Qiu Ling nodded faintly and then glanced around the room. Telling the guards that Jing He wanted to retire for the night had only been an excuse so there was no need to really go to bed now. Still, in here, it wasn’t like there was much to do.
He gave a hum and then let go of Jing He again. “I guess you might want to get ready to lie down first. In case your father really comes to check, it wouldn’t do to still be up. Otherwise, he’d just think you were lying for some reason.”
Jing He nodded faintly and went to sit down at the dressing table, taking off the jade bracelet on his wrist before folding his hands in his lap. He had given the pendant to Duan Ming to hand to Qiu Ling so there wasn’t anything else to do. Next, he would have to take off his outer robe before he could lie down.
He tried to imagine doing so in front of Qiu Ling and his cheeks flushed crimson. Exposing his inner robe that would showcase much more of the body beneath certainly wasn’t decent. And it might also seem like an invitation. After already being rejected once, he might seem desperate when he did that.
He felt uncomfortable imagining what Qiu Ling might think of him at such a time but also didn’t know what else to do. He could hardly go to sleep in his outer robe. Anyway, it shouldn’t matter. They had already spent a night like this together and nothing had happened.
Qiu Ling hadn’t said a word about his appearance and they also hadn’t taken their relationship further that night. They had only talked and he had sung a lullaby for Qiu Ling when his lover asked him to. Tonight might not be any different. After all, Qiu Ling had rejected him earlier. He probably wouldn’t change his mind that easily. He simply couldn’t imagine Qiu Ling to being fickle.
Either way, he couldn’t bring himself to take off his robe in full sight of Qiu Ling. It couldn’t be helped. While Qiu Ling might not have taken advantage of the situation, he still knew that he himself had been ready to let it happen. Now, he naturally felt self-conscious about disrobing in front of Qiu Ling. Well, even more so than he would have before. This kind of thing … it wasn’t easy for him.
Jing He hesitantly got to his feet, clenching his hands nervously. “I … I will go and wash up then.”
Qiu Ling gave a faint hum while his gaze traveled through the room. He couldn’t help but notice … there wasn’t a good place to sit and wait. Standing all the time until Jing He returned would be awkward though. Obviously, his beloved was nervous about this whole matter. Just one glance was enough to realize that. If he simply stood here, then by the time Jing He came back, he wouldn’t know what to do.
Yes, knowing Jing He, he might walk out from behind the folding screen that acted as a separation to the side room and then stand in place as well. Or maybe he’d come over first and then awkwardly stand in front of him in his inner robe, embarrassed by what he certainly thought of as an ‘indecent appearance’ while also feeling that it would be rude to just climb into bed and pull up the blanket.
Qiu Ling rubbed his forehead, feeling that maybe it would have been better to reject Jing He’s request after all. If this had been their wedding night, it wouldn’t be a problem. No matter what, the outcome would already be obvious and no matter what was shown or wasn’t, Jing He wouldn’t have to feel bad about it. Today though … this wasn’t the plan.
Qiu Ling sighed faintly and finally went to sit down on the edge of the bed. This place seemed a bit suggestive but since they had said to turn in for the night, it also shouldn’t seem that odd. At the very least, Jing He would come over and then he could gently maneuver him beneath the blanket before doing whatever he had to to keep his hands to himself.
Thinking of that time, Qiu Ling raised his gaze to the ceiling. Ah, it really wasn’t easy to be a dependable fiance. Being so close to Jing He, knowing that they both wanted each other but not being able to do anything with that … it truly was making things difficult for him.
From behind the folding screen, the faint sound of water rang out and caught Qiu Ling’s attention. He couldn’t help but look in that direction. There was nothing to see but thinking about how his beloved was so close by … well, he also felt a certain way.
Right now, everything might be on hold but that didn’t change that they were at least somewhat officially engaged. Soon enough, moments like this one would be common: They’d spend the day together and then retire for the night together as well. He would be there, waiting for Jing He to finish up, or maybe he would even accompany him behind the screen after they were married.
Qiu Ling smiled to himself. Yes, that future wasn’t too far away. When it finally arrived, they’d look back to today and laugh at how awkward they had been. Then, they might kiss and go to bed together, forgetting all about the unpleasant circumstances of this day. What remained would only be the bliss of finally being together and knowing that they had the rest of eternity ahead of them and being able to face that long time as a couple.
Thinking of such a future, the worry in Qiu Ling’s heart subsided. He simply continued to sit on the edge of the bed, waiting for Jing He to finish washing up so he could join him.