Cheng Xi started coughing violently and hung up reflexively.
“What’s wrong?” Lin Fan asked, worried.
Cheng Xi shook her hands, covered her mouth, and coughed for quite a while. It wasn’t until she nearly reached the point of crying that the alarm and shock from Lu Chenzhou’s words finally settled down.
Despite her being a psychiatrist, she wasn’t too familiar with Lu Chenzhou’s way of thinking, and was still occasionally caught off-guard by his actions and words.
“Nothing’s wrong, is there?” Lin Fan asked again.
“No, everything’s fine,” Cheng Xi replied. “Lu Chenzhou said that he needed to see me for something.”
“Then…… should I leave?
“Probably.” Cheng Xi couldn’t keep him here, because she really wasn’t sure what would happen after Lu Chenzhou arrived. From her limited knowledge of him, if he really wanted to kiss her, then he would completely disregard whether or not other people were present.
Pretending not to notice the disappointment in Lin Fan’s eyes, Cheng Xi stood up and walked him outside the restaurant.
“I’ll wait here for him here. You can leave first.”
Lin Fan nodded and got into his own car, sitting there for quite a while before finally starting the engine and leaving.
It was already winter; at night, it was as cold as ice. The car window wasn’t closed, and blustering gusts of wind blew in from the night air, cold and chilling.
Lin Fan didn’t feel much of anything even while half-frozen. He looked at the rearview mirror and saw Cheng Xi hugging her shoulders, standing there without moving.
The wind lightly lifted one corner of her scarf into the air, as if it were a butterfly tied to her back.
That delicate butterfly scintillated with a colorful light. When he was overseas, that hue had been the shore where his dreams would have taken off; however, when he returned, he belatedly found that it had long since merged with the city, becoming a rainbow arc that he might never be able to touch.
Lu Chenzhou arrived quite a while after Lin Fan left. He had driven the car himself, refused Cheng Xi’s offer to find a place to talk, and directly asked her to get into the car.
After she got into the car, he turned around to look at her. His gaze was fixed upon her lips, as if he were considering how best to kiss her.
Cheng Xi found the scene strangely funny. Before he could do anything, she said, “Can I ask, why do you want to kiss me?”
She didn’t feel all too awkward or taken advantage of. After all, he was a patient, and you couldn’t use standard logic to evaluate their actions.
Having drawn a line in the sand, Cheng Xi was very calm even in this situation.
Lu Chenzhou behaved very coolly, as always. “I’ll kiss you if I want to; wasn’t that what you said?” Impatiently, he then commanded her, “Come over here.”
But of course, Cheng Xi wasn’t just going to go over. She treated him as if he were a familiar friend that she had conversations with, and, as if giving advice, said, “Mr. Lu, I truly think that you should go read some romance novels. A kiss doesn’t take place just because you want it to. If a man and woman truly love each other, then they don’t have to kiss to demonstrate it; if they don’t love each other, then even kissing won’t make a difference.” She had always thought that love was a basic act that everyone instinctively understood, but after seeing Lu Chenzhou, she finally understood that some people naturally lacked love. And as a result, naturally could not love.
So, with regards to kissing, the psychiatrist part of her felt that it was her responsibility to correct him. “Any intimate action that doesn’t have love as its foundation is immoral. So, please don’t do this in the future anymore, okay?”
“Love?” His forehead slowly scrunched up, even as his expression remained calm. “Why do we have to make it so complicated? Don’t we already have a contract?”
Cheng Xi had no words to respond to him, and could only trying to persuade him further. “Your thoughts are wrong. Love is one of the most beautiful emotions that mankind has; you should try it out.”
“I don’t need love.” Lu Chenzhou snorted at her words disdainfully, and then looked straight at her. “Don’t expect to receive any love from me. The only reason I want to kiss you is because I want to.”
In this world, there really wasn’t much that Lu Chenzhou desired, and it wasn’t clear whether the fact that Cheng Xi had sparked this desire in him was a blessing or a curse.
But right now, Cheng Xi hadn’t realized that she had ‘gotten lucky’, and she was trying her hardest to find the right words to convince him otherwise. But disregarding her feelings, Lu Chenzhou was growing impatient, and while she was still unprepared, he suddenly leaned over, turned her face towards his, and lightly kissed her.
More accurately, he lightly stuck his lips, onto hers.
After a brief moment of panic, Cheng Xi quickly relaxed. Without making a fuss or unnecessary motions, she just stood there, silently waiting.
Before too long, Lu Chenzhou let go of her.
He sat down two palms-lengths from her, and looked at her, his eyes clear and bright.
Cheng Xi didn’t move at all. She even smiled as she asked, “How does it feel?”
“That’s normal, and it’s because you don’t love me. Only when we love each other will we feel our hearts race and our blood warm when we kiss.”
“I’ve never loved anyone.” Lu Chenzhou’s voice was collected as he continued, “But I like kissing you.”
Cheng Xi didn’t have a sufficient enough understanding of his illness to realize what ‘liking’ meant to the present him.
But she instinctively turned serious as she explained, “I’m very honored, but I would still like to interact more in different ways before we kiss again. As you know, we haven’t known each other for very long, and even if we have a contract, we’re still essentially strangers.
Lu Chenzhou didn’t deny her words. Cheng Xi felt somewhat relieved, and smiled as she asked, “Alright. Now, can you tell me why you want to kiss me?”
Lu Chenzhou turned his head around and looked her in the eye.
Why? It was because he couldn’t sleep, because life was boring, because he wanted to find something to do, and kissing her was about the only thing that he could think of.
So he had come to find her.
But Lu Chenzhou didn’t want to reveal these thoughts to anyone. He opened the window, lit a cigarette, inhaled, and only then, with some amount of distaste, said, “You have too many ‘whys.’”
Cheng Xi made a brief choking sound.
As she observed the cold expression on the side of his face, she felt that she couldn’t break so easily under his lack of emotion. Thus, she pretended to not understand his words, and continued to harangue him. “Am I too curious? Can you tell me why you think so? You need a reason to think so, surely. For example, back in the hospital, you were jealous that…”
“Heh.” Lu Chenzhou started laughing, turning his head, and blew a layer of smoke into her face, his behavior so cool that it made people want to scream. However, the words that he said next instantly cleared her mind. “Jealous? No. Our contract has a section about loyalty. I think that, before you can pay the fee for breaking it, you won’t be doing anything.”
“......” Cheng Xi opened her mouth slightly, but it took her a moment to find her words. “Then why would you kiss me out of the blue?”
Actually, he also couldn’t explain why he had done that. Perhaps, it was just the nature of men? Lu Chenzhou wanted to ignore her, but she wouldn’t stop talking. He got annoyed, and said, “Because doing is easier than speaking. Is that enough reason for you?”
The face that he made when he frowned and became completely cold without a single hint of warmth in his gaze was somewhat frightening. Cheng Xi weakly replied, “Yes, I just want to know why you would randomly kiss me.” She tried to suppress the fact that she was the one who had been kissed. “Was it because you suddenly realized that you were starting to like me, or because of your own desire, because you’re curious? Or did you realize that kissing was a beautiful thing that you wanted someone to experiment with?”
If the actual reason was the last option she presented, then that was a big step forward. It would mean that Lu Chenzhou’s illness wasn’t that serious; was his aloofness just because he hadn’t realized the charm of intimacy?
Lu Chenzhou looked at her, smiling, but also at the same time not. Under his gaze, Cheng Xi found it very difficult to keep speaking, and slowly stopped talking.
But her gaze was obstinate, and her expression showed her determined resolve to get an answer.
Lu Chenzhou found this behavior of hers surprisingly cute, and he asked, “Is the reason that important to you?”
It wasn’t important to her personally, but it was very important to her understanding of his illness. Cheng Xi nodded her head fervently as she loudly replied, “Yes!”
Lu Chenzhou then gave her a perfunctory reason. “Because of my desire.”
She would be crazy to believe him!
But Cheng Xi didn’t expose his lie. She followed his lead and asked, “Then, before this, did you have similar notions with any other women?”
His tone was blunt and crisp; evidently, he really hadn’t.
Cheng Xi was flummoxed. “Then, to you, am I anything special?”
Lu Chenzhou gazed at her. “Especially ugly. Does that count?”
Seeing her speechless expression, the smile at the corner of his lips became much fuller. This time, his smile was relaxed and mirthful, and his whole body seemed softer.
Cheng Xi liked his current smile, and intentionally teased him. “Mr. Lu.”
He turned around.
She made a mockingly-serious expression. “Let me tell you this—even though the truth is a form of beauty, but, sometimes, lies make people happier. So, in the future, will you not speak as bluntly anymore?”
Lu Chenzhou thought about it for a moment before responding in an even more serious tone, “Sorry, no.”