Chapter 1 : The wind is picking up
The sky was gloomy, covered with thick dark clouds, and there was a hint of rain in the air. Outside, a chilly wind was blowing, not too strong but making a howling sound. The creaky window let in a cold breeze and Tan Xilu was abruptly awakened from his slumber due to the cold. His desk was right in the path of the wind and it ran past his legs, making them shiver uncontrollably. He couldn’t help but want to cough but was afraid of disturbing others, so he covered his mouth and suppressed it instead.
The wind grew stronger and Tan Xilu couldn’t bear it any longer. His long eyelashes trembled and his brows furrowed slightly. He looked at the other teachers in the office and spoke in a low but hoarse voice, “Could someone please close the window?”
There was an unnatural flush on Tan Xilu’s cheeks, tiny beads of sweat dotted his forehead, and his lips were an abnormal pale color, making him look very weak.
One middle-aged male teacher, seeing his condition, couldn’t help but ask, “Mr. Tan, is your illness not better yet?”
Tan Xilu pursed his lips, his amber eyes watery. He raised his gaze to the teacher, his expression somewhat distant. “It might be because of the cold weather. I almost recovered, but then I caught a cold.”
“Young man, you should take better care of your health. Back in my day, I could go for several years without getting sick,” the male teacher sighed and turned to close the window. “I say, Mr. Tan, you should find a companion. There’s no one to take care of you now if you get sick. What about Mr. Lin I introduced you to last time? He seemed nice. Did you not continue to contact him?”
Tan Xilu reacted a bit slowly since he was ill, He paused for a moment, searching in his mind for the Mr. Lin that was mentioned by the teacher. He seemed to be a young and promising male professor from the neighboring medical school, who bore some resemblance to Xu Huaiming but was a few centimeters shorter. Tan Xilu had tried to be with him, but the memories of Xu Huaiming were too deep, making it difficult for him to wholeheartedly pursue a relationship with Mr. Lin.
Shaking his head and hoarsely clearing his throat, Tan Xilu replied, “We’re not quite suitable for each other.”
“That’s a pity,” the male teacher said. “I’ll introduce you to someone better next time.”
“Oh, come on! Why are you in such a rush?” A female teacher next to him teased. “Not everyone is in a hurry to find a spouse like you, we’re not almost forty and ready to settle down.”
“Hey, you wicked woman,” the male teacher retorted playfully. “I’m just worried about the young people nowadays.”
The two of them started bickering.
Tan Xilu furrowed his brow slightly. His head felt like it was about to explode from the noise in the office.
If only Xu Huaiming were here.
He would surely take him away from here, to a quiet place, buy him a bottle of hot milk, and pinch his cheeks while he drank it. Whenever he got angry, he would placate him with a kiss tasting of milk.
That way, he wouldn’t stay angry for long.
Xu Huaiming understood him the most and loved him the most.
But now, he was all alone.
Tan Xilu managed to endure it until the end of the workday, spending it in a daze. Unfortunately, it even started raining outside.
—And he had forgotten to bring an umbrella.
At least the rain wasn’t too heavy. As long as he walked quickly, Tan Xilu could reach the bus stop outside the school gate before the rain poured down, avoiding getting soaked.
However, Tan Xilu clearly hadn’t expected to encounter an unexpected person while waiting for the bus.
When Tan Xilu saw that face so similar to Xu Huaiming’s, he was momentarily dazed. It wasn’t until the person waved a hand in front of him and spoke with a cold but very pleasant voice, “Mr. Tan, are you waiting for the bus?”
It was too polite. This warmth and the lack of Xu Huaiming’s usual slowness made it clear that it wasn’t him.
Tan Xilu snapped out of his brief daze and nodded, “Yes, Mr. Lin.”
“Mr. Tan, there’s no need to be so formal. Just call me Zhiyuan,” Lin Zhiyuan smiled.
With a mumbled “Hmm,” Tan Xilu lowered his head to check the time left for the bus to arrive on his phone.
“Excuse me, coming through.” A student with a backpack hurriedly passed by, and Tan Xilu, caught off guard, swayed to the side.
“Be careful.” Lin Zhiyuan instinctively reached out and steadied Tan Xilu’s body. His hand touched Tan Xilu’s waist, and Lin Zhiyuan froze for a moment. His first thought was, ‘Why is his waist so slender?’
“Thank you, sorry… Mr. Lin…” Tan Xilu straightened his posture, seemingly recalling that Lin Zhiyuan had asked him to call him Zhiyuan earlier. He tried to find the right words but felt awkward, finally saying in a dry tone, “… Zhiyuan.”
The person in front of him looked so obedient and cute, clearly not at fault, yet seemed a bit aggrieved. His gaze lowered, and his ears turned bright red. Lin Zhiyuan noticed a small mole on his earlobe, tempting him to reach out and touch it.
However, the next moment, the bus’s announcement sounded, and Tan Xilu raised his head, turning to board the bus.
Lin Zhiyuan hesitated for a moment and then followed him onto the bus.
The rain fell steadily, and the sound outside the bus was hollow.
“You…” Tan Xilu looked at Lin Zhiyuan, who sat beside him, and paused. “Why did you get on the bus too?”
“You don’t look too well. I’ll take you home,” Lin Zhiyuan said.
Tan Xilu responded with a simple “Oh” and didn’t say anything more.
Two minutes later, the bus’s engine started and it moved slowly. Tan Xilu sat by the window, gazing outside. The fine raindrops tapped against the window, making a crisp sound, which had a somewhat hypnotic effect. His vision gradually blurred and his consciousness became a bit hazy.
“Don’t lean against the window, especially when it’s rainy and windy. No matter how tightly the window is closed, it can still be drafty. You know what’s the point of having a boyfriend? When you have a boyfriend, you can lean on him, Ah Lu,” Lin Zhiyuan said gently.
Suddenly, a shadow of the past flashed by the window. Tan Xilu saw a familiar figure and panicked. He got up from his seat and hurriedly approached the driver to try and get him to stop the bus.
The driver, already irritated by the complaints of the passengers, was getting impatient. When Tan Xilu pushed the issue, the driver snapped, “We don’t have such a rule. We don’t stop midway; we only open the doors at bus stops!!!”
Just then, the green light came on, and the driver accelerated, continuing on his route.
Tan Xilu watched helplessly as that figure disappeared from his view, his heart suddenly aching once more. It was always like this, over and over again.
How could he ever see Xu Huaiming again?
Standing there in a daze, Lin Zhiyuan grew concerned when he saw Tan Xilu’s intense reaction. He gently touched Tan Xilu’s arm and asked with care, “Mr. Tan, are you okay? Did you see someone you know?”
“Oh,” Tan Xilu snapped out of it, swaying a bit. He shook his head and sat down, saying, “I must have mistaken someone else for him.”
Indeed, how could someone who had been gone for seven years suddenly appear on a busy street in broad daylight?
“You got so worked up just now, your forehead was sweating. It startled me,” Lin Zhiyuan took out a packet of tissues from his jacket pocket, and his slender fingers picked out a tissue, using it to wipe Tan Xilu’s forehead.
As Tan Xilu settled into his seat, he gradually calmed down. The intense emotions that had surged within him a moment ago subsided, replaced by a sense of absurdity.
It had been seven years, and he had remained trapped in this deep bondage, unawakened and unwilling to wake up.
He couldn’t believe that the person who had promised to be with him for a lifetime had suddenly passed away.
“I’m sorry for scaring you,” Tan Xilu looked at Lin Zhiyuan with remorse in his eyes. “I’m too useless, Lin… Zhiyuan. I know you like me a lot, but I’m not ready to start anew with someone else. Please… don’t waste your time on me.”
Even in rejecting someone, Tan Xilu was gentle. Lin Zhiyuan wondered what kind of person could make him lose control on a bus like this.
“I understand, Mr. Tan,” Lin Zhiyuan reached out and ran his fingers through Tan Xilu’s hair, feeling the wet strands before embracing him.
T/N: Hey there! There is plenty more where that came from, so stay tuned! And stay healthy! Straighten your posture, so some stretches and drink some water before continuing hehe~
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