Chapter 6: The Beautiful Lady Yu


As winter approached, the weather in Lincheng became very dry. The trees outside the residential area had bare branches, and the fallen leaves covered the ground. The property management had already sent someone to sweep the roads early in the morning. While still half-asleep, the sounds of sweeping outside were already echoing. Tan Xilu was awakened by the noise, and he stared at the ceiling for a while before fully waking up.


Outside, Xu Huaiming had already started preparing breakfast. When the toast was done, he entered the room and called for Tan Xilu to get up.


On weekends when there was no work, Tan Xilu was exceptionally lazy and loved the warmth of his blanket. But every time, Xu Huaiming would ruthlessly pull him out of bed, and today was no exception. Xu Huaiming pulled back the covers, gently rubbed Tan Xilu’s face, and spoke in a soft voice, “Wake up quickly.”


“No,” Tan Xilu grabbed Xu Huaiming’s hand. “I don’t want to move.”


“You don’t have a say,” Xu Huaiming rubbed his nose against Tan Xilu’s face and lightly bit his lips. “Skipping breakfast can lead to various illnesses. Eat first, and then you can stay in bed.”


“The same old routine,” Tan Xilu lazily stretched and, with both hands, hooked around Xu Huaiming’s neck. He clung to him and coquettishly said, “Carry me to brush my teeth.”


“Okay,” Xu Huaiming hugged Tan Xilu tightly around the waist and carried him to the bathroom.


Tan Xilu didn’t even bother putting on shoes; he stepped on Xu Huaiming’s feet. Xu Huaiming squeezed the toothpaste for him and gave his earlobe a pinch. “Brush by yourself.”


“I know.” Tan Xilu put the toothbrush in his mouth.


In the mirror, Xu Huaiming hugged Tan Xilu, resting his chin on his shoulder. His gaze was deeply affectionate, and his eyes were fixed on Tan Xilu. In fact, Tan Xilu found it quite mysterious. The Xu Huaiming from seven years ago wasn’t like this; he was always cautious, as if afraid of being discovered. Even when they went out, he wouldn’t openly hold hands. The most daring thing they did was perhaps sharing a brief kiss in a movie theater. Even at home, they lived like an ordinary couple, kissing and going to bed, but being this affectionate was simply impossible back then.


The Xu Huaiming from seven years ago and the one from now were so different, which made Tan Xilu really wonder what had happened to Xu Huaiming during these seven years. However, every time he broached this topic, Xu Huaiming would skillfully change the subject. Later, Tan Xilu stopped asking. He thought as long as Xu Huaiming was by his side and didn’t disappear, that was enough.


Thinking this, Tan Xilu rinsed his mouth and couldn’t resist giving Xu Huaiming a minty kiss.


Xu Huaiming was indeed a skilled cook, even their regular breakfast had a variety of styles. He cooked lean meat and century egg congee because Tan Xilu liked to have some stir-fried vegetables in the morning. He also prepared stir-fried greens, fried eggs, and toasted bread.


Tan Xilu placed the fried egg between slices of bread, mixed it with a forkful of vegetables, and ate it together. Tan Xilu wasn’t picky about food; he could combine anything and eat it together. His mother used to say that he looked shy and polite, but secretly, he could mix stir-fried shredded potatoes directly into his congee, much like feeding pigs. In other words, he was easy to please.


Halfway through the meal, there was suddenly a commotion outside. It sounded like someone was banging on the door, and there were angry voices, occasionally mixed with female cursing.


Xu Huaiming had just stood up, but Tan Xilu pressed his hand and shook his head, saying, “Don’t get involved. Let’s eat first.”


Xu Huaiming glanced at him and sat back down.


After a while, it became quiet outside, and only then did Tan Xilu put down his spoon and stand up.


He opened the door, and outside, it was a mess. Various fruits and vegetables were scattered on the ground. Lin Xiaozhi was squatting down, picking them up. Lin Changyu leaned against the door. He had initially had his eyes closed, but when he heard the sound of the opposite door opening, he slowly opened his eyes. He looked at Tan Xilu, suddenly laughed, said nothing, and turned back into the house.


Tan Xilu and the behind-him Xu Huaiming exchanged a glance, sighed, and began picking up the fallen items.


There were still many things scattered under the stairs. Lin Xiaozhi ran to pick them up, panting, and then carried them upstairs. His forehead was covered in sweat.


“Thank you, Teacher Tan,” Lin Xiaozhi took the fruits from Tan Xilu’s hand, then looked at Xu Huaiming and said, “And thank you, Uncle Xu.”


Out of the blue, hearing the word “uncle,” Xu Huaiming’s face turned pale, but it brought a smile to Tan Xilu’s lips. “Call me Uncle Xu.”


Seeing Tan Xilu smile, Xu Huaiming didn’t argue with Lin Xiaozhi. He enjoyed seeing Tan Xilu smile. Tan Xilu actually looked quite gentle; his hair was always a bit messy, and even though he was a teacher now, he appeared younger than some of his students. At first glance, one would think he was well-behaved. In fact, he rarely got angry. When Xu Huaiming left the laboratory, he had wondered what it would be like for someone who had lost their lover for seven years to see them again.


His programming told him they might quarrel, they might go crazy, but Tan Xilu didn’t do any of that. It was like he had forgotten everything, just cried for a while. But Xu Huaiming was an intelligent AI, much more sensitive than humans. He could sense Tan Xilu’s emotions very keenly. Tan Xilu was generally not the type to smile much. This was partly because of his compliant personality. He never refused anyone, no matter how troublesome or unpleasant it was, because of social etiquette and obligations. Xu Huaiming didn’t like that about him.


His Tan Xilu should be carefree, argue, be spoiled, like a typical couple.


So, when they were together, Xu Huaiming preferred to be the compliant one.


“Well, I am Uncle Xu,” Xu Huaiming pinched the back of Tan Xilu’s neck.


Tan Xilu was momentarily ticklish and gave Xu Huaiming a sideways glance. He was about to say something when they heard a crashing sound.


Lin Xiaozhi was startled by the noise, but the child quickly reacted and rushed into the house.


Tan Xilu and Xu Huaiming exchanged a tense look and followed him.


Inside the bedroom, Lin Changyu sat on the wet floor, clutching a handful of glass shards. Bright red blood was slowly dripping from his fingers, forming a sharp contrast with the white pills scattered on the ground.


“Bro…ther,” Lin Xiaozhi ran over in panic, trying to pry Lin Changyu’s hand open. “Let go, let go!”


“Get the first aid kit, Xu Huaiming,” Tan Xilu remained calm in this situation.


Cooperating seamlessly, Xu Huaiming turned and went to get the first aid kit.


Lin Changyu seemed slow to react, and it was only after Lin Xiaozhi forcibly opened his hand that he moved.


At first, his impulse was stronger when he clenched the glass shards, but as he regained his senses, the pain intensified. The glass shards embedded in his palm were painful, scattered across the surface but not too deep, stuck in the skin and flesh. But it hurt.


Xu Huaiming quickly brought the first aid kit, and Tan Xilu squatted down, took out a pair of tweezers, and began carefully extracting the glass shards one by one.


At this moment, Lin Changyu behaved unusually compliant, quite different from his usual carefree personality.


Xu Huaiming frowned as he watched Tan Xilu tend to Lin Changyu’s wound, removing the bloody glass shards and disinfecting the area with alcohol. The stinging sensation from the alcohol made Lin Changyu break into a sweat.


Xu Huaiming found humans to be quite strange. He knew that such behavior resembled self-harm, but his impression of Lin Changyu was that of a cheerful gamer who often came over for leftovers and enjoyed a carefree atmosphere. Xu Huaiming never thought he would resort to self-harm. However, upon closer inspection, he noticed that Lin Changyu’s wrists had many fresh scars, indicating recent healing.


It was already ten minutes later when they finished bandaging Lin Changyu’s hand. White bandages were wrapped neatly around his palm, and Tan Xilu tied a knot, saying, “Fortunately, the wounds weren’t too deep. If the glass had penetrated deeper into the flesh, we would have had to go to the hospital.”


“Thank you, Teacher Tan. I’m sorry for troubling you again this time,” Lin Changyu forced a smile, but the pain made it difficult for him to smile genuinely.


“It was quite troublesome,” Tan Xilu sighed. “Once you can completely recover, I won’t have to be bothered anymore.”


Hanging his head, Lin Changyu muttered an apology after a while.


Tan Xilu rubbed his head and said, “You don’t need to apologize to me. Alright, let’s not talk about it anymore. Get some rest.”


With that, he pinched Lin Xiaozhi’s cheek. “Take good care of your brother. If anything happens, come and find me.”


“Thank you, Teacher Tan,” Lin Xiaozhi said.


After leaving Lin Changyu’s home, Tan Xilu helped close their door. When he turned around, he saw the confusion in Xu Huaiming’s eyes. He held Xu Huaiming’s hand and said, “I’ll tell you when we get back.”


The situation with Lin Changyu was actually quite complex. People who had met him couldn’t imagine that such a cheerful young man could suffer from depression. Tan Xilu hadn’t thought so the first time he met him either.


Tan Xilu and Xu Huaiming had rented this apartment together when they first got together. Later, when Xu Huaiming went missing, Tan Xilu bought the apartment directly. In the third year of owning the apartment, a family moved into the unit next door, which had been vacant for a long time.


Tan Xilu wasn’t good at socializing with people, but due to his job, he had to interact with teachers and students every day. When he returned home, he would turn off his phone to avoid outside distractions and enjoy a quiet and solitary environment. However, that day, as soon as he returned home, someone knocked on his door.


“Changyu was holding a basin of strawberries and said to me, ‘Hello, this is the extra strawberries I bought. I can’t store them at home because I don’t have a refrigerator, so I’m giving them to you.’ ” Tan Xilu recalled that time. He thought of Lin Changyu, who used to be so cheerful, wearing red in-ear headphones around his neck, and even had dimples when he smiled. Tan Xilu looked at him and, for a moment, thought of the serious-faced Xu Huaiming when he was in his teens.


Tan Xilu couldn’t remember whether he had eaten those strawberries or put them in the refrigerator and returned them to Lin Changyu the next day. He only remembered that Lin Changyu would occasionally bring fruits, and not long after, Lin Xiaozhi came to live with them.


The two brothers were lively and playful, but this was before that woman arrived.


One day, as Tan Xilu was leaving work, he encountered a woman in a white dress. She was quite attractive with pale lips, but her beauty was no less than that of a TV actress. She wore a pair of high heels but behaved in a manner completely incongruent with her appearance.


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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