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    Deep Pivot Episode 42

    Seo-joon emerged into the living room, where Yeon-woo instantly straightened up. His gaze followed Seo-joon’s every move like a dog waiting for its owner, prompting a chuckle.

    “There are a lot of items in the contract. Do you want to sleep first or do it now?”

    Yeon-woo’s wide eyes darted from side to side. Just by looking at his face, Seo-joon knew he had plenty to say, but all he could manage was a simple reply.

    “Let’s do it now.”

    Well, I figured as much. With a resigned sigh, Seo-joon plopped down beside him. It was almost 3 a.m.

    Usually, Cha Yeon-woo would wait for Seo-joon’s opinion first, but this time, he wasn’t willing to concede. He looked like he was afraid Seo-joon would change his mind if they waited until morning. And Seo-joon thought there was some merit to that concern.

    Fatigue, Yeon-woo’s desperate pleas, his tearful face—and that face—probably all influenced this decision more than he’d like to admit.

    “Open the file I sent you.”

    Seo-joon handed Yeon-woo a tablet and pen and then opened the contract file himself.

    “Read each line aloud, carefully.”

    The contract, densely written in small font on A4 pages, stretched across 28 pages.

    There were so many clauses that it seemed excessive, but each had been written in response to real incidents that had occurred.

    Given that guiding involves intimate physical contact, misconduct can easily happen. The most common cases involve Espers assaulting guides, but there are also instances where guides take advantage of their role to assault Espers.

    These legal measures were designed to protect both parties.

    “…All of this?”

    “Want to do it tomorrow instead?”

    “No, let’s do it now.”

    “Then start reading.”

    “Esper-Guide Exclusive Contract. Article 1… Wait, am I reading this alone?”

    “I’m old. My throat hurts, and it’s so late…”

    Seo-joon furrowed his brow and rubbed his neck. Yeon-woo quietly began reading the contract. Whenever a blank space appeared, they diligently filled it in with their names.

    “In this regard, Guide Ji Seo-joon will fulfill Esper Cha Yeon-woo’s requirements…”

    “You made a mistake.”

    Seo-joon, peering over at Yeon-woo’s tablet, tapped the screen with the pen cap.

    “I’m the Esper. Who’s the guide? Cha Yeon-woo, right?”

    “…I got confused because I was reading and writing.”

    “Continue.”

    “I feel like I’m being scolded… Guide Cha Yeon-woo agrees to sincerely fulfill Esper Ji Seo-joon’s requirements.”

    They signed their names together below. By the seventh page, Yeon-woo’s throat started to get hoarse, but Seo-joon continued to flip through the pages without a care.



    Consent Form by Guiding Stage

    – [V] Turning: Holding hands, hugging, skin contact… [More]
    – [V] Over Turn: Kissing, non-penetrative sexual acts… [More]
    – [ ] Pairing: Penetrative intercourse, bodily fluid exchange… [More]
    – ☒ Deep Pivot: Probable orgasm… [More]



    “What are you doing, Yeon-woo? Click ‘More’ and read the detailed information. You can’t skip the most important part.”

    “Sorry…”

    “Should we finish this tomorrow?”

    “No… But the checkbox for the fourth stage seems broken, Lieutenant.”

    Given Yeon-woo’s honest nature, Seo-joon couldn’t tell if he was genuinely curious or trying to be evasive. He glanced at Yeon-woo before explaining.

    “This is an exception. It’s called probabilistic because it doesn’t always happen intentionally. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll orgasm during sex. And orgasms don’t only occur during sex.”

    “…”

    Yeon-woo pressed “More” and earnestly began reading aloud. However, his recitation faltered as he progressed through the pairing stage. Penetrative intercourse, heat transfer through contact, and exchange of bodily fluids.

    “The pairing assessment is based on internal genital contact, following these specific details. ‘A,’ insertion of at least 10% of an individual’s… erect genitalia into the body cavity of another. ‘B,’ insertion of one individual’s erect genitalia into another’s oral cavity… Do we really have to read all of this?”

    “…What was that? I must’ve dozed off.”

    “Lieutenant, you’re teasing me right now.”

    Seo-joon finally burst into laughter.

    “Let’s skip the pairing section. Just fill in the blank with your name.”

    “Thank you.”

    They were only on page 13. Still a long way to go, but Yeon-woo turned the page with a sense of relief, as if he had just overcome a major hurdle. When he reached page 18, Seo-joon took over the reading, insisting that he wasn’t that irresponsible.

    “There’s an unchecked section here. Make sure to confirm everything.”

    While reading, Seo-joon would check Yeon-woo’s tablet and point out anything that was missing.

    “Just so you know, once you submit a contract, you can’t edit it. Any changes require both parties’ agreement and a lawyer’s presence. So double-check everything now.”

    “Ah, in that case… I’d like to change something.”

    “What is it?”

    Leaning over, Seo-joon looked at Yeon-woo’s tablet. Yeon-woo flipped back several pages to the consent form by guiding stage.

    “I want to agree to this. Pairing.”

    He marked the empty checkbox with a “V” and looked at Seo-joon.

    “…”

    Seo-joon narrowed one eye. Is that so?

    “I’m not saying you should agree to it, Lieutenant.”

    Yeon-woo waved his hands vigorously with wide eyes.

    “I’ll always respect your wishes, but if you ever need pairing, I’d like you to know you can try it with me. If I check this box myself, that’s how it works, right?”

    Seo-joon gazed blankly at the new guide who kept leaving him speechless. He hadn’t realized negotiating with a 20-year-old could be this challenging.

    He spoke up.

    “You know that’s extremely disadvantageous for you. If you cross a line with me, it would be assault, but if I do anything to you, it would be okay because you agreed to it here.”

    Does he need this explained to him? Schools should include practical education like this—how to draft contracts, spot exploitative clauses.

    “This contract is primarily designed to protect guides, but why leave such a risky clause? What if I assault you, Yeon-woo?”

    “…That’s why if I agree to this, it won’t be assault.”

    Once again, Seo-joon was rendered speechless. After opening and closing his mouth in astonishment, he finally managed to speak.

    “Wow, Yeon-woo. Seriously… If you ever draft a contract, make sure you have adults with you.”

    “I know exactly what I’m saying. You never know what could happen in this field.”

    This field? Seo-joon chuckled internally. Even if he sounded like a seasoned ten-year veteran, some things just couldn’t be done.

    “I’m saying I want to consent now, so if you ever need it, or if you’re ready for it, you can try pairing without the hassle.”

    Seo-joon glanced at the clock. It was past 4 a.m. He didn’t want to argue with Yeon-woo until sunrise.

    “…Do whatever you want. Just don’t come back later complaining the contract is unfair. I won’t fix it.”

    Without responding, Yeon-woo reinforced the “V” in the checkbox and turned the page. Fine, do as you please. Seo-joon clicked his tongue at his stubbornness. There would be no pairing between them anyway.

    By the time they reached the last page, it was already nearing 5 a.m. Seo-joon placed both tablets side by side on the table. As the final page was turned, a blue handprint appeared.

    He stopped Yeon-woo’s eager hand, turned to meet his gaze, and said,

    “…Once you put your hand here, you’ll become my dedicated guide.”

    “Yes.”

    Yeon-woo nodded obediently.

    “I’ll give you one last chance to back out. Think a little more about what it means to be my dedicated guide.”

    Even if you can’t bring yourself to do it, I’ll understand. I won’t hold it against you.

    There wasn’t even a hint of a smile on Seo-joon’s face. It was the coldest, most intimidating look Yeon-woo had ever seen.

    “But if you choose me, you must promise one thing.”

    “…”

    “You always put yourself first. Not me. Understood?”

    “…Yes.”

    Even after Yeon-woo replied, Seo-joon hesitated for several minutes, making Yeon-woo anxious. But when Seo-joon finally reached out his hand, Yeon-woo realized he wasn’t hesitating but giving him every possible moment to reconsider. The hours spent meticulously reading through the dense contract were all for this purpose.

    “Repeat after me.”

    Their hands touched the tablet.

    “I, Ji Seo-joon, confirm that no coercion was used while drafting this contract.”

    “I, Cha Yeon-woo, confirm that no coercion was used while drafting this contract.”

    After their voices and hands were scanned, a message appeared on the screen.

    <Contract submitted. Registering Ji Seo-joon’s dedicated guide.

    Would you like to delete the previous guide?>

    “Yes.”

    As Yeon-woo watched Seo-joon’s hand move over the tablet, tension stiffened his gaze. Seo-joon then extended that hand toward him.

    “Looking forward to working with you, Cha Yeon-woo.”

    Yeon-woo eagerly clasped his hand.

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