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    Chapter 72 [VIP] The Best Friend Shield (10)

    After hearing Nanyan's story, Fu Qingzhou vaguely recalled such an incident, but he hadn’t paid much attention to it at the time and had mostly forgotten.

    Her reminder brought back those memories, and as Fu Qingzhou looked at her face, he began to see the resemblance to the girl in his memory, stirring up faint recollections.

    It was indeed during the summer after the college entrance exams. Wanrou had whimsically wanted to go on a self-drive tour to Tibet and pestered him to learn to drive with her. But she lacked patience, and the hot weather made it worse, so she gave up halfway, and he never returned to that driving school...

    During that time, he did rescue a girl who was locked in a car. He remembered her slightly better because when she was carried out of the car, her breathing was so faint against his chest that he thought she might die any moment, so he hurriedly called an ambulance to take her to the hospital...

    He didn’t know what happened to her after that, as he never returned to that school and had no idea of the girl's condition.

    He hadn’t realized that the girl he saved back then was the very Nanyan before him and that such an incident had occurred between them.

    He found it somewhat unbelievable and regretful. If he had persisted back then, could he have gotten to know her earlier?

    But thinking about it, Fu Qingzhou found it odd. If they had met before, why had Nanyan never mentioned these events in their subsequent encounters?

    Was it because she didn't want to have too much contact with him?

    Or was there another reason?

    Fucheng Fu couldn't help but indulge in random thoughts. As he pondered, an idea suddenly struck him, visibly altering his expression. He looked up at Nanyan and couldn't resist asking, "So the reason you've been by my side helping me all this time is solely because I saved you before?"

    Fucheng paused. What if he hadn't saved her?

    Or what if someone else had saved her?

    Would she... not have treated him so kindly then?

    Fucheng wasn't sure why such peculiar thoughts crossed his mind, nor did he understand why this realization left him feeling uneasy. Perhaps it was because he cared too much, or maybe it was because he had lost so much that the fewer possessions he had, the more he cherished the things that mattered.

    He would subconsciously wish that she would stay by his side simply because of him, not due to any complicated sense of indebtedness.

    For this would imply that their relationship was merely an equal exchange, and once it concluded, she would depart just as before, leaving them both in their separate worlds, a thought that stirred unease within him and a vague sense of irritation.

    Upon hearing this, Nan Yan was slightly taken aback, probably not having expected such words from him. She then couldn't help but giggle, fixing her gaze on him as she asked, "What's wrong with you lately? Why do you have such strange thoughts? Whether it's because of Wanru or the favor of saving your life, my kindness towards you stems from you, doesn't it? Weren't those actions all yours? Why are you so concerned about these details?"

    While her words were logically sound, they conveyed a different feeling.

    Fu Qingzhu didn't quite understand what had come over him either.

    Lately, he had become inexplicably insecure...

    Back when he was with Wanru, he never experienced such feelings. Perhaps it was due to the series of setbacks he had faced recently, making his heart more vulnerable.

    He intended to continue speaking, but Nanyan found his constant frown unattractive. She instinctively reached out to caress his cheek affectionately, saying, "Alright, my young master, don't overthink. Your top priority now is to rest. Don't worry about anything else. And please don't get your hand wet. Don't forget to apply ointment tomorrow morning, no matter how troublesome it seems. Also, tell me what you'd like for lunch tomorrow, and I'll bring it to you, okay?"

    As Nanyan spoke, she smiled at him again, her eyes curved, and her smile warm and intimate. Fu Qingzhou couldn't help but soften.

    Her soothing tone was so pleasing that Fu Qingzhou's mood significantly improved.

    He gazed down at her for a while, only breaking the eye contact when she, still unaware, continued to smile up at him. Fu Qingzhuo then shifted his gaze away, feeling somewhat uneasy.

    A subtle ambiance hovered between them.

    And whatever happened next was swiftly brushed aside by her.

    Perhaps fueled by anticipation, Fu Qingzhuo found himself in a much better mood the following day as he worked.

    Although the construction site was laborious, the more he labored, the more he earned. Besides, his coworkers were generally amiable. Though there were some who preferred shortcuts and laziness, most of them had simple, honest dispositions and didn't discriminate against Fu Qingzhuo, the newcomer. After all, the work on the construction site was endless, and extra hands meant less strain for everyone.

    Within half a day, Fu Qingzhou had become acquainted with these men, who were all older than him and affectionately addressed him as "Little Fu." Their camaraderie led them to take extra care of him while they worked.

    Nonetheless, they enjoyed teasing him, likely due to his striking appearance and the delicate appearance that screamed wealthy young master. It seemed implausible that someone like him, who could blister all ten fingers just from moving bricks, would genuinely be working here, instead appearing as if he were forced by his rich father to experience life's hardships.

    As a result, they persistently probed him about his family background with an enthusiasm that even Fu Qingzhou found overwhelming.

    Fortunately, when lunch break arrived, their curiosity waned, and they dispersed to eat at a nearby canteen.

    Fu Qingzhou, still remembering Nanyan's promise to bring him lunch, stayed on the construction site. Yet, despite waiting for almost an hour, long after his coworkers had returned from their meal, Nanyan still hadn't shown up.

    A twinge of disappointment pierced his heart. Fu Qingzhuo assumed she might have just casually mentioned it, and there was a high chance she wouldn't come. After all, she wasn't anyone particularly significant to him—why would she go through such trouble to take care of him?

    With this thought, Fu Qingzhuo felt a sense of oppression in his chest. He attributed this discomfort to the scorching heat. After pondering for a moment, he decided to get back to work.

    While he was engrossed in his labor, trying to earn more, he suddenly heard someone call out to him from behind. It was the middle-aged man who had asked for his help that day, grinning playfully,

    "Hey, young man, no need to work so hard. Your girlfriend is here looking for you."

    Fu Qingzhuo was momentarily taken aback. Upon hearing the mention of a girlfriend, he initially thought it was Wanru. But when he looked up and saw Nanyan standing not far away, his face flushed red instantly.

    "Big brother, you've misunderstood. She's not my girlfriend."

    The middle-aged man gave her a thorough once-over, quite astonished. "If she's not your girlfriend, then she must be your wife. I never would have guessed, Young Fu, that you'd marry so young. I was actually considering introducing my sister to you. But looking at your girlfriend, she's lovely and caring, coming to bring you food on such a hot day..."

    Once he started on gossip, the man found it hard to stop. The more he observed Fu Qingzhu, the more regretful he felt for losing a great brother-in-law. In his view, a man didn't need to be exceptionally good-looking; being hardworking and ambitious was enough. This young man possessed both qualities, yet his own sister had missed out on such luck.

    Fu Qingzhou, his cheeks flushed from the teasing, was unable to continue the conversation and hurriedly pulled Nanyan towards the nearby cafeteria.

    They only stopped when they reached the cafeteria entrance.

    It was only then that he realized he had been holding her hand for a while. His normally handsome face turned slightly red, sweat beads forming on his forehead. He awkwardly released her hand, asking in a tone that clearly indicated he was hiding something, "How come you're here?"

    Nanyan, noticing his peculiar expression, instinctively wiped the sweat from his forehead, "Didn't you forget? I told you yesterday I'd bring you lunch."

    As she spoke, she glanced towards the direction of the construction site, her tone tinged with confusion, "But why did you rush to pull me away so hastily? I didn't even get to greet your friends. Won't they think we're being impolite?"

    Just as she finished speaking, Fu Qingzhou coughed uncontrollably, feeling uncomfortable under her puzzled gaze.

    Perhaps it was the mention of a girlfriend by those people that made his heart beat faster. He turned away, his face reddening, "Don't get the wrong idea, they're just a bunch of boring people who like to talk nonsense. You didn't hear what they said earlier, did you?"

    Unable to resist, Fu Qingzhou probed further. Upon receiving Nanyan's affirmative response, he quickly continued walking forward.

    "Alright, didn't you say you came to bring food? I'm starving, let's go quickly, it's getting late. Let's eat in the cafeteria."

    After saying this, the two entered the cafeteria together.

    Nanyan found an empty seat, set out the dishes one by one from the lunchbox she had prepared in the morning, kept refrigerated at the office, and reheated at noon.

    There were four dishes and a soup, both meat and vegetables, and she had also specially prepared a bottle of chilled plum juice, which was very refreshing to drink.

    As Fu Qingzhou sat opposite her, he noticed the thin layer of sweat on her forehead and the heat-reddened cheeks, with a few strands of hair sticking to her face. He instinctively reached out to tuck the stray hair behind her ear, softly saying, "You don't need to do this in the future, I can just have lunch in the cafeteria."

    Nanyan, puzzled by his remark, glanced at him quizzically as if she didn't understand why he would say that. "What's wrong? Do you dislike the food I make, or is it about me...?"

    Before she could finish, Fu Qingzhou interrupted her, giving her an exasperated look while wiping her sweat, "What are you thinking? When have I ever complained about you? It's just that the weather is so hot, I'm worried you might get heatstroke. Besides, you have your own job, running back and forth like this is tiring, and you don't get any rest."

    Hearing this, Nanyan chuckled, "Are you concerned about me? But my job isn't tiring at all, and it's okay if I don't rest at noon. On the other hand, you, don’t think I don’t know. Have you been nibbling on dry bread for lunch these past few days, not eating properly..."

    Her smile faded as she spoke, and her expression turned serious as she gazed at him.

    This made Fu Qingzhou somewhat embarrassed. Recently, due to financial constraints, he had resorted to eating dry bread to fill his stomach. Now that he had work and income, he certainly wouldn't go back to that unpalatable dry bread.

    However, he didn't dare to refute Nanyan's questioning and immediately picked up the chopsticks, starting to eat obediently, praising her cooking skills while eating – a surefire way to avoid mistakes.

    Nanyan, as usual, sat opposite him, chin in hand, smiling as she watched him, occasionally wiping the sweat from his forehead, "Hey, slow down, no one's competing with you. Why the rush? Eating too fast can cause choking. Have some soup first to quench your thirst..."

    As she murmured, she poured him a bowl of plum juice and passed it over. Fu Qingzhou felt a sudden, indescribable joy in his heart as he listened to her chatter, a sense of peaceful happiness.

    He even thought that continuing this way would be wonderful...

    Meanwhile, at another window, Jiang Shaoyan happened to pass by the cafeteria and inadvertently saw Nanyan wiping Fu Qingzhou's sweat. He was momentarily dazed.

    So much so that he didn't respond to his assistant calling him several times, "Mr. Jiang, Mr. Jiang, did you hear what I said?"

    "Miss Fang wants to invite you to dinner at the city center building tonight, to thank you for the necklace you gave her the other day. She also mentioned wanting to discuss some matters with you, if you're available?"

    Seeing the boss still lost in his thoughts, staring into the distance, the assistant instinctively stepped forward, waving his hand in front of him, "Mr. Jiang, did you hear me? Miss Fang has something to discuss with you."

    "Hmm? Oh... What did you say? Who needs to discuss something with me?"

    Jiang Shaoyan snapped back to reality, startled by his assistant's suddenly raised voice. His expression turned slightly unnatural as he adjusted his collar, seemingly hiding something, yet his gaze remained fixed on the pair inside the window, moving a step forward almost subconsciously as he saw their interaction becoming increasingly intimate.

    For some reason, a sense of inexplicable panic surged in Jiang's heart, as if someone had tightly grasped his heart, making it difficult to breathe smoothly.

    When did their relationship become so close?

    Or has Nanyan really fallen for Fu Qingzhou?

    The more Jiang thought about it, the more his chest felt empty and panicked, as if a hole had been punched through it, losing something important in a sudden, leaving him unsure of how to react.

    He had merely intended to prevent her from contacting Wanrou, but what was she doing now? Was she really giving up and planning to be with Fu Qingzhou?

    But she should think about it, with Fu Qingzhou's current situation, a helpless man who can't even support himself, why would she join him in his hardships?

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