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    Loves Error

    Exiting the auditorium, slipping away from the ambiguous atmosphere under the crowded piano, Lu Changting and Shen Li both breathed a sigh of relief, yet felt a hint of loss. They exchanged a glance, then couldn’t help but laugh.

    “I didn’t expect that after so many years since graduation, we’d almost experience being caught by the duty teacher unexpectedly.”

    “Better to avoid trouble whenever possible,” Shen Li chuckled, “Let’s go, we’ve wandered enough.”

    Strolling around the school, they walked slowly, stopping now and then. When they finally left the school, they didn’t stop, and even outside, they continued to walk slowly, unconsciously slowing their pace, as if trying to prolong the time.

    Eventually, they reached the school gate. Lu Changting naturally spoke up, “Let me walk you.”

    “I drove…” Shen Li paused, “I have something for you, wait a moment.”

    The car wasn’t far, parked in a nearby roadside parking space. Shen Li walked to the car, opened the passenger door, and took out a paper bag from the seat.

    “Chocolate?” Lu Changting took it and glanced at it, a heavy box of chocolates weighing on his heart.

    “Yeah,” Shen Li pursed his lips, “I promised—I’ll buy you lots of chocolates.”

    Thinking of his own lie, Lu Changting chuckled softly, “Is there no limit to that promise?”

    Last time, he had already received a lot of chocolates from Shen Li.

    “Nope,” the young man smiled lightly, his bright eyes meeting the warm sunlight, “It’s a promise that holds.”

    Lu Changting looked at him, emotions surging, his heart warming.

    Shen Li was so obedient in front of him, with clear, earnest, and gentle eyes. Straight-backed, he still retained the shrewdness and yet innocence of Shen Boss deep down. It seemed that he only smoothed out all the rough edges in front of him, leaving behind all his warmth.

    This person was like the summer breeze, the winter sun, the gentle moonlight, the dawn magnolia blossoms… like all beautiful imagery, just the thought of him made Lu Changting realize how mundane his life had been before. If someone is like a rainbow, then truly, meeting him is knowing true beauty.

    Lu Changting couldn’t help but smile too.

    The gentle smile first appeared at the corner of Lu Changting’s eyes and brows, then lifted his lips, like the clearing after fresh snow, a plum blossom standing proudly amidst the wind and snow, both elegant and proud.

    “Shen Boss, you’re spoiling me like this,” he said, “Humans are insatiable.”

    A joke, but it made Shen Li’s heart skip a beat again, the intensified pounding carrying a hint of bitterness.

    He lowered his gaze to conceal the emotions in his eyes and whispered, “Mr. Lu is joking.”

    He admitted to himself that he didn’t have the capability to spoil the CEO of the Lu Group. But as long as Lu Changting wanted it… what harm was there in giving his all?

    “Not joking,” Lu Changting smiled, but his tone was serious, “People aren’t made of stone. I can feel your kindness towards me.”

    There was a bang in Shen Li’s mind, then chaos, and finally blankness.

    It was as if a bomb buried deep in his heart for years had been ignited by Lu Changting’s casual remark, with no flames or smoke, yet it shattered him into pieces.

    What should he do? Did Lu Changting find out…?

    He unconsciously clenched his fingers, the joints turning white with force.

    Was he too obvious after all?

    “What about mine?” Lu Changting asked him, “Shen Li, do you know how I feel about you?”

    Shen Li stared at him blankly, only seeing his lips moving, but due to his slowed thoughts and slight ringing in his ears, he didn’t catch what he was saying.

    Was he rejecting him?

    Seeing him in such a dazed state, Lu Changting couldn’t bring himself to say anything more.

    After a brief silence, he sighed, “Forget it.”

    Perhaps such a sudden confession was too untimely… He was too impatient.

    No response was fine.

    There was still time ahead, and he would always be able to warm Shen Li’s heart.

    Shen Li didn’t know how he got back home. All the way, his mind was blank, thoughts tangled like a mess, unable to sort them out.

    Thinking back and forth, he couldn’t understand what Lu Changting’s words really meant. Did he know that Shen Li had a crush on him? Or was it just a gesture of gratitude between friends?

    Cheng Zhao watched him pass by, his pupils dilated like a wandering soul. She furrowed her brows and called out to him, “Shen Li.”

    “Yeah?” He responded instinctively, but still seemed distracted.

    “Where were you?” Cheng Zhao had only returned home recently herself, just finished packing her bags. Seeing Shen Li return in such a distracted state made her worry even more, feeling more tired.

    “Back to school,” he snapped back to reality, unable to understand Lu Changting’s words. There was also a hint of weariness between his brows. “With Lu Changting.”

    Cheng Zhao’s furrowed brows softened slightly, and she sighed, “Is everything okay?”

    Shen Li shook his head. “It’s nothing.”

    Even if his feelings were discovered and rejected, it didn’t matter.

    Maybe he could finally give up completely and move on from this hidden and unrequited love…

    But it hurt a little.

    A lot.

    It hurt so much that he could barely breathe.

    He forced a smile. “I’m going to rest in my room for a while.”

    Back in his room, Shen Li relaxed on the bed for a while before turning over and reaching for the multi-compartment drawer underneath the bed, pulling out a glass jar filled with stars.

    A thousand stars.

    From liking Lu Changting to graduation, whether he was in a good or bad mood, whether he wanted to confess or give up, he wrote down those hidden thoughts and phrases on colored paper strips, folded them into stars, and tossed them into the glass jar.

    When they reached a thousand stars, they also graduated.

    He had stored all his feelings properly, using them for longing and commemoration.

    He opened the lid of the glass jar and picked out the only black star, carefully unfolding it.

    It was the last star, written on the day after the college entrance examination.

    The handwriting from high school still retained a hint of immaturity, written with a silver signature pen, the strokes straight and upright.

    “I saw you today after the exam. I waited deliberately at the school gate amidst the crowd of people crying and laughing. It took a long time before I saw you come out with her. You were talking to her with your head down, laughing. You must have done well in the exam. Congratulations on your graduation.”

    Everything should have ended with graduation, but now, he had met Lu Changting.

    They ate together, drank together, and laughed and chatted together. People were insatiable, and he had become greedy, wanting to stay by Lu Changting’s side forever.

    But he was also afraid.

    Afraid that he couldn’t hide it, how could he conceal his liking for this?

    As soon as he saw him, he wanted to smile, the clear joy and fondness hanging from the corners of his lips, the blush, the heartbeat, and the laughter in his eyes, none of it could be hidden.

    All the tenderness and special treatment were like the tail of this little beast, usually staying quiet, only daring to sneak out its tail, but when it got happy, the tail would wag and sway, telling the whole world “I like you.”

    Shen Li sighed and neatly folded the stars back, putting them back into the glass jar and returning it to the drawer.

    He pulled out his phone and sent a WeChat message to Jiang Chifeng.

    “He seems to know.”

    Jiang Chifeng’s reply came quickly, first with a question mark, then followed by: “Lu Changting?”

    Shen Li sighed deeply again and replied with a simple “Yeah.”

    Jiang Chifeng called him back, and the first thing he said was, “So, did you confess?”

    Shen Li’s frustration and anxiety were eased by his teasing tone, but his voice still sounded a bit low. “No.”

    “Tell me what happened,” Jiang Chifeng toned down the playful tone, “if you’re willing to talk about it.”

    Shen Li roughly recounted today’s events, only skimming over the part where they hid under the piano.

    His mind was really in chaos. When his heart was in chaos, he couldn’t help but think of the worst-case scenario. What if he was discovered? Would he be disliked? Various messy thoughts filled his mind, torturing himself and pushing himself into a dead end.

    Jiang Chifeng listened silently for a moment.

    Those who are involved are confused, while those who watch from the sidelines are clear-minded. He felt that Shen Li was overthinking things, but reasoning about emotions like this was useless. What Shen Li needed was someone to pull him out or push him forward.

    “It’s actually quite simple if you want to find out whether he knows about your feelings and whether he rejects you,” Jiang Chifeng said. “Since he promised you ‘whenever you want,’ just ask him out for dinner in a few days, or to watch a movie. If he refuses, then let it go. You’ve hit a dead end.”

    “If he agrees, it means that regardless of whether he knows your feelings or not, he’s willing to continue interacting with you.”

    “As for whether you want to continue, it’s up to you. If you want to continue being friends with him, then interact with him as you did before. If not, try to let go.”

    Jiang Chifeng thought to himself that if Lu Changting knew about Shen Li’s feelings and still didn’t refuse, then things would be interesting.

    As Shen Li’s friend, he naturally hoped that Lu Changting was the latter…

    After calming down and thinking about it, Jiang Chifeng’s words seemed to make sense.

    Shen Li suppressed the thought of what to do if he was rejected and felt a brief relief in his heart. “Then I’ll try asking him out in a few days.”

    “Watch a movie,” Jiang Chifeng suggested with a suppressed laugh. “Or go to an amusement park, something a bit more ambiguous, so you can test his attitude.”

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