Chapter 60 - Massage
When I found the body lotion and returned to the room, Keith was lying on his stomach on the bed. His head was turned to one side toward where I was standing.
He thankfully had his eyes closed, and I was relieved. If I had met eyes with him while he was lying on the bed, I would have been unable to hold myself up any longer and just collapsed onto the floor.
The carpet swallowed the sound of my footsteps, so I let out a dry cough and approached him. Keith didn’t open his eyes even though he must have sensed my presence.
Before I touched his body, I spoke to him first. “Mr. Pittman, are you asleep?”
I asked him in a soft voice because I had planned to just leave if he were indeed asleep. He had told me that he was tired, and I didn’t want to wake him up.
Unlike my expectations, however, Keith soon answered, “No.”
I subconsciously smiled bitterly and opened my mouth. “Um, I’ll start, then… If anything hurts in particular, let me know.”
I added the last bit like a warning, but I was met with no answer. I rubbed a moderate amount of lotion onto my hands.
Taking my palms to Keith’s back took incredible courage. I saw the firm musculature of his back that I had only ever seen in commercials right before my eyes, and it became difficult for me to even breathe. Could there be a body as perfect as his in this world?
His tightly formed lats on either side of his straight spine reminded me of those of a professional swimmer. They were the embodiment of testosterone. On top of that, the subtle shapes of the muscles that connected his wide shoulders to his slender waist were weaved compactly together, as if it were not allowing even one percent of body fat.
God, just the fact that I was allowed to touch this man’s body felt like I was using up all the luck I had been allotted in my life. I was almost scared to do it.
Even so, however, I had already chosen to take this fortune. I couldn’t take it back now. I was about to take a deep breath but hastily stopped myself. If I were to smell Keith’s pheromones right now, it would be the end of me. To stop this unimaginably terrifying situation in advance, I forcibly suppressed my breath.
I felt Keith’s skin on my trembling fingertips. At that moment, it felt as if my heart had stopped. But I couldn’t let him find out that I was stirred. I lowered my palm right away and pressed firmly against his back. Since it had been a long time since I last gave someone a massage, recalling my memories was quite difficult. Having my mind taken away by Keith and trying to remember everything I learned at the same time was frying my brain.
After applying some pressure on his muscles a few times, I asked, “Is this all right? Would you like me to go harder or softer?”
Keith seemed to think about it for a moment. Was this something that warranted thinking? Was he going to tell me to stop? ‘That might be better,’ I thought while simultaneously being hit with the disappointment that it ended too early. While I waited for his reply, both my palms remained attached to Keith’s back. I desperately ignored my shameful desire to enjoy this sensation for a little longer and the guilt that resulted from it.
His answer made me both happy and flustered. One part of me thought, ‘My heart might burst and I might die,’ while another part of me thought, ‘At least I’ll die happy.’ It was difficult to settle on one thought.
Making sure that my emotion didn’t show in my voice, I opened my mouth. “I’ll continue, then.”
Keith didn’t say anything. He still had his eyes closed as I stole glances at his face. I couldn’t even blatantly stare in case he suddenly opened his eyes and found me watching him intently. Despite everything, my hands moved mechanically. I pressed my fingers along the muscles and rubbed slowly, stroking his neck and shoulders.
Despite how long it had been, my body must have been able to recall the skills it had learned. As time went by, my body moved before I even remembered the sequence with my head. Since my hands moved without me having to squeeze out my brain, I could ease my mind and guiltily engrave every bit of Keith that I felt into my memory onto my hand.
‘Ah…’ I felt a sudden sting on the tip of my nose. ‘If I were a woman, you would have slept with me.’
And if he did, I wouldn’t have had to feel so guilty. I could openly touch this body, kiss it, and confess that I loved him.
Even if the relationship only lasted for a few months—no, even just a few weeks—would it not be better than now where I couldn’t even dream about it?
“…Ha.” Just then, Keith let out a short scoff.
I quickly came to my senses and checked his face. Keith’s eyes were still closed, but a faint smile had taken over his lips. Had he remembered something funny?
As I stood there in confusion, Keith opened his mouth. “How long did you do this for?”
I briefly thought back and replied, “In terms of years, three or four years… but I only worked from time to time during the break. If I count in months, it must have been less than a year.”
The longest period was when I had worked during the gap of my job search when I was moving companies, but that was still only about four months. Moreover, that was already a few years ago.
I hesitated before asking, “Um, is it because I’m being clumsy or…?”
“No, you’re good.” Keith laughed again, and my heart skipped a beat. “I asked because you’re good. As diligent as expected, you know.”
“…I did my best in learning it,” I replied in relief.
Keith opened his eyes. The purple pupils under his half-lifted eyelids were directed toward me. Before I knew it, my hands had stopped and I was gazing back at him. He must have been very tired; his usual cold, dagger-like expression was somewhat dissipated. Instead, his expression was gently relaxed with even a faint smile across his face. My mind drifted as I continued to stare at his face.
I belatedly came to my senses and quickly turned my head to focus on the massage. This wasn’t the time for me to savor the sensation on my hands. Keith was still staring at me. I struggled with all my might to maintain my formal attitude as I concentrated on the massage. The awkward silence was hard to endure, and I desperately searched for something to say. I finally managed to come up with one thing.
“Your relationship with Ms. Parker is lasting quite long.” Even after I had said it, I was anxious that he might find out that I was jealous. Trying my hardest to conceal my facial expression, I intentionally bent my torso forward and massaged the furthest possible part of his body so that he wouldn’t be able to see me.
His blunt question took me by surprise. Was he asking in all seriousness? I was half in doubt.
“Ms. Naomi Parker, the lady that you have been seeing recently. The one you were with at the hotel even today.” I suddenly got reminded and added, “Would you like me to set up an appointment for tomorrow at the hotel as well?”
“Oh…” Keith let out a strange exclamation as if he had finally understood. All signs of interest immediately disappeared from his face. I was confused by his unexpected indisposition. Keith closed his eyes once more and turned his head. “Not tomorrow.”
It wasn’t like Keith met up with his partner every day. Sometimes they met once in three days, and even once in four days to stretch. However, he hadn’t gone past three days without it recently, and he had been meeting up with her almost every day in the past few days. I was confused and ended up making a mistake.
“Is everything all right?” I asked before I could stop myself.
Keith turned his head again and faced me as if to ask what I had meant.
I got flustered and stuttered, “Um, well… you seemed to like her quite a bit. After all, you’ve been seeing her every day recently…”
As I tried to somehow mumble my way out of it, Keith opened his mouth. “Like her? Me?”
It felt as if the more I talked, the deeper I sank into a swamp. Feeling my face flush with heat, I muttered, “I assumed so because you have been meeting her often and for quite a long time. I’m sorry.”
Keith’s expression changed. To be exact, he smiled mockingly. “Can s*x ever be enjoyable?”
I was once again rendered speechless. This time, it took me a while to find my words.
‘If not, then what? Isn’t that why he kept calling for Naomi? On top of that, he doesn’t find s*x enjoyable? Does he really just do it to flush out his hormones as Steward said?’
Suddenly, Naomi’s extreme praise for Keith’s skill popped into my head.
‘He doesn’t even enjoy it, yet he’s so good at it…’
While my complex emotions took over my head, an uncomfortable silence surrounded us. Keith was still looking at me like he was demanding an answer.
I desperately spun my brain and managed to finally open my mouth. “I believe that having s*x with a loved one would be a very happy experience…”
Keith didn’t say anything. He continued to just stare at me with a straight face as if to call me pathetic. Of course, he was right. I was indeed pathetic. Why did I have to say such a thing to this man out of all people?
The longer the silence lasted, the more ashamed I got. Unable to do anything with my hot cheeks, I smiled awkwardly.
Keith twisted up the corners of his mouth. “I thought Grayson was the only one who lived inside a dream.”
He was clearly mocking me.
I should have just said I was sorry, but instead, I made a mistake. “It’s not that I’m living in a dream. I’m just a romanticist.” I realized what I had done, but it was too late. Keith was glaring at me in disgust. I hastily lowered my gaze. “I’m sorry.”
Keith must have either accepted my apology or simply decided not to communicate with me any longer, as he turned his head away.
After just concentrating on the massage for a little while, I mustered up the courage and opened my mouth. I felt like I would never be able to ask if it weren’t now. “If you don’t enjoy it, is there a need for you to change your partner so often?”
“Hahh…” Keith sighed deeply.
I once again opened my mouth to apologize. Why did I ask something so pointless? As expected, I regretted my decision.
Before I could say anything, however, Keith replied tiredly, “No matter who I do it with, it’s the same. If I continue to do it with just one person, they’ll misunderstand, and the media will start making useless guesses.”
I finally understood. He just couldn’t be bothered to be inconvenienced by anyone who became serious about him and clung to him.
After all, they all fell deeply for this man in just two or three months.
In fact, I didn’t even need to think about them. I had also fallen in love at first sight and was suffering from this sickness of love for years now. I had given up multiple times, but his passing glance was enough to make me fall in love again—endlessly and perpetually.
Moreover, recently it was almost like I was dreaming. I was living in the same house as this man, eating together, and talking to him like this.
He had even held me in his arms.
Even though he was left with no choice but to do so since I had a panic attack, just thinking about that moment made my heart swell and made me want to cry. This heart was lit ablaze once again, this time twice as hot—no, ten times as hot—as before. It seemed as if it would eternally refuse to cool down.
If he hadn’t been so nice to me, I would have believed that this love would one day die out like a child’s fever.
But what would happen if he knew how I felt?
I was once again reminded how far Keith was from me. I knew that he wasn’t someone I could have, but it felt as if it had been stamped in confirmation.
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