Chapter 5 - Please Just Have Dinner Together
The corners of Heerak’s lips curled up in a sneer.
“Do you think you’re all that after sleeping with me?”
Heerak said in outright sarcasm. He threw those remarks in hopes to utterly crush the other man’s expressionless face. Even so, the other man didn’t even flinch. Doseon only blinked slowly a few times, and then spoke in a very apologetic tone.
“I’m truly sorry, Executive Director. I don’t understand what you mean by that.”
Heerak burst out, upset, “You said you’d only take 40,000 won from me!”
As soon as he said that, Heerak groaned, “Urk.”
He was not sure if he was seeing things because his anger blurred his vision, but just then, he saw Doseon make a small smile. The smile lasted less than 10 seconds, but it completely threw Heerak off. It was not a malicious sneer or a laugh of ridicule. It was hard to express. He could think of a few words that could describe it, but they were too embarrassing to think about.
“Yes, I did say that.”
Doseon said slowly, with his poker face back in place. He seemed to think that Heerak was waiting for him to reply.
Heerak was rendered speechless for a moment and stared blankly at Doseon. The other man seemed to feel the weight of the stare and lowered his head.
That did not sit well with Heerak.
“Th-then, you could have just agreed to meet me!”
‘Haha, what the hell? Did I just stutter? This is driving me crazy, f*ck!’
Heerak swallowed down his rage. For some time now, he could not control the tone of his voice as well as he would have liked to. He was not able to go from his irritation-filled tone back to his usual pleasant voice—and all thanks to the man before him.
“How were you going to collect the money if you didn’t meet with me?”
Doseon looked perplexed.
“That’s not what I heard from your secretary.”
“What do you mean?”
“Secretary Min told me that you wanted to have dinner with me. So I…”
Doseon trailed off mid-sentence and shut his lips, which was a good call. If he had said any more, Heerak’s radiant face would have crumbled into despair.
“So, what about it? I could give you the money over dinner. Or do you hate the thought of eating with me so much that it makes you shudder?”
Heerak smirked. Although those words came out of his mouth, he felt what he said was laughable. It was extremely childish of him to say.
“Sorry? No, that’s not…”
“If that’s not it, then what is it? It won’t hurt you to have a meal with me.”
He purposely cut off Doseon and stated only his position. He said it to cover his embarrassment from saying something so childish, but this was more childish than what he said before. He felt like something was wrong with his head.
Heerak raised his arms and ruffled up his lustrous, light brown hair.
This was all very strange.
This was the first time he felt like this. He could not calm down and maintain his composure easily like usual. He felt ridiculous raving about recklessly before this stoic man.
Doseon, who had been silent, then opened his mouth.
“Is that really all right with you, Director?”
“You normally wouldn’t need to dine with a person like me.”
Heerak was at a loss for words.
He had thought this before, but Doseon had an interesting way of talking. It wasn’t that he sounded like someone with no self-esteem; he spoke in a very matter-of-fact fashion, which added to the strangeness.
After brief contemplation, Heerak grinned.
“You’re saying I don’t need to have dinner with a person like you. Is that why you rejected me three times?”
“No, how could I? I didn’t think that you would take it like that.”
“Now you know—better late than never. Just to add to that, do you know what crossed my mind when my secretary told me I was turned down three times? I thought you were upset that I was talking through my secretary instead of directly.”
“No, no. That wasn’t the case at all.”
Heerak slowly smiled in satisfaction inside.
Heerak caught a glimpse of astonishment flashing by Doseon’s stony face. That was very much to his liking. He was pleased that he felt like he was finally speaking to a human being.
“I don’t know how many times I’m going to ask you out to eat going forward, but next time, you’ll have to have a reasonable response or excuse prepared. All right?”
“Yes, I’m sorry.”
Doseon bowed as he apologized and Heerak shook his head in response.
“I didn’t say that to make you apologize again.”
Heerak said as he took a few steps forward. Doseon slowly straightened his body in response. They exchanged looks, standing at a close distance.
“In any case, I came to talk to you directly, since you rejected my secretary three times. Don’t turn me down this time. Because getting turned down directly from you is going to make me more upset than hearing about it from my secretary.”
Heerak emphasized the fact that he was turned down three times. Doseon bit his lips. He looked like he could not come up with a good response, even though he wanted to say something. Heerak could not stop the grin from forming on his lips. He probably wouldn’t be able to think of anything to say if he were in Doseon’s position.
“Have dinner with me.”
Heerak reached out with both his arms and placed his hands on Doseon’s shoulders.
For a brief moment, he felt that it was too bad that this man was a beta. If he let some of his superdominant pheromones seep out, he would have been able to make the other man tremble and beg to do anything he wanted.
The shoulders under his hands stiffened.
Heerak furrowed his brows. He could tell straight away that the man before him was more nervous than he made himself out to be. He could admit that he said some childish things out of annoyance, but he didn’t intend to suffocate the other man under pressure. Not only did the executive director from his workplace push to meet with him one-on-one in a closed space, but that director also went on an angry rampage—anyone would react like Doseon.
Heerak clicked his tongue and thought for a moment.
Heerak lifted his right arm from Doseon’s shoulder. He brought up his index finger and thumbs to Doseon’s cheeks and pinched it lightly.
“It would’ve been nice if you answered my secretary like this.”
Oh, this again.
The small smile that he caught a glimpse of a few minutes ago flashed by Doseon’s face again. That smile was so tantalizing.
“Now that I’ve brought it up, let’s go right now. I can’t wait until tomorrow.”
“I’m sorry. That’s a bit difficult for me, Director.”
Heerak looked like he wanted to ask if Doseon was turning him down again. As he met the displeased eyes, Doseon hesitated before speaking again.
“I have been waiting here since I came to work. I still have work today.”
“So what? Of all people, I invited you out. Nobody will speak up against it.”
“That’s why I’ll be in a tight position.”
Heerak laughed lightly.
He could understand where Doseon was coming from. He knew very well that he was putting Doseon in a difficult position. He didn’t want to ignore that, but he also didn’t want to retreat now.
Heerak whispered quietly.
“But I’m really hungry now. I got so angry from being turned down three times that I barely ate anything for lunch. I thought I was going to get an upset stomach, for real.”
“Once again, I’m really sorry.”
Heerak grabbed the other man’s shoulders to prevent him from bowing down again. Doseon threw a surprised look his way, and Heerak met his eyes firmly.
“Come with me. Let’s go eat.”
Doseon could only blink wordlessly. Heerak also said nothing more. He stared at the other man’s composed face.
The silent room was soon filled with Heerak’s laughter. He could not help but laugh after seeing the other man nod.
It was too late to turn back when he came to the realization.
Before he knew it, the power imbalance in their relationship seemed to have reversed.
Heerak seemed overeager to have dinner with Doseon, even though sitting at the table was more of a means to start negotiation, not to eat. It was too late for him to correct his actions, so he tried to erase this from his head.
He was sure that the reason nobody was on the eighth floor, where the VIP room was located, was by virtue of his trusty secretary. Heerak could act more recklessly because there were no watchful eyes. Thanks to that, he could pull the reluctant Doseon by his wrist and safely make it to the basement parking garage.
It was 4:00 in the afternoon.
It was a bit early for dinner. He successfully pushed Doseon into the passenger seat and thought it would be nice to take a drive around the block to pass the time.
Heerak peeked to his side. Doseon was staring straight ahead with a rigid face. His shoulders and neck were always upright from good posture, but now they felt like they were frozen.
This whole time, Heerak couldn’t control his pheromones from getting worked up after Seokchan’s call. The dense scent that he exuded in his anger lingered in the car.
He realized once again that Doseon was indeed a beta. If he were an omega, he would already be gasping and wetting himself, but Doseon retained his signature expressionless face. He was completely free from the effects of superdominant pheromones. It still felt fascinating and fresh that a beta was sitting beside him in his car.
“Now that I think about it,” Heerak cleared his throat and spoke. He could feel Doseon turn his head slightly in his direction. “I thought work starts at 6:00 p.m. for you.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
“Did you come in early because of me? I feel bad now.”
Doseon was reluctant to reply. Heerak motioned with his chin as if to press on and Doseon finally moved his lips.
“Secretary Min said otherwise he would come to my house.”
“What’s that now? Ahaha! Why?”
“As soon as I turned down the invitation, Secretary Min said that he couldn’t be considerate anymore… and that he would kneel and beg in front of my house if he needed to.”
Seokchan really tried everything.
Heerak smiled wryly and gripped his handle harder.
“I was extremely surprised.”
“True, I would be too.”
“I told Secretary Min that he didn’t need to, that I’d meet him in person. I asked where he was, and he said he was at Hodie, so I said I would go there.”
In any case, Seokchan’s desperate pleas were heard. It was thanks to Seokchan that this beta was sitting next to him. Heerak decided that he would treat his secretary for his hard work with a nice meal or alcohol.
“What kind of food do you like? Is there anything you want to eat?”
“I’m fine with anything.”
“What about things you dislike or avoid?”
“I’m happy with eating whatever you want.”
Heerak burst out into laughter. Doseon gave him a puzzled look, but Heerak paid no mind. The smile on Heerak’s lips lingered for a while.
It seemed like he was just very unlucky that day.
The atmosphere was too formal, even considering the power imbalance between an executive director and an employee. Sternness and hardness dripped from Doseon’s face and tone.
This was probably just this man’s personality. Since a person’s character did not change so suddenly, Doseon most likely kept up this tough attitude that night as well.
What was it? What compelled him to sleep with this kind of person?