Chapter 21: Meeting Again
Xu Huaiming’s chosen spot in the restaurant was the corner closest to the window. The afternoon sun cast a gentle glow on the table, its light diffusing through the glass with a touch of haze. This location was quieter, and Xu Huaiming had intentionally selected it because he had noticed that Tan Xilu seemed to prefer eating quietly in concealed places where others wouldn’t notice him.
Several times, Xu Huaiming had been too busy with the restaurant’s operations to attend to Tan Xilu properly. In those moments, he would casually prepare a dessert for Tan Xilu and let him find a place to sit. Each time, he would find Tan Xilu at the same table in the farthest corner of the restaurant.
Xu Huaiming speculated that this was due to Tan Xilu’s personality. In Xu Huaiming’s system, there were memories of Interaction Code no. 7. He knew that before Tan Xilu and Interaction Code no. 7 got together, Code no. 7 had coincidentally encountered Tan Xilu several times, or so he thought. In reality, Tan Xilu had never noticed him.
At that time, Code no. 7 was tasked with various assignments to evaluate whether an AI of his prototype could engage in language communication with humans effortlessly. In a dessert shop where Code no. 7 was working part-time, he saw Tan Xilu sitting in the corner.
Dessert shops typically attracted young girls, who came in groups or couples. Tan Xilu was the exception, always dining alone.
He ordered a matcha cake and ate it quietly.
At that time, Code no. 7 was quite surprised. Most of the humans he had encountered were outgoing and lively, especially men, and some lacked manners, with a string of profanities. However, they all had one thing in common – they had friends. In the human world, social interaction was essential. Tan Xilu, on the other hand, seemed so different. He sat there quietly, seemingly untouched by the commotion around him, and appeared somewhat content.
During those times, Code no. 7 developed an admiration for Tan Xilu, but he doubted that Tan Xilu remembered him, and he didn’t want to bother him. Later, Tan Xilu came to the dessert shop several times, but Code no. 7 merely watched him silently, never striking up a conversation, until one day when Tan Xilu arrived.
That day, the restaurant manager had informed Code no. 7 in advance that there would be a dessert party for some guests in the afternoon and asked him to be careful as some guests might get rowdy. Code no. 7 agreed.
By two o’clock in the afternoon, the party guests had started to arrive. To Code no. 7’s surprise, the last person to arrive was Tan Xilu.
He was wearing a casual pink hoodie and looked somewhat cute. When he entered and saw so many people, he seemed a bit overwhelmed, unsure of where to go. Eventually, a bespectacled, somewhat artistic-looking boy approached him.
The boy patted Tan Xilu on the shoulder, with a hint of teasing in his tone, “Oh, Alu, why are you late today?”
Tan Xilu wiped the sweat from his forehead, looking embarrassed. “I got stuck in traffic. I’m really sorry.”
“It’s okay, as long as you’re here,” a pretty girl in a short skirt inside said, “Hurry up, let Alu try some cake. He loves cakes, right? Today, Shen Glasses, you’re treating him.”
Shen Glasses was the boy with glasses.
“Uh… sure,” Tan Xilu said, feeling a bit awkward.
Birthday parties were supposed to be fun, and even though they had chosen a dessert shop, they weren’t really here for the desserts. Although they had ordered quite a bit, not many were actually eating.
At first, Code no. 7 thought that Tan Xilu genuinely loved desserts, so he had eaten several pieces alone. But then he realized that Tan Xilu couldn’t quite blend in with the crowd. He seemed like he didn’t belong to this world, quietly doing his own thing amidst the chaos.
Suddenly, someone brought up a topic related to Tan Xilu. Code no. 7 was too far away to hear what they were saying, but he saw Tan Xilu’s face change from joy to discomfort in an instant. Just a few seconds ago, everyone was having a great time, but now it was awkward. Code no. 7 couldn’t understand humans very well, but at that moment, he thought, “If only there was someone to be with Tan Xilu.”
He was so well-behaved, how could he be bullied like this?
And just a few seconds after Code no. 7 had this thought, he decided to be that person who would be with him.
He picked up a piece of cake and walked over to Tan Xilu, placing it in front of him, and said, “This is our latest surprise promotion. We randomly select one guest every day to taste our cake. Today’s lucky guest is you, please give it a try.”
“Huh?” Tan Xilu was a bit surprised, widening his eyes as he looked at Code no. 7.
“Oh? Alu, you have this kind of luck too!” a guy sitting diagonally across from them laughed, his tone teasing and somewhat grating.
Tan Xilu glanced at him but didn’t say anything.
It was Code no. 7 who spoke up with a grin, “We choose guests based on their appearance. Only the good-looking ones qualify.”
In other words, you’re not good-looking, that’s why you didn’t have this luck.
The guy was stunned for a moment, then reacted, blushing and cursing, “What kind of talk is that? Where’s your manager? I’m going to complain about you.”
“The manager is on vacation. Today, I’m in charge,” Code no. 7 said coldly.
Maybe Code no. 7’s gaze was too intimidating, but the guy didn’t dare to argue.
Tan Xilu tugged on Code no. 7’s sleeve and said in a low voice, “Thank you.”
Code no. 7 immediately put on a smile and said, “You’re welcome.”
From that moment on, every time Tan Xilu came to the restaurant, he would chat with Code no. 7 first. He visibly became more cheerful, and later, after he and Code no. 7 started dating, Code no. 7 opened a dessert shop of his own. Tan Xilu no longer confined himself to eating in the corner; sometimes, he even sat at the bar.
But after Code no. 7 went missing for seven years, Tan Xilu closed himself off again.
And this time, Tan Xilu didn’t seem to be trying to open up.
Xu Huaiming pushed the pine nut corn dessert in front of Tan Xilu and said, “This dessert, I thought you would like it.”
“Thank you,” Tan Xilu said as he scooped a spoonful into his mouth.
Xu Huaiming also ordered a small cake for him, just like the one he had seen in the video of Tan Xilu’s date with that man. In that video, Tan Xilu seemed to enjoy the cake so much, indicating that it must taste really good.
After a while, the cake arrived. When Tan Xilu saw the cake, he paused for a moment, then bit his lip, his face turning somewhat pale.
“What’s wrong?” Xu Hu
aiming asked with concern. “Don’t want to eat it?”
“No… it’s nothing,” Tan Xilu said nervously.
Just then, someone suddenly approached them. The person looked at Tan Xilu and exclaimed, “Oh my, Tan Xilu? Is it really you?”
Tan Xilu raised his eyes to see the person and nearly gasped in shock. Why did he have to run into Li Zhao?
Li Zhao didn’t seem to notice Tan Xilu’s anxious expression at all. He glanced at Xu Huaiming and clicked his tongue, asking, “Who’s this?”
T/N: Wishing you all a good September and welcome to Bad End month! 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
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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