“Being an asshole to the door, won’t magically make it open,” Ae scoffed.
Wiping off the sweat beading on his forehead, he rolled his eyes at Tin. The rich boy glared at the locked classroom door like he could set fire to it with his angst. Ae sat on a desk, dropping his bag and duffel next him.
Checking his phone again hopefully, the no signal symbol mocked him. Being trapped in a room with this IC kid — Ae question which deity he offended. Even the noisy bastard Pond made better company. The room’s feverish atmosphere topped the entire ordeal with unpleasantness.
Tin shifted from boring holes into the door to his cellphone.
“... the help need to be fired,” he muttered, lifting his mobile toward the ceiling.
“What?” Tin hissed.
His moody scowl turned to Ae. His nose wrinkled like he found the mere idea of talking to a Thai Program distasteful. The strained tension sparked that every time they were within proximity of another lit a wildfire.
Some people have very punchable faces, Ae thought.
He observed Tin's judgmental eyes, proud nose bridge, smug lips, and over all arrogant demeanor. Ae’s hand actually itched. Whenever they were together, he was always overcome with an intense desire to deck him or something else that he couldn’t quite name. He inhaled. Trying to be the better man Tin probably poor people couldn’t be, Ae unclenched a fist he didn’t know he had made.
“They aren’t the help. This isn’t your house.”
Tin dismissed Ae with a scoff.
Ae’s jaw tightened. The urge to do something to Tin doubled. Closing his eyes, Ae griped his slacks to avoid socking Tin.
“Why the fuck would they be here if their hours are done?” He released his fists. Ae growled, “Their job is to clean — not to serve rich, spoiled bastards like you hand and foot.”
Ae straightened up, squaring his shoulders. “It might surprise you, but you aren’t the center of the damn world.”
He puffed out his chest. Focusing all his pent up emotions into his eyes, he glared.
Tin shook his head. He said, “Is there a rule that all poor people must band together, Thai Program?”
“I —” Ae closed his eyes.
You’re in uniform. On campus, he reminded himself. That asshole Tin reports you and…
Ae clenched his fists. Exhaling through clenched teeth, he wondered how Pete could be friends with this fucking ass. He focused on inhaling. Grounding his anger, he replayed the meditation techniques he’d learned at his temple.
He’s not worth it. He deserves a punch in the face, but he’s not worth it. Someone else will sock him; it doesn’t have to be you.
“Whatever,” he said, opening his eyes.
Tin sat in a desk that was physically as far from Ae as possible. Ae rested on a desk in the middle of the room while Tin remained near the door a little to the left. His scowl grew. Even sitting, the brat looked like he hated everything in the world. And he was ignoring Ae.
Ae’s jaw clicked. Relaxing it, he told himself, It’s a good thing you don’t have to talk to the asshole.
He flopped backward. Staring at the ceiling, he rubbed sweat off his face. It barely helped. The room held heat too well. An oppressive pressure stabbed his limbs, sapping away at his energy. An itch clawed his throat. Licking his lips, the crackled skin stung. Ae inhaled. The warm air worsened his thirst.
Reaching for his duffel, he thanked the heavens. Crinkle. Today had been a football practice day. He pulled out his 48 ounce reusable bottle, shaking it to gauge its volume. The water bottle comforted him with his fullness. Righting himself on his left forearm, Ae chugged.
The cascade of water chased away the thirst. He drank a little more than necessary, but the coolness relieved him from the heat. The brief chill faded and Ae shuffled through his duffel. He discovered the source of the earlier crinkle: a candy bar, water bottle, and bag of chips. Snacks his teammates had gotten from Captain No. He shoved it back them. Salt in this heat without any idea when help would arrive? Bad idea.
Oh right, he had a towel. Placing his bottle down, he sat up. He pulled that out the towel and made a pillow. Who knew how long he’d be trapped in here?
From the corner of Ae’s eye, Tin wiped his face on his sleeve.
I’m surprised the pretentious ass doesn’t have a handkerchief.
Maybe it was because he was so pale, but sweat showed up clearly on Tin. A sheet of it coated his neck. His hair stuck his forehead. His shirt clung to his surprisingly fit upper body.
Ae swallowed. Glancing down at his water bottle and back at Tin, he exhaled. He shut his eyes. He groaned. He might not like Tin, but letting Tin get dehydrated? Fuck, he had too, didn’t he? He grabbed his bottle, jutting it in Tin’s direction.
“Here,” he said, trying not to glare at him. Ae unclenched his jaw.
“I don’t need a Thai Program’s pity,” Tin coughed.
Ae rolled his eyes. Shit, Tin really wanted a fist to his face. Giving Tin another dirty look, the unspecific feeling that accompanied Ae’s desire to punch Tin flared up. Ae pushed it away. His jaw clicked shut.
He said, “Is your life worth more than your shitty pride?”
Tin’s scowl deepened.
Clang. His bottle hit the desk. He jammed his hand into his duffel. His hand found the plastic bottle. He tossed it. Tin winched. It hit him square on his shoulder.
“It’s unopened so you don’t have to worry about cooties,” Ae hissed. “Or whatever dumb ideas go around in your head.”
“I said I don’t need your—”
“Fuck, shit. I’m trying to be nice.” Ae slammed his palm on the desk. “Damn, fuck. Who put a stick up your ass?”
He ran his fingers through his hair. He groaned, “Pretending you’re not human, doesn’t — Fuck just take the water.”
Ae glowered and Tin scowled. Sparks flew between them. Tin shook his head.
Ae cut him off, “Shit! Shut the fuck up before I change my mind.”
“I should’ve known you’d be petty,” Tin remarked.
He untwisted the cap. Drinking it, he stared at Ae the entire time, pointedly. His glance and overall aura had the same energy of a cat looking at you as it knocked a glass off the counter. That was what Tin reminded of Ae of — a cat, one of those kinds with a pedigree and tons of fur that had to be brushed daily.
Ae didn’t miss how Tin looked better after the drink. His jaw became less tense. He stopped licking his lips every ten seconds. His face even seemed to even relax a centimeter. The stuck-up cat immediately frowned and turned his tail on Ae though.
“Happy? Making me drink such flat water? I don’t see the kind Ae—” his mouth twisted that into a joke, “that Pete likes so much. You must’ve brainwashed him or he must be blind.”
Getting shit talked on didn’t make Ae even blink. Between his friends, it was a favorite pastime. Ae jumped to his feet. Stomping over, he got into Tin’s face. All Ae saw was red. He growled, “Don’t insult Pete. Really shut your mouth, fucker!”
Tin stood up. Looming over Ae, he returned the glare. Lightning shot from their eyes. The air thickened with tension. Ae puffed out his chest. Tin straightened out his shoulders.
You want a fight? We’ll fight! He channeled that pent up ‘pissed off’ into his glower.
“Che, of course, you’d turn to violence,” Tin said in that ‘you are not worthy of even kissing my feet’ tone.
“Huh! Are you are doing now — what slumming it?”
He pushed deeper into Tin’s personal space. Leaning up on his toes to ensure he was in Tin’s face, he grabbed Tin’s collar to keep him from looming over him. Ae raised his other hand, threateningly.
The scowl eased off a bit. Tin’s eyes widened. His mouth turned up at the cornered. Ae squared his shoulders. Tin was going to pull off something he knew it.
Tin kissed him.
His arms became noodles limp by his side. His brain screeched to a halt. All the cogs jammed up with confusion and shock.
Tin was kissing him.
Still kissing him, for Ae who had never even pecked a person outside his family. All he could think was Tin’s lips were not soft, but firm. There was weight behind his kiss.
Ae’s first kiss tasted like salt, spicy cologne, and the smugness that naturally oozed out of Tin’s every pore. About ten seconds later, even though for him, it had felt like centuries. Ae shoved Tin off.
His mouth agape. He couldn’t find his voice. Ae lost his first kiss to this jerk. Before he could process anything he heard a soft voice gasp.
“Ae? Ai Tin?”
“Oh! My! God!”
Ae’s fight or flight response kicked in. His head shot to the open door. Pete held his had over his face. Shock and confusion repeated themselves cross his expression.
“Ai Tin, why did you…”
Just behind him, Pond leaned on the door. His wide mouth took up his entire head. His other hand pointed at Ae and then Tin still on the ground. He threw his head back and laughed. In his hand was a cell phone.
He took a picture, Ae realized.
Kill Bill sirens went off.
He rumbled, “Pond.”
Ae’s feet pounded on the linoleum flooring.
“E’Pond, if you don’t delete it. I will have to help your parents scatter your ashes.”
Ae was definitely not running from his problems. He was much too straightforward that.
Kissing boys is good, Tin thought, biting his lip.
If he weren’t in his morning class, surrounded by pathetic plebeians, he would have expressed the idea aloud. Resting his forearms on his desk, he replayed the sensation. Ae’s soft lips and how his tension vanished seconds after their lips met made him shift in his seat. Crossing his legs, he recalled Ae’s shocked expression.
Tin smirked. Wiping that angry glower Ae always wore off his face had been deeply satisfying. Ae reminded Tin of an Akita that thought itself to be a pit bull. He held himself like a guard dog always ready to defend his territory. It annoyed Tin that he considered Pete part of his pack.
“Ai Tin?” Pete said. His voice unsteady but his gaze firm.
Tin tilted his head and nodded.
Pete sat next to him as usual. His best friend’s mouth formed a hard line. His shoulders were squared and he inhaled deeply.
“Ai Tin,” Pete said. His voice steadier, sitting somewhere between a complaint and a question. “Ai Tin, are you still trying to separate Ae and me?”
Tin rolled his eyes.
“Ae is a good person.”
Pete looked at Tin. In his brown irises, Tin saw determination. Although his volume never changed, Pete sounded angry. A cool fury that seemed so out of place in Pete’s soft and gentle voice that Tin questioned if he heard right.
“And? What does that have to do with me?” Tin raised his brow.
“Why did you kiss Ae?”
The slight tremble in his words made Tin’s heartache. He did not enjoy being the source of that sad sound. Pete’s glance implored Tin and Tin had to break their line of sight.
“I felt like it.”
Tin did not like liars. Kissing Ae like kissing Can had been an impulse. He’d been curious, although he wouldn’t admit it to himself, he wondered why anyone would choose someone of the same sex. It seemed ridiculous.
Having done it himself, Tin understood. The same actions with a man or a woman contained a different energy to them. The tension couldn’t be compared. Even between Can and Ae, there had been distinctions. Kissing Can had been static, a pleasant buzz. While Ae, Tin thought of lightning racing to strike the ground. The atmosphere charged with unbridled electricity. Some of it had been their inherent tendency to fight but the rest of it —
Tin did not get to complete that thought as the professor entered. Before Pete noticed, his gaze hardened and he opened his mouth to speak.
“Everyone quiet. Class will start,” the professor said in English.
After class ended, Tin left. He had no reason to stay. He wouldn’t lower himself to socialize with any of the other students.
Tin stopped. Pete jogged after him. Grasping Tin’s elbow, he pulled Tin to an empty classroom. He swept the room, double checking that it was clear. Closing the door behind him, Pete blocked it with his body.
“We need to talk Ai Tin,” Pete said sounding the surest of himself Tin’d heard him sound in a long time.
“I only allowed you to bring here because I like you, Ai Pete,” He pulled his hands out of his pockets. Tin straightened up. He jutted his chin up, gesturing ‘so talk’.
“Ai Tin. Why did you kiss Ae?”
Tin angled his head. Swinging away from Pete on one heel, Tin shook his head. He re-established eye contact. “You’re wasting my time for this? I don’t like repeating myself. I felt like it.”
Pete’s shoulders flattened out. Whatever tension they held released. He now looked as confident as he sounded. “I like Ae. We are friends, Ai Tin. Did you kiss him to — No.”
“I don’t have the right to say that,” he muttered under his breath. Pete inhaled, course correcting. “Tin, if you kissed Ae to show me, he’s bad. If you did it to show he doesn’t care for me, that all he wants is someone with money,” Pete said.
His words strained. His determination did not falter, but the stresses sounded like experience. There was a story there. Tin narrowed his eyes, recalling the senior Pete had asked him to investigate.
“Ae is a good person.” Pete smiled and continued, “Please don’t cause him problems.”
Pete did not glare at Tin, but he didn’t have to. The measured beat of Pete’s words was the air before a natural disaster hit. His eyes, voice, and posture relayed his seriousness.
“If you did it because you like Ae,” Pete quivered on ‘like’, but he continued, “then, I can’t stop you. I understand, but I like Ae too. But if you keep doing things like that Ae won’t like you.”
Inhaled, Pete stated, “We’re friends, Ai Tin, but I won’t stop liking Ae.”
Pete looked at Tin expectantly.
Shocked by the turn of events, he couldn’t get a word in. Pete — gentle and kind Pete — not only declared them love rivals but also showcased his determination to fight for Ae. That was so pure-hearted and good-natured Tin already felt bad for whatever response he could have and his affection for Pete tripled.
“I —” Tin pinched his face. “I don’t know where to start with that. Why would I like a Thai Program?”
“Tin,” Pete sighed, “You should be honest with yourself. You don’t even let people in our program touch you, but you kissed Ae. That means something.”
Angling his head, he examined Tin’s face. He nodded to himself, finding an answer. Pete smiled slightly.
“I am meeting Ae for lunch. Bye Ai Tin.”
Tin rubbed his temples. Pete had said a lot of things. One of which Tin wanted to deny but there was some truth to it. Tin did not like liars which included himself. Tin felt something for Ae. He wanted to kiss the angry boy again.
Pete is a good person, too bad I am not, Tin admitted.
Pete had an advantage. A fairly large one considering how fond of Pete Ae was, but Pete had given Tin ammunition over the weeks as he praised Ae. With clever strategy, Tin could at least reduce that gap.
Ae stared at his dorm ceiling. Stop, traitor.
He glanced at his cock and scowled. Double checking Pond was distracted watching a porno, Ae rolled onto his side. His boner did not take his plead seriously.
Neither did his brain for the matter. The sensation of Tin looped again. Ae had lost track of how many times it had entered his mind throughout the day. Now that he wasn’t doing much, his brain took it as a sign to replay it endlessly.
Ae could taste Tin’s lips. The spicy, the salt, and the smugness combined with the firm pressure of Tin that did something to him. A heat licked his lower half despite Ae’s distress.
He’s a self-obsessed, arrogant cat, Ae internally shouted.
So? His dick did not seem satisfied with only ignoring his frustration but also taking the cat idea and running with it.
Was Tin bendy like cat? His brain decided to answer some interesting images.
Ae grasped Tin’s thighs, throwing the long legs over his shoulders. Pushing Tin until his knees framed his smug face, Ae pressed inside of Tin. He kissed that smirk off Tin’s face, each time he pounded into Tin.
The moans and grunts blending together with Ae’s as they pushed together. Ae nibbled on Tin’s collar, pausing to bite and suck. A hum resonated from Tin’s chest, tickling Ae to his core. Tin’s hands clawed his back, inciting a pleasant burn.
Tin on his forearms as his back arched. A cat in a spot of sunshine look of post-orgasm bliss as he collapsed into the mattress. Ae falling down atop him.
Ae bit his lip. A flush worked from Ae’s face down his neck. A similar heat followed and snaked its way between his legs.
Ae gave up. Confirming that Pond was still distracted, he turned over. He grabbed his towel. One more glance over his shoulder, he stood. He darted. The bathroom door slammed shut behind him.
Staring at the blue shower knob, he considered a cold shower. His hand hovered before turning on the hot water. The possibility that it wouldn’t work seemed more damaging than just jerking off.
He inhaled. Reaching down, he tried not to think too hard about the person in his fantasies. His dick, on the other hand, had no qualms about enjoying the detail in which his mind recalled Tin’s dress shirt clinging to his chest and arms.
Tin licked his lips. His tongue recalled salt and cheap chapstick. The rough feel of Ae’s mouth that went slack with shock made Tin bit his lips.
He opened his eyes. Surveying his room, he walked to his desk. He flicked his mouse, the computer screen showed Pete’s facebook. He scrolled down to confirm the times on the statuses.
“You’re late,” Tin remarked from earlier in the semester.
Tin cocked a brow.
“I had breakfast with Ai Ae,” he practically sang. His face glowed. He stared off into the distance with a sweet smile.
Pete’s habit ever since had been to eat with Ae. Over the month, a Pete had revealed other details Tin could use. That Ae ran every morning. That he didn't believe that actions had to be repaid. That he was on the football team. With all the information Pete gushed, building a decent profile on Ae wasn't out of the question.
Pete’s rose-colored glasses and human nature meant Ae wasn't as selfless as he claimed to be. However, that didn't mean appealing to Ae’s considerate nature wasn't a good plan. Tin would never admit to himself, but he wished Ae was as good as Pete said.
The sparks Ae incited — Tin inhaled as a heat rose up between his legs — Ae interested Tin.
Rarely did people interest Tin. He glanced at the folder labeled Can. He dumped it into the trash. Between a electricity and a lightning storm, of course, he chose the latter. Investing in multiple portfolios was good business practice, but when it came to bed partners not so much.
Ae dried himself off. Now that he wasn't thinking with his lower head. He frowned. Looking in the bathroom mirror, he dressed sluggishly.
All his energy focused on sorting out his thoughts. He was the kind of guy in tune with his instincts. Pond called him beast-like for a reason. If his stomach grumbled, he ate. If he saw red, he got into fights. If he felt blue, he went home and played with his niece. His tune was straightforward and simple.
He couldn’t deny that he was attracted to Tin, not after his shower. Ae blinked, tapping his fist on his thigh. Except, I’m in into Pete right?
Pete inspired different feelings in Ae than Tin. A desire to protect, an inclination to be kinder, and fascination to touch his cheeks. Kissing Pete seemed nice, but anything more. While his dick wasn’t opposed to more, his mind was. Guilt always tinged Ae’s more sexual thoughts of Pete. He regularly employed memories of his mother’s scoldings to stop his mind from wandering into the x-rated area. Just because Pete was gay didn’t mean he was into Ae.
Tin roused Ae’s baser nature. Looking down, he really wanted to scold his hormones for reacting even after he just jerked off. There was no mental resistance when he pictured Tin under him. The warm post-orgasm hum in his lower stomach tightened, preparing to turn to something else if necessary.
Something else, Ae realized now that the something else he felt whenever he saw Tin’s smug face was. Am I fucked up? Why do I want to kiss him or punch him?
Go with pressing Tin against a wall or pulling him down by the tie, his brain helpfully elaborated.
Ae blinked. He inhaled sharply. His dick perked up. Biting the inside of his cheek, he groaned. Maybe I should go for a run.
Or you can fuck him into the mattress, his dick chirped. Every part of Ae was blunt and straightforward.
Shaking that image out of his head, he walked out of the bathroom.
Clack. Pond dropped his phone. It bounced across the desk, landing in some suspicious tissues.
Ai Nosy mouth formed a straight line like he was biting it closed. But surprisingly, he kept quiet. He leaned sideways, never taking his eyes off Ae. Picking up his phone, he hid it behind his back.
Ae blinked. Not worth it, he decided. Grabbing his exercise clothes, he left.
Releasing his breath, Pond glanced at his phone. The Line chat displayed Pete’s name. If Ae knew, Pond rubbed the bruises on his back from last night.
Flicking his thumb, he pulled up a copy of Tin and Ae kissing. Ever since Ae deleted his Miyabi collection in their third year of high school, he set everything to backup to the cloud.
He laughed. I can't wait to show the gang.
His face scrunched up. A notification banner read: I am not sure…
He clicked. Skimming over their recent messages, he groaned.
Po(r)nd: Kiss, Confess!
PeachyPete: I’m not sure that is a good idea.
“Shit, they’ll never get together,” Pond said.
Throwing his arms in the air and kicking his legs out, he released his pent up frustration. One of them had to make the first move. He looked at their closed dorm door.
“Except he’s acting the same way he did when he and Pete started to…” Pond pondered.
Standing up, he plopped on his bed. That’s not right. Ae’s acting worse than before. Faster. Does he like Tin?
It had taken Ae weeks before seeming sexually interested in Pete but with Tin it’d been a day. Pond rolled on his side. Who should he cheer for? Pete or Tin. They were both rich, tall, and handsome so the only comparison was their personalities. All he knew of Tin was Ai Can cursed him out every other minute.
Pond relied to Pete: ‘That guy’s interested in Ae right? Go strike first.’
“Why does a short, not handsome guy like Ae have two rich, handsome princes chasing after him?” Pond asked the universe. “Why aren’t there princesses after me?”
His hands were in the air, grasping nothing. He looked between them like searching for answers. He scratched the back of his head.
He sent a quick message to Ping: 'I bet 650 baht Ae dates an IC kid end of this month.'
Dropping his phone, he rubbed his bruises. Ae needed someone to talk to or he’d just run until his love problems slammed into him. In the end, Ae and he were friends. He was on Ae’s side before either IC prince’s.
Rolling out of bed, he searched for his wallet.
If he had to talk to Ae, he sighed. Investing in some tiger balm oil now would be the best idea.