Chapter 175: [No title]
When Cheng Xi first entered Su Feng’s house, she was honestly and truly dejected. However, when she left, she felt rejuvenated once more.
When Lu Chenzhou returned home that night, he could sense that the entire house’s atmosphere had shifted as soon as he opened the door. Specifically, it felt particularly clean. Their house wasn’t originally dirty by any means, as Lu Chenzhou the neat-freak lived there and Cheng Xi wasn’t a naturally messy person either. However, the house was currently gleaming, as if every corner of the house had been polished to the point of shining.
He raised his eyebrows in surprise, and wandered around until he finally found Cheng Xi in the study. She was kneeling down in a corner of the study and determinedly wiping away at the dust gathered there. When she heard him step into the room, she stopped, turned around, and smiled at him. “You’re back?” She waved the rag in her hand. “Isn’t the house clean?”
Lu Chenzhou nodded pleasantly. “Yes, it’s quite good.” Satisfied, he went to change and shower.
When he finished, Cheng Xi had moved on to watering her plants. She didn’t have many plants at home, just a few bunches of common hanging orchids. She cared much less for plants than she did for humans. With her orchids, she watered them when she remembered to. For the most part, they lived and died on their own. Surprisingly, these few surviving orchids were actually thriving under her care, and they had a particularly vibrant appearance.
When she saw Lu Chenzhou walk out, she waved at him, and Lu Chenzhou ambled over. Cheng Xi smiled at him. “Aren’t I taking good care of my plants?”
Lu Chenzhou repeated his praise. “It’s quite good.”
Cheng Xi wrinkled her nose in annoyance. “You could praise me with a couple different words, you know.”
Lu Chenzhou scrutinized her face. It was calm: her facial muscles were completely relaxed, much more so than in the morning, and she looked as if she had completely recovered from their argument.
Lu Chenzhou was very pleased as he didn’t like arguments. Additionally, he had felt terrible after their dispute in the morning. Because of this, he had chosen to go to a business function in the evening even though he disliked such business engagements and parties. In other words, he feared facing her wrath even more. Thankfully, she was back to normal, and he didn’t realize that a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He subconsciously took her advice and remarked, “It’s very good.”
Cheng Xi glared at him.
Her expression made Lu Chenzhou reminisce about their past. He instinctively reached out and touched her face. “Go wash up,” he said seriously, “You’re really dirty.”
Cheng Xi barely restrained her immediate impulse to throw the dirty rag at his face. However, this Lu Chenzhou that hated messes was the sort of Lu Chenzhou that she could relax around. Thus, Cheng Xi also secretly relaxed as she handed the rag over. “Alright, then I’ll leave the rest to you.”
She bowed jokingly and then went to take a shower.
That night, they rolled around in bed as usual; their previous disagreement about Lin Fan, and by extension Chen Jiaman, seemed to have evaporated away. Of course, it only seemed to have done so.
Cheng Xi found it unusually difficult to sleep afterwards, and she woke up in the middle of the night. The curtains were fluttering from the night breeze, and she could barely make out the hazy outline of the moon, clear and desolate.
Restless, she was unable to fall back asleep, so she got out of bed and rummaged around, looking for a book to read. This was the first time she had actually had any time to read in the study after its renovation. These days, it seemed like her life was always filled with either work or messing around with Lu Chenzhou.
That’s right, she really was a pig. She had completely forgotten about her original motivation for getting together with him; there was even a period of time where she’d almost completely forgotten about his mental illness.
By chance, she stumbled upon the book that she had been reading when she first met Lu Chenzhou. That book contained a formal record and introduction of emotional detachment within it. She reread the book from cover to cover, and when the new dawn was looming over the horizon, she ran into a sentimental quote from the confession of a patient suffering from emotional detachment. “I can treat everyone well, but I don’t care about their feelings.”
Her heart ached a little, but she didn’t know whether it was for herself or for Lu Chenzhou.
When she closed the book, she saw Lu Chenzhou standing by the doorway, dressed in just a light morning gown. In the dim light of the morning twilight, his presence felt unnaturally cold, as if he were a silent deity judging the world.
Cheng Xi stilled for a moment before putting on a smile. “I didn’t wake you up, did I? Perhaps I tired myself out too much, but I can’t seem to fall asleep.”
Lu Chenzhou didn’t say anything in response. He merely walked over and looked at the book in her hands: Light amidst the Darkness: A Psychiatrist’s Medical Records.
He looked away almost as soon as he read the title, and Cheng Xi exhaled. With a slight grumble in her tone, she continued, saying, “I’ve been feeling a bit out of shape lately. Let’s play tennis this weekend.” But playing tennis against Lu Chenzhou was just asking to be beaten, and Cheng Xi felt like she definitely couldn’t do it alone. Thus, she dragged two teammates along with her. “Call up Baldy and Tian Rou as well.”
During the weekdays, when Cheng Xi was at work, she would secretly research and work on a treatment plan for Lu Chenzhou—currently, she was planning on investigating the origin of his illness and then having directed and guided therapy sessions with him.
Although everyone from the Lu family claimed that they didn’t know how he had developed his condition, Cheng Xi felt that there must be an underlying reason or event behind it, and she also felt that she had to discover this reason before she could actually earnestly start treating him.
At this point, she had asked everyone in the Lu family besides Lu Chenming. Cheng Xi had tried to ask him, but when Lu Chenming saw her, he had instantly become tongue-tied. And when she asked him to meet up, he wouldn’t come out. Cheng Yang, on the other hand, could always get a quick response. However, Cheng Yang was currently away for work, which meant that she could only wait for him to come back before setting up a chat with Lu Chenming.
Her only option left was therapy. If it were an official therapy session, then Lu Chenzhou wouldn’t be cooperative or take her words seriously at all. However, conducting an unofficial one surreptitiously was still possible. As for what it would do, Cheng Xi temporarily marked it down as a question mark in her work journal.
Once Cheng Xi decided that Lu Chenzhou was going to be her highest priority for the coming days, she started working much more rapidly. She first arranged a tennis date with Tian Rou this weekend. Tian Rou responded, “Alright, Baldy should also be back by then. I’m planning to give all of you a surprise, so don’t be too shocked when you see me!”
Tian Rou’s surprises weren’t something a normal person could handle. As such, Cheng Xi wearily responded, “As long as it’s not as bad as last time. I’m getting old now. My heart can’t take it!”
Tian Rou replied with a loud “Peh!”
When the time for their tennis date came, Cheng Xi, Lu Chenzhou, and Baldy all arrived early, but Tian Rou was nowhere to be seen. As Baldy looked at Cheng Xi and Lu Chenzhou, he felt frustrated that he still seemed to be a third wheel even though he had a girlfriend himself. In the end, he called Tian Rou. “If you don’t show up, then I’m going to call another woman over! Don’t cry when that happens.”
Who knew what Tian Rou said in response, but when Cheng Xi came back after getting a drink of water, she heard Baldy coaxing her. “Don’t worry and just come. No matter how ugly you are, I’ll still love you.”
And then, not long after, Cheng Xi and the others saw Tian Rou’s surprise—it really was quite shocking, as evidenced by Baldy’s noisy shouts.
“My god, who’re you?”
Tian Rou had cut her hair short—no, cut was the wrong word. Her hair had been butchered, as if a dog had mangled it. When she appeared, she demurely asked, “Don’t you recognize me? I’m your girlfriend.”
Baldy seriously replied, still in shock, “That’s impossible! My girlfriend surely isn’t as ugly as you!”
Tian Rou’s face fell flat. “……”
Cheng Xi…… Cheng Xi waved Lu Chenzhou over to gawk at the two of them. Honestly, when Tian Rou first arrived, she also hadn’t recognized her, mostly because of her…… “unusual” hairstyle. While the old Tian Rou was somewhat of a tomboy, she had still maintained a very feminine appearance with a head of straight black hair, much better maintained than Cheng Xi’s.
But now, her long black hair had vanished. For some reason, she had chosen to get it cut so short that it looked like a dog had chewed it off. Not only that, but she even dyed her hair gray—honestly, Tian Rou couldn’t look uglier even if she tried!
By now, Tian Rou was already chasing Baldy around and beating him mercilessly. Baldy seemed like a masochist in disguise; as soon as he started getting hit by Tian Rou, he changed his tone and said, “Alright, I believe you’re my girlfriend now! You’re my genuine girlfriend.”
His genuine girlfriend smacked him one last time, and when he was done yelping, Tian Rou walked over with him in tow. Then, she asked Cheng Xi, “Is it really that bad?”
Cheng Xi shot back with an evasive rejoinder. “What made you decide to change your hairstyle?”
“I went to see Shen Wei and thought that it looked good on her, so I also wanted to try it out.” As Tian Rou said this, she patted her hair, not giving up on passing it off as pretty. “Is it that ugly?”
“Oh.” Cheng Xi hesitated for a moment when Tian Rou mentioned Shen Wei, and then tactfully responded, “It doesnapos;t seem suited for your style.”
Having gathered Cheng Xi’s response, Tian Rou naturally turned towards Lu Chenzhou next. He was currently drinking water, standing there straight and still. As long as he didn’t open his mouth, he was the very definition of a dreamy idol. Tian Rou had already received two negative comments about her hair, but she was angling for a third here by asking this “idol.” “Cheng Xi’s Mr. Lu, what do you think?”
Lu Chenzhou lifted his head and examined her.
Tian Rou awaited his comment with bated breath.
Lu Chenzhou responded with two terse words. “Old, ugly.”
Cheng Xi and Baldy couldn’t stop themselves from chuckling.
Tian Rou wasn’t able to do anything about Lu Chenzhou, so she ended up chasing Baldy around again. When Baldy became tired of covering his head and fleeing, he turned around and hugged her tightly. “Alright, are you done yet?” When he saw Tian Rou’s face soften, he continued, saying, “Alright, no matter how ugly you are, I’ll accept you. What’re you so afraid of?”
Tian Rou’s angry expression immediately transformed into a happy one, and she hugged him back and kissed him.
The two of them had started to get intimate without any thought for the people around them.
With this unexpected turn of events, Cheng Xi found herself blinded by their affection. However, an uneasy feeling made her turn around, only to see Lu Chenzhou focusing his attention on her.
Cheng Xi smiled. “What’s the matter?”
“You’re admiring them.”