341 Everyone Will Know
Yu Zhen stared down at her with a conflicted expression.
"How soon is soon?" he softly asked, his hand tightening over hers.
Her eyelids fluttered downwards, unable to admit the truth.
"I don't know…" she whispered.
He let out a small sigh and pulled her close, hugging her without qualms. When it came to her, Yu Zhen knew he would be treading in troubled waters. Yet, he still allowed himself to fall helplessly for her.
Yu Zhen could've left for Hanjian and never looked back. But he didn't. He wrote letters to her that demanded replies. He worked hard to ensure the political marriage would proceed. He finished documents weeks in advance, just to be able to spend time with her after the wedding.
"The things I do for you…" he murmured, shaking his head.
He felt her grip on his clothes tighten. To his pleasant surprise, she wrapped an arm around his waist and embraced him back. Her other hand rested upon his middle-back as she leaned against him.
"Will you pay me back for it?" he teased.
Yu Zhen said it as a joke, but she obviously didn't see it like that.
"What would you like in return?" she mumbled into his clothes, refusing to meet his intense gaze.
Yu Zhen raised a brow. He let out a hum and pretended to think about it.
"Allow me to have a harem of flowers to decorate my palace—"
Her head snapped up, her eyes wide with disbelief.
Yu Zhen's lips curled into a satisfied smirk. He could see it, the shards of amber swirling in her eyes—Hesitance, anger, fear. They were truly the windows to her soul.
"I'll poison your flowers until they wilt and never regrow," she retorted.
Yu Zhen wagged his fingers in front of her face, like a master disciplining a pet.
"Flowers are replaceable. One wilt, and two more grows in its place," he said.
Yu Zhen peered in amusement as her nostrils flared with a temperament fierce enough to match his. He could picture the gears turning in her head. And without warning, she angrily stomped on his foot.
He let out a sharp hiss in pain, not expecting a sneak attack like that. She shoved him away and crossed her arms.
"If you're going to have a harem of women, I want my fair share of boy toys," she stated.
Li Xueyue realized Yu Zhen was fickle as parchment against the wind. His easygoing smile morphed into a murderous glower. He revealed a wicked smirk, a crazed look in his obsidian eyes.
"Go ahead," he whispered.
Li Xueyue certainly didn't expect such an answer. His smirk deepened until it was sinister and dangerous.
"Buy out an entire brothel of men if you wish."
Li Xueyue's brows came together. She was puzzled by his acceptance of her proposal. She gulped when he took a slow step forward. She held her breath when he lifted strands of her long hair in between his calloused fingers.
"But I must warn you, Li Xueyue," he mused. "They won't have body parts to please you with."
Li Xueyue thought it was a joke, but the chilling calmness in his eyes said otherwise. She shivered. He laughed. He brought the strands of hair to his lips, pressing a kiss upon it.
"They'll be dead before you have your fun with them."
Li Xueyue's frowned. "I can say the same about your puny little flowers."
Her heart skipped when he glanced up from her hair. His eyes were sharp, like a predator watching his prey. He was too intense—too mesmerizing. He held her attention for the longest time. She couldn't look away—not even if she wanted too.
Yu Zhen's beauty was likened to nightfall. Cool as the night breeze, mesmerizing like stars, and mysterious like the moon.
She flinched in surprise when he reached out. She hoped her reaction didn't offend him. It didn't. He dropped the locks of her hair and in the blink of an eye, he was in front of her.
Li Xueyue was trapped between him and the doors. She had nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.
"Jealousy is a lovely shade on you," Yu Zhen murmured, grabbing her chin and lifting it up.
"You should see yourself first," she softly said, her feet moved on their own and rose to stand on the tippy-toes.
Li Xueyue closed her eyes, waiting for a kiss that never came. A second or two passed but she felt nothing.
"Yu Zhen—" He pressed a chaste kiss upon her forehead. Even when he pulled back, she could still feel its lingering warmth, warming her heart as well.
"You just love to tease me, don't you?" Li Xueyue grumbled, as her foot flattened onto the ground.
Then without warning, he bent down and captured her lips. She was caught off guard by the gentle kiss. It started off soft and slow, for he was careful not to hurt her. Then after a few seconds went by, their lips moved faster. Feverishly, he kissed her with a passion unlike before.
Li Xueyue's body hummed when he pressed open mouth kisses on the corners of her lips. He went lower and lower, his teeth skimming her jawline before latching upon her neck.
Her fingers dug into his upper arm when he suckled upon the same spot. The faded mark was beginning to show itself again.
"Everyone will know," she said in protest, pushing at his chest, but he grasped her wrist and pinned it against the door.
She used her other hand to cover her mouth, suppressing a moan when he blew on the bruised spot.
"Let them know," he retorted, prying her hand away to seal his lips upon hers.
His slick tongue dove into her mouth, wet and hot. He pressed his body against hers until he felt everything. He slowly released her wrist.
Li Xueyue's heart flipped when he let out a sound of pleasure. She unknowingly clung onto him, a hand upon his jaw, and the other on his back.
"The things you do to me," he groaned, finally pulling back to let her breathe. A couple of seconds later, his tongue dove back inside, tasting her carefully. She tasted sweet, like jasmine tea.
"Soon, you'll be completely mine," he asserted against her lips. He straightened up as her body slumped forward. He could feel her ample chest rising against his, greedily sucking in air.
Li Xueyue's shakingly nodded her head, knowing what was to come. Quite literally.
His thumb brushed against her swollen mouth. How was this possible? That a man as cruel as him was capable of soft actions like this? His temper was hot, his personality was fearsome, and he was merciless. Yet, he caressed her with love and adoring eyes.
Li Xueyue couldn't help but confess her worries to him. "I saw Xu Jiaqi before I came here."
His body went as stiff as a tree. He waited patiently for her to voice out her concerns.
"She was unscathed from her actions yesterday," she pointed out. "Which is quite interesting, considering your reputation for punishing rulebreakers."
Li Xueyue grabbed the hand that caressed her face. She prevented him from touching her anywhere else.
"Care to explain?" she asked, but it sounded like a command.