This time, it was Cheng Xi’s mother who rolled her sleeves up, ready to beat someone up.
Cheng Xi and her husband were just making love to each other. What was the problem? What was Cheng Yang trying to say by calling Cheng Xi’s husband a beast?!
The rest of the night was a mess, as it mainly consisted of Cheng Xi’s parents trying to drag Cheng Yang off of the table as if he were a dead dog. Their efforts to calm their intoxicated son were all in vain. In the end, Cheng Yang hugged his father’s legs tightly as he yelled out, “I hate it! Why did we have to marry Cheng Xi off? What’s so good about that man?! I can’t believe that the little white cabbage we raised so tenderly ended up getting eaten by a pig.”
He was really taking every opportunity to bully the Lu family while they weren’t here.
Baldy couldn’t accept Cheng Yang’s insults towards Lu Chenzhou, and he too rolled up his sleeves as he loudly shouted back, “What do you mean, Boss Lu’s a pig? Even if he were a pig, he’d be a high-class pig beyond comparison, alright? A pig that no ordinary pig could compare to!”
Everyone who wasn’t drunk almost cried from laughing when they heard his rebuttal.
But Cheng Yang didn’t laugh. Instead, he clambered up and spat at Baldy before retorting, “So what if he’s high-class? It’s not like we’re penniless! We don’t need his money!”
And then even Ceng Xing threw himself into the argument, thumping his skinny chest as he proudly declared, “That’s right. I have money too! I’m healthy in mind and body, and I’m gentle and considerate to boot!”
But his chest thumps were too much, and he actually threw up as a result.
Luckily, the mansion was big enough for Cheng Xi and Lu Chenzhou to remain ignorant of the commotion going on downstairs. Come midnight, the remaining clear-headed women put their drunken men to sleep while the rest of them found a quiet place to go to bed themselves.
No one noticed Chen Jiaman.
She was the first to notice when Cheng Xi and Lu Chenzhou left. For most of the party, she had remained silent, and she was so short and small that she looked like a faint shadow as she sat at the table.
Chen Jiaman had followed them upstairs, where she saw Lu Chenzhou kissing Cheng Xi against the door. She also saw that door shut itself tightly, blocking Cheng Xi out from her world.
Chen Jiaman didn’t know what the feelings that were welling up from her heart were. She was filled with longing and affection for Cheng Xi, but she was also scared of Lu Chenzhou, which quelled her envy. In the end, she found a place and hid herself.
Just like when she had first become mentally ill, she hid herself in a storeroom on the ground floor and looked at the night scenery from a low window. The only sources of light she could see in the darkness were one or two lamps floating along the river. They seemed like stars that had fallen to Earth, shining in a lonely stand against the dark, bleak night.
Chen Jiaman watched those lamps until they finally stopped burning. Then, it was dawn once more.
She hadn’t been able to fall asleep. She stared outside until her eyes started tearing up, constantly reflecting on the life that she had led up till now. She felt like her life was just like those lonely lamps: burning hopelessly, burning uselessly.
She thought back to the words that Lu Chenzhou had said to her on that day. “She has no obligation to take care of you. If you keep making her work so hard on your behalf, then I’ll make you vanish.”
She shut her eyes tightly.
“Jiaman.” As if she were dreaming, Dr. Cheng’s voice called out to her gently.
“Little bunny.” She wasn’t dreaming; the sound really was getting closer.
Chen Jiaman suddenly opened her eyes. Cheng Xi really was standing there, looking down at her amidst the hazy sunlight.
Her eyes were clearly worried, and that worry gave Chen Jiaman some value to her life: it meant that someone still cared about her, that someone was still thinking about her.
The emotions overflowed, and Chen Jiaman started crying uncontrollably.
Cheng Xi quickly ran over, crouched down in front of Chen Jiaman, and helped her wipe her tears away. “Don’t cry,” Cheng Xi murmured gently. “Were you scared? I’m sorry. I should have come looking for you earlier.”
Chen Jiaman looked back at her through tearful eyes. “Do you not want me anymore?”
“How could I?” Cheng Xi’s tone was firm as she stated, “As long as you’re willing to stay by me, I promise that I’ll never discard you, and I’ll never give up on you either. In return, you have to promise me that, no matter how hard life is, you won’t give up on yourself. Alright?”
As Cheng Xi said this, she felt the depressing aura surrounding Chen Jiaman intensify. Her marriage had, unintentionally or not, still ended up dealing a heavy blow to Chen Jiaman.
But Cheng Xi didn’t feel like this was the worst that could have happened. As long as Chen Jiaman was still willing to communicate and talk to her, she’d find a way to help her.
Chen Jiaman was as obedient as ever, but whether or not she’d take her advice was another matter entirely. Though, Chen Jiaman was probably still scared that Cheng Xi didn’t want her anymore, because she was particularly obedient right now. Cheng Xi said, “Let’s go back to our rooms.”
Chen Jiaman followed behind her.
When they reached Chen Jiaman’s room, Cheng Xi said, “It’s still early. Do you want to sleep?”
Chen Jiaman then wrapped herself up in her blankets and closed her eyes.
Cheng Xi stayed there with her until she fell asleep. When she walked out, the first person Cheng Xi ran into was unexpectedly the department head. The department head said in surprise, “Oh, you’re awake?” Then she looked behind Cheng Xi and curiously asked, “Why are you coming out from this door?”
Cheng Xi sighed. “It’s because of Chen Jiaman. I didn’t have any time to take care of her last night, so she ended up spending the entire night in the storeroom on the ground floor.”
“It must be hard work.” The department head patted her shoulder. “Since you’ve just gotten married, do you want to take a few days off from work?”
Cheng Xi’s eyes shone with anticipation. “Really? Can I take leave for this?”
“Yes. I’ll give you three days. Is that fine?”
Cheng Xi gave a mocking bow to pay her respects.
The department head started laughing at the act. While the two of them chatted, Cheng Xi’s mother also came out of her room. She walked over and then asked the same question that the department head had earlier. “Why are you here?”
Chen Jiaman’s room was quite far from the bridal chambers that Lu Chenzhou had put so much effort into decorating.
Cheng Xi explained herself once more, and only then did her mother realize that the little girl who had followed Cheng Xi around all day yesterday was actually Chen Jiaman. Yes, she still remembered this little girl, and she actually felt a bit of pity for Lu Chenzhou now. She instructed, “Treat Lu Chenzhou better in the future.”
Cheng Xi was dazed by this response. “What’s the matter?”
“It’ll be hard for him—he married someone like you, who takes care of her patients by bringing them home.”
Perhaps because Cheng Xi’s mother thought that her words were still too mild, but she then turned to the department head and added on, saying, “I still feel like she’s destined to lead a single life, and the only reason why she was able to get married was because our ancestors took pity on her, really.”
The department head clutched her sides as she bellowed with laughter.
In the end, it was her father who saved her. Her old man hadn’t been able to sleep well, and he had gotten up very early in the morning. He was walking around the grounds downstairs earlier, and when he came back up, he saw all of them standing there. Intrigued, he walked over and asked Cheng Xi, “Why not sleep a bit more?” And then he even said, “Don’t worry about breakfast. I noticed that there were still quite a few ingredients leftover from yesterday. There’s more than enough for everyone to have a pretty good meal. Your father’s here and it’s still early, so go back and rest some more.”
He truly felt like Cheng Xi had gotten thinner recently, as it must have been very hard for her here in Gansu.
What’s more, the days started very early in the summer here, and it was only six in the morning right now. If Cheng Xi still wanted to sleep, then she could sleep for at least another hour without problem.
Cheng Xi didn’t want to listen to her mother endlessly nag at her, so she smiled and simply said, “Alright. Thank you, Dad.”
And, as her father had suggested, she went back to her room to rest.
Upon seeing this all take place in front of them, her mother shot her father an annoyed look.
“What’s the matter?”
“Hmph. As if it’s just you who dotes on our daughter!”
Cheng Xi didn’t realize that her father had been pitifully scolded in her place. When she returned to her room, Lu Chenzhou was already up. He tended to sleep in a very orderly fashion, but today, he seemed like he’d been abandoned—he was still on his side, wrapped up in blankets as he dazedly at her empty pillow.
Cheng Xi took off her coat, climbed back into bed, and kissed his lips. “Good morning, Mr. Lu.”
But Mr. Lu wasn’t happy.
Cheng Xi teasingly asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Where did you go?”
He felt terrible that, on the day after their wedding, he had opened his eyes only to not see his bride in front of him.
Cheng Xi was very good at telling half-truths when she needed to. “Oh, I just went down to find my department head and request a leave of absence since I just got married.” Then, she hugged him, her jaw by his chest, and said, “Lu Chenzhou, let’s go on a honeymoon.”
Lu Chenzhou instantly brightened up.
He didn’t feel sleepy anymore, so he pulled Cheng Xi up and out of bed. “Then we should leave early. While it’s not too hot out.”
Actually, he wanted to leave because there were too many people at home, which would divide up Cheng Xi’s attention more than usual. He hated not monopolizing her, and on the other hand, spending time alone with her…… just thinking about it made him feel happier.
Cheng Xi also didn’t really want to go back to sleep, so she also got up and started rummaging through the wardrobe to find something to wear.
Lu Chenzhou went to wash up first. But halfway through his shower, he couldn’t contain his excitement anymore, and he poked his head out and expectantly asked her, “Where do you want to go first? Dunhuang? Tianshan? Or maybe Kanas Lake? We should visit a few locations within the country first and then go overseas.”
While a one-and-a-half-year honeymoon would be far too long, he was fine with a “short” two or four months one.
Lu Chenzhou sounded like he was planning on bringing her around the world.
Cheng Xi looked at him with a funny expression on her face as she sincerely replied, “But…… I only have three days of leave. Is that enough?”