When the alarm clock rang for the eighteenth time, it was finally forcefully smashed by a strong and distinct hand emerging from the duck feather quilt.

At half past ten in the morning, Yan Yi sat up on the big bed, rubbing his dizzy and heavy head after a hangover. It took him a good ten minutes before he vaguely recalled fragments from last night’s celebration at the Municipal Bureau:

The 502 Frozen Corpse case was transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office, the Provincial Department planned to investigate the unidentified sniper, the new ** compound was reported to the Ministry of Public Security, and Captain Kang Shuqiang of the Special Police Brigade successfully passed the dangerous period…

Amidst the resounding applause, Deputy Director Wei announced that the personnel involved in this operation could take three days off on a rotational basis. All the police officers were ecstatic. Qin Chuan and Gou Liang, those two bastards, would be force-fed to death if they got their hands on him. On the way back, while being carried back in a dazed state, he seemed to have received a call from his mother, reminding him not to forget today’s…

Today’s…

Yan Yi had an epiphany, instantly becoming clear-headed. He grabbed his phone and opened WeChat.

“Son, remember to tidy yourself up nicely for the lunch meeting with the daughter of the real estate group’s CEO at our Tian Ding Garden Western Restaurant at twelve noon! Put on a face mask! Your mother.”

“…” Yan Yi put down his phone, turned his head, and saw his reflection in the mirror—a face with a messy nest of stubble on top.

“It’s time for me to sell myself again,” he murmured.

Yan Yi’s transformation process was always as magical as that of a magical girl warrior. Half an hour later, he finished showering, shaved his beard, took a pair of scissors and snipped at the top of his head, sprayed hair gel to set the style. He then casually grabbed a men’s perfume and sprayed it twice, observed himself in the mirror from left to right for a moment, and transformed into a face that could be displayed with a starting price of 50,000.

With a towel draped over his shoulder, Yan Yi walked out of the bedroom, stark naked, ready to contemplate how to approach today’s encounter with the 108th “You’re a good person,” “Let’s be friends,” “I’m still too young, my mom won’t let me date” card. Suddenly, he changed his mind and decided to make a pot of tea to quench his thirst after the hangover.

So Vice-Captain Yan strolled out, feeling a refreshing breeze, walked through the living room, and pushed open the door to the tea room.

Yan Yi: “…”

Jiang Ting: “…”

The air suddenly fell silent. Jiang Ting maintained the motion of opening the tea box, and they stared at each other, both wearing blank expressions.

“How… did… you…”

Yan Yi’s first reaction was how did you get here, then he realized that he had forcibly given her the key to his apartment. His second reaction was that she actually came, but the words were stuck in his throat and couldn’t come out. His eyes shifted back and forth between Jiang Ting’s suspended hand and the opened tea box, and suddenly he had a revelation, as if he had caught a little thief on the spot:

“—You’re drinking my wife’s tea again!”

Jiang Ting crossed her hands behind her back. “No, I’m not.”

“The water has already been boiled!”

“Really, I’m not.”

“Last time, when I took you to the scene, you said it was specially brewed for me, but you ended up drinking it all!”

“Misunderstanding.”

Yan Yi took a step forward, took out the bottom layer of the rosewood box, and confidently presented the half-eaten tea cake that looked like it had been gnawed by a dog in front of Jiang Ting’s nose. “Then who do you say drank this?!”

“Han Xiaomei,” Jiang Ting said.

Yan Yi approached inch by inch, and Jiang Ting had to tilt her body backward.

“Look into my eyes and say it again,” with their noses almost touching, Yan Yi stared at Jiang Ting’s eyes intently, his voice low and full of pressure, “Who exactly drank it, Han Xiaomei, or you?”

“…” Jiang Ting raised her hand and pointed downward, the mask of calmness finally cracking open with a slight fissure, “Could you please put your pants on first?”

Yan Yi lowered his head and saw that the morning erection after bathing was clearly visible, just a little more forward and it would touch the policewoman.

“…What are you repulsed by?” Yan Yi’s face blushed imperceptibly, and he said arrogantly, “This is called male capital, understand?!”

Jiang Ting’s face was full of words left unsaid, and Yan Yi snorted triumphantly like a victorious general, turned around and left, the moment he was out of Jiang Ting’s line of sight, he hurriedly covered the front and back and slipped back into the bedroom.

· The minute hand completed a large arc once again. Yan Yi, dressed like a young elite born into wealth, wore a high-end tailored shirt and trousers. It would take an ordinary person half a year to wait in line for a pair of custom-made shoes like his, a top-tier wristwatch, and he drove a car priced similarly to his watch. He looked at himself in the side mirror with a hint of pride.

“How do I look?”

Jiang Ting held the “Red Book” and turned a page.

“I’m asking you a question.”

Jiang Ting remained indifferent.

Yan Yi pulled out the book forcefully, “Can you understand what I’m asking? Why are you acting like a big-tailed wolf?”

Saying that, he discontentedly threw the book onto the backseat.

“…” Jiang Ting sighed deeply and said, “I don’t understand.”

Then she looked at Yan Yi and finally told the truth:

“But I need to rely on some philosophical stuff to forcefully clear my memory, especially a certain image of you.”

Yan Yi: “…”

Jiang Ting candidly said, “It had quite an impact.”

The green light illuminated, and the traffic slowly moved forward. The carriage fell into silence.

“No.” Several minutes later, Yan Yi finally couldn’t help but find a reason to argue, “Is it really that displeasing to you? When you went to the bathhouse in college, did you never see other guys ** or did you go to the women’s bathhouse?”

Jiang Ting tactfully replied, “Everyone in the men’s bathhouse is relatively normal.”

“I’m not normal?!”

It seemed like Jiang Ting wanted to nod, but she held back and questioned in a more cultured manner, “If you didn’t need me, why did you ask me to go with you for the blind date? Is it to subtly imply to the woman that your physical function is…?”

“Ah?”

“If you really need it, I can give it a try too.”

Yan Yi swiftly changed lanes and overtook, causing a chorus of protests to erupt around him. Amidst the honking horns, he roared in anger, “I don’t need any implications—I can conquer women with just my looks!”

Jiang Ting clapped symbolically. “Go conquer someone then.”

“… " Yan Yi fell silent.

The red light ahead lit up, and the S450 gradually decelerated with the flow of traffic. In the rearview mirror, Yan Yi’s face became heavily clouded. Perhaps sensing that the atmosphere inside the car was too oppressive, more like going to a funeral than a blind date, Jiang Ting finally cleared her throat and decided to ease the tense atmosphere.

“There’s a question that I’ve always been curious about, and since there’s no one else present now, I’ll ask, if you don’t mind.”

A glint of murderous intent flashed in Yan Yi’s eyes.

According to his own style of conversation, whenever he said, “If you don’t mind,” it was usually followed by an unfriendly question, such as, “Your alibi on the night of the crime is proven false, care to explain?” or “The victim’s DNA was found, how about we take a few drops of your blood for comparison?”

As expected, Jiang Ting asked, “Why are your blind dates always unsuccessful?”

Yan Yi: “…………”

“Although you don’t have an advantage in terms of your profession, you are very wealthy after all, and if we consider all aspects…”

“My blind date candidates usually come from two sources,” Yan Yi coldly interrupted, “introductions by my parents and colleagues playing matchmaker.”

Jiang Ting nodded earnestly, signaling him to continue.

“The former usually comes from similar backgrounds, and there are two situations: the first is independent and strong-willed, with outstanding achievements in various aspects, but they would demand that I resign and inherit the family business to make money, so there’s basically no chance; the second is stubborn, domineering, and temperamental, and they wouldn’t be able to get along with me in the first place, so there’s no chance either.”

Jiang Ting said softly, “Oh…”

Yan Yi’s peripheral vision couldn’t help but glance towards the passenger seat, and he emphasized with a stronger tone, “I really hate people who are temperamental!”

Jiang Ting nodded, “Mm-hmm.”

Then Yan Yi saw Jiang Ting reach into the side compartment of the car door and take out a fresh bottle of milk that he had prepared before leaving. She began to drink it in small sips.

The corners of his mouth, which naturally fell and rarely curved upwards, were covered in a thin layer of foam, and even the slight redness seemed deeper than usual. After a few sips, she paused and ran her tongue along the corner of her lips, looking ahead at the road.

Yan Yi’s throat was tight, making it difficult for him to speak. After a long while, he finally squeezed out a sentence, “Can you stop drinking milk like that?!”

“The doctor recommended daily calcium intake, but I don’t like this stuff.” Jiang Ting replied coldly. “Continue, why didn’t the blind dates set up by your colleagues work out?”

At this moment, there were no words to describe Yan Yi’s inner turmoil. He mechanically stepped on the gas pedal, stepped on the brakes, signaled to change lanes. His cheeks showed extremely tense lines because he clenched his teeth tightly.

“Deputy Yan?”

“…” Yan Yi said from between his clenched teeth, “Those set up by colleagues either I don’t feel anything for the woman, or she criticizes me too harshly, or she demands that we divide the property in half before registering… What kind of nonsense is this! Stop drinking!”

Jiang Ting happened to finish the last sip of milk and inexplicably tossed the empty bottle into the side compartment.

The S450 turned into a parking lot and came to a smooth stop. Yan Yi released the handbrake and turned off the engine, but he remained seated behind the steering wheel, not moving. After a few moments, he managed to squeeze out a few words, “You go down first.”

Jiang Ting looked at him suspiciously, observed his subtle facial expressions, and thought that he must have been too nervous before the blind date. So, she considerately got out of the car and closed the door.

Bang!

Yan Yi seemed to be activated, swiftly grabbing the “Red Book” from the back seat and earnestly reading it.

After a full three minutes, Yan Yi finally finished his brief journey through the ocean of knowledge, feeling that his entire soul had been purified. He closed the book, and from the depths of his heart, he let out a sincere sigh:

“—Truly worthy of being a master!”

Then he could finally get out of the car without any abnormality. As soon as his feet touched the ground, something was off: “Why are you here?!”

Yang Mei was wearing a champagne-colored velvet dress, with pearl earrings embellishing her bright eyes and white teeth. The nude-colored high-heeled shoes with red soles made her appear ten centimeters taller out of thin air. Her imposing manner overwhelmed everyone, and a single glance crushed the stunned Yan Yi: “Let’s go have dinner.”

“Who asked you to come?!”

Jiang Ting said, “I did.”

Yan Yi almost couldn’t control his facial expression: “Then who will accompany me on the blind date?!”

Yang Mei gave him a coquettish and charming smile.

“Control yourself,” Jiang Ting whispered in his ear, extending two fingers, “I owe you this amount.” Then she gestured with a nine, “And you owe her this amount.”

Yan Yi: “They are not even in the same ballpark! And it’s nonsense. When did I…?”

“Her car is completely irreparable.”

Yan Yi seemed to be instantly muted.

“I invited her to dinner, and your debts are settled. The bureau will compensate from the investigation fund.” Jiang Ting crossed her arms, making the gesture of a referee indicating the end of a round in a boxing match. “Any questions?”

Yang Mei smiled, “I have no questions.”

Yan Yi’s temple twitched, and he forced out the words, “I… have no questions either.”

“Very well.” Jiang Ting looked somewhat relieved. “Now we can leave the parking lot.”

This building, which housed a hotel, shopping mall, and garden restaurant, had two sightseeing elevators that went directly to the top floor. With a beep, both doors opened simultaneously. Jiang Ting shrugged in response to Yan Yi’s astonished gaze, wishing him good luck, and then followed Yang Mei through the other door.

The elevator ascended rapidly, and Jiang Ting looked straight ahead as the streets and vehicles below became increasingly distant. Suddenly, he heard Yang Mei cough tentatively beside him and asked, “Jiang Ge… Why do you always clash with Yan Yi?”

Yang Mei hesitated for a moment and quickly distanced herself, “That’s not true. Mainly, Yan Vice-Captain has certain ideas that are…”

“Heteronormative,” Jiang Ting interrupted, “That’s how the intern described him.”

Yang Mei thought to herself, Yes, yes, Han Xiaomei’s choice of words is so accurate. If Yan had any hope of a happy marriage in his life, he could only spend money and buy a wife in Vietnam!

“He can be strict at times, but he’s not that kind of person,” Jiang Ting seemed to see through Yang Mei’s thoughts and said, “Both you and Yan Yi are not young anymore. If you have something to say, be open and direct, face your own feelings without avoiding or beating around the bush. It’s only wasting each other’s time.”

Yang Mei: “Ah… I see.”

“If one day I leave,” Jiang Ting paused, raised his hand to signal Yang Mei not to interrupt, “it’s hard to say whether you will be involved in someone’s revenge. That’s something I don’t want to see. Yan Yi is someone worth entrusting.”

Yang Mei: “Huh?!”

The elevator reached the top floor and opened slowly. Jiang Ting adjusted his clothes and walked out of the door.

What he didn’t see behind him was Yang Mei’s widened eyes, almost dropping the bag that equated to half a year’s intern salary.

·

The Skytop Restaurant rotated the entire floor and featured an observation deck, a suspended swimming pool, and a high-altitude garden. The interior under the glass dome presented a modern and luxurious design, with the bar as the centerpiece, spreading out in all directions.

Yan Yi crouched behind the bar counter, his expression stern, his brows furrowed tightly. If he had a gun in his hand, it would be a live police ambush operation. The restaurant’s general manager stood behind him, his face full of tears that wouldn’t fall, hesitated several times, and finally couldn’t help but remind him, “Young Master, what do you want? Future Madam Number 108 has been waiting for you over there for half an hour. Even if you resist blind dates, you can’t hide under the bar counter! We are all adults, be brave!”

“Hush—” Yan Yi pulled the general manager closer and pointed at the two people walking into the entrance of the restaurant. “Keep an eye on them.”

The general manager: “???”

Following Yan Yi’s pointed finger, Jiang Ting entered the seating area under the guidance of the waiter, casually pulling out a chair for Yang Mei.

“If these two dare to kiss and touch in my restaurant, you immediately come and tell me. Also, when they pay later, only charge one person’s bill, remember, just one person’s!”

The general manager felt like he had discovered something extraordinary and asked, “Why?”

“Because I don’t want to invite the other one,” Yan Yi said coldly, then turned around and left.

The general manager stood in place, feeling profoundly shocked, looking at Yang Mei with indescribable eyes. In his mind, he instantly played out a five-hundred-episode series titled “The Person I Love is Not My Lover.” Then he looked at the young man sitting opposite Yang Mei, with a cold and pale face, and scrutinized him for a full five minutes. Anger and love for the young master surged from the depths of his heart.

“Manager?” the headwaiter asked in a low voice, “Manager, what are you doing?”

The general manager, reluctantly, looked around and saw Yan Yi, who was reluctantly walking towards the beautiful and wealthy Miss, and then swiftly turned around, glaring at Jiang Ting with resentment, saying hatefully, “I’m going to tattle to the boss lady.”