Chapter 104: What Do You Know About Him?
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Xiang Wan immediately turned and scurried away.
She soon caught up with the two police officers.
They were startled by her sudden behavior.
“Excuse me!” Seeing the two of them blocking her path, Xiang Wan smiled and nodded at them. When they moved to let her pass, she walked straight towards Bai Muchuan’s office.
She hadn’t seen him the entire day.
When she reported for work, as well as in the afternoon when she ate her lunch in the canteen, he was nowhere to be seen.
Xiang Wan knew he was busy with work, so she didn’t try to ask for his whereabouts. After all, she wasn’t in a convenient position to do so.
However, at this moment, she really felt like asking him…
She wanted to ask him if what those people were saying was true?
She wanted to ask him if he had stayed behind in Jin City because of her?
When she added up all the things that he’d done for her, the gratitude she felt for him was too heavy to bear.
Xiang Wan guessed that he should be inside his office. However, when she went closer, the office was locked. There was no one inside.
The officers who weren’t on duty were preparing to leave for the day. They walked together in groups of twos and threes, chatting and joking with each other.
Xiang Wan was standing in the hallway outside the office when Cheng Zheng spotted her solitary and desolate figure.
He and Mei Xin were coming down from the upper floors. When he saw Xiang Wan, he stopped in his tracks. “You can go ahead first!”
This sentence was said without emotion and was directed at Mei Xin, but he didn’t spare her a glance when he said that.
Mei Xin narrowed her eyes slightly at his side profile, and she furrowed her eyebrows a little. “Hm,” she replied casually and left.
Cheng Zheng didn’t even notice her leave.
He stood where he was for more than ten seconds before catching up to the woman who was walking with her head lowered.
“He’s not in the office today,” Cheng Zheng said quietly.
Xiang Wan saw his legs first before she slowly raised her head and looked him in the eye. “Who?”
“How did you know I was looking for him?”
“What do you think?”
Cheng Zheng always had this certain look on his face.
His expression and his tone were always indifferent—even his eyes looked aloof. Although he was staring at Xiang Wan, she didn’t get the sense that he was looking at her at all…
“The whole world knows,” he said, “I’m not stupid.”
“Uh…” Xiang Wan dragged the tip of her shoe to and fro against the tiled floor. “Yes, I have something to ask Captain Bai, but since he’s not around, I’ll just ask him tomorrow.”
She laughed awkwardly. “Captain Cheng, if you don’t need me for anything, then I’ll go back home now.”
“Hm, together.” Cheng Zheng immediately turned around after saying that.
Xiang Wan was stunned for a while. “There’s no need to—”
“It’s on the way.”
He was her second landlord and neighbor, of course it would be on the way.
But Xiang Wan really didn’t feel like accepting the offer.
The moment she accepted this excuse of “it’s on the way”, would it become “it’s on the way” every day then?
Or maybe he might even knock on her door and borrow some soy sauce in the future…?
When she continued to stand there without moving, Cheng Zheng appeared to get a little impatient and suddenly turned around. He looked at her with a serious expression that she had never seen before. “There are some things that I felt you should know. We’ll talk on the way back.”
It was hard to reject this after he’d spoken so formally.
Xiang Wan paused a little before following after him.
It was the rush hour; traffic in Jin City was congested as always.
The weather was cloudy and gloomy without any sunlight, yet the air was stuffy enough that it made people feel suffocated.
The car eventually joined the main traffic flow. Cheng Zheng drove for quite a long distance before Xiang Wan heaved a sigh. She had yet to hear him say a word about the things that she needed to know.
Cheng Zheng narrowed his eyes, still looking ahead as he thought for a while. “What do you know about Bai Muchuan?”
Eh? Xiang Wan furrowed her brows. “What do you mean?”
“If you don’t know much about him, why are you letting yourself sink deeper and deeper?”
“…” Xiang Wan found herself at a loss for words.
After thinking for a while, she gave a light grunt in dissatisfaction.
“Captain Cheng, this is my personal matter. I don’t need to explain myself to you.”
Cheng Zheng didn’t look at her. There was never a smile on his face, nor did he ever display any other emotion.
“Do you know why he wasn’t at the office today?”
The sudden question left Xiang Wan perplexed. She didn’t understand how this was related to his previous question, and she chuckled with disdain.
“He’s the Captain of the whole unit—he can go anywhere he likes. It’s not my business to care where he goes.”
Cheng Zheng slowly turned to look at her. “Xiang Wan, you know too little about him. No, you know absolutely nothing about him. Sometimes, I don’t even know if I should admire your obsession towards him or mock your brainless, childish actions…?”
Nobody liked being criticized. Even though Xiang Wan had a good temper, she couldn’t help feeling irritated about it.
“Captain Cheng, I’m getting down at the junction ahead, thank you.”
Facing her sudden cold treatment, Cheng Zheng didn’t take it to heart. He still used the same tone and speed to talk. “Do you believe the rumors? That he chose to stay in Jin City all because of you? Are you so moved that you can’t think of anything else?”
Xiang Wan took a deep breath, trying to keep herself from swearing.
Well, both of them held different views about life, values, and ethics. They were unable to communicate. There was no need for her to explain.
She kept an indifferent expression and chose to stay quiet.
Cheng Zheng glanced at her and suddenly remarked, “His girlfriend came to Jin City and she’ll be staying here for a few months. He went to visit her at the set.”
Girlfriend? Visit her at the set?
Xiang Wan felt like she got struck by lightning. She didn’t react for a long time.
There was a red light at the junction.
Cheng Zheng stopped the car and turned to her. “His girlfriend is the actress who will be acting as the female lead for ‘The Grey List’… Xie Wanwan,” he said hesitantly.
Xiang Wan didn’t move.
Cheng Zheng looked at her for a long time, only looking away when the green light came on, and he started driving again.
“Seems like you don’t really pay attention to the news in the entertainment industry? The shooting location for ‘The Grey List’ will be at Jin City. But… very few know about their relationship. Well, she’s a celebrity, so it’s natural for her to keep that information under wraps…”
“Actually, I do follow the entertainment news…” Xiang Wan felt a ripping pain, twitching every now and then in her heart. She was upset but was unable to talk about it. This feeling was stronger than she’d expected. When she spoke, her voice was so hoarse that it didn’t sound natural to the ears. “However, my attention is on the hot young stars, I’m not interested in the female celebrities. That’s what you would call… opposites attract.”
She actually admired how she could say so much in such a calm manner.
Cheng Zheng was less optimistic about her response.
He swept a sidelong glance at her. “They’ve known each other for many years, and their relationship is very close…” At this point, he paused and suddenly changed the subject. “Before Bai Muchuan returned to the capital, she came to Jin City once. You might not have known…”
Xiang Wan tried hard to recall.
She remembered calling Bai Muchuan when she learned that he was going back to the capital— she’d heard the gentle voice of a woman.
Or when she’d been eating alone at the Hotpot restaurant, and she coincidentally spotted their group. Wasn’t there a woman with long hair standing beside him?
Xiang Wan tried hard to remember what the girl looked like, but to no avail.
Even if Xie Wanwan was a popular celebrity, Xiang Wan didn’t know about much about her anyway…
Of course, Xie Wanwan had a beautiful face, but she looked just like those internet wannabes who were very pretty but seemed to share the same mom—Xiang Wan couldn’t differentiate between these women. She was one of those people who had face blindness, unable to tell these beautiful women apart from each other. Therefore, with regards to Xie Wanwan’s shows or dramas, she wasn’t too interested in them.
The last time Xiang Wan saw any news about her would most probably be due to “The Grey List”.
This was because Xie Wanwan had taken the role of the first female lead of “The Grey List”.
As the loyal fan of Second Young Master Mu, Xiang Wan was actually not too pleased with the choice of Xie Wanwan taking up that role.
Well, Xie Wanwan was probably the first choice of the entertainment company as she was a popular young starlet, had millions of fans, generated huge public interest, a major VIP in Weibo… Her A-List status could fit the role of the hugely popular “The Grey List”. Nevertheless, Xiang Wan had always felt that Xie Wanwan and the image of the first female lead inside her head were unable to overlap with each other.
Some people commented that Xie Wanwan had managed to secure that role because of her name.
As for Xie Wanwan’s fans, they had been supporting their idol by generating a lot of interest, saying that Second Young Master Mu had used her as a reference when he wrote about the female lead in his first book, “The Grey List”…
Well, coincidentally, the name of the female lead in “The Grey List” was also ‘Wanwan’.
She had no surname, only two words—Wanwan.
Back when the “The Grey List” was still being written, and she was following the novel closely, numerous readers left comments asking Second Young Master Mu why his first female lead, Wanwan, had no surname…
Second Young Master Mu never explained why.
Of course, he never replied to any comment at all. He’d been a headstrong person right from the start.
A long while later, Xiang Wan noticed that her palms were sweaty.
The ripping, twitching pain in her heart had subsided. It was as if she’d woken up from a certain emotion, and she gave a not too pleasant-looking smile.
“I’m not interested in knowing all that. You didn’t need to tell me about it.”
Cheng Zheng pursed his lips, and he spoke in a tone that didn’t sound as cool and collected as before. It was the usual cut-and-dried speech about life to educate and brainwash her.
“It’s best that you think like that. I believe that you’re someone who knows what you want in life. Actually, life is short. In just the blink of an eye, decades pass by just like that. There are so many interesting things to be done, why do you want to spend so much time on romantic relationships? Xiang Wan, don’t let your feelings hurt you, it’s not worth it.”
She took a deep breath and put on a smile.
“Captain Cheng, you think too much.”
Cheng Zheng furrowed his eyebrows. “You’re no longer a young girl. There are a lot of things that you’ll surely understand. What is love? A product of phenethylamine. Human beings misinterpret some natural physiological codes and give themselves too many misunderstandings… Many people think that love is a necessity of life, especially women. In fact, it is not so—human beings won’t die without love.”
Is he consoling me?
What a unique way of consoling a person.
However, this was not what Xiang Wan needed.
She didn’t really need much consolation either. She and Bai Muchuan had never crossed the line. Most of the time they were just joking with each other, which she didn’t need to be serious about. She might like him, but it didn’t have to be him.
Plus, she was someone who would stand by her decision the entire way. Even if there were no Bai Muchuan, she wouldn’t agree with Cheng Zheng, who had a cold-blooded attitude towards feelings.
Nonetheless, everyone had their own way of living their life.
She might not have agreed with him, but she wouldn’t try to change him.
“As long as you’re happy with it. Perhaps not secreting phenethylamine is also a kind of happiness.”
Cheng Zheng saw that although Xiang Wan was smiling, there was a look of loneliness on her face.
But he didn’t say anything about it until he reached another red light and stopped his car.
His hand stroked the steering wheel repeatedly as he mulled over something. “Xiang Wan, I don’t want to lie to you,” he began earnestly, “I might not feel your so-called love… but I’m serious about you.”
Here he goes again.
Xiang Wan was unable to say anything.
She could only smile like she hadn’t been sad at all just now.
Cheng Zheng took a look at her. “If we were a couple, I would give you absolute freedom, I would respect your preferences and habits. You can do whatever you like, and I won’t interfere, but I will raise my concerns if I feel it’s particularly inappropriate. Of course, you will have the final say on that. We’ll be in a relationship that would be better than friends…”
In a relationship that would be better than friends? Hurhur.
It sounds so much more ideal than Plato’s philosophy of love!
She wasn’t sure why, but at this very moment, this was exactly the kind of relationship that Xiang Wan dreaded to hear the most.
“Thank you, Captain Cheng!” At this time, she was unusually calm. She didn’t want to turn to another person’s sheltered embrace just because she’d lost someone she wanted to embrace.
“I know that you’re actually a good man,” she told him sincerely. “Those around me have been telling me that you’re a good catch, and it’s my good fortune to have met you. But I have to tell you truthfully, I don’t feel anything towards you… Well, the phenylethylamine you mentioned, it didn’t take effect at all.”
She didn’t think of this as hurting him. It was about taking responsibility for the other person’s feelings.
“Captain Cheng. Actually, I really hope that one day you can find someone who can make your heart race. Someone who can make your phenylethylamine react strongly… By then, you’ll definitely thank me for rejecting you today.”
Xiang Wan said this seriously, but Cheng Zheng didn’t respond for a long time.
He was still driving, and his expression was calm and apathetic. That, at least, was a relief to Xiang Wan as it meant Cheng Zheng didn’t have a heart made of glass. For someone who had no phenylethylamine, he had accepted her rejection calmly once again.
“Actually, you still can’t let go of Bai Muchuan, right?”
Cheng Zheng’s reaction seemed to be rather slow. He nearly drove past an entire street before Xiang Wan heard his voice.
“No!” Xiang Wan laughed. “Those are two different matters, and I mean that. I’m not someone who insists on something that I can’t get.”
Cheng Zheng nodded. “No matter what, I respect your opinion.”
Xiang Wan smiled. “Thank you!”
Cheng Zheng suddenly turned to look at her intently. “Well, you need to remember that this is the third time that you’ve rejected my sincere request.”
Xiang Wan was at a loss for words.
What’s the difference between the third time and the first time? she thought.
She understood herself very well. She didn’t feel anything for him at all…
When they reached their neighborhood, Cheng Zheng dropped Xiang Wan off before he drove into the underground carpark.
Xiang Wan waved at him, but he only looked at her without moving. “I have a request, and I hope you’ll agree to it.”
He said this in his usual calm demeanor, not once did he deviate from his own pace. He was like a solid stone; no matter what happened, his peace of mind would never break…
“Please say it.” Xiang Wan pulled at her clothes, feeling warm when she saw him sizing her up.
“We… Can we be friends?” Cheng Zheng asked.
Xiang Wan was speechless once again.
At that moment, something seemed to gently nudge at Xiang Wan’s heart.
It was his somewhat fiery gaze, mixed with a trace of emotion, which surprised her. She hadn’t expected it, and her immediate reflex was to avoid his eyes.
“I can add a deadline,” continued Cheng Zheng when he noticed her silence. “When you have a boyfriend, we can stop being friends. That way, it won’t affect you.”
Xiang Wan was slightly taken aback. “We… are considered friends, I believe.”
“Okay.” Cheng Zheng looked relieved. “So, we’ll go to work together tomorrow morning. You’re not allowed to refuse!”
Xiang Wan: “…”
With that, the car drove into the underground carpark.
Xiang Wan paused for a while before she went upstairs.
While the lift went up, her brain seemed to hum randomly along with the lift, and she didn’t know what she was thinking about.
The lift stopped.
The moment she stepped out into the hallway, before making a turn, she could already hear someone laughing blissfully in front of the door to her newly rented house.
“Stop that! Keep your hands to yourself, or I’m going to chop them off for you.”
“Heheh! Quick, open the door.”
“Wait a minute, I’m finding my keys… Wait, how am I going to get my keys if you’re like this… Hm… Hahaha… Stop it… You’re annoying!”
Xiang Wan stopped walking when she heard this.
It was Fang Yuanyuan and Huang He. From their conversation, there seemed to be some PG-grade scenes, a.k.a in need of parental guidance. If she went over now, it wouldn’t be appropriate, right?
But if I don’t go there, where can I go?
Clack! The door swung open.
She heard Huang He’s voice. “I have something to do tonight, so I need to get going now…”
Fang Yuanyuan sounded a little unhappy in her reply. “What are you so busy with when you haven’t even started your detective work?”
Huang He: “I… I can’t go back to work yet, but I still need to work to support myself, right?”
Fang Yuanyuan: “Eh? You found a job already? What kind of job is it?”
Huang He hesitated for a while and responded rather weakly.
“… Security officer at a nightclub. Yuanyuan, are you unhappy about that?”
For a good while, there was no reply from Fang Yuanyuan.
Although Xiang Wan was far away from them, she could feel the tense atmosphere between them.
She understood Fang Yuanyuan. She knew that once Yuanyuan made up her mind to love Huang He, she would march forward courageously and wouldn’t look down on his new job… The problem was; when he was a detective, her family already didn’t give their blessings for their relationship. If their youngest aunt knew that he was just a security officer now, how could she accept this?
Fang Yuanyuan finally responded with a smile.
“No matter what you do, I’ll support you.”
She was sincere but because of the long pause, Huang He felt a little awkward.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you…”
“I’m not disappointed. I’m just thinking… have you already given up on being a detective?”
“… Once you’re detained, it stays in the records forever. What happened to me can’t be considered a criminal record, but there are many job positions where people will care about that fact. You know, society is like that… But you don’t have to worry, this security officer job is just temporary. As long as I’m alive, there will be a way out.”
“Hm, I believe you.” Fang Yuanyuan hugged him by his waist, resting her head on his chest. She took a few deep breaths to hold back her tears and laughed lightheartedly. “I’ll be with you anyway. Even if you end up begging, I’ll still want to be with you then.”
“So silly!” Huang He hugged her tightly. “I swear that I will surely give you a good life.”
“I believe you.”
When a couple is deeply in love, they will always make a pledge of devotion.
By the time Huang He walked to the lift, Xiang Wan was still standing in front of it.
Their eyes met, and Huang He scratched his head in embarrassment. Xiang Wan was even more embarrassed.
“Well… I just came back.”
“I heard.” Huang He was a detective after all; he had sensitive ears and sharp eyes. He knew Xiang Wan must have come back, but Yuanyuan didn’t notice the sound of the lift.
“Teacher Xiang, Yuanyuan… is unable to think properly at times, so you need to help her out.”
What does he mean by that?
Xiang Wan looked at him vigilantly. “Don’t tell me you want to run away again?”
“No, no, no.” Huang He waved his hands frantically and heaved a sigh. “I’m starting my new job today, and I’m going to be busy from now on. So… I thought of asking you to take care of her. She’s different from you; she’s not as wise and she’ll dwell on unnecessary things. She’s impulsive, impetuous and capricious. Hurhur, she’s still a young girl.”
A man who treats his girlfriend like a child…
Xiang Wan felt warm inside and suddenly felt like laughing. “I will, she’s my younger cousin.”
Xiang Wan paused for a while and looked at Huang He. “Your case, is it really so serious? You… can’t go back to the police force?”
Actually, she still had some doubts.
If Bai Muchuan could make her an advisor—though not a permanent employee—why couldn’t he get Huang He back into the team?
This didn’t make much sense!
Huang He met her gaze for a second, then slowly turned his head away. “I think I can’t go back,” he said after a few seconds of hesitation, his lips set into a straight line.
“But didn’t Bai Muchuan say—”
“It’s complicated.” Huang He gave a light cough and looked at the time again. “I can’t talk right now,” said Huang He with a smile. “If I continue to chit-chat, I’m going to be late for work. See you again, Teacher Xiang.”
“See you later.”
Huang He left in a hurry.
Xiang Wan entered the house and saw Fang Yuanyuan sitting on the sofa, hugging her knees while deep in thought.
Unsurprised at seeing this scene, she poured a glass of water for Fang Yuanyuan.
“What do you want to eat tonight? I’ll cook for you…”
“Sis!” Fang Yuanyuan lifted her head suddenly and looked at her with tears in her eyes. “What do you think I should do? Youngest Aunt surely won’t agree to let me see Huang He! If he could go back to the police force, I could still persist and try to persuade her slowly… Now he’s a security officer, I… I won’t be able to say a word if I faced Youngest Aunt and my parents now.”
What to do?
What to do?
At this moment, Xiang Wan felt her limbs turn numb, her nerves and thoughts had yet to be restored. What could she do for others when she hadn’t been cured herself?
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said.
It would be the same for Fang Yuanyuan, as well as Huang He.
It would be the same… for herself as well.