ZhouXiang forced a smile, “President Yan, how could I answer such question?”


“I don’t want to hear this kind of superficial answer.”


Unknowingly, YanMingXiu had already gotten out of bed and walked to his side, his slender fingers pinched ZhouXiang’s chin, forcing him to look up.


ZhouXiang's voice is hoarse, “I really don’t know how to answer. I also don’t know why.”


“You're lying!!” YanMingXiu snapped. With his fingers slowly tightening, ZhouXiang felt his chin being crushed.


YanMingXiu’s eyes are becoming blood-shot. A person forced into such hopeless situation would have this kind of demeanor. His heart is feeling too chaotic. There is something that is bothering him and kept passing through his mind. He can't grasp onto it no matter how he tried and it refused to leave him be. He felt that he must grab onto it, as long as he could grab it, he would be saved.


He doesn’t believe that there could be so many coincidences in this world. There must be some sort of plan in this unseen universe that made this person also called ZhouXiang, who is full of familiar signals appear in front of him. And at a time that he (YanMingXiu) is most desperate and helpless.


This ZhouXiang shouldn’t just a passer-by, he…..how could he be so much like "him? It's almost as if they are the same person……


The same person……


When he thought of this, YanMingXiu is shocked by his own thought.


Seeing this obviously younger, more handsome face, this person doesn't look a bit similar to that other person (older ZhouXiang). They are two completely different people. For YanMingXiu to accept this kind of unscientific strange circumstance is too hard. How could a normal person believe in something so bizarre?


Besides, this person didn't admit to it at all.


This is the most baffling for YanMingXiu. If this ZhouXiang is really that ZhouXiang, why wouldn't he tell him?


YanMingXiu have meticulously pondered over this matter countless times, yet still didn't dare to come to any conclusion because every argument is illogical and unsound. He is afraid to get his hopes up high only to be devastatingly disappointed in the end.


In these past years, he had depended on the phrase, 'He didn’t die' to sustain himself. Although the master also said the following phrase, 'But is not alive,' he chose to believe the first phrase. He didn't believe that ZhouXiang is dead. Strictly speaking, he should not accept ZhouXiang’s death. As long as he hasn't seen ZhouXiang’s body, he would never accept that ZhouXiang is dead.


To accept ZhouXiang's death is tantamount to him strangling himself.


He will collapse. He will utterly collapse.


Especially after what he had experienced the past several days, realizing that the figure whom had left him mesmerized and infatuated was actually ZhouXiang. He is even more unwilling to accept that… at a time when he admitted that he loved this person, he had also completely lost the chance to love forever.


He won't accept it; he won't admit that he lost the chance to love ZhouXiang forever. Never.


ZhouXiang grabbed YanMingXiu’s wrist with slight force. His chin felt so painful that it'll fracture if he (YanMingXiu) gripped any harder. He clutched YanMingXiu’s wrist, hinting for him to let go.


This dull pain pulled YanMingXiu back to his senses. He glanced at the ZhouXiang in front of him and slowly released his hand.


ZhouXiang heaved a sigh of relief and stood up, sounding a bit coldly detached, “President Yan, these things you're saying is too absurd. I really don’t know how to answer. There are so many coincidences in the world. I'm afraid that you just think we are alike because of your preconception. So no matter what I do, you'll feel that we are alike. But I'm….. I'm completely different from him."


ZhouXiang gritted his teeth as he uttered this last sentence. These words are not only for YanMingXiu to hear but also for himself. He has to become a completely different person from the previous “ZhouXiang.” He will never repeat the same mistakes.


People can’t fall into the same trap twice, that's just fucked up.


After ZhouXiang finished talking, he wanted to leave immediately.


YanMingXiu held onto his shoulder, “Where are you going? Just stay here.”


ZhouXiang forced himself to sit down and said gloomily, “President Yan, don't make it hard for me.”


YanMingXiu adjusted his pajamas and went back to the bed. His hoarse voice rang in the quiet room. “ZhouXiang, I can’t accept this kind of explanation. One day, I'll know what you are hiding.”


ZhouXiang didn’t look up and stared straight on the ground.


YanMingXiu responded, “Sleep, we're heading back to Beijing tomorrow.”


———


There are two other actors coming back to Beijing with them. This time, having borrowed some of YanMingXiu's lime light, ZhouXiang's seat was upgraded as he was able to sit with YanMingXiu.


There were three to four people in first class. The two of them sat in the front row; both deeply immersed in their own thoughts and didn't even say a few words the entire time.


In particular, YanMingXiu sat in the same position like a statue; his eyes kept staring out of the window. His whole person seemed to be shrouded in depressing air.


The YanMingXiu now gives ZhouXiang the feeling like that of a tree that is withered inside. ZhouXiang could no longer find that full of enthusiasm arrogant youth of the past in him. What remained is only that gloominess and coldly indifference, a complete contrast to his 23 years of age.


ZhouXiang felt jealous and hatred toward the person who made YanMingXiu change to such an extent.


After the plane landed, JiangYuan came to pick them up. JiangYuan first sent YanMingXiu home and then sent ZhouXiang home.


Having not seen ChenYing for a few days, her complexion looked a lot better. ZhouXiang asked her about her recent treatments and felt that he could laxed his mind a bit and went to sleep.


He finally woke up when it was almost time for dinner. He had been so busy after getting off the flight that he forgot to turn on his phone. When he finally turned it on, there were several missed calls, all from CaiWei.


He quickly returned the call.


CaiWei’s voice sounded somewhat depressed, “ZhouXiang. Come out. I have something to ask you.”


ZhouXiang’s heart sank. He suspected that his relationship with YanMingXiu had likely reached CaiWei's ears. This is not surprising considering CaiWei’s unimaginable wide network of contacts.


When ZhouXiang thought of this, he guiltily didn't want to go see him and just ignore it. But when he thought that he still have to report to the company tomorrow, there's no use in dragging it out he could only brace himself to bluntly agree.


[YanMingXiu meeting with the investigator]


“President Yan, you're here.” Team Leader Wang got up to shake hands with YanMingXiu.


YanMingXiu also shook his hands. Then with a bit of impatience, “Team Leader Wang, I rushed here after getting off the flight, please tell me about the latest status to this case.”


YanMingXiu is in Team Leader Wang's office. There are a bunch of photos spread out on his desk in front of him and more than ten photos posted on the whiteboard. They are all photos, relating to ZhouXiang’s home burglary.


Team Leader Wang didn't bother with any nonsense and got right to the point, “We've thoroughly analyzed this door lock and came to the conclusion that the lock was not damaged. The lock cylinder was old but there were no serious scratches. There is a 90% possibility that this might have been opened with a perfectly matched key, and the remaining 10% might have been an ultra-high-end unlocking tool, but we are all more inclined to the first possibility.”


YanMingXiu suppressed the throbbing in his heart, “You're saying this lock might have been opened with a key?”


“A very high possibility that it is.”


YanMingXiu thought of LanXiRong, thought of CaiWei, and then thought of ZhouXiang.


These are the only people who know of the spare key, then the person who unlocked the house…


YanMingXiu lowly responded, “Tomorrow, I will give you something. It is the spare key to this lock. See if you can find any clues.”


Team Leader Wang patted his thighs, “President Yan, why didn't you give us such an important thing earlier!”


YanMingXiu didn't know much about criminal investigation. He simply didn’t want to take the key away from its original place because he still harbored the dream that ZhouXiang will come back one day and feared that this dream would be shattered if he couldn't open the door…


In this crucial moment, if he can crack open this shell then he would be able to resolve his biggest and most important doubt. He can't think too much. He told Team Leader Wang of his speculation toward LanXiRong and CaiWei, but he concealed their names.


“President Yan, if you say it like this, then the motives and suspects of this case would have to be re-analyzed. Moreover, you said that one of them saw the suspect's back. In this case, can you ask him to assist us in watching some of the surveillance videos from the intersection to see if we can find the find suspect? We already have access to two of the surveillance videos that might have captured the neighborhood during that time period. Whenever he can come, we could watch it then."


YanMingXiu thought for a moment, “Okay, I'll let him know. We'll watch it together.”


End of the chapter