A man always thinks about the woman he can't get. There's nothing strange about this - it's just how nasty the world is.
But it was Xiao Yang driving... Han Yanyan bent and waved to the young man in the car. "No, I'll just take a taxi. There's no need to bother you. Thank you. "
"This isn't a good time to catch a taxi," Xiao Yang replied. "Just get in. Mr. Yao wanted me to give you a ride, if you don't get in I won't know what to tell him."
Han Yanyan considered it, then got on. "Thanks for the trouble."
Xiao Yang grinned. "No trouble at all. It's not my gas we're using. If you want to thank someone, thank Mr. Yao. Where do you live?"
Han Yanyan told him her address. Xiao Yang turned the wheel, hit the gas and set off. On the way, he chatted with her.
"Are you a student?"
"University S? Awesome! You must be a really good student!"
"Why do you work here? Can you get back into the school grounds afterward?"
"No, I was just asking. I don't know how school access works, I never went to college. I was just making things up."
"Dialysis must be pretty pricey. You've got it hard."
She didn't know whether this snooping was instigated by Yao Chen or undercover Xiao Yang's own curiousity, but Han Yanyan took the opportunity to reveal her background. It didn't matter if she was revealing it to Yao Chen or Jiang Ye. Either was fine.
Working part-time, trying hard to make money, paying for her own tuition and bills, all these things established her character as a strong, independent college student with a sick younger brother.
Xiao Yang was quite distressed.
He had originally been trying to act like a gangster by talking in a careless, casual way. But inside, he was a hot-blooded policeman who had just graduated from the police academy, and by the end he had begun persuading and remonstrating with her.
"It's true you can make a lot of money at the club, but it's not a good place for you to be. Fish and dragons swim together there, and you'll run into all kinds of people. You're a beautiful girl, and you'll easily be victimized in a place like this. If you meet a piece of shit who takes advantage of you, you'll have nowhere to turn. Other people will put the blame on you for having come to a place like this to make money. You won't be able to convince them no matter how much you explain. Seriously, there are a lot of ways to make money. Listen to this elder brother, you don't have to work in a place like this."
He began earnestly persuading Han Yanyan not to work in such a sketchy place.
In the memories of "Policewoman Han Yanyan" during the first round, Xiao Yang had called her "Elder Sister Han" and "Elder Sister Yanyan" with every opening and closing of his mouth. This time she was younger than him, and here he was starting to call himself "elder brother".
Han Yanyan nearly broke character and giggled.
She held back and said 'indifferently', "Gosh, you're so straight-laced. If I didn't know you were one of Mr. Yao's people, I would have thought I was being scolded by the local police."
Startled, Xiao Yang snapped his mouth closed. Plastering on a smirk, he said, "Oh please, this elder brother only felt a bit bad for you because you were pretty."
"If you weren't beautiful, who would care about you? Do you think that Mr. Yao would call me up all of a sudden and have me give you a ride if you weren't good to look at? Society is all about looks." Then he said in a rather silly, teasing manner, "Say, Mr. Yao is obviously interested in you. What about you? You interested too?"
Han Yanyan kept up her 'indifferent' attitude and said, "I'm not interested."
After sending Han Yanyan back to home, Xiao Yang sent Yao Chen a voice message report in which he summarized her story.
Afterward, he reported back to Jiang Ye through another number. "Yao Chen had me drive that Han Yanyan home today; that waitress you brought in yesterday. He seemed interested in her and had me check out her situation."
"And you looked into it?" Jiang Ye said.
"There doesn't seem to be anything the matter with her," Xiao Yang replied. "She's still a student, she's working because she's short of money and there's a chronically ill patient in her family."
"It's almost worse if there doesn't seem to be anything," Jiang Ye said.
Xiao Yang hesitated, then asked, "So... what do you think Yao Chen will do with this girl?"
Jiang Ye understood and said grumpily, "That's none of your business. You can't stop a girl who wants to be rich. Ah Yang, this is someone else's choice. You can't interfere."
But Han Yanyan was beautiful, innocent, and gentle in speech. Even if she was there for money, she was doing it for her family. Xiao Yang felt like it was unbearable.
"Don't worry too much," Jiang Ye said, speechless. "Yao Chen is a scum of a man who's done a lot of terrible things, but he doesn't have a record of rape. Cheating at the most."
"Cheating's bad enough," Xiao Yang said stubbornly.
Starting to get a headache, Jiang Ye produced his trump card, "Yang, if you were a girl and I put your current self and Yao Chen in front of you and made you choose one to sleep with, who would you choose?"
Xiao Yang's self-esteem cracked. "Inspector Jiang, don't be so cruel to a man!"
"What? Do you think I can change the world? Society is all about looks," Jiang Ye replied leisurely. "In Yao Chen's early days, he relied on women to escape capture several times. He has a way with the ladies. I'm telling you, if he really likes this girl you won't need to worry about her. Hold your ground."
After having quit her Sunday tutoring job, Han Yanyan was now able to have a comfortable weekend off. When she got up in the morning, she habitually checked her phone. It had been on mute while she slept, and there were several missed calls from home. She sneered and tossed the phone aside, not caring in the least.
She opened her wardrobe, to a depressing closet full of cheap clothes. Be it in her past life or her true self, she had already passed the stage where she wore these sorts of things. She wanted to throw them all away and build her wardrobe back up from scratch, but on second thought she decided to bear with it. Clothing was part of character design, and these outfits were perfectly in line with her diligent college student persona.
After she took a bath, the phone rang again. It was also from home. This time she answered. It was the great family head, her honorable father, who proceeded to interrogate her about just what she had said to her mother yesterday to make her mother cry and her brother so angry that he had to lie down.
"Do you not know how sick your brother is? Yet you still dare to annoy him! Do you think his body can take it?!" he rebuked her furiously.
"What do you want from me?"
"I don't want anything from you!" her father roared. "Do you think I have time to think of you?! I'm exhausted every day, your brother is sick, and your mother is taking care of your brother! You have it easiest out of the whole family! Do you not know what you have to do?!"
"I don't," she answered frankly.
Her father flew into a rage. "Just buy a gaming laptop for your brother! Why do you keep making up excuses? You'll have enough money to do it if you just don't buy so many clothes!"
"I can't," she said. "I buy all my clothes from wholesale. All my clothes in a year added up wouldn't be enough for a gaming laptop. Anyhow, I haven't bought many clothes this year. Everything I'm wearing is from last year, so there wouldn't be enough even if I saved two years' worth of clothes."
"You dare say such a thing!" her father choked, before angrily berating her for being unfilial, unkind and disrespectful.
Han Yanyan hung up and turned off the phone. Soon the landline rang, and she pulled out the cord. The world fell silent.