Bai Fen smiled when she saw that he was finally considering the real issue. “You’re making it too easy on him.”
“That boy, he has grown up alone and, honestly, too pampered. He is … our only child so we wrapped him in cotton wool. Especially his father. Jing He … He didn’t know how to handle you in the beginning. Your approach was too forceful, too unrestrained. Someone like him who was always handled with special care wouldn’t know how to react. You scared him and he tried to retreat. He would have continued to do that if he wasn’t bound by our customs and the expectations he feels are placed on him. You only managed to wear his defenses down because you were so persistent.”
“I was.” Qiu Ling smiled. He was proud of that! After all, he had come up with so many plans and even though it had taken much longer than he had originally anticipated, he still hadn’t given up. That showed that he was the most suitable partner for his Jing He, didn’t it?
“Then do you feel that Jing He loves you?”
Qiu Ling pondered. Disregarding the fact that they hadn’t had much physical contact … “I do.”
Bai Fen smiled sweetly. “But you still haven’t kissed him, have you?”
Qiu Ling looked away, dismayed. Somehow, that grin on his mother-in-law’s face looked gleeful. Shouldn’t she want her son-in-law to make better progress? “So what do you want to say?”
“Jing He is taking you for granted.”
Qiu Ling raised his brows and turned back to face her.
“Since the day you met you’ve run over here nearly every day. And if it wasn’t every day, then it was every other day. And you’ve shown a lot of patience when it comes to him. He probably feels like … You would give him a hundred more years regardless of how he behaves.”
“And that’s the problem.”
Qiu Ling frowned. “Mother-in-law, I really can’t understand you today. How is that a problem? Shouldn’t you be glad that your son found such an understanding partner that will care for him regardless of the circumstances?”
“I am. But the worrisome thing here is my own son’s behavior. He is taking advantage of your attitude. Not knowingly but he instinctively does because it is convenient for him. As long as he doesn’t have to decide for you or against you he won’t. He’ll keep you exactly where you are now: One step away from him, where he can see you and bask in your presence but where he doesn’t have to acknowledge his own feelings for you.
“He’s feeling … too secure. He likes it the way it is now. He likes your care and the time he spends with you but he also likes the life he had before. There weren’t many people in his life. Actually, disregarding Rong Su and me, there is only his uncle. Everyone else would merely count as an acquaintance. He doesn’t want to risk one of these relationships.”
“You mean his father.”
“Mn.” Bai Fen nodded. “Rong Su doesn’t like you and he has made that clear to Jing He more than once. That boy is afraid of how it might affect his relationship with his father if he accepts you as his partner.”
Qiu Ling’s heart sank. “But that won’t change. His father won’t start to like me suddenly. He doesn’t even give me a chance.”
“Indeed. But that isn’t the issue at hand anyway. My husband will come to terms with it someday. The important thing now is to make clear to Jing He that he can’t stall you forever. He has to decide. Either you are important enough to him to risk having a fallout with his father … or you aren’t but then he can’t have you around.”
Qiu Ling gulped. He couldn’t help but fear that Jing He might choose the latter. “Then what if —”
Bai Fen shook her head. “You just said that you are sure he loves you. I think so too. He is just too comfortable with the status quo. You have to do something to show him the consequences of his behavior. Let him see where it could get him. Otherwise, he won’t understand that he is risking your future together.”
Qiu Ling looked at the ground. He didn’t want to hurt his beloved. And this would definitely hurt him. But he also understood that his mother-in-law was right. Jing He wouldn’t change his attitude if he didn’t do something. If he would do so without external pressure, then he would have long done it. But since almost everything had stayed the same for almost a decade …
Qiu Ling gritted his teeth and looked up at her, determination filling his eyes. “So what do you propose?” Even if it hurt Jing He, he had to do it this once. Afterward, he would make it up to him. He would pamper his beloved even more from then on, showing him that he had made the right decision.
“Let him feel what it is like to not have you around. And then see how he reacts.”
“You mean, I shouldn’t come over for a while?” Qiu Ling looked at her pitifully. Not coming over would hurt him just as much as it would hurt his beloved! Who would comfort him afterward?
Bai Fen cruelly nodded. “You either stay away for a while now or stay away forever later. If you choose the second option you might get an invitation to Jing He’s wedding someday. Just that the second name on it will not be yours.”
Qiu Ling clutched his chest. His mother-in-law was too vicious! “How long?”
“At least a week. Seeing how stubborn my son is, a month might even be better. Let him get anxious about it. We’ll see. Maybe he’ll even run over to the dragon realm.” She smiled.
This woman … Seeing her like this, Qiu Ling shuddered. Thankfully, she liked him! Otherwise, he never would have had a chance at getting Jing He.