02 | PAINTER OF THE NIGHT
The room, which undeniably reeked of sweat and fresh semen, was completely soundless. Although still dim, sunlight gradually poured into the room and shone upon the red and yellow traditional Korean quilt that lay vacant and rumpled on the wooden floor beside the folding screen.
“Would you like to explain why the paper is empty?” Taehyung asked, voice orotund and hoarse. He stood before Jeongguk and the blank sheet of paper, and pulled his peppermint Durumangi over his broad shoulders idly. The garment tied loosely around his waist, but still exposed his firm caramel chest and chiseled abdominal muscles that glistened with a thin sheen of sweat.
Jeongguk stilled and pursed his lips. His widened eyes were downcast at Taehyung’s bare feet, irises contracted with shock from the scene he witnessed only a couple minutes ago. His breath was laborious, uneven, a little heavy, and his face was the equivalent to cherry blossoms in spring.
“I’m sorry, my lord. But I no longer paint erotic images.” He said and hung his head in shame, lips trembling. He sat in Seiza position with his clammy hands placed on his thighs timidly.
Taehyung hummed and squatted before him. “‘No longer paint’? For what reason?” He interrogated.
“That, I cannot tell you, my lord.” Jeongguk gulped and refused to look up at him, his mere presence was intimidating.
Taehyung hummed and stroked his chin. He looked at the mop of long, wavy, ebony locks for a while, before he outstretched his hand and lifted Jeongguk’s head with his large hands.
“You have both eyes...” He gently brushed his thumb over Jeongguk’s closed eye. “And all ten fingers.” He held Jeongguk’s smooth, dainty hand in his and rubbed his defined jaw against it. Jeongguk watched him, mind and heart racing frantically, unaware of his wicked intentions.
“So I simply cannot understand what you mean when you say you cannot paint anymore.” His eyes stared directly into Jeongguk’s soul, it felt like he tore every piece of him apart—saw every fragment of his being. “I could certainly give you a real reason to be unable to.”
Jeongguk flinched at his harsh tone, the candid phrase. His watery eyes enlarged and the little hairs on the nape of his neck bristled. It felt as though he retreated inside of himself, his mouth trembled with fear. Taehyung dropped his hand.
“We’ll consider this round a rehearsal. I’ll let it go, just this once.” Taehyung stood upright, hawk eyes focused on Jeongguk who gazed up at him meekly. He sighed heavily, before he spun on his heel and walked to the window paper Changhojie, sliding door, and rattled it open.
“Right. It’s been a while since you last picked up a brush, hasn’t it?” He paused in the doorframe and turned his head towards the petite boy whose back faced him. Jeongguk stiffened, eyes sprawled wide. “Well, I can give you all the time you need to prepare. But it would be wise for you to remember that I am not a patient man.” Jeongguk’s breath laboured, heart in his ears.
And so, Taehyung made his egress.
Dawn slowly approached, the warmth of day gradually peaked over the hills and bathed the kingdom of Silla with sunlight.
Shuffles and rustles resonated from the art room. Jeongguk groaned and bit out a few curses as he tried to open the sliding door, but to no anvil. He was trapped. “I can’t run away, either...” He huffed and slumped against the wall with his hand in his hair, knees to his chest.
Bringing me here to create erotic paintings for him—I don’t know what he’s thinking, he thought. Still, he believed Taehyung would be more dignified. But he should have known, all the nobles are noble only in appearance.
Tears brimmed along the waterline of his doe-like eyes. He clutched his head with both hands and tugged at his hair frustratingly. It had not even been a year since he vowed to never paint such filth, smut, libido again, yet here he was.
He bestowed his gaze towards the large sheet of paper that stretched from ground to the ceiling.
There were multiple rolls of the same material stored in a small bucket in the corner, two lay beside the bucket while two others inside. On the other side, was a dark wooden handmade pedestal decked with various brushes and black paint.
It seems he was quite determined when he brought me here, Jeongguk thought. He hauled himself to his feet and crossed the small room. And as light and graceful as a feather, his fingertips grazed the surface of the paper spanned across the wall. He had heard of this paper before, that it was only used at the royal academy of painting. And to prepare such expensive paper for some erotic paintings...was totally absurd.
A paint brush rolled from the table and clunked against the ondol floor. Jeongguk bent down and retrieved it.
He had heard of Taehyung’s unbridled lust, but he would have never expected him to show him his naked body for a painting.
As he applied the brush to the sheet of paper, carnal visions of Taehyung and the other man flashed before his eyes. Images of them lip-locked and tongue-tied. His hand swiped across the paper. Images of the other man seated in Taehyung’s lap with his arms wrapped around his neck while they smooched surfaced. But then he saw those eyes, those sharp eyes that shot into his soul.
His hand trembled. He chewed on his lip, heart pounding against his chest as he stoked the brush across the paper.
Taehyung pushed the other man onto his back, attacked his neck and chest with hickeys, and rammed into him. His large hands stroked and groped the other man’s thick thighs as he moved inside him.
Jeongguk’s breath became heavy and sweat ran down his face. His body grew hot as he envisioned the scene and hesitantly continued the painting. But then, he completely froze and his eyes widened in shock.
Taehyung’s back muscles flexed and contracted as he moved above the other man, whispered sweet nothings to him. But then he looked up at Jeongguk, who kneeled before the blank canvas as he watched the scene before him, with those dangerous eyes of his as he moved inside the other man.
Jeongguk gasped and cowered back, his eyes widened and face reddened with shame and embarrassment. “Oh...” he whispered. A gaggle of goosebumps laminated his hot skin. The paint brush slipped from his grasp and clunked against the ground, he stumbled back and shook his head. “No, not again...”
“I vowed to never make such paintings again...” he grabbed his hair and knitted his brows together. His heart throbbed in his throat and ears. He wanted to run and hide, to scream, but he could not. He banged his fists against the obscene illustration of Taehyung on top of another man and leaned against it with his head hung low as he slowly began to sob.
“I mustn’t, not anymore...”
He knew not when, but darkness had crept within the tiny cluttered room and comforted him. Paper shreds scattered across the floor. Jeongguk laid in a festus position, fast asleep. His dark curly hair fell over his forehead messily, some strands even matted to his frigid skin. His hands were dirtied with black paint, so were his clothes and the ondol floor.
Taehyung kneeled beside him and patted his head. He threaded his fingers through the soft strands of hair, an apathetic expression on his face as he looked at Jeongguk’s sleeping, tear-stained face.
His eyes darted to his right. The mural paper was torn to shreds. He stood up and proceeded towards it. With a hum, he flipped the shreds up to connect them and pieced it together. His eyes lit up in delight and a tiny grin crept to his plump lips, he stroked his chin and chuckled. He admired the smutty artwork, before he tilted his head to the side and looked at Jeongguk’s sleeping form.