When Lu Chenzhou’s cold voice finally rang out, she was momentarily frozen in place.
The atmosphere around him was so cold that Cheng Xi didn’t even dare respond. She simply unbuckled her seat belt and was about to get out of the car when he suddenly slammed on the accelerator, causing the car to shoot down the road like a loosed arrow.
Luckily, it was quite late in the evening, and this was a relatively remote stretch of road. Otherwise, given this speed, Cheng Xi would have been deathly afraid of a possibly fatal traffic accident.
She’d made a huge blunder; she should have offered to drive!
These ridiculous thoughts filled Cheng Xi’s mind even as her body was flung forward and almost pushed up against the front windshield. Strangely, she wasn’t all that scared. Even as the howling gales rushed in through the still open window, she regretted saying those words just now. A lover’s hand could just as easily wield a killer’s knife.
The cutting wind whipped at her face and skin painfully.
She closed her eyes and fingers tightly held onto the armrest. She didn’t try to urge him to slow down, and instead did her best to yell out, “Lu Chenzhou, I love you!” However, her words were swallowed by the shrill wind, leaving only a broken string of connected sounds.
Even she could only vaguely hear herself say his name.
Cheng Xi didn’t know how long Lu Chenzhou drove for, but when the car finally stopped, her whole body was stiff and rigid, and her fingers had clutched at the armrest for so long that they were a pale white and about to cramp up.
But they actually weren’t that far from the tennis court where they had just played tennis. By the looks of the scenery, they were on the banks of the Mei river.
Lu Chenzhou got out of the car, slammed the door shut with a “Bang,” opened the door on her side with another “Bang,” and squeezed into her seat.
Before Cheng Xi could even react, he had lowered her seat and pushed her down with his body. His thigh was positioned right between her legs, and his fingers were already stretching under her clothes.
Cheng Xi could tell what he was about to do, but she was so tired that she didn’t even want to waste her breath ridiculing his actions that were so cliché that they could have come out of a third-rate drama. She didn’t squirm, either, because she knew very well that her struggling, while effective when he wasn’t clear-headed, would likely just provoke him further right now.
She spoke up, her voice gentle but firm. “I can bear my boyfriend’s inconsiderateness, roughness, inability to lie, and even his inability to express himself. I can bear his excessive demands and his fussiness because he’s handsome, smart, wealthy, powerful, because I’m the first person that he’s ever loved. That’s enough to counterbalance all his flaws. However, my tolerance isn’t infinite. No matter what he does, he can’t humiliate me.”
She grabbed his hands firmly. “Lu Chenzhou, are you sure that you want to continue along this path?”
Lu Chenzhou closed his eyes firmly and leaned against her body. His intense, laborious breathing made it clear that he was trying to restrain himself.
Cheng Xi slowly extracted one of her hands from underneath him and used it to pat his back very lightly, trying to calm him down. “Shall I tell you a story?” Then, she retold the story of the little rabbit who liked the little fox, and who would go to the valley every day to shout, “Little fox, I love you!”
Lu Chenzhou had heard this story many times before. In the MP3 recording that Cheng Xi had made for him, there were many other stories that were deeper and more meaningful, but he seemed to be particularly fond towards this one. Even after the two of them had started dating, he’d still occasionally bring out his audio recorder and play it to ease himself.
And after listening to it multiple times, Cheng Xi’s feelings toward it also changed. As she finished the story, she softly said into his ear, “Lu Chenzhou, I feel just like that little rabbit. I’m declaring my love for you within the valley, but you’ve never once responded to my declarations of love.”
Lu Chenzhou’s body slowly softened up, and Cheng Xi finally relaxed—or she was about to when her phone rang again.
She hugged him tightly, and seriously considered the best way to destroy the phone in a humane fashion……
Lu Chenzhou suddenly asked, “Where is she?”
Cheng Xi was somewhat dazed.
Lu Chenzhou bit down on her collarbone, causing her to hiss in pain and instantly regain her senses. She quickly replied, “I don’t know!”
Lu Chenzhou was not pleased with her response. “……”
He bit down again, and Cheng Xi pitifully replied, “Since you didn’t promise me, I didn’t have a chance to ask.”
This was a lie, but strangely enough, it managed to pacify Lu Chenzhou.
He finally let go of her. Then, he got up and returned to the driver’s seat without looking back at her.
When he started the car back up again, Cheng Xi pretended to call Lin Fan back. “Is Jiaman feeling a bit better? I’ll be over immediately, so please send me the address.”
In reality, she already knew the address; Lin Fan had texted it to her before. He had housed Chen Jiaman at the apartment that he had lived at before marrying Meng Qingyang. He had kept the lease on that apartment up till now, and it was a very appropriate place for Chen Jiaman to temporarily stay at. His original reason for doing so had been that it was close to Renyi, and hence, close to somewhere Chen Jiaman was familiar with.
Cheng Xi didn’t dare to provoke Lu Chenzhou again, and she obediently activated the GPS on her phone, placed it in front of him, and said in an almost shy tone, “She’s here.”
Lu Chenzhou glanced at the screen expressionlessly before flooring the gas.
This time, the speed of the car was more or less normal. It was still a bit faster than usual, but compared to earlier, Cheng Xi felt the knife that had been in her lover’s hands had finally been thrown away.
The drive from the Mei riverbank to Lin Fan’s apartment was long, and Lu Chenzhou had even “maliciously” taken the scenic route. Thus, when they finally arrived at Chen Jiaman’s place, it was already very late at night.
Lin Fan and Chen Jiaman were the only two people living there at the moment. When Cheng Xi entered, the first thing she was Chen Jiaman curled up in the innermost corner of the living room, trembling and mumbling aimlessly to herself.
Lin Fan was about to fall apart by the time they got there. When he saw Cheng Xi come in, he immediately relaxed, his gaze sliding past Lu Chenzhou, who had followed her in. “You’re finally here! Please, go in. I’m afraid that she’s going to try to climb out the window again.”
Cheng Xi looked over at Chen Jiaman, and as she entered the apartment, she softly asked, “What’s happened?”
A tinge of embarrassment colored over Lin Fan’s face. He hesitated for a moment before saying, “My mother brought her out to an event, but she accidentally frightened her……”
Cheng Xi stopped moving.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t expect that my mom would do something like this…… The main point is that Jiaman looked like she was doing just fine the first few days.”
Cheng Xi didn’t say anything else, and quickly stepped into the room. Lin Fan was about to follow her in when she blocked him off. “I’m sorry, but I want to talk to her alone.” As she fully entered the room, she saw Lu Chenzhou calmly standing by the door with no intentions of entering.
She shut the door behind her.
Chen Jiaman seemed to be completely immersed in her own little world. Her hands were making small pleading gestures, and she didn’t even notice Cheng Xi as she walked towards her.
“Jiaman,” Cheng Xi called out.
Chen Jiaman didn’t respond to the first call, or even the next several ones. It took Cheng Xi several repeated tries before Chen Jiaman suddenly lifted her head. “Dr. Cheng, I didn’t do it intentionally,” she said, frightened and terrified to the bone.
Cheng Xi’s tone remained calm. “Intentionally do what?”
“I didn’t stop drawing intentionally. I didn’t hide intentionally. I was afraid! There were so many people. I was so scared, Dr. Cheng. I’m scared.” She was close to hysterics.
Cheng Xi slowly knelt down in front of Chen Jiaman. “It’s alright. If you’re scared, then hide. If you don’t want to draw, then don’t draw. These are all very normal things to do and feel. However, Jiaman, do you remember what I told you before? Those people are just like the flowers that we saw. If you look at them from afar, it may seem like there’s a whole field of them, vibrant and loud. However, when you actually walk closer, there aren’t actually all that many, and they’re not scary or worth hiding from at all.”
Cheng Xi’s familiar warm voice finally helped Chen Jiaman calm down. Cheng Xi remained stooped in front of Chen Jiaman, patiently and meticulously talking everything through with her.
After a long talk, she texted Lin Fan and had him bring some medicine in. Chen Jiaman consumed it obediently, fell asleep, and then was carried to her bed by Cheng Xi and Lin Fan. When Cheng Xi tried to stand up, however, she almost fell over—she had been squatting for so long that her feet had gone numb. As soon as she tried to move, she was struck by a prickling pain.
Lin Fan had just carried Chen Jiaman to bed when Cheng Xi stumbled. He quickly tried to catch her, and he even unconsciously let go of Chen Jiaman and reached out for Cheng Xi instead.
“What’s the matter with you?”
Cheng Xi was in such pain that she couldn’t respond, Instead, she leaned down and tightly massaged her legs. When she raised her gaze again, she found that Lu Chenzhou had walked in out of nowhere, standing by the side of the door.
She heard him ask in a completely flat tone, “Are you able to walk now?”