Xia Wennan coughed for quite some time.
When it became clear that his choking was severe and unlikely to subside anytime soon, the people sitting by his side immediately handed him water. 

He took the glass of water and downed half of it in one breath, his frantic movements masking the flurry of panic in his heart.
His mind, on the other hand, was replaying the words Chen Wenchu had just uttered: It’s been a while.

What was that supposed to mean? Did it mean that they’d done it before? Although an alpha’s mark on a beta was only temporary, the scent that came with it could not be hidden.
Judging by Chen Wenchu’s words, Ming Luchuan may have left the mark of his pheromones on Xia Wennan more than once.

How did he do it? Was it a bite to the neck? Or was it something even deeper…

Xia Wennan recalled the red mole on his ass.
Didn’t Ming Luchuan say that he knew about the mole on his most private body part, and that they’d done everything there was to be done? It was just that he’d never believed him, when in fact, Ming Luchuan had never lied. 

The more he descended into this line of thought, the more panicked he became.
He dazedly cupped the glass of water and didn’t touch a single grain of rice on his lunch tray.

His tablemates exchanged meaningful glances and began to chastise Chen Wenchu for speaking mindlessly. 

Perhaps there really was something wrong with Chen Wenchu’s mind—or lack thereof—as he continued, “Last time, it looked like President Ming didn’t treat you gently at all.
Also, you guys haven’t even been together for seven years, how can you have the seven-year itch?”

Xia Wennan forced his eyelids open and gave him a look, saying, “I’m full.” He didn’t aim it at Chen Wenchu in particular.
He’d lost his appetite, and he genuinely felt full. 

Once he left with his lunch tray, the people at the table besieged Chen Wenchu from all sides, telling him to think before speaking next time and not make things awkward for Manager Xia.
The poor Manager Xia couldn’t even finish his meal.

As for Xia Wennan himself… rather than feeling awkward, it was more that Chen Wenchu’s words had dealt a blow that had muddled his brain.
Leaving the cafeteria, he headed back to his office, driven to distraction the entire way, then sat at his chair and stared out the window. 

The window vaguely reflected his silhouette.
Xia Wennan gazed at his blurry face and wondered if Ming Luchuan had ever kissed him before, and if he’d done anything after a kiss.
What else had Ming Luchuan done to him? 

Xia Wennan blushed.

Help! Xia Wennan could no longer control his imagination.
All of a sudden, he felt a bit sad.
After all, it was such an important first time; he had yet to experience it and it was already gone.

Xia Wennan’s mind was preoccupied the entire afternoon. 

That evening, he ducked into his bedroom at the earliest possible moment.
When he heard Ming Luchuan return, he quickly turned off the lights and lay in bed, pretending to sleep.

But how could Xia Wennan possibly fall asleep at this hour? In the dark, he pulled his blanket over his head, causing Ming Luchuan’s pheromones to become denser in the small, enclosed space, which made his heart grow more distraught.
He hastily drew down the blanket and took deep gulps of fresh air.

At the same time, a click sounded from his bedroom door—someone had opened it from the outside. 

Xia Wennan inwardly froze.
He slightly regretted not checking to see if the door was locked before climbing into bed, and swiftly shut his eyes and pretended to sleep. 

He couldn’t see anything, but he could hear Ming Luchuan’s footsteps.
It sounded like he was lingering at the doorway for a few moments, but instead of walking away, he walked over to the bed.

Xia Wennan’s heart pounded faster and faster.
In a moment of stillness, he could even hear it slamming against his chest.
As Ming Luchuan approached his bedside, he wondered if he could hear it as well.

Ming Luchuan stopped by his bed, stock-still.
Xia Wennan was both nervous and curious, and he couldn’t tamp down the desire to open his eyes and peek at him, but in the midst of hesitating, he felt the touch of Ming Luchuan’s palm on his forehead. 

Xia Wennan’s eyes snapped open.

The bedroom was unlit, but the door was wide open, letting light in dispelling the darkness, allowing Xia Wennan and Ming Luchuan to see each other’s faces.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“What’s the matter with you?”

The two men spoke at the same time.

Ming Luchuan, who’d initially been leaning over, now took his hand back from where it was pressed to Xia Wennan’s forehead and sat sideways on the side of the bed.
“Did you come down with something?” he asked.

“Nope,” Xia Wennan answered.

“Then why are you in bed so early?” 

“I’m sleepy.” Xia Wennan had no idea whether he sounded natural. 

Ming Luchuan, in contrast, sounded as cold as ever.
“I thought you had a fever.”

“I don’t,” Xia Wennan said.
He subconsciously lifted a hand to feel his forehead.
It came away with a palmful of cold sweat, and he furtively wiped it on the blanket.

Ming Luchuan sat mutely for a while, then asked, “Are you all right?”

Xia Wennan felt that his throat was a little scratchy.
“I’m fine.” He wanted nothing more than for Ming Luchuan to leave right this instant.

Yet Ming Luchuan had no intention of leaving.
After another brief silence, he said, “Let me see your wound.”

“There’s nothing to see,” said Xia Wennan.
“It’s not that serious.”

“Not serious? Isn’t it quite deep?”

“You’re one to talk!” Xia Wennan grumbled.
After the words left his mouth, he felt that his tone wasn’t quite right—it sounded like he was whining… cutely. 

Ming Luchuan was seated sideways.
He wasn’t looking at Xia Wennan, but somewhere outside the door.
From Xia Wennan’s angle, he could only glimpse the shadows dancing across the man’s sharp side profile.
“Really?” he said.

The meaning behind this word was unclear, and his tone was tinged with ambiguity. 

Xia Wennan had no idea what he meant, but in the next second, he felt Ming Luchuan take hold of his hand that lay outside the blanket.

Ming Luchuan didn’t seize his hand just like that; he gently covered the back of Xia Wennan’s hand with his warm and dry palm, then inserted his fingers between Xia Wennan’s and slowly tightened his grip.

Xia Wennan blushed.
The gradual interlocking of their hands reminded Xia Wennan of… other things.
The fruits of his imagination this afternoon, for one, as well as the kiss that had not only existed in his mind but had actually occurred last night.

Last night, that kiss came too abruptly.
Xia Wennan had been swept up in a whirlwind of emotions, including fear, and he hadn’t had enough time to process it thoroughly.
Now that he thought about it, he didn’t feel the slightest hint of aversion towards the kiss.
He was perfectly aware that the person who had kissed him was Ming Luchuan, was an alpha, but it wasn’t so difficult for him to accept that.
Furthermore, it was his first kiss…

Hold on a minute.
Was that kiss his first kiss? If what Chen Wenchu had said was true, then it would mean that he’d already lost it long ago! 

Xia Wennan immediately sat up.
He didn’t even notice the fact that Ming Luchuan was still holding his hand, and asked, “Have you ever kissed me before?”

“What’s the matter?”

Xia Wennan was currently in no mood to deal with his vague answers.
“Can’t you just answer the question?” 

Ming Luchuan thus asked, “When is ‘before’?”

“Before I lost my memories.”

“I have.”

Xia Wennan thought: I knew it!

“How did you kiss me?” Xia Wennan refused to stop there. 

Ming Luchuan looked at him for two seconds, cupped his face, and pressed his lips to Xia Wennan’s.

Xia Wennan went blank for a moment, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been the night before, and his consciousness gradually returned to him.
He raised a hand and pushed against Ming Luchuan’s chest, wanting to shove the man away at first, but his breathing gradually grew rugged, and it was as if his entire body had sunk into the kiss and he felt light-headed.
He then thought: this isn’t the first time anyway.
The hand that was plastered to Ming Luchuan’s chest suddenly curled into a tight fist as Xia Wennan grabbed onto his clothes.

When Ming Luchuan moved away, he said, “Just like that.”

“Ah?” Xia Wennan was slightly panting.
He had no idea what Ming Luchuan was talking about anymore.

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