Even though Qiu Ling was a bit unhappy, he still pulled back when he realized that Jing He’s mood had changed. He definitely wouldn’t force his beloved to do anything. Even though he wanted things to go faster, he was also willing to wait.
Anyway, he didn’t doubt that sometime in the future, the two of them would manage to make it work. He didn’t know how exactly it would happen but he was sure that it would happen. That was just a matter of course. After all, they were definitely a match made in Heaven just like his beloved had asked before.
With these thoughts, Qiu Ling pulled back and even made sure to straighten out Jing He’s clothes, finally pulling him to his feet while he put his mask back on. “I guess somebody will be coming over to tell us that the act is over. I guess we should get going then. Unless … you want to continue to watch?”
Jing He had already lowered his head again, still reeling from what had just happened. He didn’t dare to give any answer and just shook his head. It wasn’t that he hadn’t enjoyed the play and wouldn’t want to see more of it but he really didn’t trust himself that things wouldn’t go even more awry if he didn’t put an end to it immediately.
Qiu Ling wasn’t too surprised. He just nodded and then pulled him toward the door.
At that moment, the voice of a servant already rang outside. “Dear guests, there will be a break of half an hour until the next play starts. Would you like some refreshments or is there any other wish we can fulfill?”
Qiu Ling opened the door with a smile that was hidden below the mask. “That won’t be necessary. I’m afraid we have made quite a bit of trouble for your establishment. The two of us will take our leave now. I do have to admit that we were very happy though. The play was very good.”
The servant looked at them with some surprise, clearly not having expected that. “That … I see. Then I wish the guests a safe journey home.”
Qiu Ling happily smiled and then reached over to Jing He, taking his hand. “I’m sure that we will have that.”
His gaze lingered on Jing He’s figure when he said so, making the Son of Heaven lower his head even further. He just didn’t know what to say to this.
The two of them left the establishment and went back onto the street. Even though the play had taken a few hours, they had gone out early so it wasn’t too late yet and there were still several hours left for them to enjoy the festival.
Qiu Ling turned to Jing He, slightly squeezing his hand. “What else would you like to do?”
Jing He pondered for a moment. To be honest, he would’ve liked to just return home so there wouldn’t be any more surprises today but he also knew that that would be more than just a little impolite. Thus, he did give it some thought. “I think there should be some games. Maybe Longjun would want to take part in one of them?”
Qiu Ling didn’t answer and just looked at Jing He.
After a few moments, Jing He couldn’t help but glance up. “Did I … Did I say something wrong just now?” Just why was the dragon king looking at him like this?
Qiu Ling smiled in response to that. “You didn’t say anything wrong per se. But …” He pulled him closer, his breath brushing over the mask Jing He was wearing. “Right now, neither am I the dragon king nor are you the Son of Heaven. We are just a couple from one of the Nine Heavens. Isn’t that right? In that case, you probably shouldn’t be calling me by my title. People might hear and misunderstand.”
Jing He tensed as soon as Qiu Ling stepped closer and it didn’t get any better when he mentioned being a couple. Still, he faintly nodded at what he was saying. Indeed. It had been thoughtless of him to do that. “Thank you for the reminder. Then I will refrain from using it from now on.”
Qiu Ling gave a happy hum and then leaned in even closer, his lips almost touching Jing He’s ear. “Just call me by my name then. Qiu Ling.”
Jing He hesitated a bit. The request was reasonable considering the circumstances but he didn’t know if he would be able to bring himself to speak to the dragon king so casually. It wasn’t really polite, was it? And … it seemed far too familiar. It would just blur the line between them further.
Qiu Ling didn’t force him either. He just stayed close to him and waited for Jing He to decide. Anyway, they had the whole day. If he managed to have him abandon his title and call him by his name from now on, then that would be a major step in the right direction.
Jing He finally glanced up and his lips parted. “Qiu Ling.”
Qiu Ling tensed and then grabbed Jing He’s waist, pulling him closer. “You know, hearing my name from your lips … I had no idea that would be such a beautiful feeling.”
Jing He hurriedly looked away and tried to pull out of his arms. “Didn’t we want to take a look at the games?”
Qiu Ling watched him with a smile and then reached out, taking his hand again. “We wanted to. Jing He.”
Jing He froze, his gaze finally traveling back to Qiu Ling. He should’ve expected that. Somehow, he was still surprised. It seemed that his mind just wasn’t flexible enough. “Then … We should probably go.”
Qiu Ling nodded and then stepped closer again, finally pulling Jing He down the street. “Do you know where we need to head to?”
Jing He failed to react in time. He had been watching Qiu Ling’s back, lost in thought. He couldn’t help but think of the play they had just seen together. The actor that had played Tian had had this kind of back: Broad and slightly muscular, giving one a sense of security. It seemed that despite what he might have thought before, not only the dragons valued strength.
Qiu Ling glanced over his shoulder, only to find Jing He staring at him, lost in thought. He drew in a breath and hurriedly turned back around, walking forward without any clear goal in mind.
That gaze just now … He wasn’t sure if it was wishful thinking but it had seemed quite meaningful. Could it be … was Jing He finally falling for him? Well, he had never had any doubt that one day, this would happen. He was just surprised that it was happening today of all days. Had he done something special that made Jing He suddenly fall head over heels for him?
The longer he pondered that question, the more he felt that there could only be one explanation: He was just a naturally irresistible man and after lying in his arms for a few hours, even his beloved finally wasn’t able to stay unperturbed. Yes, that had to be it.
Qiu Ling’s lips curved up. In that case, their wedding couldn’t be far! He should keep up being so irresistible.