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    Loves Error

    Jiang Chifeng’s home and Fengchun Villa were in opposite directions. By the time Lu Changting and Shen Li got back to the villa, it was already early morning. Shen Li had even taken a nap in the car.

    At first, he had closed his eyes, thinking about how to explain if Lu Changting asked about it later. Then he fell into a light sleep. However, he woke up as soon as they got home. Feeling sweaty, he went straight upstairs after entering, grabbed his pajamas, and went to the bathroom to shower, not giving Lu Changting a chance to speak.

    After showering, still damp, he came out, drying his hair as he called Lu Changting to take his shower. Then he took the hairdryer and stood in the small compartment to dry his hair.

    Lu Changting walked over and naturally took the hairdryer from his hand, his long fingers gently running through Shen Li’s wet, messy hair. “Shen Xiaoli, don’t you think you should explain the chocolate?”

    He always knew Shen Li was hiding something from him, like why he could never find the chocolates that Shen Li supposedly bought or about that little brother. It didn’t matter much. Everyone has a past. Though he was sometimes curious and occasionally probed, he understood that those were bygone days. He was Shen Li’s present and future. He believed that eventually, Shen Li would willingly share his past with him.

    But Shen Li was like an ocean, showing him only the glittering surface while concealing the mottled reefs, the dark undercurrents, and the submerged secrets. Only by diving deep into the sea could he catch a glimpse of the hidden depths.

    Amid the dull hum of the hairdryer, Shen Li sighed softly, almost inaudibly, “The chocolate, I actually made it myself.”

    A lie required countless more lies to cover it up. He didn’t want to deceive Lu Changting forever and wanted to slowly tell him about his past. After much consideration, he decided to admit one thing first. “I’m sorry, I lied to you before, saying it was bought from the supermarket.”

    “Why did you lie to me?” Lu Changting gently pinched his ear, not feeling angry, just realizing why he couldn’t find the same chocolates in any supermarket.

    “I told everyone the same thing.” This was the truth, Shen Li said. “When people asked, I just said I bought it at the supermarket.”

    But not many people actually got to eat his chocolates.

    Lu Changting couldn’t quite define his feelings. He originally thought he was special to Shen Li, only to find out he was just one among many, even though he and Shen Li had just met back then. Love makes people anxious and insecure.

    “Why does Jiang Chifeng know?”

    “On Valentine’s Day, he wanted to give Wei Wenxing some chocolate, but he thought it was too common to buy it like everyone else, so he wanted to make it himself.” Shen Li paused before continuing, “At that time, he had just started dating Wei Wenxing and would tell me everything. He told me he wanted to make chocolate for Wei Wenxing but didn’t know how, so I offered to teach him.”

    This was true.

    Back then, Jiang Chifeng was quite surprised that Shen Li could make chocolate. Jiang Chifeng didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, although he knew Shen Li always carried chocolate. Today was the first time he asked Shen Li for some, clearly to annoy Lu Changting.

    Men can be really childish when they want to be.

    “You lied to me once, I lied to you once.” Lu Changting turned off the hairdryer and hugged him from behind. “We’re even.”

    Thinking about the chocolates and the honey grapefruit tea he tricked out of Shen Li, Lu Changting buried his head in Shen Li’s neck, his ears turning slightly red.

    Shen Li smiled, not exposing him or bringing up old grievances, and just patted his head.

    “Go take a shower.”

    Lu Changting inhaled the faint scent of Shen Li’s body wash, his thoughts wandering through past memories, tracing them back.

    If the chocolate was made by Shen Li, then the one he had eaten before… had he really remembered wrong?

    The next day, Lu Changting sought out Tang Yao’s contact information.

    He didn’t plan to meet up for a chat, just made a phone call, stated his identity, and concisely asked about the past.

    The weather was stiflingly hot today. At noon, the sun was blazing, but by the afternoon, the sky had darkened. From the office window, he could see the piled-up dark clouds on the horizon. While talking to Tang Yao on the phone, Lu Changting’s mind wandered to reminding Shen Li to take an umbrella when he went out later.

    After many years, Tang Yao felt a bit strange when her ex-boyfriend suddenly asked about their first meeting.

    However, she didn’t narcissistically think that Lu Changting was pining for her. After all, if he really had lingering feelings, he wouldn’t have hesitated to give her his phone number that day. Despite her curiosity about why Lu Changting had found her contact information and was asking about their first meeting, Tang Yao restrained her curiosity and answered his question first: “The chocolate wasn’t from me.”

    “When I arrived at the infirmary that day, you were already getting an IV drip.” Tang Yao’s voice softened, recalling the time when youthful infatuation clouded her judgment. Thinking back, she felt a bit embarrassed. “I already knew about you before that and had a crush on you… so when you mistook me for the person who took you to the infirmary, I didn’t deny it.”

    “The chocolate was probably placed by the person who took you to the infirmary.”

    Lu Changting had already suspected this. Hearing her confirmation didn’t surprise him; instead, he felt a sense of satisfaction from having his guess proven right and a nervous anticipation for uncovering more of the mystery. “Do you know who took me to the infirmary?”

    “I didn’t see them.” Tang Yao, puzzled by his demeanor, thought carefully before slowly replying, “But I asked the teacher at the infirmary. She said the person who brought you in was a tall, skinny boy. He was covered in sweat and his entire back was soaked. But after he brought you in, he ran off, probably to go back to his lunch break.”

    Tang Yao had always felt a bit guilty for having taken credit for someone else’s kindness, so she remembered this incident clearly. Now that she had told Lu Changting, she felt relieved.

    A tall, skinny boy…

    Lu Changting’s fingers tightened around his phone. His throat felt constricted, sensing that he was just a step away from the truth.

    “I see.” He looked at the darkening sky, frowning slightly as he realized it was about to rain.

    Tang Yao, curious, asked, “Why are you asking about this all of a sudden?”

    There was no response from Lu Changting’s end. Tang Yao, driven by a sharp intuition, couldn’t help but ask another question: “Did you start dating me back then because of a piece of chocolate?” One question led to another. “Have you found the person who took you to the infirmary?”

    It had been so many years… Could it be that Lu Changting had been searching for that person all this time? What did that make her back then?

    A girl’s mind is always more sensitive. Lu Changting picked up on Tang Yao’s implied meaning and sighed, then explained softly, “I did wonder back then how a girl like you managed to carry me to the infirmary.”

    He remembered fainting on the way from the basketball court to the cafeteria. It wasn’t a short distance to the infirmary. How could Tang Yao, a girl, have managed to support him there?

    But a fondness for someone can cloud one’s judgment, allowing emotions to overrule logic. He chose to believe Tang Yao at the time, and so he never delved deeper into it.

    Tang Yao was silent for a while, then finally laughed softly, feeling relieved. “It’s been so many years. Let me apologize to you now, and I hope you can forgive my selfishness back then.”

    “If I find that person,” Lu Changting said, “I’ll convey your apology.”

    After hanging up, Lu Changting sent Shen Li a WeChat message, saying he had to work late and that Shen Li shouldn’t wait for him for dinner. He also reminded him to bring an umbrella if he went out, then continued with his work.

    Summer thunderstorms often come with great intensity. In an instant, rain poured down in torrents, the sound of it combined with thunder creating a lively symphony. Lu Changting seemed oblivious, with only the occasional sound of rustling papers and the scratching of his pen in the office alongside the distant thunder and rain.

    When you’re busy, time flies. An hour passed as he dealt with several documents. The thunder had stopped at some point, and the rain had lessened. The office door was knocked on, and Lu Changting called out, “Come in.” After signing the document in his hand, he looked up and met a pair of smiling eyes.

    “I came to pick up my boyfriend from work.” The young man wore a bamboo green shirt, his features clear and delicate, and his eyes filled with a smile. “Everyone else’s boyfriends are off work. Why isn’t mine?”

    Lu Changting looked at him, seemingly a bit dazed, then slowly smiled. “Come here.”

    Shen Li walked over, circled the large desk, and was pulled into Lu Changting’s embrace.

    “Your boyfriend is about to shut down. Let him recharge for a while.”

    Smelling the light woody fragrance on Shen Li, Lu Changting sighed comfortably. “Today is another day I just want to give it all up.”

    Shen Li turned around and massaged his shoulders. “Very tired?”

    Lu Changting pointed to a document he had casually placed aside. “Someone trying to freeload, passing over a request to join the Songshanju project.”

    “He’s quite a slick operator, has some connections with the Third Grandpa. If the Third Grandpa were in charge, he might have let him join.” Lu Changting frowned slightly. “But this project is my responsibility. I’ve been working on it for a long time. Why should I just give him a share of the profits?”

    “Then don’t bother with him,” Shen Li said. “It’s better to donate the money to charity than to give it away for free.”

    Lu Changting’s frown slowly eased, and he suddenly laughed. “Baby.” He tilted his head and kissed Shen Li, then held him tighter. “You’re right.”

    “We’ll donate ten percent of the project’s profits to charity, from the main account.” Lu Changting said as he prepared to draft the notification. “Lu Shihe with his miserly ways probably wouldn’t want to spend this money.”

    Hearing the name Lu Shihe, Shen Li frowned. “Is he a relative?”

    Lu Changting’s tone was indifferent. “Apparently, he was a child taken in by Great-Grandfather’s generation, later recognized back into the family. But actually, we’re quite distant.”

    Shen Li nodded, uninterested, and didn’t ask further.

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