By the time Xiao Li called, it was already the morning of the next day.
At that moment, Qi Xiuyuan had just given the headmaster of the school a call to extend his leave from class, and after the call ended, he noticed that his phone was nearly out of battery life – he had rushed to the hospital without thinking of bringing his charger. Just as he was about to ask the nurse to look after Han Jia so that he could head out to purchase a universal charger, he received a call from Xiao Li.
“Xiao Li, my phone is about to die,” Qi Xiuyuan said immediately after answering the call. “I’ll call you back in a bit with the public phone, okay?”
Qi Xiuyuan could practically see Xiao Li smiling even though they were not face-to-face.
“That’s fine, how are you over there?”
“Han Jia hasn’t woken up yet. The doctor said that there are no serious injuries. He should be conscious in a day or two.”
“I know. Didn’t one of us go over there to see him? He already told me the situation,” Xiao said nonchalantly. “I’m asking, how are you doing?”
“Me?” A smile formed on Qi Xiuyuan’s lips, “I’m alright. There’s no problem at all looking after Han Ji, don’t worry.”
With Xiao Li’s silence, Qi Xiuyuan spoke again: “Xiao Li.”
At first Qi Xiuyuan wanted to ask him, ‘why didn’t you call me yesterday?’ and ‘I was really worried about you,’ but the way Xiao Li said ‘yeah’ sounded so instinctive as if he had known him for a long time – a hint of familiarity and intimacy coalesced to form that one word.
Qi Xiuyuan was unable to say anything. Perhaps it was the way it sounded or perhaps because Xiao Li had finally called him, and although it was just a simple inquiry of how he was doing, happiness filled his head. So much so, he could feel his own heartbeat throbbing faster.
“Qi Xiuyuan?” Hearing no response, Xiao Li asked himself a bit puzzled: “Don’t tell me his phone is dead?”
“It’s not…” Qi Xiuyuan said, his voice somewhat hoarse. He cleared his throat, “It’s nothing.” He could sense Xiao Li smiling again from the other side of the phone.
“Qi Xiuyuan…” Xiao Li called his name again, “Xiao Yang came to my place.”
“Oh, he…are you guys…okay now?” Qi Xiuyuan asked nervously.
Xiao Li sighed, “Why did talk to him about those things? How meddlesome…”
“I just want to help you. I…hello? Hello?” Qi Xiuyuan looked at his cell phone then anxiously pressed the bell at the side of Han Jia’s bed for the nurse – all he wanted to do was to rush out to call Xiao Li.
Suddenly, the sound of the door being slowly opened infiltrated the room. Qi Xiuyuan turned around while saying, “I’m sorry for troubling you. Can you please help me watch him for a second? I need to—”
Xiao Li stood at the doorway with a warm smile drawn along the lines of his lips. The sprinkle of sunlight from the windowsill reflected on his body created an illusion of him sparkling as he greeted Qi Xiuyuan.
“Okay,” he said warmly. “I’m more than willing to.”
Seeing Qi Xiuyuan’s surprised expression, Xiao Li couldn’t help but let out a peal of soft laughter. He turned to close the door behind him. “I was only teasing you. I’m really grateful towards you. Xiao Yang, he…” his voice suddenly faded as if the words were pulled out of his throat.
Qi Xiuyuan had already approached him from behind before both his arms reached out to press against the door, trapping Xiao Li in an embrace.
“Qi Xiuyuan, don’t be like this,” Xiao Li whispered.
The person behind him pressed closer toward his back. There was barely any space for him to move as his chest knocked on the door. Qi Xiuyuan’s warm breath sprinkled on his neck and ears.
“Xiao Li…” Qi Xiuyuan’s voice was raspy yet steady. “Turn around and say, ‘don’t be like this’ again.”
Xiao Li sighed and lifted his arm up backward then seizing what small chance he had, he tried to turn around. He only wanted to push Qi Xiuyuan away, so he didn’t exert much strength. But in the instant that Xiao Li stalled, Qi Xiuyuan did not move out of his away and instead, moved even closer to Xiao Li.
Xiao Li was still trapped in between his arms and their faces and chests were now toward each other.
“Qi Xiuyuan, don’t be like this.” Xiao Li repeated, his expression riding between embarrassment and awkwardness.
“You came to me yourself.” Qi Xiuyuan stared at him, eyes brimming with a luminous light that seemed eager to burn Xiao Li; although his voice was gentle, a hint of danger could be detected.
“I only came here to thank you.”
Having Qi Xiuyuan looked at him with a longing expression made Xiao Li felt very uneasy – he used all the self-control he had to not turn his eyes away.
“You can call me.” Qi Xiuyuan leaned closer, his lips just a few centimeters away from pressing against Xiao Li’s. Every time he spoke, his warm breath would trace along Xiao Li’s lips. “You can send me a text message. You can wait for me to go back then say that. Xiao Li, you know what kind of feelings I have for you, yet you still came here…”
Xiao Li attempted to turn his face to the side, but Qi Xiuyuan’s lips had already found its target. This time, it was no longer a gentle or pitiful attempt – not innocent or teasing but hot, fiery, passionate, and demanding. His tongue pressed against the seam of Xiao Li’s lip, savoring the sweet taste that lingered.
“I love you, I love you,” he whispered repeatedly in between kisses as the tip of his tongue slowly explored the mouth against his.
Xiao Li knew well that he should push him away, or at the least show some sort of hesitation and retreat, but Qi Xiuyuan’s vague words of love made his head spin and weakened his footing – he closed his eyes into the feeling. He could nearly feel the slight burn from the heat that rolled off Qi Xiuyuan’s tongue as it continued to press against his. Unable to control himself, he let out a low gasp that caused their breaths to mingle.
Qi Xiuyuan became more excited. Xiao Li’s very smell was flooding his senses – it was truly the root of his hard fall. His tongue found Xiao Li’s again and in one quick go, he sucked on it hard. The intoxicating feeling of diving headfirst into an erupting volcano, and most of all, the way his tongue tasted of melting cotton candy set his passion ablaze.
His hands that were propped on the door slid down to Xiao Li’s chest – only the thin T-shirt separated his skin from the man in front of him. The feeling of the strong yet soft chest on his hand made him impatient. He could feel the small nipple beneath perked and with a quick motion, he pinched it.
This time, Xiao Li did not indulge in it. He grabbed Qi Xiuyuan’s hand and pushed him away. Qi Xiuyuan retreated a few steps back from being caught off guard. His chest still throbbed with excitement. His eyes were still on Xiao Li as he licked his lips, savoring the aftertaste of their kiss – a sweet smile spread across his face.
Xiao Li could barely look him in the eyes. That longing and burning gaze were still in control of him. He turned his head to the side as if trying to hide.
Seeing this, Qi Xiuyuan’s smile widened and just as he was about to step up with the intention of pulling Xiao Li into his arms again, there was a knock at the door.
“Excuse me, did someone call for the nurse?” A voice asked from the other side.
Xiao Li stared at him and then turned in an attempt to open the door, but Qi Xiuyuan quickly rushed over and grabbed his hand. He wanted to say ‘sorry, I pressed the bell by accident’, but then he heard a hoarse voice from behind him.
“Yes. I’m thirsty…”
Qi Xiuyuan and Xiao Li immediately swung their heads around and saw that Han Jia had already opened his eyes, looking at them with a blank expression. No one knew exactly how long he had been awake.