She wasn't at the university nor was she at home. Could she have gone to visit a friend?
In the past few years, he paid attention to all her movements. After being in a coma for three years, most people lose contact with their friends. At the moment, she didn't have many people she kept in contact with...
The first person He Jichen thought to call was Li Da, but when he called him, the first thing he heard over the phone before he thought about asking him if Ji Yi was with him, was a polite female voice. "Sorry sir, the plane is about to take off. Could you please turn off your phone?"
Li Da first replied to the air hostess politely with a "Right away," then said to He Jichen, "Chen Ge, did you need something? I'm going to Hangzhou for a business trip. If there's nothing urgent, I'll call you when I land."
"Just you?" asked He Jichen casually.
"Of course it's just me. I'm not in a high position..."
"It's nothing. Let's talk when you land." Having heard that, He Jichen knew Ji Yi wasn't with him, so he flatly ignored what Li Da said afterwards. He said his goodbyes and hung up.
He Jichen grabbed his phone and used all kinds of methods to contact other people Ji Yi still kept in contact with. They were all either on holiday abroad or were busy with their own matters.
So Ji Yi... didn't go see her friends either?
At first, there was no way of getting through to her, then her phone was turned off. Something couldn't have happened, right?
He Jichen's mind wandered back to an article he read on his phone not too long ago about a university student who was reported lost forty-eight hours after getting into a taxi. They later found the woman in the wilderness where she had long been dead.
He tightened his grip on his phone then anxiously stepped on the gas. He turned the steering wheel with just one hand as he aimlessly drove around Beijing.
As time flew by, He Jichen realized he almost ran out of gas, so he stopped at a nearby gas station. That was when he realized it was already late in the afternoon.
With his phone in hand, he sent a text to Tang Huahua: "Has she come back to the university?"
Just after he finished filling up the tank, paid and exited the gas station, he received a text from Tang Huahua: "Not yet, He Xuezhang. Say, do you think something happened to Xiao Yi?"
He Jichen, who was already a complete mess, saw Tang Huahua's message and became completely agitated and uneasy. He felt so lost that he clicked on news websites to see if there was any news about women in the Beijing area.
When he realized that the headlines were all trivial news about the entertainment industry, He Jichen was slightly reassured, but afterwards, he felt that he was acting so stupid. If something really happened to Ji Yi, how would it be reported on the news so soon?
The unsettled feeling inside made He Jichen feel even more on edge. He raised his hand and rubbed his temples then started driving aimlessly again.
When the sun went down, He Jichen felt his stomach churn in pain from having eaten nothing all day long. He stopped by the road and got out but didn't go to the fast food restaurant. Instead, he went to the convenience store nearby to buy a pack of cigarettes.
He didn't go back to the car but went straight to the trash can on the sidewalk and opened a pack of cigarettes.
As the cigarette butts piled up, the sky got darker.