In the end, Qiu Ling finally finished the bowl of noodles, making Jing Yi heave a sigh of relief. This had to mean that they’d be going back now, didn’t it? He cleared his throat and leaned over the table, giving a wry smile. “Are you finished? Then do we go back?”
“Mn!” Qiu Ling gave him a happy smile in return and got up, pulling Jing Yi to his feet as well. “Alright. I’m sure mother-in-law is already waiting for us.”
Jing Yi sighed once again but this time, there was a hint of resignation mixed in. “Qiu Ling, what did I tell you before coming here?”
Qiu Ling blinked his eyes and pondered. “That … You like Uncle Tang’s buns?”
Jing Yi stared at him, not sure how to react. He closed his eyes and touched the bridge of his nose, silently muttering to himself to calm down. In the end, he lowered his hand and looked at Qiu Ling, pondering how to say what he was thinking. “I’m being serious.”
“Yes. I believe that at once.” Which was what made this so difficult. One look into Qiu Ling’s eyes made it obvious that he meant every word of what he said and that he truly loved him. Unfortunately … “Come with me.” Jing Yi turned around and left, leading the way to his uncle’s house. If he could, he would have gone somewhere else but he didn’t want to have this talk in front of other people. It might be difficult enough for Qiu Ling to take it as it was.
Qiu Ling had no idea what was going on in Jing Yi’s head but he was more than happy to follow him around. Looking at this capital city while he was able to show himself made everything seem much better at once. Mn, he truly was blessed to be able to do this!
Jing Yi stopped in front of the door and turned to Qiu Ling, biting his lower lip. “This … This is my uncle’s house. I’ve lived here since my family moved to the capital city. My uncle is probably working right now but my aunt and my cousin might be at home. If you see them … try to be a little less … forthright, alright?”
Qiu Ling nodded. “Sure.” If that was what his beloved wanted him to do …
Jing Yi took a long look at him, not sure if he could trust him on this. In the end, there was nothing he could do though. He sighed and then led Qiu Ling inside, going to the room where he had stayed with his parents in the year that he had lived here. Luckily, neither his aunt nor his cousin could be seen anywhere so he didn’t have to go through the awkward introductions.
He motioned at a chair for Qiu Ling to sit down and then closed the door before joining him.
Qiu Ling smiled. “What is it, my love?”
Jing Yi smiled back wryly. “Exactly that. Qiu Ling … you’re really a good person. It’s just that … you’re being a bit too demanding for my taste. I already told you that I can’t just marry you. I’m really unsure about this whole thing right now and I need time to figure everything out. So until then, I can only ask you to take a step back. Don’t call me any sweet names, don’t act like my family is your family, don’t just hug me and touch me, alright?”
Qiu Ling’s face fell.
Jing Yi winced. He hated that look in his eyes. It really made him want to backpedal right away. He took a deep breath and told himself to stay strong. “This isn’t to say that there is no way for us to ever be together. It just means that I need some time to figure out my feelings. Just … Just let us be friends until then, alright?
“I can show you the capital. We can eat at the teahouse if you want to and go do something else you’d like to try. I don’t mind. I would really love to spend time with you. I just want to do it on my terms. As … friends. As two people who still want to find out what they want to do with their future. Alright?”
Qiu Ling pursed his lips. Actually … this wasn’t alright with him. He had needed to woo Jing He for ten years in the Nine Heavens, then — just when Jing He agreed to marry him — this stupid trial came between them. But, well, as a good lover, he had given in and agreed to marry after the trial was over.
He had followed him but, in turn, he had needed to wait fifteen years for Jing Yi to grow up enough to be able to marry. Now that he was at this age, he had thought that they could have a relationship for the time of the trial before Jing He returned home.
But it seemed that was still asking too much. He seemed to be damned to always have to wait.
Qiu Ling sighed and looked out of the window, wondering if maybe he was cursed or something. He just wanted to be with his beloved. Nothing more, nothing less. But somehow, something always got in the way of their happiness.
Well, whatever. His beloved wanted more time so he’d give him that time. He had done so for Jing He himself and he would do the same for his mortal reincarnation. He was willing to do anything for him.
“Alright. But … How long do you think you’ll need?”
Jing Yi looked at him, feeling a little guilty. “I’m not sure. Maybe … maybe give me until the end of this year when we return to the Yun Zou Sect?” He should be able to figure it out until then. If he still wasn’t sure after one year … he should probably reject him. Everything else would be unfair to Qiu Ling. It would mean to string him along. That wasn’t something he could do.