Ming carefully hung the soaking, wet, silky fabricated dress in the warmest part of the hut. In the kitchen by the furnace but at a safe distance. The material was so sleek and smooth that he caressed the delicate silken fabric between his fingertips. It was much more slippery and thinner than he’d expected. Yes, he’d wondered how it would feel against his skin.
The provocative image of her standing wet before him came flooding back to his mind instantly. It was indescribable how the saturated material hugged her feminine curves and was just enough to tease him most madly. His breath quickened, his cheeks grew warm as he recollected the way the silk clung to her erect nipples and showed the size of her full breasts. The sight of the drenched textile on her upper thighs made him feel dizzy similar to being intoxicated.
Her undeniable beauty was something he’d recognized from the first moment he’d spotted her in the tea house. Little did Princess know, Ming had been watching her for hours that day. It was like being enchanted the moment he first set his sight on her, and he couldn’t pull his eyes away.
Ming was secretly thankful that a reason for him to approach her appeared quite suddenly. However, after the confrontation, he knew she was the kind of woman he could never have. Someone who had everything and he had nothing to offer that she didn’t already possess, so he walked away quietly.
However, when she unexpectedly followed him home, Ming was secretly ecstatic. But then the realization she was out of his reach lingered always in the back of his mind. The feeling was similar to having a splinter stuck in one’s finger. Something that wasn’t still visible but the prickling sensation couldn’t be ignored entirely either, as it sat just under the skin’s surface.
He splashed cold water on his face to clear the tantalizing images from his brain. When Princess stepped out in his clothes, he could scarcely believe how she could look so seductive even in menswear.
“Your dress will take a couple of hours to dry. The rain has stopped so why don’t we go into town and kill some time?” Ming suggested casually.
It was in his and her best interest, a precautionary move to break the swiftly building sexual tension between them. The last thing he wanted was to be alone with her after seeing Princess wet, and looking so extremely provocative. He knew himself well enough to grasp if they continued to remain alone that he’d surely not be able to control himself. She was entirely and utterly desirable.
She asked dumbfounded, “What? Dressed as a man? Out in public for others to see?”
He nodded ‘yes’ and said, “Let’s go. It’ll be fun. I have some animal furs and pelts to sell anyway.”
Ming quickly walked out with her following behind him as usual. He heard Princess curse a couple of times under her breath. She possessed quite an extensive range of obscene vocabulary which made him inwardly giggle.
In town after selling his goods, they casually strolled around window shopping and taking in the scenery. Nonchalantly, Ming lovingly threw his arm around her small shoulder.
Princess asked most curiously, “It seems that you’re more comfortable around me when I’m dressed as a man. Are you sure you don’t prefer men?”
“I’m an only child, but I always wanted a sibling. It’s as if you’re my little brother so for today; I’m going to call you little brother Wu. Short for Xiao Wu.” Ming calmly stated, and then he patted Bai Qian’s topknot affectionately, as one would do to their younger male sibling.
They were standing by the flower house also know as a brothel when they heard, “Aya! Brother Ming! Why haven’t you come to visit us? We’ve missed you!” The pretty prostitute declared delighted to see him.
He casually laughed trying to play it off. Princess glared at him suspiciously and spoke, “Brother Ming, they know you by name? You must be a frequent visitor here.”
“I’ve merely done minor repairs inside. That’s it.” Ming replied innocently.
She sucked in sharply through her teeth, smirked and retorted, “Is that what they call it these days ‘repairs’? Oh, I understand, brother Ming. Every time I see you, I learn something new and fascinating about you. Hm, interesting.”
The scantily dressed woman saw Bai Qian and exclaimed in her high pitched tone, “Who’s this pretty little brother, brother Ming?”
Boldly she stroked Bai Qian’s cheek and loudly declared, “Little brother’s skin is smoother than a woman’s. It’s so soft, supple and tender. I wonder if little brother’s sword is as smooth as his cheek? Would little brother like to play with some older sisters tonight?”
Feminine giggling came from the group of growing courtesans. Women began to crowd around Bai Qian and took turns touching her cheek.
They laughed and tried to embrace her when Ming loudly stated, “Little brother Wu, if you’d like to spend the night with these lovely flowers then I’ll cover all the expenses.”
The women excitedly surrounded Bai Qian while she stared terrified at their unwanted attention, fought back their advances and wandering hands.
She countered, “Brother Ming, you SHOULD stay here tonight, ALL NIGHT LONG!”
Bai Qian pulled a pearl out of her pocket and affirmed, “I’ll cover whatever the cost. My honorable older brother Ming, you should stay here with ALL the women as you’ve done in the past!”
There were sudden hysteria and frenzy. The women screamed and exclaimed excitedly. The prospect of Ming bedding them seemed to stir much excitement.
One of the women with heavy makeup shouted, “Me first! I want brother Ming first! I want to know if he’s as endowed as everyone says! I’ve only heard rumors so let me have him first!”
Ming pressed his hands together as one would do in prayer and said most earnestly, “Sisters, I’ve decided to follow a spiritual path and no longer indulge in carnal pleasure. I’ve taken a vow of celibacy. It’s time to pray. Shall we, little brother Wu?”
Casually Ming replaced his arm around Bai Qian’s shoulder, mumbled something about afternoon prayer and quickly led her away.
Bai Qian heard one of the women behind her bellow in pure disgust, “Aya! It’s always the ones who are handsome, talented in bed and well endowed that become monks! We women need them more than the temples! Such a waste of their God-given talents!”
The group of provocatively dressed courtesans immediately dispersed and shifted their attention to the other men now passing by the entrance of the brothel.
Bai Qian turned to Ming and said somewhat outraged, “So…brother Ming, you seem to be quite popular with the ladies? I call them ladies out of respect. They do what they must to survive, so I don’t judge them. They were sooo disappointed that you weren’t staying behind.”
“Hey, princess, does your father own a fleet of ships? What’s with all the pearls?” Ming countered, ignoring Bai Qian’s comment.
She pressed further and said in a tone saturated with sarcasm, “I’ve never met a man who’s on first name bases with all the prostitutes in town. I guess that could be considered an achievement also.”
Brazenly he laughed and haughtily replied, “Princess, I’m sure you have some young, brawny, strongman servants that sneak into your room at night, to please you after your parents have gone to bed. Isn’t that what rich girls like you do before marriage? So? I’ve been with some women but how many men have you been with, Princess?”
She thought of Migu and laughed. It was a funny image and merely replied, “I’ve never been with anyone. I’m still a virgin. I’ve yet to meet someone who made me feel like I wanted to become one with them.” There was a tinge of sadness in her voice.
He snorted and disbelievingly questioned, “What? Princess, are you waiting for marriage!? What if you marry someone who’s terrible in the bedroom?”
Bai Qian met his gaze straight on and just responded, “I’m waiting for love. I know my worth, and I refuse to settle for anything else. I’m saving myself for the right person. My soulmate. Furthermore, it takes two to tango, so if they’re terrible in bed, then I guess a lot of practice would solve that issue.”
Abruptly Ming stopped walking and stared intently into her eyes. There was a moment when they connected, but he quickly broke the indisputable bond. He instantly took his arm off her shoulder and created some distance between them.
“Soulmates? That only exists in fairy tales. Princess, you should experience life before your father marries you off to some old man who already has many wives.” Replied Ming who was trying his best to sound disinterested.
She smirked and arrogantly stated, “My father wouldn’t ever make me marry someone I didn’t want. I control my future.”
Princess suddenly stopped walking and unexpectedly held his face tenderly with her small warm hands.
She met his gaze, sadly sighed and remorsefully said, “I must have been out of my mind because I was hoping that man was you, Ming, but it appears I was wrong.”
Princess mockingly laughed at herself and added, “I was so mistaken because I thought I saw something in you that I’ve never seen before, but I was merely confused.”
She made an odd clicking noise with her tongue and deliberately exhaled through her mouth.
“I’m sure my dress is dry by now, and if not then I’ll wear wet clothes home. It’s time for me to settle my debt with you, then for us to part and go our separate ways. You see, I don’t invest or waste time in hopeless causes.” Princess stated with absolute resolve and briskly walked ahead of him.
Why did her words make him feel as if his heart was tearing in two? Ming didn’t know what he was feeling, but for the first time in his life, he experienced a profound pain. That unique aching sensation one suffers when they disappoint another. When they let down the person, they care about above all others.
To be continued……….