Lü Ye had arranged to meet Qi Yanbai in the evening, but when he went to the training center after work, he found out that Qi Yanbai had left early.
Qi took unexpected personal leave this afternoon.” The receptionist, unaware of Lü Ye’s relationship with Qi Yanbai, assumed he was a student’s parent and tried to promote other teachers’ services: “Are you here to inquire about courses for your child? Actually, Mr.
Qi’s schedule is already fully booked, but if you’re interested, you can learn about our other teachers.”
“No, I’m not a parent.” Lü Ye said, “I’m a friend of Mr.
Qi Yanbai wasn’t the type to stand someone up without reason, so Lü Ye thought for a moment and asked: “Could I ask, what did Mr.
Qi have to do?”
“I’m not sure, just heard that he had something urgent.” The receptionist replied, “If you really need to reach Mr.
Qi, you can leave your contact information here on the message board.
I’ll inform him to contact you when he’s back at work tomorrow.”
“That’s not necessary.” Lü Ye politely thanked the receptionist and said, “I’ll contact him myself.”
Leaving the training center, Lü Ye made a call to Qi Yanbai.
As a teacher, Qi Yanbai’s phone was always reachable, and it was picked up after just one ring.
“Lu Ye?” Qi Yanbai’s voice held a hint of surprise, “What’s up?”
“It’s nothing.” Lü Ye turned to look at the entrance of the training center behind him and asked, “Did you take a leave?”
“Yes, I—” Qi Yanbai stuttered and then quickly realized what he was saying.
He hurriedly asked, “Did you go to my workplace?”
“I’m really sorry, Lü Ye,” before Lü Ye could reply, Qi Yanbai sighed, admitting in a low voice, “I had something urgent in the afternoon, so I sent you a message on WeChat—I thought you would have seen it.”
There was a hint of obvious apology in his voice.
Lü Ye was briefly puzzled.
He moved his phone away from his ear and scrolled through the WeChat messages.
He realized that Qi Yanbai had indeed messaged him an hour ago, saying that he had something urgent and might need to postpone their meeting.
But at that time, Lü Ye had been busy with interrogations and hadn’t checked his phone.
By the time he came out of the interrogation room, Qi Yanbai’s message had been buried under a flood of work-related messages and had disappeared from view.
“It’s my fault for not seeing it, so you’re not to blame.” Lü Ye breathed a sigh of relief and then asked, “By the way, what’s so urgent that you had to cancel—did you run into some trouble?”
“No,” Qi Yanbai chuckled over the phone, saying, “It’s just a personal matter.
I can handle it myself.”
Lü Ye was an independent person, straightforward in his interactions, and he rarely beat around the bush.
Since Qi Yanbai had said he could handle it, Lü Ye didn’t inquire further, satisfied that Qi Yanbai wasn’t in any trouble.
Originally, Lü Ye had planned to invite Qi Yanbai for dinner that evening, but since Qi Yanbai had a sudden issue, Lü Ye had to temporarily put that plan aside and headed home.
He hadn’t bought a house yet and was renting an apartment not far from the police station.
It was conveniently located for both commuting and work.
In that area of the New City, there weren’t many concentrated residential complexes—there were only about five or six.
The apartment complex Lü Ye was renting had been completed just two years ago.
The occupancy rate wasn’t very high, and at night, it felt quite dark.
The security guard at the gate had already started dozing off as soon as it got dark, and security work was practically non-existent.
The entrance of the residential complex was bustling with multi-purpose food stalls that were almost forming a small night market—it had become quite popular.
Living alone, Lü Ye was usually too lazy to cook, and most of the time, he just bought something from the food stalls near the entrance.
Just as he had done many times before, he stopped in front of a barbecue stall, intending to place an order.
However, for some reason, he was compelled to remember Qi Yanbai’s advice.
So, he changed his mind and moved on to the next stall.
“Can I get a pot of piping hot congee?” Lü Ye scanned the QR code on the stall and placed his order, saying, “With spinach and pig liver.”
The stall didn’t have any seating, so all the dishes were for takeout.
Lü Ye received the hot congee in a container from the stall owner, turned around, and took a shortcut through a side door back to his residential complex.
Autumn nights fell early, and the streetlights in the residential complex hadn’t been turned on yet.
Only a few main roads had their lights on.
Lü Ye walked through a narrow path between the buildings on his way home.
From a distance, he saw a deep blue pickup truck parked at the intersection in front of his building.
A pile of boxes, big and small, was stacked on the steps in front of the building.
Half of them were illuminated by the lights from the building, while the other half was hidden in the darkness of the night.
Standing next to the stack of boxes was a young man, slightly bent over, one hand resting on the luggage, breathing lightly.
Lü Ye squinted his eyes, feeling that he recognized this person.
Before Lü Ye came back, Qi Yanbai had been running up and down the stairs of the building multiple times.
However, with so many belongings and being alone, his efficiency wasn’t great.
After half an hour of effort, he hadn’t even managed to move half of his stuff upstairs.
He didn’t exercise much in his daily life, and moving alone was proving to be quite a challenge.
He was leaning against his luggage, looking worried, when he heard someone call out to him from behind.
Qi Yanbai turned around at the voice and saw Lü Ye standing a couple of steps away behind him.
Lü Ye was holding a thermal bag and takeout, looking at him in surprise.
“Lü Ye?” Qi Yanbai seemed pleasantly surprised.
“What are you doing here?”
Lü Ye hadn’t expected Qi Yanbai to take the initiative.
He was taken aback for a moment, then raised what he was holding in his hand and gestured towards the tall building beside them, saying, “I live here.”
“What a coincidence!” Qi Yanbai’s eyes lit up.
“I just moved here today.”
Qi Yanbai’s voice sounded a bit unstable.
There was a thin layer of sweat on his forehead, his soft hair was slightly messy and sticking to his ears, and there were scattered items of various sizes at his feet.
Under the steps, there were several picture frames carefully wrapped in oil paper.
Looking at all the bags, it did indeed seem like he was in the middle of moving.
But they had just canceled their meeting, and yet they had unexpectedly run into each other right after.
Even Lü Ye found it a bit hard to process.
He thought that this was too much of a coincidence.
Perhaps it was because of his professional habits, but Lü Ye tended to pay more attention to low-probability situations.
He glanced down at the bags and boxes by Qi Yanbai’s feet, unable to help but sigh, “What a coincidence.
It seems like we’ve been bumping into each other quite frequently lately.”
“That’s true,” Qi Yanbai said openly, looking at him and smiling.
“Maybe it’s a sign of fate.”
“Also, didn’t you mention before that the security around the Gemini Apartments wasn’t that great?” Qi Yanbai chuckled a bit sheepishly, “So, I thought about moving.
The real estate agent happened to mention that there was an available apartment here today, and the price and location were quite suitable, so I decided to take it.”
Lü Ye remembered—he had indeed said that before and had advised Qi Yanbai to consider changing his residence.
There weren’t many available residential complexes in the New City.
This apartment complex was relatively new and had a good location.
Considering the rent rates at that time, it was a cost-effective choice.
It didn’t seem too surprising that Qi Yanbai managed to secure a place here.
Lü Ye breathed a sigh of relief.
He thought that with over twenty buildings in the complex, it was quite a coincidence that Qi Yanbai had managed to rent an apartment in the same building, if not right next door.
“You know what, there might be some truth to that.” Lü Ye’s tone became much lighter, and he asked casually, “Did you move by yourself?”
“Yes,” Qi Yanbai nodded, saying, “The moving company said I made the appointment too late, and they don’t provide upstairs services after they finish work.”
“On which floor?” Lü Ye inquired.
“Ninth floor,” Qi Yanbai replied.
“That’s quite a coincidence,” Lü Ye chuckled, extending his hand and handing over what he was holding to Qi Yanbai.
He teased, “I’m just returning the favor for the lunch you treated me to.”
Qi Yanbai was momentarily stunned, seeming a bit slow to react.
Holding the warm container of congee, he looked at Lü Ye with a somewhat puzzled expression.
“I live on the ninth floor too,” Lü Ye said, “The layout here is one unit per floor, so I should be living right across from you.”
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