Every second a new life is born in the world, another life comes to an end.
On the day Yi Hui’s case opened, Zhou Jinheng arrived early. He sat down in the corner of the back row and listened to the words “the deceased” coming out of the mouths of the judges, lawyers and others again and again, stubbornly unwilling to equate these two words with Yi Hui.
The case went on for a long time, but the three defendants were not sentenced in court because the motive for the murder was not clear and the investigation had to be continued.
Since this was S City, Zhou Jinheng intended to clear the way to meet with those three people and get some information from them. He was so preoccupied with beating them up that day that he didn’t have time to ask them anything. And the court only analysed the events of the case and no one mentioned Yi Hui warmly, which was not what Zhou Jinheng wanted to hear.
Hate was hate, but those three people were the last people Yi Hui had contact with before he was gone. Zhou Jinheng didn’t want to miss anything about Yi Hui.
After the trial was over, he rushed to the detention center. He had already made the arrangements in advance but he still couldn’t meet anyone. After he asked, it turned out someone else had stepped in first. At first, Zhou Jinheng didn’t know who it would be but when he walked outside the detention center and saw a man, then did he know that it was Cheng Feichi inside.
The man was shorter than him and wore a mask like him, obviously not to prevent dust but for fear of being recognized by passers-by.
Zhou Jinheng, as a colleague, recognized Cheng Feichi’s legal spouse, Yi Hui’s sister-in-law.
He walked over to say hello: “Senior Ye.”
Ye Qin was startled at first hearing the voice, but when he saw that it was Zhou Jinheng, he ignored him, turned his head and walked away.
Zhou Jinheng hurriedly stepped forward and took off his mask: “Senior Ye, it’s me, Zhou Jinheng.”
Ye Qin stopped, glanced at him lightly and said, “I know.”
The implication was “I’m leaving because I know it is you.”
Zhou Jinheng heard the impatience and disgust in his tone. Normally, with his temper, he wouldn’t tolerate being snubbed while showing his good intentions but now there was no other way, so he had to bite the bullet: “I have a few things I want to ask you…”
He didn’t expect Ye Qin not even to have the patience to finish listening and say directly: “I don’t have time.”
Zhou Jinheng was repeatedly choked but after adjusting his mentality, he said in a low voice: “It will only take five minutes.”
Ye Qin sneered through his mask: “Five minutes? Now, you are asking me for five minutes? HuiHui waited for you for so long but you couldn’t even bear to give him five minutes!”
Zhou Jinheng was startled by the sudden reminder. He opened his mouth, but made no sound.
Ye Qin was also quick-tempered; either he didn’t say anything, or once he did, he couldn’t stop: “His heart was filled with you, learning to draw for you, learning to text, learning to bake cakes, learning not to rely on others, learning to swallow his anger. Even though it was difficult for him to go out, he thought about buying you gifts. He slept with his mobile phone, for fear that you would not find him when you went home… He treated you so well and liked you so much, even if you didn’t like him, why were you so mean to him!”
“He was so happy on the wedding day. I was unable to attend. He sent me a lot of photos. He said he was very happy and he would be happy with you for the rest of his life.”
As Ye Qin was saying that, his eyes gradually turned red, his expression painful and full of self-blame: “He didn’t tell us anything, he held everything in his heart, he said he was fine, and I believed it. How could I believe it…”
Listening to these words, Zhou Jinheng only felt that his chest was getting hollow, as if something that he couldn’t grasp was escaping quickly.
He saw Ye Qin’s clenched fist and he had no intention of avoiding it at all. He even hoped that the fist would strike his face faster. The heavier, the better, and then perhaps it would be able to override the pain of his heart being hollowed out.
Probably with the same idea of keeping his promise as Cheng Feichi, Ye Qin did not make a move in the end.
He stared at Zhou Jinheng fiercely with his reddened eyes: “If you gave him a little more care, even if only it was a little bit, he would not die alone on that barren mountain. Don’t expect to get any news from me that might make your conscience feel better… You have no heart, you are not worthy.”
After a few days of observation, Xiao Lin found that Zhou Jinheng was even more silent than before.
He was so used to being yelled at that when he suddenly had nothing to do and there were no emergencies to deal with, it made Xiao Lin very uncomfortable. He didn’t feel at ease getting his salary; after all, before he took this job, the personnel department reminded him that this master was difficult to serve.
Now Zhou Jinheng was not difficult to serve at all. Except for doing his job and going home to sleep, he didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t drive cars at night and didn’t go to nightclubs. He was so good that he deserved an award for being the most dedicated model worker in the entertainment industry.
The fans were also aware of it. Not long after the filming of the historical drama started, the frontliners who squatted outside the filming site changed their gifts from flashy things such as flowers and coffee to ginseng pills, vitamins, plaster patches and other nourishing items.
That day, Xiao Lin took the time to visit the super topic (function launched by Sina Weibo. It is a circle formed by people with common interests), and the discussion under the pictures posted by a frontliner all revolved around “why has HengHeng lost weight again recently?” One of the frontline girls said that she had been stationed near the filming site since the start. Zhou Jinheng was the first to go to work and the last to return to the hotel every day, and he stayed in his room all day if he had no scenes to shoot. She hadn’t even seen him come out for dinner.
Below this comment, the girls expressed their concern about their beloved older brother’s physical condition. Seeing that, Xiao Lin was also worried. He looked up at Zhou Jinheng, who was hanging in mid-air on a high-tension wire, thinking that it was not possible to continue like this. Today, he had to go out and buy some delicious food for him and, along the way, ask him some questions to see if he was still in a heavy mood because of Mr. Yi’s departure and maybe even give him some enlightenment as an elder.
Who would have thought that halfway through the scene, something would happen to Zhou Jinheng.
Anyone who had been hung on a high-tension wire would know that since gravity was concentrated on the part of the body in contact with the wire, there would be a strong feeling of pressure and brief pain and some bruising was inevitable. In the past few days, Zhou Jinheng’s body had been covered with multiple bruises. If Xiao Lin hadn’t come in without knocking when he was changing clothes in the lounge one day, he might not have known what his injuries looked like until now.
At that time, after Xiao Lin pointed it out, Zhou Jinheng just turned his head and glanced over his shoulder, reached his arm back to rub his skin a few times and said lightly that it was okay.
But no one could dismiss the current situation by saying that it was okay——
Because of the negligence of the staff who controlled the wires, Zhou Jinheng’s body was still swaying violently in the air when they hastily loosened the wire, making it difficult for him to regain his balance. Before landing, he hit the wall heavily. Apart from the invisible places under his clothes, there were several bloody abrasions on his forehead, cheek and at the corner of his mouth.
Xiao Lin jumped to his feet in a hurry, and after handing Zhou Jinheng over to the medical staff, he went to discuss the situation with the crew on behalf of the company.
Neither party wanted to make a fuss. The person in charge of the crew nodded and apologized and promised to severely punish the employees involved. Fortunately, Zhou Jinheng’s medical examination showed that his muscles and bones were not injured, but his appearance was too damaged to continue filming. The crew gave him half a month off at once, promising to coordinate the shooting schedule.
Having received a satisfactory reply, Xiao Lin handed over the job to the company and went back to Zhou Jinheng.
Even if everyone was suppressing the news and didn’t want to spread it, the shooting scene was still in a mess. Several fans who were staying with the crew heard that something happened and rushed to the scene with their cameras. When they saw Xiao Lin, they swarmed around and asked him if Zhou Jinheng had an accident. Xiao Lin avoided answering, lowered his head and walked forward.
After finally escaping from the crowd of the fans, he met another man at the door of the lounge.
It was a young man with a handsome face and elegantly dressed. When seeing Xiao Lin, he greeted him politely and then asked, “Is Mr. Zhou Jinheng here, please? I am his friend. If you are unsure, please go in and give him a message that Fang Yuqing is looking for him.”
Three minutes later, Xiao Lin led Fang Yuqing into Zhou Jinheng’s exclusive lounge. When he went out and closed the door, he still glanced at the visitor through the crack. He saw Fang Yuqing drag a chair to Zhou Jinheng’s couch and sit down, his gestures so familiar as if it was his own home.
Zhou Jinheng was resting with his eyes closed when he heard the sound of the door closing and opened his eyes to look at the man sitting next to him: “Why are you here?”
“Passing by on a business trip. I heard Yang Chengxuan say that you are filming here.” Fang Yuqing smiled, “The way you’re speaking, I don’t seem to be welcomed.”
Zhou Jinheng shook his head: “No, it’s just that unfortunately today, it’s not convenient for me to entertain.”
“It’s okay, you have everything necessary here, I will entertain myself.”
Fang Yuqing turned around, picked up a bottle of water on the table and poured himself a cup of water. Zhou Jinheng was just about to say that this was his cup but Fang Yuqing was already drinking, so he pursed his lips and didn’t say anything.
“Have you lost weight recently?” After drinking the water, Fang Yuqing took the initiative to find another topic, “Filming is very hard, right? I see that your fans have sent a lot of supplements and they are asking your assistant to take care of you.”
These days Zhou Jinheng was almost always alone, except for shooting. He was used to being quiet. At this moment, he had no desire to talk. He just said “en” and closed his eyes again.
Fang Yuqing didn’t originally have a talkative and lively personality, but now, somehow, he began to chat with him on various topics. He talked about watching a play recently and finding it very interesting. After that he said that he was learning to cook and invited him to come to his home to try his craft. And then he talked about the painting exhibition next week and asked if he had time to come.
Zhou Jinheng sat up from the couch, raised his hands and pressed his temples. He was about to say something but frowned at the pain caused by the movement. Fang Yuqing immediately turned to the table, took a cotton swab and dipped it in alcohol to wipe his wounds: “Why are you always like this, refusing to apply medicine if you are injured. I’ll…”
His unfinished words were interrupted as Zhou Jinheng dodged. He shrank back and raised his arm to block Fang Yuqing’s outstretched hand. Looking up and meeting Fang Yuqing’s stunned gaze, he realized that he was overreacting.
After a while, Zhou Jinheng took the cotton swab from him: “Thank you, I’ll do it myself.”
The smile on Fang Yuqing’s face was barely hanging on as he watched Zhou Jinheng take a cotton swab and wipe his face all over since he couldn’t see where the wound was.
He remembered that three years ago, Zhou Jinheng had been even more arrogant and irritable than he was now but he was always able to restrain himself in front of him. After a fight with someone, one second he would pretend to be cool, face sullen; then the next second, he would see his aggrieved expression turning to him, asking him to apply medicine.
Fang Yuqing was not stupid and he could guess the reason why Zhou Jinheng was alienating him now. He took a deep breath and smiled again: “I just moved to a new home recently. When I’m ready, I will invite you and Yang Chengxuan to play. By the way, there is also your little sister, I heard that she is about to come back from abroad? Let’s invite her to play together at that time.”
“I’m going to film and I won’t have time.” Zhou Jinheng refused bluntly, “If you want to invite YueYue, I will give you her number.”
Fang Yuqing was dumbfounded by the unexpected answer, and the two of them were silent for a while, the atmosphere seeming a bit heavy.
Fang Yuqing had known Zhou Jinheng intimately for a long time, so his understanding of Zhou Jinheng’s character prompted him to take a step back.
He stood up, pretending to feel relaxed, and said, “You are tired, I won’t bother you anymore today.” As he said it, he hooked his fingers and tapped on the table, “Don’t forget to take the medicine and eat the fruit I brought you. Don’t worry, there is no high sugar content in it.”
Zhou Jinheng nodded and got up to see him off.
At the door, Fang Yuqing suddenly turned around again. He tried to find something other than indifference in Zhou Jinheng’s eyes, such as reluctance, for example. Maybe the light here was too dim but no matter how long he looked, he still found nothing.
In the end, he couldn’t help but ask again: “Then next week’s painting exhibition, will you be free to come over?”
Before Zhou Jinheng refused, Fang Yuqing hurriedly added another sentence: “Half a day, just half a day. You promised before that you would come to see my first painting exhibition. This one is not only my own work. Think of it as me asking you as a friend to help hold the fort, okay?”
Zhou Jinheng started speaking but the words he intended to say were blocked.
After a while, he exhaled lightly, his eyes still calm, as if he was mechanically fulfilling an agreement that he could not break out of: “Okay.”