The very first thing he saw was a large bed in the center of the bedroom. A golden-haired youth lay in it, playing with his phone.
The youth was naked and there were hickies all over his neck and chest, but that wasn't all. What actually startled Li Du were the strange items placed on the bedside cabinet.
There were Durex condoms, pink lubricant, scattered leather whips and some other tools which he did not recognize (but were definitely sex toys by the looks of them).
Looking beyond to the bedrooms walls, he saw that they were plastered with posters, most of which were pictures of half-naked hunks!
In a flash, he knew which way Felix swung. He recalled how Felix had held his hand tightly during the handshake and the way he had clasped the two of them when they had walked into the house. He had thought that Felix was just a warm person, but now, it seemed as if that might not have been the case!
The bug flew into the closet. Within it were more strange tools and lubricants. And hidden in the cabinet next to it were photos of Felix and other men, naked and in compromising positions…
Li Du quickly summoned the bug. The situation was quite clear. There was no need to continue exploring.
Just then, Felix walked to his side and moved to put a hand on his shoulder.
Li Du pretended to tie his shoelace to avoid his touch. At the same time, he asked, "Hey mate, is there anyone else here? I mean right now."
Felix instantly turned his guard on. "Of course not. I'm the only one home. Why do you ask?"
Li Du shrugged. "I thought I heard something, so I thought that there was someone else was here. Maybe it was a mouse."
Felix sighed in relief and laughed. "Haha. It probably was a mouse. There are some little mice in this house. As you know, Flagstaff has quite a lot of mice."
Li Du laughed with him. He gave Hans a look. Hans said he had a phone call and stepped out to answer it.
Coming back in, he said, "Li, we've got to go to the hospital right now. Your girlfriend was in an accident. She needs you."
Li Du glared at him angrily but could only go along with it. "What!? F*ck, how is she? How did it happen? I'm sorry, Felix, I need to go now. Is it alright if we talk about the house later?"
Felix nodded in agreement. The two of them rushed out and sped away in the car.
"What was it?" Hans asked lazily while driving. "What was the matter with that house?"
Li Du mumbled, "There wasn't anything wrong. When did I say that there was?"
Hans humphed. "Don't give me that, mate. We're so damn familiar with each other. Do you think you can fool me?"
"No, I don't think I could. But go ahead and ask my girlfriend at the hospital," Li Du snapped.
Hans laughed heartily. "You minded that?"
Just as the car was about to leave the housing area, Li Du looked out and said, "Stop the car!"
"What is it?"
At the main gate was a notice board. American community notice-boards had a separate part for advertisements. Li Du quickly found what he was looking for: 'Middle bedroom to let. Rental to be discussed.'
"Block 2, Unit A, Number 0502," He said after looking at the map of the housing estate. "Yup, other than being a bit too close to the street, this place seems alright."
Pine Tree Tops was quite to his liking. He liked peaceful places such as this, and the community was gated. The security was bound to be better than that of a non-gated one.
While he was in China, the media had claimed that all American housing estates were non-gated, without fences enclosing them. Only after he came to Flagstaff did he realize that this wasn't the case.
Most non-gated communities in America were comprised of self-built homes. These were houses that someone built on a piece of land which they had bought. Typically, villa estates were non-gated, while apartments were in gated communities.
In the past few years, general public safety had been deteriorating throughout the country. Gated communities were becoming more popular in America these days.
Block 2 was quite close to the main gate of the housing estate. The apartment block had guarded entry. When they pressed 0502, a cool female voice rang out from a speaker. "This is Rose. Who is it?"
Hearing the voice, Hans lowered his own and asked, "The landlord is female?"
Li Du hesitated. "The ad didn't mention anything. Should we just retreat?"
Hans shoved him. "Damn! I seriously wonder whether you're gay! Isn't it better if it's a lady? Go, take a look first. Go, take a look!"
Having said that, Hans then used a mild voice and leaned towards the speaker. "Good day, ma'am. May I know if you posted an ad for rent? I wish to rent a clean, cozy bedroom. Truth be told, I'm from overseas…"
Ding-dong. The door opened.
Hans couldn't go on rambling.
Li Du snickered.
They took the elevator to the fifth floor. Once they reached the door, it was pushed open and a young lady about the same age as Li Du stood in the doorway.
Upon seeing her, both their faces changed.
She was a yellow-skinned, Asian girl with a head full of soft black hair. Her features were beautiful and soft on an oval-shaped face. Her eyebrows were long and curved, her lips full. The skin on her face, however, was a little rough.
She had a tall and slender frame seldom seen in Asian women, and was at least five feet and nine inches tall. Her legs were long and straight, leading into a willowy waist. The casual, white clothes she wore were very flattering on her.
Her expression was cool and aloof. When she saw them, she simply nodded and made way for them, folding her arms and standing to the side.
Li Du stared at her and swallowed. Hans's face changed only after hearing him swallow. He jabbed at Li Du and was full of smiles for the lady. "My friend here seldom sees ladies as beautiful as you. Please forgive his rudeness."
Li Du wanted to just take Hans and go. It was true that he seldom saw such beautiful girls, but damn, this wasn't just any girl— this was the lady cop who chased after them when they had been dumping trash illegally!
He would have recognized her anywhere. This was the lady cop who had driven like a mad woman!
But Hans wasn't willing to go. He pushed him in, saying softly, "You check out the house and I'll handle the girl. Maybe you can even save on rent in the future."
Li Du took one look at Hans's delirious face and knew that he wouldn't be able to leave. He had no choice but to force himself to walk into the house. Leaving without checking out the house after they had come up here may have made the lady cop suspicious anyways.
There was nothing wrong with the house. It was a three-bedroom apartment, about 600 square meters wide. It was quite large and had been fully furnished. The middle bedroom up for rent was 150 square meters wide. It had been arranged poorly ('Messily?' Li Du wondered), and there was some trash lying around.
Li Du let the bug out. She was the lady cop that they'd come across before; there were two police uniforms hanging in the master bedroom, and a pile of detective books sat in the study.
"How much are you renting it out for?" Li Du asked.
"Which of you is renting?" The lady cop asked. "If it's you, then 800 dollars. If it's him, then I'm not renting it out anymore."
Hans, who wore the smile of a saint, couldn't believe his ears. "Excuse me, did I mishear you?"
The lady cop didn't even look at him. She asked Li Du, "Did you mishear too?"
Li Du shook his head. "Uh, no, um, we need to think about it…"
Hans cut him off. "No need to think about it. My brother will be renting this place. How much? 800 dollars, was it? How do we pay you?
"One deposit and another upfront," said Rose.
"This is 2,000 dollars…" Hans immediately pulled some money out.
Rose smiled faintly, but it was cold. "I meant one year's deposit and another year's payment upfront!"
Hans was speechless. "What the f*ck!"