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52 The Pajamas Under the Pillow

 "She's grown up now and has to learn to be independent, she can't rely on others anymore." Huo Shaoheng typically never explained himself, but had made an exception this time. He turned the corner and went towards Gu Nianzhi's bedroom.

Zhao Liangze was following him and continued to express his displeasure. "You're correct, sir. But, can you not be so brusque? She's not tough or thick skinned like me and Big Xiong, nor is she one of your Special Ops soldiers! Cutting her off so resolutely will make a young girl like her weep!"

"I've made arrangements, don't worry." Huo Shaoheng was unperturbed. He stopped walking and stood in front of Gu Nianzhi's room before turning to glance at Zhao Liangze. Although his face was calm, his eyes were hard. It was clear that Zhao Liangze was getting on Huo Shaoheng's nerves.

Terrified, Zhao Liangze ducked his neck, but he still refused to back down and muttered, " Nianzhi is especially timid, she was so scared before she even lost her memories. Aren't you concerned that she'll get scared again and forget you too?"

Huo Shaoheng did not bother to answer such hypothetical questions. His gaze shifted around Gu Nianzhi's room. She had kept it very neat and tidy. White, bamboo-print sheets with an 1800 thread count that were spun from Egyptian cotton, covered a comfortable and large bed. She had placed several dolls by the headboard-they wore ornate princess frocks, had heavy bangs, round eyes, heart-shaped faces and petite figures. They were unlike typical Western-style dolls, and were reminiscent of ancient Empire-style dolls. Someone with a discerning eye would know that they hadn't been purchased in a department, but had been custom-made. An image of a 12-year old Gu Nianzhi clutching these dolls flashed through Huo Shaoheng's mind. He had been just as busy back then, so he couldn't make much time to be with her everyday. She would cry every time she couldn't see him. Later, Chen Lie suggested that, according to studies in developmental and child psychology, her anxiety could be relieved if they gave her something familiar. These dolls were like the ones she hugged in the photos, so they counted as familiar objects. They had then custom ordered dolls that mirrored the ones in the photos.

"Did you check this room?" Huo Shaoheng's eyes moved calmly from the dolls to Zhao Liangze. "Remove everything that belongs to me."

"This is Nianzhi's room, why would your things be in here?!" It took all of Zhao Liangze's willpower to not roll his eyes in front of Huo Shaoheng.

Huo Shaoheng folded his hands behind his back, his posture straight and his expression stoic. "This is a military order."

Zhao Liangze was tongue-tied, and had no choice but to answer loudly, "Yes, Sir!"

Military orders are absolute, so how could I possibly question it? But, this is Gu Nianzhi's room. Can't we just have an orderly comb through it? Zhao Liangze rambled his complaints in his head.

Zhao Liangze was still hesitant, so Huo Shaoheng said firmly, "Be thorough."

Fine, Zhao Liangze sighed, I'll do it myself. Since the room had to be scoured and could leave no indication that anything had been touched, it could only be up to him, the unfortunate and exceptionally meticulous personal secretary. Zhao Liangze coughed before he held his head high and walked in. Gu Nianzhi's room was actually sparse and neatly organized. He carefully made his way through her belongings and even peeked into the bathroom cabinets, a place a young lady would keep her personal items, but didn't see anything that belonged to Huo Shaoheng.

"Tch, what a psycho. Why would a young lady have his manly things in her room." Zhao Liangze secretly berated Huo Shaoheng as he left the bathroom. He looked up to see Huo Shaoheng sitting on Gu Nianzhi's bed and his feet immediately snapped together as he reported loudly, "Reporting to Chief! This room does not contain your items!"

"You looked through everything?" Huo Shaoheng looked up at Zhao Liangze, "All the places? Without missing anything?"

Zhao Liangze scratched his head and cursed himself internally. Have I missed something? Huo Shaoheng usually asked these kinds of questions when he was about to reveal their mistakes. Zhao Liangze pressed his lips together and kept silent.

Huo Shaoheng stared at him as he reached a hand under Gu Nianzhi's pillow to pull out a black T-shirt and waved it at him. "What's this then?"

Zhao Liangze's eyes were about to pop out!

What the h*ll?! Why is there a man's T-shirt under her pillow?!

Huo Shaoheng actually didn't know why his shirt was there either, and even more so, why he had flipped her pillow over.

"Take it away." Huo Shaoheng flung the large black T-shirt at Zhao Liangze.

Zhao Liangze had intended to take one last shot and question how the general knew it was his. It wasn't as if Major General Huo was the only one in the world to wear such a shirt! But, upon inspecting the tag on the shirt, Zhao Liangze could only shut his mouth. It was really his. This was casual wear distributed by the military. Considering Huo Shaoheng's rank, all his items had a unique code.

Zhao Liangze rubbed his nose and began to comb through Gu Nianzhi's closet again.

Huo Shaoheng got up to leave and went to his study to put something into the safe.

Zhao Liangze scrutinized the room several more times to confirm that there weren't any more of Huo Shaoheng's items before he secretly called Gu Nianzhi.

"Nianzhi, why is the General's T-shirt under your pillow?"

Gu Nianzhi had been eating in the cafeteria. "Oh? Those are my pajamas! Where else would I have them?"

"You use his T-shirt as pajamas?!" Zhao Liangze was even more shocked. "Are you serious? He didn't even get you pajamas?"

Gu Nianzhi's face flushed. "Little Brother Ze, don't freak out. It's not what you think."

"What am I thinking?" Zhao Liangze shoved the T-shirt in a plastic bag with resentment. "I'll have to ask Big Xiong about how exactly he was taking care of you? Mr. Huo might be busy, but Big Xiong isn't!"

Gu Nianzhi hurriedly muffled the phone and turned towards the window, then said quietly, " Little Brother Ze, you misunderstand: I like wearing men's T-shirts to sleep! They're 100% cotton, breathable, and sweat absorbent. Plus, they're also really comfy. I've been wearing my uncle's shirts as pajamas since I was 12, and I guess I just got used to it."

Gu Nianzhi's words were half true.

The truth was, no one had prepared pajamas for her when she started living with Huo Shaoheng. He was just a rugged bachelor and unfamiliar with the world of women, so to save trouble, he'd tossed a new black T-shirt from the Special Ops for her to use as pajamas. She wasn't accustomed to it in the beginning, but grew to like it after a while. Other than the one under her pillow that they found in the apartment, she had also hidden three or four more brand new black t-shirts that the military had distributed. Huo Shaoheng had probably forgotten all about this. In the past two years, Gu Nianzhi never appeared before him in pajamas. Huo Shaoheng also never went to her room.

Zhao Liangze confirmed and asked curiously, "Is it that comfy? I didn't think so."

Gu Nianzhi giggled, "Maybe you'll find out once you give it a try?" Then she had suddenly realized, "Huh? Wait, how do you know I have my pajamas under my pillow?!"

Zhao Liangze laughed and closed the suitcase he had been organizing with a click. He said to Gu Nianzhi, "I have something to take care of, we'll talk after." He hung up.