Even Cheng Xi was a bit scared by her own thoughts. She coughed quietly and softly asked, “Are you feeling okay? Have you taken any medicine?” She put down the things in her hands and continued, saying, “I’ll give you a checkup, alright?”
Lu Chenzhou was still looking at her, as if he was trying to confirm whether or not the person standing in front of him was real. After a while, he finally said, “I remember the front door being locked.”
Cheng Xi started sweating, but she still nodded in response and said, “It was locked, but I have the passcode.”
His forehead scrunched up slightly as he turned around and slowly sat up to look at her. Cheng Xi noticed that his body was very weak; even this simple action caused him to start breathing heavily.
She stretched out her hand, preparing to help him, but he shoved it away in rejection despite the pain. He closed his eyes and rested by leaning against the sofa for quite a while before asking in a tired tone, “Why are you here?”
“I heard that you were sick, so I’m here to see you.”
“You’ve seen me. Now leave.”
He opened his eyes, completely lucid by this point. His gaze held a familiar disaffection, reminiscent of his look the first time they had met; under that cold examining gaze, anyone would feel like a worthless speck of dust.
“Scram!” His voice wasn’t loud, and a sense of fatigue could be heard within it. “...It’s dirty now.”
Cheng Xi looked at her own pair of shoes—she had indeed forgotten to take off her shoes when entering the house. The main problem was that she hadn’t even seen a shoe cabinet. Additionally, she was anxious to ascertain his condition, so she hadn’t even thought about this normal courtesy.
Realizing that she had unintentionally triggered one of his pet peeves, Cheng Xi put on an extremely apologetic tone. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see a pair of slippers that I could change into…”
A pillow came flying at her, and along with it, a very familiar recording device. The pillow harmlessly fell by her feet, but the recording device bounced off of her leg, ultimately coming to a rest on the underside of the coffee table. Her voice hummed out from within. “The little rabbit secretly fell in love with a little fox…”
When Lu Chenzhou realized that he had accidentally thrown the wrong thing at her, he got even angrier. “Scram!” he shouted, panting. When he saw that his shout had no effect on Cheng Xi, another pillow came flying at her. Actually, if there were enough items by his side, Cheng Xi believed that he would have thrown them all without hesitation.
The look in his eyes was very scary, heavy and gloomy. She had only seen him for a couple of minutes, but the evident weakness that he had shown while she was by the door seemed like a mirage, which had completely evaporated.
His loss of control came even quicker. Almost immediately after running out of things to throw, he exploded. He grabbed his head with both hands and shouted hoarsely, “Scram! Scram immediately!”
Cheng Xi immediately took off her shoes and walked closer, barefoot. She had planned on consoling him gently, but he forcefully shook her off. Even while weakened, Lu Chenzhou’s strength was way beyond what she could contend with, and she was pushed away before she could get any closer, almost falling down.
Cheng Xi took a deep breath, about to try again, when a voice suddenly called out to her from the door. “Dr. Cheng!”
Cheng Xi turned around to see Lu Chenzhou’s grandparents by the door.
She glanced back at Lu Chenzhou, who was cradling his head in pain, and then walked out.
It wasn’t just Lu Chenzhou’s grandparents standing outside; there were also a few doctors in white coats that had come along with them. One of them was particularly old, likely someone who had been specifically called over.
Indeed, Lu Chenzhou’s grandfather introduced him as such. “This is Dr. Xie from the central hospital. The reason we weren’t here just now is because we were specially entreating him to come over.”
And then he introduced Cheng Xi to Dr. Xie, saying, “This is Dr. Cai’s student, Dr. Cheng.”
Cheng Xi knew of a very famous old general practitioner in the central hospital who was also called Dr. Xie. Most likely, he was the man standing in front of her. Because he was an esteemed senior, Cheng Xi still politely greeted him despite her rush. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to meet you.”
Dr. Xie was a kindly man, and he smiled at her briefly. Because of the occasion, the two didn’t have any time to exchange pleasantries. Lu Chenzhou’s grandmother was even more rushed than she was; once Cheng Xi had finished greeting them, she pulled on her hand and anxiously and quietly asked, “What do we do? Zhou’s been locked up in here for a few days and he hasn’t eaten anything in that time. When we came over in the evening to check on him, he was still running a high fever, and his skin was red and blotchy all over. He refuses to see a doctor, he refuses to take medicine, and he refuses to let us touch him. What do we do?”
Cheng Xi patted her hand reassuringly and asked, “When did you discover that he was sick?”
“Just today. Someone from the office was looking for him but couldn’t get into contact him, so they called us instead. We searched all over town for him before we ultimately found out that he had fallen ill and locked himself in here.”
“We want to enter, but given his condition, can we?”
Upon hearing their tone, it seemed as if something like this had also happened in the past. Thus, this time, not only did they call Dr. Xie over, but they also had Cai Yi call Cheng Xi over too.
Cheng Xi then asked, “Did he behave the same way when he was last ill?”
Lu Chenzhou’s grandmother glanced at her husband before hesitatingly answering, “......Yes.” And then she hurriedly explained, “He has a very strong cleanliness complex, which intensifies when he’s ill. It’s so severe that almost no one else can touch him because he claims that they’re all dirty.”
It was understandable, and a common physiological symptom of patients suffering from emotional detachment. Cheng Xi’s medical books contained a case study with patients suffering from the exact same problem. She had originally thought that Lu Chenzhou’s strong willpower would allow him to overcome his desire for cleanliness, but she didn’t expect his cold rationality to be so easily destroyed by illness.
But when she reexamined this situation again, her actions did seem to have been a bit too excessive that day. Despite knowing that he had contracted a cold and was possibly also having an allergic reaction, she had reacted to his provocations and lost control. In the end, she had even ignored all his symptoms and was going to let him leave just like that.
After taking a deep breath, Cheng Xi rolled up her sleeves. “Don’t worry. I’ll find a way so that at the very least, Dr. Xie can help inspect his condition.” As she said this, she looked at the doctors standing behind Dr. Xie. They were all very young; clearly, Lu Chenzhou’s grandparents had planned on using force if Lu Chenzhou refused to cooperate. “I hope that it won’t be necessary for you guys to handle the situation, so give me a bit of time, alright?”
Lu Chenzhou’s grandfather and the rest immediately nodded. Cheng Xi smiled, turned around, opened the door, and went back inside. Before she entered, she lifted her feet and removed even her socks—the corridors outside looked clean, but who knew if Lu Chenzhou thought the same.
Cheng Xi also removed her outer jacket. Inside, she was wearing a sweater with a similarly colored long skirt; the whole outfit accentuated her figure, making her look particularly slim and graceful. She was usually fond of this style of clothing because it was both comfortable and warm, but she was regretting it a little now because her skirt might make the next couple of actions a bit difficult.
As she rolled her sleeves up, she turned around and asked, “Did you guys bring any food?”
Lu Chenzhou’s grandmother immediately said, “Yes, yes.” A young man walked up to Cheng Xi with a massive lunchbox. Cheng Xi opened it and peered inside, satisfied.
She took the lunchbox, closed the door, and walked inside. When psychiatrists treated their patients, they tended to isolate themselves to ensure that there would be no distractions and that the patients’ privacy would be protected. Naturally, this meant that she didn’t plan on letting people observe her.
Lu Chenzhou had already stopped throwing things around and he seemed to have calmed down, but his gaze remained cruel. Cheng Xi felt that, if not for his enervating hunger and illness shaving away at most of his vitality, he would have thrown her out of the house as if she were a piece of garbage.
At this point, he had almost completely forgotten that he had once told her that he wanted to woo her despite his straightforward confession of wanting to have sex with her.
In his eyes, perhaps she was no more than a germ, a human-sized germ that he abhorred with all his being.