Qiu Ling gave up on that line of trying to convince Jinde when he figured out this much. Even if he talked about it longer and gave a few more examples, it wouldn’t matter. In that case, it was better to change to something else.
“You see, Jin Ling is gone now but we are still here. You have your husband at your side, me, that silly youth out there in the garden, Xin Lan who … is somewhere I’m sure, and the people you’ve met in the dragon realm since coming back here. Even without him, life isn’t so bad, is it?”
Jinde finally opened his eyes but his gaze was a bit empty. Life wasn’t so bad, yes. If he just refused to think about it, life was good, excellent even. He had been on the verge of having everything he always wanted, after all.
It was just … this was always under the premise that he ignored Jin Ling. It had been this way before the battle when he just hid and hoped that Jin Ling wouldn’t actually manage to find him and it was still the same now. The only difference was that there was no need to hide any longer because his child was no longer there to find him.
Jinde teared up and closed his eyes again, his fingers curling around the blanket.
Qiu Ling had been watching him so he naturally saw. He sighed and rubbed his shoulder again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to upset you even more. It’s just that it’s difficult for us to watch you like this. We’re worried. Of course, nobody expects you to get over it in just a week. Just … if you can, try to open up to somebody, alright?
“It doesn’t have to be me or Leng Jin Yu. Just … anyone, really. Whoever you feel comfortable with. If you want to see Xiang Yu or Xin Lan or … anyone else, just say the word and we’ll get them for you.” Yes, no matter what, they both just hoped for some change in Jinde. It would be enough if he felt good enough to get up and take care of what had to be done. Everything else could follow in time.
Qiu Ling reached up and brushed back his hair like he usually did with Jing He, sighing faintly. Actually, he would have loved to share with Jinde what was currently happening in his life. The fact that Jing He knew about him now was something Jinde usually would have liked. He also would have liked to meet him officially, not that he was awake again.
But with how things were, Qiu Ling didn’t even mention it. Jinde wasn’t in the right state. For now, everything else could wait as long as this matter was somehow taken care of.
He hesitated for a moment but then leaned closer again. “Do you want me to stay with you for a while? Or would you rather be alone?” He didn’t know what he should do but he was certain that going about it slowly was better. If this was getting to be too much for Jinde, he shouldn’t force it. Good intentions alone couldn’t help anyone, after all.
Jinde hesitated as well. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to have Qiu Ling or Leng Jin Yu around. It was just … he felt that he was a big disappointment to them right now. Especially to Qiu Ling. And, well, after losing one of his children already, thinking that he wouldn’t be able to do well with the other … it was breaking his heart.
Jinde raised his hands and covered his face. He couldn’t say anything. He couldn’t even shake or nod his head. No matter what he did, it seemed wrong. One was to directly reject Qiu Ling’s good intentions but the other would still show him this disappointing behavior and with Qiu Ling’s past, he might just start to doubt his place in this family.
Qiu Ling watched him and felt his heart ache. Even talking to Jing He about all those life-changing matters hadn’t been as hard as this. He fumbled as to what he should do for a moment but then reached out and hugged Jinde. “It’s alright. I … I’ll give you a moment and go and make some tea in the meantime. Just … just know that I’m here if you need me, just one call away.”
He got up and turned around, looking for the tea set. Standing in front of it and slowly filling up the pot with fresh water before brewing the tea, he suddenly understood why his beloved liked to make tea for him so often.
When you didn’t know how to deal with something, the opportunity to make tea really seemed heaven-sent. You could break up the tense situation, turn your back for just a moment to compose yourself, or give the other person time to compose themselves, and at the same time, you could even keep your hands busy. If you had a large enough collection of tea leaves, maybe the process of choosing the right ones could occupy your mind for a while as well, sparing you from thinking about the troublesome issue behind you for just a little while.
Qiu Ling sighed to himself and finally carried the tray over to the bed, putting it down at the side. “You don’t have to drink it, by the way. I just made it in case. Speaking of which: Have you eaten? You’ve been in such a low mood, I’m sure you haven’t. Do you want me to cook something for you? You know, I’m quite handy …”
He stopped talking and sighed again, feeling that even though he was speaking the truth, he was already rambling. Well, he had no idea what else to say though. What other choice was there then?
He looked at Jinde and quietly picked up one of those golden strands of hair. In the past, when he had been really young, he had never needed to think about anything like this. Instead, it had always been Jinde who thought about his well-being. But maybe that was precisely what made the current situation so uncomfortable.