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The sway of his hips were hypnotizing. Everyone wanted him but, unfortunately, he wasn’t free. The smell of rum and sweaty men was more prevalent. High priced drinks and strippers were working the crowd, trying to get as much money as possible out of the pockets of the patrons. They roamed around like puppies begging for scraps at the dinner table, asking every man in the room if he would like a private dance.

They were practically begging for the customers to buy them drinks that they could get for free. There was always a DJ pumping out loud music with heavy bass and a couple of big bouncers standing on guard, ready for trouble.

Jeonghan was backstage, fixing his hair and putting on Harley Quinn themed makeup for tonight’s villain theme.

“ Jeonghan, you’re on in 5 minutes!” A fellow stripper yelled as Jeonghan went to put on his outfit.

The lights on the stage dimmed as Jeonghan walked on the T platform stage. The music started, the lights cutting on. Jeonghan took his red fur coat and tossed it into the audience. The heat of the lights radiated onto his body, his body moving to the beat of Beyoncé. Each dance move made a member of the audience breathless, begging for more.

Seungcheol walked in with his group of friends, Mingyu, Wonwoo, and Vernon. His eyes wandered throughout the strip club, his attention on the peculiar person on stage.

“ Earth to Seungcheol!” Vernon waved his hand in his face as he snapped out of it.

“What..?” Seungcheol questioned, raising his eyebrow.

“ I was saying that we should get a booth,” Wonwoo interrupted as they went to sit down.

A waitress went up to them, smiling.

“ What can I get for y’all?” She asked, chewing a piece of spearmint gum.

“ My friend here needs a private lap dance,” Mingyu chuckled as he pointed out Seungcheol.

Seungcheol looked to him as the waitress smirked and walked away.

“ What the hell?” Seungcheol frowned, his eyes still on the male on stage.

The performance ended and Jeonghan left the stage. Jeonghan went backstage, changing into another outfit. He walked out of the room, going outside for some air.

He checked his phone, a few missed calls from Joshua. Jeonghan dialed his best friend’s number, holding the phone to his ear.

“ Jeonghan, where are you?” Joshua’s worried yet stern voice entered the phone.

“ At work. What’s this about?” Jeonghan sighed.

“ We need to talk and I’m afraid that it can’t wait,” Joshua spoke as Jeonghan rolled his eyes.

The waitress stepped outside, looking to Jeonghan on the phone.

“ Jeonghan, we have a request for a lap dance,” She informed as he nodded.

“ It’s going to have to because it’s a busy night,” Jeonghan concluded before hanging up.

Joshua sighed as he put his phone down.

Jeonghan went back into the club, Minjun eyeing him. He took a deep breath and made his way to the dark, dank room. Seungcheol sat in the recliner, his arms crossed.

He didn’t want this lap dance but his friends wanted him to release some....tension.

The music was a moderately driven dance, just right for a lap dance. Jeonghan started walking toward Seungcheol, running his hands along the curves of his body.

His eyes locked into Seungcheol’s, unbuttoning the red dress shirt he had on. Jeonghan straddled his lap, leaning down as if he was about to capture his lips. Seungcheol gulped as Jeonghan pulled away slightly, placing his finger on his lips.

Jeonghan stood, moving his hips to the slow methodical beat.

“ You.. You’re unhappy,” Seungcheol choked out as Jeonghan paused.

“ What..? What makes you say that?” Jeonghan questioned.

Was it really that noticeable?

“ Your eyes... They’re full of sadness, almost melancholy,” Seungcheol continued as Jeonghan’s eyes going blurry.

Seungcheol stood up, Jeonghan looking at him.

“ Let me help you. I can tell that you don’t want to be here,” Seungcheol moved towards him as Jeonghan took a step back.

“ You...can’t. I’m...just an object of lust trapped inside the ring. There’s no way out,” Jeonghan sighed, fixing his shirt.

“ Wait a minute.. I’ve seen you before,” Seungcheol pointed out as he looked into Jeonghan’s eyes.

“ Jeonghan. We went to high school together,” Jeonghan answered, looking away from Seungcheol.

“ That’s right. We graduated the same year..”

“ ....You’re Seungcheol..?”

“ Yes, that’s me.. Look, you hungry? I can take you somewhere for food,” Seungcheol asked as Jeonghan raised his eyebrow.

“ Let me tell my friends that I’m leaving and then we can go,” Seungcheol informed as he left the private room, Jeonghan trailing behind him.

“ So, I’m ditching you guys,” Seungcheol spoke, Mingyu smirking at him.

“ Ah, I see how it is. Have fun, Cheol,” Mingyu teased as Seungcheol rolled his eyes.

“ What?! You’re leaving me here with Dumb and Dumber?” Vernon pouted, Mingyu and Wonwoo glaring at him.

“ Sorry, Hansol. I’ll make it up to you,” Seungcheol smiled as he left them alone.

The two made it outside as Jeonghan paused.

“ Where do you want to do this? We can go to your car, to your house,” Jeonghan crossed his arms.

“ What are you talking about?”

“ You must want something, Seungcheol.”

“ You think I want sex from you?” Seungcheol turned to him, a serious look upon his features.

“ Well, what do you want then?” Jeonghan rolled his eyes.

“ I’m taking you out. Come on, I know you want something to eat,” Seungcheol led Jeonghan to his car as he drove off.

The two went to a diner, sitting in a booth. Jeonghan avoided eye contact with the man across the table, staring down at the ground.

“ So.. What are you doing out here selling yourself and being an exotic dancer? I remember that you were in college,” Seungcheol observed, Jeonghan looking up.

“ I dropped out. How about you don’t worry about that?”

“ It’s clear now. You were the smartest in our class. What happened?”

“ I don’t need you to be judging me.” Jeonghan grumbled.

“ I’m not judging you..”

“ Yes you are. I can see it,” Jeonghan mumbled.

“ I’m not your enemy, Jeonghan. Please just order something,” Seungcheol sighed.

Jeonghan looked at the menu, pouting to himself. Seungcheol stared at Jeonghan, noticing that Jeonghan had a bruise on the side of his face.

“ What happened to your face?”

Jeonghan glanced up, looking to the side. His phone vibrated as if someone was calling him.

“ It’s nothing. Look, I have to go,” Jeonghan stood up immediately, bowing to Seungcheol.

He moved out of the booth, scrambling to leave.

“ Jeonghan, wait,” Seungcheol grabbed Jeonghan’s wrist gently before he could leave.

“ At least, take my business card. Call me if you need anything,” Seungcheol pleaded as he handed him the card.

“ Thank you,” Jeonghan flashed him his signature smile, leaving.

Jeonghan pulled his phone out, calling Minjun back.

“ Jeonghan, where the hell are you?” His angry tone filled the phone as Jeonghan rolled his eyes.

“ Out. I’ll be home soon,” Jeonghan sighed, walking through the night to his shared apartment with his “boyfriend”.

Jeonghan unlocked the door, walking and closing the door.

“ Jeonghan, so you left the club with someone. Did you sleep with him for money?” Minjun interrogated, Jeonghan shook his head.

“ No, I didn’t. I don’t appreciate you exporting me like this,” Jeonghan retorted as Minjun glared at him.

The backhand was as loud as a slap and stung his face. It had left small cuts below his eye, where the ring had caught him. Jeonghan staggered backwards, hitting the ground, clutching his face with his eyes watering.

Minjun walked away to their bedroom, Jeonghan checking the cuts on his face. They were bleeding slightly as Jeonghan stood up.

This is a nightmare..

Jeonghan went to the bathroom, checking his face. Jeonghan checked the cabinet, picking out some makeup wipes.

Jeonghan took the wipe and started cleaning the excess makeup from his eyes and face. He then placed a bandage onto his face, taking one last look in the mirror.

Seungcheol’s business card flashed through his mind like a faint memory.

Should I call him?

“ No, that’ll be dangerous,” Jeonghan sighed.

Jeonghan made his way to his shared bedroom with Minjun, inhaling sharply. He didn’t want to anger the man once again. Jeonghan went to the dresser drawer, pulling out a change of clothes.

Jeonghan slowly started to undress his clothes, revealing the purple bruises and scars along his chest, back and arms. He stared at himself in the body sized mirror, Minjun coming up from behind him.

“ I’m sorry, baby,” Minjun whispered in Jeonghan’s ear, his arms around his waist.

“Mhm,” Jeonghan mumbled softly, Minjun letting him go.

“Let’s get to bed.”

Jeonghan slipped on some pajamas, crawling into the bed. Minjun cut the lights off, getting into the bed. Jeonghan turned, his back facing Minjun. Minjun pulled Jeonghan into an embrace, resting his head on his shoulder.

Jeonghan felt a tear slide down his face.

He was trapped..