Chen Yuncheng stared at the small and exquisite ring box on the dining table in a daze.

       Ning Junyan opened the lid of the box with his slender fingers, used his own slender fingers to open the lid of the box, revealing the understated style of the men’s diamond ring inside, his fingers stroked the surface of the ring and looked at Chen Yuncheng, “Is it good?” The tone of his voice was soft, even with a touch of seduction.

       The sourness that had been spreading in his chest tonight came up to his nose. Chen Yuncheng laughed dryly, trying to make his voice sound more natural, “Stop joking.”

       Ning Junyan looked at him intently, “I’m serious.”

       Chen Yuncheng lowered his head and used his fork to eat the steak he hadn’t finished, “Why did you suddenly think of this?”

       Ning Junyan leaned on the back of the dining chair and said, “I feel that you are very insecure, and I want to give you a sense of security.”

       Chen Yuncheng was stunned, and he couldn’t react for a while. He was almost drowned in Ning Junyan’s seductive language, only after a while he grabbed his short hair and said, “There’s no legal protection for our so-called marriage, either.” He hadn’t read much, but he knew that the country didn’t recognise same-sex marriage.

       Ning Junyan seemed a little surprised, “Why do you need legal protection? My commitment is more reliable than anything else.”

       Chen Yuncheng put down the knife and fork, raised his hands and rubbed his face, “Stop joking.”

       Ning Junyan frowned, “I said I’m not joking.”

       Chen Yuncheng looked at him, “But now is not the right time, it’s too fast.”

       Ning Junyan asked him, “What’s too fast?”

       Chen Yuncheng said, “You’re going too fast.”

       Ning Junyan was a little upset, “I’m not fast, that last time was the first time.”

       Chen Yuncheng reacted all of a sudden, and blood rushed to his cheek, “I don’t mean that!”

       Ning Junyan still showed a cold expression.

       Chen Yuncheng took a deep breath, and said slowly, “Marriage is a very prudent matter, even if there are no legal constraints, I can’t make this decision casually.”

       What he said was tactful, but Ning Junyan still understood, and asked him, “Don’t you want my ring?”

       Chen Yuncheng said with difficulty, “I can’t have it now.”

       “When will it be?” Ning Junyan asked patiently.

       Chen Yuncheng shook his head, “I can’t give you a deadline.”

       Ning Junyan pressed the lid of the ring box with his fingers, and said, “Alright.” After he said this word and made this gesture, he remained seated beside the dining table without moving, looking at Chen Yuncheng with a calm expression, his finger also pressing on the ring box without leaving it.

       But Chen Yuncheng could see a little disappointment from his drooping eyelashes.

       This atmosphere was too uncomfortable for Chen Yuncheng, so he stood up and put away the dishes on the table to wash them in the kitchen. When he came out after washing the dishes, he saw Ning Junyan was still sitting at the dining table, as if he hadn’t moved.

       The ring box was held in Ning Junyan’s hand, the lid was opened, and he stared at the ring inside in a daze.

       Chen Yuncheng reached out and pulled over a chair, and sat down very close to Ning Junyan with his knee touching Ning Junyan’s thigh.

       Ning Junyan looked up at him, “What are you doing?”

       Chen Yuncheng felt very uncomfortable as if it was his marriage proposal that was rejected, and called him, “Ning Junyan.”

       Ning Junyan acted very calmly, closed the lid of the ring box casually, and asked, “What’s the matter?”

       Chen Yuncheng called him again, “Yanyan.”

       Ning Junyan’s expression became slightly tangled, and after a while, he raised his hand to stroke Chen Yuncheng’s hair.

       Ever since Chen Yuncheng had his hair cut, he himself also liked to touch it. His hair was neither soft nor hard. It stood short on the top of his head and felt fluffy. He asked Ning Junyan, “Is it comfortable to touch?” He tried hard to cheer Ning Junyan up.

       Ning Junyan inserted his fingers into his short hair, pressed against his scalp, gently rubbed the soft skin near the back of his neck, and asked, “Can I kiss you?”

       Chen Yuncheng looked into his eyes, “Why are you asking that?”

       Ning Junyan said, “You rejected my proposal.”

       Chen Yuncheng said, “Rejecting a proposal is not rejecting you as a person.”

       Ning Junyan said, “En.”

       Chen Yuncheng smiled, and asked him, “En what?” But before Ning Junyan answered, Chen Yuncheng raised his hand to cup Ning Junyan’s face and took the initiative to kiss him once again.

       After a kiss that wasn’t too intense, Chen Yuncheng withdrew quickly, looking at Ning Junyan with a smile in his eyes.

       Ning Junyan said, “I have this urge.”

       Chen Yuncheng looked down.

       Ning Junyan continued, “After the operation in the afternoon, I have this urge when I think of you.”

       Chen Yuncheng felt very embarrassed, but still went along with his question, “Why was it after the operation?”

       Ning Junyan said, “I was highly stimulated.”

       Chen Yuncheng asked him, “Has it always been like this?”

       Ning Junyan replied, “Since I saw you.”

       Chen Yuncheng kissed him again, parting with some amusement, not expecting that one day he would also be this clingy with someone.

       Ning Junyan caressed Chen Yuncheng’s ear until his ears turned red, and said, “I thought you would agree to marry me.”

       Chen Yuncheng said, “I don’t think we need to be in too much of a hurry.”

       Ning Jun said slowly, “But I want to fvck you.”

       Chen Yuncheng lowered his head weakly, “Doctor Ning, can you not be so vulgar in your words?”

       Ning Junyan said, “Then put it another way, I want to have se—”

       “Okay,” Chen Yuncheng interrupted him, “I understand what you mean, don’t say any more.”

       Ning Junyan seemed regretful, “I thought you thought about it too.”

       Chen Yuncheng didn’t even want to look into his eyes, but only stared at the protruding Adam’s apple on the edge of Ning Junyan’s neckline, “It’s not necessary to be married to do those things.”

       After a brief silence, Ning Junyan suddenly reached out to put his arms around him and stood up.

       Chen Yuncheng’s entire body was lifted by him into mid-air, and he could only hastily put his arm around Ning Junyan’s shoulder, as he saw the ring box roll off Ning Junyan onto the ground.

       “The ring!” Chen Yuncheng shouted.

       Ning Junyan said, “Pick that up later.” He carried Chen Yuncheng who was 180 centimetres tall and walked towards his room without exerting any effort at all.

       Chen Yuncheng was very nervous, and grabbed Ning Junyan’s clothes, “I didn’t say I was going to do anything with you now.”

       Ning Jun Yan didn’t stop in his tracks, just thought for a moment and said, “Then I’m not going to put it in.”

       Chen Yuncheng didn’t expect to hear a man say this to him one day, and his face turned completely red. He hugged Ning Junyan’s shoulders tightly and said, “Let me go take a shower.”

       Ning Junyan said, “I’ll help you take a shower.” He carried Chen Yuncheng into the room, and then kicked the door shut.

       Chen Yuncheng spent the night on Ning Junyan’s bed for the second time. Unlike the last time when he was drunk, this time he was supposed to be sober, yet he still felt dizzy and everything seemed unreal.

       The next morning, he woke up when Ning Junyan got up.

       Ning Junyan was going to work, so he didn’t wake him up. Ning Junyan just kissed his cheek before getting out of bed, and then changed clothes and took a shower quietly.

       Chen Yuncheng kept his eyes closed and pretended to be asleep. He didn’t move until he heard the sound of the door closing from outside. He then opened his eyes and fumbled to look at his phone, Ning Junyan shouldn’t be coming back from his trip to the hospital.

       He sat up, and the quilt slid down to reveal mottled marks all over his body, all left by Ning Junyan. He couldn’t help but lift the quilt again and saw his reddened inner thighs. Ning Junyan was a man of his word, yet this act of rubbing his legs almost to the point of tearing his skin, except that he didn’t put it in, seemed to Chen Yuncheng no different from doing it in the end.

       Chen Yuncheng got out of bed. He hadn’t left since he was carried back to his room by Ning Junyan last night, and had to go back to his room to get dressed.

       When he got up, Chen Yuncheng saw the ring box on the bedside table, he couldn’t even remember when Ning Junyan had gone to pick up the small box that had fallen under the dining table.

       After staring at the box and hesitating for a long time, Chen Yuncheng reached out to pick it up and opened the box and took out the ring inside. Because it was a men’s ring, the surface of the platinum was inlaid with small diamonds, it was not exaggerated but beautiful. He hesitantly put the ring on his left ring finger, the ring was just the right size, and he didn’t know what size Ning Junyan had made it to.

       He remembered Ning Junyan’s words. Ning Junyan said that he wanted to give him a sense of security. Chen Yuncheng stared at the ring and couldn’t help but smile. Finally, he took off the ring and carefully put it back into the box.

       Ning Junyan had to go back home for the Chinese New Year’s Eve reunion in the afternoon. He didn’t schedule an operation and drove away as soon as the hospital’s closing time came.

       The so-called home was actually his grandfather’s home, and today was the year-end gathering for the entire Ning family.

       Although the Chinese New Year was approaching, the streets in the city were still congested during the rush hour. Ning Junyan drove for more than forty minutes, and the sky had already darkened before he turned the car into an old villa complex.

       His grandfather had lived here for many years and did not want to move to the outskirts of the city.

       He parked the car in a street parking space in the neighbourhood, and Ning Junyan walked towards the Ning family’s detached villa.

       He was probably the last one to arrive home. From a distance, he could see that the whole villa was brightly lit, and lively voices coming from inside could be heard. The door of the living room on the first floor was open, and as he walked in, his cousin, who was sitting facing the door, saw it first and said, “Junyan ge is back.”

       Only then did all the others turn their heads and greet him.

       He nodded, walked to his grandpa sitting on the recliner, and said, “Happy New Year, Grandpa.” At the same time, he handed over the New Year’s gift he bought.

       The gift was a box of tea leaves and a purple clay pot. The old man Ning liked it very much, and he took out the purple clay pot and rubbed it for a long time.

       Ning Junyan’s mother, Shu Rong, stood up and said, “Now that you’re back, let’s prepare dinner.”

       The whole family sat down around the dining table.

       Ning Junyan’s father, Ning Zhanghong, was the eldest son in the family, and he had a pair of younger siblings, who each had children.

       Ning Zhanghong and Shu Rong didn’t usually live here, but Shu Rong greeted everyone as they sat down and ordered the nanny to serve the food, acting like a host.

       When Ning Junyan sat down, he sent Chen Yuncheng a message, asking if he had dinner.

       Shu Rong saw it and said, “If it’s not a work emergency, don’t take your phone out on such occasions.”

       Ning Junyan glanced at her calmly and waited until the message had been sent before putting the phone back into his bag.


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