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    A black sports car stopped at the entrance of the bar. The passenger door opened, and a man stepped out, holding a black umbrella.

    As the back door opened, a tall and beautifully dressed young lady emerged. She had delicately applied makeup, wore a nude-colored spaghetti strap chiffon dress, paired with a long semi-transparent lace coat with rose embroidery on the hem. With a slender waist and long legs, she sported a neat and clean short haircut. Her earrings gently swayed as she walked, her bright eyes captivating and her demeanor charming.

    The upright man held the umbrella over her, slightly tilting it towards her head. His handsome face displayed a faint expression, seemingly unaware of the rainwater dripping down from the umbrella onto his shoulders.

    A breeze blew by, carrying the fragrance of ivy and woody plants from the lady. Without a word, Lu Changting subtly distanced himself, walked into the bar, placed the folded umbrella on the umbrella stand beside the door, and cleared his throat softly.

    Upon hearing this, Xiang Wan expressed concern, asking, “Mr. Lu, do you have a cold?”

    “It’s nothing,” Lu Changting responded lightly.

    There was a young man sitting behind the bar counter.

    Several bartenders were busy mixing drinks for customers, but he sat leisurely on a high stool, head down, engrossed in his phone.

    “I used to see everyone’s photos on social media, and today I finally came myself,” said a cheerful and gentle voice. “Mr. Lu, do you have any recommended drinks?”

    Before the words had fully left her lips, the young man behind the bar counter looked up, his gaze meeting a pair of clear and profound eyes.

    Lu Changting coughed again, feeling suddenly guilty…

    Bringing a blind date in front of someone he liked—was he just too exhausted from a day’s work to think straight, or had he lost his mind completely?

    Xiang Wan didn’t wait for an answer, instead she turned her head towards him with a strange look. “Mr. Lu?”

    Lu Changting lowered his eyes, avoiding Shen Li’s gaze. “You can tell the bartender what flavor you prefer.”

    “And what would the lady like? Long drink or short, what flavor do you prefer?” Le An timely handed over the drink menu.

    Shen Li lowered his head, staring absentmindedly at the phone screen.

    In that fleeting moment just now, he felt as if he had seen Lu Changting and Tang Yao from years ago.

    Tang Yao also had short hair.

    He remembered a lunch break once, passing by the door of Class Thirteen, seeing Lu Changting clumsily tying up Tang Yao’s shoulder-length hair with a small sunflower hair tie. He guessed it was probably a gift from Lu Changting to Tang Yao, as she always wore it, sometimes tying it into a small ponytail, other times wearing it on her wrist.

    He thought, perhaps Lu Changting wouldn’t give sunflower hair ties to anyone anymore; he would give more expensive and exquisite gifts to win a girl’s heart.

    Then he thought, this beautiful lady must be Lu Changting’s blind date.

    They stood together, truly matched.

    He heard the lady softly describing the flavor she wanted in her drink, sweeter and lower in alcohol content.

    He heard Le An recommending Baileys Sweet Milk to her, heard Lu Changting ordering a Last Kiss… and heard Lu Changting’s suppressed cough… which made his heart ache.

    Lu Changting probably hadn’t taken his words from last night to heart.

    After ordering their drinks, the two went to a booth by the window, where the constantly changing lights created a great ambiance, ambiguous enough yet romantic.

    Shen Li’s gaze pierced through the lively atmosphere, landing on Lu Changting and Xiang Wan.

    Xiang Wan said something to Lu Changting; the bar was too noisy for him to hear clearly. Lu Changting leaned in slightly, and their distance became very close.

    What were they talking about?

    Did Lu Changting smile?

    A bunch of questions and emotions surged through his mind, desperately needing an outlet.

    Shen Li stood up, skillfully grabbing a cocktail shaker, 45ml of rum, 10ml of brandy, 5ml of lemon juice… 5ml wasn’t enough. As he poured the lemon juice, his hand paused, accidentally pouring several tens of milliliters more.

    The deeply ingrained proportions in his memory were suddenly altered by him. His mood lightened a bit as he poured the ice and alcohol into the cocktail shaker, covered it, pressed his thumb on the lid, and held the bottom with his middle and ring fingers, slightly tilting it upwards and shaking it quickly.

    He vigorously shook the cocktail shaker until he felt a bit tired, then placed it on the bar counter, gently wiped the rim of the glass with a lemon slice, and poured in the prepared drink.

    Feeling somewhat out of control emotionally, before he poured the well-prepared Last Kiss down the drain with his own hands, he placed the drink on a tray and signaled for the waiter to deliver it.

    Then he fled.

    He didn’t want to know how Lu Changting would react to drinking a Last Kiss that was almost half filled with lemon juice; he just wanted to be willful once.

    Just be willful once.

    Let Lu Changting taste this kind of flavor too.

    The flavor of unrequited love, sour and bitter.

    The waiter brought the drink over, placing it on the table and leaving with a word, “Enjoy your drink, and have a pleasant evening.”

    Xiang Wan smiled as she lifted the glass. “Cheers—”

    She took a shallow sip, the milky sweetness combined perfectly with the taste of alcohol, giving a warm sensation.

    “The atmosphere of ‘Gujiu’ is different from what I imagined a bar would be like.”

    Most people’s impression of a bar is either a deafening low bass in the air, couples flirting recklessly on the dance floor under blinding colored lights, or a folk music-themed quiet bar with artistic and fresh decor, endlessly telling love stories… However, “Gujiu” is more stylish than a nightclub, more lively than a quiet bar; here, you can get drunk or seek solace. It’s no wonder that the noble offspring and the rich second generation all gather here.

    Lu Changting responded lightly.

    He was somewhat absent-minded, thinking about how to explain his intentions for the appointment to Xiang Wan.

    He wasn’t attending the appointment because he harbored any affection for Xiang Wan or wished to continue their acquaintance; rather, he wanted to convey his lack of interest in furthering their relationship… If it were someone else of no consequence, he would have simply declined. However, there were business dealings between the Xiang family and the Lu family, and this blind date was arranged by their parents, so he needed to consider the Xiang family’s reputation and politely decline.

    He lifted the glass and took a sip; the sourness of the lemon juice completely overwhelmed the taste of alcohol. Lu Changting frowned and coughed twice from the sourness, struggling to swallow a mouthful of the bitterly sour Last Kiss…

    He waved for the waiter and received the answer, “This was personally crafted by our boss. Is there any problem?”

    Lu Changting glanced at the drink in his cup and smiled wryly. “No problem…”

    It was just too sour.

    Was Shen Li trying to sour him to death?

    Or was this clumsy trickery supposed to tell him—was Shen Li jealous?

    Although the latter idea seemed somewhat presumptuous, Lu Changting did find a bit of psychological comfort in it, and he took up the challenge, lifting the glass to torture himself with another sip.

    He had never drunk anything so sour in his life.

    The sweetest sugar, the bitterest wine, all from Shen Li.

    Thinking of this, Lu Changting chuckled softly.

    “Mr. Lu?” Xiang Wan looked at him, unsure why he was laughing, so she smiled gently and asked, “Mr. Lu, what are you thinking?”

    Xiang Wan’s voice brought Lu Changting back to reality. Regardless of what he was pondering, what he might have with Shen Li, he had to deal with the problem in front of him first.

    After considering his words carefully, he spoke, “I’m thinking about how to politely yet gracefully reject a beautiful lady.”

    Xiang Wan reacted for a moment, her almond-shaped eyes widening slightly with surprise, her smile turning somewhat awkward. But she still eased the atmosphere as she replied, “Rejecting a beautiful lady in itself is quite impolite.”

    “So I feel quite sorry.”

    “Why then are you rejecting this lady?” Xiang Wan swirled her glass, then slowly took a sip. “Please don’t say it’s not a good fit, or praise this lady’s excellence. She doesn’t buy into that.”

    Lu Changting spoke frankly, “Because I have someone else in my heart.”

    Xiang Wan lowered her gaze, the smile fading from her face. “If that’s the case, why did you agree to the blind date?”

    “Mr. Lu, your behavior… greatly disappoints me.”

    “I don’t mind how you perceive me,” Lu Changting said, “but I hope our personal matters won’t affect the relationship between the Lu and Xiang families.”

    Lu Changting made his words clear enough, and Xiang Wan wasn’t one to be unreasonable. Admiration and fondness simply made her feel a bit fluttery about Lu Changting, with thoughts of continuing their acquaintance, but it didn’t mean she couldn’t do without him.

    “You can rest assured, I don’t intend to make things awkward.”

    “But I am curious,” she relaxed her tone, freed from the constraints of the blind date, and her demeanor softened considerably, “what kind of person is this person you have in your heart?”

    Thinking of Shen Li, Lu Changting’s gaze became gentle. “He’s a very lovely person.”

    “Alright,” Xiang Wan gave up completely, “…then I wish you both happiness.”

    When it was time to pay, the cashier handed Lu Changting a plastic bag. “Mr. Lu, this is from the boss.”

    Xiang Wan’s gaze inadvertently swept over and caught sight of several boxes of medicine. She thought it was quite something that Lu Changting had such a good relationship with the boss of “Gujiu”. Then she realized she hadn’t seen the boss tonight. How did the boss of “Gujiu” know that Lu Changting had a cold?

    Lu Changting was somewhat surprised as he took the plastic bag and glanced inside — ibuprofen, aspirin, licorice tablets, cold relief granules, cough syrup… various cold medicines, and a box of chocolates.

    Thinking of that sour and bitter Last Kiss, and then looking at the bag of medicine in his hand, Lu Changting’s gaze softened.

    “Please convey my thanks to your boss for the Last Kiss.”

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