By The Stream

    Rui covers LiMei and gently kisses her forehead then pulls on his pants. After slipping on his shoes he grabs the bucket to go to the stream to fetch water. He notices on a shelf there are several containers of medicinal herbs. The brat collected all of these?   Out of curiosity he opens a small trunk next to the shelf and raises an eyebrow staring at the men’s clothes inside. He was too agitated yesterday to think about the oversized men’s clothes LiMei was wearing. Whose clothes are these? He searches through the trunk for a clue but can’t find one.

 When he exits the cave he squints in the bright sunlight and puts on his sunglasses.  It is already extremely hot,  hard to believe last night there was a raging thunderstorm. The weather on this island is very strange.

  Rui splashes water on his face in the stream then sits on a rock. He runs his fingers through his wet hair then puts his head in his hands. Deep in thought regretting being unable to control his chaotic emotions and beastly behavior he slams his hand on the rock. Dammit! 

  To vent his frustration he picks up a flat stone at his feet then angrily hurls it across the stream. After he composes himself he fills up the bucket and walks back to the cave. Once inside he takes a jar off the shelf and grinds the herbs slowly adding water. After blended together the medicinal herbs have a milky color and creamy texture, he adds some crushed mint he found by the stream. 

  Sitting on the edge of the bed, Rui gently lifts the blanket covering LiMei. His heart tightens into a knot staring at her delicate body covered in glaring red marks and purplish bruises. Riddled with guilt he leans down and kisses the red finger length imprints on her delicate clavicle. Using his internal energy he heats the water then lightly runs the wet cloth over her slender body. After finishing washing her slender body he carefully applies the medicine. 

  LiMei can feel a cool sensation on her skin and inhales a light mint fragrance. She slowly opens her eyes and softly murmurs, “Rui…”

   He embraces her thin body and tenderly places a feathery kiss on her forehead, “Baby, I’m sorry I was too rough.” His warm breath sprays on her neck as he leans into her ear, “Forgive me, please.”

   “I thought I was dreaming. Wait…” She blushes and pulls up the blanket, “Where is Baobei?”

  “Yang Chenxi took him back to the Compound.”

   She breathes a sigh of relief, “Oh..that’s good.”

  His voice tinged with a hint of desperation he pleads,“LiMei, don’t ever say you are leaving me okay?”

  LiMei feels conflicted although Rui said it was a misunderstanding she still has a feeling there is something going on between him and Su Wanqing. After the way he tossed her on the bed LiMei thinks he wants her body not her…  a voice inside her mind torments her, “How could he be so fierce if he truly loves you? Really… you stupid girl…what do you have to offer a man like Rui…you are a very bad person. Hiding your true self …deceiving him. You know he wants a baby and you are well aware you can’t get pregnant…  that despicable man surnamed Fu made sure of that.’

LiMei holds her head and her eyes are teary. Rui lifts her chin, “Baby, are you in pain?”

She shakes her head trying to silence the voice inside her head. “I..I am just hungry.”

He gets up and takes an apple from his backpack. “Eat this. I will catch some fish to grill before we go back.”

Rui turns to leave and LiMei holds onto his shirt. “I will go with you. Hand me my clothes, they should be dry.”

He helps LiMei put on the red top and blue jean shorts. After he ties her shoe laces she stands up, her legs are weak and her knees buckle.  As she collapses Rui quickly lifts her into his arms.

She takes a bite of the apple and after she swallows she questions him, “Rui, how did you find Baobei’s cave? He said no one knows about it.”

 Rui doesn’t want to mention Su Wanqing so he lies, “Yang Chenxi.”

 “Oh.”

  He carries her to the stream and sets her on a large rock under a Banyan tree. “I am going to find a branch to use to spear the fish. Don’t move.”

  “Okay.” LiMei chews the juicy apple and watches Rui as he walks towards a wooded area. Baobei was worried about Jack and said he wished Yang Chenxi knew where to find them. Why would Rui lie? 

   Rui comes back with a branch and takes a knife from his pocket to sharpen the end. He glances over at LiMei, she is lazily leaning back looking up at the billowy white clouds. The sunlight is filtering through the leaves of the tree onto her upturned face and the slight breeze blows wisps of her raven black hair. Her eyes are bent into a crescent shape and her red lips are glistening with juice. His eyes are filled with fascination, LiMei looks like a delicate little fairy. .. so incredibly beautiful and fragile.

    As he stares at LiMei’s flawless face and innocent expression the guilty feeling resurfaces. He thinks about how he mercilessly tossed her in bed ignoring her pleas and grips the knife…The thought she might leave me made me go crazy. I wanted to lock her up where no one else can see her but me.  

 LiMei smiles at him and his heart skips a beat as she walks towards him. She holds the half eaten apple to his lips, “So sweet…taste.”

  He stares into her clear and sparkling eyes then bites the apple licking her fingertips. “Very sweet.”

Wrapping her arms around his waist she nestles in his broad chest listening to his rapid heartbeat. Inhaling his distinctive masculine scent she sighs and gazes up at his peerlessly handsome face. I don’t care if I’m not worthy of him…I don’t care if Rui only wants my body. When I am next to him I am so happy.

  Rui drops the knife and branch in his hands and puts his arms around her. His voice is hoarse, “LiMei…” 

     He lowers his head to kiss her and she closes her eyes. Rui gently kisses Li Mei then nibbles and licks her ear. “ Baby, you are my wife…now and always.”

 His low and intoxicating voice makes her dizzy and she melts into his warm embrace. Suddenly her stomach rumbles and Rui chuckles, “I will catch some fish.”

 “Okay, I will get some banana leaves to wrap the fish and I saw some berries.”

  “Don’t go far.’

    Not faraway Wong Kai is picking the green and blue buds off a Brinyus plant. His body is covered in a layer of cold sweat as he hurries collecting the herbs. Bent down hidden behind dense vegetation he tries to focus, his vision blurry from the effects of the poison.

   When he  hears movement by the stream he crouches lower and peers through the bush. He inwardly curses, if I wasn’t weakened from the poison I would enjoy appearing in front of that arrogant bastard. I would love to see the shock on his face if I told him his wife wanted to leave the Island with me. Unfortunately, I am too weak. 

   His hands are trembling as he strips the last bud from the plant and shoves it into a cloth bag with the other herbs he gathered. Suddenly his body convulses and he falls to the ground.

   LiMei is pulling banana leaves off a tree when she hears rustling then a thud not far away. She walks over and sees a hand clutching a cloth bag at the edge of a thick bush with white flowers.

   Staring at the familiar man sprawled on the ground her eyes widen, “Old Hermit…”

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