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Published at 14th of January 2016 12:27:02 PM


Chapter 16

The house is so quiet that Jian Yao sometimes forgets that there is someone else sitting on the sofa .  


 

    Bo Jin Yan is very focused in what he is reading .   Jian Yao pours him a cup of tea . Without even looking up, Bo Jin Yan says: “I don’t drink liquid from unknown origins .   Replace it with water . ”  

 

Jian Yao looks at what he calls ‘liquid from unknown origins’ .   It’s a combination of lavender and orange blossoms and hibiscus flowers .   It’s her favourite flower tea .  

   “If you want water, pour it yourself . ” 

 

    Bo Jin Yan senses her displeasure .   He looks up, but she is no longer there .

 

    Jian Yao is cutting vegetables in the kitchenette .   But she is listening out for what Bo Jin Yan might do . There is no movement behind her .   She turns around and sees Bo Jin Yan holding the cup of tea she gave him .   He looks like he is examining some important evidence from a crime scene .  

 

    Jian Yao can’t help but give a little laugh: ”I found this shop in an old alley .   A girl that owns this speciality tea shop says they only use organic produces .   I have tried all the tea shops in the area .   This is the best . ” 

 

    Jian Yao continues cooking . She puts a pot of chicken soup on the table .  

 

The cup Bo Jin Yan is drinking from is empty .   Jian Yao smiles . She is about to walk off when she sees Bo Jin Yan stretching out his hand .   He taps the top of the coffee table (next to the empty cup) with his long fingers .  

 

    Does this means that he wants more tea?

 

    Jian Yao raises an eyebrow and asks: “It’s nice huh?!"

 

    Bo Jin Yan smiles without looking out: "Yes, thank you . "

 

    Jian Yao thinks about Fu Zi Yu’s comments in the restaurant - bringing torture upon themselves .   He is right .   Why should she bother?  She is not his maid . Yet, she is flattered because he approves of her taste in tea .

 

    She gives a small sigh and pours him another cup of tea .  

 

    -

 

    For dinner, she has prepared some braised pork, fried lotus root, stir fried green vegetable and soup . She left the pork in its pot and brought out everything else .   Is he staying for dinner?  She actually never checked .   She takes out two bowls of rice .

 

Given the past comments he made about her cooking,  she is ready for his unkind comments .   If Bo Jin Yan says: ’I can’t possibly eat food of this quality . ”  She will respond “You have mistaken .   Both bowls of rice are for me . ”  

 

    But her ‘preparation’ is unnecessary .   Bo Jin Yan picks up the chopsticks and starts eating .  

 

None of them speaks .

 

    Jian Yao watches him pick up the lotus roots with his chopsticks .   He puts it in his mouth .   No comment .   Then he picks up the bowl of chicken soup, scooped out the chicken pieces to eat with his rice, then the vegetables…  

 

    "Even if you keep staring at me, the quality of the food will not magically improve . ” Bo Jin Yan finally speaks .  

 

    She is about to rebuke him when he continues to say: “What’s this?” He points at the soft capsules of rice in the white porcelain bowl .

 

    “Jasmine rice from Thailand . " Jian Yao answers . “I tried over 20 brands .   This is the best . ” 

 

    -

 

 Because the sofa sits quite low to the ground, he has to lean forward whenever he is taking food .   She puts down her rice bowl, takes out a pillow from the bed and put it behind his back: “There .   You should be more comfortable with this . ”

 

    She found this pillow after looking at quite a few shopping malls .   It has a nice design and is very comfortable .   Bo Jin Yan looks at her, then leans against it .  

    -

 

    Jian Yao just finished washing the dishes when the phone rings .   She dries her hands and answers .   It’s Li Xun Ran .

 


    “What are you doing?" He sounds relaxed .

 

    Jian Yao smiles and answers: "Doing the dishes . "

 

    Li Xun Ran: “Did someone come for dinner?"

 

    Jian Yao glances at Bo Jin Yan, who is still sitting on the sofa watching TV: “Yes . Bo Jin Yan . ”

 

    “Dinner at 9pm?  Are you guys dating each other?"

 

    “Of course not . ” Jian Yao interrupts him, “You and I always dine together .   Same deal .   Just two friends having a meal together . So why did you call me?”

 

    Li Xun Ran says : “About the words at the crime scene . We have some experts from the provincial office come by .   They are trying to decipher them .   They have made some progress .   Just want to let you and Professor Bo know . "

 

    -

 

    Bo Jin Yan is examining Jian Yao’s bed, or to be exact, what’s on Jian Yao’s bed . On top of her bed, there is a nice silk duvet .   

 

    Then he looks at her bedside table .   There’s a number of beautiful dolls on it, as well as a black paper weight .   These are all the results of careful selection after looking through several shopping malls .  

 

    “You must have spent hundreds of hours to find decorations for this little space of less than forty square metres . ”

 

    Jian Yao pours herself a cup of tea: "More than one week . ” She enjoys the process .   Besides, the end results are well worth the time spent .

 

“You are right . ” says Bo Jin Yan

 

  Jian Yao: “About what?” 

 

    "I don’t really understand woman . ” He obviously agrees with her .   “ I can’t understand why you would spend hundreds of hours just to decorate the place . ”

 

    Jian Yao: " . . . . . . that’s none of your business!"

 

    ———-

 

    After the detailed ‘inspection’ of her house, Bo Jin Yan finally left .

 

-  Bo Jin Yan ate a whole bowl of rice today .   He ate at least half of the vegetables and three bowls of chicken soup .   Seems like he enjoyed the meal after all .   She smiles and goes to sleep .

 

    ————

 

The next morning, Bo Jin Yan visits again .   

 

   This time, it’s Jian Yao’s turn to be in her long-sleeved cotton PJs .   Bo Jin Yan takes a look at her: “You are thinner than I expect .   Get changed .   Time to go out . ” 

 

  Jian Yao:  “Go?  Where?”

 

  Bo Jin Yan:  "Shopping . "

 

    When they are both in his car, he passes Jian Yao a list .   She can’t believe what’s on the shopping list: ”You mean - tea, rice, pillow, duvet, paperweights…  all those things in my house, you want a set too? You said yesterday that you can’t understand why I spent so much time shopping for them! "

 

    “Firstly, we need to buy two sets of each item . I told Fu Zi Yu about them and he wants a set too . ” He says in a casual voice: “ Don’t you think it’s the perfect outcome?  You have done all the boring, inefficient and time consuming work, but all three of us get to share the benefits . ”

 

    Jian Yao: “Bo Jin Yan! I have never encountered anyone who asks for favours in such an arrogant and condescending manner!!”


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 ———-

 

 Fu Zi Yu calls to thank Jian Yao .   His approach is completely different to Bo Jin Yan’s .   He’s so appreciative of her time and effort, and praises her for good taste .   He vows to treat her a nice and expensive meal later .

 

    Bo Jin Yan is sitting beside her when  she talks to Fu Zi Yu . When they have finished, he says to her: “I appreciate your taste, but I despise your efficiency .   It’s two separate issues .   It’s not contradictory!” 

 

    -

 

When they are on their way to the first shop, Jian Yao asks him: ” If you don’t want to waste your time shopping, why are you coming with me?” 

 

    Bo Jin Yan replies: "Do you think I want to be here?  Fu Zi Yu says I must be your driver for the day . ”

 

——

 

   This afternoon,  Jian Yao finds out something new about Bo Jin Yan .   He is quite loose with money .   He never asks about price of things .   He just throws his credit card to her and let her deal with it .   She collects all the dockets and passes them to him .   He just throws them away without looking .

 

   And although he is a picky person, the type of things he is picky about is very selective . He’s picky about everything to do with his work .   He is picky about what food he eats .   But other than that, he seems pretty easy going . Maybe he can’t be bothered . it’s not worth his time and energy .   For example, when she asks him what colour and style of pillow does he want, he will say:  “Same as yours .   Don’t ask me anymore . ”  When she asks about other purchases, she gets the same answer .  

    -

 

    With one exception .   They are in a mattress shop .   Bo Jin Yan wants to test and choose his own mattress .   Because sleep is important for him .

 

The sales rep leads them to the mattress Jian Yao is after: “This is our best selling mattress .   Would you like to lie down and test it out?”

 

Jian Yao lies down on the bed .  

 

The sales rep continues to talk to Bo Jin Yan : “It’s firm, made with fabric that’s treated with anti bacterial properties…”

 

Bo Jin Yan: “Would it go out of shape if you bounce and roll on it a lot?”

 

    The sales rep takes a look at him and Jian Yao, then with a sly smile on her face, she replies: “Sir, that’s absolutely fine .   This mattress is made with the best quality latex foam on the market . ” 

 

    She walks off, leaving just the two of them . Bo Jin Yan lies down beside Jian Yao .  

 

    Feeling the other side of the bed sinking in slightly, Jian Yao turns around and looks at him: “You do a lot of rolling in bed?” 

 

    "Of course not, only Chen Mo would roll on my bed . ”

 

    It’s been a long day .   They both rest on the mattress .  

 

  As she is about to get up, Bo Jin Yan turns sideways, supporting his head with one of his hands .   He looks into her eyes .    

 

    She heart starts to pound .  

 

- It’s because he is intruding into my personal space . She says to herself .

 

    He leans towards her .   His handsome features are more distinctive than usual because of they are just centimetres apart .   His eyes look bright and he has a smile on his face . His thin lips moves: ”Jian Yao . . . . . . moves in with me . ”  He says softly with deep and rather sexy voice .  

 

 

 

Jian Yao has never been so physically close to a man before .   They are so close that she can feel his warm breath touching her skin .    

 

   After a short pause, Bo Jin Yan continues: "Clearly, if we live together, it will be a mutual beneficial arrangement .   I am not interested in wasting my time on trivial matters in life, which you seem to enjoy .   I will have more time that I can devote to my work and other things I enjoy doing . . . "


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    “… . Excuse me, are you satisfied with this mattress?”  The sales rep is back .

 

    Bo Jin Yan turns to look at the rep: “Please do not interrupt me . ”  Then he continues with Jian Yao :” Indirectly, you will reap some benefits too… You can… . ”

 

     "Sorry, I'm not interested . ” Jian Yao stops him .  

 

    Jian Yao gets off the bed and walks away with the sales rep .   She is buying the mattress, to put in her own apartment .   Bo Jin Yan stands at a distance and looks at her .  

 

    "Come on in . " Jian Yao steps into the elevator .  

 

    Bo Jin Yan walks in and stands beside her .

 

    "Why are you not interested?" He looks down at her .

 

    Jian Yao does not answer .   The elevator door opens . This level is a food court, a bunch of people flood in .   As many people as possible squeeze into the elevator .   Jian Yao is standing so close to Bo Jin Yan that their bodies seems to be touching each other’s .  

 

   

    Jian Yao wants to step back, but there’s no space . Then Bo Jin Yan looks down at her: "You haven’t answered me .   Why are you not interested to move in with me?” 

 

—————

 

    The whole elevator is eavesdropping .  He obviously doesn’t care about the crowd .  

 

    Jian Yao speaks with a soft voice: “I like my own space .   I need my peace and quiet time .   I am not moving in .   Case closed . ” 

 

    Bo Jin Yan does not insist anymore .  

 

    She is relieved .   But after a few seconds, she hears him speak again: “ You have made a wrong decision . ”

 

    Finally, a young girl next to Jian Yao can’t hold it in anymore .   She bursts out laughing .  

    

——

 

    Jian Yao knows that everyone in the elevator thinks Bo Jin Yan is her boyfriend, trying to persuade her to live with him .   But she knows that it’s the last thing on his mind .   He’s simply looking at the issue from an efficiency angle .   His cohabitation proposal is not personal .   So therefore, to decline his offer is an ‘inefficient and wrong’ decision .  

 

   Back in the apartment, Jian Yao is enjoying a warm relaxing bath in her bathtub .   She thinks about Bo Jin Yan, his handsome looks, his smiles, and his proposal .   Something feels different in her heart .   She can’t explain it, nor has she felt like that before in her life .  

 

 She gets ready for bed .   She is still feeling a little out of sorts .   The phone rings .   It’s Li .

 

    He doesn’t usually call at this time of the night .   It must be important: “Is everything ok?"

 

    Li Xun Ran sounds kind of vague: “Those numbers .   We are able to put them in some sort of order, but they still don’t make sense . ”

 

    "What do you mean?"

 

    “I’ve sent them to your email and to Professor Bo . Have a look yourselves . ”

    -

 

    Jian Yao puts on her coat and turns on the computer .  

 

 

    "145,297,289,121


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    162,17,324,1

 

    25, 484,

 

    365,88,729,16

 

    421,27,841,1

 

    586,29,1156,1

 

    425,136,729,16 "

 

   - What sort of game is Sun Yong trying to play here?   

 

    Jian Yao scrolls to the bottom of the message .   The decipher specialist has boiled it down to this row of numbers :  8,9,9,13,14,15,19 .

 

    “We can’t work out what this group of numbers might mean .   They can be anything .   Some sort of co-ordinates? words/page numbers in a book?  Without any clues, it would take forever to solve .   There’s not much else we can do . ” Jian Yao recalls what Li Xun Ran tells her on the phone .

 

   Jian Yao looks at the columns of numbers .   She closes her computer and lies back onto the bed .  

 

 

    She takes out the phone, press those numbers . A landline number has eight digits . So there’s three extra numbers .   Switchboard extensions?  No such luck .   It’s an empty number .  

 

    Morse code? She is not familiar with it . Latitude and longitude coordinates? But it’s in the wrong format .

 

    English alphabet?   A to Z corresponding to 1-26 . She takes up pen and paper from the bedside table and converts them into English alphabet . But she has her doubts .   Can’t be that easy .   Even the experts cannot decipher them .  

 

    Translated letters: H, I, I, M, N ,O, S . Doesn’t make any sense .

 

    - Ok .   What if we change the order

 

    HIMINOS?

 

    HNSOMII ?

 

     . . . . . .

 

    -  Just go to bed .   Jian Yao thinks to herself .   Maybe Bo Jin Yan can work it out tomorrow .  

 

    She closes her eyes .   Bo Jin Yan’s face flash before her .   The long slender eyes, tall nose, thin lips, his faint smile, the sarcastic smile… 

 

    She suddenly opens her eyes .   She looks at those letters again .    

 

    Bo Jin Yan .   Bo Jin Yan .  

 

 

 

 

 


 

She has found the meaningful combination - HI, SIMON .



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