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the whole world revolves around you

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Tine wasn’t the self-assured guy he let others believe he was.

It wasn’t such a bad thing to let others see this other side of him, a side which he revealed only when he wanted to show off or bring attention to himself. Having everyone turn their heads in his direction just to watch him was thrilling, almost euphoric, Tine’s confidence going through the roof and crashing down every single border that caged the overflow of emotions in his chest. Tine had initially said that his motive for joining the cheerleaders at the beginning of the year had been to pick up girls, but he learnt that he liked the spotlight that cheerleading sometimes came with. Being the center of attention was an opportunity to make himself heard when other times he would get lost in the background, and it used to always work whenever he wanted to catch the eye of the person he liked in the past.

But that wasn’t the case now, and Tine suddenly wished he could simply vanish into the void.

Standing on the makeshift stage for the music show, Tine had never felt more lost. Sarawat had warned him that going on stage for the first time was equally frightening and exhilarating, and Tine had expected the nervousness that was bound to come with first performances, but hell, he did not expect it to be this bad.

Everyone’s eyes were on him, and Tine had wanted nothing more than to blow away their expectations, to demonstrate his full potential. He was a rookie, yes, but he had practiced for so long that even the memories of strumming the strings of his guitar late at night brought back the sensation of blisters on his fingertips. It should have been everything Tine wanted, except the picture was missing its center puzzle piece. It made Tine feel incomplete, lost, like a wayward compass lacking the needle pointing north.

It sucked.

All those nights spent in Sarawat’s apartment, slouched over music sheets, playing the same chord over and over again until he got it right, seemed out of a dream. Sarawat usually crouched down on the mattress beside him, or tried to, considering his leg was still in a pretty bad shape. He’d end up leaning on Tine’s shoulder until he could balance himself properly, his hair still perfectly combed despite the long day, his eyes kind and sleepy, and swatting Tine’s hand away whenever Tine nudged him to go rest.

“I said I would tutor you,” Sarawat had fired back, a soft smile tugging at his lips. Tine had cleared his throat and mentally added yet another +1 to the Times I stared at Sarawat’s lips today note in his head. There were quite a lot of +1’s on that note.

Sarawat had glanced down at the music sheet and hummed as he brought his healthy hand to guide Tine’s fingers on the strings. “It sounded off-key before. Not by much, but this is how it should sound. Try it now.” Tine did, and the sound of music filled the room. He was grateful as a wave of relief washed over him. His heart was beating so viciously in his ears; he could have sworn it was the only other sound in the universe other than his guitar and Sarawat’s voice.

Since Sarawat couldn’t play football or music due to his injuries, Tine always seemed to find himself in the other boy’s company during breaks or whenever their timetables were blank for the designated hour. Tine would crash at Sarawat’s place to practice guitar every day once classes were over, and if the other boy had any objections, he never spoke out.

He would catch Sarawat stealing elusive glances when he thought Tine wasn’t noticing or when Tine was too concentrated on his song. The very few times he got caught, Sarawat would simply scratch the back of his head and look at anything that wasn’t Tine. Eventually, he ended up gaining confidence, maintaining eye contact until Tine was compelled to look away, face red as a beetroot. Sarawat would smirk and tease him, as he always did. Dickhead.

One evening, Sarawat seemed to be sulking more than usual, and Tine thought he had finally crossed the line by constantly bothering the guy with his newbie strumming. Tine had shifted to place his guitar inside the leather case, making up the excuse that he had forgotten to submit a report due that day. Somehow, Sarawat had seen straight through his lie, and it didn’t help that Tine stammered through his words as Sarawat got his face closer and closer to Tine’s. He was so close, too close, and Tine’s heart was hammering in his chest, ready to burst. He was sure Sarawat was going to kiss him again to keep him from leaving, and Tine wouldn’t have kept it against him, because he wanted to kiss the other boy just as badly. However, instead of leaning in, Sarawat dropped his head on Tine’s shoulder and exhaled, his breath surely leaving scorch marks on Tine’s skin where the shirt was unbuttoned. Gentle arms wrapped around his waist, pulling him closer to Sarawat like a gravitational pull, and Tine thought he was going to ascend to the heavens right then and there.

“Stay with me,” Sarawat murmured against his shoulder, his still perfectly combed hair tickling Tine’s neck. “I just want to be with you.”

Yeah, this boy was going to be the death of him, Tine had thought. Little did Tine know that his real cause of death would turn out to be the collective embarrassment radiating from his audience on the day of the show. He was scared to glance in P’Dim’s direction, flashbacks returning of his senior face-palming as Tine had impulsively suggested playing in Sarawat’s stead. He was sure that the music club president could kill him with a single look. He still glanced at the senior, and if the lyrics of the song weren’t already having difficulties escaping his mouth, they were now completely stuck behind his lips.

P’Dim did not look like he wanted to grab Tine and launch him into orbit, where he couldn’t tarnish the club’s reputation. There were lines of concern tracing his face, but neither anger nor frustration was present. Instead, he was nodding in Tine’s direction, mouthing words of encouragement and offering thumbs up. Behind him, Green flashed a peace sign, while both Earn and Pear held up clenched fists to show their support.

Everything was still alright, yes? Tine could still try to salvage this whole mess that he had gotten himself into. His fellow club members – no, his friends – were rooting for him despite his poor performance. Then, why couldn’t he remember the song lyrics? What even were words? Tine couldn’t tell if he was still singing or if he was just opening and closing his mouth like a comical, pathetic goldfish. He wished he could go back to the day before the music show, when the only person watching him was Sarawat. The only one who truly mattered.

A quiet murmur rose through the rows, traveling in waves and completely breaking Tine’s already fragile focus. He lifted his head, ready to witness the other students break out to make fun of him. He followed the audience’s gaze until he stopped at…

Him.

As if summoned by a spell, Sarawat was there, and the only reason Tine didn’t believe he was hallucinating the guitarist again was because he could hear others whisper Sarawat’s name. He spotted Man and Boss behind Sarawat, but he couldn’t focus on either of them or on the shushed words or anything else really. Sarawat was the only person he could see so clearly, the reason Tine had decided to do this whole show to begin with.

It was then that he understood why he couldn’t play properly before. Months ago, when the two of them were barely something more than strangers, when Tine was still persuading Sarawat to agree to fake date him, Sarawat had said something that stuck with Tine, although he hadn’t been able to understand the weight of the other boy’s words until this very moment. I do what I like by heart, not by duty. Tine’s passion for playing guitar was tied to Sarawat, a tether interlacing their heartstrings together. Sarawat was the reason he had joined the music club, the reason why Scrubb sounded a million times better whenever Tine listened to their songs nowadays and an infinite times better whenever Sarawat played Scrubb songs by the lamplight, just for the two of them to hear, something that mesmerized Tine to the point where he would forget how to breathe.

Tine realized his fingers had gone still on the guitar strings. He gripped them firmly, his voice returning. Suddenly the lyrics he believed forgotten resurfaced, as if the skies cleared, scattering the rain that had been clouding his thoughts.

Sarawat smiled back at him as Tine sang.

“As long as I have you”

Sarawat smiled so much more often nowadays.

“You are all I ask for”

Sarawat was singing along. Just like when they were back at his apartment, just the two of them.

“I need nothing more”

The world could have been empty for all Tine cared. He couldn’t see anyone else but Sarawat, the shapes of other students blurring into the background. There were no sounds as the outside buzz died in his ears. Just his own voice intertwined with Sarawat’s, Tine’s heart on his sleeve in the shape of a guitar.

“I want—“

“I want to be Tine’s boyfriend!” someone shouted, bringing Tine’s reverie to an abrupt end.

Sarawat looked just as perplexed as Tine as he promptly turned to glare behind him. Man had broken their moment, and Boss was chaotically plucking at a ukulele. Where the heck did he even get that from?

Tine was about to speak up to let Man know that it probably wasn’t the best moment for him to confess his feelings, but he was once again interrupted.

“Can I please be Tine’s boyfriend?” Man went on, flapping his arms dramatically, while Boss was having the time of his life with a solo on his ukulele. Even Earn was swinging her head from side to side to the rhythm of Boss’ nonsense. Sarawat looked as if he wanted the earth to swallow him whole. He hit Man lightly in the chest with his hand and would have probably attempted a jab at Man’s ribs with an elbow had the crutches not restricted his movements so much.

Tine put two and two together and finally realized what was really going on.

“Please, Tine, I need nothing more,” Man concluded the song, wiggling his eyebrows at Sarawat. Boss ended his performance gloriously, his arm arching in the air as he strummed the final note on his ukulele. “Tine,” Man added, “Just say yes and be his boyfriend. My friend here is too chicken to ask you himself. That’s why I’m doing it for him.” He turned to Sarawat with the defeated expression of someone who had spent one too many nights having to listen to his best friend gushing about his crush. “Just ask him already. If you don’t, I will freaking hit on him myself.”

Pause. No one dared say anything. Boss was glancing expectantly from behind his ukulele, his eyes bright with enthusiasm. Man dropped his arms on his hips with an attitude that said, My job here is done. As for Sarawat, well…

When he turned to face Tine once again, it was as if time stopped. Or perhaps that was Tine’s heart skip a beat. He couldn’t tell for sure.

“Tine,” Sarawat said. “I am so done with flirting.”

Another pause. Tine was sure the planet had stopped spinning with a halt right in that very moment, and resumed the second Sarawat opened his mouth again.

“Will you be my boyfriend?”

Cheers erupted throughout the room, and Tine’s eyes darted at the sudden burst of emotion blooming around him. Green was jumping up and down in place much like a bunny. P’Dim casted his eyes skywards, probably reevaluating his life choices, but his smile was content. Man and Boss were doing a little victory dance in the back, Boss lifting his ukulele and pressing several kisses on its surface.

Sarawat stood there, unmoving, a bright smile on his beautiful face, looking at Tine as if he was the only star in the sky. Tine felt the surge of nervousness from before return, chipping away at his words, his mouth agape but no sounds coming out. He recalled the spilled drink on the hospital floor, remembered the moment he had told Sarawat to cut all ties between them, how Tine wanted to give up on everything the two of them stood for just because he believed Sarawat deserved someone better, someone who wasn’t Tine. How they still managed to find their way back to each other because of a twist of fate that tied them together a year ago. A thread which Sarawat had been tugging at for quite some time, but never too tightly. A thread which Tine was only now capable of seeing. And now, Sarawat was finally pulling at the thread, and Tine found that he was welcoming the change.

There was no other answer to give other than, “Yes.”

 

 

 

“I can play you a Scrubb song, if that helps you focus better,” Sarawat offered.

Tine shook his head. The lecture notes he had been struggling with for the past hours were spread on his lap and on the mattress beside him, and Tine was sure he was starting to develop permanent lines on his forehead from frowning so much at the papers in front of him. “Thanks, but I think I’m failing this class either way.” He ran a hand over his face in frustration and added, “I’m going to kill Ohm for making me take Ethics with him.”

Sarawat hummed in agreement and glanced down at the guitar in his arms as if racking his thoughts for the ideal song to play in this scenario. The bedside lamp made shadows dance on Sarawat’s face, highlighting his elegant cheekbones, his long eyelashes, and the curl of his lip. The music show took place two weeks ago, and there was no reason for Tine to keep spending his nights at Sarawat’s place, other than the obvious reason that Sarawat was now his boyfriend. He still felt his heart jump beats when he used the ‘b word’, and he was still adjusting to this whole thing, but it never felt out of place. Tine found it alluring how their hands fit perfectly together whenever his fingers interlaced with Sarawat’s. How they could talk about the most trivial things and, after letting silence reign comfortably between them, they could pick up the conversation again. Tine had stopped sleeping on the couch in favor of the mattress and, coincidentally, his back muscles no longer felt stiff every morning. When the lights were out, Sarawat would scoot over into Tine’s space, but he never went overboard. Most nights only their arms touched.

Most nights.

One night, Tine fell asleep on Sarawat’s chest, the guitarist’s soothing voice barely a whisper in his ear as gentle fingers played with his hair. Another time, he woke up in the middle of the night with a sleeping Sarawat’s face settled in the crook of Tine’s neck, and Tine watched him for what felt like hours. He did not remember falling back asleep that night.

It struck Tine that, despite being so evidently in love with Sarawat, he still had not properly kissed him.

“I’m hot,” Sarawat suddenly said.

Tine snapped out of his daydreaming session. “Are you becoming self-aware?” he asked.

“So you can flirt.”

“I can do a lot of things,” Tine replied. The look Sarawat shot back was the opposite of anything innocent in the world, eyebrows slightly arched and lips parted, eyes darting from Tine’s face to his chest. God only knew what Sarawat’s imagination was projecting. Tine flung one of his notebooks in Sarawat’s direction, trying to hide the flustered smile on his face. “You’re being a perv’ again.”

Sarawat feigned disappointment. “You think so little of me.”

“I know you.” Tine jutted his chin in the other boy’s direction. “You were saying?”

Sarawat stretched his arms overhead, revealing a portion of bare skin at his waist. Tine swallowed, but he did not stare. He would never hear the end of Sarawat’s teasing if he got caught.

“I’m sweaty,” Sarawat said. He set his guitar on the bed beside him, tapping it gently before dropping his arms on the mattress.

“Good for you?” Tine asked tentatively. The image of Sarawat’s exposed skin was playing on repeat in his head without restrictions.

Sarawat tilted his head to the side as if his nonsense logically conveyed what he was trying to say. Tine stared at him, his frown deepening.

“Undress me,” Sarawat said.

A pencil case flew through the air, landing flat on Sarawat’s chest, and the bastard laughed. Laughed.

Tine brought his fingers to his temples and inhaled. “Can. You. Stop being horny. For two seconds?”

Sarawat shook his head, visibly amused. “Spare mercy for a poor injured guy here? My wrist still hurts, you know.”

“Your wrist was perfectly fine minutes ago when you were playing,” Tine pointed out.

“It hurts now, though.”

Tine crooked his fingers as he quoted, “It hurts now, you say. You know, like a liar.”

Sarawat pouted, his bottom lip sticking out. He remained like that for a solid thirty seconds before Tine gave in and raised his hands. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t maintain a straight face while Sarawat was going full puppy-eyes mode for his dirty intentions.

But that didn’t mean Tine would admit defeat.

“I’ll bring you another shirt, so you don’t have to get up with your leg and all that. But that’s it.”

He got up and turned his back on Sarawat, who was sticking his tongue out in disappointment. Tine went straight for the cupboard, rummaging through the drawers until he found a shirt he deemed comfortable enough for Sarawat to sleep in. The familiarity of this place made his stomach knot. By now, he knew every nook and cranny in Sarawat’s apartment. It wasn’t big, and Tine had been spending most of his time here anyway, unless he was in class or at cheerleading practice. He still dropped by his own place from time to time, but only to pick up clothes or textbooks he needed to study, never to sleep. He wasn’t even sure he could sleep anymore without Sarawat’s body next to his, and he wasn’t going to make the other boy climb the stairs to his dorm in his condition. Tine made a mental note of all the furniture he was going to dust whenever he decided to return there, because he wasn’t going back any time soon.

He glanced over to the bed, where a shirtless Sarawat was humming a familiar tune and eyeing Tine expectantly. He tapped the mattress twice, signaling for Tine to sit. The cheerleader rolled his eyes and, despite the temptation to fling the shirt across the room in favor of sitting on the couch, he walked over to the bed and tossed the lecture notes on the floor before dropping on the mattress.

“Here,” he said, lifting the shirt to Sarawat’s chest. “Now get dressed before you catch a cold.”

Sarawat studied him, his expression unreadable. Silence stretched awkwardly between them, and Tine was starting to wonder if he did anything wrong when Sarawat reached for his arms. He picked up the shirt with one hand and dropped it in his lap before gently gripping Tine’s hands and bringing one of them to his mouth to press delicate kisses on the knuckles.

Tine froze, unable to speak or do anything. His heart was thudding against his ribs, making it hard to breathe. Sarawat gently brought down Tine’s hands in the space between them, but he didn’t let go. His calloused fingers were running circles over the knuckles and the back of his palm, sending sparks all over Tine’s body, his brain surely short circuiting.

If such a simple gesture made him feel like a supernova was going off inside his chest, then kissing Sarawat properly must have been the equivalent of the universe imploding and rebirthing.

Sarawat lifted his gaze from their intertwined fingers to Tine’s face, a shy smile blooming in the corner of his lips. “I want to take you on a date.”

It took Tine several seconds to reply. For a panicked moment, he believed he had forgotten his own mother tongue. The only response he managed to come up with was, “Now?

Thankfully, Sarawat only laughed. “I’m afraid not. Not with my leg like this, no.” The disappointment in his tone was unmistakable.

Tine could feel the red color of his cheeks spread to his neck. He managed to meet Sarawat’s eyes and said, “I’d love that. May I ask where are you taking me?”

“It’s a surprise,” Sarawat replied with a wink.

“So you don’t know yet, am I correct?”

Sarawat groaned, slightly amused. “I’m trying to be smooth here, and you’re exposing me.”

“Sorry,” Tine mumbled, afraid he had ruined the mood. Sarawat only smiled as he raised a hand to tenderly stroke Tine’s hair. The gesture was hypnotizing, lulling him to sleep, and Tine found himself leaning into the other boy’s touch.

Tine opened his eyes lazily. “I’d love to. Go on a date. With you, that is. It’s just that…” He took Sarawat’s hand from where it was resting on the side of his head and brought it to his chest, looking at him in the eyes. He took a deep breath. They needed to talk about this, and now was a better time than later.

“I really like you,” Tine said. “I want to kiss you. But I don’t know if I can just yet. Does that bother you?”

Sarawat frowned lightly, confusion written all over his face. “Bother me?”

“Yeah, I mean, it’s been two weeks and—“ Tine licked his lips, careful with his words. “I just don’t want you to hate me.”

Tine felt a jab at his heart as the warmth of Sarawat’s hands left his own. But the guitarist leaned closer, his hands now framing Tine’s face, his thumbs caressing his cheekbones.

“Nothing could ever make me hate you,” Sarawat assured him. “Had you not approached me all those months ago to fake date you, I might not have ever found the courage to talk to you. The way you talk to me, care for me, look at me, like me—“ He let out a breathy laugh. “It’s something that I could only imagine for so long. Sometimes, when I wake up, I’m afraid to open my eyes and see you gone, as if you weren’t even here to begin with. As if you were a pipe dream. A wishful, beautiful dream that I’ve dragged on for so long because I don’t ever want to wake up in a world that doesn’t have you by my side. Do you understand?”

Tine couldn’t respond. His mouth had gone dry and his lips were slightly parted, but they refused to let out a single sound. He wondered if he was imagining this. Perhaps Sarawat was the pipe dream after all.

“Take your time, Tine.” Sarawat smiled at him, and it was the brightest, most heartfelt smile Tine had ever seen. He hadn’t known another human being was capable of smiling like that, like they were made of love and adoration. “I’ve waited a long time, and I could wait till the end of time for you.”

Tine shifted suddenly, startling Sarawat. His movements might have been panicked, and he stumbled as he closed the gap between them to wrap his arms around Sarawat’s shoulders, hugging him tightly. He felt like he was falling, and he felt the need to hold onto Sarawat, his lifeline. A faint smell of Sarawat’s cologne sent shivers down Tine’s spine because fuck, he smells so good, and if Tine leaned a little closer he could have pressed his lips to Sarawat’s neck, but he didn’t, because he was still holding back. He realized his fingers were digging too deep in the skin at Sarawat’s shoulder blades, so he released the extra pressure before bruises could set in.

His voice was weak and vulnerable as he asked, “You truly mean that?”

Sarawat nodded, and Tine felt his hair being played with once again. Soft. Enchanting. Pleasing. Just like this, he thought to himself, I want this for as long as I live.

“Every single word,” Sarawat said as he started humming yet another familiar song.

I want him.

 

 

Tine locked the front door and threw the keys on the kitchen counter as he followed Sarawat to the living room. The living room in the apartment that they now shared. Surprisingly, it hadn’t been that drastic of a change. Tine’s tongue slipped one day when he complained how crammed Sarawat’s apartment had become now that Tine pretty much also lived there, and the opportunistic bastard went looking for a more spacious place as soon as his leg healed.

When Sarawat had initially brought him here to propose the idea of moving in together, Tine hadn’t agreed. He even decided to go and sleep back at his own place, because that was the sole logical conclusion his brain had managed to come up with at that time, only to find out that he could toss and turn at most, unable to fall asleep peacefully. The loneliness chipped at his heart. The air was empty, the ever-present scent of Sarawat’s cologne suddenly gone. The empty space beside him made his heart sink to the point Tine dreamt he was drowning.

It was unbearable, so he ended up flipping the blankets and awkwardly getting dressed in the middle of the night. He lifted his phone to his ear to call Sarawat’s line as he was struggling to put on a jacket with his other hand, when a foreign metallic noise sounded from one of his pockets.

“Tine?” Sarawat’s sleepy voice came from the phone’s speaker. “Is everything alright?”

Tine was dumbfounded. He had reached into his pocket and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The bastard had sneaked the key to his – their – apartment when he wasn’t looking.

“Y-Yes,” Tine eventually blurted out. He didn’t know what to say, but he couldn’t bring himself to hang up.

“Can’t sleep?”

“No.”

“Me neither,” Sarawat had lied. Or maybe he hadn’t. He sounded half asleep on the phone, but perhaps his sleep had been just as restless. There was movement on the other line as Sarawat probably shifted to sit up on the bed. “I can sing for you. It will help you fall asleep.”

“No need,” Tine had rushed, his voice surprisingly steady. “No need to do it over the phone, I mean. I’m coming over there.”

Sarawat had chuckled softly. There was a short pause before he asked, “What song do you want to hear?”

His fingers had clenched over the metal key. “Eternal love.”

It had been an impulsive decision, but it wasn’t one that Tine regretted even one bit. The atmosphere was similar to the one at Sarawat’s old apartment, except now Tine’s stuff was everywhere, his Scrubb posters alongside Sarawat’s, both their guitars resting against the wall near the bed. Sarawat had developed a habit for stealing Tine’s shirts and wearing them more often than his own, especially when they were out in public. He might as well have put on a neon sign above his head pointing at Tine, saying ‘My boyfriend, as if it weren’t already so obvious’. Tine blushed all the time, to the point where he was starting to wonder if his cheeks had become permanently stained red.

His face was red once again, but this time, it wasn’t because he was flustered.

“I’m thinking we could go see a movie tomorrow,” Sarawat said from the middle of the room.

It was late at night and dark, and Tine fumbled until he found the light switch. He then walked until he was standing in front of Sarawat, boldly invading the other’s personal space. “What?” he asked.

“You. Me. Movie. Date,” Sarawat spelled it out for him. “We still haven’t had one, remember?”

Tine closed his eyes and exhaled before opening them again. “We still haven’t talked about you making me jealous yet.”

Sarawat ran a hand through his hair. “Make you jealous? We were just talking.”

“He was flirting with you. Even Man noticed. Hell, everyone noticed.”

“Tine, it didn’t mean anything.”

“Then why did you only push him away when I nudged you?”

Sarawat flashed a grin and said, “I didn’t expect you to get so riled up over this.” They locked eyes and whatever emotion was painted on Tine’s face, it made Sarawat’s smile fade. His smug attitude remained, however. “If you’re mad, you can punish me all night right here.” His eyes traveled to the bed suggestively before landing back on Tine, giving him a full glance-over.

Fuck it. Tine grabbed a fistful of Sarawat’s shirt, and he saw the other boy’s eyes widen for a split second before he closed the distance between them and sealed their lips together. Sarawat’s muffled yelp turned into a low hum as his delicate lips started moving against Tine’s. Tine gasped as Sarawat’s hands pressed against his chest and then moved higher, finally intertwining at the base of his neck. Tine’s head was spinning, and with every kiss he felt his breath stolen from his lungs. His fingers were going numb from clutching at Sarawat’s collar, so his hands traveled upwards, brushing against Sarawat’s neck and gripping his chin to angle their kiss better.

Tine pulled away first, trying to catch his breath. Sarawat still hungered for more, pushing his fingers into Tine’s hair and chasing his lips, but Tine set his thumb over his boyfriend’s lips and pushed gently. A disappointed moan escaped Sarawat’s lips, and had Tine not been heated up already, he was definitely turned on right now.

He got his face closer to Sarawat’s once again, his thumb still pressed over the other boy’s lips. He whispered, “You are reserved. Don’t ever flirt with anyone else.”

His words had the desired effect on Sarawat, whose grin made Tine’s insides turn to jelly. This was a speechless, giddy Sarawat, who always acted cocky and flirtatious, but who wasn’t used to flirting back. Tine used this small window of opportunity to push Sarawat onto the bed, Tine following shortly after, because he wasn’t sure how much more his confidence would last.

Sarawat propped himself up on his arms, but he didn’t give any signs that he didn’t enjoy the sudden turn of events. Tine settled above him, one of his knees in the space between Sarawat’s legs, his arms caging Sarawat’s body. Somehow, his boyfriend was even more beautiful than before, messy hair obscuring his doe-like eyes, his lips arched into an inciting smile, begging to be kissed. Sarawat pushed himself backwards and gestured for Tine to follow so they could take full advantage of the space they had. Tine complied, a fleeting memory returning to him from when they had to play that stupid game at the music club, except that now the roles were reversed.

They didn’t have to drag their bodies across the mattress for too long, but once they stopped, Tine froze. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go further, but the wave of confidence from before was starting to break into the shores. After all, this was uncharted territory.

Sarawat watched him, his expression softening. He brought a hand to Tine’s face, fingertips shyly caressing his cheek.

“Tine—“, Sarawat started, and then Tine kissed him again.

It was a clash of lips, one that Tine hadn’t intended to be so harsh. Sarawat’s head hit the pillow below, and Tine drew back shortly and apologized by pressing a softer, lingering kiss on Sarawat’s lips. Strange how their mouth fit so well together, and even stranger that Tine had been so incredibly insecure all this time. It wasn’t that the thought of kissing Sarawat had never occurred until now. Some days and most nights it was the only looping thought in his head. But he was afraid that he might mess it up, that he might freeze and suddenly forget how to kiss somebody, that Sarawat would hate him for being so incredibly disappointing.

He knew better now. Sarawat would wait for him till the end of time, but Tine didn’t want that, because his heart burned with aching desire. Had he waited any longer, he might have choked on smoke.

Tine had been so painfully in love with Sarawat for so long. He just didn’t want to lose him.

Sarawat’s hands were running wild on Tine’s body, gripping his hair and pulling at his shirt. Tine felt dizzy and drunk, even though neither of them really touched alcohol at the club. He let his tongue trail on Sarawat’s bottom lip, nudging him to open his mouth, and Sarawat promptly obeyed, the grip on Tine’s shoulder blades significantly sharper. Tine leaned back, leaving a gasping Sarawat as he took off his plaid shirt, now only a black T-shirt between Sarawat’s hands and Tine’s skin. The guitarist didn’t need to be instructed twice. With one hand, he pulled Tine back into an open mouthed kiss, while the other made its way under the fabric, on Tine’s abdomen, running circles on his stomach, and higher, on his chest, firm fingers pushing against his skin, pinching him. Tine’s brain forgot how to function, a filthy sound escaping his mouth, but he didn’t have time to be embarrassed about it. Sarawat squirming under him did not help either.

He moaned into another kiss, and he could feel Sarawat’s lips break into a smile under him, until Tine moved lower to nibble at Sarawat’s jawline and suddenly that smile melted. Tine’s mouth trailed down his boyfriend’s neck, finding the pulse of his heart and pressing a heavy kiss against the vulnerable skin. He was rewarded with a shudder and Sarawat gasping his name and fuck, he had not experienced anything like this ever before. Like he had caught on fire as he was flying dangerously close to the sun. Like he was crashing into a star.

Tine kept kissing Sarawat’s neck, sometimes biting into the skin and then licking the marks he left, the other boy’s moans like music to his ears. That’s what you get, Tine thought to himself. For looking at someone who wasn’t me. His mind wandered off to the past, when he was openly flirting with Pear while Sarawat could only watch, his hopeless yearlong crush on Tine making his heart bleed. Is this what he felt back then? Tine shuddered. Perhaps he was the one being punished after all.

“Tine.” Sarawat called, his voice blurry. “Tine?”

“Myeah?” Tine’s voice was so weak, he barely recognized it. He propped himself up, his arms was again framing Sarawat’s body.

“You’ve been kissing me all this time,” Sarawat pointed out, as if it wasn’t obvious. “But you never brought your hands lower than my shoulders.”

Oh.

Alright, that was not so obvious. At least not to Tine’s short-circuited brain.

He glanced down at Sarawat’s chest, his rumpled shirt already unbuttoned slightly. Tine’s fingers trailed lines on the exposed skin along the collarbones and in-between Sarawat’s pecs before fumbling with the buttons and spreading his shirt wide open, revealing chiseled muscles and so. Much. Skin. He felt himself freezing again, unable to snap out of it. He had seen Sarawat naked before, how was this any different?

He wanted to smack himself in the forehead for that one. What kind of question even was that?

“Tine,” Sarawat’s voice called out once again, this time steadier. “Take off your shirt.”

Tine complied, shrugging the black shirt and dropping it on the floor. However, he still had no idea whatsoever what to do next. So much for his earlier bravado.

“Now what?” he accidentally said out loud.

Sarawat pushed his upper body from below Tine, a soft smile once again on his face. He tenderly seized Tine’s face and pulled him into a kiss, a lighter, more affectionate one than the ones they shared moments ago. Tine felt the tension melt from his shoulder blades, his brain no longer panicking over Sarawat possibly hating him once again.

When the kiss broke, he wanted to tell Sarawat how grateful he really was to have someone like him love him back. Someone who always put Tine’s feelings above everything else, someone who knew how to calm him down whenever his insecurities kicked in, someone he couldn’t imagine living without. Perhaps that was why Tine loved him so much.

However, Sarawat had other things in mind. “Now…” He winked as he tackled Tine to the mattress, taking him by surprise in his moment of weakness. Of course the bastard would do to Tine exactly what Tine did to him only minutes ago. Tine laughed and struggled to move back up, but Sarawat had him pinned under the weight of his body, his thighs keeping Tine in place. He pressed Tine’s hands on the mattress and leaned in to press another sharp, deepening kiss.

“Now,” he said, “I’ll kiss you till you drop.”