After saying his words, Lu Chenzhou looked at her expectantly, his expression as if he was waiting for her to ask a question.
Cheng Xi also felt that it would be better to clarify things; asking a clear question and receiving a clear question couldn’t possibly lead to a misunderstanding. But as she prepared to ask her question, he shifted his gaze to the rest of her body. “You should clean yourself first.” He then frowned, looked behind her, and said, “Don’t you females usually clean yourselves up first thing in the morning?”
Cheng Xi turned around and saw the beauty salon’s owner rub her eyes as she woke up. Upon hearing Lu Chenzhou’s pointed remark, the bleary sleepiness instantly disappeared from her face, and the two of them both looked at the only male in the room, only to see that that man was wearing a simple white shirt and black pants. His shirt was perfectly uncreased, neat and tidy. Lu Chenzhou was originally quite handsome, and his attire only served to accentuate his features further—the white-clad youth was so handsome that he seemed like a juicy fruit, emanating a tempting aura.
Cheng Xi and the salon owner then looked at each other, and noticed their own state of disarray in the other’s eyes. After sleeping for the entire night, their clothes were now wrinkled, their hair messy, and, compared to this Mr. Lu, they looked just like dried prunes—their clothes so shriveled that they made one feel sad just from looking at them.
Neither of the two spoke; after silently looking at each other one last time, they quickly went inside the washroom specially prepared for customers.
The washroom was large and spacious. As they stared at their current somewhat disastrous state through the mirror, the two started laughing.
This laugh closed the previous distance between the two. The salon owner was somewhat distressed, and said, “Director Lu is quite particular, isn’t he.”
The lady boss sighed regretfully. “I still remember the first time I met him, in his office. I told him that I wanted to open a beauty salon in Donglai, and he looked at me out of the corner of his eye with a particularly disdainful look. Then he said, “Isn’t the role of a beauty salon to make people beautiful? You clearly haven’t been able to apply that to yourself, but you’re going to try to do it to others?” My goodness. Even after all this time, I still don’t dare to walk in front of him after that comment from him.”
Her humorous storytelling made Cheng Xi laugh. “Actually, I’m in the same boat as you. The first time I met him, he asked me, ‘Do you only have one dimple? Unbelievably ugly.’”
The two finished roasting him and then laughed together again. The salon owner then said, “So even you receive such treatment? I thought that he would treat at least you differently.”
Cheng Xi’s smile shrunk slightly. “How different can it be? We’re all the same.”
“No, definitely not. At least in all my time in Donglai, I’ve never seen any other woman appear by Director Lu’s side, and that’s not even mentioning him bringing someone for me to wash her face. Though...” As the salon owner started her next sentence, she peeked outside cautiously, lowered her voice, and then continued in a whisper. “Did you do something to make him angry? After you fell asleep last night, he stood to one side and observed you for such a long time that, honestly, judging from his expression, I thought that he was going to pinch you awake. But then…” She originally wanted to say “throw you out,” but after considering that Cheng Xi might be upset with her words, she pivoted and instead said, “…and then he told me to let you sleep and to not disturb you. As he said this, he was even gnashing his teeth, clearly upset that you had left him to sleep alone. It was the first time I’ve ever seen that expression on his face—actually, he was both awkward and cute at the same time! Haha, remember to pamper him a little when you see him. He doesn’t have a good temper, but I feel like he really does treat you well.”
Cheng Xi had heard two people call Lu Chenzhou cute in the morning, and suddenly felt slightly dissociated, almost as if she were living in some strange fantasy. From the salon owner’s word choice of “gnashing his teeth” and “concerned,” it seemed that she must have been projecting her own impressions onto Lu Chenzhou. Given that man’s cold and nearly stone face, how could she have seen him gnash his teeth or be concerned?
And she had also clearly misunderstood the relationship between them, making Cheng Xi somewhat embarrassed. “I’m not in that relationship with Mr. Lu. We’re just regular friends.”
“I get it, I get it.” The lady boss smiled as she replied half-heartedly.
In the end, Cheng Xi was unable to clearly explain the relationship between her and Lu Chenzhou. In truth, she herself had realized that since she wasn’t able to explicitly state their doctor-patient relationship, some of their actions were truly inexplicable.
For example, the “interest” she showed towards Lu Chenzhou, the attention she paid him, her unbelievable forbearance, and so on and so forth.
As Cheng Xi reflected on her and Lu Chenzhou’s relationship, she felt more and more certain that she should explain things to Lu Chenzhou again. However, when the two of them returned to his room, and when Cheng Xi asked him why he had brought her here to have her face washed, he looked at her, and replied in a shocked tone. “Don’t you feel dirty? His saliva was all over your face!”
“……” Cheng Xi was once again rendered speechless by his logic.
She looked at him with a somewhat weak expression, feeling that it was necessary to explain these basic things to him. “Hugging and kissing are both actions used to express intimacy-”
But before she could finish, he cut her off coldly. “But I find it dirty, very dirty.” Having said that, he looked at her provocatively.
Cheng Xi caressed her forehead. “But you’ve kissed me too…”
“I washed myself afterwards, about seventeen or eighteen times each time.”
Cheng Xi glared at him, and then after taking a while to gather her thoughts, squeezed out, “Then you must have felt quite wronged.”
And Lu Chenzhou even responded affirmatively, seriously nodding as he said, “Yup!”
Cheng Xi clutched her chest. She had truly been overthinking it when she was worried that he would misunderstand, hadn’t she? She decided to ignore this topic, and instead ask, “You… came back last night to find me, didn’t you? What’s the matter?”
He didn’t speak, and instead gave her a recording device.
“Tell me a story.”
Cheng Xi looked at him strangely. Since this man wasn’t interested in her body, could it be possible that he was infatuated with her voice?
She really should have stopped overthinking it because, as if he had read her thoughts, Lu Chenzhou raised his eyebrows and said, “Your stories are boring enough that they’re the best lullaby.”
Curses immediately sprung up in Cheng Xi’s mind. While she still had a smile on externally, her internal emotions were raging tumultuously. Did he have to attack her so savagely? She’d always thought that her own stories were rather good!
That weekend, Cheng Xi took a break. The first day, she spent waiting for Lin Fan and his mother, and the second, she dedicated to Lu Chenzhou.
In his hotel, she recorded a full day’s worth of stories for him. Cheng Xi put all of the stories she knew into the recording device, but when Lu Chenzhou saw that it still wasn’t full, he wanted her to add more.
In the end, Cheng Xi had to take out a collection of Shakespearean plays from his bookshelf. It was even in the original Elizabethan English, so most of the words were antiquated and unfamiliar to her. But since it was just to help Lu Chenzhou sleep, it didn’t really matter.
Lu Chenzhou didn’t do anything else that whole day. He just sat by her side and listened to her record the stories. Occasionally, he would get on his phone to handle some business, but he spent most of the time asleep. By the time he woke up, Cheng Xi had already gotten to Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVIII.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thee art more lovely and more temperate:”
He suddenly woke up and said, “‘Thou.’”
She was surprised, and raised her head to look at him. After her facial wash from last night, her skin was more radiant than ever. A slight flush of red peeked out from her porcelain-white skin, only serving to further emphasize her beauty. Her clear eyes were reminiscent of the sky after a heavy rain, pure enough to drown one’s heart in longing.
As his heart began to itch again, Lu Chenzhou closed his eyes.
“What did you say just now?”
He didn’t want to answer, but his brain unconsciously repeated the words she had been reciting. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
She had mispronounced a word, reading “thou” as “thee.” He was very picky by nature, not being able to tolerate even the slightest mistake or error. But while she had been reciting Shakespeare, despite her countless mistakes, he didn’t find them unbearable at all.
Perhaps it was because her voice was too moving, so moving that he could neglect her mistakes.
“It’s fine,” he heard himself say. “You just disturbed my sleep, that’s all.”
She didn’t continue speaking. Even though he didn’t open his eyes, he could still imagine her speechless expression. When he felt Cheng Xi’s footsteps quietly creep away, his lips curled up into a cold smile.