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    Chapter 54 - Love Diminishes Intelligence

    A subtle awkwardness lingered between Zhou Weichuan and Tang Fei.

    Tang Fei, how dare you defy the boss? Have you gotten too big for your boots?

    The rhythmic drumming filled her ears, and her heart thumped anxiously.

    Please don't let me get into trouble! What should I do? beads of sweat formed on Tang Fei's forehead.

    Tang Fei forced a smile, believing that one could never go wrong with a friendly expression.

    While Tang Fei was frantically searching for a way to ease the tension between her and her boss, Zhou Weichuan was even more nervous.

    Zhou Weichuan pressed his lips together. Would he now appear as someone who couldn't distinguish right from wrong or had poor emotional control in Tang Fei's eyes?

    He needed a new topic!

    "Congratulations on wrapping up production," Zhou Weichuan hung up the phone, holding the medicinal wine in his pocket. He clenched and unclenched it repeatedly; if he kept this up, the bottle might develop a patina within a year or two.

    His smile, displayed across his face, was even more captivating than Tang Fei's. Perhaps he was attempting to charm her with his irresistible good looks, hoping she'd forget the slight awkwardness that had just occurred?

    Indeed, Tang Fei's expression wavered under his smile, but it didn't seem to be a sign of forgetting the embarrassment. Instead, she appeared even more uncomfortable.

    Tang Fei's forced smile was on the verge of collapsing. Her boss had suddenly burst into an enchanting grin right in front of her. It was beautiful and charismatic, but its unexpected appearance was a bit peculiar, even eerie.

    "Mom, I'm scared," she thought to herself.

    Observing Tang Fei's reaction, Zhou Weichuan realized that his attempt hadn't gone as planned, yet he wasn't sure where the problem lay. He pondered over how else he could alleviate the situation. Should he offer the medicinal wine as a farewell gesture?

    Should he give it, or not?

    Perhaps he should just take it out and see?

    "Thank you, Boss!" Tang Fei's eyelashes fluttered. Deciding not to dwell on it, she seized the opportunity to change the subject, reaching into her pocket to retrieve the red envelope given by the director. "Look, I earned this big red packet today. They say if you get one for a death scene, you should spend it quickly, or bad luck will follow. How about I treat you to a meal?"

    Um...

    Tang Fei wished she could punch herself. Why had she suggested treating the boss to a meal? Wasn't the brief awkwardness insufficient, and did she need to prolong it for more discomfort?

    Never mind, never mind. The boss would probably decline!

    Her boss was no fool, with an abundance of wit and hidden intentions. Surely, he would understand her polite gesture and not take her up on her offer; they'd just exchange some polite words as a formality.

    "Sure!"

    Zhou Weichuan's response came without any hesitation. Before Tang Fei could even finish comforting herself, she received an affirmative answer, catching her off guard and causing her to choke on her own breath.

    Did he agree? Had she misunderstood? If it weren't too extravagant to use a Truth Card for such matters, Tang Fei would have loved to use it just to see what was going on in Young Master Zhou's mind.

    Zhou Weichuan's hand, which had just withdrawn, quietly returned to its place. Perhaps he should find another opportunity to gift the medicinal wine.

    ...

    Afraid of the sudden silence, the two wore forced smiles without anything to say.

    Tang Fei felt that if she weren't wearing shoes, her toes could dig a hole into the ground. Smiling awkwardly was even more tiring than acting!

    Tang Fei signaled to He Zhou sitting beside her.

    "He Zhou, hurry up, save the day!"

    He Zhou's antenna-like hairdo swiveled. "Received! OK!"

    This situation was nothing for him. Ever since childhood, whenever his cousin had to reject someone's confession in an awkward situation, He Zhou was always there to smooth things over. He was a pro at it.

    He Zhou clapped his hands to create some noise, then chuckled as he approached the two of them. Tang Fei took the opportunity to move behind He Zhou, silently opening and closing her mouth to relieve the ache from too much fake smiling.

    "Congratulations on wrapping up the shoot, Cousin!" He Zhou gave Tang Fei a big hug, then whispered in her ear, "Sis, you even dared to confront the big boss. Can't you endure it for the sake of the money?"

    Hugging He Zhou back, Tang Fei whispered, "I don't know why I couldn't hold back."

    "You must be used to taking advantage of me."

    "Heh." It seemed like she wasn't the only one feeling a bit too confident. He Zhou was getting cocky too! Tang Fei extended two fingers and playfully pinched a piece of flesh on his back, imitating a gymnastics move.

    "Ahh-ssi-i—" He Zhou's face contorted in discomfort.

    Tang Fei pushed away He Zhou, who regained his balance by holding onto his back.

    As Tang Fei lifted her gaze, she found herself again confronted with Zhou Weichuan's warm, heartwarming smile, as if he were basking in spring's embrace.

    The sound of her heartbeat grew distinct, and Tang Fei blinked. On the system interface, tiny flowers blossomed across the words "Matchmaker Mission."

    Tang Fei tilted her head slightly. Wasn't his face sore from smiling for so long?

    The flowers withered instantly, and the Matchmaker Mission faded into obscurity.

    "Congratulations on wrapping up, Sister Fei!"

    "Happy wrap-up to Teacher Tang!"

    "Time for the wrap-up feast!"

    With He Zhou's enthusiastic call, the surrounding crew gathered around, echoing their congratulations. Seizing the opportunity, Tang Fei distanced herself from Zhou Weichuan, engaging in conversation with the production team.

    Zhou Weichuan noticed Tang Fei's movement, sensing that perhaps his actions had made her uncomfortable.

    Despite not having initiated any pursuit or disrupted their original relationship, he knew that even the slightest change on his part would make her uneasy.

    He gradually withdrew from the crowd of well-wishers, standing on the periphery to observe Tang Fei, who stood out amidst the throng, captivating everyone's attention at first sight.

    Zheng Haisheng pushed the wrap-up cake forward, followed by the production assistant with a cartload of barbecuing tools and skewered meats of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, shrimp, fish, oysters, and clams, all piled in large steel basins. Xu Jianguo directed the team to carry crate after crate of beer, while the camera crew focused their lenses on them.

    The coffin on set remained untouched, and the grave for the next day's shoot was already prepared. Next to them, a man-made stream gurgled, bordered by scattered patches of pale yellow weeds.

    The iron grill was set up by the stream, and the crackling charcoal flames illuminated the colorful array of meat skewers, filling the air with a tantalizing aroma that wafted into everyone's nostrils with the northwestern breeze.

    Beer glasses clashed in a toast, their rosy glow reflecting off the red embers of the charcoal.

    As the sky darkened, the lighting technician switched on powerful floodlights, casting a bright glow that intensified the festive atmosphere.

    One by one, the skewers transformed from meaty treats to bare metal sticks. Someone brought out speakers and strummed a guitar, singing little ditties to add to the revelry.

    In the center, the grand cake was exquisitely adorned, and Xu Jianguo noticed the words on it: "Congratulations to Tang Fei on completing filming. Wishing Spirit Wave Frenzy great success."

    The flowing, dynamic handwriting was familiar to him.

    His gaze shifted to Zhou Weichuan, who had secretly written a message on the cake.

    Zhou Weichuan's handwriting was taught by his mother, and Xu Jianguo could almost see an old friend when looking at those characters.

    The two lifelike sugar figurines on the page gazed at each other, their exquisite caramel strings resembling golden raindrops draping over them, forming a bridge between Li Xiuyun and Tang Fei. The scene seemed to illustrate Tang Fei stepping into the book while Li Xiuyun emerged from it.

    The concept was clever, and the thoughtful touch struck a chord with Tang Fei's heart.

    Surrounded by colleagues, Tang Fei was led to the cake. Zheng Haisheng placed the knife in her hand, "As today's guest of honor, please make the first cut."

    Tang Fei's cheeks flushed with gratitude welling up inside her. Her company truly cared for her. Since arriving in this world, apart from the warmth she received from He Zhou and her family, this was the first time she felt such attentiveness from elsewhere.

    Well, she should probably be more accommodating to her boss from now on. With the company being so kind, she hoped to stay for a long time.

    She carefully sliced a tiny piece from the edge, "The cake is too beautiful, I don't want to ruin it."

    "Tang Fei, do you like it? This is... um... cough... something our... " Zhou Weichuan quickly stepped in, reaching around Zheng Haisheng to cover his mouth before continuing, "The company specially ordered this for you from Jiangzhou. The cake maker put a lot of effort into it."

    "Thank you, the company!" Tang Fei glanced at Zhou Weichuan, remembering that she had previously criticized the boss, so she promptly added, "And thank you, the big boss."

    Zhou Weichuan nodded at her and led Zheng Haisheng away. Tang Fei took a small bite of the cake. Why was the boss acting so cold all of a sudden?

    Was it because he wanted her to thank the company before him? Was he upset about the billing order?

    That was too petty, wasn't it?

    ...

    Only when Zhou Weichuan was out of sight did he lower his head and smile contentedly.

    A one-sided love was good too.

    Although, there were moments of melancholy.

    Zheng Haisheng was so anxious that he scratched his head. He cared more about Zhou Weichuan's love life than the man himself, "Boss, aren't you going to let Tang Fei know how you're pursuing her?"

    "I didn't say I was pursuing her. Don't go spreading rumors."

    "But you've put so much effort into it." Zheng Haisheng's love manual was on the verge of crashing.

    Those in love cannot be fathomed by common sense, devoid of logic and utterly unpredictable. His principles no longer seemed applicable.

    "Putting effort into pleasing the company's top star is the same as putting effort into the company itself – it's what a boss should do," Zhou Weichuan declared with conviction, leaving Zheng Haisheng questioning his own understanding.

    Had he misinterpreted the situation?

    "Well then...?"

    "All part of the company's initiatives, got it?"

    "Understood!"

    If only he truly understood! But under Young Master Zhou's employ, he had to pretend to comprehend, even if he didn't.

    What was the point of liking someone but not pursuing them, secretly sending warmth from behind? If someone else made a move first, he highly doubted the boss could remain passive.

    The Love Handbook, an age-old principle:

    Love diminishes wisdom – confirmed.

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