Carefully, Yu Zhen stroked the hair away from her face, his lips twitching into a smirk. His sharp and rogue features were even more mesmerizing up close.
Li Xueyue memorized every part of him—as if she was scared he would be nothing but a fleeting moment in her youth. Someone she shouldn't have, but desperately wanted.
"You lowered your guard again." His minty breath brushed against her lips, cool and collected.
"Only because I trust you."
Yu Zhen's lips curled into a slight smile, his rigid eyes softening. "You shouldn't trust me."
His gentle caress upon her face said otherwise. He touched her like she was glass, something ever so delicate and breakable. His calloused fingers traced from her cheekbone to her jaw, his touch left a lingering sensation. She shivered, her heart threatening to leap out of her chest. Her body reacted in ways that she couldn't comprehend.
"Doesn't seem like it. Not to me, at the least."
Yu Zhen's hand paused. Li Xueyue wished she hadn't said that. She missed his teasing fingers, the feather-soft caress upon her face.
"Only because you haven���t done anything to incur my wrath."
What could invoke his fury? What made him tick? What would he do to her if she angered him? All sorts of questions raised in her mind.
When Li Xueyue rolled her bottom lip into her mouth, his eyes snapped downwards at the tiny action before it darted back up to her face. His jaw clenched, his fingers tightly balled around the grass.
"Would you hurt me if I did?" she asked.
His answer came in a heartbeat. "Never."
Even if he tried, he would never hurt her.
Li Xueyue believed him. Not because he had never harmed her before, but because she trusted her instincts.
Yu Zhen softly chuckled, the sound tickling her heart. "What do you think, Sunshine?"
She finally smiled, albeit small and timid. "Then what do I have to fear?"
Yu Zhen carefully studied her, wishing he could remember this daydream for the rest of his life. He couldn't have her. She was too perfect for him to destroy. He wasn't cliche enough to think he was unworthy of her, but was cliche enough to believe he was incapable of properly loving her. She deserved everything in the world, a love like no other; untampered with, and smooth sailing.
"Everything," he finally said, shifting off of her. "You have everything to fear."
Li Xueyue squinted her eyes, covering half of her eye from the sun that beat down on her. Noticing her grimace, Yu Zhen stopped in front of her, his tall body shielding her from everything discomforting.
"Are you going to continue laying there?" Yu Zhen mused, his hands resting at his side. He was going to offer her a hand, but knew she would get up on her own.
Li Xueyue rolled her eyes and stood back up, dusting off the leaves that got stuck to her. "You could've helped."
"Would you have accepted it?"
Li Xueyue struggled to not smile. He knew her so well. When she was finished tidying her clothes, she moved to fix her hair that was presumably turned into a bird's nest.
"Lovely sight there." Yu Zhen snickered, reaching out to pluck the pale jade hairpin from her hair. In an instant, one of the braids woven into her bun came undone. He seemed the least apologetic of his gesture, twirling it between his fingers in effortless spins.
"What are you? A hairpin collector?" Li Xueyue huffed, sticking out her hand, silently demanding to have it back.
"Let me help you," Yu Zhen mused. He placed her jade hairpin into his own hair.
Li Xueyue raised a suspicious brow at his gesture. Finally, he placed a hairpin into her outstretched palms, but it didn't belong to her. She was astounded to see the ebony hairpin resting on her hand, a stained ashwood bent into the outline of a roaring lion encrusted with silver.
Yu Zhen responded by picking up his hairpin. He approached her until their chests touched. She found it interesting that she wasn't uncomfortable by their proximity. He twisted the unbraided hair back into the bun and used his hairpin to hold everything in place.
"Why haven't you worn anything I bought for you?" Yu Zhen asked her in a low voice. She looked up fast enough to see the slight jut of his bottom lips while he sulked to himself, unable to properly convey his discontent through words.
"Where did you learn to do hair?" She changed the subject, touching her hair, realizing nothing was out of place now.
"I didn't," Yu Zhen answered, his brows kneading together. What could be so hard about twisting strands of hair and curling it around the bun?
"It wasn't from experience?"
Li Xueyue could feel a thorn twisting deep into her heart, pain spreading through her chest. All of a sudden, she was infuriated by the thought of him fixing another woman's hair. What was this irritable emotion of hers? She had rarely felt something like this before.
"No. Why would it be?" Yu Zhen hid the ghost of a smile on his face. Was she jealous of something that would never happen?
"What reason could there be?" Li Xueyue countered, stubbornly crossing her arms across her chest. Her anger simmered down, but she was reluctant to reveal her thoughts to him.
"Jealousy perhaps?" he teased, grabbing both of her hands and unweaving her crossed arms.
��As if." She snorted, rolling her eyes when he gave her a doubtful stare.
"Doesn't seem like it," he retorted, squeezing her hands. She didn't respond, haughtily jutting her chin to the side.
Yu Zhen wondered if she knew how easy it was to tease her. He couldn't help it when her reactions brought out the mischievous side of him. With her lowered guard, he easily pulled her to him, his nose brushing against hers.
"You can rest assured, Sunshine." He dropped her hands, opting to wrap an arm around her waist. One of his hands eased upwards, resting on her upper back, closing the little distance between them.
"You're the only woman I ever treasure like this, silly girl," he promised, pressing a small kiss on the tip of her nose.
Her heart skipped a beat yet again, a small blush rose to her cheeks. She wondered if he could hear the loud drumming of her heart. And if only she knew, his were hammering even louder than hers...
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