Chapter 76 - One Step Forward
I could feel my heat cycle coming soon. I wanted to jerk myself off, but I couldn’t get hard because of the meds. I was going insane from the heat that was circling within my body. Looking down at my trembling hands, I felt my consciousness drift away.
The revving engine noises woke me up from my sleep. When I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock, three hours had passed. It seemed like Keith was coming back.
I hesitated a little before walking up to the window and looking down. As expected, Keith’s car was slowing in front of the mansion.
I leaned my head against the window and blinked slowly. In any case, that man was living his life in whatever way he wanted. I started to feel mixed emotions of envy and bitterness.
Loving him was my freedom, but the tradeoff for my freedom was that I couldn’t expect my feelings to be returned.
As I reminded myself of this, I looked down once again. For a moment, it felt as if Keith had looked up, too. It must have been my imagination that we had met eyes. He quickly looked back down and ascended the stairs, leaving my sight.
I sighed a trembling breath. Condensation fogged up the glass and faded.
In a few days, Steward would arrive. I decided to tell him my resolve then, and I would finally be able to take a step forward.
This would be a step forward in erasing that man who had been taking over my mind for a very long time.
“Oh, you’re feeling more motivated? That’s amazing to hear,” Steward smiled brightly and cheered me on as soon as I told him what had been on my mind. I didn’t tell him my exact motive, nor did I need to. All I told him was that I hoped my symptoms would get better soon so that I could return home.
“Even a marvelous mansion like this could make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t consider it your own home. There’s no place like home.” Steward laughed after briefly singing a line from “Home, Sweet Home.” I awkwardly smiled back.
Steward gave me a few precautions and suggested, “I’m very glad that you’re enthusiastic about this, Yeonwoo. What’s most important is your own willingness, so I’ve actually been hoping that you would tell me that first. Why don’t we try slowly expanding the activity area starting tomorrow?”
He then advised me that I start walking around my work alone. I would start with leaving my office, then walking around the entire floor, and advancing to other floors once I felt okay with trying.
Steward suddenly reached out his hand. When I flinched, he held my hand and gently patted it. “It will be all right. You’ve gotten so much better already.”
Only then did I realize that Steward was just trying to help me relax. True enough, I could feel the tension everywhere in my body that I had instinctively been holding onto.
Watching me relax my body little by little, Steward let go of my hand and smiled. “Then, Yeonwoo, we’ll hear the results during your next session. Don’t push yourself too hard, okay?”
“Yes,” I replied softly. The nervousness in my voice echoed strangely in my ears like someone else’s voice.
* * *
When lunchtime came, Keith opened his office door and came out. I hesitated for a moment.
Ever since I was dragged outside for lunch that one time, he took me out for lunch every day. Thanks to that, I stopped skipping lunch, but even when I wasn’t required for work-related business—like that day when I had too much to drink or when Keith didn’t have any lunch plans—he would take me out to eat.
Since that day, of course, I didn’t even touch alcohol; I only had sparkling water instead. Keith didn’t offer me any alcohol, either.
Keith was doing this solely out of consideration, not because he liked me. I made sure not to misunderstand. The reason I had hesitated was that he always took me with him these days and I didn’t know if I were to follow him today as well. Whenever I hesitated, he would get irritated and ask me what I was doing.
Today, however, Keith didn’t even glance in my direction as he headed toward the door. Today’s lunch was supposed to be with the lawyer. At first, Keith had asked me to cancel it, but I couldn’t find a slot to reschedule no matter how hard I looked. When I finally brought myself to report this fact to him, he didn’t say anything in return but seemed irritated.
This appointment was an extension of last time, and there was no problem in taking me with him. However, it was also not strange for Keith to go alone. I hesitated before hurriedly calling out, “Um, Mr. Pittman.”
Keith paused. For the first time today, he looked at my face. For some strange reason, he hadn’t looked me in the face once all morning.
I calmly recited his afternoon schedule. “There will be a report regarding the promotion of the new project at 4:00 p.m. Since there are no other schedules until then, you just need to come back by 3:30. Would you like me to call you as a reminder?”
Keith faintly creased his brow at my question. He replied with a short “No,” and then he turned around to leave the room. I was quickly left in my own company.
Not today, after all.
If he had planned to take me, he would have said something. I felt undeservedly wistful and criticized my own shamelessness.
‘Though I was just happy that Keith was looking out for me…’ I thought to myself.
I felt a little bitter. I inhaled and exhaled slowly and deeply. Perhaps this was a good thing. It was a good opportunity to test out what Steward had told me.
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