Xia Shu had not yet faded, and the autumn rain began to fall. The drizzle varied in intensity, sometimes heavy, sometimes light. Puddles mixed with exhaust fumes filled the eaves and sidewalks, and there was an incessant damp and salty odor in the air, making people irritable.

“I’m telling you, why can’t you think straight?” Yan Yin propped up a black umbrella as he squatted on the rooftop. The meticulously tailored trousers had already been soaked through by dirty water, with drops falling into his shoes. However, his expression was filled with a transcendent Buddha-like serenity.

A young man stood precariously outside the balcony railing, his face covered in a mix of snot, tears, and rainwater. He exclaimed, “I’m done with trying! I want to die in front of that fickle woman and make her regret losing me. That rich guy will eventually dump her! Dump her!”

The crowd below buzzed with excitement. “Why hasn’t he jumped yet?” “Is he going to jump or not?” The firefighters had already arrived with ladders and air cushions, and several SWAT team members were squeezed in the corner, their expressions serious as they watched Yan Yin.

“I’m telling you, don’t waste any more time. Come down, little brother.” Yan Yin let out his 108th sigh, speaking with a world-weary tone. “Look at me, a deputy director of the branch. I deal with drug trafficking, smuggling, and serial murders every day. Yet today, I’ve been wasting two hours here chatting with you. You’re upset because a woman dumped you? Which man hasn’t been dumped before? How come everyone else can gather themselves and stand strong, but you’re the only one seeking death or life, embarrassing us men?”

Simultaneously, two angry roars came through the earpiece, as Chief of the SWAT team, Kang Shuqiang, was being restrained by several team members. “Yan, I’m begging you! If you can’t speak properly, then don’t say anything!”

The young man rattled the iron railing, making a loud clanging sound. “Nonsense! Only poor losers like me who have no money and no power get dumped! Those rich people drive luxury cars and have beautiful women. Does society even care if we poor losers live or die?”

“You are mistaken.” Yan Yin ignored Kang Shuqiang’s furious shouts in the earpiece and raised his index finger, calmly asking, “Little brother, do you know why, as a criminal investigator, I am here today?”

The young man hesitated, not sure how to respond.

“It’s because my surname is Yan, the same Yan as the Yizi Investment Group in Jianning. The building beneath your feet was developed by my family. If you jump, the entire haunted building won’t sell. Do you know how much money I’ll lose?”

The young man remained speechless.

Kang Shuqiang stopped struggling and squatted on the ground, covering his face in anguish. “If I were him, I would push that Yan guy off first and die together…”

“Do you think someone like me can’t get dumped? How naïve. When you get dumped, you can at least drown your sorrows with some drinks, sing karaoke with friends, and when you’re drunk, cry and howl on the rooftop, immediately drawing a crowd of people trying to persuade you. But what about me? I’ve been both financially and romantically deceived. I gave my heart sincerely, only to end up empty-handed. Do I look like I’m crying and threatening to jump off a building?”

“You… you’re lying!” The young man’s face was filled with doubt.

“Why would I lie to you? Come and see how many calls I’ve made to him these past two days.” Yan Yin took out his phone and shook it with a bitter smile. “Let’s not talk about money. I’ve spent a six-figure sum just on tea, watering the flowers. But what about the time he wasted? If I were a woman, I’d be pregnant by now. But as soon as marriage was mentioned, poof! He disappeared faster than a rabbit! He even pretended to be a single-minded person. I asked him why he didn’t mention his single status when we were in bed together at night. Turns out his single-mindedness varies depending on the situation. It only matters if I perform well at night.”

“You…,” the young man stammered.

Kang Shuqiang remained silent.

The SWAT team members nearby were speechless.

“If I were in my twenties like you, I’d wipe away my tears and act like nothing happened. Who hasn’t encountered a few scoundrels when they were young? But look at me, I’m over thirty. Other families with people my age already have children. Even if I wanted to start anew and move forward, where would I find someone at this age? Besides, I can’t let go of him.” Yan Yin squatted on the ground, letting out a sigh full of weariness. It made those who heard it feel sorrowful, and those who saw it shed tears.

“Big brother… Big brother, don’t be like this.” The young man seemed to feel a touch of sympathy. “That woman deceived you, so you should find another one! Just dump her decisively!”

“I can’t dump him, and I don’t want to.” Yan Yin wiped the corner of his eye, sniffed his dry nose, and said sincerely, “Once upon a time, the vast sea was not enough for the water, and apart from Mount Wu, there are no other clouds. Weak water flows for three thousand miles, but I only take a sip… Sorry, my dad used to be a Chinese language teacher. In short, that’s the idea. Even though he rejected my marriage proposal and immediately went on a road trip with someone of the opposite sex, everyone watched as grass grew all over my head. It was like the Hulunbuir grassland was about to develop… But as long as he is willing to come back, I still have to continue waiting.”

The young man trembled and said, “Big brother…”

“To be honest, I haven’t slept a wink in these three days since he left. Whenever I close my eyes, all I see is his shadow. Like this, I still have to go to work during the day, go to crime scenes, interrogate suspects, organize case files, and even come here to persuade a melon-headed guy who wants to jump off a building because of a woman. Do you think I don’t want to jump, huh? Do you know that I also want to jump and let that person who is still cozying up to someone else regret it?”

“Big brother, please calm down…”

Yan Yin seemed to have made up his mind. He threw away the umbrella, stood up abruptly, rolled up his sleeves, and walked towards the railing. “Forget it, living is meaningless anyway. Let’s both keep each other company on the road to the afterlife, shall we?”

The young man turned pale and exclaimed, “Hey, don’t come over! What are you doing?!”

“As a useless police officer who can’t even keep his wife from running away, why should I live? Let’s jump together!” Yan Yin grabbed the railing and was about to flip over. The young man, in a state of panic, forgot about wanting to commit suicide. He loosened his grip and tried to grab Yan Yin, but in an instant, Yan Yin grabbed hold of him and forcibly pulled him over the railing, causing both of them to fall onto the rooftop.

“Go!”

Kang Shuqiang led the way, and the SWAT team members rushed out. Some pressed down on hands, others on feet, and within three seconds, they firmly subdued the young man who wanted to end his life.

“Report, report, the suicide attempt at Pinghu Residential Area has been successfully resolved, the suicide attempt at Pinghu Residential Area has been successfully resolved…”

The walkie-talkies buzzed with noise, and loud cheers erupted throughout the building.

One hour later.

“What? Consultant Lu doesn’t want to pursue a long-term relationship with you?”

As the police car turned a corner, splashing a large spray of water, Yan Yin rested his elbow on the passenger side window and rubbed the stubble on his chin. He furrowed his brow and said, “Can you put the pause between the last five syllables after ‘relationship’ instead of before it? It sounds strange…”

Ma Xiang, with a round mouth, took a while to react before exclaiming, “I thought the legend in the SWAT team about ‘Deputy Chief Yan being deceived, losing money, and getting cuckolded’ was made up to slander and defame you.”

The rainy weather caused slow driving, and the road was crowded. It was only after they finally reached the vicinity of the municipal bureau that the traffic eased up a bit. Yan Yin took off his wet shirt, randomly grabbed a relatively clean black short-sleeved T-shirt from the back seat, and put it on. His wet hair stood up, making him look even more unruly.

“No, how can you sleep together and not take responsibility?” Ma Xiang frowned and muttered, clearly finding this situation hard to accept. “If sleeping together without marriage is considered playing around, as Lu Xun taught us, then what about now? Consultant Lu still isn’t responding to you?”

“He ran away with Yang Mei the night before last, didn’t return all of yesterday, and only drove back to Jianning this morning with Yang Mei.” Yan Yin hummed coldly, “Did he think I didn’t send someone to monitor that Nocturne KTV? Hmph!”

Ma Xiang also felt it was a tricky situation. “This is not good, Ah Yan. If Consultant Lu’s affair partner was a man, it would be easy. We could just handcuff the adulterer and scare him in the bureau, guaranteeing that he would obediently leave. But unfortunately, Yang Boss is a woman. We only have a few female officers in our bureau, and they don’t have much combat capability. Like that girl Han Xiaomei, she gets along so well with Yang Boss that they can even share the same skirt and lipstick…”

The gate of the municipal bureau slowly opened, and the police car drove in, splashing water once again. The cold and damp air seeped into their bones, causing a faint ache in the area where Yan Yin had previously been shot. It seemed that the wounds hadn’t fully healed yet, which was quite normal. After all, with two holes penetrating the abdominal cavity, even in Yan Yin’s prime, it would take at least half a year or a year to fully recover.

The car stopped under the steps, and Yan Yin didn’t bother to open an umbrella. He directly opened the car door and jumped down, unexpectedly exclaiming, “Ouch!”

“What’s wrong, what’s wrong?” Ma Xiang turned from the driver’s seat and saw Yan Yin clutching his lower back, immediately amused. “Hey, Yan Ge, is your back sore from last night? Let me give you a piece of advice, when you reach middle age, don’t be so aggressive like a wolf. No wonder Consultant Lu ran away from home, he must have been driven to desperation by you…”

“You don’t understand a thing,” Yan Yin scolded, “Consultant Lu loves my strong and vigorous ** to death. It was that idiot who jumped and bumped into me when he fell!”

Ma Xiang had a look of surprise on his face, tossing the car keys up and down as he followed Yan Yin upstairs.

Recently, there hadn’t been any major cases in Jianning, and the reports from the key sub-bureaus about robberies, extortion, homicides, and drug trafficking were all unrelated and non-serial, with a death toll of no more than three. It didn’t reach the level where the municipal bureau needed to take charge.

As a result, they hadn’t been working overtime during this period. Everyone came at 9 in the morning and left at 5 in the evening. The Criminal Investigation Division exuded an unusually relaxed atmosphere amidst the tension.

“Hey, Lao Yan, what’s wrong with your back?”

Yan Yin grimaced and clutched his shoulder as he passed the pantry. Suddenly, a familiar voice called out to him. He stopped in his tracks and turned his head. Qin Chuan was brewing instant coffee and raised his chin, his face showing a faint tiredness after staying up late.

“Hey, I have to ask, why is everyone so concerned about my back?” Yan Yin took a deep breath, placed his hands on his hips, and asked, “To be honest, we’re brothers. How long have you been coveting my enticing **?”

Qin Chuan snorted and tapped the glass window behind him. “Wherever it’s cooler, go there. I just watched you twisting your waist all the way up from downstairs. So, were you deceived not only in love but also in money and kidneys?”

It’s funny how bad news travels fast. Now Deputy Chief Yan’s affair, which led to him being cheated on and wearing a green hat, had spread throughout the land.

“You get lost. Come and try if my kidneys are weak or not,” Yan Yin said with a wry smile, “What’s that smell all over you?”

“What smell?”

“It’s you… Oh, you’ve been drinking?”

Qin Chuan sniffed his sleeve, and suddenly realized, “No, these past few days, the rain has given me a bit of rheumatism. The team just helped me apply some medicinal liquor. Don’t tell me you want some too?”

Yan Yin waved his hand casually, not bothering with his intentions of visiting the Anti-Drug Division. He lazily replied, “Forget it, the Criminal Investigation Division also has a medical kit. Don’t fantasize about my young and handsome ** with your old body.”

“You scoundrel!” Qin Chuan walked out of the pantry with his coffee and laughed at him from behind.

Yan Yin had brought the habit of using medicinal liquor to the Criminal Investigation Division. Sometimes, after coming back from operations in freezing cold weather, his whole body would be freezing. Drinking a bit of medicinal liquor could improve blood circulation and warm the stomach, greatly reducing the chances of catching a cold, getting a headache, or developing rheumatism.

Yan Yin returned to his office in the Criminal Investigation Division. There was still half an hour until the end of work, and there wasn’t much to do. He rummaged through the cabinet and took out the medical kit, pouring a little more than half a cup of last year’s medicinal liquor. He took a sip and brought the rest into the Deputy Chief’s office. He looked in the mirror and applied it to his lower back.

“Hiss…”

Maybe that idiot had considerable strength despite looking dried up. Although he seemed completely dry, the weight of his fall from the railing was quite heavy. Yan Yin was knocked to the ground by him, lying on the brick floor with his back exposed to the sky. A large purplish-red bruise appeared on his lower back, with a mixture of blue and red bloodstains.

If Jiang Ting were at home, he could ask her to help apply a hot towel. Yan Yin suddenly had this thought in his mind. He would lie comfortably on the bed, watching Jiang Ting carefully prepare the hot water and soak the towel, neatly folding it into a square shape and pressing it against his lower back. Then Jiang Ting would use her hands to give him a massage, not too strong but very attentive. After a while, she might get tired and lie down next to him on the big bed, tilting her head to talk to him…

Yan Yin unknowingly stopped his actions and stared blankly at the phone on the table.

It had been three days.

In these three days, their conversations were few and far between. The night Jiang Ting and Yang Mei left Jianning, Yan Yin took the initiative to send a message:

Yan Yin’s message: “Jiang Ting, when will you come back?”

Jiang Ting’s reply had only two words: “Don’t know.”

The next day, after Yan Yin’s subordinates who were sent to monitor Nocturne KTV came back, they reported that there were indeed a man and a woman who matched the description. They parked a white Lexus downstairs, and while the woman seemed fine, the man looked unusually tired, with a pale complexion that hinted at illness. They entered the KTV one after the other and never came out.

After hearing this news, Yan Yin didn’t wait for half a second. He immediately sent another WeChat message:

Yan Yin’s message: “Did he go with her?”

No one knew that when he typed those three calm words, even his thumbs were trembling slightly. His heart felt like it was being roasted on fire, and he anxiously watched as Jiang Ting’s status at the top of the chat window changed to “typing.”

How will he reply? What is he doing? Does he miss me as much as I miss him?

Yan Yin stared intently at the “typing” message. If his gaze had warmth, the screen of his phone would have melted at that moment. But after a moment, the typing status disappeared, and before Yan Yin’s face could change, it appeared again, only to disappear once more.

Jiang Ting never replied to him again.

Why doesn’t he answer me? Who the fuck does he think I am?

Yan Yin was in his thirties and had long passed the age of youthful arrogance and recklessness. But even if he could remain composed, when a man is neglected by his loved one, he couldn’t help but feel a burst of uncontrollable anger.

He suppressed this anger for another day. On the third day since Jiang Ting left, with the autumn rain pouring outside the window and the office empty, Yan Yin finally couldn’t control himself any longer. Gritting his teeth, he picked up his phone and, with great difficulty, took a picture of the bruise on his lower back in the mirror. Just as he was about to click send, the phone suddenly vibrated without warning.

Caller: Jiang Ting.

Yan Yin’s hand, reaching for the green answer button, abruptly stopped. He thought, why is it that when I ask you a question, you don’t reply, but when you call, I have to answer immediately?

Buzz… Buzz…

The phone continued to vibrate, emitting a faint glow that reflected Yan Yin’s handsome face in the dimly lit office. After a few seconds, Yan Yin took a deep breath and finally restrained his impulsive teenage-like stubbornness. He pressed the answer button and said in a low voice, “Hello?”

“Do you want to go out for a meal?”

“…What?”

Outside the main gate of Jianning Municipal Bureau, across a bustling street, a Mercedes-Benz G65 was parked under the shade of a tree. Jiang Ting wore a baseball cap and a mask, his slender and fair hand resting on the handbrake. Through the single-sided car window, he looked at the drizzling world outside.

“There’s something I want to discuss with you.”

The Bluetooth in the car crackled with interference, and Yan Yin could only hear him ask, “What is it?”

“It’s not related to what I said about getting married, but it’s still important.”

“Why didn’t you reply to my message yesterday?”

Jiang Ting paused, and his dark pupils were reflected in the rearview mirror.

“I’m asking you a question,” Yan Yin’s tone rose slightly, a coldness laced with compelling pressure, “Where did you go with Yang Mei the day before yesterday? Why didn’t you reply to me yesterday?”

In the Deputy Chief’s office, the door suddenly knocked twice, followed by a familiar voice raising in question, “Who are you talking to? Who’s ignoring you?”

Yan Yin turned his head.

Deputy Bureau Chief Wei.

“My superior is here, so I won’t talk to you.” Yan Yin remained calm and met Wei Yao’s gaze steadily. At the same time, he impatiently scolded his phone, “What meal? I won’t eat. You sort things out with that woman surnamed Yang first. We’re all adults, what’s with the double-dealing? Do you think it’s so easy for me to wear this green hat?!” —— That’s it, I won’t say anymore. I still have work to do. We’ll talk later, ah."

Deputy Bureau Chief Wei had initially felt an itch to inquire, as it was normal for older people to guide the emotional lives of their younger counterparts. But Yan Yin’s insinuations with a mixed bag of weapons silenced his curiosity. He didn’t dare to ask further questions. Seeing Yan Yin hang up the phone seemingly annoyed, he tentatively said, “Having an argument?”

“… " Yan Yin waved his hand, as if restraining his impatience. He forced a smile and said, “Does Director Wei have something to discuss with me?”

Is this dating? Did he find a girl? When young comrades are dating these days, why don’t they communicate with the organization about their thoughts and feelings?

While muttering to himself, Deputy Bureau Chief Wei responded twice and said, “Old Lü has been looking for you for a while. Why hasn’t anyone informed you? There’s an important matter regarding Jiangyang County. Come with me right away.”

Another “important matter.”

Yan Yin showed no signs of abnormality on the surface, but a sensitive nerve in his body seemed to twitch slightly, as if he suddenly had a vague sense of something.