The Kiss From Hell - Chapter 2.3
The three amiably went down to the cafeteria together. Heritage College was a prestigious boarding school with a long, prestigious history and consisted of a huge baroque main building, five annexes, and four dormitories for Alphas, Omegas, Male Betas and Female Betas.
Because the dormitories were strictly separated, there was usually a different atmosphere in every dormitory. John was exceptional, he was a Beta using the Alpha Dormitory, which is why most of his friends were Alphas. Dominic and Gregory were also Dominant Alphas of good lineage.
“What are you going to eat today?”
“I’ll take a look around and decide.”
The cafeteria, which looked like a greenhouse with a round glass ceiling, was already crowded with students. The three, who decided to meet near the pillar they always meet at, put their own food on the table.
“Greg, you need to eat something healthy.”
John, who put the tray containing sandwiches and salads on the table, said in a weary voice. It was because Gregory’s plate contained three large slices of pizza, a raspberry tart covered with sugar, and a lot of French fries. It was a diet that was far from healthy, also because of the quantity.
“I spend an overwhelming amount of time working out, so it’s okay.”
Gregory, who took a big bite of pizza, shrugged his shoulders and answered. This time, Dominic made sarcastic remarks.
“No matter how much you eat French fries every day, I don’t think Jiu-Jitsu will stop hyperlipidemia.”
“Haha, where do you think all this strength comes from? I have to eat this. How many bastards do you think can beat me?”
“Well, there comes the bastard who can.”
John and Gregory’s head and Dominic’s chin turned around. Just in time, Valentine was entering the cafeteria.
“Your little brother sure has a presence.”
As Gregory said, Valentine showed off his brilliant presence today. The blonde hair, which shone white in the light, was neatly styled turned back, and his well-defined features were impeccably perfect. His straight posture made him look taller. Unlike John’s sloppy school uniform, the shirt and suit, which were neatly buttoned up and without a single wrinkle, made Valentine have an aristocratic atmosphere.
From the moment Valentine entered the cafeteria, the strange air wasn’t something John imagined. The eyes of Omegas, who discovered Heritage’s top celebrity, were filled with longing.
“Damn it, the Omegas are in heat again.”
John turned to Gregory’s grumbling. Gregory put down his fork and wiped his mouth with a napkin, as if he had lost his appetite.
“What do you mean?”
“It smells like pheromones on purpose. It’s disgusting because it’s all mixed up.”
All John could smell was food, but Dominic and Gregory seemed different. Dominic didn’t sarcastically say Omega as Gregory did, but his expression wasn’t very pleasant either.
It was physically the same space, but pheromones was a world that he didn’t know about. It was just when John bit his lips, Gregory let out a hoarse laugh.
“Oh, looks like Valentine’s Groupie, Julian, is with him.”
Julian Seymour approached Valentine before he knew it. He was the grandson of a Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Murdoch and a Male Dominant Omega. To John, a Beta and straight man, he was just a pretty boy, but he was probably desired by Alphas.
Julian, who is a man but boasts considerable beauty, smiled brightly next to Valentine’s side. John, who was watching them for a moment, quietly lowered his eyes to his plate. He was lost in meaningless thought, poking a mini-carrot with the tip of the fork.
How an Alpha feels when he sees Julian, is probably the same as how I feel when I see a really pretty girl, right? What bothers me is that I can’t look away. And it won’t be much different for Valentine either.
Then… Does Julian look like the person one would want to go on a date with, in Valentine’s eyes?
“Hey, you guys.”
“Do you get excited when you see Julian?”
Out of curiosity, John looked to Gregory and Dominic and asked. Gregory, who is weak to a pretty person, didn’t deny it, but Dominic shook his head with a frown. Not only that, but he also denied it with quite a bitter tone.
“Just because I’m an Alpha, it doesn’t mean I have to fuck every Omega I see. Everyone has their own taste.”
“Uhm… is that so?”
Dominic was the child of a ship conglomerate and a famous actress, a gorgeous-looking man who resembled his mother. Also, he was one of the most popular ones on the campus, if not as much as Valentine, but he could sleep with any Omega if he wanted. Slowly blinking, John scratched his cheek.
“But it’s rare to see a beauty, and Julian does look pretty to me. He’s just a boy.”
“Well, I’m sure I can’t deny that physiological pheromones have a huge impact on my entire life. But…”
“It’s like a spiritual connection… I think it’s more important to have your own charm, taste, and values.”
John and Gregory laughed at Dominic’s words at the same time. Dominic frowned and raised his middle finger, but neither of them cared. John responded with a funny voice.
“That’s what happens when you have My Fair Lady as the best movie.”
“Shut up, John.”
“Right? Such a lovely and rare creature. Saying that he cums while on the bottom would have been more believable.”
“Son of a bitch. By the way, have you finished reading Moral Man and Immoral Society?”
Dominic, full of facial expressions, suddenly brought up his assignment. It was obvious that he wanted to change the topic, and John didn’t ignore that. Although he teased Dominic, in fact, he was strangely proud that an Alpha who thinked like that, was his friend. Even if his private life was pushed aside.
“I’m only halfway through it. I fall asleep every time I open it, so I can’t make any progress.”
“When are you going to finish reading? The deadline is the day after tomorrow.”
John was gloomy from what Gregory said.
“You’re such a lazy bastard. I’ve been reading it for a long time.”
“No way, are you sure you’re done reading that book?”
“John, what kind of rude reaction is that?”
“No… Frankly, it’s a little bit surprising.”
John felt a strange sense of betrayal that even Gregory, whom he believed, read the book thoroughly. This time it was time for John, who became serious for real, to stare at the somberly dismantled salad. Dominic tapped the table to catch John’s attention.
“John, do you want to meet me at the library later in the evening?”
“Why all of a sudden?”
“I made a summary as I was reading, and I can explain it to you if you want. Let’s meet after dinner. What do you think?”
“Really? Thank you.”
“I read Reinhold Niebuhr’s book, too.”
At Dominic’s suggestion, John answered with a face that seemed to say that he was a lifesaver. Their conversation was cut off by the sudden voice coming from behind. Valentine was looking down at them. He closed his eyes softly when he made eye contact with John. And then he spoke in a friendly voice.
“Did you enjoy your lunch, John?”
“Yes, you haven’t eaten yet, right?”
“My class ended a little late, so I’m going to eat now.”
Valentine’s eyes were directed at John. Gregory and Dominic were excluded, as if they were invisible. In fact, Valentine was not close to them, but even so, their facial expressions subtly hardened when they were openly treated as being invisible. John kept his mouth shut when he realized that the atmosphere was somehow awkward. It was then the ice-cold silence felt heavy.
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh, Julian. Hi.”
Behind Valentine’s back, Julian popped his head out. It was really surprising that he spoke first. It was because during all the years John has been at Heritage, he and Julian had only shared eye contact. It was because Julian had always bodyguards, so he never approached him.
“Hi, Gregory, Dominic, and… John.”
Then, when Valentine was in the middle, Julian gave a friendly greeting first. John replied to him with a bitter smile.
“You don’t have to say your name, there’s probably no one on campus who doesn’t know you.”
“Is that so?”
Julian’s face tilted as if he didn’t know that. To John, Julian was definitely beautiful. At least for a Beta like me… When he turned his head, he saw Gregory, whose face turned red at the appearance of the ‘school idol’. Can relate. It was time for John to suppress his smile at his pathetic friend.
“John, you should have told me.”
“I can help you. I don’t have to go to the library today.”
The attention focused on Gregory’s red face was redirected to Valentine again. Valentine was still smiling tenderly, but somehow he seemed more subdued than usual. John, who was about to nod his head in an unguarded moment, responded a bit late.
“Yes, but still…”
“Yeah, we’d better study together anyway. John and I.”
Dominic cut in John’s words. Valentine’s eyes reached Dominic, who had interrupted the conversation. Then Dominic lifted his lips and laughed. It seemed obvious to anyone that Valentine didn’t exactly like him. Valentine, who was looking at Dominic with a poker face, also smiled.
“Well, still… I’m worried about John taking up your time, so it’s more convenient for John to get my help.”
“Isn’t that right, John?”
Apart from the fact that Valentine was the one who refused Dominic’s offer, Dominic’s expression had hardened by the seemingly humble, but determined rejection. Valentine’s gaze on Dominic became a little stronger. Standing next to Valentine, Julian looked at them alternately without hiding the expression on his face.
“…Right. Dominic, I won’t have to owe you anything.”
The creepy atmosphere became more and more burdensome for John. In the end, John, who couldn’t stand the mysterious tension anymore, said with a light voice. In response to John’s answer, Valentine loosened his gaze with satisfaction. Dominic still looked disgruntled but nodded silently.
“Then I’ll be home early today. See you later, John.”
Valentine gently pressed John’s shoulder and bowed his head. Listening to his whispering voice in his ear, John nodded gently.
“Okay, Valentine. Enjoy your lunch.”
After Valentine and Julian disappeared, there was an awkward silence at the table. John brushed back his hair with his hands in an attempt to break the awkward mood. Gregory let out an exaggerated sigh and scratched the tip of his nose.
“I hate to admit it, but Valentine’s is the perfect guy at first glance. He’s handsome and smart, isn’t he?”
“If it weren’t for that damn brother complex.”
“I just can’t get used to it. At other times he surprises me by acting like a child towards you…”
John couldn’t help but embarrassedly smile at Gregory.
Heritage College, unlike its antique appearance, had all facilities. Dormitories were also a place of luxury that was incomparable to other private schools. Among them, the room where Valentine and John stayed, was on the top floor of Dormitory A, which was about the size of a couple of regular dormitories combined.
Valentine and John were sitting side by side on a sofa in the middle of a large room. They were both in casual attire, politely having a conversation about the book. Valentine gave John a detailed explanation, pointing out each chapter one by one.
“The author doesn’t aim to build a completely peaceful and just society; even if it’s an ideal group, it’s virtually impossible to be a perfectly moral entity. In conclusion, such a non-violent society makes sense, with enough force to stop the disaster that can be perpetrated by the human community. Well, does it help?”
“If it helps? You’re the best, Valentine. I feel like I need to grant you a wish.”
John, who was scribbling his notes, said with an emotional face. Valentine smiled lightly and pointed to John’s note with his hand.
“Do you know how to relate it to Graham’s essay? But don’t touch imperialism as much as possible, because it’s so cliché.”
“Right. Oh, it’s like the world has opened in front of me.”
John nodded slowly as he reviewed what he had arranged. Waking up from his seat, Valentine jokingly moved his head side to side and walked to the refrigerator.
“Do you want some water?”
John, who was handed a water bottle, leaned sluggishly on the sofa. After listening to the detailed explanation, he was confident that he could read the book thoroughly. And suddenly a strange face came to his head. Why do I think of Julian now, which I’ve never thought of before?
John raised his head. Valentine’s throat moved as was drinking water. John, who was staring at Valentine without meaning to, was about to say it with a little hesitation.
“Valentine, tell me.”
“I felt like you became close to Julian.”
Valentine nodded his head with an indifferent look on his face. John was embarrassed by the nonchalant response. It was because he felt as if he had become a tactless brother who meddled in his brother’s love life. Maybe that’s why, strangely, the question of ‘being uneasy’, which to Gregory and Dominic was so easy, didn’t come out easily.
John, who was scratching the back of his neck for no reason, felt his cheeks go red and raised his head. Valentine was staring at him with his clear eyes. John, muttered an ‘Ah…’ because of the silence.
“No, I didn’t mean anything. Ah, he’s pretty. I closely looked at him.”
Listening to John’s rambling words, Valentine had laid down the water bottle on his lap. His gaze roamed over John’s face. Valentine, who remained silent for a moment, giggled as if he had heard a funny story.
“No matter how pretty Julian is, he’s a man.”
“He’s an Omega, though.”
“You’re a Beta.”
“I’m just telling you the truth.”
John never wanted to be Alpha. However, for some reason, Valentine’s attitude of saying, “You are a Beta,” as if drawing a line, made John nervous so he didn’t answer that.
Valentine, who murmured following John’s words, stood up. A heavy presence stirred in the air as he raised his back straight. Valentine smiled as he lowered his head.
“Pretty, was it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Did you get hard?”
Valentine’s words took some time to reach John’s head. It was a word he never thought would come out of Valentine’s mouth, who always spoke elegantly with a posh accent. As John gawked, Valentine closed his eyes and smiled.
“Was it too much? I tried to be like kids these days… It doesn’t suit me, does it?”
“Ah… it was surprising.”
John giggled and shook his head. Right, Valentine can’t do that. Unlike most teenagers, he didn’t use any slang or swearing at all.
“So tell me, John.”
Valentine sat on the fluffy rug in front of the sofa. Then he leaned his chin on John’s lap. The blue eyes flickered slowly and scanned John’s face as if searching something.
“How did you feel because Julian was pretty?”
“There’s no way I could have thought of something…”
“Yeah, because you’re straight.”
“Then why did you suddenly get curious about him?”
“Haha… I didn’t just say that on that level, Valentine.”
It was a strange thing. It was Valentine who had to answer the question, but he was the one who answered as if he was being interrogated. When John closed his mouth for some reason, Valentine tightly held his leg as if asking for an answer. The grip on his thigh was strong, and the body temperature that could be felt through the thin pants was hotter than usual. Unable to pinpoint what was different, John unknowingly hardened his expression.
“Well… it doesn’t matter what it is.”
Looking through the bewildered face, Valentine squinted his eyes.
“Tell me first. Okay?”
John’s green eyes were slightly shaken by unknown tension. Valentine, who was persistently staring at John, twisted his lips playfully. White teeth slightly appeared and quickly disappeared.
“If you change your taste, let me know first, because for you, I’m ready to run to a queer event with a rainbow flag.”
“Although Grace can give you an interview.”
I stand for queer Betas.
John burst into laughter at Valentine’s serious expression. At the same time, John’s sense of difference could be felt.
“I don’t know…”
John reached out to grab Valentine’s blonde hair, which looked as sweet as honey wrapped between John’s fingers.
“That’s not why I asked.”
“And I don’t think I’ll ever see Julian that way or anything, but I appreciate your concern.”
Valentine, who was closing his eyes to see if John had a good feeling, raised his head. Soon a big hand reached out and held John’s cheek.
“I’m not joking, John.”
“I can accept everything about you. Whatever it is.”
John smiled wryly at the tickling and embarrassing words, but Valentine didn’t let go of his serious look. Staring at John with a deepening look, Valentine asked back in a lower voice than usual.
“Am I like that to you, too?”
Time passed until John, who suddenly paused in such a heavy atmosphere, nodded his head. Valentine rose with a big smile. Touching John’s cheek while looking up at him, he spoke in a lower voice.
“I’m going to wash up. In the meantime, think about it.”
“Moral man and Immoral society. I don’t think I’ll be able to go through your notes later.”
John, who was embarrassed at the moment, said, “Ah,” belatedly and made a silly sound. His cheeks, which were usually only white, had turned bright red. Valentine, who looked down on John as if it was funny, soon turning around. The bright body disappeared into the bathroom, and soon the sound of pouring water was heard.
What just happen?
John, who was left alone in the room, tried to think about the unfamiliarity he felt, but didn’t succeed.
* * *
Thanks to Valentine’s help, John was able to pass both the debate and the essay without difficulty. Once he understood the big idea, he was able to form a draft and argument quickly.
‘What happened? Did you see the way Schulz looked at you? He was so happy that he couldn’t control himself’
John’s face, who recalled Dominic’s words, looked proud. At the end of the burdensome task, the carefree mind made his steps light. John was just about to go down the stairs humming. The phone he had put in his pocket vibrated. John’s eyes shined when he saw the screen. His finger pressed the call button without thinking twice.
“Grace, what brings you here at this hour?”
-Oh, my. You answered right away. Can I talk to you?
“Sure, I just finished my class.”
Unlike the other strict rules, Heritage College allowed its students to have phones. This was because most of the children in the family could get informed right away if they had minor problems. Grace’s cheerful voice rang in John’s ear.
-It’s a cliché, but how’s your school life? Is everything okay?
“Everything’s fine. By the way, you’re calling me all of a sudden, what’s going on?”
– Ahaha, you sound like I’ve become such a heartless mother. Why can’t I call you?
Ryan and Grace were always busy with their own businesses. Since Valentine and John began their full-fledged boarding life, gathering the family has long become a kind of event. John, who thought he was too insensitive, mumbled as if he was making excuses.
“I didn’t mean that.”
-I know, I know. By the way, what are you guys planning to do this weekend?
Yeah, why don’t you come to Florence if you’re both fine?
“Florence… you mean Italy?”
– I got free time on the weekend because the business meeting ended early. I want to see your faces, excluding Ryan, and get together for a while. What do you think?
Grace was running a global hotel chain and was now in Italy to launch a new boutique hotel. Her suggestion sounded quite pleasant to John. Not only was there no urgent assignment to deal with on the weekend, but he also wanted to see Grace, whom he hadn’t seen for a long time.
“Perfect. I’ll ask Valentine, too.”
-Yes, please tell him and let me know. If you both are available, I’ll get the flight ready right away through my secretary.
“Alright, I’ll call you soon.”
-Ok. Then I will wait patiently.
After finishing the phone call with Grace, John turned to Zone C where he had a law class. He would pass Valentine Grace’s message, along with thanking him for passing Schultz’s assignment safely. There was no hesitation in John’s steps on his way to Valentine’s class because they knew each other’s timetable.
However, Valentine was not in the classroom. Standing by the door with his eyes wide open, John asked a boy who was playing with his phone nearby.
“Maybe Valentine hasn’t come yet?”
“He came earlier, but Julian came and they left.”
As soon as he heard Julian’s name, he felt reflexively troubled, and John unwittingly bit his lower lip. The boy shrugged and added unnecessary words.
“Yeah, they’re kind of in a mood.”
“Ah, I see what you mean. Anyway… Thank you.”
Leaving the class with no good outcome, John trudged along the corridor for the next class. Then he thought about Valentine and Julian. If they started dating, they would look good together. Both internally and externally, they can be good partners for each other.
John’s steps, as he walked down the stairs without much thought, paused. It was because the familiar figure caught his eyes. Numerous students were busily walking on campus, but Valentine and Julian were standing still. However, that wasn’t the only reason why he could find them.
Julian was close to Valentine’s body, standing against the pillar. Julian, with his wavy eyes, whispered something in Valentine’s ear. It was difficult to check Valentine’s face because he was facing the building, but the two were like perfect samples of lovers having a moment.
Julian, who was looking at Valentine’s face as if he was appreciating it, slowly leaned his face closer to Valentine’s. When the tip of Julian’s nose was about to touch Valentine’s,closing the distance between them John turned his head reflexively. And then he moved on from where he had stopped.
For no reason, his ears burned and his heart pounded. It was them who were glued to each other in public, but he felt as if he had got in the way of a secret meeting. What is the reason that my face is getting hot? I didn’t see it, but they probably kissed. In the campus where so many students come and go, how bold.
After John entered the classroom, the afterimages didn’t disappear.
“That, in my eyes he’s still a baby…”
Valentine was a disputed man, an Ultra Alpha, and the one who most Omegas aspired to have. He couldn’t help but have a private life that John didn’t know. His dull self had never thought of such a possibility.
John was a perfect adult physically, but he was still only eighteen when it came to sex. John himself vaguely thought he was heterosexual, but he wasn’t even sure because he had never had romantic feelings for anyone. Recently, John’s concern was that he might lack something in that way.
He never thought it was because of Emily’s way of raising him without a father in his infancy. Even though his friends making fun of the fact of his sympathy was annoying, his calm disposition made him not have a single problem.
“Why on earth did I think Valentine was vaguely similar to me…?”
If Valentine had a lover, John might have felt impatient too. No matter what, he couldn’t deny that he was the one who influenced John the most.
However, in John’s eyes, Valentine also didn’t seem to be interested in love or sex. Valentine’s daily life went on a regular basis, and there seemed to be no room for romance to squeeze in there. His textbook lifestyle was, in a way, ascetic. Valentine, who is thought to be perfect for everyone, also secretly reassured John that he was no different from him.
However, the reality was different, and when he realized the possibility that only he might not have known it, he suddenly felt like he was losing confidence. He got a little nervous for no reason, and his mind became messed up. When he woke up, he felt like he was left alone.
“What on earth is this feeling?”
John blinked slowly because of the vague anxiety he felt for the first time.
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