Chapter 12, The chase begins

 

He pursed his lips, taking a few steps to stand in front of her. Looking down he could see that her right ankle was wrapped in a lot of white bandages, but it was mostly covered by her dress. Enough that if he wasn’t looking carefully he wouldn’t have spotted it.

After noticing what he was looking at, Su Yi explained, “Today I sprained my ankle at work.”

Chu Ying asked, “Can you walk?”

Su Yi went along with it, shaking her head and pitifully saying, “If I move, it hurts.”

Chu Ying stretched out an arm.

Su Yi finally got to touch his hand.

It felt even better than she’d imagined. Hard, steady, giving her a sense of safety and stability just holding it.

A few steps later Chu Ying slowed down. “There’s plenty of people in there, bend your head down.”

Su Yi obediently lowered her head into Chu Ying’s shoulder. Chu Ying didn’t have any smell, just the dry cleaning scent left on the suit.

The people at the seat stared wide-eyed at the two people walking over.

Su Yi was already a little experienced with meeting Chu Ying’s friend. She smilingly sat down, “Hi, I’m Chu Ying’s friend.”

Crew cut let out an ‘oh’. “Heard of you, heard of you, that one with really high alcohol tolerance?”

“My tolerance was actually pretty low,” Su Yi said humbly. Noticing that this crew cut guy was a little unfamiliar, she asked, “Were you there that day?”

“No, I heard them saying it,” Crew cut laughingly said. “They said she has long legs and was really pretty, I took one look and knew it’s you.”

Su Yi smiled even more sweetly.

Chu Ying then asked, “How did you know I was here.”

Su Yi glanced at Liu Xi, who gave her a look.

She coughed once, “It’s just coincidence, coincidence.”

“…”

Just when she finished speaking, the server brought up a few lobsters.

Su Yi looked at the lobster bigger than her face and found her mouth watering.

On the table the phone lit up, Chu Ying instinctively glanced at it before realising that it was not his phone.

Old Witch: [When you’re sleeping don’t put pressure on your leg, remember what you’re not supposed to eat, tomorrow I…”]

He didn’t see anything after that.

Su Yi swallowed her saliva, picked up her chopsticks and took… a piece of carrot.

She was about to put it in her mouth when she felt a familiar warmth on her hand and someone pressed her hand back.

Su Yi paused. “What is it?”

Chu Ying looked at the lobster meat surrounding the carrot and said, “Don’t eat that.”

“Hey, why aren’t you letting her eat.” Liu Xi, sitting across from them, looked completely befuddled. “Don’t be too polite, eat as much as you want. Oh right, can we exchange contacts?”

Su Yi placed down her chopsticks. “Alright.” It’s unclear who she was answering.

Throughout the meal, all Su Yi did was sip at the water and listen to Crew cut making small talk with Liu Xi. Chu Ying occasionally cut in a few sentences and occasionally glanced at her.

“Why didn’t you come up yesterday night?” Liu Xi looked at Su Yi.

Su Yi asked, “What?”

“Yesterday, Liang Bo’s party,” Liu Xi said, “Didn’t he go down to invite you? He was a little drunk, he didn’t say too much to you right.”

“No,” Su Yi said. “I’m not too familiar with him.”

Liu Xi said, “It’s like this? I saw that he didn’t come back up for such a long time and assumed that you guys were chatting.”

Su Yi looked at Chu Ying, sitting besides her, whose face remained as it always did without any changes to his expression.

She smiled and said nothing more.

After the meal, Chu Ying got the bill, stood up and said, “Next time we’ll catch up again.”

“Sure,” Crew cut said. “I’m not sure when next time’d be but I’d definitely contact you.”

The two guys patted each other’s shoulder as a farewell.

It was only when Liu Xi stood up that he noticed Su Yi’s injury. “What’s with your foot?”

“I sprained it, it’s a small thing.”

“It’s all wrapped up until it’s this bulky and you still came over to eat with us? That’s too much, I’ll send you back.” As Liu Xi was speaking he came over to assist her.

Su Yi hadn’t the time to step away from him when Chu Ying had already slapped Liu Xi’s hand away. “Why aren’t you leaving.”

Liu Xi said very innocently, “I was already leaving, but she’s this injured, I’d send her.”

Chu Ying didn’t look at him, turning around to ask, “Have you eaten before you came?”

Su Yi shook her head honestly.

Even though she was injured, she daren’t eat without restraint. She’d only just managed to lose a few kgs in the past few days, she wouldn’t want to render that pointless.

Chu Ying continued, “There’s a porridge shop opposite, do you want to eat there.”

Su Yi immediately said, “Yes.”

**

In the hot summer day, there weren’t many people around in the porridge shop.

The shop owner recognised Su Yi, but he didn’t say anything about it. After asking for a signature he left them alone, even making sure to give them a corner seat.

Chu Ying glanced at her ankle and asked, “Did you scrape your skin?”

“A little.” The heel had rubbed her a little raw.

“Okay,” Chu Ying said, getting up. “You can eat first.”

Chu Ying got up and strode off. Su Yi watched his back and the steaming bowl of porridge in front of her, a little blind-sided.

He, he just left?

Wu Xue’s phone call came in suddenly. Su Yi was startled, and it’s only after she looked around and confirmed that it wasn’t too busy that she picked up the call.

“What’s happening?”

Wu Xue said, “Why did Liang Bo go knock on your door in the middle of the night?”

Su Yi spent a while thinking about it before finally recalling what happened. “How did you know?”

Wu Xue said, “It’s on the news, what do you say?”

“He got drunk and came over to my house all disorderly and smashed.” Su Yi stirred the porridge in front of her, her heart not on the matter at all.

“He’s mental,” Wu Xue cursed. “Then, he didn’t do anything did he?”

“No, what can he do? I tasered him, the media didn’t catch that did they?”

After Su Yi finished saying that, she saw a tall figure come in from outside. The guy had already taken off his suit jacket and was wearing a white shirt, an unknown bottle in his hand.

Wu Xue’s voice was raised as she said, “What? You tasered him?!”

“Yeah,” she said, her tone obviously coloured with cheer. “Relax, it’s not too serious, I used the lowest setting.”

“What’s making you so happy… nevermind, he’s the one who came up to you, he wouldn’t dare talk too much, next time if you have something like this remember to tell me,” Wu Xue said helplessly. “Tomorrow…”

Su Yi hurried to cut her off. “Little Xue Xue, I have something on here, I’m hanging up.”

On that end Wu Xue looked at the phone confused. She’s hurt her leg and was stuck at home, what could she have on?

Chu Ying sat down across from her, placing the bottle on the table. Su Yi finally had a good look at what was in there, blackish-red with some solids suspended in it.

“Medicinal wine,” Chu Ying said simply. “For alleviating swelling.”

Su Yi hadn’t reacted yet, asking a silly question, “Where’s it from?”

Chu Ying said, “The car.”

Su Yi smiled. “Thanks.”

The porridge wasn’t all that good, but she had a good time eating it, finishing more than half of it.

She asked, “Were you in the army before too?”

Chu Ying replied, “Yeah.”

Su Yi was relaxed and just going with the flow, so she continued, “And you’d go out on assignments?”

“Sometimes,” Chu Ying clearly didn’t want to say too much about it. “Does your agent know that you’re outside.”

Su Yi said honestly, “No, you should help me keep this a secret.”

Chu Ying found it funny. He naturally wouldn’t go tell on her, and he didn’t have the time or energy to expend the effort to care about these things, but he did find it fun to tease her, “Why should I help you?”

“Because I came out to find you,” Su Yi said seriously. “If we’re seriously examining the responsibilities, you’re an accessory.”

Chu Ying said nothing, taking out his phone instead.

Su Yi blinked and asked, “What are you doing?”

Chu Ying raised his brow. “Turning myself in.”

“Don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t,” Su Yi reached out and tightly clasped Chu Ying’s hand. “If little Xue knows about this I wouldn’t even get crumbs of meat for the whole of next month.”

Chu Ying was lost for a moment.

Her hand was pale and soft, her nails pink and carefully grown out.

“Joking.” He returned to himself soon enough, pulling his hand out and pressing her, “Eat your porridge.”

“I’m full,” Su Yi said smilingly. “Send the Buddha to the west, why don’t you send me home.”

Chu Ying’s shotgun seat was one Su YI was getting familiar with. She picked a comfortable, yet not impolite position, comfortably half-lying there.

She hadn’t managed to say anything when her phone rang again. After looking at the incoming caller’s information, she froze in the motion of picking it up.

Then she locked the screen and put it back in the bag.

It’s only when the phone rang for the third time that she finally picked it up.

“Anything?”

Chu Ying couldn’t help side-eyeing her. Since knowing her, this was the first time he heard Su Yi sound so cold.

Su Yi silently listened for a moment.

“Alright, I’ll send the money over tomorrow.”

The radio wasn’t on and the person in the phone wasn’t soft, so Chu Ying could still faintly hear something.

Not the words, but from the sound of it it’s probably a middle-aged woman.

The other said a whole bunch of things in one breath, her voice getting louder and louder. This time Su Yi didn’t say anything, hanging up immediately.

Then she blacklisted that number.

Chu Ying didn’t say anything. When they reached the car park, he got off first and helped Su Yi open the door. He stretched out an arm too, so she’d have something to hold onto as she got off.

Su Yi’s mood was clearly not that good. She held on and got off, but she didn’t expect there to be mud on the car’s step and after stepping on it, she slipped and could see herself falling.

Falling twice in a day, this really was a horrendously unlucky day.

As she said that in her heart, she quickly curled up the right leg that was already hurt to prevent injuring it again.

Suddenly a huge hand caught her around the waist, its owner pulling backwards and keeping her suspended midair.

She paused dumbfounded, instinctively turning around, meeting Chu Ying’s gaze.

“Why are you so careless?” The guy was frowning.

“…I,” Su Yi’s back was pressed against him, feeling his heat and his body shape. Her ears were already completely red. “…It’s not my fault, there’s mud here.”

Chu Ying put her down, loosening his grip but still holding onto her. “You scraped it on there when you got onto the car.”

He closed the car door, assisting Su Yi to the lift before leaving.

He stood outside, saying, “Remember to put on the medicinal wine.”

Su Yi let out an ‘oh’ and said, “Got it.”

The lift door slowly closed.

Chu Ying looked at his hand, as if the heat of the touch was still lingering.

He turned around, ready to leave.

Behind him came the sound of the lift door opening again.

“Chu Ying.” Su Yi’s voice rang clearly and she’s speaking really fast as she asked, “Do you have a girlfriend?”

Chu Ying paused in a daze and turned around. “No.”

The person inside clearly let out a sigh of relief.

Her cheeks were still red, her smile seductive and her tone insolent as she declared, “Then I shall begin to court you.”