First Published on Chaleuria
Fang Chi’s new secretary was a lady in her forties who looked friendly and trustworthy. After showing Gao Zhun into the room, secretary Li nodded at Fang Chi and closed the door.
“Doctor,” Gao Zhun greeted him. Even though he avoided eye contact with Fang Chi, the hint of an irrepressible smile ghosted about the corners of his lips.
Naturally, Fang Chi took notice. “You seem to be in a good mood today,” he commented, smiling warmly in response as if they were long-time buddies.
Gao Zhun’s smile deepened. “Coming back for consultation again… makes me very happy.” Like a bashful child, Gao Zhun blushed a little and struggled to keep the expression on his face under control. The more he wanted to smile, the harder he tried to rein in his feelings. Children like these always tugged easily at the heartstrings of anyone who met them.
Fang Chi also noticed that Gao Zhun no longer seemed to be affected by the closed door: he was neither sweating nor showing any signs of panic. “Please take a seat,” he said as he walked over with his writing materials. “Today, as I mentioned in our previous session, let’s try out some exercises that involve physical contact.”
However, instead of sitting down, Gao Zhun took a deep breath and placed his trembling hands on the buttons of his suit jacket. “What you did… with the air-conditioning… I think you had a point.” Facing Fang Chi, he began to undo his jacket – button by button – and the fabric fell open to reveal the expanse of his chest and the line of his fitted waist. Fang Chi watched as Gao Zhun struggled through the movements with great determination, and swallowed unconsciously at the sudden tightness in his throat.
Despite knowing that Gao Zhun’s abrupt and unnatural behavior was nothing more than an attempt to please him, Fang Chi did nothing to stop the other man. He continued watching as Gao Zhun slung his still-warm jacket with care over the back of the chair and raised his hand slowly but resolutely to his tie. Today, he wore a tasteful ascot tie designed in black and white. Gao Zhun slipped his fingers around the knot and gave it a gentle tug. The soft silken tie unraveled and fell tamely against his chest. “I followed your instructions and practiced accordingly. Is this acceptable?”
Dear God! Fang Chi was at a complete loss for words. Never before in Fang Chi’s life had any other man ever put up such a performance of removing his jacket and tie just for him. Neither had he ever felt so embarrassed at the sight of another man getting undressed. “Mr. Gao,” he began, but paused briefly to clear his throat. “You did very well… May I know what goes on in your mind when you carry out these exercises at home?”
“I think of you,” Gao Zhun replied in a matter-of-fact tone as he clutched his tie. “I picture you before me, just like the way you’re sitting before me right now. And I imagine you encouraging me, giving me the strength to continue.”
Fang Chi shook his head. “That’s not right. You should not be doing things for my sake. You ought to be doing them for yourself instead. When you remove your tie, for example, you should be thinking about your freedom and not how happy I would be with your performance.”
Gao Zhun tensed, suddenly unsure of what to do with his hand and the tie in its grip. When Fang Chi saw that Gao Zhun seemed to be considering putting it on again, he reached out immediately and grabbed Gao Zhun’s hand. “It’s okay,” he said in a gentle voice, “take your time.”
They were so close that each could see himself clearly reflected in the eyes of the other, and Fang Chi was surprised by what he saw. In Gao Zhun’s eyes, his reflection seemed so eager, honest, and sincere… He never knew that this was how he appeared to Gao Zhun all this time. He stepped forward again, and their faces were almost touching. “Is this okay for you?”
Gao Zhun dropped his head. “This… feels really weird,” he replied, easy laughter in his voice, as if he were simply responding to a friend’s playful tickle. Fang Chi took this as a sign that Gao Zhun had lowered his guard completely against him.
“My movements may become more invasive now,” Fang Chi said as he took another step forward. Gao Zhun backed away this time. “Why are you running away? We made it far enough the other night to embrace each other. Why are you afraid now?”
“I… I don’t know.” Gao Zhun’s breathing quickened as agitation built up within him. “At night… I couldn’t see your face at night, but now…”
Fang Chi stepped forward again, and Gao Zhun took another step backward with reddened eyes. Fang Chi could see that Gao Zhun was trying hard to get used to his closeness. He also knew that the proximity between them had far exceeded what was acceptable between two men. Yet he could not bring himself to stop – he did not want to stop. He recognized the streak of mildly sadistic desire within himself, and decided to give it free rein.
Backed up against the wall, Gao Zhun was finally trapped. Fang Chi stood before him, barely millimeters away, his breath warm against Gao Zhun’s forehead. Thinking that Fang Chi would continue to close in on him, Gao Zhun shut his eyes. Contrary to his expectations, Fang Chi backed away instead and said in a soft voice, “Next, we’ll attempt some forms of physical contact together.”
However, choosing the points of contact was no easy task. Having treated patients with PTSD before, Fang Chi was familiar with this particular form of therapy. Based on past experiences, he knew that the shoulder area would be a reasonable starting point. But the man before him was Gao Zhun – not just any other patient. For him, Fang Chi wanted to try something different this time. “Mr. Gao, where the human body is concerned, areas between the chest and the knees are considered to be sensitive regions. So…” He put up a hand and waved his fingers before Gao Zhun’s eyes before asking, “May I touch your face?”
His action captured Gao Zhun’s attention successfully; this was a common technique used to sensitize patients to physical contact and increase their awareness of physical sensations. Gao Zhun’s eyes flickered between Fang Chi and his fingers as a look of apprehension crept over his own face. “If it’s just touching…”
“What else do you think I’ll do?” Fang Chi laughed.
Stunned, Gao Zhun lowered his head unnaturally. Placing a tentative hand over Gao Zhun’s forehead, Fang Chi felt the sweat on his temples and sensed just how nervous the other man was. “Relax. Just pretend I’m a woman if this is making you uncomfortable.”
Gao Zhun remained silent as he stubbornly forced himself to endure Fang Chi’s touch. Fang Chi began moving his hand downward. He ran a finger down the bridge of Gao Zhun’s nose and gave its tip a light tap. Then, dipping lower, the finger lingered for a moment on the soft, tender skin of Gao Zhun’s philtrum before slipping over the slight pout of his lips to press at the dent under his lower lip. After running his hands over Gao Zhun’s jaw, Fang Chi continued moving lower, slipping over his Adam’s apple and collar to feel the rapid rise and fall of his chest, and trailed his hand over the tensed panes of his ripped abdomen.
He stopped when he reached the metallic buckle of Gao Zhun’s Versace belt. “I’m moving on to your limbs now,” he said as he slid his hands along Gao Zhun’s waist to his sides, and began moving them upward again along his ribs. When Fang Chi reached Gao Zhun’s underarms, Gao Zhun – perhaps feeling discomfited or ticklish – started trembling and bit down hard on his lower lip. “Don’t,” he said as he reached up with a hand and flicked gently at Gao Zhun’s lips.
“Please… please stop,” Gao Zhun begged, looking at him with pleading eyes, “this is too weird…”
“Just bear with it for a little longer,” Fang Chi coaxed as he continued with his ministrations. He ran his hands across Gao Zhun’s shoulders, down the length of his arms to circle his wrists briefly, before turning his hands over to press their palms together. At this, Gao Zhun suddenly shot him a strange look. Fang Chi noticed. As he puzzled over Gao Zhun’s expression, however, Gao Zhun’s fingers moved. Before either of them realized what was happening, Gao Zhun’s fingers had slipped through the cracks between Fang Chi’s fingers and locked their hands tightly together. Both were stunned by the sight of their entwined fingers. “S… sorry!” Gao Zhun blurted out. A furious blush burned across his face as he pulled his hand away in haste.
Fang Chi’s forehead furrowed in thought, as if he was hit by some obscure realization. Gao Zhun rushed to explain himself, “I’m really sorry. It’s been a long time since I held anyone’s hand, and I’m too nervous…”
“Sh…” Fang Chi soothed, “It’s alright. When you’re with me, you are free to act as you will. You can do whatever you want.”
Gao Zhun shot him a somewhat accusatory look, as if pleading in silence for him to stop, but Fang Chi refused to give in. “I’m moving on to your legs,” he said as he squatted down. To alleviate the tension in the air, he added in jest, “Don’t kick me, okay?”
But Gao Zhun did not laugh. Squatting before him, Fang Chi felt the palpable tension that coursed through Gao Zhun’s body. Even as Gao Zhun pressed his legs together, Fang Chi reached out and gripped his beautifully muscled thighs. “Won’t you part your legs just a little?” he asked.