Translated by Zellyfish of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In Chen Boqiao’s mind, he and Zhang Jue had never had much time to rest and cuddle up after having sex.
Their journey from the Asian League to the Thai Independent State and then the cruise was a stressful one. The first few times, Zhang Jue avoided talking to him for various reasons, and after a while, Zhang Jue always ended up too exhausted to speak after having sex.
This time it was not any different.
Chen Boqiao did not plan to have sex with Zhang Jue when he knocked on his door. He just wanted to see him in person for a bit longer and be by his side more. Even though it was not a lot, they wouldn’t be just speaking through the phone. But once he had entered, he found rejecting Zhang Jue more difficult than he thought.
Due to that, they missed out on a lot of opportunities to lie down together and spend some time together that was more innocent and relaxing than having sex.
Zhang Jue was asleep in Chen Boqiao’s arms, the left side of his face next to Chen Boqiao’s chest.
His eye lids were thin, and on his pale skin it showed a few greenish veins. The dim lights hit him at an angle, his long and soft lashes resting on his cheeks, forming a gray shaded area, and his lips were reddened from their kisses.
The banquet was held at a hotel in the North American capital that was built forty years ago, and it was once the place where the president welcomed foreign guests.
A few years back, the hotel had been refurbished, but the European-style dark colored furniture had been kept. In the living room diagonally across from the bed, the fire was burning bright in the glass furnace.
Chen Boqiao suddenly recalled a time when he’d moved with his mother when he was a child.
On the day they moved from the Asian League to Switzerland, the sky was overcast in the Asian League, and it was raining in Zurich when they landed. His mother had brought many carloads of luggage, with more items slowly being sent over from the Asian League, but his father was nowhere to be seen.
Zurich was cold, but it was warm in the new house. They had moved into a castle-like mansion with a big furnace, and beside it was a large and thick white woolen carpet. The dark brown leather sofas were arranged to surround the furnace.
Chen Boqiao sat upright in one of them, where he sat and accompanied his mother through her last days.
His parents’ marriage stemmed from an accident, and ended in her passing. It was not comparable to an ordinary marriage. Chen Boqiao was also someone who did not read romance novels and did not care about how the world defined love.
He had thought that he was different from his mother, that he had no need for another’s company, until today when he saw Zhang Jue. Watching him through the crowd, the band musicians, and the myriads of lights, he realized that he was wrong.
The young omega that was standing beside the New Independent Republic diplomat, the pale and lanky man with the shoulder-length hair, the person who was staring at Chen Boqiao with a glass of juice in his hand, the person who he had just called less than a day ago, the person who secretly came to North America even though his wound was not fully healed, the introverted male who was not good at picking gifts and tended to hide them.
Chen Boqiao wanted to keep him forever.
Not chatting about recent life updates on international calls with an ocean between them, meeting him for a rare time together only because he took the initiative to come see him, then having sex in a hotel room despite his parents’ disapproval.
He wanted to show the world that they were together.
Chen Boqiao raised his hand, but before his fingertips touched Zhang Jue’s face, the phone he’d placed on the bedside table buzzed.
It was the call he had been waiting for.
Chen Boqiao did not remove his arm from around Zhang Jue, while sitting up a little to reach for the phone. He picked it up quietly.
Pei Shu heard his muffled voice, blinked and asked, “Is it not a good time right now?”
“No,” Chen Boqiao explained, “Zhang Jue is sleeping.”
“……” Pei Shu did not speak right away, probably trying to quell his urge to start chatting casually, and updated Chen Boqiao on their progress.
In the few days Chen Boqiao was in North America, the impeachment of the Asian League president had had great progress, and they’d be in court next month. If they succeeded, the next election would be earlier and their interrupted plan could continue.
They spoke about the election and the candidates, with Chen Boqiao using the lowest voice possible. Zhang Jue slept, albeit restlessly, occasionally shifting around in Chen Boqiao’s arms. Chen Boqiao placed a hand on his back and smoothed it, hoping to placate him in his dreams.
When their conversation was almost over, Pei Shu suddenly cleared his throat.
Chen Boqiao knew that Pei Shu was going to give his unsolicited opinion again.
As he thought, Pei Shu went on to ask, “He’s come here to find you? I thought he just got out of the hospital.”
Chen Boqiao contemplated his words. “He’s here for the banquet with his parents.”
Pei Shu hummed noncommittally, then teased Chen Boqiao, asking, “Since he’s here with you already, is he going to bring you around the Asian League?”
Zhang Jue shifted again, and Chen Boqiao lowered his eyes to look at him. “Not this time.”
“Why not?” Pei Shu suggested, “Every suitable unmarried omega in the League is vying for your hand in marriage, doesn’t he want to come and show them who you belong to?”
Chen Boqiao was going to answer when Zhang Jue blinked hazily and half-opened his eyes, staring at Chen Boqiao with a confused expression.
“Goodbye,” Chen Boqiao told Pei Shu and hung up the call.
Zhang Jue blinked and closed his eyes again, his hand slowly reaching to hug Chen Boqiao’s waist. He buried his face in Chen Boqiao’s chest and pressed his lips on his shoulder. He was more cuddly when he was half-asleep than when he was awake.
Chen Boqiao found it amusing and placed the phone to the side, “Did I wake you up?”
Zhang Jue spoke near Chen Boqiao’s ear with his eyes still closed, “Are you not going to sleep yet?”
He looked exhausted, and his hair got messier as he moved, covering his face. Chen Boqiao moved back some of the hair and explained, “I was waiting for the call.”
Zhang Jue opened his eyes and looked up at him, “Pei Shu?”
“Yeah,” Chen Boqiao told him. Zhang Jue moved his lips as if he wanted to ask something, but for some reason he decided not to.
He supported himself on his elbows and sat up a little, the duvet piling on his chest and waist. He used an exposed hand to reach for Chen Boqiao’s face.
Chen Boqiao did not move away, so Zhang Jue took it as a hint to move closer, and embraced him in a hug while sitting. He pressed his soft and warm body to Chen Boqiao’s in a loose but comforting hug.
“You’d be gone the next time I’m awake,” Zhang Jue quietly said.
His slender arms were around Chen Boqiao’s neck, but after a short while, he let go. Chen Boqiao noticed a few marks on the inside of his arms.
Chen Boqiao caressed his back and asked, “You don’t want me to go?”
Zhang Jue looked at him silently at first, then whispered, “Wonder when’s the next time we can meet.”
He did not answer Chen Boqiao’s question about not wanting him to go, and there was no complaint in his voice. He calmly looked at Chen Boqiao, like it was okay even if the only one who would miss the other person was him.
Zhang Jue could always be the person to take initiative. As long as Chen Boqiao did not reject him, he could do it over and over.
“Zhang Jue.” Chen Boqiao looked at him.
Every time Zhang Jue heard Chen Boqiao say his name, his reaction was adorable. He’d grab the sheets with his fingers slightly, and his eyes would light up, staring intently at Chen Boqiao, albeit feeling nervous.
Chen Boqiao kept eye contact with him for a moment, then asked, “You really have very little confidence in me, don’t you?”
Zhang Jue was startled, and he blinked without knowing how to reply.
“I…” Chen Boqiao paused in the middle of his sentence for once, but soon he continued, “I’ve never been in love before, so I’m not good at it, but I would never reluctantly settle for someone I don’t like. I’ve never told anyone else to ‘try’ with me, and never accepted anyone’s gifts other than yours.”
“And I wouldn’t call someone I didn’t like every day at the first moment they could pick up.” Chen Boqiao looked at Zhang Jue, looked at his face that seemed like he was a little afraid, yet had his love for Chen Boqiao written all over it. “You can be a little more confident in yourself.”
“I’m planning to retire from the military formally, then visit your parents in the New Independent Republic.” Chen Boqiao. “I’m asking you to wait again.”
Zhang Jue softly agreed.