Lu Chenzhou, indifferent as usual, replied, “That’s fine.”
Cai Yi smiled and patted Cheng Xi’s hand. Before long, Cai Yi’s assistant had arrived, and Cheng Xi was walking Cai Yi to the door. By the time she returned, Lu Chenzhou had already put down his chopsticks. “Are you full?”
Lu Chenzhou nodded.
Cheng Xi retrieved her jacket that was draped on a nearby chair. “Then, let’s go as well.”
She kept thinking about what Cai Yi had mentioned. In general, patients that could alarm even her teacher were quite remarkable, and she very much wanted to observe her teacher in action.
However, Lu Chenzhou didn’t move. His distant gaze, as if covered in a thin layer of frost, landed on her face. “It seems that you’re really quite unaware,” he sneered. “Did you think that your teacher really had an emergency? Or why my grandparents said that they would come, but never showed up?”
“What do you mean?”
“Their actions were all premeditated.”
Lu Chenzhou looked at her and couldn’t help but ask, “How on earth did you become a psychiatrist? This is a blind date in disguise. Could you really not tell?”
Cheng Xi was at a loss for words.
She coughed violently to break the awkwardness. “Hem hem, I didn’t know.” She had thought that the reason behind her teacher introducing Lu Chenzhou to her was for something important, like helping her raise funds for a grant she was writing.
Lu Chenzhou’s face remained expressionless, and Cheng Xi felt a bit embarrassed. “Sorry, I really didn’t notice Professor Cai’s plan.” Cai Yi had been single her entire life, so Cheng Xi had never imagined that she would try to be a matchmaker for her.
Lu Chenzhou snorted lightly. “It’s fine.” His knuckles rapped on the table as he continued, “You still haven’t mentioned how you planned to deal with that patient of yours.”
It seemed like he had really taken an interest in the subject. Cheng Xi thought for a bit, sat down again, and started outlining her rough plan. “Patients suffering from Cotard’s syndrome generally find social interaction difficult, but can often be savants in their personal areas of interest. I’d like to have her start doing personally interesting activities. That way, she can immerse herself in her fantasies and I can slowly help her accept reality using her fantasies as a medium.”
“I’d have imagined that you would start by restraining her or locking her up.”
“Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I don’t support severely restricting patients in general.”
“How confident are you of curing her?”
“Doctors can only be fully confident in patients who firmly aim to get better.”
Lu Chenzhou remained silent for a while, before finally asking her, “Would you sleep with one of your patients?”
“Hmm?” Cheng Xi didn’t understand.
Lu Chenzhou’s tone was as tepid as if he were discussing the weather. “What if you accidentally got into bed with your patients?”
Cheng Xi laughed. “That’s impossible.”
“But what if it happened?” Lu Chenzhou was unexpectedly insistent on this point, and looked at her intently. “Would you continue treating him?”
Cheng Xi was unable to follow his logic, and was still confused at how the subject had suddenly changed from a patient suffering from Cotard’s syndrome to a patient getting into bed with their doctor. But she could see what kind of answer Lu Chenzhou wanted, so she responded, “No.”
Lu Chenzhou laughed lightly. This was the first time Cheng Xi had ever seen him laugh. His lips curved slightly up and his eyes were without any sense of warmth, but his mien had an unexpectedly handsome coolness.
After that, Cheng Xi ate dinner patiently. Lu Chenzhou’s behavior seemed similar to that of a robot with a pre-programmed routine: he wouldn’t do anything else before finishing a given task.
For example, with regards to this blind date that seemed unfathomable to Cheng Xi, Lu Chenzhou instead seemed determined to check all the boxes. Once the duo left the restaurant, Lu Chenzhou said, “Next in the schedule is watching a movie, taking a walk, or drinking at a bar. Which do you want to do?”
His businesslike tone left Cheng Xi’s lips twitching. “...…can I skip all of those activities?”
“Then let’s go drinking.” His matter-of-fact tone had already made the decision for her. Snapping his fingers, Lu Chenzhou signalled an approaching taxi to stop. He pulled the door open, waiting for Cheng Xi to get in.
This series of actions was really quite smooth, Cheng Xi noted silently.
She hesitated for only a few seconds before getting into the car. Reflecting upon it later, Cheng Xi dismissed her actions as the occupational habit of a doctor: Lu Chenzhou’s actions dripped with oddities, and such oddities boasted a near-instinctual attraction for psychiatrists.