Qi Yanbai’s social media style was quite similar to his real-life personality, plain and somewhat bland.
His social media posts consisted of regular updates about the enrollment advertisements for the training center, mixed with a few posts about his teaching routine.
Occasionally, he shared pictures of flowers and plants he saw on his way to work.
It was exactly the kind of serious and dedicated teacher that parents of his students would love.
However, perhaps because Qi Yanbai forgot to place Lu Ye in the “parents’ ‘ group, there were times when Lu Ye was surprised to find that he could see a bit of Qi Yanbai’s personal life.
For instance, Qi Yanbai would occasionally quietly complain in his posts.
He mentioned that the barley tea he had bought recently was too strong in flavor and not very enjoyable.
He would also complain about his disappointing lunch from a new restaurant he had eagerly tried, commenting that they used too much chili sauce.
There was even one time when he couldn’t resist mentioning a new student who had transferred in, criticizing their indifferent attitude toward learning, constant tardiness, and skipping classes, which left him a bit frustrated.
However, perhaps feeling that it wasn’t right to talk negatively about someone behind their back, Qi Yanbai deleted that particular post after only three minutes.
At that moment, Lu Ye was taking a break, browsing on his phone.
He watched the post appear and then disappear, unable to help but chuckle softly.
He felt like he had glimpsed a bit of Qi Yanbai’s internal struggle through this small action.
Having overly good manners also came with its own set of grievances, Lu Ye thought.
Even people with high moral standards find it hard to complain about their bosses.
Young people with everyday troubles were undoubtedly more relatable than the perfectly flawless Teacher Qi.
Lu Ye was used to various criminals with poor moral standards due to his work.
Now, all of a sudden, he had met someone who even questioned himself about venting frustration regarding unruly students.
This honest person made Lu Ye feel refreshed.
He decided to treat Qi Yanbai’s posts as a source of entertainment, to be checked whenever he wanted to have a bit of a laugh.
“Lu Ye, what are you looking at?” During lunch break, the office was bustling with people coming and going.
A young police officer in uniform, without hesitation, hooked his arm around Lu Ye’s arm and leaned in to look at Lu Ye’s phone screen.
He exclaimed in surprise, “No way, you’re watching these stress-relief cooking videos too?”
“No.” Lu Ye shrugged his arm away, quickly exiting the full-screen video and explained, “It’s a friend’s social media post.
He’s been learning to bake cakes recently.”
Qi Yanbai was a person who understood boundaries.
After exchanging contact information, he never pressed or pushed Lu Ye.
Apart from synchronously updating Lu Ye on Lu Mingming’s performance at school, they only chatted occasionally about daily matters.
His topics were mostly very casual, sometimes sending holiday greetings, showing concern for Lu Ye’s well-being, and occasionally, when the local district conducted safety prevention courses, he would send a message to inquire about details he didn’t understand.
Lu Ye’s job was unique, often too busy to have a set schedule, yet Qi Yanbai never pressured him for replies.
A couple of times, when Lu Ye had a weekend shift that made him late, Qi Yanbai proactively sent him messages, asking if he should help take Lu Mingming to the bus station.
Lu Ye naturally had a positive impression of law-abiding citizens.
Coupled with Qi Yanbai’s moderation, gentleness, and courtesy, their interactions gradually shifted from “Lu Mingming’s teacher” to “friend.”
suddenly, Li Zhiwen entered the room, pushing the door open.
He held a stack of files in his arms, grumbling in an annoyed tone, “This is just perfect.
Li Zhiwen had a stern face but a warm heart.
He had a short temper, often scolding people but never meaning it.
The young officer wasn’t intimidated, offering apologies while playfully helping him move some things around.
“What’s this nonsense, boss?” Seeing the empty report, Lu Ye felt a headache coming on.
He sighed and said, “Didn’t I just finish my written report the day before yesterday?”
Li Zhiwen motioned for the young police officer to hand over the blank report, then instructed, “We’ve received messages from a few precincts below us.
They say that there has been an increase in the number of security cases in the East District recently.
It’s almost the eleventh, and there are a lot of kids in the East District.
Everyone needs to be vigilant and pay extra attention during their shifts.”
The Eastern District was home to numerous training institutions, ranging from prenatal education for first-time parents to late-night cram schools for high school students burning the midnight oil for the college entrance exam.
If you added up all these scattered pieces, there must be at least eighty or a hundred such institutions.
Places with a high concentration of children were relatively easy to manage, as they usually had teachers or caretakers present.
However, managing the older students, who were mostly in their rebellious teenage years, was difficult.
They could be impulsive, and a collective act of skipping classes to escape to an internet cafe wasn’t unheard of.
With the upcoming vacation, the foot traffic on the training street was greater than usual.
Some restaurants and mobile vendors wanted to capitalize on this opportunity to earn more from the students.
Business hours were extended, and there were indeed more safety concerns than usual.
Lu Ye nodded to indicate that he had heard Li Zhiwen’s instructions and then thought for a moment.
He pulled out his phone and sent a message to Qi Yanbai as usual.
“The number of incidents in the Eastern District has increased recently.
Remind the school to take good care of the children.” Lu Ye typed, “Try not to let younger students go home alone after dark.”
At the time Qi Yanbai received the message, he was helping a student with a drawing.
As the notification sound chimed, Qi Yanbai’s hand shook slightly, accidentally leaving a slightly abrupt line on the drawing paper.
“Sorry, I got distracted,” Qi Yanbai withdrew his hand and handed the student an eraser from his nearby stationery box, saying, “Take a look at it yourself first.
I’ll help you fix it later.”
“It’s okay, Teacher Qi.” The student was an art major and about seven or eight years younger than Qi Yanbai.
He grinned when he heard that, teasing, “It’s okay if you’re busy, Teacher.
We wouldn’t want to keep you waiting.”
Qi Yanbai seemed a bit embarrassed by the comment.
He patted the student’s shoulder gently, encouraging him to focus on the drawing.
Then, he walked to a corner of the classroom, took out his phone, and unlocked it.
He didn’t need to check to know who the message was from.
Among all his WeChat contacts, except for Lu Ye, Qi Yanbai had set everyone to “Do Not Disturb” mode to avoid interruptions.
Qi Yanbai opened the new message and glanced at it.
He thought for a moment and then deliberately waited for a couple of minutes before sending a reply: “got it.”
He quickly added, “Is there anything specific we should be cautious about?”
“Nothing special.” Lu Ye was apparently not busy at the moment, as his reply came quickly, “Just be a bit more cautious as the holiday approaches.”
“Alright.” Qi Yanbai replied promptly, “You take care during your shift as well.
Look after your health.”
This sort of mild concern didn’t raise any suspicions on Lu Ye’s end.
He quickly replied, “okay, you too,” and then fell silent, probably occupied with something else.
Due to his personality, Lu Ye’s text messages always felt cold and detached.
He didn’t use emojis or cute emoticons, and his responses were straightforward and concise.
At most, a sentence might have a couple of punctuation marks.
His communication style appeared cold, no matter how you looked at it.
But after reading the final “you too” from Lu Ye, Qi Yanbai couldn’t help but reach out and touch the screen, capturing that sentence.
In recent times, Qi Yanbai had been subtly probing for information about Lu Ye from Lu Mingming.
Perhaps due to his professional nature, Lu Ye had a strong personality that leaned toward the assertive side.
He habitually paid close attention to the people around him, was perceptive and detail-oriented, and had a strong sense of protectiveness.
Qi Yanbai knew that someone like this probably wouldn’t appreciate having overly assertive friends.
Being gentle, soft, and showing vulnerability would likely make it easier to approach him.
He had been cautiously navigating the boundaries of his interactions with Lu Ye, gradually getting a sense of his character.
However, recently, Qi Yanbai found this lukewarm approach unsatisfying.
He felt that something deep inside him was stirring, like a hole had been torn open out of thin air and could not be filled.
“Superficial acquaintances” no longer sufficed.
Qi Yanbai suddenly began to want to know Lu Ye more deeply, to quickly become a part of his life, understand everything about him, and become a more significant part of his life.
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