Chapter 26 – Astray Youth (26)

Chen Luosong eventually caught up.

By finishing work early and rescheduling, although there was some rush midway, fortunately, he came back ahead of time.

The campus of A University was large, and it took quite some time to walk from the parking lot to this side. Despite the shade from the trees, it didn’t help much; the temperature remained high as usual. He continued to fan himself with his hand while watching the people on the stage. He noticed the gaze from the side and turned his head, catching the eyes of someone who hadn’t had a chance to look away yet.

In the brief exchange of glances, he smiled softly and said, “Long time no see.”

—Long time no see.

Looking at the wristwatch hanging on the person’s pale wrist, Li Yue remembered.

He had seen this person a year or more ago. This person’s voice was very distinctive, something he wouldn’t forget. The last time he met this person, he wasn’t wearing glasses, so he didn’t recognize him immediately. But now, seeing the smile on his face and the cold-colored watch, he finally remembered.

He said, “You’re Zhou Kaiji’s…”

The person beside him nodded, “Half guardian.”

After speaking, he turned back, fanning himself with one hand and propping his face with the other, continuing to watch the person speaking on the stage.

Quite similar.

Li Yue noticed that the person on the stage had the same downward gaze while speaking as the person sitting beside him. It’s just that the person next to him seemed calmer, with silver glasses frames shining, inexplicably giving off a colder aura.

So, Zhou Kaiji’s change was because of this person.

The speech didn’t last too long, and with thoughts lingering on the unanswered messages, Zhou Kaiji finished according to the protocol, took the flowers, gave a slight bow, and prepared to step down from the stage.

There was applause in the venue, the lights were bright and somewhat dazzling, he stood up straight, raising his eyes slightly.

Under the lights, among the applauding crowd, there was a person sitting quietly, propping their face with one hand.

The distance was too far, and the person’s face was blurry in the bright light, not clear enough to see, yet he could recognize him at a glance.

Suddenly, just before stepping down from the stage, a faint arc appeared at the corner of the person’s mouth.

It wasn’t very obvious, but indeed, there was a slight smile.

After the person stepped down from the stage, someone from the backstage was about to approach, but he saw the other person accelerating his pace from the moment he stepped down, then running with the flowers in hand.

The flowers in the bouquet trembled, and the white shirt fluttered along with the tousled hair, carrying a young man’s aura and a faint floral fragrance in the wind stirred up as the person passed by.

Someone had just walked out from the backstage, glanced up, and saw a person swiftly flying past. They casually asked the person next to them, “Is there an emergency?”

The person next to them replied, “I don’t know.”

After leaving from one side of the stage, Zhou Kaiji went to the audience seats in the auditorium, scanning through the back rows one by one, finally spotting the person he was looking for.

Amidst the continuous subtle chatter around, he bent down slightly, supporting himself on a chair, lowered his voice a bit, and called out, “Brother Chen.”

Before Chen Luosong could show any reaction, he was already embraced by someone, and a hint of floral fragrance could still be detected in the air.

In that instant, from hearing the voice to turning his head, Li Yue saw that the person who had recently stepped down from the stage had already come to the side and swiftly and directly embraced the person sitting there, with skilled and natural movements.

Chen Luosong allowed himself to be embraced for a moment before patting the person’s back lightly.

Finally letting go, Zhou Kaiji spread his hands and asked, “Brother Chen, how come you’re back now?”

The other person had shown him the flight schedule before, so it shouldn’t be time for departure yet.

Chen Luosong said, “I finished work early, so I came back early.”

He smiled and added, “Didn’t expect to catch up.”

Zhou Kaiji looked at his glasses still perched on his nose and the loosened tie hanging down, then glanced at the podium where another person had taken over speaking, before turning back and asking, “Brother Chen, would you like something to drink?”

The newly appointed representative had decisively concluded the opening ceremony from the stage.

Transitioning from the noisy auditorium to a quiet beverage shop, the subtle sounds of the air conditioning replaced the chatter.

After finding a place to sit, Zhou Kaiji looked at the person sitting across from him and asked, “Will Brother Chen go back to rest after this?”

Secretary Chen, who normally only wore glasses and a tie during work, looked tired now, and his voice sounded a bit hoarse compared to usual, indicating that he probably hadn’t had time to rest and had come straight over.

Zhou Kaiji hadn’t experienced jet lag himself, but he had heard from others that the process of adjusting to it could be quite uncomfortable.

After taking a sip of the throat-soothing drink, Chen Luosong glanced at the time and then said, “I’ll go to the company in a bit.”

He didn’t seem to have plans to go back and rest.

Zhou Kaiji looked at the slightly thin, pale wrist and the half-lowered eyes and brows of the person across from him. His hand moved slightly to one side, but in the end, he didn’t say much and just responded with a simple “Oh.”

Chen Luosong couldn’t stay at A University for too long. The driver was still waiting in the parking lot, and after drinking most of the throat-soothing drink, he stood up, ruffled the hair of the college student, and said, “Let’s go.”

Zhou Xiaokai lowered his head and let him ruffle his hair, then stood up and accompanied him to the parking lot with his tousled hair.

As the car left, it disappeared from sight after turning a corner.

After the actual start of the semester, Zhou Kaiji could only go to the company on Saturdays and Sundays when he didn’t have classes. The rest of the time, he was attending classes at school, learning to read financial statements and studying.

Most of his classmates were not locals, so when Friday came and he went home immediately after class, it made some of them quite emotional.

On Fridays, when he finished classes, it coincided with the company’s lunch break. Just like in high school, Secretary Chen would come to pick him up, sometimes taking him home, and other times, directly to the company.

It’s unclear which time someone saw him being picked up, but for a long time afterward, friends kept asking for the contact information of the person picking him up until recently when things finally calmed down.

Recently, Chen Luosong’s side had also calmed down. When the former high schooler went to school, Yuan Yan went abroad to talk about his company’s key projects for the past two years, and during that month, things around Chen Luosong became much quieter.

On a Monday afternoon, as the sunlight slanted westward and the sky gradually darkened, the lights in the office came on.

As autumn set in, the evenings grew darker faster than before, leaving only a faint trace of sunlight mingling with the office lights, illuminating the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Chen Luosong sat behind his desk, glancing at the time.

It was almost time to clock out.

The internal line phone rang beside him, and he picked it up, hearing the voice of his assistant on the other end.

The assistant mentioned that Mr. Yuan had arrived. Since this was an unplanned meeting, they wanted to know his thoughts.

Since Yuan Yan was already downstairs, the only option was for him to come up.

Yuan Yan came up, wearing a smile on his face. As soon as he entered the office, he greeted him and naturally found a place to set down what he was holding, then poured himself a glass of water.

He seemed quite energetic, not like someone who had just returned from a business trip.

Chen Luosong set down his pen and asked what brought him here.

“Just thought since you’re almost done for the day, we could go have a drink together,” Yuan Yan said, holding his water glass and glancing at the yellow chicken-shaped cup on the counter. He smiled and remarked, “Is this your new cup?”

Chen Luosong replied succinctly, “It belongs to someone else.”

The smile on the person standing at the counter faded slightly.

Having an exclusive cup here indicated frequent visits.

Even though Yuan Yan had been abroad for a while, he was still aware of what he needed to know.

After taking the last sip of water, he set down the glass and said, “You really care about him.”

Staying by one’s side even during work was already considered a very special treatment.

Chen Luosong casually responded before asking, “No jet lag?”

Yuan Yan sat down on the sofa and waved his hand dismissively, saying, “A one or two-hour time difference isn’t worth mentioning.”

After finishing up his work, Chen Luosong and Yuan Yan went downstairs together.

During this past month, Yuan Yan hadn’t been idle. Apart from work, he had also gathered some useful information. He hoped they could discuss it over drinks.

As the elevator descended, the person who had been trying to gather information sighed, “It seems like you’re only willing to meet me when it’s about work.”

The person beside him looked over, his gaze as calm as ever.

Before the person could say more, Yuan Yan quickly gestured to stop and said, “Hold on, I don’t want to hear that same thing a second time right now.”

Hearing rejection once was enough; hearing it twice would be too disheartening.

Chen Luosong remained silent.


Yuan Yan rubbed his face.

Indeed, that person had wanted to repeat the rejection.

As the elevator stopped, he took out his car keys and said, “My friend recently opened a new shop. We can go there.”


Li Hua realized right from the start of the semester that his living expenses were not proportional to his expenditures. Taking advantage of not having classes on Mondays, he quickly found a part-time job.

He worked part-time at a lounge, where his daily tasks included serving dishes and gossiping with other part-timers. During breaks, he and a few friends would even live broadcast the gossip scene.

The lounge owner was wealthy, and most of the clientele were well-off, too; shaking a bit could make a heap of melon fall off.

As evening approached, the number of customers noticeably increased, and Li Hua became too busy serving dishes to indulge in the gossip.

Although the place was crowded, there was a corner seat on the second floor that remained empty, quite conspicuous.

Curious, Li Hua asked a regular employee passing by, who mentioned that it was a seat specifically ordered by the owner to be kept empty.

As for who it was reserved for and for how long, even the employee didn’t know.

Just as Li Hua finished asking, he returned to the side of the kitchen and saw the owner mentioned earlier.

The owner said that part-timers didn’t need to deliver drinks or fruit platters to the seat on the second floor; he would handle it himself.

It seemed like he valued that seat quite significantly.

Someone acted as the spokesperson for everyone present and asked the owner if a big shot was coming.

The owner confirmed, mentioning that his good brother and a person who needed careful attention were coming. As he spoke, he couldn’t help but scratch his head.

After worrying about it, the owner went to attend to other matters, then left after speaking. As soon as his figure disappeared, Li Hua silently retreated to a corner and informed his group of high school friends that a very important person was coming today.

Good Brother was always on the front line of the crowd and responded enthusiastically. Zhou Kaiji didn’t reply, probably busy.

After making the announcement, Li Hua quickly put away his phone and resumed his job of serving dishes, all the while keeping an eye on the entrance.

After passing by the entrance several times, and when he was about to sneak out from the kitchen again to send a message, he finally saw the owner emerging from an unknown place, standing at the entrance.

Someone entered through the door and greeted the owner warmly, showing a familiar attitude, indicating they were the owner’s friend.

Tall, quite handsome, and looked somewhat familiar.

The other person was blocked from view, but Li Hua shifted tactically, moving to a spot where he could see clearly and glanced up.

A slender figure stood to the side, wearing the usual faint smile. He nodded casually at the tense-looking owner, his posture casual and relaxed.

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