DTR - Chapter 1.3 (ENG)


CHAPTER 1 PART 3


“Long time no see, Ash.”

Nicholas White, whom Ash hasn’t met in about eight months, seems to have lost some weight. Ash laughs as he sees his sharp jaw lines, dark golden eyebrows and the warm green eyes of the man below him. He misses the man’s scent as well. The man’s hair is as bright as the sun.

“It seems so, Nick.”

Ash called Nicholas by his nickname out of habit. Nicholas doesn’t correct it. They are at a café in Covent Garden, near Ash’s workplace. It is not far from the subway station.



As soon as he sees Nicholas in a suit, nostalgia approaches him. It is a pitiable regret. It has only been a few weeks since they have last met, but his feelings are still present. It’s supposed to be easy to let go of someone at this age. He should not look funny.

Ash shakes his jaw and smiled, his hands holding a cup of coffee.

“How are you?”

“I’m good. How about you Nick?”

Nicholas pauses. Ash seems to know why. Nicholas, who is holding a red coffee cup, has a ring on his fingers.

“… I’ve been well.”

Ash looks at Nicholas’s fingers. At the same time, Nicholas also looks at the same direction. At some point, the two has an eye contact.

“Ash.”

Nicholas calls as his face hardens. His voice is full of regret and Nicholas then shakes his head.

“I am only asking for a meeting. I didn’t really want to do this either when I was asked to… I’d better talk about it, I’m sorry….”

“No.”

Ash says quietly. It hurts… it really hurts… but it is okay. He sees it coming. What he does not expect is that Nick is getting married really quickly.

Ash quietly sips his coffee. It tastes bitter. Nicholas remains silent, waiting for his reply. Soon, Ash, who is able to calm his mind, lets out a laugh.

“I agree. It’s nice to see you after a while.”

“… Aren’t you curious on why I asked for a meeting with you?”

“Of course.”

Ash shrugs and puts his coffee down.

“I believe you requested me to do something?”

“The request is a bit strange, are you okay with it?”

“I’ll first listen then decide.”

Nick feels a bit sorry to meet him. He just wants to make sure of some things. How is his heart now? What makes him happy? He wants to know these things.

“Okay.”

Nicholas nods and Ash smiles. He likes that side of him. He is curious on what his decision will be later.

“Let us start, shall we?”

“Yes.”

Ash replies as he grins. Nicholas looks hesitant, continuously massaging his forehead.

“Are you… perhaps… seeing anyone right now?”

“Well that’s an unexpected question.”

Ash replies with a curled expression.

“Do you miss me after you got married, Nick? I’m fine with you having a husband. Come to think of it it’s kind of melodramatic.”

“No.”

Ash lets out a small laugh. Nicholas sighs and says, “I know it’s weird for me to ask this question.”

“Don’t beat yourself up; don’t be so sorry to yourself.”

“Trust me, Ash. I really don’t want to do this.”

“I take it as a joke now, Nic. Chill. Now tell me what you are here for. Are you perhaps relieved because of the ‘joke’?”

Nicholas interrupts and says, “So, if you are not seeing anyone, I have a deal for you.”

“A deal?”



“Yes. The reward is…well, whatever you want, pretty much. You can ask for as much as you want. The other person can give you any amount.”

As the conversation unfolds in a rather unexpected direction, Ash lowers his eyes.

“What kind of work is it?”

“It is not weird or anything, it’s just…”

Ash nods his head slightly. The man that he is currently talking to is a lawyer. He knows his way around the law. Hence, whatever he’s offering can’t be something illegal.

“Are you willing to become someone’s sex partner, Ash?”

Ash stares at the man in front of him with a shocked face.

“Didn’t you just say you didn’t miss me?”

“It’s not me, it’s someone else.”

Finally, Ash sees Nick’s real intentions of meeting him. The situation is strange. He is on a date, with someone he has broken up with, only for his ex to offer him to become his friend’s sex partner. But it’s Nick that is requesting this. It must be someone important to him.

“I think I should apologize.”

“I’m sorry.”

Nicholas thinks in his head, ‘Ash also has his tastes.’

Nicholas then nodded, as if he is right. He then puts his phone on the table.

“I think you’ve met him before, Ash.”

After saying that, Nicholas shows a picture to Ash. Ash looks closely at the man on the phone screen. Indeed, just as Nicholas said, he has ever seen this man once. They met on the day Nicholas turned Ash down.

“Is this Kyle’s brother? It looks like him.”

“Yes. This is Carlyle Frost. If it’s okay with you, the reward is …”

Ash looks carefully at the picture as he listens to Nicholas’s words. The man has black hair, grey eyes and red lips. His skin is pale and white. The man, dressed in a suit, has a cold face. His hair is styled backwards, revealing his forehead completely. His face is indeed handsome. His sculpted facial lines give him an unapproachable appeal. He’s exactly Ash’s type; in terms of appearance. That kind of face would look amazing in bed. But…

“It’s surprising.”

“Yes?”

“You don’t seem too favorable a while ago. Look at you now.”

“Seems so.”

Ash recalls the day when he ran into the man. While saying his farewells, a cold looking face followed suit, which led Ash to mistake him as Nicholas’s date. He didn’t even ask for his name. The man didn’t even spare a glance at Ash. Ignoring him, the man said nothing and only reproached Nicholas. For Ash personally, it is not a pleasant experience. His face is fine, but his first impression is not that good.

In addition to that, the man's personality is quite rare. To be honest, it’s not the type of personality that Ash would like. In fact, it is the complete opposite. The man is cold and expressionless. His attitude is a little arrogant. Until now, to appear and ignore him just like that feels very unpleasant to Ash.

For Ash, who never specifically likes or dislikes anyone, this kind of a disagreement in impression is not uncommon.

"If you're uncomfortable with what I said today, you can ignore it. I'm sorry once again, Ash."

"Nick, it’s okay."

Ash replies as he tries to stop Nick from apologizing. It does not feel good to see Nick apologizing over and over again. Forgotten, but the memory is still present. It’s not good to keep a low profile.
Ash Jones was the type of man who will feel the greatest joy if he sees his loved one happy.

Okay... Well then.

"No apologies needed Nick."

Nicholas frowns as he is having a hard time grasping Ash's intention. Ash smiles softly and asks Nicholas.

"If you answer my question, I'll accept your request."

"... Please do so."

Ash stares at Nick for a long time. After feeling like his eyeballs are going to fall from looking at the other man too much, Ash finally opens his mouth.

"If I accept the offer...."

"Yes?"

"Will it make you happy, Nick?"

There is moment of silence. Ash smiles as he continues to sip his coffee. Nicholas, who looks quite troubled for a while, slowly opens his lips.

"Yes, yes it will."

Yes. Ash knows that Nicholas would say that. Nicholas loves Kyle. It is for his lover's brother. The question has been answered. Ash nods lightly. That's it.



"I’m fine with it, Nick."

If it makes Nick happy, Ash would do pretty much anything. ...Good for Nick.

"Well, can you tell me what to do now?"

All along, the pay Ask wants to get for accepting this request is none other than Nick's smile.



-  N O T E S  -

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