Chapter 1: [E] Brian's Touch
His name rolls off your tongue like it were made of poison. Acrid. Gut wrenching. It’s nauseating to say the least. Even the cigarette in your hand couldn’t make the sour taste in your mouth go away.
Forgetting him would be impossible, not with his name everywhere: on television, in newspapers and magazines. Brian Kang is the talk of the town. Asia’s top PR executive—infamous for taking in high-profiled clients with soiled reputations and turning their image sparkling clean—back in his hometown. There are already speculations as to who would be next to receive the so-called Brian’s Touch.
"Brian’s touch..." You chuckle gloomily, taking a long draft from your cigarette to let the smoke fog up your resurfacing memories.
In a short span of a month, you've found yourself attending the same party as him for a third time. How is it that every event you’re going to these days also has him in invitation? Meeting like this can't be a regular affair. Maybe it’s time you start turning down appearances at these charity events, perhaps take a well-deserved break, now that he’s back in the local scene.
He should have never returned.
You exhale a shaky breath, smoke dispersing into the cold night. The dose of nicotine you've been counting on to get rid of the nerves wasn't working like it used to, but at least out here in the balcony you had all the space you needed to breathe. At least out here there was no Brian in sight.
Back at the party, the air crackled with tension. How could you forget the look on his face? Tension emanating from where he was sitting while you were giving your speech. The way his eyes travelled from your head, down to your toes, and back up again. Your heart raced like mad, cheeks flushing red, throat going dry. It was clearly more than just anger pervading in the room. The moment your eyes met, you knew he was the same person who could make you come undone.
You take another puff of smoke, laughing nervously, hastily wiping a tear off your cheek.
It’s true. You are afraid—afraid of the attraction that’s still there after all these years.
"So you picked up the habit, huh, princess?"
Your breath catches at the sound of a deep voice, too absorbed in your own dilemma that you had missed the footfalls. You turn around and there he was—Brian Kang—larger than life. A hand in his pocket, an unlit cigarette in the other. His face was inscrutable, silhouetted by the bright light from inside.
"What is it to you?” Your hand falls to your side.
It was only a matter of time.
He picks up your wrist and raises your cigarette to his lips, using it to light his own.
You stay rooted in your spot, watching him take a long drag before exhaling in the distance, stuck between wanting to listen to what he has to say for himself and running away.
You should have run away.
“So your parents succeeded with you, didn’t they?” Brian finally speaks, letting go of your hand.
“What?” you reply in a murmur, the first prickle of annoyance creeping in your skin.
“I mean, look at you!” He makes a sweeping gesture. “A philanthropist just like your mother. And I’m sure you’re still actively campaigning for your father, after all he needs that extra boost in his ratings after that whole fiasco with his secretary.”
Your annoyance burned into anger. It’s been years! Ten full years, not a single one he’d spent with you, and yet he’s confidently making conclusions about your life—that you’re still nothing but a puppet. As if he hadn't known of your struggles. How difficult it had been living in your parents’ shadows. How difficult it was living like a shadow. Has he forgotten everything?
“Tell me, princess, have you been having fun with your latest charity case? Your parents must finally be so proud of you."
His words rang in your ears. You stub your cigarette and balled your fists, hand itching to slap that smirk off his face to make him feel even a fraction of the pain you’d felt—of the pain he, himself, had caused.
You take in a deep breath, holding back from launching into a diatribe, realizing that it wouldn’t do you any good. You didn’t want to open old wounds, refused to relive a nightmare of memories. Even worse, suffer through another mental ordeal.
"I better go," you say instead, defeated but knowing it’s the right thing to do.
You take a sidestep towards the door, but he’s quick to grab your wrist.
"I see you're still that spoiled rich girl who only does what she pleases."
You gasp, inexplicably offended by his remark. Of all people who's ever dared to judge you, why did his words have to hurt the most?
Tears begin to well in your eyes, unable to contain your emotions any longer. "Do you have any idea what I had to go through this last decade to become the person I am today?" you muster with as much composure as you can. "No. You don’t! I'm not the same Y/N you used to know. I’m not that princess anymore!”
You pull your hand from his grasp, wincing from his strong grip. Taking long strides, you walk into the hotel towards the elevator, having had enough of tonight's affair, intending to go to your room to calm yourself down, but before the door closes a hand appears, stopping it.
Brian enters the lift, his figure looming over you. “You can’t avoid me forever.”
"What do you want with me?! Isn't it enough that you've ruined my life before?!"
"Your life?!” He breaks out in a disbelieving laugh. “It was mine, Y/N! It was my life you and your parents played with!"
"No Brian! My intentions were pure, but you were too busy nursing your own pride to know that it was only your best interest I had in mind!"
"You're a manipulative bitch—"
You slap him across the face, not waiting for him to insult you any further. "And you! You're a heartless monster! You killed my baby!"
The both of you fall silent, a look of shock on your faces, heaving breaths filling the silence of the elevator car. Not so much as from the slap, but because of what had slipped your tongue.
The elevator doors slide open and you quickly step out, only to realize that you were on the wrong floor. Too late, the doors had already closed and Brian had alighted as well. Still reeling from the slap, he grabs your wrist and starts dragging you to the end of the hallway.
"Let go of me! I'm not coming with you!" You try to break free, but his iron grip prevents you this time.
"We need to talk. Don't make a scene out here," he murmurs, tapping a key card on the lock of his hotel room.
He pins you against the door as soon it closes, both hands heavy on your shoulders.
"So it's true then, you really were pregnant?"
You shake your head fiercely.
“Don’t even think about lying to me.”
“I— I—” You shut your eyes, not wanting to recall the past. “I was, but the baby... M-My baby—" Tears streamed down your face, knees weakening, relying on Brian's strength to stay on your feet.
"What are you crying for?!" He forces your chin upwards to look him in the eyes. "It was ours! You had our baby aborted, stop acting like you're the only victim here! I never forced myself on you—"
"A-Aborted?! Brian, I would never! It was a miscarriage! That night— "
"Stop lying! You’re not going to make a fool of me again.”
He starts to pull at the sleeve of your long sleeved gown, exposing the right side of your shoulder. He suddenly stops, and turns you about, looking behind you, as if searching for something.
“What are you doing?!” Your heart hammers in your chest, asking him a question you knew full well the answer to.
“Where is it?”
"W-What are you talking about?!" You push him away as he grabs your other sleeve, but you're no match for him. He effortlessly pulls it off, your backless gown offering barely any resistance, falling off your shoulders and revealing your naked breasts.
“I'm going to sue you for harassment!” You struggle to put your dress back on, desperate for some semblance of dignity, but he grabs your arms, gripping you firmly.
“What have you done?! Answer me! Where’s your tattoo?!”
It was a memento from a long time ago. A pact you made with Brian, sealed with a promise so sweet. It was a piece of you he knew he would always have; something the both of you would always share. It was beautiful and intricate, one you considered to be a symbol of your emancipation. But then, that fateful day happened and gradually it turned into a stigma. A constant reminder of a horrible nightmare, of sleepless days and nights that nearly drove you over the edge.
You only did what you had to do.
“Don’t play with me, Y/N!” He shoves you against the door, proving his point.
You bite your lips and shake your head, refusing to talk, not wanting the wall that took years to build to come crumbling down in an instant.
Determined for some kind of explanation, Brian grabs your dress and tugs it down, the sheer dress slipping down your body and onto the marble tiles, leaving you stark naked save your black underwear.
“Please, I don’t know what it is you want from me!”
“You still have this!” he says in an accusing tone, pressing on a butterfly tattoo on your hip. The heat and pressure of his hand, causing heat to pool in your abdomen, making you hot all over, goosebumps now visible on your skin. But still you refused to give him any answers.
“God damn you, Y/N! I’m going to make you talk if I have to.”
He swoops down on your lips for a hungry kiss, bringing your naked body closer to his. You wince as his grip on you tightens, a silent cry escaping your lips. Sensing the opportunity, he plunges his tongue into your mouth. All over again, you feel the explosion of some primal kind of hunger coming to life; that lip-burning, knee-weakening, stormy passion that only Brian could ignite. It was a kiss that ended all kisses. His lips were warm, full and intoxicating. His tongue in the crevices of your mouth, feeling so achingly intimate. His scent was all around you, creating a heady feeling that catapulted you into the past, of long-ago days when you thought he was the world and you were nothing but madly in love.
But the pain and the hurt followed soon enough, the intensity of it all bringing you back to the present. You return to pushing him away, mumbling for him to stop, but it only fuels him on. He pulls on your hair, exposing your neck, leaving searing hot kisses on your throat, biting your neck on purpose, making you whimper.
“Despite your scheming ways, you’re still as delicate. I want to see if you’re just as sweet and addicting as you once were,” he murmurs.
“N-No. Brian, please, stop...”
“What’s the matter, princess? There’s no point in denying it now. I can feel your body humming for me. Don’t resist it.”
You struggle valiantly, putting up a fight against his advances, but it’s a losing battle. It's all flooding back, the close proximity feeling so familiar even after all this time. Your body remembers him, remembers the intimacy you once shared. You were reattuning to him, and there’s nothing you could do to prevent it.
With one last attempt, you use all the strength left in you to push him away.
"Please..." you plead, with tears in your eyes. “Please, don’t let me go through this again!” You slide down to the floor, hugging yourself, the dam of emotions broken, tears streaming unchecked.
Feeling your growing anguish, Brian crouches down in front of you, observing you intently. You look up at him, into the eyes of the man you once loved. You’re easily transported back in time, to when you were 18—naive, vulnerable, and so much in love. He must have seen something in your eyes, because with a sorrowful grunt he gathers you into his arms and hugs you tight, lifting you up and carrying you to the bed.
“I don’t know what the truth is anymore, Y/N, but I want to believe you. You need to let me understand what happened.”
“I’m not ready, Brian. Not now...”
“Wasn’t ten years enough?”
The look in his eyes changed.
The way you were lying infront of him, naked on the bed. How you pleaded...
Brian crashes his lips onto yours, catching you off guard and rendering you speechless. The kiss, which started out soft and languid, soon became insistent, the urgency of his lips and tongue invading your senses. Hand on your jaws, he slowly lies down on the center of the bed, joining you. Facing each other, he deepens the kiss, his mouth open, wet and steamy; while his hand explores your body, skimming your arms, the side of your breast, down to your waist. He stops at your hip, pulling you closer to him, making you well aware of his erection straining beneath his pants. He gathers you close, his hand snaking around you, bodies pressed together. He licks your lips, his tongue sweet and warm, demanding entrance. You open your mouth, granting it. He licks his way in, tasting you, invading your mouth. At that instant, he pushes you flat on the bed, and moves on top of you, his fully clothed body covering yours. He sucks out your tongue, lapping on it as if it were a lifeline, guttural noises coming from him.
Aroused, you can’t help but become pliant, arms finding anchor on his shoulders, a hand creeping up on his nape to pull him closer. You spread your legs wide open up to accommodate him, let his bulging erection rub against your sensitive flesh—when he had taken off your underwear, you can’t even remember—incoherent noises beginning to gurgle up your throat, but then he pulls away. You whine, wanting to chase after him, already missing his touch, the heat from his body.
He stands in front of you, his long overcoat already discarded on the floor, he grabs the hem of his turtleneck shirt next and lifts it over his head. You held your breath. The years have only sculpted his body to perfection. His abs rippled, his chest and arms have bulked up, but he was still flawlessly proportioned and beautiful. Your fingertips tingled, itching to touch him, feel his undressed muscles beneath your fingertips. Touch every single tattoo on his body—every tattoo from your memory. You clench your fists tight.
Before you know it, he’s already crawling back to you, but instead of lavishing you with kisses, he blows hot air on your navel, before licking it, his warm tongue causing you to arch and pull at his hair, your entire being beginning to pulsate.
As he dips his tongue on your navel once more, his hands creep up to cover your breasts. You jerk at the contact, your nipples puckering into hard buds. His tongue begins the journey upwards, lapping your abdomen, higher, up to the valley between your breasts, all the while plucking your nipples. You gasp and whimper, the pleasure and pain sending you into a feverish frenzy.
“Please Brian…” you sob, emotions in turmoil, not entirely sure what it is that you’re feeling. You want him, but are scared of him. Fearful of the consequences in the coming days. But right now the need for release was too intense, the craving so strong, you know there’s no one else but him who can give it to you.
You thrash about, lusting for his touch, but he’s prolonging the agony, licking his way slowly up your neck.
“No.” You push his head back down to your breasts. He grunts, burrowing his face in the hollow of your breasts before pushing it together and sucking on both your nipples at the same time. You howl, flesh shivering and overheating. Brian continues to nuzzle both your nipples and flesh, lapping at it, then biting. You throw back your head, eyes rolling with it, abdomen coiling, the pleasurable sensations slowly building a raging orgasm within you.
“Please Brian! Please! I— I can’t take it anymore!” you chant over and over as he refuses to stop his ministrations. You pull at his hair to get his attention and you succeed as he growls in pain and looks at you with stormy passion in his eyes.
“Tell me princess, what is it that you desire and I will grant it to you,” he asks behind half-lidded eyes, ready to devour you. His turgid erection pressing on your already slick cunt.
“I-I want you Bri…” There was hell to pay for your decision, but you utter each word with reckless abandon, throwing caution to the wind, because there’s a part of you that will always love him—even if he doesn’t. A part of you will always remember, always crave, always need him.
As he hears those words from you, a triumphant moan escapes his lips. He assaults your lips as he simultaneously nudges your legs apart, his large dick teasing your swollen folds.
“Open for me princess. Open up for me, like you used to and I will make you hum…” he whispers against your mouth. The sound of his voice like melody lulling you into desire—hot, white, and utterly potent—coursing through your sweaty bodies, joined from hips to breasts to mouths, slippery and wildly erotic. You moan, yearning for him, arching like a bow, and as soon as you open your mouth, Brian plunges his tongue and ever so delectably pushes his turgid dick into your very wet folds.
"Oh baby, you're still so tight. So warm. Fuck. It’s been so long…”
You’re lost the moment he starts pushing both his tongue and dick inside of you, concentrating on the building tension in your abdomen. Fully sheathed, he moans, long and hard, and then he begins moving. He captures both of your hands in his, lacing it together and squeezing tight, as he pounds into you with so much force. You welcome him into you, hooking your legs behind his back so that every thrust of his dick hits your walls, every plunge inside of you taking you to a whole new level of ecstasy.
"Please don’t stop… Please Brian, pleaseeee..." you repeat breathlessly, eyes stinging with tears.
He ups the ante by pushing and pulling. Faster. Harder. Kissing and nipping your neck. Your small hands crushed beneath his huge palms.
He showed no signs of letting up, the coil in your stomach continuing to build, threatening to explode with his every movement. With one strong thrust, he hits yet again that bundle of nerves inside of you. Your legs quiver, head thrown back, mouth agape in a strangled cry.
Your vision turns black for a few seconds, panting and shaking, rocked by the incongruity of your actions. You come to with Brian kissing your forehead and pulling out of you. He lies down beside you and spoons you, gathering your hair to the side, so he can bury his face in your neck. His hands possessively snake under your breasts, as his lips travel to your ears, licking the vortex. That’s when you feel his dick coming back to life. Its rigidity and the pulsating warmth creating an instantaneous reaction to your body, the stirrings of another arousal. And even if you don’t want to, couldn’t possibly do it again, your body betrays you.
"I want you again, princess," Brian whispers in your ear. A shiver tingling in your spine as you inevitably push your ass closer to his warm and throbbing dick, gasping in anticipation.
He skims his other hand down the length of your body, stopping at your hips, squeezing.
"Do you know how exquisite you are, Y/N?" He laps at your shoulder blades.
"Nnngghhhhhh..." you moan incoherently, shaking your head.
Brian chuckles softly, caressing your ass before parting your cheeks and pushing all the way in, your still slick and sloppy pussy letting him slip in with ease. You moan as his entire length fills you up again, up to the brim, that once he buries it to the hilt, you cry out in ecstasy for the second time tonight.
He thrusts a few times, before reaching between your legs to fondle your clit, massaging it round and round, making you moan and sob alternately from the pleasurable sensations.
You push yourself closer to give him deeper access, but he had other plans in mind.
He slowly pulls you on top of him, and from there, he thrusts into you from behind—no way but up. The act sensual and graceful at the very least. He anchors his lips onto your shoulder; one hand on your breast, while the other nestled on your clit, both of them kneading. You cried out his name like a prayer, begging, pleading, while you scrambled for anything to hold on to, reaching for the sheets, but unable to find purchase on it. You grapple onto thin air, being brought to new heights. Lying on top of him made you feel so vulnerable, but the appeal even more erotic.The act so primitive yet intoxicating, scintillating your oversensitized senses.
You place a hand over your mouth, trying to muffle your moans and grunts, embarrassed at how wanton Brian could turn you, but he removes it.
His lips to your ear, he whispers, “Sing for me, princess. I want to hear your sounds of pure bliss and ecstasy.”
He increases the speed at which he rams into you. Each thrust, he grunts, matching your cries, pushing your hip downwards with his free hand so you would feel the full impact of his dick against your walls.
"B-Brian, I can’t..." Your muscles begin to contract.
"You can’t what, princess?”
“I—” You shake your head fiercely, grabbing his wrist—to stop him or urge him on, you don't know anymore.
“Don’t fight it, baby. Give in...” His fingers move with more urgency on your clit, suddenly pinching, that you cry out, involuntarily arching your back, wanting to break free from him, your body searing hot and beginning to tremble.
He doesn’t let go of you, his fingers stroking faster. Bucking his hips, he thrusts higher and higher, his dick a pulsing heat, warm and engorged, pushing into you more sporadically. Until it hits that one spot that makes you convulse, turning you into a screaming and shivering mess.
A few more thrusts and Brian also comes, moaning, shuddering beneath you, hugging your body tight.
When the tides of orgasm have passed, he slowly lays you back down, holding you under your breasts, too tired to say anything, but making sure that every inch of your sweat soaked body was joined to his. He squeezes you ever so lightly.
"Brian..." You touched his hand intending to push him away, to get up and leave, but he unexpectedly intertwines his fingers with yours, bringing your hand to his lips.
"Bri..." A tear escapes your eye.
It's been a long day—a very, very long day—too many scars opened, too many emotions spent, and right now you don't even know what it is that you're feeling anymore.
It could have been only from the exhaustion, but for those few minutes you allowed yourself to be held by Brian the way he was holding you.
Chapter 2: Overheard Conversations
Ten years, Brian thought to himself. Ten fucking years, and he's still as attracted to Y/N as ever. Apparently, those years of being away from her weren't enough for him to move on. Funny, because he thought he had convinced himself, back when he booked that one-way flight home, that he had already forgotten about her.
Sense? Reason? There was no such thing the moment he laid eyes on her again. He was definitely crazy for thinking that she meant nothing to him anymore.
This was a mistake. All of it. Because now he knows he wants her even more.
The years have only gifted Y/N generously. She was still that regal young woman he once knew, but now it came with an air of confidence, of someone who knows it and wields it to their advantage. But what made her even more attractive was that after all these years, she retained that fresh and innocent aura. She was an enchantress, Brian concluded—beautiful, sophisticated, and yet, scheming.
He met her on two other occasions and every time he watched as she turned heads. Left and right. Men stared, gawked even, while women gaped at her with envy. He watched as she mixed with her peers—laughing, chatting, socializing from one table to another, but never, never going near him.
He was ready to be civil, let bygones be bygones, but she outright avoids him.
He held his breath as she walked up the stage. She was captivating, ethereal in a flowing black gown—fully clothed at the front, the shimmering cloth hugged her body in all the right places, but there was barely any to cover her back, it was almost scandalous, but he liked it, liked how it was seducing him, the stirrings of a hard-on beginning to manifest in his pants.
The image of her transported him back in time, to memories of the both of them together: in the tattoo room, in his bedroom, in her bedroom, inside a rented car, of her writhing body beneath his, of her body moving on top of his—her face had been an equal mask of pleasure, of ecstasy, of tenderness... of love.
Mortified that she still had the same impact on him even after a decade, he admonished himself and hardened his heart, looking at her with anger in his eyes, trying to dissipate his traitorous body, but the hunger simply could not be hidden.
And then he saw her go out to the balcony, the perfect opportunity to have a decent conversation in private, but things had spiralled out of hand...
Now he was in bed, beside Y/N, pretending to be asleep.
Brian became aware of his arm being lifted, pried off around her waist. He sneaks a glance and catches a glimpse of her putting on his discarded turtleneck. It was large enough to cover her small frame, falling barely beneath her buttocks. He was wide awake now, but he doesn't dare move. He closes his eyes, waiting, listening.
"Hello Sungjin?" He hears her whisper. "It's me... Can you please pick me up right now? I'm at the hotel."
There's a pause.
"I do have a room, but I’ve decided that I want to go home. I left some important papers I need,” she replies curtly.
"Can you please hurry? I just want to go home. I'll wait for you in the lobby," she whispers one last time, taking a glance back at Brian, one he doesn't see.
The fuck is she doing sneaking around him like this, like some awkward teenager after a tryst?!
He could hear her softly padding around the room, probably collecting her scattered clothing, before he hears the door to the bathroom open. Not even a minute and she’s back outside, already in her heels, the sound of her footsteps different.
He can sense her approaching, a shadow casting over him. He wants to open his eyes, see her one last time, but he chooses to carry on with his act.
The doorknob turns.
Brian opens his eyes and swings his feet off the bed. The hell was that all about?! Younghyun?! He had told her a long time ago what that name meant to him.
He pours himself a glass of hard liquor, and walks over to the window overlooking the street below.
Why is it that every time she enters his life, he loses control? Years ago, he wasn't able to stop himself even if all the warning signs were there. Years later, nothing has changed. History was repeating itself.
Raking his hair, he glances down below only to find the reason of all his frustrations walking huddled to a parked car. There she was, Y/N, draped in a coat, a man beside her, his arm snaked around her.
After tumbling in the haystack with him, she immediately sought the company of another man?! He downs his drink, letting the burning liquid clean the acrid taste in his mouth. Was she being coy with him? Must it be that after all this time, she really was that bitch he remembers her to be? A niggling thought crosses his mind, but he ignores it, anger and jealousy creeping in.
"Well if this is how she wants to play it, then two can definitely play this game."
He wants her, there's no denying it anymore, but he's not falling for the same mistake twice. Mind made up, Brian pours himself another drink, smiling about his plans for the days to come.
Chapter 3: (Past) Jamie's Friend
Set in the past when Y/N meets Brian for the first time.
You look up the signage once more, checking for the third time whether you’d gotten the address right—INKD, the hand painted letters on the glass window reads.
"This has to be it…" you murmur, still with the same tone of uncertainty.
You peer inside the tattoo shop and find that it’s empty, no one at the front desk, no signs of any customers. Odd, the sign on the door clearly says OPEN, though? If this wasn’t the right shop then someone’s in deep trouble, and that someone is not going to be you, but your best friend, Jamie.
“She better be acing that exam right now...” You sigh, re-reading her message to you last night, apologizing that she wouldn’t be able to accompany you.
Between the two of you, she had been the one to be more enthusiastic about your getting a tattoo. If you’re super duper sure about it then you’ve got to let my friend do it for you! He’ll take care of you, I promise! That’s exactly what she’d said in her sing-song voice, her expressions so animated that you couldn’t help but giggle with excitement. Only now, you could barely even smile from the nerves.
“Jamie’s friend... I just have to look for a Jamie’s friend,” you repeat, drawing in a deep breath.
You walk into the shop, chimes tinkling as you pushed past the door and into an industrial looking lobby.
The ambiance was surprisingly relaxing: classical music filtering through the speakers, brewed coffee masking the scent of metal, ink and cigarette smoke.
What a curious choice for such a place?
But all doubts soon disappear the moment you catch a glimpse of the wall to your left. Filled with photos, there were dozens, about a hundred at the very least, of polaroids lined up on the wall—of freshly inked tattoos on every body part imaginable.
This has to be the right place.
Your palms turn clammy, heart seemingly impossible to still. The idea of getting inked just scares you so much. Not because of the inevitable pain—being repeatedly punctured by a needle is the very least of your concerns—you’re afraid because this is against the rules, because this was something you should have never considered in the first place. Then again, it's for these exact same reasons you want that tattoo all the more, the sweaty hands and rapid heartbeat also signs of exhilaration. The high of having something you’re not supposed to have. The thrill of keeping it hidden, but at the same time wanting it to be seen. Of the consequences when you’re caught.
And you’ll be doing it without them knowing—without your parents' permission.
For the past 18 years, you’ve been trying so hard to live up to their expectations.
At age 6, you had turned down invitations to play Barbie and Ken with kids your age, choosing to practice playing the piano instead, learn new pieces on your own volition. To impress your parents' audience. To watch them both receive the praises. Their smiles were more than enough to make you happy.
At age 13, you’ve never joined a pajama party, needing to study in advance chapter upon chapter of your textbooks, so your parents would be called to school, not for them to be reprimanded for your behavior, but to be shaken hands with by the principal and to be congratulated by their peers.
Everything you’ve been doing up until now has always been to please them, your duty as their only child, their perfect little daughter. It seems like your very existence was meant only for them. To further their ambitions. Your dad, in politics. Your mom, in her charity work, the next Princess Diana; the woman everyone envies.
You’ve never said no to their demands, not even once. No parties, stay at home, when they say so. Get changed, accompany your mother, on worse days. You, the trophy daughter, who was never given a choice in the first place. Always being dragged around, showcased, at your mother's many charitable activities.
Everybody around you has always been steering you in this direction or the other, yet nobody seemed interested, really interested in you—in what you think, in what you want nor need. Not even with how you feel.
It’s because I love them, you would often convince yourself, repeating it over and over again. Until you’re tired, until you don’t want to do it anymore, until you realize it’s the only way that anyone would ever really see you, and then you’d find yourself back at the beginning.
Eighteen years, you lived with it.
—and six months.
You woke up one day with the realization that this vicious cycle was never going to end. That this situation with your parents and the way they were treating you was never going to change.
How easy it had been for them to pull the plug on your plans, renege their consent just like that, on a vacation you and Jamie had been planning for weeks, booked everything and all. You’d done everything that was asked of you with a brighter mindset, eager, after being given their word, only to find yourself celebrating your senior high graduation at your father’s campaign rally, instead of being with your best friend, instead of being free and enjoying life.
I can't take it anymore.
I'm sick of this life.
“This music is making me sentimental.” You rub your eye, looking elsewhere, still wondering why no one’s around to entertain you. “Where’re the people around here?”
You wander, peering through a dim hallway. There’s a buzzing sound farther down the corridor.
“This place needs a receptionist,” you huff, deciding to follow the buzzing for the lack of anything better to do.
The sound becomes louder as you near the end of the hall, now mixed with the distinct sound of people talking: a man’s voice, speaking in a low murmur, followed by a woman’s rather deep throaty laugh.
You stop in front of a cubicle, a black curtain separating you from some semblance of humanity.
You hesitate. This feels like snooping, this definitely is snooping, but it’s either this or being ignored for god knows how long. Without much ado, you swipe the curtain aside, revealing a well lit space and its occupants: a half naked woman, lying on her stomach, a baffled look on her face as she stares up at you; and a man in a bandana, the tattoo gun in his hand suspended in midair.
“What the fuck,” he curses.
“I-I… I didn’t mean to-”
“What are you doing in here, kid?” He gets up from his seat, discarding his equipment on a nearby table.
Oh my god —
You hold your breath as he towers over you. Your eyes skim his black sleeveless shirt, low cut armholes revealing more than just the sleeve of tattoos on his left arm—the breadth of his chest and the tapering of his body. You swallow hard, quickly looking up before your eyes see something it shouldn’t. You spot another tattoo, right on his neck. Oh god, his neck… The Adam's apple bobs up and down.
It's suddenly harder to breathe.
You look up at him, becoming conscious. Has he been observing you too?
He had long black hair, locks swept up in a messy man bun, his bangs kept off his face by the bandana. His fox-like eyes were prominent, scary; pronounced brows drawn together.
“I-I’m here to get a tattoo,” you stutter, taking a step back and then another until you’re back out in the corridor. “There— There was no one at the—”
“Sorry, we don’t ink minors here,” the guy cuts you off, walking ahead of you, and out into the lobby. You pad along, regretting your decision to barge in, come here by yourself in the first place.
"Listen here," he says, raising his still gloved hand and pointing in some direction you have no idea where to because you were too distracted, too preoccupied, staring, taking in his face out here in the light.
His intimidating eyes were softened by long dark lashes. He had an aquiline nose, well-defined lips. His side profile, So sharp…
You stare at him wide-eyed as he goes on talking, not a word he was saying registering.
“Hey, I’m talking to you, kid!” He snaps his fingers in your face. It's enough to wake you up from your temporary trance, hearing his voice loud and clear.
“I’m not a kid!” You swat his hand away. "I'm old enough to get a tattoo, and I have the money to pay for it!" You raise your chin in defiance of his judgment.
"Prove it." He scans your body from head to toe, unnerving you with his sharp gaze. Blood rushes up to your face, skin warm and starting to prickle. His hair was in disarray, his bandana now loose on his neck. If looks could kill, you'd be dead cold by now.
"I… I'm here for Jamie's friend!" you raise your voice, avoiding his challenge (and piercing eyes). "Let me talk to him!"
"Ah…” His demeanor changes, face lighting up. “So you're that hot chick Jamie said was going to drop by."
"H-Hot, what?! I think you've got the wrong species here. I'm— I'm not hot and I’m definitely not some chicken’s offspring..."
"Very funny, kiddo!"
"Hey, Brian!" The woman who was getting tattooed emerges from the hallway, her shirt back on, much to your relief. "Don't scare her more than you already have."
"You know me, babe, I'd never do such a thing." Brian catches the woman's waist and plasters her to his side.
"Mhm…" She pulls down on Brian's neck for a— uh, rather passionate kiss.
Your face is aflame. Are they seriously doing this infront of you?! You want to look away, just leave already, but despite finding the situation extremely uncomfortable, you can't help but watch them. Be curious... Does this Brian guy's lips really taste as sweet as it looks?
Brian’s tongue suddenly darts out and enters the woman’s mouth, making her moan.
You clear your throat for emphasis that they're now eating each other in your presence. Never mind the fact that you have to snap yourself out of such indecent thoughts.
Tattoo lady finally releases Brian's lips, the sly fox trying to chase her, but she pushes him away. Thank god.
"Gotta go Bri, we'll finish this up later, yeah?" She laughs seductively as she saunters through the door, smiling at you on her way out.
You peer at Brian, his lips red from the kiss, his eyes smokey as if a storm had just passed, a small sheen of sweat on his forehead.
"So, Brian, are you Jamie's friend, or not?!” you raise your voice to call his attention. “Are going to get me tattooed like she said you would, or are you just going to stand there fantasizing about your girlfriend?"
"She's not my girlfriend. And nope, still no tattoo for you, kid!"
"Stop. Calling. Me. Kid!" You try to reign in your temper, but you can't help balling your fists and tsk-ing him out of frustration.
"Yeah right…" He chuckles, laughter slowly fading as he observes your anger wane. "Say, you're in no rush are you? How about we sit down and have some coffee, discuss that tattoo you want?"
"How about, no! You can't even make up your mind. Are you doing it or not?"
"I need to know why you want it, among other things…" He walks up to the door and flips the OPEN sign over. "Since my last customer has left for the day, how about—"
"You're already closed?!"
"The shop is, but not me. I'm open, for you."
A look of horror passes your face. Is this guy actually flirting with me?! After that thing with that woman?!
"Uh… Maybe I… I-I'll just drop by some other day then!"
"Why?" He frowns, actually looking disappointed. "Now's the perfect time. We can get to know each other." He walks towards you, backing you into a corner. "So..."
"So, no!" you blurt out, dodging his advance. "Good— Bye! Jamie's friend!" You shove the door open, chimes tinkling behind you as you walk as fast as your legs would carry you… far, far away from the tattoo shop.
CHAPTER EPILOGUE (BRIAN'S POV)
Brian doesn't know whether she's just being coy like most of the women he’s met, or if she's just plain naive and unaccustomed to flirting. What he does know is that he likes her—genuinely, likes her. The way her eyes grew wide when she barged in the cubicle, and then again when he was kissing Jade. There's something about her that's drawing him in, a refreshing and innocent air that's stirring his protective instincts.
He's just in time to see her get in the driver's seat of a grey sedan. The luxury car, making him whistle.
He tussles his hair.
This will never do.
His first instinct was right. This girl was chaos, smelled of it the minute she stepped into the room.
He takes another glance as the car speeds past the shop.
He clicks his tongue.
CHAPTER EPILOGUE (Y/N'S POV)
You plop down on the bed, thinking of that crazy encounter at the tattoo shop.
Jamie had missed to give you the important details. She didn't tell you her friend was hot! And it’s Brian, his name is Brian, and it fits him to a tee!
He’s unlike any guy you’ve ever met. None of the sons of your father's friends or your mother's many acquaintances could measure up to him. Brian may look like the tattoo artist that he is, but beyond that you could see a man, confident and sure of himself. A charmer, who emanates intensity and raw power.
Everything about him screamed bad boy—his hair, his tattoos, his demeanor. He’s exactly that guy your mother constantly warns you about. But there’s just something about him, something you can’t quite put a finger on, and it’s pulling you in, an attraction you’re finding very difficult to resist.
You close your eyes, recalling how he looked at you. You shiver at the thought, a stirring in the pit of your stomach, a small smile dancing on your lips.
You touch your lips wondering for the umpteenth time how it would feel like to be kissed by those supple lips? Would he do the same—slant his head, lift your chin, deepen the kiss? How would it feel if his huge hands slid down onto the small of your back, pulling your body flush to his? How warm would he feel? How soft would his touch be? And that light and easy banter with that woman, what would it feel like to be the object of his affection?
Oh god, what am I even doing?!
Just thinking about him is already making you feverish!
You cover your face with a pillow, squealing to your heart's content, legs flailing.
You like him! You like Brian! You'll probably be nothing more to him than this kid with a huge infatuation, but right now, who cares. I like him!
You blush to your hairs' roots thinking about your future encounters. You're definitely going back to see him, he needs to be the one to ink your first tattoo. You'll make sure you won’t be going alone this time, it's just too impossible not be unnerved by him, Jamie has to be there!
You were about to give her a call when you hear three successive raps on your door.
"Y/N, for god's sake!" Your mother enters your room to find you and your bed in total disarray. "Get ready, we're leaving at 7!"
"Yes mom!" you answer cheerfully, unexpectedly so, as she leaves.
Finally, something to look forward to in this mundane world you’re imprisoned in.
Chapter 4: (Past) Electric Feel
A scuffling of the shoes, the squeaking of the couch—any sound coming from Jamie's direction would make you flinch, head whipping her way. You've barely even started a conversation with Brian and yet here you are already worrying about another thing.
"Where are you going?" You grab her hand when she stands.
"I'll go get us some pizza. The two of you better start discussing that tattoo, we don't have all day."
"Yes, you do," Brian interrupts, "It's a Sunday."
"No, we don't. Y/N here has a party to attend this evening, and I'm to make sure she goes home before 5."
"Cinderella..." You heard Brian mutter under his breath, but before you could even think of defending yourself, Jamie was already picking up her wallet and preparing to leave.
Panic kicking in, you shoot up from your seat and cling onto your best friend’s arm. “You can’t be serious!” you whisper urgently.
She can’t leave you alone. You've talked about this! That's why she's here in the first place, to diffuse the tension. Not buy pizza!
“What’s wrong with you, silly?”
"I— I mean… Y-You shouldn’t go alone! Let me come with you. We can use my car!" you babble on, desperate not to be left behind.
"Let go." She chuckles, peeling you from her. "The restaurant's just around the corner, dumdum! I'll be quick."
You stare at her, wide eyed and pursed lips. You could cry right then and there—you'd get down on your knees if you have to—but she’s simply refusing to be swayed.
"You'll be alright," she assures you, patting your cheek.
"And you!" She turns to Brian. "You better behave yourself!"
"Wait, what did I do?!" He raises both hands, as if washing them clean.
"Don't act all innocent on me! Y/N told me what happened. Don't go around scaring her!"
“You didn’t have to tell him that…” you mumble, following Jamie on her way out. “I’m coming along, ok—
—Jamie!” Your best friend had shut the door in your face.
From the outside, she mouths a ‘you’ll be okay’ before blowing you a kiss.
And just like that, it's just you, Brian, and the empty tattoo shop.
"Did I scare you the other day, princess?" Brian asks over your quickening heartbeat. While you were so tensed, unsure whether to sit or stand, he was casually leaned over on the counter, head tilted and observing you.
You feel yourself go warm, unnerved by the close scrutiny; him calling you princess.
Jamie said she'll be back... She'll be quick. You psych yourself to calm down, trying to meet his gaze while holding down that weird sound bubbling in your throat.
"N-No…" you choked out a reply, shaking your head.
"You don't sound too sure."
You immediately notice the dimple on his cheek. He suddenly seems like a different person—less intimidating, warmer, he looks kinder even. You realize that despite his sharp features, Brian looks soft when he smiles. Soft and cute. Kind of...
"Had your fill?" Brian bops you under the chin.
You jump back in surprise, his laughter bouncing off the walls.
You're probably red as a beet, face feeling hot. This turning red thing is dangerously becoming a norm with him around.
For all your years of living under public scrutiny, you've learned to school your expressions and control your emotions, but every time you're with Brian you can't seem to keep it together, always showing off more than what’s required of you. Exactly what is it with him that makes you lose your composure? Is it his glare, his smile, those lips? Maybe it's his entire presence...
You hastily move to the wall of photos, away from him, wiping sweaty palms on your skirt. You begin to browse through the rows of photographed tattoos hoping it would be enough as a distraction until your best friend returns.
"What design do you have in mind?"
Your heart leaps in your chest. Brian had whispered in your ear. He was right behind you all along and you hadn't even noticed, too preoccupied thinking about your would-be tattoo—and of him.
"I… Uh… I'm thinking of something big. Something that's really visible."
Now that you're aware of how near he was, you could feel the warmth coming off his body, and despite not intending to, you could smell him—crisp, citrusy. He smells like summertime...
You pretend to be unaffected by the butterflies in your stomach, focusing instead on a beautiful nordic tattoo that you spot up above you. Hoping to catch on to the details of the design, you tip on your toes to try and get to it; arms stretching, fingers reaching. In your persistence, you almost double forward, but Brian catches you, steadying you with a hand on your waist.
You draw in a sharp breath.
Before you know what's happening, he's also reaching up for the photo, his chest brushing against your back, electricity coursing through your body, a whimper leaving your lips as you exhale.
"Fuck." You hear Brian breathe before moving away, breaking the contact.
Did he feel it too?!
"Are you okay?" you ask, hesitantly touching his flushed cheek, noticing the pained expression on his face. Eyes heavily veiled, there was an unfamiliar glint in them.
He grunts in reply, but something doesn't seem right. You decide not to persist, afraid that you might anger him. He's clearly avoiding the situation anyway, already handing you the photo and pointing to the couch. You take your seat and he follows suit, sitting beside you, very near you, but never touching.
He's so warm… Or perhaps it’s you? It crosses your mind how your body had reacted to him, becoming aware of your anatomy, of parts you never knew existed—parts that had come to life.
You clench your jaw to clamp down on the sensations, staring at the forgotten picture in your hand, looking at it without seeing; Brian droning on and on about tattoos.
"Want to show me the design you're thinking of?" He nudges you.
"Huh? Oh! Yes, yes of course…" You take your phone and show him a photo. "I'd like something like this on my shoulder down to here…" you gesture to your chest with your finger, his eyes following.
"Don't you want to start with something small?" He reaches under the coffee table and pulls out a binder, one full of photos as well.
He sifts through the pages and stops when he comes across a photo of a butterfly, a dainty one, barely the size of your thumb.
You peer at it. It's not visible though? I want to make a statement, you think to yourself, but before you could speak your mind, Brian begins to talk, his deep baritone voice flowing like music through your ears. He's going on about this and that, pointing at other pictures, until you were becoming comfortable with the sound of his voice, with his proximity. His thigh occasionally brushing yours; toned arms so warm, alive, humming with energy.
That's the scene Jamie returns to: you and Brian huddled over the binder with your heads close together; him speaking in low murmurs, you smiling.
"Well, well, well…" your friend's voice startles you, making you aware of how close you were to Brian that you quickly move aside.
"What took you so long? I'm starving!" Brian gets up from his seat and takes the box of pizza, unnerved, unbothered—unlike you.
You sit there observing how casual their conversation was, how relaxed the both of them were. They look your way and you manage a small smile. You’re beginning to question whether you'd be able to fit in in their circle. Maybe you're not cut out for him. Maybe it's too much to ask him to like you for who you are.
"Y/N," Brian interrupts your thoughts, holding out a hand. "Come, let's eat…"
Then again, maybe you just have to let him.
You take his hand and he pulls you up, bringing you to the counter where the pizza was waiting. Mouth watering, you bite right into the pizza Brian had given you, eyes closing as you savoured the warm cheese and juicy toppings slipping into your mouth as the crust broke apart.
What?! You meet Brian's eyes, gaping at you.
You quickly touch the corner of your lips. "Do I have something on my face?" You cover your mouth with a hand.
Oddly, Brian just slowly shakes his head.
"Jamie?" You turn to her, but she shakes her head as well.
You shrug it off. Your insecurity at whatever it was couldn't be bothered anyway. You went ahead and ate your fill, slice after slice, while Jamie had barely even finished hers.
"Are you always this hungry?" Brian asks as you take a napkin to wipe your mouth.
"Um… No? I normally eat like this... Why, what's wrong?"
"Nothing. It’s just that you're unlike most girls I’ve met," he quips, smiling at you, seemingly amazed.
"Well, I, for one, am not like most girls ." You grin smugly. "Wait— Is that supposed to be an insult or…"
"Of course it's a compliment! I've never seen anyone eat like you, princess."
You color profusely, flattered and embarrassed at the same time. Your mother would have scolded you for eating too much pizza, but here’s this guy complimenting you about it.
"I apologize for interrupting your flirting session, but Y/N and I have to get going." Jamie interrupts, shoving her half-eaten pizza in Brian’s hand. "I'll wait for you outside, Y/N. I have to make a call."
"R-Right! Yes!" You dust the crumbs off your hands and gather your things.
"Wait…" Brian grabs your wrist before you could turn to leave. Taking your hand, he shoves a piece of paper in it. "Hit me up when you want to talk about that tattoo, yeah?"
All you can do is nod in reply. Smiling to yourself as you walk out the door, you silently recite the digits written on Brian's note.
Chapter 5: (Past) Burnt Tongue and Kisses
Text in bold are messages between Y/N and Brian.
Hi Brian! It’s me, Y/N. Jamie’s friend.
It doesn’t take long before three dots appear on your screen.
Hey princess! It's been a while. I was starting to think you'd thrown that piece of paper I gave you.
Oh, no, I haven’t! I've been wanting to message you since last week, actually. Take you up on that offer, if it still stands... You quickly erase your message and go for a simpler one.
Are you busy?
As soon as your message appears, a reply from Brian pops up.
Are you busy? He asks the same.
"Oh my god?!" You giggle in excitement.
No, not really. You?
I've always got time for you. A winking emoji ends the sentence.
You bite down on your lip as your fingers flit on the keyboard.
I'm flattered Brian. Ha! Ha! But you've used that line before...
I'm serious! Why don't you come over to the shop? I want to show you something.
"Show me something?"
What is it?
Where’s the fun in spoiling the surprise? Come on, princess, you’ll love this!
Your heartbeat races.
Brian... Something came up... You begin to type. And—
And did you or did you not want to talk to him?
Backspace. Type. Send.
No tricks, okay?!
He replies with a naughty emoji.
You reply with a frown, followed by an angry emoji. I'm going to bring backup!
It takes a while for those three dots to appear again.
Y/N... You don’t need to bring Jamie. You’re old enough to do things on your own, you know that right?
“I’m here! What’s the surprise?” You say by way of greeting Brian, peeking inside his cubicle.
He stops what he’s doing and turns to you. “Princess!” He smiles, that kind that crinkled his eyes and showed off his dimple. “You look hot— I mean great!”
Brian wasn’t wearing his bandana like he used to, hair tied in a ponytail. He wore a sleeved shirt this time, but it’s white and just as distracting, clinging to his body.
And you don’t look too bad yourself... You want to return the flattery, but decide for the better to keep it to yourself.
“For that, cheeky sir, you get a complimentary iced americano, while it’ll be a hot latte for me,” you carry on the conversation as casually as you can, handing him his drink.
He thanks you and then takes a sip, his tongue slipping out as he withdraws the straw.
Oh?! You swallowed a lump in your throat. That’s not so polite Brian!
“See, you’re holding out alright!”
“Right?! Why wouldn’t I?” You prolong your laughter, trying to make it sound as natural as you possibly could. God you sound so nervous.
“Why don’t you sit over there?” Brian nods to the tattoo table.
“M-Me?” Your heart begins to pound. Is he serious?! Wait— Am I ready?!
“There’s no one else in here, is there?” He chuckles.
“Are you really going to tattoo me? Right now?! I—”
Brian places both hands on your shoulders and turns you about, pushing you towards the table where you take a seat like he'd told you to.
“What do you think?” He slowly unfolds a piece of paper infront of you.
It's a sketch of a butterfly—tiny, yet alluring, both its wings spread out. On each one you can make out a letter.
“This... This is for me?” You trace your initials with a finger, looking back and forth between the drawing and Brian. You feel a sudden thrill. This is soon going to be a part of you!
“I like it Brian. Thank you," you earnestly say, looking into his eyes hoping that he would feel the sincerity of your words.
He replies with a small nod and a smile, seemingly caught in the same spell as you.
You look away, suddenly embarrassed, holding onto your cup of coffee for comfort.
“You know what, you never told me why you wanted a tattoo…"
“Haven’t I? I— I think I have.” You look anywhere else but at him, not wanting him to see through your lie; not wanting him to know why you so badly want something permanent drawn on your skin. You've always been careful not to bring up your background, how people have been treating you; wanting to be treated like a normal adult for once.
Your throat suddenly feels dry. You bring the cup of coffee to your lips.
“By any chance, you’re not doing this to spite your parents, are you? Are you rebelling?”
You sputter, quickly pushing the cup away before it could spill and stain your blouse. Eyes watery, your tongue was sore, burnt by the hot liquid.
“Are you okay?"
You nod, hand covering your mouth.
"I think I may have hit a nerve with my question."
You shake your head vigorously.
"Here, let me see.” Brian pries your hand, and pulls your chin towards him.
You hold your breath, his face was now only inches from yours. He places a thumb on your lower lip and pulls it down ever so slightly, parting your lips, taking a better look at your tongue.
“It is a bit red, but don’t worry, it’ll go away.”
“It hurts…” you say in a small voice, not really intending for him to hear, but he still does, standing so close to you.
What happens next comes as a shock. Brian opens your mouth wider and catches your tongue in his lips. All you manage is a gasp as your entire body freezes. His lips were moving, almost as if they were sucking. A spark courses throughout your body, making you all warm and fuzzy, stopping at the pit of your stomach, coiling, tightening, turning you into a liquid pool of mess. You involuntarily grasp his arms, firm and strong.
"Brian," you shamelessly moan when he pulls away.
You’re confused. Brian doesn’t follow through with his actions, instead he turns his back on you, fingers through his hair, but not fast enough for you to miss the disgruntled look on his face.
“Did I do something wrong—”
“Think about it,” he cuts you off curtly as he steps out the cubicle.
“I know what I want!” you shout back, the drawing in your hand clutched tight, the feeling of his lips still lingering on yours.
Chapter 6: What's Happening?
You remove your sunglasses as you alight your car, taking a better look at a parked Aston Martin. Top down and as sleek as they come, it’s definitely very expensive, one too flashy for your husband’s taste. A small frown creases your forehead. Why would Sungjin invite you over when he’s entertaining guests?
It couldn't be his car, could it? Your gut churns at the thought.
The paranoia was becoming too much. All the way to Sungjin’s house, a feeling of apprehension loomed, not because it’s been a while since you’ve been back to your conjugal home, but because of something that had happened several days back.
No anonymous calls. No knocks on your door. It was a relief that there had been no confrontations—but was it really? Just a week of silence and you were already barely holding on to your sanity.
It’s been days since you left Brian sleeping alone in his hotel room. You bid your farewell, the very least you could do given the circumstances, but knowing the way he always sleeps so soundly he couldn’t have possibly heard you.
Leaving him that way, without a single explanation, has been gnawing at your conscience since. Many times you were tempted to pick up the phone to give him a call—finding out his number wouldn't have been a problem given your connections—reciting lines you had rehearsed repeatedly in your head.
I'm sorry I left just like that after having one of the most soul-destroying lovemaking I’ve had for a good decade. I’m so sorry it felt so right, even if we both knew how wrong it was. I know I owed you an explanation, but instead I chose the easier way out... Will you forgive me, Brian?
What could you have said that would’ve made it all better?
And then what next?
Were you really delirious enough to think that Brian would go down on his knees and beg for your love? Would he have accepted your apology in the first place? You don’t even know if he’s been thinking about that night—about you—anymore. The fact that he hasn’t bothered to talk to you again might mean that he's already moved on. God, if you think about it, maybe you were just an added conquest for him! Another one of the many women gullible enough to give in, not once, not even twice, but several times!
“You’re not 18 anymore, Y/N! Wake up!“ You slap your cheek to keep yourself in check as made your way inside the house; never mind the awful feeling that has settled at the pit of your stomach.
Standing outside Sungjin’s home office, you fix your dress and tuck your hair behind your ears. You put on a smile, ready to greet him and his guests, but the moment you push the door open, blood drains from your face. It’s as if someone poured a bucket of cold water over your head. You spoke too soon. Met by a familiar piercing gaze over a glass rim, the devil himself was right in front of you.
You knew it! You knew Brian was going to do something, but not this. Just not this! Although you and Sungjin have been living separately for a few years now, you can't possibly betray him like this.
Sorely tempted to flee the unfolding scene, you school your expression and hope to God that none of the men in the room would notice the storm of emotions going through you.
“Sungjin, I see you have a guest. I’ll wait outside until you’re done,” you offer lamely, not knowing where to look. You could feel the burn of Brian’s stare, but you refused to acknowledge it. You avoid your husband’s either, for fear that he might see the guilt in your eyes.
“No, I want you here Y/N. I will explain everything. I just need to get some files I left inside the car. I will be back,” Sungjin replies authoritatively.
You hurriedly shut the door and walk up to Brian, thinking of the best way to approach this sticky situation you found yourself in.
Should I get angry at him for doing this high-handed scheme?
Or beg him to see reason?
“What are you doing here, Mr. Kang? Don’t make it harder that it already is,” you spoke through gritted teeth. “I made a mistake, okay? I’m sorry! What happened… What happened, should have never happened. I was caught up in an emotional turmoil, seeing you again, reliving my past,” you babble on nervously.
"Please don’t ruin my relationship with my husband. I love him!"
The silence that follows is unnerving; Brian’s face, impassive, his eyes, glacial shards of ice, but the tick in his jaw belied the anger that was brewing inside.
“There’s nothing to destroy if it’s already in ruins,” he says with a smirk on his face as he rose from his seat.
You recoil from his attack, hand quickly rising to strike him, but he grabs your wrist, advancing at the same time, trapping you against the bookshelf-lined wall.
“Let me go!” You thrash, trying to push him away with your free hand, but he grabs that as well and pins both your wrists above your head.
“M-Mr. Kang! Please—”
He bends down just enough for you to see eye to eye, catching you off guard that you fall silent.
“Lies! What kind of woman says she loves her soon to be ex-husband after fucking another man?! Huh, Y/N?!”
“S-Stop this.” Your voice wavers. “He will see us!” You tug at your wrists to no avail.
He closes the distance between your bodies, making you feel certain parts of his anatomy, parts you’ve been trying so hard to forget. He moves to your neck and smells you right there—his breath, the smell of his perfume, tickling your senses.
It takes up all your strength not to give in, inching away from him no matter how futile, the bookshelf preventing you from going anywhere.
“Last week was a… it was a mistake!” You manage to stammer, repeating yourself. “And I know that walking out on you was an even bigger one. I should have apologized. Th-That’s what I’m trying to do! Please, hear me out! I-I'm not even expecting you to forgive me, just... just keep this a secret between the both of us! I'm begging you! I promise it will never happen again!”
Your words finally makes Brian stop. He glares at you, a look of anger in his eyes… or was it of hunger? He surveys your body one last time before he moves to your ear, his lips barely brushing yours, his nose barely grazing your skin.
“With the way you were begging me last time, I’d actually think that you’d want more. I know I do.”
You shake your head as much as the space between the two of you would permit.
“I ought to tie you up and make you beg some more, princess,” he whispers, a hint of seduction in his deep husky voice.
The memory was seared into your mind. Every touch, every kiss, every breath on your skin spurring you on and drugging you into oblivion, forgetting your past and thinking only of the now; how he could make you feel so alive, burning with passion like no man ever could. And yes, you remembered, remembered how you begged, how you cried out for him wantonly, all inhibitions gone as it always had been with Brian.
You draw in a sharp breath, eyes widening, chest erratically rising and falling, almost as if in excitement. And it doesn’t go unnoticed, not to him. You were turned on so badly. Heat rises up your face, cheeks and ears flushing red in embarrassment.
Satisfied, he lets go of you, but not before stooping low so your mouths were almost kissing. “I don’t want to hear any more of your apologies and excuses, Y/N. Those words won't appease me. What are you apologizing for anyway?! Listen to yourself!"
"P-Please, let me go..." you whimper pathetically.
"Before I forget." He starts smiling to himself as if he were remembering something fondly. "You and your bad habits." He clicks his tongue. "You just love leaving things behind, don't you, princess?"
He grabs your hand and pushes it deep inside his pocket.
"What are you doing?!"
"Go on! Go ahead and take back what you own!" he urges, but you refused, balling your fist in fear. "I said take it! Or do you want your husband to be the one to hand it to you?"
Your reaction is almost instantaneous, sweaty palm opening. That's when you feel it—lace. To your horror, and much to you humiliation, you retrieve your underwear and quickly stuff it in your pocket.
"You're welcome." He smiles, but his eyes turn dark in an instant. "And stop calling me Mr. Kang from now on. You and I aren’t finished yet."
He smoothly turns to the tray of liquor, pouring himself a drink as if nothing happened.
“I hope I didn’t make you wait too long, Mr. Kang,” your husband’s voice interrupts your clouded thoughts.
“Oh no, Mr. Park! Y/N and I just got reacquainted. After all, we were friends before I moved out of the country,” Brian eyes you suggestively.
You offer a weak smile, moving to your husband’s side to give him a peck.
“You look flushed, Y/N. Are you okay?” Sungjin asks.
“Just had a drink, that’s all…”
“There must be a lot of things going on in your wife’s mind, Mr. Park?” Brian interrupts. “This must have been difficult for both parties…”
“Sungjin, can you please explain what he’s doing here?” you murmur, trying to get his attention. “What have the two of you been talking about?”
“You are mistaken Mr. Kang,” he addresses his guest instead of you, “this divorce is mutual.”
You shut your eyes and exhale for what seems to be the first time, disappointed that your husband has confided in Brian, but at the same time relieved that this conversation wasn’t going to be about what happened at the hotel last week. Your relief, so immense, that the purpose of this meeting doesn't sink in immediately until Sungjin speaks again.
“Y/N, I have enlisted the services of Mr. Kang’s PR firm to help protect our interests when the divorce proceedings are made public. I do not want the media to turn this into a fiasco. He is the best there is and I’m confident that he’ll make this work to our best advantage.
“Mr. Kang, it was both our decision to end this union amicably. I trust that you’ll do your best.”
“Mutual? Is that so, Mrs. Park?” Brian gives you a meaningful stare, waiting for you to contradict him.
You hold on to Sungjin’s arm, attempting to sway his decision, realizing the future implications of hiring the same person you were supposed to avoid. “This isn’t necessary Sungjin, I’m positive we’ll manage to go—“
“No. With the elections fast approaching, I want to prepare for everything. I don’t want any surprises, especially not of this kind.”
You were about to present your argument again, but the look in Sungjin’s eyes made you hold your tongue. You turn to Brian for the first time since your heated encounter and he raises a quizzical brow at you.
“That settles the matter then. Mr. Kang, I’m giving you free rein on this matter as this is your expertise. Anything you need from the both of us, you have our full cooperation. Y/N and I do not live in the same household anymore, but she will gladly give you her contact details in case you’ll need it. As for me, you can check with my secretary.”
“Will do Mr. Park.”
“I will contact you soon.” Sungjin gets up from his seat, marking the end to the meeting, and both you and Brian follow suit.
A slight dip of the head was supposed to be all that he was going to get, determined not to show any signs of cordiality, but Brian takes your hand and squeezes it gently, looking you in the eyes, straight into your soul.
“We’ll see each other again then, Y/N.”
“You might want to join us for lunch, Mr. Kang,” Sungjin invites, interrupting your quiet moment.
“Thank you for the invitation, but I have another meeting with a client in an hour. Maybe next time.”
“Let me walk you out then.” Sungjin gestures toward the door.
You stay behind, watching both men leave the room—one from your past reentering your life; while the other, your present, but soon to be part of your past. Isn’t this ironic? Just when you thought you’ll be able to live a peaceful life, Brian Kang comes back. And this time, you don’t know if you can keep up with the chaos he has in tow.
“Thank you for trusting my services Mr. Park.” Brian extends his hand, but Sungjin simply moves in front of the door, blocking his guest's path, both his hands tucked deep in his pockets.
“Just a friendly reminder, Brian... I know you and my wife had a past. Honestly, I don’t care if you start fucking each other again,” he pauses, staring fixedly at Brian, before resuming with a painted smile, “All I want is for you to do the job I’m paying you to do and we’re good.” He finally reaches out a hand.
Brian was taken aback by the sudden bluntness, not even a hint of jealousy whatsoever. What's happening? Now he’s puzzled. Why does it seem like Sungjin’s okay with all of this? How about Y/N, does she know? Is this really the man she married and says she’s in love with? What did she see in him?
He accepts the hand and shakes it firmly. “Don’t worry, Sungjin. I’ll make sure that both you and Y/N come out of this mess unscathed.”
He hastily traces his steps back to his car, afraid that he can’t hold himself back and punch Park Sungjin in the face if he stayed a second longer.
Chapter 7: The Butterfly: Prologue
Happy Valentines 🖤
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
For days you battled with yourself, trepidation growing with each day, stronger and stronger until anxiety was wearing you at the seams. Last night, you couldn’t fall asleep. Your parents who have been away for over a week now, were finally coming home the day after tomorrow, and yet you still haven’t had your tattoo done.
The question was never about it being now or never—it was happening even if the world were coming to an end. Instead, the dilemma was whether you would entrust Brian’s butterfly tattoo to some burly old man with overgrown facial hair.
With precious time running out, the possibility was becoming more and more enticing. A risk always has to be made at one point in your life anyway… But luck seemed to be on your side, the other tattoo shop you found didn’t have such person. They only had that one lady who was nice enough to agree to tattoo you with the design you had in hand.
It should have been Brian though…
It would have been him, if only you knew where he was. But neither you, Jamie, nor anyone at INKD had any idea of his whereabouts. How many messages have you sent him? How many missed calls have you left on his mobile number?
You glanced at your phone as you bit your lip, enduring the pain of the needle and the discomfort of the tattoo table; the whir of the machine a welcome distraction. In the midst of getting tattooed, you were still doubting your decision to have the tattoo done without Brian.
It’s his design after all.
For the umpteenth time, you grit your teeth, beads of sweat forming on your upper lip.
Why did I have to do this alone?
It was about testing the waters, see if it hurts as much, before you ventured on that big ass design you wanted. Well now you had more than just an idea, and by heavens was this way more pain than your non-existent threshold could handle. You were numb waist down, the needle punching the skin on your hip stinging like crazy. Should you just tap out and stop this madness?! You wouldn’t even dare take a peek at your butterfly, scared how ugly it might look right now.
He could have at least been holding my hand.
“We’re almost done, just the initials now and then some finishing touches on the wings,” the tattoo artist says, just as a notification pops up on your phone.
Hey Princess, what’s up?
The message stuns you that for a moment you lose all sensations of pain. A fraction horror, a part relief, fuelling your adrenaline as you realize one of many things: Brian is back. HE IS BACK!
“Stop!” You sit upright with a start.
“What? We’re not yet finished,” the woman looks at you puzzled.
“S-Something came up and I’ve gotta go. You can stop now. I’ll pay you in full of course. Thank you. You did a… a… I-I’m sure it looks great,” you force a smile.
Feeling the urgency, the woman patches you up, albeit hesitantly. And before you know it you’re running down the streets with only one destination in mind.
Next update in 2 hours
You climb up the stairs to Brian’s pad with nervous footsteps. Apparently, he just lived on the floor above INKD—you were able to find out that much from the very kind staff at the front desk. Your feet had brought you to the tattoo shop like it had a mind of its own, not knowing where else you could find him.
You knock thrice in succession.
Why isn’t he coming out? You would’ve already barged in, if it weren’t rude.
You were about to knock again when the door is wrenched open.
You launch yourself at Brian, landing on his solid body with a whoosh, the impact surprising you both. You bury your face in his chest, arms snaking around his neck.
“Hey, I miss you too, you know?”
He squeezes your freshly tattooed hip—endearment unintentionally gone wrong—making you gasp and shy away from his touch.
“I-I… I did something really stupid Brian!”
“Did what?” He asks with a laugh finding it difficult to take you seriously.
“My… butterfly? What about it?” His eyes register concern as yours were filled with panic, the realization of what you had done finally sinking in.
He comes closer but you stop him from advancing.
Your hand wound tightly around his wrist and the way your innocent face was painted with fear was enough of a wake up call for him. Enough to remind him that you’re not one of those girls—that you’re strictly hands off.
He stalks off to the sofa, burying his face in both hands.
If you were only able to read his mind, you would have know that his self control was hanging by a thread; his brain screaming questions: Why is she here? What’s gotten her all anxious that she came running to me? Can I keep my hands off of her?
He curses audibly, tousling his hair in frustration.
And then he leans back.
Your throat constricts, dried up as if you haven’t drank in days, but your salivating mouth makes up for it.
It’s only now that you notice that he was half naked, all his tattoos visible: on his neck, arms and on his side, but there was none on his chest. He was wearing nothing but jogging pants that rode low on his hips, the deep V of his torso almost visible all the way… down. You avert your gaze upwards. His hair was wet, swept back with a few tendrils escaping. He was deliciously wet, droplets of water making his skin glisten.
You’ve never seen a man’s body in all its potent beauty before. Wide shoulders, defined muscles tapering off to washboard abs. And his nipples—you swallow hard—they were so taut; pink buds that made you want to reach out and touch them.
Your body was reacting like it never has to the visual feast before you. Heartbeat racing, muscles quivering, your own buds seemed to have a life of its own as it puckered, aching to be touched by those huge fingers. Maybe even by his lips…
“What are you doing here, Y/N?” Brian husky voice breaks your reverie, his expression changed—back to the Brian you first met, back to the Brian who saw you as a kid.
“I want to show you something…” Your hollow voice was foreign to your ears.
Before your momentary spurt of courage flees, you unzip your skirt from behind, pulling it down with your lace underwear just enough to show him your unfinished tattoo.
He ogles at the expanse of your alabaster skin, the black lace a stark contrast to it. His Adam’s apple bobs in his throat a couple of times before he raises a shaking hand to trace the wings of the butterfly—his butterfly.
“I couldn’t wait for you any longer, Brian…”
You went on to apologize for having it done without him, how you had ruined it all. On and on until—
“Did it hurt?”
You flinch as Brian removes the transparent wrap over your tattoo.
“Yes…” you reply meekly.
He sits upright, moving closer, his face only inches from your hip. He blows on your tattoo and out of nowhere your pent up emotions come out in a moan.
Your reaction has him pulling you towards him so suddenly that you lose grip of you skirt and it falls to the floor. You shiver as the cool air brushes your legs, as Brian’s hands come in contact with your flesh.
You anchor your hands on his shoulders as he drags you even closer, his hot breath tickling your skin. He leaves feather light kisses on your skin surrounding the tattoo as his arms snake around your back, hugging your body to him, every kiss and every breath causing more dampness between your legs.
“Fuck.” You hear him curse under his breath. You’re not too sure what to think— Or should you even be thinking at all? Perhaps you should just give in to what you’re feeling instead?
“Bri?” You touch his hair softly.
“Don’t Y/N.” He tenses. “God, I can smell you…”
And you knew without a doubt that he could, smell you—your wetness and your strong desire to be possessed by him.
Your hand instinctively wraps around his head, the pleasurable ache from your core spreading all over your body.
And that’s what Brian sees reflected in your face when he looks up, you with your eyes closed, biting down hard on your lower lip, suppressing a smile you can’t seem to hide.
Unbeknown to him, you were trying so hard to block out the excitement and fear, afraid that you might expose yourself for what you really were, an inexperienced virgin.
When it’s your turn to look at him, into his hooded eyes, a frission of desire shoots right down to your core, making it swell and tighten, a gush of wetness that you have yet to comprehend, at the way he was looking at you.
With a guttural grunt, he lowers his head right at your core. And he inhales, like he were drowning, desperate for air.
A loud whimper escapes your lips as he proceeds to nuzzle his face on your clothed sex, the tip of his nose pushing into you, the lace fabric creating a friction that made you ache even more. As if it weren’t enough, he blows on it, tickling your sex. Back arching, you instinctively push yourself onto him, welcoming his ministrations, fingers gripping his hair to steady yourself, your other hand holding onto his shoulder, the need to thrust onto his face overwhelmingly intense.
“Stop me, princess. I want you to tell me to stop right now. Please,” he rasps out, each word drawn out with so much effort.
“Bri… I- I… Unghhhh… I’m so wet, I-I can’t take it… Too wet… P-Please, Brian!”
Tongue thick in your mouth, your incoherent words were begging for release; not a single cell in your body wanting this to stop.
With an answering growl, Brian’s hands tighten around your ass, kneading the plump flesh with his huge palms before pulling down your lace underwear making it fall and pool at your feet. He wedges a hand between your legs, spreading it apart; his tongue darting out to lick on his lips.
“Brian,” you gasp as he kisses the mound of your sex, this act of adoration you’ve never experienced before. Soon enough your gasps turn into silent screams, voice caught in your throat, as he disappears between your folds, his thick warm tongue sweeping your sensitive flesh.
He grazes your clit on purpose as his tongue flicks upwards, forcing your voice out of you, making you cry out loud.
Your knees give out as the electrifying sensation courses through your body, unable to calm the pulsing pleasure in your gut, nor the throbbing of your swollen clit; catching your breath was already a struggle in itself.
But he’s quick, Brian deftly catches you and smoothly turns you around, bringing you down to the sofa. Him looming over you, over your body that’s naked from the waist down.
His eyes travel down to your sex in full view.
“You’re so beautiful, Y/N,” he says in an almost reverent way, eyes hazy with passion and desire. You feel the color creep up your face, your skin breaking out in goosebumps. Embarrassed, you try to clamp your thighs together but he stops you.
“I want to see all of you, Y/N! I need to know that you’re real!”
He hastily removes the underwear snagged around your feet. “Look at me, princess!” he says as he goes down on his knees, running his thumb over your pelvis. He covers your tattoo with the transparent wrap and presses on it., your cry coming out as a wanton moan, not expecting him to do that, nor for the pain to feel equally pleasurable.
Brian’s eyes shine with a predatory look before he pulls you closer to him, both hands heavy on your thighs, keeping them wide open and ready for him.
You watch with part horror and part excitement as he slowly descends.
Brian begins by smelling you again, his nose nuzzled deep in your folds, mingling with the wet juices which were threatening to spill over. You mewl and whine from this alone, covering your mouth from the shameless noises you were making, unable to help it, everything too much to take. And then with his thumbs, he parts your lips like a flower, and all you can do is push your head back, deeper onto the sofa, silently anticipating the invasion of his tongue.
Just when you can’t take the waiting any longer, you lift your head only to see Brian’s tongue darting out of his lips. You shudder and arch as he comes in contact with your sex, lapping at your arousal, that you unintentionally push yourself onto his face. He obliges, flicking his tongue on your lips, lapping up and down, sucking you in earnest.
And then his tongue stiffens. Brian flexes it as he flicks your clit—once, twice. He flicks harder, faster, but all too suddenly sucks.
The sensation racked your body with desire, making you scream, toes curling in ecstasy, fingers digging into Brian’s arms. Your body quivers, muscles taut, begging for release.
“Bri— B-Brian! Brian, oh god!” you call out his name, chanting it, your senses clawing at something that cannot be named.
“I got you princess, I got you… Don’t fight it.”
He increases his pace, laving your clit with his hardened tongue but this time his moans were reverberating at your very core.
You think you’re about ready to die from his assaults, but then without warning he inserts his stiff, warm tongue inside of you. You scream, clenching on his tongue. He strains to push in deeper, withdrawing it before pushing back in.
Your legs were trembling as you tried to open your thighs wider apart, but Brian when decides to suck on your clit at that very instant, you arch up and anchor a leg on his shoulder instinctively and begin rutting on his face. You feel him grunt and moan, but he doesn’t stop nor does he slow down; your swollen sex tightening, aching at its very core.
Brian’s hands grip your thighs harder as he dives in deeper and with a final thrust, nips and sucks on your nub. You moan like a crazed woman, seeing stars as your release hits you hard. He should be stopping now, but he doesn’t, instead he continues eating you like a starved man, drinking all your juices like he were thirsting.
And you, you’ve never felt so good, so alive as the day you were born.
Next update in 2 hours
Chapter 9: The Butterfly: Epilogue
Happy Valentines 🖤
Your feel that your lower extremities have turned into jelly, but that wasn’t the only reason why you couldn’t move even if you tried. Brian was on top of you, head resting sideways on your stomach, your hands still tangled in his hair. You could hear his breath evening out but you dare not move for fear of breaking the spell.
Something has changed.
That thing that happened between the two of you—no, all of it had been his doing—it was barely even an hour, and yet you already feel so different, more alive, humming with so much energy. You’ve never welcomed being this exhausted and bone weary before, letting that good feeling in your bones seep into your very soul.
The next thing you wake up to is the pungent smell of garlic, a sizzling of the pan. You open your eyes to find yourself covered in a fleece blanket, and you color in embarrassment as everything that had happened comes rushing back. You struggle to sit up, fixing your clothes and hair.
“Princess, you’re up!” Brian greets you as if he weren’t eating you only a few hours ago.
“How long have I been out?”
“Hungry?” He quirks a brow. “Come sit by the table, I cooked you something,” he says walking up to you and tugging your hand forward.
You oblige, but as soon as you stand, your knees wobble and give out.
“Woah, I’ve got you!” Brian chuckles as he clasps you to his hips, hand steadying you at the waist.
It makes you flush when you’re reminded of the reason you can’t even stand on your own, but you welcome the heat from his body.
He helps you up to the table infront of the stove and you watch as he continues with his cooking.
“Mmmm, that smells good! I didn’t know you cook, Brian.”
“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me, princess!” He replies with a smile, sucking on his pinky that he'd dipped in the sauce he’s preparing. He takes a spoon and lets you have a taste of it, head cocked to the side anticipating your reaction.
"Which is?" He grins.
"No, I meant that— Nevermind..." You sigh, knowing that the conversation will only drag on if you explain yourself. And he'll only keep staring at you like he's doing right now. It's making you blush. "It tastes wonderful Brian!"
You keep that smile on your face as you raise your feet up on your seat, getting comfortable as you watch Brian cook, hugging your knees to your chest and resting your chin on them.
True to his words, you may have been intimate together but there wasn’t much you knew about him, only that this Brian Kang guy was capable of making you feel all sorts of happy, contented, crazy, and everything put together.