Cheng Xi wanted to go over and pacify the little girl, but Mr. Liu blocked her. He quickly pushed the child behind him and said, “Sorry for the bother, our child was speaking nonsense. If there isn’t anything else, then we’ll be leaving.”
“Mr. Liu,” Cheng Xi said in an attempt to stop him. “Your behavior makes me suspect that you’re related to Chen Jiaman’s bullying incident.”
Upon hearing this, Mr. Liu, who had wanted to walk around Cheng Xi, stopped short, glanced at his wife to instruct her to leave with their child first, and stayed behind to look at Cheng Xi. “What do you mean, related? As a lawyer, aren’t you aware that libel is a crime?”
“Pardon me, but I’m not accusing you. I’m just saying that your actions could potentially spur misunderstandings.”
“Misunderstandings? What misunderstandings?” Mr. Liu completely dropped his warm and caring demeanor, and spoke fiercely. “Just based on what a little child said?”
“Children’s words can indeed serve as evidence in court, as long as their words are logical.”
“Then why don’t you have her go to court? If we hide her away, what can you do?” And with those words, Mr. Liu turned around and left in a hurry.
Cheng Xi chased after him for a few steps, but given that the light sources in the plaza were rather weak and how many people there were, she lost sight of him quickly.
Turning back, she found that Lu Chenzhou was still standing at their original location, completely nonchalant as usual.
“Ah, you should have helped me stop him from leaving.” She wasn’t grumbling, just saying whatever popped into her mind.
But who would have expected Lu Chenzhou to reply, “How’s it my problem?”
Given that he had been so helpful this entire trip, his sudden question left Cheng Xi lurching in surprise. After she recovered, she joked, “Aren’t we friends? As friends, don’t you have a moral obligation to help me?”
Lu Chenzhou glanced at her deeply, until even Cheng Xi felt embarrassed. She touched her nose, and changed the topic. “Eh, shall we go then? It’s fine even if we didn’t stop him. He has a name and a position, and I can always find him later whenever I want.”
Cheng Xi had conscientiously found a way out of her embarrassing situation. Lu Chenzhou didn’t say anything, but after the two got back into the car and had driven far away, he suddenly said, “I’ll try my best!”
At that point, Cheng Xi had been looking at Cheng Yang’s WeChat. After he had finished his duties, he had seen her post, remembered her request, and asked, “You’re not on break today, so why are you travelling so far?”
Cheng Xi was just thinking about how to respond when she heard Lu Chenzhou’s statement. Her face clueless, she asked, “What?”
“I will do my best to treat you as my girlfriend.”
Cheng Xi blinked for a moment, before finally understanding that this was his response to her joke from earlier. She couldn’t help but go 囧 from the shock. “It’s alright, you don’t have to force yourself…”
Lu Chenzhou was even quite proud of his answer. “It’s no problem.”
Cheng Xi was speechless. Communicating with him was really unexpectedly difficult. She had planned to smooth things over with him and to understand him better, but was diverted from her plans by a call from Cheng Yang. After the call ended, she noticed a problem. “Why aren’t we here yet?” Looking outside, the surroundings were pitch black, and the city lights were very far away. “Where are we going? Aren’t we returning to the hotel?”
Lu Chenzhou responded, “No.”
“Why? I still have the room card, and what about Mr. Chen? Are we just leaving him on his own?”
She asked a whole slew of questions, but Lu Chenzhou answered them all with a single short sentence. “Mr. Chen will handle it on his own.”
She had thought that, having finally received a breakthrough, that she could just go find the math teacher tomorrow and dig out the truth through an emotional appeal. “Alright.” Given how things had played out, she could only relent, jokingly shed a few tears, and understandingly say, “Going back is fine too. You haven’t eaten much today, though.”
Lu Chenzhou looked at her through the rearview mirror. “Your words don’t match your feelings.”
Cheng Xi’s face fell. “Even if you’ve realized that, you don’t have to say it out loud.”
Lu Chenzhou smiled, his usual, very light smile, but Cheng Xi could see that he wasn’t feeling bad today.
And so the happy Lu Chenzhou decided to try a bit harder. “Given the way those people were all hiding the truth from the outside world, you won’t be able to dig out more information without resorting to tricks. Don’t worry about these kinds of things. I’ll have Mr. Chen handle it for you.”
“Is that fine?” Cheng Xi was worried.
“Money solves all problems.”
Cheng Xi was once again struck speechless by the behavior of the rich.
When they finally got back to the city, it was almost 11 PM. The two lived quite far apart, and Cheng Xi didn’t want to bother him too much, so she planned on having Lu Chenzhou to drop her off somewhere and taking a taxi back home.
But before she could get off, she received another call from the hospital. There had been another incident related to Chen Jiaman. The residual effects of her repeated tranquilizer shots were finally manifesting, and she was even more rambunctious than usual tonight, going as far as to harm herself.
The nurse keeping watch didn’t dare to restrain her again and had to call Cheng Xi.
And now, even if she didn’t want to trouble Lu Chenzhou, she had to do so regardless. At the very least, Lu Chenzhou didn’t say anything upon hearing her story. He wordlessly directly drove her to the hospital.
Cheng Xi thanked him in a hurry before getting out of the car and running into the hospital.
Chen Jiaman’s ward was a mess. A group of nurses had surrounded her on all sides. Meanwhile, she was hiding by the foot of the bed, spasming as she continually knocked her head against the wall. “No, no, I didn’t see anything. I saw nothing. Scram! Scram!”
She grasped the foot of the bed with both hands, and was using all her strength to try to flip it over, almost as if she were trying to shield herself against something.
Cheng Xi switched off the light.
“What’s going on?!” The nurses in the room were momentarily shocked, but Cheng Xi quickly shushed them. “Nobody talk.”
No one in the room moved. Cheng Xi motioned for everyone to get out under the dim moonlight. Perhaps the darkness gave Chen Jiaman an additional sense of safety because after the light was shut off her moaning noises slowly weakened until she simply curled up in her corner, trembling.
Cheng Xi stood there for quite a while before realizing that she was scared. As she prepared herself to help Chen Jiaman, she suddenly noticed that someone else was standing by her side. She couldn’t help but frown, and was about to remind them once again, but then she turned her head and realized that that person by her side was Lu Chenzhou.
She didn’t know when he had followed her into the hospital, but he was standing by the doorside and looking deeply at Chen Jiaman, who curled up in her corner. His tall, wide shadow was blocking the light rays from the outside.
Cheng Xi didn’t push him out; instead, she dragged him into the room and then closed the door.
The blinds on the window had been closed and the lamplight from outside couldn’t get in. The room became even darker.
Chen Jiaman began sobbing, the fear in her voice evident.
Cheng Xi remembered that Lu Chenzhou smoked, so she got on her tiptoes and lightly whispered into his ear, “Do you have a lighter?”
She used her palms to cover up her mouth, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, but a wisp of breath still escaped and lightly dissolved on Lu Chenzhou’s ear.
There was a slight itch, as if a soft wind had just blown by his ear, bringing with it a nice-smelling scent.
Lu Chenzhou swallowed his saliva, silently pulled out a lighter from his pocket, and put it in her hand.
Cheng Xi took the lighter. In the deep autumn air which was cold as ice, she took off her shoes, walked over to Chen Jiaman, and stopped about three paces away. “Hi,” she whispered softly as she leaned down. “Do you still remember me? I visited you yesterday.”
Chen Jiaman didn’t make any noises, and even her sobs lowered in volume. However, Cheng Xi could still feel the fear and anxiety coursing through her body.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep you company.”
She tried her best to keep her tone level, caring, and without a single hint of any negative emotion. “It’s so dark in here. Shall we light something?”
Chen Jiaman didn’t responded. Cheng Xi hesitated for a moment, and then flicked the lighter on.
The stubby fire silently lit up a small area with its blue flame. Cheng Xi didn’t look at Chen Jiaman, and instead used her other hand to shield the light. Then, with a dreamy voice, she whispered, “Look, it’s the light. Can you see it?”
“Inside the light is a little rabbit. It was snowing, and so the little rabbit stayed at home alone. She had on a very warm coat, a very pretty scarf, and in her hands was a cup of hot water. However, she still felt cold, as if something were missing.”
“What was she missing? She kept on thinking, until she finally understood. Perhaps what she was missing was a warm hug.”
After saying this, Cheng Xi knelt on the floor, leaned forward, and stretched her arms out to Chen Jiaman. She moved slowly, probingly, trying to hug her.
Chen Jiaman pushed her hands away, quickly scrambled up the bed, and covered herself up securely in her blankets.
It was already very late when Chen Jiaman finally fell asleep.
Cheng Xi told the nurse to give her some medicine, put on her shoes again, and finally stepped out of the ward.
Throughout this entire process, Lu Chenzhou had stood there at the doorway without moving or speaking.
As she left, he too, left. After the door closed, she asked, “Are you tired?”
He didn’t answer.
The nurse on duty peeked her head out, and greeted Dr. Cheng. She looked curiously at the man by her side.
Cheng Xi turned around, smiling. “The patient’s calm now. Nothing much should happen for the rest of the night. I’ll get here early tomorrow and devise a new plan of treatment for the patient.”
The nurse made an OK symbol with her hands, and then pointed at Lu Chenzhou and mouthed, “Boyfriend?”
Cheng Xi shook her head, not answering as she pulled on Lu Chenzhou’s sleeve and quickly left the hospital. Only when they got to the carpark did she finally let go of him. But upon seeing his dazed expression, she couldn’t help but wave a hand in front of him and ask, “Hi, are you scared?”
Lu Chenzhou looked at her.
“What is it?” She asked lightly.
“Can you tell me a story?”
Cheng Xi didn’t know why Lu Chenzhou wanted to hear a story right now, but she didn’t refuse or find it strange. After thinking for a moment, she told Lu Chenzhou a story that was related to his illness: “One day, a little rabbit secretly fell in love with a fox. Every day, it would run into an unoccupied valley and yell, ‘Little fox, I like you!’ And from the valley would come an echo, ‘I like you.’ The little rabbit yelled like that for many days, and, just as it was about to give up, it heard the valley’s echo for the last time. At this point, from it came back a light reply. ‘I also like you.’”
As he listened, Lu Chenzhou shook a bit. Actually, Cheng Xi’s story was somewhat boring, uneventful, and without any creativity. Perhaps it was because of the dark night and the silent surroundings, but her voice felt unusually warm in the chilly cold, making him unconsciously want to lean in and listen in closer.
His eyes drooped and he laughed. In the dim yellow lamplight, his smile looked a bit cold. “I like you too.” He mumbled this sentence repeatedly, until he finally lifted his eyes up again. “Can you kiss me?”
Cheng Xi, who was analyzing his response seriously, was at a loss for words.