Actually, Lu Chenzhou’s response wasn’t that strange to Cheng Xi. The crux of the issue was that he was cold, hard, and arrogant. His distaste for everything around him was so blatant that it made people instinctively want to criticize him, especially after news like this broke.
And then, he turned around and left right after speaking—he didn’t even try to cushion his words or offer an explanation! This time, even Ceng Xing couldn’t help himself from smiling in schadenfreude. “Ha, look at this guy!” But then he glanced at Cheng Xi to gauge her response.
Cheng Xi frowned and replayed the video, and after that she replayed it again, and then again. “The footage has to have been edited. Lu Chenzhou wouldn’t give that poor of a response, no matter how cold he is.”
The reaction in the video didn’t have his characteristic aloofness, and the questions that were asked didn’t correspond well with his responses. Thus, something in the middle must have been edited out.
“That can only mean that he must have really offended the reporter who interviewed him.”
Cheng Xi remained silent—Ceng Xing wasn’t wrong. If the reporter hadn’t been offended, then there wouldn’t have been any need to edit the footage and specifically present Lu Chenzhou in such a way that showed his arrogance and haughtiness in exquisite detail! Given what had happened to Donglai Pharmaceuticals, that kind of performance could ruin both him and his entire company.
As predicted, when Cheng Xi looked up news articles about Donglai, almost all of it was negative. There seemed to be countless articles and posts being made every minute, and even questionable anecdotes, like how someone had bought flu medicine from Donglai and then had a terrible stomachache, started popping up left and right. In a matter of days, Donglai Corporation’s reputation had plummeted to the bottom of the barrel. At the time, Cheng Xi was slightly relieved that Lu Chenzhou rarely appeared in the public eye, so the shark-like reporters who wanted to attack his personal life didn’t even know where to start.
But clearly, her feelings of relief had come too early, as before they could even finish dinner, someone revived the “exposé” thread that the girl he’d toyed with had written. All sorts of rumors and gossip about Lu Chenzhou’s erectile dysfunction flew around the internet, and there was even a particularly provocative rumor that surfaced: “The reason why Lu Chenzhou doesn’t feel anything towards women is because he’s gay! Don’t focus on how cold and hard he is—he’s actually a bottom!”
The person who started that thread quickly received countless replies demanding proof, and he actually replied with a picture of... Baldy.
When Cheng Xi saw the post, she instantly sprayed tea all over her phone.
As she coughed, she quickly reached out for a napkin to wipe her phone off.
“What’s the matter?” Ceng Xing asked as he helped her out.
Cheng Xi graciously shared the gossip with him, and Ceng Xing was stunned speechless by the time she finished explaining. “You’re not going to call him?” Lu Chenzhou was clearly on the brink of ruin.
Cheng Xi shook her head. “I don’t think that he did anything wrong. What’s more, even though this is a pretty big deal, I believe that he has the ability to overcome it.”
Cheng Xi thought back to when he had said, “What if we destroyed Donglai Pharmaceuticals?” His tone had been light-hearted, but he had clearly been very serious.
An inevitable headache struck Cheng Xi, as she was very worried that the whole incident might have been orchestrated by Lu Chenzhou. But this thought was too frightening, so much so that Cheng Xi didn’t dare tell anyone about them, and certainly not Ceng Xing.
Perhaps it was because she didn’t understand why Lu Chenzhou was so hostile toward Donglai Pharmaceuticals, but the only thing Cheng Xi could think about was his mother’s death…… What had actually happened back then? What didn’t she know?
As she pondered this enigma, her forehead scrunched up, and her countenance turned gloomy. Ceng Xing thought that she was just worried about Lu Chenzhou but wouldn’t admit it, so he called out, “Cheng Xi?”
“Hmm?” She quickly returned to her senses as she looked up at Ceng Xi even as she continued to bite down on her chopsticks.
They were at a roadside stall somewhere in Gansu. People were streaming through the road, and in the dim light, her bright face was like a fresh patch of spring grass.
The moment their gazes met, Ceng Xing’s heart felt like it had been lightly tapped by someone, and an indescribable feeling of limpness and numbness spread throughout his body.
He couldn’t lie to himself anymore. He couldn’t lie about why he had followed in her footsteps to come here. He couldn’t lie about why he had chosen to come today even though it would’ve been easier later on—today was Valentine’s Day, after all.
But she didn’t seem to notice his self-realization. In the past, and even in the present, she’d never thought too much about him.
“What’s the matter?” After Ceng Xing just looked at her without speaking, Cheng Xi eventually spoke up.
“Nothing.” But after a while, Ceng Xing couldn’t help himself from asking, “What’s so good about that guy?”
Cheng Xi half-heartedly replied, “He’s handsome, of course.”
He shot her a disappointed look. “You’re so superficial!”
Their conversation instantly piqued the interest of their colleagues, and the two of them simultaneously asked, “Who’s ‘that guy’? Is he Dr. Cheng’s boyfriend?”
“No,” Cheng Xi said with a smile, which caused Ceng Xing’s lips to unconsciously curl up. But his happiness only lasted a few seconds as Cheng Xi continued to say, “He’s my fiancé.”
Ceng Xing’s expression was frozen stiff.
Their two colleagues were equally shocked speechless.
All of them remained in a strange silent equilibrium for quite a while before someone laughed dryly and broke the silence. “Ah, so Dr. Cheng’s already engaged?”
Cheng Xi smiled without responding, and Ceng Xing suddenly lost all interest in mocking her, instead focusing on finishing the beer he was holding.
Out here in the western highlands, it seemed as if even the beer was more bitter than in the south.
Cheng Xi didn’t know what was on Ceng Xing’s mind, but since it was his first day here, she considerately escorted him back to his hostel after dinner and helped him settle in before leaving.
Even in those few hours, she received countless calls, some of which were from her parents, who were rejoicing in Lu Chenzhou’s misfortune. “Look! He harmed you in the past, and now something bad’s happened to him, hasn’t it? As you can see, my daughter isn’t someone who can be harmed without suffering retribution.”
And she also got a call from Tian Rou, who was just sitting in the peanut galleries. “My god, when they said that Baldy and Lu Chenzhou were in a gay relationship and that Baldy was the top, I barely stopped myself from choking to death, hahaha.”
Cheng Xi seriously asked her, “How’s Lu Chenzhou?”
“I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him ever since I told him that you found a new boyfriend over there. Baldy keeps mentioning that he’s in bad shape, but I saw some video footage of him today. Personally, he seems to be doing just fine if he can give off such an intimidating atmosphere.”
Cheng Xi was quite surprised as she didn’t expect that Baldy would notice that there was something wrong with Lu Chenzhou. She was certain that he didn’t know about Lu Chenzhou’s mental illness, but the fact that he had nonetheless still noticed something amiss meant that he cared for Lu Chenzhou and had a deep understanding of him.
Cheng Xi suddenly felt that Lu Chenzhou wasn’t doing that badly after all; despite his terrible personality, he had still made a wonderful friend in Baldy.
Later on, she called Baldy again, and he said, “He’s not willing to talk to us… Dr. Cheng, are you really not going to come back and see him?”
Cheng Xi didn’t answer whether or not she would. Instead, she asked, “Why do you care so much about him? Especially given his bad temper.”
Baldy’s tone was the most serious she’d ever heard it. “Because whenever I need his help, he’s never refused. Even though he seems like a cold and icy person, he is the most sincere person I know. Honestly, he’s not fit for the business world.”
Cheng Xi didn’t know why, but Baldy’s words elicited her sentimentality and she felt a sudden compulsion to cry. Feeling moved, she sucked in a deep breath and said, “Thank you for standing by his side through all this time. If necessary, please tell him that I don’t actually have a new boyfriend. What’s more, I’ll do my best to finish the things I have going on over here and return as quickly as I can.”