laughter!
Jin Xi sits back up slowly from her desk and sees the many chuckling faces. As well as……their teacher’s angry expression.
“You!” the professor points at her nose, “Go stand outside! You’re a student of the police academy and yet you dare have a love relationship?! Unacceptable!”
Jin Xi feels wronged and bewildered immediately, “I’m not in a relationship, professor. I meant that I’m taken by the police workforce! I’ve decided long ago that I will give my youth to this profession.”
The sound of laughter grows louder.
She is kicked out of the room by the professor nevertheless.
She’s already a grown-up and yet she is being told to stand outside. Jin Xi stands in the hallway and rubs her nose feeling embarrassed. At the same time, she hears someone sitting at the end of the classroom blow a whistle.
Jin Xi gets the signal, turns her head and sees Han Chen in his full police uniform walking towards her from the other end of the hallway.
“Yo! The man is here,” someone whispers anxiously. Jin Xi glares at the person before looking at her reflection in the window; she fixes her hair, her shirt collar and then looks at Han Chen with a straight face as he approaches.
Seeing that she has been asked to stand outside, a hint of a smile flashes across Han Chen’s eyes. He arrives in front of her looking calm and composed, “Classmate, what are you doing here?”
Jin Xi answers, “I’m admiring the scenery here. Fellow officer, what are doing at the police academy? Are you investigating a case?”
The smile in Han Chen’s eyes grows deeper while his expression continues to be indifferent, “Mm. There’s a case that I want to consult with the professor. I’ll be on my way now.”
He nods at her politely and then continues walking to the other end of the hallway. Jin Xi watches his back view disappear. She waits for a while so that her professor doesn’t catch her; she bends down and escapes.
Just when she approaches the corner of the hallway, someone grasps her wrist and pulls her into a room. It’s the training room. There isn’t anyone in here at this hour.
Han Chen takes off his police hat and throws it onto the table. He pushes her against the back of the door and kisses her.
“Han Chen……” she calls out softly.
“Mm?” he answers in a low voice.
“Why are you at the police academy again? I thought we agreed to meet up over the weekend?”
“I miss you, so you think that I should just endure the pain?”
The summer breeze blows quietly. In the large classroom, only the sound of two people murmuring, giggling, and breathing can be heard.
Jin Xi opens her eyes slowly and sees the light gray ceiling in front of her.
There are traces of tears in the corners of her eyes.
She turns her head and stares at the man who’s asleep beside her.
Is it because of yesterday’s reunion so the memories that have been in slumber inside of her have been woken up?
I can actually dream about you clearly now, Han Chen.
We were really once so proud and passionately in love.
The clock on the bedside points to 6am. He’s wearing pajamas and sleeping on his side facing her with one arm around her waist. His expression looks especially calm during sleep; not a hint of unruliness or arrogance. He’s just like the gentle yet reckless young man from her dream.
Jin Xi reaches over and gives a light peck on his cheek.
The air is cold in the morning. She gets out of bed quietly to brush her teeth and wash her face. Seeing that he’s still sleeping, she takes one of his cigarettes on the bedside table, lights it up and starts smoking while sitting on the side of the bed.
Han Chen said that he must have been to Province K and that they were once in love.
What kind of case could be so serious that both of their memories were wiped away? And everybody is keeping it a secret?
She falls into deep thoughts.
Her instincts tell her that whatever happened in the past is currently covered up by a dense and dangerous fog. She cannot see through it clearly or have a good guess of what it is.
But no matter how hard the road ahead may be, she’ll definitely work together with him to find out the truth.
What is it and who is it that has caused them to lose so many things and be separated?
This is what Han Chen sees waking up.
Jin Xi is sitting by his side. Her eyes are a little red, a cigarette is held between her fingers as she smokes absentmindedly. He reaches out and pulls her into his embrace.
“What’s the matter?” he strokes her face gently with his fingers.
Jin Xi keeps quiet for a moment.
Some things will make one cry the moment they are spoken of.
“Han Chen……” she turns to look at him, “I dreamed about us. Us in the past.”
Han Chen stares at her quietly with his dark brown eyes.
And then he lowers her head and kisses her.
“What did you dream about?” he says softly in her ear.
Jin Xi describes what she dreamed about to him.
Han Chen remains silence for a long while and then kisses her aggressively.
He finally lets go after a while. They both don’t have anything to say.
All of a sudden, Jin Xi feels something taken out of her hand. Han Chen has snatched her cigarette and put it in his mouth.
“Therefore……you’re now absolutely certain that I’m your real boyfriend?” he says flippantly.
His words make her giggle. She pushes him with her hands, “F— off!”
It’s still early in the morning. Jin Xi leans on his shoulder and watches him smoke. She still hasn’t satisfied her addiction yet. She looks at him with full of craving in her eyes, “Give me back the cigarette. Go light your own.”
Han Chen breathes out the smoke from his nostrils and then turns to look at her.
He holds the cigarette in front of her lips.
Jin Xi leans forward and inhales from it in satisfaction. He then inhales from it.
Jin Xi feels the sweetness in her heart. She feels quite happy to be embraced by him in the morning while they share a cigarette.
But then she hears him say, “Here, take one last breath.” He feeds the cigarette to her mouth again.
There’s still half a cigarette left. She inhales from it and asks, “What do you mean it’s the last?”
“Your last breath of smoke for this lifetime,” he holds the cigarette in his mouth, lets go of her and gets up.
Jin Xi is stunned. She climbs out of bed immediately, “Han Chen, what do you mean?”
“Quit smoking,” he says frankly. He starts getting dressed.
There’s no way that Jin Xi will agree to this. Although she will restrain herself consciously, there’s no way she’ll be willing to quit entirely.
“That’s not up to you to say,” she hops off the bed. The moment she lands on the floor, Han Chen pulls her into his embrace again.
“Is that so?” he looks downward at her, “You just recognized who your real boyfriend is and now you’re denying it? Smoking is bad for your body. You have no choice in this.”
Jin Xi is a bit mad yet she feels it’s funny. He’s even educating her that smoking is bad? She shifts her eyes to the cigarette in his hand and says righteously, “You’re wrong then. There’s that saying: subordinates will imitate their superior’s vices (idiom). I must have started smoking back then due to your influence. You want me to quit? Let see if you can first! Otherwise, don’t control me.”
She’s full of confidence in her words. It’s because she knows that Han Chen has a big addiction in smoking. He smokes at least a pack a day. If you want him to quit, you might as well kill him.
But Han Chen doesn’t answer. He inhales from the cigarette a few more times to finish it, presses it into the ashtray and lets out a long breath of smoke, blowing it directly into her face. It almost makes Jin Xi want to cough. She glares at him. He stares at her through the smoke.
“Okay, let’s quit together.”
He agrees to it so simply that Jin Xi is completely dumbstruck.
“You’re not smoking anymore? Are you serious? You think that quitting is so easy?”
He picks up the remaining pack of cigarettes with more than half left and the matchsticks and weighs them in his hand, “It is not easy. But I’m not the same as you.”
Jin Xi asks, “How are you not the same?”
He takes a look at her, and then dumps the cigarettes and matchsticks into the garbage can, “I do as my girlfriend says. Whether I quit smoking or not, it’s your call.”
Such straightforward and corny words full of love make Jin Xi’s heart shake. It causes her to be rash as she says without thinking, “Alright! I will accept! Let’s quit together.”
Han Chen stares at her and smiles slowly.
After a while, he goes to brush his teeth and wash his face. Jin Xi looks down at the cigarettes inside the garbage can. She thinks for a second and fetches them.
These cigarettes are expensive, so it’s too wasteful to throw them out. She decides to recycle by giving them to Chatterbox.
Chapter 50: Hand in Hand (1 of 2)