"Fuck! I forgot to close the windows again," Team complains and puts his hand over his eyes to block the light.
He hears a loud ringing in his ears. And the light managing to get through the window is blinding.
He rubs his eyes with the heels of his palms and faces the ceiling to avoid the window. He blinks and blinks again, to will the buzzing away. And when his eyes have finally adjusted to see his surroundings,"
"Where- where am I?" Team yells and gets the fright of his life when there's a movement beside him as he finally notices another body on the bed with him.
"What the fuck are you yelling first thing in the morning?" the body says, still covered with the duvet, just exposing enough of the back, to know they're male, and to know exactly who it. He only knows one person who has a huge tattoo of wings. On their whole back.
"Hia? Wha-? How did I get here?" Team asks as he bunches the blanket towards his body. And he notices that he isn't wearing his clothes from last night. Actually, he isn't wearing one single garment.
"Hia?! Why am I naked? Did you take my clothes off? Did I puke on it?" Team asks again, and Win sits up on the bed, brushing his hands through his hair, leaning back on his arms after he brushed it back.
"You seriously don't remember anything from last night?" Win asks, eyebrows raised.
Team looks at the older male and shakes his head. 'Why is he answering my question with a question? I'm too hungover for this' Team thought.
Win purses his lips and pouts it towards Team.
Team looks down on his blanket-covered lap. Spreads his legs in reflex, and he winces when he feels a stabbing sensation on his back. Like he got kicked square on the lower back.
"Shiaa P'Win! Did you kick me while I was asleep? Damn it hurts," Team complains and rubs his back. Win follows suit, rubbing the small of his back, with his huge hands, all the way down where his butt meets the mattress. But Team slaps the other's hands away and leans back to get away from the older male.
"It's not going to make me forget you kicked me Hia. No massage will make me forgive you," Team pouts and continues to rub his back.
He watches as the older male stands up from the bed, and gasps when the older was also butt-naked.
"Hia! Why are you naked too? What happened last night? Why are we both naked? " Team asks, as he covers his eyes with the blanket, but not entirely covering it as he's secretly taking a peak. The older male turns around, in all his naked glory, one hand on his hips, the other brushing his hair out of his face, and Team is churning smoke out of his ears.
"Team, I don't know how else to say this, so I'll give it to you straight," Win says, and Team attempts to look at the towering male, on his face, not anywhere else, just his face. And it's proving to be one of the hardest things he's done in his life.
"We fucked. And I hope this doesn't change anything between us," Win supplies, and Team feels the world around him shift.
'You don't notice me but it's alright'
"On a scale of 1 to 10, how cool is Hia? " Phawin asks.
A young Team thinks, 'cool?'
So he stands up from his seat on the floor, and puts his short, chubby fingers, on the older boy's arms, patting it a few times.
"You're not cold Hia. You feel warm," Team says, and goes back to his toys sprawled out on Win's home living room.
Win tips his head back, with a huge boisterous laugh, and shakes his head in amusement. He crawls towards the younger boy, from his sitting position on the floor, leaning on the front of the couch, and gently drags Team by the arm, and makes the chubby, young boy, sits on his lap.
"Cool, not cold, baby cheeks," Phawin explains, and the younger male confusedly stops playing with his toys to look at Win.
"Like Batman or Superman or Bruce Lee. You think they're cool right?" Win flick Team's chubby round cheeks gently.
"Oh, that cool. Then, you're not cool Hia," Team answers, and jumps a little on his feet. it makes him bounce on Win's lap and the other male bows his head down.
"Oh, I'm not?" Win asks in a very sad tone, that Team puts one of his toys on Phawin's face and pulls it up to make him look at him.
"Mhmm," Team hums and nods, "You're handsome! And hot!" Team grins and goes back to playing with his soldier figures.
Win raises an eyebrow and asks, "Where did you learn that? Hot? Who taught you that?"
"Oh, from Papa! I heard him call Daddy hot. And I asked him if Daddy was on fire, but Papa said it's what you call someone you think are handsome," Team answers, without looking away from his toy soldiers.
"So you think I'm handsome, baby cheeks?" Win flicks the other's cheeks again.
"Mhmm! Daddy is handsome, Papa is pretty, and P'Wan is weird and noisy, and you're handsome too. Like daddy," Teams lists out, and Win can only smile in satisfaction.
"Right! Now, do you want to play Wii or PS?" Team looks up so fast that his round cheeks bounce a little, and smiles in all pearly white.
"YES! Yay! PS! Hia, let's play PS!" Team stands up from his seat on Win's lap and runs up the stairs towards the older's boy's room.
"Careful! Don't run up the stairs Team!" Win yells and shakes his head in exasperation.
"Where did you disappear to last night? Manaow and I looked everywhere for you!" Pharm says. They had first class together so they were having breakfast before it started.
Team squints his eyes in reaction to loud noises, sudden simulations, and hiding of embarrassment.
"Pharm, not now, please. I have a huge headache. Do you have an aspirin?" He asks in lieu of an answer and rubs his eyes with the heel of his palms.
"Are you hungover?" Manaow asks as he put his backpack on his lap to look for his medicine bag.
"You're lucky I carry medicine. Don't you keep stocks?" Pharm pulls out the pouch and flicks the packet in the air when he found it.
"Hia doesn't keep those around. Only vitamins," and takes the pill dry.
"Aha! So that's where you went!" Manaow exclaims, and Team covers his ears with his palms.
"No loud noises till the aspirin kicks in, Manaow!" Team answers.
"Aha! So that's where you went! Why didn't you just say so in the first place?" Manaow whisper yells and takes the seat beside Team.
"What do you mean? Nothing! I was just... Hungover. Yeah!' Team keeps his head down and avoids the prying eyes of his best friends.
"There's something you're not saying Ai'Team! What is it?" Manaow asks as she leans her face close to Team's.
Pharm nods his head in agreement and, "Mhmm! Right! You're hiding something."
Team leans backs until he touches the edge of the table, and he has nowhere further to go. Pharm, who was seated beside Team, stands up and follows Manaow's lead of leaning and towering on Team.
"Back off guys, please. My personal space," Team pushes them both back and stretches his arms in front of him, "is around here."
Pharm and Manaow bring their hands up in surrender and shrugs.
"I mean if you've got nothing to hide then it's whatever, right?" Manaow says under her breath as she turns around to go back to her seat.
"Fine! Fine!" Manaow and Pharm run to his seat, and huddles around him, with huge smiles on their faces.
"Well I-" Team starts, looking at his friends' face. Any sign of anything. To not tell them? For them not to judge him?
"Well we-" He looks down, on his lap, and he can feel his friends' anticipation. So he bit his lips, and closed his eyes, and lets it out.
"Hia and I did it!" He bites his lips again and clams up. He puts his hands in a fist.
“Did what exactly, ai’Team?” Manaow asks. Leaning in close again.
“You know,” Team starts while letting go of the fisthold. He starts waving his hands in the air. Describing something.
“Know what, Team?” Pharm asks a second time.
“We had sex. Okay? We had sex. There! I said it. ” Team exclaims.
"Oh my god," Manaow screams and starts happily jumping up and down.
"You actually finally did it," Pharm adds.
Team brings his head up in a question and tilts his head to the side, "Huh?"
Manaow jumps up and down in excitement, "Oh my god! Oh my god!"
Pharm sits back down on his seat and looks at Team.
"Have you talked to him? Did you tell him?" leaning a little forward.
"Oh my god! Oh my god! My ship is sailing!"
"Ai'Pharm, what is she on about? What ship?" Team asks in confusion.
"Team, I know you may not have realized this yourself, but I think you never will unless someone tells you," Team nods, but in utter, desperate confusion. Pharm licks his lips and presses on.
"Oh my god! Oh my god!" Manaow fans herself with her hands.
"We know, you're in love with P'Win," Pharms tells him, and Team opens his mouth to explain, but Pharm stops him with a finger.
"Yes, you're best friends. Yes, you're childhood friends. But yes, you're in love with him, and we know it," Pharms finishes.
"Oh my god! Oh my god!"
"Fuck! Since when did you guys know?"
"Since the very beginning Team,"
"Oh my god! Oh my god!"
“Shit!” Team says out loud this time.
“Ssh!” Someone hisses from the back and Team remembers he’s in class, in the middle of a pop quiz.
He bows his head low and goes back to doodling on the sides of his worksheet. He finished the quiz early.
He doesn’t know why but his head was clearer than crystal, making him remember everything they had discussed in the previous lecture and is now free to go back to his self-deprecating thoughts.
Of how stupid he is, how stupid it was that he let himself go, and how stupid he is for being in love with a person he isn’t supposed to be.
When he sobered up and remembered what happened the night before, he realizes, he wasn’t completely drunk. He may have had a shot of everything and maybe a pint or even a galloon of cheap, watered-down beer. Okay, perhaps a few glasses of low-grade vodka, but it wasn’t enough for him to be dead drunk. But it was enough to destroy his life, and whatever relationship he had with his best friend, apparently.
It was his desire, and his lust, that made him let go. He consented to the first, and unarguably, the best sex of his life.
He clamps his hair in his hand and tries his hardest not to make a sound, but it caused him to wiggle in his seat, and make a screeching sound on the tile. He may not have screamed, but the look on the professor's face when he looks up, seemed like he should've just screamed anyway.
'Cause you know I'm borrowing by now
"Team? Baby Cheeks? You in here?" Win knocks on the door, once, twice, before Team was able to answer it.
Team puts his guitar down, runs to the door, and opens it as fast as he can. He even almost unhinged it with mere strength.
"Hia! I told you not to call me that anymore! We're in High School. People will make fun of me," Team pouts, and crosses his arms in front of him, as Win lets him in his room.
"Team, everyone in that school knows you already. And your nickname. But if they say anything about it, tell me. I'll deal with them," Win says seriously.
Team was not supposed to feel flattered, and happy about it. But he is. God damn it, it makes him feel things.
But he keeps it in and pouts away the fluttering in his stomach. He stomps the way back to his bed, where his older friend is sitting, and picks up the guitar.
"Is that what you were doing? Why you couldn't come to the door faster?" Win asks.
The younger of the two nods, and goes back to tuning his guitar.
"Are you replacing me with a guitar?" Win pulls a face and fakes a sob.
Team stills from his tuning, and looks at the older, with the most unimpressed glare he can muster.
Win smiles, and bites his lips, "Too much?"
"You think so?" Team answers, and jokingly punches Win arm first before he strums his guitar to test if it's already in-tune.
"Why am I being jealous of a guitar?" Win jokes again, and Team ignores him.
"Can you sing a song for me?" Win asks, and Team looks up this time. He looks at the older for a sign. He looks at his eyes, they look at each other's eyes for a few seconds. And Team nods when he sees the older is serious.
"Promise you won't laugh if I mess up?" Team grabs a capo. Win grins, brings his hand up and clips his little finger under his thumb.
"I promise. On a scout's honor!" Team splutters a laugh and nods. "Alright. I can see your sincerity"
"This is a song I heard somewhere. It isn't that famous, so I learned the chords on my own, practiced it a few times," He says, and he adjusts the capo.
"Go for it baby cheeks!" Win assures him. Team chooses to ignore him again and closes his eyes, and starts.
'Someone wrote this song before
And I could tell you where it's from
The 4-7-3-6-2-5-1 to put my mind at ease'
Team recalls from a minute ago when their eyes met. Team imagines his best friend's smile. That smile that shows all his pearly white teeth. Or that small smile where he hides under his hair and tries to be all coy and subtle. Or that grin, that he only gets to see a few times. Despite being friendly, and confident, that smile that he only gets to see when the other is truly happy. And although cliche, Win's many and also so few smiles, reminds him of chords. Chords of a song, that's been played a thousand times before, but sounding different every single time.
"Please just have a laugh with me
'Cause you know I'm borrowing by now
These sounds have already crowned"
Team remembers writing these words. The laugh, the funny feeling of not having him. The happiness and the pain of all the borrowed times he wanted for himself. With him. The sounds that ring in his heart.
'Come on it's a silly dream
Dreaming of the imagery unfound
The view sits nice from that cloud'
Team thinks "Of course, it's a silly dream" and his voice broke a little. But he got back to singing and goes back to his dream. A dream of clouds, and endless sunshine. A dream where he can be truly happy. But sitting down on the ground, and his happiness on a cloud.
Team finishes and hears Win applauds so hard, he was shaking on the bed.
"That was amazing Team! Oh my god!" Win claps his shoulders and grasps it.
Team shakes his head and smiles, "Nah. I'm not even sure if I got the words correctly. But it's alright I guess."
Win shakes his head and brings the younger closer, closer. "It sounded perfect! I mean, I can't play and sing for shit. But I know a good song when I hear one. And it was perfect!" Win assures him.
Team can't help but stare. Stare at that big smile that he rarely sees, and it makes him smile in return.
Team leans back a little, and licks his lips, "Thanks Hia!"
"You're so perfect, baby cheeks!" Win says and flicks Team's cheek gently like he always does.
"Sing one more!" Win says again, and leans towards the bed, to lie on it.
Team turns towards him and adjusts the capo for another song.
"What do you want Hia?" the younger asks.
Win shrugs, and says, "Anything. I just wanna hear you sing."
Team bites his lips, and prays to the heavens, he isn't blushing. And he nods.
'Turn down the lights
Turn down the bed'
Win closes his eyes. Team sings the first few lines, but stops, and continues with the guitar instead when he noticed the other was closing his eyes.
He plays, as best as he can. And looks at Win, his view on the cloud.
"I think you should talk to him Ai'Team," Pharm says. They were gathered in Manaow's room, for a study session. They were in the middle of midterms, and they needed all the time to study, they can get. And the focus.
Team shrugs but doesn't say no. He thinks again, and answers, "I don't know Pharm. It will not turn out to be how you think it would."
Manaow clicks her tongue and puts down the book she was reading.
"Team, just talk to him. Talk to him about what happened. Start with that. He's still your friend."
Team reconsiders. "Well, maybe I'll talk to him about that. I mean it's got to come up sometime right? Unless he doesn't want to be my friend anymore." and pouts.
Pharm and Manaow, click their tongue at the same time, and all three look at each other and laugh.
It feels good to laugh with friends, especially with the exams pounding at their heads, and Team troubled with other things too.
It took a few good minutes before their laughter stops, and it was enough to put them into a good mood again.
"We may never have personally talked to P'Win, but he's a good guy. And you're each other's best friends. You'll never lose him," Pharm assures Team.
Team smiles, and nods. "Thanks, man! Pah, we need to study or else we'll repeat this semester." and goes back to his handouts.
Pharm and Manaow share a look and shakes their head at the same time.
"He'll get there."
"He'll be alright"
‘Team where r u?’
‘Team wanna go to McD later?’
‘Team? You read my messages, why aren’t you replying?’
Team reads. He can’t do this right now.
Not when the incident happened not too long ago, and his mind isn't ready to confront shit. Maybe his heart isn't too. Any confrontation is shit at this point in time.
He knows he’s being a coward. He’s a willing coward. For today. And the day after that. But he’s not a coward after he recuperates. He just needs a little more time.
Team pockets his phone and looks out the classroom window. He gets out last in his class so he can avoid the crowd in the lobby. He slowly empties his desk, slowly puts his books and notes inside his bag and slowly walks towards the last seat at the back to hide there for a few minutes. Then when it's only a few minutes before class, he runs out of there, in great speed, towards his next lecture. That way he has an excuse for running across campus, and he has an excuse why he can’t talk with PharmManaow before class.
It's easy, it's perfect, it's brilliant, it's genius.
On cue, his alarm sets off for his 3 PM class. With only 4-minutes, he rushes out of the classroom but was blocked by an arm around his neck. The air was literally knocked out of him. He chokes and struggles to get the arm off his neck, but the arm was too persistent and too strong and Team had no choice but to get dragged towards wherever. That and he literally just got injured.
He was pushed to a wall on a secluded part of the building, and the impact was only buffered by his backpack, but he finally sees his assailant.
"Hia! What the hell? You almost killed me," Team scolds while rubbing his ‘injured’ neck.
But Team was stopped short when he looks at the older one and he can see that the other looked very sad.
"I'm sorry for that Team. I didn't mean to. Is it still hurting?" Win says, and slowly and gently touches Team's neck to check for injuries.
Team can only shake his head and steps back to avoid the older's hands on him.
Win puts his hands down and bows his head. Team wants to laugh and make a joke about this. About everything. Just to get that horrible expression off his face but his mouth doesn't want to move and cooperate. Team can only smile a little and punches the older on the shoulder.
"It's fine, Hia. What were you doing here anyway? Did you need anything?" Team asks.
When the older looks up and looks at him, Team can't keep eye contact, so he smiles and looks elsewhere. Pretending to look around for any person nearby.
"Hia, I'm almost late for class. I'm sorry for not replying to your texts, I was just about to but you blocked me out of nowhere," Team says and laugh a little.
Win is still looking at him like he took away his candy, and Team is almost, this close to giving in.
"Are you mad at me, baby cheeks?" Win finally says.
Team grips the straps on his bag and laughs then scratches the back of his head.
"What are you talking about, Hia?" Team jokingly says and pushes the older's left shoulder. But Win holds his hand still, holding it to stay on his shoulder, and now, he grips both of his hands and pulls his hands towards his chest. So Team's hand rests on the center of Win's warm, sturdy chest. And Team thinks- 'this is the last thing I need. Please let me go'
But he smiles and looks up at the older. Plastering the pull on his lips, and the smile on his eyes.
"I'm sorry for upsetting you, baby cheeks. Please don't ignore me. Please don't hide from me," Win says forlornly.
Win pulls him towards his body for a hug. And the other is hugging him tightly. Team can only sigh and rest his face on the crook of his older friend's neck.
"Can you skip your class for today? Let's get McD then play PS4. Please,” Win begs.
Team tucks his forehead on the older's neck, so his face is totally covered by his body. He nods a little and the little motion brought a huge smile to Win’s face.
"Okay," Team relents.
Team momentarily forgets that he was not supposed to talk with his older best friend, but here they are, in the said best friend's room, each chewing on their 2nd Big Mac. Team was downing his soda, thinking that Lays will be perfect with his Big Mac, when, "Is it about that night? When we had sex?" Win asks.
Team chokes for the 2nd time in one day. At least this time he's able to punch his chest to help the food go down the right pipe. Win laughs and puts his burger down to rub the younger's back. Team shakes his head and clears his throat.
"Thanks. I'm good now," Win smiles and downs the last bit of his burger.
"So is it? I thought we talked about this already,” Win says.
Team looks at the older in contemplation. Trying to look for the right words.
“You talked. I never even got the chance to say anything,” Team says.
Win smirks and snarkily replies, “Oh yeah? And who’s fault is that?”
Team clicks his tongue and shakes his head in remembrance, “Oh right. I bolted out of the room with your duvet,” Team smiles in embarrassment.
“It’s alright. But I thought it was already over. We were both drunk, and-“
“The problem here Hia is you know that was my first time. My first time and I’ll never be able to take it back,” Team interjects.
“Wait, what? Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I didn't know you that was your first time. I honestly thought you were just too shy to tell me about your sex life. I always tell you mine, and so I thought you were just taking your time to tell me,” Win says forlornly.
“I’m sorry, Baby cheeks. I’m very sorry.” Win apologizes.
Team sighs and looks away. Well, technically he was saving himself for him, but a sober him. A him that reciprocates his feelings and that also wants to have sex with him. But he can't be picky. He’s honestly a little relieved it was with his tattooed friend other than someone else who he isn't particularly in love with.
So now he’s mad that he can’t remember everything from his first time. And he honestly feels a little violated. But he’s drunk, Win was drunk, and it’s not like it’s entirely the older one’s fault. He knows for sure the older man didn't take advantage of him if the bite marks and the bruises on the other's body were anything. It even seemed like Team got wild and sucked the life out of the other like a leech. Compared to him, the older didn't leave any mark or any bruises on him. The only way he knew he had sex was the excruciating pain on his back and the undeniable stickiness on his person. That and the sated feeling he had that morning. Like all or any frustration he had was pumped out of him. Literally.
Team looks at the older one and says, “I wanted to tell you if ever that happens. But I can’t remember much of it anyway, and it’s with you. So. What’s the point?”
Win bows his head down and clicks his tongue, every 2 seconds.
“Hia, if there’s anything you want to say, say it now. I know there’s something you want to tell me,”
Win looks at him. Stares at his eyes for a solid 30 seconds and smiles.
“Well, I can still remember bits of it. I want to tell you more, but maybe only when we get over this, and when you feel better. I don’t want to upset you even more. God knows this time you’ll disappear from me for good,” Win says.
Team bites his lips and nods his head, “Fine. But you have to tell me everything or else I will. Disappear from you for good,”
Win smiles whole-heartedly and it did so much to Team’s heart. He’s really, really this close to giving in.
“Please don’t, baby cheeks. I don’t know what I’d do without you,” Win says lowly and brings a hand to Team’s cheeks to pinch them gently. Softly.
And Team can only sit there, with his breathe held between each heartbeat.
“Why are you glaring at me? And why is your face so warm?” Win teases.
Team squints his tiny eyes even more and says “You’ve been calling me baby cheeks this whole time. Don’t think I didn’t notice.” Team excuses.
Win grins again, and pinches his cheeks one last time, with more strength and bite this time. He lets go and sits on the edge of the bed, with his body turned to him.
“There, there. I won’t do it anymore. For today” Win says while looking at Team under his lashes.
Team shakes his head and wills his erratic heart to calm the fuck down. But he can only think, ‘Please don’t look at me like that if you only think of me as a friend, Hia. You're so handsome. You’re so selfish. I hate you. I fucking hate you.”
“So we’re okay right? I know you’re mad at me, but okay enough for you to reply to my texts and not disappear on me right?” Win asks.
Team bites his lips and nods his head. “Fine. But don’t think I forgive you. You have to make it up to me.”
Win nods his head enthusiastically and smiles. “Of course. I’ll do anything”
Team smirks and points at Win, “You said it yourself. You’ll do anything. Alright. I’ll think of something. For now, let me eat in peace,”
Win looks at an eating Team, with a huge smile on his face, from under his lashes.
And Team thinks again, ‘Please don’t look at me like that if you only think of me as a friend, Hia. You're so handsome. You’re so selfish. I hate you. I fucking hate you.”
Oh no, you don't Team. Hahahah
‘Team, where r u?’
‘Team, the party started literally an hour ago.’
‘Chill M, this is a college party, not a family reunion’ Team types out and pockets his phone.
He messes his hair in the middle one more time, to make it look messy but stylish. But with how straight his hair is, it only looked like there was a hedgehog lodged on his head.
He releases a sigh and just let it be. It looks more natural if he just let it be anyway.
He checks his text thread with Win and types in another, ‘I’m going, Hia. Ure not gonna ditch last minute r u?”
'Oh no. Open the door’ the text says.
Team frowns and opens the door to his room.
And there he is, leaning on the door walls, dressed in a black oversized button shirt, with white flower print. The two unbuttoned top threatening to drop lower. His one arm was raised over the side and his shirt rid up a little, on the verge of showing the shapey, taut torso, that Team knows by years of familiarity.
And as he put his arm down, one side of the collar draped more to the side and it exposed his left collarbone. His dyed hair swept to one side, showing his growing sideburns. Emphasizing his sharp jawline, and the strong line to it like in a constant bite. And Team had to bite his lower lip to reign in a groan.
Win smirked at him and cocked his head to the side to signal him out. Team shook his head and berated his mind for wandering.
“I’m bringing my car today, lets go together,” Win says as he turned off the alarm for his car.
Team grinned and cheerfully says “Nice. I won't have to walk in this heat. I’m sure it's raining later tonight”
Win nods in acknowledgment and opens the door for him before he goes to the driver’s side. Team turned on the air conditioner before the elder even got to his seat and Team only smiled at the elder’s glare.
“Hehe” Team grins.
Win can only shake his head and say “Whatever. Good thing it’s you, baby cheeks. If it was someone else, they’ll never set foot in this car again.”
“You’re funny, Hia”
Team settles into his seat and fishes out his phone, then texts Pharm and Manaow, ‘I’m riding with Hia Win. I’ll go in with him’ and presses send.
It was only a 10-minute ride as their apartment building wasn’t too far from the bar they’re holding the party. It was a ‘welcoming the freshies’ type thing. It was supposed to be a trip to the beach but when you have Win as the Vice president of the college program, he wanted two celebrations.
He offered their resort in the south as a destination, the resort all to themselves, half the price, but they should have a ‘pre-party’. Hence the bar party. He couldn’t say he disagrees, it was one hell of a deal.
They heard the party more than they actually saw it. It was already in full swing and they were greeted by Win’s friends when they saw his car park. Team was being patted on the head, and some even pinched his cheeks, and he can only grin and bear it, but luckily it didn’t last that long as Win was hissing and pulling his friends away from him. The younger sent a smile in Win’s direction and ran inside to look for Pharm and Manaow.
“Team, you made it! Gee and here I thought you weren’t coming” Lee greets him in the entrance. Team’s classmate in the song-writing course he took as a free program.
Team fist bumps the other and gives a side hug. “Nah. I couldn’t possibly miss my first college party. The first step to freedom and this is where the girls are,” Team answers.
Lee locks his neck in his arms and drags him towards a table with people he wasn’t all that familiar with. He recognizes a face or two from his other majors, but then he’s greeted by Pharm and Manaow. Their frowns and glares were visible from a mile away.
“Hehe. Pharm, Manaow. So good to see you!”
“Ai Team! You begged us to come here with you and you had the audacity to be an hour late. Some nerve” Manaow scolds.
Pharm nods aggressively in agreement and folds his arms to his chest. This is not the first time Team thought that Pharm is adorable. Won’t be the last, but it’s no use.
“I’m sorry ma friends, better late than pregnant right?”
And this earned a laughing ruckus from the people at the table.
“Late from watching Golden Girls huh?” Pharm asks.
Team smiles guiltily while raising his shoulders in a shrug, but it didn’t stop Manaow from landing a slap on the back of his head.
“I’m sorry. But this is a party. Loosen up. Have fun. You might meet someone here,” Team says and wiggles his eyebrows.
It earned him a disgusted scowl from both his friends, but he guesses he deserved that.
“Fine! But you have to watch season 2 all over again with us. You’re staying at my apartment and we’ll have a marathon. Deal?” Pharm says and offers his hand.
Team takes Pharm’s hand, Manaow’s innocent hand in the other, and gave it a firm shake. “Deal”
"I’m gonna get myself a drink. Do you guys want any?” Team asks.
Team was making his way to the bar when- “I didn’t know Manaow could pack such a hit. Your head looked like it was about to unhinge.”
Team fakes a smile and raises his head in a punch, Win raises both his hands in surrender and blows a kiss his way.
“Stop bothering me and go back to your friends. I can handle this,” Team says. He leans forward to wait for the waiter to serve his drinks
Win smiles at him and pinches his cheeks, “It was never a question of if you 'can or can’t’ of course you can. You’re my baby cheeks”
The younger turns around to look at him and finally sees that the elder has another person in tow. A girl. A very cute one. Draped on his arm like she can’t walk without Win supporting her.
“Baby cheeks, this is Aim. My friend from my Marketing class. Aim, this is my baby best friend Team.” Win introduces them both. And Team flashes another practiced smile.
“Hia, stop embarrassing me! Just Team. Nice to meet you, P” And offers his hand to the older girl. And just before the girl Aim was able to reply, the waiter put the drinks in front of him and there presents his perfect excuse.
“Oh, my drinks are here. If you’ll excuse me, I have friends who are thirsty who want to unhinge my head. Hia, P’Aim?” And carries the bucket of beer and the tray of shots.
Lee rushes to his side to help him carry the drinks. Lee leaned into him and whisper shouts in his ear, “Who was that? Damn she cute.” And ending it with a whistle.
“I think that’s Hia’s new girlfriend,” Team answers.
Lee clicks his tongue and looks back. “Damn. He picks them up good. Last time, I saw him with a cute boy.”
“Yeah. He can get anyone and everyone he likes. So fucking lucky,”
Lee looks at him and pats his back loudly as he put the bucket down on the table and says as his voice trailed off, “Well, at least I got you.” And fucking winks.
Before setting down the tray of drinks, Team downs one and puts the shot glass upside down on the table. The table’s cheers echoed in the bar then someone shouted, “Let’s get this party started!”
It became a blur of dancing strobe lights, of orange, and blue light. Glimpses of people he recognized, Pharm, Manaow, Lee, and people he just met that night. They were downing drinks after drinks. Vodka, beer, whiskey, gin, and more beer. At one point he remembers Pharm saying, “Slow down Team. This is not a competition” and he remembers answering, “It’s not. But I’m drowning my feelings. It’s either this or the pool,”. Lee and a guy named Mick cheering him from the sides every time he downed a drink in one shot, and this is the type of company he needs right now.
He goes with them, and they created a makeshift dance floor in the middle of the bar. And soon everybody joined in. His mind felt like it was swirling as he felt the whisky run down his throat, and a body gyrated against him.
He looked down and saw a very cute girl, dressed in a short black dress, contrasting her pale skin, like a beacon. She was smiling up at him, and he smiled and licked his lips, seeing her red lips winking at him with a glossy sheen. The girl tiptoed and whispered something to him, but he only heard, “on me” and “so hot”, but it was enough for Team to know the girl was unto him.
He can’t possibly reject an invitation from a girl who showed a desire for him, but it’s him. He can’t feel any for the person, opposite him. But it doesn’t mean he knows nothing of lust and desire.
He drank the remaining whiskey on his glass, puts it down, and leans down towards the girl, and kisses her. This made the small girl open her mouth in a moan from the sheer force of his lips, and moaned even louder as whiskey pooled in her lips, and ran down the sides of her mouth. Team was patient for a drunk person, but the girl upon realizing what was happening, eagerly kissed back and it was an exchange of a whiskey-flavored kiss.
Team held her face between his palms and relayed all the alcohol to her waiting open lips. And when they were finished, the girl was still in a trance, her head tilted up, her eyes glassy, barely open, and her lips were stuck in a pout as if she was stunned. But before he could do more, he was pulled back and met a sturdy chest against his back, and he didn’t have the time to turn around or to see who it was, he can only look at the pretty girl forlornly as she opened her eyes and looked for him.
Team was forced to sit down on the benches by the bar, like the table he and his friends occupied earlier. But he didn’t need to guess who pulled him back, as Win’s face came into view, his eyebrows furrowed in a deep frown, and behind him are Pharm and Manaow’s worried faces.
“My friends! Why the long faces? This is a party! Come on let’s dance!” Team shouts and stands up, before he staggered on the spot and sat down again on the bench, his weight unable to hold his liquored-dazed body, and he can only lie down on the bench. But it didn’t dampen his mood, he flailed his arms above him, and dances to the beat as hard as he can.
Pharm and Manaow moved the table so they can both fit on the remaining space, they looked up at Win and told him, “P’, we’ll take care of Team. Go back to the party. We’ll take him home.”
Win smirks, albeit a little dry as he says, “And who’s gonna carry him? He’ll topple both of you if you try. I’ll just say goodbye to my friends, I’ll take him home. Watch him for me till I get back, okay?”
Pharm and Manaow look at each other, and back at Win. Guess they don't have a choice but to agree.
Win disappeared in the crowd of bodies, rubbing and grinding in the middle, and Team suddenly shot up and stood up. The two friends also stood up to support him, as Team swayed a little, side to side and giggling like being up on his feet is too funny.
“I think I saw Hia go that way, I have something important to say to him,” Team drunkenly says.
The two friends actually weren’t able to hear anything, they only saw him bolt out and run towards the crowd. They both didn’t know what to do as Team was just there and then gone the next.
They separated to look for him and Pharm kept on jumping because he can barely see from his view below. He can only see people’s necks and heads and he’s growing frustrated from the swaying heads and the blinding strobe lights. And so he didn’t notice a man come up to him. All he realized was that he was held by strong, huge hands on his waist, attempting to lift him up. He struggled a little but held on to the hands as he was about to slip. He felt uncomfortable, so he said, “Put me down. Let me go.”
But the taller person leaned down to him and whispered, “I’m sorry. I should've asked permission first. I just saw you trying to see through the crowd and I thought I could help.”
And his eyes almost bulged out to hear this voice. He knows this voice. It’s Dean. Dean Ratthanon Wongnate His senior crush.
Team was trying to get through. The lights were so annoying, so he stopped to rest his eyes a little. But, “Team? What are you doing here? Where’s Pharm and Manaow?”
“Hia! You’re here! I wanted to say something to you,” Team answers.
Win shakes his head and rounds his shoulders to lead him out of the building.
"Hia, Pharm is so cute. Don't you think so? He's so tiny. He can fit right in my palms, and then I can squish him. And-and he'll just slip through my fingers cause that's how tiny he is." Team says in fits of uncontrollable giggles.
Win has to bend his elbow out towards Team to avoid letting him crash to his side towards the steering wheel. At one point he decided to drive with one hand so Team can settle down and just hold his arm to his chest instead. A 10-minute ride became 20 because he can't drive at the same speed, despite the roads being barren.
Team was giggling his heart out and added, "Hia, you have such a huge hand. Was it always this big?" and holds Win's towards his face and holds it to the side to cup his cheek. He reveled in the way that his entire face, despite being bigger than average, is totally covered by Win's hand. He giggles again.
"I wonder if your hand can fit on Manaow's face too?" Team asks and giggles.
"Or Lee? Oh well, that guy has a tiny face. Your hand will fit right in," and continues to giggle.
Team was stopped when he feels that he was being pulled out of his seat and his arms rounding around Win's neck.
"Hia, where are you taking me? Was the party moved to another bar?" Team asks.
He giggles again when he felt someone feeling his front pockets and back pockets.
"Hia! Where are you touching?" And pouts.
"You shouldn't feel me up you know," Team adds.
"I'm sorry, baby cheeks. I was trying to look for your keys. But you don't seem to have them. Just sleep in my room for the night." Win answers.
And Team leans on the door as his shoes were being removed. He tries his best to look down without toppling over, but he can only see the top of Win's glowing head, and he just giggles the rest.
"Yes, baby cheeks?"
"Did you see that girl? The girl I was dancing with? She was pretty wasn't she?"
"Yes I did, baby. What about it?" Team senses the elder tensing, so he pokes the elder's chest, as he was being almost dragged towards the bed.
"Is it just me or she kinda looked like P'Aim?," Team inquires.
Win is trying to take his clothes off one by one. His oversized yellow shirt was the first to go, then he felt his jeans being pulled off as well, and Team is pushing the elder's hands away.
"Team, you're gonna whine and complain in the morning if you're gonna sleep in these clothes. These pants are too tight," Win says.
So Team lets him be, and now he's sprawled out on the cool mattress. He curls his body towards his knees cause the AC was turned too high. And then he flinches full force when his arms are being wiped with a wet towel.
"Hia. Cold." Team whines.
"I know, baby. But you'll sleep better after this. Just bear with it a bit more, okay?" Win answers.
Team pouts but nods anyway. He waits for Win to finish wiping him down, and he sits up better so Win can wipe him better. Just as the elder was done, Team grabs Win's shirt and unbuttons the shirt down.
Win holds his hands to stop him, leans back, and looks at Team straight in the eyes.
"Hia, why are you stopping me? Let me," and makes grabby hands.
Win clicks his tongue, and lets Team continue what he wanted to do.
With how blurry and with his vision spinning, Team is struggling to unbutton them all, but he successfully did, and it made him do a little 'happy dance'.
Win snickers at him in amusement, and he stands up to take his pants off as well. He goes to his dresser to grab something for them to sleep in. Team is now laying on his side, waiting for Win to come back, and he opens his eyes when some sort of clothing hit him. He takes it from the side of his head and brings it up to see what it was. It was the old, oversized, and overused shirt he used to wear to sleep.
"Ha. So this is where it went. I thought I left it at home," and giggles. Then he rolls the shirt into a ball and hugs it to his chest, and mumbles incoherently.
"No. You lent them to me one time I slept over at your house. I forgot it was with me. I hope you don't mind I forgot to give them back," Win answers.
Team thinks, 'it's fine. I was supposed to give it to you. But I chickened out last minute, so I just used it myself so I can imagine it was yours' and started giggling to himself again.
Team was just feeling the soft material of the overused shirt. It was now too loose because of being washed over and over again for the past 2 years for he wears it to sleep every day. Only missing the days he forgot where it went.
Team clutching the cloth to his face and became so happy realizing it now smelled like the older. Like detergent and sandalwood, and something uniquely Win. But he put the shirt down when felt like, someone was looking at him. Sternly.
You know that feeling where you can feel that somebody is looking at you, so you unconsciously look in that direction? But in Team's case, there was no other direction, but directly in front of him. So he did.
He opened his eyes and saw Win looking at him. It wasn't angry, or annoyed, or sad. He wasn't quite smiling either. If Team were to put a word on it, it was worried. But he looked like he wasn't worried either.
But his drunk brain can only register, 'sad', 'worried', so he brought his index finger up, and gently poked at the space between Win's shapely eyebrows, and smiles when it effectively smoothened out the deep furrow.
Team brought his finger down, but before it gets too far away, Win held his finger in his hand, and it was brought to the elder's cheeks.
Team has dreamed of this. For years, he's dreamed about this.
Where he can freely graze his fingers on the elder's eyebrows, then slowly trace it down towards his prominent nose, to the sides towards the older's high cheekbones, and just lightly poke at his pale, flawless cheeks.
And when he's made sure the older isn't awakened, he'll tenderly trace his lips, every soft, pink, bit of it.
And when the elder finally awakes, he'll ask for a kiss. And he'll feel his heart soar and he'll hear it sing.
"Team? Can I kiss you, baby cheeks?" Win asks.
And in his dream, the elder loves him, just like how he loves him. And he'll aggressively say yes to every kiss. So he nods his head, yes, and the elder pulls him towards him and crashes his lips with his.
Hehehehe and the plot THICKENS.
He was being pulled up and Team straddles on the elder's lap. His shirt cascading to his side, before falling on the bed, his thighs beside the elder's waist in a loose grip. He rounds his arms on the elder's neck, while his hand clutches the short hairs on the back of Win's nape and the light burn from his hair getting pulled evoke a groan from the elder. Which he feels, more than he hears.
Their lips languidly sucking each other. Phawin's tongue gently poking his lips open, but he leans back to take up much-needed air and he feels his skin prickle with heat when the elder chases his mouth. It wasn't rough, but it was enough to take his breath away.
They stare at each other for 2 seconds. Then 5, and then it becomes 10. Their pants echoing in the still room and Win's eyes were piercing through his soul. Like he was looking for something, but Team's drunken dreams cannot decipher.
Team feels even drunker with how the elder was looking at him like he was the only person he sees. Like he feels his world stop right at that moment. Team bites his lips to stop a grin from slipping, and he clutches the older's hair harder and angles his head up so he can suck the juncture where his jaw and neck meets, and this makes Win groans louder.
Team sucks all the skin he can. The point where the neck meets the shoulder, the spot behind the ear, he sucks every spot and sucks harder where he can elicit louder moans from Win.
Win clutches Team's back, avoiding to use his nails so he doesn't break skin. He grasps, holding on to the smooth expanse of his back, and of his thighs.
Team groans when the elder kneaded his supple thighs and butt and he unconsciously bucks his hips. And that little action caused their groins to rub against each other, and it was the spark they needed to burn.
Hot skin against wet lips, Team groans when the elder starts to lick on his cheeks and nibbles his earlobes. This was something new, Team thought. The elder in his dreams before was rough, but this Win was forceful, strong, but very slick and gentle. Team felt the older's tongue slide across his neck, down his chest, and started to lick and suck on his nipples.
"Hia!" Team shouts.
Win leans back and looks at him in worry.
"Did I hurt you?" Win asks.
Team pouts and shakes his head, and grabs the other's neck to kiss him again. It was more of rubbing of tongues than kissing, but it was sensual and wet.
"My nipples are sensitive, Hia" Team answers.
Win smirks and goes down to suck on the younger's nipples like candy. Team brings his right hand and bite on it to stop the torrent of moans spilling from him. Win grabs his hand away from his mouth, without stopping his ministration on his chest, and brings Team's both hands, on his head. Team, dazed, has nothing else to grab purchase so he grasps the older's hair.
He hears Win groan, and feel it on his chest. Win stop licking his chest, and slowly trails lower, lower, and Team can finally breathe, but it was cut short when the elder nuzzled his face on his clothed member.
"Hia! Hia!" Team exclaims.
Win holds his hands and comes up. He looks at Team, and slowly leans down. And when they're only a thread-distance apart Win whispers, on his lips, "You have the softest and sweetest skin I have tasted."
Team looks up and feels like he was punched out of his daze. Of course, even in his dreams, Phawin is experienced and very alluring. That deep low voice is drawing him in, but his words were drawing his tears. He wonders how many other people did his Hia tell this to? How many beautiful girls and boys has he held this tight and whispered just this line?
He's got to be the only crazy person who's saving himself for a childhood crush, and now he's hurt? He wills his pooling tears to not drop and exchanges their position instead.
He tucks his head on Win's shoulders, attempting to hide his face, and grinds down on him instead. because of their position, the blond male is directly breathing and groaning in his ears, and it makes Team forget.
He grinds down on him, circling his hips. and moves further until the crack of his ass is directly on the elder's growing member. Even with their boxers separating them, Team can feel the heat of his skin, and the expanse of the elder. They may have never been in this situation before, but he knows the elder is well-endowed, and it feels amazing under him.
Win is kneading his thighs and his butt, in fluid, circular motions, in the same rhythm as his.
"Baby, I can't take it anymore. Please tell me you want this." Win asks. gripping his hips to stop his grinding, it may have been to ground them both.
Win leans his forehead on his cheeks, and Team can't help but open his mouth because of the weight of his face.
The older holds his face between his hands and straightens both their faces so they see eye to eye.
"Team, please tell me now if you want to stop. I'm not doing anything unless you tell me. If you say stop, we stop, okay?" Win says.
Team is a little touched by how the elder is insisting on getting his permission. I mean, this is a dream, right? And in his dreams, the older loves him too. But he's so happy he respects him either way.
Team nods and brings their faces closer. He holds his huge hands in his, and nods.
"Please. Don't stop. Please, please." Team chants and Win nods his head and kisses him. Their tongues are gliding against each other, but Win gets to do him better and is licking and sucking his mouth like he wants to remember what it tastes like. Team wants the same, so he pierces his tongue inside, and licks the wet cavern of the elder's mouth.
It made him feel drunker than that kiss he had with the cute girl, even if whiskey was involved. It made his head spin, more than when he danced with the blinding strobe lights. It made his fingers tingle more than when he plays the guitar.
Team pulls the older's boxers off without breaking the kiss, and he takes his boxers, off as well. And when they were finally bare, all skin, their touch felt more electrifying and stunning than anything he experiences in his life.
He grinds on Win again, this time, feeling the difference between his even hotter skin, and even bigger cock. It barely catches in between his crack, and he's starting to get worried.
Win senses his worry and whispers, "It's fine. If you want to stop, I'll suck you off, then we'll call it a night." Win says. But he holds Team so tightly, clasping Team's leg to wrap around him. Around his waist.
Team aggressively shakes his head and bites on Win's collarbones.
"Hia, I said don't stop. Take me, take me. I don't care if it hurts."
"Okay. Okay, baby cheeks. But no pain. I'll prepare you very well so you won't feel pain, okay?"
"Lay down baby," Win instructs.
And so Team gets off the elder's lap and lays on his back. He sees the elder bend over towards the bedside table, and grab a bottle. Oh, so that's what lube looks like, Team thinks.
Win squirts a decent amount on his fingers and rubs them together to warm it up a bit. Win grabs the pillow behind his head and situates it on his back. Win leans down on his again and licks his upper thighs.
Team feels goosebumps rising on the trail where the other's tongue touched, and harshly sucks on the area behind his knees. Team never knew that area can feel so good.
Win moves to the other leg, this time sucking and blowing air on his skin, and it still raises goosebumps on him. But what shocks Team the most, is when the blonde male raises his left leg up in the air, and licks and sucks on the skin of his inner thigh. Team lays on his side and latches on his arms to stop his moans from coming out.
And then he feels fingers prodding on his hole, and he feels one finger in. He feels a little uncomfortable, but the older distracts him by sucking on the skin between his legs and the pelvis, and Team is spurting pearls of precum.
"Hia! Hia! Ahh."
"Just a bit more baby," Win says, as he put in the second digit, and scissors his fingers. Team hardly feels any pain as the other's fingers don't only stretch him, but pokes, and rubs on a spot inside him that feels like he's falling over. It hurts, yet it feels so fucking good.
"Hia, inside. I can't take it anymore. In me," Team exclaims.
So Win stops licking on Team's skin, and grabs the lube, and puts every ounce of lube on his member. He holds the same leg up and slowly penetrates Team.
Team can feel every inch prodding into him, and he can only grab the bedsheets and pull at them.
"I'm only halfway in baby cheeks." Team opens his eyes in shock and looks down. Halfway and already this full?
But he's stopped in his thoughts when Win pushes to the hilt, and Team moans as the tip hit on that spot, head-on.
"Ugh! So full, Hia, you're, you're-"
"About to burst. Stop talking, baby cheeks. Every time you speak, you clench, and I can't afford to come yet." Win says.
"Try to relax baby. You're too tight. It will hurt more if you don't relax."
Team breathes, as much as he can, but when Win's cock throbs, they moan in unison.
"Shit. Fuck. You're so hot," Win curses.
"Please tell me you're good, baby," Win says. Team nods and says, "Yes Hia. Yes,"
And Win pulls out until only the head is caught in between the rim. Then pushes in harder, and pulls out slowly. His thrusts feel like a punch but then gone in a second, only to be thrust in again, as hard. And Team feels his body convulse.
Win's thrusts stuttered a little until they both found a rhythm. And just like everything else, even that rhythm matches him. It was slow, steady, but powerful, and hard. It wasn't calculated, but it felt like practiced ease and perfect rhythm. In and out, in and out. Perfect.
Team felt every fiber in his body spark and ignite in that very moment, and he has never felt this in-sync before in his life. His leg was pushed towards his chest, trapping his body down, but it is a very welcomed weight as it kept him down.
Team can feel every push and pull in his walls. He feels every stretch and unstretched, and it brings him closer and closer. Every push hits that spot, every pull drags his skin and he feels so alive.
"Baby cheeks, you feel so good. So tight," Win words into his ears, and Team feels even more electrified with the sound of his gravelly voice.
"So full Hia. So big," Team says.
Team holds the older's face between his hands and looks at the man on top of him. His eyebrows furrowed in concentration, his lips pursed and then released to release deep groans, his eyes closed in pleasure. Team can't help and kisses the top of his nose. Win shots his eyes open and growls and his thrusts become faster and harder and Team tucks his face on the elder and grabs purchase on his back.
"Ahh! Ahh!. Hia! Yes, Hia! Coming. Coming. Don't stop. Harder" Team says incoherently.
"Team, I'm coming too, baby. I'm coming, I-"
And Team shouts as he comes. The convulses drawn out from him, so strong, his mouth opens. He sees his come splatter across his chest, some reaching on his chin.
And Win follows suit. Coming a little inside him, barely able to come out and continue coming on his belly.
Team pants, and inhales. His body feels burnt, good burnt, and he needs air to cool down. Win lets his leg go, but doesn't get up from Team. He lays on his chest and nuzzles on his cheeks, and pecks on any skin he can reach. He pecks his lips, his right cheek, his temple, the top of his hair, and pecks on his lips again.
Team goes on to have a dreamless sleep. Only that he was maybe wiped down sometime in the night, and the blinding morning light streaming through the window, and his pounding head as he wakes up.
Welp, 2000 words of pure, unadulterated smut. I don't know if I should be proud of finishing it one go, or go bathe in holy water.
PS. I posted this chapter late. I didn't notice this whole ass chapter was not posted. And I can't believe I managed to miss one of the most important scenes in this story. Like a whole 1.5k worth of words. OMG I'm soooooooooo sorrryyy hhuhuhu
"Soooo, let me get this straight," Team starts. Win nods to let him continue.
Win sitting across him, cross-legged on the bed, as they share junk food between them.
"I got drunk, danced with a girl in the bar. Then you brought me home. But since I didn't have my keys with me, you let me sleep here." Team concludes.
Win nods and brings a chip to his mouth. Team grabs that hand and brings it down and says, "Wait, Hia. Something isn't adding up."
"Like how did we end up sleeping together? Why did Pharm and Manaow say they were looking for me?" Team asks.
"Well, I asked them to watch you while I said goodbye to my friends but apparently, you ran into the crowd and looked for me. I remembered you saying you had something to tell me. Something important. But when we got in the car you just said something about Pharm being tiny? And that my hand was huge,"
'Okay, these are things I can already remember,' Team thinks.
"And then we got home, I looked for your keys, and you didn't have it on you, so I made you sleepover," Win continues.
'Okay, so far so good. Although something seems missing, I can't point what it is. And why would Hia, lie to me? He doesn't need to lie.' Team thinks.
"So, you were driving while intoxicated? You could've been caught, Hia" Team scolds.
Win doesn't answer, so Team asks instead-
"And? How did we end up sleeping-not just sleeping?" Team asks the older.
Win looks at him from the corner of his eyes and licks his lips. Once, twice, and then brushes his hands through his blonde locks.
"Hia? What is it?" Team asks. He moves from sitting on the bed to kneeling on it and bunches the blankets in his hands.
"To be honest, I can't remember it that well too, Team. I may have been more drunk than I actually was. Pretty tired too from the swimming tryouts. I just remembered we were lying on the bed, and then we talked a bit, and then I woke up we're both naked," Win answers.
Team settles down, and he's been kind of expecting this answer. They were both tired, very drunk, and the older must've shut down from exhaustion.
"I'm sorry for taking advantage of you, Team. I'm the older one, I promised Mae I'll take care of you, but instead, it was me who 'ate' you first. And you were saving yourself for someone too, but I took it away." Win says.
Team admits the older seems to be very pitiful to be begging at him. Looking that defeated.
He can't say he's angry because he was saving himself for HIM anyway. But he was drunk, he can't remember everything. And he felt like he was being cheated on. Taken advantage of.
But they were both drunk, so he can't blame everything on his older friend.
"I'm really sorry, Team,"
"I'd like to blame everything on you, Hia. But-but we were both drunk. And it's not like we could've done it if we were sober anyway, right?" Team asks.
Win, who has never looked away from him, subtly nods and says, "Mhmm"
Team sighs. Of course. It could never happen with both of them sober.
"I guess there's nothing we can do about it. We'll get over this, forget about this. We'll just be laughing at this in the future. Haha," Team mockingly laughs.
"Yeah, ha-ha" Win continues. Void of any emotion.
They were silent for a few minutes, and it was Win who broke the silence first-
"So, you're not mad?" Win asks.
"Do you want me to be mad?" Team answers.
Win shakes his head hastily and holds Team's forearms.
"But you were gentle with me at least, right?" Team asks.
Win frowns, and looks at him, "Are you hurting anywhere? Do you want some painkillers? I bought a pack for you."
Team shakes his head. Win stands up and takes out the medicine he bought from his bag. And hands it over to Team. A pack of painkillers. And some ointment.
Team blushes but hides it with- "Do you always take care of your Faen like this?"
Win says, "I always make sure my partners are fine. I always practice safe sex and I get tested every 3-6 months."
Team bites his lips and smiles, as cheerfully as he can, "Of course you do."
Of course, he does. The older is used to this. He guesses his name just got listed on the bedpost.
At least he won't get tossed in the morning, and he'll still get to talk to him unlike his other 'sex partners'.
And it was just sex, no partners.
And, it's not like it'll happen again. He'll just make sure he'll never get drunk with his older friend again, or else Team will take the lead this time. And that can never happen. The older will surely find out about his feelings.
"So you won't disappear on me, right? No more hiding? No more no replying?" Win asks.
Team faces him, and punches the older gently on the shoulders, "What would you do without me though? How will you live without me?" Team laughs.
But he's shocked to hear the older's answer, "Nothing. I can't. I need you in my life, bab- Team. I was so scared I have lost you for good."
It's not like he can live without him too. They've been friends ever since he was this snotty (like mucus all over, everywhere, bratty) kid, and the older is too important for him to lose.
It’s why the blonde older male can never know about his feelings, or-
"Right! So don't you forget it," Team jokingly says.
And for the first time that night, Win finally smiles. That smile that stretches his full lips, showing all his white teeth, and his eyes almost about to close.
And Team realizes, 'I could never run away from this smile. Even if I wanted. For years. I wanted to.'
Team tries his best to reciprocate that smile. But it could only hide the pain in his eyes.
His heart belonged to his Hia, and he can only fucking smile.
"Never," Win says, adamant.
"How's your song coming along Ai'Team," Lee asks.
Team smiles and squints his eyes a little. Then he opens one eye fully to look at his friend,
"Does this tell you how it's coming along?" Team asks
Lee purses his lips in concentration.
"I think it means you suck, and you're just winging everything. Probably fail the class at this point." Lee answers
Team teasingly holds a punch in the air for Lee and the other leans back and holds his hands up in surrender.
"Oop- was I wrong?"
"Shia Lee! If you jinx me into failing, I'll strangle you."
And chases the other out, without forgetting his backpack.
'Team, we're at the canteen. The line was long so we bought you what we bought,' the text from Manaow reads.
Another text comes 'No complaining. You took your sweet time'
Team replies 'Krap Mae and Mae'
He rounds his arm around Lee's neck and the other rounds his arms on his waist and playfully lifts him up with one arm.
"Shia, you're strong." Team says.
Lee smirks and shrugs.
They play rowdily till they got to the canteen.
It's been a couple of months since that incident. And- and life has been normal.
And his song is coming along nicely. From all the pent up feelings he's had.
But lately, lately he's been feeling empty.
Win has another arm candy clinging to his arm, and every other night, they play games or eat junk food with an old movie playing on TV.
Too normal. Too quiet. Like something big was gonna happen cause that's just how his luck is.
Team settles on the canteen chair, Lee right beside him, and they teasingly look at Pharm who was smiling on his phone.
They both look at Manaow and the only girl in the team, nod, and signal them both.
1 2 3
Pharm almost jumps off his seat, clutching his phone to his chest, and eyes wide in shock.
He glares at the 3 people at the table and angrily stomps his feet.
"You scared the hell out of me, jerks. What was that for?
"Of course you'll be scared. You're scared we'll see who you're texting with,"
"Who is it? It can't be your mom or your brother," Lee says.
Team and Manaow's eyebrows raise in that statement. They both smile in mirth.
"And what made you say that huh, Ai' Lee?" Manaow asks.
Team follows suit by elbowing his arm on the table, and Pharm is once again, sneaking glances on his screen.
"Well, you bunch are just painfully obvious," Lee says.
"Manaow, you don't have anyone texting you but you're always on the phone for 'latest news' probably Y-related. Even if somebody approaches you, you won't notice cause you like Y-boys too much," Manaow's mouth open in shock, like fish out of water, searching for an explanation, when she doesn't have one, she slaps Team's giggling face.
"Defend me, Team. I'm your original friend."
"And Pharm smiles differently with his mom or brother. He smiles like he's happy, but this time, he's smiling like he's flustered. They look totally different."
"And you Ai'Team," the tall male starts.
"You only perk up at one text message. Rather texts from one person," he finishes.
Manaow and Pharm clap their hands and sways their head in amazement.
"Wow," both gape.
"You're good," Pharm says.
"You're not secretly a stalker are you?" Manaow says while she glares at Lee in question.
"No. As I said, you bunch are just very obvious," Lee answers and backs away from the only girl in the group.
"Quite annoying too," he adds.
"Except you Pharm. Being in love suits you," Lee adds again.
Pharm glares at Lee, but says "Thank you."
A notification bell sounds and Pharm's back to smiling on his phone.
It was another 2 weeks since that incident, and Team just finished writing an essay for one of his classes. He's not sure what for it was at this point. Right now he was writing his song for composition class when-
3 raps came from the door.
And he knows whose knock this was.
He stands up to the door and opens it. But they weren't alone.
There was Win on the front, draped on the door wall one arm above his head.
Pharm and Manaow right behind him, and Lee, waving at him. And smiling like it was damn Christmas.
"You brought the whole entourage, Hia," Team says.
He gestures his arms towards the room to welcome them in, and they slowly walked in, Pharm and Manaow being petty and pushing each other to who will come in first, and Lee messes his hair in a greeting.
"Shia Lee. I gotta stop meeting you man. You're messing up my mojo." Team says.
Lee clicks his tongue and points his finger in a finger gun, and winks at him.
"My life's true purpose. A nice room you got here," The other says.
"Thanks," Team answers.
Pharm and Manaow walk around the room and settling down in familiarity, but their older friend is still at the door, his arms crossed on his chest.
"You aren't coming in P'Win?" Manaow asks.
"I was supposed to spend the afternoon here at Team's room, But he seems to have company," The older answers.
Team, Manaow, and Pharm look at each other, and Team answers, "Yeah. We're doing group stuff, and Lee is here for our composition class."
"Well yeah, I wasn't made aware," Win says.
Team frowns and raises his eyebrow "I didn't know you wanted to spend the afternoon here. You should've told me. Or that I needed to tell you if I was unavailable."
Pharm elbows him and Manaow pinches his arm.
"You can stay here if you want, P'. We don't mind. I'm sure Lee doesn't too right?" They both look at the male sitting comfortably on the head of the bed, and they signal him to 'say yes''
To which he eagerly says "Of course! I'm only a mere guest." And both friends smile and look at Win
"For now," Lee adds.
And it prompts glares and brow raises from all three. Pharm and Manaow are so dumbfounded and slightly a little intrigued and Team is just- "That was not funny, man. Try harder"
And they both fistbump.
Pharm and Manaow sigh in relief, and they all settle on the bed, With Win taking the couch across them, and fishes out his phone.
"Yes, you do chapter 2, I'll do chapter 3. Manaow already started with chapter 1 anyway, And we'll each do the presentation for each of the chapters. I'll design the template for the presentation" Team says.
"Alright. I'll do the presentation then," Pharm adds.
"Isn't it supposed to be on random?" Lee intercepts.
The three looked at him, and brows raise once again.
"And how do you know that? I thought you weren't a Business student?"
And all three looked in front of them and looked at the man who asked.
It was Phawin.
"I know stuff. And Team may have told me one time. Right, Team?" Lee answers, and redirect the question to Team.
And on cue; Win, Pharm, and Manaow look at a clueless Team and a grinning Lee.
"I don't remember. I may have. But it doesn't matter," Team answers.
Manaow facepalms, and Pharm's face twitches. His lips pout and purses to the side. Like he's trying to tell him something and Team mouths, 'what?' and Pharm sighs in exasperation.
"See? Hihi" Lee says teasingly.
" Are you guys almost done? I'd like to borrow Team for our Composition now," Lee says then giggles.
Pharm and Manaow nod their heads and packs their stuff from the bed,
"Alright. We're leaving. We've covered up the important stuff, anyway. Let's continue the rest in the group chat." Pharm says as he shoves his books in his backpack.
"Please be online the whole night, okay? We need this done in 2 weeks." Pharm adds.
"Aw! Shia Manaow," Manaow slaps Team's arm.
"Don't play games the whole night and forget to reply okay? I swear to god I'll come here and-" Manaow threatens.
"Fine! Fine. Got it, Khun Mae. Ouch," Team answers.
"We're leaving, Ai Lee, P'Win. Bye-bye!" Pharm and Manaow says and closes the door.
"Thank God they're gone. I thought I was never going to get you alone Ai'Team," Lee says and stands up from his seat on the bed.
Team hears a throat-clearing on the side.
Team clicks his tongue and glares at Lee. Lee stays unbothered and undeterred and is grinning like he did something good.
"Hia?" Team directs the question to Win.
The elder looks up from his phone and looks at Team.
"Hmm? Yes, baby cheeks?" Win asks.
Team sighs in annoyance and clicks his tongue.
"Not you too, Hia. I'm already getting headaches from them, not you too,"
"I'm sorry, baby cheeks. I'll shut up now," the elder says and acts like he's zipping his lips and throwing away the key.
"And you, Ai' Lee, stop teasing me. Have you added anything to your lyrics?" Team asks.
"You inspire me to write, Team. I've added so much since we got paired for this project," Lee says.
"Die, fucker," Win says.
They both look at him, and the blonde male looks up from his phone and shows his phone screen.
"Oh, it's the game. I was in the heat of the moment. Please don't mind me," Win says and smiles.
They both go back to their notebooks.
"Alright, show me what you got," Team says.
Lee brings out his guitar and presses on a chord.
"I just want this time, for us to be like this forever," Lee starts.
" Eat shit and die!" Win shouts.
Lee continues on playing the next chord, louder this time,
"Just you and me, in this moment together,"
"Pfft. That's it?" Win shouts.
"Hia! Do you maybe want to go back to your room? You promised to be quiet, but you're being loud," Team loses patience and scolds Win.
Win looks up from his phone looks at Team guiltily.
"I'm sorry, baby cheeks," Win says.
Team shakes his head and sternly looks at Win.
"Fine," Win relents and stands up from the couch.
Team nods and sees a change in Win's eyes. Like he was glaring. Like he was threatening.
"But only if you come to my room after this," the blonde male says.
Team clicks his tongue and says- "Fine. Go. Go."
Win pockets his phone.
"Later, Team. Nice to meet you, nong Lee," WIn says and waves a little.
"Nice to meet you too, Hia," Lee says and waves back.
Win glares at them as he closes the door, and Team gapes at Lee.
"Did you see that?" Team asks the male on his bed.
"Mhmm," Lee agrees.
"You think he's mad?" Team asks, and Lee shrugs.
Ohhhh is Win mad? And what is Lee up to? Heheheh
Disclaimer: the lyrics of the song are not written by me, they're from a song called 'Moment' by Jeff Satur, OST for the Ingredients, a Mini-Series.
Please watch it while waiting for the currently airing series, or if you're looking for something fluffy and cute and drama-free. This Mini series is one of the best series I've seen in Thai BL history. Amazing acting, amazing plot, amazing chemistry, amazing OST, amazing actors, amazing everything. Please do watch it. huhuhuh
I sincerely apologize for my clumsiness and stupidity, I forgot to post a whole ass chapter. Huhuhuh If you read this, please go back to chapter 6 first, as it is the morning after for chapter 5. That talk is still important cause it'll show some of Win's perspective and his hidden thoughts and feelings.
But if you just started reading, it's fine. You at least got spared with one of the stupidest stunt on this platform. Please go on reading anyway.
Thank you so much for a reader on another platform that kindly pointed this out to me. Thank you.
I'll stop rambling now. Huhuhu Again, I'm sorry T.T
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Thanks for coming Ai'Lee. I'll go to your dorm next week to leech," Team says.
"Nah, let's go to my house. I'm going home next week. We can take Manaow and Pharm with us," Lee says.
Team contemplates then nods. "Sounds good. I'll tell them in the group chat. Wait, remind me to add you later, okay?"
"Roger that. Night. Good luck," the other says, then winks at Team.
Team clicks his tongue, then looks up at the ceiling, remembering his older best friend demanded him to go to his room.
He sent Lee to the main road to wait for a motor-taxi, as he tries to delay going to Win’s room and face his untimely demise.
Then he thinks- 'What am I so nervous for? I didn't do anything wrong. I did nothing wrong. What the hell?'
So he marches towards the apartment complex, dragging his feet up the flight of stairs, and stands in front of the elder's door.
'Again, why am I nervous? I did nothing. I did nothing, Team you did nothing!' Team tells himself.
He paces from left to right. Fishes out his phone to write a quick message to their group chat.
'Lee invited us over to his house next week. You guys got any plans?'- TeamPlayer
'I don't but I'll put a rain check on it first. I'm waiting for something'- CutiePharm
'OOHHHHH! Like a certain P'Dean to ask you out or sumn?'- Laylemon
'OHHHH they're already on to asking out? I thought Pharm was still too chicken to message back?'- TeamPlayer
'Don't believe her!' -CutiePharm
'I was peeking over his phone, right? And this flirty bitch over here was talking about going for groceries or sumn. And here's the bitchy part, he's hinting about needing help cause he's living alone, and needs help with groceries. As if he's never done grocery alone before!'-Laylemon
'LAYLEMON CHANGED THE NAME OF 'CutiePharm' INTO 'BitchPharm'
'It wasn't like that! I just said I was missing my family, and I wanted to cook for them, even if I'll be doing all the eating, so he said he'll happily eat the leftovers, then I accidentally told him, he can come over. Then he suggested he's paying for his share of the groceries cause he doesn't want to freeload.- BitchPharm
'Ai'Manaow! what's that for?!'- BitchPharm
'That's cute and everything, but you have to admit, you were also being slick'- TeamPlayer
'Fine! You win this time, that sounds so cute and wholesome,'- Laylemon
'TEAMPLAYER CHANGED THE NAME OF "BitchPharm" INTO "WhippedPharm"'
'Right? P'Dean doesn't seem like the type, but that sounds so wholesome'- TeamPlayer
'Yeah. I was not expecting that either,'- WhippedPharm
'Team! Why do you guys keep changing the names?'- WhippedPharm
'Don't let him go Pharm. If you do, I'll snatch him up and never let you get to him'- Laylemon
'Pfft. As if he'll look at you in the first place @Laylemon. Have you seen how P'Dean looks at @WhippedPharm?'- TeamPlayer
'Stop! He doesn't look at me. Does he?' WhippedPharm
'Pfft. Whipped'- TeamPlayer
'What about you and P'Win huh Ai Team? As if you're any better.'- WhippedPharm
'@TeamPlayer Double whip. Whip cream. Miracle Whip!' Laylemon
WHIPPEDPHARM CHANGE THE NAME "TeamPlayer" INTO "TeamtheMiracleWhipCream"
Team laughs breathily and looks up from his phone in reflex, and he suddenly remembers his predicament.
He pockets his phone and breathes in and out until he finally gathers his courage and knocks on the door.
The instant he did, the door swung open, and on the other side greeting him is the messed up blonde male, topless. Looking good in his distressed faded, blue jeans, hanging dangerously low on his hips and his face looking distressed. Worried, a little sad even, and now he's getting worried.
"Hia? Did something happen?" Team asks.
Phawin walks back to let Team in, and Team closes the door behind him.
"What took you so long? Win asks.
Team peers at Win’s face and answers- "We were trying to make our composition work. Why?"
"Don't hang out with him anymore. I don't like that kid," Win says.
"I just don't,"
"You can't make me accept that reason, Hia,"
"Cause it’s stupid. He's my friend. He's our friend, mine, Pharm and Manaow. And you want me to just up and leave him because," Team pauses inhales deeply and continues-
"You don't like him?"
"Why isn't that enough reason?"
"Because it isn't! He never did something bad to me, or to Pharm and Manaow. You're just being irrational!"
Win clicks his tongue and brushes the hair back falling over his eyes. Win backed onto the wall nearest to him. And Team piqued, thinking that he did something wrong because the elder wanted him to go over his room, but hearing this bullshit, was just too much.
And getting very annoyed with himself for finding the elder hot, at the most ridiculous of times. Like now.
"Hia, can you put something on, please?" Team asks.
Team berates himself again for saying that, but the topless male got off the wall, walks toward him, and says-
"And if I don't? What are you gonna do about it?" Win answers.
Team glares at the elder and raises his head to challenge him head-on.
They were glaring at each other for some moment. Team can only hear his breathing, or it was Win’s, he doesn't know any more at this point.
But his heart was racing, he can feel the heat run up from his back, rising up to the back of his neck, and Team’s eyes suddenly run lower. He can't help but look at Win's lips just as he licks them, and he suddenly blacks out for a moment.
All he remembers is he pulls Win close to him and kisses him.
He kisses him with the annoyance of how hot he looks with his hair unkempt. With how he can't stop himself from being teased by the taut stomach peeking from those low jeans. And he kisses him with the frustration of being so confused and nervous from being found out.
And it was soft, wet, unpracticed, but he kisses him with everything he had.
Win kisses him back even harder. His lips were sucked and sucked. And he bites them like he's looking for something to ground himself down. The elder holds his waist and pulls him even closer, and they walk back to the couch.
They fall over the arm of the chair, and it was the only moment their lips broke off.
"Let me kiss you, baby cheeks, please,"
Team is confused and scared, but he nods his head anyway and kisses him again, clenching the back of his neck as it's the only place he can hold.
Win grabs and pulls at his shirt, dragging it on his back, almost to the verge of scratching his skin, but he can't care any more than the other pulling him towards his lap and settles him on his hardening clothed cock.
Team is a little shocked, a little surprised, but it feels all too familiar. Like he's done this exact same thing before.
Team pulls back to take in much-needed air, and Win takes his shirt off at the same time. The black-haired male gasps as the blonde male attach his lips to his neck, and he leans his head back to give him more access.
But the younger leaned too far back, he almost fell from Win’s lap, so he held on to the elder's arms, but Win holds him on time, both his huge hands splayed on the expanse of his back-
and Team can feel all the air disappear from him. He felt so desirable. He felt the sexual desire from the elder as he clings to him, his wet lips sucking on his right nipple, and Team has never felt so alive.
"Hia," Team says breathlessly.
"Ahh. Hia!" Team exclaims in a high pitch as the elder lays him on his lap. Team’s head hanging upside down, as Win sucks on his smooth stomach all the way down his boxers.
He feels the elder stop sucking him, and he feels his hot breath on his skin, so he tries to look up, but instead, he hears-
"I know you may not remember this, but you have the sweetest, softest skin, I have ever tasted,"
Team can't help but hold the sides of Win's head, as he buries his fingers in those soft blonde locks, and Team is feeling dizzy, his blood running down towards his head, still upside down and he can't take it anymore.
"Hia, please. Please," Team begs.
"What do you want, baby?"
"Please, Hia. Kiss me. Kiss me,"
Win holds him on his back, rounds his arm around his shoulder and pulls him up. He kisses him again, with even more intensity. Team kisses him back, harder, with all the love he felt for him. Scary, familiar, but everything to him.
Ohhhhh their second time, but this time SOBER! Hehehe. Should I write more about their night or should I just skip to the morning after? Hjehehehe OMG hehehehe
Win pulls back and says-
"Team. Baby cheeks,"
"Ha?" Team asks deliriously.
Pants after pants, his mind fuzzy and airy.
"Can I take you here?"
"What?" He asks.
Win pulls his balmy body towards him, and Team takes purchase on the back of the couch, as his naked skin ignites with traces of wet patterns with Win's wet, hot tongue.
"Ahh. Haaah" Team pants.
Win licks and sucks on random spots on his chest. And Team notices he moves up, slowly, surely, his tongue swirling and sucking patterns on his skin. Until he gets to his ears.
"Do you want to move to the bed or?" He asks then licks his ears and sucks his earlobes.
Team gained consciousness for a fraction of a second then it disappears again.
"Your ears are a weak spot too, huh? Noted," Win says. Then goes to the other ear and does the same thing.
Team can barely feel his legs at this point. Scratching at the material of the couch, his hands also stinging a little from clutching it so hard.
He leans his temple on Win's forehead, and angles it just enough for Win to still be able to lick and suck his ears. He has no control of his movements. He has no control of his body now.
Win has possessed him, mind, heart, and body.
And Team can't think enough if it's a good or a bad thing. All he knows is his thoughts are filled with the pleasure of the elder's ministrations on him, and how much he wants to be taken over, even more, longer, deeper. If possible, permanently.
He can only move his hands to clutch the elder's blonde locks and scrunch it between his fingers and make him understand that he wants to say- 'Take me. Fuck. Fuck me. I'm-'
Win stops sucking his ears and holds Team's face before he finishes that thought.
Team's head clears a little, and he looks at Win's dark, pretty eyes, to ground him.
"Baby cheeks, you're not drunk," Win says.
"I'm not," the younger answers. Team grabs the hands caressing his face.
"Ugh. Stop looking at me like that," Win groans and closes his eyes.
"Like what?" Team prods his forehead with Win's.
Team waits for Win to open his eyes. it takes a second, two, then three, and Team bites his lips as the way Win's eyes slowly, so slowly opens, and looks up at him, feels like a tease. Teasing him to say yes to anything. At absolutely anything.
"Like you want me. Like you want this too," Win answers.
And Team, Team can't find the right words to say. so he stays quiet and lets everything he feels show in his eyes.
"Are you sure? Are you sure you want this too?" Win asks as he noses Team's black ebony hair.
He buries his nose in his hair, smelling the faint smell of shampoo, and something distinctly Team and he loves it.
Team rolls his hips. Making small constant undulations on his lap, that makes Win lean back and lay his head on the back of the couch. Team makes another fragile roll and Win grabs his butt and pushes it towards his own clothed member.
"I'm not sure I'll be able to stop after this." Win warns the younger.
Team full-on sits on the blonde's lap, and Team hisses. He hisses as he feels the stinging of friction burns on his knees, and from the feel of the rock-hard member perfectly situating between his butt.
"Hia, Hia." Team pants.
"I'm here, Baby Cheeks. I'm here. I got you. I'm here," And that's all it took for Team to let go and come. From barely rubbing against Win and it didn't even take 10 minutes for him to reach his climax. And now he’s mortified.
"Oh my god. That was embarrassing. Oh my god, I can't believe I came from-. Oh my god," Team whines.
Win chuckles and hugs Team tightly.
"Hia, I'm sticky. Don't,"
"Stand up, please," Win says.
Team does, and he walks back and away, ready to bolt out of the room, but Win stands up as well holds his hips to stop him from his tracks, and Team can only look up, and look at Win's surprisingly, kind and understanding eyes.
Win doesn't answer with words, but he does by pulling Team's shorts down his legs and lets them pool around Team's feet.
"Step out," Win says.
Team does and moves back again, but Win pulls him back this time and does the same thing with Team's underwear.
"Step out again, baby cheeks,"
And Team does, and before he was able to walk away, Win pushes him back, slowly, steadily, until he feels the table by the older's bedroom door, dig on the small of his back, and he looks back and down to look at the table.
He gasps when he gets lifted, and put down on the table, and he looks up at Win's eyes focused on him, and Team can't help but-
The ebony-haired male can't help but think that 'Is it possible that he really, he genuinely wants me too?'
"That was not embarrassing. That was adorable," Win says.
Team gasps. And Win mutes his gasp with his lips and kisses him. Then pulls back to say-
"That was sexy," And kisses him again.
Team groans and kisses the elder back, even before everything dawns on him.
The ebony-haired male rounds his arms around the taller's neck and kisses back with the easiest inexperienced kissing he can muster.
Win pulls the underside of his knees to clash with his body, and Team groans with the realization, the elder was already naked as well.
'When did he take his pants off?' Team thinks.
And the elder thrusts his hips with his, and Team feels the undeniable wetness on the elder's member too,
Team tears up with the thought that the older wants him enough to come from barely doing anything as well.
He leans back and chants the elder's name like a mantra.
"Hia, Hia, Hia, please, please,"
"Team, baby cheeks. I can't take it anymore. Please let me, Please,"
"Yes. Yes. Yes," Team will say yes to anything. Absolutely anything.
The younger feels wetness prodding his hole, and his mind supplies, 'it's lube'
"I know. I'm sorry. It'll warm up later. I just-I have to prepare you first,"
Team doesn't say anything and just nods.
His body is angled off the edge of the table. Only the middle of his back still leaning on the wood and he feels like he's falling off. But also not. The pushing and the pulling of Win's fingers are grounding him on the sturdy counter.
In. Out. In. Out. Push, pull.
The ebony-haired male leans his head back on the surface, but he wants to look at the blonde male's face. He wants to make sure he isn't dreaming. Again.
He needs to make sure this isn't another wishful thinking. He needs-
And as if on cue, Win goes down on him to kiss him, without stopping the ministration in him. Team grabs purchase on his arms, and the elder's groan gets swallowed in their mouths.
Team whines when the fingers stop and pull out of him, but he feels something bigger, harder, prod in him this time.
"Baby cheeks, we're not drunk. I'm sober, you're sober. Please stop me, before I- I mean I'd die if we stop this far, but I'd hate myself if I-"
Team doesn't let him finish and slumps on Win's huge member.
They both groan and pause. Team unable to go further from hanging on the desk, and unable to go fall deeper, Win from shock and the pleasure.
"Okay, baby cheeks," he says. He grabs Team's legs and wounds them around his hips, and pulls Team off the desk. This made Team go further down on Win's cock and he isn't sure which is hotter. The way the older carried him, or the way Win's cock went inside his hole to the hilt.
"Oh my god" Team exclaims. Win's first thrust hits his spot directly, strongly, that he feels his core quake and his body convulse in pleasure.
The elder holds him steady by holding his butt, and Team holds his arms around so he doesn't fall off.
"Are you okay?" Win asks
Team nods and pecks Win's unsuspecting lips.
Win is shocked, surprised, but it was what gave him the boost.
He holds the younger's butt and pushes them up, then let go to make him go up and down his member. He thrusts as steady and as hard as he can, considering their position, but Team feels the rush and pleasure either way.
Team leans his head back, and feels every push in and pull out of the other's member. And Wi's groan is muted by the skin on his neck.
"Ah ahh ahaa,"
After a few minutes, Team feels he's slipping off, from the heat, from the sweat on his, and on the elder's body, so he wounds his arms tighter around Win's neck, and Win in return digs his hands on his fleshy hips.
"Hia, so good,"
"You feel so tight baby cheeks, Fuck,"
"So big so full,"
"Ugh, So fucking tight,"
and slapping sounds of their skin resonates and bounce off the walls of their room.
"Baby cheeks, I'm close," Win says first.
Team nods and moves his hips this time. He tries to push his hips down further, and clenches and unclenches his hole.
"Baby cheeks, don't. I'll come faster,"
"That's the point Hia,"
"No don't-. This is- -all go away, Don't- -want this, not this," Win says.
Team is too high and in the rush of getting off the edge that he hears, but he can't listen. His mind can only focus on the heavy breathing and the resounding slapping of their skins.
But he feels the looming sadness from Win. And he takes it that the elder regrets what's happening. This thing happening between them.
'No don't. This is -nothing to me-. This is -just to make my frustration- all go away. I- don't want this. Not this,' Team connects the dots.
He feels that electrifying sense dawn on him. The realization that of course, this was all one-sided. His handsome, older best friend is just fucking him cause he’s there. He might be pouring his love, he might have enough feelings and passion for the both of them, but that won’t make the cut.
But he’s the best friend. Why-? Then how-?
Team bites his lips and thinks- ‘If that's the case, he'll just finish this and get it done with. If the elder regrets this, he won't but he won't be okay with it.’
If the elder can fuck him without feeling anything, then he can too.
"Then let's just finish this and get it over with," Team says,
"What?" Win asks,
Team hides his face in the crook of Win's neck, and cries, unable to hold the pain in his chest. He knows he felt this way the first time too.
But even with the dull pain he feels, he can't stop the impending peak. His orgasm just a push and a clench away, and-
And they come together.
Win clenches his fleshy hips even harder, and Team moans. He comes spurts after spurts and he moans harder when he feels Win's come hit his prostate directly. The warm essence pooling and heating up inside him.
Team feels Win's come slowly trickle out of his hole, but Win doesn't pull out,
"No, don't let it out," Win says, and smiles at him teasingly,
' But can I say no to you, too? If you don't want this, I don't want this.'
Win doesn't pull out, he only walks them back to the couch to lay on it,
"Sleep. I'll clean us up when I get some energy back," Win says and closes his eyes to take a nap.
He can only nod. He looks at the elder sleeping serenely, beautifully and Team wants to burn this face in his memory. His second and last time. Ever. He can never do it with anyone else. No one but his Hia.
But he knows his worth to force himself on him.
He didn't wait out of desperation. He waited for hope, for the small possibility, no matter how improbable it was, for the elder to love him too. But he just said he doesn't. Of course, he doesn't.
But this, no matter how borrowed, is special and precious to him.
He felt loved, even just for a short while, and he'll take it. He'll take it, and finally, finally move on.
Team places a small, long kiss on Win's lips, and smiles when the elder scrunches his face, then smiles.
He'll remember this relaxed, beautiful face he has when he just had sex.
He'll remember how it felt to be held so tight.
He'll remember how good it feels to be with the person you love.
And he plans to remember it forever.
Hi! I'm so sorry for being MIA for so long. Work was hectic and I had no energy at the end of the day to write anything. I had a little time off today, so here it is. Buttt moreee drama? And angst thooo? ehehhehee
'We're getting lunch at the Uni canteen. Wanna come?'
'Nah. I'll pass. U guys go,'
'Too late. We're outside your room.'
'Open the door,'
Team sighs and throws his phone on top of his bed. He but opens the door with all the enthusiasm.
"Then why bother texting me, assholes?" Team walks back to let the two in.
"Woah, sunshine, you woke up in the west today?" Manaow snarkily says.
Pharm takes a seat on the couch and leans back on it with his arms perched behind him.
"Everything alright Team?"
"Yeah. Just- " Team starts, waving his hand in the air without any flourish.
"Rough night?" Pharm supplies and Team nods to it.
"Team?" Manaow says, and Team can feel her eyes zooming in on him.
"Are those what I think it is? On your neck?" Manaow walks to Team who was leaning on the wall beside the door. She peers at Team's person, pointing at the undeniable splotches on Team's exposed throat.
Team unconsciously slaps his neck to cover it and nervously says- "What? What are you talking about?"
"Oh my god, they're huge." Pharm joins in.
"Oh my god, they're a lot!"
"Shit. Shit shit."
"Yeah, shit's right. Good thing I brought my foundation and concealer." Manaow says as she takes out her makeup bag.
"Oh my god. You look like you were- devoured. Like I'm talking about chewing and munching." Pharm gawks.
"Stop. I get it. I wanted to cover it up but I don't have any make-up,"
"You even have some behind your ear. I didn't know you could get those there. How are you gonna hide these during practice?" Manaow asks worriedly carefully applying makeup on Team's neck, making sure not to press too hard. They look like they hurt a little.
"Does it look like I can or want to go to swimming practice?" Team says as he tries his hardest not to cower or cringe.
"But competitions are around the corner. And P'Win will kill you if you don't go,"
Team winces at the mention of the elder to which Pharm and Manaow notice.
"Did he do this to you, Team?"
"Are you finally together now?" Manaow asks excitedly. And Team winces when she presses on his shoulder too hard.
"Oops! Sorry. So, are you?" she moves on to applying makeup on his throat.
The pale male shakes his head, looking down forlornly.
"No. Of course not. He said he regrets it and that it never should've happened,"
"He said what?" both exclaim in shock.
"Team, are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure. I was there. He told me. I know he doesn't like me that way. But I let go, twice! I slept with him twice, and I still-" he bites his lips when he fails to say it as calmly as he wants.
"And here I am, vapidly, feeling hurt about it," Team can feel Manaow's eyes on him. So he tries a smile.
"But I'll be fine. I'll move on. I already have. It's these goddamn marks on my neck. They're stressing me out." Team tries to say without his voice shaking too much, but his lips are quivering. And he chuckles deprecatingly to hide it.
He bites his lips to stop them from shaking, but instead, his eyes are becoming watery.
"Hey, why don't we have a sleepover tonight? The hell. Let's have a sleepover for the whole weekend. Pharm and I will grab some clothes and some groceries then we'll spend the whole weekend holed up in your room. What do you say?" Manaow cheerfully suggests. She elbows Pharm when the smaller man doesn't seem to respond and puckers her lips like a signal.
Team subtly wipes away his tears by running his hand through his hair. He nods.
"Sure. Let's watch all the sappy rom-com you both love to watch so much,"
"Sure," Pharm says, in a barely disguised sneer.
"Alright Pharm, let's go, let's go. We've got to pick up some groceries on the way. So much to do, so little time. Team, we'll lock the door, okay? Just in case," Manaow grabs Pharm and drags him with her. They both exhale loudly when they're both out of the room.
"Oh my god, this is such a mess," Manaow says.
"I know. Come on. We better not leave him alone for too long," Pharm says as he fishes out his keys from his pocket.
"You're right," she nods as they rush towards Pharm's car.
Not even 45 minutes later, with Pharm managing to go to his condominium, grab clothes, go to Manaow's, grab her clothes, then pick up groceries, all under 45 minutes, they arrive at Team's room, with him watching the intro for 'Drive Me Crazy'.
Manaow pulls his arm while trying not to laugh. With his teeth clashing, Pharm asks- "You already started?"
"You guys were taking too long. I just chose what you guys usually watch,"
"You-! Okay. Fine. Fine! I'll be in the kitchen making popcorn,"
"Thanks, Pharm. Can you make mine with caramel please?"
"Sure. What about you Manaow?"
"Same. But can you make regular ones too, just in case,"
"Sure. On one condition. Nobody watches beyond that title sequence or I'm making burnt popcorn,"
"Okay, Khun Mae,"
"Copy that, Khun Mae,"
Pharm finished making popcorn enough for a whole movie. That constitutes A LOT because Team and Manaow inhale popcorn.
Pharm bites his tongue to not argue with that.
Team is the biggest sucker for chick flicks out of the three of them.
He just likes to think he isn't even if he's the only one who cried when Kat read that poem to Patrick in '10 Things I Hate About You'. The sucker was smothering his face with a pillow trying to cover up his sobbing. It was funny and pathetic. But he eventually had to put the pillow down because of the snot and his tears soaking on it.
It's a rather disgusting memory, and Team seems to conveniently forget about it.
But for the sake of his situation, Pharm will shake it off.
One movie became two, and then three. Before they know it, it was time for dinner, which was Pharm supposedly cooking dinner for them, but they decided 'Nah, it's a lazy day, so we're getting Uber Eats,".
After that, it became a blur of sappy rom-com films and Team managed to cry in all of them.
But he more than ugly sobbed in 'Drive Me Crazy, 'Made of Honor, and in 'When Harry Met Sally'.
Both friends concluded, it's the 'Friends to Lovers' trope, and it was at that moment they questioned whether they should be letting Team watch more.
They looked at each other, communicating with their eyes, and nodded in conclusion.
"Team, maybe we should watch something else?" Pharm asks.
"Ssh! Harry's about to say it," Team shushes Pharm.
"Say what?" asks Manaow curiously.
"Ssh!" and Team leans in to hear the TV better.
"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
Team says the lines smoothly, in perfect timing with Harry.
And it was at this moment that both friends decided, 'Enough is enough.'
Pharm and Manaow both reach for the remote control and press exit. They stand in front, blocking the TV, from the gawking Team.
"What the-! Hey, I was watching that!"
"I thought you don't like sappy rom-com?" Pharm sassily puts his hand on his hips.
"Yeah, I don't. But you were watching that," Team snaps back.
"So you don't mind if we watch something else right? I wanna watch 'National Treasure' now," Manaow turns around and navigates to National Treasure. Luckily it was on Prime.
"Sure. Go ahead," Team leans and huffs under his breath.
He watches a few minutes in with Nicolas Cage driving through the snow with Sean Bean. And he's always been curious about Ben's character. How he's so headstrong, and confident, even if he's being chased by Ian and the American government for stealing the Declaration of Independence. Even if his intention is heroic, wanting to not get the document into the wrong hands, wanting to be able to find the treasure to clear up his family's name, but he did steal.
How someone can be so headstrong, and confident, and- and beautiful, and smart and athletic, and kind, and funny and so, so fucking distracting. But it wasn't Nicolas Cage or Benjamin Franklin Gates, someone rather closer to home. Someone closer t-
"Team! You zoned out. Are you okay?" Manaow quickly retracted her hand back after slapping Team's arm, but the pale male didn't even seem to notice.
"Yeah. I'll just step out a bit for some natural air. You guys watch Ben Gates be a know-it-all." as he treads his unclear, but heavy steps towards the balcony.
But before he steps out, Manaow and Pharm are just two steps behind him and leans over the cool metal of the balcony, too. Team looks at the sky distractingly.
He doesn't see much from his view from here. It was situated a little high up from the road, and he lives on the 3rd floor, but all he sees is that one malfunctioning lamp post flickering on and off and those tangled electricity lines.
And the Bangkok night sky doesn't hold as many stars as his hometown had. But the night air and the clear blue-black sky are enough. The evidence of no rain is enough to lighten his otherwise, broken heart.
"You must think I'm stupid, don't you?" he asks just barely above a whisper as he starts to count the twinkling stars.
"Honestly?" Manaow asks and Team flinches before he nods.
"Yes, I do. Don't you think so too, Pharm?" Manaow says to which Pharm hums and agrees.
"Yes. You’re stupid for thinking you're the only one at fault," Pharm finishes.
"You're stupid for thinking you were wrong for letting him in, and you’re stupid for thinking, we would judge you," Manaow nudges his side.
Team flinches again. But he needed to hear this.
"That may not have been the best way to go about it, but you didn't fuck yourself on him or took advantage of him, Team. You both did it willingly, so he's at fault too,"
"So I'm just- really unlucky, right? To be in love with someone who doesn't give two fucks about me? Oh wait, he already did" Team chuckles deprecatingly.
"He cares about you, Team. You have been friends with him the longest,"
"Yeah. It's things like that that make me like him even- fucking more. I just always thought he'd never do that with me. I was never on the radar. But I guess players play their best friends too huh?"
"We're so sorry, Team," both friends say at the same time. And for a moment, the tension breaks, and in spite of it, it makes them giggle.
"Hey. Why are you sorry? It's not your fault," Team says when he managed to catch his breath.
Pharm and Manaow look at each other for a brief moment, then turns to look at him and shakes their head. "We're here for you Team."
"We're your best friends too. And we're here for you, no matter what you want or won't do."
"But when you're ready, only, when you're ready, okay? Talk to him. If you can, tell him. You deserve a closure,"
"But if you don't want to, we'll cover for you. We'll come up with the craziest and silliest excuses to give you some time away from him."
Team smiles, his chest weighing tons lighter than it did hours ago.
"Thanks, guys. Not gonna lie, I needed that."
How do you exactly get away with a person who knows you inside out? For years?
He always knew meeting these two is one of the best things to happen to him. He's lucky. But he'll never tell them.
"You two always know what to say, don't you? God, I hate it when you're right," Team says giggling when he sees Pharm pull 'the face' at him.
"Someone had to be rational in this mess, and it surely can't be you two," Pharm says.
Team stiffens when he feels arms drape around his waist and his shoulders, but he remembers it's them. His best friends, and Win, finally took the back seat, enough for Team to finally be able to breathe.
They silently watch the minutes pass by, their arms twining around each other in a weird, but comfortable way. Pharm is twisting his ankle from standing on tip-toes for too long, but they still silently gazed off.
"Hey," Manaow interjects.
"I'm calling it. We should definitely call ourselves 'The Powerpuff Girls" she says.
"We're so not a 'Powerpuff Girls', Manaow," Pharm answers.
"With you and Team here, we'd be Pharm and the two little pigs," Pharm finishes.
Team knew it. He guffaws loudly, which is echoed in the neighborhood.
"That's so low, Pharm. Even for you,"
"Totally, it should be Team and the two idiots,"
It was a little rocky for the first couple of weeks, but they eventually got it. They eventually got how they could avoid Phawin and get away with it.
Team would rather not explain how, cause it's bloody messy, but they did, but not without any repercussions.
The shortcut version is it involves with Team staying in Pharm's and Manaow's place, depending on what day and what activities are involved that day.
Luckily since Team and Phawin didn't have any classes together, they could avoid him in the daytime just fine. So the challenge was after swimming practice. So they devised a plan where Team has to leave earlier than he's used to since Win loves to keep him after hours to personally train him. So what they did was, they got Lee involved with the whole thing, to which the young man was oh-so-happy to get involved. Although Team swears he's just a nosy bastard. But this nosy bastard is helping him, so he shuts his lips.
Oh, and sometimes, Team has to sleepover at Lee's place since one time, suddenly, in the middle of the night, Win arrived at Pharm's condo, looking for the younger male in Pharm's absolute horror. Pharm, to all the gods, thanked them because luckily Team wasn't sleeping at his place that night. He was at Lee's finishing the last bits of their song.
Anyway on a lighter note, with all the hiding, and running away, Team finally finished his song.
Even before the whole mess with him and Win accidentally sleeping together (twice. Twice. I repeat. Twice) Team knew his song would be yet another one about Win. His songs always did.
But what's more surprising is how Lee's song is about a one-sided crush too, and it was Manaow who notices it.
"Ai'Lee, I'm not surprised by Team's song in any way because I know how he is absolutely, disgustingly, destroyed for one person. But yours seems to be one too. About a one-sided love that you already have for a long time. So, what's that about?" Manaow asked while taking a sip of her Pink Milk.
"Oh yeah, at first, I was so sure you had a crush on Team. But now I'm not so sure," Pharm adds.
Which Lee accidentally blew his iced coffee because he was so surprised. Luckily no one was in front of him.
"Me? Have a crush on Team? He wishes," Lee answers when he composed himself with a few slaps to the chest.
Team did not appreciate the insult so he punches his arms enough to bruise.
"Hey! That's not nice," Team says.
"What? Them assuming I like you is not nice too. I'd rather get impaled with a spoon or something,"
"As if I'm any different. I'd rather- umm. Umm." Team starts
"Pharm, Manaow, give me a comeback, you started this," looking and gesturing at two of his friends.
"You'd rather get pushed off the top of Mount Everest?" Pharm suggests.
"Yes! That!" Team exclaims.
"Touche'" Lee answers.
"So? Who is it about?" Team asks.
"Umm, okay. If I tell you about this, you can never tell any other living soul. Okay? Or else I'll have to kill you,"
"We swear on our life. But it's not like we have any other friends tho? Who are we gonna tell?" Pharm asks.
"You'll understand once I tell you," Lee starts and inhales deeply before he continues.
"So, you know that senior you sometimes see me with?"
"Which one? You have a lot of senior friends,"
"No. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to single him out. He's- he's different,"
"Wait- him? So you're into boys too?"
"Yes," Lee visibly flushes.
"Aww! Our group is so cute. We're all into boys! I love it!" Manaow excitedly says.
"Manaow!" Team and Pharm exclaims.
"I'm sorry. It was just getting a little serious. A tangent was the next best choice."
"Okay, Lee. Continue,"
"I'm like always with him when he's in university,"
"Oh! Oh! That senior who brings along a guitar with him all the time?" Manaow says.
"You know him?" Pharm asks.
"Who doesn't? He's hot, and he's very famous for being a good singer. I haven't heard him sing yet, but they said he sounds amazing," she answers.
"Ohh! That guy who got a scholarship abroad for music? Is that him?"
"Yeah. That's him,"
"Oh! I get it. I get why you like him. You guys look perfect together!" Pharm adds.
"Haha. Thank you. You're the only ones who think so," Lee laughs without any humor.
"So why can't we tell anybody else?" Pharm asks instead.
"Well, he wants to be an assistant professor here after he finishes music school, and that's like next year. It's his dream to become a teacher and a singer, so I can't risk anything for him,"
"So what exactly are we risking here?"
"He dreams of becoming a music teacher before he got discovered and scouted for his voice and his original songs. But he told me, he still wants to be a teacher even if he becomes a singer. So, I told him, why not teach at a university because the time is more flexible or that he can be more flexible with his materials. And then he said yes. And since then he's worked so hard on finishing school, and doing his singing on the side so he can become both," Lee starts.
Manaow and Team take one hand each.
"And what if he decides he doesn't want to teach here anymore because he knows how I feel about him? He said he wants to teach here because this was his dream university. And since I'm still in the first year, I'll meet him from time to time. Or that maybe he decides to stay close to the university and go backs to his home here in Bangkok?"
"Or what if people make it a big deal that I'm a student and he's a teacher and that we're close or something?" Lee pauses and inhales deeply.
"Or- or what if he finds out and then he feels disgusted and like I don't know, stop talking to me?"
"Seems like you thought about this already," Manaow says.
"How long have you-" Pharm starts.
"So, how do you know each other?" Pharm says instead.
"He was my senior in high school. And we used to be neighbors. Our parents are close friends, and so we met a lot when we were younger. Eventually, when we got into high school, my parents always joked about leaving me to his care and stuff, and that's why we're together all the time. Because he's afraid my parents will scold him or something,"
"But you know he's not just doing it because he needs to, right? He's doing it because he wants to,"
"No way. He once told me when we were drinking out with our friends, that he'll have to bring me home early or else he'll face the scolding of the century,"
"But that doesn't mean he doesn't want to do it,"
Lee shrugs and smiles at them sadly.
"So how long?" Team asks.
"Too long," Lee answers and then shifts his lips to lilt deeper and makes his smile brighter. His eyes brightening up with him.
"Anyway. Enough about me,"
"Wait, I just noticed, you and Team are in totally the same boat," Manaow interjects.
"Oohhh, soulmates," Lee and Team say at the same time and then they touch their index fingers together and imitates an electric buzz.
"Guys! Oh my god. Stop, it's not funny," Pharm says.
"We've treated this seriously for far too long, Pharm," Team says.
Lee nods and adds, "I think it's time for us to move on. It was good while it lasted though. Right, Team?"
"Right. We really are soulmates! Sisters!" and does the finger buzzing again.
"Oh my god, you dorks. Alright, let's finish this thing so we can grab some dinner. I'm hungry,"
"Of course you are, Manaow," Pharm says.
"Manaow, I think that's your phone,"
"Oh right," Manaow takes out her phone and answers it without looking at the caller ID.
"P'Win! Hello!" Manaow says loudly so all 3 boys can hear her and motions at her phone.
"I've been great. But very busy P'"
"Team? Oh, he just left like 10 minutes ago. We were making an assignment together,"
"He's not back at the dorms yet? Maybe he just took a detour for food or something. You know how much he loves to eat at midnight," Team pouts and folds his arms in front of him.
"Sure, I'll text you if I see him. Okay. Sure. Bye P'Win," Manaow smiles to nothing in particular then sighs loudly when she ends the call.
She looks at Team warily.
"So? What did he say?" asks Team.
"I think you should sleep somewhere else tonight Team. It seemed like he's been staking out of your room or something. He said he didn't notice you go to your room at all today. And he seems a little edgy,"
"You can sleep in my room tonight Team," Pharm suggests.
"No. I think Team should sleep in my room again tonight. If P'Win called Manaow, he'll call you next Pharm. Or worse he'll go to your condo to seek out Team," Lee suggests.
"Plus, he doesn't know where I live," Lee says assuringly.
"Yet," then adds last minute.
"Okay. I think I'll be safe in your room Lee. But are you sure? I don't want to intrude," Team asks.
"Oho! Since when have you been respectful, huh Team? But did you already forget? We're sisters. I could never turn down a sister!" Lee says as he pushes his satchel on the center of his back, then grabs Team's head in a headlock.
"We're gonna have so much fun! I'll do your nails, and then I'll let you do my hair. How does that sound?" Le asks, and then let's go of Team.
Team looks at his friend's tiny eyes, looking back at him in mirth. And then at Pharm and Manaow who's smiling at them.
"It sounds perfect," Team answers.
"Oh, if we successfully get through tonight, you guys should come for a sleepover. I'm sure you're all tired from the running and hiding,"
"Well, we do have some group projects due next week, and we're looking for a place to do it,"
"Oh of course. But it's not cheap, okay?"
"What do you mean?" asks Pharm.
"What? You think this was for free?" Lee asks teasingly.
"And here I thought you're doing it because we're sisters and everything?" Pharm asks again.
"Oh no. No no no. I demand free dinner and breakfast. And then when you come over, I want home-cooked meals and then, you're going to clean up my room. Sounds fair, doesn't it?"
"Lee, I know you like to pretend that you can't cook, but you're literally a chef. You can cook your own meals,"
"I'm giving you a chance to contribute something, my dear sisters. The least you could do is bring me some peace offering,"
"Okay. Okay. Deal. We'll bring something. Pharm!" Manaow intercedes.
Pharm smiles sweetly, and sweetly says, "Why of course."
"Okay deal. I'm such a good sister aren't I?"
They all say at the same time, "Of course you are, jaa"
Team and Lee drive to Lee's place. Team feels so much better that they're out of familiar grounds, the university, and then entering another familiar territory, that is not Hia-related. It's nice. He looks at Lee driving beside him, and he notices he looks a little uneasy.
"Lee, what's wrong?" Team asks as he sees that they're only a block away from Lee's place.
Lee looks at him and smiles, but it doesn't reach his eyes, even if his eyes are tiny. "It's nothing."
Team nods "Okay," and trusts that his friend will tell him if something is really wrong. So he looks out the front again and sees a car parked just right outside the other's house. And some guy is leaning on the side of the car.
"Wait, is that- is that who I think it is?" Team asks panicky.
Lee nods and bites his lips.
"Oh shit," Team curses.
"It's okay. I'm sure he just left something in my room and came to get it. I'm sure it's no big deal. Just stay in the car while I talk to him, okay?" Lee instructs.
"Why? Why do I have to stay in the car?"
"Just trust me," Lee says as he pulls up, and parks his car just behind the other car already parked.
He breathes in and out and then plasters a smile, and it pains Team to see his friend so serious. The former gets out of the car and approaches the young male leaning next to it.
"P'Man, what are you doing here? Did you leave something in my room?" Lee says in lieu of a greeting. But he wais, so there's that.
"Lee, you're home late. Busy with school?"
"Uh-huh! I have so many projects and papers due soon, so I need to work longer. How about you? How's Bangkok treating you?"
Team sees the taller man looking at the car, and Team has the urge to lower and hide, but why should he? They're not doing anything illegal.
"Who's with you?" the elder asks as he puckers his lips in his direction.
"Oh, Team? He's a classmate from my composition class,"
"And what, P'?"
"Why is he here with you? So late?"
"His dorm was far from where we did our project, so I offered him a sleepover," Lee smiles and then gestures his hand towards his house with his two thumbs.
"Why don't we go in and get the thing you left here P? I'm sure you want to go home asap," Lee says and waits for the elder to walk ahead of him. And when the elder is inside the house, Lee turns around to look at Team, and gestures with his two hand up, and mouths 'Wait'
Team mouths back, 'Are you sure?'
And the other male answers with a nod. Team has to trust his friend. So he brings his fist up as a cheer and mouths 'Susu!' and the owner of the house nods once more, before going inside the house.
Team leans back on the seat and brings out his phone to update the Powerpuff girls.
"POWERPUFF GIRLS + LEE"
'Guys, you'll never guess who waited outside Lee's house'- TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'OMG. NO WAY! Don't tell me it's-' -WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'Yup!' - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Manaow! Don't be silly. If it's P'Win, do you think Team will be texting us right now?' - WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'Oh right! So it's Lee's -P'Man?' - LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Chai!' - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'And? How's our boy doing?' - LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Wait! @LayLemon(Bubbles) how did you know about P'Man?'- TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Facebook and Line. Duh!- LayLemon(Bubbles)
'IDK. He told me to stay in the car' - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Oh. That doesn't sound too good. But he'll be fine. I trust him- WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'I do too,'
LAYLEMON(BUBBLES) CHANGE THE NAME "StanLee" INTO "StanLee(The Professor from Powerpuff Girls)"
'Wait! Guys, I see the door opening,' - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
"Team." Lee calls out to Team, jogging towards his car.
"How's it going, Lee? Did you find what he left here?" Team asks.
Lee shakes his head. and inhales and exhales a few more times before finally gaining composure.
"He didn't leave anything. He said, and I quote 'I came here to sleep in your room, tonight. I didn't know you were bringing a "friend" over' end of quote. And he said it with the air quotation marks. Team, what do we do?" Lee says and he falls to his knees before he settles by the gutter on the side of the road.
Team hurriedly gets out of the car and kneels in front of his panicking friend.
"Lee, It's okay. I'm here, I got you. I got your back, sister. We'll do this together okay? We got this," Team says reassuringly. And holds Lee's wrists to stop his hand from shaking.
Team waits for the other male to calm down, and then knocks his head on his slowly to nudge him.
"Okay, does P'Man sleep here often?" Team asks.
Lee shakes his head and looks up before answering, "Not really. He's away for college most of the time, and he visits his family when he's in Thailand. And when he's in Bangkok, I don't know where he stays, but he sleeps here sometimes because it's near the university,"
"Okay. So what do you guys do when he comes over?"
"Not much. We just watch movies, and then we sleep in the living room. And when I wake up he's already awake, or he's already gone, and then I'm sleeping on my bed," Lee answers.
"Oh. He sounds a lot like Hia," Team says.
He leans his forehead on Lee's again, and then Lee says. "Sisters, huh?" and laughs wetly.
Team nods, moving his head along with Lee, and answers back, "Yeah. So very sisters, it's crazy."
"So why did you make me stay in the car?"
"I kinda wanted him to think that you were more "special" because I was being secretive about you. And because I know he gets overprotective when I'm around people he doesn't know. I thought it would make him leave sooner," Lee answers.
"He does sound like Hia. Maybe we can make them hook up so they leave us alone?"
"Haha maybe we should,"
"Wow, we love hurting ourselves don't we,"
Team opts to sit beside Lee on the gutter, but still maintaining their physical contact. In the attempts to calm Lee down.
"Have you calmed down yet?"
"Ummm, Team. I know this will be asking too much. But, I wanna do a last-ditch effort,"
"Okay. What do you have in mind?"
"Let's go get some food from 7/11. Let's take our time. Make him think we left him alone. He might go away,"
"Do you really want to do that?"
Lee looks up and bites his lips, before slowly shaking his head no.
"But-but I just told you guys about him. And I decided I'll get over him. For good. I can't ditch that on the first night," Lee says.
"But I'm here. We'll make him a third-wheel with our sisterhood. That'll teach him," Team says enthusiastically.
"But if he's anything like my Hia, he won't go away. He'll wait until you come back. You've seen what Hia did that first time, right? He waited for us to finish. I only convinced him to go to his room because he was disturbing us,"
"Yeah. That- that does sound like P'Man,"
"Lee, why are we in situations like these?"
"Because we're too kind and too sweet, that there has to be some challenge in our good lives?" Lee suggests.
"Oh. That has to be it," Team agrees wholeheartedly.
"Let's stay out here for a few more minutes, then let's go back inside. Yeah?" Team says.
Lee nods his head. Team knows he's nodding, but his friends seem to be shaking his head.
"Okay! Okay. I think I'm ready,"
"Ready? Okay! Let's say our group chant," Team says.
Lee looks at him confused. "We have a group chant?"
"Yeah! The opening theme for PowerPuff girls. We never told you?"
"Okay. You just made that up," Lee says with a little smile.
"Yes, I did. But it made you smile," Team answers.
"Okay. To Powerpuff girls! And me!" Lee exclaims. And begins to walk towards his house.
"You're the professor. Manaow just changed your name in the group chat," Team informs the other.
"Of course she did. But we better come up with a better name tho. Like a 4-some name. I have to be included in the main casts,"
"The professor isn't part of the main cast?" Team asks.
"He just wakes them up, makes them breakfast, and then tucks them into sleep at night. And he's old,"
"Oh. Goodbye Powerpuff girls. I miss you already!" Team dramatically says as he opens the door to Lee's house.
"What about TMNT?" Lee suggests. Steeling themselves to face Lee's man.
Umm, hi? Hehehehe. Okay. Hi. I'd love to explain myself, I'm sorry for disappearing for like a hot minute. I know more like hot 10-minutes but I have no excuse. Soooo I'll just shut up, and write the next chapter ASAP. Huhuhu I'm sorry tho. Huhuhuh.
Soooo, I've been sooo out of the loop lately, and I'm either wallowing in self-pity or working. So are there any new BP updates? Or maybe another series or any Between Us updates?
But I hope you guys are curious who Man and Lee are exactly. Because I am. Hihihihiehehe
For Lee, it's Gameplay or "Tops" in Ingredients the Series. And of course, as per the natural course of destiny, Man is Jeff Satur or "Win" from Ingredients the Series
"TMNT? You want us to be the teenage mutant ninja turtles?" Team asks dumbfoundedly. He opens the door for both of them, but right now he wants to slam the door on Lee's face.
"Yeah. Why not. There are 4 equal characters, they're brothers, and they're super badass. Just like us. It totally fits the bill. " Lee lists out with his fingers one by one, then lifts his fingers up as he finishes.
"Maybe we should ask their opinion first? You know before we name the group after turtles." Team suggests sheepishly. At the same time taking their shoes off and putting them neatly on the shoe rack by the door.
"Turtles? Are you thinking about watching TMNT, Nong Lee?" P'Man asks from the kitchen.
"We were talking about something else P'Man." Lee answers and makes a face to Team as if saying 'shut it'.
"Good evening Khun Pi. I'm Team. I hope I'm not intruding." Team does a wai.
"Hi nong Team. P'Man is fine." the elder answers and does a wai as well. He turns his back to them then finishes whatever he was doing in the kitchen.
Team takes a seat on the couch then pulls Lee to sit beside him, then whispers "He doesn't seem so bad, Lee. What got you so worked up?"
"You'll see," Lee whispers back.
"Break it off, boys. I assume you already had dinner so here's some snacks. Do you want to watch a movie or something?" the elder asks.
Lee shakes his head and is ready to say no, but Team pulls him back and immediately answers, "Sure P'Man! What do you have in mind?"
"First off, I'll be sitting in between you two. That's fine right, Nong Team?" the elder turns to Team and asks innocently. To which Team nods eagerly.
"Of course P'." Team grabs the remote from the glass table and scoots to the left to let their senior sit between them. Team feels somebody looking at him, so he turns and sees Lee looking at him, panicked. And Team is starting to panic.
So they're arranged as Team on the furthest left, Man in the middle, and Lee on the right.
Team leans back to subtly look at Lee and mouths "You okay?"
To which Lee shakes his head and mouths back, "No. He's doing it again."
"Doing what?" Team mouths again.
"So what do you wanna watch, Lee? I heard mentions of turtles. How about TMNT II? That's your favorite from the franchise, right?" Man turns to his right and directly looks at Lee who's feigning innocence.
Man grabs the remote from Team's hand softly. Like as if Team wasn't holding the remote, more like he had it on his palm and he was just waiting for someone to get it from him. Like he was invisible.
then P'Man takes the bowl of chips from the table and offers it to Lee. Then turns towards the TV, and opens Netflix.
Team wants to test the waters.
"Lee, can you hand me the chips please?"
"Here you g-" Lee gets cut off.
"Here you go Nong Team," grabs the bowl from Lee, hands it to him, grabs it back, and puts it on Lee's lap again.
Then Team realizes. Ahh.
If his Hia goes silent and hovers and snarks at people. P'Man treats everybody else like air. And in Team's opinion, that's even harder to resist. Lee feels very special every time someone else is with them because the elder doesn't shy away from the skinship and the attention. However, in Lee's opinion, the elder does it because he's scared that Lee's parents will nag him for not taking care of him.
But with the way P'Man turns to Lee, asking him if he's cold or warm, and offers to get a blanket for him if he's cold. Or the way he leans back on the couch and lets Lee lean onto him so he gets 'body warmth' (which is total bullshit. It's not even cold) and then rounds his arms around his shoulder and hugs him.
But if that isn't giving it away, the way P'Man is ruffling his hair and snuggles (sniffing) his head and looks at him like he's an adorable little cat snuggling to him. Then Team doesn't know what will.
P'Man is without a doubt in love with Lee. And Lee cannot, for the life of him, see it.
Several minutes into the movie, with Michaelangelo yet again slipping and almost costing the mission, Team had enough and takes a picture of the couple snuggled on the couch.
"Powerpuff Girls + Lee" (tentatively TMNT Lee wants to name us after turtles)
'Guys, guess who's snuggling on the couch and treating me like a 3rd wheel, despite promising me that I wouldn't be the 3rd wheel - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'OMG. OMG OMG OMG' -LayLemon(Bubbles)
' They're snuggling? On the couch? With you right there? -WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'Yes! Pity me.' - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Call P'Win over. Quick' -LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Haha very funny. I said pity me not make fun of me' - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
Ping ping ping ping ping.
Team forgot about Lee's phone. And it's now pinging and pinging from their group chat.
P'Man grabs the phone and puts it on silent, so it doesn't bother Lee. Then goes back to hugging Lee to his chest and focuses on the TV again. Team bites his lips in amusement and goes back to his phone.
'Guess who turned the phone on silent and hid it from someone so it doesn't bother them, then gets hugged and snuggled again? -TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Okay. Lee, you lied to us! There's no way you're not boyfriends' - LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Okay. What's going on?' -WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'Oh. I see. That's-wow. Is Lee alright?' -WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'There's a literal human being in between us right now. I can barely see Lee, let alone know what's happening to him. P'Man seems to be hiding him from me or something.' -TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'OMG, MY SHIP IS SAILING! If they aren't boyfriends now, then it won't be long before they become one. I'm betting by the end of this month' -LayLemon(Bubbles)
'No one wants to make a bet that's bound to happen anyway, Manaow' - TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Right. But I'm betting on the end of next week.' -WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'You're on!' - LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Not you too @WhippedPharm(Blossom)! I trusted you!' -TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'So what are you betting on TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)?' -LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Fine! I'll bet on it by the end of the semester.' -TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'That long? Why?' - LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Honestly? I think P'Man thinks they're dating. He actually thinks Lee is his already or something' -TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Oh. What made you say so?' -WhippedPharm(Blossom)
'The way he looks at him. And when he almost snapped at him for bringing a 'friend' over. Lee brought me over because he wanted it to look like I was his date or something. But P'Man here was confident and just said 'I didn't know you had a friend over'. And stayed and is snuggling with Lee. So I rest my case.' -TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)
'Guys. You do realize this is a group chat right? And that I'm on here too?' -StanLee(Professor Utonium)
'And what's with all the guessing? It doesn't make sense!' -StanLee(Professor Utonium)
'Oh right! Sorry, Lee! We didn't mean to talk behind you're back' - LayLemon(Bubbles)
'Of course, you didn't, because you won't be doing in our group chat if you did.' -StanLee(Professor Utonium)
'Okay. Fine, we did. So spill. You're boyfriends aren't you?' -WhippedPharm(Blossom)
"StanLee(Professor Utonium)" CHANGE THE NAME "Powerpuff Girls + Lee" (tentatively TMNT. Lee wants to name us after turtles)" INTO "TMNT II (Cause we're badasses like that"
"StanLee(Professor Utonium)" CHANGE THEIR NAME TO "Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)"
Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest) CHANGED THE NAME OF "LayLemon(Bubbles)" TO "Lemon Mikey"
Lee the Leonardo (cause I'm the coolest) CHANGED THE NAME OF "WhippedPharm(Blossom)" TO "Raphael (cause Pharm, you're the strongest of the group. I'm not even kidding)"
"TeamtheMiracleWhipCream(Buttercup)" CHANGE THEIR NAME TO "I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest"
"I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the strongest" CHANGED THE NAME OF "Raphael (cause you're the strongest of the group. I'm not even kidding)" TO "You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm."
'Lee! Stop distracting us. Answer the question!' -"I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest"
'Stop. We're not, okay? I wouldn't lie to you guys. We're not dating, let alone boyfriends. He's just been always like this. This is what I told you about. He drives people away. Even when we hang out with our high school friends, he coddles and dotes on me. And before I thought it was because he sees me as a younger brother (which didn't make me feel any better because who wants their crush to see them as a brother) then when that one time happened, he actually just doesn't want to be- -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
"Lee? Who are you texting? Don't you want to watch the movie anymore?" Team hears P'Man ask and Team puts his phone down to see how this goes.
Lee shakes his head, Team sees the tops of his hair shake, but it gets pinned down when P'Man ruffles his hair and pats his head gently.
"Okay. Okay. We're watching the movie. You don't have to look at me like that." the elder answers with a chuckle. He goes back to snuggling Lee to his chest, then plays the movie.
'Oh my god! Lee is totally lying to us guys. He was pouting and acting cute to P'Man!' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Team, record it on video! We need video proof for blackmail!' - Lemon Mikey
Team is about to do just that but he receives a text message. From a person, he was not expecting to receive a message at this hour.
Hi Team, this is P'Wan. I got your number from Win. I told him to tell you, but he said you haven't met much recently so I'll just tell you anyway. It's my wedding next month, on the first Saturday. And of course, you're invited. I just gave the formal invitation letter to Dad Korn and Papa In, so they might call or text you about it.
And I might need your help with the preparations too. And as part of the family, you're obliged to help.
(And make Win come too. He said he'll only go if you go. And I can't not have my brother at my wedding. So please come.)
Team bites his lips in contemplation and composes himself. Then types.
-'Congrats P'Wan. Of course, I'm going. It's about time. You're turning old and wrinkly and you need to marry already. Or else P'Niran would've left you for somebody better. It's with the flowers, right? I'll talk to Papa about it. I'm sure he'll be so thrilled to make the arrangements for you. I mean, it's not like I have a choice right? I'll guess I'll help. Altho congrats P'. You and P'Niran deserve each other.'
-'P can I take my friends with me? I'm making them help me with the arrangement so Papa doesn't need to hire extra help anymore. Would that be okay?'
"TMNT II (Cause we're badasses like that"
'So, P'Wan is getting married next month. And he said Hia is only going to the wedding if I'm going' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'It's not like you aren't going anyway right?' -Lemon Mikey
'Of course,' I'm going. I don't understand why he had to say that. -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Maybe P'Win really did say that Team.' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'I know. But it's not like we'll get to meet a lot anyway. I'm helping Papa with the arrangements, and I'll only be there a couple of days before the wedding to help. I'll only go when I absolutely need to.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'We understand Team. Don't worry we'll still cover for you.' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Thanks, guys. I really owe you big time. I wouldn't know what to do without you.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Of course. You're the strongest, and not the smartest for a reason, Team. And we get you. We got your back.' - Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Thanks, asshole. Now go back to cuddling with your Man. He's burning holes on my face.' -Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Shut up, asshole. He's not. He's just curious why I'm busy on my phone,' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Guys, I feel like a spectator' - Lemon Mikey
'Why? You feeling okay?' - You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm."
'Well, my guy friends are having boy problems and I'm not! It's unfair! I get to give all the advice, while I'm here being so single. When do I get my own boy problems?' -Lemon Mikey
'Manaow! Not the time!' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm."
Fine! But when I get the boy problems, you three are obliged to help me. -Lemon Mikey
Of course Manaow! IF you get boy problems. -Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
Asshole! I won't help you!' -Lemon Mikey
No. I'm kidding. Come back Manaow. -Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
I can't promise you your P'Niran will be fine with it. You know how he feels about people he doesn't know. But maybe on the actual wedding day, you can take them. But on the preparations, I don't know. But I'll get your P' to agree. But no promises okay? But until then, better text your dad and papa, I think Dad is about to puncture a lung from Papa being so happy.
Oh, and I was looking for a singer for the wedding. Do you happen to know anyone? Hopefully, someone who can come on such short notice that isn't expensive? If you can that'll be a blessing.
Team smirks evilly and looks at the couple cuddling, on the verge of sleep beside him on the couch.
Without him knowing his luck is just about to change. For the better or for the worse? No pun intended.
The night was, well, it was pretty boring actually. The most exciting thing that happened was when they dozed off in the ending credits, and Team was pretending to be asleep because he was too lazy to turn off the TV himself.
But then it happens. The most exciting thing.
P'Man moved from his comfortable sitting-lying on the sofa and then wraps Lee in the blanket they had on. And then adjusts Lee in his arms, positioning his body to drape across his arms, his head hanging on one, his feet hanging on the other. P'Man is carrying Lee bridal style and then slowly lifts him up from the sofa. He stills for like a second when Lee groans in his sleep, fortunately, he went right back to slumber.
And it took everything in Team's being to shut up and not make a noise.
Team who was still pretending to be asleep is secretly taking pictures. As many and as stealthily as he can. Which was pretty easy because the elder was too busy getting Lee up the stairs without waking him up and staring at his face.
Lee always wondered why he woke up on his own bed during movie nights, well there's the answer. And he doesn't want to make this anticlimactic for Lee so he'll save the pictures and only show it when it's the right time. Which will surely come in the near future, Team can feel it.
When he hears the door close from upstairs, Team opens the group chat.
"TMNT II (Cause we're badasses like that)"
Guys, you'll never guess what I just witnessed. Unfortunately, this isn't the right time for Lee to know this yet. Will tell yall when we meet for uni. Okay, imma go back to sleep. Night.-I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
Then locks his phone again. And sleeps as comfortably as he can on a sofa.
It's morning. Probably around 8 AM on a Sunday and Team wakes up to the smell of bacon, rice, hotdog, and eggs he's quite sure. Which means,
"Breakfast!" Team sits up abruptly, and all but runs towards the kitchen where Lee was plating the last of the omelet, and P'Man is setting up plates and has a steaming cup of coffee running for one.
"Coffee?" P'Man asks, and Team politely declines, shakes his head, and thanks him.
"Aren't you late for something, P'Man?" Lee asks as the elder takes his seat on the head of the table, and takes a sip of his coffee.
"Are you throwing me out, Lee?"
"Of course not, P'. Just that usually when you come here for a sleepover, you leave before having breakfast, or even before I wake up."
"I'm not rushing to go to Chiang Mai today. Or to catch my plane back to Uni. Usually, when I come here to sleep, it's the night before I go home or go back to university. I finished my semester early this year, and intend to spend more time here."
"Oh, that's good. It's been a while since you spent your break here in Thailand. And most of the time when you're here you have events to go to." Lee smiles and hands Team a platter of rice when he doesn't start eating.
"What are you waiting for N'Team? Eat. Lee cooked up a lot today so you better eat up. I heard you're a swimmer?"
"Yes, P'. I am. I heard you're a singer?"
"Haha." the elder chuckles before continuing, "Actually, I just have gigs on the side. I sing for events, sometimes I join contests, to pay for my expenses and to help my mom. Definitely not a singer, but I kinda am trying to be. But it's just to tide me over until I become a music teacher. What about you? Are you trying out for the National Team?" the elder asks, taking a bite of bacon and rice.
"Not sure yet, P'. I want to be a better swimmer for sure, but I haven't thought that far out yet. And I just like doing things here and there. But I want to help my papa with his flower shop. I'm definitely doing that. Maybe help him expand here to Bangkok, or maybe help my dad in managing his business. " Team says.
Team says all this while eyeing P'Man putting food on Lee's plate. Even if he says he doesn't want more. And the elder keeps on glancing at Lee even if it's Team that's talking.
Lee can be pretty fucking oblivious. The elder is so whipped for him, and he doesn't see it. At all.
Team takes a big bite out of his hotdog in frustration.
"It isn't anything big, but we're comfortable and happy, and they still get to have time together because their businesses allow them to. It's why I took up this program so I can take it off their hands someday and they can spend more time together before they become too old or something. You know, take vacations without any worries, or go cross country or even a Europe tour." Team finishes.
Lee grins at him and adds more omelet and bacon to his plate.
"Then you'll need the strength Ai'Team, with your current grades, I don't think they'll let you get anywhere near their business."
"Sat! Ai'Lee! You should worry about your grades cause mine are great."
"Why, Lee? Are you skipping class or something?"
"Nothing like that, P'Man, he's just teasing."
"Okay then. Team, I entrust Lee to you, Make him study and get good grades. I can trust you right?"
"P'Man, stop. You're scaring him." Lee warns the elder.
"What? What's wrong with that? As my Nong, I gotta take care and look over for you. And make sure your friends know that you are already spoken for." P'Man answers.
Team chokes on his bacon, so Lee looks at him in shock and hands him a glass of water.
'Spoken for? Is he in some type of Victorian Era drama or something? No one talks like that anymore' Team thinks as he continues to drink some more water.
Then Team realizes, 'Ah. That's why Lee doesn't see it. He thinks the elder is just being super cheesy, and he doesn't see that P'Man actually means it. Maybe Lee doesn't see it because he tells everyone about this, and Lee just started thinking it's just to tease or embarrass him.'
"Are you okay Team? Look what you did, P'Man! You scared Team." Lee sulks and unconsciously talks in a pout.
"Fine. I'm sorry for upsetting you, Kins. I'll stop. Stop looking at me like that," the elder consoles Lee. Team sees the elder cup Lee's cheek and flicks his lips endearingly.
And Team feels that he's intruding at a very private moment.
"Kins?" Team asks curiously.
"Yeah. Short for Baby Kins. What about it?" P'Man answers.
Team can't figure out if he or Lee is more flustered.
"P'Man, I told you not to call me that anymore. It's embarrassing." Lee chides.
"Right. That's why I use Kins. And Nong Team was curious."
Team smiles and subtly fishes his phone out from his pocket.
"TMNT II (Cause we're badasses like that)"
'Guys, they have a nickname. I repeat they have a nickname' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Team, we can read it just fine. But thank you.' - You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
' But what nickname, tho? BTW, Good morning turtles.' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Kins. It's short for Baby Kins. And P'Man said it with his whole chest. That's the cutest thing I've ever heard in forever.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Good morning! Lee cooked bacon and omelet and hotdogs. This is a good morning. Except I feel like I'm intruding a very private moment.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Which you kinda are, Team. NGL. But I'll forgive you if you provide pictures. Documentation, or else it didn't happen.' -Lemon Mikey
'Fine.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest, sent photos
'There do you see it? Wait. my data is too slow.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Yeah, I see it. Wow. I see what you're talking about. P'Man is obvious.' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Right?' -Lemon Mikey
'P'Man is so handsome. Huhuhuh' -Lemon Mikey
'Manaow! Not the time.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Manaow!' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Okay. Operation 'getting-Lee-to-see-that-P'Man-is-whipped-for-him-and-to-get-them-together' is on. And here's what we're going to do.' -Lemon Mikey
'Manaow. I think this is best off-record' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Yeah. Good idea.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Guys. I'm like, literally right here. And no, P'Man is not "whipped" for me. And it's fine this way. Okay? And are we just going to ignore Team and his Hia? Like, are we? And don't get me started on "Baby Cheeks". That stuff is the cutest I'VE heard' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Oh yeah, that. Well, personally, I'm not so worried about my WinTeam ship anymore. I have a feeling something is about to happen. Something good. Or bad. but something.' -Lemon Mikey
'And we'll be right here in case something bad happens. Even if we're quite sure there isn't something bad happening.' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Not you too Pharm.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Same here' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Not you too, Lee. I thought we were sisters.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'We are! and that's precisely why.' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Guys, nothing is happening.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'And you call Lee oblivious.' -Lemon Mikey
'And blind' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Hey! Ai'Team you did?' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Hey!' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
"Are you two texting each other while I'm right here?" P'Man asks, and Lee and Team are so quick to hide their phones.
"Oh, it's just our group chat P'. For the project. They were asking for updates," Team answers smoothly.
"Yeah, that!" Lee adds.
"Okay." P'Man looks at them sternly.
"So do you guys have something planned for today?" Team and Lee exhale in relief. It doesn't matter the elder doesn't believe them, as long as he lets it go.
"Not sure yet P'. Team needed a place to sleepover because it was getting late, and mine was closer. But we might meet again or something for the project," Lee answers.
"Do you want me to send you to your place Team?" P'Man asks concerned. Team's quite sure the elder just wants him out of the house.
"No need. I'll be fine P'." Team answers and his phone goes off. It's his Papa's ringtone.
"Hello? Papa." Team stands up from his seat gingerly and signals Lee and P'Man that he'll take the call outside. Lee nods, P'Man is still busy looking at Lee to know what's going on with Team. Team smiles and walks out.
"Don't you 'Hello Papa' me young man. The deal was you call us once a week. And it's been 3 weeks. Not even a text saying you're alive and breathing? If I didn't call, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. "
"Sorry. I've just been busy with school work. And you could've called Papa. It's not like I wouldn't answer your calls. Never you and Dad."
"We wanted to give you space and have you call us first. You know, we might be your dads, but we're cool."
"Of course you're cool Papa. And very pretty too."
"Flattery is not gonna work this time Team."
"I know Papa. I was not trying to flatter you. I was just telling the truth."
"Only I can call your Papa, pretty, son. That's cool for you." his Dad talks this time.
"Of course, sir. Only you can call Papa pretty. But I needed to get away from the 'or else'"
"Understood. Your Papa is fuming from what you just said so I'll get straight to the point. The wedding is going to be in Bangkok, so the best thing to do is to just send you the flowers 2-3 days before the wedding. We'll help out of course, but at least you can have a head start. I would've been fine with a long drive and deliver the flowers ourselves, but I have very important business meetings that week, and I'll only be free on Friday night, the night before the wedding." Korn starts.
"But your Papa will be able to come 2-3 days before and you'll have Win helping out. Since we'll only be staying at the hotel, the flower arrangements are best done in your apartment. Divide the flowers in your and Win's apartment. Win already agreed. You're okay with that?" Korn finishes.
Team bites his lips. It's not like he has much of a choice. The best thing to do is just that. He was thinking that it would be better if his Papa comes the night before the wedding because his dad will only be able to come the day before the wedding. But between flower arrangements for a wedding and his University, with only him doing everything is impossible. And Win knows jack-shit about flowers so he won't be of much help anyway.
"Is Papa sure he'll be fine on his own here in Bangkok? Without you?"
"Hey! What do you mean, Luuk? I am an independent man even before your dad came along. And it'll always be like that."
"So, you won't miss me even if I disappear for days?"
"Yes, Korn. I will be fine."
"No. The question was won't you miss me, In?"
"I don't know. Maybe?"
"Will you able to go one night without my-"
"Dads! I'm still here?! Oh my god! You guys totally forgot about me and were going to talk about your sex life. Oh my god."
"Ahem. No. I was about to say without my... presence. When sleeping."
"No. I'm not a kid anymore. You guys were totally talking about dicks."
"Papa, I can say dicks. It's not that hard. No pun intended."
"No. Your dad- wasn't going to say- dick," In sounds unsure.
"He totally was. So we're set, right? You send the flowers a few days before, Papa will stay at a hotel, come over to my place to start with the arrangement, and the flowers will be divide into my and Hia's rooms. That's everything, right?"
"Well, almost. Don't forget to send your Papa back to his hotel room, and then make sure he eats and that he's happy. Understood?"
"Korn! Oh my god."
"What, In? I won't be there for a couple of days."
"That's our son."
"And you're whipped for Papa. Yes. The universe is well aware. No need to rub it in some more."
"Once you find your partner you'll understand."
"Of course, dad."
"I'm serious, Team. And whatever it is that's going on between you and Win, you better do something about that,"
"There's nothing going on between me and Hia, Dad."
"Hmm. Sure. Okay. Then that's everything. In, baby, say goodbye to our son."
"Goodbye Luuk. I can't wait to see you in a few weeks. Remember to eat a lot and sleep on time okay? And say hi to Pharm, Manaow, and Lee for me."
"Okay, Papa. Wait, how do you know about Lee?"
"Okay, that's all. Goodbye Team. I'm about to push in my-"
"Dad! Oh my god. You guys are fucking?! I'm never calling you and Papa anymore."
"No, Team. You're dad meant-
And immediately ends the call. Before he hears something- unsavory. His Dads are really something else. Been together since college, and they've always been so happy and in love. And still is.
And Team. Team wants that kind of love too. But not now. Maybe when he's resolved his friendship with Win and he gets his closure, then he'll look for his happy ending. But definitely. Team is quite sure. It won't be with his Hia.
"So? What did your Papa say, Team?" Lee asks when Team walks into the kitchen again to finish his breakfast. He looks around for P'Man.
"He's showering. You can go in after him."
"Oh, okay. Thanks. Can I borrow a change of clothes?"
"Of course. You know where my stuff is. Help yourself."
"Thanks. Oh my god. You won't believe what they were doing. They were about to or were in the middle of sex when Papa called. But besides that, my dads only told me about the flowers. They'll be sending it a few days before the wedding and divide it between my and Hia's rooms. And then Papa will be here a few days before to help me. And dad will only come the night before."
"Oh. And Win agreed?"
"I guess. That's what dad said. Although I'm not sure when they were able to talk about it at least I don't have to tell him about it."
"Yeah. But will you be ready to talk with him then?"
"It's not for another few weeks. And I'll just do the flowers in my room first so I don't need to go to his room. Not until the very last night or something. Besides, I'll be too preoccupied to deal with him. Oh yeah. How does my Papa know about you?"
"You don't know? What about the 'we're sisters' part did you not get?"
"So you've talked to my dads?"
"Not directly. Through Manaow and Pharm mostly. And we only do it when we're waiting for you during your swimming practice"
"Oh. I see. That makes sense. My papa says hi."
"Tell him hi. You're Papa is so sweet by the way. And very pretty"
"Yeah, he is. But you better not let my Dad hear or he'll have your head"
"Who's pretty? And who's having my Lee's head?" Man comes from upstairs, dressed, with a towel on his hair.
"Oh just my Papa P'. And my Dad is the jealous type so I just warned Lee about it.
"You have dads? Wow. That must've been very nice."
"Yup. That's my dads for you. It never gets boring when it's them. They're almost 40 but they act like teenagers in love. And teenagers in heat. Oh my god."
"Your dads sound lovely. I hope I meet them sometime."
Then Team suddenly remembers. He looks at P'Man, then at Lee, and then smirks.
"P' are you free on the first Saturday of next month?"
"Hmm. I think so. I mean I have to check my schedule but I'm pretty sure I'm free then. Why?"
"Have you ever sung for a wedding before?"
"A couple of times."
"Perfect. Can you sing for my neighbor's wedding? You'll get to meet our other friends, meet my parents, eat free food, and get paid. It's perfect."
"Sure. Sounds fun."
"I'll give you P'Wan's contacts. Wait. Here."
"Okay. Thanks. I'll get back to you about my schedule then I'll contact them."
Lee gets Team's attentions then mouths, 'What are you planning?'
Which Team mouths back, 'What? Nothing'
Then smirks. If he's going down, he'll bring Pharm, Manaow, and Lee with him. Ha Ha Ha.
It was bright. It was calm. It was silent. And Team feels light when he wakes up on his own. Without any alarm, without the jolt of awakeness that comes from oversleeping.
"Oh, you're awake. Good morning, Team!" greets Pharm.
"Good morning, Pharm. What time is it?" Team says as he rubs any remnants of sleep. He looks around and straightens with the smell of newly cooked food.
He stands up and finds a lot of food already arranged neatly. A feast waiting for him. This must be what heaven looks like.
"Just a few minutes after 8. You can go back to sleep. It's Saturday."
"Nah. I slept great. What about you? Why're you up so early?" Team asks. The smaller male is putting some rice on a plate so Team gets up and takes plates and utensils.
"Oh, nothing. I'm just used to waking up early, and I can't go back to sleep so I figured I'll just make breakfast early. That's all," Pharm answers, rearranging the plates to put the rice in the middle.
"Wow. That's-, that's a lot of food." Team says. He puts two plates and sets of utensils on his side and the side opposite him. And then goes to get some glasses.
"Really? I'm just-" Pharms starts but gets cut off when a knock on the door comes. Then another set of slow, polite raps on the door.
"Pharm? Are you expecting anyone?" Team asks, but Pharm doesn't answer. He sees the small male bite his lower lip, and goes to the door.
Team hears mumbled words, and whispers, and it made him curious so he turns around to see who came.
"Oh," Team sighs. Relieved to see it was just P'Dean. But also uneasy. He's been caught.
"You're just used to waking up early huh, ai' Pharm?" Team teases Pharm.
"Team. I'm sorry. I was not expecting P'Dean to come this early. I told him to come around 10 AM. But when I showed him pictures of the food, he said he better come early to have an early start," Pharm says apologetically.
Team sees the panic and worry in Pharm's eyes. So he smiles at him and then looks at the taller older male. He forces it, but it came out. He smiles at him.
"I won't rat you out, Team. Win is my friend, but I know you have your reasons." Dean says.
Team's eyes go huge at the statement then he turns to Pharm.
"You told him?" Team asks.
Pharms shakes his head in panic. "I didn't, Team. I promise!"
"Don't worry, Nong Team. Nong Pharm didn't tell me anything. I figured it out on my own. I became the president of the swimming team for a reason. I see everything, and you started avoiding Win like the plague. And Win is getting more and more stressed out every day. He barely listens to class nowadays. But the most obvious sign was you two just don't hang out together anymore. I figured something happened, but I didn't bother asking Win. Whatever it is your going through is your business," Dean explains.
Team sighs in relief. At least it seems like only Team's friends know what's going on. But that part. The part where his Hia is distracted during classes. Team may be avoiding him, but he's still his friend. He doesn't want to see one of his friends fail or something. Okay fine. Win is too smart to fail, but still.
"But I can see you're just as distracted as he is. As a friend of the person I'm courting, I hope you resolve whatever it is." Dean says and then winces when Pharm punches his arms.
"What? Don't you want to whatever it is to be over?" Dean looks down at Pharm, and brushes the pout on Pharm's lips.
"Not that! We- we never talked about courting." Pharm leans back to avoid Dean's hand and pouts some more.
"Really? We didn't? I thought I was being obvious?" Dean says. Genuinely puzzled.
"Psh." Team snickers.
Pharm glares at him, so Team does a zipping motion with his hand as if zipping his mouth, then pretends to throw away the key.
When Pharm and Dean go back to talking, Team fishes out his phone then takes a picture.
"Shit. I forgot to turn off the shutter. Hehe. Please. Don't let me stop you. Go back to whatever it was you're doing." Team says. stepping back to prepare to bolt from his spot.
"Team! Don't you dare! Manaow and Lee will make fun of me!" Team rounds the table then runs towards the sofa to get his bag, then bolts for the door then hold it to prevent Pharm from opening.
It was muffled but Team can hear it just fine. "Team! Don't you dare! Manaow will come here and make me talk."
"It's okay Pharm, I'll just post it tonight. I'm sure you guys will be over by then right? Just limit it to 8 PM, okay?"
"Ai' Team! I'll strangle you with my bare hands, I swear!" Pharm threatens.
"Eh, Pharm. Don't do it bare. That's risky. No glove, no love, my friend!" Team shouts for the last time before running towards the emergency stairs and runs out of the condo.
He looks behind him to make sure Pharm didn't follow him out, then sighs in relief. "Phew."
Team checks his phone for the time.
"8:30 AM" Team reads out loud.
"What should I do today?' he thinks.
He sits by the stairs in front of the condo and checks his social media. He opens IG, and scrolls down, and down and down. Then he stumbles on his Hia's IG post.
It was a picture of a withering sunflower.
'Where are you?' the caption says.
It was short and vague, and it takes every brain cell in Team to not assume it was about him. His Hia knows so many people. He can mean anyone. For sure it's not only him that's running away from his problems, right?
He scrolls past that, then a notification comes in.
'WinnethePool recently added to their story' it read.
Team clicks on it hesitantly, but he did. It was a screenshot of a message thread. The name of the recipient was blurred with a black markup, but Team got curious so he holds the screen to read the content.
"Ai'Win, I'm in Suvarnabhumi Airport. Cum get me."
"Ai______ you cant spring that on me. What if I was doing something important?"
"Is the one you're doing, the one?"
"Asshole, I meant doing some thing, like studying or helping an old lady cross the road?"
"Then cum get me. Don't you miss me? Your plaything?"
"Oh my god. I swear to god. You say one wrong thing one time and you assholes never let me forget about it.
"So, u're coming right?"
"Ugh fine. Be a good plaything and wait."
"Gladly. Hurry, I'm hungry"
Team reads. It's... Who's this person again? Well, the name is blurred out so he won't know.
Another notification comes on.
'WinniethePool added to their story'
Team lets go of the screen and tap it to go to the next post.
It's a selfie. Of Win. With one of the most beautiful people Team has ever seen in his life.
They were short. Shorter than Win. Shorter than him even. They had jet black hair. Shiny and lustrous from the sun hitting on his black locks. They had pink, soft-looking lips that tilted up in a huge, beautiful smile. And they had a fair flawless face. Flawless, spotless, pretty. And their eyes. They were closed in a grin, but Team can guess they must be huge and sparkling. And Team feels his chest clench because of it.
Win and his friend look so perfect together, it pains Team to breathe. He unconsciously grips his phone tighter. Just as he closes his eyes, the story ends and goes to another person's story. But Team taps the left side of his screen to go back to Win's.
He looks at the picture again. And notice more details as he looks again.
It was taken at the airport, and his friend was bringing a huge suitcase with him. Team's able to look at their face again before the story ends, and then Team swipes to the right again to go back to Win's story. Again and again and again and then again.
Team can't count how many times he's looked at the picture at this point. But he can vividly recall what they were wearing, what they looked like.
It made Team remember he never had a chance in the first place.
Win and he doesn't look good together.
Win and he is two polar opposites.
And Team recalls that Win's friend and he looks so perfect that Team forgot he wasn't even supposed to feel upset about it because Win and Team had nothing between them.
But Win and he, that person he met at the airport, on the other hand, made the bile in Team's stomach rise, and it makes him want to vomit. The sourness and bitterness in the pit of his stomach were so high, it reaches all the way to Team's eyes that he closes his phone and tilts his head up, or else he'll cry.
He waits for a few minutes, making sure he doesn't feel like crying anymore before he sits upright. Then he realizes, if Win was busy, he can finally go back to his apartment and grab a few things. A change of clothes, or all of his clothes. A few other things too. Maybe clean it up a little bit before the flowers for the wedding arrives. It's the only time he'll be able to.
He feels resolute and all better when his phone receives another notification again.
'WinniethePool added to their story'
And it was a selfie of Win and the beautiful boy. They were at a barbecue place. Team's favorite barbecue place.
Another story is added, and this time it was a picture of the beautiful boy holding a tong and putting on meat on the griller to be cooked. It has a text on it. It says-
"I missed you. Thank you for coming back."
And then Team clutches his phone to his chest and runs. He runs, and he runs. He'd rather trip and fall and bleed. At least he'll have an excuse why he's crying.
Of course, the post of the withering sunflower was about that boy.
He was never even in the goddamn picture. So why does he feel like he's been crumpled and stepped on?
Why does his heart feel like it was breaking into even smaller pieces?
He runs, and he runs, and Team would rather lose his breathe than admit to himself.
'Yes, you're not enough.'
'So run, Team. Run. Pack your things, get out of there, and go away as far as possible.'
'Don't think, just do it.'
'Pack your things, go away as far as possible, and do it quick. Unless you want to meet Win in the apartment?'
'No. Stop thinking Team. Run. And stop crying when you get to the goddamn apartment.'
'You got me, even if you didn't want me.'
'Run. Cry and run'
And Team doesn't think of anything else. He runs and wipes his tears with the back of his hands, while the pain in his heart weighs him down.
Hehehehe. Hehe. Hi!
He arrives in his apartment unscathed. Or as unscathed as someone with a broken heart can possibly be. He leans on the nearest wall and breathes in and out. Catching his breath. He isn't that out of breath. Instead, his legs are complaining at him for making them run that long, his head pounding from the morning sun, and his clothes are drenched with sweat. He's sore, he's sweaty, and he's heartbroken.
But he's got no time to waste. He needs to get to his room ASAP and get everything he needs before- before.
He goes to the elevator, thankful for it for the first time since he got here. Team doesn't think he can go through six flights of stairs without his knees buckling down on him. He ran for like an hour straight. He goes in and sighs of relief at the wafts of cool air. He can feel the pumping of his blood, and the pounding of pressure in his head. And he plucks on his shirt to relieve the heat and the sweat.
He places his backpack in front of him to look for his door keys. This time he made sure to bring it with him because he can't risk anyone getting into his room. He usually hides it in a very secure location (under his mat. The slot between the door and the mat to be precise. And it was just a spare key so he isn't that worried)
He pats the front pocket, not there.
He opens the big zipper, and rummages through the books and clothes, and the scattered revisions, and then there. The key.
He takes it out, and the jingling of the keys in the air makes him anxious, so he clutches the whole bunch and selects out the key to his room so he can just directly put it in and unlock the door.
When the elevator dings his flight instincts kicks in, and he hurriedly unlocks his door. But when he twisted the knob, it wasn't locked. It was closed all the way, but it wasn't locked.
Was he being robbed? In broad daylight?!
But the knob wasn't damaged. Wait, maybe he forgot to bring his spare keys after all.
He slowly walks in, listening in for any movement or any commotion. It was low, indistinguishable, but he hears a patter of steps. And what sounds like his bedsheets. He approaches his bed, and he sees a person's back, dressed in all black rummaging his bed. Probably looking for any hidden money under the bed so Team-
"Gotcha!" Team exclaims.
But instead of seeing a person dressed in all black with a covering on their face to hide their identity, with malice and evil intent, he sees his Papa. Looking like he has been rooted in his place by the bed. Hands fly to his chest.
"Team! Oh my god, you scared me!" In exclaims, falling on the bed from shock.
"Papa! I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to. I thought you were a burglar," Team says. Hurrying to his bed to assist his Papa.
Team holds his Papa's arms to assist him up from the bed and directs him towards the couch. He lets go of his Papa when he glares at him from under his lashes.
"I'm sorry Papa. When did you get here? I thought you won't be here for another couple more days. And how did you get in?"
"Why? You don't want me here, Luuk?"
"It's not that Papa. If I knew, I could've prepared my room for your arrival."
"It's exactly why I didn't tell you. I wanted to know how you're doing here on your own. Well, it's not messy, but it's obvious you haven't been here for at least a week. And I brought your dad's copy of your keys. I wasn't sure you still hide your spare keys under the rug, between the slot of the rug and the door. And I was right. You didn't keep it there anymore. Good thing I brought a copy. How are you doing, Luuk?"
"I'm fine, Papa. Does Dad know you're here?"
"Mhmm. He didn't want me to come so early, but I put my foot down until he agreed"
"Of course he's against it. He'll miss his daily dose of the D."
"Luuk! Don't say that."
"Papa, I'm old now. I can say sex and D."
"No. I mean your Dad isn't like that. He's just a man with needs."
"Yes I know, Papa. Aside from being a horny old man, Dad's also a whipped- old man."
The younger man grimaces from being hit by his father on the arm.
"Aww. Papa, that hurts"
"It better. Be nice to your Dad. He bought you this apartment."
"Really? I thought Uncle gave this to us?"
"He gave it to us for half the price."
"Papa, you sound like you're ungrateful to uncle."
"Team, stop making it worse."
"Okay, Papa. I'm sorry." Team says apologetically.
"You're forgiven." In consoles.
In folds the sleeves of his shirt and Team can already hear the question in the air.
"So, is there anything you want to talk about?" his Papa asks.
"I'm good, Papa. What about you? Why are you here so early?"
"Okay, after I say my piece, you have to tell me something. Deal?"
"What? You can tell me anything. Anything at all."
"Okay fine. Deal."
"I came here because I missed you. And Bangkok. We will be busy with the arrangements once the flowers get here so I won't have time to go around the city, anymore. So I figured why not come here earlier and surprise you. It's genius isn't it?"
"So you came here not actually because you missed me but because you wanted to go shopping without Dad tailing you. Okay, got it."
"Whatever. Now your turn."
"Okay. Ummm, Papa- I missed you," Team says. His voice low and obviously shy, but In heard it just fine.
"Awwwee. I missed you too, baby. Come 'er" In says and opens his arms wide for Team.
Team approaches his father. Slowly, hesitantly, and rounds his arms on his father's waist, but it's his Papa that pulls him close and holds him tight.
"I really missed you, Papa." Team says again. And he feels his tears run out and free from his aching chest.
"I missed you too, baby. I missed you too."
They just hug each other for a few minutes, and Team feels the heaviness in his heart slowly dissipate. His Papa has always been his shoulder to cry on. And he always will be. He hasn't told his father anything, yet he held him close and let him cry.
He loves his Papa so much.
His father started humming and swaying them gently. It was awfully off-key and the melody unrecognizable, but he felt the comfort nonetheless.
Team started to close his eyes, feeling relaxed when they heard a knock on the door that jolt them apart.
"I thought Dad was okay with you coming to Bangkok?"
"So, that's not Dad."
Another set of knocks came on. A little more aggressive and urgent this time, but Team stills in his seat, unwilling to find out who's on the other side of the door. A little scared because he has an idea who it might be. But he isn't ready. Especially after this morning, so he roots his feet on the ground more.
"Do you want me to open it for you, baby?" In asks. Team looks at his father and buries his teeth in his lower lip.
"Team? Are you there? Please open the door."
And he's never been this unhappy for being right.
"Team? I'll let him in if you're okay with it." his father says.
Team hasn't told his dad what happened yet. And he doesn't know how to tell him. But if he doesn't say anything ASAP his Papa will open the door and let Win in.
"Team? I just wanna talk. Please. Please."
In looks at Team again, and he has no choice but to do something. So he shakes his head and begs for his father to not make him open the door himself.
"Okay, baby. I'll open it for you. But you owe me one, okay?" In says.
"Team? I know you're in there. Your shoes are outside the door. You forgot to bring them in again. Please, Team."
Team looks at the door, and he feels his chest tighten. Win sounds so miserable, he's this close to opening the door himself and giving him a hug.
But no. He's not ready. Not now. Maybe later. But, please. Not now.
"Okay, baby. Let me open the door." In says reassuringly.
Team didn't notice he said that out loud.
"I'll talk to him and convince him to go away as subtly as I can. But please talk to me when you're ready okay?"
Team nods his head and watches his father's retreating back. When his father is at the door, he realizes Win might see him if he stays on the couch, so he runs towards the bed, where he knows he won't be visible from the door at all.
"Papa In! Hello. I didn't know you were back here in Bangkok."
It was hazy. It sounds like they were talking outside the door, but it was left open. Probably on purpose, so he'll hear what they're talking about.
"Yes. I was supposed to get here by Tuesday or Wednesday, but it's been almost a year since I went here, so I figured I'll get here early and have some time to see Bangkok again. Especially without your uncle. He can be quite clingy sometimes."
"Clingy and whipped is what you mean, Papa."
"Why does everybody say that?"
"Cause Uncle is whipped for you, Papa"
"So, what brings you here, Luuk? Did you need anything from Team?"
"I just wanted to talk to him, Papa. He's not answering my calls and he's not answering my texts, either. I just wanna know if he's doing okay. That's all."
"He's doing great, Luuk. He's staying with me. He just came here for a change of clothes."
"Oh, I see. Has he been staying with you for the past couple of weeks too, Papa?"
"Okay. Is he there? Can I talk to him? Just for a few minutes, Papa."
"Oh, I'm sorry, Luuk. We're in a hurry. I have a schedule for 10 AM and we will be busy the whole day. It's why we came here now because we won't be able to later. Can it wait?"
"Umm. I guess. I guess it can wait. Have fun, Papa."
"Thank you, Luuk. Take care. Oh by the way. The flowers will be delivered here on Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest."
"No problem, Papa. Thank you for helping with P'Wan's wedding preparations."
"Of course. It would be my pleasure. You're practically family."
"Of course, Papa. I'll clean up my room in advance."
"Awe! Such a good young man. Thank you, Luuk. Bye!"
"You're welcome, Papa. But Papa, can I ask for a favor, please?"
"Sure, Luuk. Anything. What do you need?"
"Can you please tell Team to answer me? At least to answer my texts?"
"Sure. I'll tell him, Luuk."
"Okay. Thank you. Bye, Papa. Take care. You and Team take care. Bye!"
"Thank you, Luuk. Bye."
Team hears the door close. Then his father's footsteps.
"Team, baby? Did you hear all that?"
Team nods and brings his knees towards his body to lean his head on it. The younger hears his father sigh, but he sits on the bed across from him. And holds his face in between the elder's small hands.
"Remember the deal. I'll wait, but you have to talk okay?" In says. Not letting Team get away with it.
"Okay, Papa. Thank you." Team says. Then smiles a little.
"You're welcome. Now, let's go grab breakfast. I'm sure you haven't had breakfast yet." In pulls Team from the bed.
"But Papa, my clothes. I have to pack. You said I'll be staying with you." Team says.
In smirks, and walks towards the couch. Beside it is his suitcase, and Team is quite sure there must be at least a week's worth of clothes in it. The young man smiles tearingly, and skips towards his father, and pulls him in a huge hug.
In returns the sentiment, and pats his back. Waiting, and patient. Happy that his son is happy.
The young man leans back, tearingly smiles at his father, and wipes his tears with the back of his hands.
"Okay. Where do you suggest we go, Papa?" he teases. The smaller male slaps Team's arm but wipes his son's eyes for him when more tears flow down.
"I'm not the one from Bangkok, son. You tell me where we go," In answers. He pulls away from the hug, then grabs Team's suitcase.
The young man hurriedly takes it off his Papa's hands, remembering his Dad will have his head if his Papa as much as to make his own bed. He leads them both out of the apartment. Making sure no familiar head of bleached hair comes into view.
"But you grew up sauntering the streets of Bangkok, Papa."
"You ungrateful son. You tease me like this on my very first day, I oughtta tell your father on you."
"Oh no. Anything but Dad. Psh" Team says sarcastically.
They joke around and tease his father until they get to the ground floor. They go to his car. (Finally after weeks of running away. He's reunited with his car.) Then asks his father for his hotel address.
When his suitcase is in the trunk, his father on the front seat, and they were pulling out of the garage, Team was finally able to breathe.
Just a few days.
Just a few more days.
He looks to his left and listens to his father's story about the time he used to go to a place in that area, with his friends.
His father tells him stories of his childhood/college days dawdling/ strutting.
And he's so thankful for the distraction. Just at the perfect moment. Just at the perfect time. He's so thankful for this perfectly, timed distraction.
Just a few days.
Just for a few more days.
Saturday, Team spent the whole day with his Papa. They ate, they laughed, they watched movies, and they made a pact to go shopping the next day. Because, quote; Papa, we can't squeeze your shopping in the afternoon. You need at least a whole day. end of quote. And Team got an earful from his father. Literally.
Sunday, was just shopping day. They were walking Platinum Fashion Mall, looking at the boutiques and buying food whenever they see one. It's one of the things that the father and son bond over, food. They love food and they love to eat. They can't cook to save their lives, so they buy only from the best and the finest. Well, okay, not true. They can eat everything and anything.
"Dad, I'm an athlete and a growing individual. What's your excuse?"
"I'm cute and sexy?"
"You're right. Your big butt and thighs say it all."
"Team, take it back."
"Take it back young man, or you won't get to eat for the rest of the day."
"You're willing to let your son starve? Some father you are."
"Then take it back."
"Fine. They're not big. Those fries just have nowhere else to go."
So that's what happened on Sunday.
Monday was boring. The academic year was finally over. All of their school work for the semester has already been submitted, the last one was the group work they had to do, but that was already over. So Team thought everything was just in perfect timing.
He's staying at a nice hotel with his dad, without any fear of the rising bill for room service because his dad also uses room service.
But what else can he do? he decides to order room service again, and rewatch 'Back to the 90's'. It sounds like a solid plan.
But most importantly, he doesn't need to bother his friends about sleeping over anymore because his dad is in Bangkok. Speaking of his friends, he has not spoken to them in 2 days. Last was on Saturday, with Pharm. So he texts their group chat, setting up a meeting for the afternoon the day after.
"TMNT II (Cause we're badasses like that)"
'Guys, we're meeting tomorrow. 1 PM. It's an emergency'- I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Team? Are you alright? What's the emergency? -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Team! Where are you? I'm coming to you now.' -Lemon Mikey
'Team, seriously where are you? I'm making P'Man drive me to you' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'1PM tomorrow. At Lumphini Park. Don't be late'- I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Team, blink twice if you're being kidnapped' -Lemon Mikey
' Or type in 2 exclamation points!' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Guys, tomorrow' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Team, P'Man wants to come with. Can I take him?' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'YESSSS!' -Lemon Mikey
'I mean, yes. You can take him Lee. It shouldn't be too much of a bother.' -Lemon Mikey
'Sure. The more the better' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'This isn't an actual emergency, isn't it? -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
Satisfied, Team locks his phone.
It's Tuesday and Team finally remembers.
"Hey Papa, I don't think I know what the wedding's theme is. The flowers are on the way here, so you must have an idea right?" Team asks his father as he takes another bite of their room service breakfast.
"Oh right. I don't think Wan told you what it is, you haven't seen the formal invite yet." In says, then takes out something from his bag.
It was an acrylic plate, with white prints on it, and inside the acrylic is a black plate. Making it look like black glass.
"Here. See for yourself."
We,Niran and Wan, invite you to the ceremony and celebration of our union.
You have been with us through our journey, it's only right you'll be with us on another one of the biggest days of our lives.
First Saturday of June
Three in the afternoon in _________ Temple
Dinner, Dancing, and Drinks to follow at Kimpton Maa-Lai Hotel at four-thirty in the afternoon.'
The front says. Team turns it around out of curiosity, and lo, there's more text.
'We know it can be painstaking to look for something to wear, but everyone looks good in white, so come up in a white ensemble.
Niran: Please wear white. You'll feel bad if you don't wear white. Trust me.
Thank you. We love you. Your presence is greatly treasured.
It was simple but very classy and elegant. Just like P'Niran. No way P'Wan made this invitation.
'Please wear white,' Team mouths.
"Papa, I don't think I've ever been to or have seen a wedding where the guests are asked to wear white. P'Wan really likes to stir stuff." Team tells his dad as he hands back the invitation.
"I know. But when Wan and Niran explained to me what they wanted, I understood. The colors they're going to wear are their thing, and white is the perfect background for it. So I told our workers to get all our best white, and earth tone blooms. The venue is already green because it's going to be in a garden, so I chose the safest leaves for the arrangements. Just Myrtles and Honey Bracelets." In expounds.
Team visualizes it and nods approvingly.
"Papa, as always you have impeccable taste," Team praises his father. And In just smirks, and flips his imaginary long hair.
"Of course. Your father is a style icon."
"Pfft. Of course, you are, Papa" Team reassures.
"So, what are you planning for today?" In asks.
"Not much. I was thinking of hanging out with my gang today. They might go crazy without their brain cell meeting with them from time to time," Team says gravely, pointing to himself, making his father go speechless.
"Have some shame. Pharm is the brain cells of the group." In answers when he gained his speech back.
Team ignores what his father said because he likes the hotel's croissant too much. He's afraid if he disobeys, he won't have another set of the big breakfast plate.
It's now midday and Team says goodbye to his father to drive to Lumphini Park to meet up with his gang.
When he gets there, it's just 1 minute before 1 PM, but Lee, Pharm, and Manaow were already waiting for him.
Woah, he must be a very good leader to convince them to get there on time.
"Team! There you are! What's the emergency? Do we have to hide you again?" Manaow asks. He runs to Team, holding his arms and looking at him from head to feet, looking for any injuries.
Team brings his hand up to push Manaow's face slightly, to which the pretty girls dramatically exclaims in pain. Then caressing her cheeks.
"Manaow, I barely pushed you." Team questioningly says.
"My foundation! I just bought it. It cost me a thousand baht, so no touching the moneymaker," Manaow points at her face, making a circle with her pointer finger.
"One thousand baht?" Lee and Pharm shout at the same time.
"What the hell is in that foundation?" Team shouts back.
"We didn't come here for my foundation. We came because you said there's an emergency. What is it?" Manaow points out.
"Psh. I'm pretty sure you came because Lee said P'Man was coming." Pharm says from under his breathe. But intentionally making it very clear.
"Ahem. I won't deny it, so the question now is, where, the hell is he ai' Lee? You promised!"
"I didn't promise anything. He insisted on coming. But he had to do something in this area first. He said he'll be here when he's done."
"I explicitly wore my expensive foundation because I wanted to give him a good first impression. If he doesn't come in 15 minutes, my makeup will start to melt under this heat." Manaow says while taking out a huge fan. Those that look like Japanese fans are huge.
"So you better start talking Team." she finishes, then fans herself.
"I called for an emergency meeting because I know you guys need your brain cells to function," Team says, while pointing at himself.
His friends made the exact same face his father did.
All three stand up and start to walk away.
"I came here for this? Fuck you, Team!"
"Team, I canceled plans with P'Dean! I could've gone to the aquarium with P'Dean. But no! You made me lose a perfectly good date. How could you?!"
"Team, I used my 1000 BHT foundation! You'll pay for this in blood!"
"Guys, calm down. Wait, we haven't-"
Lee, Manaow, and Pharm dragged Team out of the park and went to the nearest coffee shop. They drank coffee and ate cake while waiting for Lee's Man.
Lee's older friend came in and charmed his way into their hearts. He paid for their food, complimented Manaow and Pharm to the moon and back, and told Team he would be singing for P'Wan's wedding.
They all gave Lee the smirk and knowing look, P'Man humming and looking at Lee enjoy his food, while Lee continues to try eating in peace, ignoring everyone and trying to stop his older friend from feeding him.
It was a fun Tuesday for sure.
Another day passed and it was now Wednesday.
"Papa, I thought the flowers would be arriving Wednesday at the latest? I even went to meet my friends yesterday in case the flowers get here, I can rope them into helping me," Team tells his father while he scrolls down Twitter on his bed.
"Ahh. So that's the real reason why you went to meet them. You're evil, Luuk. I wonder where you got that from." In says from inside the bathroom.
"You still have to ask, Papa? Why don't we call Dad and ask him?"
"About the flowers, yes, Wednesday at the latest. Meaning they can get here either yesterday or today. And I just got the text from your dad. The flowers they wanted needed to be kept fresh for as long as possible so they can't be picked very early on. They're picking everything as we speak, and will be delivered here right after. So, we have to go out today and buy the materials we need for the actual arrangement." the father says while drying his hair with a small towel.
"Yes! Finally! Something to do. Why didn't we do it earlier, Papa?"
"I was... preoccupied"
"Papa, you just went shopping. What do you mean?"
"I wanted it to be a bonding experience."
"Fine, Papa." Team says and abruptly springs up from the bed.
"So, where are we going?" Team excitedly grabs his car keys.
"SE-ED or B2S. Let's look for the basic supplies. Maybe they have the stand I had in mind for the Western and Oval Arrangements"
"Roger that. So, who's doing who?"
"You know I'm only good with the arrangements, Luuk. Can you do the bouquets? Niran's and the centerpieces. I'm sure once you see what flowers they picked out, you'll create something amazing."
"Okay, Papa. I'll do it. You sure you trust me right?"
"Okay, Papa. Chop-chop. No time to waste. Faster."
"Coming. I'm coming Luuk. But wait, how do I look?" the elder grabs his son's arm to show him what's he's wearing.
His father has always been one that goes for a classic, chic look, but with a kick of spice. This time he's sporting a formal blazer with what they call boyfriend jeans. And the kick of spice is a white crop top that falls just below his belly button. But he has the buttons clasped so you'll only see how small it is if he raises both his arms and then sees his stomach. But if not, he looks like he's just going for a smart casual look.
"No cap, but you look impeccable as always, Papa. It's Dad that has serious fashion problems." the younger exclaims in pain and rubs his right arm. His father hits him in the arm again.
"Team, be nice. Your father is just a man of simple tastes."
"I think you mean old-fashioned."
"Papa, save it for later. We got no time to waste." Team runs towards the door hurriedly.
"Tsk. Fine. Let's go."
"Can we take the gang? I'm pretty sure they're bored."
"You just don't want to carry everything by yourself so you'll guilt-trip them into helping once they see me with you, do you?"
"Right on the nose! You're catching up just fine, old man."
"Team, what do I do with you?"
"Love me, feed me, and spoil me rotten?"
"Fine. Bring them, but you have to tell them I'm with you, okay?"
"Okay!" The younger holds up his hand and does the "OK" sign with his fingers.
"TMNT II (Cause we're badasses like that)"
'My turtles, me, and Papa are going shopping stuff for the wedding flowers. Anyone wanna come with us?' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
' You just want us to come with you to help you carry stuff don't you?' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'HA! How could you think that of me? Some friends. Don't you wanna meet my Papa?' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'We want to Team. But after that stunt you pulled yesterday, no one's buying anything' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Now, now guys, be reasonable' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Type the truth, and we'll consider' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Fine. Yes.' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Fine. Yes' what?' -Lemon Mikey
'Fine. You're right. I just wanted someone to help me carry stuff. Y'all happy?' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Very. Now, where and when?' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Woah. That was fast. I thought you were trying playing hard to get?' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Like Pharm ever did?' -Lemon Mikey
'Fuck you guys!' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Even me, Pharm?' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Except you, Lee. You're the only other smart person in this friendship -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Read that guys? I'm smart' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Psh. Ah, I have P'Man's Line. Why don't we add him here?' -Lemon Mikey
'Pharm, let's leave. These two are so mean,' -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
'Guys. Me and Papa are on the way to SE-ED. Haul up your asses and leave now' -I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest
'Ahead of ya! I texted Papa and he told me you're OTW. I'm in BTS now' -Lemon Mikey
'Okay, coming.' -You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm.
'Roger that. See yall suckers in a bit. -Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)
They met up in SE-Ed and everyone is starstruck with Papa In. They complimented his beauty and fashion sense to the moon and back, brushing Team to the side.
In the end, Papa In, Lee, Manaow, and Pharm are having the time of their lives, while Team is stuck carrying everything they bought between SE-ED, B2S, and Siam Paragon. They bought even more stuff, which Team was forced to carry. Good thing they went to one of his favorite buffets, or he would make them pay.
They all thanked Team's father for being an amazing person for paying for their food and drinks. And then compliment him some more for his beauty. Saying Team must have been unlucky to not inherit any quality from his beautiful Papa.
It took them another 30 minutes to finally separate ways. It's 6 PM and they're on the way back to the hotel. Just when Team got a text from his father.
'Team, the truck just arrived at your apartment. Please go back and help Lung carry the flowers.' he reads.
"Papa the flowers just arrived. Should we go there now?" Team asks aloud.
"Sure, baby. Just a sec. Can we go back to the hotel first? I need to get a change of clothes." Team nods.
His phone dings again. Another text.
' Son, I already texted Win. He's on the way to the apartment, as well. He'll help you.
PS. Don't take your Papa with you. Let him rest. He'll be busy tomorrow, and he needs his beauty rest. I'll know if you tire him out. And if you do, no allowance for a month. Understood?'
'Wow. Dad is serious.' Team thought and can only sigh.
"Papa, Dad said I have to go back alone and let you have your beauty rest. Or no allowance for a month." Team says forlornly.
"That Korn! He's too overprotective sometimes. I'm perfectly fine."
"No, I think Dad is right Papa. We have to start on the flowers tomorrow and you'll be busy. You'll be doing most of the arrangements. You need rest."
"Are you sure? But it's gonna be just you and Lung right?"
"No. Dad texted P'Win. He said he'll help."
"Since when did you start calling him P'Win? You call him Hia ever since I can remember."
"It's not a big deal, Papa." Team answers.
His father doesn't respond immediately, so the younger turns and looks at his father. His face is unreadable.
"Okay. Take me back to the hotel. But let Lung rest, okay? Don't let him drive back immediately. And let Win help you with changing the water. And don't forget to set your AC to coolest, okay?" the elder enumerates. Animatedly listing out and waving his hand in the air.
"Yes, Papa. Thank you for reminding me." answers the younger male.
"Okay, let's go," his father says sitting down properly on his seat. Team starts the engine, trying to stop his mind from running to a thousand thoughts per second.
But one thought kept going on again and again and again.
' Am I going to be alone with him?'
He drives at only 20-25 kPH because he's stuck in Bangkok traffic.
But he's relieved. He's been stuck for 30 minutes now, but he's relieved.
'Anything to buy some time', he thought.
On an empty road, his father's hotel is only 30 minutes away from the complex. But it being 6:30 PM, with everyone going home, on a summer break, everyone who's commuting in Bangkok, is stuck in traffic.
Uncle J, who Team likes to call, Uncle Prince, because the uncle said he wanted to feel younger. And the 8-yr old Team thought anyone who's called a prince is strong and young. So the nickname stuck.
Team texted him 20 minutes ago about the heavy traffic, to which the old man replied with-
'Khun Team, don't worry. The truck is still cold, the flowers will be fine.'
'But you're just waiting for me there, Uncle Prince. There's a food stand nearby, please grab something to eat first.'
'Don't worry about me, Khun Team. Don't text and drive, it's dangerous.'
'Khun Team, Khun Win just got here in the building. He said he'll let me in and help with the move ahead of time so there won't be a lot of stuff for you to carry anymore. Such a kind friend you have, Khun Team.'
'Okay. But don't carry so much, okay? You can wait for me to help you.'
'Okay, Khun Team. I'll tell Khun Win.'
Team locks his phone then bangs his head on the steering wheel. Now he has to hurry up or else Uncle Prince will carry everything by himself. The older man is too stubborn sometimes.
Team arrives at the building 20 minutes later, with the truck on the first parking spot on the lot, and slightly opened.
They have started moving the flowers already.
He opens the door and sighs in relief to still see a lot of the fresh blooms.
"Khun Team!" a man calls Team.
He looks to his right and sees Uncle Prince drinking in a can of soda, with Win beside him. They were in mid-conversation.
Uncle Prince wais and Team replies with a wai too.
"Khun Team, I hope you don't mind that we ate before you. Khun Win was also getting dinner so he invited me. But don't worry we bought some take-out for you." Uncle Prince says. Lifting the take-out bag in the air to show to Team.
"Thank you, Lung" Team says.
Team smiles and takes the bag from the older male.
Team feels someone looking at his face, and it's literally just 3 of them, it has to be-
"Hi Team," Win says.
Team looks at him a little before doing a wai.
'Was P'Win's voice always been this deep?' Team thought.
"How've you been doing Team?" the older friend asks.
"Fine," Team answers.
"I see. Good, good," Win says. A little silence ensuing.
"So-" Win starts.
"Maybe we should continue with the plants? We still have to replace the water and then cut the stems. Maybe it'll be better if we have an early start, yeah?" Team says.
Looking at both men to convey his message. He looks at Uncle Prince, who happily nods, and at Win who nods too but his expression unreadable, crabbed, but he nodded so he surely agrees with his suggestion.
"Let's go," Team says. But when he lifts his hand he remembers about his food.
"Oh wait. I have to eat this. You guys go first, I'll catch up on you later," he looks for the nearest table. Good thing the reception of their complex has one.
He settles and spreads out the containers of take-out and he's happy to see his favorites.
Yes, he eats real food.
And yes, he doesn't just eat Lays. That's crazy. Pfft.
Container 1 has Pad Thai with extra shrimp. And container 2 has Kra Paw Moo Krop.
Good thing the swimming training season is not till next month. Because good God, he's going to finish all of this on his own. And good god, the portions are good for at least 4 people. He feels very doted on.
He's definitely been slacking off tho. Between room service, eating out, and now this, he's bound to gain some weight. Damn it.
But he'll eat and savor every tasty morsel. Huh. If he's going to slack off and gain weight, he'll enjoy his food the way it should be.
He offers grace, then starts eating.
Lung carries a bucket of roses. Team greets him with a smile and a bite of the Ka Prao.
Win passes by next with a bucket of flowers and Team smiles.
Dusty pink roses noted.
He's donning a white shirt and a pair of blue worn-out jeans. Casual as always. He knows the elder isn't a 'dress-up' kind of guy. And he can go anywhere looking as casual and as loose and chill as he can. But he'll look good in literally every single of garb and garment. He admires that. He's rich, he can afford any clothing he wants, but he prefers cool and relaxed. And he likes that.
He isn't being conscious about the elder, okay? He's just trying to note what kind of flowers and what colors are being brought in. So he can decide what colors to incorporate and what kinds to combine. And he just happened to see his clothes as well. Nothing more, okay? Thank you very much.
Lung Prince passes by again, he just came back from the room.
"Khun Team, thank god your apartment has an elevator. I don't know how long we'll take moving everything if we only had to use the stairs."
"Haha. So true, Lung. Altho I'm pretty sure Dad took that into account already. He'd never let this precious son suffer and tire like that." Team says. Playfully pointing at himself.
"You're right. Khun Korn is so kind."
"Kind? Just say it, Lung. Dad reveres the ground that Papa walks on. And okay, he dotes on me too. Hehe."
"Are you almost done, Team?" Win asks.
Team didn't notice him walk toward them, nor stand beside Lung Prince, but his hair is swept to the side. Like how he brushes through his hair in exhaustion or frustration.
He must want to finish carrying the stuff and go home already.
"Almost. Lung Prince bought this for me, I have to finish this. Right, Lung?" Team looks at the oldest male and smiles at him.
"But it's not me who bought it, Khun Team."
Team smiles then takes one big bite from the Pad Thai and the Ka Prao then closes the containers again.
"Okay. I'm done!" he says muffled from the amount of food he's trying to masticate.
"Don't talk when your mouth is full, Team. And you don't need to hurry, we can wait."
"Right, Khun Team. Look at your cheeks so full of food. Narak!"
Team shakes his head and slowly gulps.
"I'm fine, Lung. We better finish fast, so you and P'Win can go back home."
"But I can totally wait, Khun Team. It's still early."
Team was able to convince both men that he's full and he's good to go. He's been trying to help and carry the flowers as well. Keyword: trying. Win is not allowing him to carry anything. Every time he tries, he snatches it right out from his hand or kicks the bunch away so Team doesn't reach it.
He was able to successfully carry some though when Win wasn't looking and it was just them and Lung Prince, but when Win sees him, the other takes it again.
"Team, go wait in your room. We can handle this."
"What are you talking about? Are you saying I can't carry these myself?"
"Not at all, but why don't you just start with cutting the stems? You know, to get a head start."
Team is getting this close to losing his patience.
This flower-snatching-bunch-kicking-first-time-stealing bastard has the nerves to boss him around but he realizes that yes, things will be faster if he starts on the next step already.
"Tsk! Fine. I'll start with the ones in your room," Team irritably says.
He goes to the elder's room without waiting for his confirmation and looks around.
Such nice, fresh flowers. They definitely will love the arrangements they'll come up with for the wedding. They were fresh and beautiful.
Team drags the bucket that Lung Prince brought with him to transfer the flowers in. He puts in bleach enough for the size, and sugar for the flowers. He washes his hands thoroughly then mixes in the mixture with his hands. Then takes out the flowers from their wrap and cuts the tip of their stem.
Some time pass. He has already filled in 2 whole buckets when someone goes through the door and approaches him.
He was in the middle of cutting the tips of the thorns on the roses when-
"What do you want me to do, Team?"
Team accidentally cuts more than just the stem he intended but he pretends as if nothing happened and continues to cut the other thorns.
He means with the flowers right?
"Just fill in those buckets with water. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of bleach and a teaspoon of sugar per liter of water. And-"
"Wash my hands and sanitize to make sure I don't add bacteria in the water to make the flowers as fresh as possible. Team, I know. Lung Prince already told me."
Team was only able to look up briefly before regretting it and bows his head again because he sees the elder already looking at him. Expectant. His eyes searching for something.
"I see. So, where is he now?"
"He already left."
"He what? He was supposed to sleep over for tonight because he drove the whole day."
"I know, but he insisted. He said he wanted to get home by tomorrow morning. And he's scared there might be some traffic at dawn and that he didn't wanna risk arriving late. He said that the roads are sure to be empty at this time of the night."
"Was he really not tired?"
"He said he isn't. He already had a short nap while waiting for one of us to arrive so he said he's good to go."
"I see," Team says defeatedly.
During this conversation Team only looked up once, but he knows. He feels it, more than he sees it, that the elder is looking at him. Maybe waiting for him to look up and look at him. But he can't give him that satisfaction. Out of pure self-preservation.
But the elder walks away and drags the bucket, and goes about doing what Team instructed with the water.
He can finally breathe again.
"Do you think those flowers in your room will be fine?" the elder asks.
Team looks up from another stem of the rose and thinks.
"Yeah. They're fine. I'll finish these flowers as fast as I can. I think an hour more is okay."
"How about you go now and tend the flowers in your room instead? I'll take care of these on mine so you can go to sleep right after." the elder suggests.
Team thinks about it and it's actually yet another good suggestion. It didn't take him long to decide.
"If you're sure then I'll get to it. There's a lot of flowers to cover and I'm the only one."
"RIght. Good night, Team."
"Just like that?" the younger male spouts before thinking what that question meant.
"Just like what?" the elder replies.
'Is he kicking me out?'
'He's so eager to finish everything.'
'Is he, he really doesn't want anything to do with me, does he?' the younger thinks.
Team bites his lips. 'Of course. Of course.'
Team gets up from his position on the floor, pats the imaginary dust from his pants, and looks at the blonde males straight in the eyes. As sternly as he can, then smiles.
"Then, I'll get going. Goodbye, P'Win," Team says.
And does a formal wai, before leaving. Ignoring the questioning looks the elder is sending his way.
'Fine. I'm leaving. I'm going away. It's not like I wanted to see you, anyway'
'Of course, you didn't want to see me. You're just forced to help me out.'
Team thinks while he unlocks the door and shuts it close as hard as he can.
I know this is a bit short and feels like a filler chapter, but I wanted the next part to be in just one chapter. But don't worry, it'll be very, very, very long, and it'll be in another POV. OMGGG I'm excited. Hehehehe. Guess who?
Chapter 15: Win or Lose (I)
Huhu this was becoming into a monster. More so than I initially predicted. But it was on the verge of feeling like word vomit, so I needed to put it into two parts. This alone is 5.5k words and it still needs a bit more scenes so. Here it is. I hope you guys like it.
"So, Company A is offering a merger but Company B thinks their assets are not enough to support the restructuring of a merger so B wants an acquisition. Based on the current assets, cash flows, and accounts receivable and payables of Company A, can they push thru for an-"
Win wakes up from his stupor when his head bangs against the table.
He hears the girls from his class giggling and Dean tsk-ing at him for being so distracted. Again.
"Khun Wanichakarnjonkul, since you are not paying attention to my class anymore, I'm assuming that you already know the answer? Can we hear it please?"
He hears loud gasps and Dean pinches his leg to shut him up.
"No? What do you mean, no?"
"No, I mean with the merger. With the current assets of Company A, they're on the verge of liquidation. Company A must either be very stupid to think they can fool Company B into a merger, or they're very close acquaintances. Neither would benefit Company B to convince them into a merger. But Company A has their old name and loyal market share to make up for it, but with their current management, they wouldn't be able to recover from the losses. Not for another 50 years."
Another set of resounding gasps can be heard, and Dean scoffs. This fucker is too smart. It's getting on his nerves.
"Am I correct, Ajarn?"
"Ahem. Next time pretend you actually care about this class?"
"Noted, Ajarn. It won't happen again."
"Good. Now just like what-"
"Win, you have to stop being so distracted man."
"I can't. I keep thinking what I did wrong."
"You have to give it some time. If N' Team is trying so hard to hide from you, then there's nothing you can do. If you stake out of his room again, you'll just scare him off. You gotta lay low."
"But he isn't talking to me, Dean. He never did that before."
"You know what you did, Win. You can't make him feel like you do."
"I know. I get that. It's not that I want him to. I just want my baby cheeks back."
"Hmm. I know, Win. I know," Dean answers.
Win looks back to their professor showing them the process for calculating the liquidation of Company A when-
Win by rote held Dean's arm in sudden realization.
"What if-" Win starts. Admittedly a little shaken.
"What if what, Win?"
"Could it be? Is that why he's avoiding me? Is it because he found out?"
"Win, not everything is about you."
"Dean, I know that. But he has not come home in weeks. He's been everywhere but home. And who else is living in that apartment? Me. But if I could just talk to him, I'd know why. But he isn't giving me the chance, Dean. I talked to-"
"Win, I know you're a genius and everything, but we're in class. We can't talk about this right now. And we've had this conversation at least a million times already."
"Okay. Alright. I'm sorry."
Win bows his head again and looks out the window. Now he understands why he prefers sitting on the window seat. So he has something to pretend to look at.
Win's phone goes off. Good thing it wasn't at full volume. Just loud enough for him to hear there's a notification.
He fishes his phone out and checks the notification.
'P'Wan? Since when does he text me?' Win thinks.
He clicks on it and reads.
'Win, you have to be a good brother for the next weeks. I proposed to Niran and he said yes.'
'Congrats. Finally. What do u want me to do?'
'Can you handle the reception?'
'Yes. And the singer.'
'Sure. About the singer, I don't know any singer.'
'Have you told Papa and Dad?'
'I'm giving them the invite next week. I already have the template and everything, but Niran didn't like it.'
'And for good reason. It must've been shit.'
'So, that means you haven't told them right?'
'Yes. I'll only tell them when I send the formal invitation. I can't wait to see the smile in Papa's face. Hihi'
'Okay. So, you know how Team and I are not on good terms right?'
'You finally confessed?'
'Ai'Ngo. Of course, I didn't'
'Then what is it?'
' I may or may not have done something,'
'Oh no. Oh no. I had expectations from you, Win.'
'What did you think I did?'
'You took advantage of him?'
'I'm the worst, aren't I?'
'Wait what? Oh my god. I was just teasing.'
'Yeah. I'm the worst. I wanna go in a ditch and rot.'
'No. You'll turn this around.'
'Please help me, P'
'Win, this is Niran. I'm disappointed in you. You shouldn't have done that. But because I know you're not just this mistake and since your my future brother-in-law, I'll help you. Meet us tonight in XXXX at 6 PM. We'll talk about everything and fix this.'
'Hi. P'Niran. Are you sure you're ready to live the rest of your life with my Pee Chai?'
'Was I not doing that already?'
'So you're coming to XXXX with us, right?'
'You're just gonna give me the list of things you want me to do, are you?'
' I knew you were my favorite. So you better come. Or else I'm not helping you with your mistake.'
'Fine. My last class finishes at 3. Can we meet earlier?'
'Your brother has a meeting until 5.'
' You know what, it's okay. I just remembered there's something I needed to do. Meet you later at 6 PM.'
'Congrats P'. I'm telling you now you might regret this.'
'Hehe bye P'Wan.'
"Goodbye, class. I'll see you next week."
Win only hears those last words and the screeching of metal chairs on the cement floor.
"What did I miss?" Win asks Dean.
Dean shrugs and cocks his head towards him.
"That was the first time I've seen you smile in weeks. What's that about?"
"Wan told me he's getting married with P'Niran," Win says. Evidently more lighthearted than he was a few minutes ago.
"Wow! Finally. And I guess he's making you help?" Dean asks.
Win gently puts his textbook inside his bag and looks up at his friend who's waiting for him to finish packing up.
"Of course. He'll miss his own wedding if he's left alone. And then P'Niran will blame me for it," Win answers. He carries his sling bag on his shoulder and walks with Dean towards the door.
"How long have they been together exactly? 10? 11 years?" Dean inquires. It makes Win think too.
"Not sure. But I've known P'Niran my whole life. I think they were high school or even elementary friends. But not sure when they dated. And why are we talking about my brother's love life?"
"To distract you."
"Pft. It's working." Win says. And goes towards the direction of the lower year's building.
"Win, you better not be going where I think you're going"
"I have to try. I can't give up now, Dean."
"Win, you know his schedule. Even then you never caught him on time. Maybe you should rethink this?"
"Okay. Maybe I should go to my room. My meeting with P' is not till 6 PM. I have a lot of time."
"Okay. Study. Or read something, Win. You hear me?"
"I heard you."
Win is able to control himself and got some school work done. He did some of his essays, some of his group works, some of his upcoming due worksheets, and even made revision notes for people who ask him for help. It's only 5:30 but Win is already at the restaurant. He had a lot of time still, but he's got nothing else to do. And if he stays in his room, he might be tempted to do something that he'll regret later.
'P'Niran, I'm here. Just parked. You better come on time or em out.'
'You need our help, Win. Patience.'
'YOU need my help with wedding preparations.'
'Tsk. Fine. The meeting just got wrapped up. We might be a few minutes late.'
'Few minutes tops.'
Win scoffs and heads towards the reception.
"Good evening. Welcome to XXXX. Table for how many?" a nice lady greets him.
"I've got a reservation for Niran?"
"Okay. Let me see. Here, a table for 3 at 6 PM?"
"Yes. That's it," Win confirms.
"Perfect. This way, please. A server will be with you shortly." the lady ushers Win towards the back area of the restaurant. It was more private and quite hidden from the rest of the restaurant. His brother-in-law always thinks of everything.
He takes a seat and fishes his phone out. He scrolls through his social media and likes pictures and replies to some of his friend's funny comments until he gets bored and moves to another app. He opens Youtube and watches random videos.
"We're here. We're here. We're only 10 minutes late." Win looks up from his phone and sees his brother panting and bending down from running.
"P' the door is literally 5 meters away. Stop pretending." Win says.
His brother suddenly stands upright then turns to his back to wait for his fiance.
"I know. But I ran from the car towards here. I didn't need reception because this is our usual table."
He keeps facing towards the door and then reaches out towards the person walking towards them. He pulls Niran, his fiance in his arms and hugs his waist.
Win is this close to throwing up from the cringe. Or envy. He's not sure.
"Wan, you left me alone to park. You're going to pay for this in blood."
"But Ter, Win might've already left if we were late for a few more minutes," his older brother says. He turns towards Win, then winks. Win folds his arms towards his chest and scoffs at his brother. The liar.
"Sit down. Before I lose it." Win threatens.
Both older men hurriedly take a seat and call for a waiter. They order food and settle down, finally.
"I guess congratulations are in order," Win starts.
His older brother grins and nods enthusiastically. He gently grabs his lover's hand and shows Win their engagement ring.
They were just simple silver bands with diamonds around them. It was classy, handsome. If there was a word for it.
"The people in the jewelry shop did a good job choosing the ring for you, P'," Win says. His brother scoffs, but then smirks.
"I had these custom-made, actually."
"You're shitting me," Win answers in disbelief.
"Nope. I just thought of your P'Niran when I had it designed. And as you can see, they turned out perfect."
"Wow. Didn't know you're capable of something that is not video games."
"Me three. Imagine my surprise when he opened that box and I actually liked it." Niran remarks.
"But you still would've said yes even if the ring was ugly right?" his brother asks the pretty male.
The other's eyes turned soft. Like they were sparkling, adoring. And Win felt the pit of his stomach lurch.
It was seeing these things from his brother that makes him feel so unlucky.
He's in love. He's in love with a beautiful boy, who doesn't feel the same way as him. And that's okay. That happens to the best of us. So he has to endure looking at his brother being all lovey-dovey and in love.
"I could've said yes even if it was ugly, made out of plastic, or a thread." his brother-in-law answers.
"Yeah. Like the one in Count of Monte Cristo."
Doesn't he deserve this too?
'This time is about them. I can't be selfish and let my personal affairs interfere with my brother's moment.' Win thinks.
So instead of asking for their help, he asks instead-
"So, what do you guys want me to do for you this time?" Win asks.
Both lovers pulled back. Out of their own world and remembered that they have another person with them.
It was Niran who become conscious first.
"Right. Here's a list of the things that we need for the wedding. It won't be a very big wedding since it's going to be in the temple. It's the reception that will require a bit of work, " Niran says.
Win looks at the list incredulously and raises an eyebrow.
"A bit of work? You invited half the people in Thailand!" Win asks.
Niran holds his hand and squishes it.
"Please? Do this for us? I can only handle so much from working for your brother. Between him and my work, I'm fully booked. But I promise to help out as much as I can."
Win is willing to help, that's not the problem. But a reception for 2,000 people?
"It's just an overestimation Win. It's best to plan for more."
"You're right about the overestimation."
"But just this once because it's your wedding. But you know that not everyone will be present, right?"
"Yes. I am aware. But you can invite all your friends as well. It'll be fun," Niran says. Then lets his hand go.
Then he turns to Win and holds his hand again, "Win!"
"Ter, if you hold his hand again, I'll either break his or won't allow you to talk to him anymore." his older brother threatens. And Win scoffs when his brother-in-law doesn't listen and continues to squeeze his hand.
"I have a plan on how to make Team talk to you again. This is super genius on my part. Honestly," the other male says before his older brother pushes his hand away, and takes the other's hand in his, and hides it behind the table.
A literal 5-year old. Really.
"I'll tell him. He's my brother, but we're still not married. You might elope with him or something," Wan explains.
Win rolls his eyes again, and Niran giggles then punch Wan's arm.
"Since when are you this jealous?"
"Since you became my boyfriend," his older brother says.
"How long do I have to see through this? I've got things to do too, people," Win says exasperatedly.
His brother looks at him.
"So Papa owns a flower farm, right? We're getting Papa and Dad for the flower arrangement. Niran noted it on that paper you're holding. In case you wanted to be sure."
"I saw it, P'. I looked through the list. And your point being?"
"And my point? You still have to ask?"
"And you call me stupid? Anyway, of course, Papa will agree. And because Dad Korn can't help because he has his own business, who else will help with the flower arrangement? Are you following me?" Wan states while waving his hand around.
"And who else can help out because they're the kind brother who's helping with the preparations?"
Win is connecting the dots in his head and it finally clicks.
Hmm. Simple but effective. Nice.
"Okay. Fair enough."
"I'll even rope Dad Korn into this. But you have to do the rest. My fiance and I will be very busy for the following weeks, okay?"
"Okay." Win affirms.
"P'Niran, can you please specify when you need these things done? I wanted to schedule which of these I need to do first."
"Sure." The elder answer.
Win gives back the note and fishes his phone out.
"We deeply apologize for the wait."
Their food arrives. They eat, talk some more, and enjoy the rest of the dinner.
Win arrives home and notices that Team's room is just like how it's been in the past few days. Empty.
He wanted to be sure. He doesn't want to be annoying, but he's worried. He fishes his phone out and looks for Manaow's number. He already called Pharm yesterday.
"Hello? Manaow, it's P'Win."
"P'Win! Hello!" Manaow says loudly. Win had to lean his head away from his phone for a little bit.
"Hi, Nong. How've you been?"
"I've been great. But very busy P',"
"I see. That's good. That's good. So Nong, is Team with you right now?"
"Team? Oh, he just left like, 10 minutes ago. We were making an assignment together,"
"I see. So I'm calling because I just passed by his room just now and he still isn't home."
"He's not back at the apartment yet? Maybe he just took a detour for food or something. You know how much he loves to eat at midnight,"
"Hmmm. Okay. But if he texts you or calls you, or if you see him again, please let me know?"
"Sure, I'll text you if I see him."
"Okay. Thank you. Take care nong okay? Good luck with your projects."
"Okay. Sure. Bye P'Win,"
Hmm. The same answer. Win sighs again. At least this time he knows that he was with his friends. The other times they flatly told him they don't know where he is, or that they've only seen him during class.
He still doesn't know where he went wrong, or how he'll fix this, but at least Team is with good people. They're willing to go through a lot to cover for him.
Win sighs again and goes to his room.
Another sleepless night again, huh.
The next few days have been a whirlwind of calls and emails. He's been looking up places big enough for Niran's intended reception, which is located in Bangkok. And it proves to be very difficult. It was either not big enough, too far, or simply did not fit with the theme.
The theme is actually nice. Even he thinks it's nice. It's a simple white and earth tones wedding. So the place has to be nature-y and spacious, but not too nature-y.
And guests are to wear white, which he thinks he's not heard anyone do for their wedding before but to each his own. His brother-in-law has always been like that. Classy and composed, but not one to conform. And that's probably why he fits so well with his P'Chai. His P'Chai is definitely a freak of nature.
He hasn't google searched this much in his life before except when they needed to look up food recipes back in high school. But it was worth it and he's able to narrow down 3 venues for the reception. But he's not having his hopes up.
He lists them down, and sends them to his brother and brother-in-law, and lets them decide on which one they really want.
Now, on to the caterer and cake baker. He's wondering if he can call on his parents about this? He's sure they know more than he does about these things.
He receives an email. It must be P'Niran.
'Hello, Win. Your list is great and we are deciding right now. Thank you so much. We'll get back to you in a few minutes.
But what I'm emailing you about is that we gave Papa and Dad the invitation already, and they're very happy. And they said they'll gladly do the flowers for us. And Wan talked to Dad. He said he'll do what he can. But he's not promising anything. He said he's only willing to help because he knows you mean well, and you're just worried. But if Team doesn't want to, he won't force him. We did what we can.
And Wan is asking for Team's number. He wants to text him directly.
"Why is this man so formal? The hell?" Win asks himself.
So he types in as a reply-
'P', it's just me. Not a client. Anyway, here's Team's number: 02-xxxxxxx.
And thank you.
His brother-in-law states on the note that they want simple wedding favors. Either it's going to be inside joke memorabilia or something very useful for everybody they'll think it's ridiculous. But he can't think of anything yet so he decides he'll have the wedding favors for later. And there's no way he's preparing for 2,000 pax. That's just crazy. He'll only plan for 1,000 pax max.
Win texts his parents and asks for options for good caterers and cake bakers. His parents suggested they can do the catering. The food from their resorts/hotels is very good but if they go that way, his parents will have to do so much work since it's still under their management. He said no, and explained.
So they suggested a friend who owns a restaurant that recently opened a second branch in Bangkok. It has been open for only a few months, but his parents swear by it. So he considers it. His parents have impeccable taste and if they say it's good, it has to be good. So Win asks for the name and the address and says he'll check it out the very next day.
Then another email arrives.
Win, we have chosen. And luckily, I know someone from the management so I'll contact them instead. Thank you. But please take care of the caterer, the cake and the wedding favors? I heard from Mom and Dad that you're going to their friend's restaurant. I hope this is it. But just in case, we can contact the restaurant we went to the other day and ask for their availability, and if they cater for events.
And Wan already texted Team. We did what we could. It's up to you now.
He exhales in dread. He's got a lot of people cajoled already and he can't fuck this up. He's got to work fast. And by fast he means, finish the rest of the wedding preparations before the flowers get here in Bangkok so when the time comes, he'll be ready. And when he's ready he can get Team to talk to him. But it's the getting Team to talk to him that is a little fuzzy detail.
He's not sure what that entails yet, but he'll take whatever he can.
A couple more weeks passed, and with his classes over, he has more free time to help out. His brothers and parents decided on getting their parent's friend's restaurant to cater for the reception. Thankfully, the restaurant's not that busy yet considering they don't have the hype yet, and they're hoping that catering for this event will help them. To which they are glad to help because, as his parents said, his food is amazing. To which Win has a hard time wrapping his head around as to why they don't have a lot of patrons yet. But he'll do his best to turn that around.
He's on the way to the restaurant now, for another round of menu tasting. He's just going to pick up the take-out containers and bring them to his brother's office for them to try. It's like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone. Lunch and progress. Very smart.
He's sitting by the window, but it's the flower centerpiece that takes his attention. It was a simple black vase, with a single Sunflower, that looks a little withered.
He isn't sure if this was just a little due to its freshness, or it was intended. Because even if it was a little dry, and withered, it looks good. It matched with the aesthetic, and it makes him want to remember this. He takes a picture, and post it on IG with the caption.
'Where are you?'
It's not too obvious, right? It could mean he's just waiting for someone for lunch. Or it could be he's really just waiting and searching for someone.
"Where are you, baby cheeks?" Win asks to the wind.
Suddenly his phone rings.
It's an unknown number.
'Ai'Win. Guess HU?'
'Guess what? I don't know who you are. How did you get this number?'
'U save my number? What kind of a friend are you?'
'Friend? From where?'
'You'll have to tell me who you are or I'll block your number.'
'Wow. You have not changed at all. This is Anurak Sonjonkuksoong. Ring a bell?'
'Yes, Ai' Win. I can't believe U didn't save my number. You just threw our friendship down the drain.'
'I changed my CP when I got into college because I broke the last one.'
'Lemme guess. In the water?'
'Ai'Win, I'm in Suvarnabhumi Airport. Cum get me.'
"Ai' Nang you can't spring that on me. What if I was doing something important?'
'Is the one you're doing, the one?'
'Asshole, I meant doing something, like studying or helping an old lady cross the road?'
'Then cum get me. Don't you miss me? Your plaything?'
'Oh my god. I swear to god. You say one wrong thing one time and you assholes never let me forget about it.'
'So, u're coming right?'
'Ugh fine. Be a good plaything and wait.'
'Gladly. Hurry, I'm hungry,'
Win smiles and feels comforted. He may feel so lost right now, but at least one of his very good friends suddenly appeared. Just like his name suggests. An angel. He may be the opposite of an angel, but he always knows how to time his entrances. Just like now.
"Nong Win, thank you for waiting. I hope your brothers will like these." the older man says. Putting bags of take-out containers for Win to take. Win hurriedly does a Wai to pay respect to the elder.
"I'm sure they will, Lung. We like all your food. They're having a hard time choosing what they'll have for the wedding." He smiles at the old man and reassures him.
"What a flatterer. Thank you. Have a safe trip okay?"
"Thank you!" Win says and carries the bags in the air as a greeting.
He jogs to his car with a couple of bags of take-out. He has to hurry or one prissy friend will bother him for sure.
Win got into the airport in under 30 minutes but it seems like his friend has already left. He's tried calling, nothing. Texting, nothing.
He knows he's impatient, but he was not expecting him to actually leave.
"There you are, Win! You took your sweet time." He hears a voice from the back. He turns around to his friend with a huge suitcase in tow.
"I've been calling and texting you, where've you been?" Win asks in return.
Nang brings up two cups of Starbucks coffee and hands one to Win.
"Getting my payment for you. Now, where are we getting lunch?"
"Where do you wanna eat?"
"I feel like eating BBQ. BBQ in the US is so different than what we have here in Thailand. Ours is OG."
"Okay. I know a place. You'll love it." Win says.
"Perfect. But first an obligatory selfie!"
"Ahh, now I remember why I always take pictures and selfies. I got it from you."
"Aww. So good to hear I left a lasting impact on you. I feel honored. You're welcome. Now smile," Nang says, then takes selfies after selfies.
Win tries his best to smile in all of them, but after the 10th picture, he got tired.
"Are you done? Cause I have not eaten lunch too yet."
"For real?" Nang asks in worry and hurriedly walks towards the exit of the airport. Towards the parking lot.
"Yes. I was in a restaurant but it was just to grab the sample of the menu for the reception for my brother's wedding." Win strains a bit from lifting Nang's suitcase from the ground to put it in the trunk.
"What is in that luggage? It weighs a ton." Win asks when he takes his seat on the driver's side and then grabs the seatbelt.
"If I tell you, I'll have to kill you." Nang answers. Then puts the cups of coffee in the cupholder between them.
"Wait, so P'Wan? He's finally getting married?"
"Right? I never thought it'd happen in this lifetime too." Win says and heartily laughs.
"Let me guess. P'Niran?"
"Of course. As if anyone else is willing to be with him?"
"Hey, give your brother some credit. He may be an asshole, but he's sweet to people when he wants to be. Have you seen him around P'?"
"Of course. And I have a bit of misfortune of seeing them together every day. As if high school was not enough."
"Awwwee. I'm sorry babe. So that means you still haven't confessed to him?"
"It was never part of the plan, Nang."
"Hmm. You know what, let's go. Let's eat lunch. Let's eat BBQ to our hearts' content. How about that?" Nang suggests.
Win contemplates then smiles. And nods.
"Yeah. That sounds nice." then starts the car.
They arrive at the restaurant and eat barbecue and frowns when he remembers this is Team's favorite BBQ place. He'd know because this is their go-to place when they eat together. But he shrugs that off and enjoys the company of his friend.
He takes pictures, and selfies and wants to have memories as usual so he posts them in his IG story. He posts a screenshot of their conversation, not including the part he didn't know who he was, without forgetting to blur the number and the name. He wants to surprise Dean by not letting him know immediately who recently got back to Thailand.
Then posts a selfie from the airport, the one where he looks decent, and not like he was forced to smile, and then another selfie. A more recent selfie he just took before they started eating. He takes another bite of the barbecue when-
"I saw the IG story. Awww you missed me."
"Pffft. Just wanted to mess up with Dean. He'll come bugging me when he sees this."
"Edit a text on the picture, say "I missed you. Thanks for coming back."
"Eww, no way. That sounds way too corny." Win immediately cringes.
"Then I'll do it, gimme it."
"Come on. It'll be fine."
"You do it." Win hands his phone to the male opposite him.
"Okay, this picture. Edit text 'I missed you. Thank you for coming back.' Is it too much if I put a kiss emoji?"
"Do you want to die?"
"Too much? Okay. Posted! Now eat. We're not leaving until we finish all this."
Win nods. Talking and laughing at his friend's funny antics. Not knowing the repercussions of the things he just posted.
When they're full and almost on the verge of bursting, they drive to his complex. Nangfa came to Bangkok first, but he isn't planning on staying there the whole time. He's only staying for a few nights, then go to the province to visit his family. Then only come back to Bangkok after a couple of weeks.
Since it's only for a few nights, Win offered his apartment. Which is big enough for 2 people, anyway. And as payment, Nang offered his services to help with the wedding preparations. He volunteered to take care of the wedding favors. Stating 'I can google shit too Win. But you have to tell P'Wan about my role in this whole ordeal. I deserve the credit too.'
They arrive in the apartment, and Nang as always is taking advantage of his size so he can get away with carrying his ginormous suitcase. Win carries it for him, luckily, they have an elevator. And when it opens for the 3rd floor, he was looking at the door on the right, out of habit, then he sees it.
He sees shoes outside the door.
That can only mean one thing.
Team is back. Team is in his apartment, and he finally has his chance. He'll take it. He'll take anything he can. He wants answers. No, he needs answers.
He needs- he needs to see Team.
Win steps out of the elevator just when it's about to close.
"What the hell? Win! Where are you going?" Nang asks.
Win turns to face him a bit, but his mind on somewhere else, he directs his hands up and says-
"You go ahead. I have to check something first."
"What is it?"
"Just go Nang. Don't wait up for me."
Before the elevator door closes again.
He jogs, runs towards the door, and takes a breath.
Team is here. He's sure of it.
Those are his sneakers. They may be normal sneakers, but he'll recognize these shoes anywhere.
White, a little rugged, overused, but kept clean.
It has to be.
'Please be here. Please be here. Please talk to me' Win chants.
He knocks, but it came on too weak because his hands are shaking. So he holds it in a fist, then knocks again. More purposeful this time.
This is it. He takes another inhale of air, hoping his voice doesn't break.
"Team? Are you there?" another inhale.
"Please open the door." it sounds out a little weak, but it's out.
He raises his knuckles again, attempting to knock, but he remembers Dean saying 'Lay low. Or you'll scare him away'. He puts his hands down at the last minute.
"Team? I just wanna talk." he raises his voice a bit. Maybe he just didn't hear him?
"Team? I know you're in there," he says again.
"Your shoes are outside the door. You forgot to bring them in again." He makes his voice sound a little playful.
"Please, Team." he's- he's this close to begging. On his knees.
But before his will leaves him, either to crumble down in front of Team's door or come barging in, the door swings open.
But- but it's not Team. A very, welcome familiar face. But not Team.
But he smiles, still.
"Papa In! Hello. I didn't know you were back here in Bangkok." he greets. He brings his hand together to greet the older man in a Wai.
"Yes. I was supposed to get here by Tuesday or Wednesday, but it's been almost a year since I went here, so I figured I'll get here early and have some time to see Bangkok again. Especially without your uncle. He can be quite clingy sometimes." The elder answers.
He chuckles at the short man's answer. Very familiar indeed.
"Clingy and whipped is what you mean, Papa." Win chimes in.
"Why does everybody say that?"
"Cause Uncle is whipped for you, Papa," Win teases again. He clasps his hands behind him.
"So, what brings you here, Luuk? Did you need anything from Team?" the elder asks. Win brightens up.
Team really is here!
"I just wanted to talk to him, Papa," Win says. He says as sincerely as he can. He believes that elders can detect those kinds of things.
His brother said he had Dad Korn roped in in his attempt, but it seems like Papa In is not into it.
"He's not answering my calls and he's not answering my texts, either. I just wanna know if he's doing okay. That's all." Win adds. He bites his lips.
His nerves getting the best of him.
"He's doing great, Luuk. He's staying with me. He just came here for a change of clothes."
"Oh, I see. Has he been staying with you for the past couple of weeks too, Papa?" Win asks.
He doesn't know what to ask. He doesn't know what to think anymore.
"Mhmm." the older man confirms.
Really? Is that-
It's really me, isn't it? When Papa In said he decided to come here earlier, it sounded like he just got here in Bangkok. Is he getting this wrong? Or did he just royally fuck up for good?
"Okay. Is he there? Can I talk to him? Just for a few minutes, Papa." Win pleads again.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Luuk. We're in a hurry. I have a schedule for 10 AM and we will be busy the whole day. It's why we came here now because we won't be able to later. Can it wait?" Papa In says.
Okay. It's not okay, but he can only say-
"Umm. I guess. I guess it can wait," he says.
He smiles again. It doesn't reach his eyes, but he smiles.
He's not okay.
"Have fun, Papa," Win says solemnly. Despite the hesitance in his voice.
"Thank you, Luuk. Take care. Oh, by the way. The flowers will be delivered here on
Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest."
"No problem, Papa. Thank you for helping with P'Wan's wedding preparations." Win says.
"Of course. It would be my pleasure. You're practically family."
"Of course, Papa. I'll clean up my room in advance."
"Awe! Such a good young man. Thank you, Luuk. Bye!" the elder man waves goodbye.
"You're welcome, Papa." the elder smiles then turns around to go back inside.
"But Papa," Win chips in. The elder stops in his steps then turn back to him.
"Can I ask for a favor, please?" he pleads. Again.
"Sure, Luuk. Anything. What do you need?" the elder says.
"Can you please tell Team to answer me? At least to answer my texts?"
Win has to try.
"Sure. I'll tell him, Luuk."
"Okay," Win says finally.
"Thank you. Bye, Papa. Take care. You and Team take care. Bye!" Win greets again.
He backs away. He looks at the closing door, the elder man smiling, and waving at him. He looks at the shoes still stowed on the door, on top of the welcome mat. Where he knows Team keeps his spare keys.
He looks at his chance slip away, and he walks with his steps as heavy as lead.
"Thank you, Luuk. Bye." then Papa In closes the door.
With it his chance to finally see his baby cheeks after weeks, after weeks, after weeks, of missing him so fucking much.
"So? How did it go?" Nang asks him when he opens the door.
He looks at his friend forlornly, and he saw the change in his face.
"Oh. I'm sorry babe. Do you- uh."
"No. It's okay. We'll be busy the next few days. Let's just focus on that. Let's focus on that."
He tries to burrow a hole on the couch and stay in it. Trying.
"Okay. But you're not saying no to Ice Cream right?"
"Coffee. I'll take Iced Coffee."
"Iced coffee coming right up. Do you want a frappe, or something as black as your soul?"
"Okay. Let me pay for it."
"You're awfully being kind today. I'm not used to it."
He looks at him trying to worm his way out of trying to comfort him, but he smiles a little.
"What do you mean? I'm your kindest friend. I think you're thinking about Dean." Nang says as the last attempt.
The next days are spent finalizing the wedding preparations. The venue is perfect.
They chose the Kimpton Maa-Lai. It was part of his list, but he was not expecting they were choosing that. He listed the hotel venue halls, but not the garden. It's perfectly situated, but it was in the center of shopping malls, and these sky-rise buildings, but it's also its appeal.
It's called the hidden gem of Bangkok, and they're right. It really is perfect.
His brother-in-law was able to book it for the reception, so that's one.
And he still cannot believe they were able to pull off arranging a wedding in under 3 months. He suspects his brother-in-law has already been prepared and everything because there's no way it would be this smooth if he didn't. He suspects his brother-in-law has already suspected the proposal and prepared beforehand. But well it's good because even if he did a lot, it should've been way more if it was truly last minute.
The only thing that P'Niran didn't prepare must've been just the flowers and the wedding favors. He suspects even the caterer and cake baker has already been prompted beforehand. Because the cake baker took their order without any hesitation. As if he knew they would come to him. And he suspects his parents 'suggesting' their friend's restaurant was just a ruse.
It's like he just wanted to show his brother that he's the one who did the most of the arrangement, when actually behind the scenes, P'Niran already did most of the work.
Wow. P'Niran must be really in love with his P'Chai.
Anyway, two, Nang is helping him with the wedding favors. And his friend came up with; lottery tickets.
His explanation being, start of the quote: P'Wan got lottery ticket lucky with P'Niran. And I want the guests to know they have a chance of getting that lucky too. End of quote.
And when he presented this idea to P'Niran, the man was laughing his ass off and his P' was clearly annoyed, but he was just looking at his fiance lovingly. Like he wasn't laughing at him. Like his 'world' was happy and laughing and that's all that matters.
So they went with the lottery tickets, and they'll print that exact spiel on the envelope so everybody understands.
He put Nang in charge of getting the lottery tickets and printing the envelopes. He'll help him out with packing later but at least now the only thing he's worried about is the flowers.
It's a Tuesday night, and he's cleaning up his room. He's never been a messy person. He prefers cleaning up after himself every single time, and fortunately,, his friend is also very neat, so he doesn't have much to clean up. But he has an idea of how many flowers they'll need for the wedding, and he knows how small his room and Team's room are, so he's cleaning up to make more space.
That and because he needs to make sure that he and Nang still have a place to sleep in even with all the flowers.
"Win, that floor is clean enough to eat on," Nang says from the living room.
He's printing the rest of the envelopes. They have packed at least 300 already, and they've only got 700 more. With both of them, it won't take that long. They're just too lazy to finish on time.
"Win, I think we underestimated the envelopes."
"What do you mean we underestimated? I thought we bought 1000pcs?"
"No. I'm pretty sure I said, 'that should be 1000pcs"
"Ugh fine. I'll buy more. Don't stop printing. Just start putting in the tickets while waiting for me."
"Okay. But Win, I might, or might have not bought less of the lottery tickets too."
Win can feel a vein popping on his temple.
"Nang, remind me not to let you help on anyone's wedding ever again?"
"Hey, that's not fair. It's my first time. And it's just this one mistake."
"Okay. But at least let me help with your wedding. I'll only help with the food tasting or something. How about that?"
"Deal. Now work."
Win drives to the nearest mall. He hits the shop they bought the envelopes from, but they said that they bought the last ones, so he has to look in another place. So he does and looks for it in the shop right beside it, but they only had a few left. He was able to buy 50 pcs, but that was it. He has to look for it again.
Win cannot believe his luck right now. He has never had a problem like not having enough envelopes and finding them unavailable. He has never thought of envelopes like this before. But he won't take it for granted again in the future anymore, for sure.
And- and he still has not talked to Team, and it's already Wednesday. He was cleaning up earlier, looking forward to having the flowers arrive in Bangkok already, so he can have the excuse, a valid excuse to see Team. And maybe, finally, get to talk to him. But it still has not arrived.
He goes to the next shop and almost shouts in joy when they have a lot of that envelope in stock. He decides to buy 1000 pieces. Instead of the original plan of just making 1000 favors, he'll make it to 2000 pcs out of spite. It's better he overbuys than this happening again.
"Okay. We have 1000pcs. of envelopes. Wow. You must have really pissed off your Faen, " the store clerk teased
"Oh no. These are for wedding favors, sir. And I have no faen."
"Oh please. No need to be humble, young man. A handsome guy like you must have lots of girls and boys waiting in line for you."
Win scoffs then answers.
"Maybe. Except for the person I really like."
"Ahh. One-sided love. That can be pretty tough." The store clerk says.
Win smiles bitterly and hands over his card for payment.
"Okay. That'll be 500 baht. Do you want this in a box or in a bag?"
"In a bag, please. I still have to go to the lottery center to buy tickets."
"Ahh, I get it now. That's very creative."
The clerk finishes the payment and packs the supplies in a bag.
"Here you go. And not to interfere with your life, boy. But if you really love them, hang on yeah? Cause that's how I got my wife. I was too damn patient. Or too damn persuasive. Either way, I got happy."
"Thank you, sir. I'll remember that."
"Good. Thank you for coming."
'I just need 1000 Lottery tickets then I'm good to go' He tells himself.
He goes to the one inside the mall. He was waiting in line for his turn to buy the tickets when he receives a notification.
It says. And Win didn't need another second to open it.
'Nong Win, the flowers are on the way. I already texted Team and told him to come alone. Anyways, his Father needs the rest. But you do what you gotta do. I won't give you any more chances.'
Win reads the text over and over again before he understands.
The flowers are here. And he's got the valid excuse he needed to talk to Team.
'Thanks for letting me know, Dad. I'm on my way.'
But he sends another one.
'Thank you. It's all I need.'
He drives back to the building, probably breaking a few dozen traffic laws but he gets there and he sees Uncle Prince. The worker who's been with Team's family since they opened the flower farm around 10 years ago.
The elder waves at him when he recognizes the car, and he blinks his headlights to acknowledge the old guy.
He parks and then runs to him leaning on the delivery truck. He immediately offers a Wai.
"Long time no see Lung Prince. It's great to see you. How's the family?"
"Great to see you too Khun Win. You became even more handsome than I remembered. And the family is great. My eldest is planning to work here in Bangkok. He said he got a job offer."
"That's great! Please tell him to meet me when he gets here."
"Sure. I'm sure he'll be happy to."
"Great. Is Khun Team here yet?"
"Oh, he's not with you? I thought you'd be together since I see you go everywhere together."
Win smiles dolefully.
"Papa In is here in the city so they're staying together."
"Oh right. I must've forgotten. My old age is creeping up on me"
"What old age? You're only a day over 40, Lung."
"Haha, such a sweet talker Khun Win. You know I'm almost 60."
"Really? No way. You look 40. 41 tops."
"Haha, such a flatterer. So, what do you suggest we do in the meantime? I don't think I'm good company. I don't know what it is that you youngsters like to do these days"
"Haha. You're doing great, Lung."
"Thank you. I was told to bring up the flowers in your and Khun Team's rooms. But he's isn't here yet maybe we'll start with yours?"
"Sure. But I'm not sure what time he'll get here. How about we eat dinner first? It was a pretty long drive. And I know the place that serves the best Pad Thai in Bangkok."
"It wasn't that bad, Khun Win. But Pad Thai does sound good right now."
Win leads the elder to the noodle place just two blocks away from their complex, almost forgetting he now has a roommate he needs to tell about the delivery.
'Nang, the flowers are here. But I'll get dinner first. And I wasn't able to get the tickets.'
'Damn Win. You had one job, one job, and you fuck it up.'
'Haha funny. I bought 1000 envelopes, so get 1000 tickets.'
'I don't think I have enough money for that Win.'
'Then give me your TM account number'
'Yaaay. You're the best. Love you, sugar daddy. I'll send you my QR.'
In the middle of dinner, the elder receives a text from Team telling him that he's still stuck in traffic. And to wait for him before they start transferring the flowers. Win suggested it's better if they get a little ahead with moving so they can save some time. So they buy a few drinks, just some water and sodas, and then an order Pad Thai and Kra Paw Moo Krop for Team and head back. They slowly walk for a few minutes just to let the food digest faster or feel less full. And when they start to feel better they start fetching a few buckets then start with his room.
They were able to move a bucket each, then decide to slow down and drink a soda first.
And then Win hears it first before he sees bright lights. A car arrives, and they look at the license plates. It's the person they've been waiting for.
It's him. Team. His beautiful baby cheeks.
He approaches slowly. Not too close, not too far.
"Hi Team," Win says.
His throat closing up because of his nerves. He looks at the younger from his head to his toe before the younger catches him.
'He lost some weight. He lost weight' Win observes.
'Why is he losing weight?' Win thinks worriedly.
Just in time for the younger to look at him and then does a wai.
'Since when does he Wai to me?' Win thinks.
"How've you been doing Team?" Win asks out loud.
"Fine," the younger answers curtly.
"I see. Good, good," Win answers. Doing his best to sound laid-back. But still, a little silence ensues. He brushes his hair off his face with his hands. Tugging it a little to feel less jittery.
"So-" Win starts. But Team interjects, "Maybe we should continue with the plants? We still have to replace the water and then cut the stems. Maybe it'll be better if we have an early start, yeah?"
The younger looks at the eldest, than at him, stern,
'He must want to finish this whole ordeal and go home already.' Win thinks.
But Team remembers he has food in his hands and says he'll eat it first then help them out.
He and Lung Prince actively start moving. He carries as much as he can into the elevator, looking at the younger whenever he passes by.
He's always looked so adorable when he eats. His white cheeks puff up and he doesn't do anything else. He just chews and takes another bite and Win can't take his eyes off Team.
"Are you almost done, Team?" Win asks when he noticed Team is emptying the take-out container.
The younger looks at him a little apprehensive, fidgety even.
"Almost. Lung Prince bought this for me, I have to finish this. Right, Lung?" Team looks at the oldest male and smiles at him.
"But it's not me who bought it, Khun Team." Lung Prince answers for him.
"Oh." Team answers. His tone sounds a little disappointed.
But the younger smiles then take one big bite from the Pad Thai and the Ka Prao then closes the containers again.
"Okay. I'm done!" he says. The younger looking like he ate a whole apple, not noodles with how his cheeks look. Because he lost weight the younger's cheeks look strained, not as fluffy as they used to be.
"Don't talk when your mouth is full, Team. And you don't need to hurry, we can wait." Win insists.
"Right, Khun Team. Look at your cheeks so full of food. Narak!" the oldest coos at the youngest.
Team shakes his head and slowly gulps.
"I'm fine, Lung. We better finish fast, so you and P'Win can go back home."
"But I can totally wait, Khun Team. It's still early."
He hears the rest of the conversation but Win's mind stops at-
"P'Win?" he says under his breath.
'Did he call me- P'Win?' Win thinks.
'You really fucked up, Win. You fucked up big time' he chastises himself.
"I got this Team," Win says. He snatches the things Team has on his hands.
'Team shouldn't be carrying so much. He's lost weight' Win thinks.
He hurriedly moves the buckets and the other stuff so Team doesn't need to carry anything.
"Team, let me get that off your hands," he says, then takes it off Team's hands again.
"Team, go wait in your room. We can handle this.," Win insists again.
"What are you talking about? Are you saying I can't carry these myself?" Team answers irritatingly.
"Not at all," Win answers.
'Don't fuck this up, Win. Say something, fast.' Win thinks.
"But why don't you just start with cutting the stems? You know, to get a head start," he answers. A little smile coming into play.
"Tsk! Fine. I'll start with the ones in your room," Team irritably says.
The younger stumps the way to his room, but at least he's not carrying more than he should.
'He lost so much weight,' Win notices.
He's just worried okay? He was checking him out in a concerned, respectful way. No way sexual or naughty.
"This is the last of the bunch, Khun Win." Lung Prince says as he takes out the last of his delivery.
"Oh great. Let me bring them up for you, Lung. You wanted to leave tonight right?"
"Yes, Khun Win. I need to leave tonight because I have somewhere to be at around 10 AM tomorrow. I appreciate Khun Team's kindness in offering a place for me to sleep tonight, but the drive will be shorter if I leave now because there's no more traffic. And I already had a short nap before you arrived. I'll be fine." the elder says. Win nods in understanding.
"But can you please tell him for me, Khun Win?" the elder asks. Climbing up the driver's seat of his truck.
"Sure, Lung. Drive safe, okay? Please inform me or Team when you get back, yeah?" Win says. All the while looking up at the elder.
"By the way, Khun Win, the flowers will die or wither faster if more bacteria get into them, so please wash your hands when you handle them." Lung Prince instructs him.
Win smiles and nods.
"Alright. Thanks for the reminder, Lung." the Wais at the elder.
"You're such good kids, Khun Win. You both are. I hope you and Khun Team stay like this." the eldest says then starts the engine.
"Oh, and by the way, good luck," the elder says, then winks at him before he slowly drives out of the parking lot.
Win stays still for a few seconds then- 'Huh. Does literally everyone on this planet know?'
He carries just a couple more, and he takes in the view of Team looking calm and serious with taking care of the flowers.
Team has always looked so at peace when he's concentrated. While everybody does tiny gestures unconsciously, his younger friend just looks serene, calm, and very beautiful. Especially with flowers.
'It must be because he's a sunflower himself' Win thinks.
He walks towards him slowly, careful not to alert him. He looks at him a little longer, just taking in his beautiful baby cheeks.
"What do you want me to do, Team?" he asks.
Team jerks. Surprised, so Win backs away a little.
"Just fill in those buckets with water," the younger starts, and Win looks down at the buckets and finds them empty.
"Then add 1/4 teaspoon of bleach and a teaspoon of sugar per liter of water. And-" the younger instructs but Win chimes in.
"Wash my hands and sanitize to make sure I don't add bacteria in the water to make the flowers as fresh as possible. Team, I know. Lung Prince already told me." Win finishes for him.
"I see. So, where is he now?" the younger looks up briefly, but looks down again. Just as fast as he did.
"He already left." Win answers.
"He what? He was supposed to sleep over for tonight because he drove the whole day," Team says terrified.
"I know, but he insisted. He said he wanted to get home by tomorrow morning. And he's scared there might be some traffic at dawn and that he didn't wanna risk arriving late. He said that the roads are sure to be empty at this time of the night." Win answers.
"Was he really not tired?" the younger asks worriedly.
'Such a worry-wart' Win thinks.
"He said he isn't. He already had a short nap while waiting for one of us to arrive so he said he's good to go." Win reassures the younger. A little white lie, it might've happened, or not, but the elder told him. He hopes the elder will be really fine though.
'So. Team? Can we- can we talk now?'
Win knows he's being selfish, but he really needs this time alone with the younger.
"I see," Team says defeatedly.
He looks at him, and Win notices again that the younger has really lost some weight. He's always told him to eat healthier and be more conscious about his weight because it'll be easier for his swimming to be at a healthy weight, but he never thought he'd feel this worried now that the younger is losing weight.
'Is it because he's overworked?' Win thinks again.
But he decides to walks away and drags the bucket, and goes about doing what Team instructed with the water.
He goes to the kitchen to wash his hands, but then he sees scattered envelopes on the table. That's when he remembers.
'Oh my god. I forgot about Nang. If he sees Team here, he'll definitely tease me and tell Team about my feelings for him. Oh my god, Win. You're better than this. How could I forget? What should I do?' Win panics internally.
In his panic he asks, "Do you think those flowers in your room will be fine?"
Team looks up from another stem of the rose.
"Yeah. They're fine. I'll finish these flowers as fast as I can. I think an hour more is okay."
"How about you go now and tend the flowers in your room instead? I'll take care of these on mine so you can go to sleep right after." the elder suggests. Scrambling the envelopes together in his arms, and puts them in one pile so they're not too obvious.
The younger stays silent for a few seconds before saying-
"If you're sure then I'll get to it. There's a lot of flowers to cover and I'm the only one."
"Right. Good night, Team." Win says. Subtly moving the envelopes behind him.
"Just like that?" the younger male asks.
"Just like what?" the elder replies. He freezes and prays to the heavens above Team didn't notice him being all weird.
He sees different emotions passing through the younger's face, but he doesn't know what they mean and what to think about it.
But his baby cheeks get up from his position on the floor. Then looks at him. Straight in the eye. For the first time, that night. For the first time in the longest, longest time, then smiles.
"Then, I'll get going. Goodbye, P'Win," Team says.
And does a formal wai, before leaving.
'P'Win. There it goes again. He's calling me P'Win.' he thinks.
He cannot hide the pain he feels. He doesn't- did he-
Win broods forlornly, but he gets out of his thoughts when he hears the door shuts so loud.
He stays unmoving on the kitchen counter, and that's how Nang sees him when he gets back from the lottery center.
"Win, you will not believe what happened to me today. So I was- Win? Win?"
Win blinks and sees his friend.
"You alright, man?" the other asks.
Win can only shake his head.
"I- I uh-, I-" he starts. But his mouth hardens and numbs.
He doesn't deserve him. He- doesn't deserve an inch of Team.
"I'm fucking splendid, Nang. Feeling so fucking splendid."
So, that's what actually happened. Who's with me on the 'just-fucking-talk-already!' campaign? Hehehe
Team is looking up pictures of flower arrangements to get some ideas on what he should do for his centerpieces. He has some in mind already, but he didn't know what flowers they had. Now that he does, he's trying to get more source materials. It's best to have a good picture on what he wants it to look like, instead of just winging it. He can't afford to waste some if he thinks the outcome isn't good enough.
He's saving pictures in his photos folder when his father calls his name.
"Yes, Papa?" Team stops scrolling through his phone so he can concentrate on his father better.
"Do you have something to wear for the wedding already?" In asks from inside his bedroom.
'Something to wear? The guests were asked to wear white, right?' the younger thinks.
"Umm, I was thinking of just wearing a white button shirt." Team says while holding his phone close to his chest.
"A new white button shirt?" his father asks supplementarily. With little pauses in between each word.
"No, Papa," Team answers.
"Are you telling me you're planning to wear that one white button shirt you have had since forever?" his father asks again, this time outside the door looking at him like he lost his head or something.
"Yeess?" Team answers in a drawl.
When his father's face turns even sourer, he feels like he just said the wrong thing.
"No. No. No no no no no," the elder shakes his head aggressively. Walking towards Team. Disrupting his comfortable position on the couch.
"That won't do! We're going to the mall and we're buying you a cute white outfit." his father starts.
"Then everyone is going to see how cute and pretty and beautiful and handsome my son is." his father says while dramatically staring in the distance. Then giggles to himself.
"But Papa we have to start with the arrangements." Team argues.
"You should've thought about that first and bought yourself a new white outfit, young man. Don't pin this on me."
"But Papa, it's not like we're part of the family. We're there as wedding staff, slash guests, slash friends, slash neighbors. Nobody's gonna notice what I'm wearing."
"That's not what it's about, Luuk. It's about looking good, and feeling good, especially in an event with that many people." his father tells him with all the confidence in the world.
"Why do I need to look good and feel good, Dad?" Team asks. Still feeling incredulous.
"Umm to look cute?! Don't you wanna find yourself a faen?"
"Dad, this is totally not the time. For a faen. We'll be busy, and nobody's gonna look at me like that."
"Not with that attitude. And certainly not with that poor white button shirt. Now, be ready in 5 minutes. Or else," his Father threatens. And goes to his bathroom.
"You need to get laid," Team whispers to himself.
"I heard that," his father says.
"What? How?" Team asks himself, in an even lower voice.
"I heard that too,"
"The fuck?" Team mouths to himself.
He picks the first thing he saw in his dresser then wears it. He doesn't need to look good going to the mall. They're going there to make him 'look good' anyway.
His father finishes his business, then looks at him from head to toe.
"You need some work, but nothing I can't handle. I think I can use some backup," his father fishes out his phone and types in his phone screen harshly.
"Back up?" Team asks. But it's as good as he asked the air because he didn't get an answer.
The eldest of the two rushes towards the car, and gets buckled up even before Team takes his seat.
"Go!" his father says punching the air with his fist excitingly.
Team just doesn't say anything anymore, and just starts the engine.
Team eventually understands what 'back-up' means when he sees Pharm, Manaow, and Lee waiting for them at the mall entrance.
It's 4-against-1. It hardly seems fair. Well technically speaking it's 3 1/2- against-1.
"You're all ganging up on me." Team tells his father who's busy getting praised and adored by his traitorous friends.
"It's called helping you with a make-over, Team," Manaow says from the side. Her disappointment was clear on her face.
"I can't believe you're going to a wedding in that old thing. We've only been friends for a year and a half, and even I know which shirt you're talking about. You just love making things difficult for Papa In, don't you?" Manaow says with a dramatic pout.
"You're all teaming up against me. Traitors."
"No. It's called a make-over, Team. You gotta start listening." Pharm supplies.
"Why I oughta-" Team starts.
"If it makes you feel better, I also bought a new outfit for the wedding," Lee mumbles.
"How is that gonna make me feel better? And that's on you. You do you, so let me do me too," Team insists.
"And you'll only get someone to do you if you get rid of that damn shirt. You're cute so we're buying you a cute outfit. Now let us choose some things, and you who will choose what you're going to wear. Okay?" his dad says. The tone is too jolly to be true. Sounding threateningly like a threat.
They go to the nearest clothes shop to their right and goes through every aisle. They didn't find anything they like though, so they go to the next shop.
The next shop has a lot of good options. For Team's casual outfits.
He takes a lot of the oversized shirts that he likes to wear, but his dad took all of them off his hands and gives them back to the lady. Team is this close to throwing a fit. No pun intended.
This time, they don't just go into a clothes shop, they thought long and hard about which shops they'll search in. And they settled to a more high-end one so they don't waste too much time.
They walk to it and Team thinks this is one of those shops he passes by and thinks the clothes look nice, but he just doesn't wear them on the daily so he doesn't give it too much thought.
When he entered the store he hears a popping beat the moment he goes in. It was giving him adrenaline, he feels it in his toes. Even the beat drop in this place is different. This doesn't feel right, he thinks.
The music, the lighting, the way it hits on the floor, the sheen on the marble, and the way the clothes were arranged, it was giving Team a little whiplash.
But here he is, carrying all the clothes his friends and father think would look good on him.
And when they're satisfied, they push him to the fitting room to try all of them on.
He tries different tops and different bottoms together and with another combination. And just when he thinks he's tried on the 30th or the 40th combination, (and 20 pop songs later) with his chest feeling a little sensitive from the cloth rubbing on his skin, his friends and his father gasp.
"What? What?" Team asks in alarm.
"That's it! That's it! We found it!" they exclaim. He turns around to see what it is and well, okay, he admits. It does look cute.
"So you're all finally satisfied with this, right?" Team asks in disguised nonchalance.
"Yes! We just need one more-" Lee trails and looks around in the accessories area.
"This!" he exclaims and shows it to the rest of the team.
"Yes! You're a genius, Luuk," In praises the younger.
His father hands it to him, and he wears it with the outfit.
"Okay. We found my 'fit' now let's go." Team tells them, leaving the fitting room.
"Ahh, Team. Aren't you forgetting something?" Pharm asks.
"What?" Team asks exasperatedly. The sleeves of his top flailing around with him.
"You're not gonna change back into your clothes?" Pharm asks teasingly.
He looks at Manaow and Lee giggling behind their hands, while his dad pats himself on the shoulder.
It's that damn modeling, runway beat-music. It's making him feel giddy. It has to be.
It's the music. It has to be.
"Okay, so the ceremony will be held in the temple which means there won't be a need for a lot of flowers at the ceremony. We'll only need an arch, some flowers on the pavement, and on the place of the monks."
"So, since the arch will be done better on the spot, we'll make the other pieces ahead of time. I'm in charge of the bigger pieces since I'm more used to them. Luuk, you're in charge of the smaller ones, yes?"
"Are you sure dad? Won't it be more... energy-consuming to make the bigger ones?"
"I'm better at pieces where there's not much of the need for detail. They don't catch the eyes as much. And we have a backup right? I can always ask for help from your friends."
"I'm sure they'll be more than happy to help, Papa. They love to fuss around."
"Hey. They're good friends to you. Give them a break."
"I know. I love them, but they're nosy too,"
"They're not. They're concerned. It's different."
"Okay. So, now the million-dollar question is, are you okay with making Niran's bouquet?"
"Are you sure dad?"
"Yes, I am. You're good at it."
"Hey, if you don't, then don't. We can just do something else-"
"No, dad. No need. I'll do it."
"Okay. Okay. Good. " "What do you have in mind?" In
"Ooh. What about Biedermier?" In
"Yeah. That could work. Niran is a perfectionist it'll suit him." In
"Yeah. About that. I know P' is a perfectionist, but I also get this feeling that he wants to let go on his big day you know? I was thinking of something freer. Something wild but subtle. Grand but simple."
"What do you have in mind?"
"A waterfall bouquet. Or hand-tied even. I think it suits him. Beautiful, but free. Just like P'Niran."
"That's actually- that's actually perfect son." In says in English. It struck a different cord with Team and it makes him feel like he said something right.
"I was right to have you make the bouquet. Okay. So-"
As it turned out, Team and In did need the backup. They called them, begging help with the bigger arrangements. And to get a better feel, Team asked Niran for pictures of the temple and the suits, and the venue. And Team thinks everything is so perfect.
Like he's been ready all his life for this one day and it gave the young man the kick he needed. He needs to give it his all to make their beautiful day even more. Even if he's just helping with the flowers.
They show the pictures to his father and his friends, and they said so too. It was beautiful, it was perfect.
It was Friday now. The day before the wedding, and Team can hear the clock ticking away. They're almost done with the bigger flowers, but he hasn't started yet on the ones for the reception. And this part is good for 2,000 people. And he has not started on just one.
He tells his father his predicament and the older told him to get started with it. But with the hours passing away, he realizes he's stuck. His mind blocking him off. The pressure is getting to him.
They've made several attempts at it already. The plants being less and less. There are no more flowers left in his room at this point. They've already taken some flowers from Win's room, but even then, it just isn't enough. They've wasted so much. His room looking like a plant wasteland, with leaves, broken twigs, and petals just scattered everywhere. His friends looking as forlorn as he feels, but time isn't stopping.
He sighs for the hundredth time, ignoring the pounding in his head threatening to break his resolve. His chest pounding just as hard and it's worsening everything.
"Luuk, I know we're kind of behind schedule. The wedding is tomorrow, and everything, but I think you should take a break. You've been massaging your temples, are you having a headache?"
Team wants to deny and not worry his father but his body answers for him with a slight nod.
"Why don't we fetch your father from the airport? Breathe some fresh air? I mean outside air? What do you say?"
"I wanna see Dad, Papa, but I better stay. I'll just take a nap and hope I'll feel better when I wake up."
"Okay. That sounds good. And it's getting late. Pharm, Lee, Manaow, are you staying over tonight?"
All three shake their heads, and Team feels even worse.
"I'd love to stay and help Papa, but P'Man needed my help with something."
"I can't stay too. I need to do some errands for my mother."
"I can't too. I needed to call my mom and my brother. Tonight is their only free time."
"Guys, it's okay. You've helped us a lot already. We don't want to intrude more on your Friday plans. Right, dad?"
"Chai. Thank you so much for helping us out. We wouldn't have done this much without you."
"It was nothing. It was super fun!" Manaow says and the two young men behind her nod in agreement.
"See you both tomorrow. We're really sorry we couldn't help you out, Papa and Team."
"It's fine. We'll manage. Somehow. But we will, won't we, Team?"
Team nods reassuringly.
With a few more goodbyes and a goodbye sent to his dad's way, Team is left alone.
For the first time, in the past few days, he's alone.
The silence was real and encompassing. But not unwelcomed. Admittedly a little alarming, considering he's been surrounded with so much filial presence, and nosiness, and fine, love and support, it made him realize again that being alone, in the silence of his own presence is quite unnerving.
But he's fine. He's fine. He looks around at the mess they made and slowly cleans up. He sweeps fallen down leaves, and stem cuttings. Loose wires, and some paper mache, and rattan. And mops drops of water looking a little brown from the plant's natural decay.
A few minutes pass by, with the silence and the stillness of the night, with flowers perched on his arms, and a bucket between his right hand and his hip, he hears knocks on the door.
He thinks his dad is a little early. Maybe he's back with food.
He put everything down and walks to the door enthusiastically. At the thought of some warm meal and good company, he didn't look through the peephole, nor ask who it was.
And he opens the door.
But it wasn't his father if the tall figure languidly stretched on the door is anything to go by.
A huge bag of takeout was brought up to his face.
"Hi, Team. I uh-brought some dinner." the figure said.
Team is stuck between backing up inside the room to hide or closing the door with all his might, hoping to hell and back that the wooden barrier is enough to keep the other person away.
But it gets decided for him. The taller male goes inside the door, and slowly, slowly, approaches him.
"I heard you're alone and that you needed help. I figured you must haven't been eating well because you look like you've lost some weight. So I brought all your favorites"
The last person he wants to be alone with.
Is alone with him.
In his goddamn room.
Win steps in and closes the door behind him.
"Or more like I brought one of each on the menu in our favorite noodle place." the elder says with a dubious smile.
"What are you doing here?" Team asks. He cringed with how stupid it sounded, but it was the first thing in his mind.
"I'm bringing dinner." the blonde male answers. Casting his eyes down at the hand holding the take-out bags.
"No. I mean, what are you doing here?" Team asks again. Stressing on the words -doing here.
"Oh, umm I'm supposed to help you with the arrangements. It's why part of the flowers are in my room, right?" Win questions. Casting another skeptical look.
Team holds himself down.
'Do not cower, Team,' the younger tells himself.
"Oh. No need. I'm fine," He starts.
"The wedding is not till tomorrow. I still have time." Team finishes.
Blocking his hands with his back because they're getting a little fidgety thinking about the presence of mess all over the room, but the absence of anything done.
Team breathes in.
Team zones out a little, thinking in his head-
'Team, I think you've been away enough. What happened, happened. You can't change that. But you can't keep running away and losing an important person in your life over this. Yes, you can stay away, but do you really want to?'
'Do you really want to?'
Team absent-mindedly looks up when the question flashes in his thoughts.
He watches the man standing opposite him. Patient, insecure and bashful.
Still waiting and throwing a skeptical smile at him.
Waiting for him to say something, looking at him wanting to say something, but chooses not to, to wait for him to say something first.
He keeps looking at his eyes, then at his face, tilted a little to the right. Perhaps to follow Team's tilted head, too. And it's times like these. It's moments like these that remind the younger why.
Why he's in love with a person he shouldn't be.
He's so goddamn beautiful, and he's a very good friend.
His best friend, even.
And it's why it's so hard. It's so damn hard to look at the most beautiful person he knows, physically and personally. The most beautiful person he knows, and not fall in love with him.
His eyes follow at his blonde tousled hair, and Team's brain starts to work again. Starts to function again. And ideas and images flash before his eyes and then he knows. He understands now.
He knows what to do with the flower arrangements tomorrow.
And now he knows what to do with his beating heart that wants him to say no, but is beating just as hard at him to say yes.
"Don't you at least need help with carrying the buckets? I can help. I'm down whatever," Win interjects.
"Hmm? Yes, Team." the elder says visibly startled. His smile becoming even bigger, closing his eyes all the way. Like everything is alright. Like everything is finally okay.
"Okay? You're letting me help?"
"Yeah. We need to actually talk already, anyway."
"Oh. Yeah. That's- yeah we do need to talk. That's perfect. Over noodles?" the elder walks to Team's table and takes the containers out of the bag and opens it one by one.
"Okay." Team sighs. Yeah. Yes. Okay. Yes.
'Stay. Stay with me. If you know though, you'll go away. So stay. Stay with me, Hia,'
"Thank you, baby cheeks. Come on, knock yourself out. I was getting so worried I couldn't sleep. I bought all the food in there as a peace offering. If I knew I just needed to buy a whole restaurant for you to talk to me again, I would've done it in heartbeat," Win says.
Team cringes, he walks towards the dinner table, and his apology is visible on his face.
"I'm sorry," Team apologizes forlornly.
Win pulls his arms, guides him towards the seat opposite his, and doesn't let go. He held his hand so tight, Team feels the tight grip, but he doesn't say anything. He's at fault. He's the one that ran away, so he doesn't say anything.
"No. You don't need to apologize for anything. I have an idea why you were avoiding me, and I'm at fault. it was my fault. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I took advantage of you again, baby. I shouldn't have done it," Win says.
Team shakes his head. Almost on the verge of dizzying. But no. That's totally not what happened.
"No, Hia. I was there. I was not drunk. I was there. If anything, it's me who needs to apologize. I'm sorry" Team says.
Win holds his hand again, but the grip climbs up to his wrist, almost on his forearm, but it was not as tight. It was clinging. Like he was not holding him, instead, he was clinging on to his hand, and his arms and Team bites his lips.
"We're both sorry, yeah?" the elder says, and brings Team hands to his face, on each side of his face. Then closes his eyes.
Team stares at the elder just clinging on his arm, his face in between his small hands, warm, pliant. Flawless and serene, and his eyes closed as if to reassure him that he's there. He's finally there.
Team silently cries. It's moments like these that make him realize why he fell in love with him. He's beautiful, the most beautiful. He's kind. He's patient. And he loves him so much as a baby brother that Team can't help but fall in love with him.
But if the elder he wants only wants him as a baby brother, he'll be the best damn good friend/baby brother in the whole world.
Team smiles, so wide, it closes his eyes. Taps the elder's cheeks gently, then stronger, playfully, to make the older open his eyes again.
"Yeah, we're both sorry. But we'll be triple sorry if the food goes cold. Let's eat?" Team asks and pulls his hands away from Win's face, and Win's huge hands.
The elder nods then hands him a plastic spoon and fork.
"Yeah. It might go cold." Win answers.
They finish dinner in no time, feeling so full they might fall asleep. Win decides they're too full to carry heavy buckets of water and flowers so he suggests Team makes the rest in his room. Win doesn't mind cleaning up after him.
So they both go, telling each other everything that happened between the days they didn't get to talk.
Team tells him about Pharm and P'Dean, and Lee and about P'Man. And he laughs at Win's face when he realizes that Lee isn't actually in love with him because Lee is nursing a childhood crush on his older friend, slash neighbor. Which sounds so fucking familiar to Team but he ignores it.
Team tells Win about his father's stories about Bangkok, and his youthful adventures and escapades and Win listens. Through every single one. And Team feels so fortunate to have his best friend again.
"So, what did you have in mind?" Win asks him.
"I was thinking of yellow roses and white roses. And some soft caramel tulips I saw back there. And maybe just wrap it in a white ribbon. So it doesn't come off."
"Oh, don't center arrangements usually look like they're spread out on the table?" Win asks.
Team shakes his head and pats the elder on the shoulder.
"You've got a lot to learn, young padawan. Look at master and learn, okay? If you want to help, you need to help me put them together too. We need a lot so you need to help out with that. Are you up for the challenge?"
Win mock salutes.
"Yes, master. I'm at your disposal."
"Pfft. Okay. Do you have some beer, Hia?"
"Beer? Yeah. Should I get a 6-pack?"
"Are you sure it won't make you sleepy?"
"Nope. It shouldn't. And 3 cans of beer ain't gonna make me drunk, Hia. It's just enough to wake me up." Team says teasingly.
"Okay. I'll be right back."
Team looks at the blonde male's retreating back when he remembers he left the containers he bought for the center.
"Hia, I need to get something from my room. Should I lock the door?"
"No need. You can just leave it open."
Team walks with a spring in his step. He feels a hundred times better.
He's finally resolved his problem with his Hia, and he also got help along with it. The night is going so well. He thinks.
He grabs the whole lot with him and traces his steps back to the elder's room.
When he goes in, it makes his heart beat hard again. It was not at all ugly. The total opposite.
With the time he was gone the elder was able to grab a pack of beer, pulled the buckets of flowers to form a big circle, where they can sit in the middle, and he was even able to get a desk lamp to illuminate the area better.
It looked eerily like a romantic date set up, like a picnic date on a flower field. The only thing missing is the date part because it wasn't.
So he takes a deep breath and breaches the household.
"Wow. I was gone like 2 minutes and you managed to do this much?"
"I did say I was gonna help right? I'm a man of my words, and I'm a man of productivity."
"Okay, Hia. This setup does make everything easier. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Okay, so which in these flowers is which and how do I not kill them?"
"Pick what I pick, hold them together, then wait for me to finish this. How about that?"
"Okay. Easy enough."
Team picks the flowers one by one, and Win follows suit. Team makes fun of the way the elder was holding the flowers awkwardly like he's scared he'll break them.
"Okay, that's it." Team remarks.
"Wow. I'm good at this. Look these flowers look good together. Okay. Now what?"
The elder looks at him expectantly, waiting for his next instruction.
"Put them in these containers."
"That's it?" Win asks.
"That's it. For your part. I still need to put leaves in it and put them in a hand-held arrangement. What we're doing is just to portion the flowers and have them distributed evenly,"
"Oh, wow. I didn't know arranging flowers was this hard."
"Oh, the things you don't know. You've still got a whole world to see, Hia."
"Then it's good I have you to show me it, baby cheeks."
Team almost- almost flushes, but he hides it by landing a punch on Win's arm. For good measure.
Then they work silently, harmoniously. They put flowers together, and when Team decides Win understood the basics on how to choose which flowers to get, how many, Team left him alone and starts on his part.
He soaks flower foams into the bucket of water near him and then puts it in the vase. He arranges with how he imagined it and is satisfied with what he sees.
Bundles of yellow and white roses, with soft caramel tulips spread around the middle, and leaves of Myrtle and Lemon leaf. He decides he won't put too much because the center will be laid with more leaves. So the spread looks green and flowery but not too much. Or else it'll look too much for the theme.
They work together silently, without noticing the hours that passed. It's 2 AM, and 3 beers of can emptied, Team yawns.
"Are you sleepy now, Team?" Win asks.
Team shakes his head and looks at his phone for the time.
"Oh shit. It's already 2 AM?"
"Yeah. It's 2 AM. Do you wanna take a nap?"
"No. I'm fine. We need these in the afternoon, but we won't have enough time if we only finish these in the morning. The ceremony is at noon, right?"
"Right. Okay. Let's get these done with." Win says encouragingly
Team nods and starts again.
With around 30 vases done, lined up on the floor, Team only realizes he has not made the bouquet yet.
"Oh my god!" The younger exclaims.
Win looks at him in alarm, so Team adds.
"The bouquet! I forgot about the bouquet" Team says, on the verge of tears.
"The bouquet? P'Niran wanted one?"
"Just because they're both guys, it does not mean they can't get a bouquet!"
"No that's not what I meant. I meant, I thought they didn't want one."
"I don' know. I didn't ask. But knowing P'Niran, he's sentimental as shit. I'm sure he'll want one."
"Okay. So, how should I put it together?"
"Why not just the same flowers we have now?'
"Won't it be weird?"
"Nah. Like I said P'Niran is sentimental as shit. If he sees it, I'm pretty sure he'll only say- 'Team, I like your idea of making my bouquet the same with the flowers on the table. It gives the idea that everyone gets their own bouquet."
"Really? Do you really think so?"
"Yup. Spending weeks in planning the wedding with them basically made me a P'Wan and a P'Niran expert."
"You have no idea! You know they've always been so lovey-dovey and mushy even during high school, right? Imagine them getting married. They're worse. They kiss in front of me, Team. A lot of times. That's an image I did not want to see in my life, ever."
"Oh, please. You only pretend to not like it. You're so happy for them. I can see it," Team retorts.
Win smirks and says, "I never said I wasn't. But they didn't need to rub their engaged asses on my face, either."
"You're right. You're right. But if P'Niran doesn't like it, I'm blaming you. A hundred percent. Got it?"
"Go for it. And if he likes it, I'll even give you all the credit. A hundred percent. Deal?"
"Deal. Now let's get to work!"
They begin working again.
Another couple of hours later, with the buckets-flowerless, and all the vases filled to the brim, Team finally, finally felt relaxed.
"Wow. This looks so beautiful Team."
"Thanks, Hia. I wouldn't have done any of this without you though."
"Oh, please. All I did was put flowers together and clean up after you."
"You're right. You only did the bare minimum."
"Oh wow. I take it back, ungrateful brat."
Team yawns again.
"It's 6 o'clock. We still have a few hours before the wedding. You should sleep." Win says worriedly.
"Okay. Okay. I'm going back to my room." Team drones.
"You can barely keep your eyes open, Team. And you're leaning on me," the elder tells him.
Team realizes that yes, he actually can't keep his eyes open. And he's leaning on the elder like he's leaning on a wall.
"Do you really think you can go back to your room alone? Unscathed? Sleep here. I'll be very quiet. I promise. "
They're friends now. And they already apologized to each other. It's safe now right?
"Good. Go sleep on the bed. I'll take the floor."
"Hia, we both fit on the bed. We've been sleeping together on the bed since, forever."
Win looks at him, without saying anything for a few seconds. And he looks right back. So he sees the moment the elder gave in.
"Okay, fine. Go to sleep first. I'll just change into something more comfortable."
"Okay. Don't take too long okay? I'm cold."
Team flops his body down on the bed and feels grateful for the coolness of the blanket. It feels amazing, and it lulls him right to sleep.
He's barely conscious. He's tired and sleepy and cold and comfortable, and he falls right asleep.
But before his mind totally shuts down, he feels something warm and soft touch his forehead. It was damp and warm and he wants to open his eyes and see what it is. But he hears instead-
"Fan di na, Baby cheeks."
And he feels that soft, warm, thing, again. Like a spell, he goes out like a light. Like a spell, it puts him into a deep sleep and dreams of blonde, white, and yellow fields of flowers, and warm hugs. And then another set of dreams of minty smiles and toothpaste on mirrors, pillow-stained cheeks, and warm, cottony mornings.
Okaaaay. So they talked.
But I'm not sure if this is the kind of talk y'all had in mind. What do you think? Hehehehe
"P'! We're supposed to be-"
"Win, look. We have a new neighbor."
The young boy tsks and sighs exasperatedly. He isn't curious. At all. But if his brother is making this much fuss, maybe he can take a little peek.
"Look. Over there. In Par Aranya's old house."
The younger of the two looks over to the huge house right next to their kitchen. With the windows just low enough to look out, he and his brother perch their chins on the sill and watch the new neighbors move huge boxes after huge boxes.
It takes a while.
They're just- they're just watching these people move boxes and the young boy's attention span is short and still painfully playful. And this is even as boring as cutting vegetables.
"P', how long are we going to watch them carry boxes? This is boring. Help me chop the carrots or-"
"Win, they have a kid. Maybe we can ask him to play with us later."
"P', if you don't come to help me right now, I'm telling Mae."
His brother was dazed and silent as if he didn't hear what he just said, so he looks out again.
The little boy with the new neighbors is super, super cute. Like, like if he squishes his cheeks, he's sure his hands will be full of fluffy, fluffy cheeks, and white pale cheeks.
"He's so cute, P'Wan." Young Win says a little dazed. Emphasizing 'so'.
"I mean, sure." the older boy answers.
"What do you mean? Don't you see his cheeks? Look at those cheeks." Win says forcefully.
"I see it, Win. Chill. He's cute, but my Niran is cuter!" Wan answers.
"Niran? P'Niran? How did P'Niran get into this conversation?"
"I'm just trying to tell you my crush is cuter. And I have better taste in crushes."
"P'Niran? As if he's as cute as next-door fluffy cheeks."
"Uh-huh! So you do have a crush on him!"
"Pft. No. What are you talking about? That doesn't make any sense."
"A crush doesn't have to have sense. You can find them cute, and sometimes that's enough."
"You're 13 years old, P'. Stop talking like you know what you're saying. Act normal.
"I only pretend to be funny and stupid, Win. How else are you going to sound like the smart one in this family?
"You're so weird, P'Wan. You're even weirder today." Win remarks.
He takes one more peek and torpidly smiles when cute-fluffy cheeks run around the house, making the fluffy-haired tall guy chase him around. He looks so cute in his baby blue shirt. His round cheeks making his eyes look even smaller. And-
The sound Wan made successfully bringing Win out of his daze.
The younger hastily hides his smile and clears his throat in retaliation.
"There was a bird. A butterfly. It's gone now." Win says.
"Sure. Okay. I'll go talk to the new kid. You continue with your carrots if that's what you wanna do. I'm sure the new neighbor kid is more fun than you, anyway." Wan says. Wiping his hands on the apron their mom made them wear before taking it off.
Win looks at his older brother throws the apron over the counter, and shouts- "You're too old to ask him to play with you P'."
"If you're too jealous Win, then come with me." Wan answers.
Win huffs and continues to chop the carrots. Cutting it for a few seconds, before running after this brother.
To help him ask the new neighbor to play with him, of course.
Team stirs awake when he hears a loud thud come from the kitchen. He springs up on the bed, and hastily wears his slippers to see-
"Oh, you're finally up. Good. Good morning" Korn greets.
His Papa In waltzes across the room towards the sole table with a mug in one hand, the coffee pot in the other. He kisses Team in all his hedgehog hair glory.
"Dad? What are you doing here?" Team answers.
"Good morning to you too, Team." Korn tries again.
"Baby, your dad and I taught you manners. When someone greets you good morning, you say it back." In reminds the youngest male.
"Fine. It back. How did you get here, Pa?"
"Don't be rude to your Pa, Team. Or you don't get an allowance for a month." Korn threatens.
"The next semester is not for another month, Dad. At the least. I'm sure you'll forget it by then."
"Try me," Korn says forbiddingly.
"Umm, by taxi. Just a few minutes ago." In interjects hesitantly. Standing in the middle of the father and son, riling and goading each other by the minute.
"Korn, Team, stop it!" In exclaims.
"Okay. I give up. I'm sorry, Papa." Team raises his hands in mock surrender.
"I'm sorry, babe. You know we're just playing, right? Don't get upset, babe please?" Korn gently tells his annoyed husband.
"Whipped." Team mouths.
Looking at his parents acting like a couple of teenage sweethearts. They're speaking in hushed tones, he can hear if he listens carefully, but Nah. Too much, so early in the morning.
"Good morning. Thanks for the coffee." He says loudly this time.
"Better." Korn chimes while slowly walking away from the kitchen table to go to the couch.
"You're welcome, baby." In adds.
"So, how did you guys get in?"
"We met Win on the way up. He said you're sleeping here in his room and that we should show ourselves in. He's getting something quick to eat since the reception is not till 4 PM and you might not get another chance to eat again."
"Okay." He rubs his eyes for any remnant of sleep and thinks other grateful thanks to his father for the steaming cup of coffee already prepared for him.
"So," In emphasizes the 'O'. Like in a sing-song.
Team looks up from his cup of coffee when his father doesn't continue.
"Yes?" Team skeptically hums.
"So, Win huh?" the elder quizzes. Failing to be nonchalant.
Team holds in cough and instead spurts coffee in his father's face. Which gets an alarming scream from him and Team hastily looking for some tissue.
"Pa! You can't spring that on me."
"Yeah. I got that the moment coffee got on my hair"
"It's fine it was my fault. Good thing I wasn't wearing anything fancy or I could've- never mind."
"It's not what you think, Pa. Nothing happened." Team replies.
Well, nothing happened last night.
"I'm not thinking anything, baby. You need to tell me."
"No. It's not. We're not-. It's me. It's just me. Just me."
"Do you really wanna play this game?"
"it's nothing, Pa. Really."
"Then why can't you look me in the eyes?"
The younger looks up and looks at his father straight in the eyes. But with the dark glint in the other's eyes, Team can't get the words out and fails.
"Are you gonna start talking or do I have to get it out of you?"
"Can we talk about this after the wedding? We don't have much time."
"Fine. But after the wedding, I'm grounding you for a month if you don't start yapping."
"What's whatever?" A new voice joins in.
Team sees his older blonde friend walk in with bags of food.
"That's a lot of food, Nong Win. Are you going to feed the whole building?" In rushes up and helps the younger.
Team stays rooted in his seat, fearing his legs would fail on him. Fearing the elder heard more than he let on.
But the other just smiles and takes the food out one by one. Then looks up at him and smiles again. Team looks at Win's retreating back to get plates and set up the table and when he turns around then looks at him and he smiles again.
They finish eating, it was a daze, a blur. But Win stood up so quick, and takes all the plates to the washer, but not without stopping to look at Team first, then flashes that pearly smile, that stretches his cheeks just right.
And Team's breath halted because it was so beautiful and so genuine. And he can't believe he almost, almost swore off to not seeing this smile again. In an attempt to save his broken heart.
He looks at his retreating back for the second time and Team looks down and thinks if he smiled back, or if he looked as if he needed a punching.
A punch of reality that, no.
He's not over him.
And that oh, he's still very, very much, in love with Win.
KornIn decided to check on Team that morning because he wasn't answering his phone. Knowing their son, they're afraid he won't wake up on time. But turns out they didn't need to be so worried.
They always knew Win was a very responsible man. It's good that childhood best friends are already made up. Win and Team had most of their cuts and bruises, together with growing up. They're attached to each other's hips since the day they moved into Win's neighborhood. the youngsters slowly moving out one by one. Finding their paths in life and it's one of the things In liked about growing old.
He gets to see so much around him. Seeing the young Wan annoy the hell out of his brothers, is now getting married to the love of his life, and Win is getting more handsome and famous. He heard from Team that his Hia is quite the "heartbreaker/ casanova". Both girls and boys fall for him and his charms.
But he defended his honor right in the next sentence. He said that it's not like it was his fault though. People chased him left and right, and even if his Hia usually told people that he wasn't looking for a relationship, boys and girls just throw themselves at him.
It sounded like he was badmouthing him, but also something else.
In grew up spending some time molding himself into the person he is now. With age comes moments you realize who you are, and what you really want. And finding out he was not like other boys, was scary and something he hid for a long time. He spent years, years being afraid of people finding out, and hating him. That he almost hated himself because of it.
And he can see the same thing happening with his son. Not the hating himself-part. But the part where he thinks he needs to hide how he feels, and who he feels these... feelings for because he's scared. He's very familiar with it.
That and his son seems like he's got a bad case of the green-eyed monster.
It doesn't take rocket science for In to figure out that his son was falling for his best friend. He saw it happen every single time he came home from their playdate, and every time he talks about him. All the time.
He isn't worried tho. He knows Win.
Win has always been a good influence on his son.
Even when every time they came home with new cuts and bruises, as a parent, it broke his heart to see his son hurt, but the smile on both their faces and the way they look at each other, made him realize he doesn't need to be heartbroken or scared for his son.
One day he talked to Korn about it. He saw his husband looking at both children in a weird way, and he needed to be sure.
"Tee Rak, is everything alright?"
"Hmm? Yeah. Why? Is there something wrong"
"Oh, nothing. I just saw you looking weirdly at Win when he sent Team home this afternoon."
"Oh, that? I was just trying to find out if Win finally made his move."
"Finally? What do you mean? You noticed it too?" In exclaims.
"Babe, I'm a 40-year-old gay man, with a beautiful man as my husband, raising a son together. It's impossible not to notice."
"You didn't need to make it sound like that, Ter. You're so mean."
"Aww, babe. I'm sorry. But did you really think I wouldn't notice?"
"Well you didn't say anything, and I thought you didn't like it. That's why I asked."
"I noticed it way before this. I'm just trying to figure out if Win finally decided to make a move or something."
"So did he?"
"I don't know. Win is getting more and more, what's the word, umm, clingy. Like he comes here almost every day and sometimes even spends the night."
"It could be because he's going to college? He's going to Bangkok, right?"
And that's how they spent the whole night comparing notes and arguing who discovered what first.
In went to Win's parents for some tea, and it turns out, they've noticed Win liking Team since they were young kids. Wan even chimed in and said Win has actually been crushing on the youngest since the day they moved in.
Wan saying it was since the first day meant that the older son won.
In feels giddy and excited about all this, but he'd never imposed his sexuality on his son. Win might be having feelings for his son, and he won't stop him if he makes a move on Team because, at the end of the day, it's Team's decision. And he and Korn are just his parents and supporters. They're not raising him to tell him how to live his life.
Although it's highly likely that- well. He'll let them be. They'll figure it out.
The flowers are brought down into the lobby and they're contemplating on how to transport themselves and the stuff into the hotel. But they agreed that cleaning up and getting ready in the hotel is the best option. They need to set the place first before wearing the spanking new clothes they bought so, no risking getting it dirty. Win shrugs and says he's fine with anything. So does their Dad Korn. Apparently, he's way ahead of them and had his suit pressed up and ready in his hotel room.
"Team, you have everything, right?"
"Yes, dad. I brought everything you told me."
"Okay good. Nong Win, how will you get to the hotel?"
"Pa, we're not going together?"
"Well, your dad and I came here by taxi, so we'll go back that way. And we'll just take up space in the car, anyway."
"Are you sure, Pa?"
Just in time, a cab passes by in front of them, and Win raises his hand to call the driver over.
"Thank you, Luuk" In thanks Win, with the younger grins as a reply. And Team didn't fail to ogle.
"Alright, Dad. See you there."
"Bye Pa. See you later."
"Text us when you arrive at the hotel, okay? We'll help you unload the stuff." Korn says.
Team closes the door to the cab and waves.
"So, which car are we taking. Yours or mine?"
They're alone. Just Hia and me. We're alone. Oh my-
Team shakes his head to get out of his train of thought and asks.
"Which car are we taking?"
"Umm," He imagines their cars.
Hia's car is a sedan, but bigger than his. But-
"Let's go with mine, Hia? It's smaller than yours but I have a much bigger trunk space."
"Hmm. Right. Good thinking. Give me your keys."
"No. My car, I drive."
"No, I'm older, I drive."
"It doesn't work like that, Hia."
"Yes, it does. Give me your keys."
"Just let me drive. It's not a big deal."
"I can drive too! It's not a big deal."
"No! I drive."
"You know what. Fine. Fine, whatever."
"Good. Toss me the keys. We need to start loading the car. It's already 9 AM."
Team never thought that carrying buckets and vases of flowers can be... provocative. Intense, even. Okay well, he did think that before, but that was before he settled on not acting on his feelings.
That was before he talked to the elder, well talked. At least they're talking again.
And it's before he realized that the elder's too important for him to cut off. He did nothing wrong, he's one of the best people he knows and met. And he's not ruining his chances of spending time with them just because he's in love with them. That would be the greatest mistake of his life.
So why this again, huh, Team? Stop it. You're just letting yourself get distracted.
Just a simple reaching of hands to a stretch, it was.
Ugh. Team. Stop it.
'Pull. Yourself. Together.' Team thought.
So he looks at their finished work. And looks up.
And, the wedding rush, the bright sun, the skies that are as clear as day, and the miraculously cool air in Bangkok, are enough to break Team from the spell and put his head in the game. (Totally not an HSM reference. No.)
"I think it's better if you wash up in my room." Team looks to the right and watches the stubborn driver twist the steering wheel.
Win's forearms contract and show veiny arms when he changes the gear.
Team shakes his head and licks his drying lips.
"Umm, sure. But why? You know Dad has a room, right?" he answers.
The elder scoffs loudly. Team scoffs loudly in retaliation.
"What? Why do you sound like that?"
"Team, do you really wanna walk in on your parents right now? They've been away from each other for a week. I think you know what that means." Win's honeyed voice answers.
"Hia, they've had the whole night to themselves. I think they have more self-control than that."
"You really wanna risk it?" Win replies playfully.
He remembers he actually did walk in on his parents ALMOST going at it in the kitchen.
So their hotel room is-. Team shivers.
"Yeah. You know what, let's not. Yeah. I'll wash up in your room. My stuff is here in the car right?"
"Great. We're here." Win says.
Team looks out and sees the huge name of the hotel right there on his face.
"Wow, that was fast. Were we going too fast? I didn't even notice."
"Nah. The road is miraculously empty today. If this was on normal Bangkok traffic, we'd take at least 30 minutes."
Win drives towards the main door and presses the button to unlock the car door on Team's side.
"I'll go park at the back. Find P'Wan and P'Niran, and tell them we're here. And ask someone to help us move all this"
"Okay. I'll be gone a few."
"Take your time. I'll stay here in the car"
"Team, wait. I got you a keycard of my room, just in case."
Team hasn't been to a lot of lavish buildings in Bangkok, but the reception area of this hotel looks amazing. He hasn't seen a lot, but he knows this interior design must be exceptional. It's like those luxurious places you see in the movies.
"Welcome to blah blah hotel. What can I help you with today?
"Good morning, Khun. Can I ask for Wan Phichai and Niran Rueangrit's room number, please? I'm one of their guests."
"Okay. Can I see some ID, please?
Team hands it over, and the receptionist skims through a list on paper.
'Team, why didn't you ask Hia what their number was at first? That was- never mind.'
"Okay, let me see. Oh here. The one with the wedding today right?"
"They're in room number xxxx. But, I heard they're still setting up the garden, so they might be at the rooftop too," she says, then hands back his ID.
"Alright. Thank you, Khun ."
"You're welcome. Have a great day!"
Their room is quite high up. It's on the uppermost floor of the building and Team can see the top of Bangkok pretty well from the glass elevator. The sun is bright. Yellow and bright.
He looks out in time the elevator dings.
"Ai'Team, you're here! Good. Come help me. I need some assistance."
"P'Wan. Hi. Nice to see you. In just your towel."
"Yes yes. I know. Come quick. I sent Niran to my parents' room so I can surprise him. We only have a few minutes."
"But P'Wan, Hia-,"
"Can wait. But this can't. Here, grab the end of the rope."
"What are we doing?"
"I just told you, it's a surprise. Help me do it."
"P'Wan, we don't have time for this. There are still a lot of things we need to do for the venue."
"I know. But this will be just a second. I promise."
"Okay fine. Hurry up. What do you need me to do?"
"Okay. Grab the rope-"
And it turns out the husband-to-be was trying to use the rope as a ribbon. To wrap a gift.
He said when he was buying the gift, he forgot to buy ribbons. And when he asked the hotel staff if they had some, the staff only has extra rope. And so he needed to make do. Luckily Team has experience wrapping. Wrapping flowers that is, but that's more experience than the elder had, so when they finally succeeded in wrapping the gift, and hiding it, Team was let go. And the husband-to-be promised on going down after him to help.
Team went to the car with Win frowning at his phone. Team's tempted to snoop, but they're not at that stage yet. Well, Team feels like they're not on that stage yet. Like before. He feels like he can't snoop like that anymore, so he knocks on the glass.
Win smiles while he lowers the window. Team feels the waft of cool air come from the car's air conditioning. It's nice.
"You took your time. Is everything alright?" He smells Hia's mint-flavored breath.
"Yeah. P'Wan needed help with wrapping his surprise gift for P'Niran." He looks down and kicks an imaginary lint with his feet.
He pouts his lips towards Win's phone that's slowly sliding, facing down, on his chest.
"What about you? You seem upset?"
"Huh?" Win looks around and smiles, suspiciously.
Team pouts his mouth towards Win's chest.
"Oh, that? That was nothing. Just something silly. Is anyone coming down to help?"
"P'Wan promised he'd come after me to help. But I don't know."
"Oh, there they are."
"WinTeam! Why didn't you text? We could've come down sooner!"
"We weren't waiting that long P'Niran."
"Hi nong Team."
Niran addresses Team.
It suddenly came crashing down on Team that ever since he found out about the wedding, this was the first time he ever saw him. Them. Well except P'Wan grabbing him in the elevator in just a towel.
It takes a moment, but Team runs to meet them and jumps on them both in a crushing hug.
"Nong Team. Hi. You're getting big. So heavy"
"You're getting married P'. You're finally getting married"
"I know, Team. Someday, it'll be your turn." Niran whispers.
They huddle in the middle of the parking lot with Wan and Niran sharing Team's weight.
"Team. I know you're happy for P'N'iran, but I don't know if he can carry you much longer. His stick arms are shaking," Team overhears behind him, with a hand pulling him away from the two older men.
"But I wanna hug P'Niran more." Team pouts.
Wan glares at him, and Team teasingly adds, "Fine. P'Wan, too. Just because he'll become cooler by marriage."
"P', where should we put these? We still need to go to the temple to set the stuff there." Win asserts while pulling Team behind him.
"Well, because I'm a very smart person, we borrowed a hotel cart so we can bring as much stuff as we can. Smart, right?"
Team turns to Niran.
"P', it's not too late to back out. You're gonna have to put up with this for the rest of your life. That's not a good life."
"Ai' Team! I'm gonna get you if he decides to leave me! Ter, you're not gonna leave me are you?"
"Ewww. They call each other Ter, Hia."
"Team, stop teasing your P'Wan. I don't know if I can handle it if he starts crying."
"Okay, P'Niran. Only because you said so."
"Why I oughta-"
"Oh, is that the time? Yes, we're out of time. We need to move. Let's start moving, everybody. Chop, chop." the blonde male instructs and drags Team with him.
The move proceeded uneventfully. Some light banter here and there, but between all of them, they finished in no time.
Team texts his Papa about it, and the elder instructs him to bring the rest of the flowers to the temple, and that he'll meet them there.
With the limited time they have for the preparations, it's decided that after setting up the temple, Team will directly go to the hotel and finish the setup there. And his Papa will go back to the hotel after, to freshen up, and get to the temple for the ceremony. Team can miss some part of the ceremony, but not his fathers. Because they're there as guests.
Team is mostly there as the help. And thankfully the hotel package that P'Niran took came as a wedding package. They're not having the wedding there, but the staff that helps with the wedding can go to the wedding venue and help out. Hence his work there is mostly just to tell them where to put the flowers and the decorations, and his dad is in charge of the archway flowers.
They're mostly done with the temple arrangements, so he's taking a taxi to the hotel. He rings his Dad and tells him, he's on the way back. from the temple and he'll only wash up when he's done with the reception, and that they can go ahead of him.
Then texts Win he's on his way to his room to change to a new shirt cause he's sweaty. He's already in the elevator, and so he pockets it cause the signal doesn't get in the elevator, which he finds weird, but that's a thing. And then uses his keycard to open Win's door.
And so he was not expecting that there was going to be someone in the room with Win. And he looks really familiar.
He awkwardly waves and greets them, "Hi Hia! Sorry I didn't realize. Should I come back later?"
"Team, this isn't what it looks like," Win says but-
"Oh no, it's fine Nong Team. I was just here to bring Win some food cause he said the reception was till later and might not get anything to eat. Here. I brought enough food for 3 people. You're here to wash up, right?" Nang says.
"Oh no. I'm just here to change my shirt. I should've checked my phone before barging in here. Since you called me Nong, you're my P, right? I'm Team, and you are?"
"Nangfa. But my friends call me Nang."
"P'Nangfa. Nice to meet you. You look familiar."
"Just Nang. I did say my friends call me Nang, right?
"Oh, maybe you saw WIn's IG story? When he picked me up at the airport?"
"Oh? Oh yeah. I think that's- that's. I think that's it." Team stutters.
"Wait, Team, you saw that? I thought you blocked me on IG."
"I didn't block you, HIa. What are you talking about?"
"I made him post it. Cute, wasn't it? He struggled at first, but I was eventually able to convince him. I guess he just didn't want me to be mad. But he can be so stubborn."
"Shut up, Nang. That's not what happened. What the fuck?"
Oh. Of course. That Nang.
"I'll give you guys your privacy so, I'll just grab my shirt and go. I need to help set up the reception. Nice to meet you again, P'Nang."
"Team, what time will you be finished at the reception? Will we make it to the temple on time?"
"You can go there first, Hia. I'll get there when I finish here. Besides, your date is here. Don't worry about silly ol' me. "
"But who's gonna take you-"
"I said don't worry. I'll take a cab or something."
"But you'll be late?"
"I'll be fine. Don't worry. Oh, wait. Would you look at that, is that the time? Ohh I'll never make it to the temple ceremony if I finish any later"
"How about this, Hia? I'll text you if I"m finished, and on the way to the ceremony. How about that?"
"That's not good enough, Team." Win presses.
"Okay fine. I promise. Can I leave now?"
"Okay. Text me, okay? Don't forget your keycard."
"Yes, Hia. Bye. It was nice meeting you again, P'Nang"
"Bye, Nong Team. We'll put your food in the oven and set it to low so it's still warm when you get here, okay? Don't forget to eat it."
"Aww. Thanks, P'Nang. You're so thoughtful."
"Of course. Win's friends are my friends."
"Of course. Friends. Friends are there for each other, right? Thank you, P's"
And runs away with his used shirt still hanging on his shoulders.
He only realizes too late when he unconsciously used that shirt to wipe his tears. But he figures there's no way he's going back there.
So he texts.
"TMNT II (Cause we're badasses like that)"
'I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest'- Guys. I'm at the hotel. Can you guys come here?
'You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm'- I still need to wrap my gift for later, Team. But is everything okay? Do you need more help?
'Lemon Mikey'- Wait. Gift? We're supposed to bring gifts?
Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)- I'm at P'Man's house.
'You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm'- Ohhhhh
'Lemon Mikey'- OHHHHH
Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)- It's nothing like that guys. He needed help rehearsing his song. And he always lets me listen to his song even though he already knows what I'll say. He's a great singer. And I'm not creative with compliments. So.
'Lemon Mikey'- Soooooo
'You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm'- SOOOOOOO
'Lemon Mikey'- Team. You're reading the messages but you're not- Are you okay?
'I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest'- Can yall come here? Please?
'You're Donnie. Fine. I give you this one, Pharm'- Of course. I'm coming.
'Lemon Mikey'- Okay Team. Can I bring my dress with me? I'll just change in your room.
Leeonardo (cause I'm the coolest)- Yes, Team. But can I bring P'Man with me? He says he wants to come with.
'I'm the Raphael you dimwits. I'm the Team Strongest'- Okay. Sure.
Then locks his phone. Just in time, he arrives at the rooftop. He composes a smile before the metal doors open and greets the staff that greets him.
Okaaaay sooo. Hehehehehe I promised myself this was supposed to be the last chapter. But yk. Heehhe
I'm explaining it like this to cover up the bit where I disappeared for 2 months. Hehehehe. Well. I was busy the last couple of months, I admit. Moving took forever, but well, the weeks that followed that is totally just me purely being a slob and a despicable human being for leaving this for too long. But well, I'll try to finish this sooner. I promise? Huhuhuh I'm sorry.
But please enjoy this filler chapter. Some scenes here will make more sense in the end. Like in the very end. I'm sorryyy. Huhuhuhu.
How have y'all been lately? I'm honestly not at the best place, right now, but I'm getting through. And I'm feeling better, I guess. But well, posting this chapter is definitely one thorn off my back so there's that. Hehehe