The banquet proceeded. The few guests toasted the newly-wedded couple and their parents, extending their well-wishes, and conversed with each other. Yu Huang Rong and Zhang Shi Lan kept to themselves when nobody approached them, giving off the feeling as if they were indeed looking forward to this marriage and hadn’t been forced into this by His Majesty’s decree.
When they noticed this, the guests couldn’t help but glance over to the person sitting close to the old General and his wife. He hadn’t brought anyone with him other than one guard. Was this a show of faith to the Yu family? Was he trying to make amends for what had happened before? Or could it be that the rumors had been untrue from the beginning?
People wondered and wondered but nobody could figure out what the truth was and finally, they could only talk about other things.
Meanwhile, the young couple shared a glance.
Yu Huang Rong smiled. “Have you savored the taste enough yet?”
Zhang Shi Lan took a last sip from his cup and put it down. His heart fluttered when he looked back up at Yu Huang Rong. “Mn, enough.”
Yu Huang Rong took both his hands, gently rubbing his fingertips with his thumb. “Let’s go then.” He got up and pulled Zhang Shi Lan to his feet as well.
The guests jeered but Yu Huang Rong and Zhang Shi Lan just smiled.
Yu Huang Rong waved. “Please continue to enjoy the banquet. We will … retire for now.” He didn’t wait for an answer and just pulled Zhang Shi Lan with him out of the room and toward the bridal chamber, ignoring the jeering behind them.
Zhang Shi Lan glanced over his shoulder and chuckled. “I thought they’d have more trouble accepting it but they seemed quite normal.”
“Mn, let’s hope that it’s really because they accepted it and not just because they were trying to cover up their true thoughts.”
By now, they had reached the door. Zhang Shi Lan tugged at Yu Huang Rong’s hand and wrapped his arms around his neck when he turned around. “Don’t worry. Even if they find it strange now, they’ll get used to it with time. In a few years, nobody will bat an eye at this.”
“I know. It’s just … I’d be happy if I could give you more.” Yu Huang Rong kissed his lover’s cheek and then nodded at the door. “Should we …?”
Zhang Shi Lan nodded and followed him inside. Yu Huang Rong turned around to him and pushed the door, making it fall shut behind them. He pulled Zhang Shi Lan into his arms and gazed into his eyes.
The two of them slowly leaned closer to each other, their lips meeting halfway. Their eyes closed unwittingly. Zhang Shi Lan reached up, his fingers brushing through Yu Huang Rong’s hair, playing with the strands while Yu Huang Rong encircled his waist, his hands slowly brushing down. He pulled Zhang Shi Lan closer until their bodies seemed to stick together. Their lips separated and both of them took a few shallow breaths.
“I think we’re supposed to drink the nuptial wine first.”
“We are. But …” Yu Huang Rong tilted his head and his lips brushed Zhang Shi Lan’s cheek. “Can you really wait that long? We could just drink it tomorrow morning. I really don’t think …” He shifted uncomfortably, making Zhang Shi Lan laugh.
“Ah, I see already. You really can’t wait anymore.”
Yu Huang Rong gave an embarrassed smile. “It’s not my fault. We were living and sleeping together for two weeks and I wasn’t allowed to do anything. Then I had to be two weeks without you next to me when I slept. Now, we’ve had the ceremony and I needed to sit through that damned banquet. How long am I supposed to wait?”
Zhang Shi Lan chuckled and pecked his lips. “It’s just a cup of wine. And … it’s a special wine, isn’t it? A special wine and a special day. Do it for me, alright? I want to have a real wedding with everything that’s part of it.”
Yu Huang Rong looked up at the ceiling and sighed heavily as if he was making a huge sacrifice. “I’m only doing this because I love you so much.”
“I’m marrying you because I love you so much.” Zhang Shi Lan kissed his lover’s jaw and tugged at his hand, leading him over to the table where the jar and the cups were already standing.
Yu Huang Rong walked behind him, his gaze unabashedly sizing him up. Mn … Just a few moments longer.
Zhang Shi Lan shook his head with a smile and poured the cups for the two of them, handing one to Yu Huang Rong while he picked up the other one. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Alright. I guess we shouldn’t make too many words around this.”
Yu Huang Rong nodded. “Indeed. We should drink the wine and then make love. That’s what we should do. Actions speak louder than words.” He reached out and the two of them linked their arms, drinking the wine, their gazes never leaving each other’s eyes.
Yu Huang Rong took Zhang Shi Lan’s cup when they finished and put both of them onto the table before his hands returned to where they had been before. “Mn … I feel … very blessed.”
“I don’t think that was the word you were searching for.” Zhang Shi Lan said so but he still brushed Yu Huang Rong’s chest and then lightly tugged at his belt. He wasn’t shy about this. Even though he had mostly fantasized about this man since falling in love and even though he had been embarrassed when they first got to know each other in the matchmaking pavilion, they had already been a couple for several months now and had even gone through the wedding ceremony. What reason was there to act coy now? This was the last rite for their wedding. Tomorrow morning, when they woke together and left this room, they would do so as a married couple.
The belt was opened and put to the side, a pair of slender hands wrapping around the lapel of the robe and pulling it apart. Those soft lips kissed the corner of Yu Huang Rong’s lips, his jaw and finally his collarbone.
Yu Huang Rong sighed, his fingers reaching up. He pulled the hairpin out of Zhang Shi Lan’s hair, making the strands he had pulled back in the morning fall over his shoulders and frame his beautiful face.
Yu Huang Rong took a long look. “I still can’t believe it.”
Zhang Shi Lan glanced up, his lips curving up. “There’s only one way to make you believe then I guess.” He pushed the red robe off Yu Huang Rong’s shoulders and nudged his chest.
Yu Huang Rong didn’t understand at first and continued to look at him in silence. Zhang Shi Lan laughed and nudged him again, even nodding at the bed behind him. Yu Huang Rong was startled awake. He stepped back and sat down on the edge, reaching out to take Zhang Shi Lan onto his lap.
Since his lover was so straightforward, he also didn’t need to hold back. He cradled him in his arms, brushed his hair back behind his shoulder and gently traced the arc of his neck and the slender line of his shoulder and torso.
Zhang Shi Lan arched his back, stretching his chest toward Yu Huang Rong. His lover watched and his hand pressed against Zhang Shi Lan’s lower back. He opened the red belt with the other hand, carefully putting it to the side. He had thought that he wouldn’t be able to hold back and would rush through this but now that he held Zhang Shi Lan in his arms, he couldn’t help but want to do just as he had said before: Savor every moment.
The silk ran through his fingers, the fabric so soft he almost feared it was an illusion. He took a shaky breath and put the robe aside before carefully putting Zhang Shi Lan down on the bed. The warmth of his lover’s skin spread below his hands and filled his mind. When he leaned down to kiss him, the light scent of flowers enveloped him that still clung to Zhang Shi Lan’s body from a herbal bath he had taken yesterday to relax. Fingers brushed through his hair, lightly scratching the back of his head before they held onto his shoulders and a relieved sigh escaped Zhang Shi Lan’s lips.
With the waning light outside, Yu Huang Rong embraced his lover as gently as possible.
Both of them forgot about everything else. There was only their warmth, only each other’s scent, only the sound of their skin rubbing together and their quickened breath in their ears. The taste of salty tears and sweat filled Yu Huang Rong’s mouth, while Zhang Shi Lan clung to him with his eyes closed.
And finally, only their heartbeat remained.
Yu Huang Rong lazily glanced at the window and the night sky on the other side before he turned back to the side, pulling the blanket over them to make sure Zhang Shi Lan wouldn’t be cold when their sweat had dried. “Husband,” he whispered and Zhang Shi Lan also cracked his eyes open.
“General Yu … what’s the meaning of this, ah? I actually thought I’d have to put up with you calling me your wife from now on.”
Yu Huang Rong turned back onto his side and watched his lover’s fatigued face. “You don’t have to put up with anything. Whatever you want, whatever you don’t want — just tell. Your husband will do it or let it be just as you want him to.”
Zhang Shi Lan gave a small smile. “Not even a whole night has passed since we’ve gotten married and you’re already indulging me. What’s going to happen in a few years?”
“The whole capital of our Chen country will gossip about how Yu Huang Rong is a mighty General on the battlefield but a hen-pecked husband at home.”
Zhang Shi Lan wrapped his arms around his lover’s waist and snuggled up against his chest. “I truly don’t know who of us should be more embarrassed about this.”
“Neither.” Yu Huang Rong fondly rubbed the back of his lover’s head. “This is something that was bound to happen. From the moment I stepped into that pavilion at the bank of the Fen Hua river, there was no escape.”
“I guess so.” Zhang Shi Lan couldn’t help but laugh. “Actually, it’s quite a coincidence, isn’t it? I fell in love with you at the banks of the Fen Hua river back when I was just thinking about how that river is like life: Bubbling forth from a spring, making its way through the world until it finally reaches the sea, encountering all these people and things happening around it, some mere acquaintances or short glimpses while others will accompany it for a long, long time. Just like a person’s life.
“And our lives have been accompanied by the Fen Hua river in a special way. It is the place where we met and the place where the two of us finally found out about the other’s feelings. And now, it’s even the place where we will spend the rest of our life together. That does make it a special place, wouldn’t you think so?”
Yu Huang Rong nodded. “It is. It’s our place. Our special place. And it’ll be forever. Just like us.”
And … this is the end of MYMMP. I hope you liked this story! I would appreciate a comment with your thoughts if you have the time 😉
Now, what can you expect of me next? Actually, I’ve already announced this a while ago but here’s a short reminder: You might remember that I originally posted MYMMP on Patreon and then made it public after it was finished. I’m keeping to that pattern and – here’s the good news: I have already started the next story over there and we’re about 1/3 through! ❤
This new adventure is called “Husband, Let’s Meet IRL” and as the title might tell you, it’s going to have to do with Online Gaming. It’ll take place both in our ‘real world’ and in the world of a fantasy game and deals with two online-husbands and their first RL-date.
I hope you’ll check in again when the story starts over hereor maybe even come and check it out on Patreon if you can spare a dollar or two 😉
Now, I wish you a happy day and don’t forget to post that comment you came up with! :p