Chapter 9: An Unexpected Memory


Lin Zhiyuan stood at the office door and lightly tapped his knuckles on it twice.


A voice from inside responded, “Just a moment.”


After a few seconds, the door was pulled open, revealing a Mediterranean-looking senior professor. He glanced at Lin Zhiyuan and hesitated for a moment before recognizing him. “You’re Professor Lin, right?”


Lin Zhiyuan smiled faintly, “You can just call me Lin.”


“Well, that won’t do. Professor Lin is so young and already a professor. We older folks should learn from you,” the Mediterranean professor greeted him. “Come in, it’s cold outside.”


Lin Zhiyuan followed the Mediterranean professor into the office. The office was warm, thanks to the heating, and upon entering, he immediately felt a wave of warmth. At this time, there weren’t many teachers in the office. The Mediterranean professor had stayed to help some students with their paper revisions.


At the desk in the far corner, Tan Xilu was also busy. His public lecture was scheduled for the afternoon, and to avoid any last-minute issues, he hadn’t gone home for lunch, planning to have Xu Huaiming bring him a packed meal.


“Professor Lin, Professor Tan is over there,” the Mediterranean professor pointed to Tan Xilu’s desk, raising his voice a bit. “Professor Tan, Professor Lin is here.”


Tan Xilu was immersed in his work when he was suddenly called, causing him to startle. His whole body shivered, and he looked up to see Lin Zhiyuan. Tan Xilu acknowledged, “Professor Lin is here.”


Lin Zhiyuan made a sound of agreement and moved to the chair next to Tan Xilu’s desk, taking a seat.


Seeing this, the Mediterranean professor said, “Well, I’ll leave you two to chat. I’ll get back to my work.”


“Sure, thank you,” Lin Zhiyuan smiled.


After the Mediterranean professor went back to his desk, Lin Zhiyuan turned to Tan Xilu and asked, “Professor Tan, is there anything else I can help with?”


“Not at the moment,” Tan Xilu replied. He continued typing with one hand and reached for a document in a nearby folder with the other. He placed the document in front of Lin Zhiyuan and said, “Professor Lin, please take a look at this. It’s for our class later, some pre-class preparation.”


“Alright,” Lin Zhiyuan said.


Tan Xilu had received notice from his superiors two days ago. Originally, it was supposed to be his solo public lecture, but due to a collaboration project with the neighboring department, the school decided that this time, two professors from different departments would jointly teach a class. Lin Zhiyuan was the professor from the neighboring department.


The document that Tan Xilu handed to Lin Zhiyuan contained questions for in-class discussion. This was Tan Xilu’s teaching style, and he liked to ask impromptu questions. Luckily, he taught Chinese literature, so the questions and answers were not particularly difficult, making his public lectures quite effective.


Lin Zhiyuan skimmed through a few questions but soon found himself lost in thought. He pushed his chair back slightly, tilting his posture to the side. However, this allowed him to discreetly observe Tan Xilu, who was deeply engrossed in his work.


Thinking back to the day when he had accompanied Tan Xilu home and had seen someone who looked similar to him downstairs, Lin Zhiyuan couldn’t help but wonder. Was it because of that person? Had Tan Xilu undergone such a significant change because of that person?




Suddenly, a piece of paper floated over and landed on the floor next to Lin Zhiyuan due to Tan Xilu’s unintentional action while typing. He thought he could catch it, but the paper flew farther than expected.


Not wanting to trouble others, Lin Zhiyuan decided to pick it up himself. However, Tan Xilu had the same idea and reached the paper first. Lin Zhiyuan’s long legs and proximity to the paper allowed him to reach it without getting up, while Tan Xilu had to stand up and retrieve it.


Lin Zhiyuan’s fingertips touched the paper first, and he handed it over to Tan Xilu, saying, “Here.”


“Thank you,” Tan Xilu said, taking the paper.


Lin Zhiyuan had initially considered looking at Tan Xilu’s face more closely, but when he looked up, he saw two ambiguous kiss marks on Tan Xilu’s exposed neck. He was taken aback for a moment and quickly averted his gaze.


Tan Xilu was oblivious to Lin Zhiyuan’s gaze. He returned to his seat and continued typing on his keyboard.


It was Lin Zhiyuan who seemed somewhat unsettled now. He couldn’t get those two vivid kiss marks out of his mind. Tan Xilu appeared different from the person he had met during their blind date, and Lin Zhiyuan was beginning to suspect something he didn’t want to believe.


Was Tan Xilu in a romantic relationship with that person?


Was their initial meeting due to the resemblance between Lin Zhiyuan and that person?


Did Tan Xilu hesitate to kiss him because he felt that Lin Zhiyuan was never the one he truly wanted?


Lin Zhiyuan sighed inwardly. It seemed he had almost been deceived.


His phone on the table vibrated, and Lin Zhiyuan picked it up. After a brief conversation, Tan Xilu on the other end made him smile genuinely.


Lin Zhiyuan couldn’t help but wonder who had such a significant influence on Tan Xilu.


As soon as the call ended, Tan Xilu saved his work and told Lin Zhiyuan quietly, “I’m sorry, I need to step out for a moment.”


With that, he stood up and grabbed his coat hanging on the nearby rack.


As Tan Xilu walked out, Lin Zhiyuan also stood up and followed him.


“Why are you…” Tan Xilu looked at Xu Huaiming’s somewhat silly expression, feeling a mixture of amusement and tenderness. “The thermal lunchbox keeps the food warm, but you’re hugging it.”


“I was afraid it wouldn’t stay hot enough, and I didn’t want you to eat something cold,” Xu Huaiming explained.


“You silly,” Tan Xilu couldn’t help but laugh.


Xu Huaiming was being so kind to him.


Meanwhile, Lin Zhiyuan stood in a nearby pavilion, watching Tan Xilu’s smiling face. The man standing in front of Tan Xilu was the one who resembled him. The first time Lin Zhiyuan had seen that person, he exuded an icy, aloof aura that made him seem distant and unapproachable. However, just like Tan Xilu, when he was with Tan Xilu, he seemed to relax completely, and there was a hint of indulgent affection in his smile.


So, this was the type of person Tan Xilu liked.


Xu Huaiming reached out and ruffled Tan Xilu’s hair, and Tan Xilu obediently let him, his face filled with a smile. It was the same kind of smile Lin Zhiyuan had heard in Tan Xilu’s voice during their phone call. Suddenly, Lin Zhiyuan remembered his previous lover. When they were together, his ex had often smiled like that.


He couldn’t help but wonder: Was Tan Xilu in a romantic relationship with that person?


Had their initial meeting been because Lin Zhiyuan resembled that person?


Did Tan Xilu hesitate to kiss him because he felt that Lin Zhiyuan was never the one he truly wanted?


Lin Zhiyuan sighed quietly. It seemed he had almost been deceived.


The winter sky wasn’t as blue as it should be, filtered through a haze of gray and white. However, the temperature today wasn’t too low, perhaps because the sun was shining. The clouds in his line of sight appeared hazy and scattered, but it was pleasantly warm.


Tan Xilu and Xu Huaiming shared a long kiss, and it was Xu Huaiming who eventually pulled away.


Xu Huaiming touched Tan Xilu’s lips and said, “The food might get cold if we stay here too long. You should go up and eat.”


Tan Xilu realized that he had lingered at the entrance for quite a while and nodded, “I’ll head up first. The public lecture in the afternoon ends early. You don’t need to pick me up later; I’ll come to the dessert shop.”


“Okay,” Xu Huaiming replied, “I’ll make a new dessert for you.”


Tan Xilu nodded and smiled.


As Tan Xilu’s figure disappeared from sight, Xu Huaiming turned and walked away from the campus.


Back at the dessert shop, Arlene was busy preparing a cup of bubble tea. When she saw Xu Huaiming return, she smiled and said, “Brother Xu is back.”


Arlene had proactively applied for a job at Xu Huaiming’s shop when it first reopened. She had been a loyal customer for years, and even Tan Xilu recognized her. Seven or eight years ago, she had frequented the shop because of the delicious desserts Xu Huaiming made.


Xu Huaiming couldn’t help but wonder. Xu Huaiming looked the same as he did seven years ago. He hadn’t changed much, and back then, his shop had always been busy because of his good looks, attracting a lot of young girls to have a crush on 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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Also, check out the other series we have on HoH!

If you like cats, check out Revenge of the Garfield

If you like dragons, check out I’m Pregnant with the Hope of the Entire Planet and The Dragon and the ‘Princess’

How about some mystery or showbiz? Check out Morbid Addiction & Perfection

What about the perfect, most non-toxic male lead ever? Laws of Love

How about MC nursing ML back to health? Forced into the Deep


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