Chapter 10: The Blind Date
Translator: MintCatnip Editor: Chrissy
“Who’s the f*cker who threw something down?”
“Just now, I heard a scream?”
“It must be that couple fighting and smashing things again! No guts to appear now?
“That almost hit someone! Do you know how dangerous it is to throw things out of the window from an altitude?”
“Hey beautiful, are you alright?”
Xiang Wan was still in a daze. Her surroundings were now in a uproar, filled with voices of the residents. There were residents looking down from their windows to find out what happened. A few pedestrians behind rushed toward her to check out what happened. They also surrounded the broken flowerpot, and followed her by looking up toward the residential block, pointing their fingers and discussing amongst themselves.
It was silent over at the fourth floor of the residential building.
The shadow that flashed past the window was nowhere to be seen.
No one knew which window the flowerpot had fallen from.
Under the greyish blue sky, Xiang Wan felt a sense of fear growing inside her heart. The rain drops that fell on Xiang Wan’s face had the same characteristic as her—drained of color.
She suddenly turned around and ran out of the alley like a crazy woman, amidst the voices of the crowd.
She was too traumatized to go back and change into a fresh set of clothes. She hugged her laptop bag and ran till her arms were stiff, numb but unaware. Until once again when she stepped inside the shelter of the bus stop, watching the flow of traffic to and fro, as well as the people waiting for their buses, her heart which was grasped tightly by fear finally somewhat calmed down.
People around stayed away from her when they saw her.
Xiang Wan did not know that her pale face coupled with the dull, lifeless eyes, plus a seemingly lost look, was also scary to the people at the bus stop——they thought they might have seen a ghost.
“Yuanyuan…” Xiang Wan called up her cousin. Her voice sounded shaky and agitated, “I’m unable to dress up nicely now.”
Fang Yuanyuan noticed her unusual tone. “What’s the matter? What happened?”
Xiang Wan squinted her eyes. Looking at the blurred street lights under the hazy rain and the bustling city scene, she found herself tongue-tied. She was unable to tell her cousin about the sudden perilous incident.
The experience at the alley and the bustling of the city were like two different worlds…
Maybe she was just scaring herself?
It was just as what Bai Muchuan had said—she was unable to prove what she had experienced.
Recovering from her thoughts, she said, “I’ve lost my keys, can’t get inside my house.”
Fang Yuanyuan took 30 minutes to rush over to her. When she saw Xiang Wan’s lost and distracted behavior, she started to nag at her.
Fang Yuanyuan really had it rough, being the editor as well as being a nanny to Xiang Wan, worrying all the time.
Xiang Wan did not argue back and seemed to be in a hypnotic trance. Fang Yuanyuan brought her to get some light makeup done, as well as a change of clothes. However, Xiang Wan still remained the same. Fang Yuanyuan started to blow her top.
“Miss Xiang! Are you going to a blind date or attending a funeral with that brooding expression of yours?”
Fang Yuanyuan’s words were not nice. Usually, such words would have meant nothing to Xiang Wan, but now that she heard it, she felt as if her heart was being stung. “Let’s go.”
“… You’ve been possessed!”
Crazy , Fang Yuanyuan dissed inside her head.
She felt that this might be Xiang Wan’s blind date syndrome, and did not delve into it.
She booked a cab for Xiang Wan to Ocean Sky Hotpot before she asked in a nice tone, “Need me to send you there?”
Xiang Wan turned around. “I need you to accompany me through the entire thing.”
Fang Yuanyuan asked, “You want me to help you evaluate the guy, or just to ease your nerves?
Xiang Wan finally showed a smile. “I need you, who weighs 120 pounds, to accompany me as a set off, to show off my good points.”
“I… Do you believe if I say I’ll thrash you up?”
“Brothers go to battle together, cousins attend the blind date together.”
Fang Yuanyuan completely lost the battle of argument to Xiang Wan. Finally, she sat on the cab obediently with Xiang Wan to Ocean Sky Hotpot.
With Fang Yuanyuan cursing away beside her, Xiang Wan gradually calmed down.
A person’s fear could sometimes be originated from the struggle and fear inside the heart. In conclusion, Xiang Wan thought she could just be scaring herself.
Xiang Wan was a materialist 1 . She came up with an explanation that the fear she felt from the fallen flowerpot could have caused her to hallucinate. The shadow she saw by the window should be an illusion due to her tense state of mind.
She thought maybe she might have been too tired due to too many late nights. She needed a good rest!
Ocean Sky Hotpot—name of a hotpot restaurant.
The light box at the entrance was shining brightly. Xiang Wan squinted her eyes as she looked at the restaurant, feeling slightly flustered.
In order to allow the youngsters the opportunity to talk and get along by themselves, their youngest aunt said she would not be coming. She only messaged Fang Yuanyuan on the name of the private dining room. She also specially instructed Fang Yuanyuan, “Talk less, minimize your presence, keep your mouth shut, and do not steal the show.”
That made Xiang Wan shake her head and laugh. “Youngest aunt has no need to be so worried!”
Fang Yuanyuan gritted her teeth and stared at Xiang Wan. “What if that guy likes a 120 pound girl?”
“Then I shall let you have him,” Xiang Wan replied in a earnest manner. “No need to thank me!”
The two of them talked as they walked to the third floor of the hotpot restaurant and arrived at the entrance of the private dining room “Elegance”.
Fang Yuanyuan raised her hand to knock on the door when the door suddenly opened. A man who wanted to come out of the room nearly bumped into her.
“What are you doing?” Fang Yuanyuan muttered unhappily.
The man was confused for a while. He took a glance at Fang Yuanyuan and turned back to the room with a slightly evil snicker. “Bro Zheng, I think your date is here?”
Date? Both Xiang Wan and Fang Yuanyuan exchanged glances.
The dining room seemed lively with conversations. There was no trace of any atmosphere of a blind date?
About six men and women sat together and the atmosphere was lively…
“We may have gotten the wrong place,” said Xiang Wan, who gave a tug at Fang Yuanyuan’s hand.
That man laughed again. He looked at both Xiang Wan and Fang Yuanyuan, “No, no, it’s correct, aren’t you both here for the blind date with our Bro Zheng?”
Xiang Wan looked inside over the man’s shoulder. There were a few men and women, but there was one man without a lady partner. He sat there alone together with several pairs of couples like a 10,000 watt lightbulb. He appeared to be chilly and elegant and stood out from the people beside him.
“Hello everyone, may I know who is Cheng Zheng?” asked Fang Yuanyuan.
“I’m him,” Cheng Zheng stood up slowly.
As soon as Cheng Zheng spoke, the people beside him laughed and greeted warmly, “Come beautiful ladies, come have a seat inside.”
“We met Bro Zheng when we came here earlier… so we thought we should eat together.”
Xiang Wan: “…”
Xiang Wan and Fang Yuanyuan were sort of dragged inside the private dining room. They were completely powerless against such a situation.
And so, the blind date that did not feel like one, started under a weird atmosphere.
They began to introduce themselves when they sat down. Xiang Wan got to know that the other three men were also from the Criminal Investigation Unit in Hongjiang District. They had brought along their wives to Ocean Sky Hotpot for a feast, and then they saw Cheng Zheng, who was alone, and wanted to join him for dinner. When Cheng Zheng said he had a blind date, they were all amused, and so, that was how a group of people popped up, having free food and drinks as well as watching how the blind date would turn out—they were the spectators.
With so many people around, how would the two of them get to know each other like that?
When the hotpot was served, Xiang Wan and Cheng Zheng did not even have a chance to talk seriously.
These people, each and everyone of them were marvelous “actors”. They did not stay true to the original intention of the blind date, but made it more like a social gathering. Moreover, Fang Yuanyuan, who was more sociable, joined in as she had a glib tongue as well.
And so, these people and Fang Yuanyuan could not stop jabbering and prattling with each other. Xiang Wan and Cheng Zheng could hardly speak at all.
But then again, that also saved a lot of embarrassment for Xiang Wan.
She heaved a sigh of relief and started to enjoy the hotpot with ease.
The lively atmosphere, lightings, the boiling hotpot—these real and enjoyable things pulled Xiang Wan’s heart out from the mire of fear completely.
She did not know if it was her illusion playing tricks with her, but she felt Cheng Zheng’s gaze was on her throughout the meal, checking her out.
Could he also know that she was a “murder suspect” in the Zhao Jiahang’s case?
Xiang Wan felt her cheeks starting to burn. She asked Cheng Zheng who was sitting across her, “Captain Cheng’s job seems interesting. Are you usually busy?”
Cheng Zheng put down his chopsticks politely and answered earnestly, “I’m like a corpse carrier on call. I deal with dead body parts. The job’s busy and it’s not interesting.”
Xiang Wan’s chopsticks happened to be holding a piece of palatable piece of tender beef when she heard the words “dead body parts”. She was startled and smiled somewhat awkwardly. “Oh, please don’t say that. People who deal with dead bodies are amazing. You have skills that can enable the bodies to ‘talk’…”
She felt a little proud of herself for being able to speak like a bureaucrat.
But she got to hand it to Cheng Zheng, who managed to kill her appetite completely.
“Practice makes perfect!”
“For example, the plate of pig brain in front of you, one look and I can tell it’s fresher than other restaurants.”
“These are taken out from the skull before the death of the pig…”
“…” Xiang Wan felt a funny feeling inside her stomach.
The chat between them ended abruptly.
When the dinner was over, Cheng Zheng got up and reached out a hand for a handshake. “Nice to meet you. See you next time.”
Xiang Wan saw the hand extended to her and felt embarrassed again.
Cheng Zheng was wearing a pair of white gloves, clean and spotless.
He was actually wearing it when he was eating earlier. Xiang Wan had thought that he might be afraid of the hotpot oil. Although she felt it was weird, she thought that it was still acceptable.
However, the thought of shaking hands with a “white glove” made her feel that she was not being respected.
After hesitating for a moment, she adjusted her emotions and put on a faint smile. “Nice to meet you too. See you next time, Captain Cheng.” She did not extend her hand.
Cheng Zheng was calm as he retracted his hand. “Just call me Cheng Zheng.”
Xiang Wan saw Fang Yuanyuan sticking out her tongue and blinked at her. She looked down in embarrassment. “Okay, alright. Then… we’ll get going now.”
After all, this was a special time of “turmoil and chaos” for her, so Xiang Wan did not have such a big heart to talk about emotional problems in a calm way. Therefore, when meeting with Cheng Zheng for the first time, she did not like nor dislike him. She just felt rather mystified that her blind date was the actually the Forensics Captain from the Criminal Investigation Unit. And that it was around this period in time.
As she went down the stairs, she felt like she was stepping on clouds.
Fang Yuanyuan was saying something, but she did not listen carefully. Instead, she shuddered the moment she felt the humidity of the cold night rain from the entrance.
On the road across the street from Ocean Sky Hotpot, a black car was parked there. Through the half-opened car window, Xiang Wan saw a silhouette inside the car. Her sixth sense had an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm, as if it was telling her…
That car, it’s the car at the alley that day!
The person inside was also looking at her.
Xiang Wan was trembling as she searched and pulled out her phone in her bag. She quickly dialed a mobile number. “Hello, Detective Bai, I’ve a new discovery…”
When she said this, Cheng Zheng just stepped out of Ocean Sky Hotpot.
Suddenly, the car from across the street started to move!
Xiang Wan’s eyes stared big and wide at the car. She immediately gave chase without a second thought. “Quick! It’s the car, it’s the car…”