“Your father… killed your mother?” Ji Anning was shocked and confused.
Amidst the confusion, she suddenly realized that in her past life, such a major tragedy had occurred in Wen Yu’s family.
Was his last visit to her meant for confiding in her? Was he seeking comfort?
But she had turned and run away, like avoiding a scorpion.
In her past life…
Ji Anning didn’t know whether to smile bitterly or sigh.
“So, what are you going to do now?” She asked gently.
Wen Yu, in a daze, replied, “I don’t know.”
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After a long while, Wen Guoan sighed deeply.
“Xiao Zheng, do you have children?” Wen Guoan asked.
Lawyer Zheng was in his thirties, almost forty. But in Wen Guoan’s eyes, he was still young enough to be called “Xiao Zheng1Little Zheng.” Given the current situation, this topic was quite awkward, but Wen Guoan was determined to discuss it, and Lawyer Zheng had no choice but to respond, “Yes, I do. My second child just turned three.”
“Oh, who takes care of the child?” Wen Guoan asked, “A nanny?”
“No, it’s my wife. She doesn’t work outside and takes care of the child full-time,” Lawyer Zheng replied.
Wen Guoan showed a longing expression and said, “They must be very close, right?”
Given the current circumstances, this topic was indeed awkward. However, Wen Guoan was fixated on discussing it, and Lawyer Zheng had no choice but to reply, “Yes, they’re very close.”
Wen Guoan nodded and continued, “The mother-child relationship is an important part of a child’s growth, something that shouldn’t be lacking.”
“So, I’ve always felt that loving a child means giving them a mother.”
“Even if that mother may not be entirely qualified, it’s still better than not having one.”
“Xiao Zheng, am I wrong?”
Normally, this line of thinking would undoubtedly be correct. But in the current situation, Lawyer Zheng couldn’t wholeheartedly say, “You’re not wrong.” He awkwardly looked at Wen Guoan.
Wen Guoan closed his eyes to rest again. After a while, he opened his eyes and asked, “How is Yang Yuan doing?”
Wen Guoan hadn’t mentioned Yang Yuan in front of Wen Yu. He had his reasons.
Captain Luo is a tough nut to crack, and using connections won’t work on him. This case has been escalated to Director Chen’s level, who is an adversary of Old Qian. Old Qian is now being closely watched, which restricts his actions, making him cautious not to give anyone a handle on him. Wen Guoan was thinking of staying put and being honest for the next 24 hours.
Once he’s out, he’ll take matters into his own hands.
To his surprise, Cheng Lian had actually died, she was really gone. Her body was discovered so quickly.
His request for bail pending trial had also been directly denied.
Lawyer Zheng said, “He just went back a while ago. He denies having an improper relationship with your wife, and his statement implies that you have domestically abused her, which is highly unfavorable for your case.”
He paused and added, “Everything has gone too smoothly, the body was discovered too quickly, and Director Chen received the news too quickly. I’ve tried to investigate, and it wasn’t Captain Luo’s doing.”
Wen Guoan’s expression remained unchanged as he said, “This is an attempt to frame me.”
Lawyer Zheng asked, “Should we take action now…”
“No,” Wen Guoan closed his eyes, saying, “No need. Keep an eye on him for now.”
Then, Lawyer Zheng asked about Wen Yu, and he saw a slight tremor in Wen Guoan’s eyebrows, who was usually composed and strategic.
The old man opened his eyes and sighed deeply.
“Give him some time to calm down,” he said, “He’s a smart kid, I hope he’ll figure it out on his own.”
The man who had just been strategizing and calculating was gone, replaced by a father.
Just a father2a very good father
Lawyer Zheng could see it clearly; if this man, Wen Guoan, had a weakness, it was Wen Yu.
Wen Yu lay on Ji Anning’s couch.
He had bought this new couch, which was much wider than the old one. It did make the living room feel a bit cramped, but it was undeniably more comfortable to sit and lie on.
There were many cigarette butts in the ashtray on the table. Wen Yu lay on the couch, smoking, and absentmindedly playing with the lighter in his hand.
Open it, close it, open it, close it. An unconscious mechanical movement.
Until his grandmother came out of the bedroom, inhaled the smoke, and started coughing violently.
Wen Yu quickly got up, extinguished the cigarette, and turned the air purifier to its highest setting.
His grandmother finally managed to stop coughing and asked, “Who are you? Where’s Ning Ning? Why isn’t she back from school yet?”
Wen Yu helped her sit down and said, “Ning Ning went grocery shopping.”
Wen Yu had decided to stay behind because there weren’t enough groceries at home, and Ji Anning had gone downstairs to buy some.
When she returned and saw Wen Yu sitting on the couch with his legs crossed, listening to his grandmother’s stories from the past, she realized that they were both engrossed in the conversation. One was happily sharing, and the other was listening attentively.
The atmosphere in the room was unexpectedly warm. It would have been even better if there weren’t so many cigarette butts on the coffee table.
Ji Anning walked over and collected the cigarette butts.
“you’re back,” Wen Yu said. “Is it cold outside?”
He had been outside before, so it was a strange question. Ji Anning replied, “It’s quite cold. I saw many people starting to return to school near the school area.”
Wen Yu commented, “Oh, that early?”
Their conversation was mundane and trivial, and neither of them mentioned Wen Yu’s family affairs.
Wen Yu had come here to escape.
Ji Anning said, “You keep chatting with Grandma; I’ll go prepare dinner.”
Wen Yu responded with a “Hmm.”
Ji Anning entered the kitchen, while Wen Yu remained seated with his legs crossed, leaning on the back of the couch, sinking into it. Grandma continued to enjoy her storytelling.
Soon, sounds of water splashing from washing vegetables and the clatter of chopping could be heard from the kitchen. Grandma was reminiscing about Ji Anning’s childhood, talking about what a mischievous and quirky little girl she had been.
Wen Yu suddenly had an epiphany.
So, this is what it means to depend on each other.
Connected by blood, relying on one another, inseparable. Although he hadn’t particularly liked his mother deep down, and even felt repulsed by her these past few days, no matter how much he disliked her, she was still the one who had given birth to him.
Now that she was gone, Wen Yu found it difficult to breathe, and his heart ached.
Ji Anning and Grandma only had each other, and the thought of how he had once attempted to separate them made him realize his own cruelty and ruthlessness.
He realized that when it came to family, it couldn’t simply be measured by what was better or worse.
Wen Yu’s eyes became blurred.
He turned his head, burying his face in the backrest of the couch and wiping away the moisture on his face.
When Ji Anning came out with dishes, all she saw were his red, swollen eyes. She didn’t say anything but held his hand, guiding it to the table, and silently served him food.
That night, Wen Yu slept on the couch, and Ji Anning stacked two thin blankets together to cover him. Worried that he might feel cold, she asked if he wanted a hot water bottle.
However, Wen Yu tried it and found that one blanket was enough.
He thought he wouldn’t be able to sleep, but he fell asleep quickly.
Sometime in the middle of the night, he was awakened by the sound of the toilet flushing. He opened his eyes, but it was pitch black. Someone was moving in the dark.
The person came out, didn’t go straight back to the bedroom, but walked over to the couch and reached out to touch his head.
It was Ji Anning.
Her hand had just been washed, but there was still some moisture.
Wen Yu grasped her hand and kissed it.
“Did I wake you up?” Ji Anning bent down and whispered.
Her scent was warm and enveloping.
Wen Yu reached out and pulled her into an embrace, and Ji Anning quietly lay on top of him.
“So, you haven’t… seen your dad yet?” Ji Anning asked in a low voice.
In the darkness, Wen Yu responded with a “Hmm.”
After seeing Chengl Lian’s body, he felt as if the world was spinning. He didn’t want to see anyone, didn’t want to say anything, especially didn’t want to face Wen Guoan. Unconsciously, he just ran to Ji Anning’s place.
“I’ve met your dad once,” Ji Anning said. “But I found him to be a particularly friendly person. I thought our backgrounds were so different that your family wouldn’t like me, but he was exceptionally kind to me, so I have a good impression of him.”
After a long while, he finally said, “What I like, he won’t object to.”
“He cares about you a lot,” Ji Anning said.
After a long silence, Wen Yu gave another muffled “Hmm,” still feeling heavy-hearted.
“I’m reminded of my dad,” Ji Anning said softly. “He used to be quite kind, but he left.”
“I often think that if I ever see him again, I must stand in front of him and ask loudly.”
“Why did you leave? Why did you deceive Grandma’s money? Have you ever thought about how we would survive?”
“I think I must, absolutely, ask him in person.”
The room fell briefly into a moment of silence.
Ji Anning said, “Wen Yu, go talk to your dad.”
Another long silence followed.
In the darkness, Wen Yu agreed, “Okay.”
He added, “I’ll go tomorrow.”
Ji Anning let out a sigh of relief, got up, but was pulled back into Wen Yu’s embrace. He turned over, and they both lay on the couch, with Wen Yu on the outside and Ji Anning inside, facing each other.
A long, wet kiss, followed by Wen Yu hugging Ji Anning and softly saying, “Let’s sleep…”
The next morning, they were awakened by Grandma.
“Who are you? How did you get into our house?” Grandma held a hanger with clothes and hit Wen Yu with it. “I told you not to fool around with Ning Ning!”
Grandma had difficulty with her legs and feet, and although Wen Yu was agile, he didn’t dare dodge for fear of provoking Grandma, who might hurt herself if she stumbled and fell.
He could only endure it.
Ji Anning covered her eyes and went over to stop Grandma. “Grandma, isn’t it time to water the flowers?”
A couple of sentences later, the topic shifted, and Grandma forgot all about the incident when she woke up to find a stinky kid cuddling Ji Anning while sleeping. When she turned to see Wen Yu, she said, “We have a guest? Ning Ning, pour some water for our guest.”
Wen Yu gritted his teeth, realizing that all those hits from earlier had been in vain.
After finishing breakfast, he prepared to leave.
Ji Anning said, “I’ll accompany you.”
Wen Yu declined.
A place like the police station made people feel uncomfortable. He didn’t want Ji Anning to experience it, so he preferred to go alone.
“Alright. Then I’ll go get medicine for Grandma,” Ji Anning said.
With different destinations in mind, they parted ways on the roadside. Wen Yu headed to the police station, while Ji Anning went to the community hospital.
Alone at home, Grandma watched TV for a while, then remembered she needed to use the bathroom.
The new couch was very soft, and Grandma had a bad back. She needed to use her hands to support herself when standing up. When she pressed down with her hand, her fingers slipped into the gap in the couch cushion, touching something hard and cool.
Sansukini: Please bear with some sad chapters for a while. Speaking of Grandma, she reminded me of one of my grandmothers when I was in High School. She was very old and demented. Whenever she saw me, she’ll exclaim, “You’re here. Where is your Dad?” Then she will turn her head to another direction and the conversation will reset with the same lines, “You’re here. Where is your Dad?” It was a sad reality but a really funny story to reminisce.
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