The next day, led by Yi Hong, they gathered at the renowned Zhanjiang Restaurant in Beihai.
Both groups arrived one after the other, with less than three minutes between them.
“Old Ma, long time no see! Come, let me introduce you. These are my new friends, Shen Wan and Zhou Chi,” Yi Hong said, then turned to the two of them and added with a smile, “And this is the President of Giant Peak Group I mentioned, Mr. Ma Xiangqian, President Ma.”
“Old Yi’s friends are my friends. Please, come inside,” Ma Xiangqian said as he gestured graciously, his round belly giving him the appearance of a jovial Maitreya Buddha.
Tonight, Zhou Chi was dressed in a shirt paired with khaki casual pants. While it wasn’t overly formal, it was still respectful in front of others.
Shen Wan, on the other hand, wore a simple little black dress. She was tall, fair-skinned, with a petite frame. The hem of her dress revealed slender legs, catching Ma Xiangqian’s attention for a moment.
It wasn’t that he had any inappropriate thoughts towards a young lady. He simply couldn’t help but feel self-conscious about the comparison between his substantial weight and her delicate figure. He couldn’t resist touching his nose, feeling the world’s prejudice against overweight individuals for the first time if he didn’t compare, he’d avoid getting hurt.
Zhou Chi said, “Please, President Ma.”
The four of them entered a private room and took their seats in order.
Although it was just a casual meal, there was still a certain level of etiquette involved.
Yi Hong, as the host of this gathering, was seated at the head of the table. Ma Xiangqian was to his right, while Zhou Chi and Shen Wan sat on his left.
There was a small incident during this arrangement. Originally, Yi Hong had intended to have Shen Wan sit at the first seat to his right, followed by Zhou Chi. This arrangement subtly highlighted her as the main guest. However, Shen Wan declined and cast a smiling glance that carried a deep meaning. Yi Hong instantly understood her message. He graciously had Zhou Chi take the front seat, and Shen Wan voluntarily sat next to Zhou Chi.
In Ma Xiangqian’s eyes, this automatically translated to Yi Hong wanting to introduce Zhou Chi as the main person to him, with Shen Wan being a somewhat optional companion.
During the meal, with fine wines and delectable dishes, everyone enjoyed themselves.
Ma Xiangqian was a seasoned veteran at such gatherings, adept at both drinking and socializing. More than once, he led Zhou Chi off track, almost causing him to reveal things he shouldn’t have.
Fortunately, the months of working as a bartender hadn’t been in vain for Zhou Chi. His alcohol tolerance had improved, and with Shen Wan watching closely, he didn’t make any major mistakes.
Ma Xiangqian realized that this young man was quite impressive!
Watching him down half a liter of liquor without blushing and answering questions with precision impressed Ma Xiangqian.
He intentionally avoided discussing business matters while engaging in lively conversations about various topics. Surprisingly, the young man remained composed and attentive, not showing any impatience. He even leaned in, listening earnestly to Ma Xiangqian’s anecdotes.
Ma Xiangqian tried to signal his friend several times, wanting to know what was going on.
But Yi Hong didn’t pay him any attention. He ate and drank as if nothing else mattered.
Old Ma, who had navigated countless dinner gatherings over the years without facing a formidable opponent, thought to himself: “This guy is a bit different.”
Even when the meal concluded and they exchanged business cards, Ma Xiangqian remained somewhat bewildered.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, President Ma. We had a great time at dinner today. 1 hope there will be opportunities for future cooperation. Goodbye,” Zhou Chi said. He opened the car door for Shen Wan, let her get in first, then followed suit. Lowering the car window, he waved goodbye to the two men. “Goodbye.” “Go-goodbye,” Ma Xiangqian, who had consumed quite a bit of alcohol and had a flushed face, stuttered a little as he bid farewell. The wind blowing through the open window seemed to bring the effects of the alcohol to the forefront, and his tongue began to get tangled.
As they watched the taxi merge onto the main road and eventually disappear from view, Ma Xiangqian extended his long arm, placing it on Yi Hong’s shoulder. “Brother, what… what’s going on? You invited me out and introduced this young man.. It’s not just for a meal, is it?”