Chapter 15 – Astray Youth (15)

As the bouquet of flowers was moved aside, the employee finally saw that the person standing in the corridor was not someone they usually saw. Pausing midway through his sentence, he struggled a bit to place the flowers on the table and said, “Is it Mr. Zhou Xiaokai?”

“Secretary Chen is still in a meeting. It should end in about half an hour. He asked you to wait in the office for a while or you can move around freely in there.”

— Zhou Xiaokai.

Just hearing this name gave away who was being referred to.

Zhou Kaiji briefly held the folders in his hands and said, “Okay.”

The employee quickly opened the door to his office.

Glancing back at the roses the employee had been arranging earlier, Zhou Kaiji lifted his foot and walked into the office.

The office was spacious, bright, and quite simple, with only the necessary items. The only thing that could be considered decoration was a small potted plant on the coffee table.

There didn’t seem to be anything needing watering in the office; this plant probably wasn’t taken care of by Secretary Chen himself.

The office was different from what he had imagined before. He had thought Secretary Chen was someone who cared about the quality of life, including the working environment, but the reality seemed different.

The office was bright but deserted, resembling a standard office setup but not quite like a place where someone would spend a lot of time.

Behind the desk was a French window, and Zhou Kaiji walked over and looked down.

From here, he could see the street below and also the mall where Li Hua had bought gashapon last time.

It always seemed bustling here, even on weekdays, with a constant flow of people below.

Was this what Secretary Chen usually saw?

The sunlight was making his eyes ache a bit. Zhou Kaiji turned back around and carefully placed the documents on the desk.

There were some files piled on the desk, along with some books, and the computer screen had gone black.

Slightly lowering his head, Zhou Kaiji saw the turtle with a chicken backpack under the screen and paused for a moment as he placed the files.

This was the turtle he had given to Secretary Chen.

After giving it to him, he never saw it in the other party’s room. He thought maybe he had put it away in a cabinet or perhaps in some corner.

It turns out it was taken to the office.

The turtle had a pair of bean-like eyes, looking dull and clumsy, which seemed out of place on the modern-looking desk.

It looked completely out of place with Secretary Chen.

The person standing beside the desk couldn’t help but smile when looking at it.

After placing the documents, Zhou Kaiji didn’t look around or touch anything in the office. He just sat on the sofa by the coffee table, didn’t touch his phone, and quietly waited.

He hadn’t been sitting on the sofa for long when footsteps approached, and a figure appeared in front of the frosted office door, followed by a knock.

From the moment he heard the footsteps, Zhou Kaiji knew it wasn’t Secretary Chen who had come. It was the employee he had seen earlier. He came in, handed him a glass of orange juice, and then left after delivering it.

As he was halfway through the glass of orange juice, a series of footsteps came from outside the office door.

Zhou Kaiji set down the water glass and straightened up slightly.

The voice of the employee he had heard earlier came from outside the door. He heard him say, “Secretary Chen, should we handle these flowers from Mr. Yuan as we did before?”


The chaotic footsteps faded away, indicating that the other person had left, leaving only one set of footsteps.

Chen Luosong walked into the office and immediately saw the high schooler standing up from the sofa.

Taking off his glasses perched on his nose, he asked, “How long have you been here?”

Zhou Kaiji said it hadn’t been long.

As he answered, his gaze followed Chen Luosong as he walked towards the desk.

Unlike his usual preference for thick coats and scarves, Secretary Chen wore a formal suit while working.

Zhou Kaiji also noticed the silver clip on his tie.

Chen Luosong set the documents aside, put his glasses back on, leaned over to type a few keystrokes, and said, “Do you want to stay a bit longer in the company?”

“I’ll finish work around noon today,” he glanced at the time and said, “I want to take you somewhere in the afternoon.”

Zhou Kaiji said he’d like that.

The atmosphere in this building was bustling, unlike what he was used to, a bit unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but he wanted to stay because Secretary Chen was here.

“There will be people coming here later, you might not be comfortable,” Chen Luosong took out a key from a drawer and tossed it to the high schooler standing nearby, saying, “I’ll take you to the office upstairs. You can wait there.”

Zhou Kaiji took the key and asked, “The office upstairs?”

Chen Luosong said, “Your father’s office.”

Zhou Kaiji’s eyes twitched slightly.

The former chairman’s office was directly above this office, originally meant to be renovated and put back into use, but it was ultimately kept as it was, becoming the only office in this building without anyone using it regularly. Cleaning staff would only come in at specific times to tidy up.

Riding the elevator up, passing through the office area, standing in front of the solid wood door, Chen Luosong looked at the keyhole and said to the person next to him, “The key is in your hands.”

Just like downstairs, there was an office desk in front of the door, but no one was working there anymore. It had become a place for employees to store miscellaneous items.

Zhou Kaiji lowered his eyes, aimed the key at the keyhole.


After a crisp sound, the wooden door moved slightly, and a faint light seeped through from inside.

Without stepping in, Chen Luosong stood only at the doorway and said, “I’ll call you after everything is done.”

He raised his hand and tousled the high schooler’s hair, saying, “You have the right to touch anything inside.”

After saying that, he left. Zhou Kaiji stood quietly at the door, then pushed it open and walked in.

It was an office quite different from downstairs, with wooden desks, chairs, bookshelves, various plants, and small ornaments.

It had a modern yet simple feel, similar to the décor in a villa, combining modern and traditional elements.

It looked like the office of someone who enjoyed playing with small things.

Zhou Kaiji looked around, took a walk, and finally circled around to the back of the desk.

Among a pile of golden ornaments on the desk, below the computer screen on one side, just like the small turtle downstairs, there was a clean and prominent horizontal photo frame.

In the frame was a couple and a child they were holding together.

The man wore glasses and looked dignified, showing no signs of being someone who enjoyed playing with plants and ornaments. The woman smiled generously, exuding a cheerful personality even in the photo.

They were completely unfamiliar people, or rather, a completely unfamiliar family of three.

The child had a gold pendant around his neck, something Zhou Kaiji had heard Li Hua mention. It was a tradition from the older generation, believed to bless the child with safety and growth, and in some places, it was thought to keep the family together.

With the warm key still in his right hand, Zhou Kaiji looked down at the photo frame, his stray hair blocking the sunlight that fell on it.


Chen Luosong went up to take the high schooler after work ended at noon.

It was lunch break now. Each office area had a large dining table for employees who wanted to order takeout who didn’t want to go to the employee canteen. Near the corridor, when he was leading the high schooler away, almost half of the tables were already occupied.

During lunch break, unlike during working hours, employees were more relaxed. When they saw him passing by with someone, they glanced at the person beside him and greeted Chen Luosong first, then praised, “Such a handsome little brother!”

It was clear that female employees in the office really liked the handsome teenager. In just a short distance, the high schooler received several packs of snacks from people.

Facing such direct admiration and enthusiasm for the first time, Zhou Kaiji held the snacks awkwardly, then looked at Chen Luosong with a somewhat confused expression.

Chen Luosong patted his shoulder and said, “Say thank you.”

Zhou Kaiji then said thank you.

Others praised him again for being polite.

After spending a long time with colleagues in the office, everyone’s true nature was revealed. Some colleagues who were originally considered cool had become boastful and unrefined. It had been a long time since the people in the office had seen a polite and shy handsome teenager, and they laughed heartily, watching him go up the elevator.

Inside the elevator, Chen Luosong turned to look at the person standing next to him who still seemed a bit stunned and asked, “Not used to it?”

Zhou Kaiji hesitated, nodded slightly, then shook his head, “It’s alright.”

Those people expressed their preferences directly, openly, and warmly, yet with restraint. He wasn’t entirely uncomfortable, just not quite used to it.

Chen Luosong smiled and said, “It’s quite fun to relax here. Next time you come, you should give it a try.”

After taking the elevator straight to the first floor this time, Chen Luosong took Zhou Xiaoji to have lunch.

When they came out of the restaurant after lunch, the driver was already waiting in the parking lot below.

As they got into the car and fastened their seat belts, Zhou Kaiji asked, “Brother Chen, where are we going?”

Chen Luosong, now wearing a thick coat and wrapping a scarf around his neck, replied, “We’re going somewhere you might need to see.”

The driver ahead quietly started the vehicle.

Without dwelling on where they were headed, Chen Luosong asked Zhou Kaiji, “How did Li Hua and the other classmates do on their exams this time?”

Zhou Kaiji’s gaze involuntarily shifted to the side before returning and he said, “They did okay.”

“Okay” meant their grades had improved from tripling their homework to 1.6 times, a significant and commendable progress, at least both the students and their parents were satisfied.

He added, “They said it’s because of the meal you cooked last time that they did better than before.”

Their exact words were that their iron stomachs still couldn’t handle it, spending the day in the bathroom was worth it as it cleared their minds of clutter and made room for new knowledge.

Regardless of the process, at least the cause and effect were right.

Chen Luosong chuckled into his scarf, his eyes shifting slightly under his messy bangs as he looked at the person sitting beside him.

Unlike when they first met, the high schooler now looked less frail, with good complexion, often silent but with bright eyes.

His studies were going smoothly, he had made friends he kept in touch with, and if he wasn’t mistaken, he seemed to have grown taller.

Chen Luosong slowly withdrew his gaze.

Half of the mission was completed.

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