Chapter 1: C.1 First Date Arc -1
Kongpob looked at himself in the mirror for the hundredth time. He kept fiddling with the collar of his shirt, then looked at his overall appearance, again. He bit his lip, contemplating whether he had overdressed himself or if it was just okay. He ran his palms down the black cotton button-up, smoothening non-existent wrinkles, then fiddled with the gold colored buttons. He contemplated if he should undo the third button too, or would that be too forward of him?
Then he remembered that he already cleaned himself, just in case, and he blushed bright red at the prospect of what might happen later. He ran a hand on his perfectly coifed hair, held in place by his favorite brand of hair wax, dislodging a few strands in the process. He cursed out loud and scrambled to tame his hair, again. He heard a snort from the entryway of his walk-in-closet and he turned his head to look at the intruder.
Em stood there, leaning against the wall, watching him amusedly. He scowled at him and his grin only widened. The other stalked towards him and batted his hand away from his hair, then started to fix his messed up hair.
"Let's leave some of this fringe hanging over your forehead. It makes you look a little less like a good boy and more like a ruggedly handsome man," his best friend commented. He looked at his reflection again after the other was done, and he looked at himself with self-doubt.
"I don't know, Em... I think it's best to look like everything is in place, including my hair."
"You'd look plain. Leave your hair alone. It looks good as it is. If you don't stop fiddling now, you will truly ruin your look."
Kongpob slowly brought his hands down sheepishly, looking at the other's eyes through the mirror with a panicked look on his face. The other took pity on him and went to his walk-in-closet island, peering through the glass top to look at the accessories on the top most draw. He pulled the drawer open and plucked the three watches that caught his eye, then he brought then towards the other.
"Pick," Em said, showing him his choices. He perused the three choices, and his eyes zeroed in on the one that has it's gears exposed. Em, already anticipating his choice, handed him the watch, and he put the black leather strap around his left wrist.
"I noticed that you have a selection of earrings, too. Did you get a piercing?" his best friend asked.
"I see. You gonna wear an earring, too?"
"Hmm... nope, maybe next time."
"Daddy!" Morgan burst into the room at that moment. She stopped from running when she saw how he was dressed. She tilted her head to the side, a frown coming over her face. Kongpob cleared his throat.
"Hey, princess. Seems like you are ready for your pajama party with P'Nine," he teased. The small girl beamed at the mention of her best friend, forgetting whatever reason that got her frowning a while ago.
"Yes, Daddy! We're gonna play with her Play St- I mean, her doll house," she said. Kongpob, of course, noticed her slip. He raised an eyebrow at her, crossing his arms on his chest, in the universal gesture of 'you're busted young lady, better 'fess up.'
Morgan only widened her eyes at him, stretching her lips to a smile, looking all innocent and cute. They had a staring contest for a while, until Kongpob leveled his look at Em. His best friend looked at him innocently, but it wasn't nearly as effective as his daughter's. His stare turned harder and the other raised his arms in defeat.
"Fine, fine, fine. I'll set a curfew for them, okay?" Kongpob nodded his head, satisfied. Then he knelt down so that he could be at eye level with his princess. He looked at her sternly, then in a soft voice contrasting with his look, he told her the rules.
"Okay, you can play video games but you need to stop at a certain time, okay? You still need to sleep and your eyes need their rest. Your eyes will hurt if you don't. And behave for uncle Em, okay? Obey him and be a good girl, okay?"
"Yes, daddy. I will behave for uncle Em, I promise!"
He curled his pinky finger around the tinier ones, then twisted his hand so that their thumbs could connect. He let go of her finger and offered her his fist next. The younger one bumped his fist enthusiastically with her own, giggling afterwards. He straightened up, carrying his daughter in his arms before he had to let her go.
Em tapped his shoulder, handing him his phone and keys, and he shot the other a grateful smile. The trio trudged down the stairs, arriving at the main door in a few minutes. Kongpob still carried his daughter until they reached Em's car, buckling her up on the carseat at the second row of the SUV. With a final kiss on her head, he bid her goodbye.
"Daddy, wait!" He halted on his motion of closing the car door when he heard his daughter's voice.
"What is it, princess?" he asked, peeking his head in again.
"Where are you going dressed like that, daddy?" she asked, her eyes big in curiosity.
"Uhm... I'm gonna go meet an old... err... friend," he slightly stuttered.
"Oh... just like how I'm meeting up with my P'Nine?"
"Yes, just like how you're meeting up with your P'Nine."
"Then, are you gonna have a pajama party, too?"
Em snorted from where he was sitting on the driver's seat. He shot him a glare even though the other couldn't see it.
"Uhh... I don't know princess..."
"He will, Miss Adventurer, he will," Em laughingly adds.
"Em!" he hissed.
"What's wrong, daddy? You don't want to have a pajama party with your friend? You can join ours, if you like."
"That's so sweet of you, pumpkin. I'll keep that in mind, okay?"
"Okay, daddy! See you tomorrow!"
"See you tomorrow, princess. I love you!"
"Daddy! Daddy! My kiss!"
Kongpob chuckled as he bent down again to peck his daughter's puckered lips. Then he rubbed his nose against hers after, making the little girl giggle.
"Behave okay? And Em, be mindful of what you say, please?"
"Yeah, yeah. I will. Good luck on your... you know. And enjoy your night. You deserve it," Em laughingly told him. He slammed the car door shut, and took several steps backwards. He watched until the taillights were nothing but pinpricks in the distance before he went back inside his house to get his other things. He put the two tall green bottles that he prepared in a sturdy paperbag, then grabbed the bouquet of flowers that he had asked Em to purchase beforehand. Heaving a deep sigh, he exited his house and went to his own car after locking up, then drove on towards the busier part of Bangkok.
A: Just come on up. I already informed the front desk about you. Just present them an ID card
He did as he was told when he arrived at Arthit's condo. They easily let him in after his identity was confirmed. Now he was standing in front of the door to his date, his palms getting sweaty.
'Why am I feeling like this?! It's not like this is the first time I went on a date. Heck, this isn't even the first time that I went on a date with him!'
He shook his head a little and squared his shoulders, trying to feel the confidence that was sorely missing from his system. Then he pressed the buzzer. Minutes later, the door was being opened and he felt his breath get knocked out of him. There stood the singer, looking so good, so beautiful in his black, fitted, turtleneck long-sleeves. A dangling silver cross earring twinkled at him as his eyes roamed the other's beautiful face. His hair was slicked back, with a few strands falling over his forehead.
"Wow, you look absolutely gorgeous," he blurted out, still a little breathless. Arthit slightly furrowed his eyebrows at him, probably wondering why he was rooted on the spot outside his door.
"Did I literally take you breath away?" the older inquired with an amused note to his voice. Kongpob nodded his head dumbly.
"Breathe, Kong. I don't want you passing out on me. I have plans, you know."
Kongpob raised an eyebrow at his senior. Arthit grinned widely and gestured for him to come in. He followed him into his home, eyes darting around again, like last time.
"Oh? And what are these plans, P'? Do you have nefarious plans on my innocence?" he asked suggestively. He watched as a pretty blush adorned the pale cheeks of the other.
"Wha—Innocence! What the hell are you talking about, Kongpob? Might I remind you that you always the one who begged for a reward? If anyone's getting taken advantage of, it's me."
"And might I remind you, P', that you were the one who ambushed me yesterday?" he retorted, his smirk growing wide.
"I—Kongpob!" yelled the older, his blush getting darker to which the younger laughed. Kongpob took pity on him a while later and handed his gifts instead.
"P'Arthit, here. Flowers to accentuate your beauty," he handed the bouquet, making the older smile.
"And here," he handed him the paper bag with two green bottles. Arthit peeked at the paper bag.
"Hmm, wine. Your grandfather's collection again? And two bottles at that! Are you trying to get me drunk?" he smirked, looking at the younger.
"The second bottle isn't wine, P'," the younger said with a matching smirk.
"Oh? Then what is it?" Arthit asked, curious.
"That's for me to know and for you to find out." Arthit raised an eyebrow, staring at the grinning man for a while. Then he shook his head when it became apparent that the younger wasn't telling any more.
"Well, thanks for this. I missed this wine, your grandfather had always the best type stored somewhere in that creepy house of yours. Hey, did you inherit that house? If you did, I'm not gonna live there with you. We'll have to live separately, I'm afraid."
Kongpob's heart skipped a beat when the older just casually mentioned about them living together like it was only natural for them to end up like that. Spending their lives together. He bit his lip to stop the grin from growing wider.
"As for the flower, thank you. They're really beautiful. But... I'm not a girl, Kongpob," the older murmured but he was smiling.
"Giving flowers to someone isn't limited to gender, P'. If that person is special to you, why not gift them flowers? Flowers also have a language of their own, their own meanings. That bouquet for instance, it's specifically says, 'I love you, always'."
"You—you're still as cheesy as ever. But thank you for this Kong. I really appreciate it," Arthit said with a blush.
Kongpob beamed, proud of himself. Arthit gestured at the table that he set, the dishes laid out aesthetically between two empty plates. A candle sat at the middle, propped on holder decorated with white flowers at the base. The younger could see the effort that his P' had poured into preparing this dinner date. Yes, it wasn't a fancy restaurant setting but this... he liked this more. He loved it.
"I'm sorry that our first date is something like—"
"Hold that thought, P'. Hold it then banish it from your mind. This is perfect. I like it. No. I love it. Remember our very first date, P'Arthit? It was an impromptu date and we cooked whatever we could find in your kitchen. Then we used one of those scented candles that your mom left behind illuminating the room, the paper roses that I gifted you the centerpiece of the table... that was perfect. And this one too. This is perfect. You know why? Because I'm having this date with you. This makes me extremely happy. And, look, I got to eat the food you've cooked again! So P', don't apologize for something so precious. I love this P. I really do..."
Arthit looked at him for a while, a soft smile playing on his lips and his eyes shining brighter under the soft light. He grabbed the younger's face between his hands, planting a solid kiss on his lips. In between kisses, he muttered 'I love you's', to which the younger answered similarly. The kisses never went further, Arthit, for once, controlling his urges.
They stood in each other's embrace, their foreheads touching, their breaths mingling, and occasionally rubbing their noses together in little eskimo kisses. Then an idea popped into Arthit's head.
"Wait here, I'm just gonna get something!" He guided the younger to sit on the chair then he was rushing around his place like an overly excited toddler. When he came back, his arms were laden with his prizes and he began setting them up around the dining area. Kongpob barked a laugh then he was helping out his Phi place and light the variedly shaped and sized candles. When then finished, they surveyed their handiwork and grinned at each other. They settled on their seats and hence, began their date. It was a very successful first date and two hearts were giddy with joy.
They were sat at the wicker chairs in Arthit's balcony, sharing the wine that Kongpob had brought with him. They enjoyed the companionable silence, their hands laced on top of the arms of their seats, thumbs rubbing on soft skin. Kongpob had his head pillowed on the other's shoulder as they gazed out on the twinkling lights of the city, a parody of the obscure lights of the night sky. They had Arthit's large blanket wrapped around their bodies to fight off the cold that the chilly air blew on them.
"This is nice," Kongpob said silently. Arthit hummed in reply.
"It definitely is."
They went silent again, small smiles playing on their lips, just enjoying the warmth and the closeness that the other provided. The younger turned his head and planted a kiss on the other's shoulder. Arthit turned to look at him and they shared a look and a soft smile, before the senior slowly descended on him.
The first touch of their lips was electrifying, Kongpob anticipating for this, for something more. He let out a breath through his nose, a sigh through his lips, as if kissing his Phi like this was a respite from enduring all the longing and pain he went through. If their first kiss after ten long years had been frantic devouring of each other, fueled by ten years' worth of repressed frustrations and hurt, of anger and asking for forgiveness, this one was a reaffirmation that they belong to each other, only to each other, that they were solely giving their all to one another, just them. It was slower than the first time, just soft presses of lips, gentle biting of plump pink lips, and slow exploration of tongues inside the warm caverns of their mouths. Until it was not. Until it became frantic, and biting, and fight for dominance, a fight that Kongpob would gladly give up on, always. After all, he loved it when Arthit went Alpha mode on him.
One moment he was still sitting on his own wicker, then the next, he had climbed over the arms and was straddling the older. He wanted to get closer, and closer he got. He carded his finger through the luscious dark hair of the singer, messing up the perfectly arranged hair like how he had wanted to do so since he set his eyes on him that evening. He continued to card his fingers through the tresses, fisting and tugging occasionally. He didn't notice anything else, his focus solely on the man in front of him, pleasuring him through a simple kiss. He was drowning and he didn't care to even come up for air, because this man was his air. He moaned and gasped, his breathing turning shallow and his lungs were telling, no, screaming for air, sooner rather than later, and he didn't want that, no. He turned aggressive again, nipping and plundering the other's mouth, staving off the urgency that his body needed.
Then his head was being yanked backwards, and he gasped in shock, a whine of protest escaping his lips. He gulped lungful of air and he felt the chuckle being pressed against his throat.
"Breathe, Kong. We need to breathe," Arthit said, amused.
If only the older hadn't had a firm grip on his hair, he would've had leveled the other with a petulant glare. But he had to content himself with glaring at the glass canopy overhead, which didn't last that long because then, the other was busy kissing his neck. He leaned his head more to the side, inviting the other to leave more kisses, and more bites to be honest, sighing in bliss when the older found that spot that always made him weak.
He closed his eyes, savoring the sensations that his senior was torturing him with. He pressed his senior's head further into the crook of his neck as he hummed in satisfaction. He felt a sharp flare of pain followed by a warm wet muscle easing the abused spot. He bucked his hips as Arthit continued to abuse that sensitive part of his neck, grinding down involuntarily at the other's lap.
"Baby!" the older gasped, followed by a moan. He felt a sharper pain on his naked shoulder, (when did the older unbutton his shirt?), as he continued to grind his crotch against the other's noticeable bulge. Cool air caressed his naked upper torso and he shivered as it contrasted with how warm he was on his front. Then Arthit began to aggressively suck and bite the smooth expanse of his chest, and he was sure that there were a fresh set of hickeys being painted on his bare skin.
Arthit went lower and latched on one brown dusky nipple, his teeth grazing at the bud teasingly before sucking on it, hard. A thumb was rubbing circles at the other one, nail scratching it occasionally, making him buck his hips involuntarily. By then, he was mess, his breath ragged, and his moans coming out as needy.
"P-P'Arthit... I need more... uhmmm, hah- ah! Fuck!" he panted. He felt a hand caress lower on his front, teasing at the skin just above the waistline of his white jeans and caressing the sparse hair there. His shirt was discarded somewhere, and he didn't care where it landed. His hands caressed the soft material of Arthit's turtleneck, and he thought that it was unfair that the other one was still dressed. Maybe he ought to return the favor.
He let his hands travel from where he had rested them on the older's shoulder southward, caressing hard pectorals and abdominals, until he reached the hem of Arthit's shirt. He slipped a hand underneath the soft material, the other grabbing at the hem and tugging it upwards. A hand stopped him though, before he could slip the shirt off his frame.
"P'... please," he begged. "I want to feel you. I want to see you, please..."
"So needy," Arthit murmured against his skin. His hands were restless on his senior's body as a hand grasped his head again and he was being pulled down.
Arthit surged upwards and those sinful lips calture his again. A shiver went through his frame as the cool night air made itself known again, or was it from how his P'Arthit was devouring him?
There was a change in gravity and he squeaked against Arthit's lips, scrambling to hold on tight lest he would fall on his bum. He broke the kiss and leveled an unamused glare at the older as the latter began walking.
"Warn a guy next time," he said as the door to the balcony was being opened and the warmth of the interior soothed his chilled skin. He shivered.
"Hmm. Didn't know you could squeak like that. I like it. I'll keep doing it, and you're gonna get used to it," Arthit replied, punctuating his remark with a peck on his lips.
"What, carrying me around?" he asked, a little bit sarcastic.
"Look who's cheesy now."
"You're still the cheesiest."
"Nope. That's you now-- oof! Why'd you slam me on the door?!"
"Sorry! Didn't see it! Are you okay?"
"Yeah, just knocked the breath out of me for a little bit."
"Are you sure? Did you hit your head?"
"I'm fine, don't worry. Now, would you mind removing this? It's so unfair that I'm the only one who's topless. I also want to ogle you, you know."
"How scandalous of you!"
Kongpob closed his eyes and groaned. He had had enough of the other's teasing.
"If you don't plan to get undressed then you better put me down now and stop this evening here. I'm seriously putting out here, yet you keep on teasing me. I thought you wanted my ass?" he gritted out. He opened his eyes just to glare at the older but he was met with a smirk instead. This seemed to stoke his irritation more.
"Okay, put me down. Put me down!" he said as he squirmed. The older tightened his grip though and he couldn't escape the other's hold without potentially braining himself. He slapped the laughing man's shoulder in frustration.
"Okay, okay. Here."
Arthit finally put him down and he felt a pang of disappointment. Well, you asked for it, now deal with it, he berated himself. The pale man took a few steps from where he left him leaning against the wooden door then began another form of torture for him.
"Stay there and stay put," Arthit said firmly. Then he was grabbing the hem of his shirt and teasingly lifted it up, revealing a sliver of taut pale skin. Kongpob had to swallow the saliva that began to pool at the mouth-watering picture that the older was painting. With his breathing turning ragged, he continued to watch the show avidly.
Arthit didn't do anything too showy like those he had seen in strip clubs in the US. It was just a slight swaying of his hips. But it turned Kongpob on so much more. His P'Arthit was so sexy. He watched as the older pulled the hem of the shirt at his sides slowly, the thin material sliding smoothly up on toned abs. His breath hitched and he began to breathe laboriously, the force of restraining himself from just grabbing the older male making him tremble all over.
Brown nipples got revealed and he unconsciously licked his lips, his teeth biting over his lip in anticipation of torturing the buds later on. Then the shirt was being pulled over a cute chin, then pink lips that were parted a little, and Kong took the few steps that separated them.
Kongpob bunched up the material overhead, effectively halting the process and trapping Arthit's hand. The latter yelped in surprise, his eyes still covered by the top, then Kong was descending on him, kissing him fervently. The younger's other hand snaked around his waist, holding him against the warm body, and then they were moving backwards. Arthit moaned high on his throat, as a tongue plundered his mouth. He gasped as his breath got knocked out of his chest, when the younger slammed him against the wooden door. It was unexpected, well he couldn't see anything because of his makeshift blindfold-cum-manacle.
He felt that sinful mouth going lower and lower, leaving a trail of wet kisses along his jawline, then making a detour towards his sensitive ears. He felt sharp teeth nip at the lobe then a tongue traced the shape.
"You're so sexy, P'Arthit. I can't wait to be fucked by you," the younger whispered, blowing a breath against his reddened ear. He could only moan the younger's name in response. Then the lips were trailing downwards again, paying attention next to the pale column of his neck.
"K-Kong, no hickeys on somewhere visible, p-please..." he breathed out.
Kongpob continued to lave at the junction of neck and shoulder, right over his carotid artery, biting and sucking at the area teasingly. He felt him move lower... and lower... until his nipples were being assaulted. The sensations of the younger's touch, heightened by the lack of vision, made him moan out loud. A hand was there on his face and he was being freed from his temporary blindfold. He blinked his eyes at the sudden influx of light, then he look down to watch the erotic sight of his Nong sucking on his nipples. His eyes caught the other's, looking at him with dilated pupils through the curtain of his now messy hair, and he loved how he looked so debauched already. He got the urge to mess the younger up more.
Then the younger was moving down again... further down, making a stop at his navel to nip at the skin just below his belly button. Kong had to let go of his grip on the dark clothing, the younger's hand trailing tantalizingly slow over his arms, scratching blunt fingernails across his pecs. He took that opportunity to free himself completely off the shirt, flinging the offending garment somewhere in the vicinity of the living room. He jumped in surprise when his nipple got scratched even though he had been anticipating it.
The hand settled in his hip, mirroring the other one that was holding him in place. Kongpob continued to lick and suck at the skin below his bellybutton, tracing the sparse hair downwards, making his belly twitch, until he reached the waistband of his jeans. With one final kiss, the younger stopped his kisses and reached for his belt. He stretched out a shaky hand to brush the wayward hair out of Kong's forehead then proceeded to cup his face. The younger stopped his fiddling and nuzzled his face on his hand instead, leaving a lingering kiss on his wrist.
He watched as the younger undid his belt, button and his zipper, sliding the heavy denim down his narrow hips. He stepped out of them and then he felt the wet tongue tracing the outline of his hardened manhood through the cotton of his boxer briefs. Tan hands were running up and down his thighs, scratching at the skin in the process, making him more of a moaning mess.
He carded his fingers through the thick hair, grabbing a fistful and tugging for a bit. He let out a gasp when Kongpob took the sensitive head into his mouth, teasing it with his tongue. The friction against the material of his underwear as his dick grew harder with the other's ministrations was heavenly and sinful. He bucked his hips, wanting to get more of it.
Kongpob yanked his underwear down, freeing his dick from its confines and he sighed in relief. His member slapped the other's face in his haste to get him naked and the older let out a surprised laugh. It tapered off into a moan when Kongpob impatiently rammed the hard flesh into his mouth, taking him all the way in a single motion.
It was a wrong move as the younger began choking and he accidentally scraped his teeth on the skin of the delicate shaft.
"Fucking Ow! Kongpob!" Arthit exclaimed, yanking at the younger's hair hastily. Kongpob slid off, coughing in the process.
"Sorry," he rasped, still coughing harshly.
"Just do it slowly. Why are you rushing things?"
"I-I—Sorry P'. I got impatient..." Kongpob apologized, looking at him earnestly. He pressed a kiss on the other's shaft, and it should've been ridiculous, it looked kinda ridiculous, but his dick twitched instead. The movement didn't go unnoticed as the younger smiled widely at him and gave another kitten lick to his member.
Arthit watched in fascination as the pink tongue laved at his hardened flesh, the younger licking in broad stripes and kitten licks alternately. Kongpob had his left hand holding his hips against the hardwood door while the other held the base of his cock in a grip. Then the younger was engulfing his sensitive head and wrapped his pretty lips around it tightly. The suction that followed had Arthit seeing stars. He whined high in his throat and his hips bucked involuntarily. But it was held in place by a strong tanned arm so he resorted to clawing the other's head instead.
"Kong!" he shouted. He closed his eyes momentarily, savoring the warm suction he was feeling in his most intimate part. Inch by inch, he felt his length being engulfed by that sinful mouth. His breath came in short pants and there was a tap on his thigh. He opened his eyes and looked down, with a confused whine.
He met dark eyes already looking up at him and he was mesmerized. The warm brown of Kongpob's eyes were nearly invisible, just a sliver of a ring around his dilated pupils. He gasped at the depth of the younger's need for him, reflected in his eyes.
And the way he took him in... God, it was such an erotic sight. He let his hand drift lower towards the younger's face, caressing the bulge against his cheek.
"You take me in so good, love," he whispered. He watched as Kongpob closed his eyes, looking like he was savoring his taste. Then he pulls out with a pop, and he looked so good with his flushed face. A string of drool connected his puffy lips to the tip of his member and Arthit had the urge to kiss so him. So he did.
He guided the younger man upwards by his chin and he crouched down low to meet him. He kissed him sloppily, and he tasted the bitter tang of pre-cum on his tongue. He groaned against the other's mouth as he felt himself getting jacked off slowly. He tasted the smile against his mouth and he bit the red puffy bottom lip in retaliation. They separated with a chuckle from the younger, not minding the nip at all.
"I just realized that I missed your taste, P'Arthit. It's been so long since I gave head..."
"As if you didn't have other people in the US," he huffed out, a little bitter about his assumption.
Kongpob had grown up to be more attractive than when they were younger. It would be impossible to not have boys and girls clamoring after him. He accepted it though. He had had a handful of encounters in the past and a brief relationship with his childhood friend after Kongpob, when he had been trying to fill the void that the latter had left in his world. But the younger didn't answer him though, instead, he went back to his sitting kneel position, leveling his face with crotch again.
Kongpob took the elder's cock in his mouth to avoid answering and he could feel the stare that the other was leveling him. He ignored it. He bobbed his head slowly, going a little bit further with each thrust, and teasing his gag reflex with the hard dick in his mouth. He pulled off completely, letting his hand lazily spread the saliva he left behind, making the appendage slimy and wet. He could feel drool dripping down from the corners of mouth and he felt the urge to show it to his senior, so he lifted his head up to show the other his messy face. His eyes found Arthit's and he was satisfied with the dazed expression he saw there. He watched the other's adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed thickly. He ran his tongue lightly from tip to root, until he reached the pale skin of his senior's crotch, placing a chaste kiss there.
Then he was sucking at the spot, interspersed with tiny nips, until the area turned dark red. With one last peck, he left his mark alone and grinned up at the other boyishly.
"There. That's not visible at all, P'Arthit. It should be okay right?" he asked all innocently, even going so far as to widening his eyes for effect.
"Yes," the older breathed out. Arthit's hands had been caressing his hair all this time, and he leaned into the warmth, his eyes closing and his mouth sighing in bliss.
"You... had one night stands, right? After me?" the older asked uncertainly. He opened his eyes at the question and leveled the other with a stare.
"Will it matter?" he asked after a long while.
"I-I... I guess not."
"Hmm... then don't get jealous nor guilty, okay? To tell you honestly, I didn't have any other encounters with someone else aside from my ex-wife."
Kongpob only hummed in reply.
"Stop talking. Talking is reserved for pillow talk or day time conversations if the topic is heavy. Now is the time for debauchery and you moaning out my name. And fuck, you better moan out my name good because I will not let you cum if I'm not satisfied with your reactions."
"Oh yeah? If you're gonna make me moan your name, then I'm gonna make you scream my name," Arthit replied, a challenging glint shining in his eyes. Kongpob growled in anticipation.
"Then you better fuck me good, P'Arthit, if you want to make me scream. Your. Name."
Arthit thought he couldn't get any more hard. He thought wrong. Because at the dangerous glint in the younger's eyes, his dick had even grown harder that it was twitching and standing erect in the air.
"You better tell that you've been tested for STI's, P'," Kongpob asked in all seriousness.
"I'm clean," answered the older truthfully.
"Good. Me too."
Kongpob eyed the prize in front of him before darting his eyes upwards, meeting the eyes of the older in an intense stare.
Then the younger was engulfing him whole, this time letting his hard length reach the back of throat. He yelped in surprise, and moaned after he felt the tightness of the other's throat. Kongpob stayed like that for a few seconds then he was pulling off. Tan hands pumped his very wet dick, as Kongpob panted for air. Then he was diving in again, this time giving him the signal to fuck his mouth.
And who was he to refuse?
He began to fuck the younger's mouth earnestly, staring at the latter's face for any sign of pain. He could feel heat pool low on his belly and he knew he was close. He yanked at the other's hair, pulling him off none too gently. He murmured an apology as Kongpob panted for much needed air.
"I'm close, Kong," he said breathily.
"Yeah, cum in my mouth. I missed your taste," was Kongpob's shameless answer before he was licking the leaking head of his engorged dick. He groaned out loud.
"You're such a pervert."
"Don't deny that you like my dirty talk. If not, then you're just lying to yourself as your dick says otherwise. And do you not want to see your cum in mouth? I remember you loving that in the past."
"DO you want me to cum all over you instead of just in your mouth? Because I'm really hard that I feel bursting. Stop with your dirty talks and put your mouth into better use."
Kongpob smirked up at him before he was engulfing him whole again. Arthit let out a long whine as he pushed his length in and out of that hot cavern. The younger was just sitting still, like he was one of those sex dolls, there to be used only. He pulled out and slapped his cock repeatedly against tan cheeks, making Kongpob groan. Then he was sliding in again, slowly until he reached the back of his throat. He let the younger control the depth and he was impressed at how deep he was into Kongpob's throat. The sight was so erotic that he felt like he was near bursting.
"K-Kong! I'm go-gonna cum. Gonna cuuuum!"
He felt his cock twitch inside the warm mouth and then he was squirting while Kongpob pumped him. He slumped against the door, boneless, after the toe-curling orgasm. He looked down at the younger and he found dark eyes already looking at him.
"God, you're so good. Were you just lying to me when you said you haven't had any sexual encounters since your ex-wife? 'cause you must've been practicing."
A bit of cum trickled from the younger's closed mouth and he reached out to wipe it away. Kongpob grabbed his hand when he retracted it, licking the bit of cum he just wiped away. In doing so, he saw the cum still in the other's mouth, and he demanded the other to spit it out. Kongpob decided to be a little shit though and just showed him his cum-filled mouth before closing it again, swallowing theatrically.
"O-oi! Why'd you swallow it?!"
"Hmm. Because I love P'Arthit's taste."
"And how do I taste like?"
"Want a taste?"
Then Kongpob was surging up while dragging the older down, pulling the other into a searing kiss. Arthit tasted himself on the other's tongue and he tasted... quite bland with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
"Okay, now I get why you like it. It tastes bland and slightly bitter. Those are you food choices. Yuck!"
Kongpob chuckled in reply.
"Can you walk? Let's get inside your room. You still need to fuck me."
"What? But you've melted my brain!"
"Are you actually saying no to round two?"
"What? No! Just saying that you've got to let me recover."
"Pfft. You're getting old."
"Oi! Who're you calling old, huh?! No respeeeee-aaaaaah! Put me down! Kongpob! 0062!"
"Your head hazer voice has no effect on me. I wasn't one of your freshmen."
"Kongpob, just put me down. Oof-! You're such a brat!"
Arthit was huffing and puffing from where he had been thrown unceremoniously onto his bed. He propped himself on his forearms to glare at the younger who went and locked the door of the bedroom. His glare turned into a lustful stare though when he saw the younger unbuckling his belt. He crooked his forefinger at the younger, beckoning him to come closer. Kongpob obeyed, shuffling closer towards the bed in a daze. He, himself, slithered towards the edge of the bed, sitting there facing the younger, and undid the other's pants, yanking them down over delicious tanned muscular thighs. He gave an experimental lick on the clothed erection, tenting black briefs, then sucking the head into his mouth in a mimicry of how the other had made him loose his mind just a short while ago.
He heard the other groan, and he hastily yanked the underwear down. Then he was sucking at the appendage, relentless even though the younger was trembling all over. He yanked at the younger's thighs, making him nearly lose his balance then he was guiding Kongpob to straddle him. It was a comfortable position, and Kongpob had to change his postion every so often. Arthit got irked by this and just slammed the other on the bed, making the him gasp. He dove back in and sucked the younger enthusiastically. He placed the muscular legs over his shoulder, and held on the squirming meaty thighs tightly.
Kongpob moaned out his pleasure, legs fidgeting with every delicious suction of the other's mouth, every teasing licks of a tongue, every hint of pleasure-pain of teeth. His balls were being sucked too, and a finger was teasing his perineum, going lower, and lower...
His length was being engulfed again but there was something different about it this time, a displaced feeling and he couldn't pinpoint what. He called out to the other's name in confused half-uttered words, until his vision lights up in intense pleasure. He arched his back from the bed in a surprised shout, and that was when he realized that there was a finger abusing his prostate. He writhes as Arthit continued to suck and finger him simultaneously and he comes, and comes, and comes. He was so surprised that he hadn't had the chance to warn the older. Then he was crashing down against the bed, panting and quivering badly.
"Shh. Shh. I'm here."
Arthit left tiny kisses against his belly, occasionally sucking and nipping the skin there. He looked down and met the warm chocolate eyes of the older. He smiled. It took him a few moments to be able to return his breathing to normal and before he could speak. His speech was still slurred though, with all the endorphins swimming in his system.
"That was intense..." he murmured. They gazed at each other, satisfied smiles playing on their lips. He reached out a hand and Arthit caught it in one his, threading his fingers through the other's.
"Hmm. Yes. You 're so receptive to my touches. I love it."
"Where'd you even get the lube? D'you have them just lying around?"
"I found the one I used to pleasure myself yesterday because someone left me hanging."
Kongpob gave him a look. He scowled in return.
"Quit judging! You don't have room to judge! Don't think I didn't notice how you're kinda loose."
"Of course I'm loose. I have prepped myself before coming here!"
Arthit looked at him in shock, which made him furrow his brows.
"W-when you said to fuck you... you meant it?" the older asked him, breathless.
"Well, yeah. Weren't you the one eager to fuck me yesterday?"
"Fuuu—okay. Okay. Hot damn, baby. You're turning me on, now."
Arthit crawled his way upwards the other's body, looking like a jungle cat on the hunt for his prey. And he was the prey. He bit his lip in anticipation, widening his legs further to accommodate the older as he settled down against him. The singer braced himself on his forearms that he placed on either side of his head and then he was kissing him senseless. His dick twitched again as the older accidentally grinds down against him. Then it happened again and he wasn't sure if it was even accidental in the first place.
They rutted against each other, slowly but surely making each other hard. He didn't know how long they were kissing, he felt like they were going at it for eternity, but then he felt a pressure against his rectum and he detaches his lips from the older to gasp.
Arthit wasn't deterred by this and just migrated his lips towards the tan column of his neck. He continued to finger the younger open with two of his digits, receiving just a bit of resistance. He scissored his fingers, making Kongpob moan out loud.
"P'Arthit... is soooo good. Uurmmm..."
"Hmm, Kong. Can't wait to be inside you," he moaned in reply.
He added more lube into his fingers and plugged three digits in, making the younger cry out loud.
"Are you okay, love?" he asked.
"It stings a bit but it feels so good, P'. Keep going," moaned the younger, a little breathless.
He began to finger-fuck the other, faster and harder, a preview of what was to come. He twisted and crooked his fingers for that one special spot, finding it in no time and making the younger cry out obscenities.
"P'Arthit! Fucking hell, just put it in!" Kongpob yelled, sitting upright to grab at the other. He was pushed back down by Arthit though, and a warning look was sent his way. He groaned in frustration, but he stayed lying down on the bed.
The singer got up from the bed and went to rummage around his bedside table's drawer and found the box he was looking for. He inspected the box and cursed loudly before turning to look at the younger and showed him the thing.
"I don't have condoms. This one's expired."
Kongpob bit his lip, looking at the box of condoms then back to his partner, repeatedly. He stared at the other, gauging the older's reaction.
"Like I said, I just had myself checked. I had my annual full body check-up just last month and that included getting tested for STI's. I'm clean, P'Arthit. D'you wanna...?"
Arthit took a deep breath. It wasn't a hardship for him to decide especially when the other was looking all sexy and tasty laid out on his bed like that. He moved back towards the bed, throwing the box somewhere, and then he was slotting himself in between the spread thighs of the younger. He ground his hips against the other's and they both moaned out in pleasure.
"Yes," he panted near Kongpob's ear.
He straightened up grabbing the lube, and poured a liberal amount on his palm, lathering his aching hardness until it was shiny against the soft lighting of the room.
Kongpob licked his lips unconsciously, his mouth watering at the sight. His breathing became shallow in anticipation as his senior lazily pumps his dick, putting a show for him, a teasing smirk firmly in place.
"Please, P'..." he begged.
Arthit yanked the younger closer by his thighs, causing the latter to gasp in surprise. Then he was plugging into the warm wet hole to the music of the other's moans and groans. He bent down to kiss the younger, a distraction as he fed his cock slowly to the inviting hole. He pumped his still slippery hand on Kongpob's dick slowly and he swallowed the moans and gasps that escaped from the younger's mouth.
"Urrmm, Kong... you're so tight love. Fuuuckk..." he groaned out against the younger's lips when he bottomed out.
"You feel so good inside me. So good, P'." panted the other.
"S-stop squeezing me, GOD!"
He moved involuntarily when the other squeezed him too much, causing them to both cry out.
"I think you can move now, P'."
Arthit obeyed, letting go of the other's dick to brace himself firmly on his forearms against the bed. He started out slow, just a slight in and out from the tightness, and it made Kongpob sigh in bliss. But then, it wasn't enough anymore and the thrusts became faster.
"Harder. Harder, please. Ah! Fuck, I need you deep inside me, please. Slam that fat cock deep inside me, P'. Aaah! THERE! There, P'! Fuck me harder!"
The slapping of skin to skin became more intense inside the room, and the smell of sex was getting stronger as the two bodies writhed together on the bed. Arthit slammed harder and harder against the younger, and the Kongpob couldn't do anything but to cry out. With every hard thrust of Arthit, Kongpob's body gets pushed further across the bed until his head was hanging on the edge. He reached out a hand on the floor to stop himself from getting pushed off the bed, and just let his head hang like that. He stared at their faint reflection with the twinkling lights of the metropolitan Bangkok as their backdrop through the glass curtain wall of Arthit's bedroom and he found himself a new kink. He loved how his P'Arthit moved above him through the glass, making him more turned on. It was beautiful to watch his lover undulate his body like, how his own legs writhed against the trim waist of the older.
"Where is your mind drifting? Am I boring you, huh? Should I stop this? Or maybe you need punishment, Nong," Arthit growled, snapping him out of his focus on their reflection. Then his vision whirled as he was being yanked upright until he was face to face with his lover. Gravity did its job, a little too perfectly, as he lost control of his limbs for a while, being disoriented from the sudden change in position, and slammed down hard on the other's dick. He felt the breath got knocked out of him and heard the older's yelp of discomfort.
"Don't do that!" he yelled breathlessly. Arthit groaned in reply, but he nodded anyway.
"...sorry," the senior said in a strained voice.
"Are you okay?" Kongpob asked, still straddling the other. He moved to get off the other's cock, but the older held fast onto his waist.
"Uhh, peachy? Hah-ah! Stop squeezing."
"Sorry, I had to make sure that your cock is still functioning," Kongpob answered nonchalantly.
"I'm still erect inside of you," Arthit replied, deadpan.
"Then could you please continue? I'm still horny, and my dick would want a release."
"Cheeky brat. Fine, but keep your attention on me, are we clear? It's so unflattering for your partner to think of other things during sex you know," the older said, a hint of uncertainty coloring his voice. Kongpob looked at him in surprise.
"P'Arthit! I love what you are doing so very much, there is nothing on my mind but how good you're drilling into me," the younger emphasizes his point with a buck of his hips, and a squeeze of his inner walls.
"I was actually mesmerized – ah! Ah!— by how sexy you looked, how—oh yes, there— how it seemed like you belong in between my spread legs, fucking me over. And over. And over. Again," he emphasized the last words with a slam of his hips against the other's. the older groaned out in reply. "P'Arthit!"
"But you weren't looking at me... Kooooong..." the older whined. Instead of replying verbally, Kongpob directed the other's head to look at the floor-to-ceiling glass behind him. He also craned his neck so that he could also look at their reflection. He stopped his movement so that they could concentrate on their reflection.
"See there? It's faint, I know. Barely perceptible. But I could see your every move, love. And every time you move, I could feel the subsequent action deep inside me and I love it. P'Arthit, I feel owned! It's exhilarating."
Arthit groaned at the sight. It was indeed arresting seeing his reflected self fucking the very sexy man in his arms. The beast inside him purred in satisfaction, his possessiveness tamed.
"Move, Nong. Let me watch, too," he urged the younger.
"With pleasure," Kongpob said with a smirk as he lifted himself up then slammed back down again.
"Oh fuck. That's so erotic. I see what you mean, Kong. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, Kongpob!" the older groaned.
"That's what you're doing. Oooooh yeah, hah-ah! You're fucking me."
"Technically, you're the one – god, you're so tight!—fucking yourself into my dick."
Kongpob braced himself on the pale man's shoulders and started to earnestly impale himself on the hardened length pulsing inside him. He angled his hips a bit and the action had him gasping and seeing stars. The older grew impatient so he flipped them back to their original position. Kongpob found his head hanging on the edge of the mattress again, a reprimand at the tip of his tongue. He didn't manage to utter them though as the older began to drill into him harder than before, hitting that spot inside of him with uncanny accuracy.
He screamed out his love's name, over and over again. His hips lifted up from the bed, his back arching. His front got plastered against the hard body of his senior and the friction of his cock against the other's abdominals was heavenly. His eyes rolled at the back of his head at the intense pleasure.
"I-I'm gonna cum. P'Art—gonna cum... gonna—Aaaah! ARTHIT!"
He squirted ropes upon ropes of cum between their chests, making a mess of themselves and not caring about it. His insides clenched around the pistoning cock, making Arthit stutter in his rhythm and groan out loud.
"Not so tight!" he croaked out. He stopped his thrusting to let the younger recover from his orgasm before starting up again, chasing his own release. He lifted the younger's ass in the air higher as he shifted into a kneeling position, his hands holding onto the other's hips tightly, then he was slamming hard and fast again. His breath was getting more labored, panting heavily. Then his rhythm got erratic.
"I'm gonna cu—"
"I want your cum inside me, please. Brand me yours, P'Arthit..." Kongpob said while brushing aside the fringe that got plastered on his forehead. The older groaned at his words.
With that, his hips stuttered in its movements, and then he was climaxing with the younger's name on his lips. He seemed to cum for eternity before he collapsed against the younger. Gentle hands began to rub circles on his back as he panted against the crook of Kongpob's neck.
"Mind-blowing. Fuck, I've never felt like this before with my previous partners. What is it with you?"
"I dunno," Kongpob said with chuckled. He felt a pang though in his heart at the reminder that the older had other partners in the past, but he banished the thoughts with the other's admittance that he had been the only one that made him feel this way. He felt giddy.
They stayed entangle with each other for quite some time, letting their heartbeats return to normal. Arthit pulled out gently with a squelching noise. Kongpob winced slightly at the temporary discomfort before the other was completely out. He felt warm liquid trail out of his whole and down his crack and he felt, oddly pleased about it, instead of grossed out.
"I swear, my brain is mush. Kong, you've successfully made me dumb. Oh god, there's a lot of cum oozing out."
Arthit raised himself on his shaky forearms just so he could stare at the other.
"I'm serious. You're the only one who could satisfy me like this. Ever since then, until now, I've never had sex this good and I think I kept comparing my partners to you."
Kongpob blushed at the older's declaration. He covers his heated face with his palms.
"Kong? Hey, don't hide," Arthit said, moving his hands softy from his face, which he let happen. "There you are. I love you. So much. Thank you for giving me, giving us, another chance."
"I—I think it's the other way around, P'Arthit. Thank you for giving me another chance. Even though I was the one who hurt. And I love you so much."
"Okay, okay. Both of us gave the other a chance, let's settle it at that. So, I know that we only just been reunited yesterday and that we just had our first date tonight, but... I don't want to waste anymore time, Kong. So, be my boyfriend?"
"What's up with that half-assed answer, huh?"
"Well, I thought you were gonna propose or something, you know? Because you said you didn't wanna waste anymore time?" Kongpob replied nonchalantly, but there was a glint of mischief in his eyes.
"O-oi! Let me prepare myself first before that! I have to meet your daughter, formally, and get her approval to marry her daddy. Then I have to brace myself to meet your parents, who hates me—"
"They hated the idea of me being with a man, not you personally. But they're not like that anymore, I promise. Also, they were puppets of my late grandfather. He was the one who had ordered my parents to take me away from you. He was also the one who arranged my marriage with a girl."
"Oh... So, your parents aren't all that evil?"
"No, P'. They were just... hmm... Misguided, I guess."
"So... if you were to introduce me to them, they'd accept me? A man?"
"That's not reassuring at all."
"Well, if they don't accept you at all, then I will defy them. I'm an adult now, and I am independent from them. I can live even without their support. And I have my sisters' support about this actually. My sexuality."
"If they were supportive of you, why didn't they help you ten years ago?" Arthit couldn't help the hint of bitterness that crept on his voice.
"They weren't aware of what had been happening, P'Arthit. They didn't know that I was in a relationship with a man then. They believed in what my parents and grandpa said, that I was there to take care of him. They were as clueless as me about the whole situation. They only came to know when the company had taken a major hit and they had to step-up to steer it back to its right course. You must've heard about the news of the fall of one of the major companies in Thailand, right? After all, you're an IE major and our company had been in the manufacturing field for years."
"Yes, I'm aware. I also know that it didn't go bankrupt like what others had predicted and still assumed nowadays. I know this because Knot had actually bought shares from your company when he saw how it was steadily rising up again. It's back on the playing field, although there isn't as much clamor about its return."
"That's because the company isn't based here anymore. It's in Singapore, one of our branches that hadn't been affected by the fall too much. The company still have loyal customers that it caters to and other companies are also beginning to trust us again. The company isn't in any precarious position now, and the stocks are maintained at a steady rise. And all of that are due to my sisters' efforts. They laboriously brought the company back from the ashes."
They were silent for a while, Arthit processing the new information from about the younger's life, and Kongpob getting lost for a little bit in his past. Arthit, when he couldn't ignore the stickiness anymore, stands up to go to the bathroom. He cleans himself for a few minutes then goes back out with a damp towel and set on cleaning the younger. He coaxed the other to move so that he could strip the comforter off the bed. He retrieved another blanket from the closet and used it to cover their nakedness. They cuddled under the warm cocoon of the blanket, and it was so comfortable that it lulled their tired bodies into sleep. They stayed in each other's embrace and all was well again.
They woke up late morning entangled in each other's arms. They shared lazy kisses in bed, not wanting to get up yet, and just enjoyed each other's warmth. That was until their stomachs decided that it was time for them to get out of bed. They took a shower together, and of course, some hanky panky in the bathroom.
They went to prepare breakfast, exchanging pecks occasionally, as if they would die if they stopped kissing like the lovesick fools they were.
I discovered that the awkward young master, who had burnt water one instance in the past and would've probably burnt down my dorm room had I let him cook, was now very confident in the kitchen. It was amazing how he moved about, each movement sure and unwavering. I let him prepare breakfast, occasionally handing him utensils and condiments, not bothering to help him more. I was pretty much useless anyway because I couldn't stop watching him being all confident and cool in the kitchen.
He would occasionally shoot me bemused smiles, blushing prettily when I beam at him. Haaaa, what an adorable man. It made me want to gobble him up.
He served the food and it looked really good. I took a picture of it, to commemorate the first time I tasted his cooking (it looked edible and tasty, and I hope it would be both too, instead of just being safe to look at but not for human consumption). I impulsively uploaded the photo on my IG account, with a heart emoji as caption. There, it was generic and non-implicating. Then a glass was being pushed towards me, something pi—I gasped in surprise.
"Is this what I think it is?" I asked him. He gave me an amused nod then I was launching myself to him, kissing him senseless. "But how? I mean, I didn't see you prepare it. I was here the whole time!"
"Remember that extra green bottle yesterday that I put inside the fridge?"
"Oh my god, that was pink milk?! You're the best! But I can only have one glass, though. I need to watch my diet. But it's okay because I got one glass! Thank you so much," I said earnestly. I left him another peck and then we got to eating our brunch.
After eating, we decided to use the pink milk for other reasons. If you're thinking dirty thoughts right now... then you are correct. After we were sated and the bottle of pink milk was almost used up, we got off the island counter, feeling sticky and gross. We looked at each other and burst out laughing. We took another shower, this time separately.
I led him towards the other room in my condo, the music room. We sat on the couch there and I couldn't help the dirty thoughts that invaded my mind at the memory of our frantic coupling here. Basing on his flushed cheeks, I gathered that he was thinking the same. I banished those thoughts away, giving my Nong a chance to recover from all the exercise we've been doing. I laid down on the couch and I pulled him to me, prodding and moving his long limbs so that he was nestled against me.
He squirmed for a little bit, until he settled his head against my chest, his ears pressed against my beating heart. I felt at peace. My mind drifted off towards everything that had happened so far. Within the span of two days (give or take), I have the one that I had been yearning for in a long time. It all still felt... surreal. Like, I have the feeling that everything was just a dream, a very nice dream, and anytime now, I would wake up and I would feel all empty again.
"OW!" I yelped. I rubbed my sore side where the brat had pinched me hard. I glared down at his grinning face. "Why'd you do that?"
"To get your attention. You're spacing out, it seems."
"And you couldn't have called my name?" I asked, pinching his butt cheek in retaliation. I grinned in satisfaction with his yelp.
"Hey! I did call your name several times but you were so deep in thought. What were you thinking anyway?"
"Nothing," I said. I didn't know why I denied it. Maybe because I didn't want him to look at me weirdly?
"It's not nothing if it's got you this deep in thought," Kongpob said. He braced his body against his forearm so that he was hovering over me. "Spill."
I bit my lip, absently roaming my hands on his clothed back. He looked intensely at me and after a while, I cracked. So, I told him my worries. He didn't laugh, nor did he make fun of me. He listened, taking my worries and doubts seriously. When I finished, he laid his head back down on my chest, this time facing me. The look in his eyes were arresting and I couldn't look away. It was piercing, his dark brown orbs, and oddly enough, instead of making me uncomfortable, it was soothing me.
"Do you know why I laid like this? My head pillowed on your chest?" he asked, the question such off our topic that it drove me off-kilter. I scowled at him, thinking he was making fun of me. He reached out a hand to smoothen the frown in between my eyebrows.
"I laid like this because I love listening to your heart."
"I kinda noticed that. But how does that rel—"
"Shh. D'you know why I like listening to your heart beat?"
I shook my head no.
"Because it makes this real. It reassures me that you're really here and I am not dreaming. I've always dreamt of lying next to you, or cuddling you, but then I wake up and it's like a bucket of cold water had doused me. There were dreams where I also rested my head against your chest, just like this, and I am sure I had dreamt of the heartbeat, but lying on you like this... it's different. The beats are different. I realized this last night, when I was cuddling with you. You see, I have the same worries as you, P'Arthit. I... I've been thinking that this is too good to be real. To tell you honestly, I kept waking up last night just to reassure myself that you're really here. And... I only managed to fall asleep when I pillowed my head on your chest. Sorry about that, by the way," Kongpob confessed.
I was rendered speechless. So, I wasn't the only one, huh?
"I... Are we going too fast, Kong? Could that be the reason? Should we have taken things slow so that we could've had a chance to get used to each other's presence again?" I wondered out loud. He looked thoughtful, for a while.
"Honestly? We should have. I think. But I also think that that would've made the situation worse... I think that we'd be awkward with each other and would've been too afraid to cross the line. What we did, we took a leap instead, leaving behind the fears that the past had planted deep within us. If we didn't, who knows, it might've taken us months, or even years to get to where we are right now. I don't want to waste any more time, P', so I'm really glad that I went to that concert and also went along with your crazy plan with my cousin."
"Damn it, come here, Kong," I said, coaxing him up so that I could kiss him senseless. He managed to banish away my fears with just his words. We kissed each other, tasting each other again, and again, and I think I was getting more and more addicted to his taste.
The kiss was just that, a kiss. We didn't let it go further. He gave me a final peck and nose rub then he was laying back down again on my chest. We basked in each other's warmth, the silence around us, comfortable.
"I got a question..." I said after a while.
"About your parents' company. Aren't you the heir or something? Why weren't you the one who took the reins, when it crashed down? Not that I'm disregarding your sister's ability or something, but wasn't it that it's because of your status as the heir that they did what they did to you? To us?"
Kongpob bit his lip and stayed silent for a while. Then he was looking at me again as he explained his side.
"I didn't want the company."
"What? Oh, well. It kinda makes sense because it had been in ruins, right?"
"No, no. It's not about that. Not at all. In a different situation, I would've taken responsibility for the company that my family had built. But... It's not a different situation, so."
"I.. still don't understand."
"I hated what the company represented for me, P'Arthit." Kongpob answered truthfully and it was like a dam had broken. He started to pour his heart out to me.
"It was nothing but a gilded cage for me at that time, never mind that there were a lot of people that would be affected if it went bankrupt. I didn't care. At all. I couldn't see past the cage. I couldn't see past the hurt that that cage had inflicted on me. I thought it was the root cause of all the pain I had to endure. It played a part, yes, but now I understood that it was just a tool. That the real ones to blame was the jailer. My grandfather... his arrogance and pride were the ones that made him push my parents into controlling my life like that. It was cowardice and misplaced respect that made them blinded to my real plight.
I-I... My grandfather, he was stuck in the old notion that homosexuals were abominations, that they're living in sin and corrupting other people into their ways, and he couldn't accept that I am one of those 'abominations'. I was the only male child remaining since he had written off P'Rome's mother from the family register. I was his only choice of being an heir, never mind that I had very capable sisters, too. So he did everything in his power to straighten me up. I was aware of his stance against homosexuals, P', that's why I had asked of you to keep our relationship secret before. I had been so naïve that I could keep things from him, but I found out that he knew everything, that everything had been a sham from the very start, on the day I overheard my parents speaking about it. That was the day they told me about the arranged marriage because our company had made a bad deal and millions were lost. They needed the merger to happen.
Of course I refused, and I wanted nothing but to go back to Thailand immediately, look for you, and beg for your forgiveness. You know what, I should've done that immediately. But I was hurt so much and I wanted to drown myself in alcohol, I just wanted to feel numb. So I got drunk, black out drunk. And then, uhm..."
I kept on rubbing his back as I listened to his story. I already knew, well the gist of it, what his parents and his grandfather had done, P'Rome had confessed all of it that one time. I felt the same pang of hurt and helplessness, and anger, let's not forget the anger, for everything that had happened to the younger. My heart ached for him, more so now that I could see the raw emotions in his eyes and all I ever wanted to do that time was to hide him from the world so that nobody could hurt him ever again. I noticed his hesitation, and I smiled reassuringly at him.
"Shh, it's okay if you don't want to tell me the rest. I am aware of what happened next," I told him. I saw his eyes widen in panic and I didn't understand why.
"Y-you do...?" he whispered, as I felt him begin to tremble. He scrambled upright and slid towards the opposite corner of the couch, curling himself tightly into a ball. I watched him in bewilderment, wracking my brain for the possible cause.
"Y-you're not disgusted...?" he asked me uncertainly, peeking at me through his fringe. I was puzzled. Really, really at a loss.
"Why would I be disgusted? Kongpob, you were forced into an arranged marriage, it wasn't even your choice. What's disgusting about that?" I asked, confused.
He stared at me for a long time, maybe trying to read what I was truly thinking. After some time, he spoke again, in a voice so soft, I had to strain my ears for his words to be comprehensible.
"You don't know...?" he asked. He was still looking at me with thinly veiled fear and I didn't know the reason behind it.
"Know what?" I asked, getting nervous with his behavior. There was something wrong, some missing information about the younger's past that I might have missed. Something very bad but at the same, very important, guessing with how he was acting.
"How my daughter was conceived?"
A dark, wayward thought flashed in my mind's eye, of the younger being... forced. But I banished it as fast as it appeared. His parents wouldn't go so far as doing that, would they? They wouldn't be so evil as to force their son into intimacy with someone, right? I was pretty sure of that because Kongpob wouldn't have forgiven them if they went that far. So, something else might have happened...
"How was your daughter conceived, Kong?" I asked gently, even though I was wary of his answer.
He opened his mouth but no words came out. I heard his teeth clack together as he shut his mouth with force. Then he was closing in on himself, wrapping his arms around his folded legs tightly, his head bowing down to hide against his knees. I couldn't have that, with him getting lost in his own thoughts. I need to prevent him from succumbing into the darkness.
"Hey, hey. Kong, you don't have to tell me anything if you aren't comfortable talking about it. I'm not gonna force you, love. But please don't close in on yourself. Don't go getting lost in your thoughts of your past. C'mon love. Focus on me, please. I'm here, now. I'm here and I'm not gonna leave you unless it's you who tells me to leave. Please, baby?"
I watched a plethora of emotions pass through Kongpob's face in rapid succession, as if he was battling with himself inside. It seemed like Kongpob won the battle with his demons because then he was crawling back to me and I welcomed him with open arms. He wrapped his arms around my torso, tightly, and I returned the hug, just as tight. He gasped, loud against my ear, as if he had been underwater for too long, and he had finally broken through the surface, gulping precious air into his lungs.
"I-I'm sorry. I can't tell you. Not right now. N-not now. But. I promise, okay? I'll tell you someday, yeah? Please be patient with me, P'Arthit—"
"Of course, of course. You don't even have to tell me about it. I will wait until you're ready to tell me everything, okay? Just, stay with me. Here."
I rubbed circles on his back as he sobbed silently on my shoulder. Dread and confusion mixed in me as various scenarios chased each other in my mind, every scene getting worse than the last. I shut my eyes tightly, trying to focus on the warm body inside my arms, letting myself drown in his scent so that I wouldn't be thinking of those dark thoughts. It worked, in a way, as I let myself be lulled by the gentle breathing of the younger.
The sobs tapered off into sniffles, but still I held him. He didn't let go of me, so we stayed in each other's embrace for a few more moments. I jostled him playfully after a while then I was maneuvering our bodies so that we were back to our original positions. The quiet between us was a comforting blanket instead of being suffocating, and we drifted off to sleep like that.
I woke up when I felt something soft being laid on me.
"Kong?" I murmured, confused. I opened my eyes a fraction.
"Shh, it's me. Don't worry, just laying a blanket on you both. It seemed to me like you needed it," a voice that was decidedly deeper than my boyfriend's said.
"Knot?" I asked, more awake than before.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Didn't mean to wake you up."
"Hmm. It's okay. What are you doing here? Time is it?" I asked. I heard a groan from the lump in front of me, so I rubbed the head peeking out from the blanket gently. I turned my attention back to the other man, who hadn't answered my question yet. I found him smiling at me amusedly.
"Nothing." I scoffed at that.
"Fine. I just find you adorable right now, letting your beloved Nong use you as, huh, bed is the more apt term."
"W-what's wrong with that, huh?" I could feel my cheeks heat with his comment.
"Nothing. Nothing. Anyway, the whole gang is here, including P'Jane. You weren't answering your phone so we just went here and decided to conduct the meeting here. And it's past three already."
"Yeah. If only you'd checked your phone, you would've known. WE need to talk about the setlist for the Northern half of our concert. And of course, the schedule."
I groaned in reply. So much for having the weekend off and enjoying the cuddle sessions with my lovely Nong.
"Sorry. I know you've been anticipating your first date with your dear Kong again for the past years, but P'Jane insisted. I dunno if there had been a change in schedule or something. I think there is, so we really need to meet before we head off tomorrow," Knot apologized, as if he had read my mind. I heaved a sigh of defeat and reluctantly started to wriggle out from beneath the younger without waking him up. It was easier said than done.
"Help me, with him please? Don't let him wake up."
"Sheesh. You probably let him do all the work," he grumbled teasingly.
"Work? What work?" I asked, uncomprehending. Knot rolled his eyes at me as he gently lifted the younger up, earning a groan from the latter. I quickly slithered off the couch and then I was standing, stretching and rolling my muscles.
"Sex." My so-called best friend answered as-a-matter-of-factly. He laid Kongpob down on the couch gently as I spluttered in reply.
"Oi, Knot!" I hissed. I could feel the blush creep up my face.
"We're all adults here. And we also knew that both of you are healthy adults. Sex is normal. So, you could've helped him out you know, instead of just lying there and take it."
"Hmm, P'Arthit's the one who did all the work, P'Knot..." I gasped in shock as I turned towards the raspy voice.
Kongpob still had his eyes closed but there was a smile playing on his lips.
Knot couldn't hold it anymore; he laughed. By then, I felt my cheeks burn so hot, and I bet that my face had resembled a tomato at that point.
"Oh, I thought you were the one doing the pitching, N'Kong!"
"Hmm, I actually don't care which role I take, P'Knot, just as long as it's with P'Arthit. But yeah. I played the catcher."
"Ooookaaaay, that's enough. Kong, go back to sleep, okay? We're just gonna have a meeting in the living area."
"Mmmkay, P'. Have fun..." Kongpob slurred, already burrowing further into the couch. I smiled fondly at him and bend down to kiss his forehead. "I love you."
"Mmm love you."
With that, I stood up and walked towards the door, Knot following close behind. When the door of the music room was firmly shut behind us, he teased me again.
"That's disgustingly sweet. You're so mushy."
"Shut it! Like you and Tob are any better."
He laughed in reply as we trudged to where the others were waiting.
"...and that's the last of it." P'Jane concluded as he discussed the minor changes to the schedule and overall concert details. We all looked incredulously at him. Normally, changes like this didn't warrant an emergency meeting like this. We could've just discussed this in the tour bus as we headed for the venue.
"That's it?" I had to ask.
"For the whole band? Of course. For you? Hell. No."
"What? What'd I do?!" I asked, looking at the others for any clue as to why our manager was looking so serious and kinda upset. They were as clueless as me.
"What did you do? Well, dear Mr. Rockstar, you just caused a major media stir and your fans are fighting all over the internet because of the stunt you pulled on stage in front of thousands of people!"
"But I had to do that, P'! It had been my chance and I grabbed it! I wouldn't let a golden opportunity like that to slip through my fingers, not after so many years!" I almost yelled, getting frustrated at how all of this was playing out. I also realized that I was starting to panic. What if I lost Kong again because of fame this time?
"N'Arthit! You can't just do something like that without any thought! You are a public figure, you do realize that right? So everything you do outside will always be scrutinized. The lot of you have managed to keep out of major scandals, and you are the most behaved celebrities I had ever had the pleasure to handle. I don't want your careers to crash and burn when you're at the peak of fame—"
"P'Jane, let me just stop you right there," I calmly said. Deep inside I was raging though. I looked at each of my friends, and one look at my face, they knew what I wanted. They nodded their heads in support.
"I don't care about my career. I don't care that if after this, I lost my fans. The love of my life arrived first than my successful career. I've lost him once and I am not willing to lose him for a second time. I won't. I'm not letting him go this time," was my vehement answer. P'Jane looked at us one by one.
"And all of you are okay with this?" he asked even though I knew that he knew that my friends were supporting me a hundred per cent. They nodded their heads, even Tutah who wasn't technically part of the band, but he's a part of our little family, so. He chose to be the head of our PA's and our stylist.
"Okay, fine. You'll continue to pursue your mysterious Nong. But Arthit, you've got to be careful with this, please. I don't want to know that at the end of this all, that Nong is just..."
"Just what, P'Jane?" Knot asked lowly. I couldn't even speak at what P'Jane was implicating.
"That he's just with you because of the glitter; the fame and the money. You know. You know what really happened to one of the artists that I handled before. I don't want that to happen to you, okay? I couldn't prevent the ruin of his career and his life, just because of a girl."
The gang and I all exchanged looks.
"I assure you, P'Jane, that our Nong isn't like that. He had been a good child since we first met him in university," Knot answered. I threw him a grateful smile.
"Yes. Knot is right about that. My baby gay is a mild-mannered man, always so respectful and charming. A lot of girls had been falling for him but too bad for them, he's gay. And this had been good for our dearest friend here," Tutah said next, winking at me for good measure.
"He's been the only first year that I liked even if he had been from a different faculty," Prem muttered.
"Ehem *Wad* Ehem," Bright fake coughed, earning him a smack from Prem.
"You don't have to worry about the fame and money part, P'," I told him seriously. "I'm pretty sure that he's got more money than me. As for fame, well, he's not an attention-hog. He liked remaining relatively anonymous, but given his social status, he had to face cameras sometimes. But I know that he absolutely doesn't enjoy it."
P'Jane deflated when he saw all of our determined looks.
"Okay, if you want this to work, you have to provide me with a name. I'm sorry, N'Arthit, but I would really like to run a background check on him to be sure. Then I need to set up an appointment with him so that I could brief him on what to do when someone inevitably finds out the identity of your Nong."
I was reluctant to share details regarding Kongpob to anyone, even P'Jane, who was also a part of the family now. I looked at Knot for help but he agreed with P'Jane's decision. Sighing in defeat, because deep down I knew that they were right and P'Jane only wanted what was best for us.
"Kongpob Suthiluck," I revealed.
"Thank you. I'll run a simple background check on him, okay? Just to be sure."
I only nodded in reply, leaning against the back of the arm chair, suddenly feeling exhausted. P'Jane was murmuring under his breath and I paid him no mind.
"By the way Arthit. How did the date go? Huh? Huh?" Bright asked enthusiastically, wriggling his eyebrows at me. Five sets of eyes were suddenly on me and I felt a little cornered. I scowled at them and shut my mouth.
"You went on a date, Arthit?" P'Jane asked, a frown marring his features.
"We- Yes, P'. I had a date with him last night," I admitted. He heaved a sigh.
"Nong... please tell me you've been careful. You're still the hot topic—"
"I had a date with him here, P'. Both of us knew what will happen if we went on a date outside."
"Oh, okay. That's good to hear. Phew. Don't scare me like that, Nong," the older said with a relieved smile.
"So? How did it go? Was it successful? When will you become official?" Prem asked.
"I didn't know you were such a gossip, Prem," I mocked the other. He rolled his eyes at me. Knot and Tutah were smirking at me, though. Knot, I understood, because he knew that the date went very well. Tutah on the other hand...
"It went well, didn't it? It went so very well..."
Bright and Prem zeroed in on their stylist.
"What do you know, huh? Share it with us!" Bright cajoled.
"Hey Knot, you know something. You're smirking. Oi! Share it with us!" Prem prodded the other. My eyes were wide in panic as I looked at my two friends.
"I don't know. Ask Arthit. Or Tutah," Knot evaded.
"Tutah! Share!" Bright yelled enthusiastically. Tutah smirked at me before he was pulling something out from behind him, something black...
"Which base, Arthit?" he purred as he raised the familiar looking black button up shirt. Oooooh shit. "I'm betting... home base."
My four friends were smiling like the Cheshire cat at me, like I was their prey and they were ready to pounce. And pounce they did.
"Where'd you even get that, Tutah? Did you go rummaging in my room?" I hissed at him. Yeah where did he ge—oh no. I've only picked up the clothes strewn around the living area and not the—
"The balcony. Really Arthit? The balcony? D'you have an exhibitionism kink?" Tutah teased. I felt my face burn hot.
"Oi, Arthit, you dog!" Bright hollered.
"I didn't know you had it in you!" Prem added, smiling widely.
"Tell me at least that you didn't have sex at the balcony..." P'Jane asked, half-serious.
"So you went all the way?" prodded Tutah. I didn't answer; my burning face revealed the answer anyway.
"They did," Bright said.
"They did," Prem said.
"They so did it," Tutah added.
"They did," Knot said smugly.
"Oh yeah, what do you know, Knot? You've got to reveal it. C'mon spill!"
I shook his head frantically at him. He looked at me for a long time then he was shaking his head and mimed zipping his mouth shut.
"Oh c'mon! You've gotta tell us. Tutah already shared his discovery. It's your turn now."
"...it's in the music room. That's where he found Arthit," Prem observed. Why, oh why, did Prem use his brains in mischief. They stood up but was promptly yanked down by Knot. I sighed in relief. My relief was short-lived though because I forgot about the other one, and he took that chance to flee towards the music room. I was too far from him to stop and I was too slow to react. Minutes later, we heard him shout.
I slumped back on my seat in defeat and just prayed that Tutah didn't smother my boyfriend. I avoided my friends' stares.
"He's still here! Arthit, you dog!"
"Huh, I thought he'd be walking the morning walk of shame but I guess he's be walking in the evening instead?"
"He's not gonna walk. He's gonna drive home."
"Oh that's good. Bring him here so I could brief him and get this over with," P'Jane said seriously, carefully not looking at me. I think he was judging me but I couldn't be too sure.
I sighed and trudged towards the music room. The scene that I walked into was not what I had expected. To be honest, I was expecting excited chattering of one of my best friends with my boyfriend smiling widely and just being his charming self. Instead, I heard sniffles and gasps as Tutah cried against Kongpob's shoulder. The younger was also teary eyed but there was a gentle smile on his face.
Oh right. I almost forgot that Tutah and Kongpob had known each other longer than I knew the latter. Tutah had, sort of, adopted Kongpob as his "Baby Gay" when they met at one of the campaigns in our alma mater. So when I introduced Kongpob to them the first time, it was a huge shock to receive the shovel talk from one of my best friends after he gave it to my boyfriend.
Kongpob noticed me lurking at the doorway and he gave me a watery smile. I returned the smile with one of my own, and left them to themselves. I went back to the others and they gave me curious looks when I came back alone. I shrugged my shoulders.
"I let them have their moment. You know how Tutah and Kong had been close before I even met him."
The others nodded in understanding. I turned to look at P'Jane. He raised his hand in the universal stop sign before I even had the chance to speak.
"No need to explain. I understand," he said with a smile. "Just fetch them when the food's here. I ordered takeout."
P'Jane and Bright went down to gather the food bags up while Knot, Prem and I brought out plates and utensils and set them up on the coffee table in the living room. It has been roughly twenty minutes since Tutah had gone to the music room and they were still in there.
"Hey Arthit, should I go fetch them?" Prem asked. I looked at him then at the direction of the room and shook my head.
"No, I'll go. You can stay here."
I trudged towards the room and peeked inside. They were now sitting face to face, their postures relaxed as they talked quietly. There were smiles on their faces and it was fun to watch them giggle with one another. I knocked on the door to alert them of my presence. Both of them looked at me and smiled. I moved inside and sat beside my boyfriend, snaking a hand around his waist and hooking my chin on his shoulder.
"Oi, Arthit! What'd you do to my Nong, huh? Look at his neck. Just look! Are you a rabid dog? He looks like he's been attacked by a dog. Or a fangless vampire. His neck is a mess of bruises!"
Kong touched his neck self-consciously.
"It is?" he asked, looking at Tutah then at me. I nodded sheepishly.
"Sorry," I mumbled. I dropped a kiss on a particularly large and vivid purple mark as an apology. He shrugged in reply after a while.
"If you didn't have a concert, I would've done the same so that people would know that you're taken," he declared nonchalantly. Tutah watched our interaction, a wide smile dancing on his face. Then he squealed like a school girl.
"Oh my god, you guys are sickeningly cute even after ten years! Just go get married already!" he remarked.
"Patience, P'Tutah. Soon, I'll be asking this damn beautiful man's hand in marriage so that he'll be mine forever. But I'll content myself with this for now," the younger declared, looking straight to my eye.
"Kongpob Suthiluck, you have the gall to declare that?" I said dangerously low. I saw uncertainty flicker in his eyes and then I was smirking. "You're not the one who's gonna be doing the asking. I will be the one making you forever mine. Actually, I am declaring now that you are mine, and mine only. Understand that, baby?"
I watched him as he fought back the smile from blooming on his face by biting his lower lip. It was a lost cost as I could still see the corners of his lips twitching.
"Aaaaah! Team Air. Damn it. I'm fangirling right now, Phew. You guys are so sickeningly cute. Stop that! Aaaah! I'm blushing and I'm so giddy just watching you two."
Both of us giggled at Tutah's ridiculous commentaries.
"By the way, food's on the way. I'm supposed to fetch you two. And, uhm, Kong..."
"What is it P'Arthit?"
"Uh, our manager, P'Jane, wants to talk with about our situation..."
I watched how Kong's eyes seem to harden, getting defensive.
"Don't worry, he's not gonna talk about you leaving me behind. He just wants to know you and brief you regarding PR and whatnot. We still don't know how the public will take our relationship so he'd probably brief you on possible scenarios," I reassured him.
"Don't worry about it N'Kong. P'Jane is really understanding. He did the same with Bright and Knot when they had their partners. The well-being of the band and whoever gets associated with them is his priority. And I'm pretty sure that he'll like you," Tutah added confidently.
Kongpob bit his lip, looking at me and then to Tutah. He still looked conflicted and I waited for him to tell us what was bothering him. After a while, he did just that.
"My situation is different from P'Bright's and P'Knot's relationship. Mine is more difficult because of my past, P', so he might not approve of me."
"Kong. He will understand, trust me."
"No, he will. I'm sure of it. And if he doesn't, well, he can't make me leave you. No sir. Not happening. I'm choosing you."
I let the weight of my words sink in with them, the implication of it. Then Kongpob was clamoring to change my mind, that he'd feel bad if he'd be the cause of the possible fight with our manager, our management, or worse, the disbandment of the band. I was immovable with my decision, though.
"That's why we have to convince P'Jane that we could do this. That we could weather the storm if it falls upon us."
Kongpob looks at me silently for a while. Then he heaves a sigh, coming into a conclusion.
"Okay... okay. I was planning to use the PR department of my family's company, or a better option, consult my family's publicist," he revealed. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"If you had this idea all along, why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, I didn't want to freak you out or something. I mean, I am aware of your status as a celebrity and I have had extreme experience in the past with the paparazzi's so I know now how to be wary. And since I am trained, and am now a businessman, I needed to make plans for the future. So when I decided to go to the concert, worst case scenarios had played in my mind and I had started to plan for them. And this is me, using whatever resources I have."
"Hot damn, you're one step ahead," I murmured.
"Oh yeah. I keep forgetting that you are rich. Okay! Why don't we all go and talk to P'Jane about this now? I'll help with the convincing if he disapproves with your relationship."
A/N: Cliffhanger? cliffhanger. (●'◡'●)
Chapter 3: C.3 First Date Arc - 3
Phew! It's been so long. I have been busy with Sparks Fly that I had neglected the update of this one. Although I had also been busy writing chap 8 of this story, so I hadn't managed to proofread and publish a chapter here.
I'm so sorry! So now, here's another lengthy chapter.
Just a slight warning: mention of domestic abuse. like literal mention of that word. I dunno if I should put this warning here, but just in case.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
We went to out to the living room and found that P'Jane and Bright still hadn't arrived. The other two said that there was something mixed up in their orders and that they were waiting for the next delivery guy.
Kongpob went to the bedroom to retrieve his phone and he still hasn't come back out, so I went to check up on him. I found him sitting on the edge of the bed, talking to someone on the phone. He noticed me and he mouthed the name of his daughter. I nodded in understanding then gestured outside with my thumb. He nodded with a smile and then I was going out.
Just as I stepped foot into the living room, my front door opened up and revealed two guys laden with food. I hurried towards them to help them out. Then we were plating the food and distributing them and the condiments, taking our seats and making ourselves comfortable. Just then, the door to my bedroom opened up, revealing my adorable boyfriend in the black hoodie he had used at the concert (I stole it from him when he went home that time, making him wear one of my hoodies).
He greeted the others that were on the living room with a wai, and then I was pulling him towards me. I introduced him to my manager, and they greeted each other politely. When all formalities had been dealt with, I yanked him down so that he was perched on my lap, seeing as there were no more available seats (I lied, Tutah had made space beside him on the sectional couch, but well...), and he yelped in surprise. I saw his adorable blush, which made me nuzzle him.
We ate in relative silence, occasionally talking and teasing one another (mostly me and my boyfriend). When all the food was gone and the dishes had been cleaned and stored, P'Jane called all of our attention. Then he began talking about our public relations and whatnot.
"N'Kongpob, please don't take this the wrong way. I am conducting a background check on you, and I have read a few interesting articles regarding your past and background. You are of the Suthiluck family, isn't that right?" he asked, to which Kong nodded. He had migrated besides Tutah, insisting to actually be sitting properly as courtesy to the others.
"While Bright's boyfriend is also a Suthiluck, your situation is a lot more different than his. Well first, because you are the Suthiluck heir—"
"Had been. I was considered that years ago. Not anymore. The reins are being held by my very competent sister," Kongpob interjected, his voice cool, portraying himself in a calm and collected way. His face was a mask of seriousness, his eyes calculating and I would've been a bit unnerved if his focus had been on me, but it wasn't, and it was on P'Jane, so I didn't really care. I, instead, took that chance to ogle my sexy dominating boyfriend.
"I-I... okay. Had been the heir. Your family caused quite a stir in the media a few years ago. Well, according to these news clippings. Please explain about this, Nong?" he asked.
My heart began to thump faster with how the conversation was going and seeing P'Jane's serious expression. Somehow, I didn't feel good about it. There was something that P'Jane had discovered that he seemed not to like but he was giving the benefit of the doubt by letting Kong explain his situation. He had been right, this was more complicated than the others' relationship. I looked at the younger when the silence had stretched out, and saw the tells on his body language that clued me in that he was getting tense. One particular clue was his tapping index finger. I stretched my leg so that my foot was touching his. He nudged my limb in acknowledgment.
"Yes, that time when our company nearly declared bankruptcy. That was a media rollercoaster indeed... But all is well now, P'. My sisters are doing a very good job in stabilizing the company," he answered with a fake smile plastered on his face. I turned to look at P'Jane smugly, but... he wasn't happy with his answer. In fact, he was looking disappointed and a little pissed off at my boyfriend. It was as if the latter didn't pass his test or something. What was going on?
"Nong," he uttered warningly.
P'Jane crossed his arms on his chest looking at the younger with squinted eyes.
"Are you playing dumb, Nong? I'm not talking about your company. I'm talking about your family. Have you even told your boyfriend about it? About them?"
I shot a warning glance at P'Jane and he was looking at me, all serious and unrelenting. I scowled, still puzzled at where the conversation was going. And then it clicked. His emphasis on the word 'family', was he was talking about...?
"If this is about his failed marriage, P', then yes, I'm aware of it. I'm also aware of him having a child with his ex-wife. All of us are aware of it," I interjected. The older nodded his head in approval, his posture losing a little bit of their stiffness.
"Good. Good... So what's your stance regarding this, N'Arthit? All of this? Even the grounds of the divorce?" P'Jane asked. I was puzzled with the last question. Why would it matter to me about the grounds of Kongpob's divorce?
"Uh, what does it matter P'? He's legally separated from his wife for a few years now. Technically, he's free."
"Well, yeah he's free. He can date anyone he likes without any legal ramifications. But the circumstances surrounding his divorce... N'Arthit, I can't just set that aside—"
"What's that got to do with me?" I asked, a little harshly. He looked surprised for a moment and then he was whipping his head towards Kongpob.
"Of course you didn't tell him. Well, I'm sorry Nong, but I think he needs to know about this—"
"Kong?" I asked when I saw how the younger had his eyes scrunched shut. I noticed how he was breathing deeply and a ball of anxiety grew in the pit of my stomach. He opened his eyes and looked directly at our manager, his eyes shiny but determined.
"How did you know?" he asked silently. "There was a media blackout for that."
P'Jane's expression was unreadable as he stared back at Kong. Then he tapped his tablet on and was showing him something on it. Kongpob skims through it and then he handed me the device. I took it warily, afraid of what I might find on it. I stared at image. It was a newspaper clipping from four years ago, just a tiny column of a tabloid. He skimmed through the story of how the Suthilucks had lost their company and how the heir was making a stir because of his divorce with his wife of more than two years on the grounds of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse. What?
"I-Is this--?" I couldn't finish the sentence. I was too shocked. My Kong... my sweet, kind, and strong Kong, involved in some kind of abuse? My Kong was...
"Yes," was his clipped answer. I could see that he had closed himself off; but that he was barely pulling himself together with how he was clutching his hands so tightly.
I paled when I remembered his daughter.
"Was your daugh--?"
"No. I made sure of that." Somehow, the tightness in my chest lessened with his answer. I couldn't imagine the scars that that would leave on a child's psychological health. It was already way too much for an adult. I reached out for his clasped hands and laid my hand on in tentatively, not sure if any form of contact was welcomed at the moment. The others were silent, even though I knew they were itching to know what was happening and what was the meaning behind all the unfinished sentences. I didn't want to explain to them though. Not yet, anyway, when my boyfriend needed more reassurance at the moment.
"You did good protecting her," was all I could say. I didn't know what else to say otherwise, except to point out this little bit of achievement to him. He took a peek at me and I was relieved at the vulnerable hope in his eyes. I smiled at him. I saw him take a deep breath, to fortify himself, before he addressed our manager, who had been thankfully silent all this time. I turned to look at him and I think I saw a deepset understanding in his eyes.
"Yes, P'Jane, this has happened to me," Kongpob said, gesturing towards the tablet. "But not in the way that most people assumed. I was the vic—at the receiving end, which is a rare case, but it still happened. Does this make me incompatible with P'Arthit?" he asked with a slight tremor to his voice. His gaze didn't waver though.
"I-I—no. I'm sorry about this Nong, but I had to be sure—"
"I know. You don't have to apologize for this. It's your job to take care of your them after all. I just hoped that I could've been the one to tell this to P'Arthit, though, when I'm ready."
"I'm really sorry Nong..."
Silence permeated the air. I could feel the awkwardness coming in troves from all the people present. Kongpob had opened his palms and were now knuckle-gripping my hands. He must have noticed my wince of pain because he loosened his hold but didn't let go. I gave his hand a gentle squeeze and I was glad when he squeezed back. He was taking this surprisingly better than I had anticipated.
"I... look Nong. Are you serious about this relationship?"
I looked at our manager incredulously.
"Don't look at me like that N'Arthit. Let me finish first," he berated me. "Look, dating N'Arthit would surely put you into the spotlight again, Nong. Are you ready for that? Because I can only imagine the media shitstorm this had created when it happened... And your daughter..."
"P', I am grateful for your concern. I truly am. But I want to take this chance again to have what I want the most in my life. That is having P'Arthit with me, by my side. I have been careful with the media ever since then and I have learned how best to deal with them. I am willing to cooperate with you and your team. Actually, I think it's better to consult with my family's publicist about this, let them coordinate and handle this."
P'Jane scrutinized Kongpob and I was so fucking proud with how my lovely Nong was looking back at him unflinchingly, even though the tremors on his hands betrayed his nerves. After a few whiles, P'Jane smiled genuinely.
"Okay. I won't stop you then. As long as you know what you are getting into and you know what you are doing. I need to make a plan with the PR team then, and I need to contact this publicist of yours Nong."
"Sure P'. I'll give you her contact info and I'll also give her a call."
I joined my boyfriend at the balcony where he retreated after the relationship talks turned into official band talks. He had stayed there for a while and I let him, because I sensed that he needed some time for himself to calm down. When the others had bid their goodbyes, I told them to not disturb him and I'd just inform the latter that they had left.
"Hey," I called out softly, handing him a mug of steaming hot cocoa. He smiled gratefully at me, wrapping his hands around the warm porcelain.
I stared at his profile, enjoying how he looked against the backdrop of twinkling Bangkok lights, tracing his features with my eyes. Tomorrow, I would be leaving this beautiful man again, and my heart was left with a pang. I had to console myself that I would see him again because this time, he was mine and we knew where the other would be. No more unsaid goodbyes, just temporary.
"Sorry," he mumbled after a moment of silence.
"For what?" I asked, puzzled.
"For this. For being weak. For being broken. I-I understand if you don't want all these baggage—"
"Hold it right there. I never said that I wouldn't accept you even with all your past. In fact, I promised you forever, didn't I?" I firmly said. There was no way that I would let go of him, ever.
"But P', your career..."
"Are you having second thoughts?" I asked instead, dreading the answer. I saw him bite his lip and I swear my heart stopped at that moment until he shook his head 'no'.
"Let me tell you something. My career is secondary to you. Every one of us is holding our career only secondary in our lives. All of us treat our partners and families as first and foremost of our priorities. The people who loves us and believes in us unconditionally, you are the ones that we are afraid of losing. We vowed with one another that we will not let our career affect our relationships to the ones who matter the most to us. And now that I finally got you back, you've become one of those people. Do you understand? Don't you want to take the chance with me?"
"I... I-I do, P'. I really do. I want to. But... you will need a lot of patience with me, P'. I was broken, P'. More so than what others think. But I've managed to pick up my pieces if only for the sake of my daughter. But I am not pieced back together perfectly. There are cracks that I have failed to mend— that I couldn't mend— and I am imperfect. As you spend more time with me, you will see them, P'. So if you really want to stay with me, well, take this as your warning. Do not expect me to be the person who I once was because I couldn't be that anymore. Are you still willing to be with me, P'?"
No matter how much I wanted to contradict all of what he said, I couldn't because I know that they were the truth and saying that they weren't would only brush off his struggles. All I could do was accept him, accept all his pains, even though it would hurt me too along the way. But the other choice... not being able to touch him, to hold him, to call him mine... I could endure a little bit of pain if it meant I could spend my time with him.
I stared at his eyes that were displaying his vulnerability, his nervousness. I met those shining eyes with mine and I hoped that my eyes were showing him my determination and not the anxiety that I was feeling.
"Yes," I answered firmly.
'Irrevocably. Indomitably. Yes,' I didn't say.
He nodded after a while of staring at each other and then I was pulling him towards me. We hugged each other tightly, me soothing the last vestiges of his trembling by rubbing circles onto his back. We comforted each other with each other's presence, staying within the warmth that our bodies generated.
"Will you listen? To my story, P'? When I finally gather the courage to talk?" he asked quietly, breaking the stillness of the night.
"I will," I said.
"I... thank you. I'll hold you to that."
I loaded my things grumpily at the van that would take me towards the studio. The PA assigned to me was wary of my scowls and she did everything in her power to not aggravate me further.
My dear Kong had left just a little bit earlier since he had a daughter to take care of and a company to run. Speaking of, I just realized, if his sister was the one running their family business, then what company was my Kong running? I suddenly stilled when I realized this. I groaned at myself when I further realized that there were still a lot about my Kong's life that I didn't know at the moment.
The PA was looking at me weirdly. I gave her the infamous Head Hazer Scowl ™ . She squeaked and hurried over towards the passenger seat, leaving me to trudge slowly towards the sliding door of the car. I settled in at the middle seat, slapping Bright's legs which were opened so wide. He snorted in his sleep, letting out a confused 'Wha?'. It earned me a slap to the back of my head from the second seat and looked back to glare and growl at the culprit. Tutah was looking at me with an unamused look, being immune to my grumpiness.
"Stop being a grinch to everyone so early in the morning. You're not the only who's leaving behind their loved ones. It's just for a few months for goodness sake. You're not going to war."
I huffed and just turned to look forward, sulkily looking outside the passing scenery outside the window. A few minutes later, something cold was pressed to my cheek, making me startle. I looked at the silver metal tumbler curiously.
"Mmm. You forgot this on your countertop," Tutah said. I accepted it, not remembering anything about it. Curious as to what it was, I opened the lid and the most wonderful smell wafted to my nostrils. I took a peek and a smile bloomed on my face. I immediately screwed the lid shut and turned the thing around, looking for any clue. At the bottom of the cannister was a small piece of sticky note, a cartoon doodle of a man saying 'Rock On!' with the hand on the universal rock sign. I plucked the paper and neatly folded it, tucking it safely inside my wallet. I felt instantly better.
(MON 8:39 PM)
(Sk8r Boi sent an image)
A: We've arrived
A: that bed looks too big
(MON 9:14 PM)
K: invite P'Knot over
K: have a sleepover
A: Why are you so heartless
K: I'm practical
K: Take the ass away
K: just smart
A: I'll just take the smart away
A: and leave the ass
A: and what a glorious piece of ass
K: but yeah, I think I do have a cute ass
K: if I do say so myself
A: someone's conceited
K: No, just being honest
K: I also have trusted informants
A: and who might these be?
K: The ladies who always ogle my derriere
K: and the few occasional boys
K: Just messing with you
K: what are you doing now?
A: chatting with you
K: anything else?
K: Are you really alone in that suite?
A: yea, why?
A: are you thinking dirty thoughts???
K: haha what?
K: of course not
K: I'm with Morgan
K: why would I think impure thoughts around her?
K: was just thinking if you'd feel lonely on that big bed...
A: see! You're thinking dirty thoughts!
A: and in the presence of ur daughter too!
A: pervert Kong!
K: ur the one always thinking of dirty thoughts
K: you were the one who always begged me for another round!
K: I still feel sore btw
K: And morgan def noticed I was limping
A: did she ask?
K: yea. She was really worried
K: asked why I wasn't walking properly
K: said I was walking funny like those older kids in our nbhd back in CA
A: huh? Wdym?
A: wait, are there a lot of gay kids in ur nbhd?
K: or I dunno
K: I dunno if those kids are gay.
K: anyway they were too young to be having sex
K: they were walking funny because they just had circumcised.
A: is this where the dick is... uhm...
K: the foreskin is removed.
K: religion and culture
K: so anyway, she asked me if I had went to the doctor to be circumcised actually
A: wanna be circumcised Kongy?
K: nuh uh.
A: circumcised or not, I'd still take you
A: so wat you tell her?
K: told her I got sore playing football
A: good one
A: you don't know how to play football!
K: I went dumb
A: u certainly did
A: got yelled at this morning
A: by head honcho
K: thot u good?
A: I haven't got the chance to talk with him from the concert
A: so he took this opportunity
A: don't worry about it
A: he's our friend
A: he actually supported us even when three of us came out as bi in a pride parade.
A: he just yells at us and then he talks to us and the PR team about our steps
A: as long as we're not doing sumthin illegal
K: tht's good to know, P
A: also, he's really a good senior to us
A: a good friend
A: he had been the one to discover us
A: we were his frist talents
A: so we go really waaaaay bck
K: oh. That's great!
A: but he won't take our shit
A: without tellin his opinion.
A: he scold us then we good to go
K: I'm relieved
K: at least I won't be causing you to lose your job
A: nope don't worry about it
A: and even if i lost this career
A: I'm still an engineer
A: I'd be an engineer if we hadn't joined that battle of the bands back in college
K: you're right
K: ur a brilliant engineer
K: and here's the proof
A: u still have that?
K: of course
K: it's precious to you
K: it's ur heart
A: what r u on about
K: u don't know the meaning of ur gear???
A: uh. Cogwheels of a machine?
A: a representation of being an engineer?
K: the gear is the representation of an engineer's heart!
K: ur the engineer!!!
K: and a head hazer to boot!!!!
K: how come u never knew dis?!
A: there's such a thing???
A: I didn't know...
K: if u didn't know the deeper meaning, then why did u give me dis?
A: it's cause I didn't have anything of more value to give to you on valentines day
A: I gave you that because it's the most precious thing to me since I worked so hard to earn that
A: and tutah gave me the idea...
K: well P'Tutah was the one who told me about the meaning of the gear
A: wait, so he knew about it?
A: I guess I have to thank him then...
K: I was about to return it to you actually
K: when I learned how hard it was for you engineers to get this.
K: but he stopped me when I told him about it
K: he said that I should just cherish it because it represented your heart
K: so u basically gave me ur heart that time
A: he's the best
A: how bout now?
A: dyou still wanna return it?
K: uhm. No
K: unless u want it back
A: keep it.
A: although, can you take a picture of it at the center of ur palm?
A: as a keepsake and reminder that you have my heart
A: great! Send it to me
(nerd boy sent an image)
The image of the gear on a palm of a tanned hand peaked at number one trending in social media accounts all over Thailand the following day. A certain band vocalist was being yelled at by a stressed out manager while the culprit himself smiled goofily at him.
Back in Bangkok, the owner of the tanned hand was oblivious to the media storm brewing around him, blissfully going on about his day and missing a certain mischievous singer, the suspect gear tied securely on a chain around his neck, hidden by his dress shirt.
Back in Bangkok, an owner of a certain music label rubbed his head in frustration at the unprecedented media post. He was itching to call the culprit but he digressed, letting go of his frustration seeing as the post didn't do any harm. Yet. He groaned in defeat.
To whomever that hand is, I'm sorry, I got a picture of your hand. All pictures here are taken from the internet. none of them are mine.
Also, just to be clear, I don't mean to offend someone with the cultural context I added here. I grew up in a country where circumcision is a rite of passage for young boys and seeing as I'm a woman, I wouldn't know the actual pain they go through for that. I just hear short anecdotes from people. If someone do get offended, I am sorry about it.
Thank you for reading!
Chapter 4: C.4 Mid Tour Arc-1
AN: I indulged myself a little bit with this chapter. More teasing of Arthit by the boys and Kongpob too! I changed up the lyrics of the first song featured here.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"—and on the blue corner, The Hazing Daze!"
Thunderous applause and yelling filled the medium sized studio. Four men walked out from one side of the set, greeting everyone present, and went to the raised blue platform, facing another set of people on another platform, this one painted in red. They looked at the other group in challenge as the latter sneered at them.
"Now, now. I know all of you here knows about their rivalry, yes?"
"Yes!" the audience yelled enthusiastically. Arthit felt like he was some gladiator in Old Rome.
"But there hadn't been a chance for them to face off live on TV, correct?"
"Well, here it is folks! The battle of the bands between the Rioteers and the Hazing Daze!"
Loud screaming echoed around the studio and Arthit wondered to himself in bemusement, on why do people kept on fanning the rivalry between their bands. It's been going on since that fateful battle of the bands ten years ago, for pete's sake! The Rioteers had been one of their adversaries at the finals, yes, but their bands hadn't even won the contest! It was the Daisies and Pansies that won. Arthit also didn't know why this band insisted that they were their rival, going so far as to announce it in one of their interviews.
Prem was definitely enjoying the rivalry, and he suspected that Knot was lowkey enjoying it too. Bright, of course, was with Prem on this one, while Arthit himself was just indifferent to it all. He heaved a deep sigh of defeat as the TV show host explained the mechanics to the camera.
Each band will have to perform three foreign songs and the audience would be the one to vote for their bands. The most votes would be the winner. Arthit didn't even know if there was a prize for this or not. He didn't care, actually. All he cared about was sleep at the moment. This was, thankfully, the last of their interview-slash-performance taping for the day. Man, could he just say that he was beat as hell?
Taping upon taping of interviews had greeted them as they landed back on Bangkok after a three month long concert all around Northern Thailand. They were exhausted from the flight and all the shows but they didn't have the luxury of resting yet because the interviews were a necessary evil. After all, they had to promote their album and concert. To top it all off, they also had to prepare for this very battle of the bands thing, eating up their extra time that should have been allotted to resting and shit.
So yeah, now they were on another set for a talk show, faking their smiles, and acting like they were ecstatic to be there, not even a full week in from when they arrived in Bangkok. Arthit wanted to go home already. Wait, no. Scratch that. Arthit wanted to go to his Nong and cuddle the life out of him already. He missed his boyfriend, too, people!
When all the pleasantries and small talks were out of the way, the talk show host, P'Jed, started the battle. The Rioteers went first. They sang a rap/punk rock Chinese song and it was pretty cool. Arthit knew a little bit of Chinese and he was amazed at the vocalist's, Jan's, pronunciation of the words, especially at the rap part. He found himself bobbing to the music of their "opponent".
Then came their turn. His asshole friends had chosen two American songs, which was favorable to him, and one Japanese song, which... Yeah. He hopes that he wouldn't offend any Japanese people with how he'd probably butcher their beautiful language. Somebody, kill him now.
The director gave them the signal and the sound of electric guitars filled the studio. Arthit opened his mouth to sing after the intro but the vocals had been hi-jacked then. By Bright. He sent him a murderous look and just focused on playing the guitar.
He was a boy
In love with a boy
Can I make it any more obvious?
He was a punk
While he was a nerd
What more can I say?
He wanted him
and he'd never tell
Secretly he wanted him as well
But all of his friends
Stuck up their nose
They had a problem with his baggy clothes
He was a skater boy
He said, "See you later, boy"
He wasn't good enough for him
He had a pretty face
But his head was up in space
He needed to come back down to earth
Ten years from now
He sits at home
Feeding the baby, he's all alone
He turns on TV
Guess who he sees
Skater boy rockin' up MTV
He calls up his friends
They already know
And they've all got tickets to see his show
He tags along
And stands in the crowd
Looks up at the man that he left behind
He was a skater boy
He said, "See you later, boy"
He wasn't good enough for him
Now he's a super star
Slammin' on his guitar
Does your pretty face see what he's worth?
He was a skater boy
He said, "See you later, boy"
He wasn't good enough for him
Now he's a super star
Slammin' on his guitar
Does your pretty face see what he's worth?
Sorry, boy, but you missed out
Well, tough, luck that boy's mine now
We are more than just good friends
This is how the story ends
Too bad that you couldn't see
See the man that boy could be
There is more that meets the eye
I see the soul that is inside
Bright sidled up to Arthit's side, fluttering his eyelashes at him as he sang into the latter's mike. He leaned as far away from him as possible, a frown firmly on his face. He, so badly wanted to grimace and yell "Ew! Gross!" but he couldn't because they're on tape.
He's just a boy
And I'm just a boy
Can I make it any more obvious?
We are in love
Haven't you heard
How we rock each other's world
Just thinking about rocking each other's world with Bright made Arthit want to throw up. No, not Bright. He was like a brother to him and he definitely wasn't his type.
He was a skater boy
He said, "See you later, boy"
He wasn't good enough for him
He had a pretty face
But his head was up in space
He needed to come back down to earth
He was a skater boy
He said, "See you later, boy"
He wasn't good enough for him
But now he's a superstar
Slamming on his guitar
Does your pretty face see what he's worth?
The song finishes off with a vocalization from Bright. Arthit turned to look at Knot and Prem and discovered that they were grinning at him like crazy. So, they were in on it, too, huh? Aish! If the head honcho yelled at them regarding this, he was gonna throw them under the bus with no remorse!
The first round was done! Hurrah. Now time for him to kill his bandmates. They could've told him about this, you know! But then, he got distracted by the provocation from the other band. Seriously, their lead was really cocky, despite her being a girl. Arthit rolled his eyes, and let his friends do their own jeering.
The other band started on their second song after a brief introduction from their lead vocals. Their next song was American this time, and he recognized the song immediately. It was one of those songs from Kong's playlist.
The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars.
He bopped his head to the tune and the notes for the song flowed through his head, unbidden. His fingers twitched against the fret board of his guitar and he had to lower down the volume of his instrument to avoid ruining the other band's performance.
When they were done, Bright stepped up on the mike after P'Jed gave the cue, and spoke a little something about their next song. Knot struck his drum sticks together, signaling the start of the second song, then the drums, electric guitars and bass started off. After the intro was done, Arthit was feeling petty, so he decided not to sing.
"Arthit!" Knot, Bright, and Prem yelled on their mikes.
"Oh, now I'm your vocalist?" I said sarcastically while we repeated the intro. I stepped up into my mike and then I was singing.
I'm in the business of misery, let's take it from the top
She's got a body like an hourglasses tickin' like a clock
I actually had trouble memorizing and singing the lyrics because of its fast pace and the rap-like nature of the song. I could do Thai rap easily, but not so much when It came to English.
It's a matter of time before we all run out
When I thought he was mine, she caught him by the mouth
I waited eight long months, she finally set him free
I told him I couldn't lie, he was the only one for me
Two weeks we had caught on fire
Just get it for me but I wear the biggest smile
Woah, I never meant to brag
But I got him where I want him now
Woah, it was never my intention to brag
Just stealing all the way from you now
But god, does it feel so good
'Cause I got him where I want him right now
And if you could then you know you would
'Cause god it just feels so, just feels so good
Second chances they don't ever matter
People never change
Once a whore, you're nothing more
I'm sorry that'll never change
And about forgiveness
We're both supposed to have exchanged
I'm sorry honey but I passed it up now look this way
Well there's a million other girls who do it just like you
Looking as innocent as possible to get to who
They want and what they like, it's easy if you do it right
Well, I refuse, I refuse, I refuse
Woah, I never meant to brag
But I got him where I want him now
Woah, it was never my intention to brag
Just stealing all the way from you now
But god, does it feel so good
'Cause I got him where I want him right now
And if you could then you know you would
'Cause god it just feels so, just feels so good
I watched his wildest dreams come true
Not one of them involving you
Just watch my wildest dreams come true
Not one of them involving!
Aaaaand they played that sick guitar riff. Arthit let out his inner beast, and enthusiastically shredded that riff. He looked at his bandmates and they, too, were enjoying the instrumental part. He braced himself for the last part, the highest note of the song. The riff comes to an end, and only the drums were being played.
Woah, I never meant to brag, but I got him where I want him now
Screams and claps filled the studio after Arthit nailed the high note, and he was filled with pride. Then he started to play the guitar again for the last part.
Woah, I never meant to brag
But I got him where I want him now
Woah, it was never my intention to brag
Just stealing all the way from you now
But god, does it feel so good
'Cause I got him where I want him right now
And if you could then you know you would
'Cause god it just feels so, just feels so good
The song ends and there was thunderous applause and hoots. Arthit was filled with joy, just like the first time he had been onstage all those years ago. They did it! They nailed the two performances. His euphoria died down when he remembered that they still had one more song to perform, and it was probably the hardest one yet. The Rioteers were clapping hard, too, after their performance. Then they were performing again, and this time, it was a rock version of one of the popular K-Pop songs. Their last song was met with thunderous applause, too, as Jan went ahead and danced the choreography for the song. Arthit and the gang enjoyed watching the performance and were singing along to the song.
Then it was time for their last song. Arthit gulped in nervousness, his palms getting sweaty. He looked at his friends, who were also looking as unsure as he did, but well, they were already there. Knot hit his drumsticks together and then they were playing again.
Mada toke kirezu ni nokotta
Hikage no yuki mitai na
Omoi wo daite ikiteru
Nee, boku wa kono koi wo
Donna kotoba de toji tara ī no
Anata no subete ga
Ashita wo nakushite
Eien no naka wo samayotte iru yo
Sayonara dekizu ni
Tachidomatta mama no
Boku to ishho ni
Mada tokenai maho no yona
Soretomo noroi no yona
Omoi nimotsu wo kakaeteru
Nee, boku wa kono machi de
Donna ashita wo sagaseba ī no
Tsumetai namida ga sora de itetsuite
Yasashi furi shite mai ochuri koro ni
Hanareta dareka to darekaga ita koto
Tada soredake no hanashi
Anata no subete ga
Katachi wo nakushite mo
Eien ni boku no naka de ikiteku yo
Sayonara dekizu ni
Aruki dasu boku to
Zutto issho ni
"Oh my god, that was awesome!" P'Jed exclaimed in the midst of enthusiastic shouts and claps. The crowd was going crazy!
"There you have it, folks! The Rioteers and The Hazing Daze in a battle of the bands. It's now up to you to vote who had performed the best here! Results will be revealed at the end of the show so be sure to stay tuned and watch 'til the end!"
The director signaled for a cut and then we fell at ease being off-camera. Arthit stared longingly at the couch on set, the piece of furniture beckoning him to lay down. Because of that, he didn't notice the other band had approached them.
"Wow, still ignoring us, the lesser band, huh? Oh, almighty Head Hazer?" Jan said with a hint of condescension, startling the exhausted Arthit. The latter sighed in defeat, surrendering to the fact that the show wasn't over and that he still needed to put on his mask. When a PA approached them and guided them to the couches, he let Jan go first, and then thanked the PA gratefully when his ass was parked on the soft furniture.
"Can I sleep here?" he whined, his eyes closed. He was sandwiched between Knot and Prem, with Bright sitting beside the latter. The other band occupied the other couch as the lone arm chair was reserved for the host.
Then it was time to smile in front of the cameras again, so he straightened himself up and sat accordingly.
"I'm so lucky that I have two of the hottest bands here in my show for a battle!" P'Jed gushed.
"P', you always have bands performing here with your battle of the bands segment. I'm sure this is just par for the course for you now!" Jan pointed out with a laugh.
"Oh shush, you. You know what I meant. Not only did I manage to have two of the hottest bands right now, but I also managed to pit the ones with the longest rivalry there is! You can't blame me for being so giddy! This is the first time that you shared the stage, correct?"
"Uh, no actually..." Arthit answered this time. P'Jed widened his eyes, looking between the two bands.
"Uh-huh. This is the second time, actually P'," Jan seconded.
"Back when we were in college, there was this battle of the bands that happened. That was where we faced off for the first time. The Hazers and us made it to the finals with this other band," the other band's guitarist began to explain. He explained how we lost to the other band, with Bright sometimes correcting some of the stuff. Other than that, we remained mostly silent and was just listening to the discussion.
"Wow, I really can't believe it! So is that how your rivalry began? Wait, both of you didn't even win so why are you rivals?"
Arthit looked at his friends because he really had no clue how the rivalry began. They were also clueless about it, and they said as much to the host. The other band had looks of incredulity on their faces, especially Jan.
"I can't believe that they don't even see us as worthy rivals," she muttered on the mike. Then she turned to P'Jed. "Can you believe these guys?"
"Hey, we didn't say anything about being unworthy. We actually don't want any rivalries, you know? All we want is to create music and share them to the world," Knot explained. "And we really have no clue how the rivalry started. All we knew was that we were being pitted against you guys. We're really confused for a while there."
"Wait, really?" their bassist said this time.
"Yeah, how did we even end up being your rival anyway?" asked Bright. P'Jed was just letting us talk our way.
"Okay, okay. Just a disclaimer guys.." Jan said, addressing the crowd the camera and even P'Jed. "this is just a rivalry. A friendly one. The Hazing Daze and us are not enemies, okay? Not like how other people are labelling us on internet forums. I repeat, what we have is just a friendly competition and we don't have anything against the others. Well, except for Arthit, maybe?"
"Wha—Why me? What did I do?"
"Sorry, I just thought that you were an arrogant ass. I still think you're an arrogant ass sometimes, but not as bad when we first met," she explained.
"What did I do?!"
"You don't remember? Oh, of course you don't remember! During that amateur battle back in college, I went and approached your group. You were the only one not doing anything and you were just staring off space while the others were busy prepping for the performance. Since my bandmates are all chivalrous freaks, they haven't let me do other tasks so I got bored. When I tried to talk to you, because I thought you were cute—"
"You still think he's cute—OW!"
"Don't mind him. I tried to get close to you but then you were like ignoring me, and even walked away from me without acknowledgement. So, arrogant."
Arthit looked at his friends and they were also as wide-eyed as him. It seemed like they also didn't remember the incident. He, himself, had no recollection of it.
"Look, N'Jan. I'm sorry if I had offended you in the past because of my actions. I swear, I didn't mean to disrespect you or anything. I really don't remember that but I am still sorry for my actions," he said earnestly. She stared stoically at him for seconds, making Arthit nervous.
"Oh my god, this is why I can't really hate you P'! You're way too cute," she said, breaking out into a smile. But then he was mock-pouting. "Ugh, but I am still bitter about you."
"Because you confessed to that Nong of yours! C'mon, I have the biggest open secret celebrity crush on you! You can't expect me to be all okay after you confessed in your concert about your special Nong!"
"Oh, this is getting juicy..." P'Jed murmured into his mike. Arthit had a deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression and he looked at his friends for help.
"Yeah, can we not—"
"Nope! Give us the juicy details, P'Arthit!" Jan said, looking too gleeful. Her bandmates were also on-board, teasing him to reveal some facts, just some measly details, because he had been so tight-lipped about it.
"When did you become the interview host, huh? As far as I know, you are also a guest," he said trying to divert the attention from him. He didn't expect for P'Jed to pull her gently from her seat and plopped her down on his armchair, handing the cue cards to her.
"She's doing a better job and I just wanna listen to juicy gossip. Go on, dear Jan. Ask away!"
Arthit gaped unattractively between his friends, who had varying degrees of amusement on their faces, the traitors, Jan's bandmate, P'Jed and Jan herself, who were all smiling excitedly at him.
"If our publicists and the company kill me, it's on you guys."
Jan: What's his name?
Arthit: Not answering that. I'd want to keep his identity a secret for now, please.
J: Understandable. How about his occupation?
A: Uhm... businessman
J: Oooh. Is he rich?
A: Not answering that one too.
J: Why not?
A: Because... reasons...
J: No one's gonna label you as a gold digger here. You have assets yourself. So, rich or average?
J: Do you call him 'daddy'?
P'J: N'Jan, I don't think that's appropriate for national television. Next question please!
J: Fine. How old is he?
A: Twenty-nine. He's two years younger than me
J: How did you meet?
A: How many questions are you supposed to ask?
J: As many as I could ask to satisfy my curiosity. Answer the question please?
A: We met at Uni.
J: Oh! Was he one of your juniors that you hazed?
A: No! He was from Econ.
J: So how did you meet if he was from another faculty?
B & P: He was a skater boy, he said see you later boy! *points at Arthit then laughs*
P'J: Sk8r Boi was for N'Arthit? N'Arthit, you are literally the skater boy?
A: *glares at his friends* Yes. But just to clarify. The song doesn't mirror our circumstances, okay?
B: Well, not fully! There are parallels to it like you being a skater. You were also kind of a punk because of that whole hazer aura you carry. Oh! The most important one is that you're a Rockstar now, just like the guy in the song. And the two of you even met and got back together again after ten years!
K: Yeah, the difference with you and that song is that you got back together instead of someone snagging you. You got together ten years before too, and you were so cute as a couple. There. Big difference, right?
*Arthit shots his best friend a betrayed look.*
J: *gasps exaggeratedly* What happened? P'Knot, you said that they were together before, and yet they're getting back together this time. Why did they break up?
K: *side-eyes Arthit* Err... maybe fate deemed it wasn't the right time for them yet?
A: Some external circumstances happened. Anyway, he moved abroad and had been staying there for these past years and just came back to Thailand recently. He's staying for good, too.
J: Oooh. So, does he also have a baby that he's nursing at home? *jokingly*
A: *nervously* U-uhm... I'm passing up on that question.
Jan, her bandmates, and P'Jed scrutinized Arthit closely, the same conclusion reaching their mind: "there must be some kind of truth in that last statement. It would explain the extreme secrecy a lot."
A: Can we... move on, please?
J: Fine, fine! This is the last question. Does he treat you well?
A: He treats me very well.
P: Nope. He spoils you too much.
A: He does not.
K & B: Yes, he does.
J: Is he handsome? Heart of gold? If you say that he has those qualities aside from being rich, I will not believe you, P'. There's no way that kind of guy exists.
A: *stares at Jan for a long time* Would you want me to lie to you then? And I thought that was the last question already? Why are you still asking?
J: *stares back at Arthit, wide-eyed* What? No way! There's no one like that!
A: He is all those things. And many more. Now, time for your band to get interviewed. I want to be the interviewer this time!
A sharp ringing disrupted the silence of the vehicle, the occupants grumbling and whining at being disturbed from their much-needed sleep. The owner of the device was unceremoniously slapped awake when he remained dead to the world despite the vibrating and ringing thing. Loud curses escaped his lips at the not-so-gentle slap to his face.
"Hello?" he answered groggily.
"P'Arthit?" came the hesitant baritone voice on the other line. Arthit woke up after hearing the voice, a silly grin overtaking his features. "Uhm, did I disturb your sleep? I can call you again later on—"
"Hey, no, no. It's okay. I would've had to wake up again soon when we arrive at my place. It's a good time as any since... oh, we're nearly there, actually. Good timing," he hastily reassured, taking a peek at the familiar passing scenery beyond the window of the van.
"Oh, okay then. Listen, uh. I hate to say this but can I take a raincheck for tomorrow's date, P'? I don't have anyone to babysit Morgan..."
Arthit felt a bubble of disappointment. He had been looking forward to seeing the younger and spending some quality time with him after months of being apart. He missed him and now that they didn't have anything else scheduled for tomorrow, aside from the fan meeting in the morning, he had planned a romantic date for himself and his boyfriend in the evening. He did his best to tamp down the feeling of disappointment, and just tried to sound at least like his normal self.
"It's okay... It can't be helped," he answered as cheerily as possible, which he may or may not overdid a bit. So much for acting normal.
"Really, Kong. It's okay. I understand about your priorities." And he truly did. Arthit understood that he came second to Kongpob's little princess. He just couldn't help but feel that little bit of sadness. It would've been a non-issue had he been introduced to the little girl version of Kongpob, but the crux of the matter was that, he had been putting it off as much as possible. It wasn't that he secretly despised the young girl—hell no, anything but that—he was just nervous as fuck. He was scared shitless.
Now why would a grown-ass adult – one who used to be a feared head hazer at that— be scared of a little girl, you might ask? Well, that was because he was afraid of rejection. He didn't know what he would do if the little girl didn't like him. Arthit had an inkling that the father knew about his fear, he saw it in how he wouldn't push the matter of letting them meet when he grew uncomfortable. The younger didn't voice it out though, he would just smile kindly at him, and utter a short 'I understand'. There was no judgment in his eyes and Arthit was grateful for that.
"Hey, Kong. I've got to go. We've arrived at my place. I will ask P'Jane for our schedule then I will send a copy to you, okay? I will have that date with you in this month break of us. I need to recharge my hubby batteries," he said jokingly. Or not so jokingly. He really needed to see the younger in the flesh.
A chuckle came from the younger, bringing a smile to his face and dissolving the lingering discontent within him. It was replaced by determination instead.
"Of course, P'. I miss you too, you know."
"Aw. Okay I really need to go. I'll call you later, love you."
"Love you too, bye. And dream of me."
"Then my dreams will be guaranteed sweet then."
Arthit tapped the red button with a deep sigh as the vehicle entered the ramp going down the parking level of the condominium he lived in.
"Yes sweetie. Bye sweetie. I love you, muah muah muah!"
"I think I have the hives."
Arthit glared at his three friends. Tutah, Bright and Prem were all high-fiving each other. P'Jane and the other PA with them were hiding their laughter, while Knot didn't even hide his. Arthit turned his glare to his so-called best friend. Maybe he should switch friends?
"When did you become so mushy? You weren't like this... lovesick before," Knot teased.
"Fuck off," Arthit replied grumpily.
"Oh no, he's already like this even ten years ago. Although he only acted like this when he was alone with his Nong, and away from us. The only difference now is that he grew bolder to even do it in front of us," Tutah supplied.
"And how would you know that?" Bright challenged.
"Because I overheard them once. Trust me, it's worse then than now. Because then, he would geek out with Nong and his one-liners were cringey. You're lucky you didn't get to hear them."
Arthit spluttered, blushing tomato red, as the rest, including their manager and the staff burst into exclamations of disbelief and laughter, asking for more stories. Tutah regaled them of the story and Arthit couldn't even slap his hand on the former's mouth because of the distance between them. He could only beg the other to stop, which was left ignored.
"Oh my god, I didn't know you were such a nerd, N'Arthit!" P'Jane exclaimed. "At this rate, I think I might need insulin shots since I am always around you. I can't take the sweetness Nong! Have mercy on us!"
The manager's statement was met with hoots and laughter.
"Oooooiiii! C'mon let me out! I'd rather sleep than to get teased mercilessly!"
K: Hey P'
K: r u bc?
K: I just received a call from P'Rome
K: he volunteered to look after Morgan
K: did you talk to him?
A: Hey sorry, I was in a meeting about our fanmeet today.
A: no, I didn't talk to him
A: but am I overstepping
(Oon deleted a message)
K: No you aren't
K: overstepping ur bounds I mean
A: oh, u saw that huh
A: but really, I didn't talk to him
K: hmm... anyway
K: I'm free later on...
K: d'you wanna?
A: I mean
A: yeah sure
K: just admit it
K: you missed me
A: In ur dreams
K: oh I did dream of you
K: lying in my bed
K: ur skin looked pretty against my silk sheets
A: not the time!
K: why r u so perverted?
A: ur the pervert!
A: having a wet dream
K: hu said it was wet dream?
A: uh, u?
K: I didn't
K: did I say a wet dream?
K: no, ryt?
K: even if u scroll up
K: you'll see I didn't mention any wet dreams
K: I only said you were lying on my bed against the silk sheets
K: because I have silk sheets
K: and they're dark blue
K: so yeah, your skin wud look good against it
A: a wet dream!
A: or a start of it
K: it's not.
K: you were sprawled out on my bed reading one of my mangas
K: just like old times
K: laughing emoji
K: Hey it's not my fault that you're green-minded
A: if only we didn't have dis meet
A: not yet done with you brat
K: I'll see u l8r?
A: come at 7
K: I'll be there
K: have fun with ur fans
K: then come home to ur no. 1 fan ok?
A: hu, my mother?
K: fine, if you'd rather go home to ur mother than have a date with me
K: I ain't gonna stop u
A: oh so ur my no. 1 fan now?
K: ok fine, I'll give that title to ur parents
K: how about no. 2?
A: u could be my no. 2 fan
A: but I better be ur one and only faen
A: same as ur my one and only faen
A: stop spamming me!
A: I said stop spamming me
A: are you drunk
K: I aaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmm
K: I'm drunk in love with you
A: ok ur so weird now?
K: sorry, just got excited
K: and there's a crazy-manic energy here in the office
K: don't worry
K: it's par for the course
A: if ur sure...
A: anyway, the meet's over
A: heading to the studio to talk sumthin with the boss
K: did u have fun?
A: although we've been exhausted this past couple days because of b2b inerviews and fotoshoots, it's still exciting to meet our supporters!
A: there's also a lot of them asking about u
A: I just smiled in reply to their questions
K: I wish I could only be the one to see ur cute dimples
K: but I'm magnanimous so I am sharing them to others.
A: how noble of you
A: the not-owner of the dimples
K: damn right, I am
K: oh, gotta go. I have a meeting in ten minutes.
K: see u later, P'
K: and luv u.
A: see ya luv u 2
A: drive safely later okay?
K: later alligator
A: fucking weird
"Hey, P'Jane? Is there someone I can ask to buy some things in the supermarket? Or if they know what they're buying, the ones at the market would be lovely," I asked lowly as we trudged our way towards the conference room of the studio.
"Hmm. I think... P'Krai could. What is it?"
"Oh, uh. I'm gonna send the list over to you on your Line."
"Okay. Should I also ask him to deliver it to your condo?"
"It's fine. He could just leave it at the van later on."
"Okay then. So..."
"This is a lot. Should I be cautious of barging in to your condo tomorrow?" he asked with a wiggle of his eyebrows. I could feel my cheeks heating up in embarrassment but I could also feel my lips tugging at the corners with how pleased I was.
"Maybe you should..." I answered him, just as cryptic. He giggled loudly like a schoolgirl, which made the other guys, who had been walking a little further away from us, look back at us questioningly.
"Someone's gonna get lucky tonight," P'Jane said in a sing-song voice, making my blush darken.
"P'!" I hissed. My friends all shared knowing looks.
"We know, P'," Knot said with a chuckle. I looked at him suspiciously.
"Bright told P'Rome about your martyr act," he clarified.
"Martyr act? What martyr act? I wasn't acting like a martyr!"
"Well, you did say it's okay yesterday even though you were not looking okay," Prem answered. I opened my mouth to retort but I couldn't find compelling rebuttals so I shut my mouth again.
"That's why my baby volunteered. He also wanted to connect with his niece, by the way," Bright added. That brought a smile to my lips.
Kong agreeing to let P'Rome babysit his daughter meant that he was beginning to trust his cousin. This meant that he was willing to mend bridges that had crashed and burned in the past because of mistakes made. I was so proud and so happy with this progress in their relationship.
"Thanks, Bright. Also, thank P'Rome for me, will ya?"
"You're welcome. Now that should be two thousand baht for the babysitting duty!"
Several slaps were delivered to the shameless man's head, courtesy of Prem, Tutah, and Knot.
"But P'... are we really gonna take this on? I mean, creating a new album in the midst of the concert tour, I don't know if we could deliver."
All of us had concerned looks on our face, even our manager. What P'Nat, the owner of the label we were under, was asking was just overkill. It wasn't impossible, we've been writing songs for years already, but I was afraid that we wouldn't be able to meet the deadline. It wasn't even a regular timeline for us. I mean, we do have deadlines but it was okay to have it extended early on when there was still no time set for the release of our new work. This one though... the deadline wasn't in our hands. Heck, it wouldn't even be on P'Nat's hands. It would be on the third party's, who was asking for a few songs. In the past, we've made songs for a third party, usually made for ads and stuff, it may amount up to three if it was for a movie. Those times, we'd only need to submit a single song though, unlike our situation now.
The third party was asking several songs as part of the OST of the game they were developing. The game developer was a fairly new company that had gained international fame after the success of its first released RPG game. The new game was supposed to be the sequel of the previous game, and I was lowkey fanboying about it. Well, lowkey because P'Jane and my friends didn't know that I played the game. If they did, I was pretty sure that Knot would confiscate my phone and ban me from all tech just so I could get my sleep and not ruin my eyesight. Further. It was of no fault of mine, though.
It was all the game developer's fault, really, because, how dare they create such a fascinating world and storyline, never mind the 3D art style that just tickles my nerdiness? Yup, it was all CacheLok's fault.
Back to the present. I was conflicted. Really, really, conflicted. On one hand, I really, really want to take on the commission; I would really, really, really love to create the music for the game. Wouldn't it be so cool if my name become a part of the credits for that game? I mean, come on.
On the other hand, though, was what Knot said. I wasn't sure if we could deliver. We have less than one month of our tour break after our Northern Thailand circuit. Afterwards, we would continue on to the Southern parts of Thailand for the second half of our concert. Less than a month was not enough time to create the music and get it polished to perfection, and I refuse to release a song that wasn't up to par with our other songs. That would just be sacrilege.
"So, you really wouldn't want to do this? I heard that the first game released by this company had reached international success. This is a great way to make yourself visible to international audiences, you know. Many bands are actually clamoring for a chance to be part of this. And it was such an honor that they had approached us," P'Nat cajoled.
"But P', didn't we already decline their invitation?" Prem asked this time.
"Well, yeeeeeaaaaah. Technically. But you know, I could convince them to let us in on it too. I was told by several trusted sources that I was pretty persuasive. True story."
I looked at the older guy skeptically, and then decided that, yeah, he could pull it off. But still, even if the developer agreed to let us compose the soundtrack for them, there was still the issue of time. I decided to voice out my opinion.
"Look, P'. I know that this is a golden opportunity for us. I really do. But it could also be a double-edged sword for us. P', we have a solid fanbase because of their love of our songs. We've strived to release rock songs that had always been able to connect well with the masses, and that made them love it. We've always strived to write songs that are well written, and that took us time. You know it, you've always been there. And if we release something that is not up to the standard that we set, that could hurt our careers instead of boost us up."
I watched P'Nat open his mouth, probably to retort, only to close it again. Then he looked at some point on the distance beyond the floor to ceiling glass wall. He looked pensive. After a short while, he turned to look at us, a serious look on his face.
"So, you really wouldn't do it?" he asked us. I looked at my band mates and best friends one by one. I could see that they were also conflicted, but I think not as much as me. Knot was the first to give a subtle nod, indicating that he was sure about his decision. Bright, surprisingly, was more reluctant to agree with Knot. He was looking between me and Prem, and I was pretty sure that he would let us decide, ultimately. Prem and I eyed one another. I could see that he, like Knot, would like to decline, as he also gave a subtle nod. That left me. I bit my lip, looking back and forth at P'Nat and my friends.
"Aaaargh! I really wanna do it!" I finally blurted out, my nerd side winning my internal conflict. P'Nat, seeing a chink on the united front we presented, lunged in attack. Oh, look at me, gamer mode even in my metaphors.
"Ha! Arthit, come on! I know you want it. It's a very popular game, and I know you want your name attached to it. It's already the sequel, and most probably the last one. It's your last chance... I know that you have that game on your phone," he said, smiling devilishly at me. Four pairs of eyes zeroed in on me, and I wanted to the ground to swallow me whole, if only to escape their reprimands. The only thing I could think that time was to sink back on the chair, hoping to look as small as possible.
"And Prem, I wouldn't want to use this but you left me with no choice," P'Nat told Prem, diverting all attention towards him. Even I looked on curiously.
"According to my sources, it is confirmed that a certain genius programmer and IT specialist had been recruited by CacheLok..."
I was confused for a while, not comprehending what P'Nat meant. Then it hit me... could he possibly be talking about Wad? Prem's own missing Nong, the Computer Engineering prodigy, with the temper that could rival Prem's? That Wad?
"Wad?" asked Prem, looking hopeful.
"Wad," P'Nat confirmed, nodding slowly.
Okay, you might be wondering who this Wad character was. He was a student from our alma mater, a computer engineer, and two years younger than us. He and Prem met one another during our third year, around the time that I had started hanging out with Kongpob. The younger was involved in a fight and Prem, being the goody two-shoes that he was (don't let that grumpy attitude fool you), went in to help him out. It should've been that, a senior helping out a junior. But it turned out that they shared a Gen. Ed. class. So, they became friends. We weren't aware of this, not until the younger left university because of some family issues, leaving Prem morose and so not himself.
Believe me, it was like pulling teeth just to make him spill what had made him look like a depressed potato when usually, he looked like a grumpy grinch. So, he told us about the close friendship he had developed with one of his classmates, and a junior at that. I remember clearly, Tutah and I had exchanged looks at that moment, our gaydar pinging nonstop and pointing towards our friend. Yes, I acknowledge I have a working gaydar, because Tutah had been adamant on teaching me how to use it over the years. Something about using my senses so that I would know who was straight and who was not-so-straight so that I wouldn't get punched in the face whenever I wanted some action. Not that I got too many action. And don't you dare tell Kongpob about this, okay?! If you did, I will know, and I will find you, understand? Good. Now, where were we?
Oh right, Wad disappeared. A year after, we were on our fourth and final year, I think he caught wind of the fact that Wad returned to university. By that time, the band was already formed for a few months, and had slowly been gaining popularity. Add in to the mix that we were in our final year and so our course load was extreme, we were swamped, and I was a depressed asshole because of my failed lovelife that the bunch of my friends had to keep in check most of the time. So yeah, he missed his chance with the Nong and I was still feeling guilt over it.
Over the years, the distance between the paths that they took had only increased, leaving an ocean between them. Prem still kept track of his achievements and works, though, and he had been damn proud about him. We would catch him smiling over his tablet or his phone. We asked him about it during the first times and after a few cajoling and teasing, he finally told us about what was making him smile. We felt happy for him too, when we saw his contented smile. He was truly happy watching the younger from afar. That actually gave me the actual push to stop being bitter about my very own "the one that got away", and just accept things and live my own life as contented as I could. I still had my friends and my family, and it had been enough.
But fate had decided to throw a curve ball towards my dear friend. Five years ago, his beloved Wad—yes, he had admitted to himself and to us that he did, indeed, liked the younger in a romantic way—had been involved in a scandal. Or more importantly, the tech company where he had been building his career over, was embroiled in wire fraud, and money laundering scandals. The poor guy, who had managed to climb up the ladders within the company and held a high position in just a short time, had been one of the accused. He pleaded not guilty, of course, and the court had awarded him this, after the prosecution had failed to prove his guilt over the crime. The damage had been done to his career, though, since it had become a drawn-out case, his name being dragged in the mud for too long.
Prem had been livid about this, he even wanted to march to the court and punch the living daylights out of the people who accused his beloved Nong. Good thing we were also on tour at the time and he was way too far from Bangkok to do the deed. Otherwise, it could've been a career-ending scenario for us.
So, after he had been proven not guilty, Prem had still managed to track the younger out. But after some time, Wad just... disappeared. He left no traces, guess that's because he was genius after all, and no private investigator could pinpoint his location. Prem had been dispirited, but he never gave up hope. Up to this day, I knew that he was still looking for that elusive Nong, nonstop, hoping...
P'Nat knew about this because Prem had asked for his help at one point. Unlike me who was always vaguely aware of what was happening to my very own Nong, Prem wasn't even afforded of that luxury. He had never regretted not reconnecting with the younger all those years ago than at that moment. I guess he felt guilty that he couldn't be there for the younger to lean on when everyone seemed to turn their backs on him.
We did our best to support him, to make him forget of his guilt, something that I was intimately familiar with after I had learned of what happened to my Kong. Coming to terms with it, some twisted sort of survivor's guilt, then could we move on with our lives as normally as we could. We never left his side, just like how they never left me behind all those years ago. And he learned to accept that he didn't have any fault about what happened to his junior. But that didn't deter him from looking for the other. We let him be, since it wasn't really doing him any harm.
Now though... P'Nat had done the impossible... He found him...
I looked at everyone present in the conference room. Knot had a resigned look on his face, which was mirrored on P'Jane's face. Bright was already looking at me, and there was a pleading look on his face. I, myself, knew that I would be agreeing to this, I already made my stance that I was somewhat willing to do this. With this new information, I knew what I will be choosing, but that doesn't mean that I would be forgetting the very legitimate concern of Knot and the rest of us. Somehow, I think I needed to take some degree of control over this if I didn't want for us to be biting off more than what we could chew.
"Low blow, P'. Low blow," I muttered. I took a final look at my friends. "Is that a legitimate info?"
"Well, I actually didn't want to reveal about it yet because I'm not quite sure about it too. I didn't want to raise anyone's hopes. But what if, just what if, he's really working there?"
I groaned at the elder's reply. It was another shot in the dark with this one. But knowing how P'Nat was also meticulous when it comes to data, this lead was already promising. Now, on to my conditions so that we could also, at least, come out as a winner in this deal.
"We can't do the full album, P'. The time frame's too short," I started. I could see Prem gearing up to protest. God, was I like this when it came to Kongpob? I think not. I raised my hand to stop his incoming barrage of words. "But we could do maybe two to three songs. Are we the only ones they talked to? Because I would also like to give others a chance in this opportunity."
P'Nat looked pensively at us, but I could see that he was already satisfied with my answer because of the glint on his eyes.
"Are you okay with this? Knot? Prem? Bright?" he asked.
Knot looked at me then at the others. As one, they nodded their heads. Prem was already trying hard to hide how giddy he was, resulting to his face looking funny, like a mix of a constipated person and an overexcited puppy. Bright was snickering at his seat, watching Prem's reaction.
"Is that all for the agenda for today?" I asked. "If it is, then I should get going."
"Woah, what's the rush? Why don't we all go get lunch? I'm starving," P'Nat said.
"Uh, I just wanna go home early today," I reasoned. The other three narrowed their eyes on me while P'Jane was trying hard to stop himself from snickering.
"Why?" asked Knot.
"I'm tired. Aren't you?"
"It's just lunch Arthit. We still haven't eaten aside from the snack during that short break," Prem reasoned, also looking at me shrewdly.
"Yeah, and it's free food! P'Nat's treating," Bright shamelessly said.
"Yes, Arthit. No matter how shameless Bright had pointed it out, it is, in fact, gonna be my treat. After all, you lot are my cash cows. You bring the money to me," P'Nat, another shameless character, said.
I turned to look at P'Jane for help, and the traitor suggested sushi for late lunch instead. I scowled at the lot of them.
"Why are you really going home, Arthit? It's not like you have a hot date later, right? Oh wait, you do," Knot smirked.
"Aw, he does?" P'Nat joined in.
"Oh, you bet, he does. Aw, Arthit just reunited with his Nong and now he's forgotten about us," Bright dramatically exclaimed, clutching at his heart for good measure.
"Shut it!" I hissed, then I sighed in defeat. "Fine, let's go."
AN: ehehehe, I got crazy for a little bit writing this one. Sorry... Songs featured here are:
*Sk8r Boi - Avril Lavigne
*Misery Business - Paramore
* Fuyu No Hanashi - Centimillimental feat. Shougo Yano. Featured song in the anime Given (2019). If you're into yaoi anime, I recommend this. It's really good! I loved the story.
Just like snow that hasn't completely melted in the shade
I go on living with these feelings inside me
Hey, please tell me how I'm supposed to close the door on this love
Your everything has lost its tomorrow
And is now wandering through eternity
along with me who was unable to say goodbye or move on
Just like a spell that still won't break, or a curse
I'm still holding on to some heavy baggage
Hey, what of tomorrow am I supposed to look for in this town?
The cold tears that fall freeze under the sky
They pretend to be kind right when they fall on my face
Two people who are always together are torn apart
That's all there is to this story
Even if your everything loses its shape one day
You'll always be here within me
As I try to move forward again
Even though I couldn't say goodbye
You'll always be here with me
Chapter 5: C.5 Mid Tour Arc - 2
Yay! update. ehehehehe... sorry about neglecting to update this... To compensate, here's a chapter that's almost PWP
~(￣▽￣)~ *〜(￣▽￣〜) (〜￣▽￣)〜
“Oi, Arthit! Why can’t we go to your condo? I wanna hangout,” Bright whined. It was after our late lunch and we were on the van being escorted to each of our own homes. The groceries had been taken care of by one of the trusted PA’s and I was so ready to go home and take a nap before I prepare for our dinner date. But Bright decided it was time for him to be a nuisance. He just kept on whining and it was getting on my nerves.
“For the last time, I’m tired Bright!” I nearly shouted. Jeez, why couldn’t he take a hint?
He looked hurt after my outburst and I felt bad. I was gearing up to say sorry when a mischievous smile overtook his features.
“Oh, I get it. You’re gonna get some ass tonight, aren’t you? Huh? Huh?” he asked, waggling his eyebrows for effect.
So much about feeling sorry for this asshole.
“Fine! Yes, I’ve got a date. Are you happy now? So stop pestering me because I need some rest before I prepare something tonight!”
“Ooooh, yes. You definitely need your rest because you want to last for several rounds for the finale of your date. D’you need pain killers, Arthit? You know, to lessen the pain. It’s better safe than sorry!”
I buried my face on my hands and screamed, rubbing on it in frustration afterwards. There was no stopping this asshole from spouting nonsense.
“Bright, stop it,” chided Knot. “What Arthit does in his spare time is not of our concern. Let him be.”
Bright snickered in reply. Thankfully, though, he stopped with his nagging and teasing. I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
The sound of the doorbell echoed around my place as I was putting the last dish on the coffee table. Dessert was at the fridge, just waiting to be served. I hurried off towards the door and pulled it open, revealing Kongpob, who was looking handsome in his suit and tie. He looked positively edible.
“H-Hey, come on in.” Did I just stutter? Oh my god, Arthit, get a grip! I heard his baritone chuckle and I flushed, not for getting embarrassed, mind you, but for a more… non-innocent reasons.
Ho, down boy! I quickly turned around to hide how flustered I was and to stop myself from getting anymore lusty thoughts.
I felt something warm behind me and then I was suddenly engulfed in his embrace, his natural musky smell mixing well with his cologne. I bit back a half-groan and this spurned him on leaving tiny pecks along the column the of my throat. I tilted my head for better access and he gladly took it. His kisses went from pecks to sharp stinging bites, not enough to bruise, but enough to make me moan. He bit my ear next, his heavy panting loud against the lobe.
“I missed you. So much. It’s been driving me crazy,” he revealed. He left a small peck on my ear then proceeded to bury his face on the side of my throat. He didn’t do anything, he just hugged me from behind and seemed to be inhaling my scent. A stray thought floated in my mind, wondering how I smelled like to him. As if reading my mind, he murmured against my neck, his breath tickling me.
“You smell so good, P’Arthit.”
“Yeah? How do I smell like?”
“Like vanilla. There’s this unique scent though, I couldn’t explain, but I very much like it. It’s your scent, I know of this because I only smell it when I’m with you.”
I flushed again. Ah, what was my junior doing to me? Where was that confident Arthit that had stopped getting flustered by people? Why was it that I always revert back to the shy Arthit that I had been whenever the younger was around? The world was a mysterious place, and my mind more so.
I cleared my throat to compose myself and to gather his attention away from the shiver-inducing sniffing on my neck.
“Are you a dog? Seriously, stop sniffing me. Go to the living room and sit. The food’s already there. I’ll just grab the drinks from the kitchen,” I scolded him. I was kinda proud of myself because of how steady my voice sounded.
“Mmm, ‘kay,” he mumbled. With one last sniff and peck, he let go of me and I suddenly missed his warmth.
Why was I so needy?! Ugh. I made a beeline for the kitchen and gathered the pitcher of cucumber lemonade and a pair of glasses. I sauntered my way back to the living room and watched the way Kong loosened his tie and pop the first few buttons of his dress shirt. His coat was already draped neatly on the back of the couch.
“Tired?” I asked, taking the last few strides, setting down the glasses and pitcher on the table. He hummed in reply and sprawled his limbs ungainly on my couch. I chuckled at his antics.
I went towards him and sat down beside him, our knees bumping with how close I chose to sit with him. He smirked at my not-so-subtle moves and I raised an eyebrow in challenge.
“By the way, why are we eating here at your living room? There’s a fine dining set just over there. You also have a cozy breakfast nook at the kitchen.”
“Well, it’s because of this,” I answered, grabbing the remote and turning on the large flat screen TV. I chose the movie that I want and he gasped in surprise.
“Oh wow, you got it. Wait, before we watch it, let’s have dinner first! I wanna enjoy the movie later on.”
I squinted my eyes at him in mock outrage.
“So, you mean to say you won’t enjoy the food I prepared?” I asked, affecting a dangerous tone.
He froze then looked at me, wide-eyed, and started to stutter out a lame-ass excuse and apology. He seemed contrite though, and he looked like he was panicking over upsetting me. I couldn’t keep my mock anger anymore and I burst out laughing.
“Your face! Oh my god, your face!”
“P’Arthit! I thought you were really upset with me,” he sulked.
“I’m sorry, I can’t help it. You’re just too cute when you flounder.”
He jabbed a piece of the chicken sullenly, stuffing the food into his mouth. He continued chewing mulishly and I couldn’t help but chuckle at his angry face accompanied with his puffed cheeks. So cute, I tell you.
“This is… good chicken,” he murmured afterwards when he swallowed his food.
“Glad you liked it,” I said, chuckling. He dropped his angry act and we started to have a normal conversation. We were catching up on what happened within the last few months as if we haven’t even talked regularly through the phone.
After dinner, he did the dishes despite my protests, citing that I was the one who cooked the scrumptious meal, he should at least be the one to do the dishes. I agreed because he was just too stubborn. To keep myself busy, I took out the dessert, a tub of ice cream goodness, and brought our two bowls and spoons towards the living room. I settled on the chaise of the sectional couch to wait for my boyfriend to finish in the kitchen, dropping my loots on the table.
I watched as Kong meandered over, an eyebrow flicking up when he saw the stuff on the table. He joined me on the couch, draping himself over me. By now, he had lost the tie and a couple more buttons were popped open, the sleeves of his shirt pushed up to his elbows.
“How are we supposed to eat the ice cream with you lying on me like this?” I asked with a chuckle. He mumbled his reply from where he had buried his face against my neck. “Don’t you want to watch the movie?”
With that, he straightened up on his seat and looked at me.
“But I wanna cuddle with you, P’… Can I cuddle with you P’?” he asked, tilting his head to the side.
“Y-you—!” I answered, my words getting lost with how flustered I was.
“P’? Can I?” he insisted on asking.
“Y-yes. You know you can and you don’t even have to ask me.”
He smiled so brilliantly and so innocently that my heart hurt against my chest. Kong would definitely be the death of me some day.
The ice cream tub laid forgotten on the coffee table as we watched the screen aptly. I spared a glance at my boyfriend when the intense fight scene was finished and there was a lull into the action. The sight made me bark out a laugh. He looked questioningly at me and laughed too when he saw how similar we looked.
The spoons we used to eat the ice cream (directly) from the tub were in our mouths, laid forgotten there as we got immersed into the story of the movie. He reached out for the tub again and offered the slightly melted goodness. Between us, the remaining ice cream was finished in no time and then we were back to cuddling on the couch.
With the dimmed lights and the television, the only thing illuminating us, I basked at the warm weight of him in my arms. I squeezed him lightly and burrowed my face on his dark locks. By now, I was sure that his shirt was crumpled. I made a mental note to lend him some of my clothes if he wished to go from here to his office tomorrow. Oh, I should also ask if he wanted to stay the night, too. I was just assuming things, silly me!
After the movie, we were quiet for a while, enjoying each other’s silence and warmth.
“That was amazing. Aw, now I miss her more,” Kong said. “And what the fuck was that post credit scene? Who’s that lady? Why’s my favorite archer getting targeted? And, and, and I love that song, at the start.”
“Smells like teen spirit, yeah… I like how they arranged the song. It is haunting without it sounding creepy.”
“Nirvana, classic. I remember, you had a poster of him in your dorm room. Where’d it go, P’?”
“In my room at my childhood home.”
“All your posters are there?”
“What’s with that ‘huh’?”
“Well, you’re one of those classy hoity-toities now. Hanging artworks on the wall and all that stuff.”
“What? No! I’m not hoity-toity. I’m still the same old Arthit that will definitely punish you if you don’t stop spouting nonsense. I know what you’re doing Kongpob. And those artworks are bought from start-up painters you know?”
“Yeah, sorry. I was just teasing,” he said with a chuckle.
“I’ve always remembered how much you loved to paint. Being surrounded by something you love kinda… made me think of you. As if a piece of you were here…” I said, baring a little bit of my soul to him.
He looked at me with his dark eyes, the twin pools of black filled with so much emotion that it was hard not to feel a tug in my heart.
“And you kept that unfinished painting in your music room…” he said softly. I didn’t know he noticed that.
“Even unfinished, it still leaves the viewer an impact. The way it was painted, it doesn’t seem unfinished at all,” I answered him. “After all, it was painted by one of the most talented persons I know.”
He leaned closer to me and whispered huskily.
“Oh, really now?”
“Hmm, yep. He’s so good with his hands. Brilliant, really. Every stroke is precise, making the canvas alight...”
I watched as he chuckled in reply, a faint dusting of pink high on his cheeks.
“Are we still talking about painting, P’, or a completely different matter?”
“Oh no, I wasn’t even talking about painting in the first place. I was talking about the painter and his very skilled hands. There’s a difference.”
He laughed out loud, leaning his head against my shoulder as he looked at me in happiness. I could feel my lips stretch into a smile, his mirth infectious.
“You’re ridiculous, P’Arthit.”
I traced his features with my eyes and wondered if his smile would taste as sweet as it looks… I didn’t even notice that I have leaned closer, not until I heard his startled gasp, or felt his soft breath on my face. He closed the distance between us, a faint smile still tracing his lips, and I dived in, sating my curiosity. Fun fact, his smile tasted as sweet as it looked. Or maybe that was the residue from the ice cream he ate, but I’d to think that it was the former.
We separated after a while of languorous kissing, with me leaving a peck on his pink lips, then settled into a comfortable silence. I wrapped my arms around him and settled against the couch, cuddling in the dim room. It felt like we were the only people in the world and I love that feeling. I let my mind drift off to different topics when a thought hit me.
“Hey, I’ve got a question.”
“Did you name your daughter after a super villainess?” I asked him, looking down at him where he had his head rested against my chest.
“As much as I would like to take credit for her nickname, it was actually Boon who gave her that nickname,” the younger explained, a small smile playing on his lips. Why was there a smile playing on his lips when talking about that horrible woman? I didn’t like it, not one bit.
I squirmed from where I was lying, resulting to him sitting up straight. I scooted over so that I was properly sitting, my legs folded in a lotus position and I was properly facing him.
“Why would that woman name her Morgan? Does she view your daughter as a villain?” I asked suspiciously. He looked at me for a long time then he sighed.
“P’Arthit, I think you’re reading too much into the situation. Morgan is just a name. Actually, if you delve further from where it originated from, you’ll know that Morgan is the name of King Arthur’s sorceress sister. In the lore, she is neither a villain nor a hero.”
I pouted at his reply. I really hated his ex-wife.
“And, have you forgotten? Tony and Pepper had a daughter named Morgan.”
“Yeah, but you already had your daughter when the movie came out!”
“And my point is that, Morgan is just a name. There’s nothing wrong with it. There’s also no deeper meaning, sinister or otherwise, regarding it. Really,” he said seriously. I scowled at his reply. “And to be fair, there was a time that she loved our daughter. I know she did.”
The last part had me exploding. How could he?!
“So you’re defending her now? Why the fuck would you defend someone like her, Kong?!” I shouted. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have given in to my jealousy; instead, I should have just kept them in. I didn’t see him flinch, too busy rubbing my face in frustration. But his next reply had me pausing, especially when I heard the poorly concealed tremor in his voice.
“I-I’m sorry…” I heard him say. I quickly looked at him and he had his head bowed, his arms crossed on his chest in a hug. My anger bled from my system, replaced by guilt and panic. I scrambled closer and this time, the flinch was very prominent.
“H-hey, I’m sorry Kong. I really am. I didn’t mean to yell at you, and-and I’m not really angry, okay? Hey, do you hear me love?” I coaxed him. I tentatively laid my hand on his bicep and when several moments passed without him shaking it off, I slid closer and slowly gathered him in my arms. I held him tightly, running my hands on his back and muttering ‘I’m sorry’s’ and ‘I love you’s’.
His frame slowly began to lose its tenseness and then he was melting against me. He wrapped his arms loosely on my waist and burrowed his head deeper onto the crook of my neck.
“I’m sorry about that, P’. It’s just-just… it gets hard sometimes… Uhm—” he mumbled through his harsh breathing.
“Shhh. Silly Kong. I should be the one asking for forgiveness. I didn’t mean to get angry like that. I guess I am still possessive of you even after all these years. Well, I am still very much in love with you, so I think I won’t be possessive of you any lesser.”
He let out a chuckle and his arms on my waist tightened. I left several pecks on the side on his head in response.
“Hey, how about we call it a night? You’re staying, right?” I asked after a while of just basking in each other’s presence.
“Can I stay the night?”
“Of course. I’d love it if you stayed. If you want, I could wake you up early for work.” He snorted at my reply.
“P’Arthit. I wake up earlier than you. You love your sleep ever since then and that hadn’t changed much until now.”
I pinched his side in retaliation, making him squawk and scramble away from me.
“I’ll let you know that I learned how to wake up early, especially when we have tours and media appearances,” I said with a sniff.
He raised both his hands in surrender, chuckling all the while. I glared at him playfully.
“C’mon. Go take a shower. I’ll clean these up first,” I said, already standing up to gather the used utensils.
He trudged towards my bedroom as I went to the kitchen. As I was washing the dishes, I heard him clear his throat. I turned to him and saw him at the door to my bedroom, fidgeting slightly. I raised an eyebrow at him in question. This, somehow, made him look down shyly. I waited for him to talk.
“Uhm… care to join me?” he asked in a voice so small that I wasn’t really sure if I heard him right. I blinked at him for a few seconds, processing what he had said.
“I’m sorry, what? Did you just invite me to join you…?” I asked hesitantly. He slapped his hands on his face, and groaned out loud, in embarrassment or frustration, I didn’t know. Probably both.
“Nope. No. Never mind. I didn’t say anything,” he grumbled. Was that… a blush on his face? It was! Oh Kong, why are you so damn cute?
‘Care to join me? CARE to JOIN ME?! Stupid Kong! Have you got no shame at all???’
I hastily turned around and reached for the doorknob, fumbling with the thing unnecessarily long and cursing my uncooperating limbs. After an inordinate amount of time that made me increasingly embarrassed, I finally managed to open the stupid door and rushed inside. I winced when I accidentally slammed the door, and then leaned my back against it, burying my face again on my palms. That was so mortifying, oh my god. I stayed there, banging my head softly against the hard wood, trying to get rid of the embarrassment that was still making my face flame.
Taking a deep breath, I stood up straight and went towards the bathroom. I stripped out of my clothes, putting them at the pull-out laundry basket under the sink. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror, making me stop to observe my face for a moment. The tips of my ears were red and there was still a lingering pinkness across my cheeks. I slapped my hands on my cheeks, trying to dispel the warmth, only for my cheeks to turn redder. I shook my head at the stupidity of it then proceeded to shower.
I was lathering my head with P’Arthit’s shampoo when a warm body was suddenly behind me. I jumped and whirled around, only to be stopped by arms encircling my waist.
“P’Arthit!” I exclaimed, twisting around in his arms. He had an infuriating smirk plastered on his lips and I scowled at him. I could feel my face heat up, though, surely tempering the ferocity of my scowl.
“What? You asked me to join…” his hands began caressing my tummy, teasingly. Then he pulls me backwards so that his whole front was plastered against my back. I gasped in surprise, then moaned when I felt his awakening member against my derriere.
“P’Arthit…” I said breathlessly, beginning to lose myself within his ministrations. Then his hands migrated to my head and began massaging the shampoo into my hair. I hung my head forward, giving him free reign over my body. He reached a hand on the knob for the shower head and water cascaded upon us like rainfall. He carded his fingers through my locks, removing the suds off. I reached for the bottle of shampoo and turned around to return the favor.
I lathered the soap on his hair, making it bubble. I scratched lightly and watched him close his eyes in bliss, leaning into my hand, like a cat receiving head scritches. I grinned as I imagined him with white cat ears. Hmm, maybe I could buy him cat ears next time…
A chuckle bubbled up from my throat, making him open his eyes. His gaze zeroed in on me. He surged forward suddenly, smashing his lips against mine. My laughter was swallowed by his hungry lips, and it was replaced by my gasps instead. He took advantage and inserted his tongue into my mouth, engaging my own wet muscle into a duel of dominance. I indulged him for a while until I finally let him take control.
He plundered my mouth with the occasional nips of his teeth. He sucked on my tongue and my lips, and I was at his mercy. I moaned at how good it was and I was losing my mind. I tasted the faint flavor of the strawberry from the ice cream earlier and I never would have thought that it could be so addicting like this. Or maybe it was just P’Arthit’s inherent taste. Anyway, I couldn’t get enough of it.
I gasped out loud when a hand gripped my manhood, pumping slowly up and down, up and down. I couldn’t concentrate on the kiss anymore, my mouth slack against the onslaught of my boyfriend’s insistent mouth. I gripped his muscular shoulder tight, and it must’ve been too tight because P’Arthit hissed against my mouth. He didn’t say anything though, but still, I lessened the force to which I was squeezing his flesh.
His mouth migrated from my mouth slowly downwards, detouring towards my ear to bite at the appendage. He worried the skin just below it and began nipping and sucking.
“You’re so beautiful, Kong. So beautiful and most importantly, mine,” he purred, a hint of aggression on his voice to stress the point across.
“Ah! Yes, P’Arthit. Yo- ooh—yours. I’m y-yours. Fuck!” I moaned out loud. I still have half a mind left to tell him about leaving marks on any visible area because I have work the following day.
“Shame,” he replied, moving away reluctantly to survey his handiwork. I saw his eyes widened before he darted his gaze at my eyes. “Uh, oops?”
I slapped a hand on the spot high up my neck, my eyes looking at him widely. I let my hand slid down as I sighed in defeat. Of course he would leave mark with how enthusiastic he had been nipping me.
“It’s just a small spot?” he said with a sheepish smile. I looked at him deadpan, then began to eye him critically. I launched at him suddenly, making him yelp. I latched my mouth on his neck and sucked and nipped at the skin. It didn’t take too long before I left a satisfying mark that could only be covered up by make-up.
“Beautiful,” I muttered smugly, rubbing the slightly purplish mark just below his ear.
“KONGPOB!” he yelled, slapping a palm over the mark.
“Payback’s a bitch,” I said with a smirk. Then I was attacking his lips with my own, swallowing his moans and groans. I roamed my hands all over his body as his did to mine.
I made my fingers into claws when I got into his chest and let my fingernails scratch at his sensitive nipples. He detached his lips from mine, gasping and moaning, the sounds he made loud against the pattering of water from the shower head. I wasted no time kissing and nipping at those defined mandibles, tracing a water droplet down toward his pale neck, sucking lightly at his Adam’s apple, and biting sharply at his collar bone. I went lower, beginning to suck in earnest when I reached his pectorals, teasing the skin surrounding his left nipple with the tip of my tongue. Fingers fisted on my hair, not tight but not loose either.
“Stop teasing, please…” P’Arthit whined.
I captured that perky nipple into my mouth and suckled on it. He let out loud ‘Ah!’ that tapered off into a long moan. I continued to abuse the sensitive area, pulling at the small pebbled flesh with my teeth, while one of my hands were busy pinching and scratching the other one. A strong arm wrapped around my neck while the hand fisted on my hair pushed my head further towards the creamy chest. Moans and grunts spilled from his pink lips, unhindered, as his whole body squirmed uncontrollably.
I felt the fingers tug at my hair and I detached myself from his chest, looking up at him in question. Then those same hand was guiding my head towards his right and I chuckled lowly when I understood what he wanted. I turned to abuse his other nipple.
“Mmm, cute,” I said, letting my teeth graze at the abused nub before me. I gently disentangled his hands from my head and straightened up to kiss him passionately on the lips. I ended the kiss as abruptly as I started it.
I kneeled before him and opened my mouth wide, waiting for him to get the hint. He stared at me for such a long time, I think his brain short-circuited, that I got impatient. I was about to grab the prize before me when he moved, grabbing his rock-hard member with one hand, while the other held onto my jaw, putting pressure at the hinge to keep my mouth open.
He teasingly glided the tip on my lower lip, tapping his head on it a few times. I darted my tongue out, letting the pointed tip prod at the sensitive skin to urge him on and I was rewarded with a hiss. Then he was plugging his throbbing length inside my warm cavern slowly, going an inch in, then withdrawing. He would repeat the process, going deeper with each thrust. I braced my hands on his thighs, as I hollowed my cheeks so that my mouth would create suction and he groaned out loud.
“Baby, your mouth is heavenly,” he whimpered. I hummed in reply, the vibration making him curse out loud.
My tongue kept playing with his member inside my mouth, even with the limited space. I put both of his hands at the back of my head, and moved one of my hands to the base of his cock.
“I’m gonna use your mouth thoroughly now, baby,” he growled. I stared at him through my lashes, a silent challenge to his claim.
He let out an animalistic growl and began to pump his hips in earnest. My hand that was braced against his thigh grabbed at the flesh harshly, as I held on for dear life, my other hand pumping his length in time with his thrusts. Tears prickled at the corners of my eyes as my mouth and throat got abused, my control over my gag reflex being challenged. I could feel my throat constrict sometimes and every time, I fought my own body’s innate response. I could also feel drool running down my chin, could feel the copious amount of it on P’Arthit’s cock whenever I drag my hand over the heated flesh, lubricating his member thoroughly, but I couldn’t care less. All I cared about was pleasing the man in front of me.
It wasn’t too long before his moans and grunts got louder, his thrusts lost their rhythm, and I took this time to slip a finger through his hole, wiggling to find that special spot that I knew would feel good. He gasped out loud when I found it, so I began to abuse the spot, making him howl. He rammed his length deep into my throat. I hastily braced my hand that was pumping his cock across his waist as I choked on his considerable length, stopping him from going deeper. The hands on my head turned lax after what felt like eternity, his cock getting pulled out of my mouth. I couldn’t control the coughing that came after.
“I’m sorry, sorry, love…” he apologized profusely, kneeling before me and reaching a shaking hand to wipe off the tears streaming down my face. He had a very apologetic look on his face and I grinned at him to reassure him.
“It’s okay, I loved every second of it. Loved how you lost control,” I rasped out loud. Oh goody, I wouldn’t be able to hold a presentation. I cleared my throat once, twice, before I talked to him again.
“You were so sexy getting all alpha mode on me,” I told him earnestly. He growled low on his throat before he smashed his lips to mine. He swallowed the moan that escaped my lips as he continued to devour me, not minding the mess of saliva and cum on my face.
“Fuck, I can taste myself on you. Hmm, you’re mine, totally, absolutely mine,” he growled against my ear, nipping it playfully. “Baby, can I fuck you? Is it okay?”
“Baby, please. I missed you,” he panted against my ear, shuffling his body closer to mine. I felt something poke my thigh, making me stiffen.
“A-Are you hard? Again?” I asked him, a tad bit incredulous.
“Yes. Can’t help it. You’re so hot. The image of you taking my dick alone, letting me use you… It’s seared in my mind and I am a weak, weak man when it comes to you. Let me make love to you, baby, please?”
Oh my god, I have a horny senior. I could only pray to all the deities out there to help me survive this over-enthusiastic beast that I call my boyfriend.
“Okay,” I said, surrendering myself to the other. Well, what can I say? I needed to let out my pent-up sexual frustrations after months of being away from him, too.
I don’t think I would be going to work tomorrow. This wasn’t me slacking off, honestly. Yes, I own the company, or half of the company rather, I was working in, but I had always been pretty serious with my work. My work was my passion, so I try to not be absent as much as possible.
But I really, really think I couldn’t go to work tomorrow. I could already feel the aches settling in my muscles, particularly my lower back, and the beast of a man I call my boyfriend was still at it. Telling him about the overseas business meeting that I had to attend the day after tomorrow made him lose his control over his libido. He was just insatiable. He was currently pounding into me as I buried my head on the pillow beneath, his hands tight against my hips. That would paint a lovely bruise on my skin, I was sure of it. He was worrying the skin at the junction where my neck and shoulder met, a spot he had been sucking for a while now. Another painting of a bruise on my skin.
Now don’t get your panties in a twist, my dear fujoshis, and say that this was some dubious consent, because, let me just tell you, it wasn’t. I was a more than willing participant, his pouting and whining and the pure love that shone in his eyes wore the resolve I built of resisting his charms. He was pretty charming and he was effortless about it, too.
He grasped my leaking dick as his thrusts came faster and harder, pumping my hardened length to the rhythm of his thrusts. My moans became louder, broken utterance of his name interspersed in between the guttural sounds, while he growled and groaned against his teeth that was currently biting my neck. Oh, dear lord, that stung deliciously.
“C-cumming, Oon!” I shouted as I spurted on the bedding underneath. He was unyielding with his thrusts as I squeezed him through my orgasm. His hips stuttered not long after and I felt warmth filling me up, leaking through my abused hole as I was filled to the brim, again.
“Seriously, are you trying to get me pregnant? That’s the third time you came inside me, jeez,” I slurred out as he collapsed on the bed beside me. I gingerly rolled over so that I could rest on my back too.
“No matter how many times you do it, I won’t, because I don’t have the right organs for it,” I added, closing my eyes in the process and just taking deep breaths.
I felt a warm hand snake on my waist, prompting me to open my eyes and look at him suspiciously.
“Hmm, that would be fantastic. You, carrying my child,” he murmured groggily. I turned to look at him incredulously.
“Are you—do you have a breeding fetish?”
I tapped his cheek to keep him awake and he swatted my hand away. He glared at me through slitted eyes.
“I asked if you have a breeding fetish.”
“What’s that?” he asked me again. Oh dear, I think he didn’t know what his kinks were.
“It means you get off with the idea of someone getting pregnant with your child. You breed them. Hence the breeding term.”
He scowled at me for a few moments and then he was looking thoughtful.
“Isn’t that like pregnancy kink or something?”
“No. It’s different. Pregnancy kink is getting off with someone who is pregnant already, while breeding kink, you like the idea of getting your partner pregnant.”
“Oh, okay. Well… seeing as I know that you can’t get pregnant, I should say that I don’t have a breeding kink.”
“But you like the idea of getting me pregnant.”
“Yeah, but you can’t get pregnant.”
“This is getting nowhere, isn’t it?”
“It’s not. We’re just going in circles.”
“Let’s just agree that I like your cum in me and you like cumming in me. Okay?”
It was funny how this man lying next to me could discuss something embarrassing like this without batting an eye now. He used to be quite reserved when we were younger but looking at him now, he might as well be Johnny Sin. Or maybe not Johnny Sin. Anyway, I was loving this new facet of my P’Arthit just like how I loved his shy and easily flustered younger self. I reached out my hand to trace his features, caressing his cheeks and down to his defined jaw. He caught my wandering hand and placed a kiss at the delicate skin of my inner wrist. I smiled at him fondly.
“Speaking of kinks—” I raised an eyebrow at this. Seemed like we weren’t done with this talk yet. He rolled over so that he laid on his front, his forearms propping himself up as he looked down on me. “Can we talk about your mirror kink?”
My eyes widened when I remembered our first date – and the intimacy that followed – and how I had been so turned on watching our faint reflection on the window. I felt the telltale sign of arousal pool low on my belly as my face heated up.
“What about it?” I asked, trying to be as nonchalant as I could. He stared directly into my eyes and I watched the slow growing of a smirk on his lips. I dreaded that smirk, and I had a feeling what he wanted. It was quite evident in his eyes, too. Seriously, when did my shy P’Arthit back in college become this insatiable man in front of me?
“Hmm. I don’t know, Kong. Why don’t you take a guess,” he answered, one of his fingers running teasingly on my bicep. Oh, dear deities. Please give me strength.
“You wanna go again? Seriously? We just had sex minutes ago. Have mercy on me. I still have a flight tomorrow evening, P’,” I said, dropping all pretenses that I didn’t know what he wanted from me.
“So you’re saying that you don’t wanna try it?” he said, his grin dropping.
He also stopped his finger from tracing circles on my skin. The brightness of his eyes dimmed a little bit, replaced by something akin to guilt and sadness, topped with a sprinkle of longing. I could already feel my defenses crumbling. I think I know what he was thinking: that we’re gonna be apart for a week because of my travel overseas, after he had just come back from traveling around Thailand for their concert. I also missed him and I was sure that he also missed me. I had felt it with how desperate he had been from our previous rounds.
I threw my metaphorical hands in the air, saying ‘fuck it!’, and stood up from the bed. I could already feel my lower back protesting. I started to walk around the bed, feeling his eyes following my every move. I went to his side and grabbed the discarded bottle of lube on the bed beside him, slapping his lovely behind as I turned around.
“Come on,” was all I said as I trudged towards the walk-in-closet where I know a full-length mirror was fixed on one portion of the wall. There was wetness trickling down my thighs and legs and I was reminded that we hadn’t cleaned up yet from our previous love-making. Anyway, the idea of his cum dripping down my thighs made me feel so… owned. I loved the feeling.
There was shuffling behind me and I didn’t dare turn around. It was taking a lot of my self-confidence to parade around his room like this, naked and so very debauched, while I knew his eyes were watching every of my movements. I reached the room, turning on the track lighting, and strode towards the mirror. I stood in front of it with my eyes studiously on my feet, not daring to look at my reflection because of the sudden bout of embarrassment I felt. I closed my eyes tight and bit my lip, listening to the telltale sound of his footsteps.
I gasped and opened my eyes in surprise when arms wrapped around my waist, my head snapping up when I was pulled backwards to a warm naked body. I saw my reflection on the mirror, squeaking at how I looked.
My hair was a mess, standing in all directions, while my lips were so red and swollen from all the kisses we exchanged. There was a healthy flush, evident even with my tanned skin, that went from my face, down to my neck and spread across my chest. There was a vivid mark high on my neck, the mark he left during our shower, but aside from that, there were no other marks that would be visible above my collar.
My chest… was a different story altogether. Hickeys littered my body, from my collar bone and shoulders down towards even my thighs. The disaster zone was focused on my chest, multiple marks with varying degrees of severity, ranging from pink to purple. There was also a pair of redness just above my hipbones from where he had held onto me when he was fucking me from behind. Random purple bruises littered my thighs, the most of it at the inner part from when he had teased me so much before he fucked me. And lastly, but definitely not the least, was the trail of wetness along my inner thigh towards my legs, that was pooling on the floor beneath. My breath hitched at the overall picture that I painted.
Gentle yet firm hands guided my chin up from where I had been staring at my feet on the mirror, and I met his dark and lustful gaze. I bit my lips unconsciously as I was arrested by his alluring eyes.
“This is how I see you, Kong. You really can’t blame me if I want to fuck you all throughout the night, right? You always look irresistible, more so when I have owned you like this. God, you’re so beautiful like this. All mine,” his gentle voiced tapered off into a low growl at the end of his sentence, his hands roaming around my body. He started nosing my neck and I exposed more of it with a tilt of my head. I let him do whatever he wanted with me and leaned more of my weight on him, feeling the start of his hardness in the process. I saw myself twitch in response and this was just as much of a confirmation as that night: I do love watching him take over my body.
“Mmmm, yes, Oon. Y-yours…” I moaned. He met my eyes in the mirror and we stared at each other. I started rubbing my ass against his member, teasing him, making him grow into full hardness, as I guided one of his hands into mine. I guided his hand into pumping my length, growing harder and more desperate by the second. After a while, he was rutting against the cleft of my ass as he held onto my throat, almost choking me. My hand that wasn’t busy with pumping my cock along with his, snaked towards his hip for something to hold on to.
I felt him leaving wet kisses against my skin as he growled and moaned in passion. When it was evident that he would let himself come like this, I shook him off desperately, reaching for the bottle of lube that I put on top of the island dresser. With shaking hands, I poured some of the liquid in my hand, swatting his hand that had been trying to reach my manhood. I turned to him and lathered his hardness, pushing him down after to sit on the ground.
He finally complied with my actions and sat comfortably, leaning against the side of the dresser. I positioned myself above him, my knees on either side of his hips, my back to his front. I grabbed his leaking dick and turned towards the mirror to see what I was doing. The sight turned me on so much that I had precum leaking from the tip of my cock. I lowered myself down, his hands on my hips helping in guiding me sink into his hot rod slowly.
I gasped as I felt my insides get stretched again, his moan chorusing with mine. I leaned back against him, my arm going around his neck as his knees spread my legs wider. I could clearly see where his fat cock was stretching me, the skin around my hole pink and wet. We watched the erotic sight before us, his hips beginning to pump in and out of my hole. His thrusts went faster and I could see that his dick had a white substance coating it. My cock twitched when I realized that it was his leftover cum from before.
“O-oh god. Look at you keeping all of my cum inside. See that Kong? That’s my cum, baby. Fuck,” he said with a groan. My moans and gasps were the only answers I could give him.
In one hard thrust he made, he had me crying out loud. With the horny devil that he was, he repeated thrusting on the same angle, hitting that sensitive spot inside me, and I was screaming. It felt so damn good.
“P’Arthit… Oh my god. Fuck! Yes! Yes! Yes! YES! Ah! Ahhh-mmmmm…” I groaned.
“Kong, why are you still so tight,” he growled.
I couldn’t take the pleasure anymore, it was that good, my eyeballs rolling up. I could feel his mouth against my ribs, his teeth sinking into my flesh as he continued to pound in me. A rough hand grasped my jaw gently and I pried my eyes open.
“Look. At. The. Mirror. Watch me fuck you so that you know who you belong to. So that you know who brings you pleasure.”
I complied with his demands. My eyes, half-lidded, met with my mirror-self, and I watched in fascination as I got fucked by my boyfriend. My brain still had enough juice to note how his hand on my jaw migrate towards my neck, squeezing ever so lightly around that vulnerable part of me; or how his teeth was worrying the skin on my ribs, the area already promising a vivid purple mark later on; or how his other hand was splayed against my stomach, his ivory skin beautifully contrasting with my tan. But the most arresting of all was how he was staring at my mirror self, the raw hunger in his eyes not diminishing anytime soon, and how they were screaming that they only see me.
‘He said that I belong to him, but with how he watches me, it’s more like he belongs to me,’ a stray thought invaded my mind. It was true enough. The way he looked at me made feel so fucking special. His eyes held my gaze prisoner and I was unwilling to break free even if I had a chance. I belonged to him. He belonged to me.
His thrusts went faster and harder, making me scream and curse. My breathing grew erratic as I met his every upward plunge with my own downward movements, making him tighten his hold on me. His pale hand reached for my cock at the same time I felt that telltale heat pooling low on my belly, pumping in time with his thrusts.
Not too long after, I was shooting my load on my stomach, some of the white liquid even splashing his face. His pace didn’t stop; it grew more erratic instead and I couldn’t help but scream due to the overstimulation. He bit my side, hard enough to draw blood, and then I felt the fresh wave of his warm cum inside of me.
We sat there, in front of the mirror, flushed and breathing hard, as we tried to recover from our orgasmic high. When I felt like my knees could support my weight, I gingerly stood up. I watched as cum gushed out of my hole when I sat up from his cock.
We looked at each other through the mirror and then we were both laughing out loud. There wasn’t anything remotely funny about it but we were laughing anyway.
“Oh dear, I love you so much. Thank you for putting up with my horny self,” he said with a groan as he stood up and leaned against the dresser. I turned around and walked towards him, wrapping my arms around his neck loosely.
“You only love me because I let you do to me whatever you want to do during sex?” I asked him teasingly.
“Wha-? No, don’t misunderstand. I love you because it’s you. It’s simple as that. I don’t just love you because of the amazing sex, it’s part of it, yes, but the whole lot of reason why I love is because it’s you. I love everything about you.”
A smile stretched my lips wide and I couldn’t contain my giddy giggle. I leaned forward and left small pecks all over his face, ending it with a lingering one against his pink lips.
“I love you, Oon. All of you. You’re the only one I have ever loved and will ever love. Every relationship I had paled in comparison to what I have with you. I love you so much.”
“Hmm. Why are we both so cheesy, Kong?”
I whined at the tickling sensation on my back, scooting further away from the source in annoyance. I buried my head further into the fluffy cloud and drifted back to my dream of flying away on said fluffy cloud. But the tickling sensation followed me. Getting pissed off, I conjured my bo staff and swung it around, huffing a satisfied sound when a smack resounded in my peaceful place.
Hmm, that sounded familiar. Where have I heard that before?
“Kongpob, you little shit. WAKE UP!”
I scrambled to get away from the loud noise, sitting up hastily in the process. I immediately regretted the action when my lower back protested. I turned to glare at the source of noise and was greeted by a murderous glare on a handsome face. I intensified my glare.
“What?” I grumbled, massaging the small of my back. Just then, I noticed the redness on P’Arthit’s cheek, making me more concerned.
“What happened to your face, P’?” I asked. He stared at me incredulously.
“You’re asking me what happened? Are you kidding me?!” he asked shrilly. “You smacked me!”
I stared at him in incomprehension. I would never!
“Just now, stupid! I was only trying to wake you up because breakfast, but this is what I get?!” he huffed.
Oh. Oh. The tickling sensation.
“I’m sorry, P’. I thought you were a… fly… or something—”
“A fly?! Fuck you! Argh!” he screeched, standing up from the bed and stomping his way towards the bedroom door.
“Wait, no. P’Arthit! Please wai—Ahaaah, ah, ah. Fuck, ow.”
I abruptly stood up to follow him, and had to hastily grab the night stand when pain lanced up my back. I gasped at the pain, gingerly sitting back on the bed. Yep, definitely not going to work today. I flopped back down on the bed with a groan and that was then that I noticed that I didn’t have a single stitch of clothing on. I sat back up again, surveying the room for my clothes.
I spied a pile of folded clothes at the foot of the bed and I stretched my limbs to get it without moving my lower body too much. Guess how that went?
“You’re ridiculous,” came from the doorway.
I turned towards my boyfriend, who I had accidentally hit, an apology already at the tip of my tongue. Seeing him with a tray of food only made me guiltier.
“Hey, I’m sorry abou—”
“It’s okay. It was an accident,” he cut me off, striding towards the bed with purpose. He set down the tray on the night stand and I could see the bruise beginning to turn darker. I caught his wrist and gently coaxed him to stand between my legs so that I could see him properly. He raised an eyebrow at this, deliberately letting his gaze travel all over my body before staring straight at me in the eyes, making me flush.
I pushed away my embarrassment, instead, I reached out my free hand and cradled his face gently. I coaxed him to bend, and he complied, bracing his hands on either side of my body. There was the start of the an infuriating smirk on his face, but I paid it no mind. My eyes were riveted to the small patch of his discolored skin, caressing the area around it gently. I laid a soft lingering kiss on it, and before I looked him in the eye.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, love. Never will I ever hurt you intentionally,” I whispered earnestly. I laid another gentle kiss on his cheek.
I heard his breath hitch and the next thing I knew, I was sprawled across the bed, being kissed the life out of me by a hungry ex-head hazer. I didn’t even put up a fight, having seen the hunger in his eyes before, and let my love have his fill.
I knew I was gonna be so exhausted for my flight later in the evening but it was all worth it. I got to spend some time with my boyfriend. And, well, he knew how to pamper me, making me feel so special even after the after care.
Chapter 6: C.6 Mid-Tour Arc - 3
"Why the fuck are you so grumpy? You already asked for a whole day to yourself yesterday, and pushed the meeting with CacheLok today. If there's anyone who should be grumpy here, it should be me. Me. Because I lost a day of finding Wad because of you," Prem said irritably to a pouting Arthit, making the latter glare at the former.
Knot and Bright, along with P'Jane looked at the two in alarm, ready for an intervention if needed be. Arthit opened his mouth to lash out at the other but he caught sight of Knot shaking his head vehemently at him. He ground his teeth together to keep the words at bay, opting instead to look out to the passing scenery outside the window of the van.
He shared the seat with Prem and Knot, with Prem sitting between him and Knot. They were off towards the building where CacheLok was headquartered, navigating the busy streets of Bangkok. Supposedly, they were just a mere fifteen minutes away from the building, but with the traffic build up, it was more like thirty minutes away.
When the vehicle stopped before a red light, Arthit sat up from his seat, shuffling towards the back and pushing Bright towards his abandoned seat in front. He heard Prem's huff and ignored it, opting instead to plop down on Bright's seat and continued to stare outside the window. He heard someone sigh from the seats in front. He ignored that, too.
Arthit didn't know if he was being selfish. All he knew was that he was missing his boyfriend already. Kongpob took his flight early in the evening to Singapore, weary from all the rounds of sex he had subjected the younger into. He felt somewhat guilty because Kongpob had looked exhausted, not to mention the way he limped his way towards the gate as they finally said goodbye at the airport, but the contented smile on the younger's face, and the way he kissed him sweetly at a secluded corner alleviated some of his guilt. He heaved a lovesick sigh, his fight with Prem already forgotten, as he relieved yesterday's events in his head.
"Tutah is already there. He will be meeting us at the basement," Jane told informed them.
"Huh? Why?" Arthit asked, the news of their other friend being there piercing his Kongpob-filled brain. He heard a scoff from the front seats and he glared at the back of his friend's head, shooting the mop of hair lasers in his mind.
"Uh, because we don't want a scandal? Seriously? That bruise on your cheek is quite vivid, you know. I don't know what you and N'Kongpob is doing during sex, because god knows that's all you do when you meet."
Arthit spluttered in reply to their manager's statement. It wasn't his fault that they didn't know how to knock. Seriously, it was common courtesy especially afforded to just everyone!
"Not my fault that you don't know how to knock," he grumbled.
"Well, the kitchen is not your bedroom, Nong. Jeez!"
Snickers were heard from the seat in front of them.
"Shut it! Like you guys are saints!" Arthit hissed at Knot and Bright. "The only one I could probably say that is a saint right now is Prem. But not because he's innocent or anything."
"Fuck you, asshole," Prem replied with venom.
"No, thanks. I have Kong for that. And he's a better fuck than you would ever be."
Prem growled at this, turning in his seat to meet the challenging smirk on Arthit's face. Knot managed to stop him in time before he lunged at the fairer man and add to that bruise on his cheek.
"Will you stop it, you two? And Arthit, have you cleaned and disinfected your kitchen thoroughly? I will not step on that kitchen unless I'm reassured that you did. You know what? I will watch you clean the whole area when we get back from this meeting," Knot declared after pushing Prem back into his seat. Arthit spluttered again.
"Kongpob did," he mumbled after the expectant look Knot levelled him.
"Jeez, Arthit! You let your wifey do the cleaning? After you exhausted him? Wait 'til I tell Tutah on you. He'll definitely not be pleased."
"What? No! I helped him, okay? I am not that heartless. Besides, you do remember that he loves cleaning right?"
"Still, you should've been the one to clean up. That poor Nong of yours must've been limping and in pain," Prem added in a less hostile manner.
"Oh? You talking to me now?" Arthit asked sarcastically, still miffed by the other's reactions towards him. Like, he didn't get why his sighing would agitate the other to this extent. Then he remembered his friend's earlier statement, and he instantly felt guilty.
"Why are you such a princess, huh?!"
"Well, I'm sorry for being a princess. But we're on our way already to the meeting, okay? We're only a few minutes away from the building, so calm down, Prem."
The other let out a heavy breath in reply instead, probably to prevent further arguments from erupting. Arthit himself, turned towards the window again.
"Seriously Arthit. He's only been gone yesterday and yet you're already a lovesick fool," Prem grumbled after a while. The other occupants of the van aside from Arthit heaved a discreet sigh of relief. It seemed like the cold war was over.
"Fuck off," was Arthit's only reply.
The van turned towards a high-rise building, going down the ramp after their identities and their appointment had been verified by the guard. They were directed to the level for visitors and met up with Tutah.
"Arthit! What did you do to your face?!" their friend exclaimed when he was let in the van.
"Sex," the others collectively said.
"No! it was an accident—"
"Yeah, during sex."
"Fuck you, no—"
"Should we host an intervention for you, Arthit?"
"What?! No, I—"
"Seriously, my baby gay is probably all limping now. This small bruise is a small price to pay."
"I never thought you were this kinky. You were such a prude back in college."
"IT'S NOT FROM SEX, OKAY? HE ACCIDENTALY ELBOWED ME WHEN I TRIED TO WAKE HIM UP YESTERDAY!"
Silence permeated the van. Then—
"Because you were horny." Jane stated. Arthit buried his face on his hands in defeat, and groaned.
I looked around the area as we were led by a secretary towards a meeting room. I have imagined the office area to be like any other offices: drab. Why would I expect anything less (more?), right? After all, it was just another office where there were employees and work and shit. Well, WRONG.
I judged prematurely. I should've expected something like this instead because it was a gaming company. The employees would consist mostly of artistic people, people who would probably go stir-crazy in white-washed walls and carpeted floors, white tile ceilings with airconditioning humming overtime as background noise.
That 'something like this' was: geometrical curves as ceiling design, apple-green against black concrete slab, snaking and overlapping with one another, recessed lighting highlighting the design further; white was still the predominant color of the walls, which, curiously, remained devoid of any ornaments at the start of the hallway, but as we delved further into it, I understood why. The walls were left blank for a reason; the walls were meant to be a big canvas, murals were waiting to be painted, the unfinished ones having clued us in. As we walked further in, the walls became a flurry of colors, some abstract; some cartoonish doodles. Of course, there were also the hyper-realistic scenes, if you could call it that when the scene had a touches of sci-fi or magical realm included in it.
My inner child was rejoicing and if I wasn't here on official business, I would walk slowly and admire the paintings, maybe geek out a little on that—was that an Angel of Destruction mural over there?! Eeeeeek!
I started to run towards it, my thoughts of official business banishing from my head as I stared at the big painting of that masked and winged creature, the hood hiding other features of his face with only the golden eyes visible, and the twin braided hair on either side of his face.
"Just like at the end credits..." I gasped out loud. I reached out a hand and touched the chained and kneeling figure, my eyes taking in the details of the character's clothes, the minute details like tears and folds on the clothes, and bloodied scrapes and bruises on the visible skin, the shades of gray and black bringing the character alive.
A throat was being cleared to my right and I jumped in surprise, bringing me out of my daze. I looked at my friends guiltily, pocketing my hand like I was caught touching something I shouldn't touch. I bowed my head to hide my heated cheeks and trudged towards the group.
"Sorry. Let's get going?" I mumbled.
"Actually, Khun Ploy? Uhm, is it okay to take pictures?" I heard Prem ask. I shot him a questioning look but he wasn't looking at me.
"Uh, I don't know, Khun..." she answered, unsure.
"It's quite okay, actually. This is the showcase corridor. The bosses wouldn't allow us to draw something that's still in production, after all. So everything here should be safe for the outside world because they're either revealed in our games or they are completely unrelated and just a figment of the imagination of an uninspired artist," a new voice said from ahead of us and we turned to see two ladies walking towards us. Both of them were comfortably dressed in baggy pants and sweatshirts, but these clothes didn't diminish how attractive they both were. They both wai-ed to us and the taller one turned to our guide.
"Khun Ploy, we'll take it from here. Thank you," she said. I realized she had been the one to talk.
"Hi, I'm Prae. I am the Head Sound Engineer. And this is Maprang, one of our Head Artists. It's so nice to meet you," she greeted us. We returned the greeting with P'Jane introducing us.
"It's also nice to meet you. Thank you for this second chance after our initial answer."
"Oh no, the honor is all ours. We wouldn't pass up an opportunity to work with a talented band just like yours, really," Maprang said enthusiastically. Actually, over-enthusiastically might be more apt. Looked like we have an avid here.
"So, you can take pictures if you'd like. We still have some time left before the official meeting starts. They're still prepping the conference room as we speak," Prae said, gesturing at the corridor. I looked pleadingly at our manager then to my friends. All of them sported amused smiles and they all subtly nodded.
"Thank you. That's so kind of you. At least we'll sate our manchild we have in our midst," Knot said, throwing shade at me.
Prem dragged me towards the mural I had been admiring earlier before I could retaliate, his camera being brought out of the camera bag he had been toting around. He made me do several poses and I couldn't have been more happier modelling at that time. Later on, my other friends joined us, doing silly poses, as Prae and Maprang offered to take pictures of us all. It was just the start of our day but we were already enjoying ourselves.
"—so that's it. We could make a total of three songs only with the time frame that we have."
"Hmm... We understand, don't worry about it. We've actually contacted several other bands and we've decided to have a single album with compilation of works from the bands. Just so we could promote more than one group and we could reach out to multiple fans of each band at the same time," Prae said with a smile.
Her answer had us sighing in relief. At least we didn't have to negotiate so hard with them.
"So, just like we've offered with the other bands, we could give you access to some of our workspaces so that you could easily talk to one of us in development for inspiration or clarifications or something," Maprang, the bubbly artist, said enthusiastically. I had noticed her eyes continuously drifting to me and I tried so hard to be polite about it, which meant that I had to act oblivious about it. Prae, bless her soul, had been reining her officemate in, a calm presence to the other's hyper attitude.
"That'd be great," Prem answered, suddenly matching the girl's enthusiasm. The rest of us exchanged glances and hid our smirks.
"Okay, if that's settled then, how about we talk royalties? Of course, the band would receive..."
And the talk continued on towards the more boring part of the meeting, talking about shares and profits and whatnot. I listened well, along with Knot and P'Jane. Prem, I noticed, was already thinking about other things, particularly a certain programmer if I had to guess, and Bright, as usual, wasn't paying attention, studying a piece of something instead.
The meeting came to an end, with us signing the contract (reviewed and revised by our management beforehand), and then they were leading us towards a large room, littered with curvy irregularly shaped tables with comfy chairs, and bean bags of different colors on the carpeted floor. Long curved benches surrounding a planter were also there filling up the space. Hints of apple green and cherry red brought the space to life, along with the blue lighted mural on the wall partitions further into the room. The space stretched on towards the floor to ceiling window at the far end, affording ample natural lighting to permeate the room. Vending machines also lined up one span of the wall to the right, completing the cozy appearance of the room.
"Is this some sort of a common area?" I asked. It was too large to be used by only us, to be honest, and if it was, I don't think we'd be able to write comfortably in here when other employees would also be hanging out in the room. Not without disturbing one another.
"Actually, this is not yet open for the employees. This area is supposed to be for the new game we're planning to make but the production was delayed for several months. There is another room like this, the bigger one, where all of the employees frequent. They do not venture on this one because it's a little farther from their stations. The other one's just beside the offices actually. Well, this space would be shared by you and the other invited bands, is that okay? If not, we could prepare one of the rooms for your use," Maprang explained.
"No, no. Don't worry about it. This is okay. And we'd probably do most of our writing in the studio anyways because we have access to our complete instruments there—" Knot said, only to be interrupted by Prem.
"Yes, this is fine. But we'd be coming back here. This space is fine for us. Perfect even," he said.
"Okay then. If that's all, I'm going to prepare your passes so that you can easily get in and out of the building. Please make yourselves comfortable. I'll send in some refreshments. Please excuse me," Prae told us with a smile, striding out of the door after giving us a polite wai.
Maprang, on the other hand, stayed and we returned her smile awkwardly, getting unnerved with how she was looking at us.
"What is it, Khun?" Tutah said after a while.
"Oh! I'm sorry, it's just that, I'm a big fan of yours, Phi's! I love your songs. And now that we're gonna be collaborating with you, I am so giddy. I could proudly say that I have worked with one of my idols!"
"Oh... Thank you for supporting us," I answered softly, getting a little bit touched with her enthusiasm.
"Uhm, would you like to take a picture with us?" Prem asked. I actually looked at him in surprise seeing as he was the one who was usually reserved when we meet some of our fans. The girl took the offer, jumping around like an overexcited puppy.
We took several pictures with her, posing differently, using her phone. She thanked us profusely in the midst of her suppressed squeals of delight. Prae came back a few minutes later, handing us ID cards with our information on it, a large Visitor emblazoned on the plastic. Maprang dragged her and asked us to take a picture with her, and of course we agreed. At least we had a fan here. It would make finding Wad easier. Speaking of Wad...
"Can I ask you a question? Uh, it's not related at all to the contract but..." Prem started.
"Sure, Khun. Go ahead," Prae said.
"Actually, can we just settle for Phi or Nong? Khun makes me old," Bright interjects.
"Oh, okay then... Uh, P', what's your question?" Maprang said, turning to Prem expectantly.
"Uh, do you know someone called Wad?"
"Uhhh... Wad? I do know a Wad. But can you be more specific? We might have a couple Wad's working here, just to be sure, P'," Maprang answered, looking at her friend as she did.
"Wad Teerapat Lohanan."
"Oh! Uhm, what do you need from him P'?" Prae asked, kind of warily. Hmm...
"I heard that he was working here. I, uh... He was actually one of my juniors back in college. I just, you know, think that maybe we could catch up. Or something."
"Well he's currently on leave right now, P'," Prae answered with an apologetic smile.
"Oh..." replied Prem, I watched as his expression fall before pasting on a fake smile on his face. "Well then, I guess I'll see see him maybe some other time."
"Yes... If you want, I could tell him that you're looking for him?"
"Uh, can you? Oh! How about I write a note for him. Can you give it to him?"
"U-uh yeah, sure P'."
I watched my friend conjure a small notepad and a pen from his camera bag, and started to scribble a note furiously. Bright inched silently behind him, looking over his shoulder and read whatever he was writing. Then Bright began to mime obnoxiously, acting out the universal 'call me' sign and then he made kissy faces. The rest of us watched the scene unfold, with Prem not disappointing us with a loud smack on the idiot's head when he was done writing. Prem passed the note to Prae, muttering a heartfelt thank you.
"P'? How could Wad be your junior when you took different courses? I mean all of you are IE graduates while I'm pretty sure he is a Computer Engineering graduate with master's in IT," Maprang looked at Prem suspiciously. Prem raised his eyebrows at the question.
"We shared a Gen. Ed. class. We also share the same passion about photography, that's how we bonded."
"Oh... Well in any case, your note will reach him safely. Don't worry P'," Prae said this time.
"Thank you again, Nong."
Third Person POV
"Oh, hey! Didn't know you were here too, boss! Wait, aren't you supposed to be in Singapore right now? Kong? Uhh... hello?"
The man in question turned unimpressed eyes towards the chirpy voice and the girl got clued in to the dark aura surrounding him. She raised her hands and slowly backed away from the other, mouthing the word 'okay'. She turned to the other guy in the room instead.
"Hey, I've got a note for you," Prae said, tapping the other's shoulder. Wad removed his headphones, resting the gadget on his neck and looked at the folded yellow post it note being handed to him. He looked at the other girl, confused and then grabbed the note.
He quickly unfolded it, humming an absent-minded reply to the girl's bid of farewell. He saw the script, an all too familiar handwriting, and it made his heart thud in his chest.
'you said once that photos held the stories that you failed to convey with your words. I silently agreed that time. so I took a lot of photos and I hoped that it would tell you the things I always failed to say. I have finally woven that story into a coherent whole, so would like to view it? you can tell me your answer here.'
The note ended with a set of numbers, a phone number, and Prem's signature doodled logo. Wad felt conflicted. Did the older really want to meet with him? Did he really remember him? But that's impossible, right? He was broken out of his spiraling thoughts by a gentle squeeze on his shoulder. He startled badly since he had forgotten about the other occupant of the room.
"Hey Wad. Are you okay? Is there any problem?" Kongpob asked, looking pointedly at the yellow sheet still clutched on his hands. Wad looked down on the note in a daze, still not believing that his senior had remembered him even though they only shared one class.
"Uhh..." was all that escaped his mouth.
"May I...?" the other man asked, gesturing at the note. He hesitantly offered it to the other and Kongpob read the note quickly. A small smile appeared on the other's face as he returned the piece of paper to him.
"So, are you gonna reply? You can choose to meet with them or not. You can also choose to ignore them, but I wouldn't recommend that. It's better to give a definitive answer to them so that you wouldn't leave them hoping for more. That would just be too cruel," was Kongpob's gentle reply.
Wad looked at the other, biting his lip in indecision. He turned to stare at the note again. It was definitely from Prem, he would never forget his handwriting. But was the note really for him? Maybe there had been a mistake? Why hadn't he asked Prae when she came by a while ago?
He decided to call the number so that he could confirm. If the note wasn't for him, he could just simply say that it was given to him by mistake. He excused himself from the other, who then returned his attention towards the lines of codes in his computer screen.
He left the mostly empty office, and trudged the deserted hallways towards the large office pantry. He dialed the number as he waited for the coffee machine to finish dripping his drink on his mug and then sat down on one of the chairs there. He waited patiently as the line went on ringing. His brows furrowed when the ringing went on and on without any answer. He glanced at the clock on the wall and was shocked that it was already nearly ten in the evening. He figured that the older must've been sleeping already, and was about to drop the call when a deep voice answered.
He brought the phone back to his ear to answer it but his voice seemed to have abandoned him.
"Hello? Who's this?" the very familiar voice said again. Wad cleared his throat and forced his vocal chords to work.
"U-uh, hello," he managed to stutter out.
"... yes? Who is this?"
"P'Prem... you left a note?"
Silence met his reply and it stretched on for quite a while that he thought the other had dropped the call. He even checked his phone, but no, he was still connected to the other.
"Uh, hello? P'Prem?" he asked hesitantly. Maybe the signal went bad? Should he disconnect?
"Wad? Is that you?"
"Oh my god, it's been four days! What took you so long?!"
Wad brought his phone away from his ear when the other suddenly shouted. He looked at it in disbelief.
"Well I'm sorry that I was on a leave. Am I not afforded my leave now? You're not my employer!" he said sarcastically.
"I-I'm sorry. It's just that—I thought that—urgh, never mind..."
"No, I want to hear your explanation no matter how shitty it is."
"Explain now or don't talk to me. Ever."
"Wait, no! Do you know how hard it was to find you? Thailand is not that big of a country but you sure made it very hard for me. Now that I had found a way to communicate with you, you will not leave me hanging again, do you understand?"
"If you keep talking to me in that tone, then I will make sure you will never find me again. I'm not the one desperately looking for a person," Wad answered coldly. He was a bit miffed with how the other had been talking to him.
"Wait, wait, wait! Don't hang up, please... I-I—look, I'm sorry for my outburst. I was just... just disappointed when you didn't contact me. I thought I had another false lead."
Wad huffed at the explanation. It was indeed ridiculous.
"I've been looking for you for years, Wad. So I really get frustrated when I get false leads..."
"Why are you even looking for me in the first place, P'?" he asked.
"Well... That's because—I really don't want to say this over the phone. Uhm, can we meet up? Tomorrow maybe? You read my note, right? I really need to show something."
"How about now?"
"But it's late in the evening!"
"I'm kinda free now. And since I had been on leave for the last few days, I am sure to be swamped with work. I have a deadline, P'Prem, and game development deadlines are no joke. I am a part of the core group of the company and my programming is badly needed right now."
"Okay, okay. I'm coming right now. Text me your address."
"I'm not home right now."
"Huh? Then where are you?"
"I'm at work."
"But it's so late at night?"
"Yeah, and? I always do this. I love my work and my workplace. We actually have facilities here for overnights. It's pretty cozy. I spend most of my time here, anyway, than my apartment."
"Alright then. I'll just change my clothes. Be there in thirty."
"Huh, you don't live that far from here."
"Alright. I'll inform the security about your arrival. I'm actually here with the big boss, too, so I also need to inform him. I'll meet you in the lobby."
"Won't he get mad?"
"No, don't worry. He's pretty chill about this stuff. And we're friends. I also know the rules, so that there would be no company secrets leaked. I also trust that you aren't a spy from another company. If you were, then, say goodbye to your company because we will surely destroy you. The big boss knows his way around companies and he takes them down as a hobby."
"Okay, I get your point, jeez. And no, I am not a spy for another company. I'm not even an investor in a gaming company. If anyone within my friend group would invest in a game development company, that would be Arthit. That one's a total nerd."
"Good to know. Alright. Text me if you're here, P'. See you."
"So what did your department manager say?" Prem asked. He stood beside the other boy-- no, man -- inside the elevator. He tried to discreetly watch the younger, so as not to creep the other out, but he was failing.
"What department manager?" asked Wad, side-eyeing the older.
"Uh, you said that the big boss was here with you..."
"I'm the department manager, P'Prem."
"Huh? Then who...?"
"Uh, who's usually the big bosses of a company, P'Prem? Isn't it the CEO?"
"What?! Wad! Won't you lose your job if you just let me here without permission or something?"
"Like I said, he's pretty chill about it. Come on, let's go. I already prepared what you asked me."
They alighted the elevator, with Wad leading them towards a small conference room. There, a laptop was already hooked up to a projector that hung on the ceiling. The younger gestured at the device and Prem slotted the thumb drive he had while he turned off the lights.
With shaky hands, the older opened the file and let the video play. He sat himself on one of the chairs beside the other. He watched the younger's face instead of the screen, trying to catch a clue as to what the other thought of it. The younger didn't let anything show on his face though, and that made him quite nervous.
Wad, on the other hand, was freaking out inside that it came to a point that his brain just blanked out. The images on the screen was registering in his gray mass but his thought process had been halted. He knew that those were his pictures, candid shots, creative shots, portraits. They were all beautifully taken, stolen they may be, but they were still beautiful. He knew that the older loved photography and he had suspected that the other was good at it, but he didn't know he was this good. He was speechless.
When the music ended and the video stopped, he was still speechless and frozen in place. Prem wrote in his note that these photos should tell him something, a story of sorts. But what did they mean? Why was he the subject of all these beautiful pictures? They said that pictures paints a thousand words but at that time, Wad had only seen a few of those words.
Wad looked at the nervous man, and stared for quite some time. Prem didn't know what to think and he was losing his nerve with every second that the younger kept his silence.
"P'Prem," Wad finally said, startling the older.
"What is the meaning of this?"
Prem heaved a heavy sigh. It seemed like his junior didn't get what he wanted to express; that he wasn't clear enough with his pictures. He wondered what was lacking.
"I already told you that these photos hold the words that I didn't have the courage to utter."
"I know. But, P'Prem, sorry for this. But I want to hear those words now, loud and clear, so that we won't leave any room for misunderstandings. I wanna hear it, P'Prem."
Prem looked at the younger, trying to gauge his reactions. There was a glint of something in his eyes, and if Prem was bold enough to name it, he would call it 'hope'.
"If those pictures weren't enough to tell you then listen carefully. I'm not gonna repeat it again."
Prem took a fortifying breath, letting it out in a huff.
"I like you, Wad. I have liked you since college but I only realized my feelings when you stopped your studies for a year. I realized then that I liked you more than a friend and I would've loved to be more than friends. I missed you. So much. It's kinda funny now, because when I realized that, I got depressed for a while at the same time that Arthit was also depressed because of his failed love life too. I think between Arthit and I, our friends had probably developed gray hairs prematurely. And just imagine, the two fiercest and scariest hazers of our batch suddenly going off into a depressed stint. We must've been a sight to see," Prem said with a slight chuckle.
"Anyway, I still didn't approach you after uni because I was still afraid of your rejection. I was content watching from afar, and keeping up with your achievements through the internet and several magazines. But then you disappeared after that big scandal. Since then, I was plagued with 'what if's' and regrets. I vowed to myself that if I ever found you in the future, I will be brave and I will tell you what I feel. I'm tired of living in what if's and regrets. I wanted to take the leap of faith instead and bare my heart out to you."
Wad looked at Prem, wide-eyed. 'He really does like me...' The silence was broken again by Prem when it stretched too long.
"Wad?" he asked uncertainly.
"Hnng?" Wad answered, still disoriented. He blinked at the older, his mind finally registering the other. He also noticed the slump on the once proud senior's shoulders and he realized that the other had taken his silence as rejection.
"Oh, sorry P'. I was just overwhelmed, is all. Uhm... the photos, they already told me about your feelings. How could they not, when all of them clearly showed me in a flattering light. You know, I'm amazed how you brought my imperfections out and showed how they complimented me in a good way instead. I know you already said that you liked me but what your photos show a different emotion. Instead of like, I read love instead."
Prem averted his eyes, suddenly embarrassed at being found out.
"Do you deny it?" he heard the younger ask.
"No." he answered simply. He raised his head and stared directly at his junior. "No, I don't deny it. I am in love with you, Wad."
Wad felt like his breath got knocked out of him with the intensity of the elder's gaze on him as he said those words. The words that he had been dying to hear from that same person. Words that he had given up hope to ever hear. He smiled.
"There's this photography exhibition happening downtown. It's running until Sunday."
Prem looked at Wad, stupefied. What just happened?
"Well?" Wad asked, raising an eyebrow and affecting a nonchalant look. Inside, he was rejoicing like a little kid who had gotten his most sought-after toy.
"I-I—Yes! Yes, let's do that."
"Great! But don't you think that you need to do something first before that?"
"Your schedule, P'Prem."
"Oh! Okay, I will check with my manager. I'll text you when I will be available. But I think we don't have anything scheduled for Sunday."
"It's a date."
The mortification that Wad felt when he blurted those words out was all worth it with how Prem had smiled so wide at the mere mention of the outing as a date. He couldn't fault the other though because he was just as giddy.
"Come on, let's go make some coffee as bribe," Wad said. Prem looked at him, confused.
"Who are we bribing?"
"My boss." Prem looked at him with his mouth gaping.
"I thought you already told him that I'm coming here?! Fuck, what if he fires you because you let an unauthorized person inside?!"
"Oh relax, will you? It's not that big of a deal. I'd receive a raised eyebrow at most. He's pretty chill, like I keep telling you, I promise. And he gave me advice a while ago when I received your note. Come on, I'll introduce you to him."
They exited the room after putting everything back on their places. Wad lead them further into the office areas and opened a door leading to the spacious pantry.
"You really didn't tell him about me coming here? At this hour?"
"Well, I didn't have a chance to. He had been on the phone when I got back from calling you. Seemed important."
"Oh god. Fine, if you lost your job because of this, I'll be here to support you, okay?" Prem declared, only half joking. Wad snorted in reply.
"I'm serious, Wad. I will support you, okay? I'll help you get a job if that's what you want. Just—"
"Why don't you just tell him to call you 'daddy', P'. Or, you know, ask him to be your sugar baby," a new voice said from the doorway, startling the two occupants of the room. They turned to look at the approaching figure, Prem gaping at the man, while Wad looked on sheepishly.
"So, I was about to tell you I invited him but you were having a serious discussion with someone on the phone. Sorry about it."
"Well, I didn't expect you to move this quick. Good for you, Wad. And don't worry about it. I know that you know the rules. I also saw your note on the terminal I was using," Kongpob said with a shrug. He busied himself gathering ingredients for a sweet drink, getting his metal tumbler to use, acting nonchalant about everything. He ignored his gaping senior aside from the small greeting he shot at the other before.
"Okay, what's happening?" Prem said after he recovered from his shock.
"Oh! Sorry about that. P'Prem, this is Kongpob, my boss. Kong, this is P'Prem my... uhm—"
"Your 'something'?" Kong said in a slightly teasing voice. He turned to the older man and gave a small teasing smile. Prem returned the greeting with an unimpressed stare of his own, getting over his shock. Internally, Kongpob was giggling in glee.
"So, are all your clothes like this?" the older asked, opting instead to tease the other back instead of addressing the elephant in the room. Kongpob guessed the other had gotten over his initial shock of seeing him running a gaming company instead of what they probably initially assumed, which was him running his father's company.
"Like what?" he asked, going along with the ignorance.
"Like you're gearing up to rob a bank. Seriously, what's with all the robber get-up, Nong?" Prem asked in an amused tone, to which the other answered with a laugh.
"You guys know each other?" Wad asked, watching the easy interaction between the two. He didn't fail to note how Prem looked for Kongpob meaningfully, as if he was waiting for a cue from the younger.
"Yes. I dated one of his friends back in college," Kongpob replied. He was smiling softly though, making Wad suspicious. He thought that there was more into the story than that, especially when he caught the way that Prem rolled his eyes. He eyed his boss, and friend, until the other gave up the information that he wanted.
"... and I am dating said friend again, this time."
"There it is."
"Sharp as ever, Wad," Kongpob replied with a laugh.
"Well, this explains how you've been skipping in clouds over the past few days. Ever since I met you, you were usually the cloud itself, dark and gloomy."
"Skipping on—I don't skip on clouds!"
"You took offense to that?"
Kongpob scowled at his friend then turned back to his mission of pouring sala syrup into the milk inside the tumbler, pointedly ignoring his smirking friend and his not-boyfriend.
"Do you want coffee? I brewed some," Wad said.
"No. I'm jittery as it is. I don't want the added palpitations from caffeine."
"Ooookay. But I've gotta ask. Since when have you liked drinking pink milk?"
Kongpob shrugged in reply, not deigning to answer the other.
"Oh, I thought you were making that for Arthit," Prem interjected. Kongpob looked at the older and smiled a small smile.
"No, P'. It's for me. I missed this..."
Wad observed his friend, who seemed to be lost in thought, staring at the drink he was continuously stirring.
"Is it the drink that you're missing or the one who loves to drink that?" Prem asked even though he knew which the correct answer was. Kongpob shrugged again.
Wad looked at his senior with a raised eyebrow and the other answered with a roll of his eyes. He turned his attention back to his friend and noticed the tense lines on his shoulders, despite the easy-going demeanor he showed them.
"Kong... instead of holing yourself up here, why don't you take that drink instead to your boyfriend? I think that would be better than you burying yourself in work here," Wad coaxed.
"But there's a lot of things more to do—"
"We're not behind schedule. We've made a dent already with the coding works that needs to be done, a huge thanks to you. We could afford until next week to slack off. And you are supposed to be on leave 'til the end of this week, you know. You're technically not supposed to be here. Em can handle the company on his own."
"Yeah, I know. It's not that, though. I... I'm still a mess and you know I can't handle people right now—"
"But Arthit isn't your ordinary 'people', am I right? He's your boyfriend. How about you go and let him take care of you? Please go to him, Nong. I'm begging you. He's been insufferable since yesterday. He's like a pregnant woman with mood swings, only those mood swings consists either of sadness and anger," Prem interjected, almost begging.
"Uh, is it a good idea then to send me to him, P'Prem? You said he's in one of his moods, right? And I'm also in one of my moods. Won't that, I dunno, cause us to fight?"
"Negative times negative equals positive, Nong."
"...We're not an algebraic equation, P'Prem."
"Just please go to him? He's been bombarding our chat with his whining all day long... How about me and Wad come with you so that when you fight, we can extract you from there?"
Kongpob looked at Wad. The latter had a wide-eyed expression on his face.
"Uhh, P'Prem, are you sure? I don't personally know P'Arthit—"
"It's okay. The whole gang knows about you. Even the CEO of our agency knows about you. He's actually the one who had the information about you working here. That's why we took on the collab project."
"Collab project?" Wad asked.
"Uh, the collab project we have with you guys? That's how I managed to hand a note to you via your Sound Engineer."
"What collab project?" Kongpob asked. He turned to Wad for clarification.
"Don't look at me. I'm not the CEO. You are."
Kongpob turned to look at the older, who raised an eyebrow at him.
"Yes, Nong. You're the CEO. Why are you acting like you don't know what's happening in your company? Tsk, tsk. That's not a good thing, Nong."
Said CEO scowled at the pair.
"P', what collab? I'm pretty sure that the only collab that we have with an outsider is for the Dystopian Circle 2?"
"Yes, that's the only one I remember. We aren't planning on doing something for Oracles Saga, do we?"
"No, no. Only the Dystopian Saga. But Hazing Daze turned down the collab, P', so which one?" Kongpob directed his inquiry towards the older.
"We're doing the Dystopian. Why aren't you aware of it? We had a meeting four days ago with N'Prae."
"Oh? I have to remember to ask Prae about it, then. Sorry P', I was out of the loop for the past few days. Hey, can I take you up in that offer? I wanna see P'Arthit, P'."
"Oh, thank god. You are a life saver, Nong, you have no idea."
Wad and Kong went to save their works and turned off their terminals, with Prem tagging along. They trudged along the dim corridors of the deserted office, walking in comfortable silence.
"Hey, N'Kong. Aren't you supposed to be in a business meeting in Singapore where your family's company is based? Arthit couldn't stop whining about your, and I quote, stupid company meeting that stupid Kongpob needs to attend. What are you doing here, being a CEO of this game developer?" Prem asked, breaking the silence. They had boarded the elevator and were on their way to the basement parking.
"Yes, I was indeed in Singapore for a board meeting, because I am a member of the board since I am a major shareholder. The CEO of our family company however isn't me, that's my eldest sister, P'Komen. I was supposed to stay there for a week but I got pissed off so now I am here and decided to make myself useful and do something productive for my own company instead. I run the company alongside my best friend, Em."
"Huh. Sorry, we kinda just assumed stuff. Never thought that you'll have this. So if your parents decided to create drama again, they'd never be able to do anything against you this time?"
Wad only listened silently between them, just observing his friend for any sign of discomfort about the sensitive topic. So far, the other was relaxed.
"Yes, P'. I am totally independent from them. I can support myself even if they cut me off from the company, which they wouldn't and couldn't do, because the company is the hands of my very capable sister. Also, my maternal grandparents would create a fuss if they ever pulled such a stunt again. They weren't happy with what happened in the past and they are still blaming my parents, especially my father and grandpa, for what happened to me."
"If that was the case, then why didn't your grandparents help you out? You wouldn't have to suffer for years, you know. They could've saved you and Arthit the heartbreak," Prem said, his tone bordering on acidic, a scowl forming on his face. He jabbed harshly at the poor remote to unlock his car so that they could board it. Wad was a little concerned, just a little. Kong gestured to Wad the front passenger seat, while he himself took the seat behind Wad.
"They're good people, P'Prem. They're better than my father's parents. They came to know of my preferences during that nasty divorce process, and they accepted me for who I am and who I choose. They're a prime believer of true love, especially my grandma. Just like my sisters, they hadn't had aclue about what was happening then. My late grandfather had played us well."
Prem tightened his grip on the steering wheel, feeling for this junior of his. He had hated the younger back then, when he disappeared without a trace and left their best friend broken and depressed. All of them had, even Tutah. When the truth was revealed, a small doze of sympathy bloomed in his chest for the younger, even though he didn't voice it out at the time since Arthit had been adamant on keeping himself away from their junior. Tutah had been the one to openly show his feelings, pushing Arthit to get back his Nong. Arthit and Tutah's relationship had been strained in the first place since the break up, and when Arthit decided to just let his love go, it had nearly broken their friendship up.
Of course, being the awesome friends that they were, Prem, Bright and Knot didn't let this happen. They did their damnedest best to keep their friendship intact, even if it meant being yelled at (Arthit and Tutah), and threatened bodily harm (Arthit) if they didn't stop meddling. Now, their friendship was stronger because of it.
"Actually, yaai had been nagging me to get P'Arthit back after I rejected all of the blind dates she had been setting me up with. She just raised her hands in the air and said, 'If you keep on rejecting these handsome boys I am pushing towards you, the least you could do is to court that young man you had been so enamoured with.' She even went so far as to threaten to disown me if I didn't bring him to them," Kongpob said with a chuckle, breaking the silence that had settled in the car.
Prem looked at the rearview mirror and saw the younger staring at the passing scenery beyond the window, the soft smile on his face making him look younger. He let go of the anger he had felt after seeing that content look on the younger's face, relaxing on his seat. He felt someone staring at him and he glanced to the side to see it was Wad. He gave a soft smile in answer to the concerned look the younger was giving him.
"They're not in a hurry to marry you off, really," he told Kongpob jokingly. The younger chuckled in reply.
"Well, I would also be in a hurry to marry this guy off if it meant I wouldn't get to see his pathetic depressed ass," Wad added his own comment.
"Why are you such an insensitive ass?" Kongpob grumbled good-naturedly, not at all fazed with how insensitive Wad was. He wasn't Wad if he wasn't direct and purposefully tactless.
"Well, he didn't look depressed at all, when I met him again," Prem stated.
"Of course, you wouldn't see him in all his stoic 'I'm-absolutely-fine-fake-smile' glory. He was constantly a walking and talking gloomy raincloud. All of us in the office, maybe with the exception of Tew, Oak and Em, thought that that was just his personality. But then, months ago, we saw a brand new Kongpob, who looked like he was constantly walking on sunshine. There was a skip on his footsteps, literally, P'. And his smile. He kept on smiling this wide smile of his that it started to look creepy."
"You're so mean... And I'm your boss," Kongpob sulked.
"And I am your invaluable Programmer," Wad retorted serenely.
Prem found the two juniors bickering funny. He turned the car towards the basement parking of the condo where Arthit lived and gave his identification to the guard in charge. They were waved in and seconds later they were inside the elevator. Before he rang the door bell to the condo, Prem turned towards his friend's boyfriend seriously.
"I know that you've both been through a lot, and I am very happy that both of you are happy now. I just hope that this time around, you'll stay happy together for a long time. Take care of each other. Please. I don't want to see him suffering again."
Kongpob nodded his head solemnly.
"I will, P'Prem. I will take good care of him, and I promise to make him happy. He had been the only one that I ever loved and I can surely say that he's the only one I will ever love."
"Good. That's all I ever ask."