Chapter 53: Past — I’m your mom.
Dancing Sun Park was located on North Vermillion Bird Street and was a small, very unremarkable park. Because there were quite a few neighborhoods nearby, there were normally a lot of people walking around the park.
Being close to noon, those people cooling in the shade had returned home one by one to eat lunch. Ye Zhen Zhen stood underneath a large tree, somewhat excited.
She had found it at last.
This park was nearly identical to the one she had drawn. Even the billboards arranged in front of the small supermarket across the street had not moved even the slightest bit.
Zuo Yi also realized this point. He glanced at Ye Zhen Zhen, drawing in hand. She surely was very familiar with this place, to be able to draw it so precisely.
A middle-aged woman exited the supermarket and went to write something on the billboard. When she turned her head and caught sight of Ye Zhen Zhen standing beneath a tree, the chalk she was holding fell straight to the ground.
Zuo Yi’s brows furrowed and led Ye Zhen Zhen forward. The woman stared at the approaching Ye Zhen Zhen, several complicated expressions flashing across her face. She subconsciously took a few steps forward and asked Ye Zhen Zhen, “Jia Jia, you’re back? Where have you run off to for these past few months? You didn’t even call; don’t you know how worried I am?”
Ye Zhen Zhen frowned slightly and asked the woman, “Who are you?”
The woman stared at her, a look of disbelief on her face. “Jia Jia, what are you saying? I’m your mom.”
‘Your mom,’ these two words shook Ye Zhen Zhen. This person was her mom? But how come she felt so awkward?
“Hello, I’m a police officer.” Zuo Yi stood to the side and smiled at the woman. “May I ask for your name?”
“I, I am Li Su.” It seemed that Zuo Yi’s identity was very surprising, as Li Su subconsciously shrunk back.
“You are Li Jia Jia’s mother?”
“Can we talk inside?”
Li Su welcomed them inside—although this was a supermarket, the store was not that much bigger than the other shops on the street. Zuo Yi took only five minutes to explain the entire story. After the woman heard it all, her complexion became as pale as white paper. “You’re saying, someone from the Ye family had Jia Jia impersonate Ye Zhen Zhen, but when they got there, Ye Zhen Zhen had already died?”
“That’s right.” Zuo Yi took note of her expression and asked, “Although this may be a bit presumptuous, but I still should ask. Is Li Jia Jia your biological daughter?”
Li Su pursed her lips and shook her head. “No, Li Jia Jia is my adopted daughter.”
Zuo Yi seemed to have expected this answer. He nodded and asked, “Can we take a look at your home? Perhaps she would remember something.”
“Alright…” Li Su stood up after speaking, her gaze falling onto Ye Zhen Zhen’s body. “Jia Jia, can you really not remember anything?”
Ye Zhen Zhen looked at her and shook her head.
Li Su didn’t say anything else and closed up the supermarket before leading Zuo Yi and Ye Zhen Zhen to her home. Li Su’s home was in an ordinary residential neighborhood, approximately five minutes walk from the supermarket. The houses were all old-fashioned in this neighborhood, with the highest building only being seven stories tall. Li Su took them to the sixth floor and opened the iron gate on the left.
“The house is small and simple. I’ve lived here for over a decade.” Li Su turned to glance at Ye Zhen Zhen and then pointed to a room to the left of the living room. “This is your room.”
Ye Zhen Zhen hummed and walked toward the bedroom. Although this house was old, and decorated simply, this room was Li Jia Jia’s room. The pink style instantly made her recall that bedroom in the Ye Mansion.
While Zuo Yi asked Li Su questions in the living room, Ye Zhen Zhen pulled open a drawer and found an ID card inside.
Li Jia Jia, born 1993, January fifth.
Her eyes flashed. Her date of birth was the same as Ye Zhen Zhen’s.
The photo seemed to have been taken a few years ago, but there was not much difference compared to her current appearance. She placed the ID into her bag and went to look at the sketches in the drawer.
There were a lot of sketches stored within the drawer, all neatly stacked together. The top drawing was of Little Dou Dou. Ye Zhen Zhen took it out to examine; it was more or less identical to the scene in her dream, but the background really was Bright Ocean Park and not Dancing Sun Park.
It seemed that Officer Zuo’s guess was correct. Her memories did seem to have gotten scrambled, causing her to mix up the two parks.
Officer Zuo finished asking Li Su questions and went to look for Ye Zhen Zhen, only to receive a message from Li Xin Ran. It contained Li Jia Jia’s date of birth as well as her family address, which was identical to the information he had just gained.
He glanced into the bedroom and told Ye Zhen Zhen, “Tonight, stay here. I’ll go visit the neighbors this afternoon. We’ll go back tomorrow morning.”
“Okay.” Ye Zhen Zhen nodded. She glanced at Li Su standing in the doorway and turned to say to Zuo Yi, “I’ll go with you.”
She really didn’t know how to face Li Su. Although this person was her adoptive mother, to Ye Zhen Zhen, she was better off and closer to Zuo Yi.
Zuo Yi didn’t argue. He spoke a few lines to Li Su and then brought Ye Zhen Zhen along. The two of them went to eat lunch at a small stir-fry shop downstairs. That boss seemed to know Ye Zhen Zhen and loudly exclaimed that it had been many months since she had shown up. Apparently, her disappearance was because she got a boyfriend.
Ye Zhen Zhen and Zuo Yi quickly finished lunch and left this hornet’s nest. Zuo Yi went to talk to the neighbors. Ye Zhen Zhen had nothing to do and dithered in the alley before seeing Li Su come over.
Li Su also saw her caution and handed over a key to Ye Zhen Zhen, saying that she was going back to the supermarket, so Ye Zhen Zhen could just go back home first. Ye Zhen Zhen thanked her and took the short walk back to Li Su’s house.
Li Su watched her leave. She stood there for quite a while before turning around and walking toward the supermarket.
After Ye Zhen Zhen returned home, she began exploring everywhere, like she had done when she was first at the Ye Mansion. She rummaged through her wardrobe and found not just photo albums, but even the contract she and Ye Kang Ping had signed.
She eyed the signature. Sure enough, she had actually signed it as Li Gou Dan. She curled her lips and placed the contract in her bag before flipping open a photo album.
Zuo Yi strolled through the park and caught sight of Li Su returning to open the supermarket. His eyes darkened. According to her confession just now, she and Li Jia Jia had a fight four months ago because of some trivial matters about life, causing the latter to leave the next day to live somewhere else. She originally thought Li Jia Jia would return after a few days instead of disappearing for four months without even a single message.
Her daughter left home for four months without a single form of contact, yet she unexpectedly didn’t even call the police. Even if she wasn’t her biological daughter, this was inexcusable. Furthermore, the reason for their falling out—he also felt that this was not as simple as a ‘trivial matter about life.’
Li Su must be hiding something.
His gaze swept his surroundings before returning to that small stir-fry shop where he had just eaten. That boss seemed to be quite familiar with Li Jia Jia, but seeing how Lady Ye Zhen Zhen was sensitive, he didn’t stay for long.
When the boss saw Zuo Yi return, the boss thought he had forgotten something inside, only for him to pull out a police badge. The boss stared at him for two seconds, eyes wide, before calling out in the direction of the kitchen, “Hua Mei’er, come quick. Jia Jia found a police officer as a boyfriend!”
This time, even Zuo Yi felt a bit uncomfortable. Several people rushed out of the kitchen, all staring at him like he was a national treasure.
Zuo Yi coughed lightly and ignored the curious gazes. “Do you know Li Jia Jia well?”
“I do. She and her mom had moved here when she was small, and then in a blink of an eye, she grew into a young woman.” The boss said this while eyeing him strangely, as if suddenly realizing something. “You’re thinking of fishing for information about Jia Jia to make her happy?”
“Yes.” Zuo Yi nodded, smiling. “So please speak more in detail.”
The boss regained his energy all of a sudden. There weren’t a lot of customers in the shop at the moment, so he straightforwardly pulled over two stools and set them by the doorway so he and Zuo Yi could chat.
“When Jia Jia was little, she was clever. Although she didn’t smile or speak much, she would top her grade on every exam. That son of mine simply can’t compare.” He paused here, shaking his head in regret. “Unfortunately, she got into a car accident six years ago, which scrambled her brains. Not only did she forget a lot of things, her grades were not as high as they used to be.”
Lightning flashed through Zuo Yi’s eyes. He stared at the boss with such rapt attention that the boss involuntarily became nervous. “Do you remember that accident still?”
The boss shook his head, saying, “I don’t remember it that clearly. I heard Li Su mention it the next day and learned that Li Jia Jia was in the hospital due to a car accident. We live in an old neighborhood where there’s no surveillance cameras, so the bastard who caused the accident ran away.”
Zuo Yi fell silent for a moment before asking, “Apart from Li Su, were there any other witnesses?”
The boss furrowed his brows for a moment. “Now that you’re asking me, it seems like everyone heard of this from Li Su. Furthermore, when this happened, she didn’t report it to the police.”
Zuo Yi pursed his lips slightly and continued, “How’s the relationship between Li Jia Jia and Li Su?”
“It seems great. You’re also aware that Jia Jia has a single-parent family; such families normally have a very loving parent-child relationship.” The boss said this and then seemed to suddenly remember something. “Oh, that’s right! I had heard that Jia Jia is not her actual child, since Li Su had adopted her.”
“Isn’t that obvious?” A middle-aged woman clad in an apron exited the kitchen, wiping her hands with a towel while saying, “Look at how little Jia Jia resembles her. How could someone like her possibly give birth to such a beautiful daughter like Jia Jia.”
The boss glared at her and smiled apologetically at Zuo Yi. “This is my wife, her mouth is a bit broken, so don’t treat her harshly.”1
“My mouth is broken?” The woman heard him say this and raised her voice. “Did I say something wrong? If Jia Jia is her flesh and blood, wouldn’t she have allowed Jia Jia to go to university?”
Zuo Yi stood up from his stool and said to the woman with a smile, “Sit down and take your time talking.”
The woman flashed him a smile and coyly sat next to him. “Although you say Jia Jia’s grades are no good, she’s a gifted artist and passed the exam for the Academy of Fine Arts with great difficulty. Li Su didn’t allow her to go.”
“You also know the reason why she didn’t allow Jia Jia to go study; a year’s tuition at the Academy is too expensive. Li Su herself said that the family circumstances would not allow it.” The boss promptly smoothed out the rough explanation.
His wife clearly didn’t agree and snorted, mockingly saying, “Yo, like this old woman doesn’t know. Don’t you see how despite how small that supermarket of hers is, the location is good. Her business absolutely doesn’t lack in comparison to ours. How could she not afford to pay for a year’s tuition at the Academy? This old woman would die rather than believe that.”
Zuo Yi heard this and asked, “Which Academy?”
“The one in A City, their main university.”
Zuo Yi’s eyes flashed. Maybe, Li Su just didn’t want her to go to A City.
It’s getting colder; everyone, remember to stay warm. By all means, don’t catch a cold QAQ
This author unfortunately caught one and feels like she’s dying qwq
- Mouth is broken = no brain-to-mouth filter ↩