Early in the morning, heavy rain loudly crashed on the windows, the whole town was shrouded in the gloomy mist.
In the conference room of the district police station, all the police officers sat around the long black table, everybody was very serious.
The operation, this time, was very productive. Within few days, the police had arrested more than thirty suspects and rescued more than forty victims. However, “Brother Lu” was a needle in the haystack, still missing without a trace.
The province police instructed and issued arrest warrant provinces wide, to implement a large-scale hunt. The action team led by Ji Bai finished with their task had disbanded today, everybody had returned to their posts waiting for further instructions.
After the brief summary report, Ji Bai invited deputy director Liu to speak.
Deputy director Liu had always been known across the province for her vigorous and resolute personality. This time was no exception.
After affirming the achievements and values of the operation, this time, she changed the subject: “But our operation cannot be said to be successful, or even fall short in the last minute because of a negligence of a comrade, a criminal that the ministry of public security named “Brother Lu” escaped right in front of our eyes.”
Within the heavy rain that was like the sound of drums, the conference room appeared to become quieter.
Yao Meng sat straight, her face changed from red to white.
Liu Cheng’s gaze stopped on her, bluntly said: “Yao Meng, we made an exception for you and Xu Xu letting trainee participate in the operation because we were hoping that you will be able to play professional roles. However, “Brother Lu” was in your car, and you didn’t even notice, and moreover you let her go into the bathroom alone, from where she easily escaped. I can’t forgive this mistake. After going back, I will request your director, a need for punishment responsible for this matter. I hope you reflect and learn from experience and improve your professionalism, and never let a similar mistake from happening again.”
Yao Meng’s eyes filled with tears, and she lowered her head down: “Yes, deputy director Liu.”
Liu Cheng was the type of person to point at the wrongs instead of the person. After being criticized, seeing the little girls aggrieved look, more than half the irritation in her had already gone down. She turned to Ji Bai and said: “I’ve no more opinion, you may adjourn the meeting.”
JI Bai lifted his eyes to look at her, and said in the deep voice: “I do not agree about punishing Yao Meng.”
Everyone was quiet, there was only the sound of the rain from outside the window.
Yao Meng in trance looked up, watched Ji Bai with misty eyes. He sat not far from her, behind him was the dark sky outside the window, and his face was so calm and determined.
Liu Ying turned sullen. Ji Bai as if not seeing her expression continued to say slowly: “This matter happened not because of Yao Meng’s oversight but because she’s a trainee policeman, and lacks real life experience. Combining all her performance in this operation, I think her performance is basically good.”
The room turned even quieter, and the young police officers didn’t dare to even breath loudly, and all the old police officers expressions didn’t change as if not feeling the tense atmosphere.
At this time, Da Hu said in a low tone: “I agree with Ji Bai’s opinion.” Xu Xu nodded: “I also agree.” Her voice was crisper than Da Hu’s.
Yao Meng sat between the two of them, buried her head even lower.
Liu Ying glanced over them, and stared at Ji Bai: “As you say, who will be responsible for “brother Lu’s” escape?”
Ji Bai: “I’m the commander of the operation, if you want someone to be held accountable, I’ll be responsible for everything.”
Liu Ying threw the notebook on her hand on the table: “Ji Bai, do you think I won’t discipline you?”
Ji Bai turned silence with an indifferent expression. Others stayed silent, the tense atmosphere in the room turned to extreme instantly.
Suddenly, Yao Meng raised her head and chokingly said: “It’s my responsibility, discipline me. This has nothing to do with him… nothing to do with boss.”
The conference room became increasingly quiet, only the sound of Yao Meng’s sobs were heard.
At this, an official from province police laughed: “Look, you scared the little girl. Don’t cry anymore. Ji Bai, Liu Ying just wants to improve the quality of the police team from Lin city of yours by having such strict requirements. Up in the province, the one who praised you the most was deputy director Liu, how could she punish her little brother?” Ji Bai and Liu Cheng both graduated from criminal investigation department of the office of public security university and were considered to be from the same sect.
The official looked at Liu Ying: “I think what Ji Bai said is reasonable, how about we go back and discuss it later?”
Ji Bai nodded: “You’re right, I speak without paying attention to my words. Deputy director Liu, I hope you lessen your anger.”
Liu Ying was now in a fit of anger, but touched with Ji Bai’s calm eyes, she was unable to release her anger and could only sullenly say: “Adjourn!”
The afternoon that day, deputy director Liu drove back to the province, Ji Bai personally saw her off for a distance. Liu Ying was sullen on the way till the end, finally smiled and said: “Alright, I accept your opinion, I won’t discipline anyone. But this matter, you must personally report to the province police.”
“No problem, I will listen to you. After going back to Lin city, I’ll go to the province to apologize.”
“This brat… tell Yao Meng, I’m like that, I was too harsh today, tell her not to think too much.”
After the provincial leader left, the rest of the people that stayed behind immediately relaxed quite a bit. Su Mu suggested that they invite Ji Bai and other guests that came from Lin city to eat lunch, and enjoy the local specialties. After a night’s rest, he would send a car to drive them back to Lin city next day morning.
The location was set in a riverside restaurant, and very close to the police station.
The rain outside hadn’t stopped yet. When Yao Meng arrived, there was only Su Mu, Ji Bai, Da Hu and two police officers sitting by the window, the others weren’t there yet.
After being criticized today, all the familiar police officers had gone to comfort her. The unfamiliar police officers had looked at her with gentle and encouraging eyes. However, it was not important to her, what’s important was Ji Bai’s attitude. Although the day was very sad for her, but thinking of his attitude today, the sadness became sweet.
The Sichuan police were the host, Lin City people sat at their seats. The seat on the right-hand side of Ji Bai was still empty. Yeo Meng’s heart was throbbing; she quietly walked by Da Hu. Surprisingly, just as she walked behind him, he used his hand and pulled her to sit next to him: “That seat is taken, you should sit here.”
Yao Meng didn’t get to react before several other men laughed with tacit looks. Ji Bai sat without a word but he didn’t deny anything.
Yao Meng’s mind was a bit hazy, her temples started throbbing painfully.
After a while, Xu Xu came and naturally sat beside Ji Bai. Because Da Hu had already directed, “not to tease”, the men didn’t laugh and pretend not seeing anything.
The meal was carried out in a very joyful atmosphere. A young police officer drank too much and forgetting the order, held up a cup to Xu Xu, said “Sister-in-law, toast, toast to you!”
Xu Xu was about to explain when Ji Bai lightly pulled her sleeves: “They’re all drunk, we’re going back to the city tomorrow anyway.”
Yao Meng didn’t hear their conversation. She barely touched the dishes nor did she say anything but still had a smile on her face throughout the meal.
In the afternoon, the rain poured down heavier; the sky was dark as if it was already night.
This time, they were resting in the district hotel, each person had their own room. The police officers gathered in one room to play cards noisily. Because this person and that person toasted Xu Xu, she ended up drinking in total a bowl of white wine. Fell asleep right away after she went back to the room.
Yao Meng sat by the window in her room, watching the rain. After a while, she noted that Ji Bai’s room next door was quiet, she got up and went out.
Ji Bai opened the door to see Yao Meng, he was slightly stunned.
She wore a very thin white shirt with simple trousers. It seemed that she got wet from the rain, the half wet hair hung off her shoulder, her face was pale. The look in her eyes was calm but surging with emotions.
“Ji Bai.” She said softly.
As the torrential rain fell, the small town police compound in the rain seemed, even more, empty and quiet within the heavy rain.
Ji Bai stared at her eyes, slowly said: “Yao Meng, you’re very talented and a well-rounded talent. As a superior and colleague, now and in the future, I’ll spare no effort to help you achieve greater success in work. Other than that, I have no other feelings for you.”
Yao Meng stood in trance looking at him, felt shame. Although knowing the answer, she still opened her mouth to ask a question that would make it, even more, shameful: “In your heart… you already have someone else?”
“Yes, I already have.”
After he closed the door, Ji Bai walked into the room.
Da Hu was in his room watching soccer; he had already heard the conversation at the door. After a while, he said: “Yao Meng, this girl is good in other aspects, she just has too many intentions, and often talks in circles, which is honestly not really necessary.”
Ji Bai nodded and said: “Do not mention this to other people.”
“I know.” Da Hu understood that Ji Bai wanted to save the girl’s face.
They watched soccer for a moment before Da Hu suddenly started humming: “In my heart, there’s only you, don’t have her, you have to believe in my sincere feelings…”
Ji Bai laughed.
When twilight hours came, everybody gathered at the hotel’s courtyard and strolled together around the Sichuan town night streets. Da Hu knocked at Yao Meng’s door before but she said that she was tired and didn’t want to go.
After the rain, the air was very fresh. Although the ground was still wet, but there were more and more pedestrians walking on the streets. A bunch of energized and tall strong men walking beside Ji Bai and Xu Xu attracted the attention of many passersby. Ji Bai looked indifferent while Xu Xu was slightly embarrassed, walked with her head lowered as if not existing.
After walking for about ten minutes, the group of men was bustling with conversation while JI Bai and Xu Xu didn’t say a word to each other. Ji Bai glanced at her, stopped and asked: “I’m going to buy some souvenirs for friends, you want to go?”
Xu Xu honestly also wanted to buy: “I’ll go.”
Ji Bai looked up to ask the crowd: “Me and Xu Xu are going to buy some specialties. What about you guys?” His eyes passed once over each of them. Meeting his eyes, they one after another shook their head.
“Not going, not going. The two of you go.”
“Nothing exciting about buying specialty.”
Su Mu said: “Captain Ji, I recommend a shop to you, good quality is guaranteed, it’s just a little far.
It wasn’t just a little far, JI Bai and Xu Xu walked for half an hour before they finally arrived.
But the two of them were secretly very much satisfied with the recommendation of Su Mu. Both of them thought: “I can walk quietly with her (him), no one is there to disturb, it feels great.”
Coming out from the specialty shop, the two were silent for a moment. Ji Bai quickly looked around, finally picked a place alongside the river: “Let’s go over there.”
The river surrounded the small town. In the recent years, new constructions had grown alongside the long river of dark water like a string of gray pearl. Ji Bai and Xu Xu walked for a while, they heard lively music come from ahead. At the other end of the embankment appeared a large square.
Because of the rain, there weren’t many people on the street. But the rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the people living in this small town. “Summer summer quietly passed, leaving behind the … “ a song echoed from the square. Dozens of couples, mostly middle-aged, were dancing under the lights.
In the eyes of young girls like Xu Xu, this scene was very warm and lovely, but also a bit funny.
Ji Bai also thought that dancing among a bunch of middle-aged people was quite ridiculous. But after being silent for a few seconds, he turned around and looked at Xu Xu: “You want to dance?”
Xu Xu: “It’s your choice.”
Ji Bai immediately threw the bag of souvenirs he had just bought, down on the floor, until the time for leaving, he didn’t remember the bag of souvenirs.
Xu Xu had only danced with Xu Jun at home. She gave one hand to Ji Bai and placed another on his shoulder, Xu Xu immediately lowered her head and her face began to heat up.
Ji Bai held the sweating little hand tightly, the other hand finally held the fragile waist that he had looked at countless times.
After a few seconds being hand in hand, his heart surged up a pleasant feeling that was calming. Xu Xu’s body slightly trembled. Ji Bai felt that, and he quietly clasped her so her body stuck even closer to his.
The sound of music was right beside their ears but seemed very far away. The silhouette around them kept moving but everything became an irrelevant background. Xu Xu’s whole body was in his arms and she felt an unprecedented dizziness.
In fact, they weren’t all that good at dancing and their movements were not very compatible. But not to the point where Xu Xu would step on his shoes but from time to time, she would move in the opposite direction to him. Whenever it happened, Ji Bai would use his hand to forcefully pull her right back into his arms immediately, not a moment of separation. At this time, Ji Bai subtly revealed his strength more than he usually did. Xu Xu looked up at his calm and dark eyes, she wanted to look straight into his heart. She obviously was just a little dizzy since she couldn’t think clearly about anything.
The song ended then another song started.
From the song “Pink memories” to “ The most dazzling folk style” and to “the first snow of 2002”.
When Dolan sang to the verse “ Like a butterfly flying…” Xu Xu suddenly felt Ji Bai hug her waist a bit tighter, his hot breaths indistinctively blew on the short hair on her head.
“It’s raining again, Let’s go home.” The music stopped, the couples who were dancing on the square fled. Ji Bai slowly released Xu Xu, two pairs of eyes stared at each other.
Rainwater was falling beside their feet, and also on their heads.
“Boss, we’re here” It was Da Hu’s hearty voice coming from behind: “Get on in the car fast, there will be a rain storm.”
The rain was getting harsher in the blink of an eye.
Ji Bai looked at Xu Xu: “Let’s get on the car.”
It turned out that Su Mu had gone back to get the car, and was taking everyone on a ride to feel the wind along the riverbank, and had happened to see them.
The group went back to the hotel, Ji Bai stood at the porch to say goodbye to everyone. Several young police officers surrounded him to express admiration before his departure. Xu Xu went to her room and looked at him across the crowd. Ji Bai immediately noticed and raised his brows looking at her, his eyes were calm and deep.
After she took a shower, Xu Xu sat cross-legged on the bed and looked at the rain pouring down outside the window.
After dancing to the last moment, she had felt his head lower down, and something lightly touched the top of her head. Did Ji Bai kiss her hair or was it the first raindrop that fell on her head?
Thinking of this, her heart started to beat faster. Xu Xu stood up and opened the window; raindrops immediately got in and fell down on top of her head.
She didn’t know how long she experienced it, but it was until her hair was half wet, then only did Xu Xu withdraw her head. She had one hand supporting under her chin and lips curled up into a smile.
She was disappointed that she had no experience, so she couldn’t compare.
Edited by No.5 proofreader.
The much-awaited romance =) How do you like it? It was awkward and adorable…
Ji Bai rejection was quite nice, well rejections are never nice but he was straightforward and to the point. Not giving Yao Meng any lingering expectation that they could be… It’s the best for her since they will never be anything more…
Anyway, two regular chapters released so moving on to the extra chapters from donations.
Don’t forget to comment/like/follow ^^