Cheng Xi could only reply very seriously. “Professor, I already have a boyfriend.”
Cai Yi made a soft ‘Oh’ in response as she inspected her closely. The girl in front of her had a very youthful face and was young, pretty, and filled with an exuberant vitality. This really made her admire Cheng Xi. She had known her for quite a while now: the first time Cai Yi had met Cheng Xi was when the latter was a senior in college, following behind a bunch of students doing a practicum. While the others had been somewhat frenetic and wary about the prospect of facing a mentally ill patient, she had already started approaching him.
Even after all these years, her vitality had not been depleted one bit; it wasn’t just a matter of youth, but also her passion and love towards her career.
But Cai Yi put all this aside and casually asked, “How long has it been going on for?” After hearing that it hadn’t been too long, she clicked her tongue. “You should still be in the passionate stage, but I don’t see any of that sweetness in your face.”
Cheng Xi responded somewhat drolly, “I didn’t know that you could read faces too, professor.”
Cai Yi was proud. “Of course, I’m a psychiatrist! I’ve been very interested in psychoanalysis lately, and my ability to glean information from other people’s expressions has improved.”
“I’ve been reading fewer books than I should lately.” Cheng Xi was ashamed at hearing that even a famous psychiatrist like Cai Yi was still working hard to advance herself.
Cai Yi was very understanding. “You’re working and have a lot of busy work too. As long as your heart is there, it’s fine.”
The two of them discussed their studies and some medical cases for a while when Cai Yi suddenly asked, out of the blue, “How’s your research on Lu Chenzhou’s illness progressing?”
Cheng Xi nonchalantly responded, “I’d like to request that you assign him another doctor, professor.”
As soon as she made her request, she knew there was going to be trouble. Originally, even if she was going to ask that the case be re-assigned, she should have brought up a good reason first before proposing it. However, now that she had brought it up with a worried tone… Indeed, Cai Yi clapped her hands together, excited. “He likes you?”
Cai Yi laughed. “There’s nothing strange about that. Patients who suffer from mental illnesses find it very easy to latch onto their doctors. As a young pretty woman, it’s actually quite natural for people like you. But it’s not too appropriate if you withdraw from his treatment in the middle of it. You know how particular Lu Chenzhou is. He probably won’t accept a new doctor taking his case.”
Cheng Xi lowered her gaze, not speaking.
Cai Yi asked, “What, is it really that big of a problem?”
“What happened last time caused Lin Fan to have a misunderstanding with Mr. Lu.”
“Is it just that? Cheng Xi, you’re not that helpless of a woman.”
Cheng Xi’s heart was shaken. After that, Cai Yi said something else about being lazy and applying a quick patch. This was the crudest method of solving problems; she was all but admitting that she had no confidence in extricating herself from her problems.
A mental patient’s mind was often a big mess, with particularly strong deviations in their thoughts and actions. When facing such patients, psychiatrists often had to ignore what was right or ethical, because they needed to empathize with their patients before they could accept them on a psychological level. Cheng Xi had always been very good at this aspect of being a psychiatrist, and Cai Yi really hadn’t expected that there would be a time when she too would falter.
Last time, Cai Yi’s words had only been a reminder for Cheng Xi. But this time, when she saw and heard about how differently Lu Chenzhou treating her, Cai Yi’s question about whether she would consider entering a romantic relationship with one of her patients was actually a reminder in disguise. But the response that she got from her was quite unexpected. Cai Yi couldn’t help but caress her forehead. “I didn’t imagine that Lu Chenzhou would be this charming.”
Cheng Xi blanked for a moment before realizing that her teacher had misunderstood. However, she had no words to say: she was originally afraid that her presence would influence Lu Chenzhou too much. But now, she was afraid that she wouldn’t have enough strength to see matters through. She also couldn’t directly mention Lu Chenzhou’s erratic behavior, so Cheng Xi could only try to salvage things. “It’s not that—I’m just a bit worried.”
Cai Yi nodded with an understanding expression on her face. She even gave her some advice. “It seems like you don’t feel particularly strongly about your boyfriend. So, be careful to not randomly choose someone just because you’re being pressured. A matter as important as marriage can’t be rushed.”
Truly, it couldn’t—look at her, she was the model of waiting patiently. In response, Cheng Xi said, “I’m not in a rush. I’ve already known him for so many years.”
“Hmm, so you’re childhood sweethearts.” Not letting Cheng Xi relax, Professor Cai added, “But so what? Sometimes, even a childhood sweetheart can’t beat a new contestant. As psychiatrists, we should understand that time alone doesn’t mean very much.”
“Time represents mutual understanding, a deepening of emotions and affections.” Cheng Xi was forced to rebut. “We really love each other, and it’s unlikely that we’d be easily replaced.”
Everyone said that one shouldn’t speak carelessly of love, and Cheng Xi would soon have to eat her words.
But in that moment, because she wasn’t aware of what would happen in the near future, she had declared her love very calmly. But Cai Yi only treated it as a last-ditch effort. She gave up on fighting with her any further, instead smiling and saying, “Alright, what you do is up to you. As long as you’re happy, that’s fine. Anyways, emotions are a very small portion of your life, so let’s stop talking about it. Let’s go see your patient instead.”
Cheng Xi felt like she had just been steamrolled, but she still took Cai Yi to see Chen Jiaman, first taking out her medical reports and her observation diary; it was a habit of hers to record daily observations of each of her patients in a diary. Her observations were particularly detailed, even including her insight on how their treatments were progressing. Cai Yi thought highly of this practice, and she had requested that all her future students do the same. But no matter what, Cheng Xi’s were still the best.
Cai Yi’s observation lasted for half the afternoon. She even personally observed Chen Jiaman for quite a while. In the end, she said to Cheng Xi, “I think that your treatment methodology will work, but hospitals care more about efficiency. Luckily, with the way her situation is, she doesn’t have any family members pressuring her to leave the hospital. Thus, you can take your time and observe her while trying to find the best method to treat her. Who knows, you might even make a major finding in our current understanding of this syndrome.”
Cheng Xi had never been thinking about any of that. All she wanted to do was her duty as a doctor. What Cai Yi appreciated about her the most was this quality that Cheng Xi embodied: her ability to forge ahead, devoid of selfishness or desire for fame; all her passion rested with her patients. If not for the fact that Cheng Xi had already signed a long-term contract with the hospital, Cai Yi would have snatched her up for her own laboratory.
And as for Chen Jiaman, Cai Yi had previously thought that her illness was too unusual to be studied as a part of a larger set of medical cases. But after reading through Cheng Xi’s observation diary, Cai Yi became much more interested in the case—not only did Chen Jiaman suffer from Cotard’s syndrome, but she also had the classic symptoms of autism and depression. As a test subject, she would definitely be a valuable addition to her clinical study.
Cheng Xi didn’t yet know that Cai Yi’s thoughts were steering this way towards her patient; after she sent Cai Yi away, she went back to look at Chen Jiaman again. Thanks to her recording device, Chen Jiaman was now very familiar with Cheng Xi’s voice, and even if Cheng Xi were to stand in front of her, she would no longer have an extreme violent reaction. But they still couldn’t communicate; Cheng Xi had tried to play games with her, simple finger games where she would twist her fingers together and stretch them in front of Chen Jiaman in different ways, saying things like, “Look, this is a piece of ginger.” “This is the moon.” “This is the wind in a willow tree.”
Chen Jiaman only ever looked at her expressionlessly, as if she were staring at a foolish mortal.
What the mortal Cheng Xi was diligently trying to accomplish was probably about the limits of what Chen Jiaman could tolerate. Seeing no response from her erstwhile patient, Cheng Xi could only leave in defeat.
It was already time to get off work, and the nurses were getting ready to change shifts at their station. Cheng Xi made one last stop at Lu Chenzhou’s ward to check up on him.
Lu Chenzhou hadn’t woken up yet, but his entire family was all here, neat and orderly as they waited outside. And then Cheng Xi finally saw Lu Chenzhou’s little brother, Lu Chenming. The two looked at each other, and Cheng Xi was the one to react first. “It’s you?”
Lu Chenming was actually the student auditing her class, the one who loved to sleep and who always blushed upon making eye contact!
Lu Chenming’s face immediately flushed red, all the way to the tip of his ears, and he scrambled behind his grandfather. Lu Chenzhou’s grandmother asked curiously, “Dr. Cheng, you know our little Ming?”
“I’ve seen him around school a couple of times.”
“Wow, really? You must share a connection.” Although his grandparents found it somewhat curious that their grandson, an applied math major, would know Cheng Xi, who was a psychiatrist, they were both very pleased. It clearly showed on their faces, and Cheng Xi felt that interacting with these two old folks would only increase her stress, so she instead went to look for Lu Chenzhou’s head doctor. She found out that, despite the fact that they had yet to identify the bacteria responsible for Lu Chenzhou’s health issues, his response to the medicine was very good.
Cheng Xi could finally relax. Lu Chenzhou’s grandmother was grabbing her hand and trying to chat with her some more when Cheng Xi’s phone rang. It was a call from the nurses’ station: “Dr. Cheng, haven’t you left yet? Your boyfriend’s here for you!”
Cheng Xi was somewhat surprised and also a little excited, because, judging by Lin Fan’s personality, it was quite unusual for him to pick her up the afternoon after they had had a fight in the morning.
She didn’t tarry any longer, and quickly returned to her own department. Once she entered the room, the nurse pointed in the direction of her office. Cheng Xi smiled and thanked her before pushing the door open and entering.
Lin Fan was facing the window, his back to the door. He was dressed in a suit, which only further accentuated his smart and handsome looks, truly an elegant man.
Cheng Xi crept over, trying to tease him, but Lin Fan turned around before she could stretch her hand out.
“Eh~” Cheng Xi stuck her tongue out cutely, retracting her claws. “You caught me.”
Lin Fan looked at her seriously.
“What’s the matter?”
“Cheng Xi, let’s get married.”