Arthit ordered them to get 1,000 signatures from their seniors by the end of the week. All of the first years knew this was impossible, that they would need at least a month to get that many signatures. The more Arthit ordered them to do things, the more Kongpob wanted to protest, to push back against his relentless stream of commands.
And so Kongpob stood up, requested to speak and said as politely as he could, "One week is too tight. We don't think it's going to be possible."
"Have you tried yet?" Arthit screamed back at him, "If you can't complete this small task, how will you be able to get anything done in the future?"
Kongpob wondered if Arthit didn't remember him or if he was just being especially cruel to him.
So Kongpob pushed back, "If it were you, would you be able to get 1,000 signatures in one week?"
Kongpob saw Arthit lose his composure for a second but, instead of yielding, Arthit just yelled back, "You are in no position to ask questions back. My orders are absolute. Understood?"
Kongpob flinched at his harsh words, as the rest of the first years repeated "Understood," to appease Arthit's wrath. Arthit glared at him as him and the rest of the hazers made their way out of the room, and the second years came back to talk to them. Kongpob sat down and wondered how in the hell he got himself into this mess.
Arthit was his soulmate. Arthit didn't know Kongpob was his soulmate, and would never know until he took the wristband off, and now Arthit hated Kongpob.
The next time he ran into the senior, P'Arthit had obviously decided that Kongpob had not been humiliated enough by speaking out against him. And now he had found another reason to punish him when he caught Kongpob with his own and Aim's signature books.
"Did you get my signature yet?" Arthit asked him.
"Not yet," answered Kongpob, knowing almost certainly that this was a trap.
"Give me your signature book," Arthit ordered. He sat down and flipped through it, "You seem to have gotten a lot of signatures already. Can you do me a favor?"
"What is it?" Kongpob asked.
"Can you?" Arthit asked, daring him to say yes.
"All right," Kongpob answered, feeling as if he had no other choice.
Arthit thought about it for a moment, "Do you see the last table over there? Go stand on that table and shout three times, 'I like men.'"
Kongpob flinched at Arthit's words. All Kongpob could think was that this was just like secondary school.
Nothing had changed. Everything that Kongpob had thought about university was a lie, nothing was different. People like him still got picked on, were still humiliated for no reason by people like P'Arthit.
And this is who the universe thought he should spend his life with? This is what fate lined up for him?
Kongpob had never seen the system fail, but as he looked at his own soulmate, he thought that maybe this was the first time anyone had ever hated their soulmate.
So Kongpob resigned himself to his fate. Let himself be humiliated by P'Arthit. As he stood on the table, Kongpob didn't care that people thought that he was gay. Instead, he was furious that P'Arthit thought that him shouting 'I like men.' at the top of his voice was something that was funny, something that he should be embarrassed about.
And at the end of it all, P'Arthit didn't even sign the damn book.
At the next gathering, P'Arthit had singled him out again for the stupidest reason, so when he was forced to stand in front of the whole gathering and in front of Arthit, he was ready to test his luck, to push P'Arthit until he snapped.
Arthit pulled the gear out of his pocket and dangled it in front of his face, "Do you see this gear badge? It's an honorary symbol for all engineering students and if any of you can't prove to me that you should earn it, feel free to get out, and I won't consider you my juniors anymore."
Arthit focused on Kongpob again, "And you, Kongpob. What if I don't give you this gear badge? What will you do?" Arthit looked at him with such disgust in his eyes that Kongpob almost couldn't take it. Arthit snickered to himself and put the gear back in his pocket and began to walk away from him. He knew he had to do something.
"I will just take it from you," he said.
Arthit turned back around. He looked furious, "What did you just say?"
"If you don't give the gears to us, we can just snatch them from you," said Kongpob, simply.
The other hazers looked nervously at each other, but Arthit was growing more and more deadly by the second, "How would you do that?"
Kongpob knew he was going to have to go there, "I will make you my wife. They say, what belongs to your lover is also yours. If I make you my wife, your gear is also mine."
Kongpob wasn't proud of using his own sexuality to humiliate P'Arthit, but he knew it was the easiest way to get back at him for what he'd done to Kongpob. He was also not surprised when Arthit grabbed him by the shirt, ready to punch his face in.
He was surprised when one of the other hazers, Knot, pulled Arthit away from him. He had almost expected the other hazers to watch as Arthit beat him. He was only slightly comforted by the thought that he might not have to spend the night at the hospital. That was until he saw the look still on Arthit's face.
"You are brave, Kongpob. That's good. Let's see if you can do as you say."
And 200 sit-and-stands later, Kongpob thinks the beating might have hurt less.