Cheng Xi was certain that Lu Chenzhou had expressed his true thoughts, without any malicious intentions.
My goodness, it became even more hurtful because it wasn’t intentional! Can’t you tell, geez?
Gong Hengjin had initially been a bit pleased with herself, as she had heard of Lu Chenzhou before. She didn’t expect that he would call her pretty, and even less so that he would call her prettier than this Cheng Xi in front of her. Yes, she couldn’t help a feeling of pride from welling up.
And so, even though he had said that he didn’t like her, she thought that it was simply a part of the flirtatious banter between him and Cheng Xi, that it was wholly unrelated to the truth. This caused her to smile slightly and try to look reserved, so as to not make her pride too obvious.
But then, what did she hear next?
Cheng Xi thought that Gong Hengjin looked like she was about to cry, and even Fu Mingyi’s face stiffened awkwardly.
Shen Wei slammed her head against the table three times as she burst into a gleeful laughter. Only after that did she recover; she rubbed her face, lifted her head up, and delightedly said, “Director Lu always makes jokes like this.”
Lu Chenzhou’s tone was insipid as he responded, “You think that I’m joking?”
Cheng Xi didn’t like where this conversation was going. If they continued down this route, who knew what Lu Chenzhou would say? Even she had fallen prey to his vicious tongue before! And although she wasn’t all too pleased with Gong Hengjin supposedly being Fu Mingyi’s mistress, everyone who had ever studied psychiatry knew not to provoke someone who gave off an introverted and honest image. As the saying went, ‘dogs who bite don’t bark.’ In other words, the more honest and sincere a person seemed, the more mercurial their behavior when they were enraged. Like Gong Hengjin: if she were really as pure and guileless as she looked, then how would she have gotten involved with Fu Mingyi while knowing that he was dating and planning on marrying her best friend? Even if one discounted her friendship with Shen Wei, they were still distant relatives!
So at that point, Cheng Xi had to interrupt and derail the conversation. “Alright, jokes are jokes, but I need food. Let’s order something. I’m famished.”
And with that, she took the lead and pressed the bell to call a waiter over. She truly wished for them to just drop the topic, but someone was clearly being obstinate.
While they were waiting for a waiter to come, Fu Mingyi, who had regained his senses, actually smiled and said to Lu Chenzhou, “Hengjin isn’t so bad, is she? Dr. Cheng seems pretty thin too.”
Cheng Xi looked at him expressionlessly, not even wanting to reply.
Shen Wei had collapsed onto the table with a face full of smiles, but when she heard that comment, she immediately made a gagging sound. Cheng Xi immediately stood up, concernedly asking, “Are you alright?”
“It’s fine, just one of the side effects of pregnancy.” Fu Mingyi stretched his hand out to pat Shen Wei’s back, but Shen Wei pushed him aside and instead grabbed ahold of Cheng Xi.
Without a moment of hesitation, Cheng Xi walked around him and helped her outside.
Gong Hengjin was about to stand up and accompany them as well, but Cheng Xi cut her off. “It’s alright, I can handle it myself.” She then forcibly dragged Shen Wei away before Gong Hengjin had a chance to respond.
In the restroom, Shen Wei dry-heaved a few times over a toilet before vomiting in earnest. Only when even her gastric juices started coming out did she feel slightly better.
Cheng Xi brought her some water for her to gargle, and helped her wipe her face as she asked, “Do you feel a bit better?”
Shen Wei leaned against the wall, raised her head, and took a deep breath before smiling without any genuine happiness. “Quite well.”
Cheng Xi clutched her hand concernedly. “Do you want me to send you back?”
Shen Wei turned around and looked straight at her. “Cheng Xi, tell me. Am I being stupid?”
Cheng Xi pursed her lips and thought for a moment before seriously saying, “You’re really are acting quite stupidly, very much unlike the Shen Wei I know. The Shen Wei I know would smoothly adapt to any circumstance. She let things go when she had to, and focused on new things when she could. She lived life without worries, free and at ease. Given what you’re doing now, do you even recognize yourself anymore?”
Tears started falling from Shen Wei’s eyes, but her smile remained glued onto her face. “I just want to hurt myself more. When I feel numb, there’s a compulsion to poke at my wounds a bit to remind that it’s right there. I only feel comfortable when it hurts.”
When Cheng Xi heard this confession, she sighed, and her voice relaxed as she consoled, “If you want to lead a happy life with him, then why bother hurting yourself?”
Shen Wei covered up her face with her hand, though she was still smiling. “I can’t stand living this kind of life…… If they want me to forgive them just like that, then who’ll forgive me?”
So it was indeed this! Cheng Xi frowned. “You fool! If a man is bitten by a dog, must he bite back? Your path is your own to tread. You can’t stop moving forward just because you tripped over a few pebbles.”
She wanted to keep persuading Shen Wei against her current course of action, but at that moment, Fu Mingyi’s voice came in from the outside. “Shen Wei, Cheng Xi, are you in there?”
Cheng Xi could only stop talking. She took a moment to look at Shen Wei, who was trying to wipe away her tears, and then coldly answered, “Yes.”
When they went out, Cheng Xi’s face was still cold, but Shen Wei’s expression was once again plastered with a fake, broad smile.
Fu Mingyi said, “There’s a washroom right inside. Why did you run all the way over here?”
Shen Wei replied, “We were just about to eat. Wouldn’t it be disgusting if I vomited in the restaurant?”
“There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re pregnant!”
Cheng Xi looked at the two of them from behind, feeling helpless. Even though Shen Wei had momentarily lost her calm, her acting skills immediately recovered to their peak in a millisecond. When she reentered the restaurant, she let Gong Hengjin, who had come up to her to welcome her back, support her. “It’s nothing, just the baby.”
And then she even apologized to Lu Chenzhou. “I’m sorry. My reactions have been pretty extreme lately, and I even feel the urge to vomit at random intervals.”
Lu Chenzhou’s face was unbothered. “It’s no big deal.” His gaze swept over Cheng Xi’s face, and once she sat down, he asked, “Are you unhappy?”
Cheng Xi remained silent.
He hadn’t lowered his voice, so Fu Mingyi and the others all heard him and looked over, shocked. Shen Wei even blinked before asking, “Cheng Xi, what’s wrong?”
Cheng Xi glanced at her. “One of my patients has a problem.”
If it was a work problem, then no one could help her. All they could do was simply commiserate with her before dropping the subject.
That meal really was devoid of any enjoyment. All throughout dinner, they watched Shen Wei and Fu Mingyi display their ‘love’ for each other and the baby in her stomach. Fu Mingyi was quite disgusting in how calmly he behaved in front of two women who both had unclear relationships with him.
Cheng Xi didn’t feel like eating, and Lu Chenzhou didn’t even bother picking up his chopsticks.
Shen Wei teased him mercilessly. “Director Lu, if you’re not here to eat, then what are you here for?”
Lu Chenzhou’s answer was simple and direct. “For her, because she’s here.”
Shen Wei and the others laughed, but Cheng Xi didn’t. She looked at him, searching his face for a hint; his expression was as calm as ever, and she couldn’t detect any deep emotion. But the fact that he would say something like this was more than enough to show how profound his feelings were.
She stretched out her hand and grabbed his from underneath the table. As her fingers slid across his palm, their fingers interlaced together.
That was the first time that she had ever taken the initiative to hold hands with him.
He looked over, and his lips slightly curved up. The mirth in his eyes was easily recognizable, softening his sharp facial features.
What Cheng Xi gained from this meal was a sudden deeper understanding of her own feelings: I simply can’t resist him, so why not truly accept him?
I could treat him as my real boyfriend and man, and love and cherish him.
And as for later, why think about that now?
So when they split up from Shen Wei and the others, Lu Chenzhou said, “Then, I’ll be going.”
Cheng Xi pulled him back. “Just like that?”
Lu Chenzhou mechnically replied, “It’s not the eighth today.” But what he really meant was that it wasn’t one of their date days yet.
Cheng Xi smiled. “Then why did you come over?”
And Lu Chenzhou seriously answered, “I missed you.”
These serious responses used to make Cheng Xi speechless, but now, she felt that these responses were so cute that they were irresistible. There were many pedestrians on the street, but she threw all caution to the wind, thinking that no one would recognize them here anyway. She stood on her tiptoes, quickly kissed him on the lips, smiled, and leaned in as she whispered, “Then, I’ll bring you on a date you today, alright?”