Coming out of the water to see a short, pretty boy with brown hair talking to Dean wasn’t unusual, but as Win wiped the water out of his face, he raised an eyebrow when he saw it was the wrong twin. “Well, well, well.” He smirked teasingly as he walked over and slung his arm around Intouch, knowing he would be so annoyed by getting wet. “You trying to steal your brother’s man?”
Win winked at Dean, who glared at him, though his ears turned red. “Shut up, Win.”
“Ew,” In said, shrugging Win’s arm off and fixing his hair. “Besides, Pharm would kill me if I went after his boyfriend,” he dismissed. “But seriously, P’Dean, something has to be done about that asshole.”
Dean sighed. “In, Pharm can handle himself. And he made it very clear he’s with me now.”
Win frowned. “Wait, is someone bothering Pharm?”
“That jerk, P’Alex,” In said, miming gagging. “He has gone from hitting on Pharm to acting all ‘oh look what you’re missing out on’ and showing off in this cocky, shitty attitude when Pharm is around.”
Win bristled. “I don’t like that asshole. He’s a major dick.”
“I don’t like him either,” Dean agreed. “But he hasn’t done anything that Pharm can’t handle.” He melted into a little smile, gazing into the distance. “Pharm is really strong and confident.”
In sighed. “Yes, I know my brother is strong and confident, but he’s also too sweet for his own good.” He hesitated and glanced at Win. “Also, he’s going to get Team in trouble if he ever sees how P’Alex treats Manaow and tells Team,” he said in a lower voice so that nobody else heard them.
Win instantly stilled. “What do you mean how he treats Manaow?” he muttered.
Dean’s brow furrowed. “I can’t imagine Manaow letting anybody treat her badly. What’s going on, In?”
In bit his lip. “You know Manaow. She’s the type that’s boy-crazy and goes gaga over hot, popular boys just like everybody else attracted to men.” He gave Win a pointed look. “But you also know that as shy as Team is, she’s his best friend, and if he ever saw the way Alex talks to her, he would get in big trouble for blowing up on him.”
Win winced, because it was true. They had all seen Team almost blow up on Alex for how he wouldn’t take no for an answer when Pharm was trying to turn Alex down. “What does he do that’s so bad yet she hasn’t seen past the ‘hot and popular’ filter to notice?”
In sighed and looked him in the eyes. “In the play they’re working on now? She plays a rock.”
Win’s jaw dropped and even Dean’s eyes widened. “A- A rock?!”
In nodded, pouting. “Not even just a random background extra. He’s making her literally curl up in a ball and pretend to be a piece of the set. Every other girl in the drama club is just as silly over him as she is. I know she’s really extra – and that’s coming from me – but that’s just being mean because she isn’t like the other girls,” he said delicately.
Win winced. He knew what In meant. Win didn’t agree with that kind of bullshit, but by most beauty standards, she was too tall, too big, and too loud to be ‘attractive’ to a lot of people. And she was too outgoing and opinionated. The stupid, outdated stigma that a girl should be tiny, pretty, have a delicate little voice, and be a shy little cutie to be ‘attractive’ was bullshit in his opinion, but Alex was an asshole, so he wasn’t shocked. “Man, that guy is the type that give men a bad name,” he grumbled.
“Oh honey, a lot of straight guys already give men a bad name, he’s not the only one,” In pointed out, tossing his bangs out of his face.
“He’s bisexual,” Dean pointed out and In gave him a sassy eyeroll.
“Which just makes it worse,” he said, slapping Win on his chest, making Win wince because damn to be so tiny, In was strong. “P’Win here is bisexual and he’s not a piece of shit.”
Win rubbed his chest. “I don’t get it anyways. You don’t have to treat her like shit just because you’re not into her. I mean hell.” He looked at Dean and shuddered playfully. “I would rather take a vow of celibacy than touch Dean here, but I’d never treat him badly over it.”
In crossed his arms. “The point is, something has to be done. He’s bothering my brother still, he’s needlessly mean to my fierce queen Manaow, and he won’t stop saying creepily flirty things to Del-“ He slapped a handover his mouth, eyes going wide, and Win froze, slowly turning his gaze to Dean.
Dean’s eyes narrowed. “Define ‘creepy’?” he said in a dangerous voice.
“Nothing!” In winced. “Okay no not nothing, but it’s nothing inappropriate. And she doesn’t seem bothered so I’m not that worried about her. She’s got a good head on her shoulders and she’s too shy to take him seriously.” In put a reassuring hand on Dean’s arm. “I’m sure he’s never going to get anywhere with that so it’s not like he’s going to play with her heart or anything.”
“He better not hurt her,” Dean said, jaw clenching as he glanced away.
Win slung his arm around Dean. “Come on. She’s smart. And she’s not all boy-crazy like Manaow. She’ll see what he’s up to. Don’t worry.”
Dean sighed but nodded. “I know. But it’s not her making good choices I’m worried about,” he said pointedly, and Win nodded. In cringed as well. They all knew guys who wouldn’t give up until somebody else had to intervene before things went too far with sweet, shy girls like Del.
In tapped his toe, biting his lip. “I just don’t like how he treats my brother and my friends and I hoped you would at least have something to say to him, P’Dean. Pharm’s your boyfriend.”
“He’s your brother,” Win pointed out and In gave him a flat look.
“And why would that asshole listen to me about it? He’ll just hit on me, too. Or accuse me of being jealous. Ew. I’m not popular and intimidating like P’Dean,” he said with a pout.
Win snorted. “Half the swim team is afraid of you, In.”
“Only because I said I could tell which boys have the biggest dicks even in the swimsuits since I’m so experienced,” he dismissed and Win snickered and the pinched look on Dean’s face.
Win snickered because it was kinda true. He couldn’t eyeball a bulge and tell a dick size, but In somehow had a special talent that had ended up making half the swim team hide behind their locker doors to change into their shorts for weeks.
“Listen, I’ll talk to him,” Dean compromised. “I’ll ask him if he feels uncomfortable with Alex and see what he says, okay?”
In sighed. “Yeah, I guess.” He shrugged. “Well, thanks P’Dean.” He rubbed his hands together, looking past Win. “Now to go ‘slip’ into P’Korn’s lane so he has to give me mouth to mouth-“
“I don’t think so,” Win said, grabbing his elbow to stop him from passing. “We would have to file paperwork about an incident. Flirt like a normal person when he’s at lunch or something.”
“Lame,” In said, but waved to them both as he turned and headed for the doors instead.
Pharm squealed, giggling as he squirmed away from Dean’s tickling fingers as he grabbed his ankles and tried to tickle the backs of his knees, smiling brightly at Pharm as he ‘fought’ to escape him. “P’Deeeeeaaannnn!”
“What was that?” Dean teased, digging his fingertips – gently always – into the ticklish skin.
Their playing was interrupted by the door opening. “Hey, Pharm, are you finally losing your virginity or can I come in and do my homework?”
Dean stopped and blushed while Pharm rolled his eyes. “Intouch, you asshole, you know I would text you to not come home if I wanted privacy!” he yelled.
In came in and looked at them on the couch as he put his shoes by the door. “Hey, I can always hope my brother is finally capitalizing on having a man that fine,” he said, sighing dramatically as he threw himself onto his bed, laying on his elbows to look at them. “It’s just sad at this point, Pharm.”
Pharm flushed but narrowed his eyes. “Maybe P’Dean wouldn’t be my first boyfriend if every boy that so much as flirted with me in high school didn’t end up making out with you instead.” He turned to Dean quickly. “Not that I’m not happier than anything that you were my first kiss and we’re in love,” he said sweetly, and Dean smiled, rubbing his hip affectionately.
“I would love you the same no matter how many guys you dated before me,” Dean said and Pharm melted just a little, laying his cheek against the back of the couch to gaze up into those beautiful eyes.
“P’Deeeeean,” he whined, giggling as Dean leaned in and pecked his nose. “You’re so sweet to me.”
“God, this is gross.” Pharm sighed at his brother’s whining. He looked over to see In taking his things out of his bag so he could do his homework.
“You wanted to pretend to drown so Korn would have to give you mouth to mouth and we’re gross?” Dean asked and Pharm gaped.
“Intouch! That’s so shameless!”
In shrugged. “And? Have you seen his titties? I want to bury my face between them and-“
“Ew, In, please!” Pharm begged.
In moaned, looking up at the ceiling as he tapped a pen to his chin. “And I just know he’s pushing eight inches-“
“Wouldn’t that be a bad thing because it would hurt?” Dean mumbled out loud, then blushed when he realized what he said.
Pharm knew what In was going to say before he did. “In, don’t you dare-“
“Nah, I dated a basketball player our last few months of high school in America who was nearly seven feet tall and his was a solid nine and as thick as my wrist. As long as you keep your ass used to it by using a big dildo often enough, you’re kind of just accustomed to that level of pain so it just makes the pleasure better.” Pharm picked up a couch pillow and threw it at In, who cried out when it hit him in the head. “Ow!”
Pharm just smirked. “Stop being dirty,” he said, then turned back to Dean. “Ignore him, mom found him under a bridge somewhere.”
“Rude,” In said, but Pharm only had eyes for Dean’s loving smile trained on his face.
Team’s ears were ringing. He was staring in shock, ears ringing, as anger filled him like lava in a volcano bubbling to erupt.
Pharm fidgeted uncomfortably. “I’ve told you, P’Alex, I’m not comfortable with you saying those things to me.”
Alex smirked. “C’mon, your brother is pretty popular around campus, so you can’t be that shy and innocent.” He winked. “I’m just curious if the rumors about Dean attracting all the ladies are really for that reason.”
“And my relationship with my boyfriend is not your business,” Pharm countered, so red he looked ready to combust. Team could see his hands fisted on his legs under the table and it showed how utterly uncomfortable he was.
Manaow, who usually was too gaga over a hot guy like Alex to ever speak back to him, made Team proud by clearing her throat. “P’Alex, I mean this with no disrespect, but he is right. It’s not proper to make jokes about a person’s partner’s ‘skills’ in public like this. Aren’t you at least a little embarrassed to say that out loud at the lunch table where anybody could hear?”
Alex raised an eyebrow at her, voice turning annoyed with a snap. “What would you know about proper or embarrassment anyways, Manaow, what with how you have no shame and humiliate yourself and everybody else in drama club if so much as an attractive janitor walks past the room like the desperate flirt you are?” He scoffed at the way her face fell. “Maybe if you were at least hot you wouldn’t be so boy-crazy.”
The volcano erupted.
“TEAM!” Team barely heard Pharm and Manaow both shout as he stood up so fast he knocked the table forward enough that it knocked Alex’s drink onto his shirt.
“Hey!” Alex cried, jumping to his feet, looking angry. “What the fuck, man? What the hell is your damage?”
Team was shaking with rage as he fought the urge to jump across the table. “Do not talk to her that way,” he gritted out, voice low and barely restrained.
“Team,” Pharm said, grabbing his elbow. “He’s not worth it, don’t do something stupid.”
Alex raised an eyebrow. “What, you her boyfriend or something?” He sneered. “You’re actually really cute. You could definitely do better than a loud mouthed cow-“
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Team shouted, stumbling over his seat to try and get past Pharm and Manaow to get around the table to Alex, who just looked too amused for how dead he would be when Team got his hands on him. “Let me go! You heard what he said!” he cried desperately, because Pharm wasn’t doing very much, but damn Manaow was strong.
“P’Dean, P’Win, help!” Pharm begged.
Alex showed a flicker of fear, and as two sets of hands gripped his arms, Alex casually grabbed his bag and slipped away, seemingly unnoticed. Team finally let go of the fight when Alex disappeared around the corner and slumped, panting as the adrenaline started to fade.
“There you go, Baby.” He heard Win’s voice finally and turned to look at him. Win relaxed some and he felt Dean let go. “What the hell was that, Team?” he asked, taking his face in his hands. “You okay, Sweetheart?”
Team took a long breath and nodded. “I’m okay, Hia.”
“What happened?” Team turned to look at Dean, who had Pharm held protectively to his side. “Was that asshole bothering Pharm again?” he asked dangerously.
“P’Dean, it’s okay. It wasn’t that bad,” Pharm soothed. “He was being inappropriate again,” he grumbled. “I’m just glad In wasn’t here to yell at him and make an even bigger scene.”
Win rubbed Team’s upper back. “What was so inappropriate that he got you so angry, Team?” he asked gingerly.
Instead, Team just looked past him at Manaow – usually vibrant, loud, crass, shamelessly confident Manaow – and saw how her shoulders were slumped and her jaw clenched where it hung down. He took one look at the way she was very clearly fighting so, so hard to not cry, and he gently stepped away from Win and immediately walked to pull her into a hug, tucking her face into his neck so he cold stroke her hair. “I would have killed him,” he said to her, smiling sadly when she managed a little weak laugh.
Behind him he heard Win whistle. “Oh damn, it’s good we got here when we did, Dean.”
“Fucking bastard.” Even Team and Manaow’s heads popped up and they turned when they heard those words out of Pharm’s mouth. He looked as angry as Team had ever seen him. He came over and took Manaow’s other hand Team didn’t have tightly in his own. “Don’t you ever believe any of the shit he spewed just now, okay?”
She nodded with a sad smile. “I know.” She sighed heavily. “He’s not totally wrong though. I’m not so boy crazy for no reason. Boys never liked me so it’s like hot boys are like unattainable idols that are fun to squeal over without really expecting attention.”
“Then they’re stupid.” They all turned to see In and Del coming over with their lunches. “I don’t know what happened we obviously missed to make you talk like that, but girl, you are a fierce queen,” In said firmly. “Walking up to hear a gorgeous goddess like you say ‘boys never liked me’ clearly means the hets are broken.”
“Yeah, you’re really pretty, Manaow,” Del agreed with an innocent smile.
In nodded. “So what went down to upset my best girl?” he demanded.
Team sighed, knowing better than to start it all up again. “Don’t worry about it, In. It’s over with now.” He slid his arm around Manaow’s shoulders. “All that matters is that all of you passed the test and I don’t have to fight any of you for not acknowledging that my best friend is awesome and beautiful,” he said with a loving smile at Manaow, who made a dramatic face.
“Alright, alright, Team complimenting me just feels wrong. Tell me my breath stinks or something,” she joked, shoving him as they all laughed and reclaimed their table.
He could see the warmth in her eyes though when she mouthed, ‘thank you’ at him when they sat down.