Not even halfway through the song, Jing He’s cheeks flushed slightly. And under the dragon king’s fervent gaze, they reddened even further the longer he played. Being stared at by the man he liked … Naturally, that would not leave him without a reaction.
Not to mention the visible one, the invisible one was even worse. His thoughts were all over the place, his feelings complicated. He was somewhat embarrassed, afraid to make even the slightest mistake in front of this man and embarrassing himself even further.
On the other hand, he also felt a little proud and wanted to show off. This was the man he admired, the man he wanted to call his husband one day in the future. He knew it was an unlikely future but why couldn’t he give himself to that illusion just once?
In that case, he wanted to impress him as well as he could. He wanted the dragon king to think that he was the most beautiful, most gentle, most talented in not only the capital but the whole of the Nine Heavens. He wanted him to think that he was without comparison anywhere, that only he would be the one eligible to stand at his side. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Jing He’s hands trembled slightly when he thought of that. This kind of desire … he should be without it. Just this alone showed more than well enough that he was none of the things that he pretended to be. If compared to any of the other people, he was obviously of low character, unable to have a truly good thought.
Why would he compare himself to others so much? He should just be content with himself like Xing had been. That was the kind of person that was admirable. Somebody that was actually good from the depth of this heart. As for him … No, he wasn’t like that at all. He was reprehensible. If the dragon king ever saw his true face, he would surely look down on him.
Just the faint notion of that made Jing He miss a beat and the melody went awry. Instantly, he grew flustered and then took back his hands, hiding them in his lap. His whole face flushed red and he lowered his head in shame. “I’m sorry. I … My thoughts must have wandered off.”
Qiu Ling still looked at him and was a little slow to react. The melody had been wonderful but even more wonderful was what he saw. And he definitely hadn’t failed to notice Jing He’s reaction to his gaze. Seeing him so flustered now, he could imagine what the reason for this small mishap was. Needless to say, he didn’t mind. He welcomed it.
He smiled to himself and then got up in a fluid motion, walking the few steps over to the other side of the table. He reached out and gently grabbed Jing He by the shoulder, leaning down. “It must be because you are still sick. Maybe you haven’t rested enough. I’m sorry. I probably should not have asked you to play for me today. In that case … let me help you.”
Jing He wanted to reject and say that he was alright but the dragon king had already started to pull him up, not waiting for his response.
To both of their surprise, Jing He actually swayed a little when he was on his feet. Qiu Ling hurriedly reached out further, grabbing him by the elbow and pulling him up against his chest. Jing He reached out with a light yelp, his hands coming to rest on the dragon king’s upper arm, clutching him tightly and noticing the discernible muscles below the fabric. Immediately, his face that had just slightly returned to a more normal color flushed red once again.
“I …” He wanted to say something, to explain what had just happened but he couldn’t even reason with himself. It was just that somehow, his legs had gone weak with the dragon king so close to him.
Qiu Ling didn’t need an explanation. Anyway, he always felt that everything going on with Jing He definitely had to do with him. So naturally, this had to be because Jing He wanted to lean into his embrace. Thinking of that made him really happy. With that thought in his mind, he naturally would do his beloved the favor and entertain him for a while longer.
He pulled Jing He closer, putting both arms around his waist. “Don’t you worry, I’ll support you.” He wanted to pull him over to the bed but Jing He resisted slightly. Qiu Ling stopped, not quite sure what the meaning was of this. “What’s the matter?”
“Longjun doesn’t need to do this. Just let me sit down again. I will be better after a moment.” For the most part, he just needed to get out of the dragon king’s embrace. Most likely, he would feel normal again then. Although … he actually loathed having to step out of his arms. If only he could pretend a moment longer. Just one instance would be enough.
Thankfully, Qiu Ling’s thoughts were in line with his for once. He held Jing He up, actually shifting his arm so that Jing He’s weight mostly rested on him and didn’t seem to want to let him sit down at all. Instead, he questioned him further. “Are you sure about this? If you are really sick, then you should definitely lie down. Didn’t the God of Medicine tell you to rest some more? Maybe it wasn’t enough.
“Don’t worry about me, I can just bring you over. Also, if you don’t want to be left alone, I can stay with you.” Seeing that they were already so close and that the situation was quite good, Qiu Ling raised one hand and cupped Jing He’s cheek, his fingertips brushing over his cheekbone. “You seem a little pale. It really would be better to lie down.”
Jing He wanted to shake his head but just one movement made his cheek fit even more snugly into the dragon king’s hand, giving him pause. He raised his gaze to the man’s face and his own face flushed once again.
Qiu Ling looked at him and then leaned closer, his breath brushing Jing He’s face. Just a bit more and their lips would touch.
Both of them were a little breathless when that thought came up. Neither of them shied away. Jing He stayed where he was, telling himself that since he pretended to be weak, he might as well let it happen. He could pretend afterward that there had been no way for him to refuse. Wouldn’t that be great? He could do as he wanted to without risking his image in the dragon king’s mind. It was like a dream come true.
He wanted with his heart beating wildly. Just when he could almost feel Qiu Ling’s skin on his, steps sounded outside and an all too familiar voice rang out.
Qiu Ling closed his eyes and cursed under his breath. “Would it be too much if I just carried you out of here in my arms?” He really wanted to take his beloved away and just go through with it somewhere else. The situation had been too favorable.
Just the thought of that made Jing He’s legs go weak once again and he almost collapsed in Qiu Ling’s arms. Yes, right now, he would not have minded. In any case, who would believe he could have refused?
Unfortunately, Qiu Ling was overcome with a rare sense of rationality. He sighed, helped him to sit down, and then proceeded to the other chair, sitting down and even pulling the instrument over as if nothing had happened.
What a pity. This ploy of making use of his beloved’s weak moment had unfortunately been thwarted by that old man again. Well, at the very least, he could say for sure that his previous attempts hadn’t been in vain. His beloved was very obviously not indifferent to him any longer. Instead, it seemed like he only needed another push before he would gladly marry him.