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Falling in Love With You is the Best Thing I Have Ever Done. Sheng Li. Chinese novel translated into English. He Su Ye is holding Sheng Xi Fan, looking at her endearingly.

Falling in Love With You is the Best Thing I Have Ever Done

1

Chapter 1

16

Recently, I've started suffering from insomnia.


Time suddenly feels very long, lying awake at night, listening to my heartbeat, matching the clock’s rhythm—both rapid and slow. Yet time also feels very short, closing my eyes and then suddenly it’s dawn, the long night passing in an instant.


Insomnia can be a truly agonizing experience. In the stillness of the night, surrounded by the silence of the world, one's thoughts tend to become clearer, more rational. This clarity, however, can lead to a disheartening realization: we often stand closer to the truth, to the very essence of things. For those who prefer to bury their heads in the sand, this revelation can be a source of great fear and unease. At least, that's how she felt.


She thought about the past, the present, the future, about relationships, about conduct, about past immaturity, and current growth. She thought about what exists and what doesn't.


Since she couldn’t sleep anyway, she figured she might as well use the time meaningfully.


Many thoughts led nowhere, in other words, thinking about them was futile. Yet she stubbornly kept thinking, letting these thoughts intertwine until they became an inextricable mess that couldn’t be untangled by force, causing only more trouble and pain.


So, the only way was to let them be and watch from the sidelines.


Shen Xifan lay awake, listening to the ticking clock. She gave up resisting her insomnia, staring wide-eyed at the dark night, her mind whirling with thoughts.


She turned over with a sigh; it had been five consecutive days. If this continued, she felt she would go mad. The tension of the day refused to ease at night. Working in a hotel was already a high-stress job, especially as a housekeeping manager. If this continued, she feared she might die in the line of duty.


Thinking about work brought a wave of frustration: she couldn’t say she liked or disliked the job; it was enough to make a living. She had used many connections to get the job, rising to manager in three years, appearing to be a successful professional. But with success came pressure, and now, insomnia due to work.


She hugged her pillow. She groaned and half-knelt on the bed, deciding she would get some sleeping pills from the hospital on her day off tomorrow.


Finally, slipping into a half-asleep state, her mind remained oddly clear. In her dream, a familiar person with a gentle smile called to her, “Shen Xifan, why aren’t you awake yet? If you sleep any longer, you’ll turn into a little pig.”


Mumbling a response, she tried to get up, but her body felt leaden, immovable.


So be it, it’s just a dream anyway.


Time seemed to stretch into an eternity before her mother's call finally pierced the silence. Reaching for the phone, she glanced at her watch - it was barely past seven. She felt a wave of despair wash over her. She had finally drifted off to sleep, only to be rudely awakened. It was the perfect start to a miserable day.


As always, her mother began with her usual nagging. "Fanfan, my old friend Mrs. Wang wants to introduce you to a young man. He recently came back from overseas, not the best-looking, but he has a house, a car, and an annual salary of hundreds of thousands..."


Her lack of sleep made her short-tempered. A wave of anger surged through her, burning from her toes to her head. Without a second thought, she lashed out, “To hell with returnees, greenhorns!”


Her mother was shocked. “Fanfan, are you still not awake?”


“I never slept well, okay? Mom, I’ve been having insomnia lately. I’m on the brink of death. Have Aunt Yang from the hospital get me some sleeping pills. Otherwise, your daughter will turn into a skeleton!”


Her mother sighed, “You can’t just take sleeping pills. Fanfan, why don’t you see a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor? They can help regulate your body with herbal treatments. You don’t even have to do it yourself; the pharmacy can prepare it for you. Your father got better after just two doses when he had stomach issues. Or you could come back home. We have everything you need here.”


Scratching her head, she thought that maybe seeing a traditional Chinese medicine doctor wouldn't hurt. After all, it's just money, and she's already lost sleep. Now, all she has left is money.


In the TCM internal medicine clinic, she waited a long time with no one calling her number. She could only look around in boredom.


The TCM building was quiet. Opposite the clinic was the large pharmacy, with rows of neat little compartments holding sealed herbs. Only a few people moved among them, holding prescriptions and small scales. She recalled being taken to a famous old TCM doctor by her grandmother whenever she had a cough as a child. Three doses would cure her. She remembered the doctor’s courtyard filled with sun-drying herbs, black and wrinkled. The young apprentices would measure out herbs with small scales, getting scolded if they made mistakes.

But now, with the prevalence of Western medicine, who still thought of taking TCM?


Just as she was lost in thought, a nurse appeared. Shen Xifan quickly called out, “Nurse, excuse me, where is the doctor?”


The nurse glanced at her medical record and apologized, “I’m sorry, Miss. Dr. He just went to the acupuncture room. I’ll go get him. Please wait a moment.”


As she spoke, a tall man emerged from the innermost room, supporting an old man. The nurse pointed at Shen Xifan, calling out, “Dr. He, you have a patient!”


Shen Xifan had always imagined TCM doctors to be elderly with gray hair and beards. She had never seen such a young and handsome doctor—truly very handsome, looking even better in a white coat than in a suit. She worked in a hotel, dealing with elite guests every day, and this man could score over ninety points.


Tall, with a straight nose, a firm chin, and large, expressive eyes. From afar, he looked cold, but up close, his eyes seemed to smile, exuding warmth and care.


It must be the nature of the medical profession that makes doctors so rigorous yet compassionate.


Feeling regretful, she realized she had dark circles, no makeup, and was dressed casually in a shirt and jeans. If she had known, she would have dressed up to meet this handsome doctor. As her friend Xu Ya had said, encountering a handsome man was an unexpected event, so even when taking out the trash, one should be dressed impeccably.


The doctor gestured for her to sit, then asked, “What’s troubling you?”


“Insomnia. For five days straight!” she grumbled.


Unexpectedly, the doctor laughed, a deep dimple appearing on his right cheek. “Five days isn’t really insomnia, but have you always had trouble sleeping?”


After thinking for a moment, she nodded. “I suppose so. I’ve always had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Lately, I just can’t sleep at all.”


He indicated the cushion. “Let me check your pulse.”


As his warm fingers touched her cold wrist, she felt a bit uneasy. Although she knew he was just doing his job, she couldn’t help but feel nervous, especially in front of such a handsome face. She prayed he wouldn’t notice her slightly elevated heartbeat.


After a while, he removed his hand, flipped open her medical record, and concluded, “You should take some TCM herbs.”


She nodded, asking, “So, from a professional TCM perspective, what’s wrong with me?”


The doctor confidently explained, “From a professional perspective—your insomnia is due to deficiency in constitution, emotional distress, hyperactivity of liver yang, excessive internal heat, and overthinking which injures the heart and spleen.”


She was stunned, mumbling, “That serious? Heart and kidney deficiency? Doctor, is there any hope for me?”


The doctor seemed a bit surprised but then smiled and explained, “You have a constitution prone to deficiency, combined with some worries, causing internal heat. Do you often feel irritable, have trouble sleeping, mouth sores, and dry mouth?”


Shen Xifan muttered, “Wow, you nailed it.”


The doctor began writing a prescription. “I’ll give you a month’s worth of herbs. Treating insomnia usually takes time, so be patient. Maintain a regular lifestyle, avoid alcohol and coffee, and—” he looked up at her, “girls shouldn’t be too competitive. Relax a bit. Try doing some yoga.”


“But isn’t there something that can help me sleep tonight? I’m desperate for sleep!”


The doctor seemed incredulous but patiently answered, “Run three laps around the hospital. If you’re exhausted, you’ll sleep just fine.”


Shen Xifan was left speechless, watching the doctor write the prescription. Suddenly, she noticed his name badge, though it was blurry. She leaned in slightly, discerning that he was an attending physician, but couldn’t make out his name. The doctor noticed and asked, puzzled, “Is there something strange about me?”


Feeling awkward, she quickly shook her head. “No, I’m just curious about the herbs you’re prescribing. What are their effects?”


He smiled and pointed to the prescription, explaining, "Huangqin clears the mind, danggui, shengdi, shaoyao, and zaoren nourish the yin and blood, gancao harmonizes the middle, douchi and zhuru disperse stagnant fire, baiziren and wuweizi, and hehuanpi calm the heart and mind."


Shen Xifan acted as if she understood but still nodded along, pretending to comprehend.


The doctor kindly added, "Take the prescription directly to the payment counter. You're having it decocted, right?" He added the words "decocted" on the prescription. "Come back at four o'clock this afternoon to pick up the first three doses."


"The first three doses? Why not all at once?"


The doctor smiled and explained, "Because Chinese medicine also has a shelf life. The efficacy diminishes after a few days."


She responded with a series of "uh-huhs," took the medical record, and left the consultation room. Outside, she realized that the prescription was signed with his name—"He Suye." She was a bit curious; why did "Suye" sound like the name of a Chinese herb?


At noon, she returned home and immediately received a call from her mother. "Fanfan, you saw the doctor? Oh, you're taking Chinese medicine? Good, good. Let me tell you something, tonight..."


Shen Xifan immediately interrupted, "I don't want to go on any blind dates, Mom, give it up!"


"It's not a blind date," her mother hurriedly explained. "It's just a family dinner. You see, you're always busy with work, forgetting your parents. We're becoming lonely old folks at home!"


Excuses! It must be an excuse to trick her into a blind date. But she felt a bit soft-hearted and reluctantly agreed, "Alright, alright, I know. But I have to pick up my medicine this afternoon."


Her mother seized the opportunity, "Good, good. See you at six o'clock in front of the Starbucks in Dayang."


That afternoon, Shen Xifan slept very soundly. She didn't know if it was due to some mystical aura in the traditional medicine building, but she slept until five o'clock. She woke up with a start, hurriedly dressed, and took a taxi to the hospital.


People were leaving the outpatient department one after another. She was the only one heading straight for the pharmacy. She saw that the pharmacy lights were half off and felt a pang of regret, inwardly crying out, "Oh no, my medicine!"


Fortunately, the window wasn't completely closed. She looked around but didn't dare to speak. Holding the receipt tightly in her hand, she hesitated whether to call out or not. Suddenly, the doctor from the morning walked out of the preparation room, saw her, and smiled, "Just waiting for you. We close at five thirty."


Shen Xifan wanted to bang her head against the medicine cabinet in apology, but seeing the doctor wasn't displeased, she felt a bit relieved. The doctor handed her a package of medicine and advised, "Take it twice a day, and come back in three days for the next batch."


He spoke with dimples appearing intermittently, looking very young!


She immediately understood, without putting on a cool demeanor, who would want to be treated by such a young-looking doctor?


Naturally, Shen Xifan was late. She carried a large bag of Chinese medicine and went out bare-faced. Seeing her, Shen's mother slapped her on the head, "I told you to come early, and you leave your old mother waiting!"


She weakly replied, "Mom, I'm a patient! You should care for me, understand me, and be lenient with me."


At the restaurant, Shen Xifan thought her mother had finally understood and no longer praised homemade food, taking her to French cuisine instead. To her surprise, soon a smiling aunt appeared!


"Why is there someone else? Is it Dad?" she asked while washing her hands.


"Your dad had something at school, so I invited an old friend who lives nearby. Oh, and her son is coming too," Shen's mother replied with an innocent smile.


Shen Xifan blinked, her face devoid of any expression. She was at a loss.


As she took her seat, Shen Xifan noticed a young man already settled beside her aunt, his voice booming as he engaged in animated conversation with her. Shen Xifan frowned, thoroughly disliking his self-important demeanor. To make matters worse, he wasn't exactly prince-charming material, his face more reminiscent of a prince's trusty steed.


"Have you been waiting long?" she politely asked.


He looked up, his expression shifting, a hint of surprise crossing his face. Shen Xifan couldn't suppress a smile to herself. Even without makeup, she, Shen Xifan, was a beauty to behold.


"Yes, I have a dinner party to attend shortly. You're having a blind date at such a young age?" he mused, a flicker of something she couldn't quite place, perhaps arrogance or disdain, crossing his eyes.


Shen Xifan didn't want to bother with him. What's so great about a rich bachelor? Hotels were full of them. She sulkily focused on her foie gras and cheesecake.


The "steed" seemed surprised. Shen Xifan's elegant demeanor immediately impressed him, and he began talking endlessly, from mother-son relationships to Iran's nuclear issue, finally ending with "What do you like?"


"Work!" she replied nonchalantly. "Can't help it, that's the life of a hotel manager – always thinking of the guests!"


Instead of feeling awkward, he found a topic, "Yes, work is good. I like working too..."


Shen Xifan pretended to check her watch, "Oh, I have a night shift. You all continue eating!"


With that, she strode off.


Shen's mother was furious. She had taken a liking to this "steed" and wanted to call Shen Xifan back, but the "steed" leapt up and chased after her.


"Miss Shen!" the "steed" called, "Please go out with me!"


Shen Xifan was so startled her face turned white. She shook her head, "Sorry, I don't have that plan right now!"


The "steed" continued, "Miss Shen is beautiful, has a good job, and is very ambitious. I appreciate that the most. Women should be financially independent. I can't stand those who rely on others..."


Seeing through his intentions, she felt like spitting blood but maintained a pitiful look, "Thank you, but I’m sick!"


The "steed" was shocked, "What illness? Is it serious?"


"Gynecological issues!" She raised the bag of Chinese medicine. "You know, in our hotel line of work, it's inevitable..."


Before she finished, the "steed" had dashed away. Shen Xifan walked gracefully for two steps, then rushed into the restroom, laughing uncontrollably while holding onto the wall.

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