Qi Yanbai had never been kissed before and didn’t know what it felt like.
He had seen Ashley and Qi Zhe being affectionate before when he was a child, but back then, he had only thought that it was a way for Ashley to manipulate Qi Zhe, serving no purpose other than satisfying the ego of a seemingly dominant man.
But at this moment, when Lu Ye leaned in to kiss him, Qi Yanbai was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of gratification, finally understanding the subtlety of it all.
Though it was just the touching of ordinary skin against skin, Qi Yanbai felt immense satisfaction in that brief contact.
Kissing wasn’t just about flattery and pleasing, Qi Yanbai thought, but also about comforting and affirming.
This kiss seemed to inexplicably turn into a symbol of something sacred.
It felt like from that moment on, he and Lu Ye were entering a new phase in their relationship.
They were bound together tightly and intimately, drawing new boundaries around them, setting themselves apart from others, truly becoming a harmonious whole.
Holding hands, hugging, kissing… It seemed that humans had an innate talent for expressing intimacy, knowing instinctively when to do what.
Qi Yanbai subconsciously reached out and embraced Lu Ye’s back, catching him by surprise when he wanted to pull away, and firmly kissed him.
Lu Ye hesitated for a moment, but he didn’t disappoint Qi Yanbai’s rare initiative.
He held Qi Yanbai’s waist tightly and unreservedly broke through his defenses, turning this polite and affectionate attempt into a genuine kiss.
On their way back from the sub-bureau, they had to pass along the riverside walkway.
It was getting late, and the riverbank was sparsely populated.
Only the rushing river flowed past the marble railing, creating a soft, murmuring sound.
Qi Yanbai’s lower back pressed against the railing, but Lu Ye seemed concerned about him being uncomfortable, so he used the back of his hand to cushion the cold, hard edge, gently embracing him and keeping him in his arms.
The warmth from Lu Ye’s palm seemed to gradually spread, and Qi Yanbai suddenly felt a scorching heat behind him.
A thin layer of sweat started forming on his back due to this sudden temperature change.
This kiss was filled with tenderness, and for a moment, Qi Yanbai even felt that his almost obsessive possessiveness was soothed by it.
His restless heart seemed to be pacified, tamed, and withdrew its claws, leaving only a tranquil and peaceful happiness.
If only time could stop at this moment, Qi Yanbai suddenly thought.
Then he could forever immerse himself in this unreal and wonderful satisfaction, without having to move forward or think about tomorrow.
Unfortunately, time flowed like a river, and the past couldn’t be reclaimed.
Qi Yanbai’s inexperienced kissing skills couldn’t sustain his overwhelming emotions.
In the midst of this emotional conflict, his eyes started to redden from lack of oxygen.
Qi Yanbai’s heart raced, his vision became blurry, and unconsciously, he grabbed the hem of Lu Ye’s clothes, unsure whether he wanted to push him away or pull him closer.
However, Lu Ye noticed his struggle.
He smiled gently and released Qi Yanbai’s lips, lightly brushing his own lips against the corner of Qi Yanbai’s mouth before letting him go.
The cold wind seeped in between them as soon as their lips parted, swiftly taking away the remaining warmth.
Qi Yanbai breathed lightly a couple of times as if he couldn’t resist the temptation to savor the moment.
He moistened his lips with his tongue, tasting the lingering moisture.
Lu Ye noticed all of Qi Yanbai’s small actions.
His eyes darkened, and he couldn’t resist sliding his fingers gently into Qi Yanbai’s open coat, placing his hand over Qi Yanbai’s heart, beneath the slim, warm inner layer of clothing, and easily felt his heartbeat.
That organ in his chest was beating rapidly, as if it would burst through the thin flesh any second, leaping into Lu Ye’s palm.
“Do you like it?” Lu Ye sighed with relief, smiling as he said, “I guess I don’t need to ask.”
“Ask what?” Qi Yanbai asked knowingly.
“Ask if you want to be my boyfriend,” Lu Ye said.
Qi Yanbai seemed to have been waiting for this question.
Without any hesitation, almost as soon as Lu Ye finished speaking, he straightforwardly said, “Yes.”
He agreed too quickly and decisively, surprising Lu Ye, who widened his eyes.
It took him a couple of seconds to react.
He couldn’t help but be amazed and playfully commented,
“Qi Yanbai learning bad habits,” Lu Ye complained half-seriously as he helped Qi Yanbai straighten his coat, adding, “You’ve become quite the smooth talker.”
While Lu Ye’s confession had indeed been guided by Qi Yanbai’s calculations and hints, Qi Yanbai had overestimated his own ability to react spontaneously.
After the kiss had ended, he was overwhelmed by the satisfaction of their newfound relationship.
He was in a daze, and his mind went blank for a while.
His ability to respond had nearly reached zero.
Perhaps it was due to nervousness or a sense of guilt, but Lu Ye’s words had taken Qi Yanbai by surprise.
He hadn’t expected them so soon and found himself at a loss for words, unable to process his emotions.
Qi Yanbai felt like he had entered a completely unfamiliar territory in his life.
His previous life experiences seemed irrelevant here, leaving him bewildered and not knowing how to face it.
He felt something spreading and growing within him silently, wrapping around his heart and squeezing it gently, releasing a strange, tingling sensation.
It was so real that Qi Yanbai instinctively reached out to touch his chest, sensing another kind of unfamiliar heartbeat.
However, this time it was completely different from the first time.
Qi Yanbai didn’t feel any excitement; instead, he felt a void in his heart, floating in the air, as if he couldn’t find solid ground beneath his feet.
It made him feel uneasy, and this unfamiliar sense of loss was mixed in.
Unfortunately, that sense of loss disappeared too quickly, vanishing in an instant, before Qi Yanbai could grasp it.
Their delay at the police station and the walk back home had made them arrive later than usual.
The flowers Lu Ye had ordered for Qi Yanbai’s birthday had already been delivered.
Perhaps because they couldn’t contact the recipient, the bouquet hung crookedly on Lu Ye’s door frame, looking somewhat pitiful.
“I told you we should have waited to talk,” Lu Ye rescued the bouquet from the makeshift plastic bag, straightened the crumpled wrapping paper, and turned to Qi Yanbai with a playful smile.
“It was meant for you.
I was planning to use it for my confession today, but now it can only be a celebration gift.”
Underneath the bouquet was a water-soaked flower sponge, heavy and cold.
Qi Yanbai’s wrist, which was exposed from under the flowers, was chilled by the water under the bouquet.
He suddenly woke up from the dreamlike state he had been in and blinked at the flowers in his hand.
“Iris flowers?” Qi Yanbai wondered, “Not roses?”
“Do you like roses?” Lu Ye looked at the bouquet and said, “I thought you art students didn’t like something so common.
Besides, you’ve painted these before, so I thought you might like them.”
As he spoke, Qi Yanbai remembered that he had painted an iris flower for Lu Ye the first time he went to the police station to “work.”
Qi Yanbai himself hadn’t realized how much of an impression that seemingly insignificant act had made on Lu Ye.
He looked down at the flowers in his hand, sniffed the fragrance sprayed on the wrapping paper, and smiled contentedly.
“No, I like it.
I really like it.”
He said this and then hastily opened his apartment door, intending to put the bouquet in a vase to take care of it.
Lu Ye stood at the doorway, smiling knowingly as he watched Qi Yanbai’s bustling figure.
He didn’t leave right away, but instead gestured for him to come over.
Then, he hugged him through the door frame and kissed his forehead.
“Alright, I get some rest,” he said.
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