The Moon Will Always Come to You - Chapter 29
Chapter 29: First Hug
Trigger Warning: Suicide. If you wish to skip this chapter because of this, there’s a summary at the end.
That Friday afternoon, Ruan Zhizhi lay on her work desk and scrolled through Weibo, overcome with boredom. With great interest, she watched the fans of currently trending male idols from the entertainment industry have catfights over sesame-sized matters. In the next second, she was startled by her supervisor, who was hurrying over.
Immediately putting her phone away, Ruan Zhizhi stood up with her other colleagues from their seats. Supervisors didn’t usually come to inspect them at work during the busy rush hour unless there was an emergency.
“Xu Zhengyu from Group A, Ruan Zhizhi from Group C, one minute to prepare. Have a recorder and computer ready. Follow me to an on-scene interview now.”
Sure enough, there was huge news.
After having obtained a full position for so long, she finally had the opportunity to appear at the scene. Named by her superior, Ruan Zhizhi was so excited that she immediately started packing up her things and preparing.
As they rushed to the scene, Ruan Zhizhi and her colleague Xu Zhengyu from Group A sat upright and still in the back row of the commercial vehicle like two primary school students. They listened seriously to their supervisor’s description of the news context.
“Just now, I received a reliable notification that at about two o’clock this afternoon, a fourth-year girl from A University fell from the girls’ dormitory building. There were no obvious signs of trauma on her body. The forensic medical examiner tentatively identified it as a suicide. Now, the family members of the female student who fell from the building, the police, as well as some teachers are all being investigated at the scene. We have to arrive earlier than people from other news agencies to gather more useful information.”
The supervisor paused when he said this. Thinking of how this was their first time appearing at the scene, he was uneasy and repeatedly warned them, “You have to remember that as reporters, it is of utmost importance to write a press release that catches people’s eyes. Later, you two must not pay attention to the external disturbances. You only need to set your heart on asking the questions you want to know.”
The implication was to not care about the emotions of the family members of the deceased, and to also not care about whether the questions were appropriate or not. So long as what they obtained in the end was valuable.
Ruan Zhizhi lowered her head, originally taking notes earnestly, but now her interest suddenly waned.
She believed that as a reporter, the most important thing was to respect the facts and restore the original truth of events for readers, rather than fabricating some groundless stories for the sake of newspaper and magazine sales to attract people’s attention.
But…if the accident scene was at A University, then in that case, would Shi Yan be there too?
She hoped he wasn’t implicated.
Ruan Zhizhi’s thoughts were in a whirl, at a loss as to whether or not she should call Shi Yan to ask about the situation. Yet she was afraid that her supervisor would know that she had a friend at A University, and then he would be involved in even more incidents. After thinking about it, she put her cell phone back in her pocket.
The commercial vehicle soon arrived at the gates of A University. At this time, there were no masses of onlookers at the gates. It could be assumed that Ruan Zhizhi and her company ought to be the first to obtain the news.
Her supervisor showed the guard at the gate his press card. Then, completely unimpeded, he led them all the way into the girls’ dormitory, to the site where the female student had jumped off.
The body of the girl who had fallen from the building had already been taken away by the forensic investigator for an autopsy immediately after the incident. Now, there was only a shocking pool of deep crimson blood, and rigid lines traced at the scene by the forensic staff with chalk.
Ruan Zhizhi, who was seeing this kind of scene that reeked of blood for the first time, felt a little faint. Her stomach acid bubbled up continuously.
At this time, she suddenly missed Shi Yan. If Shi Yan was there, he would definitely stand behind her, cover her eyes, and tell her not to be afraid.
Beside her, Xu Zhengyu saw her wan complexion and smiled placatingly. “This is your first time seeing a scene of death, right? It’s all right, you will get used to it.”
After speaking, he took out a voice recorder from his briefcase and said, “Today we’re partners. In order to guarantee efficiency, you go to interview the family members of the deceased first, and I’ll go around to find the classmates and teachers of the deceased to ask them for some clues.”
Ruan Zhizhi nodded politely, trying hard to restrain the urge to retch.
The two quickly split up.
Ruan Zhizhi took out a candied Ejiao honey jujube from her pocket and put it in her mouth. She shook her head and walked to the place where the tide of people was most concentrated. According to her past experience of always reading news reports, at the scene of the accident, the family members of the deceased were usually very emotional, and there was almost a 100% chance that they would have a dispute with the school or even beat others in serious cases.
With great effort, she pushed past the people circling around and walked through. Sure enough, she saw a middle-aged couple standing in the middle of the crowd. Their emotions had reached a state that could not be appeased. The woman’s eyes were already swollen from weeping, and her hair was dishevelled, while the man was squatting on the ground smoking one cigarette after another, his face clouded with sorrow.
They had just stepped into their middle-ages, and before they had the time to enjoy family love and happiness, they lost their daughter. The pair looked very pitiful.
“What kind of rubbish school are you guys? I sent my good daughter to study, and soon my family’s child was going to graduate from university. But at this time, you’re telling me that she died, and that she committed suicide. I don’t accept this, it is absolutely impossible for me to accept!” The woman’s voice was hoarse and was about to become hysterical, “If your school doesn’t give me an explanation for my daughter’s death, I will go and petition. Even if I sue all the way to Beijing, I will absolutely never let it go!”
A University’s president, Wang Chongming, was born of a scholarly family. His parents both had doctorate degrees, and his paternal grandfather once followed the revolutionary leaders to develop the initial education institution for a new China. It could be said that he was a person of virtue and prestige.
But now, with a sad expression across his face, he continuously tried to comfort the middle-aged woman’s emotions. “This female comrade, listen to me, Student Li Ruixi’s autopsy report has been released, and it is confirmed that she committed suicide. Moreover, the police have already investigated the school’s surveillance recordings, and there is indeed no possibility of murder.” After President Wang finished speaking, he also couldn’t help but sigh deeply. “I admit that the school has committed many wrongdoings. It is our fault that we didn’t pay attention to Student Li’s emotional and mental health in time. But I venture to guarantee that the cause of Student Li’s death was definitely not created by the school.”
“Heh, all of you officials shield one another. My daughter was living well, for what reason would she want to go die! She was graduating from university soon, and furthermore, she had been recommended for graduate school. A bright future was waiting for her. You tell me, what reason would she have to suddenly jump from a building at this time?!” The woman was obviously deaf to their explanation, merely immersed in her own sorrow.
The atmosphere sank into a deadlock for a while.
“The reason she jumped off the building ultimately lies with you, not the school.”
Suddenly, a man’s voice sounded in the air, faint but extremely cold.
In an instant, their surroundings were absolutely silent, as if the drop of a pin could be heard.
Coming here at such a time, wasn’t it asking for trouble?
Ruan Zhizhi frowned and looked towards the direction of his voice along with the crowd.
The man she knew well was wearing a white knitted jacket. He walked in from outside the crowd in an unhurried manner, looking more and more selfless and incorruptible. His brows and eyes were calm, and he looked as cool-headed as always: “My name is Shi Yan, I was the academic advisor responsible for Li Ruixi in the psychology department. If you two have any issues, you can find me to discuss.”
The woman was obviously stunned when she saw him, but she quickly reacted and put on an unreasonable appearance again: “Academic advisor responsible, is that right? Why don’t you say something, how are you going to be responsible for my daughter’s death!”
Shi Yan laughed grimly and looked at her with contempt in his eyes: “I already said that the reason why Li Ruixi committed suicide lies with you. Naturally, you are the one who should be responsible.”
The crowd became noisy when his voice fell. Ruan Zhizhi heard the students around her whispering. Among them, two girls were standing very close to her. Ruan Zhizhi could hear their entire dialogue clearly.
“Professor Shi is right. Because Ruixi was under too much pressure, she became depressed and jumped off the building.”
“Right, her mother kept harping on her to study, take the postgraduate entrance examination, and have her bring honour to her ancestors. She never said anything else. I heard that Ruixi failed the postgraduate entrance examination this time. Perhaps because she was afraid of being beaten, scolded, and punished by her parents, so that’s why she chose to kill herself.”
When Ruan Zhizhi heard this, her heart moved. She immediately turned her head and asked the two girls for confirmation: “I’m sorry to disturb you classmates. I’m a reporter who came to collect information at the scene. You mentioned in your conversation just now that Li Ruixi’s parents had been forcing her to take the postgraduate entrance examination all along, but she failed the exam this year. May I confirm that this is a fact?”
The two girls were interrupted by her abrupt voice and seemed somewhat flustered. But when they heard that she was a reporter, they quickly settled down: “What we said are all facts, this year’s postgraduate entrance examination scores have already come out. The president and the high-level professors’ offices have a list of names. If you don’t believe it, go and see for yourself.”
“Okay, thank you very much!” Ruan Zhizhi expressed her thanks while grasping the recording pen in her hand, making up her mind.
In the clamour of the disorderly crowd, Shi Yan’s voice was ice cold, as if frost patterns were forming in it. It resounded in the air once more: “Li Ruixi didn’t obtain a recommendation for postgraduate studies at all. She was afraid of being punished, so she deceived you and said she was admitted. In fact, she’d been preparing to take this year’s postgraduate entrance examination, but unfortunately, she wasn’t accepted. This is the truth about her jumping from the building. The main culprits were you. You closed in step by step, pushing her to a dead-end.”
When Shi Yan said this, Xu Zhengyu, who had been gathering news on the other side, also passed through the crowd to walk over: “How’s it going? Have you found any valuable clues?”
Ruan Zhizhi raised her chin in the direction of the family of the deceased: “That couple are the parents of the deceased Li Ruixi. I’ve been observing here for a long time, and just now I received a little information from the deceased’s classmates. I think the truth ought to be exactly what Professor Shi said. Because Li Ruixi failed the postgraduate entrance exam, the pressure was too large, thus she chose to jump from the building and commit suicide.”
“It’s not possible! I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it!” In the crowd, the middle-aged woman suddenly erupted into sorrowful sobs, “My daughter wouldn’t just kill herself like this…She wouldn’t…”
And beside her, the man who had been crouching on the ground all along without saying a single word suddenly stood up at this time. He weakly held his wife. “Wife, I think this teacher is right…Several times, I finished work at night. When I came back, I would hear Ruixi hiding in her room, secretly crying. I thought about finding you and discussing properly so that you wouldn’t be too strict and controlling with our daughter, but because my work was so busy, I always went to sleep and forgot when I woke up. It’s my fault. I caused our daughter’s death. I killed my Ruixi…”
When the man spoke at the end, he was unable to control his tone of voice that was choked with emotion.
Ruan Zhizhi stood in the crowd, witnessing such a dismal and desperate scene with her own eyes. She couldn’t help but feel distressed in her heart.
It seemed that there was nothing to prove at this point. The police soon dispatched more people to block off the scene, and all unrelated personnel were requested to leave promptly. During this interval of time, Ruan Zhizhi and Xu Zhengyu tried to use the opportunity to find the family of the deceased to ask some more questions.
By the time their interviews finished, almost all of the onlookers had dispersed.
Feeling a little weary, Ruan Zhizhi couldn’t help but reach out and press her temple. Just now, the scene was so chaotic, Shi Yan probably hadn’t seen her.
In the distance, their supervisor had already begun to urge them to depart. For one last time, Ruan Zhizhi and Xu Zhengyu verified the information they had gathered that day, then packed their briefcases and prepared to go back.
Even though they’d gotten a firm grasp on first-hand information that day, there was no extraordinarily convincing witness testimony or material evidence. She didn’t know if their supervisor would scold them when they returned later.
Next to her, Xu Zhengyu evidently wore an expression like there was a lot on his mind. Ruan Zhizhi turned her head to look at him and kindly placated, “Don’t worry, I’m certain we can report back smoothly.”
“Ah?” It seemed that his train of thought was interrupted. Xu Zhengyu came back to his senses, and then frowned again. “I’m not thinking about that. Ruan Zhizhi, just now, the university professor in the crowd looked very familiar. I feel like I’ve seen him somewhere before.”
“You said you’ve seen Shi Yan before?” Ruan Zhizhi thought about it, then replied indifferently, “City A is so big, maybe you met by chance.”
After all, she used to see Shi Yan by chance almost every day.
However, Xu Zhengyu shook his head very candidly: “It wasn’t by chance, I remember very distinctly. I must have seen this person in some case, but I can’t remember it now.”
Ruan Zhizhi watched him waste time on an insoluble problem, somewhat helpless. She simply felt that Xu Zhengyu had remembered wrong and didn’t think too much about it. She proceeded to pack her briefcase, but at that moment—
Hearing this familiar voice, Ruan Zhizhi started to raise her head subconsciously.
The man standing in front of her, despite experiencing some unreasonable troubles and harassment from the family of the deceased just now, still looked graceful and collected, as if he had only greeted strangers.
“Shi Yan, those people just now didn’t bother you, right?” Ruan Zhizhi looked at him and let it slip that she was concerned, completely involuntarily.
The other party reached out and gently stroked her hair: “Don’t worry, I’m fine.” After speaking, he took out a diary with some damaged corners from his pocket and lowered his voice. “This is the diary that Li Ruixi gave me when she was alive. I think you will probably need it.”
The deceased’s diary? This was indeed a precious material.
Ruan Zhizhi stretched out her hand to take it. There was still warmth from the diary.
She looked up at him somewhat doubtfully, but saw that the usual haze and darkness in Shi Yan’s eyes had subsided. At this moment, they were as clear as the wind, as if telling her: Ruan Zhizhi, you must write this press release seriously, and give the deceased justice.
She pursed her lips, nodded, then replied very cautiously: “Rest assured, I will certainly investigate carefully before writing the manuscript.”
Behind her, the urging voice of her supervisor became more and more pressing. Ruan Zhizhi bid farewell to Shi Yan hastily. Just as she was about to turn around and leave, her wrist was grabbed. In the next second, without warning, she fell into a strange yet familiar embrace.
There was always a clean peppermint scent on the man’s body, mixed with a faint hint of tobacco, which simply threw people’s expectations in disorder and confusion. How did that poem go? Tonight at this moment I won’t be able to express my feelings.1
Her limbs were leaning rigidly against Shi Yan’s chest. His heartbeat was a little rapid, pounding again and again, but she knew that it was not as violent as her own heartbeat.
Shi Yan’s fingers gently rested on her head, and he highly cherished helping her straighten her hair that had been blown by the wind. His voice was low and a little hoarse, but carried a trace of intimacy that made her feel at a loss: “This world is impermanent. If the next one to die is me, I will certainly not regret holding you once like this.”
Summary: Ruan Zhizhi and her coworker Xu Zhengyu are chosen by their supervisor to report a big incident regarding a student at A University. When she gets there, Shi Yan is there as the psychology professor in charge of the student involved in the incident. Her colleague, Xu Zhengyu, seems to recognize Shi Yan. Later, Shi Yan hugs Ruan Zhizhi for the first time.
Translator’s Note: This is my least favourite chapter. Some things don’t sit well with me. One of them being how the family of the deceased got portrayed as unreasonable for causing trouble at the scene—like what do you expect? They lost a daughter, then found out that they had a large role in it. I can’t imagine the grief you would feel in that situation.
Mui’s Ko-Fi: (´｡• ᵕ •｡`) ♡ Thank you for your support!
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