Quality Check: Isalee
First Published on Chaleuria
A notification tone chimed in the room; it was Gao Zhun’s phone. Fang Chi came back to his senses and straightened himself at once. Somewhat flustered, he withdrew his fingers in haste. “Let’s take a break.”
Gao Zhun slowly plucked his phone from his trouser pocket and glanced at the screen. “It’s nothing,” he remarked, cold and detached. “Just a credit card notification. Linlin bought a bag or something in Germany.”
“She…” Fang Chi found it impossible to take his eyes off the man before him. He could not look away from the mess of creases on his shirt, the slightly upturned cuffs of his trousers, or the dark hairline behind his ears. “When will she be back?”
Gao Zhun looked away. “In a week, or maybe two.”
After a silent pause, Fang Chi could not help but ask, “You’ve been having trouble sleeping this whole time?”
“My head’s been a mess.”
“What have you been thinking about?”
Gao Zhun turned back to look at him. “What if I told you I’ve been thinking about you?” he answered, running his tongue over his lips. “Would you tell me I’ve been bad? That I’ve done something impermissible?”
Fang Chi drew a deep, ragged breath. He no longer seemed to know what to do. He folded his hands together, again and again, as he fell back and slumped into his high-back chair. “What… about me?”
“Your hands, and your voice,” Gao Zhun replied, turning to lie on his side. Resting his head on his arm, he draped his body across the crimson couch, the arch of his hips as tantalizing as a woman’s curves. “Your hands dug hard into my flesh. They were very hot, and a little moist with sweat. Your voice rasped in my ear, hoarse with arousal, telling me that you wanted…”
“Nonsense!” Fang Chi sprang to his feet, panting furiously.
Gao Zhun smiled. “It’s just my wishful thinking.” A strange expression came over his features, adding a tinge of bitterness to his smile and suffusing his adoration with hurt. “I stop remembering him when I think of you.”
Fang Chi did not understand what was happening to himself; he must have fallen prey to Gao Zhun’s suggestions. Just as Gao Zhun had described, Fang Chi lunged forward and grabbed him with burning, sweaty palms. His hands dug violently into Gao Zhun’s waist and crushed Gao Zhun’s wrists to the sides of his head. “Was it like this?” Fang Chi growled, his voice hoarse with excitement. “Is this how I toyed with you?!”
Rough hands raked across Gao Zhun’s body, groping his flesh without mercy. His hair, shaken loose from the assault, spilled over his face. All of a sudden, Gao Zhun was assailed by the feeling of being raped again. But he did not struggle this time – because the man above him right now was Fang Chi. He merely looked up in terror and made no attempt to resist at all. Yet, Fang Chi only grew more violent. Even his hair was a mess from the sheer force of his own brutality. Every bit of his madness was meant to elicit a reaction from Gao Zhun. Every shred of his cruelty blazed with the desire for Gao Zhun to put up a fight and give him a reason to stop holding back – to let out the monster long repressed within the darkest shadows of his soul. But Gao Zhun kept his word: he clung on, quiet and docile, determined to stay in Fang Chi’s arms even if it meant being crushed in their confines.
Time passed. Impulse ebbed away, bit by bit, and Fang Chi’s actions slowed to a stop. Panting, he returned to his senses, and his vision began to clear. Before him, Gao Zhun lay sprawled on the couch, ravaged beyond belief. His shirt had become completely untucked. His arms, crushed together in one of Fang Chi’s hands, had become useless and limp. Uncontrollable spasms racked his body. He trembled on the couch, his waist convulsing as if it had broken in two, his flesh quivering as Fang Chi’s other hand thrust between his legs and sank its thumb into the vulnerable softness beneath.
As Fang Chi’s eyes fell on his own hands, realization hit him at last. He had forced himself on a victim of sexual trauma – tormented his patient with his own depravity. He wanted to slap himself for what he had done, and for the beast that he was. He released Gao Zhun at once. Flustered, he combed back his hair in a hurry and began straightening his clothes, smoothing out every telltale crease on his shirt and trousers with panicked hands. Only after ensuring the decency of his own appearance did he dare to look at Gao Zhun once more.
Curled up on the couch, Gao Zhun met his gaze with wide, glistening eyes. He had done nothing wrong, but he looked rueful and timid as he peered up at Fang Chi. Any moment now, it seemed, he would open his mouth and apologize for tempting the demons within the other man.
Wanting to help him up from the couch, Fang Chi stretched out a hand toward him. Gao Zhun flinched in fear; yet, as if he was afraid of displeasing Fang Chi, he clumsily grabbed the proffered hand in the very next moment. Then, still trembling, he began to lean over. Wary of triggering Gao Zhun’s traumatic memories, Fang Chi eased him into a gentle embrace with the lightest of movements. “You must be terrified.”
Gao Zhun continued trembling in his arms. Several moments passed before he replied, “It’s alright.”
Fang Chi tightened his arms, unconsciously increasing the strength of his hold. The desire to fondle Gao Zhun welled up within him again. “You’ll be even more terrified at night, won’t you?”
Gao Zhun remained silent.
“Why don’t you…” Fang Chi heard himself suggest on impulse, “come and stay at my place?”
Gao Zhun’s heart began racing in his chest. All of his blood seemed to rush to his head, making him a little giddy as he became overwhelmed with joy.
“I only have one bed at home. We’ll have to share, but we can sleep in opposite directions. We’ll buy your toiletries on the way back later. You can pick up your pajamas from home tomorrow, and I’ll come along with you.”
“Really?” Gao Zhun breathed, lowering his voice for fear of shattering this sweet, unexpected dream. His tentative hands clung to Fang Chi’s back with some hesitation. “You’re serious? This isn’t a lie, is it?”
“I’m serious,” Fang Chi replied, “but we need to complete today’s treatment first.” He needed to get his pen and paper from the desk, but Gao Zhun refused to let go when he tried to get up.
“Can’t we just stop here for today?” he asked, still holding on to Fang Chi.
Amused by his reaction, Fang Chi broke into a laugh. “Your well-being was the reason we met in the first place. I got to know you because I wanted to help you get well again.”
Gao Zhun released him at last. As soon as Fang Chi returned with his writing materials, however, Gao Zhun snuggled into his arms again. Despite feeling rather helpless about the situation, Fang Chi was charmed by the underlying sweetness as well. “Earlier in the session, you said that the moment of penetration terrified you the most.” Sensing the violent tremor that ripped through the man in his arms, Fang Chi immediately encircled his shoulders before pressing on. “If you were to rank your fears, what would be second to that?”
But Gao Zhun refused to cooperate. “Can we not talk about this?” He began twisting his body with unease. “I want to go to your place. Right now…”
“No sleepover for you if you don’t finish the session,” Fang Chi threatened, scaring Gao Zhun as if he were a child.
After a moment of silence, Gao Zhun was forced to give in. “Probably when I’m in the company of other men.”
Constrained by Gao Zhun’s firm hold, Fang Chi could only jot down his notes with one free hand. “Can you be more specific?”
“It’s just…” Gao Zhun pressed his cheek against Fang Chi’s chest, right above his heart, and listened to the regular beats within. “When they touch or get too close to me – the way Justin does – it makes me really scared.”
Fang Chi’s hand stopped writing. “What about me?” he asked. Realizing how inappropriate the question sounded, he corrected himself in the next breath. “I mean, what about the way I treated you just now?”
“You’re the exception,” Gao Zhun replied without thinking.
Fang Chi’s curiosity was piqued. “How would you rank the way I… bullied you just now?”
“Were you bullying me?” Gao Zhun returned, a clear note of surprise in his voice.
“You… what did you think I was doing?”