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

Chapter 40

Huo Xiao Lu's story began when she was eleven years old .  

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It was love at first sight .   She liked Su Bei the first moment she laid her eyes on him .


His parents are also ex-workers from the textile factories .   But unlike her, he has lots of friends .   He seems to be living a happy and contented life .


She has nothing .   She does not like going home .   Some nights, she can hear squeaky beds, heavy breathing and moaning sounds .   Each time, a different man walks out of her mother’s bedroom in the morning .


In 2003, her father abandoned the family .   He went off to Dong Guan with another woman .   But rather than feeling sad, Huo Xiao Lu felt relieved .   She was fed up with the constant fighting between her parents .


However, the peaceful times didn’t last long .  


Two years after her father left, her mother was made redundant .  


A middle aged woman with no formal education or specialised skill .   She turned to prostitution to support herself and her daughter .


Her mother did her best to solicit in areas away from Huo Xiao Lu’s school and where her friends live .   Her classmate assumed her mother was working as a labourer out of town .   But every time Huo Xiao Lu takes the money to pay for school fees, she feels dirty and disgusted .  


She didn’t always hate Ruan Ming Huai .   But she decided to ‘befriend’ her after Ruan started the rumours about Su Bei being an homosexual .


No one can defame her prince .   She decided to become Ruan’s friend first, then she will find an opportunity to avenge her .


The murder was an impulsive decision .


That evening, Ruan Ming Huai received a call from Su Bei .   Ruan asked Huo Xiao Lu to leave first .   The arrogant and joyous smile on Ruan’s face infuriated her .  


• Su Bei was falling for this shallow and bossy girl?

She tried to persuade Ruan Ming Huai not to meet up with him: “Didn’t you say you are over him?  Why do you still want to go?”


But Ruan knew her secret .   She said scornfully: “Do you think I don’t know how you feel towards Su Bei? Shame on you for trying to steal your good friend’s boyfriend . ” 


Huo Xiao Lu secretly followed Ruan Ming Huai up the hill .  

 Su Bei hadn’t arrived yet .   So she appeared and apologised to Ruan Ming Huai .   She assured Ruan she will stay away from Su Bei…


When she saw the blood gushing out of Ruan Ming Huai’s wound, and her body convulsing, a great joy swept over her .  


It was a thrilling experience .  




A few hours later, she found Su Bei on top of an empty watch tower .  


This is the place he usually hangs out when he is not happy .   Sitting by himself, looking far into the horizon .   She found out about this place years ago .   She used to stand quietly at the corner, just looking at him… 


That night, she approached Su Bei: “What’s the matter?  Is something bothering you?”


Su Bei’s face was very pale .   He looked like he was still in shock .   “Ah… nothing…  Xiao Huo, I have to leave town tonight .   I might not see you again .   You take care . ”

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This was a bolt from the blue for Huo Xiao Lu .   She thought for a moment, then said to him: “Do you have enough money?  I have some saving at home I can lend to you .   Come with me . ”


Su Bei had no idea this innocent and quiet looking girl had other motives .  


His original plan was to rob Ruan Ming Huai .   He knew she had the money from the class .  

Anyway, his grades weren’t good and he won’t stand a chance in getting into the university .   He would take the money and travel to Dong Guanto find his parents .   But then, he thought more about it .   Ruan Ming Huai’s parents are rich . And she has a crush on him .   Perhaps she would help him pay off his gambling debts .  


So he was late to their meeting .   But when he got there, he found her dead .   He saw that the backpack was still there, and the money too .   Without thinking, he grabbed the pack and ran off .   It wasn’t until he was half way down the hill he realised that taking the money would make him a murder suspect .    


He panicked .   He found an old air raid shelter . So he buried the backpack under a pile of old leaves .   Then he left .


He was contemplating his next step when Huo Xiao Lu appeared .  




Huo Xiao Lu put a sleeping pill into the glass of water she gave Su Bei .   When he was unconscious, she tied him up .   Her mother is often away for weeks at a time .   She knew her mom was not due back for at least a week .  


But even if mom did come home, she would be able to handle it .  




There are more police cars arriving at the scene .  


An officer is looking after the two teenage criminals in the lounge .   Bo Jinyan and another officer are searching the house for other evidence .


Jian Yao stands at the entrance .   She takes a look at Huo Xiao Lu .   Huo has no expression on her face .  


Footsteps coming from the stairs .  


A middle aged woman with heavy make up, a black dress and black stockings appears .  


“What’s the matter?  Who are you?” She raises her voice: “Where’s Xiao Lu? Xiao Lu?”  

She tries to enter the house but is blocked by Jian Yao: “Sorry, I am with the police .   We cannot let you in at the moment . ”


The woman sees Huo Xiao Lu handcuffed, standing inside the lounge .   There is disbelief on her face .  


“Xiao Lu…you… Why are you arresting my daughter…?”   


“I killed someone, Ma . ” Huo Xiao Lu tells her mom in a calm voice, as if she is talking about someone else .  


The woman is shocked .


“We need to go to the Police Station together… . ” Jian Yao puts her hand on the woman’s shoulder .  


To everyone’s surprise .   Instead of running toward her daughter, the woman is heading towards the stairs .   She is trying to run away?!

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But perhaps she is  too nervous, she misjudged her footing and was about to trip down the stairs .   Jian Yao quickly grabs her by her shoulder to help her regain her balance .  


Jian Yao quickly stands in front of her on the top of the staircase .  


“Get out of my way . ” The woman tries to push Jian Yao aside .  


Jian Yao is standing on the edge of the step .   Because of the push, she loses her balance and falls down the stairs .  


“Jian Yao!”  Bo Jinyan rushes out of the unit .  


Jian Yao is falling with her face facing the top of the stairs . She can see Bo Jinyan in mid-air .    


The next thing she knows, her mouth ‘kisses’ the ground .   She is rolling down the stairs .   Fortunately the flight is not long .


Her whole body is aching .   Her head hurts from hitting the wall .   As she struggles to get up, she sees Bo Jinyan swatting beside her .   He wraps one arm around her shoulder and one around her waist .   She rests in his warm and familiar embrace .  


“Are you ok?”  He looks displeased .  


“I’m fine . ” Jian Yao tries to stand up by pushing off with her hand on his shoulder .   A sharp pain is coming from her left ankle .   She falls back into his arms .   Bo Jinyan tightens his arm .   Her face is pressing onto his chest .   They are so close that she can hear the pounding of his heart .  


Bo Jinyan looks even more annoyed now .   He looks down at Jian Yao .


Two officers heard the noise and came out to check if Jian Yao is fine .  


Bo Jinyan takes a cold look at Huo Xiao Lu’s mother .   He turns to the officers: “It’s fine .   You can continue with searching the house . ”


Jian Yao pulls Bo Jinyan’s sleeve: “I want to say something to her . ” 


Bo Jinyan stands up, with her in his arms, he turns so that Jian Yao can see Huo’s mom .


“She is your daughter .   You can’t just run away like that .   Even though she has killed someone, you cannot give up on her . ” 


The woman’s face changed .   She drops to the ground, looking sad and in despair .  


“Are you done?” Jian Yao hears Bo Jinyan’s voice .


“Uhh… yes . ” She says softly .  


He carries her down the stairs and walks toward the car .  


More police cars arrive at the scene .   Behind them, two officers are escorting Su Bei and Huo Xiao Lu downstairs .   Huo’s mother follows behind .   She is weeping as she walks 


Jian Yao secretly hopes that time will be still, and she could remain in his arms forever .  




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 Jian Yao looks at Bo Jinyan .   His face looks annoyed . Very annoyed .   She wonders what made him so angry .


“Maybe you should let me down . ” says Jian Yao . “Other people are walking this way . ”  


Bo Jinyan looks at her: “So, what does me carrying you have to do with other people? ”

Jian Yao: “… . ”


The officer in charge has arrived .   He sees Bo Jinyan carrying Jian Yao: “Is Xiao -Jian alright?”


She is just about to reply when Bo Jinyan speaks on her behalf: “She is ok .   It’s not serious . ”


Bo Jinyan looks at the people around him .   He adjusts the position of his arms slightly so that Jian Yao is more comfortable .   Then he starts: 


“Huo Xiao Lu is the murderer .   We found evidence…”  


He explained what’s happened to the officer . They listen intently to what Professor Bo has to say .


And at that time, Jian Yao was lying in his arms .   She blushes .


• He is doing his briefing in front of everyone while holding someone in his arms .  


After he finishes, he says to the officer in charge: “We will leave it .   You can take over from here . ”


The officer in charge is surprised .   Bo Jinyan is like a new gem the department has discovered .   Now that he has seen how good Bo Jinyan is, he wants all the help he can get .  


“Can you stay behind to guide the rest of the search?  I can send a couple of officers to accompany Xiao Jian to the hospital… .   Xiao Chen, Xiao Zhou .   Please go with Xiao Jian . ”


When Jian Yao heard Xiao Chen’s name, something tells her it’s not a good idea .  


As expected .   Bo Jinyan gives Xiao Chen an icy glance .   Xiao Chen looks a little embarrassed too .   He stays quiet .  


“Gee . . you really know how to choose…”Bo Jinyan says sarcastically to the officer in charge .  

The officer in charge is perplexed at his comment .   Jian Yao elbows Bo Jinyan lightly in his chest .


Bo Jinyan looks down at her .   Then he tells the officer in charge: “My work here is done .   Later, I will follow up with the criminal analysis .   Goodbye . ”




He gently put Jian Yao down in the passenger seat .   Jian Yao thought he’s going to close the door and walk to the driver’s seat .   But he did not .


He switches on the light inside the car: “Turn around and let me take a look . ”


Jian Yao leans over slightly: “I’m alright .   Only a few scratches . ”


He didn’t answer .


His shirt is stained with the dirt that was on her face .   He holds up her face with his hand and examines it under the light .


He is still grumpy… .


His cool fingertips gently touching a swell on her forehead .   She puts her fingers over the part he just touched .   Oh, there is a reasonably sized bump .      


“Oh great!” He said “You almost split your head . ”


Jian Yao: “… it was an accident . ”


He looks into her eyes: “Is it painful?”


It’s actually not that bad, but Jian Yao answers softly: “Mmm… quite painful . ” She lifts her eyes to look at him .


His answer is brisk: “Just endure it . ” 


But then, he adds: “I will put some ice on it when we get home . ”


“… . ok . ”


He looks at her feet: “Take off your shoe . ”


He holds her left foot with his hand .   As his fingertips touch her sole, it feels cold and ticklish .   Her face is blushing again .


But he doesn’t seem to notice her shyness .   He examines the foot and says: “A little swollen, but nothing major . A lot less spectacular compared to the horn on your head . ”


Jian Yao gives him a glance of disapproval .  


What a day .   She sighs: “Would the knock make me more stupid…”


Bo Jinyan has gone back to the driver’s seat and started the car .   He starts to get out of the complex: “Don’t worry, my IQ is 180, doesn’t matter if you lose a bit of your IQ .   You have me . ” 


That’s sweet…in a strange sort of way .


She complains: “Is that meant to be words of comfort?”


Bo Jinyan gives her a smile .   They are back on the main road .   Home is not far away now .




Bo Jinyan stops at a red traffic light .  


He turns to look at Jian Yao .   She looks so lovely in her sleep .



After a long stare, he takes his eyes off her and continues driving .