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    Jhi Yeonwoo finally felt the reality of being in a relationship. To Yeonwoo, dating had always been a series of waiting and loneliness. At least, that was how his past relationships had been. The calculated kindness always ended in waiting, and enduring the accompanying loneliness was always Yeonwoo’s burden. Often, his dates would cancel with flimsy excuses, but being young and naive, he believed every word.

    That’s why he had been so quick to decide on marriage right after graduating high school, having been swept away by sweet talk. Personal experiences are hard to erase, and the scars they leave only fade with time but remain as marks. Honestly, when Choi Muhyuk had said he’d handle the dating if Yeonwoo just played along, Yeonwoo had agreed, driven by a momentary emotion. Yet, part of him doubted how different Muhyuk could be. How genuine could an alpha be towards an omega who had lost his pheromones? It was natural for Yeonwoo to interpret Muhyuk’s words through the lens of his past experiences.

    However, as he received more of Muhyuk’s affection, Yeonwoo’s preconceptions began to dissolve. Yeonwoo’s habit of picking at his food, for instance, was met not with scolding but with Muhyuk placing delicious side dishes on his rice. When he felt cold, instead of getting rebuked for being fussy, Muhyuk would cover him with his coat. These gestures made Yeonwoo’s heart race uncontrollably. He didn’t want to believe that such actions were calculated.

    Could this be what dating truly was? Feeling his heart flutter at the sight of someone, experiencing constant kindness and warmth? This was entirely different from Yeonwoo’s understanding of dating. His belief that the romantic relationships shown in dramas were mere fantasies and that reality was more aligned with his past experiences was upended by Muhyuk.

    Sitting at the desk, watching the rain fall outside the dark glass, Yeonwoo noticed a black foreign car pulling up in front of the store. As the driver’s door opened, a familiar figure emerged, unfolding a long umbrella. The man walked towards the store, and through the transparent glass, their eyes met. Reflecting in the neon lights was the face of Choi Muhyuk, looking directly at Yeonwoo, with a gentle smile.

    Yeonwoo couldn’t take his eyes off Muhyuk as he entered the store. He looked different today. Though he wore his usual neat pomade-styled hair and suit, his attire was more formal than usual. Unlike his usual habit of leaving a few shirt buttons open, all buttons were done up today, and his shirt sleeves were adorned with eye-catching cufflinks. They were elegant, made entirely of silver.

    Yeonwoo’s gaze was drawn to the cufflinks on Muhyuk’s wrists, glimmering beautifully, and then to the spotless black shoes, up the wrinkle-free suit pants, and finally to Muhyuk’s broad upper body. His eyes rested on Muhyuk’s face, which, though normally not very expressive, seemed unusually stoic today.

    Had something happened?

    Just as he was thinking this, Muhyuk, still holding Yeonwoo’s gaze, raised an eyebrow.

    “Is there something on my face?”

    Startled, Yeonwoo quickly looked away.

    “No, it’s just… you look different today.”

    Muhyuk glanced over his attire.

    “I had to attend to something.”

    “I must have bothered you.”

    A hint of annoyance flashed in Muhyuk’s eyes, breaking his usual expressionless demeanor.

    “Why would you say that?”

    “I didn’t know you had plans.”

    “It wasn’t anything important.”

    That didn’t make sense. Why would he wear cufflinks to an unimportant event? Yeonwoo could only conclude two things: either Muhyuk had left early from an important meeting, or he hadn’t gone at all. Either way, it was likely because of Yeonwoo.

    “Is there anything left to do?”

    Muhyuk, hands in his pockets, looked at Yeonwoo. Yeonwoo hesitated, about to speak. He hadn’t eaten all day and had been planning to ask if Muhyuk wanted to grab a meal, but seeing Muhyuk’s mood, he decided against it. He didn’t want to be a bother.

    “No, I’m done. Just need to finish up here.”

    Yeonwoo smiled, masking his thoughts, and went to tidy up the last few things.

    As soon as he spoke, Jhi Yeonwoo noticed some decorations that he hadn’t put away yet. How did I miss those? Turning back to the desk, he placed the ribbons and wrapping paper back in their spots.

    Choi Muhyuk, who had approached, leaned against the desk, watching Yeonwoo.

    “It’s the weekend tomorrow. Any plans?”

    “I have to work.”

    “Not taking a break on the weekend?”

    “I don’t really have designated days off.”

    “That’s a bit unfortunate.”


    “When do we get to go on a date then?”

    Yeonwoo, who was finishing up rolling the last of the wrapping paper, turned around. Muhyuk was now standing close, right in front of the desk.

    “Do you want to go on a date with me?”

    “Of course. Who else would I date if not my partner?”

    Muhyuk’s response was matter-of-fact. Yeonwoo, who had been staring at him, slowly smiled. The cold, stiff aura that had surrounded Muhyuk earlier seemed to melt away with just a few words.

    “Is there anything you want to do, Yeonwoo?”

    “I’m not sure. I haven’t really thought about it.”

    “Well, start thinking now. Like movies you want to see, or places you want to travel to.”

    “Traveling won’t be easy. It’s hard to take long breaks because of the shop.”

    “Ah, because of the flowers?”


    Muhyuk looked around the shop.

    “Do you have to come in every day to take care of them?”

    “Not necessarily, but if they’re not tended to daily, they won’t stay in good condition.”

    “That sounds tough. Having a workaholic as a partner.”

    Yeonwoo chuckled softly at Muhyuk’s teasing.

    “In that case, how about we go on dates in the evenings?”

    “In the evenings?”

    “Yes. I close at 8 PM, but if there are no customers, I sometimes close earlier. We could have dinner and maybe watch a late-night movie.”

    Muhyuk, who had been observing Yeonwoo, adjusted his stance and crossed his arms. A slight smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.

    “Why are you looking at me like that?”

    “I’ve never gone on a late-night date like that before, so I’m considering it.”

    “What kind of dates do you usually go on?”

    “Probably just one kind.”

    Yeonwoo’s face suddenly flushed. Before he could stop himself, his mind conjured up vivid, intimate scenes of him and Muhyuk entangled together. Oh my god, what am I thinking? Mortified, Yeonwoo stared at Muhyuk, his eyes wide.

    “Why are you so surprised? I just meant sleeping. As in, sleep.”

    Muhyuk didn’t miss the chance to tease Yeonwoo, who had turned beet red. He was back to his usual self, his playful tone catching Yeonwoo off guard.

    “I wasn’t thinking anything! Really, I wasn’t!”

    Muhyuk clearly enjoyed seeing Yeonwoo flustered, and Yeonwoo felt embarrassed for being so transparent. He turned away, unable to face Muhyuk with his cheeks burning. His heart was pounding too fast for him to calm down.

    “Shall we go? It’s raining, and we should hurry.”

    Determined to change the subject, Yeonwoo reached for the switch. With a click, the lights in the shop went out, leaving the interior illuminated only by the occasional faint glow of passing car headlights.

    It’s dark now, so it should be better. Just as he was about to turn back, he froze, sensing someone close behind him. He could feel Muhyuk’s presence, the warmth of his body nearly touching him.


    He felt a breath on the back of his neck. His body tensed up involuntarily. Muhyuk must have sensed it because his hands moved to gently massage Yeonwoo’s shoulders.

    “You’re tense. Relax. I promised I wouldn’t do anything without your permission, remember?”

    “But… you’re too close.”

    “What’s wrong with being close? I’m not doing anything.”

    “But if we’re this close… We’re right by the street. What if someone sees?”

    “Don’t worry. They can’t see you because I’m blocking the view.”

    Muhyuk’s hands moved from Yeonwoo’s shoulders to his waist, wrapping around him. Oh god, his heart was going to explode. Yeonwoo’s breathing grew more rapid as Muhyuk’s touch made his heart pound louder and louder.

    Choi Muhyuk gently turned Jhi Yeonwoo around by the shoulders. As Yeonwoo slowly faced him, he lifted his head, mesmerized. It would have been better if he couldn’t see anything, but frustratingly, his vision adjusted to the darkness, and everything became clear.

    “Director, let’s hurry up and leave,” Yeonwoo said.

    “Are you just planning to go home?” Muhyuk replied.


    “That’s a bit much. Do you prefer going home over spending time with me?”

    The shop, filled with the intoxicating scent of flowers, seemed to amplify Muhyuk’s low, teasing voice. Yeonwoo nodded, unable to find his voice.

    “Then, how about showing me your place?”

    Yeonwoo’s eyes widened in surprise.


    “Is there a reason we can’t?”

    “It’s not that, it’s just… I didn’t clean, and it’s really late…”

    “Are you embarrassed about the mess, or uncomfortable because of the time?”


    Light filtered through the glass, momentarily brightening Muhyuk’s face. He looked directly at Yeonwoo, a faint smile playing on his lips. His expression seemed to hold a hint of anticipation.

    Yeonwoo felt different, though. He wasn’t entirely against the idea, but something felt off about inviting Muhyuk over now. Even though he had lost his pheromones, his dominant Omega instincts told him this might not be a good idea.

    At that moment, the strong arm around his waist loosened. Yeonwoo couldn’t hide the uncertainty in his eyes.

    “It seems you’re uncomfortable.”

    “I… I didn’t mean…”

    “No need to force yourself. If you’re uncomfortable, we can do it another time. Whenever you feel ready.”

    Muhyuk’s willingness to back off made Yeonwoo feel even heavier. He had wanted to say they could do it next time. Despite losing his pheromones, he was still an Omega, and his irregular heat cycles proved it. After experiencing a failure at a young age, he learned the importance of protecting himself. So, it was right to push Muhyuk away now.

    But when Muhyuk stepped back, Yeonwoo found himself at a loss for words. He was curious about Muhyuk’s expression—was he disappointed, or understanding? Yeonwoo didn’t know Muhyuk well enough to read his feelings just by his voice.

    At that moment, light from outside illuminated the area. Just a bit more and he would have seen Muhyuk’s face, but before that could happen, Muhyuk turned away. Feeling Muhyuk’s touch leave him, Yeonwoo instinctively grabbed his arm.

    “Wait a moment!”

    Muhyuk slowly turned back towards Yeonwoo, half-turned.

    Yeonwoo felt a sense of urgency. He couldn’t let Muhyuk go like this. His grip tightened as if he were holding onto a lifeline.

    His mind changed rapidly. Despite the warnings that an Omega shouldn’t invite a dangerous man like Muhyuk over late at night, seeing Muhyuk turn away crumbled all his resolve.

    “Then…,” Yeonwoo hesitated, biting his lip before looking up with determination.

    “How about a cup of tea before you go?”

    * * *

    “Please come in.”

    As the entrance door opened, the streaming light left a long mark. Before the light beam completely disappeared, Jhi Yeonwoo, who had stepped inside, groped the wall and reached for the switch pad with his fingers. With a beep, bright lighting flooded into the living room.

    “Please excuse the mess.”

    Contrary to Yeonwoo’s words, the house was modest yet neatly arranged. The owner’s taste was evident throughout. Pretty vases and flowers adorned the dining table, sofa table, and display cabinet.

    It made sense for Yeonwoo, who operated a flower shop, to have an affinity for flowers, but seeing Yeonwoo decorate his home with flowers felt strangely fascinating.

    “Take your time looking around. I’ll bring some refreshments,” Yeonwoo said, walking towards the kitchen.

    Seeing Yeonwoo move away, Choi Muhyuk turned his body. There were a total of three rooms. The one in front with a clay mat seemed to be the bathroom, then one might be a dressing room, leaving the other as the bedroom. Except for the area that looked like a bathroom, Muhyuk walked towards the door closest to him.

    “Oh! Just a moment!”

    Just as he was about to open the door, Yeonwoo rushed over and blocked the door with his body, between Muhyuk and the door. With a puzzled expression, Muhyuk looked at Yeonwoo.

    “Is this… the bedroom?”

    Yeonwoo nodded reluctantly, looking embarrassed.

    “So what? People’s bedrooms are all the same.”

    As Muhyuk tried to step around him, Yeonwoo urgently blocked him again.

    “No, it’s not that…”

    Yeonwoo’s desperate attempt to prevent him from entering made Muhyuk even more curious. It seemed there was another reason beyond just being untidy.

    “Could it be that there’s something private you don’t want me to see?”

    “Something private?”

    This time, Yeonwoo blinked with a puzzled expression.

    “For example, adult toys?”

    “Huh? No? I don’t have anything like that!”

    Yeonwoo exclaimed, his voice rising. Muhyuk found Yeonwoo’s exaggerated reactions amusing.

    “What kind of things are you thinking of?”

    “Uh… what?”

    Even stuttering, Yeonwoo’s face turned red with embarrassment.

    “Usually, when people mention adult toys, they think of condoms, right? Why are you so flustered?”

    “I, I was thinking of condoms too!”

    “Are you sure?”


    “I don’t think so.”

    As Yeonwoo’s face flushed with embarrassment, Muhyuk found it amusing. Yeonwoo’s lips moved as if to speak, but no words came out. Then, narrowing his eyes, he asked, “Do you find it fun to tease me, Director?”

    “Did it seem like I was teasing you?”


    Unexpectedly, Yeonwoo’s firm tone left Muhyuk speechless this time. Yeonwoo just looked at him without saying a word. This reaction was also new. Was he angry? The intensity in Yeonwoo’s eyes made Muhyuk wonder.

    “Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t enter the bedroom.”

    The atmosphere took an unintended turn. This wasn’t the reaction Muhyuk had hoped for.

    Yeonwoo tried to move past him, but Muhyuk instinctively grabbed his arm.

    “Yeonwoo, wait a moment…!”

    – Growl.

    That moment. Thunderous noise could be heard from somewhere. Both men froze, their eyes wide open. The sound was coming from Yeonwoo’s stomach.

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