In the meeting room, most of the senior executives from various departments had arrived.

Before the meeting officially started, people were chatting in twos and threes, discussing the email from earlier.

They didn’t want to openly gossip about whether Lu Jingshen was really gay, so they started speculating about who was so bored to intentionally spread such rumors about him in the company.

It wasn’t hard to guess that those people were the ones who were dissatisfied with Lu Jingshen lately, those who had followed Li Wenzhong in their attempt to “revolt.” Whether it was venting frustration or tarnishing Lu Jingshen’s reputation, although that incident didn’t have any substantial impact on him, it didn’t sound good if the matter spread.

When Lu Jingqing entered, someone immediately coughed loudly, and everyone fell silent.

Lu Jingqing took her seat and calmly said, “I know what you’re curious about.
The photo is fake, and Ah Shen will report it to the police.
When you go back, remind the people below not to waste time on these baseless rumors.”

Everyone naturally agreed with her statement, and even though they had doubts, no one would be foolish enough to speak up in front of her.

When Lu Jingshen came in, the topic had already changed.

Some people still discreetly observed him, but apart from a slightly colder expression, they couldn’t see anything else.

Lu Jingshen took his seat, and with only one word, he said, “Let’s start the meeting.”

The originally scheduled one-and-a-half-hour work meeting continued until noon.

Lu Jingshen seemed particularly severe that day, scrutinizing minor details and offering no mercy in criticizing others.

Others thought his sternness was due to the morning incident, but Lu Jingqing occasionally observed Lu Jingshen’s expression, feeling somewhat worried.
Seeing that it was almost noon, she interrupted the ongoing report and said to Lu Jingshen, “Ah Shen, let’s have lunch first and continue in the afternoon.”

Lu Jingshen’s brow remained furrowed, and when their gazes met, Lu Jingqing nodded.

He finally compromised, saying, “Let’s adjourn for now.”

After everyone had left, leaving only the two of them, Lu Jingqing asked Liu Jie and her secretary to leave as well.
She stopped Lu Jingshen, who was about to get up, and asked, “Are you okay?”

Lu Jingshen’s voice was hoarse, “I’m fine.”

“If you can’t handle it, just go home first,” Lu Jingqing reminded him, “You look terrible.”

Lu Jingshen insisted, “I’m fine.”

He said he was fine, but it was all self-deception.

Lu Jingqing continued, “That photo…”

“I said it’s fake!” Lu Jingshen’s voice involuntarily rose, his brows furrowing deeply, and his face changed.

Lu Jingqing looked at him, hesitated for a moment, and then said gently, “If you can get through this yourself, just like how Chixie and they did, it wouldn’t be a problem.
I don’t think Mom and Dad would object either.”

“No need,” Lu Jingshen interrupted firmly, “I don’t need to.”

Lu Jingqing said, “The resistance you face comes from within yourself.
If you really are… try to face it.
You have to take that step sooner or later.”

Lu Jingshen stood up and cut her off, saying, “I’ll go back to my office.”

As he left the meeting room, Lu Jingqing called him again, “If you don’t want to admit it, don’t keep people around you.
Otherwise, it will give others ammunition and cause you more trouble.
You’re not an indecisive person, so it’s better to face it head-on.”

Lu Jingshen left quickly.

Before returning to his office, he went to Liu Jie’s place first.
Liu Jie had just hung up the phone and stood up when she saw Lu Jingshen approaching.

“Did you find anything?” Lu Jingshen asked directly.

Liu Jie replied, “We’ve got some leads.
Someone in the company has been working overtime these days and used the internal mailbox to export the entire contact list.
The only one with such privileges is an intern in the logistics department.
The security department has already gone to question him.”

Their internal mailbox system was developed in-house, and the highest-level administrators could see all users’ operation records.
Although the email came from an external mailbox, in order to send it to the entire company, they must have obtained the internal contact list first.
By checking the email usage records of everyone one by one, they could eventually identify the culprit.

“An intern?” Lu Jingshen frowned.
“Who hired him?”

“Not long ago, the HR department had called to tell me that you hired him for the company two months ago while you were overseas.
The HR department was a mess at that time, thanks to Li Wenzhong and the others.
They brought in a lot of random people to the company.”

Lu Jingshen understood.
Although Li Wenzhong was in jail, it didn’t mean he couldn’t do anything.
If he thought that his son was detained because of Lu Jingshen, he might have planned to retaliate and make things difficult for him in any way possible.

That exhausted and powerless sense of irritation surged again.
Lu Jingshen didn’t ask further and said, “I got it.
You keep an eye on them and find out everything.
Let me know when you have results.”

In the office, Feng Si was leaning on the sofa, a magazine covering his face as he rested with his eyes closed.

He had been there all morning and hadn’t gone out.
Hearing footsteps, he lazily put down the magazine and looked at Lu Jingshen, who had just entered.

Lu Jingshen approached, staring at him for a moment with a complicated expression, and then relayed what Liu Jie had said to him.

Feng Si listened without any surprise.
Although Zhao Yuanping had always been at odds with Shang Xin, they were still in the same industry.
It wasn’t strange for him to be involved with Li Wenzhong, and the photo eventually ending up in Li Wenzhong’s hands wasn’t surprising either.

“Why are you telling me all of this? Do you think that by withholding his son, I caused Li Wenzhong to panic and resort to such despicable tactics against you?”

Lu Jingshen remained silent, his face cold.

Feng Si tugged at the corner of his mouth, knowing he hit the mark, “you should blame me more for dragging you into that street kiss, Otherwise, those photos wouldn’t have been taken, don’t you think?”

“But Alex, the kiss was voluntary on your part, I didn’t force you.
Second, the things I did were meant to help you vent.
Third, even if I hadn’t done anything, do you think Zhao Yuanping would have just ignored that photo? He’s always been despicable, ever since the day he tried to kidnap you, and you had to call the police to take him away from the company, there was no way you two could have gotten along well.”

“And besides, Li Wenzhong’s son hasn’t come back, and he dares to do such things.
It shows that his son doesn’t mean much to him, and he just wants to make you feel bad.
Even if it had nothing to do with his son, I bet he would have found another way to attack you.
If you really care so much about this, getting angry over a single photo plays right into his hands.”

Lu Jingshen remained silent, unable to respond.

He knew Feng Si was making sense, and the unreasonable one was himself.
He shouldn’t vent his anger on Feng Si, but he couldn’t control himself.

Lu Jingqing could easily cut through the mess, but he couldn’t do the same.

He hid himself in the closet and wanted to hide Feng Si in there too.

He didn’t want Feng Si to leave, but he also didn’t want to take him out.

That was his safe space, the only thing he could control.

“…You should take some time off for now and don’t come to the company,” Lu Jingshen finally spoke and made a decision.

Feng Si asked, “How long is ‘for now’?”

Lu Jingshen replied, “Wait until the storm from today’s incident passes.”

Feng Si interpreted, “So you don’t know how long it will be.
Alex are you firing me? Does the contract we signed before still count?”

His tone made Lu Jingshen very uncomfortable.
“I just want you to temporarily stay away from the company, that’s all.”

“You want me to take your salary for doing nothing and freeload at your home?” Feng Si smiled ambiguously.

Lu Jingshen said, “Do you have to say these things?”

Feng Si stood up, his carefree appearance unchanged, “Then what else should I say? Should I say, ‘Thank you, boss, I’ll go home now and never trouble you at the company again’?”

He leaned forward, staring into Lu Jingshen’s eyes, paused for two seconds, and then spoke softly.

“Alex, why don’t you just blame the fact that we met back then? Wouldn’t it have been better if we hadn’t known each other?”

Lu Jingshen was stunned.

Feng Si stepped back, his hands in his pockets, and put on that nonchalant look.
“Alright, the boss has spoken.
Why should I beg to work here if you don’t want me here? I’ll just go back.”

With Feng Si gone, Lu Jingshen still stood there motionless.

His heart kept tightening and even ached because of Feng Si’s words and the way he looked at him when leaving—disappointed, cold, and nothing more.

The person he wished would return had left, but he inexplicably panicked.
What would happen next?

As Feng Si returned to his desk, he picked up the coat he had thrown there in the morning.

Aside from that, he didn’t take anything else.

The female secretary sitting nearby hesitated before asking him, “Captain Feng, are you leaving?”

Not only her, but everyone in the secretary’s office pretended to casually glance at him.
People are naturally curious, and they didn’t dare ask the other protagonist of the photo incident, but they couldn’t help but do so when facing Feng Si.

Feng Si smiled at them, “Yes, the boss gave me some time off.”

The female secretary sounded somewhat regretful, “About this morning…”

Feng Si waved his finger, reminding her with a smile, “The boss said the photos were fake.
Don’t let your curiosity get the better of you.”

The female secretary didn’t dare ask further, “Then, Captain Feng, will you come back?”

Feng Si glanced in the direction of Lu Jingshen’s office, casually saying, “That depends on your boss.”

He didn’t say much more and finally waved to them, “Enough chatting, I’m leaving.”

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