The smell of smoke attacked the nose, causing Qi Xing to step back in discomfort and glare at the person in front of him.

Ye Xingzhou ignored him and casually put out his cigarette in the nearby trash can.

Just as Qi Xing was about to curse, Lin Zhinian came out, causing him to hold back.

“Xingzhou, let’s head back,” Lin Zhinian said, and after bidding Qi Xing, he accompanied Ye Xingzhou inside to bid farewell to Old Chen.
Then the two of them left first.

Qi Xing suppressed the urge to give Ye Xingzhou the middle finger and went back inside.
Old Chen was leaning back in his rocking chair, drinking tea and reading a book.
When he saw Qi Xing come in, he gestured to the chair next to him with the hand holding the book.
“Have a seat, don’t jump around like a monkey.”

Qi Xing sat down and complained as soon as he leaned back.
“Old man, did you call me here to watch a show? Is there any point to it?”

“I think you’re quite interesting,” Old Chen teased him.
“You’re interested in that Mr.
Lin, aren’t you?”

Qi Xing curled his lips.
“Unfortunately, he’s not interested in me.
But old man, do you really think his paintings are good?”

“They’re quite good,” Old Chen calmly replied.  “I haven’t seen you speak so nicely of others before.”

“That kid from the Ye family is different,” Old Chen smiled and explained.
“To be able to stand up to that group of black-hearted people in the Ye family at such a young age, his skills and abilities must be outstanding.
He has a promising future ahead of him.
You should strive to be like him.
You’re  young, you might as well learn from him.”

“Forget it,” Qi Xing immediately refused.
“You just said his family is full of black-hearted people, so the one who can win must be the blackest of them all.
If I learn from him, he might just corrupt me.”

Old Chen laughed heartily.
“You’re a coward sometimes too? I couldn’t tell.
Weren’t you so brave while taunting him just now? So you’re afraid of him, huh?”

“I’m not afraid of him,” Qi Xing waved his hand.
“I just don’t like him.”

“Well, there’s no need to be impulsive,” Old Chen chuckled after having enough fun.
“It’s good to be cautious, but making a few more friends won’t hurt.”

Qi Xing still wasn’t interested.
“Let’s talk about it later.”

He had plenty of friends; he didn’t need someone like Ye Xingzhou.

After spending the afternoon with Old Chen, drinking tea and playing chess, Qi Xing found an excuse to leave before evening.
As the car drove out of Qingping Garden, he received a call from his mother, Wang Cuilan, asking him to come home for dinner.

“I made plans with someone…” Qi Xing protested.

“I don’t care who you made plans with,” Wang Cuilan interrupted with a strong tone.
“Tomorrow, I’m going on a self-driving trip with your aunties.
Can’t I have a meal with my son before leaving?”

“I’ll be right there then.” Qi Xing had no choice but to turn the car around and head home.

As soon as he entered the house, the aroma of food filled the entire room.
Qi Ronghua was wearing an old man’s vest and cooking in the kitchen.
They didn’t hire a housekeeper, and the hourly worker would only come during the day to do the housework.
As long as Qi Ronghua was at home, he would personally cook.
Wang Cuilan was holding her beloved cat in the living room, watching TV.
When she reached the sentimental part, tears welled up in her eyes, but she didn’t pay any attention to her son’s return.

 Over the years, the place they lived in kept getting bigger and better.
His parents looked sophisticated and had the air of wealthy and noble individuals.
However, when they came back home, it was still the same.
One loved to study culinary arts whenever they had free time, and the other enjoyed watching melodramatic love stories on TV.
If these hobbies were known to others, those snobbish people would definitely criticize their taste as nouveau riche.
But it didn’t matter; no one in their family cared about such things.

After watching the TV episode, Wang Cuilan finally noticed that her son had come back and sent him to assist his father.

Qi Xing rolled up his sleeves and walked into the kitchen.
Qi Ronghua happily cooked while asking for his help in washing and preparing the vegetables.
While working, Qi Xing casually mentioned about going to Qingping Garden for lunch that day.

The relationship between their family and Chen Lao was not particularly complicated.
Qi Xing’s grandfather and Chen Lao’s father were good buddies who grew up together in the same village and were inseparable.
They joined the military together during the war, but Qi Xing’s grandfather had the misfortune of losing a leg on the battlefield and returned to his hometown early, while Chen’s father achieved a class transformation through military achievements.
The two families had lost contact for several decades since then.

When Qi Ronghua first came to Huai City to try his luck, he opened a small restaurant, and it was through this chance encounter that Chen Lao’s memories were stirred, and they discovered their families close relationship.At that time, Qi Xing was only a few years old and caught Chen Lao’s attention, so he became his godson , their relationship developed into what it is today.

Qi Ronghua’s business had grown over the years, not only due to his good luck, sharp vision, and decisive actions but also because of Chen Lao’s secret assistance.
However, Qi Ronghua understood the boundaries well and never mentioned those matters publicly.
He rarely troubled Chen Lao for his own benefit.
Qi Ronghua had emphasized this point to Qi Xing many times, so apart from going to Qingping Garden for a meal whenever he had free time, Qi Xing had never mentioned to anyone that he knew Chen Lao, despite their close relationship.

After listening, Qi Ronghua asked with concern, “Did the Ye family member visit Chen Lao? You didn’t say anything inappropriate in front of them, did you? I heard that you didn’t get along well with the Ye family member at the charity wine party last time.
Don’t provoke him.”

“I didn’t provoke him,” Qi Xing didn’t take his father’s words seriously.
“Everyone says he’s remarkable.
Is he really that impressive?”

Qi Ronghua: “Anyway, you and him are not on the same path.
Just avoid provoking him.”

Qi Xing responded casually, “Oh.”

After they sat down at the table, Qi Ronghua mentioned a wedding invitation he received that day.
He said, “The Ye family is hosting a wedding next weekend and invited us to join the celebration.”

Qi Xing asked, “Who’s getting married? Ye Xingzhou?”

“It seems to be his third younger brother,” Qi Ronghua shook his head.
“Who’s getting married is not important.
The young Ye just came into power and wants more people to get to know him through this occasion.”

Wang Cuilan immediately said, “I’m not going.
It’s not fun to put on a smiling face on such occasions.
Besides, I’ll be out running errands for at least half a month.
I can’t make it.”

Qi Ronghua said, “The invitation has already arrived, and I need to make an appearance.
In the business world, you have to keep your face.”

Qi Xing’s eyes lit up, and he raised his hand.
“Dad, I’ll go with you.”

After dinner, Qi Xing received a call from Yang Kaiming and the others, inviting him to go out and hang with them

As he left the house, Qi Xing was scolded by Qi Ronghua and Wang Cuilan as usual,  and he promised to be back before midnight, putting on his shoes and running off quickly.

He sighed with relief when he entered the elevator.
He thought he needed to find an excuse to move out and live alone.
He couldn’t stand having curfew even though he was already in his twenties.

While waiting at a red light on the road, Qi Xing saw a flower shop on the side of the street.
He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, hesitated for two seconds, then pushed open the car door and got out.

If he wanted to pursue someone, he had to take some practical action.
Compared to the clueless Ye Xingzhou, he believed he was more suitable for Lin Zhinian.

After leaving Qingping Garden in the afternoon, Ye Xingzhou had his driver drop Lin Zhinian off at the art gallery first.

There was silence during the entire journey.
When they got out of the car, Lin Zhinian hesitated for a moment and turned to Ye Xingzhou, asking, “Xingzhou, are you free tonight? Can we have a meal together, just the two of us?”

Ye Xingzhou looked at him, expressionless, and didn’t immediately respond.
Lin Zhinian asked again, “Is it not possible?”

Ye Xingzhou’s gaze lingered on his face for a couple of seconds before saying, “I have a prior engagement tonight, I’m sorry.”

Lin Zhinian said, “What about tomorrow? It’s the weekend, so you should be free, right? Lunch or dinner, whenever you have time.
I just want to have a meal alone with you.
I’ve been away for so long, and we haven’t had a chance to catch up properly.”

Ye Xingzhou replied, “I have to go to the company in the daytime.
There are things I need to take care of.”

“Then how about tomorrow night?” Lin Zhinian boldly suggested, “I helped you with a small favor today, and considering the painting, can we have a meal together?”

Ye Xingzhou turned his gaze away and casually said, “I’ll come to pick you up tomorrow evening.”

Lin Zhinian sighed in relief.
“Okay, it’s a deal.”

Ye Xingzhou’s car quickly drove away, and Lin Zhinian stood by the roadside for a moment before regaining his composure and entering the building.

The next afternoon, Ye Xingzhou’s car appeared again at the entrance of the art gallery.

That afternoon, he drove by himself and didn’t get out of the car after parking.
He picked up his phone and dialed Lin Zhinian’s number.
It rang once, but before anyone answered, he hung up and threw the phone aside.
He opened half of the car window, lit a cigarette, and patiently waited for Lin Zhinian to come out.

Five minutes later, a delivery rider arrived, holding a bouquet of flowers and standing at the entrance of the art gallery, looking around.

“Sir, excuse me, do you know if Lin Zhinian’s oil painting exhibition is taking place here?”

Ye Xingzhou glanced at the person and the delivery rider seemed hesitant in asking.
Probably because the car and the person inside it emitted a strong elite aura.
If it weren’t for being in a rush to deliver the order, he wouldn’t have approached.

Ye Xingzhou’s gaze fell on the flowers in the person’s hand and he casually lifted his chin, asking, “Are those flowers for him?”

“Ah,” the rider quickly said, “The recipient is Mr.
Lin Zhinian, but it seems the phone number provided was incorrect.
It’s an empty number.”

“He is my friend, so give me the flowers,” Ye Xingzhou said.

The rider thought that such a wealthy person wouldn’t mind if he took one bouquet of flowers.
After hesitating for a moment, he handed the flowers over.

A large bunch of gaudy champagne roses with a choking floral scent, which Ye Xingzhou didn’t particularly like.
He held the cigarette in his mouth, opened the card that was placed among the flowers.

“To sir Lin,

Wishing you a successful exhibition.
As for the promised meal, the one at Qingping Garden doesn’t count.
Next time, please honor me with your presence (:

Qi Xing”

The bold and striking handwriting was just like the person who wrote those words.

Ye Xingzhou stared at those sentences and squinted his eyes.

Suddenly, the image of Qi Xing approaching him yesterday at Qingping Garden, letting his guard down, came to his mind.

Energetic, vivid, and radiant.

Unfortunately, he was an idiot..

He flicked the ash onto the card, covering the two words “Qi Xing.” Ye Xingzhou sneered and casually threw the flowers out of the car window.

With a loud sound, the bouquet accurately fell into a nearby trash bin.


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