Chapter three

Getting married was unexpected.

Two years ago, Lin Xi’s grandfather suddenly had a aneurysm and was confined to his hospital bed. The only thing he couldn’t stop worrying about was Lin Xi, a child without parents since he was born. Letting the spoiled boy marry a woman will encourage his behavior. Old Lin would only be able to rest easy if he married someone who could truly control him.

Lin Xi’s brother Lin He tapped some connections and begged Duan Shen to marry Lin Xi by contract. When Old Lin finally passed, they could get divorced. When Lin Xi heard the news, he jumped off the sofa in the bar, his drunk brain now sober from the shock.

Lin He kept mumbling on the other end of the phone, “It’s really weird. He used to follow Duan Shen around all the time, and was closer to him than to me. After he grew up, I don’t know what went wrong for him to be so scared of him.”

Obviously resistance was futile. Lin Xi was preparing to run away from home, but was stopped en route by Duan Shen and carried into and out of the Civil Affairs Bureau. That’s how the two of them came to legally sleep in the same bed.

The two of them hadn’t revealed their relationship to others. Other than that, Lin Xi was also forced to sign page after page of contracts.

For example, after getting married he wasn’t allowed to go to the bar.

When he sat up from the ground and saw Duan Shen’s belt, half-unfastened, his expression was full of terror and shock. Duan Shen stopped what he was doing. Lifting a hand, he grabbed him by the back of the neck and pushed his face close to his, his dark eyes fixed on him.

Lin Xi’s face was still taut, his eyes full of resistance. But he was too stiff to move. His fingers curled slightly against the carpet. Hoovering there before his face, Duan Shen’s eyes passed over his lips before he let him go and backed away. In a voice that allowed no argument, he announced, “You’ve been drinking. That means a heavier punishment.”

Finally coming to himself, Lin Xi leapt up in anger and charged into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.

At night, Lin Xi buried his face in the blankets. He was dazed with sleep when someone knocked on the door outside, calling for him. “Open the door. You need to eat.”

Immediately, Lin Xi lost all his sleepiness. Still, he kept his eyes closed, too lazy to move.

Duan Shen called his name from outside the bedroom door. “Lin Xi, come out. I won’t hit you.”

Turning over, Lin Xi let out a chuckle into the blankets. But the next moment he heard the tiny sound of keys going into the lock. Duan Shen stood in the open doorway, looking down at him from above. “Come out.”

Scratching his messy hair, Lin Xi stepped on the floor with his bare feet, clambering down and walking out.

Duan Shen’s eyes swept over the chaotic bed, and his voice dropped. “Do the bed.”

After a moment’s silence near the bed, Lin Xi headed back to do the bed. When he was about to head out to the living room again, Duan Shen extended his hand to stop him. ”Slippers.”

“Why do I have to put shoes on if the floor is carpeted?”

When he raised his chin to stare deep into the other man’s eyes, he wore a look of defiance, even as his heart wavered.

Walking around him, Duan Shen grabbed his slippers and knelt in front of him. “Put your feet out.”

With some hesitation, Lin Xi extended his left foot. One hand on his ankle, Duan Shen pushed the slipper onto his foot with the other hand before commanding him with a mutter, “Right foot.”

Pressing his lips together, Lin Xi lifted his right foot, his left foot falling back to the ground. His pale toes couldn’t help but curl inside the slipper as his hand balled into a fist behind him, his nails almost sinking into his palm.

After they ate, Lin Xi was called into Duan Shen’s study. The man pulled a thick book off the shelf and threw it at him, before announcing in an official tone, “Lin Xi, we haven’t settled our business yet.”

Eyes wide, Lin Xi said, “You promised you wouldn’t hit me.”

“Fine.” Duan Shen paused, giving him a cursory look, “But you still need to be punished. I’ll give you a week to copy that five times and give it back to me.”

“No.” Lin Xi turned his face to the side. Although his voice was small, he spoke quickly. “Why do I have to do this? I just f*cking sat in a bar for two hours, didn’t touch any women or hug any men, just had a small glass of red wine, wasn’t even spending your money. Why the hell do I have to–”

“Lin Xi. Be good.” Duan Shen interrupted him harshly.

Frozen where he was, Lin Xi finally squeezed a bit of sound from his throat.


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