After Cheng Xi left Donglai, her feelings suddenly felt lighter than before. She didn’t expect that the heavy stone in her heart that was Chen Fuguo would be so easily removed by Lu Chenzhou.
She still felt somewhat guilty, but that guilt was no longer directed towards Chen Fuguo.
As for the bet that Lu Chenzhou had proposed, she understood what Lu Chenzhou was aiming at. He didn’t believe in love, so as a consequence, he also didn’t believe that something good could come out of Lin Fan and her.
He wanted her to realize that their love was worthless and meaningless.
But did that mean that she now had to enter a romance with Lin Fan, and then act in such a way that Lu Chenzhou would believe it? This was too laughable; she felt that Lu Chenzhou couldn’t possibly be such a shallow man. What did the emotions of others have to do with him?
But if that were the case, then why did he say what he did?
Was it truly because he... liked her? Did he like her so much that he couldn’t bear to make things difficult for her? And had he then found this ludicrous reason as an excuse to give up on that contract?
As she thought about this, Cheng Xi couldn’t help but laugh. Rather than saying that Lu Chenzhou couldn’t bear to upset her because he liked her, it was perhaps more accurate to say that he’d gotten tired of her. In other words, after he realized that he wouldn’t be able to experience the feelings he wanted from her, he had found a reason to get rid of her.
And his kiss was just an experiment.
His helping her was him simply performing the tasks expected of a boyfriend, just like how he said he would fulfill all of her requests for the duration of the contract.
In this doctor-patient relationship, she seemed to be the one who was being led around by the nose.
This realization left her incredibly frustrated and defeated, and it even haunted her dreams that night. In her dreams, she’d suddenly become a super-rich person, and when Lu Chenzhou scolded her with his poisonous mouth and she couldn’t defend herself anymore, she used her endless wealth to win the argument by instigating Baldy and the others. “Scold him for me; I’ll give you ten thousand dollars for every word you throw at him!”
When she woke up in the middle of a particularly vigorous scolding from Baldy, she even wanted to say to her dream self, “Scram, I want to take part in this scolding match myself!”
As she slowly roused herself from sleep, she couldn’t help but laugh when she thought back to the contents of her dream.
She picked up her phone out of habit and saw that her mother had sent her a text. “Today’s the weekend, are you coming home?”
And there was also one from Lin Fan. “Have you woken up?”
Cheng Xi was feeling lazy and didn’t want to move, so she replied to Lin Fan first. “I’m awake.”
And almost right after replying, Lin Fan called her. “Let’s get lunch together at noon. I’ll be at your hospital doing something in the morning.”
His tone was very natural, as if it was just a meeting between regular friends as he asked, “When did you return last night?”
Yes, even his conversational skills had gotten far better since then.
Despite Chen Fuguo’s likely deception, Cheng Xi didn’t plan on giving up on Chen Jiaman. She preferred to deal with things as they came and still wanted to first meet with Chen Jiaman’s mother, who had allegedly left the family. As a result, she said, “I might not be able to do noon. I want to meet a patient’s family, and I’ll probably be doing so at noon.”
Lin Fan sighed. “You really do work hard. Sometimes I even wish that I were your patient.”
“Don’t.” Cheng Xi shook her head as she replied, “You should do your best to live your life under the bright sun.”
She clambered out of bed and pulled the blinds open. It was bright outside, and the shining rays made her involuntarily squint.
“Cheng Xi……” Lin Fan was still coming from her phone.
“I didn’t cause you any trouble last night, did I?”
He couldn’t help but ask about it again. Cheng Xi looked at the bright sunlight outside, unsure whether or not to respond.
In truth, she could have been frank and told him that she had simply had a conversation with Lu Chenzhou and that they had settled everything. They were no longer together, and she could calmly accept being in a relationship with him now… but in her head, Lu Chenzhou’s aloof and obstinate face suddenly appeared. And, when she thought about the bet that he’d made with her, her finger lightly slid over the windowtop, and she replied, “Nothing much. How about you. Did your things go alright?”
“I’m still on my way.”
Another lapse of silence. Both parties felt somewhat embarrassed and awkward. Cheng Xi thought that Lin Fan had to have noticed her change, because his feelings had clearly turned downcast. When he said goodbye to her, his earlier high spirits were gone.
Cheng Xi reflected on her utter lack of skill at love and romance. She understood it all in theory, of course; but in reality, it was a big mess.
That night… being truthful with Lin Fan had been her biggest mistake. It seemed like all she had done recently were stupid things.
Knocking her head against the wall, Cheng Xi vigorously spurned herself to action. She knew that this was all because she had been putting too much pressure on herself to obtain results, which was why she had originally taken the risk of accepting Chen Jiaman as a patient. She also strongly desired the recognition of her professor, so she had chosen to ignore everything besides her to get close to Lu Chenzhou.
Her professor was right. She really was too young and too rash, and her work had become too entangled with her personal life. And now, she was starting to pay the price.
Cheng Xi took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down. After eating a hodgepodge of fridge leftovers, she practiced yoga while she waited for her mind and body to relax. When she was ready, she sat down on the yoga mat and pulled out the phone number that Chen Fuguo had given her.
As she entered the unfamiliar digits into her phone and listened to the ringing tone, it felt like an eternity before the person on the other end finally picked up. A tender female voice came through from the phone, very politely greeting her. “Hello, who is this?”
Cheng Xi indistinctly felt that this voice was somewhat familiar, but she didn’t think too much of it. She stated her identity and then said, “I’m a doctor from Renyi Hospital, Dr. Cheng. A man named Chen Fuguo asked me to contact you. Do you have some time to talk with me? If possible, I’d like to meet in person.”
The other party didn’t respond for quite a while. Cheng Xi even thought that she had hung up and was just about to check her phone to confirm, but then she finally heard a response. “You’re a doctor.” This time, her voice was no longer kind and soft, but cold and frosty instead. “Did he ask you to contact me because he’s ill and about to die?”
This time, the other party spoke for quite a while, and without the politeness masking her voice, Cheng Xi immediately realized why she found it so familiar.
Because this was actually someone that she knew, it was… Lin Fan’s mother’s!!!
Cheng Xi hung up, somewhat dazed.
And then she immediately picked up her phone and called Lin Fan again. “Are… your matters dealt with? If so, I’d like to invite you to… um, breakfast?”
“At this time?” Lin Fan’s voice carried a hint of laughter with it as he responded, “Alright, I’m almost done. Where should we eat?”
“My place?” Actually, it would be better to meet at her office in the hospital because they would have more privacy there. However, there was no way she could meet him at the hospital, so her only alternative was to invite him to her house.
“Alright, give me ten minutes.”
He said ten minutes, and indeed, ten minutes later, Cheng Xi met him at the ground floor of her building. She didn’t know where he had run from, as despite the bright sunlight outside, the wind was strong, so strong that it made one’s ears hurt. She was already feeling chilly from head to toe just from standing outside for a moment, but he was sweating from his whole body.
He stood in front of her, smiling brightly and looking handsome as normal. “Am I late?”
“No.” Cheng Xi looked at his refined face, her heart skipping a beat. “What do you want to eat?”
“Are you going to make it yourself?”
“That’s fine too. But I have to say, I’m not great at cooking, and there isn’t much at home. So as long as you don’t hate it…”
“Don’t worry. Even if you made poison, it would still be delicious.”
Because Cheng Xi’s heart was troubled, she didn’t even hear what he said clearly, and she only glanced at him briefly before leading him up the elevator.
Lin Fan was a very sensitive person. When he noticed her absentmindedness, his heart spontaneously began beating faster. He reflexively took out his phone and pretended to look at it, even calling Cheng Xi’s number.
Cheng Xi, upon seeing that Lin Fan had called her, waved her phone and asked, “What’s the matter?”
“You don’t seem too happy, so I’m just confirming that it’s actually you and not someone impersonating you to meet up with me.”
Cheng Xi couldn’t help but laugh at his lame joke, finally realizing that she had indeed been absent-minded. When she had recollected herself, she apologetically replied, “Sorry, I’m thinking of something else.”
“Then let me guide you so that you don’t accidentally fall.”
After saying this, he stretched out his hand and wrapped it around hers.
Unlike Lu Chenzhou, Lin Fan’s hand was warm and dry, and she could feel a thick layer of calluses over his palm.
Cheng Xi wanted to break free, but he said, “Please don’t move. I won’t cross the line again.”
He wouldn’t cross the line, but he would slowly push it, and then eventually move it.
This was how many an illicit romance started, but Cheng Xi and Lin Fan were just an ordinary couple. She even knew that she shouldn’t refuse him, especially since she’d liked him for so long and since her heart had even fluttered during their reunion.
But strangely, she didn’t feel all that strongly about him at this moment. She vaguely remembered what she had once jokingly said to a student, that love was just another illusion.
Beautiful, but just a fleeting illusion.