When Cheng Xi arrived at work the next day, she entered with an unintentional smile on her face. The head nurse was surprised upon seeing her expression. “You seem very happy today. Did something good happen?”
“Yes!” As Cheng Xi took out a recording device, her voice was light and lively as she replied, “I found this.”
The head nurse inspected it curiously. “What is it?”
“Something that will tell stories.”
“For Chen Jiaman?” The head nurse understood Cheng Xi’s thought process quite well by now, and she had realized its purpose almost as soon as she saw it. “You really care about her.”
Cheng Xi chuckled before entering her office to put her white coat on. “How has she been these last two days?”
“She hasn’t been making a fuss, but she hasn’t been particularly cooperative either. Dr. Cheng, are you sure that you want to keep treating her like this?”
Cheng Xi’s footsteps, which had been steadily heading out, faltered. “What’s wrong?”
“The department head was inquiring about Chen Jiaman’s situation earlier today.” The head nurse leaned in closer, and then softly whispered, “It seemed like Dr. Ceng has been talking to him, so… if you have the time, then you should probably go talk with the head.”
Cheng Xi thought for a moment and then nodded. “Alright, thanks for letting me know.”
“No problem. Next time, tell Mrs. Cheng to teach me how to make that beef jerky of hers.”
“That’s easy! Just let me ask my mom, and we can head over to her place next week.”
The two chatted for a couple more minutes, and then Cheng Xi went over to the doctor’s office to prepare for her ward inspections. The doctors did the rounds every Tuesday, and this included all of the experts and even the head. When they reached Chen Jiaman’s ward, Ceng Xing smiled maliciously at Cheng Xi, and, as if on queue, Cheng Xi ended up being called out by the head. “This patient has been here for more than a month by now, hasn’t she?”
Ceng Xing gave out a clarification. “A month and twenty days, chief.”
The department head gave him a severe look from the side. “You know quite a lot about someone else’s patient, don’t you!”
Ceng Xing blushed scarlet red, and the other doctors had to restrain themselves from laughing, either by turning away or by pretending to look down at their medical reports. Cheng Xi, on the other hand, lowered her head and stood to the side, waiting for the chief to continue.
As expected, the chief criticized her on the spot. As Cheng Xi listened, she sighed. If this had happened to her a few days earlier, she probably would have been so embarrassed that she wouldn’t have come back to work for several days.
But ever since she was punished with a public self-reflection, she had found herself much more thick-skinned.
After the round of ward inspections, Cheng Xi was called into the chief’s office alone. “Why has that patient of yours not shown any improvement even after having undergone treatment for so long? Some doctors have even reported that you’re treating your patients like test subjects.”
Cheng Xi had originally held an indifferent attitude towards this talking-to, but when she heard these accusations, her expression quickly became serious. “That’s not true at all. I’m simply trying to determine the best and most well-suited treatment plan. Chen Jiaman isn’t a typical patient. Her illness, the rare Cotard’s syndrome, has few precedents for treatment, and she‘s very much unstable herself. If we force her to take drugs, I fear that her illness will only be temporarily suppressed at best.”
“So you want to reject the methods that we’ve developed in modern medicine?”
“No, chief. I only think that we psychiatric doctors can’t rely too much on external symptoms and medicine. If these two things are sufficient to treat all illnesses, then there wouldn’t be so many people with mental illnesses in this world.”
When Cheng Xi spoke about her specialty, she was able to do so frankly and with solid confidence, so much so that even the chief wasn’t able to persuade her. Failing to convince her to change anything, the head once again chased her out of his office.
Not long afterwards, everyone in the department learned of what had happened. After Cheng Xi finished her clinical duties in the afternoon, a great many doctors sent congratulatory messages. “I heard that you made the chief so angry that he fell ill again, right? Congratulations, you must be the first one to do so in our hospital’s history.”
And then, “Eat and drink as much as you can. It seems like you won’t have any chance of being promoted in the future.”
Cheng Xi didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. When Lin Fan came over with lunch, he too noticed the other doctors’ strange and ambiguous attitude towards her, asking, “What’s wrong? Have you done something particularly impressive?”
Cheng Xi smiled. “I’ve accomplished something never before seen in the hospital’s history. Does that count?”
Lin Fan was shocked and surprised. “Really?” And then, after thinking about it, he felt like it was something inevitable. “You’ve always been smart, so it’s only normal that you would’ve done accomplished something like that.”
Cheng Xi laughed boisterously until she couldn’t anymore, and then she opened the lunchbox that Lin Fan brought for her and prepared to eat. Just then, the head nurse popped her head into the office. “Are you having lunch?” When she noticed Lin Fan, her tone became somewhat apologetic. “Dr. Cheng, Dr. Su from the gynecology department just called and is looking for you. She was asking if you’re free.”
Cheng Xi blinked. “Dr. Su?”
“Right now? Where is she?”
“The gynecology building. According to her, they have a pregnant woman who seems to be suffering from postpartum depression, and they want you to take a look.”
“I’ll head over right away then.” Cheng Xi stood up and said to Lin Fan, “I’m sorry. Something just came up, so I’ll have to eat this later.”
Lin Fan was very understanding as he considerately replied, “Don’t worry, and go do what you have to. But make sure that you eat once you’re done.” After the head nurse left, he took out a small piece of braised rib and offered it to her. “Why don’t you first eat a few pieces as a stopgap?”
Looking at it, Cheng Xi opened her mouth, bit the meat off the bone, and then somewhat unclearly mumbled, “Thanks.” After putting on her white coat, she was about to go when Lin Fan suddenly pulled her to a stop.
When she turned around, Lin Fan leaned in close and pecked her lips with his own. “Go, I’ll see you later tonight.”
Seeing his happy face, Cheng Xi suddenly felt a very special feeling well up, as if something had hit the innermost part of her heart very, very softly.
And then she said something that spoiled the intimate atmosphere. “Since you’re here, you should go and see Chen Jiaman. I’ll have someone set it up for you; if she’s willing, you can even try to approach her.”
Lin Fan looked at her somewhat speechlessly.
Only then did Cheng Xi realize that she hadn’t read the mood very well. “Sorry, I’m a bit lacking in social intelligence these days, so don’t mind me.”
Lin Fan chuckled. “Slightly, yes, so you should be punished.” He leaned in again, pecking her lips once more.
This time, they weren’t so lucky. The head nurse, after noticing that they still hadn’t come out, popped her head inside again right as the two were kissing.
Cheng Xi’s face immediately blushed a deep red that spread all the way to the tips of her ears.
The head nurse and Cheng Xi went to the gynecology building together, and Lin Fan walked them to the elevator. As the elevator doors closed, the head nurse didn’t say anything yet because other people were in it, and Cheng Xi similarly tried her best to behave seriously.
But once they were alone, the head nurse lightly rapped Cheng Xi with her wrist. “You got a new boyfriend?”
After a moment of speechlessness, she gravely said, “No.”
The nurse clicked her tongue for a long while. “I might be old, but my eyes are still working properly. The two of them are totally different men, alright? That one from back then was more handsome.” Then the nurse turned her head around and looked Cheng Xi in the eye before saying, in a tone that displayed her worry for Cheng Xi, “Settle down. If you really like one of them, then you should settle down quickly so that you don’t end up being blinded by beauty.”
‘Otherwise she would be as miserable as if she kept going as she was now.’ The head nurse didn’t say these words, but Cheng Xi understood her warning clearly.
What could she do? Cheng Xi’s only option was to say, “Alright, I understand.”
Lunch break had just ended when Lin Fan returned to his office.
At the door of the elevator, he saw Meng Qingyang in a furious mood. Her steps were wide and quick, so much that the two of them almost collided.
Lin Fan quickly supported her and stopped her from falling. “Are you alright?”
She glanced at him, said nothing, and then turned around to enter the elevator.
As she left, a colleague rushed out of their department, clearly chasing after her. Upon seeing Lin Fan, he looked as if he had just seen his savior, and asked, “Did Manager Meng just leave?”
“Are you free this afternoon?”
“What’s the matter?”
“Would you mind helping me accompany Manager Meng in sending this document to general headquarters? I offended her just now, and I’m really scared that she might kill me if she gets annoyed on the way there. Really, she’s been so frightening lately. Please, I’m begging you.”
He clasped his hands tightly, truly hoping that Lin Fan would help him out. When Lin Fan recalled that he didn’t have anything else urgent to do in the afternoon, and that he also had to stop by headquarters soon, he agreed.
His colleague couldn’t stop thanking him, but Lin Fan only smiled in response before getting on the other elevator and chasing her down the building.
When he reached the lobby, Meng Qingyang had just exited the main door. Lin Fan ran up to her and called out, “Manager Meng.”
Meng Qingyang turned around, looking him in the eye. “Why are you here?”
“I also have something to do at headquarters, so it was more convenient for me to accompany you.”
Meng Qingyang didn’t say anything more. It was evident that she was still somewhat unhappy.
Lin Fan was also a quiet person, so they didn’t exchange any words the whole way to headquarters. Once there, they turned in the document together, and then the CEO even chatted with him and asked if he was doing well in the branch company.
Lin Fan responded perfunctorily and left. Meng Qingyang didn’t leave, instead lounging around in the CEO’s office lazily. When the CEO saw her behaving that way, he felt somewhat sorry. “Who made you mad? I can tell as soon as you entered with your mouth pursed like that.”
“No one. I’m just vexed and exhausted.”
Meng Qingyang didn’t have a reason.
And so he said, “You must feel too restrained. If you’re tired of work, then you should go out and play around, or if not that, then go find a boyfriend.” Glancing outside, he then said, “Someone like the guy who came in with you. What do you think of him?”
Meng Qingyang turned toward the CEO.