i picture it, soft, and i ache
The last dregs of sunset spill out through the drawn curtains, bathing the bedroom in the soft, dulcet gold of the lowering sun. The room is swathed in mellow light. As if recognizing how the evening’s beginning to settle, the aircon’s quieted to a dull hum.
Sha Yexing pushes her face petulantly into the bed’s sheets. It’s hot. Which, really, of course, would be better if she simply kicked the blankets off, but she’s tired. She is! And it’s not like it’s just laziness—an entire day of tennis matches would easily have incapacited anyone just the same. Seriously. Seriously!
Lu Jing hums obligingly in response, and she realizes she’s been mumbling these thoughts out loud. The bed sinks next to her. She cracks open an eye to watch her boyfriend settle himself, laying on his side, head pillowed on his arm, facing her.
“Hurts,” Sha Yexing complains, playing it up a little with a whine for her poor, piteous state. “Sore.”
Lu Jing gently brushes a damp strand of hair out of her face. “Did you stretch?”
Ah. Well. No, she technically didn’t. But Sha Yexing was beyond that! The aircon suddenly starts back up again. Some distant ambulance siren far outside blares, the sound waning and dulling as it drives away. Lu Jing lets out a small, amused breath at her lack of a response.
“Gege thinks so little of me,” she answers instead, fluttering her lashes as she uses the very small amount of energy she has to wriggle closer to him.
He smiles at her softly, eyebrow slightly raised. “I think you’re avoiding the question.”
“Xing-er would never,” Sha Yexing breathes out, going for a falsely accosted look. She thumps her head against his chest once she’s close enough. Breathes in the scent of pastries from his patterned sleep clothes. “Xing-er’s such a good girl.”
Lu Jing huffs out a quiet laugh again. “Does it still hurt?”
His hands gently find their way to her waist, then to her lower back. Sha Yexing sighs in contentment, wrapping an arm around him and finally nuzzling his chest in earnest. He pushes the fabric of her night shirt up, and she pulls back to look up at him mischievously. Lu Jing clicks his tongue, shaking his head at her, fond.
He gently kneads the tense knots there, calloused fingertips against her damp skin working at the tight muscles beneath. She gives a muffled groan as the aches begin to slowly bleed away.
“It really does hurt,” Sha Yexing whispers at some point, voice slurred with drowsiness. "’M not lying.”
“I know you’re not,” Lu Jing answers, soft. Indulgent. Always so indulgent. Some awful part of her subconscious wants to take his indulgence and see how much of the twisted greed inside her it could take. The more present part of her mind hushes this, and the thoughts are easily dispelled by sleepiness.
Even more gently, as if sensing her drooping eyelids, Lu Jing gently slides his hand to the back of her knee, then pulls it softly so her leg is hitched across his hip. The movement has Sha Yexing blinking awake, and she feels a wicked smile curl at the corner of her lips as he works at the sore muscles of her leg.
“Gege’s awfully bold today,” she croons, shifting her head from beneath his chin.
“Yexing,” Lu Jing says, blinking, sensing her mischief.
She presses a kiss to his clavicle, grinning against his skin when he jolts ever so slightly. “You took photos of my matches? Did gege like the color of the skirt I picked out?”
He’s quiet, as if considering and recalling. “It went nicely with your sun visor,” Lu Jing answers thoughtfully.
“So gege paid attention to it.” She pauses, thinking to poke her tongue out suddenly to feel him flinch again, but decides against it. “Xing-er can wear a different one that he likes more, next time.”
Lu Jing says, “You always look pretty in any outfit.”
Sha Yexing stills. Her devilish smile fades, mind halting with the genuine statement. She’s not sure how to respond when she stops the teasing, stops the play-fishing for compliments.
“Thank you,” she whispers, sounding confused. Then, firmer, “thank you.”
Lu Jing hums.
She holds him tighter, suddenly. The awful voice in her head starts up again, a choir of terrible chanting, stay, stay, stay, perfect, you’re beautiful, you’re too good, be mine, mine, mine.
Ignoring them, she says, “Lu Jing is...nice in...everything, too.” Sha Yexing cringes at how the words fail to come out right. How to tell someone that they’re too brilliant to describe? “And...thank you, gege.”
The sunset blankets them, warm. In the quiet song of their intertwined heartbeats, the stars begin to creep into the sky.