Lu Chenzhou’s expression was calm as he ignored the others and walked over to Cheng Xi. When he was within arm’s-length, he said, “Something came up at work, so I’ll be leaving now.”
Cheng Xi exhaled. “Okay.”
But she had let her guard down too quickly, because Lu Chenzhou suddenly turned around, kissed her on the cheek, and, before she could react, nodded to the petrified Shen Wei and abruptly left.
No one spoke.
Cheng Xi laughed dryly. “That’s just a standard goodbye routine, nothing more.”
But before she could finish making an excuse, the door opened and Lu Chenzhou walked in once more, caressed her face, and kissed her firmly on her lips.
Of course, the kiss didn’t linger for long; his lips merely brushed against hers. From Cheng Xi’s perspective, his actions felt more like he was just going through the motions, without any sense of desire or love.
But in others’ eyes, Lu Chenzhou’s behavior could already be considered arrogant, high-profile, and intimate! This was partly because after they separated from their kiss, Lu Chenzhou then even used his hand to slowly rub Cheng Xi’s face as he said, “Don’t forget, you’re mine.”
After Lu Chenzhou finished saying those words, he finally left. Cheng Xi wasn’t too annoyed by his kisses, but his parting remarks had left her shaking from head to toe. This time, however, she didn’t dare say anything afterwards; who knew if he would come back yet again!
Fortunately, he seemed to be gone for good.
The room was silent for a good long while afterwards. It was Cheng Xi who finally spoke up. As she brought each of them a stool, she said, “Sit down, please. Sorry, I don’t have any chairs that are more comfortable.”
Then, she poured each of them a glass of water. When Lin Fan took the offered glass of water, he couldn’t even bear to look at her, and his lips were silently quivering from the shock.
Shen Wei finally recovered when she was handed a glass of water. “So, Cheng Xi, you’re Lu Chenzhou’s girlfriend?”
Cheng Xi straightforwardly replied, “No.”
“You’re still denying it even after that kiss? You’re not being honest, Cheng Xi.” Shen Wei looked at Lin Fan, and then clicked her tongue in annoyance. “Why are you hiding your romance? Are you trying to date two men at once?”
She realized only now that her predicament was actually quite difficult to explain. After all, she couldn’t outright tell them that Lu Chenzhou had some abnormal tendencies and that he was just her patient, could she?
After a long time, she finally thought of a passable explanation. “There’s really nothing going on between Lu Chenzhou and me… If anything, it’s that my professor once introduced the two of us and set us up on a date.”
“A date?” This question was from Lin Fan.
“A date between you two? Was this before or after I got married?” This was from Shen Wei.
Cheng Xi answered both questions with just one word. “Before.”
“No wonder!” Shen Wei looked as though she had suddenly understood something. “I knew that Fu Mingyi was behaving oddly that day, especially when he intentionally requested for you to send Lu Chenzhou out. Additionally, you never came back after you left! Adultery, I say, adultery!”
She was so excited that she didn’t even notice Lin Fan’s expression, but Cheng Xi did. At this point, she just felt exasperated—this matter really couldn’t be explained cleanly, as doing so would infringe on a patient’s privacy. And given how reluctant Lu Chenzhou was to discuss his illness even with her, she didn’t want to hurt him unintentionally.
So, she could only look at Lin Fan apologetically. But to Lin Fan, it seemed like she was tacitly agreeing to Shen Wei’s accusations.
Lin Fan instantly lost all interest in speaking about the subject, but Shen Wei was still chattering away. “Then what did the two of you do the day after? Did you go on a date? Did you?”
Cheng Xi shook her head. “No. I just played a few rounds of mahjong with him and his friends.”
This was the actual truth, but, clearly, no one believed her. Shen Wei even said, “I don’t believe you. When did you know how to play mahjong?”
“Yes, and I’m quite good.”
“I don’t believe you at all! Such a peerless beauty like you, how could you be playing… ah, I remember now! That incident where a rich man booked all of a doctor’s appointment slots, that has to be you and Lu Chenzhou! A doctor from the psychiatry department and her extremely wealthy, mysterious boyfriend!” As she spoke, Shen Wei couldn’t help but grab hold of Cheng Xi and start tickling her. “You brat, you even said that you didn’t know when I asked you last time.”
Cheng Xi was deathly afraid of being tickled, and quickly fell prey to Shen Wei’s antics. The attack reached such a frenzy that Cheng Xi couldn’t even make any noise. All she could do was try to dodge and bite her lips as she intermittently pleaded, “Ah… I’m still at work…”
Shen Wei, unresigned, continued tickling her for quite a bit after that, and only stopped when Lin Fan’s phone rang.
When Lin Fan took the call, she still hadn’t let go of Cheng Xi, the duo in a koala-like hugging posture as they listened in on Lin Fan’s call.
Lin Fan turned around to look at them. “My mother said that her checkup is complete, so I have to head downstairs.” As he said this, he glanced at Cheng Xi again, but refrained from saying anything.
Everyone was looking at him, but he only said one last word. “Goodbye.”
And then he left.
Cheng Xi and Shen Wei were somewhat at a loss for words for his attitude. The two of them looked at each other, and then Shen Wei turned her head to call her friend over. “Would you mind accompanying Lin Fan for a bit? I’ll catch up with the two of you later.”
Shen Wei’s friend graciously responded, “Sure.” As she left, she even waved goodbye familiarly to Cheng Xi, and Cheng Xi responded in kind.
When everyone else had all left, Shen Wei finally let Cheng Xi go, looked at her, and then laughed. “You’re quite something, breaking your idol’s heart into little pieces like that.”
“Weren’t you the one who was messing around?”
Instead of helping her resolve her dilemma, Shen Wei’s words had only misled Lin Fan further.
“I’m not messing around. I’m trying to help! Lu Chenzhou is a wonderful man; he’s rich, influential, capable, and lacks neither family nor background. Of course, I’m not saying Lin Fan’s bad either. But, regardless of how you compare them, Lu Chenzhou’s clearly the superior one.” Shen Wei didn’t hide her favorable impression of Lu Chenzhou at all, and her tone was seemingly somewhat agitated as she enumerated his good features. “I’m telling you. He has a wonderful reputation in his line of work, and his dating life is almost completely rumorless. In fact, he’s so clean that he’s barely like a regular mortal.” As Shen Wei spoke, she laughed and then whispered in Cheng Xi’s ear, “I don’t mind telling you this secret. Before I met my husband, I also liked Lu Chenzhou.”
Shen Wei scrunched up her nose. “What kind of expression is that?”
“Oh,” Cheng Xi exclaimed with a laugh. “I’m just thinking about how I should tell Fu Mingyi that.”
“Pah!” Shen Wei pushed her. “He loves me too much. No matter what you say, it won’t matter.”
Cheng Xi laughed before glancing at her contemplatively. “Did Lu Chenzhou really not have a single girlfriend before this?”
“As far as I know, no. And not just no girlfriend, either. I heard that once, someone tried to dump a naked girl on his bed when he was drunk, but he didn’t even respond!”
Upon hearing this story, Cheng Xi was quite impressed with how daring that man’s actions were. Curiously, she asked, “Lu Chenzhou didn’t get mad at that man?”
“Of course he did! Fu Mingyi told me that Lu Chenzhou then fed a sexual stimulant to that man and sent him into a room with four women, almost permanently disabling him! Ah-” Her eyes gleamed, and Shen Wei’s fingers landed lightly on Cheng Xi’s shoulder. “And here you were saying how the two of you barely knew each other. But look at how familiar you are with him; how else would you know that he would get mad in that situation? Wouldn’t the normal thing to ask be whether or not he enjoyed it?”
Heh, when you consider Lu Chenzhou’s personality and his mental condition, it would be a miracle if he could enjoy a situation like that. Of course, she couldn’t voice this thought, so Cheng Xi instead calmly responded, “Have you forgotten about my profession?”
“A psychiatrist can even sense something like that?” Shen Wei wasn’t easy to fool, and she narrowed her eyes at Cheng Xi in suspicion. “Then why don’t you tell me what I’m thinking about right now?”
“You’re thinking, ‘Hmm, Cheng Xi has really gotten lucky! She actually managed to get into a relationship with Lu Chenzhou! I have to tell Tian Rou right away that someone actually got into a relationship, and that her partner is even tall, rich, and handsome! She’ll get engaged today, married tomorrow, and maybe there’ll even be a baby coming out shortly.’”
Shen Wei stared at her, mouth wide-open. Half a second later, she angrily prepared to tickle Cheng Xi again. “What kind of a gossiper do you take me to be!”
Cheng Xi laughed, and the two of them playfully tussled for a fair bit after that. Shen Wei only left when Cheng Xi mentioned that something had come up. But before she left, she asked, “Ah, now that you’ve landed a rich boyfriend, does that mean that you won’t be getting into a relationship with Lin Fan?”
Sensing that her words held more than met the eye, Cheng Xi raised her eyebrows to show how perplexed she was. “What do you mean?”
“That friend of mine’s also interested in him.” Shen Wei blinked as she explained, “You know, my friend’s not young either, and she has high expectations. Since she’s finally found someone who she likes, I’m doing my best to pair the two compatible people together. Aren’t I doing a remarkable task?”
“That girl who was with you just now?”
“Yeah, isn’t she pretty?”
She was indeed pretty, but was she really interested in Lin Fan? Cheng Xi thought back to the girl’s overly calm and collected expression when Shen Wei had tried to get Lin Fan and her to walk downstairs together. Cheng Xi almost wanted to say that Shen Wei must have misunderstood something, but she decided not to worry too much about this. “I don’t mind. But have you considered Rou’s feelings?”
“You know how she always says things without ever acting on them. If we really let her chase after Lin Fan, I bet that she won’t even do it. Alright, it’s fine as long as you don’t mind!” As Shen Wei finished talking, she patted Cheng Xi’s face. “I’m leaving. Don’t worry, and enjoy your days. I’ll make sure that your idol’s happy too.”
Maybe it was because Cheng Xi had confessed that Lin Fan was her idol too quickly, but every time Shen Wei brought up that subject, it was through some kind of banter. And now, she was even publicly helping her friend steal Cheng Xi’s idol away. Cheng Xi couldn’t help but rub her forehead at Shen Wei’s antics.
After being misunderstood by Lin Fan, Cheng Xi originally thought that she would feel quite uneasy, that she’d be falling all over herself trying to prove her innocence. In reality, she was more concerned about Chen Jiaman’s father’s sudden departure. After Shen Wei and the others left, she talked to the police herself and finally obtained his contact information.
But when she called his number, no one picked up.
For lack of a better option, Cheng Xi temporarily gave up on pursuing Chen Jiaman’s father and went to deal with other matters. As she walked off, she coincidentally passed by Chen Jiaman’s ward, and noticed that Chen Jiaman had woken up.
The room was still dark, its only light source being the moonlight shining through the half-drawn windows. Cheng Jiaman sat at the foot of the bed, and was clutching a pen in her hand as she drew something that Cheng Xi couldn’t see.
After thinking about it for a moment, Cheng Xi went to her office to retrieve the other sketchbook and a set of crayons. Once she got within five paces of the bed, Chen Jiaman stopped drawing and her whole body grew taut just like last time, even though she wasn’t looking at Cheng Xi.
Cheng Xi didn’t go any closer. She directly sat down on the floor, and started seriously sketching in the sketchbook.
This time, she colored her drawings in. The drawing was once again of a somewhat deformed little bunny, but Cheng Xi tried her best to use the colors to make her bunny warmer to the eye.
After finishing, she left the sketchbook and the crayons in their original position, and then silently walked out.
Throughout the whole process, Chen Jiaman had never once looked her in the eye. But Cheng Xi didn’t mind; when approaching someone who had been hurt and hurt again, patience was the only path.