Xin Lan closed the door behind them and then pulled Hua Lin Yu back into his arms, hugging him tightly. He leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “I missed you terribly today.”
Hua Lin Yu gave a faint smile but inside, he was still an anxious mess. “I … missed you too.”
Xin Lan gave a hum, continued to embrace him for a while longer, and then slowly loosened his grip. He did not let go completely though. Instead, he kept one arm around his waist and then turned him around, making Hua Lin Yu face him. “Do you remember how back when we were still in the mortal realm, you came over the morning after I asked your father to allow me to marry you? You and your brother came in and you saw me look at something. It was an old necklace and you asked whether it was a present for you.”
Hua Lin Yu nodded, completely confused as to what Xin Lan was trying to get at. “I do remember that day.”
“That necklace wasn’t for you. I said it was just something old and that I would get you something else, something especially for you.” He kept quiet for a moment and then raised his hand, showing Hua Lin Yu what he was holding. “Back then, I never followed up on it but I feel like it is time now.
“This is something that I’ve put together in the last three years. It was made with you in mind. From the materials that are used, to actually creating it, everything was done by my hands.”
Hua Lin Yu looked at the piece of jewelry. It was not a necklace like the one he had seen back then. Instead, it was an earring, one that looked like it might be able to fit him exactly. It was beautiful, silver with a row of dark blue gems at the edge and a single white stone at the position of his earlobe. The silvery base was formed a little bit like the claws of a dragon and reminded him of Xin Lan. This definitely was a very beautiful piece and he could see just how much effort had gone into it, even more so the longer he looked at it.
Xin Lan grabbed his hand when he didn’t react any further and put the earring on his palm, closing his fingers around it. “We spent three years here now. While we did not travel as much as we originally intended to do, we have been living together for these three years.
“I feel that in all of this time, the two of us have gotten closer. By now, I feel that we understand each other much better. We know how to behave around each other, how to make this work between us. I think that it might be time to return to the mortal realm and ask your family for their blessing again.”
Hua Lin Yu looked from up from where he had still been staring at the earring, the shock evident in his eyes. “Return? Now?”
Xin Lan nodded, looking at him with anticipation. “Yes, don’t you think it has been enough time? In the dragon realm, three years have gone by. It might not seem like a lot but I’m sure that it is enough for us to get to know each other well enough. And, on the other hand, it has already been a thousand years in the mortal realm. Your family is probably already going crazy at not having both you and your brother there all this time. I’m sure that they really want us to go back now.”
While he would like to only be with Hua Lin Yu and not have anyone else around, he also understood that first of all, they should spend some time with his family. He should probably give them a year or two for that. Then after that, returning to his estate was how he saw their future, at least for some time.
After being together for some time and enjoying themselves as a newly-wedded couple, they could go and spend time in the human realm again and then travel the immortal realms. By that time, Hua Lin Yu would probably be of a high enough level that there wasn’t much he would need to be worried about either even if he left his side for a moment. It sounded like the perfect plan.
Hua Lin Yu looked at him, not sure what to say. His thoughts were racing. This was what he wanted, right? This was what he had been working toward, right? He wanted to marry him, didn’t he?
He looked at his fiance’s face and then at the earring in his hand, feeling a sense of dread rise up in him. Yes, this was the man he had promised his future to. But why was it that when he thought of leaving the dragon realm, of leaving the dragon king’s palace, and maybe not returning here for who knew however long, that he didn’t feel happy at all? Why was it that he wasn’t actually looking forward to that wedding as much anymore? It felt almost as if … he was making a mistake here.
He looked back up, his face a little pale. He didn’t know what to say under Xin Lan’s anticipating gaze though. If he told him, he would break his heart. But if he didn’t tell him, he’d break his own heart.
Xin Lan pulled him closer, his smile becoming more pronounced. “What is it? Don’t tell me you’re speechless? Did you think I would forget about it? I promised to marry you. And now … I really don’t want to wait much longer. If I could, I’d marry you right this instance.” He leaned closer but before he could actually kiss him, Hua Lin Yu suddenly twisted out of his grab, the earring he had given him falling to the ground.
Xin Lan stared at him in a daze, not understanding what was going on.
Hua Lin Yu looked back, his gaze flitting about. “I … I’m sorry.” He couldn’t explain, he just dashed past him, out of the room, and run away. He didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know what to do. He just knew that he could not stay there for even a single moment longer. If he did … he really didn’t know what would happen.