O Kee interrogated Xia Liuyi overnight. Several police officers tried, one after another. The air conditioning was turned to the lowest, accompanied with cold coffee and stale bread. However, Xia Liuyi did not say a word before the lawyer arrived, and when he had a lawyer, he was armed to the teeth. He had an alibi and a record of lost vehicles. Yawning and playing hide and seek with the police officers, he was calm and leisurely.
The two-day-long attempt gained the police nothing.
Xie Jiahua's subordinate, the young policewoman, was watching the surveillance video in the room next to Xia Liuyi. She said indignantly, “This is lawless! We finally arrested him after such effort. Must we only let him go once he’s been here for 48 hours?!”
“In Hong Kong nowadays, isn't it true that the triads control everything?” The male police officer standing and crossing his arms beside her sneered, “He’s just having a visit to the police office! It’s all for nothing anyway! Why not go home early and wash up?”
Xie Jiahua, who was looking at the video, raised his eyes. His gaze was cold, and the male police officer hurriedly shut himself up.
“If it’s that easy to seek justice, why would you need the police?” Xie Jiahua said with a cold expression.
After educating his subordinate, Xie Jiahua went into the interrogation room alone. Xia Liuyi leaned back on the seat, clasping his fingers. A little stubble grew on his chin. He looked a bit tired but relaxed. The lawyer beside him stayed awake for two nights as well, looking weary with oily sweat and dark circles.
Xie Jiahua, who was neat and tidy, sat down opposite them.
“Xia Liuyi,” he said without any emotion.
“Xie-Sir.” Xia Liuyi languidly responded.
“Those who play with fire will burn themselves. Take care of yourself.”
Xia Liuyi pulled up the corners of his mouth, “Thank you for your concern, Xie-Sir.”
Outside the room, someone knocked on the door and poked himself in, “Sir, your call.”
Xie Jiahua glanced at Xia Liuyi and got up to leave. He walked to the outer room and took the cell phone handed over by his subordinates, “Hello.”
“Xie-Sir, I've been waiting for you at Honolulu for an hour and a half. The milk tea has been refilled twice. Your honor, will you come or not?"
Xie Jiahua looked at his watch and said coldly, “Wait another fifteen minutes,” and hung up the phone.
He gave a few instructions to his subordinates, telling them to keep an eye on Xia Liuyi, then left the police station and walked two blocks away to the Honolulu coffee shop. Lu Guangming was playing crossword puzzles in the newspaper. Two empty milk-tea cups were purposefully left on the table.
“Boss, another cup of milk tea,” seeing Xie Jiahua walk in, he greeted, “What would you like to drink, Xie-Sir?”
“A cup of hot water, please,” Xie Jiahua said to the waiter.
“Just water?” Lu Guangming smiled, "Do you want something to eat?"
“Start your presentation,” Xie Jiahua said.
Lu Guangming narrowed his eyes and smiled, omitting the pleasantries. He took out a folder from his briefcase and pushed it towards Xie Jiahua, “The list of ‘inspectors’ who had dealings with Xia Liuyi and Fat Qi, as well as some related material.”
Xie Jiahua opened it and flipped through it, before closing it, “What do you want to know?”
“As I said last time, about 'that sir’.”
Xie Jiahua's face was expressionless, “What makes you think I will help you investigate my own family?”
Lu Guangming smiled, “By the fact that you did not hit me and are willing to drink milk tea with me. Xie-Sir, in fact, you yourself have suspected him, right? During this period of time, have you been instructed by your superiors to mind your own business?”
Xie Jiahua was silent for a moment, “Don’t suspect that I was involved?”
Lu Guangming shrugged, “No.”
The waiter served milk tea and hot water at this time. Lu Guangming leaned back on the sofa, narrowing his eyes and taking a sip of milk tea. He pursed his lips, “I trust you, because someone mentioned you to me.”
“Tang Jiaqi,” he said the name, “The Director of Investigation of the ICAC. He died in the line of duty eight years ago. He was my predecessor...and my cousin."
The hot water in Xie Jiahua's cup imperceptibly rippled slightly.
It was eight at night, the brightly lit office was half filled with employees burying themselves in hard work. He Chusan was one of them, looking down at a stack of materials.
After correcting two pieces of data on the computer, he was in a trance, looking at the cellphone on the desk.
He had hardly touched a drop of rice in the past two days, yet the place that felt empty was not his stomach, but his chest.
He picked up his cellphone, pressed a few numbers, hesitated for a moment, and then sensibly put it down.
Sitting blankly in his seat for a while, he forced himself to move his eyes back to the computer screen, fumbling with the keyboard. Suddenly, his cellphone vibrated while singing a tune.
He grabbed it! “Hello?”
“Little San?” Cui Dongdong said over the phone, “He's back, at home. Come here two hours later. There’re other people here.”
He Chusan put down the phone, froze for a moment, jumped up and grabbed his briefcase, and ran! “Ricky! Help me turn off my computer.”
“A-Sam*1, in such a hurry, are you getting married, huh?” A colleague joked from behind.
He Chusan rushed back to his rented house at light speed and even saved the step of getting the key - the door of his house was kicked broken by the police two days ago, and it hadn’t been repaired until now. It only took a gentle push to open. Fortunately, he lived in an unpopulous area and didn’t have thieves going after his place.
He cooked a pot of lean-meat congee. Putting it into a thermos bottle, he rushed to Kowloon Tong, waiting by Xia Liuyi’s house for almost an hour until he saw Little Ma and a few other people who looked like minor leaders come out of it, leaving by a few separated cars. Only then, he picked up the thermos and ran in.
The bodyguards at the door all knew him and let him go without asking. He Chusan hurried into the living room. Xia Liuyi was sitting with a thin blanket on the sofa, talking to Cui Dongdong in a low voice.
He Chusan barged in, panting. Xia Liuyi turned around and unexpectedly saw him. He instantly glared.
Big Boss Xia turned his head to glare at Cui Dongdong. Boss Dongdong shrugged, “Why’re you glaring at me？Wasn’t he the first person you asked about after getting out? He’s fine, not missing any limbs. I called him over to let you see for yourself!”
Xia Liuyi choked. He then turned his head to look at He Brat San - hearing what Cui Dongdong said, this kid got too excited and even blushed!
With his face red, He Chusan couldn’t wait to step forward, “Boss Liuyi…”
“Don’t f**cking come over! Kneel there!” Your Big Boss is still angry and will keep preaching to you later!
He Chusan froze for a moment. He lowered his eyes, holding the thermos, and obediently bent his knees to kneel.
But Xia Liuyi suddenly remembered that his knees were still injured, and hurriedly cursed again, “Stop, stop! Get up and stand by the door! Even seeing you is annoying enough!”
He Chusan straightened up and obediently went to the door, standing against the wall nervously. Big Boss Xia and Cui Dongdong continued making secret plans. After that, Cui Dongdong dashingly said farewell. When she walked to He Chusan, she gave He Chusan a meaningful pat on his shoulder, “I’ll leave it to you, Little San.”
“Why are you talking nonsense with him?” Xia Liuyi cursed inside, “Get out with him!”
Cui Dongdong winked at He Chusan, putting her index finger on her mouth, shushing, and gesturing to the living room. He Chusan followed her directions, sneaking into the room along the wall like a rat.
He approached the sofa swiftly, putting the thermos on the coffee table, and said with concern as if nothing had happened, “Boss Liuyi, have you eaten anything?”
Xia Liuyi dealt with the police for two entire days with no sleep. Although he was quite awake, he was quite depleted physically. He glared at He Chusan from the blanket. Since he was too lazy to beat He Chusan again, he simply sneered and turned to get the remote control, beginning to watch TV.
He Chusan entered the kitchen, so familiar as if it was his home. He found the bowls and spoons, preparing the congee for Xia Liuyi, “Why not have some congee?”
Xia Liuyi ignored him.
He Chusan put the bowl of congee back on the coffee table and sat down beside him gently.
Xia Liuyi's forehead veins jumped. Still, he stared at the TV without looking away.
He Chusan quietly looked at the side of his face, looking at the stubble on his chin, the redness filling his eyes. This immature white-collar young man had heard too many stories of torture in his walled-city childhood. Not knowing Big Boss Xia’s ability to flip black and white and overturn the rules, he had haphazardly brainstormed lots of suffering for Xia Liuyi’s past two days.
He looked at the triad man that had bothered and worried him for two whole days. The fear, joy, and heartache after loss filled his chest. He sighed softly and leaned down, hugging Xia Liuyi through the thin blanket.
He sensed Xia Liuyi's instant stiffness and rising murderous aura. Yet he was unafraid enough to drop his head, burying his face in Xia Liuyi's shoulder and tightening his arms even more.
“Boss Liuyi, it’s great as long as you’re okay. I was very worried about you.”
Xia Liuyi stared at the TV expressionlessly. The colourful screen gradually turned into a mess. His heart seemed to be eroded by insects and began to sting.
He didn’t know what he was struggling with and didn’t know what he was enduring. He didn't know why he was tormenting himself and suffering, blaming himself and feeling sorry for either…
No, he knew, he actually knew. A large portion of his heart was still reserved for that person. He always dared not to face the bloody wound on his heart left by an abrupt tearing. He always could not fill the hideous hollow in his soul. He was afraid he had forgotten. He hated himself for the change and betrayal. He was not qualified. He dared not, could not, and should not start a new relationship.
Especially not with this young man.
His past weighed on him heavily, and the future before him was narrow. He couldn’t see their end at all.
But He Chusan's hug was too warm, such focused eyes, warm breath, worried words, such bold and resolute arms around him, too warm for him to have the strength to push away.
He had no way to deny that he spoiled this young man; he cared about this young man, this brat with an honest-looking face and a belly of schemes, this bastard who was firm and stubborn, smart and resourceful... he had no way to deny that in the past months he deliberately alienated He Chusan, he had felt worried and lost.
Over the 48 hours in the interrogation room, what echoed in his mind was not how to get out, not how to deal with Xie Jiahua, not how to operate after leaving there, but how He Chusan looked at him when they separated. That sight was aggrieved and angry, worried and lingering. The way He Chusan called him Boss Liuyi even brought him heartache.
Xia Liuyi sat rigidly, looking at the bowl of congee on the coffee table until the warm steam dissipated ......
Finally, he tiredly, and somewhat painfully, closed his eyes and heaved a long sigh. Then, he opened his eyes again.
“How’re your legs?” He said with a hoarse voice.
He Chusan's arm imperceptibly trembled, rubbing his head on Xia Liuyi’s shoulder,
“Let me see.”
He Chusan let go of him, lifting the trouser legs. Below his knees, there were a few scarred cuts. The wounds were slender but seemed to be shallow cuts. They did not bring serious problems either.
Xia Liuyi checked carefully. He stretched his hand out from under the blanket to press on He Chusan’s knee.
He Chusan hissed painfully, frowning while keeping the groan from himself.
“Does it hurt?”
“You deserve it,” Xia Liuyi said softly, “I’ll break your legs if you dare to go insane again.”
He Chusan shook his head obediently with a good attitude of admitting a mistake, “I dare not anymore, Boss Liuyi.”
“I should tell you before I kiss you next time,” he promised earnestly and sincerely.
He went closer, covering Xia Liuyi’s lips again.
Surprisingly, he was not pushed away.
The person being kissed closed his eyes and indulged in such audacity for the umpteenth time. After a long time, a hand reached out from the blanket and wrapped around the back of his shoulder, fingers gently sinking into his hair.
In the soft and lingering touch of lips and tongue, He Chusan remembered the conversation between him and Xia Liuyi on the roof, dark and deep like a dry well at midnight two years ago. He asked Xia Liuyi why he couldn't admit his feelings, why he didn't dare to face it. He didn't understand why two people who love each other would avoid each other, missing but only getting further and further away from each other. Xia Liuyi rubbed his head, telling him he didn’t understand how they were burdened by so many things.
He’d already understood what the burdens meant.
Because love was like a burden on his shoulders, pushing him forwards as well.
Xia Liuyi came out of the police station unscathed, and a few days later, he held a meeting with the other Big Bosses. He caught a henchman of Fat Qi to the meeting and invited Third Sis Lai, Fat Qi’s flamboyant girlfriend, there too.
Once Third Sis Lai saw the photos of the dancer girls Fat Qi secretly kept, especially the big shiny diamond ring on the girl’s hand, she turned against Fat Qi and admitted his ill intentions immediately. She even presented a part of the recording of Fat Qi’s deal with the butler of the Huas - it was kept for Fat Qi to blackmail the butler. As a result, Fat Qi’s henchman could only confess the whole plan. He Sheng Gang’s side, which had been clamoring for “justice”, became speechless and could only cease the conflict.
Xia Liuyi took over Fat Qi’s dock and annexed the land that originally belonged to Big Boss Sha’s “Sha Jia Gang”, which was forcefully occupied by Fat Qi, claiming it was compensation for his own losses. “Wo Yi Society”, led by Fat Qi’s sworn brother, annexed He Sheng Gang when it lacked a leader, taking over the remaining territory of Fat Qi.
When the meeting was over, the Dragon Head of the Wo Yi Society, Master Qiao, smiled meaningfully at Xia Liuyi. Although Xia Liuyi was alert, he did not worry much. Xiao Qi Tong was now no longer a small gang in Snapdragon Walled City. It only took Xia Liuyi two years to expand it to half of Kowloon, with hundreds of members and dozens of stalls. Its business involved nightclubs, discos, restaurants, clubs, billiards, roller skating rinks, gambling stalls, brothels, and many other industries.
After the collapse of Big Boss Sha and Fat Qi, it also stayed as one of the few white flour controlling powers in the Kowloon region. All kinds of entertainment venues relied on it, and Xiao Qi Tong monopolized the supplies. Although the Wo Yi Society was an old gang with a great foundation, they still needed thorough consideration before standing against Xia Liuyi.
Not to mention that the main sphere of influence of the Wo Yi Society was on Hong Kong Island across the strait. They even had to worry about the traffic jam during the peak period of the cross-harbour tunnel for a mob fight. Distance made them hard to be a threat.
After this incident, Xia Liuyi, on the pretext of investigating undercover agents and reorganizing the gang, withdrew the White Paper Fan and Straw Sandal infiltrated by the elders. He only left Big Scar Head, the Red Pole nominated by Elder Ge, mainly because he was a nice underling. Big Scar Head was grateful for Xia Liuyi’s recognition and almost cried and swore on his life to show his loyalty. Elder Ge was pleased by Xia Liuyi unexpectedly, so he could not complain any more recently. Other elders did have other complaints, but they couldn’t do anything about Xia Liuyi either.
Externally, Xia Liuyi cleared the obstacles; internally, he organized the people, ensuring only smart and loyal members were under him. When it came to fighting, the Big Boss did not need to worry. He saved his time and energy, concentrating on his hide and seek with Xie-Sir. They had this game several times, and neither gained any advantage.
He Chusan wanted to go further with him after kissing him the second time on that day and was slapped away by him. This little brat left disappointedly and came back like a puppy on the next day, taking a day off from the company. On the third day, he was summoned away by an emergency in his company. The overtime work kept him from seeing Xia Liuyi for a month. He could only constantly sweet talk on the phone with Xia Liuyi while tapping the keyboard: Boss Liuyi, I miss you. Boss Liuyi, did you brush your teeth today?
Cr*p! Get out! Xia Liu cursed.
He Chusan laughed in a low voice over the phone, “Sounds like you miss me too.”
"......" Xia Liuyi.
Xia Liuyi dropped the cell once a day, scratched the bed twice a day, and broke three toothbrushes because of brushing too hard. He also angrily sneaked into the dental clinic for teeth whitening.
After dozens of nights in the chaotic, old rented house, He Chusan finally had the time to clean up and change to a new lock. When the house was tidy again, he began looking for the thing he hid under the sofa on the day Xia Liuyi was arrested.
However, he could only find the camera broken by Big Boss Xia but not the photos and the roll of film.
He had doubts in his mind. Rummaging through, he still found nothing and could only assume rats took them away. He consoled himself - Xia Liuyi was already his, and he could take as many photos as he wanted. All he needed were some knee pads.
This weekend was sunny and warm. Before it turned cold in late autumn, Xia Liuyi drove himself to He Chusan’s company and brought Elite He, who was working overtime, away to a beach barbecue. The bodyguards outrageously cleared the whole beach for themselves. Little Ma and Big Scar Head set up the stove and charcoal. Cui Dongdong and her round-face singsong girl lay on a sun lounger, watching the scene.
“Big Boss, turn over the chicken wings in the middle. They are burnt! Do you know how to grill?” Cui Dongdong commented to him while drinking lemonade.
“You’ll do it yourself if you yell at me!” Xia Liuyi, whose face was blackened by the smoke, scolded, “He A-San, where did you put the oil!”
He Chusan, who was squatting at his feet looking at the material, straightened up and handed him the oil bottle that was on the side of the stove, and squatted back down again in silence.
Xia Liuyi kicked him, “Why are you reading when hanging out! I’ll burn it if you keep reading!”
“I have a professional exam next month. I’m coming after this page.” He Chusan tried to cool him down.
Xia Liuyi lifted that book over fire with his tongs. He Chusan hurriedly jumped up to get it, “Alright, alright, I’m coming. I’m coming.”
“Little bastard. You need to be beaten every day! Turn over that chicken wing!”
“Yes, yes. I’m doing it now.”
Little Ma skewered sausages at a table near them. He muttered to Big Scar Head, who was cutting fish, “Why do I think the brat of the Hes is getting stranger and stranger? Look at his silly grin to the Big Boss! F**ck, look at him! What is he doing?!”
He Chusan was pressing on Xia Liuyi’s eyelid, gently blowing away the coal dust at the corner of his eye. Little Ma yelled behind him, “Brat He! Come and skewer sausages!”
Xia Liuyi roared before He Chusan answered, “I’m not done with him, and you want to take him away?!”
“Big Boss, I didn’t. Ha ha, I just thought he wasn’t doing things.”
“Shut up! Hurry up and get the sausages here!”
Little Ma’s head dropped. He gritted his teeth and muttered, “F**k, I’ll secretly chop him into mince someday!”
Big Scar Head kept his sight at the fish, scraping the scales, and dared not reply to Little Ma’s words.
Big Boss Xia’s oil-brushing skill was too poor and he almost burnt his clothes. He Chusan settled him aside immediately and rolled up sleeves to take his position, talking to him while brushing the oil, “Boss Liuyi, have you been busy lately?”
“Not as busy as Elite He! You’ve been missing for a month, and I have to invite you myself?”
He Chusan chuckled, “Sorry, I have too many things to do in the company.”
Xia Liuyi snorted, “Seems like you’ve been promoted to General Manager, Elite He?”
He Chusan’s grin was still honest and obedient, “No, but I’ve been really too busy recently. I even want to quit…what about me coming to your company? Two months of holiday for me each year?”
Xia Liuyi’s hand paused from getting the cigarette.
Two years ago, he tried to have this top-tier finance student under him every day and night, wanting to make the best use of such an elite in money laundry, but now, hearing such a half-hearted joke, he hesitated.
He no longer wanted innocent He Chusan to step into his mess any more.
He put the cigarette into his mouth, tilting his head to light it, “You acted like you would become blind from reading the accounting records years ago. Now you know to beg me? I don’t need you anymore. Get off!”
He Chusan got a step “off” to him and whispered softly, “Boss Liuyi…”
Xia Liuyi pushed him away with his elbow impatiently, avoiding this topic, “Do you think you’re too busy? I think you’re quite into your job.”
“I thought about it”, said He Chusan, “It’s not good to be too busy. If this continues, I won’t have time to go back to see Dad.”
Xia Liuyi snorted again.
“I won’t have time to be with you either.”
Before the goose-bumped Big Boss Xia turned angry, Cui Dongdong who was on the side plugged her ears and stood up,
“Geez! We’ll be silenced forever if we keep listening! Little Luo, come on. We can have a walk there.” Little Luo was her little singsong girl’s name.
“You’ll go nowhere! Come and brush the oil! He A-San, go skewer sausages!”
- *Many people in Hong Kong, especially at the time of He Chusan, have English names. He Chusan’s English name is Samuel. ↑
TN: Edited by our great editor Mio Rio