Lin Ruoxi identified the uninvited guest. With an unamused tone, she remarked, “Senior Li, what’s the matter?”

The guest was none other than Li Jianhe in his work suit. He stared blankly at Lin Ruoxi for moments, presumably working on his opening line, before he forced a smile. “Mind if I sit?”

“Suit yourself.” Lin Ruoxi brushed him off as she stood up. “I’ve got to go.”

Lin Ruoxi, who was in a visibly bad mood was hardly eager to listen to what he had to say.

“Wait.”

Li Jianhe held onto Lin Ruoxi. “I think we need to talk.”

“About what?”

“Why did you reject a perfectly good proposal for a collaboration with BMW on their heritage museum? It was clearly a solid plan benefiting all parties. It could significantly boost Yu Lei’s profits and global influence!”

Lin Ruoxi scoffed as she disinterestedly glanced over at the man. “Well, the decision has already been made. It’s my company. I don’t need you to tell me how to run it.” 

Li Jianhe was irked at her reply but was once again actively obstructing her from leaving. “Ruoxi, listen to me. Give the proposal more thought. There shouldn’t be any reason for you to reject it!”

Lin Ruoxi observed Li Jianhe vent in desperation with slight pity. After all, he was an old acquaintance, and even if they were nowhere as close as they once were, she still valued their friendship.

“Okay, I’ll give you five minutes to lay it out for me. If you can’t convince me by then the project will stay the way it is.” Lin Ruoxi was not keen on negotiation. 

Just moments ago, she would have come into decision mostly from her affection for Yang Chen, but right now, her gut feeling tells her that something was off. 

The two people once again sat down at their spots. Li Jianhe rearranged his thoughts before he started visualizing his grand scheme to her with complete sincerity. 

Unbeknownst to them, at that moment, a ubiquitous white sedan gradually stopped by the road across the cafe. 

By the driver’s seat was exactly the one who decided earlier that she would stop by in search of Lin Ruoxi, but was notified by Zhao Hongyan that she was out. It was none other than Guo Xuehua. 

Guo Xuehua was rather dejected that Lin Ruoxi was away, but understood that she sure had her reasons. After being notified, she left the parking space and turned into a junction and was held up by the traffic light. She then carelessly turned towards her surroundings, only to instantly catch the notice of a familiar figure. 

Adding up the coincidences, the crowd around the cafe was few and far between, placing Lin Ruoxi front and center like a sore thumb.  

Guo Xuehua was still in a pleasant mood as she had recent cravings for a cup of coffee, ready to get out of the car to meet her.

What subsequently caught her off guard was that across Lin Ruoxi sat a suave, fine-looking young man. 

Guo Xuehua urgently pulled herself over to the sidewalk, intrigued to witness Lin Ruoxi alone with an unfamiliar man at a cafe. “Is that cake?”

A rough estimate could put a timestamp of her visit to the cafe, at a little more than half an hour.

Upon Guo Xuehua’s understanding of Lin Ruoxi, she was certain that she would never meet with a man on her own for coffee and desserts. 

Implementing her own personal experience, she evaluated the possibility of platonic friendship between them. 

Naturally, Guo Xuehua was rapidly spiraling down a circle of negativity, and she just could not justify Lin Ruoxi’s decision to talk business in a cafe downstairs.

Taking a closer look, she perceived the suave young man to easily be one born with a silver spoon, given his lavish appearance and conduct. She was convinced that a man like this could easily be more attractive than her own son.

Guo Xuehua was visibly uneasy at that point, hesitating if she should leave the car to confront Lin Ruoxi with regards to her male company. 

As a mother herself, she was understandably concerned about her son’s marriage, even when he had multiple extramarital lovers of his own. But mothers were mostly biased and selfish, and that included Guo Xuehua. Even when her own son was neither loyal or faithful, she might have seemed frustrated on the front but was still nonetheless just an act to comfort Lin Ruoxi. Deep down, she was proud. Her own son was desired by so many women. That said something about his character.

Not to mention Guo Xuehua herself was born to a well off family, which would explain her particularly stern expectations for her daughter-in-law. 

If Lin Ruoxi was even to attempt an affair, Guo Xuehua was ready for a confrontation. 

Since it was against the law to stop by the road, Guo Xuehua was considering finding a parking spot. But what came after left her terrified, her eyes unable to steer away!

That man was holding Lin Ruoxi’s hand!

Back in the cafe, Li Jianhe’s words, however elaborate and enticing, were ultimately unconvincing to Lin Ruoxi.

Li Jianhe was fully aware that the core reason for her rejection of his proposal. It was not the proposal itself, but her personal factors weighed in, or potentially even Yang Chen’s.

Clenching his teeth, Li Jianhe in utter desperation reached out and held onto Lin Ruoxi’s silky smooth hands across the table!

Lin Ruoxi would never expect Li Jianhe to do such a thing. Even during her college years, when she had feelings for him, they had never once had such physical contact!

But at this moment, Li Jianhe had his hands clamped onto hers!

‘Ruoxi I know you might place Yang Chen’s interests into consideration, but I assure you, as long as you agree with the proposal, I will leave all standard procedures to my employees and will never appear before your sight again.”

“Let go.” Lin Ruoxi shook with much effort in an attempt to free her hands, to no avail due to his sheer strength. Her face was pale as a sheet as her hands started trembling. 

“We’ve known each other for so many years and this is honestly the first time I ever pleaded with you for anything.”

“I said, let go!”

“Give me a reason to.” Li Jianhe was furious. 

“Li Jianhe, for the last time.” Lin Ruoxi’s fury was at her limits.

Li Jianhe ultimately released her hands. “Why won’t you accept?”

“There might be limited options amongst financial collaborators in Zhonghai, but we’re undoubtedly not the only one. The choices widen when you pan out to the whole country. Hence, if you were eyeing on the Yang clan’s influence then you can count yourself out. I will not bring the Yang clan into play when it comes to my business decisions.” Lin Ruoxi was done explaining and once again was ready to leave. 

Li Jianhe instead was first to stand, rounded over to her side of the table, and grasped both of Lin Ruoxi’s hands!

“Ruoxi are you plotting against me? I would never dare challenge the Yang clan!”

“Let go!”

Without hesitation, she channelled her concealed True qi and forced herself out of his grip. 

Due to her lack of hands-on experience and her personal preference to avoid physical confrontation, she never thought of channelling it until then. 

Yet this time around, she concentrated her true qi into her hands and nearly tossed the desperate man off his feet!

Li Jianhe was stupefied. As a judo practitioner himself, his strength was already greater than most. But right now he was thrown in the air against his will by Lin Ruoxi?!

Lin Ruoxi delayed no longer as she glared at the wretched man with a soul-piercing gaze, reached for her handbag and went straight out of the cafe!

All that was left was Li Jianhe dumbfounded by the corner, left only with his own contemplations.

Over at the T junction not too far off from the cafe, there was a conflicted look on Guo Xuehua’s face.

In her hands, was a photo she took with her smartphone of the exact moment Li Jianhe held onto Lin Ruoxi’s hands.

When she witnessed the event as it happened, her mind blanked out. It was subsequently replaced by anxiety, in fear that the presumptions in her head might turn out to be real. 

Her first reaction then was to whip out the phone and capture the moment as it happened even though it was inappropriate to be spying on her daughter in law. But she was certain then, that if she had to bring this up in the near future, it was best that she had proof to convince Yang Chen. 

Yet she had no idea what she could do next? To confront Lin Ruoxi when they next meet face to face? And ask about the man that was frantically holding onto her hands?

Amidst deep contemplation, Guo Xuehua ultimately decided against confronting Lin Ruoxi, at least until Yang Chen returned. It was an issue for the young couple after all. 

“Beep beep!”

A series of honking echoed from infuriated drivers behind her.

Guo Xuehua instantly snapped out of her spiralling thoughts and noticed the lights had already turned green, which led her to hastily steer her car towards the market.