Vol. 1: chapter eight – date (part 2)

Li Xinwen slid the closet door open and stepped out. What he saw was hardly a surprise. Xue Rui, who didn’t notice that he had opened the door, stood as if in a trance. It looked like he was smelling the towel Li Xinwen had dropped earlier. Li Xinwen shook his head and rolled his eyes. He did not even want to know what this man was thinking. “Rui-ge, what are you doing?” he asked.

Xue Rui was rudely awakened from his fantasy but he wasn’t mad at all. Compared to the Li Xinwen in his fantasy, he’d much prefer the real one. “Hmmm…nothing. I just picked up the towel, so it won’t leave any stains on the carpet,” Xue Rui lied, while maintaining a straight face.

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‘What a lie…’ Li Xinwen hissed in his heart.

Li Xinwen stood by the closet door as Xue Rui turned to face him. Xue Rui was amazed at what he saw. So much so, that he was rendered speechless at the image of Li Xinwen in front of him. He stood open-mouthed and dumbfounded, unable to find the words to say.

Li Xinwen looked like the celebrity that he was. He exuded a radiance that only he could pull off. It was a simple ensemble – a blue suit, white dress shirt with the first three buttons unbuttoned, a leather belt and a pair of white leather sneakers. Just the right touch of formality and relaxed chic. His hair, still a little wet and dishevelled, amplified his sex appeal tenfold. Xue Rui’s mind went blank and his heartbeat even faster.

‘Oh god, this is too much for me. How can you be so sexy, Xinwen? You are simply walking hormones! Please, deities in heaven give me the strength to restrain myself from ripping off his clothes and making a mess out of this lothario before me right at this moment!’ Xue Rui thought to himself as he clenched the towel in his hand.

He blinked his eyes and shook his head abruptly as if to wake himself from a momentary lapse. He took a deep breath, smiled, and slowly approached Li Xinwen.

Upon seeing Xue Rui approach, Li Xinwen clenched his hands into fists, ready to fight if it came down to that. But Xue Rui didn’t exhibit any form of hostility or indecent behaviour, which prompted Li Xinwen to lower his defences, and he unclenched his fists. Xue Rui placed the towel he was holding on Li Xinwen’s head and started to rub his wet hair.

“Your hair is still a little wet, let me help dry it off,” he said affectionately, letting out a small chuckle. Li Xinwen felt like a child being spoiled, and he couldn’t help chuckling with Xue Rui. No one could have predicted what happened next. During that moment of carefree laughter between the two men, a surge of innocent desire bubbled to the surface. Their eyes met and in that fleeting moment, Li Xinwen saw a multitude of unspoken words in Xue Rui’s eyes and it was his turn to be stunned. In that fleeting moment, he felt his heartbeat to a different rhythm.

Xue Rui stopped rubbing the towel on Li Xinwen’s hair and suddenly used it to cover Li Xinwen’s eyes. Slowly he lowered his lips to Li Xinwen’s. The kiss was light yet full of desire, it spoke of so much longing and hope without overstepping the boundaries of lust. It was passionate yet it wasn’t. Xue Rui wanted to embrace Li Xinwen but stopped himself and instead pulled his lips away.

Li Xinwen was left breathless and a little dizzy from what had just happened. It was his turn to be speechless. Xue Rui lowered the towel from his eyes, which somehow brought him back to his senses. Realizing what had just happened, Li Xinwen’s hand went up and he pushed Xue Rui, just enough to keep a distance between them. ‘Too close… too close,’ Li Xinwen whispered to himself in a panic.

“Rui-ge… enough with the stolen kisses. Please control yourself. Ah… damn it!” Li Xinwen said, flustered and blushing, as he admonished Xue Rui.

“Hahahaha,” Xue Rui laughed and for a moment, Li Xinwen saw a different side to Xue Rui. He was obviously enjoying himself. “It was just a kiss Xinwen. There’s no harm in a kiss,” Xue Rui said continuing to tease him.

‘No harm your sister!’ Li Xinwen was about to protest but stopped himself, he no longer wanted to argue with the foolish man in front of him.

“Anyway, if you’re ready, let’s go now. I have already made reservations at a restaurant for lunch.”

“We’re not eating at home?” Li Xinwen asked, surprised that Xue Rui had already made plans to have lunch out without discussing it with him.

“No.”

“I can’t eat solid foods…”

“It’s alright. I took that into consideration when I made the reservation.”

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“There’s no way to escape this now, is there?” Li Xinwen asked, even though he already knew the answer. Looking through the original’s memories, he knew Xue Rui always had his way in the end, no matter how much the original tried to escape.

“I’m glad you understand, Xinwen. I will be waiting in my car. Fix your hair. You don’t have to put on a disguise,” Xue Rui said before he left Li Xinwen alone.

After Xue Rui closed the door to Li Xinwen’s room, he was finally able to breathe. His heart was beating excessively fast as if it was about to burst out of his chest. He felt his knees buckle and all his strength drained away. He placed his hand on the wall just to keep himself upright.

“What was that?! I’ve kissed him so many times in the past but why did this kiss feel different? Why am I so nervous? What is happening to me?” he kept asking himself, his hand covering his mouth as if he was about to hyperventilate.

“Snap out of it Xue Rui,” he reprimanded himself. He stood up straight and fixed his tie. He brushed the wrinkles from his trousers, took an extra breath of air to calm himself and proceeded downstairs.

Li Xinwen exhaled loudly when Xue Rui left and he quickly went to the mirror to fix his messy hair. As he stared at his reflection, he couldn’t help but narrow his eyes. “Geez… Your life is a mess, you know that? How is it that your own sister’s fiance had taken a fancy to you? And rather than telling your sister, you’d rather suffer in silence just so you can see her smile with the man she loves. Where is your dignity?” Li Xinwen wanted to scold the original. Of course, he didn’t receive any reply. The original was dead and his soul has probably entered the reincarnation cycle. Otherwise, Li Xinwen wouldn’t be here at all.

Since being hospitalized, Li Xinwen’s hair had grown to medium length. It had volume and was obviously cared for properly. He let the original’s memories guide him while he styled it, applying light to moderate hold wax throughout his hair and using his hands and fingers to pull it back. He ended up with the quiff hairstyle, scruffy and a little dishevelled, but it suited his face very well and accentuated his features.

Once he was finished, he went downstairs and looked for Madam Li.

“Oh my! What a handsome young man you are!” Madam Li exclaimed when she saw Li Xinwen approach.

“You flatter me too much Mom,” Li Xinwen responded shyly. “I’ll just be out for a bit. I’ll be back by dinner time,” he said and gave Madam Li a hug. He put on his Ray-bans and stepped out of the house. He saw a car parked in the driveway and immediately knew that it was Xue Rui’s. The silver Maserati was actually Xue Rui’s favourite among all of his collections. Li Xinwen had to admit it; the car looked impressive.

As Li Xinwen was walking towards the car, Xue Rui happened to glance out the window on the passenger side. He was taken aback as he saw Li Xinwen striding toward the car and nearly dropped his phone. Li Xinwen looked like a sexy fashion model on the runway. “Why does he look so good?!” Xue Rui thought as he continued to speak to his phone.

Li Xinwen double-checked with the original’s memories to make sure he wouldn’t make a mistake or forget to do something necessary. He opened the passenger door, sat on the passenger seat and buckled his seat belt. He saw that Xue Rui was on the phone and judging from his tone it seemed to be very important; probably something to do with work. The seat was extremely comfortable, and Li Xinwen noticed how luxurious the leather interior was as he ran his hands on the high-grade leather panel of the passenger door. He glanced at Xue Rui then averted his gaze to the front and waited patiently for him to finish.

After a while, Xue Rui finally ended the call and looked over at Li Xinwen apologetically. “Sorry, about that Ah‘Wen, I forgot to tell my secretary about today so he panicked while trying to look for me. Don’t worry though, I’ve already finished everything for the afternoon, so he won’t bother us on our date,” Xue Rui informed him with a grin on his face. After making sure that Li Xinwen was wearing his safety belt, he started the engine and drove.

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