Cheng Xi felt a shiver run down her spine as she struggled to stand up. She quickly thanked Lin Fan and then extricated herself from his embrace. She looked towards Lu Chenzhou. “My legs hurt. Can you carry me, Mr. Lu?”
She had called him Mr. Lu, which was technically a formal and polite form of address, but for some reason, it sounded particularly intimate coming from her.
But unexpectedly, Lu Chenzhou didn’t walk over. He continued to stand there, looking coolly at her. Cheng Xi sighed. “Alright. If you’re not going to come over here, then I’ll go to you.” But her legs were so numb that a sharp pain shot through her as soon as she tried to move. Even these few steps felt like a long and weary trek.
Cheng Xi grit her teeth and limped over, a smile still hanging on her face. She didn’t mind Lu Chenzhou’s callous behavior all that much: after all, she had low expectations for him, and she would actually be more worried if he were overly caring.
But Lin Fan couldn’t bear to watch her struggle like this, and he bit his lips and ultimately stepped forward to support her.
“There’s no need.” Cheng Xi pushed him away.
But he just gripped her even more forcefully. “Are you that scared of him?” He looked at her figure, sadness washing over his face. “No matter what happened in the past, I still consider you a dear friend. And, Cheng Xi, as a friend, I can’t bear to watch you behave like this any further. What happened to the Cheng Xi that I knew, the talented, intelligent, bold, and fiercely independent woman who was my friend? Would she debase herself like this for someone else?!”
Cheng Xi didn’t expect that Lin Fan would become so furious. Her slight smile vanished, and she pried his hands apart. “You’re overthinking things. I don’t feel wronged, and the reason why I’m willing to do this is because I like him.”
“Also, let me tell you this once more. Jiaman isn’t ready to interact with strangers in a social setting. If you truly care about her, then please tell Mrs. Lin to give the patient some more time and patience, and to let her develop more trust in the two of you first. If her condition doesn’t improve after she wakes up, then both for her good and for yours, I hope that you’ll send her back to the hospital.
After saying this, Cheng Xi hobbled around him and headed outside. Actually, what she really wanted to tell Lin Fan was to stop meddling in her affairs. Wasn’t it laughable for him to be worried about her when he couldn’t even take care of his half-sister?
But she didn’t want to overly provoke him. After all, Lin Fan truly cared about her—and even if she didn’t need his care, she didn’t want to embarrass him either.
She acted according to her own moral compass, regardless of what others thought.
Even if that meant saying those heavy words to Lin Fan.
Lin Fan clearly understood the deeper meaning behind her words, because his face paled slightly. Although he had known what he had given up on before, no matter what, he had still harbored a faint hope within his heart. He had always felt that she still had a bit of warmth towards him.
But between Meng Qingyang’s attitude last time and Cheng Xi’s attitude today, he was fully cognizant that she had truly moved past him. That girl who had once helped him save up money, who had walked him home in the night, who had once said, “Lin Fan, I waited ten years for you.”—that girl had truly moved past him now.
Lin Fan smiled wanly, his face as pale as snow. He stood still, watching as she slowly and painfully walked out of sight.
He then heard a voice speak out from behind her. “Let’s go.”
Lu Chenzhou didn’t say anything else, perhaps because he was only paying attention to himself. However, Lin Fan heard Cheng Xi reply, “Lu Chenzhou, as my fiancé, you should act more considerately in this situation.”
Then, he heard a small gasp, and although he didn’t want to, he couldn’t stop himself from turning around, only to see Lu Chenzhou walk away, with Cheng Xi in his arms.
Neither of them looked back, as if he were only an unimportant passerby.
And, in truth, that was all he was.
Lu Chenzhou carried Cheng Xi all the way to the ground floor in one smooth trip. Only when they sat back down in the car did Cheng Xi’s legs feel slightly better.
They were still stinging slightly, but the prickly sensation had at least abated slightly. “Thank goodness you’re here. Otherwise, I would have had to crawl back home today.” She leaned closer and pecked him lightly peck on the cheek.
Lu Chenzhou’s face was as still as water, and his expression didn’t relax even a millimeter from her fawning. On the drive back, he even thoughtfully asked her, “Do you feel wronged when you’re with me?”
“Of course not!” Cheng Xi responded quickly and naturally, “I enjoy being with you, and as I said before, you’re handsome, wealthy, skilled, and righteous. No matter how badly you behave, I can always forgive you.”
Lu Chenzhou smiled coolly. “Is that so? Do you recall what you said earlier?”
“……You’re taking it so seriously that I want to take back what I said. What should I do?”
Lu Chenzhou’s only reply was a snort and another smile.
Cheng Xi had a bad premonition.
Cheng Xi’s premonitions were usually extremely accurate, and not long afterwards, she indeed regretted her words.
That next day was Cheng Xi’s birthday, and she had taken the latter half of the day off to celebrate in the afternoon. Her parents had also closed their diner early to join in on the festivities. She was twenty nine now, and a nice large pile of gifts had accumulated in her living room. The first one that she opened was from Cheng Yang, and it was a bunch of shells inside a large chest that he’d sent her from Hainan, once again demonstrating his unique aesthetic taste that left others speechless. When she spread out the shells inside the chest, from afar, it looked like a vibrant and multi-colored dress; however, upon closer examination, it was actually made from multiple dense clusters of seashells. They were very small and closely packed together, and the compactness made the originally very beautiful dress feel almost claustrophobic.
There were also a few other miscellaneous items inside, mostly flowers and food. But there were whole waves of them, so much so that her mother couldn’t help herself from exclaiming, “How wasteful! How much money did this all cost?” They were particularly displeased with Cheng Yang’s gift. “He sent such a gaudy but useless gift. He’s really good at wasting money, isn’t he!”
But even as they grumbled, they carefully packed everything up, arranged all of the notes and cards neatly, and even wrote down the names of everyone who had given her a gift. When Cheng Xi’s mother looked over the list, she raised her eyebrows as she questioned, “Doesnapos;t the Lu family know that it’s your birthday?”
Cheng Xi really wasn’t sure if they knew or not, but Lu Chenzhou definitely did. It was just that he didn’t even celebrate his own birthday, so Cheng Xi wasn’t sure if he had gotten her anything.
She didn’t care very much about this, but since she didn’t want her mother to think too much of it either, she said, “They’ve all already given me gifts.”
Cheng Xi’s mother was quite curious. “What did Lu Chenzhou give you?”
As a common woman, although she didn’t think that it was a great idea for her daughter to have such a wealthy boyfriend, she didn’t mind it as long as her daughter was happy and her partner acceptable. In fact, she had even started bragging about him to her friends and relatives.
And right now, she was very curious about what such a rich person would give as a birthday present.
Although it might not be appropriate for her to directly ask Lu Chenzhou, she could certainly ask her own daughter.
Cheng Xi vaguely replied, “He’s not back yet, so I don’t even know myself. However, he did say that he had prepared a gift.”
Lu Chenzhou had left for a business trip two days ago, and she wasn’t sure whether or not he’d be back today. Of course, the rest of what she had said to her mother was a complete lie.
Cheng Xi’s mother clicked her tongue, dissatisfied.
Cheng Xi smiled and took the list that her mother had compiled. As she read through it, the department head suddenly called her. Cheng Xi was a bit surprised that her birthday was enough of an occasion for someone of his position to call, and she was about to thank him when the head’s words stunned her. “I told you that you’d get into trouble if you didn’t break off your relationship with that patient! Come to the hospital immediately! Someone just reported you for using your identity as a doctor to manipulate a patient into a relationship with the intentions of marrying into a rich family! Ha, you’d better prepare for an internal investigation!”
Yup, Cheng Xi’s largest birthday present had arrived.