Jing Yi sighed and tugged at Qiu Ling’s sleeve. “Let’s go back to the camp first?”
Qiu Ling raised his brows and looked around. “I didn’t find an animal yet.” He couldn’t help but feel bad again. Why had he only gathered firewood? They wouldn’t need that much firewood. At least not now. Ah, he should have caught that animal first!
Jing Yi shook his head and gave him a smile. “That’s not important. Don’t we still have some ingredients? We can just use those.” He didn’t believe that everything had already been used. They had taken some things from that village and also gathered everything edible that was growing around the path they took. That should be enough to last for a while.
“But I promised …” Qiu Ling looked pitiful. Not only had he promised, but he also felt that he should do his utmost for his beloved. How could he just let him eat the same things every day? No, he should hunt something for him every now and then!
“I don’t mind. It’s already very good that you thought of that. Now, you just couldn’t do it because something unexpected happened. Anyway, can’t you just try another day? That’d also count as making true on that promise.”
Qiu Ling pursed his lips but still nodded. “Tonight!”
“Alright, then tonight.” Although he couldn’t help but glance at the few patches of the sky that could be seen between the leaves. They had originally stopped at midday to take a break but now, a lot of time had passed. If they still ate something now, they might not continue today at all. Well, maybe that also wouldn’t be bad. They didn’t need to hurry that much. Traveling like this was also very nice.
The two of them returned to the place where they had wanted to set up camp and sat down again. Qiu Ling glanced at Jing Yi and finally took his hand. “So what happened? You seemed down before.”
Jing Yi sighed and looked at their hands. Even though Qiu Ling was often too direct and too sticky, he was at least very honest. He basically wore his heart on his sleeve. That was much better than how some other people behaved.
“You don’t want to talk about it?”
“That’s not it. I … I just don’t know where to even start explaining.” Jing Yi leaned against Qiu Ling’s shoulder and closed his eyes, thinking back to the years in the village. He had gone and talked with that old man so often and he had always thought that he understood him the best after his mother. To think that this person hadn’t been honest with him …
Jing Yi sighed again and opened his eyes, looking up at Qiu Ling. “Has there ever been a person you trusted a lot but then you found out that … things weren’t quite as they seemed?”
Qiu Ling had originally been listening for an opportunity to redeem himself but hearing this question, he couldn’t help but hesitate.
Jing Yi squeezed the hand he was still holding. “You don’t have to say if you don’t want to.”
“That … That’s not it.” Qiu Ling smiled wryly when he noticed that he had said the same as Jing Yi before.
“Then what is it?” Jing Yi still looked at him, wondering what Qiu Ling was thinking about. “Was it very bad?”
The hand he was holding trembled a bit in response, making him look at Qiu Ling with worry. It seemed, he had unwittingly brought up something Qiu Ling would have rather forgotten. It made him wonder just what had happened in his past but he didn’t dare ask.
Qiu Ling sighed. “It’s not that. Just that … I don’t know what to think about it. There once was … a woman who seduced my father.”
Jing Yi blinked his eyes. He had expected a lot of things but this had definitely not been among them. “She … was somebody you knew?”
Qiu Ling kept quiet for a moment, his gaze becoming distant. “It’s not that easy to say. We were … close. But at the same time, she was the person the furthest away from me. I guess I never knew her until I finally understood what was going on.”
“I’m sorry. It must have hurt to be used like that.”
Qiu Ling looked at him, smiling. If only that was all … “Well, it’s been a long time.”
“You said that the other time as well. But you’re not that old. How long could it be? It probably still hurts a lot.” Jing Yi rubbed the back of Qiu Ling’s hand, hoping to give him some comfort.
Qiu Ling turned around and then hugged him, closing his eyes. “It’s been a long time but … yeah, it still hurts to think about it. The worst thing is that I don’t know whom I should hate more: That woman for seducing him, the love of his life for being too stupid to hold onto him or … my father for actually deciding on the wrong person.”
Jing Yi bit his lip and then hugged Qiu Ling back. So not only had that woman tried to seduce his father, but it seemed she had also succeeded? That really must have hurt. And then Qiu Ling’s mother … Jing Yi stared blankly. He couldn’t imagine this at all.
If he thought of his parents … Well, most likely, there wouldn’t have been anyone who would have wanted to seduce his father but even if there was, he couldn’t imagine that his father would have let them do so. Even though they hadn’t had even nearly enough time with each other, he was sure that his father had loved his mother more than anything else in the world. He would have given his life for her. How could anybody have gotten between them?
But it seemed that this was precisely what had happened between Qiu Ling’s parents. That really made it difficult to find any words to comfort him.
In a sense, it might have been good that Jing Yi didn’t have the words to try because the things he imagined and the things that had actually happened were still far too much apart and Qiu Ling didn’t know how he should talk with him about it. After all, Jing He would remember all of this when he woke up and he could never be allowed to know the truth. Because if he did … who knew if there would ever be a wedding in their future? This secret … it could only be kept a secret until the very end.