Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 54: The Baby’s Name
‘Do you think the wolf deserves to die, Detective Jiang?’ asks Xu Youyi.
Jiang Bin is startled by the question. Was that story actually meant for me? he wonders. Was the milk delivery girl a reference to Hongmei? Did Zhang Wan deliberately run her over in the car? Is that why Yan Wei killed Zhang Wan? Out of a sense of justice?
He looks over at Xu Youyi. She doesn’t seem to have told me anything, but in fact, she may have told me everything. But even if all this is true, I can’t treat what she’s said as evidence…
‘Detective Jiang?’ Xu Youyi asks again.
Jiang Bin gets to his feet. ‘I’m very sorry,’ he says. ‘But I think I’ll have to go back and think hard about your question before I can give you an answer.’
Xu Youyi stands up as well. ‘Whatever your answer is, Detective Jiang, I’m still very grateful to you for saving my life the other day. I’ve always considered you a good police officer with a strong sense of justice.’
‘I only did what I should have done,’ says Jiang Bin, heading towards the door.
Just before stepping outside, he glances back at Xu Youyi. Although I’m rather confused by your definition of a ‘good police officer’…
Later that evening, Xu Youyi stands at the front door, peering outside. Weiwei’s been out all day. Why isn’t she home yet?
Then her face lights up. ‘Weiwei!’
Yan Wei hops out of the car. ‘It’s cold out here. You should go back inside.’
‘Is something wrong?’ asks Xu Youyi. ‘Why are you home so late?’
Yan Wei’s expression turns sombre. ‘Nothing’s wrong. The customer just wanted a night shoot at the last minute.’
‘You must be really tired,’ says Xu Youyi, putting her arm through Yan Wei’s as they both head inside. ‘Why don’t you have a hot shower, and I’ll warm up some food for you.’
‘Where’s the baby?’ asks Yan Wei.
‘He’s upstairs, sleeping,’ Xu Youyi replies.
Later that night, Xu Youyi steps out onto the balcony, where Yan Wei is sitting. There’s a bottle of beer on the table next to her. ‘Was the customer happy with the photography session today?’
In response, Yan Wei pulls out an envelope stuffed full of cash and hands it to Xu Youyi. ‘Here. The customer gave me a tip.’
Xu Youyi takes the envelope. ‘This much?’ she exclaims.
‘The baby will be one month old in a few days,’ says Yan Wei. ‘Use that to make the arrangements for the celebration.’
Xu Youyi leans down and kisses Yan Wei on the cheek.
‘So our Weiwei can be this impressive when she puts her mind to it,’ says Xu Youyi teasingly.
Yan Wei stares back at her, speechless.
Xu Youyi sits down by the table. ‘After the baby’s full moon ceremony, I should get back to writing. I can’t let you do all the hard work by yourself, Weiwei.’
‘It’s not hard,’ says Yan Wei.
Xu Youyi reaches over, picks up the bottle that Yan Wei has been drinking from, and takes a sip herself.
She looks at Yan Wei earnestly. ‘Weiwei, I hope you understand that, no matter what happened to you or what you did in the past, to me you’re a normal woman, just like me. I don’t need you to be my shield all the time. You can show me your softer side, and ask me for what you need. This might not be something you’ve tried before, but I hope when you’re with me, you can truly relax, as a way of making up for your childhood—’
She corrects herself hurriedly. ‘What I meant to say is, I’m able and willing to stand side by side with you against the world.’
Yan Wei gazes back at her, not saying anything.
Xu Youyi puts a hand to her forehead. ‘Sorry, I’m rambling now. I just wanted to—’
‘I know,’ says Yan Wei.
‘Mmm,’ Xu Youyi responds.
They smile at each other for a moment, then look up at the moon.
Suddenly, Xu Youyi exclaims, ‘Oh, that’s right!’
Yan Wei looks over at her curiously.
‘The baby’s nearly a month old, and we still haven’t decided on a name!’ Xu Youyi adds.
‘I’ve thought of one already,’ says Yan Wei.
‘Actually, I’ve thought of one too,’ says Xu Youyi.
‘Xu Yan,’ says Yan Wei, just as Xu Youyi says, ‘Yan Xu!’
They stare at each other for a moment…
…and burst out laughing.
Yan Wei gives a quick glance inside, where the baby is sleeping, and shushes them both. ‘Shh…’
Xu Youyi leans forward. ‘I’m the baby’s mother, so I get the final say. We’ll name him Yan Xu.’
Yan Wei, moved, leans forward and draws Xu Youyi in for a kiss. There are tears in her eyes.
It’s another day, and the local bully is harassing a pancake vendor. ‘Sir, business has been bad today,’ pleads the vendor. ‘I haven’t sold a single of these.’
‘Oh? Is that so?’ demands the bully. Aggressively, he flips one of the pancakes out of its tray.
The vendor frantically thrusts some cash at him. ‘There’s no need for violence, sir!’
‘That’s more like it!’ says the bully, just as Yan Wei passes by.
She and the bully lock eyes for a moment…
…and he recalls being beaten up by her.
‘Good morning, Miss Yan!’ he calls out obsequiously. ‘Are you out buying breakfast?’
Yan Wei stares at him silently.
The bully wraps an arm around the vendor. ‘This is my uncle! My own dear uncle!’ he says with forced cheer.
‘Please… please don’t, sir!’ exclaims the hapless vendor.
The bully thrusts the cash back at the vendor. ‘Take this, uncle, as a token of my respect!’
The vendor backs away, holding up both hands. ‘I wouldn’t dare!’
Jiang Bin watches all of this from some distance away.
Suddenly, a man clutching a handbag rushes past. Just behind him a woman is shouting, ‘Thief! Stop him!’
Then Jiang Bin races past, in hot pursuit. ‘Stop right there!’
Yan Wei looks after the two of them thoughtfully.
Shortly afterwards, the thief is running down an alley when, with a ‘whoosh’, a baby bottle comes flying through the air and knocks him out.
Jiang Bin arrives at the alley moments later to find the thief slumped unconscious in a corner…
…and the remains of the baby bottle lying very prominently on the ground.
Please view the original manhua here.
- It is traditional for Chinese families to mark the first month of a baby’s life with a celebration known as the full moon celebration.