“I’m sorry,” Pete told Tin sincerely.
Tin stopped typing on his laptop long enough to look up at Pete, his eyebrows arched in confusion.
“What are you sorry for?”
Pete looked at the seat next to Tin, silently asking if his presence was welcomed or if Tin would much rather not have him around. Tin pulled out the chair for him and Pete sat down slowly. He played with the hem of his shirt, nervous. He didn’t know what was going on, but he didn’t feel good about the possibility of losing Tin as a friend.
“I don’t know exactly,” he answered Tin’s question, because he truly didn’t know. “I was hoping you could tell me. You’ve been avoiding me, haven’t you?”
At first it was subtle. Tin parked his car in front of the Sports Science building instead of his reserved spot on their college parking lot. It was unusual, but nothing Pete had to worry over. However, it gradually became more obvious. Tin started coming late into class and chose a seat two rows behind Pete instead of sitting next to him like he was used to. Pete couldn’t even turn around to look at him and ask for an explanation without getting chastised by the lecturer. Then, he stopped answering Pete’s texts unless they were related to assignments. Even when he did answer, his replies were noticeably shorter and colder than usual.
“No, I haven’t. You’re reading too much into this.”
Tin looked away as he said those words, which was how Pete knew he wasn’t being candid.
“I thought you said you won’t lie to me,” Pete reminded him of a promise they had made to each other back in elementary school, their chubby pinky fingers linked to solidify a solemn vow.
Tin sighed in defeat and reached into his pants’ front pocket for his phone, scrolling in silent for a good minute before shoving the phone at Pete’s face. The hashtag #TinPete, whatever that meant, was trending across multiple social media platforms.
“What does this mean?” Pete frowned as he read through some of the things people had written about them.
He continued scrolling. There were pictures of him and Tin together, leaving college for the day or having lunch, completely mundane things friends do that people on the internet seemed to be going crazy over. The more posts and accounts he saw, the more confused he got. Did these people think there were something going on between the two of them? Pete was so wrapped up in Ae, just as much as Tin was in Can. It was scary how blind people could be when they wanted to see things a certain way.
“It doesn’t matter,” Tin said as he took his phone back, “Can doesn’t like it.”
Ah, so that’s why.
Tin pinched the bridge of his nose and looked away, avoiding Pete’s gaze. He was bothered by this whole thing, Pete could tell.
“He didn’t say that exactly, but I asked him out for some rice dumplings and he said he wasn’t hungry.”
Okay, now that was big. The only time Pete has ever heard Can said he didn’t want to eat and saw him neglect food that was put in front of him was when he had the fight with Tin. Tin’s brother had said some hurtful words that set off all of Tin’s insecurities in regards to his relationship with Can and it snowballed into a rather public shouting match between the two of them, followed by a week of radio silence.
Pete didn’t know how they had made up, but one day they just walked into the football field together in the most ridiculous way and that was that. Well, technically speaking, Tin was walking. Can just latched himself into Tin’s back, legs wrapped around his waist.
“I can talk to him, if you want.”
Can was not an unreasonable person and surely he knew that Pete only had Ae in his sights, he’s just forgotten that fact. A little reminder was all he needed, Pete was sure.
“You better worry about your relationship first,” Tin dismissed his offer.
“Seems like your boyfriend just discovered Twitter.” Tin points behind him. Pete turns around to see Ae stalking towards the two of them with a perfected scowl on his handsome face. His hand was gripping his phone so hard Pete was afraid he might break the screen.
Pete sighed internally, knowing he was about to be subject to another one of Ae’s jealous rant. He put his most angelic smile on display as Ae approached in hopes that it would make Ae go easy on him.