When Jian Yao opens her eyes, she sees a dark blue sky. There is a new moon, thin and bright, hanging just above the horizon.
She is still in Bo Jinyan’s car. The surroundings are familiar. It’s the parking lot of their apartment. Bo Jinyan didn’t turn on the lights inside the car. Thin yellow light from the street lamps shines through the windows.
Bo Jinyan is sitting on the driver’s seat beside her. Looking out from the window.
“What’s on your mind?” asks Jian Yao.
Bo Jinyan taps his finger on the dashboard: “ ‘He didn’t appear.”
Jian Yao knows that Bo Jinyan didn’t arrange any surveillance at the crime scene to give ‘him’ the opportunity to leave a note - that is, if he is still alive. There were a lot of people up on Qi hill peak today. If he wanted to sneak up as a police officers or forensic staff, it would have been very easy.
But there is nothing.
“Is ‘he’ dead?” Jian Yao asks.
He turns to look at her.
The interior of the car is very dim. But the shadows accentuate his well-shaped features - his body, his face… His eyes sparkles like stars, looking at her.
It flustered her to have him staring at her. She clears her throat and asks: “What’s up?”
“E.T!” He says softly: “We need a new rule. From now on, when we are investigating a case, you must be within my reach 24/7.”
Jian Yao: “I understand the second half of the sentence. But the first half. What? E.T?”
“Yea…” Bo Jinyan smiles and opens his car door.
Jian Yao: “Hey…you are the E.T…”
Bo Jinyan walks over to her side. He opens the door and carries her out of the car. He says slowly: “I am not the one with the bump on my forehead.”
By the time they get inside Bo Jinyan’s apartment, it’s 1am.
Bo Jinyan puts her down on the sofa. He goes into the kitchen and came backwith two ice packs.
After he sits down beside her, Bo Jinyan presses one ice pack on her forehead. The bone chilling coldness causes her to gasp. A smile appears on his face: “You hold on to the ice pack.”
Jian Yao quietly takes over.
His tenderness towards her was only temporary. Then it’s replaced by teasing - ET, bump on the face, seeing how she reacts to the ice pack…. Like a school boy that runs around to pull the girls’ ponytails. He is so immature!
But then, he bends down and lifts up her left foot. He removes the shoe, throws it next to the entrance, then rests her foot on his legs.
She blushes, and doesn’t dare to move a muscle.
He picks up the other ice pack and places it on top of her left ankle. With his other hand, he points the remote at the TV and starts watching a documentary.
As this other ice pack touches her skin, she gasps again. She notices that although his eyes are glued to the TV, his lips curl with a small smile.
- Well, ok. Tender. And immature.
Jian Yao is not interested in documentaries about criminology. She thinks about today’s case.
“Hey.” She gently kicks him with the left foot. “You said Huo Xiao Lu’s statement was full of loopholes. Explain.”
His palm felt her kick. As a reflex action, he grabs her foot with his hand so that she can’ move it anymore.
“Remember Wang Wan Wei’s suicide note?”
“Yes…” She recalls the details from the case. Bo Jinyan said the suicide note was genuine because it had minor inconsistencies and a distinctive personal style of writing. But fake notes tend to be concise, clear and without flaw.
Following this train of thought, Huo Xiao Lu’s statement was more like the latter. But if this is the only reason he based his conclusion on, it might seem a little inadequate.
Bo Jinyan knows what is going through her heart. He says: “The analysis process used for written notes and oral statements are different.”
He gives her a glance: “It’s simple. When it’s comes to verbal communication, human display a lot of the same characteristics regardless of their personality and background.”
Jian Yao smiles at him: “Please enlighten me.”
Bo Jinyan teases her again: “E.T, now that you’ve come to Earth, you need to read more. These are basic analytical skills.”
“….. I will. Later! Please tell me now.”
“Firstly, what guide our memories are emotions, not time sequence.” He says.
Jian Yao is waiting for further explanation.
True to Bo Jinyan’s words, he does not “mock or look down on people based on their lack of professional knowledge.” He patiently explains: “For example. If you are to tell your friend about your fall today, what would you say?”
Jian Yao thinks for a while: “I tumbled down the stairs during an investigation today. I was accidentally pushed down by the murderer’s mother. It was a painful fall…”
“Stop.” Bo Jinyan interrupts her. “Did you notice? When you recalled the incident, the first thing that came to mind was what you felt was the most important part of the event - you were pushed down by the woman, pain. Because you were led by your emotions, not time sequence.”
Jian Yao thinks about it. It’s true. She opens her bag and takes out her notebook.
She turns to the girls’ statement.
- How did they start?
Huo Xiao Lu - Around 8pm, Huai Huai collected all the money…
Qi Xiao Ran - If I knew something would happen to Huai Huai, I would stay with her…
- Ah… I see.
Bo Jinyan says again: “Their good friend was killed. It would have been a huge emotional blow to all of the girls. Everyone should have very strong feelings about what had happened. But Huo Xiao Lu was too sensible. Her statement starts with time sequence. And it was well rehearsed. She was not recalling the events, but presenting a scenario, one that she wanted us to believe.”
Jian Yao nods.
Bo Jinyan continues: “Second point. Huo’s statement had lots of mundane details that had very little to do with the case. For liars, details pads out their stories to make it more believable. If she was truly devastated by her friend’s death, would she remember and care to tell the police that she washed her clothes and made herself a cup of tea?”
Jian Yao looks at that part of the statement: The seniors are on holiday. The other students are studying… ; made myself a cup of tea…
“Third point.” Bo Jinyan says, “The stronger you have feelings for something, the more you feel the urge to conclude. It’s an emotional need to ‘wrap up’ the feelings. But liars do away with that. Because they feel that once they have explained the incident, their job is done.”
Jian Yao is flicking the pages again. She hears Bo Jinyan says: “Yes, check out their concluding statements.”
Huo Xiao Lu - Then I made myself a cup of tea, lied on bed to read. After a while, I went to bed.
Qi Xiao Ran - Why would anyone want to kill her… there’s college entrance exams next year… but she will never…
Bo Jinyan’s apartment is the only house with lights on. The rest of the neighbourhood is fast asleep.
They have watched two episodes of the documentary. Jian Yao has had an hour of ice pack on her foot and forehead. But Bo Jinyan doesn’t look tired at all. Jian Yao, on the other hand, can hardly keep her eyes open. She kicks him again. “I need to go home. I am very tired. Thank you for everything.”
He looks at her: “Sleep here tonight.”
Jian Yao: “….why?”
Bo Jinyan: “What if you need help tonight? Do you expect me to run up to the studio? You sleep in my room. I will take the study. If you need me, just knock on the wall.”
Jian Yao didn’t knock on the wall, of course.
After a quick shower, she collapsed on his big bed and falls into a deep sleep, almost immediately.
Bo Jinyan lies on the single bed in the study. Perhaps it’s because it’s not his usual bed, he is not very used to it. He finds it hard to go to sleep.
He recalls the moments when Jian Yao fell down the stairs.
Dark and narrow stairways. As he rushed out of the unit, all he could see was her body in the air, then the tumble, and the knocks…
Then he hurried to her side, carried her, the look on her pale face, her body lying softly in his arms…
Some unknown sentiment fills and agitates his heart.
He pulls down his sleeping mask. Everything is dark. Time to sleep.
Jian Yao wakes up after a dreamless night to the bright sunshine coming through the bedroom windows.
She looks at the alarm clock on Bo Jinyan’s bedside table. It’s past midday.
She touches her left foot. The swell has subsided a bit. The bump on her forehead… is still there. She smiles and gets out of bed.
She slowly makes her way to the lounge. Bo Jinyan is sitting in the sofa in his usual white shirt and black pants, reading newspaper.
When he hears her footsteps, he asks from behind the newspaper: “Do you need to be carried?”
Jian Yao: “…. no.”
She slowly walks towards the sofa. There’s some breakfast left on the coffee table. She picks a piece of bread and starts eating.
No one speaks. After a long pause. Jian Yao asks: “What are we doing today?”
Bo Jinyan puts down his papers briefly, takes a look at her forehead and foot, and says: “Your call.”
Jian Yao: “…..”
- Man..He has the ability to irritate people with just one sentence. Your call? Yeah, of course. Because she has twisted her ankle. There’s nothing they can do anyway.