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Chapter 1 (NSFW)
His mother stood smiling, beneath the grapevine trellis in the courtyard, as she beckoned Xia Mian to come over.
“Does this all feel foreign to you? After all, you haven’t been back for eight years.”
It was early summer, and round, plump grapes could be found all over the trellis. Xia Mian tore his gaze away. Upon recovering his senses, he answered his mother, Xu Shen’s words with a faint chuckle. “Yeah, it’s been eight long years.”
Seeing him chuckle made Xu Shen laugh as well. “When I last saw you, I never expected for you to be gone for eight years. I’ve a fair share of friends whose sons and daughters aren’t willing to return once they are out of the country. So I’m extremely happy that you’re not one of them.”
Walking up to her, Xia Mian lovingly threw an arm around his mother’s shoulders and led her into the house. “I’m bound to come home one day.
His parents had separated when he was only in elementary school. The court had granted him to be under his father’s custody and thus, for ten years straight, never once did he meet with his mother.
At the end of his college entrance exam, he contacted his mother of his own accord, hoping that he could spend more quality time with her. Ever since then, for three summer vacations in a row, Xia Mian would always go to spend the night at the manor where his mother stayed in, which was in the outskirts of the city, without fail.
He was later awarded a scholarship to study abroad, so he went there to further his studies and went on to work after that. Just like that, he stayed abroad for eight years.
Often, while being caught between the heavy load of working and studying at the same time, Xia Mian would always be constantly reminded of the summers he had spent by his mother’s side.
He remembered the vine-covered windows, the library filled with rays of sunshine, the cool yet insect-attracting grapevine trellis as well as the open balcony underneath the vast sky full of twinkling stars.
Having been gone for eight years and to return to this place once more, Xia Mian could only recall the little, fragmented memories of those little things. It was as though his summer had a mark on it, some sort of tactile sensation and hearing. As well as a scent that could last an eternity in his memory.
Once they were indoors, Xu Shen asked the housekeeper to take a break while she, herself, brewed a cup of tea for Xia Mian. While bustling about, she fell into idle chatter, “Students always popped by during summer vacations, so that hasn’t changed since. You came back right in time. Not only do we have undergraduate students this year, there’s also a graduate student whom you’ve met long ago. It’s been eight years so I’ve no idea if you still remember him. You two were like great buddies back then.”
Currently, Xu Shen held a teaching position at a fine arts university. Perhaps it was due to her innate Beta tendency that she was born with a gentle personality, holding an immense passion to teach, which caused her to be well-loved by her students.
Every time during the summer holidays, she would always ask a few students who were close to her to stay at her small manor. Whether it was to bring them outside to sketch from nature or to temper their skills indoors. The atmosphere out here was completely harmonious, the environment was safe and comfortable with no accounts of accidents happening. Thus, there was never a time where there would be no students on the premise.
Only three to four students dropped by in the beginning. At times, it would always be the same batch of students for several consecutive years. But as time went on, Xu Shen’s methods finally earned her a good reputation in school as well as in the professional industry, so the number of students who came to visit escalated. As a result, Xu Shen had to hire two housekeepers to clear up enough rooms and beds to receive the students, as well as reduce the time each student could stay.
Xu Shen was not a chatty person, so she did not have much to say to her son who she had not seen in years. Their conversation mostly revolved around her work and her students whenever they met.
“Are they here already?” asked Xia Mian.
“Yes. The weather is great today so they all went out to do their sketches early in the morning.” Shaking her head, Xu Shen handed the cup of steaming tea that she had brewed earlier to Xia Mian. “Do you want to join them? I can give them a call and ask them to send someone back to get you.”
He had already turned thirty yet whenever his mother spoke of him, she would always think of him as a young boy who could never get a playmate.
Although Xia Mian received the hot tea with both hands, it did not feel hot at all when it was pressed against his skin.
He stayed quiet and with no intention to answer immediately, seeming as though as he was thinking of the right words to say. Three seconds later, he slowly and inattentively asked, “The graduate student you mentioned. What’s his name?”
Xia Mian had stayed here for three summers and had seen his fair deal of people who came and went. There was only one person who he could be considered “good friends” with.
Giving it some thought, Xu Shen replied, “His name is Li Li.”
His fingers twitched, gently tapping on the tea cup as if he was lost in his thoughts, trying to recall who “Li Li” was.
As expected, it was him.
The reason why Xia Mian had a deep impression of summer was all because of him.
The reason why he could remember the vine-covered windows, the library filled with rays of sunshine, the cool yet insect-attracting grapevine trellis as well as the open balcony underneath the vast sky full of twinkling stars….was all because of him.
Having stayed here for three summers, Xia Mian was always immersed in Li Li’s bitter and astringent scent that had a sweet aftertaste. Never would he fail to search for every corner hidden from everyone’s eyes, so that they could tangle themselves together and make love.
They would choose a place that was dark, breathing in each other’s pheromones while grinding their cocks together, itching to get on with it.
So strong were the attractions between an Alpha and an Omega. All it needed was a brief touch for Li Li to become wet and slick between his legs. Akin to a female cat in heat, he would unconsciously buck his hips and beg for the deed to be done.
At the start, Li Li was as clueless as a bat; so Xia Mian taught him everything he needed to know, one step at a time. Li Li learnt the ways to pleasure Xia Mian over time. He learnt how to hold back his desires, patiently kissing his lips, neck, chest and waist, doing his utmost best to ignite the flame in the Alpha, before crouching down to take the man’s hardened shaft into his mouth.
After Xia Mian got hard, Li Li would be on his fours before him, sticking up his ass to reveal his wet entrance, begging the Alpha to penetrate him from behind.
The Alpha would enter him in one thrust and Li Li would instantly go limp at that very moment, leaving only enough strength to lift his head to release a faint groan. With every thrust Xia Mian did, his body would shake back and forth.
His hole would tremble and tighten with every thrust, secreting a large volume of slippery sweet juice even when wrapped around Xia Mian’s red, throbbing penis. The fluid would leak out whenever Xia Mian rammed himself back inside and pull himself out, emitting a squelching, watery sound as he did so.
During that moment, Li Li would turn to look back, gazing at Xia Mian with his reddened eyes that were heavily laced with lust, as though he was begging him to deeply pound into him. But his lips were only moving and the only phrase that came out after a long period of uncontrollable shudder, was his grovelling for mercy, “Be ge-gentler, pl-please…I’m begging you…”
Worried about his current state, Xu Shen asked, “Was the journey too tiring for you? You’ve been zoning out a lot. I think it’s best that you don’t force yourself to accompany me here any longer. Go and rest in your room.”
This was Xia Mian’s second time to be brought back into reality by his mother. Even when he tried to behave like usual, Xu Shen would still look at him with a worried look on her face.
Leaning his body slightly forward, Xia Mian sat the hot steaming cup of tea on the table before explaining, “I am feeling a bit weary so I’m going to head up first. I’ll join you for dinner when it’s time—my room is still the same one from before, right?”
“Of course.” Xu Shen said, “My students should be back by dinner time. I’ll be heading out in the evening for a bit so I might miss dinner. They’ll be having their meals in the dining room so if you are available, why don’t you go and chat with them later? But if you’re not, then just ask the maid to send you your dinner.”
Xia Mian nodded and said, “It’s fine. I’m going now.”
Xu Shen stroked his back and replied, “Alright. Go.”
Standing up to his feet, Xia Mian walked up the stairs under his mother’s tender gaze.
As he climbed up the stairs with the support of the wooden handrail, his mind inevitably wandered to the many times Li Li and himself had done it. In that one square meter wide and 1.5 meters high storeroom, tucked under this very staircase.
The space inside was incredibly narrow. Li Li, having nowhere else to go, could only curl into his embrace, keeping his hands and legs to himself, afraid to make a sound. The only place that could move on his entire body was the scorching hot channel through the tight ring of muscles, as if he was a sex doll with the feature to heat himself up.
Xia Mian would push his erection up to the brim, leaving no room for Li Li to flee. Especially when the Alpha climaxed, his knot would bury deep inside his hole. So Li Li would be forced to accept his spent release one wave of spurts at a time, filling him with his cum so deeply that his entire belly would swell up as he wept. He would thrash his legs all over, desperately trying to escape from the captivity he was held in; yet the thing was that he was propped up against the wall with no choice but to only edge away. He could only bite onto the hand that he stuffed into his mouth, crying soundlessly while his cleft tightly squeezed down onto the Alpha’s spurting cock.
“I’ll eat my meds…”
Everytime Xia Mian shot his load deep within him, Li Li would lean his head on Xia Mian’s shoulders, choking back a sob as he whispered softly, “I’ll eat my meds. I won’t get pregnant…”
Afterwards, whenever he saw this word, whenever he heard this word, Xia Mian would always be reminded of the sight of Li Li on the verge of tears as he shrunk into his embrace back in those summers.
Upon returning back to the room he had stayed in back then, Xia Mian quickly took a shower and plopped down onto the bed that the maid had prepared for him. He slept like a log until nightfall.
As soon as he woke up, he opened his bloodshot eyes and looked towards the window. When he saw the clouds in the horizon were dyed with a crimson shade of blood, he surmised that the students who had gone out to do their sketches would have already returned by now.
After changing his clothes, he left his room and went down to the lower level.
“…Do you know what the Hawthorne effect is?”
Someone seemed to be in the middle of discussing something in the dining room, his voice sounded extremely familiar.
“Oh me! Me! I’ve heard about it before!” A female student answered him hastily. “It’s a psychological theory! I heard it from a senior in a club before, but honestly I don’t exactly understand what’s it about…”
“Why are you in such a hurry to answer then, if you have no idea?” Another male student piped in to tease her.
“Hey, that’s not important! At least I know it’s a psychological theory. What do you know?”
After they all had their fills of fun, a person moved the conversation forward, saying, “It’s not really a theory per say, but I feel that it’s quite reasonable so take it however you want—When an individual is aware that they are being observed by others, there will be an alteration of behavior on their end. And that is what we call as the Hawthorne effect. It should be easy to understand now.”
“Oh..I think I get it!”
“I’m a middle school art teacher so whenever I come across an impossible student in class, I won’t usually waste my breath trying to discipline him on what is right. Instead, I’ll personally make him into a class representative or a group leader and particularly emphasize this in front of the whole class, always.
The person laughed and continued explaining in a slow pace, “When his friends begin to pay attention to him and begin to anticipate more from him, he will have no choice but to change without realising it despite the fact that he didn’t want to, in the first place. Then, he will do a great job in the role I’ve assigned him with…”
As he spoke until here, coincidentally someone cried out in surprise when they caught sight of Xia Mian going down the stairs, hence interrupting him.
“Look! Is that Madam Xu’s son?”
“Seems like it. Oh god, his presence is incredible!”
“He’s so cool! How should I address him? Should I call him senior?”
“Word goes around that he’s in the IT field, majoring in software engineering in both his undergraduate and graduate studies, which has nothing to do with our school at all, so how can you call him senior?”
Being some distance apart, Xia Mian could only vaguely hear a couple of keywords so he had no idea what they were heavily discussing about.
The students, about five to six of them, were all circled around the long dining table. The person who was talking about the “hawthorne effect” earlier was shielded by them so Xia Mian did not see him at first.
Giving the young and energetic students a nod from afar, Xia Mian turned around, planning to pour himself a cup of tea in the kitchen as he had originally intended, before returning to his room upstairs.
A chair being pushed sounded from behind him as that person called out at once, stopping Xia Mian in his tracks. “I don’t know if you still remember me but I used to come here before. My name is Li Li. If you’re not busy, won’t you do us the honor of having dinner with us? These students really admire you a lot.”
Looking back, he saw a youth, smiling as he stood up from his chair wearing a pair of thin-framed glasses, his skin fair and uniform. There was even a shallow dimple on the right side of his face. He wore a black turtleneck top, paired with a pair of gray slacks. He settled his hand on the back of the chair, a silver mechanical watch could be seen locked tightly around his wrist.
Refined, elegant and sophisticated.
Xia Mian stared at him, unable to sense even an ounce of familiarity in him.
The Li Li back then, clearly came dressed in an old shirt which was unfit for his size—his lattice top appeared baggy and loose and even his pants were one size bigger than him; the legs of the trousers had to be folded multiple times near his ankles to prevent him from tripping. A cheap pair of canvas sneakers that had been overwashed until it discolored adorned his feet, revealing the edges of the socks of different shades on either sides—one was black while the other was dark brown. He was not sure whether Li Li had forcefully paired them together or he had put on the wrong socks when he left in a hurry.
He would always be slightly slouching regardless of whether he was standing or sitting and afraid to look directly into someone’s eyes. Whenever he spoke, his voice was heavily laced with a local Jiangnan accent. He had a hard time pronouncing words, often causing others to ridicule or laugh at him. After someone had pointed this out, he began to speak slower and slower than ever, talking and talking until his voice faltered midway, forcing the remaining words back down his throat.
A person like him practically screamed “plain and shabby” from head to toe. It was only when his clothes were partly unbuttoned and discarded and when he used his bittersweet pheromones to ensnare men to have sex with him, would his entire body of flaws be polished and glazed by the raging hormones, moulding into an inexplicable sex appeal.
When seen in a better light, what seemed “plain and shabby” was capable to be beautified into something that could be considered as “simple and clean”, which could then be elevated to some sort of “innocence and purity”. And the thought that came next would be the kind that could arouse the most destructive instinct in someone, the instinct to defile something so pure and perfect.
Eight years had passed and never did Xia Mian think nor expect that Li Li would emerge anew, becoming an entirely different person.
He was well-dressed and his posture was upright, capable of holding standard conversations with clear pronunciation of every words he spilled. Not only was he capable of chatting and laughing with ease before his juniors, he could even act natural and unrestrained with a magnanimous expression on his face after seeing Xia Mian who he had lost contact with for eight years.
The bittersweet pheromones trapped in his memories, the gasping and desperate cries of mercy lingering by his ears, the dripping wet sweat and bodily fluids, as well as the hot mess of slick and flesh— could no longer be associated with the Li Li now.
Very quickly, Xia Mian broke free from his memories.
He headed towards the dining room, and greeted Li Li, “Hello”, before turning towards the students, saying, “ All of you can address me as senior.”
The students all obediently called him “senior”. Knowing that he was called over by Li Li, they understandingly gave up the seat next to Li Li, signalling Xia Mian to sit down.
Having no intention to avoid them, Xia Mian sat down.
It was only when they sat next to each other that Xia Mian realised that there were certain parts of the Omega, whom he had been separated for eight years, that remain unchanged. He was still as thin as five years ago, his hair delicate and soft to the touch. His lips appeared to be suffused with a layer of ash gray, perhaps due to the fact that he did not have enough exercise and nutrition. His body appeared unwell.
In that instant, those faint summer memories began to flicker across his mind again, bringing up the sight of Li Li, kneeling in front of him, bobbing his head up and down his shaft.
Li Li would always do his best, taking charge in wrapping his fingers around Xia Mian’s cock to swallow it deeper. The thick and hard shaft would rake the messy and wet walls of his mouth, as he shoved it deeper until it hit the back of his throat.
Bobbing his head up and down the length in a repetitive motion would make Li Li’s lips swollen, accenting them with a layer of debauched blood-like red. Tears would pool in his eyes as he looked up at Xia Mian from an angle submissively with loving infatuation.
“Do you smoke?”
A voice pulled Xia Mian out from his trance.
Li Li had asked.
”No, thank you.“ said Xia Mian in refusal.
They were currently with a bunch of young students in the dining room so it was inconvenient for them to smoke there. He had learnt it from an elder cousin from his father’s side at the age of eighteen, all for the sake of dealing with the said cousin. He was not really addicted to smoking in the first place. so he grew out of the habit in just two years.
Li Li knew that too, since he had once smoked in front of him, deliberately blowing it into his mouth, causing him to choke terribly within an inch of his life as a result.
Li Li laughed softly, his eyes arching as his hand gripped a metal cigarette case. The cigarette box was a snap-in type. He popped open the lid with his finger before closing it again, unceasingly toying with it. “Mister Xia, you smoked before. I don’t know if you still retain that habit but at that time, it was the… Marlboro cigarettes. Like you, I bought a lot. I couldn’t get used to it at first, so I replaced them with a hand rolled cigarette. I picked out the holder and the paper myself, rolling one of them before I took a drag. This entire process amused me to no end, so I began to slowly enjoy it. I thought about the chance of meeting you before I came here. Lost as to what I should prepare as a gift for you, I rolled some cigarettes for you as well as prepared a couple of other gifts. I asked the maid to place them in your bedroom. I’ll give them to you once we’re done with dinner. I hope you like them.”
After he finished, he handed the case to Xia Mian.
The way he referred to him using “you” was polite. His tone incredibly familiar, yet still trying to maintain a distance between them as if it was an idle chatter with a client over a table.
Li Li used to address him politely before too but Xu Shen did not like it one bit. She would always correct him solemnly but so long as he was alone with Xia Mian together, he would still stubbornly refer him as such. The “you” he uttered was laced with a nasally tone as he dragged it out long, sounding as though it was a sweet and unctuous moan—completely different than the distant and courteous form of address Li Li was using now.
Quiet for a while, Xia Mian did not think too deeply into it so he reached out to accept the cigarette case. Since there were no pockets on his clothes, he casually placed it on the table. “Thank you.”
According to what Xia Mian knew, it was better to only roll a cigarette when he wanted a smoke. If he had rolled it out and left it lying around for some time, it would greatly affect the taste of it in his mouth.
Li Li shook his head in response, telling him not to mention it all. He got up to pour a cup of tea for Xia Mian and sank into silence, leaving room for other students to chat with Xia Mian instead.
“Senior Xia, is your company hiring art students?”
“The recruitment plan changes from year to year, but we did recruit them in the previous years. Though it was only in small numbers.”
“If that’s the case, can I apply to your company once I graduate?”
“The IT sector is different from what you imagine. It might be too dry for you. We’re involved in the job fair at each and every university out there; so if you’re interested, you can pay attention to our website as well as the news disseminated from your school.”
“What about a girlfriend? Senior, do you have a girlfriend now?”
“Do you prefer Omegas or Alphas? I’m pretty sure Betas are out of question! I’m certain that a capable Alpha like senior must be looking for another Alpha or Omega of your calibre. I’ve a hunch that these kind of people are the only ones who are suited to be with senior!”
Faced with such a probing question, Xia Mian only smiled politely in return without giving a response.
Unwilling to give up, the students pestered him about it for a long time yet Xia Mian showed no signs of giving in. Although he was quiet, his expression soon turned grim. In order to not annoy Xia Mian further, they quickly changed the subject at the right time, continuing to chat about Xia Mian’s career.
From the start to end, Li Li sat there quietly, sipping the tea that he had picked up when the students were shamelessly inquiring about Xia Mian’s love odyssey, his face hidden in the spiralling mist.
He was too quiet. Too calm.
It made him seem too unfamiliar and too distant.
Although they were sitting next to each other as an Alpha and an Omega, Xia Mian was unable to smell Li Li’s scent.
It was summer at this very moment. Although the outskirts were cooler than elsewhere, the weather had a warmth of about thirty degree celsius. Li Li was wearing a turtleneck top which was more usually worn during spring and autumn, which covered and hid his neck completely from view.
Xia Mian remembered that he had once marked the gland at the back of his neck, leaving behind bitemarks in its place. An Omega’s gland was very sensitive. A light scrape on it would cause Li Li to shrink his neck and turn his face red, uncontrollably releasing a thick scent of pheromones in large waves with the imposing intent of swallowing the Alpha whole, invading Xia Mian bit by bit.
It was precisely because of this that Xia Mian had once wickedly mentioned that Li Li smelled like a bitch in heat.
Now, Xia Mian was unable to even take a whiff of it. This did not make one bit of sense.
What happened to Li Li?
Was it because he took some kind of special medication? Or was there something wrong with his body?
As his gears actively turned in his mind, pondering over the possibilities, he chatted with the students looking no different from before.
He still remembered Li Li. Remembered the moments they tangled their bodies in pleasure. However, he was already thirty years of age and being at that age allowed one to do a lot of things that were considered as an accomplishment. One of it was to let go of the puppy love he had at a young age. Letting Li Li go.
He was not curious.
He told himself. He was not the least curious about the current Li Li at all.
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