Jing He sighed faintly, his fingers curling around the fabric of Qiu Ling’s robe more tightly before relaxing again. There was no intention to pull back or let go. Instead, he moved his hands to hold onto Qiu Ling more securely.
Qiu Ling’s breath hitched. The other day, they had been interrupted while discussing their wedding ceremony and the process of that hadn’t looked much different from this. It was just … at that time, he had taken the initiative and he had only done so to make a point. He hadn’t actually intended to do something.
Now, here they were, and even though neither of them had really said anything, the atmosphere was ambiguous enough. If he didn’t pull back now, there was a good chance this would go further. Because somehow, he didn’t feel like Jing He would.
Qiu Ling glanced at his lover’s expression and realized that, indeed, unless he gave him reason to, Jing He seemed intent to see this through. As to why that was … Qiu Ling glanced in the direction of the door to the study he had closed before and felt that he somewhat understood.
The other time, they had been interrupted. Not just that but because the person in question had been the Heavenly Emperor, seeing each other was even more difficult now. If something were to happen between them though, then in the dragon realm, they’d count as a married couple, changing their status completely. As for the Nine Heavens … well, with how reserved the gods were, he somehow doubted that even the Heavenly Emperor could still prevent them from getting married if something had already happened between them.
Qiu Ling sighed faintly. To put it in a positive way, Jing He was ready to take their relationship further. To say it not so nicely though … he was forcing the issue. And even though he wanted nothing more than to finally become Jing He’s official husband … this simply wasn’t right.
Qiu Ling cupped Jing He’s cheeks and gave him a lingering kiss before pulling back. Showing him a faint smile, he finally shook his head. “You know, I’d love nothing more than to continue this but … I don’t think this is right. You would regret it if we did.”
Yes, this might mean nothing but a change in status in the dragon realm but it was different among the gods. He couldn’t do that to him. As his fiance, as the man who loved him, he had to stop this even if he would have liked to have this.
Jing He looked at Qiu Ling with an uncertain expression. He had thought … With how things had gone the other time, he had believed that Qiu Ling wanted this. Not to mention that his father had now set the matter of their wedding back even further. Why did he not want to do this now?
He held onto Qiu Ling’s shoulders in a daze, not sure how to continue. He was much more reserved than Qiu Ling under ordinary circumstances but just now, he had more or less taken the initiative. Even if he hadn’t said anything or even done much, it was clear that Qiu Ling had understood his expression and the way he held onto him that way. If he rejected that now … what did that mean?
Jing He didn’t know what he should do. To continue to hold onto him or to let go, to say something or keep quiet, … No matter how much he thought, he couldn’t come up with the right course of action. He only felt … vaguely humiliated because of Qiu Ling’s rejection.
They had been about to get married. This was what they had promised each other before he left for his trial. This was what they had said in front of his mother and uncle. But now, three weeks had gone by and nothing had moved forward. Instead, he was being introduced to other men so he would change his mind. If he didn’t, who knew if his father wouldn’t try to force him?
But despite all of this, Qiu Ling refused to do the one thing he could do to make the uncertainty end. As long as he hadn’t said anything, as long as he continued what had been happening and quietly did what should only be done between spouses … everything would have been solved. And yet, he had rejected him. What was he to make of that?
Jing He lowered his head and finally nodded, his heart squeezing in pain. He didn’t understand it. No matter how he thought, he just couldn’t get it. Not even mentioning the current situation, Qiu Ling had gone further than this in the past. He remembered every single instance of it: The strength of his arms as he held him, the hot breath that sprayed onto his skin as he whispered to him, the soft lips on his own … How come none of this seemed true anymore at this point in time?
Qiu Ling was holding him on his lap so even though Jing He had lowered his head, he could still see his expression. Noticing how it had fallen and was now showing a hint of doubt, he sighed again. It really wasn’t easy to be a good guy sometimes.
He reached up and rubbed Jing He’s neck, making him look into his eyes. “I want to stress that it’s not that I don’t want this. Heaven be my witness, I’d love nothing more than to pick you up right now and continue this in your bedroom. But … I love you and I want what is right for you.
“You want that big ceremony that will show everyone in your race and mine that we are legally wedded partners. You want your father’s acknowledgment and hopefully his blessing. You want to do this a certain way. And even if it could be easier if we just ignored all of that … I still want you to have that. I don’t want you to look back and ever regret the day you became mine. I couldn’t live with it if that were to happen.”