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The Definition of Cute

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Lucien liked to watch people, he found it fascinating, observing how different people reacted to different things, and speculating on how they might respond in different circumstances. He was a neurologist, of course, not a psychologist and the two disciplines were very distinct, even though they both involved the brain somehow, he just liked to dabble sometimes, in different sciences.   

Recently, he had come across a local CEO and business wunderkind while at a certain studio, Victor had been deep in conversation with Daphne... well it had seemed more like a lecture at the time, Victor informing her of all the flaws in her recent proposal, and telling her that she only had a few days to fix it. A better man, someone who was a ray of sun who brightened the world, like Kiro, would probably have gotten involved in that moment. But Lucien didn’t, he just examined the man’s face with some interest.  

No matter what Victor said, it was evident that his harsh treatment of Daphne really hid a desire to see her succeed in life. It looked like Victor had never learned how to properly deal with his feelings, and it was honestly... a little bit cute. Not that the man seemed like the type to ever allow that description to pass without retribution.  

Cold eyes flicked to his, the hiding place of just outside the door not being enough anymore, and he pushed it all the way open, stepping inside. “I’m here for my interview,” Lucien informed them, to which Victor’s eyes narrowed even more, and Lucien had to guess that he was the other man being interviewed today, “just a little bit early, that’s not a problem, is it?” he leveled a smile at Victor, although it wasn’t one that quite met his eyes.  

Honestly, he should have expected this, the reason for this interview had been a discovery that was causing a lot of excitement in the scientific community, and when that happened, there were always discussions of how best to commercialize it, Victor, the Ultra-Capitalist, was in many ways the opposite of Lucien, who would seek knowledge without always caring about how it benefited other people.  

Victor clicked his tongue and strode out of the room. “If you’re going to make an effort to be early,” he said, sounding annoyed, “then don’t waste time with small talk, at least make an effort to get more work done.” 

So, after that, Lucien was reasonably sure that Victor didn’t like him. It was entirely possible that Victor didn’t like anyone, but the way his eyes narrowed every time Lucien walked into a room. Even more worryingly, Victor had started responding to his posts on social media. Always with some chastising comment. Well, he decided two could play at that game. If he just waited, he would have the perfect opportunity.  

A few days later, the perfect opportunity arrived. Daphne posted an unexpected picture. In the photo, Victor stood in a pair of cat ears. He looked incredibly uncomfortable.  

The look on Lucien’s face as his thumbs moved on his phone screen could only be described as evil, a sadistic grin spread on his face as he typed: “New hypothesis. Cat ears automatically increase the cuteness stat of anyone who wears them.”  

A few moments later, Lucien’s phone rang, it came from an unknown number. It was obvious who it was, mostly because he didn’t give his number out to just anybody, and he hadn’t given it to anyone recently.  

“My my, Mr. CEO, how did you get this number?”  

A low growl was the only response he got from the other end of the line, and he couldn’t help the way his lips quirked up into a smirk in response.  

“Oh, I see, those ears have even made you sound like a cat.”  

“What do you mean by cute?” Victor asked, sounding very upset.  

“Well, the dictionary defines it as being ‘attractive in a pretty or endearing way’ but I’m not sure how you’d take the word ‘attractive’ in that description.”  

There was silence on the other end of the line, then, almost a minute later: “You find me attractive?”  

“No, I described you as cute, personally I find that the word ‘attractive’ has certain connotations of sexual attraction, that I believe the word cute does not have. Do you want me to be sexually attracted to you?”  

Victor was again silent, and Lucien took great pleasure in hanging up on him at that moment. Then, on second thought, he turned his phone off, he didn’t want the man calling back quite yet.  

Half an hour later, Victor was in his office. “You!” He said, pointing directly at Lucien, who blinked at him, given the fact that the Dean had followed the CEO up here, it was probably best to play innocent.  

“Me?” He asked, trying to keep his face completely straight.  

“You have said unforgivable things.” Victor snarled, jabbing his finger. Lucien resisted the urge to push it away.  

“I-I- assure you, there must be some mistake,” the Dean tried to say, “Little Lucien is always polite to everyone, I simply cannot believe that he’d say anything so heinous.”  

That embarrassing nickname was left over from Lucien’s early start to an academic career, even now that he was 26 it was simply impossible to get rid of it, but speaking of age, wasn’t Victor supposed to be two years older than Lucien, and he was getting bent out of shape by a simple descriptive term. It was incomprehensible.  

“Hm,” he said, then bowed his head, “I don’t know what it is that offended you, but if I did, then I must apologize, for any inconvenience caused to my co-workers as well.”  

The Dean nodded along, but Victor seemed much less impressed. “That’s not good enough, I’m afraid, but you’re correct, I’m interrupting your work. Come to Souvenir tonight. We will discuss it further then.”  

With that, he swept out of the room, leaving the Dean to question why he couldn’t have just called for that.