Criminal Psychology 40
The weather was clear the next day.
Professor Fu went back to school early in the morning for an elective class Sunday afternoon.
Before leaving, he pulled Lin Chen to the side to nag until Xing Cong Lian couldn’t stand it anymore and forced him out of the car into the train station.
“See you the day after tomorrow, Senior!” Fu Hao waved his hand through the window.
When Xing Cong Lian returned to the car, Lin Chen was basking in the sun while lost in thought.
“The relationship you have with your fellow brother is good.” Xing Cong Lian started the car’s engine with a smile.
“We’ve known each other for many years, after all.”
“Are you going to Yong Chuan the day after tomorrow”
“Yes, it’ll be the old man’s birthday.”
Xing Cong Lian remembered that the “old man” Lin Chen mentioned was his teacher who liked to buy Star Cups for his students, but was always cheated by the kiosk’s owner.
“The old man who taught you and Fu Hao must be an interesting person,” Xing Cong Lian said in a rueful tone.
“Master is kind to everyone,” was Lin Chen’s reply.
Instead of returning to Yan Jia Alley or the police station, Xing Cong Lian parked his car on a street full of stalls selling flowers.
The window was half open, and the gentle scent of flowers drifted into the car.
Seeing both sides of the street lined with stalls and people walking around with smiles on their faces, Lin Chen was at a loss as to what they were doing here.
Xing Cong Lian climbed out as if there was nothing strange and opened the door for Lin Chen.
With his other hand placed on the roof, he said with a smile, “Mister, please get out of the car.”
Although this might make him seem inexperienced in the ways of the world, Lin Chen had never entered a flower shop before, let alone going to a street full of flower stalls and choosing some to plant or get as a season-appropriate decor and such.
However, Xing Cong Lian seemed to be quite the veteran at this.
As Lin Chen followed and watched Xing Cong Lian talk to the shop owner, he dropped some terms Lin Chen could hardly understand.
Not long after, Xing Cong Lian carried several packets of newly purchased seeds he said were for planting daisies and geraniums.
“Why did you suddenly think of buying flowers”
“Just wanted to save myself from Professor Fu’s nagging about the barrenness of our house,” Xing Cong Lian said as he raised up the bouquet of lilies and baby’s breath in his hand.
Without any prompting, Lin Chen took the bag on his left hand, freeing it so that he could pay for his purchase.
Hearing him say so, Lin Chen found himself laughing.
Decorating their empty house with flowers was somewhat strange, like “putting the cart before the horse” kind of strange.
“You have quite the hobby of making your life interesting,” he said, half in jest.
“Of course.” The mixed-race man’s face was covered by the flowers, leaving only a handsome profile and striking eyes to the view.
“My mother taught me that boys who don’t know flowers won’t be able to trick a wife home.”
His eyes were striking green.
Behind him was a Chinese parasol tree, sprouting anew with its branches stretched out, almost covering the azure sky.
Lin Chen’s heartstrings quivered.
Although he knew it was just a joke, and was unlikely to be aimed at him, it was all too easy for people to be moved by sweet nothings.
“Then it’s lucky that you’ve studied hard,” he said.
Joyful occasions always involved purchasing flowers, and it didn’t take long for Xing Cong Lian and Lin Chen’s hands to be full of them.
They had also reached the end of the flower street.
Xing Cong Lian looked ahead.
He seemed to have thought of something, then turned to his side and said to Lin Chen, “We can go back now, I think,” before spinning on his heel.
“Wait.” Lin Chen also remembered something and called out, “I remember Wang Chao said that you had a tombstone made for me in the small cemetery at the end of Hua Street.
Can I take a look”
Today’s weather was good.
The running river in the distance was quiet and tranquil, while the Tai Qian Bridge was visible from afar.
Lin Chen stood in front of his tombstone, feeling surreal.
Clearly he was alive, and yet he was looking at his own tombstone.
The name on it was indeed his.
But other than that, it was empty — no date of birth, date of death or photo of him.
It made him feel off; it seemed not serious enough, and yet too serious at the same time.
After all, he and Xing Cong Lian had only known each other for a few days up to that point in time.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that their meeting was by chance.
Wasn’t buying a piece of land and setting up a tombstone for someone you met by chance too serious, or what
Xing Cong Lian stood aside, appearing unable to recall what he felt when he had the tombstone made.
Maybe it was sadness, maybe it was helplessness.
However, those feelings seemed to have vanished the moment Lin Chen reappeared.
Right now, the only emotion he felt was embarrassment.
After all, the owner of this tombstone was standing right beside him and hadn’t spoken for several minutes already.
After thinking about it, he decided to speak first, “Uh, I forgot to tell the manager to remove it.”
His voice broke Lin Chen’s trance.
Lin Chen turned halfway around before pulling one of the flowers in the bouquet he was holding and said, “It’s okay, let it be.”
The lily placed in front of the grave was still damp with dew.
Xing Cong Lian smiled.
“You don’t think it’s unlucky”
“Let’s just leave it here.
If I do go first in the future, remember to bring wine and come see me.”
This sentence was full of ill omen, but when Lin Chen said it, it sounded as natural as him saying he would wear more clothes tomorrow.
To him, life and death had always been natural occurrences.
Xing Cong Lian also replied in a natural manner.
“I thought you don’t drink”
“If you’re the one offering it, I might consider.”