Months had passed since that special day.
Contrary to An Zhe’s primary knowledge of how couples would act once they get together with the person they like, his relationship with Lu Feng held an unprecedented calm that gave him the feeling of security and comfort. The man he gave his heart to wasn’t the same as the male leads in those cheesy romance dramas his older brother liked to watch; Lu Feng was mature and responsible as he was playful and cunning.
There wasn’t really a strain in the relationship. An Ze has been supportive since day one, and he even managed to make those pesky elders shut up about this matter. As he had told An Zhe the night his younger brother came clean about this relationship, “As long as I see you smiling brighter every day, I will accept everything.”
It wasn’t as if there was a drastic change in An Zhe’s lifestyle anyway.
He still woke up late, still visited and took care of his mushroom garden, still fought with Lu Feng over what kind of soup they should make, and still avoided the noise of the outside world. He was content in his home, where he was surrounded by the things he valued, and the people he loved and who loved him back. It was a safe nest.
What changed, however, was the closeness between Lu Feng and him.
Before, there would have been a brief eye contact between them, a small nod here, a little conversation there. An Zhe would be slightly annoyed by Lu Feng's teasing. These days, An Zhe would readily throw himself in the arms of his lover as soon as he came home, prompting his older brother to complain about being forgotten. An Zhe would laugh and give him a big hug as well.
At night, it was the two of them holding each other under one blanket, bodies warm and hearts full. An Zhe would lie beside Lu Feng, while the older man reviewed some documents on his tablet. His free hand would rub An Zhe’s shoulder in a comforting manner, and sometimes he would even drop a kiss or two on the crown of An Zhe’s head.
An Zhe would fall asleep like this, waking up to a bright morning with the man beside him gazed on with deep love in his eyes.
An Zhe loved Lu Feng’s eyes.
They’re green, bright and full of vitality. It resembled the leaves fresh with morning dew on a summer day. It resembled the grass that An Zhe loved to walk on barefoot, the feeling of being grounded to the earth giving him strength and a strange sense of belonging. It resembled the pendant of the necklace Lu Feng had given him on their third date, right before his lover kissed him under the stars. It resembled the beautiful Northern Lights An Zhe would always see in his dreams.
An Zhe liked the color green before, but now he loved it more than every other color.
It resembled his man, his Lu Feng. It resembled the home he found in someone’s arms.
Despite the lack of excitement in their relationship, An Zhe loved the quiet moments he shared with Lu Feng.
Some days Lu Feng would take him out for a walk down a quiet riverside, holding his hand firmly and leading him forward with light steps. Other days Lu Feng would sit down with him in the mushroom garden, and An Zhe would chatter nonstop about this mushroom and that. Knowing the man’s obsession for mushroom-related things, An Zhe figured formally letting him meet his “children” was appropriate. There were also days when they would only laze around in bed, talking in hushed tones as if afraid to disturb the gentle bubble that surrounded their lovers’ world. There also… those intimate days.
Those days make An Zhe blush whenever he thinks of them. Lu Feng is a big bully, that's for sure.
He always liked to pinch and knead An Zhe's soft skin before, but even more so after they started dating.
Lu Feng, despite his cold appearance, turned out to be a very passionate man. An Zhe is fully aware of this.
Loving Lu Feng brought An Zhe a whole new outlook in life.
He felt much lighter, curious about the world, optimistic about his days.
Lu Feng may not speak many romantic words like those in the movies, nor does he openly display his love for An Zhe through exaggerated ways, but An Zhe could feel his love.
It’s deep; deeper than the ocean and wider than the sky.
It goes beyond this lifetime and the next. It goes beyond everything.
Thinking of this, the An Zhe who had been staring off into space while holding a newly harvested mushroom let out a small laugh, feeling like his heart had turned to mush. He felt happy. He decided, “I will love this man no matter what.”
“I hate you.” He muttered almost instantly when Lu Feng handed him a “gift” he had bought for An Zhe.
At his words, Lu Feng’s eyebrow rose, asking in a teasing voice, “You hate me? I see.”
An Zhe puffed out a breath of air he didn't know he was holding back in an exasperated manner and turned around to welcome him home. “I don’t.”
Lu Feng hummed in response.
Today was another special day. It was Lu Feng’s birthday. Which means it’s their first anniversary.
Thinking about his love for such a hard-working man, An Zhe had conceded today and let the cook his brother hired recently cook them a warm mushroom soup for dinner. He also ordered a few mushroom cupcakes from that pastry shop they had gone to a year before. He was prepared as he can be.
When he thought of what gift he would give Lu Feng, he resorted to searching online.
“What should I give my boyfriend for our first anniversary?” The answers were varied, but a lot of them were simply too… intense for An Zhe to do. He had scrolled down that post until his thumb grew numb until they're at the bottom, he saw a simple suggestion.
He smiled when he thought of this, momentarily forgetting Lu Feng’s betrayal.
What Lu Feng had handed him was a dress. A maid dress. An Zhe, having read through all the garbage suggestions earlier in the day, knew exactly what was going on with his lover’s mind. His hands even itched to throw this cursed clothing away, but with Lu Feng’s eyes on him, he only put it down to the side before inviting him for dinner.
An Ze had another business trip today, but An Zhe knew he was only staying out to give the place to them as a couple. He thanked his older brother in his heart, turned to Lu Feng, and smiled.
“Happy birthday and happy anniversary,” An Zhe greeted, his voice gentle as ever. He walked up to Lu Feng, slowly removed his tie, and replaced it with another one; this one was green with golden linings. It looked sophisticated and cool, perfectly matching this man’s eyes. Carefully, he then wrapped his arms around Lu Feng’s neck and gave him a peck on the lips. “I am very happy today.”
Lu Feng’s eyes softened and he planted a kiss on An Zhe’s forehead in return. “I am very happy too. Thank you” For being part of my life.
Their dinner was warm and peaceful. Lu Feng encouraged him to eat more than he used to, and An Zhe was happy to oblige after seeing how much it entertained his lover. In return, he had Lu Feng tell him news from his work, which the man gladly did although initially saying they were all boring.
An Zhe never felt bored. As long as it was about Lu Feng, his interest was always present.
When Lu Feng led An Zhe back to the living room, what awaited them struck the latter’s heart greatly.
The sofa and coffee table were pushed to the side, giving way for a large mushroom tent to be erected in the middle of the room. The mushroom had a white, plump body and a red cap with white dots on it. An Zhe was immediately reminded of the cupcake Lu Feng ate a year ago. It even had little circular windows and a door, with a white wool mat prepared inside for them to lie on. Around this giant mushroom tent, fairy lights and pillows were scattered accordingly, giving it a very homely feeling.
“When did you prepare this?” An Zhe found himself asking as he slowly crawled into the tent. Just as he expected, the interior was very comfy and lovely, and there were even more mushroom pillows inside.
Lu Feng let out a small chuckle. “While you were taking a bath.”
An Zhe felt his soul soar. “Why a mushroom tent though?”
“It felt right as soon as I saw it.”
Of course, you did. An Zhe thought in his heart.
This was incredible. He had always found Lu Feng’s love for mushroom-related things weird because of... Well, because he doesn’t seem to be a man interested in these things. However, right now, Lu Feng had crawled in with An Zhe and he looked beautiful bathed in the yellow lights surrounding their little nest.
“Lu Feng,” An Zhe whined quietly. “It’s cramped in here. I can’t move.”
“This is because the tent is An Zhe-sized.”
An Zhe fought back the urge to roll his eyes, only resorting to giving the man a weak glare.
Lu Feng chuckled, pulling him onto his lap before falling down so they could lie on the mat together. An Zhe gave out a surprised yelped, but he didn’t fuss around otherwise.
“Do you like it?” Lu Feng’s voice was deep, as was his gaze. He looked down at the adorable thing in his arms.
Of course, An Zhe immediately nodded.
Lu Feng smiled, the worry on his face fading away. He reached out a hand to pinch An Zhe’s cheek. “As long as you like it.”
That night, they lay inside the giant mushroom side by side. An Zhe’s head was prepped on Lu Feng’s arm once again; a hand was playing with his fluffy hair, making him feel sleepy as time went by. They didn’t say anything to each other. They just enjoyed the quiet company and the sense of satisfaction brewing from the bottom of their hearts.
Just when An Zhe was about to fall asleep, Lu Feng moved. An Zhe opened his eyes blearily, confused when he saw Lu Feng prop himself up on one elbow and let An Zhe lie down on the pillow properly.
He opened his mouth to ask but Lu Feng had already given him an answer. “We can’t go to see the Northern Lights in person this year,” he said. “But I did prepare a small thing.”
Having said this, he pulled out a remote from one of his pyjamas’ pockets and clicked on something. An Zhe blinked and in that split second, the colors above him had turned into a beautiful mixture of green, blue, and purple. The green was especially eye-catching in the dark.
An Zhe turned to look at Lu Feng, and his heart trembled.
“Among the stars they tip toe
Careful not to wake the moon
Silently in brilliant colors
Reaching stretching across the northern sky
On a cold winter night
They come out to play
Making a path across the white Milky Way
If one could capture their beauty
And hold for ransom it’s future to foretell
Would one’s life forever be changed?
Or changed forever would be a life?”
An Zhe listened to Lu Feng quietly reciting a poem, his voice filling the empty space between them. It sounded especially beautiful in the darkness, under the glow of this artificial Aurora Borealis, and from the mouth of the man he dearly loves.
Lu Feng didn’t wait for An Zhe to say anything. He pulled out something from his pocket and presented it in front of An Zhe. It was a ring, silver and small, with an emerald in the middle. The design looked like carved leaves; the beauty of nature etched in metal was a beautiful sight that took An Zhe’s breath away.
“An Zhe, would you change my life forever?” Lu Feng whispered, his eyes full of tenderness.
For a moment, a lot of things flashed in front of An Zhe’s eyes. He saw a life full of chaos and darkness, but when he looked up he saw the sea of green floating in the sky. He saw a man in a uniform with the same green eyes looking at him with determination and amusement. He saw the same man looking at him expectantly right now, the curve on his lips enchanting.
An Zhe knew the decision in his heart as much as Lu Feng knew the answer to his question.
Without holding himself back, An Zhe leaned forward and kissed Lu Feng. A sweet, and slow exchange of emotions that only the two of them could understand. When they parted, An Zhe was panting a little, but he still managed to form a little smile that radiated a warmth that lit up Lu Feng's entire world.
He whispered gently, “Yes.”