The hospital room was only so big; though Xia Wennan had said that he’d walk around the room, there was practically nowhere to go.
He came to a halt near the window and opened the curtains to gaze outdoors after a few paces.

Soon after, he felt Ming Luchuan’s presence next to him. 

The scent of plants and flowers filled the room as the night breeze passed through.
At the same time, the air was saturated with another smell.
It had a cool, woody scent to it, like the scent of a particular tree.
It was difficult to convey in a few simple words, but it gave the impression of being in the centre of a forest deep in the mountains.
When you looked heavenward, you’d find that you were surrounded by ancient ramrod-straight trees that soared to the sky.
The cool water of a clear mountain spring seeped into the soles of your feet.
In the depths of the forest, the silhouette of an old temple with evergreen roof tiles and white walls loomed beyond the eye.

This imagery was a complete far cry from Xia Wennan’s present—a hospital room on a summer night—and it threw his mind into a moment of calm. 

Yet after that brief calm, Xia Wennan came to an abrupt realisation that that cold woody fragrance he’d perceived was the scent of Ming Luchuan’s pheromones. 

From the second he’d regained his consciousness until now, he had spent quite a long time with Ming Luchuan, yet this was the first time he smelled Ming Luchuan’s pheromones.
He then took a step back to put some space between himself and Ming Luchuan. 

Ming Luchuan’s face was bathed in the moonlight that streamed in through the window.
His prominent nose bridge cast a shadow on one side of his face, the face that was devoid of any expression.
Only his thick lashes were drooping, as if he were exhausted.
“What are you trying to avoid?”

Xia Wennan hesitated for a beat before saying, “I can smell your pheromones.”

Even in a calm state, other genders regarded Alpha pheromones as invasive, and releasing pheromones as one pleased was considered impolite. 

The concentration of Ming Luchuan’s pheromones in the air wasn’t light nor dense.
He looked towards Xia Wennan, and asked, “Does it smell bad?”

Xia Wennan thought about it then answered, “It’s nice actually, just… inappropriate.” After that, he added, “I may be a Beta, but I’m particularly sensitive to smells.” 

“I know,” Ming Luchuan said.

The pheromone scent dissipated. 

Xia Wennan heaved a small sigh of relief.
At that moment, he felt that Ming Luchuan couldn’t be someone so unreasonable, so he asked a question that he hadn’t yet been able to voice out, “Why did we get married?”

Ming Luchuan’s gaze flitted to the window.
“‘Why?’” he repeated under his breath.

“Yeah,” Xia Wennan said, “I can’t really figure out why I’d choose to marry you.” He realised as soon as he said it that his remark could be misinterpreted, so he hurriedly supplied, “It’s not that I think you’re a bad guy.
It’s just—I’ve never been attracted to Alphas before.” Especially male Alphas, he added inwardly.

Ming Luchuan was still not looking at him.
He looked somewhat solemn, and only after a while did he say, “I don’t have a clue.”

“What?” Xia Wennan didn’t understand what he meant. 

Ming Luchuan said, “You’re the one who proposed to me.”

“What?” This time, Xia Wennan’s disbelief was palpable.

Ming Luchuan raised a hand and lightly set it down on the window sill, palm face down and fingers slightly curled.
“You said that you liked me, and that we had to be together.”

There was no trace of jest in his tone; he sounded as serious as one could be.

Xia Wennan automatically refuted, “There’s no way! Either I’ve lost my mind or you’re daydreaming!”

Ming Luchuan turned to look at him, his gaze darkening. 

Xia Wennan wasn’t all that eager to provoke him, but his mouth wasn’t willing to back down either, “Am I wrong? If you were me and someone told you that you fell in love with a chicken one day and was so madly in love with it that you had to marry it, would you believe them?”

“You think I’m a chicken?” Ming Luchuan sounded repulsed.

Xia Wennan said, “Don’t you understand analogies? Just like how I’m not attracted to chickens, I wouldn’t be attracted to male Alphas.”

Ming Luchuan took a step towards him.
“I’m not a chicken.”

“I didn’t say you were a chicken!” The instant Xia Wennan rattled off this sentence, he abruptly smelled Ming Luchuan’s pheromones in the arid air once more, and his next words died on his tongue as he stumbled backwards to maintain his distance from Ming Luchuan. 

Xia Wennan’s legs collided with the bed and his butt landed on the edge.
He looked up at Ming Luchuan and stammered, “Even though I’m not an Omega, I’m still protected by the law.
You can’t mess around just because you’re an Alpha.”

“I’m your lawful spouse,” said Ming Luchuan. 

Xia Wennan countered, “Who knows if our marriage is genuinely legal?”

Ming Luchuan’s face froze over, not a word escaping his lips. 

Xia Wennan lifted his legs one after another, climbing onto the bed.
He reached out and slowly pulled the blanket over his chest.
“I’m going to sleep.” He raised his head and spoke with conviction. 

Ming Luchuan said nothing. 

Xia Wennan continued, “It’s late.
Let’s get some rest, okay?” With that, he painstakingly put on an ingratiating smile.

Ming Luchuan stared at him for a moment then turned to walk over to the fold up bed. 

Letting out a furtive sigh of relief, Xia Wennan promptly laid down and pulled up the blanket until it covered half his face. 

Ming Luchuan laid back down on his own bed without another word. 

Thinking that he’d probably angered Ming Luchuan, Xia Wennan wanted to say a couple of things to ease the mood between them, but when he turned to look at the man on the next bed, all he could see in the dark was a bulging shape. 

After a hesitant second, Xia Wennan gave up on the idea entirely.
He quietly closed his eyes, exhaustion gradually setting in, and eventually fell asleep.
University students may have a great many worries, but what can’t a good night’s sleep fix?

The next morning, the director told Lin Shuqiu to sign off Xia Wennan’s discharge after a doctor made his rounds. 

Ming Luchuan was in charge of the discharge processes.
Xia Wennan waited in his hospital room, and when it came time to pack his belongings, he realized he didn’t have much.

Before Ming Luchuan returned, a young male Beta entered the room.
He wore a suit and glasses, and the natural upturn of his lips were forced flat, presenting a meticulously strict appearance. 

Xia Wennan gave him a lost look. 

He spoke up after a moment of silence, “Mr.
Xia, I’m Mr.
Ming’s assistant.
My name is Xu Feng.”

Xia Wennan nodded.

“I’m here to pick you up, sir,” Xu Feng said.

As soon as he finished speaking, Ming Luchuan appeared at the doorway and said, “Let’s go.” 

Xia Wennan got to his feet, cast a final glance around the room where he awoke from his coma, and sighed before following Ming Luchuan and Xu Feng out.

A black Maybach was parked in front of the hospital. 

Xu Feng carried Xia Wennan’s suitcase and stored it in the trunk.
When Xia Wennan’s feet stopped in front of the car, he reached out to touch its sleek, painted surface, and his mind was struck by a strange idea.

By then, Ming Luchuan had already gotten into the back seat.
He watched Xia Wennan through the open car door, and urged him quite impatiently, “Get in the car.”

“Is this my car or your car?” Xia Wennan asked him. 

Xu Feng, who had passed Xia Wennan and was making his way to the front passenger seat, quietly raised his eyes upon hearing Xia Wennan’s question.  

Ming Luchuan asked, “Is there a difference?”

“There’s a big difference,” Xia Wennan said.
He thought: this determines whether you support me, or if I support you. 

“It’s the company’s car,” Ming Luchuan answered. 

Xia Wennan bent at the waist and asked Ming Luchuan, “Which company?”

This time, Xu Feng blurted out, “Mr.
Ming’s family’s company—Ming Yan.”

“Oh.” The small spark in Xia Wennan’s heart died out.
He lifelessly said, “Then I’m not getting in.”

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