Chapter 38: The Palm of Your Hand
Tan Xilu couldn’t sleep again. He lay in bed, staring at the ceiling all night, and finally sat up before the sunrise. He reached for the bottle of vitamins that had worked well for him before on the bedside table and swallowed several pills.
His stomach burned, as if there was a fire raging inside. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep again, but undoubtedly, he still couldn’t fall asleep.
He was tired, but sleep eluded him. Whenever he closed his eyes, all he could think of was Xu Huaiming.
It had been two weeks since he and Xu Huaiming separated, but thinking about Xu Huaiming still made Tan Xilu’s heart ache in waves.
What terrified Tan Xilu was that he didn’t know if the Xu Huaiming he couldn’t stop thinking about was the one from the past or the one in the present.
After lying in bed for ten minutes, Tan Xilu finally gave up on sleep, got up from the bed, and went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and freshen up. He tried to make himself look normal, the way he used to smile, but the dark circles under his eyes were too heavy, his complexion too pale, and his lips too dry. He just couldn’t resemble his former self.
Tan Xilu splashed his face with water, then walked out of the bathroom. In the past, after he woke up, breakfast would have already been set on the dining table. As he stepped out of the bathroom, he would hear Xu Huaiming’s voice coming from the kitchen, “Are you up? Have you finished getting ready? Have a seat; breakfast will be ready soon.”
But now, the table was empty, devoid of anything.
The day they separated, when Tan Xilu returned home, there was still the hotpot meatballs they had bought the day before in the kitchen. They had planned to eat them together with Lin Changyu and the others. However, little did they know that their last meal together before parting ways would be a simple breakfast.
He ended up eating the hotpot meatballs alone for several days, but eventually, he had to visit the hospital, and since then, he couldn’t eat anything or sleep well.
The doctor advised him to eat something light, so Tan Xilu had been drinking congee lately.
For someone with no talent for cooking, even making the simplest congee was a challenge. Staring at the pot filled with blackened and unidentifiable substance, Tan Xilu stood there in a daze for a moment, then covered the pot.
Returning to the living room, he sat on the couch and ordered some rice porridge from a food delivery app.
“Meow…” Beibei knocked over her food bowl again, scattering cat food all over the floor. Tan Xilu sighed and went over to clean it up.
During this time, Beibei had been acting up. When she first came to his home, she used to squeeze herself between Tan Xilu and Xu Huaiming to sleep, but now that Xu Huaiming was gone, she no longer wanted to do that. She would pester Tan Xilu at night, as if she had realized that there was one less person in the house. Sometimes she would even sneak into each room to see if Xu Huaiming was there.
Tan Xilu petted Beibei and his eyes suddenly welled up with tears. He said, “Don’t look for him anymore; he won’t come back.”
It all felt like a dream. He had met Xu Huaiming, they had fallen in love, and then they had been together. After Xu Huaiming disappeared, he spent seven years reminiscing about him. They had started their relationship again when Xu Huaiming returned, but he never expected it to end like this.
It was all a lie; Xu Huaiming was a lie, and so was their love.
Nearly a decade of his life had been nothing but deception.
Beibei nibbled on his pants, then rolled over on the floor. Tan Xilu touched her and said, “Beibei, I’m so sad.”
Beibei didn’t understand human words, but she seemed to sense that her owner was very sad, and it made her a little melancholic too. She lay down on the floor.
The ringing of Tan Xilu’s phone on the coffee table interrupted the moment. He got up to check his phone; it was his food delivery.
Three minutes later, he went downstairs to pick up the food.
The delivery guy handed him the food and looked around cautiously before saying, “Sir, just a heads up, when I came in, I saw someone acting suspiciously near the entrance of your building. I’m not sure what they’re up to, but you should be careful and maybe consider informing the property management.”
“Someone?” Tan Xilu was surprised and instinctively looked around, but he didn’t see anyone. He asked, “Did you get a good look at what they looked like?”
“No,” the delivery guy shook his head, “but sir, please be cautious. It’s better to be safe; I’m worried they might be up to no good.”
“Oh, alright, thank you,” Tan Xilu smiled at him and said, “I’ll give you a good rating.”
Back in his home, Tan Xilu placed the food on the table. Then he remembered something and walked to the entrance. He opened the door quietly and stepped outside, making sure not to startle the person he had been warned about. He walked to the entrance of the building, and indeed, he saw someone sitting on the wooden bench near the flowerbed.
It seemed like the person hadn’t expected Tan Xilu to come down. They had probably intended to hide somewhere but realized that Tan Xilu had already spotted them. In the end, they just stood there, head down, motionless, and silent.
Today was an uncommonly good day considering it was mid-winter, and there were many evergreen trees in the neighborhood. Despite the cold season, there was still lush greenery. Xu Huaiming was still wearing that same down jacket, and the fragmented sunlight filtered through, making him seem bright in the light, yet inexplicably lonely to Tan Xilu.
Taking a deep breath, Tan Xilu walked over and asked, “What are you doing here?”
Xu Huaiming moved, lifting his head to look at Tan Xilu. He wanted to reach out and touch Tan Xilu’s face, but Tan Xilu quickly evaded, showing a guarded expression.
Xu Huaiming had no choice but to lower his hand. He said, “Alu, you’ve lost weight.”
Without looking at Xu Huaiming, Tan Xilu said, “You shouldn’t come here anymore. We’ve already parted ways.”
Pausing for a moment, he added, “Your things at home, you should pack them up and take them with you.”
“Just for today, and then I’m going to my parents’ for the New Year tomorrow,” Tan Xilu turned and headed inside.
“Okay,” Xu Huaiming didn’t resist any further, obediently following him.
Once inside, Tan Xilu, who was always cold in the winter, had the heating turned up high in his home. As he entered, he felt the warmth enveloping him. Tan Xilu leaned against the door, saying, “Hurry up and pack. There are cardboard boxes behind the bedroom.”
“Alright,” Xu Huaiming replied softly and began packing his belongings diligently. He even tidied up the mess in the room that Tan Xilu had made earlier. Tan Xilu put Beibei down on the floor, and she wagged her tail before heading towards Xu Huaiming.
“Take Beibei with you,” Tan Xilu suddenly said, “Originally, she was a gift from a guest, and I shouldn’t keep her all to myself.”
“Alu…” Xu Huaiming looked up at Tan Xilu, his eyes filled with confusion. He felt like he was slowly losing something.
Tan Xilu leaned against the door and said with a faint smile, “Xu Huaiming, I’m really tired, very tired. It’s been ten years… Do you know how many decades that is in a lifetime? I can’t waste it on you guys anymore. Besides, you’re just an AI. Should I spend my whole life with an AI?”
He paused and added, “You should also understand that the Xu Huaiming I love isn’t you.”
Of course, Xu Huaiming understood. He was a replica of Code no.7, created to fulfill Code no.7’s wishes. But in a way, he was also designed to make Tan Xilu gradually grow tired of him, so that Tan Xilu could seek a new life, or cruelly, to let Tan Xilu forget him while slowly falling in love with him.
He understood the rationale, but he didn’t want it now. He wanted a life that belonged only to him. He wanted to be with Tan Xilu, and he wanted Tan Xilu to love him in return.
However, he was burdened with the face of Code no.7, and Tan Xilu had loved only Code no.7 from the beginning to the end.
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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