Vermillion (1)

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“Lan Zhan, did you really think that I’d stop working at Vermillion just because you asked?”

Wei Ying has been in the escorting business far too long to believe that words spoken in moments of rapture actually mean anything.

It’s dark in the club, and only half of Lan Zhan’s face is illuminated by the lights of the stage where the dancers peddle their wares.

Both of them ignore the bidders reaching out to the dancers on the stage.  Their hands dirty with greed and entitlement; their eyes seeking fantasy and fulfillment.

Wei Ying remembers how Lan Zhan sat further back from the stage.  Never reaching, only watching.

For three weeks, Wei Ying has not graced the stage.  His nights were won by Lan Zhan, the highest bidder.  Tomorrow, he will return to it.

“I wasn’t asking,” Lan Zhan says.  His voice is soft but his eyes tell a different story.

Wei Ying knows Lan Zhan's a man that doesn't ask, he is one that demands. He gives Lan Zhan a sullen pout and then moves to sit on his lap.  He knows Lan Zhan won’t hurt him, but it’s still not wise to anger the joint heir to the largest crime syndicate in the city.

“So, you want me to stop my only source of income?  The only way that I can afford to keep a roof over my head?”  Wei Ying traces a path with his finger from Lan Zhan’s shoulder, down his chest and to the top of his belt.  He gasps when Lan Zhan grabs his hand and gives it a hard squeeze.

“I do not share what is mine.”

Wei Ying holds Lan Zhan’s gaze and then he narrows his eyes.  With a small gesture, the club’s three largest bodyguards move towards them.  “Time’s up,” he says, removing himself from Lan Zhan’s lap.  “If you don’t want to share, you can try bidding again tomorrow.”


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