Tin raised a questioning eyebrow over the rim of his coffee cup at the four boys all staring at him with varying degrees of surprise. “What?” he asked, only more lost when they all spluttered as if he wasn’t speaking Thai.
“You heard it too, right?” Ming asked, looking at the others at the table. “I’m not losing my mind?”
“I mean, that’s debatable.”
“Yo, I know where you sleep.” He thrust his hands in Tin’s direction. “I’m talking about the fact that he just told us that he had a boyfriend.” Slamming his outstretched hands onto the table, he leaned in closer. “How do you have a boyfriend?”
“I feel like I should feel slightly offended.”
Kongpob, deciding that now was the right time to take his role as the oldest in their little group seriously, put a hand on Ming’s shoulder, pressing him back into his chair. “I think we’re all just a little bit shocked, that’s all. You’ve never exactly shown interest in … the same sex.”
“Tin has never shown interest in anyone,” Ming pointed out.
“That isn’t true.”
“Pete doesn’t count. He’s always been your favorite.” Turning to the mentioned boy sitting silently to Tin’s left, Ming asked, “Is it true? Does he actually have a boyfriend?”
Pete nodded, looking at Tin with one of those soft smiles he only reserved for his precious Ae or for when he was discussing Tin’s love life. He didn’t know when he started doing that, but Tin would really appreciate it if he stopped. “It’s like a movie. Ai’Can is so much different than Ai’Tin. He’s made Ai’Tin so much softer too. Just the other day, he–”
Tin slapped a hand over Pete’s mouth, ignoring the sound of his muffled whines. That was enough out of him. He wanted people to know that he was in a committed relationship, but that was it. He didn’t need them nosing into his personal life.
But then again, Mingkwan Daichapanya was sitting at the table. He was the king of getting into people’s business. “Let the man talk! Pete sees you every day; he has to have some juicy gossip on you.”
“Too bad you’re never going to hear it.”
“This is why none of us like you, Tin.”
Pushing Tin’s hand off of him, Pete glared at him with his nose scrunched up like an unhappy rabbit. “Why don’t you just ask his boyfriend then?” Pete suggested to Ming, pointing to the opposite end of the café. “I’m sure Ai’Can would love to meet you all.” That thing Ming said? About Pete being his favorite? Biggest lie he had ever heard.
Because he was right, that was Can waiting in line. He was bouncing on the balls of his feet, trying to look over the heads of everyone in front of him. It was so cute that he almost forgot to be mad. Almost. Their entire table was facing Can now, sizing him up like he was a piece of meat. And Tin was not having it. “Pete, I swear–”
“Ai’Can!” he called before Tin could finish. He waved his hand in a ‘come here’ motion in the direction of their table, which Can followed with ease. Tin let his forehead fall into his hand. This was his worst nightmare come to life.
Drink in hand, Can cocked his head to the side, looking around the table at all of the boys. He was clearly confused but didn’t vocalize it, choosing to greet his boyfriend instead. “Hi, Ai’Tin. When you said you were busy today, I didn’t know you meant you’d be busy here.” He glanced back at the other boys. “Are these your friends?”
“His best friends,” Ming said, smiling far too widely. “Why don’t you join us? We’d love you to.”
“Mingkwan,” Tin growled, but Can was already nodding his head happily.
“Okay!” And then he did the only thing that could make the situation worse: he plopped his cute little butt into Tin’s lap. As if it was nothing. He sipped through his straw, oblivious to all of the stares they were currently getting.
As much as Tin would appreciate this at literally any other time, he could barely look at any of them. And he could just tell Pete was grinning at them, that little shit. “Can, don’t you think you should sit in a chair?”
“There aren’t any!”
“You could get one from another table.”
“Too much work!” Accepting his fate, Tin slipped an arm Can’s waist. He had to; he couldn’t let him fall.
“So, Can,” Ming said, and Tin swore if he could kill people with his eyes, Ming would currently be six feet under. “How did you meet Ai’Tin? Was it love at first sight? Did he sweep you off your feet? Feel free to leave nothing out.”
Can shook his head, taking his lips off his straw. “It wasn’t anything like that. He ran me over with his car, and then I punched him because he was being mean to Ae and Pete.” His boyfriend’s bluntness was going to be the death of him someday.
“You ran him over with your car?” Kongpob hissed. He had such an odd way of mothering them.
“I mean, that’s one way to get his attention,” Yo offered.
“I didn’t run him over. I stopped before I could. And I wasn’t trying to get his attention either! He ran in front of my car because he dropped his football. Sometimes I wonder how he’s even on the team.”
“Oi, Ai’Asshole, don’t be rude!”
Wayo leaned towards Pete, whispering, “Do they always act like that?”
“Mhm.” Pete sagged against the table, cheek resting in his palm as he stared at them dreamily. “Isn’t it adorable?”
“What the actual fuck, Pete?”
“Now, now, Tin, it’s not nice to fight with your boyfriend. Especially when he’s so cute,” Ming said, eyeing Can up and down. “What’s a cutie like you doing with someone like Tin anyway?”
“Have you even looked at yourself in the mirror lately, Mingkwan?”
“What do you mean?” Can wrapped his arms around Tin’s neck, pulling himself closer. “Ai’Tin’s very attractive. See?” He squished Tin’s cheeks in his fingers, shaking his head back and forth. “Sooo cute.” Turning Tin’s head to him, he giggled at how ridiculous he looked. Fine, Can wanted to tease him? Two could play at that game. Cheeks still squished, causing his lips to purse together, he leaned in, barely brushing Can’s lips with his own before he was being pushed away. “We’re in public!”
“Please pretend like we’re not even here,” Ming said, chin cupped in his hand as he looked between the two of them, waiting for their next move.
Choosing to ignore Ming, Tin smiled as Can beat his chest with his little fists. “What? You’re already in my lap. You don’t want me to kiss you? But what about last night? You were more than willing to let me–”
“And I’ll be more than willing to never let you again if you don’t shut up.”
Clearing his throat, Kongpob said, “I’m glad you’ve found someone you seem so comfortable with, N’Tin. You work together really well.”
“You’re only saying that because you and P’Arthit fight the same way.”
Kongpob tapped Wayo on the nose. “Yo, please stop hanging around Ming so much, he’s turning my sweet, innocent baby into a monster.” Then back at Tin, “I’m just saying that you actually seem serious about someone for once. It’s nice to see.”
Tin raised an eyebrow. “When have I ever not been serious?”
“Well,” Kongpob glanced at Can warily before continuing, “There were quite a few before that you just sort of … strung along.”
“A few? I’d say a dozen is a better estimate.”
“Why stop there? It might as well have been hundreds.”
Can blinked, eyes wide as he glanced between Tin, the others, and then back again. “There were that many? How does someone even date that many people?”
“My sweet, sweet Can,” Ming cooed. “Let me tell you a story about your lovely Tin. It’s a good one, you’ll love it.”
Tin’s head hit the table with a thud. There was a reason he didn’t do friends. Mingkwan Daichapanya was that reason.
the responsible one: i can’t believe the one day i’m busy you get to meet tin’s boyfriend
the small one: he’s so cute?? i can’t believe pete never told us about him
the cute one: they already had a hard time getting together. i didn’t want to give them anymore trouble
the annoying one: always so sweet~
the annoying one: but i think we may have given them trouble anyway—
the old one: and whose fault is that?
the annoying one: i just wanted can to know what he was getting himself into!
the small one: should i let p kit know what he’s getting himself into too?
the annoying one: my sweetest yo, my best friend, have i mentioned how much you mean to me lately?
the responsible one: convincing
the cute one: i wouldn’t worry about tin and can though
the cute one: i have a feeling they’re doing just fine
the mean one: first off, i’m never telling pete anything again. your boyfriend’s roommate has ruined you.
the mean one: second, can and i are more than fine. so i’m going to ignore all of you and get back to being just fine now
the annoying one: GET IT