The whole play took more than three hours to finish. By the time it did, Jing He was in a subtle mood. Naturally, the establishment hadn’t skimped on the expenses for this specific act. Never mind that the one seeing it would be the most well-paying customers they had, just the subject matter alone compelled them to go the extra mile. Thus, everything had been exquisite: They had hired the best musicians and actors and the costumes had been of excellent quality. The act itself had also paid attention to detail. All around, it truly was a great play. But then again, seeing the story, Jing He just couldn’t help himself and feel a little down.
He liked the story. He liked it more than any other that he had ever heard. But he also couldn’t help but feel that it was strange to treat it like this. So while he was happy to be able to see it and in such a well-thought-out manner as well, he also loathed the fact that it was not the whole story after all.
Qiu Ling didn’t feel too much about the story. After all, his whole attention had been on Jing He. Because of that, he was naturally able to perceive that something was going through his mind. "You didn’t like it?"
Jing He tensed at the sudden words and looked up. He was still lying in the dragon king’s embrace. After such a long time, he couldn’t help but feel even more that it was a comfortable place to be. It was a pity that the play had already reached its end and they would have to leave soon. Didn’t this mean that he would also have to leave these arms that made him feel so safe?
He slightly lowered his gaze, feeling even more down than before. He knew that he shouldn’t have these feelings. But what could he do? He already felt them. There was no way changing that.
Seeing that they were still alone and would likely have a few more hours to themselves, he looked back up, taking the moment to gaze at the beautiful black mask on Qiu Ling’s face. "I couldn’t help but ponder the story behind this play."
Qiu Ling quietly gazed back at him, inwardly feeling pumped that his beloved was looking at him directly for once. He felt that this was happening slightly more often these days. Was that a step in the right direction? It had to be.
Not getting a response, Jing He felt that he hadn’t explained well enough and continued. "These two … Them being together was destined, wasn’t it?"
Qiu Ling didn’t even glance over to the stage but still gave a hum. "It looked like it." There were the words 'we’re just as destined to be together as they were' at the tip of his tongue but he swallowed them down again. No, he had to hold back. He wasn’t quite sure what was going through Jing He’s head but he could see that it was something that was important to him. He shouldn’t disturb such a moment and instead let him talk freely.
Jing He felt slightly encouraged when he at least got that short answer from Qiu Ling. "I sometimes can’t help but wonder: If you aren’t a match made in heaven like that, will there be any chance to truly love each other until the last day?"
Qiu Ling’s brows slightly rose. It seemed that he had really made the right call when he gave Jing He time to explain himself first. Apparently, his thoughts about this matter were deeper than he had thought. And they were also more important to their relationship than he would have guessed. This was definitely something that couldn’t just be ignored. It also wasn’t something that he could rush into though. No, he had to be careful and gently approach the subject.
For once, he actually lowered his gaze, wondering by himself. After a while, he took Jing He’s hand, lightly brushing over his palm with his thumb. "That is a good question. Whether a couple can stay together not … I guess there are quite a few things playing a part in that."
Jing He hadn’t expected that kind of answer from Qiu Ling. Thus, for a moment, he could only look at him in surprise.
Qiu Ling glanced up at his face, catching a glimpse of the confused look in his eyes, and smiled. "I guess this wasn’t the answer you expected of me?"
Jing He blushed below the mask, at a loss for words. Yes, why had he reacted like that just now? After all this time, he should be used to the fact that Longjun was by far more knowledgeable than he gave him credit for. It was his own fault for not expecting enough of him. In fact, he also couldn’t explain it to himself. Naturally, he would not fall in love with a man that wasn’t all-around excellent. So since he had already realized that he had feelings for this man, why was he still surprised at some of his reactions?
He lowered his gaze, and his fingers lightly brushed over Qiu Ling’s black robe. Thinking about it … It was probably that while he did expect him to say something fitting, it was strange to hear him say something that he would wholeheartedly agree with. He still had a hard time getting used to the fact that there was somebody that had similar thoughts to him. Maybe that was it.
"Longjun’s meaning … You think it is not just fate? Then what do you think would be needed otherwise?"
With Jing He looking up again, Qiu Ling couldn’t help himself and reached out, lightly brushing his hair once again. Ah, he just couldn’t help himself. His beloved was too beautiful in this get-up. It really was such a pity that he couldn’t see his face.
Qiu Ling forcefully restrained these thoughts and focused on the matter at hand. This was his chance to have another heartfelt conversation with Jing He that would earn him some goodwill. He couldn’t mess it up!
"Fate … There’s some of that. But I think that to a large degree, that fate is in our hands." He pulled Jing He’s hand closer at that, pressing it up against his chest. "Maybe it was fate when I saw you but everything after that … I do not believe that it is because of whatever was decided in the High Heavens. It is my own decision. So maybe you could say that you need a strong will. Even if the Heavens were against it, I would still pursue you." His voice sunk to a whisper, the promise contained in them dangerous.
Jing He closed his eyes, entranced. These kinds of words … He hardly dared to admit it but he liked hearing them. Somebody that would love him unconditionally, that would do anything for him, no questions asked … This was precisely what he wanted. This was what Tian would do for Xing. And his own ideal lover would do the same. Not taking anyone else into consideration, just him and their feelings and the future they wanted to have together.
Qiu Ling watched his expression and then slightly leaned in. Something told him that he had said exactly the right words. He still hadn’t figured out completely what it was that Jing He actually wanted but he knew that he was getting closer to it.
Thinking of that, he felt that he should reward himself a bit.
He reached up and took off his mask, holding it to the side to make sure that his face wouldn’t be visible from the window and then leaned down. He didn’t dare to take off Jing He’s mask since he knew how shy his beloved was but he also wasn’t willing to hold back. His lips touched the soft skin of his beloved’s earlobe and his fingers pressed his back, making their bodies stick closer together.
Jing He’s eyes flew open at the gentle kiss, his face and ears turning a pale shade of pink. His grip on Qiu Ling’s black robe tightened and he stared up at the ceiling, unable to say or do anything else. He didn’t even know what to think.
Just like this embrace, Qiu Ling’s touch was so gentle. It was something that he craved. Naturally, he would be unable to push him away. There was also a faint voice inside his mind, telling him that this was not what he should do. No, he was completely wrong in doing this. He had to get a grip on himself!
Even though he told himself that, he still continued to lie in Qiu Ling’s arms, his eyes slowly closing halfway.
Needless to say, Qiu Ling interpreted that lack of rejection as an invitation to continue. His hold on Jing He became even gentler while he leaned further down, his lips brushing his beloved’s neck.
Jing He’s fingers curled around the fabric of the robe, while a trace of doubt appeared in his mind. He could definitely explain away lying in his arms and even accepting that first kiss just now would be alright but … This seemed to be going a little too far. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to stop him.
Qiu Ling ever so gently rained kisses on Jing He’s skin, slowly pushing him down to the ground. Since his beloved was not saying that he didn’t want to, that seemed to be the perfect moment to finally seal the deal.
Just then, steps sounded outside, breaking Jing He out of his thoughts and making him push Qiu Ling away. He hurriedly clasped a hand over his neck, looking away with embarrassment. Inwardly, he chastised himself for allowing this to happen. He did not manage to get to single word out though.
Qiu Ling who was suddenly pushed away and whose arms were now empty, couldn’t help but feel at a loss. Maybe … it had been too soon after all? Ah, it seemed he could only try again later today.