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Goodbye

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It had been a whole summer since the tournament had ended, and exactly three months since Love had used her unicorn wish to bring Tangmo back to life.

This entire year had gone by quicker than any other, with all the adventures Love had experienced.

She still remembered when her anxiety came from homework and tests, before she had to go bathe in a lake every night, before she had to conceal her identity in front of her friends and family, before she got stuck in a male body.

Now that almost all these issues had been solved, except for the last one, Love felt calmer.

She still needed to return to her true form, but she knew she’d do everything to win the next year’s Greatest Tournament. She still had two tries, and would do her best not to let them go to waste.

Now, her secret was out in the open: her mom, brother and friends knew, as well as her boyfriend.

Boyfriend… that word still felt weird, months later.

When she first got into the Great Men Academy, she never thought she’d end up with Tangmo, but everything made sense now.

 

 

It was the last day of summer holidays.

The next day, Love would go back to the Great Men Academy and Tangmo would be off to college.

Love had woken up early that day, wanting to make the most of her last day with her boyfriend.

Tangmo was waiting for her outside of her room in his running attire, having been forbidden to sleep in the same room by Love’s mother.

Every morning, they went on runs in the beautiful forest surrounding Love’s house to keep in shape, yes, but also to spend a little time in private without her mom and Good’s eyes on them.

“Hi,” Tangmo smiled.

“Hello, P’,” she replied.

After three months of dating, she still felt a little shy around him. He was her first boyfriend after all, and he always found new ways to make her fall for him all over again.


He had spent a good part of the summer at her house, which had given them the opportunity to grow even closer, despite the thorough surveillance they had been placed under by Love’s family.

Still, that day was special. Tangmo was going away.

“I bet you’ll be the last to arrive to that tree,” Tangmo declared suddenly, starting to run in the direction he’d just pointed.

“You cheater!” Love shouted, trying to catch up to him while laughing.

They always spent an hour running, in silence, just looking at each other. They never had to say anything in order to get each other, a simple look was enough.

The day had already started for a while when they came back to her house. Love’s mom was working while Good was getting ready to see his girlfriend.

They always went their separate way to shower, having multiple bathrooms in Love’s gigantic house, but that day Tangmo lingered around her a bit.

“Should we… take a shower together?”

It was said with his usual flirty smile, eyebrows raised and eyes twinkling with laughter.

“P’! Don’t say that!” Love exclaimed, hitting his arm lightly.

“What? It’s not like I’ve never seen it before.”

Love was now redder than a tomato.

Of course, she knew Tangmo was only joking, knowing she was still a little uncomfortable with her male body, but she was also aware that he was right. They’d been intimate before, she didn’t have to be embarrassed.

“I’m scared Good or Mum will see...” she finally replied.

Tangmo pointed out of the window. “Look, Me has arrived. Good won’t pay attention to anyone but her.”

“But Mum -”

“Love,” his hands were on her cheeks now, their bodies suddenly closer, “I am not pressuring you. But nobody is going to see us.”

Love snuggled her face closer to his hands, before saying. “Let’s go near the lake in the woods this afternoon. I’ll feel more comfortable.”

Tangmo grinned. “Oh, so you’re a public sex kind of person, uh?”

Love didn’t have time to reply that he was kissing her warmly, before taking his towel and walking towards the door.

He turned before leaving. “I’ll think of you in the shower, though.”

“P’!”

He was already gone though, leaving her to blush on her own.

 

 

Because of the holidays, Love and Tangmo always woke up pretty late, before going on a run.

When they came back, it was almost always time for lunch. Me and You were also at their house most of the time, which made their lonely house in the woods all the more lively.

Like every other day, lunch was delicious, though both Love and Tangmo were more silent than usual. Tangmo had already started to pack, leaving for his home at 6 that day in order to pack more things and move to Bangkok the next day.

It was almost 1, which meant they had only five hours left.

Love’s mom went into her room for her usual afternoon nap, while Good and Me went to the town over for a movie date.

Love and Tangmo were left alone, washing the dishes in relative silence. It was Tangmo who broke it.

“I’m going to finish packing for a little while. We can go to the lake right after.”

“Hm,” she acquiesced, unable to look at him.

It finally dawned her that these were her last hours with her boyfriend for a while.

Sure, they had discussed going to see each other on the weekends, but would they be able to survive the distance for two years? Love was starting to doubt it.

Tangmo would probably meet someone better than her, someone who wasn’t stuck in the same weird situation, and forget about her pretty soon.

Her fists were clenched, thinking about Tangmo with someone else. She couldn’t stand it.

For the half hour that Tangmo was packing, she simply laid down on the couch, listening to music to try and calm her nerves down.

She probably dozed off at some point, because she was woken up by something tickling her nostrils.

She opened her eyes, seeing Tangmo bent over, holding a leaf under her nose with one hand while taking a picture of her with the other.

“Hey!” She exclaimed, getting up, laughing.

She was used to these kinds of pranks with her boyfriend, but they never failed to make her laugh. She had already forgotten about her upset mood.

“Okay, let’s go!” Tangmo announced, taking her hand and leading her outside of the house.

The walk from the house to the lake was relatively short, a mere twenty minutes away, but it seemed to take more time that day, both Tangmo and Love walking slower, enjoying each other’s company.

They hadn’t talked about Tangmo’s departure for a whole month, pretending like nothing was happening, preferring to ignore the truth until the last day. Now, it was coming back to bite them in the heart.

The lake was pretty small, but kind of exclusive to Love’s family since no one else lived in that part of the forest. It was still pretty hot at that time of the year, and Tangmo barely got rid of his clothes before jumping into the water.

“Oh, it’s warm!” he exclaimed. “Come see for yourself!”

Love hurried to get rid of her own clothes, before entering the water. She still remembered all the times she had to go into the freezing lake near the Great Men Academy at night, when she still could turn into a girl.

That smaller, warmer lake, during the afternoon, with Tangmo, was way better.

They spent a lot of time having swimming competitions, water battles and dumb pranks, before going back to the shore.

They both laid there, in the shade, waiting for their wet bodies to be dry again.

After a while, Tangmo put his head on Love’s shoulder, passing a hand around her stomach. It felt warm, against his touch.

“What are you thinking about?” He finally asked.

“You know, P.’” Love replied, turning her head to look a him.

Their faces snuggled closer, before she said: “I’m scared.”

She expected Tangmo to say something along the lines of ‘don’t be scared, it’s going to be okay’, but instead, he replied: “I’m scared too.”

That didn’t reassure her. “What are you scared of, P’? You’re the one who’s going to meet hundreds of new people...”

Tangmo sat up, still looking at Love, who did the same. “Is that what you’re scared of? That I’ll meet someone new?”

Love blushed. “Well… what are you scared of, then?”

“That you’ll forget about me! That the distance will be too much! That our love won’t be strong enough!” He exclaimed, gripping her hands in between his.

“P’...”

She was engulfed in a hug, Tangmo’s head resting on top of hers.

“But I know those fears won’t ever come true. It’s normal to have fears, that means we love each other very much. But don’t let them ruin our relationship, though! On the contrary, let them push us to be better for each other every day.”

Love hugged him back harder than ever. He was right, they were imagining the worst case scenario because they knew they couldn’t survive if it happened, because they needed something to encourage them to be better, and they would be.

“Don’t forget about me, P,’” she whispered.

Suddenly, Tangmo’s lips were on hers, kissing her with desperation.

When they separated, lips still touching, Tangmo answered: “Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t.”

In the end, they did end up having sex next to that deserted lake, like Love had suggested.

It felt different than the other times, more intense but sadder, in a way. Like it was the last time for a while and they needed to record every touch, every sound and every pleasure in their minds and never forget.

But like Tangmo had said, it was impossible to forget.

 

 

They came back to Love’s house twenty minutes before Tangmo’s dad would come to pick him up.

Love’s mom had prepared smoothies, and Good and Me were back from their date. Love accompanied Tangmo to his room, helping him take his luggage down the stairs.

After that, they all sat down around the table, sipping on their smoothies while making small talk. Even though their talk had relaxed them, they both couldn’t help but still look sorrowful.

Tangmo’s dad arrived a few minutes in advance, joining them in their smoothie tasting, chatting happily with Love’s mom, buying them a few extra minutes, but then it was time to go.

While his dad was putting his bags into the trunk of the car, Tangmo said long goodbyes to everyone, before turning to Love, who followed him to the car, to get more privacy.

With her family meters away and Tangmo’s dad having hopped in the car, they felt comfortable enough to tell each other what they wanted to say.

But before that, they hugged for a while, almost hurting because of the strength of their hold, before finally looking at each other.

“I’m going to miss you, P’,” Love declared, feeling tears form in her eyes.

Tangmo looked moved too, in a way he rarely did.

“I’m going to miss you so much, Love,” he said, hugging her again, whispering in her ear: “But you know we’ll call and text each other every day, and we’ll visit each other as much as we can. Also, think about all the phone sex we’re going to have.”

She had to laugh at that, wiping off the tears rolling on her cheeks. Tangmo’s fingers joined hers, caressing her cheeks softly in order to dry her tears.

They had to kiss, even though it was in front of their family. That kiss tasted differently, and not only because of the tears.

They finally detached themselves from each other, Love holding Tangmo’s hand in hers.

“We’ll see each other in a few weeks, P’.”

Tangmo nodded, a small smile appearing on his face. He leaned over to her ear, saying one last sentence: “I’ll see your every night in my dreams, though.”

Once he’d gotten her to laugh, Tangmo kissed her cheek one last time before getting into the car.

Love felt Good’s hand on her shoulder, who looked as moved as her. He, too, would have to say goodbye to Me in a few days.

A few minutes later, as she was going up to her room, Love realized that they hadn’t said the word ‘goodbye’. Neither of them had pronounced it, as if they weren’t really saying goodbye. Somehow, ‘see you in a few weeks’, felt better than a definite and harsh ‘goodbye’.

And so, they hadn’t said it.

As she was getting ready to cry again, her phone buzzed.

On it, the words: “I can't wait to fall asleep tonight.”