Honestly, Cheng Xi had no desire to see Fu Mingyi ever again in her life, since he was the source of this whole affair. But he had called her again, and so Cheng Xi could only acquiesce to his request to meet for a little after work.
They met in a small coffee shop by the hospital. Fu Mingyi had specifically requested a corner table. He was much thinner, had uncut hair, an unkempt face, and was even wearing a hat. He gave off such a different impression than usual that Cheng Xi didn’t even recognize him at first glance.
But she wasn’t too sympathetic; after all, he was the root cause of all that had led up to today.
She sat down with a serious expression. When a waitress came over to ask what she wanted, Cheng Xi coldly said, “Give me a glass of water for now. I’ll order the rest later.”
But she had no intention of having a meal with him at all; when the employee left, Cheng Xi directly asked him, “Why did you come looking for me?”
Fu Mingyi looked at her, deadpan. “Do you know everything?”
“That I was hurt badly by Gong Hengjin, that slut?”
Cheng Xi actually understood the mindset of people like Fu Mingyi: for them, it all came down to the fact that, whatever happened, he wasn’t the one at fault. Cheng Xi didn’t want to argue over semantics with him because, by this point, the fallout from his marriage’s drama had left no winners behind.
She disdainfully replied, “Is this why you came here to find me today?”
Fu Mingyi spread his hands out, and only then did Cheng Xi realize that he had concealed an ATM card beneath his hands. He pushed it toward her. “A million yuan. If you make her rot in there, this money’s yours.”
Cheng Xi looked at that card, and almost wanted to laugh. She didn’t say anything, merely getting up and preparing to leave.
“Is it too little? With Lu Chenzhou as your backer, Dr. Cheng, is a million yuan just peanuts to you?”
Cheng Xi stopped. The waitress had just brought the water over, and Cheng Xi raised the glass in front of her. When the waitress saw Cheng Xi’s posture, she became a little frightened, and quickly ran off with her tray. As she did so, she kept looking backwards, and even Fu Mingyi looked somewhat nervously at the…… glass in Cheng Xi’s hand.
Cheng Xi’s hand was trembling slightly. She lifted the cup, and Fu Mingyi instantly dodged aside. The water that he’d expected to land on his face never arrived; instead, she had drowned it in one gulp in an imposing manner, and then walked out.
As she passed by the waitress, she casually took out 50 yuan from her bag. “For the water. I don’t need any change.”
At the time, Cheng Xi had felt that her actions were really cool. If she could even afford to buy fifty-yuan tap water, then what need did she have for his money? But by the time she arrived at her apartment, her anger had dissipated, and there was only regret remaining. Fifty yuan for a glass of tap water; how expensive!
Later in the night, when Lu Chenzhou returned, Cheng Xi told him about her encounter. “Someone insulted me with money today.”
Lu Chenzhou was confused. “Hm?”
“A million yuan to buy my professional ethics.”
“That’s too cheap.” Cheng Xi was just about to agree when she heard him continue. “Given your current salary, five million yuan seems more accurate.”
Cheng Xi was speechless. ……Is the profession that I plan on dedicating my life to only worth five million yuan?
Lu Chenzhou felt that she looked very interesting when she glared at him with her cheeks puffed out. He thought that she was about to get mad, but then in the blink of an eye, she gritted her teeth and praised, “Five million yuan. Mr. Lu, you’ve got quite the eye.”
In that situation, Lu Chenzhou couldn’t stop himself from laughing. He had recently realized that, whenever he was together with Cheng Xi, he would invariably feel very happy and be able to relax without any pressure at all. No matter what he did or what he said, it all seemed all right to her.
It really seemed like he was starting to like her. Even though he didn’t know what it felt like to like someone, he wanted to see her daily and wanted to go home right after work. That counted, didn’t it?
And so this matter passed without another mention. Fu Mingyi never came to find her again, and sometimes, when Cheng Xi was free, she would review Gong Hengjin’s case. The diagnosis that Ceng Xing and the others had given her was “traumatic mental impediment.” From Cheng Xi’s point of view, this diagnosis was quite accurate.
As expected, after a targeted treatment, Gong Hengjin’s emotions quickly calmed down, and not long afterwards, she was transferred to a regular ward.
Cheng Xi would often see her walking around, and sometimes, the two of them would even cross paths. When they did so, Gong Hengjin would only glance at her coolly, not saying a single word to her.
At the start of May, Chen Jiaman was finally able to follow behind Cheng Xi and walk all the way to the big hospital courtyard and see the large peach tree growing there. Besides this professional success for Cheng Xi, the Chen and Lu families also finally met up. During this period of time, Cheng Xi was extremely busy. In fact, on the day of the meeting, she spent the entire day in thesis defenses, and when her parents and Lu Chenzhou called her, asking where she was, she could only ignore all of their calls and send them a hurried text message back, saying that she would be there slightly late.
The two families had agreed to have dinner by the Mei river, at a private restaurant that had a reputation for very good seafood. It wasn’t very big, and the location was also remote, so when Cheng Xi finally arrived, all she could see were the lights by the two shores of the river and the thread-like pedestrians connecting them. Even after meticulously searching around, she couldn’t seem to find the location, so she could only call Lu Chenzhou and ask him to pick her up. While she waited for him to arrive, she stood by the side of the road, overcome with boredom as she looked at children playing by the park near the shore.
As if from a dream, she suddenly heard a familiar voice call out to her from behind. “Cheng Xi.”
She turned around and saw Lin Fan.
He was standing there quietly under the lamplight. His gaze was as clear as ever, and his expression gentle; however his lips were slightly blue and his face a bit sallow.
That hint of sallowness gave him a much more timid demeanor, reminding Cheng Xi of when he had sat behind her in class in their youth.
But her heart had already anchored in another harbor. When she glanced at the female jacket draped over his shoulder, she smiled. “Hello. What a coincidence.”
He also smiled. Then, he unconsciously tightened his grip on the clothes in his hand as he asked, “You’re here…… waiting for someone?”
“Yes. I’m having dinner with my family, but I can’t find the restaurant. So, I can only wait for them to pick me up.”
Lin Fan grunted awkwardly. At this time, they didn’t really have much to say to each other. However, Lin Fan also didn’t want to leave, so he asked her about Chen Jiaman’s situation. After getting married, he hadn’t visited Chen Jiaman since, and although Cheng Xi knew that he had his own reasons for doing so, she was still a little disappointed in him, which was reflected in her detached answers.
As they chatted, Cheng Xi suddenly looked happily past Lin Fan. “He’s here.”
Lin Fan turned around and saw Lu Chenzhou.
Lu Chenzhou was walking toward them at a slow and unhurriedly pace. As he approached them, he neglected to greet Lin Fan and only extended his hand towards Cheng Xi.
Cheng Xi smiled, grabbed his hand, and then said to Lin Fan, “I’m going to go first. See you around.”
Her greeting wasn’t particularly impolite, but it was precisely this sort of unintentionally politeness that best expressed how far they had drifted apart.
But Lu Chenzhou didn’t understand what her farewell meant, that it was only because she had really let go of her feelings towards him that she was able to act so calm, so at ease. As the two held hands and walked towards the restaurant, he saw her smile as brightly as a flower. Unbidden, his thoughts kept going back to what Gong Hengjin had said that day: “Aren’t you also like that, thinking about Lin Fan in your heart, but staying with Director Lu instead?”
In the past, he hadn’t cared about whom Cheng Xi wanted to be with in her heart. However, when he actually saw her standing next to that man in person, he couldn’t stop an unfathomable annoyance, vexation, and unease from surfacing in his heart.
He thought back to that wedding countless months ago, when he had seen her chatting with him with a happy gaze and gentle lips. Then, he thought about how he himself had then suddenly gone over and handed her condoms.
As it turned out, when he first met her, even before he had learned to love, he had experienced what it was like to feel jealous.
He too could get jealous.