DTR - Chapter 1.4 (ENG)


CHAPTER 1 PART 4


It is already six o'clock, but the sun is still bright. It feels like a long summer night in London, even the sun is still shining after 7PM. Despite the calm evening atmosphere, his body is rather stiff. Carlyle loosely adjusts his collar with his fingers. He is uncomfortable, as if he has come to a place that he shouldn't have come to. His neck is stiff.

"Even now....”

It’s not too late. Even now, he can do the things he promised to do. Treatment is also possible with psychological counseling or with drugs. Even if that doesn't work, he can choose to refrain from having sex and take inhibitors instead. This thought makes him regret his decision. Heck, everything is a wrong choice.



To have a relationship with an alpha.

It is ridiculous, unprofessional and risky. This decision is a very far from Carlyle's life values of stability and certainty.

His father, Jonathan, says that great risks come with great rewards. It is Jonathan's belief to take a risk once in a while, whether that is in business or life. But Carlyle is not so fond of the word ‘risk’. Ever since his brother was kidnapped at a very young age, Carlyle becomes disgusted by the things he doesn’t even dare to say and ever since then, he prefers certainty above all else. He prefers to walk in a situation in which he has a control over. Nevertheless, the reason for such a choice is…

“You’re here early.”

Carlyle turns to the voice behind his back. A shadow is casted. His eyes go up a little bit. Staring at the man’s eyes, Carlyle thinks,

Will he remember me?

“You’re here.”

Carlyle replies with a low, dry voice. Carlyle raises his eyes to look at the other man’s face. The black hair that is flipped over and his slanted eyebrows give a very warm and gentle feeling. He is quite a handsome man. Even though he has not met him for a while, his face is still vivid in his memory. A soft face that looks a bit more mature than it was six years ago and looks sweeter than it was a few months ago. Each time they met is no more than five short minutes. Nevertheless, Carlyle remembers the man clearly.

“Mr. Jones.”

Maybe some features of him change, but Ash Jones is not much different than before. His deep yet sweet, and his smile is enough to melt a person’s heart. Carlyle thinks again, on whether or not Ash remembers the New Year Eve six years ago. Whether or not they have met before or, more importantly, whether or not he remembers they have kissed previously.

“Did you wait for long?”

“No.”

His eyes are bent. The blue and grey eyes under his eyelids, folded with perfect curves are somewhat rather peculiar. Whenever Carlyle looks at a piece of art, sculpture or even handsome people, he never feels anything. Only upon seeing his eyes, Carlyle feels inspired. His eyes are of different colors, which catch his attention.

“The breeze is quite cold, so I reserved a place at the patio.”

“Should we go?”

Carlyle nods. The man begins to walk, with Carlyle following behind. The pub is not far from Notting Hill Station. The pub, painted in light turquoise, is bright. The five minute walk is filled with silence from both sides. As the atmosphere tenses, Carlyle adjusts his shirt collar again.

This is the first time that they’ve met after quite a while. In this kind of atmosphere, Carlyle can’t think of a topic to bring up. A difficult meeting partner is a piece of cake for Carlyle. He never feels uncomfortable in business meetings before. However, the feeling of this meeting is quite different than what he is used to. Hence, he feels rather awkward.

Carlyle stops himself from getting too distracted from such thoughts. Subconsciously, Carlyle approaches Ash. He touches his upper body. As he is about to open his mouth in frustration, Ash’s hand wraps around his back. Carlyle’s body tenses as the back of his waist is lightly wrapped around Ash’s arm.

“What are you thinking about, Carlyle?”

He is taken aback by the question. At the same time as his name is called, Ash’s eyes folds as he grins.



His body stiffens a bit. Only the sound of breath manages to escape from his parted lips. He couldn’t say a word, as if his voice is taken away. Ash laughs lowly.

“Can I call you Carlyle?”

The formal shirt he is wearing was thin, thin enough for him to feel the sharp fingers behind his back. His heart races, his pulse increases. Carlyle exhales one more time and slowly replies, “Yes, that’s fine.”

“Then, please call me Ash too.”

When he finishes, Ash releases his hands. As the feeling he has on his waist disappears, Carlyle slowly calms down. Ash points towards their table near the top. The place that he reserved is a patio built in the shape of a garden that is set aside in a pub. Pots of plants fill the garden in many angles.

The wall is amber in color, with the lights gradually fading into the purple sky. The space is far calmer than inside the pub, the two sit facing each other. Ash brushes the menu with his fingertips and gives it over to Carlyle. Carlyle, who pushes the menu away out of habit, stops and looks at Ash.

“Would you like to drink something first?” Ash asks, looking at Carlyle’s face.

With a gentle gaze fixed on his face, Carlyle turns his attention to the menu.

“Yes.”

His tone is, even though strong, still quite warm, which makes Ash quietly laugh at him.

“I’ll have an apple cider first,” he said.

“Okay.”

Carlyle raises his hand and calls the staff. A waitress with a black apron on comes to their seat. The waitress first looks at Carlyle’s face, then glances at Ash as she takes the orders. After asking whether or not they need anything else or tap water, the waitress talks about the weather for a while with Ash and then left. Carlyle’s eyes are fixated on Ash’s face as he is used to talk to people like that.

However this time, it doesn’t felt right.

It feels too different when people do that to Ash. To be put simply, yes, the conversation has a purpose, but it feels different than what he’s used to. Unnecessary social interactions, purposeless exchange of words, cracking small jokes and laughter for others… Ash has the only things that are not present in Carlyle’s world. Again, regret comes into his mind.

Does he really need to know this?

In the meantime, Carlyle remembers something that he has not yet confirmed. He wants to know whether or not Ash remembers him. This useless impulse is one of the main reasons why they are here. He needs to confirm that.

The moment he sees Ash, the moment when he realizes that Ash is still alive, he is quite upset to find him next to Nicholas. He doesn’t know that they’ll meet again after burying him deep inside his memories.

Many of these memories would come into his mind again as he is trying to bury them. About a couple of months since that day, Carlyle often dreams about Ash. He dreamed exactly about the moment they kissed that night.

Ash Jones is the first unexpected accident in Carlyle’s life. It is probably a mark left on his mind. At that time, Carlyle didn’t ask for Ash’s name. It was not exactly a situation to ask for one another’s full names anyways. Besides, at the time, he already knows his nickname.

Yet Ash isn’t able to recall anything upon seeing Carlyle. Carlyle’s expression does not change as he knows this.

But he isn’t sure whether or not he actually remembers it. After intimately hugging him a couple of minutes ago, who knows he might actually recall something. Maybe he is just looking for the right timing to break the news to him. It won’t make sense to mention their past meeting in that situation.

“Carlyle.”

Ash called him as if he notices what is going on in Carlyle’s mind.

“Yes?”

“While we are waiting, shall we have a light discussion on what to do next?”

As he is a businessman, Ash’s voice becomes a bit more serious. Carlyle straightens his back. With the palm of his hands on his knees, Carlyle opens his lips without changing his expressions.

“Sure.”

“I heard that you have a situation.”

The word ‘situation’ concludes Carlyle’s issue in Ash’s mind. Carlyle very slightly nods.

“That’s true.”

“Since I’m quite new to this kind of thing, I’ll just make it clear to you that I don’t guarantee that I can help you.”

“I know.”

Carlyle holds his knees tighter with his hands and then releases it. Ash is smiling, but his voice is still in a serious, businesslike tone.

“First of all, you need to set some rules.”

“For example…?”

“Well…”

Ash slightly bents his lips and smiled.

“To be honest, my first encounter with you was quite uncomfortable.”

Carlyle freezes for a few seconds after hearing those words.

… Seems like he doesn’t remember.



The outcome is that of his expectations. It can’t be helped. It was all six years ago. If it isn’t for those dreams, he wouldn’t have kept it in his mind either. No, it’s a thing of the past that you wouldn’t even dream of if you never meet Ash again. For a man that has more experience than Carlyle… such a kiss would be nothing. His heart sinks. It is nothing from the beginning; it is all because of his dreams.

“But you still thought of accepting the offer.”

“I was about to ask the same question. I don’t think my first impression was so good for you either, Carlyle.” Ash guesses.

“Judging by your facial expression, it seems like you don’t want to see me again.”

The man is straightforward and bold, unlike his soft and gentle appearance. Carlyle listens to his words without changing his expression. The man is half right, half wrong.

He is displeased that Nicholas has a date with another man for his brother and at the same time he is embarrassed that he and Carlyle has had met in the past. It is a ridiculous coincidence.

These two things or facts are mixed, resulting in an unclear feeling. Carlyle doesn’t know how to express it. Carlyle breaks the silence after a few seconds.

“I apologize for that.”

"No, no, I didn’t ask for an apology. It’s just―"

At about the same time, the drinks arrive at the table. The waitress, who seems to be trying to talk to Ash again, backs off after hearing the serious talk between the two men. Carlyle looks straight at Ash.

“I just wanted to say that that’s going to be a bit of a problem considering that we’re going to meet each other a few more times.”

“It won’t be problem.”

“Good. Then, it is Carlyle’s turn now.”

Carlyle hesitates for a while.

“What do you mean?”

“Say what you want and what you don’t want.”

Ash blinks.

“About sex, let’s just talk about it later.”

Carlyle grabs the glass of wine in front of him. Rubbing the neck of the shallow glass, he agonizes. He has no idea about what to say. He’s not used to expressing his disapproval.

Because of the nature of his job, he feels that it is stupid for him to reveal his innermost feelings whenever a deal is being made. All he cares about and all he wants to show are the result of the negotiations. Hence, he feels that that it will be foolish of him to let his personal feelings interfere with the deal. His grandfather tells him many times, ‘Act like a nobleman, Carlyle.’

Showing personal feelings is like revealing one’s weakness to them. Even for those who are involved in private affairs, this is the norm. They all know Carlyle’s background and they want something from him. There is no need to show his true colors to such people.

But Ash Jones doesn’t fall into any of these categories. He doesn’t know anything about Ash. There’s no way that Ash would do anything in the long run. After a long internal struggle, Carlyle finally comes up with one rule. It is a very simple and clear rule. The only rule he has kept throughout his life.

“On our relations…”

Ash looks at him quietly, listening to his words.

“I don’t want any unnecessary feelings to happen,” he says.

There is a brief moment of silence. Ash then grins and fixes his posture.

“Unnecessary feelings…?”

With his fingers slightly knocking on the table, Ash exhales lightly.

“I don’t think you need to worry about that.”

Ash says as he smiles a little.

“But Carlyle, let me just make this clear.”

Ash leans towards Carlyle as he approaches the man and says, “I’m here helping you on Nick’s request only.”

Nicholas’s name is mentioned.

“So you don’t have to worry about unnecessary emotions.”

So it is clear then.

Ash Jones doesn’t remember that encounter.

Ash Jones agrees to this request only for that sole reason.

“I can’t like someone like you.”

It seems like Ash Jones is still in love with Nicholas White after all.

Carlyle is silent after knowing the man’s reason.

For Ash, Carlyle is just a jammer with a bad first impression and a brother to Kyle Frost, whom he competes with for Nicholas White. For Ash Jones, the existence of Carlyle Frost doesn’t mean anything. The man just accepts the ridiculous request for the love of his life.

The wave of excitement falters inside. The calm feeling subsides. What he comes here to check, what stupid expectations he has, and he couldn’t help himself. He feels as if he has made a perfect mistake. He feels as if he strips naked of his weaknesses and wrongdoings. But despite all this agitation, Carlyle’s expression remains unchanged. Do not show those feelings. Don’t reveal those emotions.

“I’m relieved you said so.”

Breaking the long silence, Carlyle picks up his glass of wine. His cold eyes are emotionless. Ash calmly looks at Carlyle, trying to understand his expressions.

“Is that so?”

“Yes. It is better to clarify some things.”

Ash is silent. Rubbing a pint of cider with a look of concern, he apologizes to Carlyle as he sighs.

“I’m sorry, Carlyle.”

“What are you apologizing for?”

“What I said just now sounds rude. I’m sorry.”

He somewhat doesn’t get what Ash means. Unable to swallow the red liquid in the glass that is on his lips, Carlyle’s eyes look down. It is as if his attitude today shifts back and forth, this time switching back to when they first met.



“Did I not upset you first, Mr. Jones? That’s fine.”

“No, I feel like I’m immature.”

As he finished talking, Ash asks for the menu. His smiled melts the tense atmosphere.

“I have never seen someone with your personality and type around me before.”

It doesn’t sound good.

“It is not necessarily bad either.”

Carlyle says as he puts down the glass of wine, without swallowing it.

“I think there’s another way of expressing it.”

“You don’t have to.”

That’s what it is. Ash smiles and puts the menu in front of Carlyle. His fingers stop right in front of Carlyle. Carlyle looks at Ash’s fingers. They are neat, long and beautiful. They are round at the ends and have a pinkish tint to it.

“Please tell me if you are offended by my actions.”

This can’t be done― Carlyle thinks. Do I hate this man?

But he doesn’t.

He doesn’t want to leave.

Carlyle defines his feelings in this manner: Ash still has feelings for Nicholas White. Then for Kyle, for his brother, it is necessary to keep the man under his watch. Now, don’t get Kyle all involved in this trouble, he is happily living his life right now.

“No.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

There’s no room for anyone else to step between Kyle and Nicholas, but it is better to keep the risks under surveillance. That’s all.

“Well, Mr. Jones, if you’re uncomfortable with my behavior…”

“I’m okay with it.”

Carlyle loses all hope. Ash smiles.

“Then, have we made it clear that we don’t like each other romantically?”

“As it is all okay, we can order meals.”

Carlyle looks down on the menu carefully.

As they are ordering the food, Carlyle receives a call from Qatar. Ash understands his gesture and lets him take the call. He thinks that he would do something else, but he can’t seem to concentrate in anything other than hearing Carlyle’s voice. After a while, Carlyle finishes the call.

“… It must have been quite boring, huh.”

“No, it’s rather sexy so I find it quite pleasant actually.”

Ash says as he lightly shrugs his shoulders. Ash passes the cutlery to Carlyle.

As he hears the word sexy, Carlyle couldn’t keep his face straight. He then smiles sweetly.

Immediately, he proceeds to pretend that he doesn’t hear it. He knows how popular his appearance is, anyways. Besides, a flawless appearance is good for business.

“Did you just hear something like this for the first time?”

Ash asks in a surprised tone, as his eyes squint. His hand that is passing the fork across the table stops just before Carlyle’s hand on the table. His body is frozen that way.

“Not really.”

“I guess you have heard that a lot before.”

Giving out compliments. It is the basic act of socializing, giving back favorable comments to each other. However, it is very unusual in a meeting like this for someone to compliment each other’s appearance or sexual appeal.

“… Yours is too, Mr. Jones.”

“Thank you.”

Ash’s mouth bent smoothly as a smile appears.

“Do you want me to cut it for you?”

Ash asks, looking at the plate of steak in front of Carlyle. Carlyle refuses flatly.

“I can do it myself.”

“Just tell me if you changed your mind, Carlyle.”

Carlyle moves his hands. He grabs the fork and knife. He then moves his knife elegantly, cutting the steak skillfully. The meat is cut smoothly. Ash curiously looks at Carlyle, and after a while, changes the topic.

“Let’s get back to our initial topic.”

They are back to talking about the purpose they are meeting today. Carlyle agrees.

“First of all, give me two months to think about it.”

“How many times do you think we should meet? And when?”

“As both of us are busy, so I think it is better for us to meet during the weekend.”

“That will do.”



They quietly chew and swallow the food. The legs under the table moved Ash’s shoe touches the tip of Carlyle’s shoe. Carlyle pauses.

“If anything urgent comes up, I’ll let you know 2 hours prior.”

“I will let you know the day before.”

“Only if you are comfortable with it, though.”

Their shoes repeatedly brush with each other. Even though their flesh doesn’t touch, there is a strange feeling. Carlyle eventually puts his fork down. He doesn’t have any appetite. Instead, he feels as if something is clumped up inside him.

“Then… Do you think 8 times would be okay?”

“Yes, if nothing change… I’ll just look for someone else.”

Ash puts down his fork. His salmon dish is still half finished. Their eyes meet. Ash’s eyes are darker and deeper than before.

“Ah, I have one more question to ask.”

“… Okay.”

This time, their ankles, which were just slightly exposed under their pants, touch. It feels strange.

“Do you dislike being touched by anyone?”

Ash’s hand stops in front of Carlyle’s finger. Their fingertips brush with each other very lightly. Ash’s hand continues to move nearer and nearer towards Carlyle’s.

“… Not really.”

“Are you saying that it is okay to hold it?”

Silence falls. Ash’s fingers climb over Carlyle’s.  Carlyle’s hands become weak, tingling sensations spread across his fingers. Soon, Ash’s hands are on the back of Carlyle’s hand. He breathes out softly as if it is slightly overlaid.

“That’s good then.”

That isn’t the end. As their ankles are touching, Ash entangles his ankles with Carlyle’s. Even though not much strength is put into it, Carlyle does feel his ankles are being pulled.

“From now on, I will continue to touch you like this.”

Ash’s fingers rub the back of the pale, white, veiny hands. It feels as if an ant is crawling on Carlyle’s hand. The tingling sensation is spread slowly over his wrists, arms and eventually, his entire body.

“I don’t really feel like letting you go anytime soon…”

He keeps on touching it.

Ash tickles his hand and grabbed Carlyle’s wrist. His thumb presses lightly over Carlyle’s wrist. He breathes calmly.

“That’s how you know it.”

As he finishes talking, he lets go of Carlyle’s wrist. Ash corrects his posture. Their ankles are entangled, making him feel quite embarrassed. As soon as he lets go of Carlyle’s wrist, Ash picks up Carlyle’s fork and holds it in his hand. He passes it over to Carlyle as he gently wraps his hands. It is a different kind of contact than before. Carlyle could feel his cheeks warming up and his heart beating faster than before.

“If I like someone, I won’t sleep with them right away.”

The hand that is being held is getting hotter and hotter.

“I won’t have sex until l feel like it.”

Carlyle wants to look at a mirror so bad. He really has no idea what he looks like right now. Carlyle raises his hand and tries to hold back from the urge to groan, barely holding on to his usual calm composure. He then asks something.



“If it’s like that… then what should I say?”

Ash raises his eyebrows and replies in a friendly manner, “No.” His hand releases Carlyle’s.

“You don’t need to talk.”

Even though his hands are no longer in Ash’s grasp, Carlyle still feels as if he is trapped by Ash. It doesn’t make sense. Carlyle, who couldn’t move an inch, glances at Ash again. To his blue eye, then to his grey eye which resembles Carlyle’s own eyes. His gaze is mixed up.

“I know.”

The low voice sounds terribly sexy.



-  N O T E S  -

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