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Keep the comments coming. There is nothing that motivates me more 🙂

I realised I have been translating Ye Zhengchen’s position as ‘General” but he is actually ‘Staff Officer’. I have corrected it here but will edit it later in the earlier releases. So this is how it cracks…

A week passed away quickly

The weekend had arrived again. I got off work late so I didnt go back to my parent's home. Instead, I dragged my exhausted body to my own apartment

Another patient, a twenty two year old had passed away. Before he dies, his young girlfriend crazily ran into the ward and burst in tears in front of him

The boy had laughed."Silly girl, didn't you say that you will never see me again, never forgive me even if I died?"

The girl shook her head vigorously, but could not speak.

" I have a bad temper, I always provoke you and make you angry. The next time find someone who has a good temper to be your boyfriend. And make sure he spends enough time with you."

" I dont' want to be with anyone else."

The man had died.

The girl had cried for the whole afternoon, her hands clutching the boy's wrist. She kept whispering, "You get up and show me your temper. I will never let you go."

Unless you lose someone, you never realise that even the things you hate about him are actually things you value.

I curled up in the couch. I was deeply missing someone. I wanted to lie in a certain person’s arms and cry, "I was wrong. I should have never let you go."

I took my phone out of the bag and checked it. Then I walked towards the kitchen, intending to get something for me to eat.

Suddenly the phone rang. I ran a few steps and picked up the phone from the sofa.

It was Zhong Tim. I connected the call.

" Little Bing, where are you?" Zhong Tim's voice was not clear, and I could hear men and women talking in the background.

" In my apartment. Where are you?"

" At a hotel. I am coming to your apartment for a while."

I thought his words sounded an bit strange, the enunciation wasn't very clear.

" Have you been drinking?"

" A bit", he laughed." This is just a social gathering. I had a few glasses of wine."

I had rarely seen him attend social gatherings. He seemed to be in a good mood. I had no intention of bringing down his mood.

" Which hotel? I'll come and pick you up."

" No. It's late and not too safe. I will come by in a while."

" Ok. I will be waiting for you."

I hung up the phone and went into the kitchen to make some soup for hangover. Zhong Tim did not have a good tolerance for alcohol. There was no way he would be ok after having that much to drink.

Soon, Zhong Tim came in. He smelled of cigarette smoke and alcohol and was slightly drunk.

I went into the kitchen to get him some soup. Zhong Tim followed me in, his walk a bit unstable.

" Little Bing, guess who I met at the party?"

" Who?" I did not care. I was just making conversation.

" Staff Officer Ye."

This was a completely unexpected answer. The bowl in my hands shook slightly.

Hadn't he left for to Beijing? Had he returned?

I schooled my expression and muttered a neutral, " Oh!"

" He is quite an interesting personality.."

" Is he?" I rubbed his forehead gently, trying to ease his headache.

" He just came from Beijing today to attend the birthday party of Xu Yang." Xu Yang, this name was a bit familiar. I vaguely remembered that he was a high ranked party cadre and also worked in the City hall.

"Someone asked him if he had made the trip specially to attend the birthday party. Guess what he said?"

" What?"

" He said he came here to meet his sweetheart."

Zhong Tim laughed drily at the end of this statement.

I continued to press his temples.

" He also asked me a very interesting question, ' What is more important than the woman you love?'"

I hesitated, and looked at Zhong Tim." What did you answer?"

Zhong Tim looked at me and sighed," For me, what can be more important than you?"

I frowned. I did not like his answer. It left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

"Little Bing, you tell me, isn't he better than me in every aspect?" Zhong Tim was a little drunk, otherwise he would have never asked me such a question.

"No", I looked at him seriously," Zhong Tim, you are down to earth yet quietly persistent. You are a good man. You are a man a woman can place her trust in.."

" I heard that he had finished his studies in medicine in Japan and returned to military service only recently. He is not even thirty yet.. and he is already a Staff Officer. Why?"

"…"

Because he had paid an unimaginably high price, one that anyone else would have balked at paying.

"Because his father is a military commander, his grandfather was supposedly…" Zhong Tim tried hard to recall.

I was not interested in this. I placed the soup in front of him and said, "Drink this."

Zhong Tim took the bowl, took a sip and then smacked it down on the table. " He came here to see you, isn't it?"

" Yin Zhong Tim.."

" When we were having lunch that day, I could see.. he was looking at you and there was a fire in his eyes…"

I stood on the other side of the dining table , barely able to hold myself straight.

" Don't think about all this. There is nothing between us now."

" That person, it was him, wasn't it?"

I could not meet his questioning eyes. I bowed my head.

" It's all over. It ended long back. You.."

Before I had finished my sentence, my phone rang. Both of us turned towards the phone.

I had a strong premonition that it was Ye Zhengchen who was calling me. I dared not answer the phone, afraid that Zhong Tim would hear his voice.

Realising that I was not going to answer the phone, Zhong Tim walked over, grabbed my bag from the sofa and pulled out the phone. He looked at the caller ID. The bitter expression on his face gave me my answer.

My heart sank when I saw him press the button to connect the call. I ran towards him.

" Hello". Ye Zhengchen's voice was greeted with stunning silence on this end.

" Staff officer Ye, are you looking for little Bing? Just a minute.. "

He handed the phone to me. I took it stiffly.

" Hello."

" …."there was no answer from the other side.

I put the phone closer to my ear, "Hello?"

" I am in Nanzhou", a short but powerful sentence.

I laughed, "I know… Zhong Tim was telling me just now that he had met you at a dinner party…"

" I want to see you", four short words, but extremely meaningful.

" Are you free tomorrow? We wanted to invite you for dinner. Before he could answer, I continued, " That's fine. We will speak to you tomorrow then."

I hung up the phone immediately.

Zhong Tim was standing stiffly. His hands were still clutching my bag. I extended my hand to take the bag, but he let it go before I reached it. The bag fell to the ground, scattering the contents on the floor

I squatted down to pick up the contents. My hands froze and cold sweat rolled down my back as I picked up a box of medicine

These were birth control pills to be taken within seventy two hours of the act. They were supposed to be taken twice , at intervals of twenty four hours.

I had taken one, but had forgotten the second one.

Swiftly, I put the box in my bag. But just as  I put it in, Zhong Tim grabbed my bag and took out the box. I tried to take it back but I was too late.

He opened the box and saw the remaining tablet inside. His hand trembled in the air, " You…"

I stood foolishly in front of him. I felt like a corpse, standing stiffly with no expression on my face.

" Were you with him?" he shook the box in front of me.

With the evidence in front of my eyes, how could I deny anything?

" I'm really sorry!"

What could I have said besides this?

Could I tell him that I had gone to bed with Ye Zhengchen in order to rescue him? Could I tell him that I had done all of this because of him ?

I couldn't - because that would mean I was being a hypocrite.

A fire brimmed in his eyes. Before I could fathom what was happening, I felt a burning slap on my face. The force pushed me to the ground and my forehead touched the edge of the coffee table. A thick red liquid stained my eyes.

I clutched the side of my face in pain. It was as if the slap woke me up from a nightmare and I gazed at him in amazement. I felt no resentment, no grievance. All of this was so sudden that all I could feel was suprise.

He grabbed my dress and jerked me up from the ground. His face was livid with the veins popping up in his forehead.

" I was only away for a few days! You just couldn't wait to get into bed with him…"

" I'm sorry", I looked at him guiltily." If it will make you feel better, hit me again."

Zhong Tim raised his hand intending to hit me again but froze. He opened his mouth but not a single word emerged. Eventually, he loosened his hold and staggered out of the apartment.

I wanted to touch his shoulder and tell him that everything would eventually turn out alright. But I didn't, afraid that he would find my touch hateful.

The door closed, and the sight of his slightly trembling back disappeared.

I placed my cold palms over my cheek, aiming to relieve the pain.

What would I do now? How would I do it? How would I face my parents? How would I explain what happened? My dad was already unwell, would this drive him back to the hospital? And Ye Zhengchen ? How would I face him?

There were too many questions, and not a single answer.

If at anytime I met him, I would ask him, " Brother, you tell me, what we did, was it rape, adultery or prostitution?"

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