Chapter 16: Julien Fifteen
TL: cici, Editor: Isalee, Kittsune
Synopsis: What attitude is that? I invited you for dinner only because you are so pitiful to be defeated in love.
First Published on Ainushi.
Tao Ran went out and saw Fei Du waiting at the door for him with his hands in his pockets.
The noisy “woodpeckers” (1) at the entrance had not yet dispersed. The Bureau was just forced to release a rich second-generation who looked very suspicious. Fei Du could visualize the pressure floating over the Criminal Investigation Team. Therefore, he prepared himself for waiting until the end of the world. Unexpectedly, Tao Ran was very active to go off for the day. When he was in a daze, Tao Ran took the lead to start up the conversation: “Fei Du, come over. I have a few words to tell you.”
Fei Du blinked and moved his eyes to the woman huddled in the chair: “What should we do with her?”
Tao Ran got stumped.
“It’s okay.” Luo Wenzhou came out, leaned against the door and nodded to Tao Ran. “I will ask for her consent after she wakes up. There is a guest house near the entrance. People who come here for business trips generally live there. It is safe and cheap. If she agrees, I will ask someone to reserve her a room over there. In case she is not willing to leave, let the attendant set up a cot for her.”
Tao Ran hesitated and said: “This doesn’t comply with the rules, right?”
“I can handle this with a few words.” Luo Wenzhou waved his hand. “Just go, no one can be so worried as you.”
Fei Du heard this and wondered: “What? Tao Ran, you have a plan in the evening?”
Tao Ran did not answer but said: “Come with me.”
Luo Wenzhou watched Tao Ran pull Fei Du to a side. Because they just had a fight, he forgot about the gaming machine which was filled with tender feelings.
He examined Fei Du’s back with a picky gaze, feeling that every spot on this guy’s body was bursting with the word “Coquettish”. If he was a character in a spy drama, he would be a classic traitor even without the makeup.
But what benefits did being coquettish bring to him? He would still end up being dumped.
Luo Wenzhou suddenly felt inexplicable gloat and shared the same predicament, refused to leave, and stayed around the entrance of the office. He wished that his neck could grow three feet longer so that he could watch the whole process of the rich second-generation meeting a rebuff closely.
Luo Wenzhou and Tao Ran had known each other for many years and went through storms and floods together. They searched for lost children together, fought with criminals who were extremely vicious together, won honour together and were punished to write self-criticism together. They were close friends.
Although Tao Ran was impoverished, he was nice, silently nice. With the long-time companionship, it inevitably caused the “gender-male, hobby-male” companion to have a few improper feelings. However, in terms of sexual orientation, Tao Ran and Luo Wenzhou “were walking on different roads, so they were not able to travel together”. He was so indomitably straight that it was mean to force him. Therefore, Luo Wenzhou braked in time and only occasionally teased him verbally within the proper limit.
Tao Ran’s response was always so broad-minded and didn’t contain any bashfulness, anger or anything that crossed the line. For certain thoughts to be “romantic”, a secretive fermentation process was required. If it were exposed to the sun without any cover, it would be easy to get sterilized by the ultraviolet rays.
At this time, Tao Ran clearly expressed that he was about to embark on another stage of his life. Luo Wenzhou also accepted the fact and removed this ultraviolet radiation-treated pollution-free part from his heart. Expect for a small amount of regret, it did not stir up any waves. Instead, it turned out to be a feeling like a fruit falling off when ripe.
Although a lot of emotional writers who knew humanity wrote articles to warn the world by saying, “Don’t show off to others, some might not want to see you live well,” Luo Wenzhou still felt that there were always a few people around him that were in the category of “seeing them live well made him happy” – even if that person might drift away from himself after succeeding in life.
But then again, for someone like Tao Ran, the only way to succeed in life was to probably buy lottery tickets.
Fei Du had a strange and keen sense. Often, only with a gaze from someone, he could figure out what the other party was about to say. At that time, when pulled aside by Tao Ran, he suddenly behaved like he had a sense of foreboding – He stood up straight and kept his always drifting amorous eyes still. Now he somehow looked like a decent person.
Tao Ran thought for a moment but didn’t know where to start – he had to start from the beginning.
He reached out in the air, made a hand gesture and said to Fei Du: “When I first met you, you were just as tall as this. You crawled into my car with your bag. When I called your dad for the third time and the line was still busy, you looked up at me… At that time, I felt that I had to take care of this kid.”
Fei Du’s eyelids shook slightly. He looked at Tao Ran.
His current image was indeed very different from the pitiful kid who “crawled into a car with a bag”. Tao Ran coughed: “In a blink of an eye, you’ve grown up.”
When he found it hard to pick a word, Fei Du suddenly called him in a long-lost way: “Brother.”
Tao Ran felt puzzled and heard Fei Du ask, “Did I bother you too much?”
Tao Ran never expected that he could “understand” to such a point, that he could see through a brick wall and know before being told. That therefore made Tao Ran dumbfounded.
But Fei Du suddenly smiled. He decided his words for a moment and said very thoughtfully: “I’ve been thinking about this since a few days ago. After one or two years, you’re going to get married and you will have a wife and children; I cannot keep troubling you all the time like now. My psychologist said that things like a friend entering a family or moving away, and family members aging and dying are not accidents but natural things like clouds, rain, and snow. They are objective and perpetual. They hold no meaning in themselves, and excessively indulging in them is just as meaningless as shedding tears over the changes in the seasons. The world is changing, people are changing, and I am changing. It is not logical to refuse changes and separations – not to mention that I already said earlier that I didn’t really expect to pursue any results from you. Anyways, you are my brother.”
Everything Tao Ran was trying to say had been taken away, and there was not even a punctuation mark left to be said. Since there was really nothing to add, Tao Ran had to ask dryly: “…you visited a psychologist?”
Fei Du raised his eyebrows: “Aren’t us ‘bourgeois’ regularly meeting with psychologists something as fashionable as people gathering to taste the mineral water of 1982?”
Tao Ran was just like the employees in Fei Du’s company – although he knew that Fei Du was speaking nonsense, he was calm because of the words.
Fei Du: “You suddenly found someone, or you are about to go on a blind date?”
Tao Ran: “Blind date.”
Fei Du’s mouth moved silently. Apparently he swallowed a comment “so rustic” that he nearly blurt out of his mouth. Then he sighed: “Well, how are you going? You are not going there on foot, are you? Are you wearing that to a date? Do you need to borrow my car?”
The house slave Tao Ran suffered two hits in ten minutes, and did not know if he should laugh or cry. “Enough, you two, have you discussed the lines in advance?”
Fei Du subconsciously looked up to his voice and met with Luo Wenzhou’s gaze. Then, the two men’s expressions became very difficult to describe at the same time, and they both took their eyes off immediately.
After Tao Ran left, Fei Du did not follow him. He waited until Luo Wenzhou called the policeman on duty to properly arrange the residence for Mother He, gently putting a business card in her hand and then leaving promptly.
Luo Wenzhou did not know what was wrong in him–perhaps he saw Fei Du turn around and felt this person seemed to be lonely; perhaps because of a lovelorn alliance, he felt a bit of a sympathetic emotional connection with that dude. Anyway, he called Fei Du on impulse: “Hey, there isn’t anybody to have dinner with you tonight, is there?”
Fei Du took a deep breath and turned around. The formerly somewhat “free from human desires and passions” figures were suddenly blown away by the poisonous words. “It’s rare to be the same as ‘seniors in an empty house’ (2) like you once every hundred years. ”
Looking at Fei Du’s expression, Luo Wenzhou felt his hand begin to itch again. He hated the fact that he was not able to transmigrate back to five seconds before and slapped himself in the face – why did you open your big mouth.
However, the words had already been said and it would be too petty to swallow them back. Therefore, Luo Wenzhou said blankly: “You pacified the victim’s family member today so that she would not talk nonsense to the social media. It was helpful to us. I can take you to dinner here as a representative of the Criminal Investigation Team.”
Fei Du stopped walking with surprise.
In fact, Luo Wenzhou was just polite, he did not expect that President Fei would actually loosen his respect and degrade his honour to stay there… Just like how Fei Du also did not expect that the Captain Luo’s so-called “take you to dinner here” was literally what it meant – the location was the Bureau’s dining hall.
Fei Du was standing in the doorway of the dining hall in silence. He smelled the mysterious smell inside, looked at the red and green ceiling, then the oily floor tiles, the red, yellow, and blue plastic chairs, and finally his gaze fell on a decorative painting on the wall.
The painting said: “Food is never too refined.”
Fei Du was shocked by this fanfaronade statement and thought that the Bureau’s dining hall was as shameless as Luo Wenzhou.
When Luo Wenzhou didn’t want to cook, he often took food home from the dining hall. At the time, he walked to the window deftly and casually asked Fei Du: “Anything you want to avoid?”
Fei Du answered unceremoniously: “Yes—I don’t eat uncooked green onions, cooked garlic and cooked or uncooked ginger. No sour, no spicy. No animal oil. No plant stems. No eggplant or tomatoes with skin. And I don’t eat anything below the knees, above the necks and inside the body of animals.”
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
Fei Du calmly looked back into his eyes, thought carefully, and added: “And I don’t eat boiled egg yolk and brine tofu… Well, I can handle the gypsum tofu.
Luo Wenzhou had never seen a primate who was even more difficult to deal with than Luo Yiguo. He felt that he was fighting hard and barely managed to hold back the phrase, “Go out and eat shit.”
Captain Luo overdrew all his patience for the rest of his life, ordered the dishes from the stir-fry dish window, told the cooker not to have this and that, and went back to feed the troublesome “Fei Yiguo”.
Eventually, Fei Du examined everything on the table, picked and picked, and finally took only a sugar bun with brown sugar filling. Then he ate it with hot candied apple.
Luo Wenzhou said: “You didn’t tell me you don’t eat seafood.”
“I do.” Fei Du answered without raising his eyes. “I just don’t bother peeling.”
Luo Wenzhou took a deep breath and once again had a deeper understanding of Tao Ran’s father character – Tao Ran had endured this dude for seven years and managed to not strangle him.
Luo Wenzhou knocked on the table: “Is what you said to Tao Ran your true feeling?”
Fei Du did not make a sound but glanced at him half-mockingly as if he had asked a stupid question.
“What attitude is that? I invited you for dinner only because you are so pitiful to be defeated in love.” Luo Wenzhou pulled out a pair of disposable plastic gloves, pretended to feed the cat and peeled the whole plate of shrimp. “Why did you stay today?”
Fei Du’s chopsticks paused and picked up a shrimp. As an equivalent exchange, his next sentence was not sarcastic: “Nothing – you suspect that the murderer is someone around Zhang Donglai who has always been concerned about the actions of the police, so you release Zhang Donglai as bait?”
Luo Wenzhou: “You have a different opinion?”
“The idea is almost the same,” said Fei Du. “In fact, if you start from the deceased in the beginning, it should not be difficult for you to find the person. He should be an old acquaintance of the deceased. He probably has changed his name, but in this society where everyone has an ID card, it’s impossible to change it without any trace. It’s only that nobody has investigated. If you want to investigate inside your system, he will soon be exposed. Therefore, he wants to shift your sight desperately.”
Luo Wenzhou: “You think that the deceased knew the murderer before coming to Yancheng instead of him secretly doing any dirty business for some people.”
“The money for the medication for his mother,” Fei Du said. “That hundred thousand yuan was sent back home less than one month after he first arrived in Yancheng. If I want to do anything illegal, I will not let someone whom I am not familiar with to join. A criminal gang that makes such a big profit must have a higher threshold than the entrance exam for your bureau.”
Luo Wenzhou automatically ignored his last sentence: “What if he had a mysterious fellow from the same hometown who introduced him to a criminal gang? The introducer and the murderer were probably not the same person.”
“His mother said He Zhongyi – is this name correct? He Zhongyi has not mentioned anyone other than an elderly man named Zhao Yulong who introduced him to his work,” said Fei Du. “When people travel to a distant place and come across someone from his hometown, he would mention that to his family.”
Luo Wenzhou: “Even if they do illegal things together?”
“Especially if they do illegal things together,” said Fei Du. “He knows it is unsafe, so he will subconsciously seek a sense of security. Saying ‘I am with XX’ to the family and himself is a kind of like compensatory comfort – why do you think that there is such an unwarranted ‘gang’?”
Luo Wenzhou stopped to move his chopsticks and stared at his bowl for a moment: “I can’t speak too much – because at the night of the death of the deceased, he received a mysterious text message on his phone. He was probably killed in Dongfumen District but was dumped in Huashi Western District which is more than a half hour drive away. Besides, we happened to receive some information about the Huashi Western District.”
Fei Du frowned and finally looked a bit surprised.
Right at this moment, Luo Wenzhou’s cell phone suddenly rang. It was a number not in the address book.
Luo Wenzhou picked up: “Hello?”
There were slight noises accompanied by a person’s violent breathing.
Luo Wenzhou: “Who is there?”
As he suspected that that was a harassment call, a sudden scream rushed out: “Help! Save…”
Then the line went dead.
(1) Woodpeckers: Reporters. Quoted from Bai Yansong, a famous Chinese news commentator: Good reporters are woodpeckers.
(2) Seniors in empty house: Senior people who live alone generally because their children have already left the family and their spouses have passed away.