Cheng Xi stooped down halfway. She first picked up the recording device that was under the coffee table, turned down its volume, and then opened the lunchbox.
Lu Chenzhou’s grandparents really did love him, and their love could clearly be seen in the food that they had prepared, particularly refined and meticulously made. It even took his feeble physical condition into account: most of the dishes were supposed to be good for the body and easily digested.
There wasn’t much of each dish, but everything looked wonderfully delectable.
Ignoring his gaze, Cheng Xi brought out a bowl of yam and jujube porridge. As soon as she lifted the cap covering it, a delicate fragrance filled the room. Cheng Xi had only eaten two scones that night, so as soon as this enticing aroma wafted towards her, her hunger pangs became painfully clear. Her craving for food was so great that it felt like her heart and lungs were aching with desire.
She put the bowl of porridge down on the coffee table in front of the desk and lightly stirred it. “Mmm, it smells quite fragrant. Do you want some?”
Lu Chenzhou didn’t move at all, only continuing to stare at her coldly.
Cheng Xi ignored his lack of reaction. Instead, she picked up one of the pillows that had fallen on the floor and sat on it before leisurely starting to eat the porridge. The lunchbox had more than enough food to spare, and since Lu Chenzhou wouldn’t be able to finish everything, it wouldn’t matter if she had some.
Cheng Xi ate in a particularly alluring manner, even smacking her lips every few bites. As she ate, she praised the food. “Yum, it’s really tasty.” She smiled at Lu Chenzhou and asked, “Do you want to try some?”
Her expression made Lu Chenzhou want to beat her up.
Cheng Xi felt like Lu Chenzhou’s gaze was getting even gloomier. If she looked closely enough, she would have seen his eyes about to burn up from anger.
When she was almost done with the porridge, she brought out another dish: stir-fried meat with sauted celery. To Cheng Xi, this dish was pretty light, but it must have been something that Lu Chenzhou particularly liked, because she could clearly see him swallowing his saliva.
Even the craziest person in the world had to eat.
She picked up a large piece and waved it temptingly under his nose. “Do you want to eat it?” She even lightly teased, “I remember telling you that the nature of clean freaks is to like dirty things. Last time, you ate the sweet potatoes that I peeled, and how dirty they were! Buried in the ground, plucked from a damp and dark environment with earthworms and bugs crawling all around—but didn’t you still enjoy it nonetheless?” She pushed the food on the coffee table closer to him, commandingly saying, “Try some.”
It was already right next to his mouth; if Lu Chenzhou merely opened his mouth, he’d be able to eat it. However, he didn’t. Besides his frown deepening and his gaze turning even colder, Lu Chenzhou remained stoic.
But a lack of reaction was in and of itself a reaction, so Cheng Xi kept going. “Do you think that I’m being particularly annoying right now? Then eat. Only if you eat and regain your vitality can you throw me out, and remove my annoying presence from your eyes.”
Upon hearing this, Lu Chenzhou glared at her for another period of time before suddenly opening his mouth and biting down fiercely on the chopsticks. Then, he… he sucked in a breath, evidently having hurt himself from biting down too hard.
Cheng Xi tried to stop herself from laughing outright as he stared at her fiercely.
“Alright, I’m sorry. Laughing at someone else is wrong, but you can laugh at me too. Once, I was so hungry that I even started chewing on my own fingertips.” After saying this, she brought him another dish. After he finished it, she took out a bowl of fish porridge and placed it by his side. He didn’t take it, so Cheng Xi had to move next to him and feed him with a ladle.
Thankfully, he didn’t reject her again this time.
Cheng Xi smiled at his compliance, and fed him the entire bowl of porridge quite naturally. A patient was similar to a child, so she didn’t mind doing this. After she finished feeding him, she gathered up all the dishes. Lu Chenzhou stared at her, unsatisfied, with his gaze landing on the lunchbox by the coffee table.
Cheng Xi smiled. “You haven’t had food for a while, so you can’t eat too much at the beginning. Eat some more later after you’ve had some time to digest. Now, can you let me give you a checkup?”
He didn’t respond. Perhaps the food had helped his rationality recover somewhat, but he could recognize her now. “It’s you.”
“You aren’t angry anymore?”
When she heard this, her heart seemed to ache out of pity. “I’m sorry,” she sighed. “I shouldn’t have let you leave like that that day.”
He smiled, very faintly and very coolly, and with a taunting air.
Evidently, he understood that, in her heart, Lin Fan was far more important than he ever would be.
Cheng Xi didn’t give an explanation; this simply wasn’t something that she could explain. She treated his response as a silent acceptance of the situation and grabbed his hand. Indeed, it was quite warm to the touch. She lightly rolled up his sleeve, only a little, but it was enough for her to see lines upon lines of welts. Some were from scratching, and others…
She wanted to continue examining him, but Lu Chenzhou had already snatched his hand back. He lazily said, “Leave. I don’t want to have sex with you right now.”
“Alright, I’ll leave. But I can’t just leave you like this. You’re my friend. When you’re sick, I can’t just abandon you.”
“Friend.” He smiled. Right after Cheng Xi detected the danger in his eyes, he exploded forth. He suddenly grabbed her, and then she felt a twinge of pain in her shoulder. He was biting down deeply on her just like a vampire.
Cheng Xi felt like she was about to be bitten to death, and she was too afraid to struggle and too afraid to provoke him. As she endured the pain, she said, somewhat helplessly, “My body’s really dirty. I was at the hospital the entire day, and was even in close contact with two patients who just entered the hospital. One of them even spat at me in his agitation. Hmm, it’s about at the same place where you’re biting me…”
Although she had told him that the nature of clean freaks was to like dirty things, this description was evidently beyond Lu Chenzhou’s tolerance. He froze before slowly letting go of her.
Cheng Xi leaned backwards as she extended her hand into her clothes and touched the area that had been bitten. As expected, there was blood.
This was truly an unlucky year for her, being bitten by both of her patients. Who knew if this time the injury would be more serious than the last?
But when she saw the unbearable expression on his face, Cheng Xi couldn’t help but laugh. “I’m joking.” Afraid that he was about to pounce on her again, however, she shook her head and said, “Don’t bite me. I’m all skin and bones. What if I hurt your teeth?”
The pain was so intense that her face was contorting, but she was still joking with him. Even though he had just hurt her, she didn’t shy away from him.
Lu Chenzhou was reminded of that day when she had been hugging that little girl, not letting go even though she had been painfully biting down on her.
Cheng Xi might not ever know that, when he witnessed that scene, only his greatest efforts had been able to restrain the brutality in his heart.
In this moment, he had realized that his nature was just like that of the little girl’s: equally crazy, equally… ill.
He shut his eyes, trembling. “...Aren’t you afraid of me?”
Cheng Xi was curious, and asked, “Why would I be afraid?”
“I don’t have any emotions.”
“No, you do.” Cheng Xi looked at him seriously. “You care about your family, and you’re afraid that they’ll worry about your marriage affairs. So, you tried every trick you could think of to make me your girlfriend; this is kinship. You accompanied me to Chen Jiaman’s hometown and helped me interview local residents, discover what made everyone so suspicious, and investigate Chen Fuguo; this is sympathy. You also help your friends by helping them close business deals they wouldn’t have been able to on their own; this is friendship… You have all of these emotions, so why do you keep saying you don’t?”
Her voice was so pleasant to the ear, so gentle. It was just like a long forgotten dream that he had once had. In that dream, he was surrounded by darkness on all sides. But then, a beam of light appeared from afar, so bright it chased the darkness away.
He unconsciously confessed what he had never told anyone before. “That’s all fake, all of it. I only did it because they told me that it was time for me to date someone and get married. At that time, coincidentally, Cai Yi wanted me to meet you, and so I did. Then I read some books that said that I had to help my girlfriend with anything she wanted, which was why I accompanied you to the Chen family house and helped you investigate them. It has nothing to do with sympathy; who’s Chen Jiaman, and who’s the Chen family? How are they related to me? The only reason I made friends and helped them is because I don’t want to be a lonesome freak… Honestly, I hate people. I hate social interaction, marriage, romance, family, friends… To me, none of them have any meaning! I live only because I haven’t died yet.”