Qiu Ling didn’t know that his beloved’s thoughts were running in the completely wrong direction. Being looked at, he instead couldn’t help but reach out and gently take his hand. “I guess I can’t quite understand how deep the burden really is after growing up with all these expectations put onto your shoulders from the very beginning. After all, your inheriting your father’s throne was set in stone from the very beginning while for me, I simply ended up in my position based on outside circumstances.
“I know only one thing: Even though it might be hard, it also provides opportunities. And I, for one, am happy about that. If not for you being a part of the Heavenly family, would we have ever met? After all, it is not like I have met many people of your race. The day we met, I was only there because as the king of your allies, I was invited to your family’s banquet. So, thinking of it this way, I am all too happy for you to have this position.”
Jing He lowered his head when Qiu Ling said such things again but he didn’t pull back his hand. The thought he had had just now was scary. He knew it was right though. That was precisely what made it so terrifying. The only thing that could reassure him was Qiu Ling’s presence and especially his touch. It made him feel that this was real, that — despite everything — he was currently at this man’s side even if he shouldn’t be. It made his heart calm down a little.
He hesitated and then quietly bend his fingers, lightly requiting Qiu Ling’s touch. He wanted to tell him. He knew he should. If Qiu Ling wanted to be with him, he should at least know the full truth ahead of time. If he didn’t say anything, wasn’t that the same as deceiving him?
He looked up, his lips moving but, in the end, he couldn’t bring himself to bring it up. Right now, there was no official relationship between them. Even though Qiu Ling would flirt with him and say that he wanted to marry him whenever the opportunity seemed right, there was nothing set in stone. In such a situation, could he really bring up … such a thing?
Jing He’s cheeks suddenly flushed bright red and he pulled back his hand. No, of course, he couldn’t bring it up.
Qiu Ling felt puzzled. Just holding hands … was that so daring? He didn’t think so. He hesitated for a moment but finally couldn’t help but speak up. “Was I too forthright just now?” Anyway, since he had promised he’d do better, he couldn’t go back on his word so soon. Even if he didn’t understand it, he should first inquire and then apologize. That was only right.
Jing He hastily shook his head. He found himself in a difficult situation though. Clearly, Qiu Ling had realized that his reaction was abnormal. Saying that it wasn’t his behavior that has caused this was naturally necessary but he should also provide an explanation, shouldn’t he?
He hesitated for a while longer but finally took a careful peek at Qiu Ling’s expression. It only seemed mildly confused. If he ignored it and pretended nothing had happened, Qiu Ling might also not pursue the answer any further. But then, there were some things he would actually like to know.
His lips moved again but it still took Jing He several attempts to finally get out a full sentence. “I was just wondering … Longjun has mentioned his parents in the past but never any other relatives. Were there none?”
Qiu Ling wasn’t sure how this and that were related but he still honestly shook his head. “No, there weren’t. My parents …” He hesitated about how to phrase it to not pollute Jing He’s ears. “They didn’t like each other all that much so I’m afraid they didn’t plan to have more children.”
Jing He nodded. “And there are no other relatives either?”
Qiu Ling shook his head again. “No. None that I know of, at least. I never met my mother’s relatives and my father’s side of the family … well, it was a time filled with war. Many didn’t survive. All those relatives should have been among those lost.”
Jing He nodded and gave a hum. “I see.”
Qiu Ling kept quiet for a moment but finally couldn’t help himself. “Why are you suddenly asking?” He might have thought it was just polite interest if not for Jing He blushing like that before. Surely, there had to be more to it. Otherwise, asking about his family’s situation after just speaking about his own wouldn’t have seemed too much out of order. Even if the gods were more restrained, it had never seemed to be to this extent.
Jing He hesitated once again, confirming Qiu Ling’s conjecture even further.
Qiu Ling could only raise his brows. He wasn’t sure if he should tell him that it didn’t matter if he didn’t want to say it or not. He sure wanted to know but … he also didn’t want to put his beloved in a difficult situation.
In the end, Qiu Ling stayed quiet so Jing He finally made up his mind. “I … I don’t mean to pry too deeply. I was just wondering … Longjun is already older than me by not just a few years. I had just wondered whether you had planned … I mean, about having a family.” He lowered his head as far as he could while whispering the last few words, feeling that this had really been too much.
Opposite him, Qiu Ling’s eyes widened and he stared at him in a daze. Was his beloved asking him … how many children he intended to have? Please excuse him, but he wouldn’t have expected that question in a million years. Not from Jing He, at least.
For a while, he couldn’t answer at all. It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought of it. In fact, he had given it quite a bit of thought, especially after meeting Jing He. But then, he was just too surprised at how suddenly the topic had come up and really didn’t know how to explain.
He weighed his options for a bit and finally cleared his throat. “I have thought about it but … this kind of thing also depends on one’s lover. It’s not a decision I should make on my own. When the time comes, it can be decided together.”
Jing He’s whole face turned red. With the way Qiu Ling was saying this, there was absolutely no doubt that he planned to have that talk with him specifically in the future. It was … well, he was happy to hear it but he also couldn’t deny that it made his heart beat out of rhythm. Sometimes, this man’s words were just too lethal.