Chapter 60 Macbeth One
TL: QuantumC, Editor: IsaLee
Before Luo Wenzhou had the time to react, the person behind him gasped for air: it was Lang Qiao.
Lately, Miss Lang’s mind often wandered to Fei Du’s mysterious smile from the other day. On her way to work each day, her imagination ran wild, conjuring up a whole season of an R-rated TV show with tags such as “dominant-submissive”, “psychological sadomasochistic”, and the like. Thank God she was insanely overworked lately that she hadn’t found the time to ‘spoil’ the plots for one of her male leads, Luo Wenzhou, yet.
It had been rainy lately, and, shocked by the sight of Fei Du, Comrade Lang Qiao tripped and stomped right into a water puddle. Almost losing her balance, she clung onto the side wall with all four limbs.
Luo Wenzhou heard the noises and turned around. Seeing her disgraceful posture, this stupid homo delivered his signature ridicule: “Why do you bother to wear heels to work? It’s not like anyone here doesn’t already know that you’re short…”
Lang Qiao: “…”
She rolled her eyes, fixed her heels, and swallowed the warning she was about to give him, thinking: “Bah! Like I care if you bleed white.”
To be fair, even when Fei Du was ‘courting’ Tao Ran back in the day, he didn’t frequent the Bureau. He only occasionally dropped by to ‘bug’ him when he had something exciting to show off. After all, he had a job to go to during the day and many clubs to visit at night. Luo Wenzhou used to think of him and worry about him a lot, but that was before he had grown into a 360-degree dickhead. After that, there wasn’t much to think of.
A city was a worldly place filled with busy people. A megacity like Yancheng separated souls by distance, traffic, or simply other souls. So it was very normal for ordinary friends to go for months without seeing each other.
However, although it had only been a couple weeks since Mr. Fei last graced the Bureau to “send warmth”(1) to Luo Wenzhou, it strangely seemed like ages.
Fei Du’s car was flashy as usual, but he dressed much more low-key.
He didn’t wear glasses this time. An earphone hung loosely from one of his ears. His cotton dress shirt was buttoned up neatly and he even wore a pair of jeans — a rare sight. His hair was pushed back, revealing his well-defined contour and beautiful eyes. It was as if something had cleansed his soul and washed off his usual facade of a polished scum. Now he looked like a cool art major student who had a little attitude, but nothing over the top.
Hands in his pockets, Luo Wenzhou strolled casually towards Fei Du. But inside he was cursing with the F word—
There were tens of thousands of beautiful men in the world, and Luo Wenzhou’s taste was diverse. He appreciated the muscular hunky type that was popular in the western world and also had an appetite for the traditional jade-like gentlemen… all were welcome, that is, except for Fei Du’s type.
Mr. Fei belonged to a category that he couldn’t handle: a human cobra. He was well-groomed and charming on the outside but had a million holes in his heart (2) that could trigger a trypophobia reaction if anyone took a peek. From top to bottom, this man was armed with something sharp and invasive. If you don’t want to be manipulated, you’d have to be on guard all the time. Just thinking of him gave Luo Wenzhou a headache, let alone feel ‘appreciative’.
Meanwhile, what attracted Luo Wenzhou the most was the bright, clean, and moderately rebellious type. A pretty face would be a plus — today’s Fei Du, for example.
After all, Fei Du was still very young. All it took was retracting his fangs and tuning up his youthfulness, and there you had it: a sunshine boy from next door.
Luo Wenzhou waved to dismiss the parking enforcement officer. Then he tapped the top of Fei Du’s car and pointed to a business building across the street: “Make a right turn there by the shopping center, and you’ll see the closest parking lot. You can’t just park in front of the Bureau like this unless it’s absolutely urgent. You’ll have to have a parking permit.”
Fei Du replied with an innocent smile: “Where can I get the permit?”
“Our long term permit is neither for sale nor for wholesale… Well, first you’ll have to become an employee at the Bureau. Or, you could become the spouse of someone that works here.” Luo Wenzhou looked down impassively to try to hide his inner turmoil and to rest his over-feasted eyeballs. Then he continued with a half-hearted smile: “So which one are you, Mr. Fei? A couple days out of the plaster and it looks like someone’s already fooling around again… What do you want?”
Fei Du replied to his question with another question: “Where’s your car?”
Luo Wenzhou answered: “Lent to a colleague for his first date.”
Fei Du squinted his eyes, then pulled open the passenger door: “Cool. Want a ride?”
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
With Fei Du’s movements came a light breeze. To Luo Wenzhou’s surprise, Fei Du didn’t wear one of his collections of cologne today. Instead, the scent was a mixture of some fabric detergent and shaving cream: fresh and clean, like the autumn wind washed crisp by the cold rain.
This kid must be doing it on purpose.
Luo Wenzhou’s brain sounded the alarm, but his limbs betrayed the brain and automatically climbed into the car.
Fei Du closed the door for him like a gentleman. Right when he was about to go to the driver’s side, he saw a ‘frizzy haired’ person with a worn-out briefcase walking out of the Bureau and looking around as if waiting for someone. It was Tao Ran.
Fei Du paused and waved at him: “Brother.”
“Hey,” Tao Ran scratched his head as he walked towards him. Although his eyes were big, they were not observant: he completely missed Fei Du’s different look today. “These lazy bones…they knew we weren’t working overtime today. I only went to the restroom and ‘poof’ they disappeared … except for the ones on call … Why are you here?”
Fei Du said, “Got something to take care of.”
“Oh, Okay.” Tao Ran’s mind was clearly elsewhere. He didn’t continue asking him what that something was, but instead asked, “I was looking for you actually. Chang Ning said that Chen Chen’s parents wanted to invite us over for a meal. Wanna come??”
Fei Du replied with a long “Oh~~.”
Tao Ran blinked: “What?”
“Go to Chen Chen’s house — then the rest of us will chat with the parents and keep them occupied while you help sister Chang Ning clean up and prepare the meal?” Fei Du leaned on the car idly, “Or you could encourage people to bring wine. Then after everyone’s had something to drink, Chang Ning will offer to send them home and you can be the chauffeur. Better yet, right after we leave through the door, the rest of us ‘third wheels’ can just go and take the subway together. You can then take her out for a drive, or even go see a movie.”
Tao Ran had planned none of those. But this plan was so inspiring that he was completely enlightened. Even his eyes visibly lit up. Since he was a little embarrassed, he didn’t reply. He only stood there and smiled, mesmerized.
At that time, the car window facing Tao Ran rolled down. Luo Wenzhou said to him peevishly: “Alright alright… I have received the message about this meal and will relay it to our comrades. Now could you please stop torturing the single dogs on the street? Watch your manners!”
Tao Ran couldn’t have imagined in a thousand years that he would one day see a living Luo Wenzhou, in Fei Du’s car. He was flabbergasted. He looked at Luo Wenzhou, then at Fei Du, then back at Luo Wenzhou for a couple rounds as if making sure that he wasn’t hallucinating because of extreme fatigue. “O…Okay,” he replied absentmindedly, rubbing his eyes. Then he walked away following Luo’s protest.
Vice Captain Tao had walked a complete 50 meters until his reflex arc finally caught up. A flash of lightning struck him: Wait! It was Luo Wenzhou in the car?
Luo Wenzhou: gender: male; interested in: male.
Fei Du: gender: male; interested in: …human!
Tao Ran abruptly turned his head — his neck complained with a loud “crack” — only to see that the sports car had already happily departed. It quickly merged into the traffic and disappeared.
“Hallucination,” Tao Ran concluded with a nod in all seriousness, then dragged his heavy legs and walked away.
“Turn left at the next crossing: there is a detour ahead due to construction.” Luo Wenzhou gave out unruffled directions as if he was really just getting a ride home. He asked about Fei Du’s true intention once, but the little bastard kept it in the clouds. So Luo Wenzhou decided not to ask again. Instead, he’d wait for him to reveal it when the time came.
Little did he expect that Fei Du would drive silently the whole way, without a single unnecessary word until finally: “Arrived.”
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
Wait…so? What now?
“I meant it. I just wanted to give you a ride.” Fei Du keenly caught the hint of confusion from Luo Wenzhou’s eyes. The corner of his mouth curved into a faint, Fei Du-ish smile.
And thus was farewell to the innocent “sunshine boy” image that he had kept the entire way. Underneath the painted skin, it was still the usual ingredients and familiar taste. Fei Du lowered his voice intentionally so the atmosphere turned ambiguously steamy. He whispered in Luo Wenzhou’s ear: “What were you expecting, Captain Luo?”
It was the usual flirting tactic of the playboys: inviting in this moment but aloof in the next; tinkering with the line but never crossing it; vaguely amorous but retreating as soon as the fish starts biting the bait… If the prey was curious and followed suit, it would be led into the trap one step after another.
Luo Wenzhou used to be an insider of the circle too and a pro at using these tactics. However, being targeted was quite a new experience. He couldn’t really find any faults in Fei Du’s words, and he couldn’t ask anything directly. The anticipation was built up high, but nothing followed. This teasing had really worked, for he now felt like some bonobos were scratching his heart making it hard for him to concentrate and he was unsure whether to cry or to laugh.
Luo Wenzhou took a deep breath to help ease the scratches, and decided to employ a “steadfast” move, that is, to make no move in response to any move. He paused shortly, then went straight for the door handle. He opened the door, then patted it: “Nice car. But wasted on the city roads…what a shame. Thanks bro, see ya.”
Luo Wenzhou dashingly jumped off the car and headed back home to feed his cat. He didn’t look back, not even once.
Fei Du stayed in the car, but his eyes were on Captain Luo as his back disappeared into the hallway of the apartment building. Then, slowly, he restarted the car.
“My pleasure.” He said to himself, “See you tomorrow.”
The next day, Captain Luo picked up his breakfast delivery business again and barely made it to the office on time. As soon as he walked in, he saw some colleagues moving a desk.
“Director Zeng just dropped by and said that someone new is arriving today.” Tao Ran poked his head out of his cubbie and answered, “They’re making room for the new colleagues.”
“Oh, that’s right.” Luo Wenzhou put down the breakfast food. He signaled his underlings to help themselves as he continued, “Too much has been going on lately that I almost forgot: I received his transfer order a while ago. So today is the day huh… Actually, you guys know him. It’s ‘small-glasses’ from the branch office. When Wang Hongliang was taken down, he was under investigative leave too. Afterwards, I thought, hey, this kid was quick and capable, so I filed a request to transfer him over to us.”
Tao Ran was surprised: “It’s Xiao Haiyang?”
Before Luo Wenzhou could answer, another head popped in at the door and said: “Captain Luo, Director Zeng wants to see you in his office.”
Luo Wenzhou nodded. He grabbed a beancurd to-go cup and poked in a straw as thick as his thumb. After a casual stir he started drinking, and by the time he arrived at Director Zeng’s office, he had already finished the whole cup.
Luo Wenzhou was as lazy as a slug. To avoid walking the extra steps, he shot the empty cup at the trash can from two meters away. Following a nice hyperbolic trajectory, the plastic cup landed in the middle of the can with a bang.
Before he saluted himself for the perfect long shot, an office door opened from the inside.
Zeng Guangling pushed his glasses and glanced at Luo Wenzhou coldly: “What a waste of talent. You should have gone to the NBA.”
Director Zeng started out as a forensic doctor. Later he was promoted to a managerial position because old Chief Zhang appreciated his professionalism and rigorous work ethic. But since then, he was handed lots and lots of ‘career growth opportunities’: drafting the reports, organizing the Party member meetings, weighing in on HR decisions, etc., which were killing him. The more involved he was in these ‘growth opportunities’, the more miserable he was, and the more rigid and icy he became.
When Luo Wenzhou was just starting out at the Bureau, he often followed Zeng around the crime scenes. Zeng Guangling, a strict and serious man, wasn’t a big fan of Luo Wenzhou’s playfulness. He often scolded him. Consequently, Luo Wenzhou had already developed a steel-forged thick skin in front of him. He lightly brushed it off with a cheeky grin: “You bet. But I also have a heart for servicing the people so I had to give up the $20,000,000 salary. What a touching story— Anyways, I heard that the newbie was an old…”
Before the word “friend” made it out of his mouth, Luo Wenzhou was stunned into paralysis.
There were two guests in Zeng Guangling’s office. One was Xiao Haiyang, just as he had expected. As Xiao Haiyang saw him coming in, as the well-behaved kid that he was, he immediately stood up to salute him: “Captain Luo.”
As for the one beside him, he wasn’t quite so well-behaving.
“An old friend indeed.” Fei Du finished Luo Wenzhou’s sentence. His eyes patrolled, delightfully, from Luo Wenzhou’s chest down to his knees and back up again. After the free tour, he smiled and continued, “I was just at Captain Luo’s home for dinner last month.”
Zeng Guangling had been around for very long: he basically watched Luo Wenzhou grow from a know-nothing young lad to the Captain of the Criminal Investigation Squad. Although he never mentioned it, he was very familiar with Luo Wenzhou’s “unconventional” private life. So Fei Du’s words immediately sent Director Zeng the wrong message. He rolled his eyes at Luo Wenzhou and spoke with an undertone: “Since you all know each other from before, I will skip the introductions. Last year, the Bureau and the Yancheng Police Academy’s graduate school had a joint project, remember? Old Chief Zhang led it. The goal was to study the cases to develop theories, and then use the theories to direct future operations on similar cases. For example, the child abduction case this time, which spanned over twenty years, is definitely worth studying. The YCPA (3) had formed a focus research group, and Little Fei here is the liaison — Wenzhou might not look like a serious superior, but he is actually quite good at separating personal and professional roles, right?”
Luo Wenzhou: “…”
What sketchy research group would appoint such a liason! Did everyone else die?
Zeng Guangling continued: “Little Xiao, it’s your first day today. Go ahead and introduce yourself to your colleagues. Many here are about the same age as you. I am sure you will find yourself at home in no time. Fei Du—”
Fei Du put his crossed-leg down, and, under Luo Wenzhou’s tooth-aching glower, answered with the most innocent and benign voice: “Professor Zeng.”
“Oh well, don’t call me ‘Professor’.“ Zeng Guangling was apparently pleased by this address. His otherwise stern voice warmed up a little and a hint of a smile appeared on his icy face: “I only taught for two years. I am more like an upperclassman. Your Professor Pan called about you. If there is anything you need, feel free to come to my office.”
Luo Wenzhou stayed for a one-on-one with Director Zeng afterwards. Apparently this middle-aged man’s understanding of what was going on was completely astray. Luo Wenzhou had to endure his belaboring about conduct and professionalism, then sit through a meeting for this lousy research project at Chief Lu’s office where the old man expounded the meaning and significance of the project all the way up to political correctness. When he finally dragged his fatigued heart and legs back to the main office, he found his own office barely recognizable—
- Send warmth: This literal translation may sound a bit strange. It’s a Chinese expression used a lot to describe volunteers (usually elementary or middle school kids) going to the community to send their love and help those in need (mostly the elderly, and the poor).
- YCPA: Yancheng Police Academy