When Cheng Xi picked up her phone, she was in the midst of a heated and somewhat arduous discussion with Lu Chenzhou—who knew which book Mr. Lu had read this time, but after he had announced that he was going to woo her during Shen Wei’s birthday banquet, he had started faithfully performing the three daily tasks required for wooing a girlfriend: giving gifts, going on dates, and asking for kisses!
After leaving Shen Wei’s place, Cheng Xi had originally planned on heading to the suburbs to see her parents, but when she was halfway there, she received a call asking her to sign for a gift that had been delivered. She asked the management office to hold it for her, but an employee there embarrassedly replied, “Sorry, but this gift is one we can’t hold at the moment.”
Helpless, Cheng Xi could only turn around and head back home, where she saw a pickup truck’s worth of flowers. It was an uncountable number, so much so that the two couriers had to make multiple trips to move all the flowers upstairs.
The security guards at Cheng Xi’s place even thought that she had changed careers to become a florist.
The flowers were even the pink roses that famously entranced young girls. When they were all moved into her apartment, half of her living room was occupied. Mr. Lu had even included a very artistic handwritten note from himself, which read, “Love only blossoms when you’re carefree.”
The words had a deep philosophical meaning, but Lu Chenzhou’s usage of it in this situation made Cheng Xi feel a bit awkward.
Looking at all these flowers, her first thought was that, at the very least, it was a Sunday, and that the flowers had been sent to her home rather than her workplace. Otherwise, after that appointment booking incident last time, she would probably become infamous in Renyi Hospital.
Her second thought was that once these flowers wilted, there would be so much trash…
Somewhat powerlessly, she called Lu Chenzhou. “Thank you for the gift, but what’s the purpose for this?”
Lu Chenzhou coolly responded, “To woo you, of course.”
“……Thank you, but can you not spend so much money?”
In his usual nouveau riche manner, Mr. Lu replied, “It’s fine. I make a lot.”
Cheng Xi had to first praise him before she could try to persuade him. “You’re really amazing, able to make so much money despite being so young. But no matter how much you make, you can’t be so wasteful. The flowers are pretty, but once they dry up, they’ll just become useless piles of trash!”
Mr. Lu fell silent, the word ‘trash’ striking him in his mysophobic heart.
The next day, Cheng Xi received something in place of flowers. He invited her out for dinner, and afterwards, he said, “Let’s go watch a movie.”
Dinner and a movie, a standard date for a couple. Cheng Xi couldn’t refuse because she was the one who wanted him to woo her, and she wanted to see how far he would go in pursuing her. Thus, she went along with him.
Because it was almost Chinese New Year, there weren’t any good films showing. So, the two of them had no choice but to watch a dreary, mediocre romance flick. Then, it was another round of gifts, dinner, and movies again.
After Cheng Xi explicitly said to not send anything to her because she wasn’t lacking anything and that she would have to work to find a place for anything he did send her, Lu Chenzhou began to send breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like clockwork, meals would appear by her side at the same time everyday.
The first time it happened, Cheng Xi was a bit surprised and somewhat touched. The second time, she felt somewhat embarrassed that he was spending so much money on her. To console herself, she started recording all of the meals that he sent her in a little notebook, planning on repaying him after he regained his emotions.
The third time she received a meal, she was already very calm. Everyone in the department admired her delivered meal, and she responded, “My brother insisted on ordering it for me, saying that I’m too skinny.”
Everyone looked at her skinny body, unsuspecting of her white lie. Lu Chenzhou had been busy with his own affairs recently, so even though he regularly sent gifts, he never actually delivered them himself, and thus her lie was never exposed.
She managed to muddle through the gifts in this manner, but the dates were somewhat harder. Lu Chenzhou’s dates were on a fixed schedule; they took place once every two days, regardless of how busy he was. Though Cheng Xi was sometimes preoccupied and couldn’t go, but when she had the time, they would go out without fail.
And so, the two of them thus started ‘dating.’ Lu Chenzhou’s performance conformed with societal norms. Cheng Xi felt that this wasn’t bad, and she treated it as if they were just friends.
But those thoughts were quickly overturned because Lu Chenzhou’s actions soon transcended the realm of friendship.
On that day, they had gone out for food as usual, but they didn’t go to a movie afterwards, as they had seen them all by now. Instead, the two of them started playing tennis. Given Cheng Xi’s fitness, yoga was fine, but trying to match Lu Chenzhou in a sport was an entirely different matter. Losing was one thing, but after three matches, she was exhausted.
Afterwards, she wasn’t even able to walk steadily, and her racket slipped out of her hand as she slumped down to the floor, panting. Lu Chenzhou slowly walked up to her from the other side, put his racket underneath his arm, and crouched down in front of her.
Cheng Xi waved a hand at him in resignation. “I’m done, I can’t keep going……” She couldn’t even say anything else because Lu Chenzhou had started wiping her sweat away with his towel. She wanted to avoid it, but was unable to do so as Lu Chenzhou was firmly yet gently grasping her head as he dabbed at her face. “Don’t move.”
Cheng Xi had no choice but to stiffen up her body and let him wipe her sweat off. Although he wasn’t particularly gentle, he was very detail-oriented as he gradually and exasperatingly slowly moved down her forehead.
After waiting for such a long time and not seeing any significant progress, Cheng Xi gave up, closed her eyes, and let him take his time.
And after who knows how long, she felt a strange softness on her lips. She quickly opened her eyes and saw his dark brows.
“You…” Her voice was hoarse and her throat dry. “What are you doing?”
“Kissing you, of course,” he said as if it were to be expected. His voice tended to be cool and chilly, as if he were detached from the natural world. And, as usual, his face was calm and refined, without a hint of embarrassment regardless of the situation.
“It’s time. We can kiss now.” Then, he knelt down on one knee, bent his head, and began sucking on her lips. After Cheng Xi’s strenuous exercise, her lips had become a little dry, so he patiently and slowly caressed her lips with his own. Because of his patience and care, it ended up being somewhat touching.
Cheng Xi couldn’t clearly identify the emotions that were welling up endlessly from her heart; perhaps she was a little frenetic, and maybe even a little… happy, a kind of sweetness that she couldn’t control.
As she lightly exhaled, Cheng Xi pushed him away. “Did your heart beat faster again this time?”
He felt his chest for a moment, and then shook his head. “But shouldn’t we be proceeding to the next step around now anyways?” When he saw Cheng Xi’s confused look, he even smiled a little. “Giving gifts, having dates… Don’t couples always kiss in the end?”
Cheng Xi was speechless.
My goodness, so it was all a trap! Return my sweetness and take this panic back!
And so she immediately launched a rational discussion. “That’s moving a bit too fast. You still haven’t felt what love is, so it’s not appropriate to act so intimately yet.
He made an “Oh” sound, and then, with his unusual brand of logic, said, “Then, you kiss me.”
“Why should I kiss you?”
“So that I can fall in love with you more quickly. Don’t they say that a male chasing after a female has to scale a mountain, whereas a female chasing after a male only has to lift a veil?”
……It sounded quite logical when he put it that way.
Shen Wei’s family called Cheng Xi right when she was at a loss for words. Even through the phone, Cheng Xi could hear the unusual shrillness in Shen Wei’s voice.
Cheng Xi immediately became serious, and despite her flailing limbs, managed to stand up. “I have to go somewhere right away.”
She didn’t intend to let him tag along because she didn’t know what sort of situation Shen Wei was in and didn’t want to stimulate him. However, when she turned around, he pulled her back.
“I’ll go with you,” he said. “We’re still on our date.”
Cheng Xi…...couldn’t think of a rebuttal.