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Love Me Again - Chapter 7


LMA – Chapter Seven (part 1)

Luo An Hai felt like her vivid dream was real. She opened her heavy eyelids, someone was holding onto her waist on her bed. She looked down at her naked body. Sleeping nude was nothing new, it was a man’s arm around her waist that was out of place. She couldn’t see the man lying behind her back, but she could feel his naked body.

She jumped out of bed, and wrapped the bedsheet around her body. The naked man on the bed was Han Ting Hua. She licked her lips while checking out his chiselled body. The fingernail scratch marks on his back gave her a headache. What happened last night? She touched her lips, recalled his burning kisses and caresses. Shit. How was she going to get out of this mess? What happened after he drove her home? Why did her body have the scent of her body wash? Did he bathe her? She didn’t believe he would take advantage of her when she was unconscious. But why were there kiss marks on her body? Why did he sleep naked in bed with her?

She had done everything to make him hate her. How did their hearts ended up like this? How deep would their hearts fall? How did the sequence of events happen out of her control? She couldn’t say he took advantage of her last night, because she clearly remembered she egged him on.

Han Ting Hua heard someone mumble and opened his eyes. The bedsheet covered Luo An Hai’s body, but he could see her red cheeks.

‘Morning Miss Bashful,’ he teased.

‘Who are you calling Miss Bashful?’ she asked.

She glanced at his morning glory and her throat dried up. ‘Han Ting Hua, hurry up and put clothes on.’

‘What clothes?’ he asked.

She followed his gaze to the pile of clothes that stunk like vomit.

‘Looks like your selective memory only includes what happened between us at the pub,’ he said. ‘I took you home. You vomited on me, and I kindly gave you a bath. I wanted to sleep in my bedroom, but you wouldn’t let me leave your bed.’

He left out the part she called out his name in her sleep again. How could he leave her when she sounded sad calling his name? It was only in her sleep that she didn’t mask her real feelings.

When she was awake, her sharp tongue always insulted him. Why did she always distance herself from him? Why couldn’t he keep his eyes off her? Why did seeing her surrounded by men made him impatient? Why did she derail his years of planning to get her to see him as a man? He didn’t want to give her another chance to distance herself from him.

She stepped back toward a window when he suddenly got out of bed and advanced toward her. She put her hand up between their lips, he twisted her wrist behind her back. Why couldn’t he stay the same little boy who ran to Mai Fang whenever she used her martial arts moves on him? Their chests touched and he kissed her lips.

‘Luo An Hai, last night you made the first move,’ he said.

‘What?’ she denied.

‘You were drunk last night,’ he said. ‘Other men wouldn’t have just kindly given you a bath after you vomit on their clothes. In the future you should cut back on alcohol.’ He let go of her wrist. ‘I’m going back my bedroom.’

Kind? What kindness? There wasn’t a spot on her body that he didn’t kiss last night. She wanted to pull out his hair.

Outside her bedroom, he smiled after hearing frustrated sounds come out of her mouth.

***

Photos of Mark hobbling out of a bathroom was splattered on magazine covers.

Luo Cheng Hua summoned Luo An Hai home to talk about the incident with Mark.

‘An Hai, your father is waiting in the living room,’ Mai Fang said.

Luo An Hai was suspicious why Mai Fang was smiling if her father was going to lecture her.

Luo An Hai walked to the living room. Why was her father drinking tea with Han Ting Hua?

‘Why are you standing?’ Luo Cheng Hua asked. ‘Have you seen the latest magazine articles?’

‘Yes,’ Luo An Hai said and sat on the sofa.

‘Did Mark do anything to hurt you?’ Luo Cheng Hua asked.

Luo Cheng Hua wanted to kill Mark after he saw the magazine headlines.

‘Did he touch you?’ Luo Cheng Hua asked. ‘If he did, I’ll make him suffer. No one can save him.’

Luo An Hai was speechless. Her father was worried about her instead of lecturing her. It was an unfamiliar feeling to see her father worry about her.

Luo Cheng Hua didn’t know how to act seeing his daughter look surprised.

‘In the future avoid going to seedy places,’ Luo Cheng Hua said and cleared his throat. ‘Stay for dinner. Mai Fang bought ingredients this morning to make your favorite dishes.’

‘An Hai, don’t listen to your father,’ Mai Fang said. ‘Your father woke me up early this morning and dragged me to buy ingredients to make your favorite dishes.’

Luo Cheng Hua escaped to his study room out of embarrassment.

‘An Hai, look at your father’s shy back,’ Mai Fang teased.

Luo An Hai saw her father’s rigid back and legs running for the first time. It was a bitter sweet moment. She turned around and smiled at Mai Fang for the first time in two lifetimes.

Mai Fang received Luo An Hai’s smile after many years, and tears swelled up in her eyes.

‘I… I need to check on dinner,’ Mai Fang said.  ‘An Hai, wait here with Xiao Hua. Dinner will be ready soon.’

Luo An Hai couldn’t believe the woman she hated for many years was deeply moved after receiving a smile from her.

‘A miracle happened,’ Han Ting Hua said, watching Mai Fang run to the kitchen. ‘Luo An Hai, you smiled at my mother. Did you forget to wear thorns today?’

‘Why are you here?’ Luo An Hai asked.

Luo An Hai was planning to take revenge on Han Ting Hua, but seeing him again after avoiding him since that night, her revenge plans melted.

‘My mother asked me to come home for dinner,’ Han Ting Hua said.

Han Ting Hua knew Luo An Hai was avoiding him. Dinner at the Luo Mansion was his chance to see her.

Luo An Hai stood to hide in her bedroom, but Han Ting Hua followed her upstairs.

‘Luo An Hai, what are you scared of?’ Han Ting Hua asked.

‘Nothing,’ Luo An Hai said.

Luo An Hai wanted to close her bedroom door, but Han Ting Hua’s leg was in the way. She kicked his leg, he dodged her kick.

‘What do you want?’ Luo An Hai asked.

‘You’re tensed and scared,’ Han Ting Hua said. ‘You always avoid eye contact and fist your hands whenever you’re tensed and scared.’

Han Ting Hua played with Luo An Hai’s hair. ‘Luo An Hai, what are you running from?’

‘I don’t have time to listen to rubbish,’ Luo An Hai said.

Luo An Hai closed her bedroom door forcibly. She slumped against the door. Running? Of course she needed to run from Han Ting Hua.

On the other side, Han Ting Hua wanted to understand why Luo An Hai declared she hated him and his adoptive mother the first day they met. But if Luo An Hai truly hated him and his adoptive mother, why didn’t she do anything to break up his adoptive mother’s marriage? Years of living with Luo An Hai, he realized she was all bark and no bite. He knew after Luo An Hai noticed he saw through her thorns, she avoided him. What was Luo An Hai scared of? Why did Luo An Hai give him the feeling of a scared lost child? Why did Luo An Hai deny the unspoken connection between them? He didn’t have patience left to wait for Luo An Hai to acknowledge their connection.

***

End of Chapter Seven (part 1)

 

Love Me Again Chapter 7B

The pub incident was the last straw, with the intense passion within him finally breathing through its paper thin constraints. Han Ting Hua is determined not to wait any longer and not to let her continue to escape. But a woman like Luo An Hai is truly stubborn.

Han Ting Hua glances at the table to see a newly published magazine with that same obstinate woman on the cover, intimately clinging to a man, while that man was the same one Luo An Hai had cruelly dumped and left begging for them not to break up.

“Eh, Han, when did you get to school?” Angel had just walked into the student council’s office, and hadn’t expected to run into Han Ting Hua since he hadn’t attended school for several days. “To think you’d be here. That’s great, there’s something I ….. Since when were you interested in gossip magazines?”

Stunned, she stares at the magazine Han Ting Hua had placed on the table, as she just happens to have a similar one in her hands.

Not waiting for Han Ting Hua to answer, Angel takes a risk and starts to discuss the gossip “A woman’s heart is like a needle in the bottom of the ocean, and a Queen’s heart is even more so! At the time she had dumped Hunter so cruelly, who would’ve expected they’d be so sweet and intimate now? The magazine also mentions their relationship is so close they’re even talking about getting engaged… Han, is this true?”

Is this real or fake, uncle Luo and his mother had also asked him the same thing.

Having seen the tabloids, Luo Cheng Hai had also been kept in the dark, not knowing what his daughter is up to. Calling An Hai, he found that her phone had been turned off. Since Han Ting Hua was always around Luo An Hai’s side recently, he had Mai Fang enquire, thinking he had a clearer understanding of the situation. He hadn’t expected that he couldn’t pry anything from Han Ting Hua.

These past few days Luo An Hai didn’t return to the family home, nor did she enter the company, while her phone was constantly off, and even the staff at the company couldn’t locate her. Pretty much only the paparazzi knew her whereabouts.

Han Ting Hua had expected Luo An Hai to hide from him, but he hadn’t thought she’d put on this kind of show. Looking at the embracing figures on the magazine, his eyes flash but he doesn’t answer Angel’s questions, instead asking her if it was her father’s birthday.

Hunter and Angel’s families had business dealings, so Hunter would definitely be at the birthday party to congratulate him. While Luo An Hai would also attend as his companion. Angel is easily led towards a new topic by Han Ting Hua.

“Ah I almost forgot, I had wanted to speak to you about something” She places her hands together, pleading. “Han, be my escort tonight! Otherwise my grandfather will definitely take the opportunity to introduce me to various men, so annoying! Han, I was your shield for so long, isn’t it time to repay me?” Even if he doesn’t agree, she’ll nag him until he does.

But contrary to Angel’s expectations, not only does Han Ting Hua not refuse, he even reveals a rare smile.

“Naturally, it’s my pleasure.” Angel’s request just happened to fit right into his plans. As the magazine enters back into his sight, he dangerously eyes Angel. Let’s see how you’ll escape this time!

******

Luo An Hai hadn’t expected to see Han Ting Hua at the birthday banquet since that brat had always been low-key and never attends any banquets. But seeing the blonde haired girl on his arm, she suddenly understands. She had forgotten Han Ting Hua’s little girlfriend was the Dai’An family’s only daughter. Han Ting Hua had also seen Luo An Hai. The moment she entered the room, she instantly drew everyone’s attention.

Elegantly and meticulously made up, with her light chestnut hair half pulled into a bun revealing her beautiful snow white neck, appearing sweet and sexy in a little silver strapless. Sapphire earrings gently swinging on the sides of her face, the straps around her lower back outlining her alluring curves, with two perfectly balanced legs peeking out from a blooming silk skirt, clad in her favourite Mary Jane heels. While her clothes weren’t the most flamboyant, and she hadn’t adorned herself with the most dazzling gems, wearing a necklace that matched her earrings on her snow white neck, yet that charming and elegant disposition caused all the other women at the banquet to pale in comparison.

“Ah!” Angel whispers in Han Ting Hua’s ear, with a tone full of worship, “A Queen’s entrance is really something else. Come, let’s greet her.”

Han Ting Hua slightly smiles, lightly holding Angel’s waist as he walks towards Luo An Hai.

Realizing that he was approaching, Luo An Hai can’t help but freeze, Immediately developing the urge to flee. But she endures, straightening her back and proudly lifting her chin as she coldly surveys the people approaching.

“What’s wrong?” Sensing her body stiffen, Hunter looks towards her, eyes tender and filled with his love towards Luo An Hai. So much that even though she had treated him cruelly before, he was still unable to relinquish her.

Even though Luo An Hai had clearly told him it was impossible for her to love him, he still refused to stop sticking near her, thinking that as long as he doesn’t give up, Luo An Hai would someday be moved by his affections. Already looking towards the front, Luo An Hai ignores Hunter’s question.

Feeling perplexed, Hunter follows her gaze, only to see the Dai’An family’s daughter and an Asian youth walking towards them.

The youth has a handsome face and a cool disposition, wearing a tailor made black suit oozing with appeal. The moment the youth entered, several women at the banquet couldn’t help but stare at him, speculating over the identity of the man escorting the Dai’An family’s daughter.

Having never met Han Ting Hua, Hunter had assumed he was Angel’s boyfriend from their intimate actions, only, the way he looked at Luo An Hai caused him to feel on edge, as his arm subconsciously wraps around Luo An Hai’s waist.

“Hi Hunter.” Angel offers her greetings first.

Han Ting Hua subtly pushes lightly at Angel’s waist. Angel is slightly shocked, and although she doesn’t understand Han Ting Hua’s thoughts, she still smiles at Hunter, “Hunter, are you willing to accompany me for this dance?”

“This….” Hunter hesitates, glancing towards Han Ting Hua, then anxiously turning towards Luo An Hai. Angel impatiently snaps at him “What are you anxious for? Han is Miss Luo’s younger brother.”

The moment the words are said, everyone stares in shock at Han Ting Hua. To think he was the legendary brother Luo An Hai was hostile towards. Hunter gawks but Angel had already pulled him to the dance floor before he could say anything.

Once the two leave, Han Ting Hua immediately extends his hand to Luo An Hai “Do you want to dance, sister?” Specifically adding the last word.

Luo An Hai glares at him. She had wanted to turn and leave the banquet, but with so many spectators watching them, she didn’t want to embarrass herself, and even less to make a fool of herself.

Han Ting Hua slightly smiles, raising his brow at her.

As Luo An Hai extends her hand, Han Ting Hua grabs it and suddenly pulls, almost causing her to awkwardly fall into his arms.

“Han Ting Hua!” She grits, glaring towards him as his arms wrap around her waist. Applying slight force, Luo An Hai’s body sticks to his, as he lowers his head and whispers in her ear “Caught you.”

 

LMA: Chapter 7C

His warm breath near her ear caused Luo An Hai to tremble. As she struggled to escape, Han Ting Hua’s hold tightened even more, preventing her from fleeing. “Han Ting Hua, you…”

“Shh. There’s a lot of people watching us, do you really want to continue struggling and make a fool of yourself?” Han Ting Hua knows how proud she is, Luo An Hai stills. Emitting a low laugh, Han Ting Hua takes a few strides while holding on to her waist, forcing Luo An Hai towards the dancefloor.

The hand around her waist is overbearingly strong as the two remain ambiguously close she can almost feel the shocked stares around them… in the end, what is he planning?

Suppressing the fluster in her heart, Luo An Hai forces herself to raise her eyes and glower at him, reprimanding him in a hushed tone “Exactly what are you planning to do?”

“What about you? How long do you plan on running?” Han Ting Hua immediately retorts.

“Who’s running?”

“….then who was it who refused to return home these last few days?”

Luo An Hai stiffens, then arrogantly raising her chin. “You can’t control me, whether I return or not is my decision.”

Han Ting Hua knows she’s stubbornly trying to bluff her way out…..

“I know you’re hiding from me, don’t deny it.” He doesn’t give her the opportunity to refute as his eyes lock onto hers.

“Luo An Hai, when will you be honest to yourself? What are you afraid of? You should know the more scared you are, the more obvious it is to me that you-”

*Pa* A slap interrupts Han Ting Hua’s sentence.

The crowd is completely shocked, staring at the two in wonder.

Luo An Hai clenches her fists, glaring at Han Ting Hua as her body shakes in anger. Ignoring the stunned audience, she turns and leaves the event.

She walks quickly, as though she was fleeing from something, while her clenched fist swells with the pain from slapping him. She closes her eyes.

The words Han Ting Hua wasn’t able to say were exactly those that had been hidden in the depths of her heart. Almost causing the lock that she didn’t dare think about, let alone touch, to burst open.

She doesn’t want to hear it, nor does she dare to, and only wants to escape. Suddenly a strong force appears behind her, causing her to look back.

“Ah!” Luo An Hai shrieks. “Han Tin Hua, you—-” Before she could even finish speaking, she was already brashly thrown into the car. Struggling to get off, she finds the doors already locked.

“Open the door! Let me out!” Han Ting Hua ignores her bellows, and steps on the accelerator.

As Han Ting Hua drives back to her residence. Luo An Hai, who had been yelling the whole time, suddenly turns silent, when Han Ting Hua takes her hand, pulling her inside.

Inside, the lights were off, aside from a faint glow coming from outside. The two of them stood silently in the dark.

Han Ting Hua heads to the counter, pouring himself a glass of water, before returning to Luo An Hai, offering the water to her. “Drink, you should be thirsty.”

Luo An Hai takes the water from him, dumping it on him and throwing the glass at his face.

The moment she hears the glass hitting his forehead, her heart tightens, soon followed by the sound of the glass smashing against the floor.

Enduring the pain, Han Ting Hua asks “Has your anger faded yet? If not, I’ll let you hit this side as well.”

He turns his right cheek towards her, as Luo An Hai slaps it, not even holding back a little, forming another handprint on his face. But it’s still not enough, as she practically leaps towards Han Ting Hua, beating and kicking at him as he bears her hits, not even retreating or evading. Not even uttering a sound as his body receives her attacks.

It was like Luo An Hai was venting out all her resentment, placing all her strength in her fists to express the rage and unspeakable grievances she’s experienced! Why? Why would he? Why would he force her? Why would he say those things to her?

“Han Ting Hua you arsehole! Why are you treating me like this? You don’t understand anything! You don’t know anything! Why are you forcing me?” She rages at him, hollering until her voice is hoarse, wails, then starts to push him away. “Leave, go away! Stay the hell away from me!”

Han Ting Hua doesn’t move, standing firmly in place as he locks his deep gaze onto her.

That expression almost drives Luo An Hai mad. Those eyes were so familiar, just like the man in her memories. That fool had always worn this expression as he stared at her picture…..

“Don’t stare at me like that! Stop! Just don’t!” Forcefully pulling his collar, she bites down firmly on his neck. She bites so hard her teeth had almost sunk down into his flesh, not even letting go as the taste of iron floods her mouth. As hot tears well up in her eyes, she tries to endure, preventing them from falling. As though crying would be like admitting something.

She’s always been resisting, always refused to admit……

Han Ting Hua remains silent throughout this exchange. Feeling her tremble, listening to her rapid breath, as though she was holding back her tears. She really is stubborn, for that stubborn person to know that there’s someone willing to treasure her, that there’s someone willing to give their all to protect her.

“Shh, don’t be afraid. I’m here. I’m here for you.” His voice is so soft and so tender, like a feather gently enveloping her. “I won’t leave. I won’t abandon you. I’m right here beside you.”

Luo An Hai opens her eyes, lashes lightly fluttering. After a while…. A tear accidentally flows down, one drop followed by another, dripping onto Han Ting Hua’s shoulder, causing his heart to tense.

Han Ting Hua feels as though his heart had completely turned soft. Perhaps he had always been waiting for this moment, waiting for her to openly cry rather than suppressing her tears even in her dreams.

She had hidden too many secrets in the depths of her heart, while he had wanted nothing more than to unravel those secrets, to lower her guard, so that when she’s hurt, she can cry to her heart’s content.

“I like you Luo An Hai.” The confession whispered into the dark strikes at Luo An Hai’s heart.

“You told me not to love you, but it’s already too late.” From a long, long time ago ….. From when his gaze could no longer leave her, it was already too late. “Luo An Hai, let me love you, okay?”

Luo An Hai closes her eyes, letting the tears flow from her eyes. She never knew why she was given another chance at life. She wanted to treat her father better, unable to forget his grief as he stood before her grave, yet even with another chance, she never knew how to interact with him. Or maybe, she had never relinquished her grudge towards him.

While towards Han Ting Hua… she had always hated him, hated how he had taken all her father’s love, hated how he and his mother had stolen her home. She had hated him so much she just assumed he would feel the same. There should only be hatred between them.

Yet after she died, he had spent night after night pacing around her room, every night holding her picture alone, and on her birthday he would buy a small cake, sing happy birthday to her, lie on her bed by himself, gazing at her until dawn. Day after day, night after night…..

She doesn’t understand. Why would he love her? The hatred in her heart turns into ignorance, unknowingly developing into heartache. She doesn’t want him to be like this, she doesn’t like it!

Love, she’s never needed such a thing!

Love makes people go mad. Recalling her love-crazed mother, who had spent her whole life madly in love, yet before she died, she had held her hand, crying as she told her never to believe in love, love will only cause people pain, just like her.

She had remembered her mother’s words, and never loved anyone. Look, wasn’t what her mother said true, just look at Han Ting Hua.

Isn’t it because he’s suffering from love that he’d be so sad and pitiful, holding her picture even as he died. What’s the use? It’s not like she could respond, she wouldn’t…..

Even if she gets another lifetime she still won’t love him, she only wants him to hate her!

It should’ve been like this…. He should’ve hated her.

Only, does she really want him to hate her? Does she really not want his love?

Luo An Hai, what are you running from—-that day, he had asked her, those eyes looking at her as though they could see right through her.

What was she running from… Luo An Hai recalls the tears he had shed at her grave, recalling that reluctance and heartache.

She was sympathetic towards his stupidity, but wasn’t willing … wasn’t willing to respond to him. This whole time she wasn’t willing to admit that what she felt for him already wasn’t hate since the hatred in her heart was already worn away by his foolishness.

She had called him stupid, yet those words weren’t wholly without affection, yet her mother’s legacy caused her to be afraid, too afraid to believe in love. So she pretended love didn’t exist, forcing herself to deny the tension between them.

He loves her, how could she not know? Their relationship had long developed an ambiguous one, only she had forced herself to remain ignorant.

Just like how she could clearly ignore him, yet she deliberately chose to seek him out, to watch her, to never forget her existence.

That man used his foolishness to cause her to engrave him within her heart, so that even with another chance at life, even with her fear of love, and even with all the hatred she’s professed to have, she still can’t forget his foolishness, secretly becoming attached to his love, yet unable to admit it.

She fled, she hid, she guarded herself with all she had, yet she still feared that he would actually turn and walk away. Yet once he comes close, she can’t help being terrified. Until now, as he steadily presses ahead, no longer allowing her to escape.

While she was also tired of running. Maybe, in her heart she no longer wanted to run anymore, and had already wanted to love and be loved.

They had tortured each other like an S and M see-saw, if one came forward, the other would retreat, yet still firmly holding on, neither of them willing to let go —- actually, she had always feared he’d let go. She had thought, maybe the reason the Heavens had let her relive her life was because of him.

Not wanting to let him down any longer, Luo An Hai loosens her jaw, as Han Ting Hua smiles, “Not biting anymore?”

Luo An Hai remains silent. Glancing down, her hands grip his collar, slightly shaking it, as the taste of blood in her mouth almost causes her to smile, her heart feeling sour. This guy, just passively allowing her to bite, really such a moron.

“What?” Han Ting Hua couldn’t hear properly.

Luo An Hai doesn’t reply, and simply pulls him down towards her, before lifting her head to bite his lip, tears flowing from the corner of her eyes – idiot, she won’t run anymore.



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