Chapter 50: Identity Revealed
On the storage rack were not only A-Jiao’s paintings, but also the paintings of her students. Jiang Zhengkai had not a shred of interest in what the children painted. He specifically went to where A-Jiao kept her paintings and very carefully looked through the collection. He finally found one that aroused his interest. “Ziyuan, what is this that you drew here? Is it some kind of a palace?”
“Palace?” asked A-Jiao as she turned around and looked at the painting that Jiang Zhengkai held. “Haha,that’s not a palace, you old bumpkin uncle! That’s the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery!” A-Jiao casually replied.
“Tashi Lhunpo Monastery? You’ve been to Tibet?” A-Jiao’s reply caused him to smile from ear to ear. The cat’s finally out of the bag, isn’t it? How dare you call me old bumpkin uncle? Why don’t you call me Uncle Policeman while you’re at it? Jiang Zhengkai secretly thought to himself.
“That’s right,” A-Jiao replied without thinking, “Just recently…” She suddenly realized she had misspoken, but it was already too late. “Just recently went there,” she finished saying as she pressed her brush hard against the canvas. Damn it! I can’t believe I let that slip! That crafty Uncle Policeman! And he had the audacity to entrap me right here in my own art studio! She secretly thought to herself.
“Really? A-Jiao was there not so long ago either,” Jiang Zhengkai casually replied to A-Jiao’s statement. I want to see how long you plan on keeping up this charade!
“Is that so?” asked A-Jiao. She then hid her brush behind her back and quietly walked over to Jiang Zhengkai. “Did she visit Shigatse as well?”
“Shigatse?” Jiang Zhengkai raised his head and asked A-Jiao. He truly did not know that the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was in Shigatse. It’s not like he had studied Buddhist theology or history of religion at the police academy. He was a cop, not a walking encyclopedia, so let’s cut him some slack, shall we?
“Didn’t know that, did you?” A-Jiao remarked. Her hand then moved with lightning speed, and before Jiang Zhengkai realized what had happened, she had already drawn a thick line on his face. She then immediately turned and ran away.
“Goddamn it, girl! What are you doing?” Jiang Zhengkai dropped the painting in his hand and quickly chased after A-Jiao. Even though the art studio was sizeable, but it was still A-Jiao’s workplace. As such, she couldn’t act too crazy in here, so she was caught by Jiang Zhengkai in almost no time.
“I won’t do it again, Brother Jiang!” A-Jiao pleaded, “I’m begging you! I promise I won’t do it again! Let me go, please!”
“Let you go? Fine!” Despite what he said, Jiang Zhengkai did not relax his grip, “I’ll let you go as soon as you let me draw on your face!”
“You suck, meanie! I’m a girl! You’re supposed to take it easy on me!” A-Jiao said in response as she stiffened her upper lip to show her displeasure.
“Oh? But A-Jiao once told me to never be taken advantage of by a woman!” Jiang Zhengkai laughingly said to the still-restrained A-Jiao.
“God, I hate your A-Jiao so much!” Even though that is what her mouth said, her face, on the other hand, was full of smiles. “Fine, I’ll let you draw on my face!” said A-Jiao as she struggled to free her arms, but Jiang Zhengkai wasn’t having any of it. The two of them struggled for a while before they found themselves pressed up against the blackboard.
“I surrender! Let me go! You’re hurting me!” cried A-Jiao as she was pinned against the blackboard.
“Ok, fine!” When Jiang Zhengkai heard A-Jiao complaining about being hurt, he immediately released her. Apparently this trick worked against Jiang Zhengkai. He still remembered how badly their last rough play at the hospital had ended, so he didn’t want to accidentally hurt her again.
“Hehe!” As soon as Jiang Zhengkai let her go, A-Jiao used her brush to draw another line on Jiang Zhengkai’s face, “Gotcha! Haha!”
“You…” Jiang Zhengkai didn’t know what to do about that unruly girl in front of him. However, he was determined to wrest control of the brush away from her. Just at that moment, A-Jiao’s foot slipped, and her body fell towards the blackboard. Unfortunately, the silly girl’s head plopped straight into the blackboard eraser, and her face came into contact with a large cloud of chalk dust.
“Whoa there!” Jiang Zhengkai shouted as he raced to catch her body. Luckily for A-Jiao, Jiang Zhengkai was able to reach her in time, which meant she didn’t fall flat on the floor. However, the blackboard eraser landed squarely on her face.
“So, are you going to behave yourself?” teased Jiang Zhengkai as he lifted up her body. He looked at A-Jiao’s chalk dust-covered face and joyfully proclaimed, “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it? Even the blackboard had it in for you!”
“Ugh! You’re so annoying! And I can’t see!” said A-Jiao as she started to rub her eyes. Clearly, she had chalk dust in her eyes.
“Don’t rub your eyes! Let me blow the dust off your face first,” warned Jiang Zhengkai as he grabbed her arm. He was worried that the chalk dust might scratch her corneas if she kept rubbing her eyes.
“No thank you!” A-Jiao’s face grew bright red as she spoke. She knew there was no way for her to escape Jiang Zhengkai’s clutches. He had grabbed both her arms and pinned them behind her back. A-Jiao saw Jiang Zhengkai’s face nearing hers, so she had to close her eyes. She wasn’t afraid that Jiang Zhengkai might blow more dust into her eyes, but she was afraid he might find out the secret to her changing eye color.
“Don’t worry! I’ll be very careful,” Jiang Zhengkai said to A-Jiao in a very gentle voice. This was the perfect opportunity to observe A-Jiao’s eyes up close, and he was not going to let it go to waste.
“Ok…” Although A-Jiao didn’t want to, she had no choice but to open her eyes because it was pretty painful to have chalk dust in her eyes. Seeing that A-Jiao was no longer resisting, he relaxed his grip on her arms and let her move closer to him herself. He gently blew the foreign particles out of A-Jiao’s eyes, but it was then that he discovered A-Jiao’s contact lenses, which had shifted from their normal location.
“What’s this?” Jiang Zhengkai looked at A-Jiao’s eyes and softly asked, “Do you have something else in your eyes?”
“You’re so annoying! Haven’t you ever seen a girl wearing contacts before?” said A-Jiao as she stiffened her body, “I’m going to the restroom. You wait for me here! On second thought, you should go, too, and wash all that paint off of your face.”
By the time they came out of the restroom, A-Jiao’s eyes returned to their normal black color. Because foreign particles like dust easily clung to contact lenses, A-Jiao could no longer wear them comfortably in her eyes. As soon as the two of them returned to the art studio, Jiang Zhengkai immediately closed the door behind them. He again grabbed A-Jiao and pulled her into his embrace. He then stared at A-Jiao’s face and asked, “Let me take a look at your eyes. Do they still hurt?”
“Go away! I don’t want you to look!” A-Jiao exclaimed as she lowered her head slightly. She pursed her lips and said to Jiang Zhengkai, “You’re so annoying! You’re an annoying Uncle Policeman!” As she spoke, she placed her head on Jiang Zhengkai’s chest.
Jiang Zhengkai gently stopped her and softly stroked her hair. He then whispered in her ear, “You little liar! I should have your arrested!”
“You… then are you going to feed me everyday?” A-Jiao’s face grew beet red while pressed up against Jiang Zhengkai’s chest. “I… I didn’t lie to you! My real name is Ren Ziyuan! Brother Jiang… Uncle Policeman… please don’t get at me! Please don’t leave me!” A-Jiao’s voice began to tremble mid-sentence as she struggled to choke back tears.
“You silly girl!” Jiang Zhengkai held A-Jiao tight as he gently kissed her cheek, “Why would I leave you? But you need to behave yourself from now on. You can’t run away again!”
“It’s all your fault! You’re the one that stopped talking to me!” said A-Jiao as she buried her face even deeper into Jiang Zhengkai’s chest. She then tapped Jiang Zhengkai’s chest with her fists while complaining softly, “I know… you were ashamed of me because I was a prostitute…”
“No, I wasn’t. I promise!” Jiang Zhengkai answered as he held her. Actually, he understood what A-Jiao said wasn’t completely without merit.
“You might not be now, but you definitely were!” A-Jiao pursed her lips and raised her head towards Jiang Zhengkai, “Brother Jiang, are you mad at me?”
Jiang Zhengkai looked into eyes, smiled, and shook his head. He understood where A-Jiao was coming from, even though it resulted in creating quite a bit of heartache for him. Still, it didn’t matter anymore. A-Jiao had returned to his side, and she now had a respectable job. Wasn’t that all a man really wanted from his woman?
A-Jiao saw Jiang Zhengkai wasn’t going to blame her, so she placed her head up against Jiang Zhengkai’s chest again and quietly muttered, “Brother Jiang, I love you…”