A slop bucket that had been left out for who knew how long, dirty and smelly, had just been thrown at Cheng Xi. Almost immediately, a thick, sour odor assaulted Cheng Xis nose.
She was petrified with shock, standing there frozen and wet. The one who had thrown the dirty water all over her was an old grandmother with a slightly bent back. When she had approached them with a dirty bucket, Cheng Xi thought that she was planning to dump out her trash somewhere. But only a moment later, she had seen her hoist the bucket up high, and aimed its contents at Lu Chenzhou.
Cheng Xis taking the shot for Lu Chenzhou was a subconscious act; she had originally planned to merely pull him out of the way. However, because he was tall and heavy, even though she managed to pull him away, she had also thrown herself into the line of fire.
The old grandmother didnt leave even after pouring the filthy water all over her, staring at her with a fierce expression as her mouth mumbled foul words in a dialect Cheng Xi couldnt understand.
Lu Chenzhous chauffeur had been listening to music on his phone in the car, but upon hearing the commotion, his heart almost stopped beating. He immediately ran over and grabbed the old grandmother, but just as he was about to shove her, Cheng Xi quickly stopped him. Dont touch her!
The old grandmother looked frail and elderly. If anything were to happen, they would be in big trouble.
The chauffeur looked at Lu Chenzhou. He coldly nodded, so the chauffeur slowly let go of the old lady. But he didnt leave, and stood in front of Lu Chenzhou and Cheng Xi alertly. Im telling you, dont think that you can get away with things just because youre old! You cant suddenly pour water on people. Are you crazy?
It wasnt totally clear if the old grandmother had understood him, but she spat at the chauffeur and loudly scolded him.
The surroundings were quickly filled with people gawking at the scene. Even the restaurant owners wife came running out. When she saw Cheng Xi and the two men being scolded out of the blue, she hurriedly tried to dissuade the old grandmother from provoking them further. Old grandmother, please dont scold them anymore. Theyre here because they were appointed by the court. They dont want to be part of it either.
The old lady didnt care, and kept on scolding them even after throwing the bucket at them.
Cheng Xi didnt say a single word. The restaurant owners wife got some people to restrain the old lady and pulled Cheng Xi aside. Youre young, so please dont get too worked up by what old people say.
Despite the calamity that had befallen Cheng Xi, she really didnt want to pursue the matter with the old lady any further. However, she had to understand what was going on. Who is this old lady, and whats she so angry about?
The restaurant owner's wife knew her. Shes just an old woman who lives alone right around here. She used to have a son, but he was spirited away by Chen Jiamans mother when they were young. Then, Chen Jiamans mother found another man to live a good life with, whereas her son ended up dying in an accident. Thus, she hates the guts of the Chen family. I dont know who told her that you were serving as Chen Jiamans defense attorney, but she was so angry that she came right over to cause trouble.
After hearing the background, Cheng Xi was rendered speechless.
The restaurant owners wife then tried to persuade her, saying, If youve already cleared things up, then leave quickly. That old ladys really stubborn, and she might come back again later. Given how old she is, regardless of whether you win or lose against her, it wont end up well for you.
This was true. Cheng Xis scalp felt numb when she glanced back at that old lady whose frail body belied her surprising attack power. She thanked the woman, and then told Lu Chenzhou, You guys can leave first.
She was still drenched in the disgusting slop, so she couldnt get in the car with them.
Lu Chenzhou didnt say a word. He seemed to be in a daze, thinking about something.
And it was then that he looked different from regular people.
Cheng Xi didnt want to disturb him, and only wanted the chauffeur to take him away quickly. She didnt know if the chauffeur knew about Lu Chenzhous unique disposition, as he was a bit anxious, even asking her, What about you?
Before Cheng Xi could respond, Lu Chenzhou said, Go on ahead and find a hotel, get a room, and buy a set of new clothes.
Once he finished speaking, Cheng Xi and the chauffeur looked at each other, exhaling simultaneously.
His plans were thoughtful and Cheng Xi had no problems with them. The chauffeur followed his orders and drove off. Only then did Lu Chenzhou look in the direction of the old lady again before directly leaving.
He walked quickly. Because Cheng Xi was scared of bothering him with her smell, she didnt rush to catch up with him, and instead walked slowly behind him.
As they walked, even though Cheng Xi had discarded her totally ruined jacket long ago, she still attracted all sorts of attention. As she shivered in the cold, she had to continuously tell herself, Dont worry. Only random strangers who dont know you are looking at you.
It was just that there were a few bystanders who were also taking pictures of her with their phone, so she had to lower her head and hope that her face hadnt been exposed.
Luckily, the hotel that the chauffeur made a reservation at wasnt too far away, and he was back in ten or so minutes.
The hotel wasnt large, but the lobby was very new; the hotel had probably opened quite recently. Lu Chenzhou waited at the front of the hotel, watching her walk over while covering her head and face.
Here? Seeing him standing still, she asked.
Lu Chenzhou nodded.
The chauffeur had just finished checking in and was about to buy a new set of clothes for her. Seeing her, he quickly said, The room card is at the front office. Please go up first, and Ill have someone bring the clothes over when theyre ready. Right, what sizes do you wear?
Letting a random man buy her clothes made her somewhat want to go 囧. Thanks, just a small jacket will do, please.
The chauffeur nodded. After Cheng Xi entered the room, she heard him ask, Director Lu, will you be finding a place to stay too?
She didnt pay too much attention to Lu Chenzhous reply. The only thought in her mind now was to take a shower and change her clothes.
Her body was simply… too smelly!
Cheng Xi took the longest and most careful bath she had ever had in her entire life, even washing her hair thrice. When she finally came out, she was unable to smell even a trace of sourness.
After picking up her phone, she saw an unread message from Lu Chenzhou. Your clothes are at the door.
When she opened the door, she indeed found a large paper bag outside. She took it inside, opened it, and noticed that the inside contained not only a jacket, but also a pair of jeans, a warm undershirt, and a box of disposable underwear.
When she remembered that a man had bought all of this, Cheng Xi felt uncomfortable from head to toe. But since it had already been bought, no matter how she felt, she had to change. Her original set of clothes was too smelly and oily, completely unwearable.
Besides her new jeans being slightly too large, the rest of the clothes fit her well. After Cheng Xi finished changing into her new set of clothes, she went around in a circle downstairs, and then finally found Lu Chenzhous car parked outside. The windows were down; Lu Chenzhou sat inside on the phone, his laptop on his knees as normal.
His chauffeur, on the other hand, seemed to be gone.
Cheng Xi waited for Lu Chenzhou to hang up before approaching him. As she came closer, Lu Chenzhou unconsciously moved away from her.
She felt slightly embarrassed. She stood still, smelling herself delicately. Do I still smell bad?
Lu Chenzhou looked at her. Perhaps it was because she had just taken a bath, but Cheng Xis whole body exuded a warm and inviting feeling. It was as clear as a polished crystal, and so clean that it made others want to take a bite out of her.
It was a pity that she didnt realize that herself, instead turning around to gaze at her surroundings. Is it just you?
Lu Chenzhou ignored her.
Cheng Xi continued, saying, The chauffeur, Mr. Chen, bought the clothes, didnt he? Where is he? Ill pay him back.
Thats not necessary. Lu Chenzhou said coolly. He looked at her. This is your payment for helping me avoid a calamity.
Er, Cheng Xi stuttered. Shouldnt it be me reaping what Ive sown?
Lu Chenzhou shut his laptop, casting sidelong glances at her. But you seem to be happy about reaping what youve sown?
Cheng Xi shrugged her shoulders. Then what should I do? Cry? Unfortunately, crying cant solve my problems. Furthermore, after cleaning myself, Im as good as new again. So whats there to be mad about?
Her words were humorous, and Lu Chenzhou couldnt help but curl up his lips slightly upon hearing them. Its getting quite late. When are the two of you planning to return?
Lu Chenzhous hand, which was resting on his laptop, shook. He raised his head. You two?
Yes, I plan on staying here for a night because I keep feeling like there are still some questions that I havent investigated fully.
Of course there are problems, Lu Chenzhou said with a laugh. At the very least, that old widowed grandmother who tossed a bucket at you has problems. If she were really living by herself, then her bucket wouldnt have been filled with so much stuff.
Cheng Xi blinked. What stuff? She really hadnt noticed this, mainly because she had been so shocked at the time that she hadnt been able to think about anything else.
Lu Chenzhous voice was ice cold as he replied, The most identifiable objects that she flung out at you were potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, and noodles. Perhaps if there were only one type of food it would be a coincidence, but what about multiple types?
Cheng xi understood immediately. The items that Lu Chenzhou had mentioned were exactly what they had ordered for lunch. The leftover vegetables and rice in a restaurant were usually poured into a bucket to be dealt with later.
Something like that could be sold for money; for example, some people would buy it specifically to feed their pigs, and people wouldnt generally throw it away carelessly. If the old grandmothers bucket of foul water had really come from the restaurant, then the behavior of the restaurant owners wife afterwards was worth considering carefully.
She truly seemed to be trying to help us, but it felt more like she wanted to quickly scare us away… Does this mean she doesnt want us to keep investigating?
Although Lu Chenzhou didnt say anything, his face revealed an expression of disdain at how long it had taken her to figure it out.
Ignoring his facial expression, Cheng Xi merely sighed again as she said, So the crux of the matter lies with the restaurant owners wife? Not only does she know Chen Jiaman, but she also probably has some deeper connection with her. Upon realizing this, she became agitated. In her excitement, her two hands extended into the car and grabbed hold of Lu Chenzhous wrist.
Ah, what are you looking at?
Lu Chenzhou slightly tilted his head, his gaze landing on her hand, her fingertips just like spring onions, as white as jade.
Unexpectedly, he didnt find it dirty. Instead, an ache in his heart sprang out of nowhere. Her fingertips reminded him of the jade tea pet that he often played with in his office, which was the same shade of translucent, warm white.
But the teacup was cold and hard. He idly wondered what her fingertips would feel like.
And, as he thought of this, Lu Chenzhou raised his left hand and lightly caressed Cheng Xis hand.