168. I Promise You
YiHan’s heart ached. When JingYuan tried to grab his hand again, he “couldn’t” dodge in time.
“You didn’t mean to lie to me?” YiHan coldly chuckled. “You purposely took a cold shower and went to the balcony, still dripping wet. All to enjoy some cold breeze and made your fever run so hot that it’d never subside. You enjoy watching me panic, don’t you?”
“No, HanHan,” JingYuan said. “I really didn’t mean to at the start. That incident in Grandpa’s home was truly an accident. Hui later called me. He found out I was sick so he suggested something to me. He said, if you still love me, your heart will soften and you’ll cave in. I truly didn’t mean to lie to you.”
At this, YiHan finally stopped smiling. “Yes,” he said with an expressionless face. “I love you. My heart didn’t just soften. It ached to the point of bleeding. Are you satisfied?”
JingYuan’s mouth gaped open. “I…”
“You’re happy about it, aren’t you?” YiHan angrily said, voice getting louder. “You played around with your own health as if it were just a joke to you. And you think you were successful at it, don’t you? Do you know you’ve been sick for a month? A whole month! You had a fever the entire time. You were coughing throughout the month! Do you know why your fever shot up after having sat on the floor for just a short while? It’s because you’ve chipped away at your immune system so much that it’s at the worst it could be! What if something truly serious came out of it? Do you know just how terrified I was? I had wished so badly that I was the one who fell sick! Do you know how many times I’ve prayed for the gods to transfer your illness to me? Now, you tell me you did it on purpose?
“Let’s take a hundred steps back. I’d be fine if you’d just pretended to be sick like Yan Hui suggested! But then you actually went and tortured your body, all so it’d be realistic! Have you ever thought of me? Of whether I’d be sad? Whether I’d be upset? Whether I’d feel…guilty?”
When YiHan recalled the emotions he’d felt during that agonising month, tears started streaming down his cheeks. He could feel his veins popping out on his forehead.
JingYuan clumsily rushed forward to wipe YiHan’s tears away. Then, disregarding YiHan’s attempts to struggle away, he pulled YiHan into his embrace and patted him over and over on the back to comfort him.
“I’m sorry, HanHan,” JingYuan guiltily murmured. “It’s my fault. Don’t cry, please? I beg you. Don’t cry.”
YiHan shoved hard at the taller man. “So you’re sad now? You’re upset just like that?” he angrily cried. “Why didn’t you think of me back when you had a high fever? Wouldn’t I be sad? Wouldn’t I be upset? You even refused to take your medication and just kept the pills in your mouth! You’re so strong. You’re so smart. Can you not taste anything? Weren’t they bitter? Doesn’t it feel exhausting to have a constant fever and cough? I’d never have imagined it was your illness that was the lie instead of your love for me. You once told me that nothing in the world is worth my pain and suffering. What about you? What is it that’s worth abusing yourself for? Let me tell you: nothing is worth it! If you only wanted to make me stay, why didn’t you listen to Yan Hui and pretended to be sick? I just can’t imagine how you could go for a cold shower and then stand out in the cold air while you were still feverish! I hate the mere thought of it! I hate it! You might as well have stabbed me with a knife!”
JingYuan was internally panicking. Through some hard work, his relationship with his HanHan was finally back to how it was. He didn’t think the good times would end so fast. He only had a few days to celebrate the repaired relationship before the ruse was discovered. His HanHan was furious. What should he do? Would the other forgive him?
JingYuan arms tightened around YiHan. Then, suppressing the urge to visibly panic, he calmly said, “It’s really quite okay. Compared to the terror I felt at the thought of you leaving me, the fever was nothing.”
YiHan was stunned. Suddenly, all his strength left his body. Without his legs to support him, YiHan’s entire being just slid down towards the floor. Thankfully, he was still wrapped up in JingYuan’s embrace. That’s what saved him from collapsing on the floor.
Head drooped, YiHan remained silent for a few long minutes before he softly spoke, “Yes. It’s all because of me. What right do I have to be angry? You would use such a method to lie to me, to punish me, because of me. It’s all my fault. I didn’t trust you. I didn’t trust myself. I was a cowardly rat who shirked back into his shell the moment something minor happened. That’s what agonises you. How are you at fault? I’m clearly the one in the wrong here. I’m sorry, JingYuan. You really shouldn’t love me. I’m not worthy of your love at all.”
YiHan’s body kept slipping down so JingYuan carried him over to the sofa and place him there. As if he was boneless, YiHan just collapsed on it. JingYuan dropped to one knee and anxiously wiped at the endless tears rolling down YiHan’s cheeks.
“HanHan, please don’t say that,” JingYuan said. His voice was trembling. His heart ached so much it could burst. “It’s my fault. Don’t be angry. I can do whatever you wish me to do, except for leaving you. Please? Don’t be like this.”
YiHan turned to look at JingYuan. His eyes were red. Tears silently streamed out of the corners of his eyes and into his hair.
“I’m not angry, JingYuan,” YiHan whispered in a low voice. “You’re always so resolute but I’m just a weakling, a coward. I’m not a good match for you.”
JingYuan’s hands never stopped wiping at YiHan’s tears but no matter how hard he tried, he could never wipe them dry. With red eyes, he leaned forward to rest his head on YiHan’s chest.
“HanHan,” he said in a deep voice, “in this entire world, you are the only one who’s a good match for me and I am the only one who’s your perfect match. Forgive me, HanHan. I only love you. I love you…”
YiHan could feel wet spots slowly growing on his chest. He raised his hands and slowly wrapped JingYuan’s head into a hug.
“I promise you, JingYuan,” YiHan whispered. His voice was firm and unwavering. “I will learn to make my heart as strong and steadfast as yours. I’ll love you, trust you and never ever give up so easily anymore. Can you also promise me that no matter what happens, you won’t ever gamble around with your body again? If you’re angry, you can shout at me and hit me but don’t punish me like this. My heart hurts so, so much.”
JingYuan lifted his head and looked into eyes as bloodshot as his. Then, he slowly lowered his head into a gentle kiss.
“I promise you,” he said in a muffled sigh. “HanHan, I’m yours.”
YiHan’s arms clung onto JingYuan’s shoulders as he kissed back with a passion that had never been shown before. His passionate response meant the sweet kiss slowly turned into something more. The air between the two men’s mingled breath grew heavier. Their bodies grew hotter and hotter. The tiny patch of skin on YiHan’s neck was a mesmerising pink. His chest rose in quick bursts. JingYuan’s breathing turned into harsh little pants. Upon noticing YiHan had no intention of refusing him, JingYuan swept the younger man up into his arms and strode into the break room. The door closed shut with a loud bang.
— Click! —
Later, when everything was finally calm and quiet. JingYuan cleaned up YiHan and changed the younger man into fresh clothes that were stored in the room. As for YiHan, he couldn’t even gather the urge to lift a finger. He just went along with JingYuan’s movements as the older man helped him get dressed.
Once YiHan was tucked into his clothes, JingYuan laid back on the bed and pulled YiHan into a slow, lingering kiss.
“HanHan, if you’re tired, you can just sleep,” JingYuan gently said. “I’ll wake you up when it’s time to go home, okay?”’
YiHan’s eyes were closed. He didn’t have the strength to open them. All he felt like doing was to nod imperceptibly.
With linked hands and a smile on his face, JingYuan looked at the other for a while. A series of intense kisses were had before he reluctantly let go of YiHan’s hand and stood to walk away. He had only taken a few steps before he turned around to look at the “lonely” hand he’d just “abandoned”, just laying there on the bed. It looked so lonely that he had to walk back and tenderly hold it in his hands. He kissed it repeatedly and rubbed his cheek against it, again and again. He was thoroughly unwilling to let go of it.
YiHan’s eyes squinted open. Met with the conflicted look on JingYuan’s face, YiHan sighed and let out an exasperated smile.
“Mu-Mu,” said YiHan.
JingYuan’s head shot up. “I’ll be going right now. Are you thirsty? I’ll pour you some water.”
YiHan shook his head and softly replied, “I don’t want to sleep here alone. If it doesn’t affect you, can I lie on the couch outside? I’ll be closer to you then. The moment I open my eyes, I can see you.”
Fireworks were bursting within JingYuan. Still, he hesitantly asked, “You won’t be comfortable sleeping on the couch. You’ll be aching.”
“I won’t,” YiHan stubbornly replied. “The couch you got for me is especially comfortable. I love lying down on it.”
JingYuan’s eyes gleamed as he carefully scooped YiHan up. “Okay, then. It’d be easier for me to take care of you if you’re outside. Don’t worry. I have no meetings scheduled for the afternoon. No one will enter my office.”
YiHan hummed in reply as he drifted off to sleep with his head nesting on JingYuan’s shoulder.
By the time YiHan woke up, it was nearly time for them to head home. YiHan laid there on the couch, blanket over his body, as JingYuan worked at his desk. During the n+1th time JingYuan glanced up, he was met with YiHan’s open eyes. Immediately, JingYuan stood up and walked over.
“You’re up,” JingYuan said with a smile. “Do you feel tired? Are you hungry? Thirsty?”
YiHan let himself be pulled up and into JingYuan’s embrace. As he had just woken up, his entire body radiated a lazy powerless aura.
“I’m not hungry or thirsty. What time is it?” YiHan said with a little yawn. His voice was hoarse.
“It’s nearly five,” JingYuan said as he lifted one of YiHan’s hands to his mouth for a little peck. “Take your time to wake up. We’ll be heading home soon.”
YiHan could feel his body going numb from JingYuan’s kisses. “Alright, you,” he chuckled, “go back to work. We have to go home soon.”
The other man lifted the hand he was holding higher up to his eyes and smiled. “HanHan, how did you get your hands to be like this? Why are they so beautiful? I can’t even find the proper words to describe their charm.”
A chuckle burst out of YiHan’s lips. When he noticed the serious gaze in JingYuan’s eyes, he responded, “They’re for you. Of course, they’re beautiful.”
A faint blush of red-tinted JingYuan’s cheeks. He cleared his throat and looked back down at the hand in his grasp. He couldn’t help but kiss it again. Only then did he, cautiously, put it down and happily walked back to his desk.
As JingYuan was signing a document, a thought suddenly struck him. “Right,” he said as he looked up at YiHan. “There’s something I nearly forgot to tell you. There’s an update to Nan Shan’s situation.”