114. So This is Love
“Mom, I love her.” TianYang’s smile was as heart-warming as can be. “I don’t care about winning or losing. As long as I can be with her, as long as she loves me too, I’ll be the greatest winner in life.”
“XueQing is such a lucky woman to be so loved by my son,” his mother replied. “Wait, no! You mean she hasn’t fallen in love with you yet?” Would all her son’s efforts be for nothing then?
“Of course she’s in love with me,” TianYang said after clearing his throat. His eyes shimmered. “I already said I’ve won.”
At the sight of her son’s uneasy gaze, a very rare sight to behold, and how his eyes would wander off to glance at the door, TianYang’s mother heaved a heavy sigh internally. Oh, her silly son. Mothers know their sons best. How could she not guess what he was thinking? Whatever. She’ll do her best to help him and make his dream come true. She had trust in her son and his tastes. She’ll trust the woman her son had his eyes on would be one of the best ladies around. She also knew of the Bai family daughter. That woman’s capable and strong. Bad rumours of her had yet to reach the ears of TianYang’s mother. She was just afraid the young woman might be too strong. Her son would likely be under that woman’s thumb for his whole life. But what could she do? With how her son was acting, he’d probably be willing to be submissive forever.
“I hope she would be touched by how you risked your life to save her and that she’ll love you from now on. ” TianYang’s mother sighed. “Your journey to getting a girlfriend sure is a dangerous one. You nearly lost your life.”
“She can’t be blamed for this,” TianYang replied. “XueQing is the victim here. Mom, someone wants to kill your daughter-in-law!”
“Really?” His mother let out a cold smirk as she toyed with her exquisite manicures. “It seems like the Chen family has been too lenient lately, to the point where a nobody would dare to step on us. They even dare to plot the murder of my daughter-in-law.” And they nearly killed her son!
The mother and son were stuck in their own thoughts when someone lightly knocked on the door. TianYang instantly straightened up.
“Come in,” he quickly responded.
He looked so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed that his mother heaved another sigh at him.
Upon stepping through the door, XueQing first noticed the presence of TianYang’s mother. Her lips swiftly rose into a polite smile.
“Hello, Aunty,” greeted XueQing as she strode over.
“Hello,” TianYang’s mother responded. “How is your brother doing? He got hurt saving TianYang yesterday. I should go and thank him in person.”
“YiHan’s already awake,” replied XueQing. “Madam, you’re too kind. YiHan didn’t do all that much.”
“Nonsense,” said the older woman. “TianYang saved you because he wanted to. But my son just told me YiHan’s act saved his life. These are two separate deeds. I must thank him.”
“The culprit’s target was me,” XueQing remorsefully said. “TianYang got hurt all because he saved me. I don’t know how to properly apologise for that.”
“Silly child,” TianYang’s mother said, holding XueQing’s hands in hers. “Who knew this would happen? You’re a victim in this and you did nothing wrong. What’s there to apologise for? As I’ve said, TianYang saved you because he wanted to. You’re fine, so he’d achieved his goal. No need to feel guilty.” She then pursed her lips into a smile. “Anyway, he told me to be a man is to protect the woman he loves. If you don’t let him do so, he’d be miserable.”
XueQing nodded. Her heart softened. Everything happened so fast. While she still wasn’t clear on the exact situation back then, what she did know was as clear as day in her memory. As danger closed in, TianYang didn’t hesitate at all and twisted around so he’d be exposed to the car instead of her. If her little brother hadn’t crashed into that car, this man would be in the morgue now. Hard times can reveal true colours. The subconscious actions of a person are the best gauge of one’s character. The worse the situation, the better one knew of another. TianYang’s reactions then wasn’t just an attempt to save her. He was going to throw away his life for hers. Far too many women have dreamed of having a man who would do anything for them, even give up his own life. It’s an honour for her to behold such affections. She should treasure it.
TianYang’s mother spent a moment observing the emotions flicker through XueQing’s eyes. A hand snuck around to her back and flashed a V sign at her son.
“Right, I’ll go visit YiHan now,” she said to XueQing, a kind smile on her face. “Please help me keep an eye on TianYang for a moment.”
“You’re too polite, Aunty,” XueQing replied. “TianYang is my boyfriend. It’s my duty to take care of him.”
TianYang’s goddess verbally confirmed their relationship! And she looked so serious! And she did it before his mother!
Under the blanket, TianYang’s hands clenched and unclenched. He felt as if he could fly! If he could move around unhindered as usual, he would really run up to his mother, hug her and give her a big smooch on the cheek! Oh, my sweet mother, I love you!
“Oh?” his mother hummed. “You’re together already? When did it happen? It’s a dream come true for my brat. He’s so lucky. I could tell you’re a good kid from one look.”
“N-Not long ago” XueQing murmured, cheeks flushed. “We were going to notify our parents recently but, out of the blue, this happened. I apologise for letting such a hasty meeting in the hospital to be our first meeting.”
“What’s important is not where we meet but who we’re meeting with,” TianYang’s mother replied. “Even if I meet you beside a pile of trash, I’d be happy just getting to know a girl like you.”
XueQing blushed even harder. TianYang’s mother held her hand once more.
“Alright. I’ll go see YiHan. You two have fun chatting,” the older woman said. “What happened was so dangerous. Don’t worry. The instant I find the person who had the guts target my daughter-in-law, they’re dead!”
“Thank you,” XueQing solemnly replied.
The older woman nodded to XueQing in farewell and left.
XueQing turned around and looked at the man lying on the bed. His right leg was encased in a cast. He looked pale and sickly. This man had always portrayed a serious image. Every time he appeared before her eyes, he’d always been refined and elegant. This really was the most ragged she’d ever seen him. Even so, this was the most mesmerising version of him she’d ever seen. That messy hair, that sickly green hue on his face, those paper-white lips; they were all so heart wrenching.
She walked over to the bed, sat down in the chair beside it and gently smoothed the man’s hair back.
“Does your leg hurt?” she softly asked.
The fingers of TianYang’s idol, his goddess, were brushing against his cheek. TianYang could hear his heart thump and skip. In this very moment, all pain had drained out of him. He shook his head in response and craned his neck around to look at XueQing’s knees.
“I’m fine,” he said. “What about you? How are your wounds?”
“It’s just a little scrape,” XueQing chuckled. “It never mattered anyway.”
“How could it not matter?” TianYang sternly replied. “If it’s not dealt with well, it’d create scars. It’d affect your ability to wear skirts.”
“Do you think I’d be ugly with a scar?” XueQing leaned in and asked.
His goddess was so close to him that he could feel their breaths mingling and mixing together. A red blush swiftly overtook TianYang’s pale face. He felt as if he couldn’t breathe.
“W-W-Why would I?” he stammered. “Y-You’re beautiful n-no matter what.”
“Since you, my boyfriend, don’t mind, what’s the big deal with having scars?” XueQing remained hovering close.
“You’re a girl,” he muttered. He could feel his cheeks burning up. “It’s natural for you to want to be pretty. I was afraid you’d be upset if they really left scars…”
By now, XueQing had found the pose she’d adopted to be quite exhausting. Her palms reached up and pressed flat against TianYang’s pillow by his ears, supporting herself up while framing his head. She leaned further in and looked him in the eyes.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m not the kind of girl who’d be depressed over a tiny scar. You, however, won’t be able to work for a very long time.”
“It’s fine,” he whispered. He could feel his cheeks burning harder with every puff of warm breath he could feel against his face. “It’d be good for me to take this chance to take it easy.” He paused and bit his lip as he thought. “XueQing, you told my mother…I…I’m your boyfriend. Were you serious? The kind of relationship that has nothing to do with the contract?”
XueQing’s red lips perked up in a slight smile as she replied, “I was wondering how long you’d hem and haw around the question. You’ve finally decided to spit it out.”
As TianYang was stuck in a faze, XueQing leaned down further and, as gentle as a dragonfly flitting over a pond, lightly pecked him on the lips.
“Well? Do you think I’m serious now?” she asked, straightening up and away.
TianYang’s mind was already blown to smithereens. Fireworks were shooting everywhere. He was so light and floaty. Nothing felt real. He could feel a faint numbing sensation spreading over his lips. He stretched them out into a slightly agape shape. Oh, they can still move.
His eyes scanned past XueQing and landed on his encased leg. His eyes dimmed as they moved back to XueQing’s gorgeous face. His fingers clenched hard at his blanket.
“You don’t need to push yourself.” He forced a smile out. “I actually…mmngh!”
XueQing’s gaze had been following his. Her flushed cheeks cooled down as she looked at TianYang’s broken leg. From that glance, she knew that he likely thought she only agreed to date him because he saved her or that she pitied him.
There’s no point talking anymore at this time. The best way is to just stop his mouth. They say women overthink everything, always scheming and plotting. Men act the same way too!
The kiss ended and TianYang’s face was hot enough to cook an egg on. At the sight of the flustered man, XueQing couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. How had she never realised this man could be so cute?
She looked into those eyes, shimmering with tears, and slowly said, “If I, Bai XueQing, truly wanted to pay someone back, I have plenty of methods to do so. I have no need to pay with my body. You humiliate my feelings by thinking that.”
“That’s not what I mean, XueQing!” TianYang panicked.
“Then do you believe me?” XueQing asked with a slow blink.
“I do. I believe you,” he hurriedly said. “XueQing, I…I love you. I love you so much. Don’t…please don’t…”
“Don’t hurt you, I know,” XueQing interrupted. “By the way, I’m the woman here. Shouldn’t I be saying that instead?”
“I know it’s not manly of me,” TianYang replied with a bitter smile. “My mom told me that I’ve been utterly defeated in this battle of love, even before the battle has started. I’m not afraid of losing, XueQing. I’m just afraid I can’t earn your true love.”
In that moment, XueQing felt her heart race like never before. It thumped and twisted in distress. The emotions carved itself deep into her bones. She couldn’t help but dip her head down and kissed the man once more.
“You didn’t lose, TianYang,” she mumbled into his lips. “You’ve earned it…” JingYuan was right. So this is love.