His tenderness made Ji Yi's fingers quiver as she instinctively looked up.
She still hadn't reciprocated with a hug when his words rang in her ears again. Her hands suddenly stopped in mid-air.
Though she didn't know what Han Zhifan told him over the phone, she could tell he was devastated. The only reason he hugged her like that was probably because he wanted someone to comfort him
Ji Yi lifted her fingers and balled her hands into fists. She seemed to be torn over something. After some time, she eventually sank her body inward and stopped fighting his loving embrace.
It was just as he remembered. Her hair still smelled sweet.
It was the same sweetness he had countless dreams about over the past few years.
In that very instant, He Jichen was in a slight trance, feeling like it was all an illusion.
He gently pressed her back with his fingers. She was real and she was soft to the touch. This feeling made his heart much more at ease.
He never imagined that he would actually have an opportunity in his lifetime to actually hug her like this...
A wave of intense emotions instantly engulfed He Jichen's entire body, and with it came infinite satisfaction and contentment. He gently rubbed his cheek against her hair then irresistibly embraced her tighter and deeper.
The room was very quiet. It was so quiet in fact that Ji Yi and He Jichen could hear the sound of one another's heartbeats and breaths.
Such a gentle, beautiful, and delicate experience made He Jichen's pained heart gradually calm down after being shocked from receiving Han Zhifan's call. When he caught the subtle scent of her body, he sinfully and seriously started to reflect on everything that happened between them.
He always thought he loved her until tonight, when he got Han Zhifan's phone call. It was only after the heart-piercing pain of regret that he learned that he never treated her with love; it was only ever "like." It was only when you liked someone that you wanted to love each other and kill each other simultaneously, feel bitter at heart, put in hard work yet want to to be repaid, and strive to win but end up hurting both parties.
It was only when you liked someone that you would be so immature and have such extreme thoughts.
True love wasn't like this.
True love wasn't just about liking someone and thinking about the other person while they thought about you.
True love was him being okay, knowing that she was okay.
It was a shame that he was confused for far too long. He learned this far too late and made her endure so much hurt, making her suffer so much.
At that thought, He Jichen couldn't help but gradually tighten his arms. His attitude radically changed as he looked at her in a different way.
Sorry Ji Yi, I learned how to love far too late.
Sorry Cola girl. I said I'd protect you, but I ended up hurting you the most.
Sorry, I'm truly sorry. On your road to growth, I forced you to mature on your journey. I also hurt you so badly.
It was unclear just how long the two of them stood there, silently hugging each other. It wasn't until Ji Yi's legs started to ache from standing that she raised her leg, shifting gently. He Jichen, who had been hugging her without moving an inch, slowly moved his head away from her hair.
His palm on her back lingered there for a while before he slowly loosened his fingers as though he couldn't bear to tear away. Little by little, he withdrew his hand from her back.
After his hand had completely left her body, He Jichen took a step back to put some distance between the two of them.