Yu Zhen knew he could take advantage of her right here and then, but he couldn't bring himself to.
His thumb softly caressed her smooth and tender skin with so much compassion in his eyes. It was the first time Li Xueyue had ever been treated this kindly.
She felt her heart race, thumping against her chest when he slowly dragged his fingers lower, tickling each spot it lingered upon. She didn't understand what he was thinking nor did she understand her own thought process.
He was an unfamiliar man with unknown intentions. But he touched her as if he had known and adored her all of his life—as if she was the only treasure in his life. He firmly held her against him, protective and tenacious.
When he cupped the side of her face, she knew it was time to put a stop to all this. Everything was happening too fast and she needed more time. The taunting words of Wen Jinkai mocked her—that she behaved like a loose woman.
Then he surprised her. He lifted her chin and pressed a chaste kiss on her forehead that was filled with devotion and admiration. It was a simple gesture that disappeared as quickly as it came, but the warmth of his lips lingered on her forehead.
He didn't capture her lips, but he had captured her heart.
"You should be careful, Princess." His voice, low and restrained, came out deviously husky.
Li Xueyue struggled to formulate a snarky remark to his comment. She could do nothing but stare up at him as different emotions coursed through her.
He was a stranger. She didn't know anything about him. She had just met him days ago, but there was nothing that could deny the attraction she felt towards him. The sense of security and unwavering trust in his actions.
"Don't make that face," he teased, pinching her nose when she innocently blinked. She didn't have a single clue as to how much she had teased him without even trying to.
Yu Zhen studied her seriousness. Was she playing tricks on him, or was she deliberately naive and foolish? She once told him that all of her moves were calculated. Then was this reaction calculated? Hopefully, not. She had shifted her legs and accidentally brushed against a sensitive spot.
He cleared his throat, loosening the front of his robes. It suddenly felt suffocating in here. He tried to untangle himself from her, but the more she leaned against him, the more he wanted her. It was then he realized this wasn't a simple attraction.
He deeply breathed in and prayed that it would quell his nerves, but it only heightened it. His pupils dilated at the sweet and alluring scent of her, undeniably intoxicating. If he was not careful, he would lose control.
"It's Xueyue. Not Princess."
Yu Zhen's lip curved into an entertained smile, his eyes flashed with mischief. He always wanted to tease her—he couldn't help it. She was easily angered and he liked seeing the flush on her skin.
"Fine then, Sunshine."
"Whoever told you that's a great nickname was a liar," she frowned.
"Would you prefer Princess instead?" he grinned
"I prefer Xueyue."
"Princess it is." Yu Zhen pinched her cheek when she rolled her eyes in aggravation. His fingers easily slid down until her chin was captured by his fingers.
"What are you doing…" her voice got caught in her throat when his thumb gently brushed against her lower lip; his eyes darkened when she parted her lips in surprise.
She felt her breath hitch at the unrecognizable man in front of her. There was a pause between them as if nothing in the world mattered besides this moment. When he bent his head, she instantly tensed, backing away, but his arm held her in place. Even so, he never disrespected her boundaries.
"Like I said, you should be careful, Princess."
"Or else what?"
His eyes hardened, burning with the intensity of the sun. She was shrouded by the heat rolling off of his frame.
"Or else I'll make you mine," he gruffly told her, releasing her chin and forcing himself to look anywhere but her.
He tried to focus on other things, like the decorations in her room, but she only had to touch his forearm for his attention to snap back to her in a heartbeat.
Wild. Intense. Dangerous. He was on the brink of losing control and she kept on testing his limits.
"So why haven't you?"
Instantly, he grabbed the back of her head, her hairpins slipping loose when his fingers wove into her hair. He brought her closer to him until nothing was separating them except their clothes.
Li Xueyue could feel the clench of his muscles under her fingertips. His sharp jaw clenched and ticked while he wrestled with control. He was so close to loving her in ways that they would regret the next morning. But that was tomorrow and in this moment, he cared only about the present.
His sanity was hanging by a thread, but she liked to play with fire and burn his patience with temptations.
Li Xueyue knew she would one day be scorched by the passion in his eyes, the dangerous flicker of a growing flame.
Ever so slowly, he leaned closer, his lips skimmed her jaw. Teasingly, he nipped her before easing the pain with a kiss. She was completely flushed against him, defenseless and breathless.
The only thing she could do was dig her fingers into his arm, but she was met with the hardness of his biceps. She unknowingly angled her head for him, exposing her neck.
She could feel the curve of his lips, quirking into a devious smile that promised of sinful nights with a single candlelight flickering amongst tangled bodies and bedsheets.
She sucked in a breath, waiting for him to continue, but a harsh knock prevented them from proceeding further.
Instantly, the spell was broken and she jumped back, her eyes widened in disbelief that she had allowed him to behave as he pleased. But then again, she was the one provoking him.
"Yu Zhen, I..." she trailed off, unable to think properly.
Sensing the panic on her face, he softly chuckled and carefully untangled his hand from her hair. "Did something happen, Princess?"
Her face flushed at the meaning of his words. "N-nothing happened."
Yu Zhen was the one who suggested this cover-up, but he was irked. This was their first intimate and serious moment, but they were so quick to hide it.
"Why don't we continue our discussion after the trouble settles?"
Li Xueyue's dirty mind spiraled down to what type of "discussion" they would have. Wordlessly, she nodded her head, and the two separated. She could feel the tension in the air when his intense stare grazed her face before he sat down on one of her chairs, intrigued by a book in front of him.
Instantly, she slammed her hand on it and hid it behind her.
Yu Zhen's lips tugged upwards, "Is that your diary?"
"It looked like one."
"It contains entries about someone else's life." Li Xueyue was precautious with her wording. She didn't want to lie to him, nor did she want to reveal the full truth.
"Xiao Yue?" The slightly playful tone of Li Wenmin's voice was muffled through the door.
Li Xueyue slowly backed to her bed, slipping the book underneath her pillow before she ran to the door and peeked her head out.
"Wen-ge, you're home early."
Li Wenmin brightly smiled, though his eyes were as cold as winter. "Who's in there?"
"Uhm… A friend?"
Yu Zhen's ears sharpened. A friend? Well, it was better than nothing.
"Since when did you have friends?"
"Hey!" Li Xueyue pouted, "I have friends!"
Li Wenmin raised a brow, throwing her a pointed look. "Really now?"
"Well, can I meet the person who trespassed into your room when you're supposed to be bedridden," Li Wenmin skeptically said, attempting to see beyond the cracks of the door.
"Uhm, they're… shy?"
"Shy?" Li Wenmin scoffed, "I've never met a timid Commander. Step aside, Xueyue."
Li Xueyue awkwardly shuffled in her shoes. "But, Wen-ge—"
"Now." He frowned at her reluctance. Abruptly, a hairpin slipped down from her hair, loudly pinging onto the ground. His eyes flickered from the fallen hairpin to her loose hair. He placed two and two together.
"Li Xueyue, you did not—"
"I didn't!" Li Xueyue exasperated, "Have some faith in me, Wen-ge."
Li Wenmin sighed, "I only want to have a civilized discussion."
Li Xueyue's eyes scanned him from head-to-toe, zooming onto the sword hanging on his waist belt. His hand was patiently resting upon the hilt. "Are you sure it's going to be civilized?"
"You'll speak with words and not swords?"
"I'll pinky promise you," he said and struck out a pinky for her.
Li Xueyue stared at it before hooking her pinky around his. "I trust you." She opened the door for him and it didn't take long for him to break the promise.
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