At the beginning, Hasbi never paid any attention to him: Ganda Hamdan, his boss’ co-worker, another parliament member, and also, according to some rumors around the office, a boss of thugs. Ridwan told him to stay away from him, said the man was bad news and had nothing good in him, especially since he seemed to have some sort of affiliation with Pengkor. Hasbi simply nodded and followed his boss’ words. He didn’t have anything to do with him anyway.
There was also something about Ganda that didn’t sit well with him. Hasbi never bothered to try finding out what it was, for he felt a bit uncomfortable around the older man. His much bulkier figure scared him, not to mention the way he acted like he owned the place really put him off. So Hasbi only wished he wouldn’t have to deal with Ganda more than necessary.
Though it would be a lie if Hasbi said he didn’t have any interest in the man at all. Ganda had his own charms. Despite his rough looks, he was, indeed, attractive—in his own way. He was tall and had well-built figure, his broad back and shoulders looked strong, some people would most definitely find that attractive, not to mention Ganda was quite good looking, and his fashion sense wasn’t that bad. He looked good in suits, maybe if he trimmed his beard a little bit more, and if he wasn’t so loud and obnoxious all the time, he’d have both men and women flocking all over him.
Hasbi wouldn’t deny that fact.
After all, Hasbi was gay.
“Kamu ngapain di sini?” was probably the first thing Ganda had ever said to him. Hasbi, who was standing near the door to Ridwan’s office, almost jumped out of surprise. Seeing his expression, Ganda smirked. It sent weird feeling to Hasbi’s stomach. “Nungguin Pak Ridwan, Pak,” Hasbi answered. He tried to answer with little words as possible without coming off as rude. Rumors have spread around to almost every corner of the office about Ganda’s connections with Pengkor, and in all honesty, Hasbi didn’t want to be associated with him.
“Nggak masuk?” Ganda asked again, “Kamu asisten Ridwan kan, siapa namamu, Hasri? Hasmi?”
“Hasbi, Pak,” Hasbi corrected him, his lips somehow curved into a small smile. Ganda didn’t seem to notice the smile, he shrugged, “Ya, itu, nggak masuk aja? Daripada nunggu di lorong, ngalangin jalan.”
He tried not to take his words into heart. Ganda was quite well known for having a sharp tongue. “Yah...” Hasbi awkwardly fixed his glasses sitting on the bridge of his nose, “Pak Ridwan lagi ada tamu di ruangannya, saya nggak enak kalau mau masuk,” he added.
Ganda nodded, “Padahal saya juga mau ketemu sama Ridwan,” he said. Before Hasbi could open his mouth to say a word, Ganda already made himself comfortable leaning on the wall not too far from him, making the younger man clenched.
“Nunggu Ridwan keluar.”
“Nggak masuk ke dalam aja?”
“Saya nggak enak kalau mau masuk,” Ganda threw Hasbi’s words back at him with a mischievous grin, making Hasbi blinked in disbelief. “Lagian, nemenin kamu juga,” he chuckled, making Hasbi’s cheeks warm for some reason.
After that, nobody said a thing. Hasbi was too occupied with awkwardly trying not to look too nervous around Ganda, and Ganda was... He seemed to be caught up in his own head. It was good to know the man could actually think for once.
The silence enveloped them. It was awkward. Hasbi found himself stealing glances at the older man every several seconds, the man didn’t seem to notice, or care, or both. Most definitely both.
Nggak apa-apa, kan, kalau cuma sekali ini, Hasbi thought to himself. He suddenly remembered his resolve not to get acquainted with the man. Paling cuma sekali-sekali, he reassured himself. Sneaking another glance at Ganda, who was intentionally staring at him, made him almost jump.
Ganda didn’t say anything, he just averted his gaze to his feet, somewhat smiling—not grinning. That was the first time Hasbi ever saw that on Ganda’s face.
Hasbi decided it’d be best if he didn’t say anything either.
“Nungguin bos kamu?” became Ganda’s own way of saying ‘hello’ to him. Everywhere they met, that would be the first thing Ganda would say, no matter where it was. In the canteen, in the parking lot, even in the bathroom. At first, it was kind of annoying. It felt like Ganda was belittling him and his job, simply reducing him as ‘Ridwan’s assistant.’ As true as it might be, Hasbi still wished he’d leave a much bigger impression on the other man’s mind rather than being just ‘Ridwan’s assistant’. Just imagining the smug grin on Ganda’s face everytime he said that pissed Hasbi off. The fact that somehow they started to run into each other much more frequently than before didn’t help.
He kept repeating the words again and again in his head, each time leaving a more bitter taste on his tongue more and more.
Ridwan’s assistant, Ridwan’s assistant, Ridwan’s assistant... Was that really how Ganda perceived him?
A thought made him stop on his feet.
Since when did it matter to him how Ganda perceived him?
Ganda, based on Hasbi’s quick analysis, apparently didn’t understand the meaning of personal space. Hasbi didn’t notice it at first, but one day he started to realize that the gap between them closed with each time they met. In the beginning, it was just a quick exchange of greetings, which soon turned to small talks about the weather and occasionally sport. One day, before Hasbi even realized, Ganda didn’t leave any space between them anymore. The next thing Hasbi knew, Ganda started touching him. Small stuffs, like patting him on the back trying to surprise him, or leaning on his shoulder jokingly trying to take a peek on Hasbi’s notebook. The skin where Ganda touched always felt so warm, even hours after the touch had left him.
Hasbi didn’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing.
Ganda started growing on him, and in return, he started unconsciously letting his guard down around the older man. Not so much, though, Hasbi still understood there was a line between them they shouldn’t cross, but he found himself smiling more around him, he took the initiative to greet him first rather than waiting for Ganda to notice him, and Ganda’s touches, though they still felt warm on his skin, didn’t feel strange anymore.
Hasbi really couldn’t tell if it was a good thing or a bad thing.
“Oh, Hasbi, makan siang?” Ganda’s voice was all too familiar to Hasbi now. Hasbi turned around to find Ganda, not all by himself, for the first time ever.
He was with a man.
Tall, dark, and handsome. Very handsome. Hasbi couldn’t help but feel his cheeks blushed a bit when his eyes met the mysterious man’s. Well, he wasn’t exactly mysterious, Hasbi had seen that figure before once or twice. He was a well-known young CEO, someone who’d been in Forbes’ cover of ‘40 under 40’, what Hasbi didn’t expect was to see him and Ganda, and by the looks of it, they weren’t strangers to each other.
Hasbi was about to say something before he saw the man tugging on Ganda’s shirt, muttering something into his ears. Ganda nodded, waved his hand goodbye to Hasbi, and walked behind the other man. Their figures disappeared in the crowd.
He hated to admit it, but they looked really good together.
“Kamu dekat sama Ganda Hamdan?” was a question Ridwan threw to him the other day. Hasbi stopped typing on his laptop to think for a reply.
If he was being honest, he didn’t know. He didn’t know if they could be considered as ‘close’ or not. From Hasbi’s perspective, Ganda was nothing but an upperclassman who tended to be a bit too friendly at times with no sense of personal boundaries, that was it.
“Hati-hati,” Ridwan said, “Saya bukan mau nakut-nakutin kamu, tapi kamu tahu kan, reputasinya Ganda Hamdan di sini itu bagaimana,” he added, “Saya cuma nggak mau kamu kenapa-napa sama orang itu dan kelompoknya.” Hasbi went quiet. He was grateful for his caring boss, he’d be more thankful if his boss would stop piling sudden works on him, though.
Of course he still remembered those rumors and those words about Ganda, about him being secretly having thugs to order around to do his dirty work, about his connections with Pengkor. Still, the Ganda he saw almost everyday seemed nothing like the Ganda in those rumors.
The Ganda he knew, at least.
Ever since that conversation with Ridwan, Hasbi tried to keep a distance between him and Ganda. He scanned the hallway everytime to make sure Ganda was around, and if he saw Ganda, he took a different route. It didn’t matter if he had to take a longer one, it was fine as long as he didn’t run into the older man. He even started ordering his lunch instead of going to the canteen. At this point, he really made sure he could hide, or even run, before Ganda had the chance to walk up to him.
Hasbi couldn’t help but to feel bad sometimes, but what else could he do? Ridwan was right, Ganda was not a man he should be too friendly with.
The work Ridwan had been piling up on him was quite helpful, it made Hasbi leave work much later than almost everyone, and Ganda was one of those people who clocked out as soon as the clock striked 5. That day was no exception, it was almost 9 when Hasbi had finally finished this month’s worth of reports. His stomach rumbled, he didn’t get the chance to order something to eat beforehand, he mentally noted to grab something to eat before heading home.
“Hobi banget ngelembur,” a familiar voice greeted him as soon as he opened his office’s door.
Ganda was there, leaning on the wall, a plastic bag in hand.
Hasbi stared at him, eyes wide. He couldn’t believe his vision. Ganda Hamdan, the man himself, was really standing there, not an illusion, not his mind playing tricks on him.
Ganda stared back, clearly waiting for Hasbi to say something first, but Hasbi’s state of mind was a mess. He was tired, he was hungry, he couldn’t think straight. “Bapak,” Hasbi sighed, “Bapak ngapain di sini?”
“Nih,” Ganda didn’t answer the question, he handed him the plastic bag he was holding, almost shoving it into Hasbi’s arms. “Pasti belum makan, kan? Dari tadi kamu ngurung diri di ruangmu.” Hasbi looked at the plastic bag, it was a meal from a fast food chain not far from there. It was already cold, how long had Ganda been waiting there?
“Pulang naik motor?” Ganda cut him.
“Hah, iya Pa—”
“Hujan loh,” Ganda, again, cut him.
Hasbi was so busy with work, he didn’t even hear the faint sound of pouring rain outside.
“Saya antar pulang,” Ganda added, pulling Hasbi by the arm, almost dragging him. The much younger man couldn’t resist. One, because his figure was much smaller compared to the other man; two, was because he was too hungry that just even the idea of resisting already worn him out; and lastly was because his heart had been pounding like crazy, the butterflies in his stomach were getting wild, and he was almost 100% sure that his cheeks must had been bright red by now.
Why would Ganda even bother doing this when Hasbi had been spending the last week trying to avoid him like a plague? Whether Ganda was just dense or persistent, Hasbi didn’t know. The line was too blurry. Everything about Ganda was nothing but a blur to Hasbi. Thinking about those only made Hasbi realized, he knew very little about the older man. He practically knew nothing about him.
Hasbi bit his lip. It would be a lie if he said he didn’t want to know the other man a little bit better. Just a bit—or maybe more.
“Kenapa?” Hasbi broke the deafening silence between them in the car.
“Hm?” was Ganda’s only reply, maintaining his eyes on the road.
“Kenapa bapak baik banget sama saya?” Hasbi asked again, “Padahal saya bukan siapa-siapa, saya cuma asistennya Pak Ridwan,” the words felt like a stab. “Terus, saya juga—nggak tahu sih bapak sadar atau nggak, saya juga akhir-akhir ini ngejauhin bapak juga.”
“Hmm,” Ganda only hummed. Tilting his head to a side, looking lost in thoughts before flashing a cheeky grin—Ganda’s cheeky grin, “Soalnya saya suka sama kamu.”
Hasbi turned his head to the other man so quick he was pretty sure his neck would’ve snapped, but Ganda didn’t say anything further, eyes still on the road.
Ini beneran pernyataan cinta apa gimana, Hasbi blinked.
“Saya nggak butuh jawaban kamu, kok,” Ganda probably had a knack in cutting people’s words, especially Hasbi’s. “Saya cuma mau bilang itu doang,” a hint of relief could be heard from his voice. Hasbi fidled with his fingers, trying to find wordsd to say, but he couldn’t. So he just sat there, gripping the plastic bag Ganda gave him on his lap until his knuckles turned white, wondering if this was real or just another of Ganda’s practical joke.
He waited for Ganda to say anything, but the older man was quiet for the first time ever.
The remaining drive home felt like an eternity.
“Rokok?” Ganda smiled at him, waving a box of cigarette on Hasbi’s face. The younger man shook his head, not saying a word. The older man’s eyebrows furrowed. “Kalau kamu nggak ngerokok, ngapain ke sini?”
Honestly, Hasbi didn’t know either. They were standing in the back of the building and it had been no secret that people usually go here to smoke. Ganda was a well-known smoker, so it was no surprise to find him slacking here of all places during what was supposed to be work hour.
It had been a couple weeks since Ganda drove him home and practically confessed to him. The older man never approached him again after that night, and Hasbi, well, he didn’t exactly know what to say to him either.
Hasbi had been thinking about it almost every night. It haunted him. Ganda’s ‘confession’, his own mixed feeling, what would happen if they got into a relationship, what would happen if they didn’t get into a relationship, everything. He couldn’t focus on anything else, and the fact didn’t escape Ridwan. His superior only asked him if he had anything in mind, and didn’t push him further, but that was enough for Hasbi to know that this was obvious, that he’d been seriously thinking about this.
Did he like Ganda? Well, if Hasbi didn’t like him, Hasbi wouldn’t even bother spending some time around the man, would he? He wouldn’t deny that he was interested in him—somewhat drawn into him, even. But was there something more? Was the interest he had in Ganda just a simple case of curiosity or was there some sort of affection involved? Hasbi didn’t know. He wished he could, but it didn’t feel like the answer would come to him any time soon.
Ganda, despite his looks and his persona around the office, had his own charms. Hasbi wouldn’t deny that. He still didn’t know much about Ganda, but Hasbi knew this much; Ganda was, beneath his rough exterior, a nice man. He didn’t look like it, but he was nice enough, and he was caring, in his own uniquely Ganda-kind-of-way. He liked to tease, but it was still in good nature. And Hasbi, well...
Hasbi liked that about him.
“Kenapa ngeliat-liat?” Ganda snapped him out of his thoughts. “Naksir?” he chuckled.
... Nggak jadi, ternyata dia memang songong. Hasbi sighed.
“Kenapa saya?” He didn’t realize the words actually escaped his mouth, loud enough for Ganda to notice.
“Yang waktu itu bapak bilang,” he inhaled before continuing, “Yang kalau waktu itu benar bapak bilang, kenapa saya?”
“Kenapa saya sukanya kamu, maksudmu?” Ganda said, puffing out grey smoke as he breathed. “Nggak tahu.”
Hm, sudah kuduga.
“Memangnya kamu butuh alasan untuk suka sama seseorang?” Ganda asked back, smiling. Hasbi couldn’t answer straight.
“Tapi kalau kamu butuh alasan,” Ganda really had a knack in cutting people’s words. “Jawabannya mungkin karena kamu manis.”
Hasbi almost choked hearing that. He knew Ganda was blunt, he always knew, but he didn’t expect him to be this blunt.
“Juga, kamu baik,” Ganda continued, “Sedikit gampang disuruh-suruh orang, terutama sama bos kamu itu, seriusan kamu harus belajar bilang nggak ke dia loh,” Ganda grinned. “Terus kamu pintar, kamu lulusan luar negeri kan? Terus kamu juga cekatan, dan perhatian, dan...”
Ganda kept going on and on and on but at this point Hasbi couldn’t focus on the words he said anymore. He was blushing, his heart thumping fast and loud, he was quite sure it was loud enough for everyone to hear. But this man before him, he was still as oblivious as always.
“Terus, kenapa bapak akhir-akhir ini ngejauhin saya?” he snapped a bit, unintentionally, all his frustation finally poured out.
“Orang kalau habis ditolak ya pasti bakal agak canggung kan mau ngedeketin lagi gimana.”
“Waktu itu bapak bilang nggak butuh jawaban dari saya, kan.”
“Oh, iya kah?”
Benar-benar deh, orang ini... Hasbi sighed.
He threw a glance at him. Ganda was grinning, his eyes locked on him. A still lit cigarette between his lips. Hasbi studied Ganda’s feature one more time, memorizing the lines and wrinkles on his face.
Ah, bodo amat.
“Pak,” Hasbi called out, and without letting Ganda answer, he plucked the cig off his lips and leaned forward to pull the older man into a kiss.
A quick one. A really quick one.
But it still felt breathtaking.
“Bukan cuma bapak yang suka,” Hasbi said, still holding Ganda by the collar, his voice shaking, braving himself to look at Ganda in the eyes. Normally Hasbi would never do something like this, not even in his dream, but just this once, he was sure, he was certain, one hundred percent without a doubt.
“Saya juga suka.”
For this man, he would let all his uncertainties go.
The sex was good. The sex was great. The best he’d ever had. Ganda was so tender and caring, but also rough when needed, not too much, though, it was the good kind of rough. Ganda knew what he wanted, and how he wanted it. He put Hasbi’s pleasure on top of everything, even himself, making Hasbi somehow feeling guilty. He felt like the man never cared for his own need, but Ganda always brushed it off, saying “Asal kamu senang, Mas juga senang,” and it made Hasbi’s cheeks turned into all shades of red.
Everytime they had sex, Hasbi felt like he was loved.
The word wasn’t supposed to sting, but somehow, it did, no matter how many times Hasbi told himself that Ganda, in fact, was in love with him. It still felt odd, but it started to grow on him.
After all, Hasbi loved him too.
“Kamu nggak apa-apa?” Ganda asked, face flushed and full of sweat, his chest moved up and down along with his heavy breath. “Kamu nangis... Sakit?” his voice was raspy, full of worry. Hasbi couldn’t help but to feel like his chest bursting with affection. He didn’t even realize when did he start shedding tears. He wiped the wet corner of his eyes with his thumb and pulled the older man into a deep kiss, savoring the remaining taste of alcohol and cigarette and his own taste on Ganda’s lips and tongue. “Nggak apa, Mas,” he sighed. “Mas kalau mau lebih rough lagi silakan aja, aku nggak apa kok,” Hasbi felt like he was about to explode when he said that. He was never good in talking dirty and today was no exception.
Ganda hummed, leaving trail of tiny kisses on Hasbi’s neck.
“Buat kamu, apa sih yang nggak.”