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271 Déjà Vu 5

 Wen Shouyi had not expected Gu Nianzhi to shift the focus of their discussion from Dou Qingyan to the relationship between He Zhichu and herself.

"...Is your question related to the current investigation?" Wen Shouyi asked impassively. She pursed her lips right after that, indicating that she did not want to talk about it.

"Of course it's related." Gu Nianzhi cupped her cheeks in both hands as she smiled serenely at Wen Shouyi. "You have to answer my question."

"How exactly is it related?" Wen Shouyi asked without missing a beat. What did her relationship with He Zhichu have anything to do with Dou Qingyan and her crimes?

"Why should I tell you?" Gu Nianzhi cocked her head. "Who's supposed to be the professor here? Do I have to spell everything out for you? Are you even worthy of your position as an associate professor at Harvard Law School?"

"Now you're just being a bully!" The corner of Wen Shouyi's mouth began to twitch. "You're just making things up, because you know very well there isn't a connection between the two!"

"Like I said, I am under no obligation to answer your questions. You, on the other hand, have to answer mine because you've been asked to assist in the investigation." Gu Nianzhi rapped her knuckles on the table. "Your connection with Dou Qingyan means Professor He is involved by default. This is why we have to investigate your relationship with him. Miss Wen, is that so difficult to understand?"

Wen Shouyi: "..."

"How did you manage to become a lawyer at the largest law firm in America, or be an associate professor at Harvard Law School? They must have been desperate." Gu Nianzhi typed out her notes on the laptop. "So? Spit it out, and don't try anything funny."

"I don't understand what you mean." Wen Shouyi decided to send the ball back into Gu Nianzhi's court. "I'm just Professor He's teaching assistant-why do you say I'm his nanny? Are you thinking of someone else?"

"You don't understand what I mean?" Gu Nianzhi looked directly at Wen Shouyi. "You've never acted like his nanny? But I've seen you hold an umbrella over Professor He when I was in C University, and you looked just like a doting nanny. And don't get me started on the way you fawned over him in America. Then again, I guess you're not actually a nanny, but some kind of butler. Yes, I think that describes you better: you're his butler."

"Shut up!" Wen Shouyi had finally lost her temper. "Professor He and I were both from the same town. My family is indebted to his. He doesn't have any relatives around him-is it a crime if I help take care of him instead? Can't colleagues also be friends who care for one another? Why do you make it sound so vulgar?"

"Oh, it's entirely normal to be friends with your colleagues, and to care for another, I agree. But I've never, ever, seen a female colleague hold an umbrella over a male colleague, or open car doors for him-you're the first. It's usually the man who takes care of the woman." Gu Nianzhi smiled. "Besides, I've been to Professor He's house when I was in America. I know exactly what role you perform in his house, and what kind of job you have to do. You may try to hide it, but you can't fool me!"

"What exactly did Professor He tell you?" Wen Shouyi paled. There was a hysterical note in her voice, which was now high-pitched and shaky.

Gu Nianzi arched an eyebrow; the wheels in her head turned, and she decided to try a bluff. She smirked and said: "Everything."

Wen Shouyi's perfectly trimmed eyebrows shot up. She stared at Gu Nianzhi incredulously. "Everything? He told you everything?"

"Yes, everything," Gu Nianzhi said calmly. She lowered her head to peer at the laptop screen as she continued typing out her notes.

"So he told you everything-and this is how you decide to treat him? And me?" Wen Shouyi stared fixedly at Gu Nianzhi, before snorting derisively. "Okay, that's enough. You can drop the act. You can't fool me."

"What's wrong with the way I'm treating the both of you? I'm just following protocol," Gu Nianzhi said warily.

Wen Shouyi breathed a sigh of relief. Suddenly, she burst into laughter and shook her head. "So it was just a bluff! I knew it, it didn't make any sense."

Wen Shouyi was now certain that He Zhichu had not told Gu Nianzhi "everything."

Her heart grew tender at the thought. She could not suppress the warm, fuzzy feeling inside her; it spread over her, coloring her cheeks.

Gu Nianzhi was surprised to see Wen Shouyi blush. She could not understand what was going on, but she arched an eyebrow and asked, with a straight face, "It isn't a bluff. If you don't believe me, you can ask Professor He yourself."

"I have to admit, I almost fell for it." Wen Shouyi leaned back into her chair. "You said he told you 'everything.' Well, I know that can't be true. But whatever, let's move on."

Gu Nianzhi frowned. The situation seemed to be spiraling out of her control.

Wen Shouyi noticed that Gu Nianzhi was at a loss for words. She leaned forward to say in a low, laughing whisper, "Don't bother trying to figure it out, Nianzhi. I'll admit that you're smart-a lot smarter than me, actually-but this isn't something you can figure out with intelligence alone."

Gu Nianzhi shot a doubtful glance at Wen Shouyi.

She was bursting with questions, but her professional instincts told her this was not the time to ask them. As soon as she demanded answers, she would be at Wen Shouyi's mercy. She was dying with curiosity, but she resisted the temptation to ask.

"Miss Wen, you seem to be extremely reluctant to talk about your relationship with Professor He. I get it. It must be embarrassing to talk about." Gu Nianzhi crossed her arms and leaned backwards into her chair. "Here's a different question, then: you would deny knowing anything about Dou Qingyan's secret crush on General Huo even if you knew about it, right?"

"Yes," Wen Shouyi blurted out without thinking. She quickly realized that she had fallen into Gu Nianzhi's trap. She shouted: "No!"

As soon as she said it, she knew that both "yes" and "no" were the wrong answer. Her anger reached boiling point.

She was so angry now she was practically wheezing. She had told herself, over and over again, not to be angry with Gu Nianzhi, but she couldn't help it. It was difficult for her to remain calm when the object of her frustrations was sitting right across her.

Gu Nianzhi enjoyed watching Wen Shouyi fume with rage. The more exasperated she got, the more relaxed and comfortable Gu Nianzhi felt. She gave a small laugh. "So you knew Dou Qingyan was secretly in love with General Huo, but deliberately chose not to say anything. You watched as she pined over those doctored photos, and waited for her to make a fool of herself so she would end up behind bars, is that right?"

"I would never stoop that low." Wen Shouyi smiled as she launched her counterattack. "She's my client, after all. And we don't know whether the photos were photoshopped-we'll leave that to the experts. As for you, Miss Gu..."

Wen Shouyi suddenly leaned forward. She looked into Gu Nianzhi's eyes and said, "...Are you trying to distort the facts, because the truth is too much for you to handle?"

She had finally walked into her trap...

Gu Nianzhi calmly folded her arms. "What are you talking about? We're discussing Dou Qingyan's crimes here-why would the truth be too much for me to handle?"

"Drop the act." Wen Shouyi rapped her knuckles on the table. "Anyone can see that you're in love with your guardian, General Huo. You claim that Dou Qingyan was secretly in love with him, but that goes for you too, doesn't it? Oh wait, that's not quite right-you weren't just crushing on him, you were trying to seduce him. Unfortunately for you, Dou Qingyan returned from America just as you were trying to put the moves on your guardian, and you've been trying to avert your eyes from the truth ever since."

Gu Nianzhi suddenly remembered the surveillance cameras in the room, and also the fact that Zhao Liangze was sitting in the next room. Her heart lurched sideways; she did not want her relationship with Huo Shaoheng to be exposed in this manner.

She had to deny it, no matter what.

The best defense is a good offense, as the saying went. She had to change the subject.

Gu Nianzhi's mouth twitched in annoyance, but she managed to keep from blushing, and put on a cool and indifferent expression instead. She snorted in derision as she shook her head. "What makes you think I'm secretly in love with General Huo? Where's your evidence? You accuse me of distorting the facts, but what about you? I resent your veiled insults."

"What veiled insults?"

"You insult me by comparing me to Dou Qingyan. I'm not crazy, or stupid!" Gu Nianzhi extended a milky white finger and wagged it dismissively. "Still, I have to thank you, Miss Wen. You've inadvertently let slip two important piece of information: one, you've seen those photos prior to the party, and knew Dou Qingyan was hopelessly in love with General Huo. That means you lied to Lieutenant Colonel Zhao just now. Two, you have a secret crush on Professor He. You're madly in love with him."

Wen Shouyi had been entirely unfazed by the first part of Gu Nianzhi's little speech, but as soon as she heard Gu Nianzhi accuse her of being secretly in love with He Zhichu, she sprang out of her chair like a jack-in-the-box. "I'm not! Stop making things up! I don't have a crush on him!"

"Say what you like. Everyone can see the truth with their own eyes." Gu Nianzhi shut the laptop. "You can go now."

...

In the next room, Zhao Liangze turned to look at Huo Shaoheng, whose face was, as always, entirely devoid of expression. He mumbled to himself: "...Wait, Nianzhi is secretly in love with Mr. Huo?!"

Huo Shaoheng: "..."