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The next time Bum woke up, the house was lit in the late morning sunlight. Sangwoo was shuffling around in the kitchen, presumably making breakfast. Bum didn't understand why he continued to waste his time. He hadn't reciprocated Sangwoo’s feelings. Ever. So what was he expecting? More sex? He didn't want to think about that, especially since his injuries from the last time were almost healed. Sangwoo had even made sure to check every day, visibly relieved to see that he hadn't completely broken him.  Bum was afraid, however, for the day they healed completely. There would be nothing holding him back from fucking Bum again.


Speak of the devil , he thought as the younger man entered with a plate of something . Bum didn't care much at this point. He only ate to survive. Dutifully, he ate under Sangwoo’s intense gaze.


He could hear the sweet chirping of birds outside, and he was briefly reminded of what Sangwoo had taken away from him.


Bum finally finished his meal, or what he could actually stomach, and Sangwoo took the plate away with a sigh.


“Why aren't you eating? Is my food that bad?” Sangwoo asked, leaning in.


“No,” Bum stuttered. “It's good. I just don't eat a lot."


“You need to eat more. You're a fucking skeleton."


“I just… I don't want to be a burden."


Sangwoo looked disappointed, and Bum almost felt guilty, before remembering that this could have been prevented if Sangwoo had just left him alone. However, he was slightly relieved. A disappointed Sangwoo was better than whatever happened last night, when the man had mistaken Bum for his mother.


He fought back the urge to cross his arms over his chest, where he'd been attacked by Sangwoo’s mouth.


If Sangwoo had thought he was his “Mama”, then was he trying to… breastfeed ? And, what had he thought was going to happen? There was nothing there. Sangwoo would have been better off kidnapping some random woman off the street than poor, scrawny Yoon Bum. At least, then, Bum could have had a modicum of happiness. However, the thought made him feel selfish. No one deserved to be held captive by a psycho like Sangwoo.


The sad part was, no one knew what Sangwoo was capable of. No one would even suspect him of all of the awful things he'd done to Bum’s uncle, the women he'd tortured and killed. The beautiful, charming people could get away with anything. They could get away with literal murder.


Oh, God.


That meant the police, if they were even looking for him, might not even have the slightest clue as to where he could be. And if he pissed off Sangwoo, he might end up in his basement too, where he would die, alone. No one would ever find his body.


Bum felt the weight of the situation, heavy on his shoulders, and he felt the breath leave his lungs.


He hadn't realized that he was sobbing until he felt hands on his face. Those same hands moved down to his shoulders and pulled him into an embrace. Bum could barely register a voice in his ears, whispering reassurances.


“It's alright, Baby."


The voice and light touches were both so grounding, and Bum slowly calmed down, slight tremors still wracking his form.


“That's it. Just breathe.”


Sangwoo’s face slowly came back into focus, and he was staring at him, like Bum was a specimen under a microscope.


“Damn,” he said. “You okay?”


Bum silently nodded. Sangwoo, like usual, didn't look convinced, but he dropped it, and got up grabbing a jacket from the closet. Then, he bent over, kissing Bum on the forehead.


“I wish you would tell me what the hell is wrong. Couples shouldn't hide things from each other, you know.”


Sangwoo got up again.


“And, I wouldn't go into the basement, okay?”


He smiled sweetly, and was gone again. Bum didn't care enough to ask where he was going, and he didn't ask about what was happening in the basement. He figured he'd keep some of his sanity that way.





Sangwoo sipped at his coffee, checking the time. He'd agreed to meet Jieun here, and she'd promised to be on time. Yet, she was already ten minutes late. Sangwoo, ever the impatient man, was agitated. He could have been at home with Bum, curled up on the futon, making love, or anything else, but he was here, wasting his time.


He'd agreed to sing a duet with Jieun for the festival, take time out of his day to practice, and he had high expectations. She was already failing to meet them.




Jieun finally showed up, in a short, strapless black dress that hugged her curves.


“Sorry I'm late!” she said, as she sat next to him.


She seemed a bit more reserved than she usually was. Every so often, she would glance in his direction, like a schoolgirl with a crush. He almost expected her to proclaim her undying love for him. It was almost cute. It almost reminded him of the looks that Bum gave him sometimes, when he thought Sangwoo wasn't looking. Both certainly boosted his ego.


Yet, it would take Jieun a while, if not forever, to gain Sangwoo’s attention. Bum already had it.


“It's no problem,” he replied. He must have hid his agitation well; Jieun gave him a soft smile.


“Have you chosen a song you want to sing?” she asked.


“What about this?” She leaned in to get a look, her cleavage making an unwelcome appearance. If Bum were a girl, Sangwoo thought, he wouldn't be such a slut.




“We can choose a different one if you want,” he said, playing the part of a sweet, innocent boy.


“No, it's fine.”


A manicured hand landed on his forearm, and it took everything he had to not wrench it away.


“Sangwoo, I…”


He looked on, expectantly. When she didn't continue he smiled, mockingly, though it went unnoticed.


“Hey, you don't have to tell me. Although, I thought friends told each other their secrets?”


Jieun visibly deflated at ‘friends', and Sangwoo felt cruel pleasure bubble up like acid beneath his skin.


The feeling lasted until he reached his car, where it was replaced with cold, irrational hatred. He hated her. He hated her body, her clothes, that stupid-ass heart ‘birthmark’ on her cheek. The way she tried to seduce him. The way others thought she was perfect, when she was really just a dirty whore. He hated the fact that she tried to replace someone who was already so perfect.


He hated her.