Li Xueyue ran as if she was being chased by insidious spirits. She kept running and never stopped to catch her breath even when her lungs were about to collapse from exhaustion. She continued sprinting like her life depended on it. And halfway into the run, she had slipped the ring directly onto her finger. No one could take it away from her now. Not unless they yanked it from her. And she'd never let that happen.
Finally, she took a glance backward, watching to see if Chenyang was running after her.
In her daze, she roughly collided with one of the small tables near the hallway. Letting out a terrified yelp, she watched in horror as an expensive vase shook and slid off the table.
"No!" she shouted, reaching over to catch it but her fingers merely grazed the painted porcelain. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion, from the vase tumbling off the table to a large hand that caught the vase seconds before it crashed onto the ground.
"Well then," Yu Zhen mused, watching in amusement as her face transformed from fear to shock and then to relief.
Yu Zhen settled the vase back onto the table, adjusting the placement so that it looked as if nothing was out of place. Less than a second after his fingers left the vase, he felt something pounce onto him, nearly catching him off guard. He took a tiny step backward, his lips twitching to resist a giant grin that threatened to break out.
"You certainly missed me," he commented in a gentle voice.
Li Xueyue buried her face against his clothes, wrapping her arms around him tighter. She felt the rumble of his chest when he let out a cool chuckle before his arm wrapped around her, hoisting her closer to him. He rested one hand behind her head, fondly stroking her hair.
"What was the rush for?" Yu Zhen asked, his voice as velvety and warm as she had always remembered it to be.
Li Xueyue did not respond for the longest time, as if she was treasuring this moment, hoping to pocket it and carry it with her for the rest of her life. She could not resist the comfort his steady arms provided, nor could she ignore his erratic heartbeat that pounded furiously in her ears. He was as happy to see her as she was.
Yu Zhen did not mind her silence. He continued to hold her without a single care about his environment. If there was one thing that mattered in the world, it was this tiny moment, regardless of how fleeting it was.
"I missed you," came her quiet confession, barely louder than a whisper.
Yu Zhen could not suppress his smile anymore. "It has only been a day since we've seen each other," he teased, bending low to press a fond kiss upon the crown of her head.
Li Xueyue wished her stomach did not flutter and her heart did not skip a beat. How could she envision parting from him when he made her the happiest and craziest she had ever been? Moments like this were a brutal reminder to her that not everything was forever.
"You don't miss me?" Li Xueyue suddenly asked, pulling back to reveal the small pout she didn't know was on her face.
When Yu Zhen saw her sulk and glower up at him, as if she was wronged by the entire world, he couldn't help but let out a hearty laugh. He cupped her face, squeezing her cheeks with his thumb, before pressing her cheeks together, watching her pout turn into puckered lips. She narrowed her eyes, irritated by his behavior.
"I missed teasing you." His smile widened when she angrily kicked his shin. It only hurts a bit, but he pretended to not feel anything.
"Was that supposed to hurt?" he teased.
Li Xueyue scowled at his words, which was not a pretty expression on her squished face. She began to frustratingly slap his chest, forcing him to release her. How mean of him to continue bullying her like this!
Yu Zhen couldn't help but loudly laugh at her response. When she reacted like an angry little kitty, how could anyone resist the urge to not tease her? His laughter provoked her further and she began to struggle in his arms, flinging her arms and legs everywhere.
In a blink of an eye, he caught both of her wrists and slammed her against the wall. He was careful to not hurt her, but could not prevent the mischief that flashed within his dark eyes. He pressed his body against hers, caging her in.
"Easy now," he murmured. He bent his head towards hers. He could feel her body clench and tense in anticipation, her eyes fluttering shut.
Yu Zhen's lips twitched yet again. He knew what she was waiting for. He lowered his lips, brushing it against her soft ones. At the last minute, he changed direction and kissed the corner of her mouth, her eyes impatiently snapped open.
Li Xueyue felt the intensity of heat that rolled off of him in waves. He teasingly trailed a kiss from the corner of her lips to her earlobes.
She shivered in response. His grip on her wrists tightened.
Her knees quivered when his warm breath fanned her ears, his teeth grazing her lobes before he pressed a final kiss against the back of her ears.
She groaned in protest when he pulled back, his eyes darker than usual. A fire was ignited in his eyes, burning more than her humming body that warmed in response.
"We should stop." It was not a suggestion, but a command. He was at the edge of his limits, his voice tight and restrained. One more temptation, and he'd take her right then and there.
Her voice came out in the quietest whisper, "No."
She pressed her body against his until he could feel all of her, just as she could feel all of him. She always found it interesting; his voice was rough, his body rigid and hard, but his touch was always gentle when it came to her. Hesitant and fearful, he treated her like she would shatter in his hands. She preferred it if he used his hands to help her reach that shattering moment.
Li Xueyue's cheeks heated at the dirty suggestion that flashed in her mind. "Let's continue."
In a blink of an eye, he lightly grabbed her throat with one hand, forcing her head upwards. She gasped at the abrupt action as an unfamiliar warmth pooled in her lower stomach. He pressed his fingers against her sensitive spot, yet he did not tighten his hand in a way that would hurt her.
"Do not tempt me," he growled, the fire brightly burning in his eyes.
Li Xueyue felt her heart skip a beat. His grip on her neck was so soft, she almost didn't feel it.
She opened her mouth to respond, but he firmly pressed his body against hers. Her eyes widened by a fraction when she felt something press against her thigh. His freed hand began to travel from her shoulder, sliding lower and lower, teasingly grazing the side of her breast before settling on her hips.
"Don't provoke me, I won't be gentle," he warned, squeezing her waist.
"Who said I wanted you to be gentle?"
His entire body tensed, his eyes narrowing dangerously. In a blink of an eye, he slammed his lips against hers, capturing it roughly.
His kiss was merciless and cruel, punishing even, but that didn't stop her from meeting his ferocity. Her body hummed as he pulled back, only to furiously kiss her yet again. Her fingers dug into his arms as she clenched a part that she didn't know was even possible to clench.
When he pulled back, she was gasping and panting for air. His chest rose and fell against hers. His burning, taunting glower piercing right through her. The tension between them was inescapable and he wanted to do nothing but yank her into one of these rooms and have his way with her.
"That was a warning, Sunshine," he murmured.
The hand gripping her throat loosened and slid down her body, his fingers brushing against all of her curves. Without warning, he yanked her lower body closer to him, promising himself that nothing would ever come in between them. And he would fight to keep it that way.
She was his. He would not accept it any other way.
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