RSH Stratagem 44: Have an Honest Talk (3)

Qiu Ling saw his movement from the corner of his eye and turned back to him. “Jing He …” He hesitated but then leaned closer and gently grabbed his hand. “I don’t want to ask much of you. If you hate me kissing you, I won’t do it again. If you don’t want me touching you, I won’t do it either. But at least … at least give me some sign of hope so I know it’s not futile.”

Jing He blinked his eyes, his eyelids drooping lower and finally shielding his gaze. With Qiu Ling so close, he didn’t dare to look at him straight. He was … worried about what would happen if he did.

Qiu Ling felt worried when this was the reaction he got but he also knew Jing He well enough after these six years. He needed to give him time. Thus, he simply kept quiet and continued staring at him.

Jing He realized soon enough that he wouldn’t be able to get out of this without giving a response. He blinked his eyes again, quickly glancing up before lowering his head. “Longjun …”

Qiu Ling’s lips quirked up. “Is that your response?”

Jing He was startled and stared at him directly, trying to catch onto what Qiu Ling had just said. Seeing his smile, he realized that he was actually being teased. His lips moved but no sound came out. Finally, he simply gave the faintest of smiles back.

“That wasn’t what I meant.” He hastily took his hands back, afraid of what would happen if he allowed Qiu Ling to not only look at him like that but also touch him at the same time. He folded them in his lap and looked elsewhere but his heart felt warm and fuzzy. Clearly, this was how it felt to be in love.

Qiu Ling didn’t urge him. He simply continued to look at him, waiting for his actual response.

Jing He took a moment and then sighed. “Six years are … not that long in the life of somebody immortal but they are indeed long when used to convey one’s feelings. You might feel this more than me.”

Qiu Ling nodded. “These years with you … they are the happiest in my whole life.”

Jing He looked up, his gaze softening. It was the same for him but he did not dare to say that out loud. He simply committed the words to memory to be cherished later. “I do know that you are sincere. I … I might doubt it sometimes but deep down, I think I know.”

“You don’t have to ever doubt this. I love you. I have from the moment I met you and I always will. Nothing can change that.” He didn’t think the God of War had told Jing He what they had talked about. For a moment, he was tried to do it himself but then he reconsidered. With how insecure Jing He usually felt, he might take that to mean that it was more the curse than his own heart that had caused this. He didn’t want that.

Jing He took a shaky breath. Qiu Ling really said the sweetest of things and always at the right moment. The previous doubts … they were indeed gone. “As for my feelings … I am not as open with them.

“Yes, much of that is because I am of the god race. We simply aren’t that straightforward. Maybe my age also plays a role. I … I might not …” He looked up, his gaze brushing over Qiu Ling’s charming face. He couldn’t compare to this man. He couldn’t speak his heart’s true desires. He simply couldn’t. In the future, would it be different? He hoped so but he also knew that age had little to do with it unless age brought a wedding ceremony in its wake. No, age was simply a convenient excuse.

Qiu Ling nodded though. “I see.” He reached up and brushed Jing He’s cheek, his fingertips lingering against his skin for a moment before he pulled back. “I sometimes forget how young you are. I seldom feel it when we talk.”

Jing He lowered his gaze and faintly hummed. At this moment, he would have loved to reach out and take Qiu Ling’s hand, to give him the reassurance he wanted and also expose a little of his true thoughts. He didn’t dare to though. Instead, he could only convey some of his meaning with his words. “I don’t mind you being close. It is just that … some things should only be done with the right relationship.

“To …” He faltered, his cheeks flushing bright red at the thought of what he was about to say. He knew he had to though so he finally gulped and forced himself to go on. “To kiss, that is nothing that should occur between unmarried people.”

Qiu Ling nodded. “Alright. Then to marry you …”

Jing He looked up, feeling as if the color of his cheeks had to darken further. How could Qiu Ling be this straightforward? Although then, he enjoyed the implication of those words.

He shifted on the spot, finally moving his gaze away. “Whether I get married or to whom, that is for my parents to decide. It has always been like that in my family. The bloodline of the Heavenly Sovereign will pick out the spouse of their child. In this case, my father … he would be the one to decide.”

Qiu Ling gave a hum. “I guess it would have been too easy if it was your mother.”

Jing He looked up, startled. That … was that something he should say out loud?

Qiu Ling faintly raised his brows and then coughed to mask the embarrassment. “I do think she likes me. If I were to ask today, we might be able to hold a ceremony tomorrow. Don’t you think so?”

Jing He felt put on the spot with that question. “My mother …” Sure, she seemed not to mind Qiu Ling’s advances. In fact, back on the day of his father’s birthday banquet where they first met, she had told him to not put too much stock in his father’s words and simply see for himself whether Qiu Ling appealed to him.

Back then, he hadn’t thought much about it. He had figured that it wouldn’t be important because he would never dare to fall in love with a man his father didn’t accept and the dragon king’s presence had also been so overwhelming that he had figured he would never develop feelings for him.

But now, look at him: He was completely enamored with this man. Every waking minute of the day, he spent thinking of him. And he had to admit that sometimes, at night, the dragon king’s handsome figure would even appear in his dreams, his words and behavior not any less outrageous than in real life, maybe even more so.

Clearly, his mother’s words back then had shown a lot of insight. She had apparently only taken one look at the dragon king and realized that he was the type of man able to woo whoever he pleased to pursue. And she had also known that even her own son would not be immune to that charm.

Well, he couldn’t fault her. Obviously, he was not. No, thinking back now, it seemed that he had fallen for Qiu Ling more than fast and it had only taken him a while to realize what those feelings meant because he was too young to see it for what it was at the beginning.

Jing He lowered his gaze, feeling a bit emboldened for just a moment because at least his mother was also on his side. “I wouldn’t know what my mother should have against this. Longjun is …” The previous courage suddenly left him again and he failed to finish the sentence.

Qiu Ling wasn’t about to let him off lightly though. “What am I?” He leaned closer, his breath brushing Jing He’s skin.

Jing He stared at him in a daze, his lips moving futilely. “Longjun …”

Qiu Ling tilted his head, his gaze turning curious. Actually, in Jing He’s mind, what was he? That was indeed a question worth answering. But then, he shouldn’t bully his beloved into disclosing this if he didn’t want to … right?

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