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With A Little Help From My Friends

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„Shhh, Can! We’re in public!“

Ae sometimes wondered why he was still friends with his friends.

Pond had been talking about the new porn he had gotten his hands on recently – and he had proudly mentioned that he had also downloaded gay porn for the increasing part of their circle of friends who was dating each other.

He had wanted to invite the guys to a porn watching session at their dorm, argueing that watching porn together was an important bonding moment between guys; he would even watch the gay stuff with them if they wanted.

Ae had already rolled his eyes at him, remembering the countless times he had had to hide under the covers of his bed to get some sleep while Pond had hosted one of his parties.

Then, Can had thrown a deadpan look at Pond asking why anyone would want to watch other people having sex in the first place, in such a loud voice that half the cafeteria was now looking their way.

It wasn’t that Ae disagreed with him. He, too, had never seen the appeal in porn, gay or straight – but it took Can’s uncontrollable mouth to shout it out for everyone to hear.

For a moment, it looked like Pond was actually going to argue with Can, despite Ae’s reminder that they were in public. But then, Pond being somewhat perceptive of social cues, thought the better of it.

Can naturally was another matter.

In a quieter voice – temporarily more quiet, he got louder again as he spoke, he continued to elaborate:

„Seriously, though, I don’t get it. It’s nothing like the real thing, I get more excited watching football. I mean, what is it even for? It’s just skin rubbing against skin and people fake moaning, like this,“ to Ae’s utter mortification, Can began to exaggeratedly imitate the moans he associated with porn, „that’s not how it sounds like when-“

Ae firmly clasped his hand over Can’s mouth and hissed:

„Nobody here wants to know what it sounds like in your bedroom.“

Though, as he looked around the table – or rather tables, considering the fact that people as far as three tables down were listening in – there might be quite a few people who were interested.

Ae asked himself why he was trying to stop Can from talking, it wasn’t like he was particularly fond of Tin, the other party in Can’s bedroom adventures and Can was old enough to watch out for himself…

Maybe Ae was just too caring as a person in general, like Pete always told him. If Can was couldn’t help but embarrass himself, he needed friends who protected him from himself.

Still, Ae was glad that the two IC students in their group of friends weren’t here right now. He didn’t want Pete to be involved in any talks about porn.

Pete’s sex life, including knowing what he thought about porn, belonged to Ae alone. He alone should know how beautifully Pete could blush, how skillfully Pete could seduce, and how he could be shameless in unexpected ways.

All that he was willing to concede was that some people at the dorm might have to put up with hearing Pete’s moans if they did it there while Pond was out. Moans that admittedly sounded more delicious than what Can had just mocked, due to the simple fact that they came from Pete.

But having to put up with other people’s passion due to thin walls was different than talking about porn in the middle of a lunch break.

Maybe he was stopping Can from talking now because he heard Can and imagined Pete speaking instead.

What was that, was he sympathising with Tin?

He shuddered.

Meanwhile, Can removed the hand from his mouth with surprising strength and glared at Ae.

„What’s your problem? Don’t tell me you’ve ever enjoyed watching porn, everyone knows you’ve been hiding under your covers whenever Pond had a porn party. People talk. I would totally do that, too, if I was in your place. So, I thought I had an ally in you at least. Am I alone here? I seriously don’t get it… why do you watch porn?“

He looked at Pond and the other guys who regularly attended his parties, as if he was genuinely curious and expecting an answer.

Ae suddenly noticed a girl two tables down with her phone up, obviously filming.

He hurried over.

Surprisingly, he got her to stop filming and delete the clip with not much more than a stern gaze and a threatening posture. He must have gotten more respected recently.

Nobody had answered Can’s question, though, and when Ae turned around to return to his seat, he saw that even Pond was awkwardly shifting the food on his plate around, avoiding Can’s gaze.

„I also don’t get why you have no problem meeting up to watch these videos together and be so ashamed to talk about sex otherwise. Doesn’t everyone do it? It’s natural, isn’t it?“

Can was still talking completely oblivious to everyone’s discomfort.

 „What’s natural?“

Ae turned his head with Can in unison towards the tall IC student who had just arrived behind them, though with entirely different expressions on their faces.

„Oh, hi Tin!“

Can said brightly and leaned back against the stomach of his boyfriend.

Ae looked at Pete walking up to their table behind Tin. Ae was too uncomfortable to react fast enough and get Pete away from here. Now he needed to accept that Pete had just taken a seat next to him and running away would look suspicious.

„Can was just talking about sex,“ Pond helpfully informed Tin.

It made Ae cringe.

He nearly reached out to cover Pete’s ears next to him. Though Pete only smiled shyly and didn’t appear nearly as uncomfortable as Ae had expected.

Ae’s gaze wandered to Tin, who was after all directly involved when it came to Can’s opinions on sex.

It was difficult to read Tin’s poker face. His small, lopsided smile might mean anything from embarrassment to anger to… pride.

„What did you tell them, baby?“

Really? Tin, too?

„I didn’t tell them anything, honestly. They are being weird, like, they were just talking about meeting up to watch porn and all I did was ask why they like porn because I. Don’t. Get. It. Do you get it, Tin? Do you watch porn?“

You could have heared a pin drop in the cafeteria as all eyes were now on Tin.

Ae was grateful that it wasn’t him who was put on the spot like that – and he had to give it to Tin, he was handling the situation like a pro.

Without ever losing that inscrutable half-smile on his face, he leaned down to Can’s head and whispered something in his ear.

Even though everyone tried to hear Tin’s answer, or at least deduce it from Can’s very open facial expressions, nobody could tell.

All that the entire cafeteria saw was that Can’s hand wandered to Tin’s cheek while he whispered, that Tin sneaked a kiss onto his boyfriend’s neck, and that when Tin pulled away, it was only to help Can get up.

Without another word, Can waved at his friends and accompanied Tin to… wherever they went off to.

Ae wouldn’t be surprised if half the cafeteria fell asleep tonight while imagining where Tin and Can had disappeared to, what they think they would be doing there… and what it would sound like that was so different from porn.

He discreetly grabbed Pete’s hand under the table. It was better than thinking they might phantasise about Pete and him.