Cheng Xi was speechless. She hugged Lu Chenzhou as tightly as she could. She was so touched that she had to screw her eyes shut to prevent tears from leaking out.
She had never imagined in a million years that he would say something like this, and the only response she had was to hug him with all of her strength.
Lu Chenzhou didn’t say anything else. After divulging everything he needed to, he stopped submerging himself in his past. Cheng Xi didn’t push or prod him any further either; after all, she was just a doctor, and the many ethical and legislative landmines within that incident had been mostly buried alongside Lu Chenzhou’s mother.
All Cheng Xi wanted from Lu Chenzhou was for him to let go of that burden and to live his life happily.
On that day, they stayed in bed until late in the afternoon, only climbing out when they were ravenous for food. She didn’t know whether the resulting meal was lunch or dinner, but it was very plain. It was made from ingredients that had all been brought over by Cheng Yang on his mother’s instructions. But Cheng Xi’s cooking skills had deteriorated as she had stopped cooking after moving to Gansu. Even the grip of a pot or pan in her hands was a foreign feeling now.
So when she said that she would help make food, what she really meant was that she’d help wash and clean as Lu Chenzhou sliced and stir-fried the meat and vegetables.
And as he cooked, she would periodically snatch up pieces of food from the pan. Lu Chenzhou usually hated it when she did this, as he was a firm believer that food should be only eaten at the dining table.
But today, he didn’t stop her. Whenever Cheng Xi picked up a stray piece of food to eat, he even allowed her to feed him a piece as well.
As Cheng Xi happily fed the two of them, she said, “Let’s invite Baldy and have a fun night out all together.”
Lu Chenzhou paused as he looked at her.
“What’s the matter?”
He turned around, and watched the soup slowly simmer as he said, “You were the one who instructed him to do it, right?”
“To bother me day and night.”
Lu Chenzhou’s odd phrasing caused Cheng Xi to burst out into laughter. “He really did that?”
“Yes.” Lu Chenzhou sounded like he was complaining, but truth be told, he wasn’t actually unhappy.
Cheng Xi didn’t deny his accusation that she had asked Baldy to talk and hang out with him more often. Instead, she merely replied, “I didn’t ask him to bother you all day long. Obviously, he cares a lot about you.” She put down her chopsticks and hugged him from behind. “Lu Chenzhou, you’re quite the lucky man. Baldy cares for you more than you know.”
Lu Chenzhou didn’t respond. He was old friends with Baldy, and they had known each other for so long that he seemed to have slowly gotten used to his presence.
Actually, he had even gotten to know Baldy by pure coincidence; the two of them were at the same university, and Lu Chenzhou had only extended an invitation to Baldy because he couldn’t stand letting him fall for someone else’s malicious scam.
Another reason was that he had heard other people talking behind his back. They called him aloof and friendless, and said that no one was willing to be close with him. Lu Chenzhou didn’t want to be treated like a monster to be gawked at, so he decided to make himself one or two new friends. However, he wasn’t interested in slowly developing a friendship through awkward long-term contact. He had read somewhere that helping someone in need could quickly develop into a casual friendship, and since Baldy was right in front of him, he had lent him a hand.
And as expected, Baldy had become his “friend” for all these years. Through him, Lu Chenzhou had also met Xu Po, Xie Ziming, and a whole bunch of other people who could be considered “friends” but whom he honestly didn’t really hang out with.
During the year-long period when Cheng Xi had been gone, he had been constantly mired in his company’s struggle for ownership. As a result, everyone had started avoiding him out of either a desire to stay out of the mess or because they were unable to accept his aloofness without any benefits. Everyone except for Baldy, that is. It seemed that Baldy was really the only one that would stick through thick and thin with Lu Chenzhou.
When Lu Chenzhou thought about how Baldy had stuck by him, his cold face warmed up, and he nodded. “I’ll invite him out later.”
After a moment, he then went on to say, “I thought that the first thing you’d do would be to have another therapy session with me.”
The fact that he was able to say “therapy” so casually was a clear indication that he had truly let go of his burden, and Cheng Xi smiled in response. “I don’t feel like it’s necessary anymore. All you need is some more true friends.”
And then, you can slowly forget about your past, reignite your passion, and follow your dreams for a happy life and a bright future.
The best sort of therapy came from experiencing the vicissitudes of life.
Of course, she didn’t say all this to Lu Chenzhou. Instead, she half-jokingly replied, “I’m going to return to Gansu in a few days. Make some more friends now. That way, you won’t get too lonely when I’m not around.”
He’d actually completely forgotten about her imminent departure.
Lu Chenzhou felt like he had lifted a heavy rock only to slip and drop it on his own foot.
Cheng Xi didn’t realize the internal turmoil brewing within him, and when he didn’t immediately object, she offhandedly suggested that they also invite some other people along as well. “I don’t have that much time off, so we might as well invite all of them in one go. That way, no one’ll grumble at me when I leave.”
“What’s more, I also want to introduce them to you.” Cheng Xi smiled sweetly, let go of him, and called up Tian Rou. The two of them immediately started chattering away. “Let’s save some money by jointly hosting this gathering. It’s a good time to introduce our boyfriends to everyone else, anyway.”
“Isn’t this just your farewell gathering? What’s this about bringing me into it?!”
Cheng Xi smiled as she teasingly replied, “I’m poor, after all, and Mr. Lu’s lost his job. So, we have to think about saving money.”
In the end, they invited a bunch of their classmates to have a big gathering that night. Everyone had been shouting in the group chat for Cheng Xi to hold a gathering, and when she finally announced one, even though they grumbled that it was a little late, a whole crowd of people showed up.
Some of Cheng Xi’s classmates were reporters, and the reason why they had come wasn’t as pure as just wanting to hang out. But they did restrain themselves; at the very least, they asked Cheng Xi beforehand, “Can you ask your boyfriend for us to see if he’s willing to do an interview with us?” Of course, their reasoning was very pretty. “The whole fiasco with Donglai Pharmaceuticals is still ongoing, and there are a whole bunch of nasty rumors about him circulating on the web. He hasn’t clarified anything at all, and this has caused further damage to his reputation.”
When Cheng Xi was asked this, she turned to look at Lu Chenzhou. He was sitting with Baldy among a throng of people, and his expression was as cool as usual. She could see that he was slightly nervous, but not impatient. When Cheng Xi looked over, he glanced back at her, his eyes with a tinge of happiness that melted his cold expression.
Cheng Xi turned back to her classmates. “I’ll help ask him, but if he says no, then please stop bothering him. As for Donglai’s affairs, I’m sure that he’ll handle them on his own.”
Her classmates were a bit regretful, but they could only accept Cheng Xi’s reply.
Thankfully, Cheng Xi’s classmates didn’t take their work too seriously, and they weren’t discomfited by her refusal. Thanks to Tian Rou, everyone who came knew that the reason why Cheng Xi had been reassigned to Gansu was because of her boyfriend, but none of them asked about it after they got back together. At this point, it was better to just be happy and enjoy the atmosphere.
Amidst such a diverse crowd of people, Baldy had no problems fitting in and chit-chatting with everyone; even Lu Chenzhou began to relax.
He suddenly understood why Cheng Xi had arranged all this. She wanted to show him that no matter who he was and what he’d experienced, there would always be people who didn’t care about his status, who would treat him like just any other person.
Of course, a “newcomer” like Lu Chenzhou would be excluded to some extent, and Tian Rou’s instigations only exacerbated this effect. Baldy hadn’t told her about Lu Chenzhou’s mental illness, so she was one of the vocal opponents against Lu Chenzhou.
And unlike the regular crowd, she wasn’t afraid of Lu Chenzhou’s aloof exterior at all. She rolled up her sleeves and provoked him to drink. “If men don’t drink, then they can’t make good friends.”
“Cheng Xi’s the female goddess of our class, so if you want to be her boyfriend, then you’d better get past all of us first! So you have to drink. We’ll see your true colors when you’re drunk!”
Lu Chenzhou wasn’t too great at verbal jousts, so he wordlessly downed Tian Rou’s proffered cup.
When everyone saw how easily he accepted Tian Rou’s cup, a whole crowd of people sprouted up around him, thrusting cup after cup of alcohol into his hands. Although these people were playing around, they all knew what was considered improper, so they held back enough to not be distasteful. Cheng Xi was afraid that he would drink too much, so she tried to help out. However, she ended up dropping out after just one remark from Tian Rou. “Has your alcohol tolerance improved during your year away? If not, stand aside. Otherwise, you’ll be so drunk that there won’t be anyone to foot the bills later.”
And before Cheng Xi could respond, Lu Chenzhou seriously said, “I’ll pay.”
Tian Rou looked at him, chuckling. She was brave enough to poke at the wound that no one else even dared to touch. She brusquely replied, “Do you even have any money left? You’ve been fired from your position as CEO and removed from the board of directors. If you pay, then will you still have enough money to care for Cheng Xi?”
Once Tian Rou said this, the whole crowd fell silent, looking at Tian Rou to pay their respects to this brave warrior.
Lu Chenzhou didn’t seem to notice a thing. He held a cup of wine in his hand and sat up straight as he somewhat cautiously replied, “I still have a hundred million dollars that I can move around between my bank accounts. Is that sufficient?”