Vol. 1: chapter eight – date (part 1)

When they arrived home, Li Xinwen made his way to the kitchen in a hurry. He placed the bags of groceries on top of the kitchen counter and came out with a glass of water, which he offered Madam Li.

“Ah…thank you Ah‘Wen,” said Madam Li as she took the glass from her son. Li Xinwen slowly ushered her towards the living room and advised her to rest while he took care of the groceries. He sat her on one of the accent chairs near the living room entrance then disappeared into the kitchen.

By the time he finished organizing the groceries, the digital clock placed in the kitchen read 11:30 A.M.

He knew that Xue Rui would be arriving in the afternoon to pick him up so he decided to start getting ready. He passed Madam Li asleep on the accent chair by the living room entrance. ‘She must have been tired after our walk back from the supermarket,’ he thought, as he approached her and planted an affectionate kiss on her forehead. He propped her legs on the matching footstool and took the flannel blanket from the chair’s armrest and placed it over her to cover her.

“Rest well Mom,” he gently whispered, then made his way upstairs.

Li Xinwen carried his bag of chocolates to his room. Excitement and curiosity welled up inside him as the original’s memories of eating chocolates filled his mind. In the memories, he saw how much the original had enjoyed and savoured the different types of chocolate during his lifetime. “I’ll sample these later,” he said, placing the bag on the Recamier divan at the foot of his bed. He then made his way in front of the full-length mirror in his walk-in closet to inspect himself. The sun had already been high up when they walked back from the supermarket. It was extremely hot, and Li Xinwen was sweating the whole way as they made their way home. He sniffed himself and grimaced.

“Shower it is…” he mumbled to himself as he started stripping off his clothes, leaving a trail of discarded clothing on his way to the bath.

Li Xinwen was lean. He wasn’t too muscular but he had firm muscles in all the right places. His body was toned overall and complemented his height at around 183 cm. Xue Rui was a little taller at 194 cm and when they stood side by side they looked like a couple of really handsome men.

Li Xinwen entered the bathroom and removed the bandages from his wound and wondered whether it was still necessary to wear them. “Let’s not create any further suspicion – I’ll leave them on for the show,” he decided. Li Xinwen turned the shower tap and let the water wash over his body.

Xue Rui arrived at the Li residence at 12:00 P.M on the dot. While Li Xinwen was in the shower Madam Li greeted Xue Rui at the door and invited him in. Ever the gentleman, he shared with Madam Li his plan to take Li Xinwen to acquire the Jian he wanted.

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“So kind of you Rui. It’s a good thing for Ah‘Wen to go out and get his mind off of the accident even for just a while. But a Jian? My my, that boy has been acting out of sorts since he got back from the hospital,” she said as she patted Xue Rui’s arm. “So please, take care of him Rui,” and then she pointed him upstairs and told him that Li Xinwen was probably in his room.

“Then excuse me for a bit Li mother, while I go and check on him,” and Xue Rui made his way upstairs to Li Xinwen’s room.

He stood in front of the door and straightened his tie, then unbuttoned his suit and ran his hand through his hair, inhaling deeply. He was bracing himself for a locked door but was hoping that it was not. He turned the knob and found that it wasn’t locked. “The heavens must be on my side today,” he said excitedly as he made his way in.

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Li Xinwen was still in the shower, judging from the sound coming from the bath. Xue Rui walked around the room, brushing his hand on Li Xinwen’s pillow as if by doing so he was also brushing Li Xinwen’s hair. He went to the Recamier divan at the foot of the bed and saw the bag of chocolates.

“Pffft… How adorable, I see that he still has a sweet tooth,” he remarked and continued over to the walk-in closet. He ran his hand along the shirts hanging there before taking one and holding it up against his nose, inhaling deeply. He was able to make out faint traces of Li Xinwen’s scent mixed with detergent and fabric conditioner. Xue Rui was nearly intoxicated before he caught himself. “Oh Xinwen… why am I so crazy about you?” he sighed to himself as he replaced the shirt in the closet. Just as he was about to head out, he saw Li Xinwen’s discarded clothing leading to the bath. He let out a chuckle and picked up the clothes one by one. “Such a child,” he said smiling while shaking his head. He placed the clothes in the hamper and walked towards the bookshelf. He picked out a poetry book and walked back to the Recamier divan, sat down, and started to read quietly, waiting for Li Xinwen.

Li Xinwen finished his shower and towelled himself as best he could. He replaced the bandage on the spot where his wound was supposed to be and stepped out of the shower. He wrapped a towel around his waist and placed one on top of his head. He started humming an old song he remembered from his days in Long Xing. As he was walking towards the bathroom door, he suddenly sensed a presence in his room. Instinctively, he reached for a bathrobe, as if it would protect him from whoever was trespassing in his room. Li Xinwen sent out a bit of his spiritual energy to probe the identity of this person. ‘Why is Xue Rui in my room?!’ he thought, and he furrowed his brows and gritted his teeth in annoyance.

Li Xinwen knew he was partly to blame since he didn’t lock his door. He should have predicted this move from Xue Rui. Left with no other choice, he squeezed his eyes as if to wring out all of his irritation as well. He took a deep breath before fixing his facial expression, then opened the bathroom door.

Upon hearing the door open, Xue Rui lifted his head from the book and turned his eyes towards the sound, waiting for Li Xinwen to step out.

Li Xinwen’s eyes met Xue Rui’s when he stepped out of the bathroom. Feigning surprise, Li Xinwen asked “Rui-ge! What are you doing in my room?!”

For someone who said he had no passion for acting, Li Xinwen sure was able to act convincingly. “Anyway, just give me a few minutes and I’ll be right back,” he added as he rushed to the closet, dropping the towel from his head as he made his way. This time, he made sure to slide the doors to the walk-in closet closed and locked it. There was no way he was going to spend another second in front of Xue Rui in his current state of undress. “Oh god, what was that… Why did Xue Rui look like he was about to pounce on me?” Li Xinwen whispered frantically to himself, shaking his head.

He put on a white cotton dress shirt from his closet and paired this with a dark blue Giorgio Armani slim-fit half-canvas twill blend Soho suit. He wore a brushed calfskin leather belt, and finished his look with a pair of white leather sneakers and sprayed just a little cologne. “Woah, that smells nice,” Li Xinwen said, surprised. The way he dressed was probably all due to the original Li Xinwen’s sense of style. He examined himself in front of the full-length mirror and was extremely pleased.

Outside, Xue Rui’s heart was beating hard within his chest. His eyes lingered on the closet door, then he noticed the towel, which had fallen off of Li Xinwen’s head as he hurried to the closet. He placed the book down on the divan and walked over to the towel, picked it up and took a whiff of the alluring fragrance that came from it. He could smell Li Xinwen’s fragrance as he lifted the towel to his nose. His mind went back to the image of Li Xinwen as he stepped out after his bath. He had been wearing a loosely fitted robe, which exposed his chest and his toned abs.

“Ugh… you are driving me crazy Xinwen!” he whispered to himself as he clutched the towel in his hand. He imagined stripping the robe from Li Xinwen and the towel underneath to reveal the seductive body that was craving so much. Whenever he imagined Li Xinwen’s naked figure, his desires overflowed and he couldn’t help but want to ravish Li Xinwen.

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