64 Loving You
\"Why do you look so terrified?\" Wen Jinkai worriedly asked her. A variety of emotions flashed across her face, at speeds he couldn't register. Xueyue stared at her hands, her eyes quivering. He could see the light inside of her eyes dim like stars covered by clouds.
\"Look at me,\" he softly said, lifting her chin up gently. He didn't know he was capable of such gentleness until he met her. He had never accommodated himself to anyone, ever. Yet, he sat before her, concerned about a woman who wanted nothing to do with him.
\"Please stop,\" she whispered, shaking her head. She tried to push his hand away but he firmly gripped her chin.
\"Whatever you're doing.\" Xueyue's eyes widened, revealing its depths.
Wen Jinkai was mesmerized by her eyes. Her hazel eyes captured the shades of nature's glory, ancient trees, wise and profound.
He vaguely remembered seeing her eyes catch the sun, golden as honeycomb, but now, they were the darkest shade of brown, alluring and mysterious—filled with depth that he could not fathom. Why was there so much angst and apprehension within them? What was weighing her down? Who had harmed her?
\"I'm merely trying to talk to you.\"
\"Don't. Don't talk to me. Don't look my way. Don't touch me. Don't act like you know me. I want you to pretend as if we're strangers who never crossed paths with each other.\"
\"Why?\" he seethed, dropping her chin.
His fingers tightened into fists, his jaw ticked with indignation. He couldn't fathom the fact that she wholeheartedly rejected him. It was unlike him to care about women, but the first time he did so, he was brutally denied by her.
\"If you're unable to love me, then don't woo me. I don't need unnecessary distractions in my life. I don't care about your wealth, reputation, or title. I'm not a conquest that had to be shown to your peers. I don't want to be one of the many flowers in your garden. I want to be the sole wife of the house, not one out of tens of women in a harem.\"
Wen Jinkai blinked at her words.
\"Loving you means hating myself,\" she whispered. \"Unlike you, I'm not afraid of falling in love. I'm afraid of being the only one that falls.\"
\"Is that what you want, Little Fawn?\" he stood up to his full height, towering over her tiny form. He was an intimidating man whose ruthlessness knew no bounds.
She could never escape his clutches. The only thing she could do was express her animosity for him and pray he'd leave on his own will. This type of man was borderline dangerous. Someone with the potential to claim her against her will and keep her captive.
\"Unconditional love? Devotion to you and only you?\"
\"No.\" Xueyue shook her head. \"I want untouchable love. The kind that can't be ruined by lies, gossip, and outside influences. A love that is deeply rooted in the heart, built upon a foundation of trust, a love that is sheltered by laughter and strengthened by hardships.\"
\"Does this selfish wish of mine scare you, Commander? Does it make you waver? Does it deter you? If you feel doubt and hesitation, even if it's the slightest bit, then please, walk out of my life and never return.\"
She frowned. \"Please set your eyes on another woman who would be glad to have you. Who'd treasure the air you breathe, praise the floor you walk on, and happily smile amongst your other wives.\"
Wen Jinkai was silent for the longest time. He did nothing but stare at her with that same blank expression of his. She couldn't get past his defense. No one can. His eyes were guarded more than her heart.
Li Xueyue wondered if he even had a heart in the first place. He was so frigid to her, despite placing a possessive claim on her. She didn't want this type of man. He'd ruin her with a smile and never look back. He could easily recover, but she would never be able to.
\"I'm sorry,\" he finally said. It was two simple words that shattered her hope for him.
Instantly, she became apathetic. She threw the blankets off her and stood up. If he wouldn't take her home, she'd find her own way back. She couldn't fathom another second being in his presence, breathing the same air as him.
She was prepared to walk out of this room and never look back at their brief encounter for the rest of her life. She was prepared to never see him again and if they would ever cross paths, she'd pretend to not know him. That was the best she could do to protect herself from him.
\"Have a good day Commander.\" She brushed past him, but he abruptly grabbed her wrist. She couldn't even fight back before he roughly tugged her to him. His arms were iron cages that held her pressed against him.
\"I'm sorry,\" he said again, this time, with a dark edge to his voice. She stiffened, waiting for him to continue. \"Your words don't deter me in the slightest bit. I'm sorry that your plan to push me away failed, Li Xueyue. Whether or not you're going to let me into your heart, I will make you mine. One way or another.\"
Xueyue heard something she couldn't fathom in him. She could hear it, the unmistakable sound of a racing heart. The only problem was, it wasn't hers that was pounding uncontrollably. It was his. Powerful, intense, and erratic, he had unknowingly pressed her ear against his heart. His embrace was undeniably warm, comforting, and everything she could ever ask for, but his words were heartbreaking and misleading.
\"I'm sorry,\" he repeated in a compassionate tone. She felt his large hands tenderly stroke the spot behind her neck whilst one formidable arm held her close.
\"I'm incapable of love,\" he quietly told her, \"But I can promise you, Li Xueyue, I will take care of you until the end of time. You will yearn for nothing. You will be pampered and adored to the highest degree. Every maid, butler, servant, and soldiers under my watch will yield to your wishes.
He breathed in deeply and caught a whiff of her sweet scent—faint jasmine flowers that intoxicated him. \"Love is a foolish thing. It blinds us from reality. What could I possibly do with it? Some are willing to die for it. Some are willing to sacrifice everything to achieve it. I'm far happier without it.\"
\"Then you can be far happier without me,\" Li Xueyue declared before pushing him away. He instantly released her the same time she defiantly jutted her chin in the air.
His eyes darkened. \"I suppose it's time to bring you back home.\"
\"That will be appreciated,\" she curtly said, storming out of his room, even if she didn't know where she was going.
The carriage ride to the tournament arena was a deafening silence. Neither party looked at each other during the entire ride. It was tense and suffocating in there, even with all of the windows opened. The only sound in the air was the sound of galloping hooves of the horses and the pitiful lull of two hearts longing for each other.