RSH Stratagem 28: Be Yourself! (3)

Bai Fen knew she should probably let him have some more time but she also couldn’t help but remember the words of the God of Medicine. No, it was still best to get to the bottom of this so they could find a way to deal with this. “Why are you making things so difficult for yourself? How long do you know him now? Four years, five?”

“It’s not quite five.”

“That’s still long enough. You do like him, don’t you?”

Jing He’s eyes flickered, his heart pained once again. “He said … we were friends.” Just thinking back to that moment, he felt faint again. Just why? After he had fallen in love with him and finally found the courage to admit those feelings to himself, the dragon king suddenly pulled back. Wasn’t that what he had feared from the very beginning? He probably shouldn’t have allowed himself to feel like this.

Bai Fen coughed, her thoughts instantly jumping back to the conversation she had just had with Qiu Ling. Clearly, this man absolutely didn’t see Jing He as a friend. Or, well, even if he somehow did, he still wanted more. “You don’t believe that he really thinks of you like that, do you?”

Jing He kept mum in response. It had come as a surprise to him as well but maybe he had understood Qiu Ling’s intentions wrong. Maybe those feelings had already cooled before. It wouldn’t be strange considering how long he had made him wait. Who wouldn’t lose hope and move on? Just being friends was probably more than he deserved. Jing He’s gaze was still complicated but he tried to bear the pain in his heart and pretend it wasn’t there. “Maybe it’s better this way. He isn’t a god, after all.”

The Heavenly Empress tsked. This was clearly her husband’s fault. Otherwise, why would their child even think about this? Between some titled god and the dragon king, was one really better suited to be his partner than the other? “Don’t even start with that. I already said from the beginning that it wouldn’t be impossible. As long as you like him we’ll find a way.”

Jing He nodded but that couldn’t diminish the worry in his heart. No matter what he thought, what about the dragon king? “Mother … what if he really only thinks of me as a friend? Then …”

“Jing He, my child, he asked you to marry him. Would he do that if he just thought of you as a friend?” The answer should be obvious but apparently, it still needed to be pointed out to this son of hers. Jing He really was too pitiful. Wasn’t he a good catch? Why did he still worry about not being good enough?

Unfortunately, Jing He couldn’t see things the same way his mother did. The doubt even seemed to grow when she mentioned this matter. “Then … Then why did he say that?” Before this, the dragon king had always been straightforward. He couldn’t see a reason to suddenly say something he wouldn’t mean. So surely, his words had to be the truth. He didn’t know why it had suddenly happened but he was sure that this man wasn’t interested in him romantically any longer. He had already lost his chance. Just thinking of that …

Bai Fen didn’t know what exactly her son was thinking but with how he was able to worry himself to this state, she feared it couldn’t be anything good. She had to act quick! “Well, he’s a smart man. If he still hadn’t noticed that being direct won’t get him anywhere and changed his approach, then I would really reconsider if I want him as my son-in-law.”

“So you mean …”

“He’s obviously trying to win you over as a friend first before trying to talk you into marrying him again.” In any case, he had pretty much admitted before that he had been trying to take the pressure of Jing He. It could be said that he was indeed looking for a better approach. A pity that this had even exacerbated the problems. But that was nothing that a good talk on both sides couldn’t change.

Jing He smiled lightly. How good it would be if his mother was right. “So it’s like that.” Unfortunately, he still had some doubts.

“Mn. Most likely he’ll revert back to his old ways again soon anyway. You’ve shocked him quite a bit today. So don’t think too much. You don’t have to decide immediately but if you like him, then you shouldn’t avoid him. You know …” She slid closer and leaned forward with a smile, fully intent on paving the way for whatever the dragon king would be able to come up with later on. “I wasn’t the one who carried you to your bed when you collapsed.”

Jing He looked at Bai Fen in a daze, his thoughts not catching up for a moment. When he collapsed … Suddenly, he realized that the person closest to him at that time had to have been Qiu Ling. His cheeks flushed red and he had to avert his gaze, his heart hammering in his chest. “Mother!” He was too embarrassed to say anything more. He just hoped she would not say anything more. His heart likely wouldn’t be able to take it.

Bai Fen just chuckled and leaned back again. She had probably teased her son enough with that. She patted his hand with a faint smile still hanging on her lips. “Alright, mother won’t tease you any longer. He still hasn’t left so he’ll probably come by later to see how you’re doing. Do you want to prepare a bit?” She knew exactly how thin-skinned Jing He was. The thought of Longjun seeing him this way probably pained him enough. But at that time, it couldn’t have been changed and he had also been notably sick. Now though, he was awake again. He wouldn’t be able to take it to face him like that again.

Jing He wanted to speak up but didn’t quite know what to say. He did want to prepare before he saw that man again. At the very least, he should take a look in the mirror to see how bad things were. He should probably also get a change of clothes to make sure that he looked the best he currently could.

But … Qiu Ling was such a perceptive man. If he put in that much effort and actually made himself look presentable, he would notice for sure. He didn’t want that. Not only would it make the dragon king aware of the effort he had put in, but it would also highlight the difference to before. He would have to be even more embarrassed about his previous state.

All these thoughts rushed through Jing He’s mind and he felt like there was a lump in his throat. He wanted to look his best for the man he loved but he couldn’t. It made him feel quite reluctant. In that case, he could only avoid meeting him for now or at least facing him directly. “Maybe … Can we just close the curtains?”

Bai Fen sighed. She had asked him herself and she hadn’t really expected anything else but hearing him do just as expected still made her feel a bit reluctant. She still stood up to close the curtains of the bed though. Right now, her son wasn’t in a good state of mind. Agitating him would be the worst she could do so it was better to comply and also remind Longjun to do the same. She looked at her son’s thin figure that could be vaguely seen through the curtains and gave a wry smile. It would be nice if this whole matter could be solved soon. “Alright, then I’ll go and tell him that he can come in.”

“Mn. Thank you, mother.” Jing He listened to her receding steps and took a deep breath when he heard the door close. He didn’t know if seeing Qiu Ling was right or wrong. Until a few weeks ago, he had believed that it wouldn’t be a problem but … the more time they spent together the less he could control his thoughts. Now, matters were even more unclear between them than they had been before. Just where would this lead? Right now, he couldn’t tell at all.

« ToC »

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