Cheng Xi didn’t know that Lu Chenzhou had talked to Chen Jiaman, and she didn’t notice anything off during lunchtime because she was in a rush, but she quickly realized that something was different at dinnertime.
Chen Jiaman was conspicuously normal.
During dinner, she no longer dropped food all over herself, and she didn’t flip her bowl or the dishes either. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t eat properly, but she normally enjoyed being disruptive to get Cheng Xi’s attention. However, after that night’s meal, her clothes and plate were both spotless.
Chen Jiaman didn’t even react when Cheng Xi tried to placate Lu Chenzhou by feeding him. She seemed very quiet—not wooden, like how she used to be in Cai Yi’s lab, but a more regular, normal quietness.
Cheng Xi peered at her a few times and placed some of her favorite food into her bowl as she asked, “Little bunny, why are you so obedient today?”
Chen Jiaman didn’t respond, but as she lowered her head, she indistinctly looked at Lu Chenzhou.
Cheng Xi didn’t notice anything amiss until it was time to sleep. After Chen Jiaman finished listening to her nightly story, she pulled her blankets up and covered herself, leaving just a pair of eyes peeking out at Cheng Xi. She had even tucked in her blanket by herself, and she was clearly not letting Cheng Xi get into bed with her.
Cheng Xi raised her eyebrows in surprise. “You don’t want me to keep you company tonight?”
Chen Jiaman nodded.
“You’re not scared anymore?”
Chen Jiaman didn’t say anything, only shutting her eyes in response. It seemed that she was even a bit angry.
Cheng Xi marvelled at her behavior. It wasn’t good for people to bottle up their emotions, but the fact that Chen Jiaman was doing so meant that she was now brave enough to express her own emotions, that she was no longer just a puppet.
This was a step in the right direction.
Cheng Xi intentionally started teasing her. “It seems like you still want me to keep you company~ How about I stay?”
She lifted Chen Jiaman’s blankets and tried to crawl under the blankets, but Chen Jiaman refused to let her enter.
Cheng Xi immediately suspected that something had happened while she was gone, but now wasn’t the time to ask. Cheng Xi instead swapped tactics and tried to coax her. “Then, can you tell me what you want me to do? If you don’t say anything, I won’t leave.”
And Cheng Xi did as she promised. Since she couldn’t get in the blankets, she lay down on the barren side of the bed. “I’ll sleep here the entire night then. It’s not cold enough for me to freeze to death at night, right?”
Cheng Xi then closed her eyes and pretended to fall asleep. Her act worked, and it frightened Chen Jiaman into taking action; she gnashed her teeth and looked at Cheng Xi in frustration before softly saying, “I…… I don’t need someone to keep my company at night anymore.”
Only then did Cheng Xi open her eyes and look at her. “You need to tell people what you’re thinking so that they understand you, alright? Anyways, since you feel like you can sleep on your own, then I’ll leave once you fall asleep. Alright?”
She didn’t ask why Chen Jiaman suddenly didn’t need her around anymore. Clearly, Chen Jiaman wouldn’t have responded even if she had. Chen Jiaman closed her eyes and curled up in her blanket.
As for whether or not she actually fell asleep, Cheng Xi didn’t know; she just stayed there until Chen Jiaman’s breathing stabilized at a slow methodical pace. Then, she walked downstairs, where Lu Chenzhou was still sitting in the living room and talking with someone on the phone with his laptop in front of him.
As she walked closer, she heard him emotionlessly say, “......I’m not free. You don’t have to tell me any of this.” Then, a cold smile flashed across his face, as he chillingly went on to say, “I really don’t care whether Donglai lives or dies.”
After Lu Chenzhou hung up, he continued to do a couple tasks on his laptop, as if that call hadn’t affected him at all. Honestly, over these past few days, Cheng Xi had received multiple calls from people close to Lu Chenzhou, varying from his grandparents to Baldy, and even Cai Yi. Each one asked her to persuade Lu Chenzhou to return to Donglai.
Donglai was honestly in a huge mess. Out of nervousness, or perhaps arrogance, Lu Chenzhou’s father had suggested that they bribe a politician. Evidently, they thought that the matter would quickly resolve itself, but their failed bribe only made the matter balloon even more. Then, unable to think of a solution, he could only push the “lazy” Lu Chenzhou out of the company in an effort to save it.
Baldy was the one who had told Cheng Xi all this. Cheng Xi didn’t understand the business world, but Lu Chenzhou’s father’s actions during this crisis would make anyone feel disgusted—the reason why the people closest to you can hurt you the most is because only they know what will hurt you most.
Lu Chenzhou was clearly afraid that his family would abandon and betray him, and that was exactly what his father had done.
As a result, Cheng Xi never asked Lu Chenzhou about Donglai, and neither did she plan on asking him anything about it. Of course, Lu Chenzhou hadn’t talked to her very much these last few days, as she was usually preoccupied with Chen Jiaman.
Just like now. Even when he saw her walk over towards him, he didn’t even look away from his laptop. He continued to pretend that she didn’t exist.
Luckily, Cheng Xi was thick-skinned enough to deal with him, and as she crept over to him, she asked, “What’re you up to?”
Lu Chenzhou continued to stare at his laptop, ignoring her.
Cheng Xi looked at his screen and automatically made a 囧 expression. Lu Chenzhou had at least ten tabs open, and they were all titled “What to do before getting married,” “What sort of marriage proposals do women like,” “10 preparations you have to make before marriage,” and even a philosophical “Why get married.”
And in front of him was a little notepad that was filled with notes on things to prepare and to consider before marriage. Like his personality, his handwriting was beautiful, tidy, clean, and neat, which meant that Cheng Xi could easily read his notes.
She couldn’t help but be delighted and immediately hugged him. “So you’re waging a cold war with me while preparing to propose to me!~ Ah, Mr. Lu, why are you so cute?”
Mr. Lu continued to ignore her, and Cheng Xi stayed by his side as she watched him search up more and more marriage articles. As she watched him work, she started pondering Chen Jiaman’s sudden change in personality, but before she could come to a conclusion, Mr. Lu suddenly closed his laptop, stowed his notebook to the side, and walked away.
Cheng Xi had been leaning against him, so she almost fell down when he moved. She grabbed the side of the desk to break her fall, raised her head, and asked, “What’s the matter?”
Lu Chenzhou didn’t respond as his back faced her.
Even a dim-witted person would realize by now that he was angry at her, but she wasn’t dim-witted. After a brief sigh, she followed him into the bedroom. Lu Chenzhou was already taking off his clothes.
Cheng Xi touched her nose and ran to her bathroom to take a shower without asking. She showered faster than him, and after she was done, she obediently laid down on his bed and dutifully waited for him. Luckily, Lu Chenzhou didn’t refuse her, as he disrobed and laid down by her side.
Cheng Xi tried to turn over, wanting to chat with him, but in the middle of her turn, Lu Chenzhou grabbed her from the back, and then, after teasing her for a while, he slid into her.
He didn’t say a single word during the entire act; he just maintained his posture and thrust his hips steadily. Cheng Xi wanted to kiss him, but he wouldn’t let her.
And after that, he went to sleep. At any rate, although he did whatever he wanted to, he refused to communicate with her. Without any other option, Cheng Xi got up, found a pen and a piece of paper, wrote him a note, and then handed it to him with a pitiful look.
On the note was something that he’d seen before: given x and y, find x² + 2xy + y².
Lu Chenzhou wanted to ignore her, close his eyes, and pretend to be asleep, but this question had plagued him for a long time, ever since she’d first shown it to him, actually. Furthermore, right after the last time he saw this, they had broken up. He felt compelled to pay extra attention to it now.
He suddenly sat up, flung his blankets off, and coldly stared at her. “What do you mean by this?”
“Hmm?” Cheng Xi didn’t have any time to react.
Lu Chenzhou tossed the piece of paper in front of her and stared at her evilly, preparing to gobble her up as soon as she said “breakup.”
But that evil woman, the woman who hadn’t kept him in her heart at all, only pitifully said, “I’m suing for peace, of course. Lu Chenzhou, I’m trying to sue for peace with you. It’s so obvious! Did you not get it?”