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    Chapter 71: The Industry's Dreamboat

    After the dinner, Lu Nanqing intended to leave directly, but Chen Sheng brought up work-related matters, compelling him to stay temporarily. The two of them moved to the outdoor garden of the restaurant to continue their conversation.

    Meanwhile, Jiang Yuduo's blind date had also concluded. The girl had maintained a pleasant demeanor throughout. At times, appearance mattered; she thought that perhaps she should give him another chance. If he offered to send her home and demonstrated chivalry, then even someone labeled "elegant but unsophisticated" or "rigidly straight" could be trainable.

    "Mr. Jiang, I'll head back first," Chu Qingwan said.

    Jiang Yuduo nodded and asked, "Do you have a driver picking you up?"

    Hearing this, the girl sensed a possibility but still replied tactfully, "Yes, I do."

    Even with a driver, he could still send her home. If he made the offer, she would gladly accept his ride.

    Upon hearing that she had transportation, Jiang Yuduo said, "Alright, go ahead. We can meet again sometime if you're free."

    Girl: ...?

    Not at all? Not even a slight attempt?

    Jiang Yuduo, originally planning to drive back, casually turned his head and caught sight of a familiar figure in the open-air garden.

    "Go ahead, Miss Chu. I have something to attend to," Jiang Yuduo promptly changed course.

    Left behind, Chu Qingwan was speechless...

    As expected, she couldn't afford to give him any chance; she had to let go of all hope right away.

    Chu Qingwan stormed away in her heels, while Jiang Yuduo had already stealthily approached the garden gate.

    He noticed Lu Nanqing standing exceptionally close to Manager Chen of Tengyue Group, their shoulders almost touching. Puzzled, he wondered what kind of secret conversation required such proximity. Didn't Lu Nanqing have some sort of germophobia? How could he tolerate this?

    As he pondered, he observed Lu Nanqing take a step aside. Strangely, Manager Chen followed suit, restoring their close proximity. This shift in position occurred twice more, and even someone as unobservant as Jiang Yuduo could tell that Lu Nanqing was intentionally creating distance. Yet, Manager Chen seemed oblivious.

    "Does CEO Lu have a partner?" Chen asked.

    "No," Lu Nanqing replied, already retracting his right shoulder as much as possible.

    This Chen Sheng had invited him here under the pretense of discussing work, but he hadn't gotten to the point for half a day, causing Lu Nanqing some impatience.

    "Then do you have someone you like?" Chen Sheng asked again, turning to look at Lu Nanqing.

    Lu Nanqing pursed his lips and still answered negatively.

    "If President Lu is willing, I think we could..." Chen Sheng ventured, reaching out his left hand towards Lu Nanqing's right.

    Lu Nanqing reflexively pulled away, his tone turning cold as he interrupted, "Apologies, Manager Chen, but we're not on the same wavelength."

    "So decisive?" Chen Sheng wasn't discouraged by the rejection, for it was truly rare to encounter someone like Lu Nanqing. He would try his hardest to win him over.

    "Is it because you have no personal interest in me that you say this? I believe I'm quite a decent catch and not at all unfaithful. Of course, I'm not forcing you; I just want a chance to be with you," Chen Sheng explained.

    "It's not just about you personally. I'm not part of your circle," Lu Nanqing said expressionlessly.

    "You don't seem like it," Chen Sheng remarked. "Does President Lu know that our circle usually has a good eye for people?"

    Lu Nanqing: ...

    "I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you misjudged the situation this time," Lu Nanqing said coolly.

    "Initially, I thought your invitation for dinner held this intention as well, but looking at your current attitude..." Chen Sheng found it perplexing.

    Now he understood the issue. A dark line formed on Lu Nanqing's forehead as he explained, "When I invited you for dinner, it was to apologize for missing the previous performance and express my hope for future collaborations. If Manager Chen misunderstood my intentions, I apologize."

    Chen Sheng was slightly taken aback but persisted, "Just because of that reason?"

    "Mm-hmm." Lu Nanqing shifted slightly to the side, his expression and tone clearly indicating a clarification.

    Chen Sheng chuckled softly. He had thought Lu Nanqing was using a strategy to lure him in, waiting for him to take the initiative to make plans. It turned out... he had overanalyzed the situation.

    "In that case, I apologize, President Lu," Chen Sheng said with ease.

    "No need, as long as there's no misunderstanding," Lu Nanqing replied.

    "But I still feel that we, President Lu, share similarities," Chen Sheng smiled and continued, "I wonder if you're aware, but you're the 'catch of the day' in our circle, highly sought after."

    Lu Nanqing: ...

    "Try reaching out. I consider myself a catch, and I'm also looking to settle down..." Chen Cheng continued to persuade.

    "Cough!" Just as Chen Cheng was speaking, a cough interrupted him.

    Both turned to see that it was Jiang Yuduo. Chen Cheng's narrowed eyes revealed his displeasure at being interrupted, while Lu Nanqing felt a sense of relief.

    He wondered how Jiang Yuduo had appeared here; hadn't he said he had prior engagements?

    "CEO Lu, Manager Chen, I've just finished my meal and came to admire the river view. Who would've thought we'd run into each other?" Jiang Yuduo joked, leaning on the railing to Lu Nanqing's left.

    "It is quite a coincidence," Chen Cheng remarked.

    "What were you discussing? Since we're all in the same industry, why not share your thoughts?" Jiang Yuduo suggested. "Fenghuo is looking forward to collaborating with Tengyue again in the future."

    "It's not about work. CEO Lu and I were having a friendly chat," Chen Cheng replied.

    "Oh, I see. You two are friends. So am I with CEO Lu – friends of friends are friends too, right?" Jiang Yuduo said, making himself at home.

    Lu Nanqing didn't respond verbally, but his body leaned slightly towards Jiang Yuduo. With a third person present, Chen Sheng didn't press the matter further.

    "Correct me if I'm wrong, but President Jiang and President Lu are competitors, aren't they? Your companies' businesses are in direct opposition," Chen Sheng said, looking at Jiang Yuduo.

    "True, but broadly speaking, we're also in competition with Tengyue. Competition can lead to cooperation, so enemies aren't forever," Jiang Yuduo replied.

    Hearing this, Lu Nanqing couldn't help turning his head to look at him. To be honest, those words were rather insightful, not something he expected from Jiang Yuduo.

    Chen Sheng merely gazed at him in response. The two fell into a brief silence before Lu Nanqing took the initiative to end the conversation: "Manager Chen, our business for today is concluded. I hope there will be future opportunities for collaboration."

    It was clear that Lu Nanqing was politely showing him the door. Given Jiang Yuduo's sudden intervention, it wouldn't have been appropriate for Chen Sheng to continue discussing other matters. He smiled and said, "Aside from work, friends can also make plans to meet more often. See you on the weekend, President Lu."

    Not giving Lu Nanqing a chance to decline, he left promptly, leaving Lu Nanqing speechless as he watched his retreating figure.

    "Are you really friends?" Jiang Yuduo asked, retracting his gaze.

    "No," Lu Nanqing answered coldly. "It's one-sided on his part."

    Jiang Yuduo raised an eyebrow slightly. In his understanding, someone as meticulous as Lu Nanqing would never turn down a 'friend' in the business world. It surprised him that Lu Nanqing outright denied their friendship.

    "That friend of yours isn't quite reliable. I sense something off about him," Jiang Yuduo commented.

    Lu Nanqing looked at him, his gaze inquiring.

    "Didn't you notice? He doesn't respect any personal boundaries; it's like he wants to crawl all over you. And he's not even a friend – it's outright rude," Jiang Yuduo continued.

    "You're observant," Lu Nanqing remarked with a sidelong glance.

    "Cough, cough. I just got here. Don't get the wrong idea – I didn't come here specifically to find you," Jiang Yuduo clarified.

    Lu Nanqing chuckled softly. Sometimes, the more one denied something, the more it revealed. However, he didn't want to expose this, as Jiang Yuduo had indeed helped him out. Otherwise, he would have had to deal with Chen Sheng for a while longer. After all, they were bound to have business interactions in the future, and he couldn't burn bridges just yet.

    "How was your blind date?" Lu Nanqing changed the subject.

    Jiang Yuduo paused. Just as he was about to answer straightforwardly, he quickly caught himself. "Wait, how do you know I came here for a blind date?"

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