Bai Fen wrapped her hands around her cup of tea, quietly watching her son and Qiu Ling in the garden. “You know, sometimes I wonder if we made the right choice with urging Jing He in this direction.”
Qiang Yan gave a hum, knowing exactly what his sister was talking about. “If you look at him like this now, it’s hard to imagine what kind of condition he was in just last year.”
His sister nodded and sighed, finally retracting her gaze and looking at the pale green tea in her cup instead. “He has always been prone to overthinking. And to be honest, at the moment, that scares me a bit. When he was younger, what was there to think about? Now, with Longjun at his side, these are many things he will be doubtful about.”
“It’s not that strange, is it? It’s his first relationship. And knowing him, it will likely be his last.”
Bai Fen sighed once again when he said that, her doubt only intensified. Yes, after falling in love, he probably wouldn’t be able to extricate himself. Wasn’t that what had brought last year’s situation about in the first place?
Considering that the dragon king’s interest hadn’t waned at all, that might be a good thing. But then, there was also a great risk involved. “I can’t help but fear that something like this will happen again.
“You know, at that time, Longjun wasn’t acting maliciously. He thought he was doing the right thing by giving him a bit of space but, in the end, what happened? And such misunderstandings are easy to come by. Next time, will the fallout be just as big? That’s what I’m worried about.”
Qiang Yan nodded while his gaze also followed the two people over there. Jing He was watering the plants in his garden, just like he had done before, but Qiu Ling was slowly following him, his gaze not straying from Jing He’s figure for even a moment.
“I know what you mean. The more you care about something, the easier it is to be influenced by it. With how Jing He feels for Longjun, every change in his demeanor will be a potential point of worry for him. But then, the more time they spent together, the more experiences they make, the less likely it is that the results will be this grievous again. After all, by now, he should know that he doesn’t need to worry as much, right?”
“Knowing it in your mind and feeling it in your heart is still different though.” Bai Fen finally picked up the cup of tea, taking a sip. “Well, at the very least, it seems that they are on a good path. I won’t get in-between them. At this point, that would only make things worse.”
Qiang Yan gave a hum. “I know. By now, I don’t think that there is any chance to come back from this anymore. Sooner or later, they’ll end up together.”
At that, Bai Fen chuckled and turned to look at her brother. “Do you want to make a bet just how far away that ‘sooner or later’ will be?”
The corners of Qiang Yan’s mouth quirked up as well. “How long has it been now? Six years? I’m afraid that we shouldn’t be joking about this. The rate of them getting closer seems to have become a bit faster but if they continue like this, I doubt they’ll manage to get together in below ten years.”
Bai Fen laughed and shook her head. “Even if they speed up, I’m afraid they won’t. That is the soonest date I can imagine. Things happening faster … no, I don’t believe it. On the other side though, there is an eternity ahead of us. It could be they’ll take their sweet time.”
Qiang Yan gave a hum and grabbed the teapot, pouring himself another cup. “Mn, true. I’d say the longest should be a century though. Or do you think they’d take longer?”
Bai Fen raised a brow at him and shook her head. “No, I don’t think they would. Jing He could but Longjun? Never. After ten years, he will get antsy and double his efforts again. And by that time, I don’t think that Jing He will be able to keep his calm the same way he did before. After all, it’s not like in the beginning. He likes him. In fact, I don’t think it’s too much to say that he loves him by now. After being showered with affection for so long, I’m pretty sure that he also won’t be able to keep a cool head all the time. No, at this point, whatever Longjun does will have a good effect.”
Qiang Yan looked over there, taking in the faint curve of Jing He’s lips, and the gorgeous robe he had decided on for today, and he couldn’t help but silently agree with his sister.
Yes, when it came to Jing He’s feelings, they were deep enough that the influence would be strong. While that would mean worry on one side, it also meant that the impact of the dragon king’s actions was higher in a positive way as well. Of course, that should speed up the process of them getting together. Hopefully, he would make use of that.
While the two of them worried about the young couple, Qiu Ling was following some thoughts of his own.
To say that he wasn’t a little anxious after six years of pursuing the same person and not making as much progress as hoped would be a lie. But then, when thinking about it more closely, actually, the progress was pretty big, wasn’t it? From a time when Jing He had been trying to politely refute him, to a state where they could harmoniously stroll through the garden like this, just quietly enjoying each other’s company or maybe talking for a while … he had to say that the difference was stark. Of course, he still wanted more than that but for the time being, he was quite satisfied.
He smiled at Jing He and glanced up at the sky. “The weather has been nice recently.”
Jing He looked up as well and then glanced at the plants around them before he nodded. “It has. It’s good weather for the flowers.”
Qiu Ling gave a hum and inched a little closer. “I think it’s also the perfect weather for an outing. What do you think?”
Jing He looked up, not quite sure what to think of that. Of course, he would be thrilled about being able to spend time with Qiu Ling but then, spending time alone together was also dangerous.
After the time when he had been sick and Qiu Ling had accompanied him every single day, his feelings had only become deeper. Also, at that time, too many boundaries had been crossed the point where now, he was weak against any kind of attempt that Qiu Ling made to get close to him.
If things continued like this, then he was afraid he would commit some taboo. As such, he was reluctant to agree while, at the same time, his heart was racing just at the thought of maybe giving in.
In fact, this wasn’t too different from the time a year ago when he had still felt torn between accepting the dragon king’s advances because of his blossoming feelings and following his father’s wishes by rejecting him. It was just that now, this conflict came from deeper inside of him.
He wasn’t questioning his future with this man any longer. No, he knew that sooner or later, they would get married. There was no doubt about that any longer. Rather than that, he questioned how far he should give in at this point in time.
Accepting his proposal, that was too early. He knew that he would, one day, there was no question about that. But how soon should that be? And how far could he allow himself to go before that?
A kiss, was that already too much? To be honest, it was something he wanted to experience. Looking at the dragon king, there was nothing he wanted more than to lie in his arms and let himself go for just a moment. He would close his eyes and then he would feel his lips on his own, forgetting the whole world around them. Would that not be nice?
But then, he also knew that that kind of behavior would be indecent and he was at a point where he couldn’t just ignore that. Not to mention that he also didn’t want to give Qiu Ling the wrong impression.
The dragon king had told him that part of his charm was how perfect he seemed. Since that was the case, he didn’t want to destroy that image in his eyes. Now even less than before. If being like this was what made him irresistible to this man, then he naturally needed to keep this up. Even if that was incredibly difficult at times.
Qiu Ling faintly raised his brows. Jing He’s silent response wasn’t something he could make much of but he was willing to just pretend it was silent acquiescence.
He glanced over his shoulder to Bai Fen and Qiang Yan who were clearly still watching them, and barely refrained from taking Jing He’s hand. He still tilted his head a little to get closer, lowering his voice a bit. “Well, what would you like to do? You know, there are a lot of possibilities.”
Jing He held the jar that he had been using to water the flowers, pressing it up against his chest as if it could give him some feeling of security. “What kind of possibilities?” To be honest, the more he thought about it, the more enticing the idea seemed. Yes, he was willing to give this a try.
Qiu Ling gave a hum and forced himself to fold his hands behind his back, not wanting to overstep. “Well, it could be just half a day outside, at a special place in the capital city or maybe somewhere on the outskirts, having a meal, chatting for a while, doing something special or …” He walked around him to the other side, his smile deepening. “If you feeling cooped up, I could also bring you out of the Nine Heavens to have a tour through the dragon realm. There are a lot of interesting places to visit. For example, we have a very nice hot spring in the west. I’d love to visit that with you.”
Jing He stepped back, his whole face turning crimson. “That … I … I will have to think about it.” With that, he hurriedly turned away, pretending that he really, really needed to get rid of this jar. In actual fact, it was pretty clear that he was just running away, not wanting to show just how enticing that suggestion had sounded.