Li Yanping asked Chen Yuncheng and Ning Junyan to follow her home. As she walked through the neighbourhood garden, she said, “My husband is not Zhou Yan’s biological father.”
Chen Yuncheng was not very surprised; he had started to feel strange from the moment he heard that the male owner of the house was surnamed Qi. As he thought of the Zhou Yan that ran away from home at a very young age and was later sent back by the police only to leave home alone again. It was probably precisely because he had never felt that this home was his own.
Li Yanping walked into the unit building, and the pace of climbing the stairs was slow, showing her age. She said, “So don’t mention any children or medical treatment. My husband won’t give money, and he has no money.”
“Then what about you?” Ning Junyan, who was walking behind Chen Yuncheng, suddenly spoke in an emotionless tone, “Is Zhou Yan not your biological son?”
Li Yanping stopped and looked back at them, “I worked odd jobs outside as a shopkeeper for someone a few years ago, but I’ve been out of work for the past two years. Where do I get the money?” Her tone was full of sadness, and after she finished, she turned around and continued walking slowly upstairs.
For the next two flights of stairs, Li Yanping kept talking, “It’s not that I didn’t give him enough to eat and didn’t let him study, but it was he himself who didn’t study and wanted to go out to work. I also want him to be promising and earn money to let me enjoy happiness with him instead of me having to worry about getting money for his children’s medical care when I’m old…”
Chen Yuncheng and Ning Junyan didn’t speak, and Li Yanping didn’t know whether the talk was for them or herself.
On the third floor, Li Yanping took the key from her trouser pocket and opened the door.
Chen Yuncheng stood behind her and saw the door open. It was very quiet inside, and it didn’t look like someone at home.
Li Yanping put down the travel bag she was carrying, stood at the door with one hand on the shoe cabinet to change her shoes, and called at the same time, “Old Qi?”
No one responded.
Chen Yuncheng had not been invited and did not follow her in immediately, while Ning Junyan was standing outside the door waiting, seemingly not wanting to enter her house.
Li Yanping changed her slippers, placed the boots she had worn home on the shoe rack, walked inside, and shouted again, “Old Qi?”
There was still no response.
Then Chen Yuncheng saw Li Yanping’s back suddenly freeze, and at the same time heard her let out a shrill and ear-piercing scream, and then Li Yanping’s whole body slid to the ground. Chen Yuncheng didn’t care whether he could change his shoes or not. He rushed up and supported Li Yanping from behind.
Li Yanping was originally a plump middle-aged woman. She lost her whole body strength and fell to the ground when she fainted. Chen Yuncheng used a lot of strength to fully support her to the point he squatted and kneeled on the ground. At this time, his vision was completely blocked by the sofa, and he didn’t know what had happened.
Ning Junyan, who was originally standing behind Chen Yuncheng, walked in and stopped when he saw the scene in the living room.
Chen Yuncheng looked up at him, “What’s wrong?” At the same time, he helped Li Yanping to get up with difficulty, trying to help her to lie down on the sofa.
Ning Junyan suddenly stretched out his hand to cover Chen Yuncheng’s eyes and asked in his ear, “Are you someone that’s easily scared?”
Chen Yuncheng was in shock, “What?”
Ning Junyan said, “There’s a man in the living room who looks like he’s dead.”
Chen Yuncheng felt a chill behind him for a moment, but he said, “I’m not afraid. You help me get her to the sofa.”
Ning Junyan said softly, “En, don’t be afraid.” Then he let go of the hand covering his eyes and walked over to him and lifted Li Yanping up with him.
Chen Yuncheng held Li Yanping’s arm, and when he and Ning Junyan lifted her onto the sofa one after another, he couldn’t help turning his head to look at the middle of the living room. There was a man lying there, motionless, with bloodstains spreading from the back of his head, which seemed to have almost solidified.
Li Yanping was put on the sofa and still did not wake up.
Ning Junyan stood up and walked towards the middle of the living room.
Chen Yuncheng grabbed his hand subconsciously. His face turned pale with panic, and said, “Don’t go.”
Ning Junyan said, “I’ll take a look. Don’t touch him, and you should call the police immediately.”
Only then did Chen Yuncheng react. He hurriedly took out his mobile phone and called the police.
Ning Junyan was obviously much calmer than Chen Yuncheng. He walked to the person lying on his stomach in the living room, squatted down as usual, didn’t do anything, just calmly looked at the side of his face, looked at the wound on the back of his head, and then said to Chen Yuncheng, “This person may be Zhou Yan’s stepfather.”
Chen Yuncheng looked at him.
Ning Junyan raised his head and gestured to a photo frame placed on the TV cabinet. Inside was a photo of Li Yanping and her husband, Mr. Qi.
Chen Yuncheng looked at the photo, and a very bad and terrifying thought came to his mind.
Ning Junyan stood up and returned to Chen Yuncheng’s side, “We’d better wait outside and not touch anything in the house.”
Chen Yuncheng glanced at Li Yanping who fainted on the sofa, “What about her?”
Ning Junyan said, “Go knock on the door next door and see if you can settle her there temporarily. We will wait for the police to come.”
Chen Yuncheng nodded.
They knocked on the door of the older sister next door and settled Li Yanping who had fainted. Li Yanping who woke up in the meantime bawled her eyes out and lay on the sofa of the older sister’s house next door, not even having the strength to stand up.
When the older sister heard that something had happened there, she was so scared that she hid in the house with Li Yanping with the door half closed.
Chen Yuncheng and Ning Junyan didn’t leave, they just waited in the stairwell.
Ning Junyan stood against the wall, while Chen Yuncheng said with a pale face, “I want to sit for a while.” After he said that, he sat down on the steps of the stairs.
“Where do you think Zhou Yan will go?” Chen Yuncheng raised his head and looked at Ning Junyan.
Ning Junyan didn’t answer. He was silent for a while, then bent down and put his palm on Chen Yuncheng’s head, and said, “Don’t think about things that are not confirmed.”
Chen Yuncheng nodded, “Maybe it was a thief.”
They waited less than ten minutes before the police arrived.
Neither Chen Yuncheng nor Ning Junyan ever entered the house again. Because of Li Yanping’s emotional breakdown, the two of them were first invited to the police station to take notes.
The two stayed in two rooms, answering the police’s questions separately.
Chen Yuncheng explained their identities, the purpose of coming here, and the exact circumstances of discovering the bodies.
The police were obviously concerned about Zhou Yan’s existence, “You said Zhou Yan came back to look for his parents?”
Chen Yuncheng shook his head, “I don’t know, I’m looking for him too.”
The policeman asked, “Then why did you come all the way here? Are you sure he’s coming back? Or did you hear someone say he was coming back?”
Chen Yuncheng said, “I’m not sure, but I’m very anxious to find him, his son is about to have an operation, and his wife is worried about him, so I had to make this trip even if it might be for nothing.”
The police asked again, “Does he have a conflict with his stepfather?”
Chen Yuncheng said: “I don’t know. He never mentioned his family, and this is the first time I met his parents.”
The statement was taken in great detail. When Chen Yuncheng came out after almost half an hour, he saw that Ning Junyan was already waiting for him outside.
Ning Junyan was not like Chen Yuncheng. He knew less about Zhou Yan. This trip was purely to accompany Chen Yuncheng. The police asked some simple questions, mainly about how the crime scene was discovered, and after reading his ID card and work permit, they let him leave.
When the police sent them out of the county public security bureau, Chen Yuncheng’s face still didn’t look too good. He was standing by the roadside in a daze.
Ning Junyan didn’t urge him to leave but just reached out and held his hand and felt his fingers cold.
Chen Yuncheng was a little slow to react and glanced at him.
Ning Junyan suddenly unzipped his down jacket, took off the down jacket and hung it on his arm, and then went to take off Chen Yuncheng’s down jacket.
Chen Yuncheng bowed his head along with Ning Junyan’s movement and asked absent-mindedly, “What’s wrong?”
Ning Junyan took off Chen Yuncheng’s down jacket and then gave him his own to change into, carefully pulling up the zip.
The warmth instantly hit him, Ning Junyan’s down jacket was obviously much thicker and carried Ning Junyan’s body heat, wrapping Chen Yuncheng tightly, which caused Chen Yuncheng to come back to his senses as he said, “I don’t need it.”
Ning Junyan had already put Chen Yun Cheng’s feather-thin clothes onto himself, then reached into the pocket of the clothes Chen Yun Cheng was wearing and fished out his car keys, saying, “Let’s go.”
Totally didn’t see that coming
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