OMF V6C106 Just Wounded Pride?

Jinde also got up and went over to him, gently grabbing his arm. “So now we’ve come from admiring my beauty to the person that can make you happy?”
Xin Lan tensed. Ah … “You trapped me.”
Jinde chuckled in response and rubbed his arm. “I know you too well. Xin Lan, why can’t you be honest with me?”
“Do you really want me to be honest?”
“Yes. If you aren’t, then how will we find a solution?”
Xin Lan turned back around, his gaze slipping over the person in front of him. “I meant what I said before. I was in bad shape back then. You patched me up, body and mind. I admired your beauty, I delighted in your innocence. If not for the curse, I would have given it a try. But I found out about Chun Yin soon. It was merely a few weeks. Do you really think that would have been enough? I stayed at your side because of what you did for me. And then I stayed on because I felt that you were the right person to lead our race. I sincerely admired you. After that … I stayed because you needed me and because I thought of you as a friend.
“Who knows when things started to change? When did friendship turn into love? I don’t know. I only know that it wasn’t my only reason to be at your side. It wasn’t back then and it isn’t now. So don’t try to think on my behalf. Guessing and guessing what I want, what I’ll feel … You won’t figure it out anyway.”
“Xin Lan …”
“No.” Xin Lan shook his head but he didn’t step back again. Instead, he stepped closer. “I didn’t mind that you rejected me. Between Chun Yin and me, there was never a choice for you. You had to do so. You had to wait for him. You had to accept him when he was reborn. I understand, I accept. It is your fate. It is how things should be.
“If there is one thing … one thing I couldn’t accept, then … it was never about Chun Yin. No, what hurt me, that was that unholy pact you made with Jian Heng.”
Jinde closed his eyes and this time, it was he who wanted to step back. Xin Lan didn’t let him though. He grabbed him by the arms and pulled him back, peering at his face.
“I understand. I do. I wasn’t an option because you knew how much Chun Yin hated me, hated the thought of anything ever developing between us. It would have been like cheating on him. And there was nobody else suitable in the dragon race either because you couldn’t gauge the consequences. They would expect you to marry them, expect to stand at your side. And you … were still afraid that Chun Yin might hear. Even though he was married, even though he had a child with somebody else, you still feared his thoughts, his hate. That was always your reason.
“What other way was there but to accept Jian Heng’s proposal and take his child? But you should have known that a demon can’t be trusted. You should have known it would end like this. So why … Why did you still accept? Why did you try so much with Jin Ling? It … it could have been me.” He reached up and brushed Jinde’s hair back. “I didn’t expect anything from you. I just … hoped for …”
Jinde opened his eyes and stared at him. “What? For what, Xin Lan?” He gave a dry laugh and pulled out of his grasp. “You say you understand. So how can you still ask?”
“Because I feel that … even with our story, I should have been a better choice than a demon. We could have kept it secret. Just like …”
Jinde walked back to the desk and sat down, shaking his head incessantly. “So is this merely about your ego? Because I decided not to ask you? But instead went along with what Jian Heng promised and asked in return?”
Xin Lan didn’t dare to answer. It was nice to say he wouldn’t have had expectations and that this was really just his wounded pride. But he wasn’t too sure if it was the truth. He had already loved Jinde at that point. And if they really joined for the ritual and he saw his child with the person he loved everyday … His pride might not have allowed him to keep quiet forever. And even if … his appearance was too distinct, wasn’t it?
Jinde smiled when he saw his expression. “You finally understand? It’s not that I never thought about it. It’s just that … there were too many things speaking against it. Jian Heng … He was a demon. It’s known they don’t love. Whether it’s their partners or their families …” He laughed. “They don’t even have a concept of that. With all the children he had … which of them wasn’t used to stay in power? To secure his position? Or killed if he deemed them a hindrance? Giving up one of them and leaving him with me … of course, he wouldn’t mind. That child … it was the only one in the world, that I could have completely to me.”
“But was it worth it?”
Jinde got up and sighed, slowly getting back. “It didn’t turn out well. Having to exile Jin Ling … was the hardest decision I ever made. And I would give everything to turn back time, to make sure that Jian Heng can’t mess with him again, to let him stay that sweet and innocent child he was forever so that I can keep him by my side. But it’s too late. Now, I can only come to terms with the past, put those things behind me and look ahead. And I … hope you can do so too.”
He stopped in front of Xin Lan and his lips curved into a smile. He reached up and his fingers curled around his lapel while he slowly stood on tiptoes. Their lips brushed, their breaths mixed before he finally let go and turned away.
“Let’s go see that fallen god. I want to heal my soul … and have that child with Jin Yu.”
Xin Lan reached up and touched his lips. That … “What was that?”
Jinde didn’t even look back. “A turn-off.”

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