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Deep in the Act
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 20.2 (NSFW)
As soon as he began to make a show of wrapping up the session, Gao Zhun spoke up again. "There's this painting by Cézanne ent.i.tled The Rape. Have you ever seen it before?"
It was a painting with powerful visual impact: in the evening forest, a virile, crimson-colored man stands amidst blue livid rocks, crus.h.i.+ng the waist of a pallid woman in his plundering grip. Fang Chi had indeed encountered the painting before in a cognitive psychology cla.s.s, but he replied in the negative. "Describe the painting for me."
"There's…" Gao Zhun struggled to organize his speech. "There's a man… and a woman, in the wilderness… and he's forcing himself upon her. That's how Justin forces himself on me in the dream." He no longer knew how he should be facing Fang Chi. Covering his nose and mouth in mortification, he continued, "I fought back - I really did - but he wouldn't let me go. I was desperate. I kept writhing and twisting but it was useless…"
Fang Chi was fully erect now. He hated the rampant s.e.xual desire within himself, but was even more vexed by his own unprofessional reaction to stress. Yet, in the end, he directed all of his frustrations at Gao Zhun instead. Taking out his anger on the other man, he asked, "You still felt pleasure, didn't you?"
"I…" Gao Zhun wanted to refute the accusation, but he could not find any means to defend himself no matter how hard he tried.
"The experience of pleasure in a dream may translate into actual bodily reactions," Fang Chi went on. Then, with deliberate movements, he shook his head at Gao Zhun - a non-verbal sign of disapproval. "It's possible that you woke up to find that you'd come in your sleep."
"No I didn't!" Gao Zhun sprung up from his seat in agitation and rushed to confess with reddened eyes, "Never with him!"
Fang Chi stared at him with a provocative glint in his eyes. "If not with him, then with whom?"
Gao Zhun's mouth was open, but he could not utter a single word. With a quiver of his lashes, he collapsed back into his chair. Fang Chi knew Gao Zhun all too well. The slightest hint of gentleness from him was all the other man needed to tell him everything he wanted to know. "Tell me, who was it?"
With a bob of his Adam's apple, Gao Zhun closed his eyes in shame. "You. With you…"
"That one time?" Fang Chi asked, referring to the dream in which Gao Zhun had turned into a woman. But Gao Zhun replied unexpectedly with foolish honesty, "Every single time."
Fang Chi's pen rolled off his knee and fell onto the floor with a clink. A slight quaver in his voice, Fang Chi asked, "It has happened many times?"
Clutching the fabric of his trousers in panic, Gao Zhun blurted out, "I'm sorry…" He repeated himself over and over again. "I'm sorry for soiling you! I'm shameless! I'm sick and filthy!"
Fang Chi struggled to gather his thoughts. "Was I just like them? Did I… force myself on you?"
"No." Gao Zhun hung his head. "I was always willing when I was with you."
Fang Chi's heart began pounding madly in his chest; he could no longer keep up his appearance of a professional therapist. "What's this talk of willingness…"
"It's true," Gao Zhun breathed, vulnerable and on the brink of tears. "In those dreams, I'd feel something entering me from behind. Something burning hot, grinding hard into me. I'd try to fight back. I keep pus.h.i.+ng and kicking, but then I'd see your face and I just…"
Fang Chi's breathing became rapid and shallow. Forcefully pressing down on the notebook in his lap, he prompted, "Go on. I want to hear about these dreams."
Immersed in his own world, Gao Zhun murmured with a note of self-reproach, "I couldn't believe it was you at first. I touched your face, lightly… You crushed me to yourself. You lay on top of me and panted into my skin. It didn't hurt as much anymore, so my legs… opened even wider, of their own accord. I knew it was only a dream, so I clung to you and cried on your shoulder."
"Why did you cry?" Fang Chi found it difficult to sit still, and just as difficult to speak aloud.
"Because you came for me at last." Gao Zhun looked up, his reddened lips the only spot of color on his whitened face. "You came to save me."
Fang Chi's voice died in his throat. Then he refuted the statement in a fl.u.s.ter, "That wasn't me. It was just my face."
"The body was yours as well," Gao Zhun insisted.
Fang Chi was somewhat tickled by his stubbornness. "How would you know?"
"I do know," Gao Zhun whispered, "I just do."
At this, Fang Chi recalled Gao Zhun's explanation about his ability to a.n.a.lyze the human form with precision. It seemed certain that he had indeed been truly naked in those dreams as he made love to Gao Zhun. "Did I make you come?"
Gao Zhun wrung his hands almost to the point of breaking. "When I woke up, my sheets were always soaked."
"It's not your fault," Fang Chi consoled him, "dreams are a part of your unconscious, and you have no control over them."
Holding back his tears, Gao Zhun shook his head in response. "Sometimes…" he began, shrinking into his seat with slumped shoulders, "in order to fall asleep, I imagine you lying by my side, or lying on top of me. I'd fantasize about you caressing me, talking to me - just like those exercises we did together." He started to tremble. "When the fear becomes too much for me to bear, I'd fantasize about us making love. We would have hot, crazy s.e.x as if there was no tomorrow…"
Fang Chi swallowed. "How does it feel… when you're with me?"
"Really good. So good that my mind goes numb. Inside me… the moment I feel your touch anywhere inside me, I turn to mush. I'm a complete mess and you can have your way with me, however you like it. I'll obey your every word. I'm wet all over - so wet - especially between my legs…"
Fang Chi could not carry on anymore; he would lose his mind if he continued listening any longer. "What about Zuo Linlin?" he cut in, forcing a change in the subject. "I mean, after that incident, have the two of you ever…"
"No." Gao Zhun replied in the negative for three consecutive times, "I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I couldn't even get hard."
"Besides your dreams," Fang Chi continued, "have you ever sought the s.e.xual company of other men?" Gao Zhun glared at him in disbelief, but he went on with his explanation. "I'm asking because some rape victims become hyper-s.e.xual and engage in highly promiscuous behavior. This may be a symptom of rape trauma syndrome, which often overlaps with PTSD, and would also fall within the range of our treatment."
PTSD - this was not the first time Gao Zhun had heard of the term; he knew what it meant. "Is it confirmed then? I'm suffering from PTSD?"
"I am reasonably certain," Fang Chi replied, changing his position to give his swollen member some room to calm down. "You didn't file a police report after the incident, did you?"
When Gao Zhun replied again in the negative, Fang Chi's brow furrowed. "Have you ever thought about how he could have entered the premises despite the tight security in your estate? Besides, you do not seem to have considered retaining important evidence either, such as the security footage or the attacker's s.e.m.e.n."
At the sound of the word 's.e.m.e.n', Gao Zhun was overwhelmed with humiliation, and all color drained from his face. But Fang Chi was not done yet; his subsequent question struck even more fear into Gao Zhun, "Have you gone for an HIV test?"
The thought had never occurred to Gao Zhun before. His pupils dilated in terror as tremors crept into his voice, "Is it possible…"
Fang Chi sighed, "I'll go with you this weekend - no, we'll go tomorrow." Getting to his feet, he concluded the session, "Let's end here for today." Instead of putting down his writing materials, however, he held them before his crotch as he added, "I need to use the washroom."
Gao Zhun was dazed as he remained in his chair, waiting for Fang Chi to return. But Fang Chi was taking a very long time. As Gao Zhun's mind reeled from his fears about HIV, he shot an unintentional glance at the washroom. Then, a sudden thought came into his head and a blush bloomed all over his face.