It was twelve thirty-five at night when He Jichen and Chen Bai reached Beijing Airport.
As soon as the plane landed, He Jichen turned on his phone and immediately called Ji Yi.
When the call went through, he got the same message: "Sorry, the person you are trying to reach has turned off their phone."
He wanted to confirm that Ji Yi didn't leave Beijing, so he asked Chen Bai to check any flights or high-speed train tickets under Ji Yi's name the next afternoon.
In the years when they weren't in contact, he would stalk her every time he went to Beijing to secretly see her. He silently watched her for so many years, so he understood some of her habits.
After He Jichen confirmed that Ji Yi's phone was still switched off, he got in the car and immediately ordered Chen Bai to drive to her favorite bar in Houhai, the one she liked to go to when something was on her mind.
She wasn't at the bar.
He Jichen was in no hurry to get back in the car to look for her at her next favorite spot. Instead, he walked around a street full of bars. He even walked by the shores of Houhai once to make sure she really wasn't there. Only then did he get back into the car and ask Chen Bai to take him to her favorite late-night theater.
She wasn't there either...
He Jichen asked Chen Bai to drive him to Shanghai International Commerce Center Park.
After a night of driving, Chen Bai couldn't recount just how many places they went. All he knew was that he stayed with He Jichen from the night till the light of day and topped up the gas tank three times, but they still couldn't find Miss Ji.
With no idea where Ji Yi could've gone, He Jichen said: "Take a turn at the road ahead and stop by the side of the road" when Chen Bai passed the Second Ring Road.
"Yes," responded Chen Bai as he skillfully exited the main road and found an empty space to park.
There happened to be a breakfast shop by the road, and Chen Bai remembered that He Jichen hadn't eaten since waking up yesterday afternoon. He pushed the car door open and got out.
When Chen Bai came back with breakfast in-hand, the windows were rolled down and He Jichen was sitting back in his seat with a lit cigarette.
Chen Bai could tell that He Jichen was in a terrible mood since he was smoking. Come to think of it, since he and Miss Ji's relationship improved, it had been a long time since he touched a cigarette...
Chen Bai let out a discreet sigh, walked up to him and handed He Jichen breakfast through the window. "Mr. He, from yesterday till now, you haven't eaten. Eat something now, or else your body won't be able to take it."
Through the cloud of smoke, He Jichen glanced over at the breakfast in Chen Bai's hands and shook his head.
Chen Bai wanted to persuade him some more as he watched He Jichen flick some ashes into the ash tray. Suddenly, He Jichen said, "Give me the car keys and you can head back."
Chen Bai was stunned for a while as he realized what He Jichen said and hurriedly shook his head. "That's alright Mr. He, I'll come with you..."
"Go back," said He Jichen as he cut Chen Bai off.
Chen Bai hesitated for a moment then handed him the car keys.
After He Jichen took them, he didn't say anything then waved his hands to signal for him to leave.
Chen Bai twitched his lips as he could sense He Jichen's resolve, so he bid him farewell. He picked up the breakfast, walked up to the taxi stand and waited for a taxi.
After Chen Bai got into a taxi and left, He Jichen then got out and moved to the driver's seat.
He Jichen checked the school first, then Ji Yi's home, then he eventually drove to the home that he bought under He Yuguang's name...