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    Chapter 67 - Acting Like a Heartless Man

    In the bathroom.

    Jiang Yuduo looked at himself in the mirror with an awkward expression, feeling utterly embarrassed. However, he rationalized that there was nothing to be ashamed of. They were both men, and this was a normal physiological response; it was something they learned in middle school biology class.

    Thus, with his usual thick skin, he flushed the toilet and exited the bathroom with a composed demeanor. He even found the opportunity to tease Lu Nanqing, claiming that his reaction was due to "jealousy."

    "Hey, what are you doing?" Jiang Yuduo asked as he saw Lu Nanqing packing his clothes, without even starting the intended conversation.

    "I'm preparing to leave the hospital," Lu Nanqing replied.

    "No way, you're not fully recovered yet. You need more observation," Jiang Yuduo immediately countered.

    "What else do you want me to observe? I'm already very healthy," Lu Nanqing said, looking at him.

    "Suppose you fall unconscious again? What if last night was just an exception, and tonight you revert to your previous state?" Jiang Yuduo argued.

    "Can't you say anything nice about me?" Lu Nanqing said, clearly annoyed.

    "I didn't mean it like that. It's just a precaution," Jiang Yuduo explained, putting his belongings back in place. "Besides, my parents wouldn't allow you to leave the hospital either."

    Lu Nanqing had no choice. When Jiang's mother and his own parents visited, they all opposed his discharge. Thus, he had to continue staying there.

    The weekend passed quickly, and on Monday, Jiang Yuduo finally left the hospital for work. Zhou Yu came as usual to report on work matters.

    For the next few days, everything went smoothly. The doctor eventually gave the green light for discharge, soothing the concerns of Lu's parents, who began making preparations to return to Haishi City.

    "Uncle and Aunt, don't worry about Lu Nanqing. We'll take care of him here in Zhou City," Jiang Yuduo assured them warmly as he accompanied the Lus to the airport.

    Standing by, Lu Nanqing watched his display of attentiveness. Over the past few days, the two of them had developed an unspoken understanding, pretending to be closer than they were to avoid raising suspicion among their elders.

    As Lu's parents bid farewell to their son, Lu Nanqing waved them off. Suddenly, an arm draped across his shoulder, pressing down slightly.

    Lu Nanqing pretended to brush it away, only for Jiang Yuduo to whisper, "Your parents haven't gone far yet."

    Lu Nanqing: ...

    It's fine, he thought. Just endure it.

    "Mom and Dad, you go ahead with your own tasks. I'll make sure to safely deliver Lu Nanqing to the company," Jiang Yuduo told his parents.

    Knowing her son's playful nature, Jiang's mother reminded him, "Don't bully Nanqing, he's still recovering from his illness. If I find out you're up to no good, you'll be sleeping on the streets!"

    Lu Nanqing looked at the hand on his shoulder, about to speak, but Jiang Yuduo cleared his throat, promptly removing his hand and obediently said, "How could I? My relationship with President Lu is now stronger than steel."

    Jiang's mother chuckled, then scolded, "I've always said your language skills were taught by your P.E. teacher. 'Stronger than steel' is a nice phrase, but it'd be better if you added 'friendship' as a modifier."

    Disregarding her comment, Jiang Yuduo led Lu Nanqing back to his car. However, he noticed that Lu Nanqing didn't seem to be moving.

    "What's wrong? Don't like my car?" Jiang Yuduo asked.

    "Where do I sit?" Lu Nanqing simply inquired.

    Without hesitation, Jiang Yuduo opened the passenger door for him. Upon seeing the water stains and dust on the seat, he quickly grabbed a tissue to wipe it clean.

    "You, a prince charming, need me to open the car door for you?" Jiang Yuduo grumbled.

    "I didn't ask you to open it, I was just asking," Lu Nanqing replied. After all, the passenger seat looked too dirty, while sitting in the backseat might imply treating him like a driver, leaving him in a dilemma.

    Jiang Yuduo meticulously wiped the seat clean, followed by Lu Nanqing, who drew out another tissue to attend to the edges, prompting Jiang Yuduo to fold his arms in mock frustration, saying, "President Lu, your obsession with cleanliness might be severe enough to warrant a doctor's visit."

    "Of course, I'll accompany you when Mr. Jiang visits the psychiatry department." Lu Nanqing settled into his seat and closed the car door behind him.

    "Go on your way, it has nothing to do with me." Jiang Yuduo walked over to the driver's seat and buckled up safely on one side.

    Lu Nanqing didn't respond, but Jiang Yuduo caught on himself: "Oh, so you're indirectly calling me stupid, huh?"

    "Let's not misunderstand each other," Lu Nanqing said. "Let's drive."

    Jiang Yuduo stepped on the gas pedal and the car lunged forward. The sudden inertia made Lu Nanqing instinctively lean forward. He gripped the handrail and said to Jiang Yuduo, who was driving, "Mr. Jiang, if you're not confident in your driving skills, let me take over. Or are you trying to send me back to the hospital just after I've been discharged?"

    "It's you, Mr. Lu, who are too frail and susceptible to being swept away. I haven't even made a sharp turn yet," Jiang Yuduo said.

    Though those were his words, he did slow down the car significantly. He rarely drove with passengers and hadn't paid much attention before; he hadn't expected Lu Nanqing to be so "delicate" as a passenger.

    The Land Rover forged ahead through the traffic, with Lu Nanqing rolling down the window for fresh air. Intending to lean casually, he was instead met with a layer of dust that had accumulated over the years inside the car.

    Lu Nanqing: ...

    It wasn't that his cleanliness obsession was easily triggered; it was simply that Jiang Yuduo was too careless.

    He skillfully opened the second compartment on the side and pulled out a wet wipe. Jiang Yuduo watched with the corner of his eye as Lu Nanqing wiped his hands and the glass, his lips twitching.

    "Sitting in my car really is an honor for you, President Lu," Jiang Yuduo said sarcastically.

    "I've never met a CEO as disheveled as you, Mr. Jiang," Lu Nanqing shot back.

    For a seven-figure vehicle to be treated like a run-down van used for grocery shopping, either Jiang Yuduo had so many cars that he didn't care about this one, or he was exceptionally untidy and unable to take proper care of himself.

    "I go out of my way to give you a ride, and all you do is complain. Do you want me to leave you by the side of the road?" Jiang Yuduo threatened.

    "I believe you would," Lu Nanqing replied nonchalantly.

    Jiang Yuduo huffed. "Well, then, why don't you say something nice? Or I might just make good on my threat."

    "What kind of niceties do you want to hear? I'll let Auntie Jiang listen in as well," Lu Nanqing shot back calmly.

    Jiang Yuduo: ...

    A despicable fellow, Lu Nanqing.

    Failing to outwit Jiang Yuduo in this verbal sparring, he temporarily ceased his attack and found another target, saying, "You seem to know everything that's in my car."

    Lu Nanqing calmly retracted his hand and replied, "President Jiang is a straightforward person, so it's not surprising that you guessed correctly. There's no need to compliment my intelligence."

    Jiang Yuduo cursed inwardly!

    How could someone have such a venomous tongue? With a single blow, he insulted Jiang Yuduo's simplicity while praising his own cleverness. It was truly astounding...

    In any case, Jiang Yuduo had never been skilled at arguments, and he remained silent for the rest of the ride, sulking. He wanted to provoke Lu Nanqing further, but he couldn't find a valid reason since he had initiated the dispute.

    Why open his mouth when he knew he couldn't win an argument?

    As the car pulled into the company plaza, Lu Nanqing unbuckled his seatbelt and said, "Thank you for the ride, President Jiang."

    "Is that all?" Jiang Yuduo asked him.

    Lu Nanqing turned his head, unsure of what else Jiang Yuduo expected him to say.

    "Considering our current understanding of each other, we should be more courteous when we meet in the future," Jiang Yuduo said.

    Lu Nanqing smiled slightly and replied, "Firstly, I am the one who suffered. Our relationship isn't one of shared adversity. Secondly, I am even more grateful to your parents."

    Jiang Yuduo felt irritated. Lu Nanqing seemed like a heartless person who would discard others after gaining benefits from them.

    Lu Nanqing opened the car door and, standing firm, he said, "Please go easy on me in our future competition. As long as President Jiang keeps his words respectful, I won't resort to underhanded tactics against you."

    His words were quite polite and well-mannered. After Lu Nanqing left, Jiang Yuduo was still pondering over the meaning behind them.

    "That's not right. Why should I give him an advantage in our competition? Is he implying that my company is weak?" Jiang Yuduo's "Lu Nanqing syndrome" kicked in, making him interpret the words negatively.


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