Chapter 19 – Astray Youth (19)

After having lunch with Yuan Yan, Chen Luosong returned to the company. He worked there until late evening before returning to the villa.

By the time he got back, it was already quite late. It was unusual that the high schooler was not studying in the living room or his own room. The butler mentioned that he had returned in the afternoon, had dinner, and then went straight to his room. Considering the current time, he should already be asleep.

After hearing the butler’s words, Chen Luosong’s expression remained somewhat strange. He loosened his tie slightly and asked, “What’s wrong?”

The butler hesitated for a moment but ultimately said, “Young Master seemed a bit strange after returning today.”

To describe it specifically, it was like he was absent-minded, as if he had suffered a great blow, but with a slight difference, like he was in a mental struggle.

The butler’s description of the situation was quite abstract, and Chen Luosong didn’t say much more before returning to his room.

The butler looked at the folder under the scarf draped over his hand and asked, “Will Secretary Chen be working tonight?”

Chen Luosong said yes.

The living room briefly buzzed with activity before returning to silence.

On the second floor, in a dark room, only the light on the desk was on, illuminating the open pages of a book and the surrounding area, but there was no one around.

Zhou Kaiji lay quietly on the bed, raising his hand to cover his eyes, shielding them from the faint light emanating from the desk.

His mind was in chaos.

Fragments of today’s events and past experiences keep alternating in his mind, scenes from various situations uncontrollably surfacing.

He dared not face Secretary Chen, and he was afraid to hear about that person from his mouth.

Perhaps Secretary Chen saw him as a younger brother, but he was greedy. He wanted many things, wanted to be closer to Secretary Chen, even closer.

The school uniform hanging on the coat rack was given to him by Secretary Chen, just on his third day here. The previous uniform was a bit small, but he could wear it. Not many people would care about such details, but Secretary Chen noticed.

The scarf next to it was also picked by Secretary Chen, bright red, clearly reflecting his personal taste. Even the slippers by the bed, they were the only ones in the entire villa shaped like little chickens.


Zhou Kaiji slowly closed his eyes.

The best way was to maintain the status quo, to continue being a good younger brother who didn’t have a temper or act spoiled, but he couldn’t do it, and it was impossible for him to do it.

He couldn’t just watch Secretary Chen with someone else, helping them with their scarf, holding flowers given by someone else.

…How could he ever do that?

The soft, dim light barely illuminated the bed from a distance. Outside the window, there was no wind, and the world seemed to be frozen in time. The person on the bed lay back, staring at the ceiling, their mind in utter chaos.

Zhou Kaiji had initially thought he wouldn’t be able to sleep, but unexpectedly, in this jumbled state of mind, he drifted off.

He had a dream.

Like the strange dreams he had before, it was bizarrely real. Even though he knew he was dreaming, he couldn’t resist being immersed in it.

In the dream, he was the person, and the events inside were like actual occurrences, or perhaps they were how things should have unfolded.

Having experienced many such dreams before, he no longer felt the initial fear and was more like a first-person observer.

The scene was familiar—a straight street, bustling crowds, reminiscent of Yuhu Road where he had just been today.

He sat in the car, the driver ahead patiently waiting at a traffic light. With a turn of his head, he could see the coffee shop he had visited earlier, where the two people sitting by the window on the second floor had now become a male-female couple.

The car was close to the roadside, and the window wasn’t tightly closed, allowing sounds from outside to filter in. Someone said, “Guangsheng’s CEO is getting married.”

The person silently scrolling through their phone in the front passenger seat heard and commented, “These wealthy folks making wedding announcements that make the news nowadays.”

The interface on their phone was indeed a news browsing page.

The person in the backseat wasn’t interested and glanced away after a brief look. Zhou Kaiji could only catch a glimpse of a few words in that blurry moment: [Guangsheng… Chen… Tomorrow… Engagement].

In an instant, his mind went blank.

The person discussing the news by the roadside had left, and the person in the front seat seemed aware that Zhou Kaiji wasn’t interested and didn’t continue the topic. They lowered their head and resumed looking at their phone.

Zhou Kaiji tried to reach for the phone in front and wanted to speak but found himself unable to move or utter a word.

It was a very long dream.

As usual, he returned to where he lived and arranged to meet someone the next day.

The meeting place was at a restaurant, with traffic flowing outside.

The engagement was scheduled for today.

The person sitting across occasionally glanced at him while chatting away. The dream was too long; he couldn’t move or wake up. Zhou Kaiji could only sense the passage of time without being able to make any changes.

The person across from him spoke more and more, and he could feel his own impatience growing. He turned his head to look out the window.

Outside, the sunlight was bright, a car parked by the roadside. The driver in the driver’s seat had gray hair, turning to speak to someone in the backseat.

It wasn’t a car he usually rode in, but the driver was the one who usually chauffeured him to and from his villa.

The presence of the driver here indicated the identity of the person in the backseat.

Zhou Kaiji wanted to look closely at the figure in the backseat, but his body wouldn’t respond, and his gaze returned to the restaurant.

The engagement banquet was today, and the car just now was heading to the engagement banquet.

He couldn’t leave.

That car couldn’t leave.

The turmoil in his mind continued, and he could still hear sharp noises near his ears. His chest felt tight, and his heartbeat was intense.

…He could feel the thumping of his heart.

Zhou Kaiji lowered his head and looked at his hands.

A damaged hand, full of wounds.

—It could move. In almost an instant, the person who had been silent and reserved in their seat stood up abruptly, the chair scraping against the floor with a dull sound.

Faced with this sudden change, the person across couldn’t react in time. The person sitting beside them turned their head, reflexively calling out, “Brother Zhou!”

The noise behind him, the shouts, the stunned looks from other customers and staff—all of that was pushed to the back of his mind. All sounds disappeared, and Zhou Kaiji’s gaze could only see the vehicle on the roadside, running towards it regardless of everything.

The driver looked at him with the same eyes as everyone else in the restaurant and tried to open the door and push him away, but he paid no attention, only staring at the person in the backseat.

The person in the backseat had a blurred face, wearing a red tie, and a suit jacket with a fully bloomed flower pinned to it.

They looked completely prepared to go to the engagement banquet.

“Brother Chen!”

Zhou Kaiji tried to lean into the car, his messy hair hanging down, his coat in disarray, urgently saying, “Don’t go.”

The person in the car raised his head slightly, his gaze passing over the scars on his body, and said, “Who are you?”


His pupils trembled, and Zhou Kaiji’s grip on the car window loosened.

The driver in front gave up on pushing him away and stepped on the gas pedal.

The engine roared, and the vehicle quickly sped away.

The person in the backseat never looked at him more than once.

“…Don’t leave me behind.”

The person lying on the bed instantly opened his eyes.

His pupils trembled under his eyelashes, unable to distinguish between reality and the dream. He picked up the phone placed beside him, opened the chat interface, and typed a message with trembling hands.

When Chen Luosong received the message from the high schooler, he was still working. His phone, placed aside, vibrated, and he picked it up to glance at it, replied briefly, then set it down again.

After setting down the phone and looking back at the computer screen, he only typed two words, but the sound of chaotic footsteps could already be heard in the corridor.

He stood up and opened the door. As the door opened, the overhead light was blocked, and he was immediately engulfed in a warm embrace. He was led back a couple of steps until his back pressed against the cabinet behind the door.

The high schooler was wearing thin pajamas, but his skin felt incredibly hot, his breathing was rapid, and his heartbeat was fast. The hands wrapped around him kept tightening.

“What’s wrong?”

Supporting himself against the wooden cabinet behind him, Chen Luosong patted the person’s back and said, “Another nightmare?”

The high schooler was breathing heavily and squeezed out a hoarse “Brother Chen” from his throat, saying in a raspy voice, “Don’t leave me behind.”

“Don’t go with him.”

His voice still carried the lingering greenness of youth, heavy with hoarseness, almost pleading.

The air seemed filled with a burning scent.

“I’ll behave, won’t throw tantrums or act spoiled, I’ll become an outstanding person that Brother Chen will be proud of.”

He didn’t ask for anything else, but he had to stay by Secretary Chen’s side, and Secretary Chen had to remember him, not ask, “Who are you?” when seeing him.

Not quite understanding the current situation and unable to figure out what kind of dream the high schooler had, Chen Luosong simply patted his back.

The pat on his back was gentle, yet Zhou Kaiji could clearly feel it. The familiar, pleasant scent filled his nose, and he heard the other person say, “I won’t abandon you or go with anyone else.”

“As long as you still need me.”

The other person’s voice remained calm as usual. In this quiet space, Zhou Kaiji could hear every fluctuation and intonation in each word.

“You can throw tantrums and act spoiled, you don’t have to be exceptionally outstanding; these are your rights.”

Chen Luosong said, “I’ve said it before, I just hope you can be a good person.”

Zhou Kaiji listened to the faint breaths in his ear, his heartbeat and breathing gradually calming down. He asked in a low voice, “Can I really throw tantrums and act spoiled?”

Chen Luosong said he could.

Feeling the warmth in his arms, Zhou Kaiji lowered his eyes and mumbled, “Then I don’t like the smell of cigarettes on Brother Chen.”

Chen Luosong attempted to smell himself but was still held tightly. The strength of the high schooler was unexpectedly strong. He failed to lower his head and asked, “Is there any?”

He was genuinely trying to detect the smell of cigarettes on himself.

His furrowed brows relaxed, and Zhou Kaiji couldn’t help but chuckle softly, complaining, “There really is.”

While complaining, his brows and eyes relaxed completely, his ears turned red, and an uncontrollable smile appeared on his face.

He couldn’t give up liking Secretary Chen after all.

Being a good person meant not breaking laws or regulations. Liking Secretary Chen wasn’t breaking any laws or regulations. So, he decided to be a bit stubborn, to not give up, and to continue liking Secretary Chen.

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