To any person, the Fei Du sitting at the edge of the bed would appear like his usual self, confident and in control with eyes piercingly calm behind frameless glasses, not a hair out of place nor a wrinkle on his clothes, looking as sophisticated as ever. Except for a few cat hairs on the high fashioned black vest and pants, nothing seems to displace him.
Inside however, his mind is going at a rapid pace, running through every planned detail down to the most minute triviality.
Once in a while, he steals a glance in the direction of their bathroom. Luo Wenzhou hadn’t closed the door completely and sounds of water and muffled humming drift through the slight gap. Steam from the hot shower enters the bedroom, enveloping Fei Du in a moist and soapy scented warm blanket.
He crosses his legs and taps a foot unconsciously as he waits. The faucet squeaks and the drumming of water stops. Silence descends and Fei Du’s stomach does a little involuntary flip. He clenches a fist and digs his fingernails into the soft flesh of his palm.
Luo Wenzhou steps into the room completely naked, with only a towel draped over his shoulders. His hair is carelessly tousled into a disheveled state and a lock flops endearingly forward over his lashes. Too lazy to push it back, he whistles towards the clothes already laid neatly out on the bed for him.
Fei Du’s breath catches and he bites his lip. This hot after shower look, so extremely sexy and alluring. He has an explicable urge to pull him down right that instant and fuck him until he is dirty all over again.
Riddled with lust, Fei Du stirs uncomfortably. To distract himself, he counts the water droplets clinging to Luo Wenzhou’s body. Almost hypnotically, he reaches out a finger and lightly draws a line connecting two small ones together, taking pleasure in seeing them join and trickle down his arm.
Luo Wenzhou had been about to pick up the shirt on the bed. At his touch, he stops and glances at him, their faces only inches apart.
Preoccupied by the droplet, Fei Du only realises that Luo Wenzhou is looking at him when he gently brushes a thumb over his lip. He looks up and sparkling eyes meet his midway.
The thumb lingers. Without breaking eye contact, Fei Du parts his lips and sucks it between his teeth, seductively running his tongue over the soft pad. He is rewarded by a sharp intake of uneven breath.
Unable to stop himself, Luo Wenzhou closes the distance and captures his mouth. They kiss with abandon until their joined breaths resound arousingly in the room. The thumb draws out and drags a moist trail down Fei Du’s chin.
Fei Du pulls away.
“We can’t...,” he says raggedly. “We can’t be late.”
“I don’t care.” Luo Wenzhou desperately tries to pull him back but grabs at air. The other is adamant. “As much as I want to Darling, we have a reservation and your parents are waiting.”
He pokes his reluctant boyfriend.
“So quickly get dressed, old man. We can’t be late to your birthday celebration.”
Luo Wenzhou grumbles, “Why have a celebration anyway? It’s not as if I’ve never had a birthday before. What’s so special about it? Just any normal day.”
The ranting continues as he puts on his clothes. Fei Du doesn't say a word and looks on patiently.
Handsome cannot even begin to describe the person in front of him. The crisp formal white shirt and dark grey slacks he had carefully picked out for him exude elegance and accentuate his good looks. With his tall, well-built frame, Luo Wenzhou cut a striking figure and for the second time today, Fei Du’s stomach does a flip.
“Darling ah, next time can you please pick a place that is less fancy? I feel itchy in this shirt.”
“Okay.” Fei Du answers with a quiet smile and runs his long fingers through the messy hair, helping to neaten it. After a quick glance in a mirror, Luo Wenzhou announces that he is ready.
“How do I look?” He asks.
“Perfect. As always.” Fei Du’s smooth words cause Luo Wenzhou to roll his eyes.
“Come on,” he hurries. “The faster we get it over with the faster I can come back for my present.”
“Oh?” Fei Du raises his eyebrows in mock surprise. “And what present might that be?”
Luo Wenzhou sneaks an arm around his boyfriend’s waist, pulling him close. He leans down and drawls suggestively in his ear, “I very clearly recall that someone had offered me his body to play with. All. Night. Long.”
Light laughter rings musically, “Let’s see if you last the evening first grandpa.”
“Oh I will,” Luo Wenzhou promises and turns to leave, “Let’s go!”
Before he could take two steps, Fei Du holds his hand and pulls him back. “Wait.”
Luo Wenzhou had been facing the door, away from Fei Du. So when Fei Du told him to wait, he turned around thinking he had forgotten something.
He finds him standing in the middle of the room, amidst golden slates of sunlight filtering through the open window.
Soft rays bask the space in a warm homey glow. Sometimes on weekends, they would squeeze on the armchair in front of the window and watch the shifting sunbeams in peaceful serenity. Until dusk fell into the cool of night.
It is one of their special moments that Luo Wenzhou treasures the most. He loves putting his arms around Fei Du and holding him close whilst they enjoy something so mundanely boring together. When they’re like that, Luo Wenzhou feels he could keep him safe forever and Fei Du would relax as though he could finally accept that the past wouldn’t sneak up on him anymore.
Those sunbeams now illuminate him in a faint halo as he stands in the room, his beautiful peach blossom eyes reflecting like dark unfathomable mirrors.
Luo Wenzhou senses a shift in the air and he suddenly feels nervous. He is unsure why. Maybe he is so attune to Fei Du, he could tell that something is up just by his presence alone. Seeing the intense way he looks back as if he has a deep secret he is about to reveal. His insides does a little dance.
“What is it?” He asks cautiously, walking closer.
“I’ve got a gift for you before we go.” Fei Du says softly, the corners of his lips lifting upwards, his gaze never leaving the other.
He takes Luo Wenzhou’s left hand and fondly plays with the makeshift wire ring he had made for him a while back. The one he stubbornly refused to take off ever since he slipped it onto his finger and had so much as protected it with his life even though Fei Du logically argued that he could die of poisoning if it rusted.
Fei Du now gently removes it and places it in his pocket.
Then as Luo Wenzhou stares in wonderment, he draws a box out from his other pocket.
Fei Du opens it and in it lies a ring. An unassuming solid band. Outrageously expensive from just one look. Yet, it didn’t call out for attention and is perfect in its simplicity.
Luo Wenzhou forgot words. His eyes widened until he could feel them almost popping out of his head and he gapes soundlessly, heart racing at the speed of light.
Fei Du removes the ring and places it at the tip of his finger, looking directly into his eyes.
“Luo Wenzhou, will you marry me?”
Straightforward and uncomplicated. Those words shot arrows into Luo Wenzhou’s heart.
He stares wildly at the cool as a cucumber person in front of him. This person who out of the blue throws something as insane as this at him. What the fuck?! He yells in his head.
Fei Du tilts his own head.
When he realises he hadn’t spoken out loud, Luo Wenzhou tries again.
“What are you saying?” He whispers hoarsely, the most he could squeeze out.
“I’m asking if you would marry me.” Fei Du says, slower this time so that the meaning could be absorbed by the old brain.
It took some time before Luo Wenzhou’s mind kicks back to life and after a few false starts, a raspy voice he didn’t recognise as his own scrapes up a few distressed words.
“Wait a minute, if anyone is to ask anyone to marry him, it would be ME! Why have you beaten me to it?!”
Fei Du holds the ring in position. At the same time, he grasps tightly at the hand that had begun to flap in exasperation.
Pulling it back towards him, he sighs, “Shixiong, we can argue about that later. Can you answer the question first?”
Luo Wenzhou closes his mouth and then he closes his eyes. After a breathless second, he reopens them and utters one word. “Yes.”
He grips Fei Du’s hand back.
“Yes, you brat. Of course I’ll marry you.”
Obviously he would say yes, there was never any doubt.
The ring slips like a dream onto his finger.
Another box materialises. This time without hesitation, Luo Wenzhou takes the ring that is exactly the same as his own and puts it on Fei Du.
A moment of silence ensues where they stare enthralled at the symbols of their eternal love and devotion glinting radiantly in the sunlight. When Fei Du tries to get his attention, Luo Wenzhou shushes him. He studies their hands for a while longer and after that, without any warning, smacks Fei Du on the wrist. “You...Who says you could propose? I was going to ask you but just needed some time. Now you’ve gone and done it first!”
He really is feeling sore. He honestly wanted to be the one to ask and had plans laid out already. Find a country where same sex marriages are allowed. Get legally married. Live a long, prosperous and happy life together. Needing only to fill in the blanks with lots of romance and sex.
But this kid just had to mess things up as always.
Fei Du rubs his injured wrist and says innocently, “Shixiong, I love you.”
Luo Wenzhou glares at him but the fake anger he tried to drum up fizzles out even before it became a spark. Instead, he pulls him into a back-breaking hug, kissing the wrist he had hurt and then kissing his ring finger.
“You ah,” he mutters, his voice taking on a wistful tone, “I wish it could be real.”
Fei Du glances at him, “There’s actually something else.”
He taps on Luo Wenzhou to release him and waves him to sit down. Walking to a drawer, he removes two booklets and then kneels at the side of the armchair.
“My second gift.” Fei Du says, watching his reaction carefully as he presents one of the booklets to him.
Luo Wenzhou almost falls out of the chair when he sees what it is.
“Where...how...Is this fucking real?” He splutters.
Luo Wenzhou feels the pages and turns wide-eyed at him.
“How could it be?” He asks in disbelief.
“I had some help,” Fei Du reveals and after a pause adds, “from...Dad.”
Speaking the obvious. Luo Wenzhou shakes his head. “Explain it to me.”
So Fei Du does. “Some time ago I went to your parents and asked for their blessings to marry you. Not difficult by the way. Mom said something along the lines of ‘about time’ and Dad helped me pull some strings to get the paperwork.”
He shrugs, downplaying the effort, “Took a bit of work but it’s done.”
Luo Wenzhou looks incredulous. To think this brat of his actually did it. Going behind his back and managing to pull something like this. With help from his own father no less!
Yet why is he so surprised? Knowing Fei Du, if he wants something, he will make it happen.
Luo Wenzhou shakes his head again.
Careful movements trace the words on the little red booklet - Marriage Certificate. All the official words and seals in place and there, inked as clear as day, are both their names. It is the legit deal.
Fei Du takes the booklet from his hand and calmly signs his name. After which, he places it on the tiny table along with a pen. Nothing else is left but for Luo Wenzhou to do the same.
Sitting back on his heels, Fei Du waits.
The pent up breath Luo Wenzhou had been holding since Fei Du proposed shakily releases and he rubs his neck feeling an overwhelming rush of emotions.
As though he is floating in a dream, Luo Wenzhou picks up the pen and signs his name.
In a surreal daze, he sees Fei Du still kneeling on the floor and drags him up onto his lap.
He holds his waist tightly and like the flip of a switch, they both start laughing, the magnitude of what they just did hitting them in a thunderous wave. With arms around Luo Wenzhou’s shoulders, Fei Du says, “Happy Birthday husband.”
A thrill goes through Luo Wenzhou at those words. Stroking Fei Du’s cheek, his eyes burn and he pulls his face down, smashing their lips together.
“I love you. Husband.” The words roll on his tongue, feeling right.
The light shifts at that moment and the sun falls behind a cloud. Fei Du reacts quickly at this. Bracing himself on the hard chest, he pushes himself off and in one move, tugs Luo Wenzhou up. “Come on, the day is not over yet. There’s still dinner to get to.”
Dinner? He had forgotten about the reservation and Luo Wenzhou groans. “Nooo, let’s just stay here. My parents can enjoy the food on their own. They’ll understand.”
He says this as Fei Du straightens his shirt and guides him towards the bedroom door.
Still opposing the idea, Luo Wenzhou drags his feet and grumbles endlessly even as he opens the door and exits the room looking backwards. Well trained at remaining aware of his surroundings, he quickly spots movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning to face forward, he got another shock of his life.
They are not alone. His living room somehow had manifested a group of people in a frozen stance, staring back at him with grins on their expectant faces.
Except for sneakily peeking at the person who followed behind him, no one says a word nor moves. Suddenly, as though some sort of signal is given, the whole group instantaneously jumps and cheers. Loud cries of ‘Congratulations!’ and ‘Happy Birthday!’ and unintelligible words roll into one.
Luo Wenzhou stands rooted to the floor as everyone surrounds him and Fei Du. His parents, each carrying a cat hug them both, squashing the animals between them. The little one doesn’t bother much and good naturedly wiggles its bum. Master Cat Luo Yiguo on the other hand scratches Papa Luo and leaps away to the safety of the bedroom, indignant at being treated like a pancake.
Tao Ran is there too, with face red and tears in his eyes, muttering words like “I can’t believe you two are MARRIED! I never thought in a million years this day would come!” Chang Ning congratulates them then quickly tries to lead her boyfriend away before he embarrasses himself. He escapes and rushes back to throw his arms around them, forming a private triangle. “But seriously, I am so happy for you both. After all those years of hating each other? Pfft! What a joke! You guys are made for each other and I’m glad your paths finally led to this.” He claps them hard on their shoulders like a proud father.
Lang Qiao screams at them happily and Xiao Haiyang nervously rattles a long string of well wishes he prepared in advance. The entire Criminal Investigation Team celebrates. Over on the side lurk Lu Jia and Zhou Huaijin. Lu Jia gives a silent thumbs up whilst Zhou Huaijin waits for an opening before gushing his wishes for them. He wipes the tears from his face, “My brother would have loved to be here too.”
After the initial shock, Luo Wenzhou, ever the excellent host, thanks everyone for coming. He looks around and sees his family and friends. The closest people in his life and he couldn't help but feel a tug at his heart. He reaches for Fei Du and pulls him to stand beside him. The most important person. He wants him to know that he has family and friends too.
He is forced to give a speech and rambles some words. “I have to say I’m amazed everyone kept this from me so well. My hats off to you people. I really was fooled. You,” he points at Tao Ran, who looks surprised at being called out. “If there’s anyone who would spill the beans, I thought it would be you. But even you didn’t reveal anything. I’m impressed.”
He wanted to say more; what happened to no secrets between bros? What happened to loyalty to the boss? Tell the truth, the President Fei must have bribed them with his high class takeouts that’s why they switched sides so easily, am I right? The traitors! However, with his parents in the mix, Luo Wenzhou couldn’t say too much and he is as polite as he could manage.
When it is Fei Du’s turn to speak, he didn’t give a speech. Instead he says clearly through the chatter, “Shixiong, If you like, I thought we could sign the other certificate here in front of everyone as witnesses.”
Whenever President Fei says something, everyone pays attention and when he made this suggestion, it is greeted with loud enthusiasm.
So that’s what they did amidst rowdy cheers. They even put two chairs in the middle of the living room and hold an impromptu tea ceremony. As they kneel and offer tea to Mu Xiaoqing, she couldn’t hold back her emotions.
“My boys.” she looks at them through happy tears.
Turning to Fei Du, she brushes a non-existent stray hair behind his ear and lovingly pats his cheek. Then she takes everyone’s hand and places them one on top of the other, securing them firmly within the confines of her palms.
With the four held together, she says, “Put the past behind. Fei Du, we are now a family. Your family. I am so happy you can officially call us your mom and dad and we are proud to call you our son.”
Luo Wenzhou’s eyes prick and he looks at Fei Du from the side, witnessing a sliver of emotion cross his face.
To both of them she says, “Take care of each other. You especially,” she points threateningly to Luo Wenzhou, “you better treat him right, you hear?”
Fei Du’s mouth twitches. With no defense, Luo Wenzhou grudgingly accedes, “Yes Mom.” When he turns to his father next, his eyes are already red. “Thank you”, he mouths and the tears that threaten to spill blur his vision. Luo Cheng merely grunts and sends them off with a red packet and a “be happy”.
The party ends soon after as no one wanted to take up too much of the newlyweds' joyous ‘first’ night together. They are left staring blankly at a dining table ladened with leftover food from that restaurant they were supposed to go to.
“Let’s go to bed,” Fei Du coaxes, “We can clean up tomorrow.”
“Oh we are going to bed alright.”
Luo Wenzhou pushes him against the wall and palms the back of his neck, releasing the long hair from the confines of the band and twisting his hands through its silkiness. Sensual peach blossom eyes half mast and filled with raw desire flash back at him.
So tempting. Like a starving animal, Luo Wenzhou presses himself against the heated body who is just as impatient and assaults him hungrily.
The buttons on the new white shirt flew and cool fingertips trail the lines of Luo Wenzhou’s body causing goosebumps to appear on his skin. A groping hand reaches into his pants but is hindered.
“No,” Luo Wenzhou growls, “I’m absolutely not going to have my first night with my husband out here.” He bends and picks Fei Du up bridal style.
Fei Du steadies himself and taunts, “Can you do it? You are older now, have to watch your back.”
With a confident huff, Luo Wenzhou walks to the bedroom with ease. He lays Fei Du down on their soft sheets and climbs over him.
For a while he just stokes his face, completely enraptured by this devastatingly beautiful image of his man, his husband, lying beneath him. Until he forgot that air existed.
Taking a deep breath, he weaves their fingers together. “I remember not too long ago, I confessed to you that you are the person I planned to spend a lifetime with.”
The edges of his mouth curl at the memory, “You got so scared and almost ran away.”
“Look at you now,” He teases, “Can’t get enough of me until you even have to bind me in marriage.”
He lays his head on Fei Du’s chest, listening to the rapid thumping that mirrors his own. The heart that had once before stopped for him.
Kissing the spot over the precious heart, he whispers, “Thank you for the best birthday ever.”
Fei Du’s eyes curve in return and ensnares him around the waist with his legs. “Thank me after…”
Luo Yiguo smartly avoids the room that night. Even though his attendants forgot to lock the door, the sounds coming from there are enough to deter him away. With such noise he wouldn’t be able to sleep. So he ambles to his cat bed where to his chagrin, finds the irritating minion already there. ‘Whatever’ he thinks and gives a big yawn. Climbing onto the soft cushion, he throws himself down right on top of the little one, squashing it under his massive weight. The little furball makes a tiny sound and squeezes out sleepily. With no hard feelings, it frisks to its big brother’s large feather tail, gnaws at it a bit and then happily uses it as a pillow.
A week later found Luo Wenzhou sitting alone in the armchair reading with his feet up on the table. He hears a light step behind him and turns. Fei Du approaches with tea and sets it down nearby.
Luo Wenzhou puts his book aside and opens his arms. His husband walks into them and adjusts himself on him, slipping perfectly into the embrace. He lays his head on his shoulder and lets out a quiet breath.
The evening rays slant through the window and streaks of parallel light fall across them bathing them in a golden glow. He didn’t tie his hair today and its blackness especially picks up the shine and tints enchantedly with flecks of bronze-like dust. He smells of their body wash and Luo Wenzhou couldn’t resist nuzzling him.
A cool breeze blows.
Luo Wenzhou massages Fei Du’s chilled skin and rubs the almost non-existent scars on his chest over the thin barrier of his shirt, thinking about Fei Du’s childhood. Horrors that no child should have ever endured. It’s been some time, yet his heart still constricts in pain for him when he recalls the time he finally came clean and told him the whole story.
Unemotional and cold, like how he had trained himself to be over the years. Sheltered by the iron walls he had put up to shield from the evilness of his past. Believing that the evilness resided in him too. Luo Wenzhou shudders. He knows he is still tormented by nightmares. And the only thing he can do is to hug him tight and ride whatever hidden terror together with him. Until his breaths even out and he falls back to sleep.
Luo Wenzhou watches the beams of light grow longer and fainter.
To him, Fei Du is very much like these sunbeams. He knows no one would believe him if he said so. With his personality, the sun would be the furthest thing to describe him.
Nevertheless, those sunbeams are strong and determined. And no matter the amount of clouds that impede them, they will still find a gap, regardless of how small, to push through and fight back. Just like Fei Du. Who he is now is all him and him alone.
Luo Wenzhou feels proud.
He squeezes him tightly. This persistent, annoying sunbeam who had also sought him out and warmed his heart.
He wants to be his warmth too, to wrap him up and protect him forever.
Thoughts of a certain phrase he heard on the radio while on a stakeout pops into his head. The start of a sentence - If love were a person…
He is never one to dwell on romantic poems and what nots, yet somehow when he came across this, he took out his notebook and the words flowed.
If love were a person, it would be the one I think about every second of every day. The one I dream of to kiss in the morning and to hold to sleep at night. The one whose hand fits perfectly in mine, whose touch has me believing in forever.
If love were a person, it would be the one whose head I lay on my shoulder when weary. The one whose warmth I miss when we are apart and the one who could bring it all back with just a smile.
If love were a person, it would be the one whose eyes I could stare into forever and wish to never blink. -
He had stopped after that to read over the words and almost threw up, not believing that he of all people had penned this mush down. Vowing to not let Fei Du see for he would never hear the end of it if the brat knew, he folded the paper up and stuffed it in the deepest recesses of a drawer when he got back to the office.
If love were a person, it would be the one curled up like a kitten in his arms now, snoozing the afternoon away. He chuckles.
Fei Du shifts. “What are you thinking about?” He asks.
“What about me?”
Luo Wenzhou rubs his husband’s thigh affectionately. “It’s nothing, Darling. It’s everything.”
Fei Du sits up, his expression suspicious, “So cryptic.”
Luo Wenzhou throws his head back with a chuckle and changes the subject. “Want to go out for dinner?”
“Nope.” The reply came swiftly.
“Then do you want me to cook?”
A nod. “Food tastes better when you make it.” Fei Du purrs very sincerely.
Luo Wenzhou slaps his ass and pushes him up. “Fine, but you’re chopping the onions.”
“Okay.” Fei Du leans in for a kiss then obediently goes to the kitchen tripping over the cats trailing at his feet.
Luo Wenzhou plays with his wedding ring and watches him walk away. Loving him really comes so easy. As naturally as breathing. This beautiful man who has given him so much but asks for nothing in return.
“If love is a person then it is my husband, the one I would willingly carry for all lifetimes.”
Mush or not, this he intends to hold true.