Lu Chenzhou’s eyebrows didn’t even twitch when he heard Cheng Xi’s “praise,” and he nonchalantly turned back around to focus on his work again.
Because of his earlier allergic reaction, he’d been particularly quiet recently. It almost felt like he had embarked on the path of Buddhism, as he even slept on a regular schedule. Sometimes, Cheng Xi would tease him a little, or climb on top of him when she was excited. However, regardless of the stimulation, he would always indifferently reply, “Can we sleep properly?”
It made her feel very conflicted inside, so much so that she felt like she had to adopt his asceticism alongside him.
But just having another person in the house felt different, and after Cheng Xi got used to it, she quite liked it. Despite the peace and quiet that she had when she lived alone, it would sometimes get lonely, whereas with two people, there would always be someone to banter and talk with. In fact, it felt as if the air was even permanently suffused with joy and happiness.
The halcyon days passed by calmly, and it just so happened that, just as Lu Chenzhou recovered from his allergic reaction, Chen Jiaman was also finally willing to leave her little ward. That day, Cheng Xi was helping Chen Jiaman prepare for her mental therapy when Chen Jiaman suddenly tilted her face up and asked, “Are the flowers by the riverside blooming?”
Cheng Xi hesitated for a moment before quickly saying, “Yes, they are.” And after another momentary pause, Cheng Xi continued to say, “The flowers by the courtyard are blooming too. If you’re willing to do so, we can go out and look at them now.”
Chen Jiaman looked at her, half-yearning and half-timid. Cheng Xi stretched out her hand towards Chen Jiaman and reassuringly said, “Don’t be afraid. I’ll accompany you the whole way.”
And then she led Chen Jiaman outside. When Chen Jiaman saw the throngs of people outside, she hid behind Cheng Xi’s back like a frightened little bird, trying futilely to hide herself in Cheng Xi’s clothes.
When they were halfway to the courtyard, she suddenly scampered back inside.
Cheng Xi followed closely behind Chen Jiaman. She was hiding behind the door, crying as she asked Cheng Xi, “Do you think badly of me?”
Cheng Xi calmly replied, “No, of course not. You’re already very brave, being willing to go out as far as you did.” She knelt down, meeting Chen Jiaman’s eyes. “If you’re willing to do so, then I can walk with you like this daily. Every day, we’ll take an additional step, and be one step closer to where the flowers are blooming. As long as you don’t give up, we’ll eventually see the beautiful scenery outside for sure.”
Chen Jiaman was very scared, but she still nodded bravely.
When Chen Jiaman returned to her room, Cheng Xi saw a few doctors and nurses crowding around outside her ward. After hearing that Chen Jiaman was finally willing to walk outside, they had all come here to congratulate her. “It seems like you’ve really cured her now.”
Cheng Xi honestly replied, “Recovery is a long route, and this is only one step.”
She wasn’t being modest. Chen Jiaman walking outside only meant that she had entered the recovery phase; her most important hurdle was still yet to come.
Ceng Xing was also here, and as he looked at her, he gave her an unusually pertinent remark. “The efforts that you’ve spent on her probably would have been sufficient to treat ten other manic patients.”
Cheng Xi stubbornly refuted, “Can we quantify the value of patients? Dr. Ceng, you have to be careful with your words.”
Ceng Xing’s look turned supercilious with that remark. “Try that with all of your patients and see if you don’t die from overwork!”
Cheng Xi really was quite tired, partly because it was close to graduation, which meant that she had to advise her students on their theses and also help recruit students to the university on top of everything else. Starting from this year on, the head was even going to let her take on her own medical students…… There were a plethora of things to work on.
At least Lu Chenzhou wasn’t taking up much of her time recently. The two of them were just like parallel lines, not interacting at all beyond sleeping together at night.
That day, Cheng Xi was prepared to work overtime, but Shen Wei unexpectedly went to the hospital to get a checkup quite late in the day. Thus, they arranged to get dinner together after work.
“Call your Mr. Lu over! Ever since you got together with him, we never get to see you at our gatherings,” Shen Wei grumbled to Cheng Xi.
Cheng Xi thought that her words made sense. Thus, she decided that it was finally time to formally introduce Lu Chenzhou to her own classmates, and since it was a Friday, she said, “Then, why don’t we call Rou and everyone else over? The more the merrier!”
After making the suggestion, Cheng Xi called Lu Chenzhou and asked if he was fine eating dinner with her classmates. She knew that he found running back and forth very troublesome, so she only asked him to arrive at the restaurant when dinner was served.
She didn’t expect that he would actually come over to personally pick her up. As Cheng Xi and Shen Wei walked out of the hospital, Cheng Xi received an unexpected and pleasantly surprising call from Lu Chenzhou.
Shen Wei even joked, “If he arrived with a bouquet of flowers, then I’d certainly feel like the Lu Chenzhou I’ve known till now was just an illusion.”
Because everyone was getting off work right now, there were a fair number of people outside the hospital. Without anything else to do, the two of them had a nice chat while they waited at the curb for Lu Chenzhou to arrive. But before Lu Chenzhou arrived, Ceng Xing and several of her colleagues also left the hospital. It was already spring, and the pleasant weather made the bachelors in her department feel lonely and impatient, and they had actually arranged a get-together with some female colleagues from another department. When they saw Cheng Xi, they all quickly ran over to try to convince her to tag along. “Dr. Cheng, come with us, won’t you?”
Ceng Xing just huffed at them from the side. “She’s not single! Her boyfriend’s quite amazing, don’t you know?”
While they were chatting amicably, Cheng Xi suddenly heard a crisp female voice from behind. “Shen Wei!”
Everyone turned around and saw Gong Hengjin standing not far from them. She was looking at Shen Wei with a complicated expression. “Can we talk?”
Shen Wei glanced at her emotionlessly, completely ignoring her.
Cheng Xi immediately felt a headache coming on, and she chased her colleagues who were sticking around to watch the show away. “Alright, alright, alright. Get going, you all. It’s a bad look if you arrive late to a gathering as gentlemen.”
She chased all the bystanders away and then pulled Shen Wei in an attempt to leave. “Lu Chenzhou should be here soon. Let’s go over and wait.”
But Gong Hengjin wouldn’t give up. She cut them off, and perhaps it was because she had been pushed to the brink by Shen Wei’s actions, but when Shen Wei refused to talk privately with her, she threw caution to the wind and publicly aired her laundry. “It was you, wasn’t it? You’re the one who did this to me, right? Shen Wei, why do you have to be so ruthless? Why?”
Shen Wei raised her hand, lowered her head, and gently patted her stomach. This action was very provoking—at the least, it was very provoking to Gong Hengjin. She had once been pregnant, but before she could experience the joy of motherhood, Fu Mingyi had forced her to get an abortion.
At that point, even after Gong Hengjin’s eyes had long since turned red, Shen Wei calmly smiled and innocently asked, “And just what did I do to you?” She looked at her with a false veneer of warmth. “Gong Hengjin, you snatched away my man and broke apart my family even after I treated you like my friend all this time. So tell me. Just what did I do to you?”
“You…… That day, you intentionally did it, didn’t you? You intentionally led me over, got me drunk, and then you were also the one who convinced that guy to come over too, weren’t you?! Make him leave, tell him to scram! I don’t care what you do, but I never want to see him again! As long as you do that, I promise that I’ll never see Fu Mingyi again, and I’ll break off my relationship with him permanently.”
As Gong Hengjin laid out her desperate pleas, she started crying. However, this only aroused feelings of disgust within Shen Wei, who became so angry that she started laughing viciously. “Ha, just who do you think you are? Do you think that I’d want someone who you’ve already sullied? If you want him, then take him away! Gong Hengjin, I’ll tell you this again: I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I don’t know what drunken man you’re referring to! All I know is that if you really have the ability, and if you really love Fu Mingyi to pieces, then you should make him sign his name! I’ve waited so long to leave him behind! I’ve already given him my divorce papers a long time ago, but it’s he who keeps leeching onto me and refusing to make you happy, not me! Stop following me around. You disgust me! The only reason I haven’t exploded right now is because I have a conscience. But if you keep bothering me until I snap, then you won’t even be able to imagine what’s in store for you.”
As Shen Wei carved those cruel words into Gong Hengjin’s heart, she grabbed Cheng Xi’s hand and turned around to leave. However, Gong Hengjin yelled out to her from behind, “What else can you do to me? I have a home that I can’t return to, a workplace that fired me, people spit at me and put up posters wherever I go, and there’s even a strange nasty man stalking me everywhere! Shen Wei, you’ve already harmed me so much! What else do you want?!”