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It was the start of another work week and Zhu Yilong had just pushed open the door to his office where he set his bag on his table and powered up his computer. While waiting, he took out his phone and checked his calendar to check his itinerary.

 

He has four meetings scheduled for the day. Four. And it’s only Monday. How come it’s only Monday and he already has four meetings? He heaved a deep breath and focused on his computer screen. He had things to do and he’d better start working.

 

He started with the emails, working up from the bottom of his unread files, reading and then either typing a reply or calling the sender. He usually left company emails behind, reading them during the weekend or before he clocked out every Friday, but one header from HR caught his eye

 

[FYI] Quarterly  Window Cleaning

 

It took a good ten seconds before he opened it, and even though it was nothing more than a reminder, his heart started to beat faster in his chest.

 

Maybe?

 

His heart jumped once again as his alarm rang, signalling that he had five minutes before his  next meeting. He took a longing glance at the window then before uttering a silent prayer to the universe to let him have  his wish.

 

~o~

 

It’s already past two in the afternoon and he’s leaning back on his chair, eyes closed while doing short breathing exercises. He found this habit quite relaxing after especially long, or stressful meetings, and after the third one today, he really needed to breathe.

 

When he opened his eyes, he immediately turned to the windows. Had the cleaners passed by his floor already? Given that he’s on the 27 th out of the fifty floors, he was sure that they already did, but he still went to the window to check. True enough, he saw the car was way down the building, and as he squinted, he was sure that neither of the two people in the car were not the one he was looking for.

 

He sighed and slumped back on his chair.

 

Come on Yilong, it’s been what? Three years? He’s probably moved on to a better company. Why are you even-

 

Rrrriiiinnngggg

 

His alarm rang once again. Time for his fourth and final meeting for the day. This time, he’s a bit enthusiastic as he’s meeting his good friend Yang Rong to talk about the new system they had been developing to improve some of the company’s processes. He even reserved a table at his favourite hotpot restaurant so he could unwind, and maybe rant a little to her as they ate.

 

But as the universe liked to troll him over and over, he found himself standing face to face with someone who looks more like an intern rather than a developer.

 

“Hello, I’m Bai Yu. I’m taking over the project as of today. Nice to meet you.”

 

Still in disbelief, he stared at the young man whose eyes were mere slits, with crow’s feet spreading throughout the sides. The young man was also grinning, a wide, boyish, toothy grin that’s rarely seen in the corporate world.

 

Yes, definitely an intern.

 

What was Rong jie thinking?

 

It took him a moment to realize that Bai Yu was holding out his hand and Zhu Yilong was suddenly aware that he was still seated.  He almost knocked his seat down when he stood up, thankfully, the other appeared to not have noticed. He shook Bai Yu’s hand and almost flinched when Bai Yu squeezed his hand.

 

“Rong-jie said you could call her if you have any questions.”

 

As if on cue, Zhu Yilong’s phone rang.

 

“Rong-jie-“ he began but was immediately cut off.

“Juju, Xiao Yu is my best team member, my protégé, if you will. So stop frowning, you’ll only get wrinkles on your perfect face.” Then the line went dead.

 

~o~

 

Of all things he could set up, why had he chosen hotpot? He was mentally stressed out at how awkward it was, just sitting in a private booth with a man he doesn’t know as he waited for his vegetables and meat to cook.

 

Well, actually, even with the stock boiling, no one had touched the assortment of meat, vegetables, and rice cakes around the table.

 

“Zhu laoshi, Rong-jie mentioned that the project aims to automate some of your business’ manual practices? Is that correct?”

“Y-yes.”

“How many departments do you aim to subject to automation?”

“Three. But for this stage, we are aiming to roll it out first in my department to-“

 

To his horror, he heard his stomach growl and he remembered that he only ever had coffee before he left for work.

 

“Ah, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Zhu laoshi, please, shall we eat?”

 

Almost immediately, Bai Yu began dunking meat into the broth, then followed it up with the vegetables.

 

“We could talk about it while eating, yes?” Bai Yu asked, eyes trained to him, but was hovering his chopsticks over the pot. He merely nodded.

 

The rest of the meeting wasn’t bad. They managed to go over the details of the project and Bai Yu laid out his plan, which greatly surprised and amazed Zhu Yiong.

 

“Zhu laoshi, do you think we have enough time to go back to your office? I’d like to meet your team if it’s possible.”

 

Yilong blinked then looked at his watch. They have around an hour and a half more of the work day and so he led Bai Yu back.

 

It didn’t escape his notice that the young man looked impressed as they stepped into the building. As if it was his first time inside a huge office space and for a moment his heart was full of fondness for this young man.

 

“Is this your first job?”

“Hm? Me? No. But it’s my first time in an office. I used to do odd jobs before. Even got myself a job as a window cleaner.”

 

Yilong, who was busy staring at the changing numbers on the elevator’s display panel felt like the floor gave way and he was plunging down towards the ground floor.

 

“That was a couple of years ago. I managed to graduate and then get a job at Rong-jie’s.”

 

The elevator pinged on their floor and Zhu Yilong turned to Bai Yu to inform him that they had arrived. Instead, he saw something in Bai Yu’s eyes, a sort of searching look, longing even, and it puzzled him.

 

Maybe he wanted me to compliment him?

 

“That’s good. You did well in your studies.” He smiled.

 

He could swear he saw Bai Yu’s eyes darken and for a moment, they almost looked sad. But why? He did as he was expected? Should he have said more?

 

“We’re here.” He said, pushing all uncertain thoughts out of his head.

 

~o~

 It’s been three months since he first met Bai Yu. And by now, he’s known more about the young man, thanks partially to his staff who seemed to have grown fond of him. Even some of his officemates from other departments have been taken in by the young man’s charm. One time when the resident IT person called in sick and there had been a problem with one of their servers, Bai Yu immediately jumped to help, earning himself the gratitude and, according to his staff, the adoration of a number of employees.

 

“Long ge, is there a problem?”

Bai Yu’s voice roused him from his thoughts.

“Huh?” He found himself staring at the young man, and he immediately turned away and stared at his work computer.

“We will be implementing a parallel run next week. Please choose a staff who will be running the new program while you will parallel process with the old one. Then after that we compare the results. I will be standing by to troubleshoot if necessary.”

 

Yilong nodded. This is the first stage of implementation and will likely determine the pace of the rest of the project. For an entire week, both he and Bai Yu worked out the logistics of trying out the new system while not compromising regular working schedule and they think they’ve gotten the solution. It took them a number of late nights though, just like this one. He looked at his computer’s clock and noticed that it was already a quarter to nine. Sure, he’s used to working and staying late, but he wouldn’t want that for Bai Yu, especially since he's not from the company, and Yang Rong would probably kill him if he abused her protege.

 

“Bai Laoshi, I think we should call it a night.”

“Hm? Okay. Do you have an umbrella, Long ge? It’s raining outside.”

“I have one. You?” Bai Yu just smiled.

 

He tidied up his desk and Bai Yu did the same. Now that he’s noticed it, he doesn’t know how Bai Yu ended up sharing his office. As far as he knew, he should have had his own station provided for him, but then again, having him there proved easier for communication. Besides, he had no complaints about Bai Yu being there. The young man was easy to work with,  and he even enjoyed the times when Bai Yu would hum, and even sing as he’s working, then throw him a sheepish grin and mutter an “I’m sorry” when noticed. 

They both bid goodbye at the elevator, Bai Yu getting off at the lobby while he proceeded to the basement parking area. He’d been driving for about fifteen minutes when he realized that he left his phone on his desk. Annoyed, he turned back and to his surprise, saw Bai Yu at the building’s entrance, chatting animatedly with the guards.

 

“Long ge! What are you doing here?” Bai Yu waved at him.

“I should be the one asking you that, why aren’t you on your way home?”

“Well…” Again, that sheepish smile graced Bai Yu’s boyish face.

“It’s raining and I didn’t bring a raincoat with me. I’m waiting for it to let up a little before I go on my way.”

“I can call a cab for you.”

“Oh, no. I have my motorcycle parked below. I can manage to go home. What about you, Long ge?”

He ignored the question as he weighed his options.

“Don’t move. Wait for me here.” he said sternly.

 

True enough, Bai Yu was still there when he finished grabbing his phone. He then tilted his head towards his car parked outside.

“I’ll drive you home tonight and pick you up tomorrow morning as well. No buts. Rong-jie is going to kill me if I neglect her favorite staff.” 

“No, I swear I’m good Long ge.See, the rain’s slowly letting up. Please, Rong-jie will kill me if I inconvenience you.”

It was at that moment that he caught sight of the guards who were obviously listening in on their conversation. He relented.

“Okay then.” He left without saying anything else.

 

While in the car, he couldn’t ignore the irritation that’s been welling up inside of him since he went back to the office. For some reason, he can’t figure out what exactly caused it. Yes, leaving his phone behind could be it, but it wouldn’t ever reach the level he’s feeling right now. His fingers tapped on the steering wheel as he waited for the traffic to move, watching his windshield wipers work. 

His mind started wandering to a certain person.

 

He shook his head to clear his mind as the traffic lights changed, but the thought stayed with him. Recently, he’s been thinking about him more and more as if a part of his thought was left behind three years ago.

 

~Flashback~

 

Zhu Yilong walked into the office pantry early that morning to get some coffee to start his day. He’s been out on sick leave for two days and he’s sure that his email would be overflowing. So he grabbed his laptop and decided to have a working breakfast to make up for lost time.

 

To his surprise, he saw that one of the windows was cracked all over, looking like it could shatter any minute. But before he got over that initial shock, he saw a pair of legs descending from the floor above until he saw a man sitting on a small platform, dangling dangerously 27 stories above ground and in front of a broken window.

 

His distress must’ve been evident in his face because the man outside shook his head with a smile. He then pointed to himself then gave an okay sign, a silly little smile on his face. Still glued to his spot, Yilong watched as the man worked, taking out a measuring tape and then started mumbling to himself. He just stood there, as if hypnotized, his eyes trained on the man, noticing that despite the thick glasses and beard, he looked… if he dared to say it… cute.

Thankfully, the guy pulled out a sheet from one of his pockets and proceeded to cover the broken window. He then walked over to the coffee maker to get his coffee.

 

Tap

Tap

Tap

 

He had been busy with his work emails when he heard the tapping. He looked around until he saw the man peering from behind the now closed up window.The man outside was waving at him, then pulled out what looked like a sticky note and posted it against the window sill. Curious, Yilong walked towards the window to read what it said.

 

Have a nice day! ;)

 

He looked at the man who grinned and winked at him before slowly ascending.

 

~End of Flashback~

 

“Yu ge I didn’t know you wearglasses!” 

 

He could hear his staff chattering around a table in the pantry when he went there for coffee the next morning.

 

“I’ve always worn glasses. But a professor told me my glasses were too old fashioned so I decided to wear contacts instead.”

“What made you change your mind and wore your glasses today?”

“Well...” Bai yu scratched his head.

“It was raining yesterday and I got a little soaked. When I rubbed my eyes, my right contact lens fell out. I was lucky I was almost home that time.”

“Long ge, good morning! Coffee?” Bai Yu asked, looking straight at him.

 

For a moment, he thought he saw the man from the window when he looked at Bai Yu. It’s probably the glasses, or just his brain playing tricks on him. Not knowing what else to do, he immediately turned around and marched out of the pantry.

 

~o~

“Long ge, you forgot your coffee today.” 

He saw a cup placed on his table and looked up to see Bi Yu’s smiling face. And once again, the image of the man cleaning the window flashed in his mind’s eye.

 

“Long ge, are you feeling okay?”

“No. Yes, sorry, I have a meeting to attend to.” he said, thankful when his phone rang.

“Long ge, your coffee!” Bai Yu called back but he had already closed the door behind him.

 

The meeting did not end until way past the end of the work day and Yilong was thankful to see that Bai Yu had gone home when he went back to his office. He heaved a sigh and went home. He would probably need to apologize to Bai Yu for acting rude, but then he had to explain why, and he just doesn't know how.

Zhu Yilong, you’re old enough to not have crushes, don’t let someone from years ago who you don’t even know anything about mess up your mind.

 

He repeated this like a mantra in his head, and hoped that everything will be back to normal the next day.

Dumbass, it’s Friday, you won’t see him until next week. And by then, everything’s going to be okay.

A voice in his head shouted, and for some reason he wanted to just tear his hair out.

Except it wasn’t.

He’d grown accustomed to hearing Bai Yu’s cheery “Good morning!” as the young man made his way to his office then an even more cheerful “Good morning Long ge! Your freeloader is now reporting for duty” as soon as Bai Yu set foot in his office.

 

But it wasn’t the same today. Yes, he’d heard Bai Yu greeting everyone outside, but he did not get his usual spiel today.

 

“Good morning.” 

 

The tone was a bit flat, okay, really flat, and Bai Yu only had a small smile, if you can call that millimeters upturn on the young man’s lips a smile. Not to mention that there was no chatter today, not even a small talk

 

Rrrriiinnggg

 

His alarm went off and he read the reminder.

 

“Bai Yu we need to go to the 32nd floor for the meeting. Are you ready?”

 

Bai Yu only nodded and waited for him to lead the way. He ran through some points relevant to the meeting as they made their way to the conference room and from what the had observed, Bai Yu’s responses were normal.

 

Maybe he’s just nervous? Maybe it’s his first big meeting?

 

He placed a hand on Bai Yu’s shoulder and gently squeezed.

 

“Hey, it’s okay, no need to worry about anything.” he smiled.

He watched as Bai Yu’s expression suddenly lit up, and he was graced with  a wide smile and a huge sense of relief washed over him. Since then, Bai  Yu was back to his usual self, even as they started the parallel processing of the system automation later that day and there were several hiccups, Bai Yu’s energy was almost contagious.

 

The parallel processing took almost three weeks, and when they finished on the last day, Bai Yu suddenly disappeared only to come back later with several plastic bags of take-out noodles and invited everyone to the pantry.

 

“Since we’re done with the very first step, the treat is on me!” Bai Yu announced as he passed on the noodles.

“Yu ge, are we getting this every time we finish a run? We have six more in our team.”

“Ah ah” Bai Yu wagged his finger.

“We’re going to have to ask Long ge for help! My meager salary won’t be able to endure such expense” Bai yu said in a very dramatic voice. Everyone laughed.

“What do you say Long ge, are you in?”

 

He looked at Bai Yu who was holding out a container of noodles and offering it to him. The light from the window behind the young man almost bathed him with shadow but Yilong could still see that ridiculously stupid grin on his face. He shook his head, smiled and nodded. The team cheered.

Throughout the mini celebration, he found himself occasionally  looking at Bai Yu’s direction, and as much as he wanted to turn away, it would seem like his eyes were being drawn towards the other man.

 

“Yu ge, what happened to your glasses? Why did you stop wearing them?”

“Hm? That? Why? Do I look more handsome with my glasses?”

 

Yilong almost choked on his noodles. Thankfully, no one noticed as there was a chorus of “Yes!”around him.

 

“Okay that settles it! But no one’s allowed to fall in love with me.” 


“Why Yu ge, do you already have a girlfriend?”

 

Yilong could and would swear to any higher power that he really didn’t want to look at Bai Yu’s direction but he just felt his head move unconsciously to look at the younger man. Bai Yu looked at each of his team member silently, then to him. He felt like running, and that Bai Yu held his gaze longer than the others, but thankfully Bai Yu looked away and addressed the small crowd.

“That’s a secret.” he winked.

“I sent you here to work, not to flirt.” a voice said and everyone turned around to see a woman enter the pantry

“Rong jie, I wasn’t flirting with anyone!” Bai Yu exclaimed, making Yang Rong laugh.

“Come eat with us for a while Rong jie. You can have my noodles!” Bai Yu offered.

“No thanks. Xiao Yu, can I review your data in the meantime?”

“Uh, sure. Let me get it-”

“No need, just tell me where’s your station.”

“It’s in Long ge’s office. You know my password right?” Yang Rong raised an eyebrow and looked at Yilong who immediately thought his almost empty bowl of noodles was interesting and worth ogling at.

“Imthegreathuangdaizi. Yeah, yeah, I know.” laughter erupted in the room.

“Rong jie!”

After the group cleaned up their mess, everyone went back to their stations to pack up. He and Bai Yu went back to his office and found Yang Rong waiting for them. 

 

“Juju, do you have an extra room I can use? I have to talk to Xiao Yu for a while.”

He checked the clock and then made a quick dash to where their smaller meeting rooms are. When he arrived, he found Yang Rong standing in front of Bai Yu, her arms crossed, and she was frowning. Bai Yu, on the other hand, was looking back at her, his jaw clenched tight.

 

“Rong jie, there’s one available, I can take you there.”

 

He noticed how Bai Yu jumped when he spoke, and he caught the longing that flashed for an instant in Bai Yu’s eyes.

 

“Lead the way.” Yang Rong said, walking in between them.

 

He could feel the tension in the air and he stayed silent as he ushered the two to the empty room. He contemplated whether to stay there or go back, and realized that it would look really inappropriate if he stayed. But even as he started packing his things, his mind still rested on what could have happened between Yang Rong and Bai Yu. Was it work related? Yang Rong was looking at Bai Yu’s files and he wondered if there was an error. Was Bai Yu in trouble?

His stomach churned. He’d seen how hard Bai Yu had worked the past few months and he’s sure that if there was an error, surely it can be amended. He’d decided to wait for them. Pretending to work on something. It didn’t take them long and Yang Rong led Bai Yu back to the office.

 

“Xiao Yu, you may go first. I have to talk to Juju.” 

 

Yilong tensed. He looked up from the computer and caught Bai Yu’s stare. He smiled, trying to give some sort of reassurance to the younger man, but it was him who felt relieved when Bai Yu smiled back.

 

“Juju, has he been talking to anyone? Like, being really close with.” Yang Rong began as soon as Bai Yu left. He looked at her quizzically.

“ Listen…” Yang Rong sighed as she sat down in Bai Yu’s chair.

“I wasn’t lying when I said he’s my smartest staff, and I trust that he can handle this project based on the data I’ve read but…” Yilong waited.

“You see, Xiao Yu was my mother’s student in university. He was top of his class, really smart guy. So my mom asked my dad to hire him after graduation. I trained him, and saw his potential. That's why I forwarded his resume to our parent company in the U.S.. He’s been accepted in an internship that could lead to a good job opportunity there.” Yang Rong stopped and sighed.

“The kid was on board at first. He’s excited, you should’ve seen him, almost danced around after he got the news. However, one day he came up to me and asked for this job. As you know, this project spans at least a year in development alone and it’s not like his internship is going to wait but he was adamant to get in here. Says he’s looking for someone.”

A pause. Yilong waited for more, and in the silence of the room, he thought that he could hear his own heartbeat quicken.

“Who?” Yang Rong shrugged.

“He wasn’t specific. He said it’s personal, but begged me to allow him to go. I gave him six months, that’s how long I can stall his internship, but after that it’s either he goes or loses it. That’s why I came here, to persuade him to make his choice.”

“And to ask you if you know anything.”

 

Yang Rong’s gaze was piercing, as if trying to burn into his soul. He furrowed his brows.

 

“Me? I know nothing. He’s friendly with everyone, but I don’t think he’s particularly interested in any of them” he said

“Not a single person? Are you sure?” She raised an eyebrow, her finger gently tapping on Bai Yu’s desk.

Not knowing what else to say, he nodded.

“Well, I guess Xiao Yu is out of luck, huh.” Yang Rong stretched and then stood up.

“I will be dropping by from time to time to slowly take over Xiao Yu’s work. Loop me in when you have a meeting with the big bosses so I can participate in them.” Again, he nodded.

“Okay, I guess that’s all for me now. I’ll be heading home, you do the same.”

 

Yang Rong stood up and walked towards the door. Yilong sat there to process everything. 

 

So that’s why… he thought, leaning back against his chair.

I wonder… he sighed

Who could it be?  

 

~o~

The thought about Bai Yu’s person consumed him throughout the night and even in the following days. It occupied his mind so much that he found himself staring more and more towards Bai Yu’s direction everytime they were having their parallel runs.

 

“Juju.” Yang Rong elbowed him. She’s started coming in thrice a week to take part in the implementation, and with her help, things are going faster.

“Hm?" Yang Rong just rolled her eyes in response.

He just smiled at her and went back to work. This time, he’s on the production floor with his staff, trying on the new automated system, and so far everything was working perfectly until an error message popped up.

 

“Bai Yu, can you come look at this?” he asked. Bai Yu nodded and immediately walked over to him.

“Oh, sorry, I think there’s a bug. Let me fix that for you real quick. Can you send me the file you’re working on? I’m guessing I need to update the masterlist.”

Bai Yu went back to where he was stationed, then pulled a chair to sit beside him. He watched as Bai Yu worked on the file, at least now he has an excuse to look at him, right? And again, he can’t help but think about what Yang Rong revealed.

“Long ge, can you try it now?” He felt a sharp pain on his side and realized that one: Yang Rong had elbowed him again, and two: he’s been staring at Bai Yu. Again.

“U-uh, yeah. Sure.”

When they’ve finished for the day, Yang Rong let Bai Yu go home and stayed, requesting Yilong to do the same. She then emailed him a file.

“Looks like we’re done with your team. I’ll work on the report tonight until about tomorrow morning and hand it over to the bosses. Then I’ll have Xiao Yu transferred to the next department. Maybe around tomorrow afternoon”

 

Disappointment washed over him. Of course he knew that Bai Yu would eventually move but he didn’t think it’s be this soon. Yang Rong stood there looking at him, as if expecting an answer so he just nodded.

 

“I was planning on announcing it earlier, but I was afraid Bai yu and your staff would not like it.”

“So you’re just going to drop it on everyone?” he shot back. Yang Rong just shrugged

“We’ve been in the corporate world long enough to know things aren’t permanent and we shouldn’t get attached so easily. It’s just disappointing that he hasn’t met that person yet. And he only has a month left.”

~o~


The next day, his schedule was peppered with meetings that he was barely in his office. He wanted to catch Bai Yu before the latter was transferred but their schedules just wouldn’t meet. When his meetings finally ended at 3 pm, he was sure he’d find Bai Yu’s desk empty and the young man gone but to his surprise, he saw him standing in front of the window.

 

“Xiao Bai?” Bai Yu looked at him and smiled.

“I worked here before you know, when I was cleaning windows. Back then I’ve gotten used to people ignoring me, even glaring, but one day…” Bai Yu turned to the window again, fingertips gently resting on the glass. 

Yilong’s heart started thumping faster.

“The pantry window was broken. I’ve worked with that kind of issue before so it didn’t bother me much, but there’s this one guy. He looked genuinely concerned” He looked at him, their gaze locking.

“It was the first time someone saw me and was concerned about the shit I was doing.”

 

He felt his chest tighten.

 

“I left him a silly note.” Bai Yu grinned, scratching his head.

“I thought I wasn’t going to see him again but…

 

Yilong didn’t need to hear the rest, he knew all about it.

 

~Flashback~

He’d just  finished a report and wanted nothing more than to have a break. He pushed his chair back to stretch then faced the window beside him. He’d sometimes spend his break just doing that, looking outside at the sky or down at the tiny people and cars rushing by with a cup of coffee in his hand. But this time, something was different, something was descending from the upper floor outside and he remembered that it was time to have the windows outside the building washed.

 

He resigned himself to losing a few seconds of his time, but the people outside were just doing their job. He was about to turn back to his desk when he finally saw who was outside. It was the same man who fixed the broken window in the pantry. Their eyes met and the man gave him a toothy smile then waved.

Surprised, he wasn’t able to react in time and just watched as the man swiftly worked on the windows. The job was done as soon as it started and he just found the man outside waving goodbye at him as the car slowly descended to the next floor.

Instinctively, he approached the window and watched. The man seemed to not have noticed him, but just as the car was descending again, the man looked up and saw him. This time it was him who smiled.

~End of flashback~

 

“I was happy when he finally smiled at me. I was afraid he won’t remember me, but he did.”

“I could only see him every three months, and I can't even look at him most of the time. And I know he wouldn’t ever look at me. So I usually just do my work and wish him a nice day in my heart.

 

It’s not true  

 

Because he’d been anticipating watching Bai Yu outside, sneaking glances and watching him as he worked, wishing that he could see that smile again.

 

I was looking at you. Always

 

“Sometimes our eyes will meet. Sometimes I would think maybe he was looking at me. So I would just smile. And he always smiled back.”

“I was still in university then, but was slowly reaching my goal to graduate. Sadly, I had to quit my job there and find some other job to fit my schedule. I was hoping to see him in my last day at work but he wasn’t there.” there’s a hint of sadness in Bai Yu’s voice.

“So I said to myself, maybe I can meet him again. Find my way to work here, then I’d find him, and maybe, finally introduce myself to him...”

 

Bai Yu stopped. He proceeded to pick up his things and hesitated, looking at the door then back at Yilong.

 

“Did you find him?” it took every strength in him to keep his voice straight. Bai Yu chuckled.

“I did. I was at our office when Rong jie came with him. I later asked Rong jie about it and that’s where I heard about this project. I begged her to let me be part of this. But unfortunately, it looks like he doesn’t remember me at all. Well, it’s been years, maybe I was just stupid enough to crush on someone that long.” Bai Yu laughed dryly.

“I don’t hold it against him, just seeing him, and knowing he’s doing well is enough for me. I couldn’t ask for any more than that.”

 

But what if I could give you more?

 

The thought scared him, but right now, the thought of losing Bai Yu again was scarier.

“.. He’s been accepted into an internship that could lead to a good job opportunity there.” Yang Rong’s words rang in his brain.

He stopped.

“If he remembered you, what would you do?”

“Me?” another chuckle.

“I’d probably pour all my heart out for him. And ask him to let me stay by him.”

 

Stay

 

As a middle manager, Zhu Yilong was used to making decisions, he’d been trained to only see the most profitable, and logical way out, and he called on that experience to help him make his decision.

For the better

 

“Rong jie mentioned you have an internship in the U.S.” he began.

“Maybe…”

“It’s time to move on.” he faced the window as he said this, not wanting to see Bai Yu’s face, nor him, his.

 

Silence



“Maybe.” Bai Yu finally said.

“Long ge, I’ll go now, I’m sorry for bothering you during my stay with your department, and for listening to me.” a pause. 

 

He could see Bai Yu’s reflection on the window, it’s faint, but he could see him standing there, waiting.

 

“Yeah. That’s it. Good bye, Long ge.” he just nodded.

 

From where he was standing, he couldn’t see the expression on Bai Yu’s face, but he’s pretty sure he wasn’t smiling. 

 

~o~

He wasn’t sure how he got through the rest of his working day, but as soon as he was out, he went to his car, drove home, downed a couple of beers, and the next thing he knew, it was morning, and he was having a bad hangover.

 

“You look like shit Juju, what happened?” Yang Rong asked when she visited him in his office.

“Migraine.” he lied.

“Uh huh…” Yang Rong nodded, obviously not buying what he just said.

“You sure you can function with that level of hangover?”

“I ca-” he stopped at realizing he was caught even before Yang Rong could laugh.

“Let me get you some medicine, okay?”

“Rong jie?” He leaned sideways to see past Yang Rong and saw Bai Yu at the door.

 

For the record, he didn’t want to, but his body had other plans.

 

“Long ge, are you okay?” There was real concern in Bai Yu’s voice and it made his heart skip.

“Migraine. Juju’s been working too hard. I’ll get him some medicines Xao Yu. Have you the files for our meeting today?”

 

Bai Yu nodded, his eyes still on him. He tried to smile, to reassure the other man, but Bai Yu still looked concerned. He felt guilty once again.

 

“Xiao Yu, can you head over to the meeting room and set it up for me, please?”

 

He watched as Bai Yu hesitated for a moment, eyes still full of concern. But he did obey Yang Rong in the end. Yang Rong looked back and when she’s sure that Bai Yu had gone, she leaned forward and spoke in a low voice.

 

“Xiao Yu called me last night and said he’s go to the internship. He didn’t sound pleased though, but I guess he got his answer.” the pounding in his head worsened at her words.

“Rong jie, I don’t get why you’re telling me this.”

Yang Rong stared at him. Hard. She then lowered her head and sighed.

“Because I’m a busybody who likes to gossip. Now, you get a little shut eye while I get your meds.”

He laughed and watched her leave before crossing his arms on the table and resting his head on them. He was about to fall asleep when he heard a soft thud.

“Thanks Rong jie-” 

 

But it was Bai Yu who was standing in front of him. He had just placed a cup of coffee on his table  and was holding a bottled water and a foil of pills.

 

“I happen to have some medicines with me,and the pantry has freshly brewed coffee.” Bai Yu explained.

There was science after that, no one spoke, they just looked at each other unti Yang Rong’s voice broke the silence.

 

“So that’s where my bottled water went.”

“Sorry Rong jie, I left a note on your desk. I’ll buy you another one later.

“We’re good Xiao Yu. I’ll just keep this one.” she said waving the bottle in her hand.

“So…” she added, looking at the two.

“You have a meeting right? Shouldn’t you be going?” Yilong asked. He saw Yang Rong roll her eyes.

He watched the two go, almost hoping Bai Yu would look back. He didn’t.

Silly, it was you who said to move on, why can’t you follow your own advice?

~o~

The days passed by quickly and as the automation project progressed, he saw less and less of Bai Yu. He also made it a point to clearly tell Yang Rong not to let him know when Bai Yu will be leaving as he had a hunch his friend was on the verge of telling him about it. Yang Rong just shrugged but said nothing more of it. 

 

Days passed and he did what he did best: work. He fully immersed himself with his current projects while checking on how the automated system was going. He tried not to think much about Bai Yu or what the other man had told him. He doesn’t know how long Bai Yu’s internship was going to be, but he’s sure that Bai Yu would meet a lot of people there, and maybe he’d meet someone better than him.

 

~Flashback~

Yilong had to have a working lunch as he was on a deadline. He did manage to complete his report before lunch was over, but he didn’t even manage to get a single bite of the sandwich sitting on his desk. Nevertheless, he felt good and decided to finish his sandwich sine he still had fifteen minutes to spare.

 

As he turned to the window to enjoy the view outside, he noticed that the car used for cleaning the windows was outside. He walked to the window and saw a man sitting in the car, reading a book filled with what looked like math equations. Before he could step away, a man looked up to him, startled for a bit then, upon recognizing him, smiled.

Yilong smiled as well and held up his sandwich. The man in the car held up a cup of instant noodles and grinned. Yilong pointed at the book and tilted his head, the other man flipped the book to reveal the cover, it was a textbook for a programming language. Yilong hurriedly grabbed a sticky note from his desk and wrote “are you in school?”

The man grabbed a pen and wrote on the looseleaf of the book.

Yeah, I have an exam tonight :(

 Yilong laughed inwardly at the sad face the other had drawn.

Good luck on your exam then.

Just then, the man looked at his watch then scribbled a quick: have to get back to work now, thank you for talking to me. :)

It’s nothing. Have a nice day. :)

Have a nice day as well. :D

Then he watched as the car was lowered. The man looked up one last time when he had reached the next level and smiled up to him. He smiled back.”

~End of flashback~

 

Ah, now that he remembered it, Bai Yu had always looked back at him and smiled. He was too busy looking at him that he never saw him looking back.

But then again, maybe he was afraid to read past that alluring smile.

 

To clear off his mind, he decided to lurk around Weibo as he remembered Yang Rong was on an out of town vacation. He wanted to pester her for a souvenir but got the surprise of his life when the first thing he saw on her page was Bai Yu.

He was arm wrestling with another man and there was a plate of dumplings in front of them, Yang Rong had captioned it “the best and brightest of my team, fighting over dumplings” and had tagged Bai Yu and what he supposed to the the other man, someone called Zhang Ruoyun.

Despite the cold air in the room, he felt sweat form on his forehead as he looked at the picture. Should he click on the profiles? Which profile would he click? The pointer lingered on Bai Yu’s name and he closed his eyes as he clicked on it. His heart ached as he saw Bai Yu’s smiling face greet him. His latest post was of him eating noodles. He scrolled down and he noticed that most of the posts had that guy Zhang Ruoyun in them, apparently they were both from Yang Rong’s company and were sent there for the internship. 

 

They were even sharing an apartment.

 

Well, he did follow my advice.

Maybe it’s time I follow my own.

 

He sighed and closed his laptop. 

~o~

After that, he worked hard even more that he was granted a managerial position. He glady accepted the new responsibility and welcomed the challenges, at least that would keep his mind off someone. Because as hard as he tried to get Bai yu out of his mind, when the memories hit him, it hit him hard. So hard that he took two full days to consider the offer to have his office moved. Yes, the new office had more space, but he’d seen the windows and the bigger the office, the more it had windows.

It’s been two and a half years, why can’t you get over him?

In the end, he accepted, but most of the times the blinds were drawn in his office. He just felt at ease that way, at least his mind won’t wander off to someone who would never look back at him again.

 

Happy birthday Juju!

The Wechat message popped into his notification just as he was ready to go to bed. It was from Yang Rong.

 

Rong jie, it’s already 12:30 am, it’s not my birthday anymore.

It is where I’m at. By the way, take a look a this,

 

She sent him a link and when he clicked it, it went straight to one of Bai Yu’s weibo post. It was a video, of him with a guitar. He remembered that Bai Yu could sing, and that he has a very beautiful voice. Still not knowing why his friend sent it, he pressed play. Bai Yu started singing, and he did have a very good voice. Yilong was drawn back instantly, his heart aching as Bai yu sang the chorus of Suddenly Missing You.

It took him a few minutes before he could recover and message Yang Rong back.

 

Rong jie, what was that for?

Oh, sorry, wrong link. I was supposed to send that to a friend of mine who has a crush on Xiao Yu.. Let me get you the correct link.

The next link she gave was to her weibo, where there’s another video, this time of her with a cake.

 

“Juju, happy birthday! I made this for you, but since you’re not here, I’ll go ahead and eat it!”

“Hey Rong jie, I helped too!”

Bai Yu came into the frame, face and hair coated with flour.

“Long ge, happy birthday! Do you still remember me?” Bai yu smiled, eyes in the shape of a crescent moon.

The two sang a happy birthday song before blowing the candle, then the video ended.

Thank you Rong jie. 

You’re not even going to like and comment on my post?!?

I’m sorry Rong jie, I’ll do it later.

Xiao yu wants to know if you’re doing good. What should I tell him?

I’m okay.

Anything else?

Thank you for the greeting.

After their exchange of messages, he sat awake in bed, his mind too active to rest. He tossed and turned until he decided to go to his wechat with Yang Rong and clicked on Bai Yu’s video. It took him around three playbacks of Bai Yu singing before he fell asleep.

 

~o~

 

It took him a few months before he recovered from that. But when at last he felt that he’d wiped Bai Yu out of his mind, his peace was shattered once again.

 

“Yu ge’s back!”

 

Even if he’s been promoted,his wechat group with his former teammates was still around. It had been a while since there was an activity, but that message was the least likely one he’d ever thought that would bring the group back to life.

“I saw it on his page, he’s back! He wants to see us!”

Instantly, a barrage of message started flooding in. Yilong had to put down his phone as he was in the middle of a very boring meeting as the news  But before he did, he sent the group a message:

“Okay, count me in.” as a response when asked if he would like to come to the meet up on Friday night.

His resolve only went until Friday afternoon though. When one of his former staff knocked on his door an hour before the actual meet up, he came up with an excuse to not go, and instead handed over some cash as his contribution. It’s not that he didn’t want to see Bai Yu, he’s just not ready…

 

That’s why he stayed off his social media platforms that weekend, even went as far as to disconnect his phone from the internet for him to have some peace of mind. He buried himself in a tick book and several cups of coffee.

But again, the universe has a way of trolling him.

“Juju, where have you been? I’ve been trying to message you on wechat!” 

 

That was Yang Rong half screaming at him over the phone that Saturday night.

 

“Sorry Rong jie, my phone wasn’t connected to the internet. Is there a problem?”

“Are you in the city?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Can you drop by your office tomorrow? I know that’s a Sunday but I ran some diagnostics on the system and found an error in the current one running for finance. I need to get it fixed in time for the closing of the books.”

“No problem Rong jie, what time do you need me there? Do you need anyone from finance to assist you?”

“No, no, the error is simply on our side and will just be a quick fix. I just need to hook something up there.”

“Okay, what time do you want me there?”

“Can you go there at around eleven? I’ll buy you lunch.”

“Okay.”

Well, that goes his remaining rest day.

 

But as it’s work and Yang Rong sounded serious, he went to the office earlier in case Yang Rong was early. He’d told her he’d be in his office and so he just sat there waiting. He actually started working the moment he arrived and was so engrossed in composing his presentation for the next meeting that he didn’t hear the tapping on his window.

Tap

Tap

Tap

At first he dismissed it, it might be some bird, or maybe even his imagination, but then he noticed that the tapping didn’t go away.

 

It’s too early for a haunting is it? He thought as he looked at his watch.

Tap

Tap

Tap.

 

That’s it. He stood up from his chair and walked to the window. When he pulled on the chord for the blinds, he was surprised that there was someone outside.

It was Bai Yu.

He was standing in the car used by the window cleaners. And he looked just like he did the first day he saw him, eyeglasses, the beard, even the smile. 

 

“Hello, Long ge” Bai yu mouthed from the other side of the glass.

 Still in disbelief, he did not react, he just stared at the man right in front of him, wondering what was happening, and if it was real. Meanwhile Bai Yu had pulled out a note pad and was scribbling something on it.

 

Meet me at the rooftop.

 

The car slowly moved up and the minute Bai Yu disappeared from his view, he marched out of his office to where the elevators were. He tapped his foot impatiently as the counted the floors, then ran up the last flight of stairs leading to the rooftop.

 

“Long ge!” Bai Yu greeted, smiling widely.

“Xiao Bai what are you doing here?”

“I’m back. You didn’t come last Friday so I decided to visit you here. And now I owe Rong jie an et all you can buffet meal”

“So all that was…”

“I’m sorry Long ge, I didn’t know how to get to you.”

“But why?”

“Remember the thing I told you about before? About the man I met while I was cleaning windows in this building?” Yilong nodded.

“That was you.”

 

I know

 

“You told me then to let go, and I tried, but…” Bai Yu looked straight to his eyes.

“I just want to let you know that it was you. It’s okay if you don’t feel the same-”

“I do.” he muttered even before he could think.

“What?” Bai Yu gaped at him.

“You thought I didn’t remember you, but I did. I just didn’t recognize you because you looked so different…” he noted that Bai Yu chuckled at this.

“But when you told me that story, I knew.”

“But why?”

“Why did I not tell you? Why did I push you to leave? At that time I thought I was making the logical decision. That was a big career opportunity for you and you shouldn’t be wasting it on someone…”

 

Like me

“So yeah, that was stupid.” he tried to laugh.

“But why did you still want to know? Don’t you already have someone else?”

“Huh? Long ge, what are you talking about?”

“That Zhang, your roommate during your internship.” he spat, he hated how he sounded so hurt, or that he’s just given awa that he was snooping in on Bai Yu’s business, but he couldn’t help it.

“Zhang? THAT ZHANG!?!” Bai Yu exclaimed.

“No! No! He’s just my roommate and my friend!” the panic was evident in his voice and he saw how Bai Yu’s expression changed from surprise to concern that he sighed.

“Long ge, please believe me, there’s no one else. It’s just you. All these years, it’s still you.”

“Fine I believe you, now what?”

“Will you go out with me?”

“What?”

“I thought I’d ask you to be my boyfriend, but I guess that’d be too soon. So yeah, will you go out with me, Long ge?”

When Bai Yu flashed him that smile, he knew he’d lost the fight.

“Yes.”

Bai Yu’s face brightened and he jumped in the air. Yilong laughed at him.

“Uh, let’s go back to your office. The cleaning crew will be back from lunch.”

“Did you arrange this? All of this?” he asked as they descended the flight of stairs.

“Well, it just happened that today was the schedule for this building so I called in a  few favors to ask to use the car for a bit.”

“How did you find my office?”

“The ladies told me. I was a bit worried that with you being promoted, it'll be harder to catch up with you.”

“Why do you think you needed to catch up with me?” thankfully, the elevator was empty and they had more time to talk in private.

“So that you can see me. Smile at me the way you used to when we were on the other side of the window.”

“Xiao Bai…”

“I’ve always seen you.”

 

~o~

 

“So, looks like I can safely take this out now?”

 

Yang Rong was waiting for them in his office, sitting on his chair. When she finished talking, she bent down and pulled out a bouquet of red roses. 

 

Bai Yu led him towards Yang Rong, and that’s the first time he realized that they were holding hands. He felt his face get warm.

 

“Long ge, this is for you.” Bai Yu took the bouquet from Yang Rong and offered it to him.

“Thank you.”

“Oh my god, there are ants everywhere.” Yang Rong said, brushing over her clothes, but her voice was high pitched and she giggled right after.

“Rong jie, don’t ruin our moment.” Bai Yu whined.

“Fine, fine. At least I won’t have Xiao Yu constantly asking about you.” she pointed a finger at Yilong.

“And stressing at how dense you are.” she glared.

“Me?”

“Yes. Now, off you go on your little date.”

~o~

 

“Long ge, where do you want to go?”

The two entered the parking lot, still holding hands. 

“You choose Xiao Bai.”

“Rong jie said you love hotpot, shall we go for that? That’s where we first met again.”

“We could, but how about you? What would you like to eat?”

“Noodles, but we can save that for another date.”

“You know what? Let’s go to your favorite noodle shop first. You already had hotpot with me, I want to share your favorite meal.”

“Okay!” Bai Yu smiled.

“We could go on my motorcycle, it’s easier.”

“Can I leave this in my car first? I don’t want it squished during the ride.”

 

They headed to his car first and he placed the bouquet on the passenger seat. Afterwards they went to where Bai Yu parked his motorcycle. 

 

“Long ge is really handsome.” Bai Yu grinned as he helped him with the helmet.

“Go away!” he said, lightly tapping him on the shoulder.

“Long ge…” Bai Yu whined as they settled on the motorcycle.

“This is our first date, can you please hold on to me?”

 

Yilong laughed and slowly placed his arms around Bai Yu. Bai Yu then lightly leaned back against him.

 

“Oy, get yourself together, you’re not going frive like that, are you?”

“Long ge, can’t I enjoy this hug longer?”

“After dinner.” he blurted out.

“That’s a promise, right?”

“N-no. I meant.”

“No take backsies, Long, ge. I will be expecting a hug after dinner.”

“Go away!”

“Yes, yes, we are. Hold on tight.”

 

Bai Yu started the engine and he tightened his hold. He’s still overwhelmed at what’s happened, but it felt good. He’d think about other things later, but now, he’d be focusing on the man in front of him, no, he’d be focusing on them, together.