107. Treat You to Barbeque
JingYuan placed his hands on his knee, fingers linked. “Feng Qun is clearly just a scapegoat,” he said. “The true mastermind is still eyeing YiHan from the dark. YiHan is still in a lot of danger. Ending the case this sloppily would upset the victim further instead.”
“I also told the higher-ups that,” Captain Chen sighed. “But this case has just blown up. The old Mr Yan called yesterday to ask about the case’s progress. The officials are under a lot of pressure.”
“If there’s a lot of pressure, then the police should do their all to solve the case,” JingYuan replied with an unamused smile. “Not try and wave us off with a vague excuse. Captain Chen, I believe in you. It’s only a matter of time to when this case would be resolved. We’re not in a hurry so what are your higher-ups panicking about?”
“Thank you, Mr Mu, for your confidence in me.” Captain Chen bitterly smiled. “However, there’s a lot of rumours and talk flying around now and the mastermind is doing their best to hide. Feng Qun is dead and all our leads have gone cold. If we want to drag the true mastermind from hiding, we’d need a lot of time. The higher-ups seriously can’t wait anymore. Actually, I also think it’s best to end the case early.”
“Oh?” JingYuan’s eyes gleamed. “You have a plan, Captain?”
“I do have some kind of a plan,” Chen Jing said with a nod. “Those men had confessed after undergoing several sessions of interrogation. Unfortunately, the information they provided wasn’t of any true help at all. The person who paid them certainly wasn’t Feng Qun but the money passed through the man’s hands. The mastermind never showed themselves. ‘That person’ contacted Feng Qun and told him to hire these men. Due to their paranoid nature born from being criminals, they didn’t trust or believe Feng Qun. He looked like someone who couldn’t pay up back then and since he’d fallen from grace overnight, Feng Qun kept muttering and mumbling to himself as if he were crazy. Thus, ‘that person’ had to appear before them and alleviate their concerns. They were told that as long as they did their job, they’d be paid. None of them wasn’t able to see what ‘that person’ looked like back then. The room they had their chat in had a barrier between them and ‘that person’, plus ‘that person’ used a voice changer. All we know is they exist. We have no way to investigate them. Everyone in the city is now on alert and the mastermind must be too. They wouldn’t slip up. Why don’t we act as though we’re ending the case to put ‘that person’ at ease? Fang Yi and I would then secretly continue our investigation. Perhaps we might be pleasantly surprised by the results.”
YiHan leaned back on his chair, smiled and said, “That is a perfect plan. We can continue investigating while giving the public and your bosses a resolution.”
“It’s our last resort,” Captain Chen replied. “It involves the dignity of the old Mr Yan, and the Bai and Mu families. My application to continue the investigation in secret would soon be approved. Mr Mu, Mr Bai, please don’t worry. I will do my best to find everyone involved and eliminate all future worries.”
“That’d be good.” JingYuan nodded. “We’ll be depending on you and Officer Fang then.”
“You’re too kind,” Captain Chen replied. “This is my duty. Thank you so much for your understanding.”
“You’re doing all you can do for YiHan’s case,” JingYuan said. “I can still see that.”
Chen Jing’s ever-stern face cracked with a smile born from his heart. “It’s my duty,” he said.
“It’s getting late,” JingYuan commented, standing up from his chair. “You two should be off work soon, right? Why don’t we have a meal together?”
“Thank you for your offer, Mr Mu,” Captain Chen hurriedly said. “But it’s my wedding anniversary today. My wife is waiting for me at home with a feast she’d spent a lot of time preparing. I can’t bear to disappoint her. Please forgive me.”
JingYuan’s mind began imagining his and YiHan’s future wedding anniversary. On that long-awaited day, he’d prepare a feast of eight dishes and one soup. HanHan would gasp in awe and stare at him with admiration. The two would then lock eyes and smile. In the warm, gentle glow of candlelight, they’d dine and do something a little more after…
JingYuan’s mind wandered so deeply into his fantasy that a smile began spreading across his face. “A wedding anniversary certainly is a very important matter,” he agreed. “Best not to be late. You’d best head home early.”
Chen Jing had to go through what JingYuan said three times before he was sure the man wasn’t mocking him in a passive aggressive manner. He was touched upon realising it was serious. “Thank you so much for your understanding, Mr Mu. The one you marry will certainly be happy.”
“Of course,” JingYuan said in a matter-of-fact tone. “If a man can’t make his lover happy, then he’s not fit to be a lover.” As he said so, he shot a glance full of love at YiHan.”
YiHan’s heart skipped. He twisted his head and looked away, revealing bright red ears.
“Indeed,” Chen Jing said, nodding. “You’re so insightful, Mr Mu.”
YiHan cleared his throat, stood up and said, “Well, Captain Chen, you’d best be getting ready to be home on time. You can’t make your wife wait on such an important day. We’ll be off.”
“Take care, sirs,” Chen Jing said, standing up as well.
The couple nodded and left.
Li Sun knew the two powerful men didn’t want to see him and he wouldn’t even dare to let Tao Qi appear before JingYuan again. After Fang Yi was done with his questioning, he charged out the station with the reluctant Tao Qi in two.
When JingYuan and YiHan entered the reception area on their way out, it was to a peaceful room only occupied by Fang Yi packing up.
“Officer Fang,” YiHan asked, walking over. “Do you have anything on tonight?”
“No.” The policeman was stunned. “What is it, Mr Bai?”
“That’s great,” YiHan gleefully said, smile so wide that his dimples were showing. “Let’s go eat. It’s my treat tonight. I was going to invite Captain Chen too but it’s his wedding anniversary tonight. He can’t come so it’ll just be us three tonight.”
“How could I?” Fang Yi quickly refused. “As I’ve said, it’s my duty to hunt down clues and investigate all I can. You don’t need to take it to the heart, Mr Bai.”
“I know,” YiHan replied, carefree smile still on his face. “You’re a very responsible policeman, a true servant to the public. I didn’t mean anything by the offer. I just want to be friends. Don’t think of me as the Little Master Bai. Think of me as a normal friend. Well? Would you come?”
Fang Yi was a frank man. Upon hearing such a sincere plea, his impression of YiHan became much more favourable than before. He couldn’t help smiling back. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I? I’d be glad to be your friend!”
“That settles it. Let’s go!” YiHan patted Fang Yi on the shoulder. “What do you want to eat? Just tell me. I’ve got plenty of money!”
Fang Yi was stunned. “Really?” he dazedly asked.
“Of course,” YiHan replied.
“I like barbeque skewers the most!” said Fang Yi, the honest child.
JingYuan: …! You want to ask someone who’s so nit-picky that there’s no food he’d never criticise to go eat grilled skewers?
After a silent pause, Fang Yi realised what he said wasn’t really appropriate for someone of YiHan’s calibre. He was about to change his answer when YiHan suddenly laughed.
“Okay! We’ll have barbeque tonight!” YiHan then turned to JingYuan, his eyes gleaming bright. “Can we?”
JingYuan was shocked. He was going to refuse. He was afraid YiHan’s digestive system wouldn’t be used to it but upon seeing such happiness glimmering in those eyes, he hesitated. YiHan was likely afraid of disappointing Fang Yi. JingYuan can just keep a closer eye on YiHan. He won’t let the younger man have too much. And so, the words hovering on his tongue dropped back down to his throat.
“It’s fine to have some occasionally,” JingYuan said with a nod.
“You’re the best, JingYuan,” said YiHan. He the raised a hand, pointing out ahead and said in the grandest tone he could muster, “Let’s go!”
This was the first time YiHan had acted like a kid since his “incident”. It made JingYuan worry much less. Plus the “sweet talk” just now, JingYuan’s mood was soaring high. A doting smile hung on his face as his steady strides followed YiHan out.
At that moment, Fang Yi somehow felt a glow shining bright from his head…
The trio walked out the police station to find an SUV parked by the side. A rather handsome but thuggish young man was leaning against it. He was very tall, but lanky. The two long and slender legs wrapped in a pair of leather pants were extremely eye-catching. His eyes looked as if they’d never wake up. Squinted, those almond-shaped eyes stared unblinkingly at the police station entrance. When Fang Yi appeared in his sight, those sleepy eyes lit up. By the time the trio heard him calling out to Fang Yi, he was already on his way over.
Fang Yi shot an apologetic glance at YiHan. The younger man tilted his chin up, indicating he could go handle it.
The young man stopped before Fang Yi. He first scanned JingYuan and YiHan from top to toe. An intelligent glint flashed across his eyes before being suppressed again.
“Lil Fang, let’s go get dinner,” he said to Fang Yi with a roguish smile.
“Qin An, didn’t I tell you?” Fang Yi sighed. “Don’t come looking for me anymore.”
“How could I?” Qin An chuckled. “I’ve got to pay you back for saving my life.”
“Why can’t I get through to you?” Fang Yi sighed once more. “The wounds you had back then only looked terrifying. Even if I hadn’t saved you, you wouldn’t have died. You’d suffer more pain at most. Aren’t you afraid of being a laughingstock? How could you say I saved your life?”
“You just don’t like me because I’m a street thug,” Qin An muttered, his lips pushed out in a miserable pout. “You don’t want to be seen with me.”
“You too understand you’re a thug,” Fang Yi said in a defeated tone, head lowered into his palm. “Look. You’re a thug. I’m a policeman. We have nothing in common. How can we be friends? I’ve advised you to change your ways but you refused to.”
“So what if you’re police?” Qin An huffed. “I’ve not broken the law. Why can’t we be close?”
“If you weren’t fighting, where did the stab wounds come from?” Fang Yi asked, looking back up. “How did I find you again? You’re lucky I didn’t bring you back to the station for questioning.”
“What stab wounds?” Qin An blinked and innocently asked. “I don’t know. Either way, we’re friends. Let’s get dinner together.”
Fang Yi let out another sigh and shook his head. He didn’t know what else to say anymore. “Forget it. Whatever I say just goes out the other ear. I can’t do tonight though. I’ve already got plans.”
Qin An peeked around Fang Yi at JingYuan and YiHan. “With them?” he asked. “What a coincidence. You can just bring me along. The more the merrier. Mr Mu…you don’t mind me joining you, right?”
“Of course not,” JingYuan replied. His smile didn’t reach his eyes.
“How do you know Mr Mu?” Fang Yi curiously asked.
Qin An took advantage of his height and hung himself over Fang Yi’s shoulders. “I’m just a little thug,” he laughed. “How could I know him? He’s just incredibly famous. I’ve seen his picture in financial magazines.”
Fang Yi, a true innocent silly goose, replied with a simple “oh”. Now that he knew there was no way he could get rid of this clingy man, he turned to YiHan, “Mr Bai…”
- Feast of eight dishes and one soup: It’s only a common number used for family feasts. A round table in a Chines feast would typically only seat 10. Eight dishes and one soup would be just enough for 10 adults to dine on. There’s also some number speculation (on my end). Eight (八ba) can be a semi-homonym for prosperity (发/發 fa). There’s also 8+1=9 of which 9 is another lucky number. All personal speculation though.
- Glow shining bright: Reference to a lightbulb, the Chinese term for third-wheeler.
- Qin An: 秦安 He’s…important. Let’s applaud for a deed he’ll do in the future.