Chapter 5: Lover’s Quarrel
At the time, Tan Xilu had thought too simplistically. He genuinely believed that Xu Huaiming was nervous and didn’t want to meet his parents so soon. It was only later, when he realized that Xu Huaiming had no intention of associating with people related to him, that their conflicts escalated to such an extreme.
The incident occurred during a club-building activity at Tan Xilu’s university. In his freshman year, Tan Xilu was forced to join a club because his advisor noticed he was quiet and didn’t participate in any social activities. Eventually, he joined the Literary Society, or so it was called. In reality, aside from the president and a few members who enjoyed writing, the rest were just there to make up the numbers. Tan Xilu was one of those who attended occasionally, and he was one of the few who bothered to come for every event, unlike some who made excuses not to attend.
At that time, it was the end of the year, and the club president organized a club-building activity. By that time, Tan Xilu and Xu Huaiming had been together for a while, and Tan Xilu had intended to introduce Xu Huaiming to his club friends. So, they decided to hold the event at Xu Huaiming’s dessert shop.
When Xu Huaiming brought out the desserts and drinks, Tan Xilu stood up and took Xu Huaiming’s arm, taking the initiative to introduce him, saying, “This is my boyfriend, Xu Huaiming.”
“Oh, you have a boyfriend? That’s why Xiao Lu hasn’t been participating in activities lately,” the club president said, surprised but not shocked. He looked at Xu Huaiming and said with a smile, “Your boyfriend is really handsome.”
“Yeah, very handsome. Why didn’t you introduce him earlier?” the vice-president chimed in.
Tan Xilu felt a bit shy. “We weren’t stable before, so I’m telling you now.”
“Fair enough, fair enough,” the club president said, gesturing toward the cakes and drinks on the table. “Your boyfriend’s desserts look really good, too. He’s quite the domestic type.”
“What do you mean ‘domestic’? Are you using the right word?” one of the club members playfully slapped the club president. Then, he looked at Tan Xilu and said, “But it’s not entirely wrong. I remember Xiao Tan loves desserts. Are you with the boss just to get free desserts?”
“No,” Xu Huaiming spoke up. His face showed no expression, and his tone was somewhat cold. “It’s because Ah Lu likes desserts that I opened this shop for him.”
“I see,” the club member said, smiling and casting an envious glance. “That’s nice.”
Tan Xilu glanced at Xu Huaiming, sensing a bit of tension. They didn’t realize Xu Huaiming’s emotional turmoil, but Tan Xilu knew him too well. He knew that Xu Huaiming was angry.
But Tan Xilu couldn’t understand why Xu Huaiming was angry. All he wanted was to introduce him to his friends, to let everyone get to know him.
After serving all the club members, Xu Huaiming went to the kitchen and didn’t come out until the club activity was over. He even sent off the club president and the others alone.
Tan Xilu was also holding in his frustration. After seeing the club members off one by one, he came back inside. Xu Huaiming was in the back room, whipping cream. The sound of him mixing the cream was quite loud, almost to the point of being ear-piercing. Tan Xilu wasn’t stupid; he knew that Xu Huaiming was venting his frustration in an extremely childish way. He was trying to tell Tan Xilu that he was angry.
But Tan Xilu didn’t understand. He couldn’t comprehend why Xu Huaiming was so resistant to letting his friends know about them. Even though they were in a relationship, Tan Xilu hoped that their love would be blessed by others.
“Can you tell me why?” Tan Xilu looked at Xu Huaiming, his tone calm. “Why don’t you want others to know that we’re in a relationship?”
“No reason, I just don’t want to,” Xu Huaiming replied indifferently.
Tan Xilu clenched his fists secretly. He remembered what his mother had said: Maybe he doesn’t want to marry you at all.
Tan Xilu took a deep breath and clumsily tried to find an excuse for Xu Huaiming. He said, “Are you nervous? Afraid they won’t like you? That won’t happen. You’re so outstanding. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the one who’s lucky to have you. You can make cakes, and you’re so smart, unlike me, so clumsy. I can’t do anything well except loving you…”
As Tan Xilu continued to defend Xu Huaiming, he began to speak incoherently. When he looked up, he suddenly saw Xu Huaiming’s indifferent expression, just for a moment. But in that instant, Tan Xilu knew that he had been deluding himself.
Tan Xilu was a clumsy person. Ever since he was young, his teachers had taught him the phrase “clumsy birds have to start flying early.” So, while his peers enjoyed joyful summer vacations at swimming pools, amusement parks, and on trips, Tan Xilu replaced their enjoyment with a series of math problems. Even so, in his first year of junior high school, due to carelessness, he ranked at the bottom of his class. His teacher had a conversation with him, saying that if he wasn’t good at anything else, he should put in more effort. After that talk, Tan Xilu’s grades remained consistently in the top three.
Because clumsy birds have to start flying early, he was clumsy, so he had to put in more effort. But this principle didn’t seem to apply to Xu Huaiming.
Tan Xilu never refused Xu Huaiming for anything. Xu Huaiming’s confession was not romantic; it was more like a joke. He just stood in front of Tan Xilu, without even a bouquet of flowers, only pale words, “I quite like you. Do you want to give it a try with me?”
Just give it a try, without even specifying what they were trying. But Tan Xilu agreed like that. The first time they kissed, when Xu Huaiming leaned in to kiss him, Tan Xilu didn’t refuse. Afterward, when they went to bed, drenched in sweat, Tan Xilu finally asked, “Are we dating like this?”
Xu Huaiming didn’t give a direct answer. He thought for a moment and said somewhat uncertainly, “I guess.”
That meant they were dating. Tan Xilu thought that he should cherish this person. In fact, he loved Xu Huaiming very much. He had already regarded him as a part of his life, wanting to introduce him to his parents, introduce him to his friends, and even spend the rest of his life with him in their twilight years, watching the sunset together.
He used to believe that Xu Huaiming must love him too. But now, Tan Xilu was uncertain. Xu Huaiming refused to meet his friends, and he began to wonder, “Does he really love me?”
From that day on, Tan Xilu and Xu Huaiming began a silent battle. Tan Xilu gradually stopped going back to the apartment they shared with Xu Huaiming and chose to stay in the school dormitory instead.
He used the excuse of nearing graduation and having to rush his thesis. Xu Huaiming actually believed him and didn’t contact him for many days. Tan Xilu stared at the blank chat screen on his phone every night. He knew he was being unreasonable, but he couldn’t help but wonder, “Does this person really care about me?”
Why didn’t he come to the school to see him? He said he had to work on his thesis, but was that really what he was doing? Weren’t they in a relationship? Why did something as simple as introducing him to his friends lead to such a situation?
Later, after Xu Huaiming disappeared, Tan Xilu learned from his roommate that Xu Huaiming had actually come to see him. He had thought Tan Xilu didn’t want to see him, so he watched him from a distance at the school every day, occasionally waiting downstairs near the dormitory building. His roommate had bumped into him several times, but Xu Huaiming had asked him not to tell Tan Xilu.
Both of them were clumsy in love, two people who didn’t know how to express their feelings. It wasn’t until they lost each other that they understood their regrets.
Tan Xilu thought that Xu Huaiming still didn’t want others to know about their relationship. So, he didn’t expect that today, at the school gate, Xu Huaiming would take the initiative to hold his hand and tell his students, “I’m Ah Lu’s boyfriend.”
Inside the noisy bus, only Tan Xilu and Xu Huaiming were quiet. It was so quiet that Tan Xilu could clearly hear his own heartbeat.
No one could understand the beauty of regaining something thought to be lost. The person he thought would never return was now with him, giving him a strong sense of security. Tan Xilu felt that he really loved this person.
The bitterness of love during their dating days, the anger during lover’s quarrels, and the frustration of not being able to find each other had all turned into sweet threads entwined around Tan Xilu’s heart.
“Xu Huaiming, did you just say you’re my boyfriend?” Tan Xilu gently hooked his fingers with Xu Huaiming’s.
Xu Huaiming turned his head and met Tan Xilu’s eyes. Perhaps it was the setting sun’s light, but his eyes looked excessively beautiful, filled with himself. Xu Huaiming knew that he should be like the male lead in a romance drama, gently curving his lips and answering Tan Xilu tenderly, “Yes.”
And that’s exactly what Xu Huaiming did. His words were even more gentle, and he tightly clasped Tan Xilu’s hand. “I’m your boyfriend, forever.”
“Good, forever,” Tan Xilu’s eyes curved, an unmistakable happiness, like a child’s.
As Xu Huaiming looked at Tan Xilu’s profile, he recalled memories from his database. There were few memories of no. 7 accompanying Tan Xilu on a bus ride like this. no. 7’s love was restrained, as he was afraid of being discovered by his creator. His love was hidden carefully during the early stages.
For example, when Tan Xilu was tired on the bus, his head would unconsciously lean towards the window side, and no. 7 would carefully pull him closer, letting him rest on his shoulder. They never held hands in public places like buses, at most, their palms would touch each other’s backhand. This kind of love was difficult, but Xu Huaiming felt fortunate. He had obtained a Tan Xilu who had been hurt before. At this moment, Tan Xilu cherished him immensely. So much so that Xu Huaiming even believed that if he suggested kissing now, Tan Xilu probably wouldn’t refuse.
However, Xu Huaiming wouldn’t act so impulsively. He possessed a rationality programmed clearer than that of a human.
Ten minutes later, the bus arrived at the station, and they got off together.
Things they couldn’t do on the bus, they thought about doing once they got home.
The passion of young love blazed fiercely. Right at their doorstep, the two couldn’t bear to part, and before Tan Xilu’s fingertips even touched the door lock screen, Xu Huaiming was already kissing him, holding his slender waist.
Xu Huaiming seemed to find this position uncomfortable, so he turned Tan Xilu forcefully, and they faced each other. Tan Xilu leaned against the door, his hands reaching for Xu Huaiming’s neck.
Tan Xilu noticed that Xu Huaiming, after returning home, seemed unusually fond of kissing. They didn’t go to bed again, but they would kiss, whether it was a morning kiss or a goodnight kiss. Sometimes, when Xu Huaiming passed by Tan Xilu while getting something, he would peck his lips, like an affectionate big dog.
But Tan Xilu enjoyed it. He never thought that love would deteriorate over time. On the contrary, just like the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” he believed he loved the current Xu Huaiming more because he only realized his significance after losing him. He believed Xu Huaiming felt the same way.
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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