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"What's wrong with you?" Prae asked. She had noticed Kongpob looking sullen at their desk during a group study session and had waited until the others had run off to get snacks.

Kongpob frowned at her, "I don't know what you mean."

"You've been pouty all day. Why?" Prae asked again.

Kongpob sighed loudly, "I’ve given up on P'Arthit."

"What!" Prae yelled, "But... But he's your soulmate! Kong!" Prae tried to whisper yell at Kongpob, conscious of the people walking past them that really didn't need to know about Kongpob's non-existent love life.

"I know Prae," and her heart broke at just how defeated Kongpob looked, "I just... he's rejected me several times now and just... there's only so much I can do before it's pointless."

"I don't understand," Prae said, "You two are soulmates, isn't this supposed to be the easy part? You found each other!"

Kongpob looked away from her, into the distance, "P'Arthit thinks I am not his soulmate."

"Oh, Kongpob," she said, heart broken for the boy, "He said that to you?"

Kongpob shook his head, "Not in his words, but I could tell he meant it."

"I'm sorry, Kong. That sucks so much."

Kongpob sighed, "I know, Prae. It feels like I am the punchline of some bad joke."

"Well, if the universe is playing a joke on you, I hope it knows that it's not funny."

Kongpob smiled, "Thanks Prae. For always making sure I'm okay."

"That's okay, Kongpob. It's not like I can talk about this stuff with anyone else," Prae said.

"How's your love life going then? Better than mine I hope," Kongpob said, moving the conversation away from his sorry state as soon as possible.

Prae looked sheepish as she hesitated to answer Kongpob's question.

"You met her already? Your soulmate?" Kongpob asked.

Prae continued to look sheepish but a small smile formed on her face. Kongpob looked down to her wrist, to see that the name marked there ' Achara'  had turned a vibrant red from the black ink it had once been and Kongpob had his answer.

"Maybe? Are you mad at me?" Prae asked.

Kongpob laughed, "Why would I be mad at you? Prae, I'm happy for you! What's she like?"

"Ooi!" Prae whined, "I don't want to talk about it if it's going to make you upset, Kong."

"It's not, don't worry about me, Prae," Kongpob said, smiling.

He was genuinely happy for her. To be honest, deep down inside of him, a part of him feared that maybe the universe was punishing him for being gay.

He felt comforted that at least Prae had been able to meet her soulmate, that they would be happy together. Kongpob could tell that Prae already loved her from the way she gushed about her. 

And although Kongpob was happy for Prae, the sick feeling of hurt curled in his stomach as he thought that he would never get to have that. Kongpob wasn't going to get another soulmate. He had met him already, and Arthit didn't want him. Kongpob would never have a story where he met his soulmate and they instantly fell in love and everything was easy. 

He had been given the gift of a soulmate and the curse of his soulmate rejecting him. 

"Kongpob," Prae said.

"Huh?" Kong said, snapping out of his downward spiral.

Concern filled Prae's face, "I'm sorry for bringing it up, Kong."

"It's my fault, Prae. Don't worry. I'll get over it."

"You shouldn't have to," Prae said, indignantly, "This is so unfair to you! P'Arthit is being..."

"Prae. I've accepted it. It's the way that it is. Being upset about it doesn't change anything. So I'm not upset about it," Kong said, finally.

"Kong," Prae said, sad for him, "I'm sorry."

"It's okay, Prae. I'll be okay. Eventually."

...

Arthit was regretting coming to Bright's house to study already.

When he arrived Bright, Prem, Knot and Tutah were all there, creepily looking at him when he walked in the door.

"What are you all looking at?" He yelled at them. Bright just started smiling at him. 

"Ai' Arthit~, I want to ask you about something?" Bright said cutely, batting his eyelashes, which to Arthit was very frightening.

"Aren't we here to study?" Arthit said, deadpan.

"Can't I ask my friend a question?" Bright asked, keeping the same high pitch drawl that was starting to really freak him out.

"It better be about calculus, cause that's what we're here to study," Arthit said, opening his books on the table and avoiding the other boy's increasingly insistent stare.

"Ai' Arthit~," Bright said, coming right up to stand behind him, "What's going on with you and that junior?" 

Arthit snorted, "What junior?"

"N' Kongpob," Prem answered, "Bright said he saw him give his gear to you."

"Bullshit," Arthit said. He felt like burying his head in the calculus book to avoid the other’s stares.

Bright whined, "I saw it with my own two eyes, Ai' Arthit~. Are you saying I'm lying?"

"Yes!"

"C'mon, Ai' Arthit~. Maybe he's your soulmate!" Bright said.

"Don't joke about that!" Arthit stood up to yell at Prem, more seriously than was appropriate for the joking tone the others had. Bright and Prem went quiet and Knot immediately sensed the tonal shift in the room.

"Bright, apologise for bringing it up," Knot said to Bright, scolding him.

Bright huffed, "No! Why can't I bring it up? Why can I never speak about it? Whenever this topic comes up, everyone acts like someone died! Just cause Arthit doesn't want to hear about it."

"Bright, be quiet! You don't understand," Knot scolded.

"Stop bringing my personal shit into it! I don't need you guys judging my every move!" Arthit yelled back at Bright.

"Arthit!" Knot said, "That's not what we're doing. Bright's just an idiot. Calm down."

Arthit sat back down, still fuming.

"But...!" Bright started.

"Bright, shut up," Prem said.

Arthit glared at the rest of them, "You guys didn't bring me here to study, did you?"

Knot sighed, "No, I called you because Prem wants to tell you something."

Arthit huffed, "Why just me?"

"Because he's already told us and we don't know how you’re going to take it," Bright said, "And judging by your reaction so far, probably not great."

"What?" Arthit asked, confused and looked to Prem for clarification.

Prem looked like he might throw up. He was so nervous.

"Arthit, I met my soulmate."

Arthit head went blank.

"Huh?" Arthit said, "I didn't know... I mean... I've never seen your mark."

"That's because I've never shown it to you," Prem said, like it was a slap in the face.

"You're so secretive about your soulmark," Bright said, "We just assumed that you must hate them... And like, I get why. There are alot of people who disagree with the soulmark so we.. we hide them around you."

"But Arthit, this is really important to me," Prem said softly, "and I don't want to hide it from you."

Then, he pulled up his sleeve revealing a bright red name written neatly on his wrist, ' Wad'.

Arthit was... devastated. He felt so guilty that his friends had hid things from him, but even more shocked at why they had done it. Arthit had spent most of his time trying to not think about his own soulmark, that he'd never even noticed that his friends had never shown him theirs. 

What a shit friend he was, so caught up in his own bullshit that he'd never even noticed, never even cared to the point that his friends thought they had to hide from him.

"I...," Arthit started, "I'm sorry."

"What are you apologising for?" Knot asked, confused at his friend's sudden outburst.

"I... I'm sorry that I haven't told you why I don't look at my soulmark... that I still can't tell you. Sorry that I made you guys feel like you had to hide from me," Arthit said, slightly teary-eyed.

"What are you crying for, Ai'Arthit?" Prem said, as he leapt forward to hug Arthit.

"I'm not crying," Arthit said, obviously crying.

Prem laughed at his friend, "Crybaby."

"Shut up," Arthit said, pulling away from the hug.

Arthit sniffled, "Do the rest of you have soulmarks you want to show me or just Prem?"

Arthit watched as they all raced in front of him to show him their soulmarks and tell him about the person they had each yet to meet.