Lin Fan’s expression was very serious, so Cheng Xi eventually chose to get into his car.
In the muffled darkness of the night, the city took on a unique silence of its own. There were barely any cars on the road, but Lin Fan drove at a very steady rate, neither too fast nor too slow.
Cheng Xi didn’t say anything, and Lin Fan didn’t either; the two of them drove to her apartment in silence.
When they arrived, Lin Fan asked, “Does Lu Chenzhou have some sort of mental issue?”
His question was very direct, and Cheng Xi slowly turned around to face him.
Before she could deny it, he continued explaining his own thoughts. “Tian Rou said that the reason why you were reassigned was related to Lu Chenzhou.” So it was Tian Rou again, that loudmouth! Just how many people did she blab to about my affairs?! Cheng Xi grit her teeth in annoyance, but her face remained expressionless as she patiently listened. “However, I think that, if the report against you actually had something to do with him, then Lu Chenzhou wouldn’t have personally reported you because he wouldn’t do something so tasteless. Even if you dumped him, he has many different ways to get back at you, all of them without you even realizing anything. For example, like how he used Qingyang to set me up and destroy our relationship.”
Cheng Xi was extremely shocked by this revelation. “What?”
“You didn’t know?” Lin Fan smiled wryly. “I only learned about it a while back myself, actually. When Qingyang and I were out on a business trip, we met a guy named Xie Ziming. I later found out that he’s actually a friend of Lu Chenzhou’s. Additionally, it was he who, after inviting Qingyang and me to a meal, spiked our tea. Do you remember that? After that incident, I started gradually drifting away from you. A few days ago, I was visiting my stepbrother, and he told me that Gao Ge—who’s called Baldy by his friends—told him that Lu Chenzhou wanted him to find me a wife with an illustrious background, all so that my mother wouldn’t obsess over the Wang family’s property.” After pouring everything out, Lin Fan leaned against the steering wheel as he clutched his face in his hands. “Ha, ha, ha. In the end, everything was orchestrated by him, all because he became interested in you! And to think, all of the effort I spent struggling and all the agony I suffered amounted to nothing more than a minor pebble in his eyes, a pebble easily removed with a mere flick of the finger.”
Cheng Xi didn’t know what to say.
Did she think that he was lying? No, he had no need to lie to her. Was there any need for her to condemn Lu Chenzhou? Yet that also seemed unnecessary.
She remained silent for a moment before saying, “Actually, from another perspective, the way this situation played out isn’t that bad for you.”
“You’re defending him?” Lin Fan bristled as he suddenly spun around. “You’re defending a patient suffering from a mental illness?”
Cheng Xi frowned. “Why do you think he’s a patient?”
Lin Fan chuckled softly. “What else could he be? If he were a regular person, then why would you be forcefully transferred to a remote branch? Bribery and corruption? A misdiagnosis or malpractice? Based on how passionate you are towards your work, I don’t think that you’d do anything like that and ruin your career path. Actually, that’s the only reason you’d make a mistake—you love your job too much, which means that you’re very easily influenced by your emotions. Before I came here tonight, I had someone look into your case, and he told me that you barely avoided medical suspension. The only infraction that merits such a punishment for a psychiatrist is a doctor-patient relationship that developed into something more.”
“So, this must be the reason why you’re being reassigned, and also why you always told me that you couldn’t explain the relationship between Lu Chenzhou and you, isn’t it?”
Cheng Xi looked straight at him. “And then what? Is the truth behind my reassignment that important to you?”
“I just want to know what mental illness he’s suffering from.”
Cheng Xi sighed as she remorsefully said, “What does any of this have to do with you? Are you going to attack him with information on his supposed illness? He wouldn’t care.”
Lin Fan turned around, feeling guilty.
“Lin Fan, honestly, you didn’t lose too much……”
“Who said that?! I lost you!”
Cheng Xi frowned, her expression turning severe. “Don’t ever say that again, and don’t think about it like that either. Lin Fan, we can’t stay mired in the immutable past. Instead, we have to look towards the ever-changing future. You can’t deny that the reason why you ultimately separated from me wasn’t just because of something that happened between you and Meng Qingyang. Rather, the underlying reason is your mother. No, actually, I suppose that it should be you, as you were unable to bear her pressure. Even if Lu Chenzhou didn’t do anything, we might not have gotten together in the end.”
Lin Fan looked at her, dazed. “Is that what you truly think?”
“You thought that our relationship might fail from the very beginning?”
“No. I only thought that after, because I realized that you didn’t have the courage to break free from the cage that your mother built around you. After you became entangled with Meng Qingyang, you designed a conclusion for yourself, which led me to believe that the Cheng Xi you loved was the Cheng Xi of the past. In doing so, you gave up on our relationship. Lin Fan, face the truth. No matter the reason why you and Meng Qingyang ended together, she’s now your wife and pregnant with your child. What you have to do, and all you can do, is forget the past and live your current life as happily as you can.”
“What’s more, if you wanted to know whether or not Lu Chenzhou and I still have feelings for each other, I can tell you that we definitely do. I love him very much, and back when I first decided to be with him, I also decided to keep on loving him regardless of his identity, regardless of what he might have done, regardless of any mental illness he might have. As long as he doesn’t give up on me, I won’t give up on him.”
Lin Fan’s expression soured even more, but he didn’t say anything else.
After all, he wasn’t a malicious person. His thoughts had merely been thrown into disarray, and after Cheng Xi had given him a talking-to, he understood how rude his actions were.
He turned around again. “I’m sorry…… I seem to have done something stupid.”
“That’s alright.” Cheng Xi let out a pent up breath. “If there’s nothing else, then I’ll be going first. It’s very late, after all.”
With a simple “Goodbye,” Cheng Xi got out of the car and headed into her apartment without turning around.
She believed that he wouldn’t bother her about this anymore. He was clever, and he understood her feelings.
After this talk, Cheng Xi didn’t put much more thought into this, and she didn’t even care much about what Lin Fan had revealed. She rarely felt conflicted about events that had already occurred, because there was simply nothing that she could do about them. Instead, she would work diligently towards a brighter tomorrow.
For her last three days, she was very busy, as she had to go to the hospital and finish the rest of the transfer proceedings. Her students also knew that she was about to leave, and some wanted to see her one last time. So, she had to visit the university. What’s more, since she didn’t know how long it would take her to return, she also had to return to her parents’ house and say goodbye to all of the other relatives and neighbors that she was familiar with, as well as Yuan, who lived at her aunt’s place. He was doing much better and had already started going back to school, but since she was still here, she might as well pay him a visit and make sure that he wouldn’t have a relapse.
In her rush, she had to pass off a lot of tasks to her parents, so much so that her mother even started complaining. “Are you moving out or are we? It feels like you don’t care at all.”
Cheng Xi smiled brightly and hugged her. “Mom, won’t you please help me out one last time?”
Faced with Cheng Xi’s adorable pleading, her mother could only acquiesce and arrange everything perfectly, as mothers were wont to do.
Of course, Cheng Xi spent her last half-day with them. She didn’t accept anyone else’s requests to send her off, and went to the airport with just her family. She would first fly to Beijing, then take a small airplane to a city by Gansu, and then finally take two buses. Just thinking about the long journey made her mother feel anxious; she was deeply frightened that Cheng Xi would get lost. Right now, she was going through everything she had packed for Cheng Xi. “There’s food here, a water bottle, a flashlight, pills for motion sickness, and flu medicine. Oh, once you get off of the plane, make sure to not take any of those illegal taxis. Don’t be afraid of spending money, and call us when you get here… Oh, right, I also packed a compass for you. Remember, be wary on the way there. Don’t sleep just anywhere…”
Even though Cheng Xi couldn’t comprehend how her mother had jumped from talking about a compass to where she should sleep, she could feel her mother’s deep and sincere desire to not part with her. Her father didn’t say much at all; he just sat by her side and looked at her. Right before she was about to board the plane, he said, “Take care of yourself.”
And then he looked away and started crying silently.