Fuse couldn’t believe he was sitting in the back of a chauffeured BMW, cooling down in the crimson-red leather seat next to Karn. Not long after they’d entered an alleyway near the hotel, the vehicle had pulled up for them. It was insane to think that he was close to death less than thirty minutes ago. He sucked in deep breaths and tried to calm the adrenaline still surging through his veins.

Karn opened the mini cooler between them on the seat and dug out a bottle. 

“Champagne?” He smiled as he casually filled a flute, the sparkly bubbles nearly spilling over the rim.

Fuse cocked a judging brow. Alcohol was for partying. After a near-death experience, drinking was the last thing on his mind.  

“How can you drink right now?” He snapped.

Karn gazed fondly at his beverage. “Simple, I put my lips to the rim, tip and swallow.” He licked his bottom lip, presumably, at the reminder of the citrusy taste. 

“I know how to drink.” Fuse rolled his eyes and glanced at Karn’s white shirt covering his broad chest. “I mean, you were almost killed back there.”

Karn threw him a sexy smile. “All the more reason to drink.”

Digging into the cooler once more, he handed Fuse a bottle of fancy French mineral water. As Fuse snatched the bottle, Karn feathered his fingertips over the back of his hand, taking away his breath from the light touch. 

Why am I trembling? Fuse took the bottle and withdrew quickly, breaking the contact.  

As much as he hated Karn, the rawness burning his throat at the brief touch felt like it was in an inferno. He twisted the cap off and downed the entire bottle in one large gulp. This water was unlike any he’d drunk before, the texture so silky and the taste fresh. It was like drinking liquid velvet. 

Humming cheerfully, Karn drained half his glass. “Well, that was fun.”

Fuse sensed a grim irony in his tone.

“Fun? I had a gun pointed at my head,” Fuse reminded him, gritting his teeth as he spat out the words. His heart thumped at the thought.

“At least there isn’t a bullet in that cute head of yours.” Karn reached out to ruffle his hair. 

He dodged the contact. “I almost died!” It was amazing how nonchalant Karn was about the situation. So careless, frivolous even. 

“Welcome to life. It’s a constant flee from death.” 

“Typical,” Fuse muttered, shaking his head in disgust while tapping his toe against the back of the passenger’s chair.  

Karn sipped the remains of his drink. At Fuse’s remark, he shot him a curious expression. “And by ‘typical’, you mean?”

“It’s typical for someone rich like you to just take life for granted. You do whatever you want because you think you’re invincible. And life only ever gives you a slap on the wrist at most.”

 Before he managed to check himself, the words were out. He couldn’t help lashing out at an arrogant, rich boy without fearing the consequences. However, unlike those other wealthy assholes he’d encountered, Karn hopefully wasn’t going to run back crying to his daddy about how his feelings got hurt. 

Though Karn kept his smile, it didn’t hide the slight pop of his jaw. “Jealousy isn’t a pretty color on you.”

“Yes, I’m so jealous that you get shot at by random thugs.” Fuse scoffed, feeling contempt edged his gaze. “What a life you must live!”  

Rich boys never knew what it was like to really struggle. Their fathers handed them everything on a silver platter. If there was ever an issue, money was there to make their problems disappear. 

From the rear-view mirror, the driver glanced at the bickering duo. Karn gave him a knowing smirk.

“Does he have to listen in on our conversation?” Fuse snarled. Karn might not go running to Daddy, but the employees were different.

It had happened before, instances when Fuse was spending time with these rich sons of powerful men and did or said something that was relayed to the boss by their employees. That was at the beginning, when Fuse hadn’t learned to keep his mouth shut and retaliated to those bastards’ snide comments. Now, the last thing Fuse needed was for Karn’s driver to relay any part of this conversation to his boss. 

Quirking an eyebrow, Karn pushed a button, raising a tinted, thick barrier between the front and back. “He’s no one of importance.”

Fuse watched as Karn leaned back comfortably, his leg against the mysterious bag. That damn money was the root to this entire shitshow, yet he still didn’t know what it was for.

“What’re you doing with all that cash anyway?” Fuse kicked the bag, wishing it were Karn’s thick head. Despite the considerable force of his blow, the bag didn’t budge.

“I already told you. I’m going to Pattaya for some ‘fun’,” Karn said, scooting the bag away from Fuse with his heel. Looking straight at Fuse, he unbuttoned the first three buttons of his shirt, revealing firm, pale flesh beaded with sweat. 

“And you already said that you weren’t serious about that,” Fuse pointed out. 

“Well, now that I’ve got you, I don’t need to go.” Karn winked.

This fucking guy. “You don’t have me,” Fuse corrected sternly. 

“Our kiss says otherwise,” Karn said, shamelessly eyeing Fuse’s mouth.  

Heat rose in Fuse’s face, stinging the tips of his ears. That uncomfortable memory was going to be wiped out of his brain as quickly as possible. There were too many unexpected sensations he hadn’t wanted to feel. 

But that didn’t mean he was attracted to Karn. It was a perfectly normal reaction. Gay or straight, love or hate, kissing felt good. So Fuse had nothing to worry about. If he was attracted to Karn, he would’ve been craving for more. He would’ve ground against Karn and indulged in their heavy friction. 

Fuse crushed the plastic bottle, crackling it in his lap. “Contrary to what your ego would have you believe, not everyone is enamored by you.” What did his dad see in this prick? Sure, he was charming and cool, but he was also really arrogant.

Staring at Karn, he noticed how the golden sunbeams bounced across the pale boy’s strong cheekbones. Yep, I still hate you. 

“You really love being a prick,” Fuse spat out the response before turning to look out the window.

“If the shoe fits.” Karn toasted him..

“Shove it up your ass.”

“Kinky,” Karn said, briefly looking away, as if considering the idea. “But I’ll pass.” He grinned and winked.

This was all a game for him, playing with words and scoring hits.  

Fuse wanted answers. “Are you going to explain what the hell happened back there?”

“We got into a dispute over money that ended with a gun pointed at us.” Setting his glass down, he poured another bottle. “That about sums it up.”

“Who’s P’Taksin?” A hair-raising image of the cold man with snake-like eyes flashed in his mind. It had occurred to Fuse that it might be best to separate himself as much as he could from this situation, considering he interfered with an attempted theft. But his involvement was already this far, and he needed to know if Taksin was the kind of person to go after him or his family.

“No one you want to know,” Karn said, pressing the rim of the glass to his lips before he tipped back a few gulps.  

“That much I gathered.” It wasn’t every day that someone threatened to cut off his dick...thankfully.

“Then why bother asking?” He chewed his inner cheek and set his glass aside.

Fuse huffed, taut fists curling against the seat. “To get some answers!” Anyone would’ve wanted to know the reason they almost died.

Karn pursed his lips but remained mute. The man that up until now seemed to want to have the last word in everything wasn’t saying shit. Taksin must be even worse than Fuse thought. Well, the joke was on Karn. Taksin was gâai mǔuean bpàawk glûuai khâo bpàak, easy as pie compared to the abuse his father put him through on a regular basis. 

Impatience filled Fuse’s head while he stared at Karn’s infuriating, blank expression. Just one word, one sentence, anything to put his mind at ease. That was all Fuse wanted.

“So? Who is he? Why was he chasing you?”

“He wanted to steal your sexy self away from me.” Karn winked, smiling cockily to reveal rows of pristine, white teeth.

“It looked like he wanted to steal your sexy money, not me.” Fuse said, edging towards the brink of an explosion over such a ridiculous excuse. 

“You’re more valuable than paper.” Karn tilted back his head to drink, showing off his neck as he swallowed, and finished with a satisfied, “Ah.”

“Then why was he about to kill me?” Fuse crossed his arms over his chest, resisting the urge to knock the glass out of his hand. 

“Ignorance is bliss.”

“Bliss is overrated.”

The corners of Karn’s eyes tapered. “Not in this case.” 

“Yes, in this case. In this bag actually.”


The commanding tone halted Fuse’s breath, the sternness of his name stunning him.

“I don’t want you getting involved in this so leave it.”

Fuse shifted his gaze to the window, focusing on the tall buildings outside. Though he’d never admit it, he’d grown sensitive to people raising their voices at him, especially when it was to scold him. Digging his nails into his palms, he blinked back the moisture in his eyes. The car was far too dusty. And almost being killed and being yelled at for asking about it was a special enough circumstance to warrant an emotional overload as well.

Suddenly Fuse felt something like fingertips brushing through his hair, but when he glanced back, he only saw Karn’s hand lowering into his lap.

What did he mean by not wanting him to get involved? No way was Karn implying he cared about him. There must be another reason. Perhaps Fuse’s interference got in the way of something much larger than he understood. 

“You were quite impressive back there,” Karn smoothly changed the topic after the silence stretched a beat longer. “Where did you learn to fight like that?”

Fuse blinked, taken aback by the compliment. No one had ever asked about his skills, let alone praised them.

 “I’ve trained in martial arts almost my whole life,” he said lightly. “I’ve got enough bruises to show for it.” What he failed to mention was that many of the bruises were his father’s ‘corrections’ during training.  

Fuse was proud of his knack for combat, but hearing it out loud was foreign to him. During plenty of martial arts matches, he’d overheard praises from his opponents’ coaches. He wasn’t reminded of his value enough. Or, well, ever.

“Your kicks spoke for themselves.”

“What did they say?” 

“Fuck with me, and I’ll kick you into the next century,” Karn said bluntly. 

Fuse chuckled. He’s definitely impressed!

As they passed more buildings, Fuse failed to recognize any of them, or the street names. Wait—he hadn’t even told Karn where he lived. They could well be driving to a remote cabin to hold him hostage. And Fuse was just a sitting duck.

“Where’re we going?” Fuse frowned.

“I have to make a special stop.”

“Oh, no.” Fuse turned back sharply, heart pounding as he firmly gripped the edge of his seat. “You’re taking me home, now. I’m not getting involved in any more of your shit.”

“It’ll be quick,” Karn assured, waving his hand dismissively. 

“It takes less than a second for a bullet.” Horrible scenarios ran in Fuse’s mind, all of which ended up with him dead. There were only so many near-deaths a person could handle in one night. 

Throwing out a charming smile, Karn let out a short laugh. “I don’t get into shootouts in all of my excursions, you know.”

Familiar hammering filled his ears. Fuse struck the cupholder, champagne splattering out of the shaken glass. “Turn this car around right now and fucking take me home!”

Karn’s grin took over half his face. Paying no mind, he pulled a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and dabbed the alcohol on his expensive jacket. “What makes you think you have any authority to make demands?” 

“I’m fucking serious, Karn. I’d like to return home in one piece!” An uninjured piece.

“Then stay here.”

Leaning over, Karn stuffed the damp cloth in Fuse’s pants’ pocket, his hand dangerously close to his crotch. Fuse jolted and grabbed his hand, trying to force him to take the handkerchief back. But Karn had already relinquished that piece of cloth. Fuse was about to try to retrieve it when the car came to a sudden halt.

They were parked in front of an inconspicuous building with heavily tinted windows. From the looks of it, the windows were bulletproof. Somehow the idea of waiting in the car made Fuse feel like he had a laser sight painting his forehead a nice, easy-to-spot red. While the car felt safer, it also carried risk. An enemy could easily take out Karn’s driver and drive off, keeping Fuse as a hostage. Outside at least offered mobility and a chance to escape. 

After exiting the car, Fuse eyed the length of the street. No cabs or recognizable street names were in sight. Much to his dismay, he was going to have to stick with Karn.

Fuse followed the other man towards the building. They approached a numbered panel next to the front doors. Duffle bag in hand, Karn clicked in a code. Out of habit, Fuse scanned the exterior. In the corner, a security camera stared straight at them. 


The front door unlocking and opening with a faint hydraulic hiss grabbed his attention. This was some next-level spy movie shit.  

A reception desk was located at the back of the room. Two tall men in high-end suits stood behind the desk.

Around the room were armed men dressed in the kind of attire that screamed ‘mafia enforcer’. They all had poker faces and flinty stares as they kept their gazes locked on Fuse. An unsettling tingle pinched his shoulders at the feeling of all those dark eyes on him. Karn had to be involved in some shady shit to be somewhere that needed all these guards.

“Sawasdee khrub, Khun Karn. How may we be of service to you?” One of the men at the desk spoke as they approached.

           “Sawasdee khrub, Chati. I need to make a special deposit,” Karn placed a well-manicured hand on the desk. 

Such big hands.

The receptionist nodded at Karn’s request.“As you wish, Khun.” He disappeared into a room in the back and returned with a key. 

“Thank you,” Karn said as he took the silver key.

Fuse tailed behind Karn as he began walking down a long hallway. 

“Who was that?” Fuse overheard the younger man behind the desk ask.

“Karn Tamisonan. You better remember his name,” Chati replied. 

Tamisonan? As in the Tamisonan mafia family? 

Fuse froze in realization. The money, the fancy car, the bad guy fights, those actual mafia enforcers back there. It all made sense now. 

He’s a fucking chao pho, a mafia son. 

His pulse pounded in his ears, fear and rage feeding the demanding urge to punch something. At that moment, his focus narrowed in on Karn.  

Never would Fuse have guessed that his father had gotten involved in hiring out his bodyguards to a mafia family. What was even worse was that his father idolised some mafia boss’ son. There was nothing romantic or appealing about this line of work. It was just goddamn, fucking dangerous.

I need to get the fuck out of here.

Karn turned back, seeming to just notice Fuse had stopped dead in the middle of the hallway. “Did you forget how to use your legs?” he asked.

Snapping back to focus, Fuse stiffly caught up to him. This was so surreal. There needed to be a tutorial on how to walk beside a mafia member without pissing oneself. Though he’d encountered many wealthy men, none were related to the criminal underworld. 

From the little time they’d spent together, Fuse was fitting the pieces of Karn’s character into place. Conspicuous money, nonchalance towards death, and now a member of the chao po? The mafia part alone produced a list full of possibilities that made Karn a very dangerous man to know. 

            Needless to say, Fuse was shitting himself at the thought of how deep of a hole he’d dug from all the things he’d said back in the car. I told a fucking mafia member to ‘shove it up your ass!’

“Why’re you acting so weird? Afraid I’m going to kill you?” Karn joked, side-eyeing him as he headed towards the end of the hall.

“If you wanted me dead, you would’ve left me at the hotel,” Fuse said hesitantly. As he eyed the area, he saw there were no armed guards in sight. Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary.

“Unless I wanted to do it myself,” Karn proposed in a silky smooth voice.

At a loss of breath and thought, Fuse tugged at his collar, then clenched his fists, ready to punch Karn’s far-too-handsome face. 

The other man’s full lips turned into a smirk as he moved closer. His warm breath tickled the tip of Fuse’s nose, filling his lungs with that delicious minty scent. Slowly, Karn leaned into the crook of his neck and sniffed, his eyes shut, and then he tilted his head back, swallowing thickly. Soft shivers traced Fuse’s skin. His eyelashes fluttered, confused by the tight excitement in the pit of his stomach. 

“I love your scent,” Karn whispered, his tone smooth like warm milk. Was it possible to taste someone’s voice? If so, Fuse wanted to try it.

“I’m not wearing cologne.” 

“I know.”

Fuse’s brain turned useless. He’d forgotten why he was pissed, too swept up by the heat trickling through his body. How could someone this attractive like the way he smelled? His lips were so close, the ghost of his kiss freshly imprinted against Fuse’s lips. 

“Are you going to let go of me or...?”

Fuck, how long have I been clutching him?

Releasing the crisp, linen fabric, Fuse shoved him and his relentless torment away.  

“Stop playing around,” he said shortly. There was no way he was going to sit back and allow this jerk to whip him around like a boy toying with his favorite racecar in the sandbox.  

“Who said I’m playing around?” 

“You!” Fuse scoffed, bothered by his calm statement. “Pretending you like how I smell.”

“I do.” Karn shrugged as though he was being as plain as spreading butter on toast. “You smell musky but with a hint of…” His tongue rolled over his bottom lip. “Honey.” 

“You’re serious?”

“As serious as the gun pointed at you earlier,” Karn’s tone held an edge that made him swallow thickly. 

“Don’t bring that up,” Fuse said hotly.

Karn eyed him. “Which ‘that’ are you referring to? The part where I said I love your smell, where I kissed you or the part wh—” 

“None of it! Don’t tell anyone anything about what happened tonight. You got that? Not even your little entourage.” He was talking about Karn’s group of friends, infamous for gossiping about anything interesting on campus. The last thing he needed was more involvement with Karn. 

The other man jerked back as though he’d been struck, before he spoke, “Trust me,” Karn sneered. “You’re not nearly as interesting as you think you are.”

What’s that supposed to mean? 

As much as Fuse wanted to ask, it might’ve led to more awkward questions or outrageous statements by Karn, and he needed to put a stop to all of it now. He shook his head, biting back his disdain. “Just hurry up.”

“Wait here,” Karn instructed. And for once, Fuse listened.




Fuse wanted to forget everything about the day as he prepared for bed that night. After a good night’s sleep, he hoped that he’d wake up believing everything was simply a graphic nightmare. But the memories were still vivid. The feeling of dislocating a man’s shoulder still tingled in his arms and hands, the crack of bone popping from its joint ringing clearly in his ears. Yes—yesterday definitely happened. 

That kiss also definitely happened. As much as he wanted the memory to vanish, it’d pop into his head throughout the evening and before he’d gone to sleep. The worst part was how his heart pounded and his lips stung as though recalling the moment Karn’s mouth had possessed  his. 

The culprit of these symptoms was obvious. That was his first kiss. Anyone would’ve been mulling over their first kiss. And although it had been with someone he despised, the situation was really no different. 

This craving was all as a result of unfamiliarity. He never knew how much he wanted it until he experienced it first hand. But it didn’t mean he had this intense response because it was Karn. It was merely the unique and new sensation of being kissed.

Next morning his sore legs helped take his mind off those intimate moments with Karn and kindly reminded him of the scarier moments yesterday, as he dragged his heavy feet around the campus. The sky was a fierce blue under a burning sun with puffy, marshmallow clouds hinting at rain later on.

“Hey, Short Fuse!” Ake, Fuse’s best friend of ten years, greeted him, swinging a muscular arm over his shoulder.

‘Short Fuse’ was Ake’s oh-so-witty nickname for Fuse. Just because he had a slightly hair-trigger temper. Had it been anyone else who’d called him that, he would’ve knocked out a row of teeth. But it was Ake. Ake could get away with pretty much anything.  

Fuse winced at the added weight jabbing knives into his calves. Eyes half lidded, he adjusted the backpack strap on his shoulder.

“What’s with the long face? I should be giving you that look after ditching me,” Ake teased, poking his finger at Fuse’s chest.

He frowned. Ditching? 

Fuck. Ake’s concert was yesterday. It wasn’t his first gig, but Ake had been excitedly talking about his set all week. His one-man-band consisted of relaxed, acoustic guitar at chill bars, nothing too fancy.   

Guilt wrenched at his stomach. “I’m sorry, man. I got caught up at work.”  Ugh—a lie. He hated lying, but it was better than telling the truth.

Ake grinned his signature carefree smile. “Your dad makes you work too much. When’s he going to let you take a break?”

Fuse laughed, salt in his humor. “There’s only one version of break in his vocabulary, and it’s not about relaxing.”

“Well, you missed a great show. N’Tao was there. He was with some buddies, but still, he was there,” Ake said, words running a kilometre a minute. “He was wearing that tight shirt I told you about the other day. Damn, that man is built.”

Tao was Ake’s unrequited crush of three years. In some ways, it was cute. But he needed to man up and express his feelings. If nothing came of it, he’d finally be able to move on. Ake was a catch. He just needed to find the right...fisherman?

“Promise me you’ll come to my next show,” Ake said, sticking out his pinky finger.


Fuse linked their pinkies. It wasn’t like he was going to mess with Karn again. 

“What’s this? Ake released his finger and raced ahead.

Beside the path to the faculty building sat a wide table with a hanging poster titled, ‘Bodyguard Program,’. With a soldier’s expression and proper posture, a boy sat in a chair behind the table, one stack of paper and a pen in front of him. Joining the recruitment drive was a thin girl shouting out positive advertisements regarding the extracurricular activity. 

Fuse sighed at the reminder of the program. Please—could he focus on anything else but that stupid thing?

“Is your dad still making you sign up for that?”


This would be Fuse’s first year participating, and he wasn’t looking forward to it. As a sandanThird ranked black belt - Karate., he anticipated being far too advanced for this training program. Not to mention that most amateurs always overestimated their abilities, proven by the many confident people in his dojo believing they could take him on in a sparring match. They always lost.

“Hey, you never know. It might be a good opportunity,” Ake said. 

“That’s what my dad says.” Fuse knew his friend was only trying to be helpful, but he wished that for once, Ake would participate in his outrage. 

“He’s right,” Ake continued, clueless to Fuse’s low spirits. “If you plan on being a bodyguard one day, this is the best way to get a taste of the profession.”

My dad will never hire me as one of his bodyguards. He thinks I’m too incompetent.

“I guess.”

Ake stopped in his tracks suddenly, grabbing Fuse’s arm. His gaze followed a tall guy with shoulders broad enough to match the length of a jian sword and gasped lightly. Ake’s grin had fallen into an ‘O’ shape. Tao had approached the loud girl and pointed to the sign with a raised brow. 

Ake licked his lips. “I think I’ll join the program too.”

Fuse rolled his eyes. Typical of Ake to care when it benefited him. “You just want to get closer to N’Tao.”


At Fuse’s doubtful expression, he elaborated. “Not entirely! I also want to be there to support my best friend. You’d do the same for me.” 

“No, I wouldn’t,” Fuse deadpanned.

“We need to get you a girlfriend.” Ake chuckled, patting his friend’s back. “She might sweeten you up a bit.”

“I don’t need a girlfriend.” Girls would distract him from his game plan—earn his father’s respect and become a successful bodyguard. None of that was possible if some chick was demanding his undivided attention.  

“Don’t give up fishing when you’ve never fished before,” he said, throwing out and reeling in an imaginary hook. 

Fuse ignored his shitty motto. “Let’s just sign up before class starts. I don’t want to waste my day thinking about this stupid program.”


1 Comment

  1. Kaikai

    So I loved this chapter.
    Karn is charming with his sexy smile and champagne. Karn has a smoothness of control and sarcasm. He has the glibness of warm butterscotch as he deftly oozes charm and flirts with a flustered Fuse.
    He glides over Fuse who is still flummoxed by the dangerous hotel attack. He evens smirks , “:Well that was fun and All the more reason to drink. “
    Karn still flustered reacts to Fuse and sensuality.
    This is beautiful.
    Karn feathered his fingertips over the back if his hand , taking his breath away with the light touch. A feathery touch.
    Fuse is reacting to the brief touch that felt it was like an inferno. Swelled with emotions the French Mineral water is intoxicating.
    “ this water was unlike any he’d drunk before. It was like drinking liquid velvet “
    This reaction to the water in his heightened state of attraction , could be a metaphor for his reaction to Karn.
    While Fuse spouts out fears like I almost died, nonchalantly Karn deflects his fears. Even having a careless frivolous reaction.
    Welcome to life. It is a constant flee from death.
    Fuse has past wounds from his dad’s rich clients’ sons. He accuses Karn of taking life for granted and thinking he is invincible. Lashing out Fuse hopes nothing will get back to his dad.
    And Karn handles attacks well. He does not get riled instead comments :
    “Jealousy isn’t a pretty color on you. “
    Karn continues with silky flirting. Smooth. Unperturbed. Refusing to explain the bag of money.
    You don’t have me.
    Our kiss says otherwise.

    Fuse is bothered but not hysterical. Blushing at the memory , he is trying to forget , he justifies to himself that kissing felt good. With anyone. Fuse notes that Karn is charming , cool, but arrogant. Fuse flashes into anger that his dad reveres this person.
    He convinces himself that he really still hates Karn.
    Silky Karn. Kinky. Unperturbed. Winking at the shove it up your ass comment and pushing it into kinky.

    Karn’s smooth demeanor keeps Fuse from escalating higher into emotion.
    Fuse is no dummy.
    This was all a game for him , playing with words and scoring hits.
    But Fuse persists with questions. Who is P Taksin?
    Again thwarted by Karn.
    No one you want to know.
    Fuse persists again. He has the background of abuse from his dad. He knows difficult people.
    Impatience fills Fuse’s head as he demands to know about Taksin.

    Fuse hits the wall of Karn’s infuriating , blank expression.
    Again a flirtatious deflection by Karn.
    “ He wanted to steal your sexy self away from me. “
    I love this.

    Fuse knows this is a ridiculous excuse and the bickering continues.

    Ignorance is bliss.
    Bliss is overrated.

    Finally Karn loses his composure to the questioning.
    He sternly says “Fuse.!”
    So two things are learned here.
    Karn uses a commanding harsh tone to get across the point that he seriously does not want Fuse involved in this situation at all.
    Is this a protective measure by Karn. Underneath the cocky attitude is there concern for Fuse and his safety?
    Secondly a telling point is the very strong emotional response by Fuse to the barked command by Karn. Fuse blinks back the moisture in his eyes. He is very sensitive to angry yelling.
    Noted here is that Karn did not belittle him. He just used a stop command in his voice.

    Was there a soft brushing fingertips by Karn, maybe caring, noting the hurt ? Perhaps.

    Did Karn change the topic to compliment Fuse because he knew he hurt him?
    Also telling is Fuse responding to compliments by Karn. Fuse leads a life barren of compliments from a toxic dad.
    I like Karn complimenting Fuse.
    Fuck with me and I will kick you into the next century.
    Fuse chuckles and basks in the compliment.

    At the stop. Karn is making a deposit.
    I love
    An unsettling tingle pinched his shoulders at the feeling of all those dark eyes upon him.
    Fuse discovers the mafia connection. Karn Tamisonan.

    Now Fuse feels fear and rage. Also compounded by his dad’s idolatry of a mafia son.
    I love this.
    “His pulse pounded in his ears , fear and rage feeding the demanding urge to punch something. “
    Fuse is in a surreal element. Fears. Wanting to flee. Fearing mafia retribution. Fearing that Karn is dangerous.

    Again smooth silky Karn drops out a buttery smooth line. Afraid I am going to kill you ?
    Karn moves intently.
    He smoothly moves in closer enjoying the scent of Fuse, Fuse responds by leaning into him., eventually clutching.
    I love love this.

    I love your scent. Karn whispered his tone smooth like warm milk.

    The tone smooth like warm milk.

    Was it possible to taste someone’s voice.. This is so incredibly sensual and beautiful. I love it.

    I love.
    The ghost of a kiss imprinted of his kiss freshly imprinted against Fuse’s lips.

    You smell musky but with a hint of honey. So beautiful.

    This was the surprise. Karn was very hurt by this comment.

    Don’t tell anyone about what happened. Not your little entourage.

    Why did this hurt Karn do much?
    In retaliation Karn sneers. No longer sensual or flirting.
    Now he belittles Fuse. You are not nearly so interesting as you think you are.
    And they separate.

    Fuse later is left pondering. It was his first kiss. He tries to tell himself the craving is not for Karn.
    I love
    The sky was a fierce blue under a burning sun with puffy marshmallow clouds.

    As Karn is forced to sign up for the Bodyguard Program, he muses that his dad would never hire him as he was too incompetent.
    I like the fishing metaphor. Are was a catch. And needed the right fisherman.
    Don’t give up fishing when you’ve never fished before.

    It is coming. With the right fisherman you will be caught.

    It liked discovering more aspects of these characters.
    Karn may be arrogant and flirtatious but he is not insensitive to reactions.
    Fuse may have insecurities but he can challenge Fuse. Fuse however is very sensitive to anger.
    It was a delightful chapter.

    I think there is a smoothness here. Both characters are not as raw around the edges of emotion. There are still strong emotions but from a more polished reaction.

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