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Published at 16th of April 2016 10:45:02 PM


Chapter 15

“I figure life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it . You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next . You learn to take life as it comes at you…… to make each day count . ”


In the darkness of the movie theatre, the young Leonardo DiCaprio was reciting his lines fluently on the silver screen . The 3D glasses successfully hid Chen Nian’s eyes from view .

A few hours ago .

Bei Ye swiftly shut the shutter doors and hastily drew the curtains before turning back to Chen Nian, “What happened?”

“Yesterday, they hit me, they scolded me, and they stripped me of my clothing . Several times, they took photos, and recorded videos of me . She told me, to retrieve it from her today . I went to the hill behind the school building, but she wouldn’t give it to me . She said she’d show the video to me . She even said that she would upload it on the Internet, and that since so many people recorded it, it’s useless even if I report it  to the police — She told me that she’d never let me off the hook . — That what happened yesterday, would happen a second time, and a third time… She threatened me and started to beat me . I tried to resist her, so I shoved her back…… I knew that I had to meet her today, so I brought a knife, thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could scare her, into leaving me alone . But she wasn’t scared in the slightest, I warned her not to come over, but she wouldn’t listen…… We began tussling…… we rolled around on the field . I didn’t know what happened next, I wasn’t thinking, I really wasn’t thinking, she just……

I’m wrong, I shouldn’t have gone to meet her by myself . ”

But because of the series of incidents that occurred after she exposed the truth of Hu Xiao Die’s suicide, she no longer trusted Zheng Yi nor the law . Raising her head to gaze at Bei Ye, tears began to form in her eyes,

“I’m sorry, please save me . Please send me to the police station, I’m scared, I don’t dare to give myself up to the police . I’m afraid my mum would find out about it . ”

“We’re not going . ” Bei Ye said firmly .

“…… . ”

“Why do we have to?” Bei Ye’s eyes reddened, “Why?!”

“Why do we have to hand you over to the police? Do you want the police to continually analyse the video recordings they took of you, repeatedly asking you about your feelings over and over again, interrogating your motives – whether you truly injured Wei Cai as a form of self-defence, or whether you’re simply using self-defence as an excuse to commit murder? Do you want to come face to face to those who have hurt you, and be forced to confront them about what happened to you? Do you want to get into endless squabbles and tussles with the parents of your perpetrators? Do you even hope to sit for your graduation exams?!”

“……”

Mum is going to hear about this, she’ll definitely learn about the inhumane torture and hurt they inflicted on her . Her mum will definitely cry .

After his temporary outburst, Bei Ye collected himself swiftly, “Are you sure she’s dead?”

“……” Stunned, Chen Nian stared at Bei Ye blankly before shaking her head slowly, “I ran away immediately after I hurt her . ”

“I’ll go and take a look . But no matter what happens, this can wait till after your exams are over . Now, hand the knife to me . ”

The blood on the knife had dried . Bei Ye strode over to Chen Nian, and wrenched the knife from her tight grip .

“Take off your clothes . ” Bei Ye instructed .

Chen Nian remained unmoving .

Bei Ye stripped Chen Nian of her clothing, and dragged her to beneath the shower head . Turning on the shower, the water began to pour down on Chen Nian’s body, slowly cleansing the dried blood stains on Chen Nian’s body .

Bei Ye gathered Chen Nian’s clothes and shoes, and was about to place them into the washing machine when he discovered his own shirt amongst Chen Nian’s clothes . It turned out that just this morning, Chen Nian was unable to locate a undershirt whilst she was wearing her uniform – thus, Bei Ye had passed her one of his undershirts to her for her use . Turning back swiftly to glance at Chen Nian, Bei Ye saw that Chen Nian was still staring at the wall, blank and confused .

Angling his body such that he completely blocked Chen Nian’s line of sight, Bei Ye hastily removed his shirt from the pile of clothes and stuffed it into the drawer beneath the basin . As he opened the drawer, he discovered a special object that his mum had previously bought .

Glancing at that foreign object, several ideas formed in his head . Bei Ye shut the drawer carefully .


Returning to the washing machine, he was about to switch the machine on when several thoughts crossed his mind once again . Retrieving Chen Nian’s clothes from the washing machine, he began to remove every single item from her pockets, and stored them carefully in a huge plastic bag .

The soft yellow light shone on the two quiet youths . Chen Nian had already removed all traces of the bloodstains from her body . Bei Ye squat on the ground, his gloved hands holding a brush and a bottle of detergent as he began to scrub every nook and cranny of the toilet meticulously .

“Chen Nian, go out . ” Bei Ye told her gently .

Chen Nian remained rooted at her original spot .

“I’m done for . ” Chen Nian’s voice trembled, “Bei Ye, I’m done for . ”

Chen Nian felt the popcorn box by her elbow . Turning her head to look at Li Xiang, she grabbed a handful of popcorn from the box and stuffed it in her mouth .

It tasted like wax .

“You’re not done for . ” Bei Ye removed his gloves and straightened his body, the warm water drenching the hair of the two youths, trickling down their faces . Bei Ye strode over to Chen Nian, and cupped her face in his hands . His black eyes blazed with determination as he stared into her eyes, “Nothing’s going to happen to you, I promise . ”

“Tell me, you……” Bei Ye paused, scrambling for an appropriate word, “Where did you hurt her?”

Chen Nian shook her head, “……I forgot . ”

“How many times did you stab her?”

“……I forgot . ”

“How deep?”

“I don’t know……All I know is that I hate her, and that I really hoped that she would disappear – but despite all that, I never wanted her to die . ” Chen Nian began trembling once more, “Youths like them — why aren’t they disciplined, why does nobody care about them……It shouldn’t be like this……It never should have been like this……”

Bei Ye tightened his hold on Chen Nian’s face, and stared into her eyes . “Did anyone see you on your way back?”

“No . ” Aside for the alley nearby the abandoned steel mill, the areas surrounding the rest of the steel mill were all abandoned .

“Where is she now?”

Chen Nian gazed at him .

“I’m going to go take a look . Your strength is rather small, so it’s likely that she merely suffered a small injury . It’s not so easy to die . ” Bei Ye was abnormally calm and collected .

“I’ll go with you……”

“No, I’ll go by myself . If something truly happened, I’ll notify you immediately . ”

“But……”

“There won’t be a problem . Don’t you trust me?”


“I do . ”

Bei Ye strode forward, gently grabbing Chen Nian’s drenched hair and pressing her into his arms . Lowering his head, he pressed his cheeks tightly against hers .

All of a sudden, Chen Nian’s mobile phone rang . The two youths separated in shock . Turns out, it was Li Xiang on the other end of the line:

“Chen Nian, Titanic 3D is currently screening in the theatres . I managed to obtain two movie tickets – do you want to go catch the movie together?”

“I……want to revise . ” The moment Chen Nian completed her sentence, she saw a frown forming on Bei Ye’s face .

Undeterred, Li Xiang continued his persuasion, “Titanic 3D will no longer be screening by the time we finish our graduation exams . Such a classic movie is rare to come by – just take it as a short period of relaxation . ”

Bei Ye grabbed hold of Chen Nian’s shoulders, his gaze encouraging her to accede to Li Xiang’s request .

Chen Nian’s lips trembled, and she gently shook her head . She wasn’t stupid – she knew that Bei Ye was simply being too cautious and wary, that he had already begun to prepare an alibi for her, to prove that she wasn’t at the crime scene .

At the other end of the line, Li Xiang was still trying his best to persuade Chen Nian, “Chen Nian, Titanic is such a classic movie . I’m sure you’ll enjoy the movie as well……”

In the narrow and dilapidated bathroom, the dim yellow light bathed the two youths in its glow . The two youths stared at each other, their gazes interlocking with each other’s, each knowing full well what the other party was thinking . Grabbing her by the shoulders, Bei Ye nodded slowly, and firmly .

——

The movie felt like an eternity .

Chen Nian sat in the cold, dark cinema, feeling as though she was sitting in her grave . Finally, the movie was about to come to an end – in the sea, Jack and Rose both hung onto a piece of floating wood for dear life . The youthful male made the female climb onto the floating wood whilst he continued to drift in the water .

Their future together was akin to the dark night in the Arctic Ocean – icy cold, and bleak .

“I love you, Jack . ”

“Don’t you do that, don’t say your good-byes . Not yet, do you understand me?”

“Listen, Rose . You’re gonna get out of here, you’re gonna go on and you’re gonna make lots of babies, and you’re gonna watch them grow . You’re gonna die an old……an old lady warm in her bed, not here, not this night . Not like this, do you understand me?”

“I can’t feel my body . ”

“Winning that ticket, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me… it brought me to you . And I’m thankful for that, Rose . I’m thankful . You must do me this honor . Promise me you’ll survive . That you won’t give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless . Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise . ”

“I promise . ”

At long last, the female loosened the male lead’s grip on the wooden board, and invested all her energy into swimming towards the bright future; the suave male lead gradually sunk into the Arctic Ocean, quietly swallowed up by the depths of the ocean .

Strolling out of the cinema, Li Xian saw Chen Nian’s red-rimmed eyes .

“Did you cry?”

Chen Nian lowered her head, shaking it obstinately, “I didn’t . ”

“Girls tend to cry when they watch this movie . ” Li Xiang continued .  Li Xiang raised his hand in an attempt to pat her shoulder as encouragement . However, before he could act on his intention, he decided against it, and retracted his outstretched hand . Instead, he shook the box of popcorn playfully, “I didn’t know that you were such a small eater – look, there’s still a huge box of popcorn left . ”


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Chen Nian replied feebly, “I don’t like snacks . ”

“No wonder you’re so skinny!” Glancing at his watch, Li Xiang continued, “It’s pretty late, why don’t I send you home?”

The moment Chen Nian reached home, icy sheets of rain began to pour from the sky .

Despite having waited for a period of time, Bei Ye still hadn’t arrived .

Chen Nian fished out her mobile phone, and was about to dial Bei Ye’s number when she discovered, to her surprise, that her mobile phone was entirely devoid of Bei Ye’s details . Puzzled, Chen Nian was about to delve further into the issue when she heard a loud knock on her door .

Frightened, Chen Nian inched closer to the door, only to hear Bei Ye’s low voice ring out, “It’s me . ”

Chen Nian opened the door without a moment’s hesitation, and let Bei Ye into her house . He was entirely drenched from the rain, and the raindrops flowed from his raincoat onto the floor .

Passing him a towel, she asked in a small tone, “How is she?”

“She should be fine . ” Bei Ye responded .

“Fine?”

“I went to the hill behind your school building . Despite searching the entire hill, she was nowhere to be found . ”

“Did you go to the wrong place? I should have, accompanied you on your trip . ”

“No, I went to the right place . I saw the blood stains, but she wasn’t there . ”

Startled, Chen Nian asked hesitantly, “You’re……you’re not lying to me?”

“I’m not lying to you . It’s true . ” Bei Ye continued, “There were very little bloodstains – it was most likely a minor injury . Now that I think about it, when you returned in the afternoon, there were very little bloodstains on your clothes as well . ”

Chen Nian gazed at Bei Ye, perplexity, confusion and reliance evident in her eyes .

“Since her injury was rather minor, my guess is that she simply walked off by herself . ” Bei Ye continued in a calm tone, “You weren’t sure about how many stabs you gave her, or how deep the stabs were either – my guess is that you were simply too anxious, so you inevitably exaggerated the seriousness of your acts . ”

“Is that the case?” Chen Nian furrowed her brows, “But……She would go to the police, she……”

“She won’t . ” Bei Ye interrupted Chen Nian, wiping the raindrops off his hair . Removing his raincoat, he hung the raincoat on the clothing rack, “She’s always getting into fights, and has suffered way more injuries than this – but have you ever seen her go to the police? Furthermore, the moment she goes to the police, she would inadvertently expose the incidents when she, along with her group of friends, bullied and targeted you . There are so many of them, and some of them are still schooling – the moment she exposes their dirty past, these students would inevitably be expelled . In any event, if she had truly gone to the police, do you think you’d be standing her right now?”

Chen Nian gave a cursory “oh” in response, and continued gazing at Bei Ye, the clouds of confusion still evident in her eyes .

“Don’t beat yourself up over this incident . ” Bei Ye coaxed her softly, “The wounds that you inflicted on her are truly minor – she’d suffer way more serious injuries if she fought with other people . ”

Chen Nian still remained seemingly perplexed . After some time, she slowly lowered her head, and retrieved a mobile SIM card from her bag . Bei Ye took the mobile SIM card from Chen Nian, and swiftly cut it into pieces with a scissors;

Chen Nian pointed towards the bin, “The rubbish bin is right there . ”

Bei Ye shook his head gently, “I’ll throw this outside . ”


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She raised her head and gazed into his eyes . Bei Ye rubbed her hair gently, the loose threads from the red string hanging on his wrist softly brushing past her cheeks .

“She’s fine . Don’t think so much . Just focus on your studies, and prepare for the exams . ”

Chen Nian nodded her head mechanically .

The wind and rain continued raging outside the house, causing the light bulb hanging above the two youths to oscillate from side to side . The shadows of the two youths swayed from side to side, frail and uncertain .

Bei Ye sat on the edge of the bed, waves of fatigue rolling off his body . Raising his head, he spotted Chen Nian staring blankly into the distance . After gazing at her for a short period of time, he asked softly, “Was the movie nice?”

“Ah?”

“I asked, was the movie nice?”

“– It wasn’t nice . ” Chen Nian shook her head vigorously . “It had a tragic ending, so I didn’t like it . ”

“Tragic ending?”

“Yes . The male lead, gave the female lead, the opportunity to live . In the end, the male lead, sacrificed himself . ”

“What about the female lead? What happened to her?”

“She got married, gave birth to numerous kids, and lived to a ripe old age . ”

“That sounds pretty good . ” A tiny smile formed on Bei Ye’s lips .

“What’s so good about that?” Chen Nian protested .

Bei Ye raised his head to look at her . He opened his mouth, as though he was about to say something . However, no words came out from his mouth, and at long last, he simply closed his mouth; Bei Ye simply looked at Chen Nian calmly, his gaze determined and gentle, as though his eyes were the openings of a deep and old well .

Chen Nian stood erect at her original spot, her gaze interlocking with his . All of a sudden, she was overcome with an irresistible urge to cry .

Gazing into each other’s eyes, the two youths perceived and understood the other’s desperate struggle to live, the hurt the other party suffered, and the hopeless love each possessed for the other party . But there was nothing they could possibly say – because even if they voiced out their struggles and declared their love for each other, it would not help their situation in the slightest .

The tiny and frail shoulders of the two youths were beginning to crumple under the excessive weight placed on them; they were still so young, but in this raging and bitter world, they only had each other to rely on . One begins to wonder, whether meeting each other was a lucky incident, or an unlucky incident .

Gazing at each other,

Bei Ye broke into a tiny, small smile . He raised his arms outstretched towards her;

Little Stutterer, come to me .

Chen Nian rubbed the tears from her eyes, obediently closing the gap and seating herself on his lap . Tightly encircling her arms around his neck, she was like a kid who was hugging her most beloved toy . Chen Nian rested her head on his shoulder, and tightened her grip further, inhaling the scent of rain from his neck .

Hugging her as tightly as he could, Bei Ye gradually fell backwards, toppling onto the bed .

It was as though, they could no longer hear the raging winds and torrential rain outside .

The two youths each other as tightly as they could, both fervently wishing in their hearts, that time could stop at this very instant .



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