“You shouldn’t let them get to you like that,” Seungyoun warns. “They’re clients and that’s all. If you let them mean more to you than that, it’s not good for either of you.”
“Who said I ‘let’ anything happen?” Wooseok mutters, averting his eyes.
Somehow, he can feel the weight of Seungyoun’s gaze on him. “It’s that serious, huh?”
“It’s not ‘serious,’ it’s just…” Wooseok sighs, and his shoulders slump with the weight of the truth he’s been trying to avoid. “He’s different,” he finally says. “He’s not like the others.”
“Oh Wooseok, that’s how it always seems at first. And then you discover that they’re all the same, in the end.”
“He’s not,” Wooseok says tightly. “Don’t talk about him like that.” And even as he says it, he realizes how ridiculous he’s being. How he’s already told himself everything that Seungyoun is telling him, that he’s being irrational and reckless and naïve and all the things he can’t afford to be, all the things he’s fought not to be.
“I’m not saying he’s a bad person or he’s out to hurt you,” Seungyoun says. “Maybe he’s a good man. You’ll find that those are the most dangerous cases. Wooseok, take it from someone who’s gotten his heart broken too many times before he learned not to hand it out. You should guard yours too.”
Seungyoun says it like he hasn’t tried. Like he’s out there treating his appointments like blind dates. He’s always been the epitome of detached professionalism, of making himself the person his clients wants rather than revealing any aspect of himself. However, Seungwoo has a way of undoing his masks and dismantling his defences. He’s incapable of being Wooshin around him; his true self always slips out, somehow, and Seungwoo reacts in a way that makes the cracks widen until he can’t tell where they are anymore.
Seungwoo makes him feel not just desired, but cherished. Not just attractive, but beautiful. Seungwoo makes him feel, period, and he knows how dangerous that is but he can’t make himself walk away.
He doesn’t say anything, but Seungyoun must read his answer in his expression, somehow, and he sighs and says “Oh Wooseok” again. Wooseok thinks that Seungyoun should become some kind of official mentor, because he really has this mother hen thing down.
“Be careful,” Seungyoun says, and Wooseok nods but he knows that it’s far too late now.
“God, you’re so beautiful,” Seungwoo says, and Wooseok has heard it a million times but somehow it’s different coming from Seungwoo. Also, Seungwoo is one of the only ones who says it after they’re finished, who reaches out and brushes his hair away from his face with a tenderness that makes his breathing hitch, who pulls him in and holds him close in a way that isn’t sexual at all.
Wooseok hides his face against Seungwoo’s shoulder, taking refuge for a moment. Seungwoo’s hand strokes up and down his back, soothing and just the slightest bit possessive, and he can’t help but arch into his touch. He can feel Seungwoo harden again against his thigh, and he expects Seungwoo to push him over, climb over him, but Seungwoo makes no movement of the sort, makes no movement at all except to keep stroking his back.
“Seungwoo,” Wooseok says in his breathy voice, and then adds, “Hyung,” because he knows Seungwoo likes it and indeed he feels Seungwoo’s hips jerk a little helplessly but still he doesn’t move. “Don’t you want me?”
“Of course I want you,” Seungwoo says, and he pulls back a little but does nothing more than look into Wooseok’s eyes. “Wooseok, you have no idea how much I want you.”
He knew it was a mistake when he let slip his real name around Seungwoo, but god there’s such a heady feeling when Seungwoo uses it, especially when looking at him like that. If he had less control than he did, his hips would have jerked too.
“Then show me,” Wooseok says, slipping his hand down and wrapping a hand around Seungwoo. He bites his lip and looks through his lashes in the expression that nobody’s ever been able to resist, and Seungwoo is no exception as he groans.
“Wooseok.” His voice sounds almost pained. “What are you doing to me?”
Wooseok generally doesn’t like to kiss his clients, rarely takes the initiative and only reciprocates in a perfunctory manner, but he leans in and softly slants his mouth over Seungwoo’s, the gentlest contact he allows himself.
Seungwoo sighs something indecipherable but tender against his mouth, and it almost sounds like, almost feels like all this, them, could mean something more.
Wooseok knows it can’t and tries not to dwell on it, but as Seungwoo props a pillow under his hips and keeps his eyes on him the whole time and makes sure he finishes first, he can’t help but want to convince himself it could be.
“Sorry,” Seungwoo says sheepishly, tracing a red mark on Wooseok’s neck where he had bitten down and broken the skin. “I didn’t realize I was being so rough.”
“What?” Wooseok glances at the mark, not even having realized it was there. “You weren’t. I would hardly call this rough.”
Seungwoo looks at him with somber eyes. “Are your other clients often rougher?”
Wooseok lowers his lids. “Why do you want to talk about other people when it’s just the two of us here?”
“But it’s never really just the two of us, is it,” Seungwoo murmurs, and Wooseok’s smile fades before it fully forms.
“Never mind,” Seungwoo says hurriedly. “Forget I said that.”
“Our time is almost up,” Wooseok says, glancing at the clock, and it’s not that he’s eager to get away from Seungwoo but they both need the reminder.
“Don’t worry, I won’t stay in your hair longer than I paid for,” Seungwoo says, and Wooseok pretends it doesn’t sting. He pastes his resting expression on his face like a mask, and Seungwoo sighs. “Wooseok.”
“Can I get you anything? Some water? A wet wipe? A painkiller?”
“I’m not in any pain,” Wooseok says in surprise. Well, not anything medicine can treat, anyway.
“That’s good. I was worried I was a bit rough today.”
“I’ve had way worse,” Wooseok says, and he doesn’t mean to sound dismissive but he sees the way the corners of Seungwoo’s eyes tighten. “Don’t worry about me, I’m not that delicate.”
“No,” Seungwoo says. “You’re the strongest person I know.”
And Wooseok pretends he doesn’t feel his heart lurch.
Wooseok looks away when Seungwoo gets dressed. There’s something more intimate about putting clothes on than taking them off, and unlike what people may think, he isn’t here to provide intimacy. He doesn’t bother to put on clothes himself; he’ll take a shower after this and he has another client in a couple of hours. Despite what Seungwoo had said, he hadn’t been rough at all, and Wooseok feels fine about taking on another client. After some clients, he can’t take anyone on for nearly a week, not to mention in the same day, but Seungwoo would never be one of them. Seungwoo is gentler than Wooseok would imagine, gentler than he deserves.
“Two minutes left,” Seungwoo says, putting on his watch and running a hand through his hair in a way Wooseok hates precisely because he likes it too much. Seungwoo looks immaculate again, in a suit of such a dark blue it almost looks black, the pinstripes making his already long legs look even longer. His hair is a bit ruffled, but looks artfully so, and he had even put on a bit of cologne. You couldn’t tell at all, looking at him, that he had just fucked a whore.
Meanwhile, Wooseok knows he looks debauched, with his swollen lips and dishevelled hair and the marks littering his skin. He’ll have to cover those up with concealer later; his next client likes him to act shy and virginal, and the hickeys all over his body definitely won’t go with that.
“Wooseok?” Seungwoo asks, and he snaps back to attention.
“Sorry?” he asks, widening his eyes. “What did you say?”
“I’ll see you again? Next week, at this time?”
Wooseok’s mind scans through his schedule for a second. He has a client two days before Seungwoo who likes to mark him up, and he knows that Seungwoo won’t like seeing all the bruises on him but maybe it’s another reminder they both need.
“Of course,” Wooseok says. “How could I miss it?”
Seungwoo smiles and leans in, and at the last moment, Wooseok moves his head so the kiss only lands on his cheek rather than his mouth. Seungwoo falters for a moment but collects himself and says, “See you, Wooseok.”
“See you, Seungwoo,” Wooseok says, and wonders if it’ll be for the last time.
(“You were right,” Wooseok admits.
“Oh Wooseok,” Seungyoun says again, voice full of sympathy.
“I mean – not that he proved to be the same as the rest. He’s—him. But. I thought I had my guard up but somehow he made himself the chink in my armour.”
“What are you doing to do?”
“What can I do?” Wooseok sighs. “I could warn him that we’re crossing the line but I doubt that he doesn’t know. And what if he asks me to completely step over it?”
Seungyoun looks at him intently. “Would you?”
Wooseok pinches his lips. “It’s not that simple.”
“You’re going to have a make a choice eventually, Wooseok. The longer you put it off, the harder it’ll be.”
“If it’s harder for more than four hours, you should really see a doctor,” Wooseok says, and Seungyoun bursts into surprised laughter.
“Wooseok,” he says, serious now. “You have to make a decision, you know. And I think you know what it’s going to be.”
“Yeah,” Wooseok says softly. “I think I do too.”)