It was the Lunar New Year, and the photography studio was also closed for a break. Ji Anning had no work and found herself in a rare state of relaxation.
She thought she wouldn’t see Wen Yu for a few days, especially on New Year’s Day. But to her surprise, he showed up on the first day of the Lunar New Year.
“On the first day of the New Year, aren’t you supposed to be with your parents?” Ji Anning asked in astonishment.
Wen Yu didn’t want to talk about it. “They’re annoying.”
Ji Anning paused and asked, “What happened?”
On New Year’s Day, Wen Guoan and Cheng Lian had an unpleasant argument. Early in the morning, they both left separately to find their own ways to relax.
What was once a peaceful home was now left with only Wen Yu.
Early in the morning, Wen Yu received a message from his father: “…”
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“Twb? Pslp vbkp byrrld sqvld?” Kk Gddkdt oyp y ckv rwggzle.
“Yu xsx kp tskdt vbaswtb xldsrywpl dso,” Eld Zw pyke okvb y vaswczle lmralppksd. “Yldsrywpl kp vlaakqukdt.”
Tl zyu esod sd vbl nswnb yde elnkele vs pvyu vblal. “R esd’v nyal. Mseyu, usw’al kd nbyatl sq nssjkdt qsa xl!”
Nkjl y ckt cycu ycydesdle cu lhlausdl, Kk Gddkdt zywtble yde awqqzle bkp byka. “Gzaktbv, esd’v wdelalpvkxyvl xu nssjkdt pjkzzp.”
Xd Llo Zlya’p Ohl, vblu bye ekddla yv vbl Eld qyxkzu’p bsxl, yde kv oyp ralryale cu vbl qyxkzu’p nblq. Mblu nzykxle kv oyp fwpv y pkxrzl bsxl-nssjle xlyz, cwv kd alyzkvu, kv nswze akhyz vbyv sq y bktb-lde alpvywaydv.
“R byhld’v vypvle uswa nssjkdt ulv,” Eld Zw pyke, “Psd’v osaau, kq kv’p dsv tsse, R osd’v pyu y osae.”
Kk Gddkdt zywtble yde rzyuqwzzu ryvvle bkx.
Qaydexy oyzjle swv sq bla assx yde pyo Eld Zw. Fbl ypjle, “Ebs kp vbkp? Lkdt Lkdt, kp vbkp uswa nzyppxyvl?”
Wen Yu quickly got up and went over to assist Grandma to sit down. “Grandma, don’t you remember me? I came to visit you.”
Grandma mistook Wen Yu for someone else and, surprisingly, started chatting with him enthusiastically.
Ji Anning held back her laughter and said, “Then, you have a good chat with my grandma. I’ll go prepare lunch.”
Ji Anning stewed some spare ribs and cooked a couple of dishes. Occasionally, she would peek out of the kitchen to see Wen Yu engaging in lively conversation with Grandma. He had a knack for adapting his speech and demeanor to the person he was talking to. As long as he was in a good mood, he could charm anyone, but when he was not, no one could please him, no matter who they were.
She covered the pot and let the dishes simmer slowly. Wen Yu came strolling in, saying, “Grandma is watching TV.”
He saw Ji Anning fetching vegetables from the balcony and asked, “Don’t you have a refrigerator here?”
“No, it’s not needed,” Ji Anning replied. “Vegetables go on the balcony, and meat hangs outside the window. It’s okay.”
She really knows how to make do with what she has,” Wen Yu mused, stroking his chin.
As Ji Anning turned her head and noticed the change in his expression, she raised an eyebrow, imitating his mannerisms and said, “Thinking about buying me a refrigerator?”
Wen Yu chuckled. “You’re getting to know me better.”
Ji Anning smiled faintly. “It’s up to you. If you want to buy one, go ahead.”
Wen Yu couldn’t believe his ears. Was this something Ji Anning would say? Wasn’t she always firm in her refusals?
“The sun rises in the west?” he marveled.
Ji Anning gave him a sly look.
“Hey, hey, tell me what’s going on?” Wen Yu playfully tugged at her apron. “How did you suddenly change your mind?”
“It’s nothing,” Ji Anning lifted the pot lid, stirred a few times, and covered it again. “Our parents have met, and we’ve taken care of Grandma’s belongings. I don’t want things to feel awkward between us anymore.”
Last night, she wore the bracelet on her wrist and looked at it for a long time under the light.
Regardless of whether Wen Yu’s grandmother had an abundance of jewelry, as Wen Yu had mentioned, Wen Guoan had gone to the storage specifically to select an item that belonged to his mother as a gift for their first meeting. It carried a heartfelt intention.
It was a gesture of acceptance towards Ji Anning.
Ji Anning could feel it.
Wen Yu smiled, squeezed into the kitchen, and embraced Ji Anning, encircling her waist with his arms.
“Just forget it, there’s nothing to see here. It’s not like it’s a luxury item,” he lowered his head and kissed the top of her head, “I just want to take care of you.”
The warmth of his embrace from behind and his strong, muscular arms made Ji Anning lean back against his chest, smiling. “I know.”
The flames were burning brightly, and the pot in the kitchen emitted a sizzling sound. The aroma of the food filled the small kitchen.
During the most important holiday of the year, most companies and businesses were on holiday, except for those in the commercial and service sectors.
Shopping malls and stores resumed normal operations after the third day of the Lunar New Year and held various events with discounts and promotions. Wen Yu didn’t know how much extra he had to pay, but he had the delivery brought to Ji Anning’s doorstep on the fourth day of the Lunar New Year.
Ji Anning thought he had bought her a refrigerator, but to her surprise, after the refrigerator was brought in, a washing machine followed.
Ji Anning: “…” Well, that washing machine was indeed making too much noise.
Then a set of sofas was brought in.
Ji Anning: “…” Well, the part of the sofa that had sagged had seen more than one incident with Wen Yu sinking into it.
But the last item brought in, a toilet, left Ji Anning completely dumbfounded.
Wen Yu explained, “It’s automatic sensing. It flushes automatically when a person stands up.”1So sincere
He wore a self-satisfied expression, as if saying, “Quick, praise me” all over his face.
In her previous life, Ji Anning had never imagined that this young master, who used to be so indifferent, would think of buying her an air purifier and thoughtfully installing an automatic sensor toilet for her grandmother.
It was beyond her wildest imagination!
What had she missed out on in her previous life?
Taking advantage of the workers not paying attention, Ji Anning tiptoed and pecked Wen Yu’s lips.
Fortunately, in this life, she didn’t miss out again.
The Spring Festival had passed, and students had not yet resumed school, but companies and businesses were back in operation.
Wen Guoan had returned, and Cheng Lian had also come back, but Wen Yu had only met her once and didn’t know what she was busy with all the time.
However, Auntie had not returned. On this trip home, she had to prepare for her elderly father’s birthday celebration and had taken a long leave, not planning to return until March.
But one person had returned – Old Xing.
“We didn’t find any past connection between Zhao Chen and Ji Anning,” he said as soon as they met, “but we did find some information about Zhao Chen. Take a look first.”
He pushed a leather document folder in front of Wen Yu.
Wen Yu opened the document folder and found that this report was much thicker than the previous one about Ji Anning. He carefully examined each page.
Old Xing, matching his browsing speed, slowly began to explain.
“Zhao Chen’s family is local, but their ancestral hometown is in Yucheng. Zhao Chen’s grandparents still live in Yucheng to this day. After his mother passed away, his father remarried, and his relationship with his stepmother was hostile. In order to separate the two, Zhao Chen’s father sent him back to Yucheng to live with his grandparents.”
“He has been living in Yucheng since the sixth grade of elementary school. His grandparents doted on him, and gradually, he became spoiled and unruly.”
“I didn’t find any history of Zhao Chen having contact with Ji Anning, but I did find that there should be blood on Zhao Chen’s hands.”
When this statement was made, even someone as fearless as Wen Yu couldn’t help but shudder.
Old Xing’s investigation was very thorough.
Zhao Chen had been attending a private school all along, clearly intending to follow the path of studying abroad, like many wealthy children.
The tuition fees at this school were very expensive, but not all the students were from wealthy families. There was a student named Li Yuanyang who was not considered a second-generation rich kid.
Li Yuanyang’s parents had little education and sold vegetables at the vegetable market. Although they had three stalls at the X market and earned enough money for a decent living for their family of three, what they earned was hard-earned money from working dawn till dusk.
Li Yuanyang excelled in his studies, and his parents hoped for a better future for him, so they sent him to this private school. The expensive tuition was a heavy burden for their family, but his parents bit the bullet, believing that as long as their son could have a promising future, it would be worth it.
No one could have expected that Li Yuanyang, who was both academically gifted and well-behaved, would undergo a drastic transformation within a year of attending this school.
Here, he came into contact with true second-generation rich kids, those with luxury homes and cars, and who spent money recklessly. At an age when young minds are still forming, they were easily influenced by their surroundings.
The once academically excellent boy started spending lavishly, despised his family’s car worth hundreds of thousands as embarrassing, and even insisted that his parents rent a Mercedes for parent-teacher meetings.
His family couldn’t support his extravagant spending. However, Li Yuanyang quickly found a solution of his own.
He could mooch off others as long as he was willing to lower his head and become someone’s lackey.
He became Zhao Chen’s lackey, and Zhao Chen was the undisputed boss.
One day, while having fun with Zhao Chen outdoors, he ran into a female classmate from his junior high school days. This girl was named He Man and had once been Li Yuanyang’s rival for the top spot in their class, excelling academically just like him.
Not only that, He Man was also exceptionally beautiful. Zhao Chen immediately took an interest in her.
Zhao Chen was naturally flirtatious. Through Li Yuanyang, he got to know He Man and began pursuing her.
In He Man’s eyes, Li Yuanyang was still the academically excellent boy he used to be. She had no idea that he had completely changed. Li Yuanyang introduced his friends to her, and she let her guard down completely.
However, she soon realized that Zhao Chen was not a good person. When she rejected his advances, his pursuit turned into harassment.
The girl’s classmates, parents, and teachers had all heard her complaints about Zhao Chen’s harassment but had no effective solution. Her parents even considered transferring her to another school discreetly.
But just before the transfer process was completed, the girl received another call from Li Yuanyang. Li Yuanyang apologized to her over the phone, saying that he didn’t know that Zhao Chen was that kind of person. He asked her to come out and talk to him, saying that he would help her solve Zhao Chen’s problem.
The girl was only seventeen years old, still naive and innocent, and did not know how evil people’s hearts could become. Out of trust for her old classmates, she went to the appointment, but what was waiting for her …… was Zhao Chen.
The girl was found dead. She was raped before her death and struggled too hard to be choked to death by the man who raped her.
She died at the age of seventeen.
Zhao Chen and Li Yuanyang were both arrested.
The girl’s friends and parents know who the murderer was.
The murderer’s family sent a message to the girl’s parents asking if they could settle the matter with money. The girl’s parents angrily refused.
In the end, Li Yuanyang took all the blame.
“He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but now his sentence has been reduced to 20 years. If he continued his good behaviour, it is estimated that he will come out after 10 years in the prison. As for the boy’s family, since he pleaded guilty, they now have more than a dozen stalls in four markets, three more houses, and a Mercedes-Benz,” said Old Xing.
“So Zhao Chen did it?” Wen Yu asked.
“It’s 100% him.” Old Xing said.
“Are you sure that he and Ji Anning had never been in contact before?” Wen Yu asked again.
Why do you think they’ve had contact before?” Old Xing asked.
Wen Yu was dumbfounded.
He didn’t have any real evidence, it was all speculation.
Ji Anning said she had met a bad person before. Ji Anning said she was afraid of this person. Ji Anning was afraid of Zhao Chen.
Coincidentally, that day, when I was playing with Li He, Li He’s distant cousin from Yucheng knew Zhao Chen. They met in Yucheng.
Zhao Chen had stayed in Yucheng. Ji Anning came to study in the provincial capital from Yucheng.
With all this information combined together, Wen Yu suspects that the bad guy Ji Anning met in Yucheng is Zhao Chen.
And coincidentally, from what Old Xing found out, Zhao Chen really fits the image of the “bad guy” that Ji Anning described in every way.
It’s just that Old Xing couldn’t find out that they had contacted each other before in Yucheng.
“The public school Ji Anning attends is in the old city, while the private school Zhao Chen attends is in the new district, which is geographically ‘far away'”.
“Ji Anning lives in the old city, while Zhao Chen’s family villa is in the eastern suburbs. There’s no intersection between their routes to school and their lives.”
“There’s no crossover among their classmates either. There’s no such thing as He Man and Zhao Chen having a common classmate.”
Old Xing was a very calm man, he spoke at a moderate pace, his voice was low, and it was easy to convince people.
Anyway, the more Wen Yu listens, the more he knows that Old Xing is probably right.
Ji Anning herself said that she and Zhao Chen didn’t know each other before. She also said, “If you don’t believe me, go check it out”. She was very firm.
Old Xing took out an envelope and a plethora of bills and pushed them over: “This is the remaining travel expenses ……”.
Wen Yu raised his hand and said, “No, you keep it.
He took out another thick envelope and pushed it over, “Thank you for your hard work.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Wen.” Old Xing put both envelopes away, “Contact me if you have anything.”
Wen Yu nodded and watched him leave.
Looking down at the information, the inhuman actions of Zhao Chen was horrifying. What was even more frightening was that he was only seventeen years old at the time!
Wen Yu turned another page, and at the back was a picture of He Man.
She was a very pretty girl, with a particularly sweet smile.
Wen Yu didn’t know whether it was a mistake or not, but the more he looked at He Man, the more he felt that he could find the shadow of Ji Anning.
He threw the information on the table and lit a cigarette, his gaze deep.
Sansukini: I wish He Man can also get a rebirth. Poor girl.
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