Frankly speaking, Ye Ji’an’s mouth had not done anything apart from talking, smoking, eating and drinking for eight hundred years.
Now, its feedback to Ye Ji’an was:
Firstly, how the fuck is this kid Liang Xiao so good at kissing?
Secondly, you’re such a noob.
The kiss only lasted for a short while. Ten seconds? It couldn’t be more than twenty. Ye Ji’an was the one who’d opened his mouth first, but another breath had entered.
For some reason, Ye Ji’an gave up his dominance over the kiss. His previous assertiveness turned into welcoming passiveness in less than a second—though welcoming was not an appropriate term. He was being cared for. Liang Xiao was attentively taking care of him in every aspect, whether it be breathing or their actions.
Perhaps this kid really had some magical abilities. Ye Ji’an felt that some parts of his mouth, which had once been dead and unresponsive, had turned extremely sensitive.
Before being licked by Liang Xiao, no sensation would come from those parts even if he was eating spicy hotpot, but now, they were filled with a slightly itchy feeling.
Liang Xiao neither hugged him nor touched Ye Ji’an’s body; Ye Ji’an had no choice but to continue grabbing onto his collar with considerable force. Instead, Liang Xiao had his hands gently cupped around his cheeks, as if he was holding a blue-and-white porcelain vase from the Yuan Dynasty that would soon go on auction.
When Ye Ji’an felt his old waist start to soften and his breathing pick up, he forced his eyes open.
Liang Xiao still had his eyes closed. His brows were relaxed and the slight upward curve to the ends of his eyes seemed to contain a smile. Maybe an artist would have a similar expression when playing their favourite instrument, Ye Ji’an thought blankly. Perhaps due to his sudden lack of attention during this moment of thought, Liang Xiao’s eyes opened.
The next instant, Liang Xiao’s lips and tongue let go of Ye Ji’an, though the hands cupping his face remained. He was so close that their foreheads were almost touching. Using a finger to wipe away some dampness at the corners of his mouth, Liang Xiao softly asked, “Does Senior feel good?”
“…It’s pretty good.” Though Ye Ji’an felt that the sudden stop to their activities was a little abrupt.
“Mm, though we, unfortunately, cannot kiss for too long a time.” Liang Xiao smiled, removed his hands from Ye Ji’an’s face and straightened up. As if he could understand what Ye Ji’an was thinking in his heart, Liang Xiao explained, “Senior will find it unbearable.”
Ye Ji’an scoffed in his heart. What do you take me for? I can swim 500 metres of freestyle; is this lung capacity not enough to kiss you with?
Ye Ji’an then heard Liang Xiao explain in-depth. “A gradual process is needed for this, and it’s necessary to consider both the physical and psychological aspects of it. If I were to act too hastily, the plan may backfire and cause Senior to feel a sense of resistance.”
Listening to this explanation, Ye Ji’an felt a little dazed. Whenever he got nervous, he would start thinking random thoughts.
Take now for example: Alright, I can tell that you’ve made significant improvements in your Chinese lately. A few compliments and suddenly you’re using idioms everywhere. You’re getting pretty familiar with “If then” statements as well, aren’t you?
Though asking you to teach Chinese at a primary school would be wronging you. You’re a genius after all. Even though you’re analyzing a kiss in front of the person you shared it with, you’re nonetheless able to make your arguments as rational and well-founded as your analysis on stocks.
But of course, Ye Ji’an could not and would not reveal these stray thoughts on his face. Instead, he simply asked, “Take it step by step? Like… kissing for five minutes the next time?”
Liang Xiao raised his eyebrows. “We can try that.”
Ye Ji’an decided to speak straightforwardly. “Is it because I’m straight?”
Liang Xiao nodded sincerely. “Will Senior react to me physiologically?”
Ye Ji’an felt as if he’d suddenly choked on something. Liang Xiao’s words were correct: though he was feeling good just now and his waist had gone soft, it was not to the extent of him hardening in his pants.
Truthfully, his changes in the past year were exceptionally prominent. He did not feel much enthusiasm even when watching adult videos. The only thing he wanted to do while lying in his bed was to pass away in his sleep and sink into a beautiful dream, never to wake again. He did not wish for sexual dreams or dreams of riches either.
Even on the occasions when Ye Ji’an finished half an adult video out of pure boredom, he would still lack excitement; not to mention the fact that his post-coital depression would hit harder that tiny bit of pleasure he could glean.
At this point, Ye Ji’an even suspected that he was about to become a member of the abstinent-at-thirty-five group.
But how could he bring this up in front of Liang Xiao? Wasn’t doing so the same as indirectly admitting to the one he fancied that he was in such a miserable state that he couldn’t even get it up?!
Thus, Ye Ji’an decided to return Liang Xiao’s question with one of his own. “Did you get hard?”
Liang Xiao shrugged indifferently. “Do you want to touch it?”
Ye Ji’an reached out a hand. “Let me try.”
Unexpectedly, Liang Xiao tilted his body in avoidance.
“…Forget it,” he said, turning his head away to stare at the night sky beyond the window, breaking the fervent gaze that he had on Ye Ji’an.
This time, it was Ye Ji’an who was secretly amused. What a paper tiger1Same meaning as “all bark and no bite”, he thought to himself. You’re even shyer than I am.
Turning his focus to Liang Xiao’s red ears and neck, Ye Ji’an suddenly realized that these sights were already familiar to him. Liang Xiao had started to turn red in front of him for various reasons a long time ago.
Ye Ji’an pumped himself up, poked Liang Xiao’s shoulder, and asked, “So we are now—”
Liang Xiao immediately whipped his head back to look at Ye Ji’an. There was none of the shyness that Ye Ji’an expected. Instead, Liang Xiao’s eyes were sharp and bright. “You’ve fallen for me. I know that.”
The heat that bloomed on Ye Ji’an’s face was reminiscent of how he felt whenever he had to give a report lasting a whole day inside the meeting room with the heater turned on high throughout the full duration of it.
“What about sleeping? If Deputy Director Chen has insomnia, would Senior help him like this too?”
“Of course not!” He’d blurted out the answer, but only after doing so did Ye Ji’an realize that all his previous thoughts, such as the way he found it right to act as Liang Xiao’s sleeping bolster, were not without reason.
Didn’t some of the reasons already silently pop into existence before he even asked why?
Ye Ji’an naturally remembered Liang Xiao’s previous words—that there was someone he liked, that he was currently chasing that someone, and that the someone was a person whom he’d set his heart on.
If chasing someone was not something that required frequent mention, then being chased and accepting one’s affections was also a very subtle shift.
Ye Ji’an felt that the more he recalled their past interactions, the more clues he could unearth. It was like one of the detective novels that Liang Xiao would read from back to the front.
Frankly speaking, Ye Ji’an already developed a suspicion in his heart a long time ago. The power of one’s subconscious could not be underestimated.
“Well, I know that Senior would not,” Liang Xiao didn’t give Ye Ji’an much time for thought. His eyes were once again curved slightly, giving one the impression that he was unshakeable in his beliefs.
“There’s no need to consider whether or not you should get together with me at this point.”
“Huh?” Ye Ji’an was stunned once more. He’d kissed Liang Xiao and already kickstarted the process of finding where his feelings stemmed from.
Ye Ji’an did not have any intention of denying his feelings. He’d always believed in one thing: that the discovery of feelings meant that they truly existed. All he needed to do was to be honest to his own emotions, accept those feelings and slowly adapt to them. What was Liang Xiao playing at?
“Love is too heavy a word to describe your newly developed interest in me. Besides, the object of your affections is of an unexpected gender. This isn’t something that most people can instantly accept.”
Ye Ji’an watched as Liang Xiao leaned against the cold glass of the porthole. With a pleased look on his face, Liang Xiao calmly stated his personal views.
“One’s interest in another is a fragile thing that’s often eroded by the troubles that come with being in a relationship. Perhaps some may even brush off their interest as an error in their judgment and eventually give up on the connection. I’m no idealist. I truly like Senior from the bottom of my heart. I don’t want to be treated as a delusion on your part.”
Wave after wave of surprise washed over Ye Ji’an; there was barely any time to recover his senses. Ye Ji’an knew for a fact that the young people of this generation had various views on love. However, Liang Xiao’s rationality and frankness in his beliefs had completely blindsided Ye Ji’an.
Ye Ji’an felt that Liang Xiao was truly cut out for working in the investment industry. His hands would not shake even when holding on to projects worth billions, and he’d even remember to lay a trap for competitors along the way.
“You’re right,” Ye Ji’an finally sorted out the jumble that was his thoughts and emotions and put on a clear-headed and sincere expression. After all, he was not someone who dragged things out.
“However, dating would always bring about its troubles regardless of its stage. I’ve already mentally prepared myself for them.”
“Then I’ll patiently wait until Senior is willing to accept any amount of trouble just to be with me—Just like how I feel about you right now,” Liang Xiao said, bringing his hands up to pinch and stroke at the tail of his tie.
He lowered his eyes and his eyelashes fanned out in a gentle arc. “I’ll wait for Senior to truly fall in love with me. I’ll work hard to achieve this goal.”
Ye Ji’an silently digested Ye Ji’an’s words for a while. Inexplicably, he felt a little like crying but eventually laughed out loud.
It was not because he wasn’t taking things seriously, but rather because Liang Xiao’s current appearance was weirdly cute—the kind that would suddenly inspire an abrupt craving for hot chocolate.
“So our current state is—preparing to start dating?”
Liang Xiao tilted his head and looked at him. “You can say that.”
Ye Ji’an rubbed his eyes. “I understand. Does Philosopher Xiao Liang have any requirements for me?”
Liang Xiao’s response came immediately. “No requirements apart from you not dating others.”
“Does Senior have any for me?” Liang Xiao continued.
Ye Ji’an thought about it for a while. In this short time, the two of them were discovered by the air stewardess, who suggested, with a polite smile on her face, that they return to their seats as quickly as possible when there was turbulence.
As a result, Ye Ji’an obediently returned to their seats with Liang Xiao in tow. Their four colleagues were still sleeping soundly and Old Chen’s head was pressed against the back of Liang Xiao’s chair.
Ye Ji’an pushed Old Chen a little so that his posture would return to one that was leaning back against his chair. Then, he settled Liang Xiao back into his seat.
“I also have only one request. Once our holidays start, can you invite me over to stay at your house for a couple of days?”
Liang Xiao’s big eyes that were often crinkled in laughter or a smile abruptly widened. “Cohabitation?”
“…Not exactly to that extent,” Ye Ji’an squeezed his backrest and meticulously phrased his next words. “What I mean to say is, did you really buy that apartment because you like the conditions in our neighbourhood?”
“Of course, it’s because I want to be closer to Senior,” Liang Xiao replied surely. Resolute in his views, he continued, “But sharing the same roof is moving too fast.”
“Don’t think too much, I don’t plan on doing anything. There shouldn’t be an issue with helping you sleep well, right? The same as what we’ve been doing these few days.”
Ye Ji’an returned to his seat and sat back in his seat, crossing one leg over the other. He turned to look at Liang Xiao across the aisle.
“The situation is no longer you one-sidedly chasing me. Work is hectic for us both; we’ve got to put some effort into finding common time to cultivate our feelings.”
- 1Same meaning as “all bark and no bite”