Xu Huaiming lowered his head to look at his feet. Egg yolk had splattered on them, and a glass bowl, due to inertia, spun a few times by his feet before gradually coming to a stop.
“Xu Ge, what’s wrong with you today? It’s happened several times,” Arlene asked hesitantly. “Are you not feeling well somewhere?”
“Ah?” Xu Huaiming was momentarily puzzled. He didn’t know why he felt a bit uneasy today, as if something was about to happen. He shook his head and said, “I’m fine.” Then, he picked up the glass bowl and placed it in the sink on the bar counter. He grabbed some paper towels and began cleaning the floor and his shoes.
The floor was a bit tricky to clean since the egg yolk was sticky. After quickly absorbing it with paper towels, he sprayed some dish soap and scrubbed it clean.
Fortunately, not much egg had splattered on his shoes, but after wiping away the egg, he still had to brush them carefully to make them spotless. He had bought these shoes a few days ago with Tan Xilu in mind. They were comfortable, and Xu Huaiming really liked them. He had intended to wear them for his date with Tan Xilu later that evening, but he had accidentally dirtied them just after putting them on.
“Xu Ge, how about you take a break in the back room? This way, your work won’t be affected,” Arlene suggested. “There aren’t many customers right now anyway.”
Xu Huaiming rubbed his temples, hesitated for a moment, and then looked at the several bowls and dishes he had accidentally knocked over on the bar counter earlier in the day. Finally, he nodded reluctantly and said, “Okay.”
There was a small resting room in the back, with only a bed inside. Sometimes, when Arlene had a late closing and couldn’t make it to her afternoon shift, she would rest there.
The room had a window, and Arlene always kept it open for ventilation. Now, with the wind blowing outside, a cold breeze swept through, lifting a corner of the bedsheet.
When Xu Huaiming slept alone, he had a habit of shutting down all his bodily functions. He hardly felt the cold. After about ten minutes of rest, he heard faint voices in his ears. The system was more alert than he was and had reactivated all his functions. Then he heard Arlene’s voice saying, “Xu Ge, wake up. There’s a customer looking for you outside.”
Xu Huaiming quickly woke up. He sat up on the bed and, with his peripheral vision, saw a figure by the door. He turned his head and looked outside, only to see the person smirking, a sinister smile that made him uneasy. The person called out, “Hello, Xu Huaiming, do you remember me?”
Xu Huaiming squinted and hesitated for a moment before asking, “Li Zhao?”
A dessert shop, when going straight ahead to the end, led to a small alley, and further down the alley was a senior citizens’ park. At noon, the park was usually deserted, making it a good place for a private conversation.
Li Zhao stopped by the bridge near the lake, turned around, and saw Xu Huaiming following him.
To be honest, Xu Huaiming’s appearance was too outstanding. His words and actions were almost impeccable. If Li Zhao hadn’t heard Professor Bon’s statement, he might not have suspected that Xu Huaiming was an AI. Because compared to 059, the AI he had been tending to in the lab, Xu Huaiming was exceptionally convincing.
The thing AI creators feared the most was that AI would develop genuine independent thoughts. They hoped that AI would have emotions like humans but also feared losing control. Xu Huaiming fell somewhere in between. What set him apart was that his creator was also an AI. AI understood the pros and cons of AI better than anyone else. So, they had crafted Xu Huaiming almost perfectly. But when AI developed emotions, it meant that the once impenetrable armor had a vulnerability, a fatal flaw.
In this case, Xu Huaiming’s vulnerability was Tan Xilu.
To be precise, it was that Tan Xilu didn’t love him.
So, Li Zhao looked at Xu Huaiming with disdain. He didn’t hesitate to expose Xu Huaiming’s “weakness”: “You’re an AI, aren’t you?”
The weather today was truly gloomy. Even though it was afternoon, the sun had barely shown its face, and the sky was gray. The sycamore leaves in the park had almost all fallen, and those that still clung to the trees were half-green and half-yellow. The air wasn’t as fresh as usual. Everything seemed to be signaling that something significant was about to happen today.
Upon hearing Li Zhao’s question, Xu Huaiming finally understood why he had been feeling anxious all day. It turned out that Li Zhao had found out.
The wind was blowing strangely, making a whistling sound. It stung Xu Huaiming’s face, and while his senses were sharp, at this moment, the inner turmoil hurt more than the wind on his face.
He knew that Li Zhao was interested in Tan Xilu. Due to his AI-level alertness, he had sensed it the first time he met the man. Now, Li Zhao had him by the throat. Xu Huaiming couldn’t help but wonder if Li Zhao would tell Tan Xilu.
If he told Tan Xilu, what would Tan Xilu do? Would he break up with him immediately? It was possible. Tan Xilu would undoubtedly feel deceived. But Xu Huaiming had no control over that. However, Tan Xilu wouldn’t care about such things. He was the real victim here. Tan Xilu was easy to appease, but Xu Huaiming knew that this time, Tan Xilu wouldn’t forgive him.
Xu Huaiming dared not dwell on it any longer.
He looked at Li Zhao and took a deep breath before asking, “What do you want?”
“Don’t be afraid,” Li Zhao heard the trembling in his voice and relished in it. He raised his lips and said, “I’m just curious. What would happen if Tan Xilu found out that you’re not the real Xu Huaiming? Would he be disgusted? He’s been sleeping with a stranger all this time. He’s so obedient and docile. Would he go crazy?”
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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