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the missing pieces (i found them)

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After the conversation they had the other day Sarawat’s become really generous with his kisses. He kisses Tine on the cheek, on the forehead, when he says hello, when he says goodbye; when he feels like it, basically.

Tine’s not complaining. Not at all. He accepts all shows of affection from the other man, cheeks burning up and heart racing every time. He’s gotten used to feeling that way now, but he still has quite a bit of trouble initiating it on his own or reciprocating.

 He is still unsure, doesn’t know if his feelings are returned. He doesn’t even know if Sarawat knows he likes him. Tine thinks he does, since he’s really obvious… but he can’t know for sure. Talking is so complicated.

Pete informs him on Wednesday afternoon that Sarawat’s birthday is in three days. He still hasn’t forgotten that Tine can bake and promised to teach him (which Tine honestly forgot… he’s the worst), so he asks if him they can make a cake for his dad.

Naturally, Tine says yes. He could never say no to Pete, and he also feels excited to gift him something made with his own hands.

He goes to the supermarket on Thursday after work; it seems like he hasn’t stepped into one in months. He’s really failing at adulthood.

He buys everything he needs to make a small cake and more… just in case. Sarawat isn’t a big fan of sweets, Tine remembers, but Pete said that he does enjoy a good slice of strawberry cake, so that’s what Tine will do.

Tine and Pete agreed that the older would bake the cakes and Pete would come to help decorate de next day, so that same afternoon he bakes enough to make two, a bigger one and a smaller one. He thought it’d be nice if Pete decorated one all by himself.

Ever since he got sick his work schedule has been way less packed, which allows him to actually have a little bit of life outside the hospital. If he had known, he would’ve almost died sooner.

He’s thankful for that, since he’s free this weekend. Sarawat invited him to a little get together he’s going to do for his birthday. He insisted he didn’t want to, but his friends practically forced him to. Tine knows he’s lying just to maintain his tough guy reputation.

He wants to buy him a present, apart from the cake, but he doesn’t know what. It could be anything but… Tine doesn’t want it to be anything. Call him sappy, but Sarawat’s important to him.

Pete asks for permission to go to Tine’s of Friday afternoon to prepare a surprise for his birthday, he explains to his dad. Sarawat agrees and Pete absolutely forbids him the entrance to Tine’s house. He says it with so much vehemence, Sarawat can only comply. They are so cute.

They start working as soon as they put on their aprons. Tine saw a tiny apron with puppies the other day and he had to buy it for Pete. He hopes Sarawat doesn’t find it weird.

Pete fills and decorates his little cake with every single thing he can find. Sprinkles, whipped cream, frosting, chocolate, strawberries, you name it. By the time they are done every single corner of his kitchen is dirty, but it was worth it. He had so much fun today.

They store the cakes on Tine’s fridge and make plans for tomorrow as they try to clean the mess. Tine has to be outside Sarawat’s at 10 a.m. sharp and he must not knock under any circumstances, Pete says. He will be there and open the door for him. He’ll also make sure his dad is still in bed so they can bring the cake upstairs and sing happy birthday to him without him noticing.

That little kid has such a big brain, he’s kind of a legend, Tine thinks. He had everything planned out.

Next day is already here, and Tine has been restless ever since he woke up one hour ago, checking his clock every five seconds and begging for it to move faster.

His impatience makes him be in front of his neighbor’s door five minutes earlier, holding one cake in each hand, candles in place.

Pete opens the door exactly at ten, as he said he would, making a shushing sign at Tine and closing the door as quietly as he can. They stop by the kitchen, tiptoeing their way there, so Tine can light up the candles and then carefully climb up the stairs, each holding one cake.

Sarawat’s door is closed, but Tine can hear the faint noise of the tv. “Daaad, are you awake?” Pete asks.

“Yeah”

Tine feels butterflies on his stomach. This is so stupid, all he has to do is sing his lovely friend a happy birthday, so why is he feeling so nervous?

He tries to take a deep, calming breath, but it doesn’t calm him at all.

Pete slowly opens the door, and the sight that greets Tine makes him even forget the happy birthday song lyrics.

Sarawat is sitting on his bed, no shirt in sight. Tine has never seen him shirtless before and this is not how he expected the first time to be… not that he’s had fantasies about seeing his neighbor half-naked.

But wow… this is even better than the fantasies he’s never had. His arms are… no words. His chest… no words. His abs… no words. Nothing. Nada. Tine’s neurons aren’t making synapsis right now.

But he must get his shit together, since he has a duty to fulfill. He will not fail Pete. He needs to remember the happy birthday song lyrics right now.

The look Sarawat is giving them wakes him up from his thirst-induced daze. He looks quite emotional, his eyes all glassy. He’s blinking rapidly, letting out an incredulous laugh. He wasn’t expecting this kind of surprise, that’s very much clear. It makes Tine feel giddy.

Pete counts to three and starts singing happy birthday. Tine follows his lead, finally remembering the damn words.

Sarawat is just… smiling. He’s so beautiful, Tine feels his chest tighten at the sight. He loves to see him happy.

 “Don’t forget to make a wish, dad” Pete reminds him.

“I don’t think I need anything else” he answers, looking from Tine to Pete, but closes his eyes for a few seconds anyway before blowing out the candles.

Sarawat smiles again, so big and bright his eyes are barely visible. Pete’s also laughing, so loud and cheerful.

Tine, for the first time in his life, feels like nothing is missing.

___________________

He offers to take both cakes downstairs and bring a slice for each one of them. To be honest, he needs a moment alone to put his emotions in check before doing something he might regret later.

The way Sarawat looked at them, the way he looked at him when he said he didn’t need anything else… it’s a lot to process. Tine doesn’t know whether the man likes him for real or if it’s just wishful thinking on his part.

He hears Pete calling for him, so he hurries up. It’s crazy how easy it is for him to navigate this house, almost as if it was his own. He’s spent multiple afternoons cooking dinner with Sarawat here. He knows where everything is. It scares him. What if this is over someday? What if Sarawat doesn’t like him? What if he gets bored of him?  

He shakes his head to get rid of those thoughts. Not the time. It’s easier to wallow in self-pity and insecurity when he’s lying on his bed at 3 a.m. listening to Scape by Scrubb on the verge of an emotional breakdown, not at ten in the morning. His mind needs to learn about timing.

Pete and Sarawat are waiting for him like two eager puppies. Their eyes light up when they see him. Sarawat’s put on a shirt (very sad but Tine’s thankful) and left an empty space next to him on the bed, where Tine sits awkwardly before handing over the plates with cake.

Pete starts eating right away, making an approving noise as soon as he has the first bite, but Sarawat is just looking at him. Tine can’t decipher his expression. He’s so good at that poker face, it’s frustrating.

“What?” Tine asks, frustrated. He doesn’t understand why he is being stared at like that. He doesn’t know why but he’s grumpy.

“This space” he slowly says, patting the empty space on the bed, “I left it for you. So get your ass in here” he looks a little bit exasperated, like Tine is having trouble understanding something.

Before he can even think of saying anything Sarawat is tugging on his arm and Tine unconsciously moves. His body is betraying him.

He ends up with his back against Sarawat’s pillows, their arms completely pressed together, plate of cake on his lap. He doesn’t know why they are so close, there’s plenty of space, but it’s not like he’s against it…

“Dad you said a bad word” Pete says, mouth full of cake. Some whipped cream adorns his nose. He’s probably going to be in a sugar rush the whole morning.

“Yes. I’m sorry. Don’t say it please and don’t speak when you eat”

Pete nods at his dad’s words and instructs them both to start eating or he’ll eat their parts, he says. Tine does and honestly… the cake is really good. There’s no point in being humble when you are literally better than that cake boss dude.

Sarawat also dives in, making approving noises and throwing a thumbs up in Tine’s direction. It’s nice that he liked it, Tine would have cried if he didn’t.

A few moments later Tine feel Sarawat’s eyes on him. He’s like burning holes on his face. Tine looks back, and the other men reaches to his face, swiping his thumb over the commissure of Tine’s lips. He must have had some cream.

Tine can’t look away, even though he knows what’s going to happen next. Sarawat brings his finger to his mouth, and licks it clean, winking at Tine when he’s done and going back to eating as if nothing had happened.

Tine tries to forget what just happened. He doesn’t need that mental image this early. Or ever, really. God, this is so damn cliché. It’s like everything happened in slow motion. He could see Sarawat’s tongue darting out and… brain stop.

 Tine goes back to eating, as that’s the safest thing he can do right now. When they are all finished, Pete asks to speak, like if he were at school, raising his hand. The two men in the room turn to look at him, waiting to hear what he has to say.

“First, happy birthday dad. I love you and you are the best” he says, throwing himself into Sarawat’s arms and hugging him.

“Thank you, I love you too” the other man answers, ruffling his son’s hair when they separate.

“Second, I want to thank Tine for making the cakes, they were delicious, and my dad liked them a lot, right dad?”

Sarawat looks at Tine from underneath his eyelashes, resting his chin on his palm. “Yes, he’s the best”

“He is” Pete states like it’s a universal truth. “I like him a lot dad, don’t you like him too?” Pete asks with intent.

Tine is a little bit scared of where this is going, knowing that Pete knows his most kept secret and also knowing that this kid is kind of a mastermind.

Sarawat wasn’t expecting that to come out of his son’s mouth, if he’s reading his expression correctly, but he quickly recovers, flashing a smile to his kid but not meeting Tine’s eyes, and says, “Yes, I like him a lot”

Tine blinks. “Uh?”

Is he…? What does he mean? Does he like him as a friend? As a person? As a man? As a potential love interest? What is Tine supposed to say now? So many questions… no answers.

“Okay” Pete says, jumping off the bed. “I’m leaving now” the door closing as he leaves with a loud thud.

The atmosphere is kind of… heavy. Neither of them talks, both looking straight ahead. They don’t even move. It’s like time has stopped. Are they breathing? Tine doesn’t know, but he doesn’t feel air coming into his lungs. The only sound is coming from the tv.

Tine feels restless, something simmering inside him. He’s about to snap, he’s about to say something he doesn’t know if he should say, but Sarawat beats him to it.

“I have something to say as well” he takes a deep breath and locks his eyes with Tine. “There’s nothing better than spending your birthday with your favorite people”

Tine doesn’t know what to say, again. It’s so ridiculous, this situation. An adult knows like what, thirty thousand words, and he can’t think of one? Just one? All those years in med school must have fried his brain.

“Am I… your favorite?” Tine asks lamely.

Why is it that whenever he is near Sarawat he goes back to being a shy stuttering teen? Well, it’s not like he’s ever stopped being one… but it’s worse.

He nods. “If we talk about humans then you come after Pete” he lies his head on Tines lap, spreading his body on the rest of the bed. “If we talk about adults, then you come in first” he says with a small smile.

It infuriates Tine, how he can say such things with so much calmness, while Tine’s heart is beating like crazy and he feels like he’s about to vomit from all of the butterflies in his stomach. He wishes he could be like that as well. If he could then he would have told Sarawat his feeling ages ago.

Sarawat takes Tine’s hands and places them on his head. “Now rub my scalp, would you? It’s my birthday” he says with puppy eyes and a pout. This is where Pete must’ve learnt that infallible trick.

___________________

Tine spends the rest of the day with them. They eat lunch together and Tine helps Sarawat adorning the house a little bit. Some balloons here and there and that’s it. Very minimalistic.

He offered to prepare some food, but Sarawat said his friends would bring everything. He leaves a few hours before the party so he can finish making Sarawat’s present and then take a shower. He bought a bunch of guitar picks at the music store the other day and plans to make him a bracelet with it. Tine thought it’d be cute, he hopes Sarawat shares the same opinion.

He knocks on his neighbor’s door around seven. There are so many cars parked outside Sarawat’s house, he never thought there’d be so many people invited.

He shifts from leg to leg, restless energy coursing through his body. He’s nervous, since he’s going to meet Sarawat’s closest people. He doesn’t want to leave a bad impression on them… Maybe he dressed up too much? Should he go back and change his clothes? It’s too late now, as the door is being opened.

God, Sarawat looks beautiful. He is wearing a black button up with some jeans, his hair styled to the side. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, really, he’s just effortlessly handsome.

“You look really nice” the other man says as a greeting.

“Yes, you do” Tine realizes a second too late what he said. Sarawat already has a smug smile plastered on. He wants to kiss it away. Wait… what? “I mean, you too” he corrects, blushing. This is not a good start. He needs to get his shit together. “Here” Tine says, passing him the present.

Sarawat admires the small box. “You didn’t have to buy me anything, nuisance”

Tine has come to grow fond of the nickname. “I wanted to, asshole”

 Sarawat looks at him, the streetlamps making his eyes shine impossibly bright. “You are my present” he says, his expression incredibly serious.

Tine’s about to die… right here. Sarawat’s must be making fun of him. He thinks the other man is about to burst out laughing in any second, but he doesn’t. He’s not joking.

What does he mean by that? Well, whatever he means, Tine feels like Sarawat is also a gift sent from who knows what deity to make his life better.

Before he can answer, though, someone stands next to Sarawat, interrupting them. Tine hadn’t realized they were still at the house’s entrance, so caught up in the moment, but that’s not what surprises him the most. He’s used to spacing out when he’s around Sarawat. What surprises him the most is the face that’s in front of him. That’s a face he has seen before, too many times to count.

“Man?” Tine asks, surprised.

This is the last person he expected to see here. Sarawat had talked about a friend of his called Man before, but Tine never thought it was this Man.

The other man doesn’t realize at first who is standing in front of him, but at the utter of his name he actually looks at Tine’s figure. The way his expression changes is almost comical.

“Tine?” something clicks then, and his eyes grow even bigger. “Wait… this is the cute neighbor you’ve been talking about nonstop?” he narrows his eyes at Sarawat, pointing an accusatory finger at Tine.

Sarawat decides to ignore him, asking instead, “You guys know each other?”

“He’s my brother’s boyfriend” Tine explains.

Sarawat looks even more surprised now. “You are Type’s brother?” Tine nods.

What the hell… first Pear and now Man… and he knows his brother as well? The memory of his mom labelling their meeting as destiny comes to his mind then, making him flush.

They were much closer than it seemed. Would they have met again if Sarawat hadn’t moved next door? They would have, probably. But… would their relationship be the same as it is now, whatever it is that it is now? Tine doesn’t know.

He’s so immersed in his thoughts he doesn’t register Man’s open arms, waiting to hug him. “It’s good to see you man, it’s been too long” he says as he squeezes Tine.

It really has. Tine hasn’t seen his brother since before he moved to his current house, like four months ago maybe? They speak very often, but they haven’t seen each other in so long. Tine is going to invite them over along with his mom one of these days.

 “It’s good to see you too”

There aren’t that many people inside, as Tine initially thought. Pear and Earn are here, which is nice. Sarawat introduces him to his brother, Phukong, who is around Tine’s age and his boyfriend, whom Tine doesn’t remember his name. He also meets Boss, who’s Sarawat’s other best friend.

And Pete, obviously. It’s not bedtime yet, and he’s not going to miss the party for anything in the world. As soon as he sees Tine, he runs to greet him, giving him a big hug. Tine has to pick him up for a little while, since Pete doesn’t want to let go of him.

The atmosphere is nice, there’s not a single occasion where Tine feels uncomfortable, as he usually would around people he doesn’t know. He doesn’t feel left out either, since he’s the only one who’s never shared with the whole group before.

When they sing happy birthday to Sarawat they put Tine in charge of holding the cake with the help of Pete. He doesn’t know why, since he’s the one who has known Sarawat for the least amount of time, but he’s not going to say no. Sarawat’s friends insist very vehemently as well.

When it’s time to make a wish, Sarawat locks his eyes with Tine’s for a few seconds, just like he did in the morning. Tine ignores the whistling and cooing sounds made by Sarawat’s friends. The strong blush on his cheeks is embarrassing enough.

He’s going to move to the side so Pear can take pictures of Sarawat and Pete with the cake, but Sarawat doesn’t let him. He just secures his arm around Tine’s waist and smiles, Pete perched on his hip.

When Pear shows him the pictures later Tine’s heart makes a backflip. A cartwheel. A somersault. His heart is Simone Biles. He doesn’t want to say what they look like… If he doesn’t say it then it’s not real. And if it’s not real it can’t hurt him. That’s right.

Pete hasn’t left his side the whole time, but it doesn’t bother Tine. He likes looking after him. Tine’s on the couch talking to Pear and Earn with the little boy on his arms when he starts dozing off. He lasted a lot, considering he usually goes to sleep at nine.

“Tine I’m sleepy” he says, rubbing his eyes.

Tine stands up with Pete on his arms. He goes to Sarawat who’s playing a card game with his brother and Man.

“Pete wants to go to bed” Tine informs him. Sarawat’s about to get up but Tine stops him with a hand on his shoulder. “I got it, don’t worry” he says with a smile.

He was going to do it, anyway, regardless if Sarawat was busy or not. The other man looks at him with a soft smile and mutters a thanks.

Pete changes into his pajamas with his eyes almost closed. Tine helps him brush his teeth, wash his face and his hands and tucks him into bed.

He sits up against the headboard on the empty space left by Pete, since the little boy said he doesn’t like to fall asleep alone, caressing his head until his breathing evens out.

Tine ends up falling asleep as well. That’s where Sarawat finds him, fifteen minutes later. He is woken up by a calloused hand stroking his cheek.

“I’m the sleeping beauty” Tine murmurs, still half asleep.

“Do you need a kiss to wake up as well?” Sarawat asks.

That wakes him up right away. “Uh?”

Sarawat’s close, way too close, their noses a few centimeters apart, breathing the same air. Their lips are close as well, all Tine has to do is move a little and he’ll be able to feel them against his. He licks his lips, as they feel so dry; the motion followed by the other man’s attentive eyes.

Tine wants it, God knows he wants it, and he thinks Sarawat is going to do it, but it doesn’t feel right, though, not now, not here, with Pete sleeping by their side.

Sarawat reaches the same conclusion, it seems, as he moves back a little and kisses Tine’s cheek instead.

“There you go” he says, tone dark and heavy.

His pupils are dilated, and he’s as short of breath as Tine is. It’s nice to see that he has some sort of effect on the other man, and that he probably wants to kiss him just as much as Tine does.

He hopes he can get it someday and it’s not just his heart deceiving him.

___________________

Everyone leaves quite early. Is this like when you are old? Tine doesn’t know, since he doesn’t go out that much.

When he was younger, though, on the few occasions he did go out, him and his friends would be at it all night. Well, mostly his friends, since Tine always passed out after two drinks. He can’t hold his liquor to this day, which is why he prefers not to drink.

He stayed to help Sarawat clean, which they did very fast, and now they are sitting on the porch. Sarawat’s softly playing the guitar, humming to some song Tine doesn’t know. He looks unreal, crossed legs, guitar in hand.

This is how Tine imagines a night with your summer love looks like. It doesn’t help that’s actually summer and well… Sarawat is his love.

The night is perfect as well, neither warm not chilly. The sky is clear, big stars illuminating Sarawat’s figure.

Tine remembers a few weeks ago a night like this, when he gave Sarawat his house’s spare keys. That should’ve been the first sign for him, but he didn’t have a clue back then of how he would come to feel. Now there’s no turning back.

Somehow that doesn’t trouble him. Even if it’s one sided, his love for Sarawat’s not a burden and it will never be one, on the contrary, it has brought him happiness he hasn’t felt in so long.

Is this really fate? Tine wonders. Were they meant to be? But if they were… it doesn’t really matter. Is not fate what makes them get along so well, it’s not fate what made Tine fall in love.

“You okay?” Sarawat asks, after a few minutes of silence. “You are quiet”

Tine sighs. There’s a lot on his mind. “I’m just thinking… it’s crazy how we didn’t meet each other sooner” Sarawat looks at him, his attention undivided. “I mean… your best friend is my brother’s boyfriend and my best friend is also your friend… it’s not like they are just acquaintances to us, those people are part of our lives, but we didn’t meet through them”

Sarawat nods, processing. “I think we met at the right time” he says, reaching out to caress Tine’s hair.

Tine smiles at him and leans into his touch. Sometimes he says the sweetest things. “I… I think so too” Tine looks up at the sky, just to have something else to focus on instead of Sarawat’s piercing eyes. “The view is so beautiful”

“It is” Sarawat says, but Tine can feel still his eyes on him.

“But you are looking at me” he notes.

“Exactly”

Tine can only smile at his words, his chest constricting, the butterflies on his stomach going crazy. But he can agree with him. Looking at Sarawat, he’s prettier than all things in the world, the warm chocolate of his eyes shining brighter than the stars. Tine will never get tired of looking at him.

Sarawat takes a deep, shaky breath, like he’s gathering courage to do something. “There’s something I want to tell you, Tine” he says. “Please listen”

He puts the hand that was on Tine’s head back on the guitar and positions himself to start playing. The song is slow, but it’s still somewhat familiar.

When Sarawat starts singing, though, it clicks. It’s probably his favorite songs from Scrubb. Every time he listens to it Sarawat comes to his mind, the words so fitting as to how he feels about him.

Sarawat’s voice is so beautiful, Tine’s been longing to hear it ever since that day he sang him to sleep.

I never thought I would have such a great day with you by my side like this

I instantly felt it the second we first met

It's like there was something

I've never met anyone, not too left, not too right, not too perfect

You are not pessimistic or demanding,

but something about you is so special

I've never met anyone who is not too fast, not too slow, not too little

We just click,

you are enough for my heart

Sarawat is enough for him, more than enough, Tine thinks as the man finishes singing.

Both of them need a few seconds to gather their emotions. Tine hands are shaking at the implications of this. Are his feelings not one sided? His heart races at the thought. That’d be… really nice, he thinks, smiling to himself.

Sarawat is the first to break the silence. “Ever since we met my life has been…” he says, a little dubitative. He doesn’t look at Tine, his eyes trained on his hands. He takes a deep, stabilizing breath, and talks more confidently, “better. Brighter. You make my days easier. If I have a bad day just seeing you… makes it better”

Tine feels the same way, and he wants to say it. Sarawat deserves to know the way he feels, but before he can say find the right words to do so the other man blurts out, “I like you” Sarawat looks at him now. Tine feels the urge to lower his gaze, but he doesn’t, he wants to see what the other man’s eyes have to tell. “I think I’m in love with you” he says, more firmly. He shakes his head then, like he’s frustrated he can’t find the right words. “I’m definitely in love with you” he says with finality.

It’s weird, the way Tine feels right now. He never dared to imagine this moment for more than a few seconds before, but he always thought it would be like in those cheesy books he sometimes reads, where the protagonist feels like the world stops spinning for a moment and only the two of them exist.

But he doesn’t feel like that right now. The world doesn’t stop, he doesn’t feel like he’s going to die, his heart doesn’t stop, on the contrary, it’s beating so fast it might as well come out of his body.

He feels… it’s hard to describe it, but it’s like his heart finally feels at peace, like things are now the way they were always supposed to be. It might sound cheesy, bit it feels like Sarawat is his other half.

He also feels a little dumb, for not telling him sooner about his feelings, but at the same time this feels right, the way everything happened between them, the time they took, it was neither too fast nor too slow, not too perfect. It was right. They are right for each other.

Tine takes Sarawat’s guitar from his hold, and gently lies it on the floor. He hugs him next, hiding his face in the crook of his neck, nestling into his warmth. “I’m in love with you too” he says, mouthing against his skin. He pulls back then, holding Sarawat’s face in his hands, connecting their eyes. The other man looks stunned at his words. “I have been for a long time”

“You are?” Sarawat asks. Did he really not see it? “I mean... I thought you were” he explains himself, “but I wasn’t sure... thought it was my imagination” 

“I thought it was my imagination as well” Tine adds with a shy chuckle.

“I guess we’re not good at communicating, are we?”

“We’re not” Tine says, caressing the high of Sarawat’s cheeks with his thumbs. The pink dusted in there is faint, but still visible under the night light.

Sarawat smiles, closing his eyes briefly. “We’ll work on it” he twists his face, kissing Tine’s palm. The tender gesture melts his heart.

He’ll never wash that hand, for real. Fuck hygiene procedures.

“Are you already planning your future with me?” Tine teases, with a cheeky smile, wiggling his eyebrows up and down.

What he doesn’t expect is Sarawat answering in a serious manner “Yeah” he says, “I’ll kiss you, then I’ll ask you to be my boyfriend, then we’ll go on dates, then we’ll move in together and we’ll be happy forever” 

Is he for real or is he just joking? Tine hopes he’s not joking, he’d love to do all of that with him. Also… shouldn’t dates go first?

“Stop playing” Tine says, trying to laugh it off, but the blush on his cheeks and his heavy breathing are giving him away.

“I’m serious, nuisance” he takes Tine’s hands in his and puts one of them on his chest, over his heart. It’s beating really fast. The doctor in Tine wonders if he should check his blood pressure; the silly man in love is doing backflips at causing this reaction in him. “I’ve never felt like this before. No one has made my heart like this. I want you to be my nuisance forever”

Tine wants to tell him he feels the same, but he’s not good at talking, never has been. His emotions show freely on his face, but it’s hard for him to find the right words that could translate his heart. There’s one thing he can do, though.

He places his arms around Sarawat’s neck, slowly leaning closer, until the tip of their noses is pressing together. Sarawat hasn’t closed his eyes and neither has Tine, just admiring each other from up close. He could count the other man’s lashes if he wanted. His hands are shaking as he asks, “Can I kiss you, Sarawat?”

Sarawat presses a soft hand on Tine’s waist and nods, giving him enough confidence to do it. He wants this just as much as Tine does, he can see it in his eyes, in his dilated pupils, in the way his tongue darts out to wet his dry lips.

This feels like a dream. Tine thought for the longest time that he was being delusional, thinking that Sarawat could like him back.

Tine closes his eyes and presses their lips together, lingering for a few seconds. It’s chaste but confident, and if he didn’t feel like he was going to die before he definitely does now. He’s been waiting to feel Sarawat’s lips against his for the longest time, so it feels kind of surreal.

Before Tine can say anything or even process what he just did, Sarawat speaks. “You don’t need to say anything you are not ready to, Tine”

He’s so understanding, sometimes too much. He opened up his heart to Tine, and he’s going to do the same thing in return. Doing so is not going to kill him. The only thing he wants to die from is Sarawat’s lips. He’s had one taste, but he’s eager for more.

Tine takes a deep breath, “I want to be with you for as long as you’ll have me” he says, whispering against the other man’s lips.

Sarawat cups his cheeks, brushing his thumb over Tine’s lips. “What if I’ll have you forever?”

Where does he gets all those lines from? He’s unbelievable. It’s like he knows how to break him.

“Okay” Tine can only say.

That’s literally the most stupid thing he’s ever said in his life, but can you blame him? His brain is not really working in full capacity. Not like humans’ brains work in full capacity but his is working in even less capacity. You get the idea. 

He’s about to hide his face on Sarawat’s neck from embarrassment, but the other man says, “you are so cute” and connects their lips again. This time is not just a chaste peck, not at all. Sarawat’s lips move hungrily against his.

Sarawat grabs him by the waist, practically lifting Tine to make him sit on his lap. Not that Tine is complaining.

Does Sarawat go to the gym or does he get that big amount of force and muscles from carrying a kid around? Whatever it is he’s enjoying the feel of Sarawat’s strong biceps against his palms very much. 

He should care that they are outside, on Sarawat’s front yard, where anyone can see them. But he doesn’t. He’s just focused on one thing now. Can you blame him for not being a multitasker? 

They kiss and kiss until Tine can’t breathe anymore. There’s literally no air on his lungs. He sees bright spots behind his closed lids. He breathes in, hard, and rests his forehead against Sarawat’s, who’s also having some difficulty.

Something else hard is pressing against his thigh… oh my god, he hadn’t noticed. Should he do something about it? Wait… no. Is it too early? Should he offer? Tine’s pants are getting tight as well…

“Stop thinking” Sarawat says. “I can hear your brain”

“I was thinking if I should help you with that” Tine retorts, pointing to Sarawat’s very happy friend down there.

To make his point even more clear he presses down, letting out a hiss at the feel of Sarawat’s very prominent bulge.

It takes the other man some seconds to process what he is offering. Tine feels the pleasure of victory coursing through his body. Finally, he’s not the one caught off guard.

The victory is short lived, though, because once Sarawat snaps out of it he puts his arms behind Tine’s thighs and stands up with him on his lap. Tine squeaks, squeezing his legs as much as he can, afraid to fall, but Sarawat carries him as if he were made of feathers. Tine is not a small man… why is it so sexy that he’s so strong?

Sarawat practically kicks the front door open, running up the stairs. Tine has his head hidden on the other man’s neck, kissing and licking the sensitive skin there, enjoying how Sarawat has to stop every now and then just to let out a small moan, his hand’s squeezing Tine’s thighs from time to time.

How did they get so horny so fast? Just minutes ago they were swearing eternal love at each other…

When they are outside Sarawat’s bedroom door it hits him, it really hits him. Is he going to get some? Oh my god… it’s just been his hand and himself or the longest time and he’s never done anything with a man before. An exited thrill courses though his body.

Any other time his insecurity would overwhelm him. Right now, he feels insecure, yes, at his inexperience and at being seen naked, but the fact that he’s going to do this with Sarawat calms him down, gives him a sort of confidence he’s never felt before.

Sarawat throws him on the bed and climbs on top of him. He rests on his forearms on the bed, supporting most of his weight so he doesn’t crush Tine, but their bodies are still pressed almost everywhere.

Sarawat is about to kiss him again but stops himself, an unreadable frown on his face. “Is it not… to soon?” he asks.

“Is it too soon for you?” Tine asks back.

If it was it’d be okay. He doesn’t want to pressure him into doing anything he’s not comfortable with. But he’d need a long cold shower, and he can’t stand cold water, so he’d suffer a little bit. He’d endure it for Sarawat, though. He’d take one hundred thousand cold showers for him.

“No” he answers.  

“Neither for me” Tine says.

Okay… maybe this communicating thing started the right way, Tine thinks.

Sarawat studies his face for a few seconds, searching something in Tine’s eyes. He’s probable checking if Tine is being sincere or not. He’s so sweet, always making sure Tine is comfortable. His heart swells with affection, he’s so good to him.

He seems to find what he is looking for, it seems, as he gives Tine a devilish smirk. Tine’s entranced for a moment. Sarawat’s looks so beautiful like this, on top of him, his lips rosy and plump from their kissing, his hair a mess from the way Tine buried his hands in it.

Sarawat kisses him again, much slower this time, their tongues tangling in a languid manner. The way Sarawat drags his teeth on Tine’s lower lips draws out a low deep moan from his throat. Sarawat seems to like that sound, as he moans back.

“Do that again” he commands, low and husky.

That tone goes straight to Tine’s crotch. His friend down there would like to heart it again. “Make me” Tine says.

He’s surprised, as he’s never been this daring before. It’s the company, he guesses.

His words have the desired effect, though, as Sarawat straddles him, their hard cocks aligning and pressing together for the first time.

The sound that comes out of Tine’s mouth is embarrassingly loud, feeling overwhelmed with pleasure. This sight is even better than before. They are barely touching, fully clothed, but it’s somehow insanely erotic.

Sarawat reaches over and slides his hands up and down Tine’s chest, stopping at his pecs. He caresses Tine’s nipples over his shirt nect. The touch of his fingers is barely there, the friction not enough. He feels himself getting even harder, craving for more.

Tine takes off his shirt then, and the look that Sarawat gives him makes him feel shy. There’s pure awe and adoration on his face, like he can’t believe his eyes, but he also looks extremely hungry, like he wants to eat all of him in one go.

Tine wants to cross his arms over his chest to cover some of his exposed skin, but he resists the urge. He doesn’t have to hide himself from Sarawat.  

“You like what you see?” Tine teases, in hopes of relieving some of the timidness he feels.

“Yes” Sarawat says. “You are beautiful, Tine” Tine can feel himself going red everywhere. Now that he’s shirtless, Sarawat’s able to appreciate that not only his cheeks get red, but his neck and chest do as well. “Insanely beautiful.”

The way he says it steals Tine’s breath away, as if he had any to spare in the first place. He doesn’t know how to reply with words, so he takes Sarawat’s hand and presses it back on his chest, urging him to continue.

He does, rubbing his thumb over Tine’s nipples, drawing a high-pitched whimper out of him. He had no idea he was that sensitive in that area.

When Sarawat does it again a little more firmly this time, Tine arches his back in pleasure, their cocks brushing again as Tine jerks his hips up.

Tine can’t take the teasing anymore and it seems that Sarawat shares the same feeling, as he bends down and replaces his finger with his hot, wet mouth. He sucks and scrapes his teeth over one of the sensitive buds, Tine’s hands curling on Sarawat’s hair, and then changes to the other. He’s generous like that, making sure both get the same attention. Such a big heart.

Tine pulls him up by his hair, connecting their mouths in a desperate, wet kiss. Their tongues are everywhere, their teeth colliding. Tine moans as Sarawat’s hips jerk up. He needs to get rid of his pants right now or he’ll die.

He flips them over, taking Sarawat’s shirt off. He can be generous as well. One of his fingers trails down the other man’s chest, a feather like touch stopping at the waistband of his boxers, leaving goosebumps on its wake. He takes one of Sarawat’s nipples between his thumb and index finger, rubbing the pink bud.

He places his mouth there next, just as Sarawat did before. The other man seems to like what Tine is doing, the low moans he lets out from time to time being an indicator.

After Tine’s done, he attacks his neck, leaving wet kisses all over the skin on his way up. He finds a particularly sensitive spot behind Sarawat’s ear, to which he gives special attention.

Sarawat flips them over again, done with the foreplay it seems, as his hand go straight to the button of Tine’s pants.

 He gives Tine a look, asking for permission, which he obviously concedes. He’s been waiting for this moment ever since Sarawat dumped him on the bed.

Sarawat helps him discard his pants, and then Tine’s just on his boxers, wet spot staining the front, giving his arousal away.

“Take yours off too” Tine instructs.

Sarawat doesn’t need to be told twice, hurriedly taking the piece of clothing off. He straddles him again, and the press of their erections is even more pleasurable with less clothes. But it’s not enough, not yet. Tine’s not going to be satisfied until they are flesh against flesh.

Sarawat kisses him again, but this time is sweet and gentle, a contrast as to how his hips move up from time to time so their cocks brush.

He takes his time exploring Tine’s mouth with his tongue, dropping tiny kisses on Tine’s forehead, his eyes, his cheeks and the tip of his nose afterwards. The other man buries his face in Tine’s neck next, sucking hard. He’ll leave marks, but Tine doesn’t care.

His palm trails down Tine’s torso, stopping at the waistband of his boxers. It’s so infuriatingly slow. Tine doesn’t really have patience to handle this, but he can’t really talk right now, since his brain is not working.

Sarawat seems to feel Tine’s impatience, though, as he drives his hand lower, palming him thought his boxers. Tine’s cock twitches with want, he’s so hard it almost hurts.

He’s about to beg Sarawat to properly touch him, to take off his clothes already and do something or he’ll go nuts. But before he can say anything, Sarawat is opening his mouth to speak. Tine knows what he’s going to ask, so he interrupts him before he can even get a single word out. And that’s on saving time.

“Yes, please hurry up” Tine says, nodding his head eagerly.

The other man chuckles at Tine’s antics. He kneels on the bed and takes off Tine’s last piece of clothing, drinking in the sight of his bare body for a few minutes.

Tine feels a little shy, lying naked on Sarawat’s bed, under the scrutiny of his stare, but he also feels loved, as the man in front of him is looking at him with something akin to amazement.

“You are so beautiful. I’ll never stop reminding you” Sarawat says, discarding his own underwear as soon as he snaps out of his trance.

And wow, what a moment. A moment Tine will never forget. His cock twitches at the sight of Sarawat naked, at the sight of his pretty rosy dick.

Tine wants to bend him over and fuck him until neither of them can take it anymore. But that’s for another day (again, when did he get so horny??)

Sarawat returns to his previous position, gently separating Tine’s legs so he’s comfortably placed between them. He bends down to kiss Tine, both moaning onto each other’s mouth when the side of their dicks press.

For a few minutes they just slowly rub against each other, Tine placing his hands on Sarawat’s ass to keep him going. When Tine squeezes, Sarawat lets out a guttural grunt and Tine’s sure he’s about to come just from that sound alone.  

Sarawat reaches down, wrapping one hand around Tine’s hard, leaking cock and he lets out a strangled noise at the sensation. Sarawat’s hand is so rough and calloused from years of playing instruments, so different from what Tine’s used to.

He slowly strokes Tine’s cock from base to tip, once, twice, and then he thumbs the slit, smearing the precum gathered there around.

Every time Tine moans, Sarawat jerks his hips up, unconsciously seeking friction.

Tine’s a nice person, so naturally he wants to help his friend- or whatever they are now- with his big hard problem. He loosely wraps his fingers around Sarawat’s dick as well, giving it some experimental tugs.

He’s never done this before, just to himself. He’s a bit unsure, but he knows the mechanics. Going by the way Sarawat is moaning and jerking up his hips into Tine’s hand, he’s doing good.

His mouth waters at the feel of Sarawat’s warm cock pressed on his hand, at the thought of having its weight on his mouth. That’s for another day, though. Today is jerk off session.

From the position they are in Tine is having some difficulties doing his job properly. He tells as much to Sarawat with a frustrated huff. The other man tells him not to worry, that he has enough space for both. Tine doesn’t know what he’s referring to, until Sarawat wraps his big hand on both their cocks.

Tine looks down and moans at the sight of their cockheads smushed against each other. The other man strokes their dicks a few times, almost driving Tine crazy from the pressure of his hand and the way their dicks brush. It’s so much better than doing it on his own.

Both their cocks are leaking, dribbling down and making the glide of Sarawat’s hand much smoother. He pumps them slowly at first, teasing, from base to tip, pressing down with his thumb on Tine’s side vein. Tine pulls him down for a messy kiss, sucking and biting onto his lower lip.

Sarawat picks up his pace then, gripping more tightly, making both groan into each other’s mouths. Tine feels close, has been on edge ever since he felt Sarawat’s clothed erection pressed against his thigh, if he’s being honest.

He loses it when Sarawat bends down to suck onto his nipple. A few more pumps and the added flick of Sarawat’s wrist make him explode, shooting cum all over his chest and stomach. A loud moan escapes his lips and Sarawat kisses the next one away.

He comes a few stokes later, adding to the mess on Tine’s skin. The noises that leave his mouth are much more subdued, but the expression on his face as he orgasms deserves to be on a museum. The museum is Tine’s memory, where he stores this moment forever.

Sarawat slumps down, not caring about getting dirty, and hides his face on Tine’s neck, trying to catch his breath. Tine scratches his scalp in return, as he knows Sarawat likes it.

A few minutes later Sarawat looks at him with a dopey smile, making Tine’s heart flutter, and bends down to find his mouth. They kiss slowly, affectionately, enjoying the way their lips move against each other. Tine feels happy right now. He wants to be like this forever. Is it too soon to be thinking like that?

He doesn’t want to let go of Sarawat, keeping him trapped with his arms around his waist, but he needs to clean himself up. He says as much to Sarawat, who kisses him on the forehead and tells him not to move. He goes to the bathroom and comes back clean, carrying a wet towel.

The towel is warm against his and Tine’s thankful at the other man for remembering his distaste for cold water. Sarawat cleans him almost reverently, not missing a single spot. When he’s done, he throws the towel to the trashcan and places a quick kiss on Tine’s pec. He seems to really like them.

“Let’s get into bed” he says, climbing up.

“Give me my boxers first” Tine says, extending his hand.

“Why?”

“What if Pete comes in? dummy” at his words Sarawat grabs his face in his hands, smushing his cheeks until he has duck lips and then he kisses him, a chaste but strong smooch. “What was that for?” Tine asks.

“You always worry about Pete. I love that” Sarawat says, kissing his forehead tenderly. Then he lets go of Tine’s face and scratches the back of his head. “I’ve never had someone over so… I didn’t think about that”

Oh. So, he’s never been with anyone since his divorce?

“I’ve never been with anyone since I got divorced” he says while putting his underwear on.

Wait… did Tine say that out loud? He’s sure he didn’t… Can Sarawat read his mind?

“How did you know I was thinking that?”

He helps Tine with his underwear, softly patting his thigh when it’s on. He lies on the empty side of the bed, turning onto his side. Tine does the same, so they are facing each other, and Sarawat covers them with the comforter.  

“I can read your eyes. And before… it never felt right to be with someone… I never really liked someone either. But with you it’s… different” Tine’s hand is resting in between them and Sarawat interlaces their fingers together. “And Pete… he loves you”

Speaking of Pete… will he be okay with whatever they are now? Tine thinks he will, since he basically was playing matchmaker a few days ago. But you can never be too sure, and what he has to say means a lot to Tine

“What… what will we tell him?” Tine asks.

“The truth, if that’s okay with you”

“What’s the truth?” he’s sincerely curious, since they haven’t discussed anything.

“That you are my boyfriend” Sarawat answers.

Are they… boyfriends? Oh my god. Just thinking about that word, it makes Tine’s heart go crazy. He’s so excited about the present and the future.

“Am I? When did we discuss that?” Tine says, frowning exaggeratedly in fake confusion.

Sarawat mutters something that sounds suspiciously like “you are so annoying, nuisance”.

Tine’s about to feign offence, but before he can, the other man let’s go of his hand in favor of grabbing the side of his neck. “We are doing it now” he says, moving a little and drawing their faces impossibly closer. They are basically breathing the same air. “Will you be my boyfriend, nuisance?”

If Tine were alone, he would hide his face in a pillow and let out the most high-pitched squeal of his life. Like a dolphin. And he would also kick his feet on the bed. He’s going to do it as soon as he gets home.

What he does, instead of screaming into Sarawat’s face, is give him a small kiss on the tip of his nose nose. “Yes” Tine answers, pushing Sarawat so he lies on his back and they can cuddle. Tine will be the little spoon. He wants to be held by his boyfriend. Boyfriend… The urge to squeal comes back. “Let’s sleep now” his heart needs a rest.

“This is the bestest birthday of my life” Sarawat murmurs, hugging Tine closer to his chest.

Tine feels like he got the biggest present, though.

___________________

He wakes up the next morning to an empty bed. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for him, so he doesn’t really question it at first, but then he remembers where he is and the events of last night.

They… did that. Oh my god. And he also has a boyfriend.

Tine would scream in the nearest pillow just as he wanted to do yesterday if Sarawat wasn’t coming out of the bathroom, freshly showered. He’s not going to embarrass himself in front of his boyfriend.

“Good morning nuisance” his boyfriend says, plopping on the empty side of the bed.

Did he mention that this man is his boyfriend? Well, his boyfriend is wearing a t-shirt now, much to Tine’s dismay. But he still remembers vividly the sight of his naked arms… crazy stuff, really crazy.

“Morning” Tine answers, pucking his lips to get a morning kiss… from his boyfriend. Ahhhhhh.

Sarawat’s about to kiss him, but the door is yanked open strongly by Pete. The kid doesn’t look fazed by the sight of them almost kissing, whereas both Tine and Sarawat are frozen on the spot, eyes big as saucers.

“Dad, Tine, are you boyfriends now?” the little boy asks instead of a greeting. Sarawat slowly nods. “Finally, you guys were boring me” he says with a blank face. “But I’m very happy about it” he says with a smile. Tine worried for nothing… this kid surprises him every day. “I’m hungry. I’ll be waiting downstairs” and with that he leaves.

Both men are silent for a while, unmoving. His boyfriend (hehe) is the first one to snap out of it, moving to stand up from the bed. “I- I’ll go make breakfast” he seems just as shocked as Tine feels.

“Uhhh” is all that comes out from his mouth.

Once he’s alone, he allows himself to scream into a pillow. It’s not as loud as it would if he were alone, but it helps relieve some of the mixed emotions he’s feeling.

Everything has happened so fast it’s a little difficult to process. But honestly… has it really been that fast? Tine feels like this thing he has with Sarawat has been heating up in low heat for a long time, finally coming to a simmer.

Still, Pete’s reaction was kind of… anticlimactic. He expected something stronger from the kid, whether it be positive or negative, but it seems he was just bored with their antics. That draws a smile out of Tine’s lips. He’s very unpredictable just like his dad.

After a quick shower he goes downstairs to help with breakfast, but Sarawat’s already finished. It smells so good, his stomach growls.

He borrowed one of Sarawat’s clean t-shirts and sweatpants. He’s his boyfriend now and it’s his duty to lend him some clothes. It feels so nice, to be surrounded by the smell that’s so characteristically Sarawat’s. It might be just laundry detergent, but it’s Sarawat’s laundry detergent, not just any.

“Nice clothes” his boyfriend remarks when his eyes land on Tine’s figure. The look he gives him, hungry and sultry, makes Tine’s toes curl and a blush spread on his cheeks. It reminds him of last night but seeing it in broad daylight just hits different.

The boys are sitting on the floor, food scattered over the coffee table. They really love not using their furniture. He sits next to Sarawat, who kisses his cheek as greeting and hands him a plate full of pancakes. “Eat” he simply says.

As always, it’s delicious. Tine thinks Sarawat tried to trick him at first, when he told him he couldn’t cook so Tine would do it. He says as much to his boyfriend, who just laughs and kisses his cheek again. Suspicious.

Everything feels so right, he would love to wake up to the same scenery every single day that’s left of his life. The thought scares him a little bit, but it’s also really exciting to have something to look forward.

“Is Tine going to come live with us dad?” Pete asks, with all of his childlike innocence. Tine almost chokes on his food.

Sarawat softly rubs his back so the cough goes away. “Not yet, Pete” he says with a small laugh.

“Oh” the little kid has a dejected expression on his face. Tine doesn’t like it. He’ll move in with them right now. But then he smiles, remembering something. “Well, we’re neighbors and we’re always together, so I guess it doesn’t matter” well… he’s right.

Tine’s about to finish his food when his cellphone rings. It’s his mom. Why is she calling so early?

“Hi mom”

“Where are you Tine” she says, skipping any pleasantries. “I’m outside your house but no one comes out”

Uh-uh. “I- I’m next door, mom” what is with this woman and her timing? It’s like she smells things from kilometers away.  

“I’ll be going there”

“No- wait… Mom?” the line’s dead. “Shit” Tine mutters.

He remembers his company, though, and is about to say sorry but the knock on the door interrupts him. He mouths “my mom” to Sarawat, who suddenly looks just as nervous as Tine feels.

He needs to prepare himself. He knows his mom, so he knows there’s only two ways this can go. Really good or really bad.

Pete’s the quickest one to react, and the closest to the front door, so he’s the one who greets her. “Hello Tine’s mom” he says, giving her a quick hug. “Did you know that Tine and my dad are boyfriends now? I’m so happy” he’s jumping up and down on his spot.

“Ohhh they are? Since when?” his mom is looking at them as she enters the house. Tine just now realizes she’s carrying some plastic bags. She must have brought groceries for him, again. This is his fault for not being enough of an adult. “Tine take this honey” she says, extending her arms. Once Tine does, she starts walking in the direction of Sarawat’s kitchen. How does she know where it is?! “Sarawat sweetheart come talk to me for a second”

“I- sure” he says to no one, since his mom isn’t on the living room anymore. He almost runs to the kitchen.

Tine places the bags on the floor, and everything is silent for a few seconds. He strains his ears to hear something, anything, but he hears nothing.

He sits on the couch, shaking his legs with anxiety. Pete sits beside him and rests his head on Tine’s shoulder. That makes him feel infinitely better.

“Can she be my grandma now?” he asks, eagerness coating his voice.

Tine doesn’t know what to answer. Sarawat and him haven’t talked about this. Well, they have been dating for hours only, so it’s kind of obvious why a topic like this hasn’t come up. Tine would expect a conversation like this to happen in like, two or three more months. But… it’s not like they haven’t been acting like a little family lately.

“I- I don’t know Pete… I- just… I-” he stutters.

“Why are you nervous Tine?”

“I- I’m…”

“Don’t worry, you don’t have to say anything. I’ll ask her if she wants to be my grandma” he says, giving Tine a sweet smile. “I think you are my family too, Tine. If she’s your family, then she’s mine too”

That’s… relieving, honestly. Tine considers them his family, as well. If he didn’t have them tomorrow… he doesn’t know what he would do. Two months ago something like this would have never crossed his mind, but right now he can’t imagine a future without them.

“Thank you, Pete. I feel better now”

Sarawat and his mom come out of the kitchen a few minutes later. His mom looks, smug? Yes, definitely smug. Sarawat is both pale and blushing a hot red.

She walks to Tine and puts her hands around his ear as if to tell him a secret.

“He passed” she whispers.

“He passed what?”

“You can marry him, Tine”

“What?” what is going on with everyone today?! They’ve just been dating for what… eight hours at most? Jesus Christ.

“I’ll go now, I just came to drop these by” she says, rummaging through the bags Tine put on the floor earlier. Se retrieves a small gift bag. “Pete come here, I got you something”

Pete does, eagerly opening his present. “It’s a puppy! Look dad a puppy plushie” he half-screams, showing his dad the small stuffed animal. He turns to the small woman in front of him, sobering up. Tine can see the debate happening on his face. Is he going to ask her…? “Can I call you grandma?” he blurts out.

Tine didn’t think he would do it. His mom looks delighted at the question, of course she does. Sarawat, on the other hand, looks astonished. It would be comical if this wasn’t a serious matter. Is he… against it? Tine stomach falls at the thought, his heart constricting painfully.

“P- Pete… I- I’m so-” the other man stutters, but his mom interruptus him.

“Don’t worry sweetheart” she assures Sarawat with a dismissive hand. “If you want to then yes, you can” she says to Pete with a wink.

He hugs her tightly, the dog plushie squished between their bodies. “Thank you, grandma”

“My heart loves hearing that!” his mom exclaims, beaming at the little kid.

___________________

They’re washing the dirty dishes from breakfast, but honestly Tine’s mind is elsewhere, his thoughts running wild. Ever since his mom left, a heavy silence has settled upon them.

Tine… doesn’t know what to feel, what to think. Things are shifting so fast, he doesn’t want Sarawat to feel uncomfortable or pressured into doing something he doesn’t want to just to not disappoint Tine.

His mom… kind of disregarded Sarawat’s words and went with what she thought was better. Tine doesn’t want him to feel overlooked, since he’s the one who has the last word in the matters regarding his child.

“What are you thinking about?” his boyfriend asks, breaking the silence.

Tine doesn’t know whether he should tell him… but he did promise to communicate better, and he wants to know what’s on Sarwat’s mind as well.

He remembers telling Pete not long ago that if he wanted to know something, he should ask. He’s going to follow his own advice.

“I… are we going a little too fast for your liking? Did you not want Pete to call my mom grandma? Because if you didn’t, I totally understand, I- I mean you don’t have to explain it to me or anything I was just wondering-” his rant is interrupted by Sarawat, who places his hand on Tine’s arm.

“Tine… are we going too fast for your liking?” he asks back.

“No”

“Good. Neither for me” he says, locking his eyes with Tine’s. “You are it for me, Tine. That’s what I said to your mom. I think… that’s why she let Pete call her grandma. Otherwise she wouldn’t have. It doesn’t bother me, either, so don’t worry. I was just… taken aback. I didn’t want her to feel obligated to do something, that’s why I tried to intervene” he explains.

It makes sense… his worries are very much the same as Tine’s.

He realizes belatedly what the other man just admitted. Did he just say…?

“I- I’m it for you?” Tine questions, pink dusting his cheeks.

“Yes” his boyfriend answers, straightforward.

Tine really likes that about him, how he doesn’t beat around the bush. Tine is the total opposite, never able to find the words to speak his mind.

“I… Y- you… I-mean” he lets out a frustrated huff. “You guys are it for me as well” he shyly admits, looking at his gloved hands.

Sarawat grabs his face, kissing him softly. Tine will ever get used to this, he thinks, as his heart beats as fast, if not faster, than the first time they kissed.

Sarawat pulls back, resting their foreheads together. “I know you are an overthinker. I know it’s not going to go away just because I tell something like ‘please don’t overthink’. I don’t want it to go away, either. It’s a part of who you are, and I accept it. But please, if something is bothering you, tell me. Okay nuisance?” he says, his eyes full of understanding.

He’s amazing, Tine thinks. Any other person would be annoyed by the way his head works -or overworks-, but not Sarawat. He doesn’t want him to change. Tine doesn’t think he would be able to even if he wanted to, because, as Sarawat said, this is already part of him. Still, he vows to be better in the future at voicing his thoughts.

“I promise” Tine says with a small smile.

Sarawat gives him a quick peck on the cheek and they get back to work. They are silent again, but it’s not heavy as before. Tine’s heart feels more at peace now.

He can see the benefits in talking. Why did he spend so long just storing everything inside? It seems silly now.

“Pete…” his boyfriend says as they are finishing with their task, “I’m sorry if he’s too much for you sometimes. It’s just… he’s been wanting this to happen for a long time. I think he realized I liked you even before I did” he admits with an embarrassed chuckle, scratching the back of his head.

Tine reminisces one of the first dinners they had together, if not the first, when Sarawat did the same thing and got dish soap on his hair. It seems so long ago even though it wasn’t. Tine remembers how he felt back then, though, the way his hear raced at having his cute neighbor at such close proximity.

“Don’t be sorry. Pete’s… eagerness is okay with me. It makes me happy to know that he likes me so much” Tine says with a small smile. If he’s being honest, Pete’s opinion is the most important to him. If he hadn’t been happy with their relationship, he would have pulled back immediately. His heart feels warm, knowing that the little kid has already welcomed him to be part of his life. “I think he was trying to play cupid”

Sarawat chuckles. “He definitely was, that sly beast” he scratches the back of his head again. “Your mom… gave me her blessing” he says with a small voice. Did she tell him the same as Tine?! “She said I could marry you whenever I wanted to” he’s not looking at Tine, staring at the plate on his hands instead. He’s so cute when he’s shy. “She was a bit scary at first but she’s really sweet. I think Pete and her will get along really well. I think I will get along with her really well too”

“She was always nagging me about getting married and giving her grandchildren” Tine says with a sigh. And then he realizes what he implied with his statement. “Wait… I- I didn’t- I mean…” he’s splattering water everywhere with the panicked way his hands are moving.

“Tine” his boyfriend takes Tine’s hand, even though it’s dripping wet and full of dish soap. “It’s okay for me to do those things with you. I told you, you are it for me”

It’s not that Tine doesn’t believe him, he does. Sarawat has been nothing but honest with him ever since the beginning.

It’s just that... he still can’t wrap his head around the fact that he has a boyfriend now, that all those weeks spent pinning have concluded in this, and that said boyfriend seemingly wants to spend a long time by his side.

He can’t believe life has given him such a big present. If he’s being honest, he doesn’t think he deserves something like this, something too good to be true. Someone too good to be true.

“I don’t deserve you” escapes his mouth before he has the chance to stop it.

“What are you talking about, Tine?” his boyfriend says, letting go of his hand and grabbing him by the shoulders. “How can you say something like that?” Tine sees hurt flashing on his eyes.

He feels his stomach fall. He made him upset. That’s the last thing he wanted to do. It’s just that so much has happened, his emotions are all over the place. He’s never been good at any of this stuff.

“Wait… don’t be mad. It’s just- I- I don’t know how to say this” he lets out a frustrated huff at his inability to speak. “You are amazing, Sarawat. You and Pete are amazing. I’ve spent most of my life alone, it’s hard to accept someone so good like you would want me”

That… kind of sounded pathetic. It doesn’t make much sense either. He knows he’s being irrational, but it doesn’t really make a difference to his stupid brain.

“Well, you are gonna have to try. I’m not going anywhere, Tine. I’m sure of it” his eyes are boring into Tine’s soul, there’s so much force behind them. It’s like he’s trying to imprint his words on Tine’s body. “You are amazing as well. Get that in there” he says, touching Tine’s temple. “And if I’m amazing and you’re amazing then we’re perfect for each other. We’re meant to be amazing together” his voice is softer this time, hos words drawing a smile out of Tine’s lips. “Do you believe it?”

“Not yet, but I will. I promise” Tine says with honesty.

Sarawat seems pleased at his answer, giving him a tiny nod and a quick peck on the corner of his lips. Tine hugs him next, because he wants to, and he can. The heavy weight of Sarawat’s arms on his waist feels so good, so comforting.

His boyfriend pulls back a little, resting their foreheads together. “This… might sound cheesy but I’ve never met someone like you” his eyes look so lovely up close. Tine can see tiny splashes of gold here and there. “Before getting married… I had never dated anyone. Much less being in love. I’ve never been a romantic, Tine, and these past few years I’ve been focused only on Pete. I wanted to give him my best. So I gave up on finding someone… not that I ever had any hope,” he says with a humorless chuckle, “but then I met you.”

Tine also gave up on finding someone a long time ago. He used to be hopeless romantic, but after some years he realized that life wasn’t going to give him any of that, so he focused on other things. That’s why it’s so hard for him to believe that this man, this beautiful man with his beautiful heart and beautiful words might love him.

“When we met at the hospital… you looked so tired, but you were so patient and gentle with Pete. And the pin you gave him, he even wore it with his pajamas” his laugh is not humorless anymore, but amused. “It’s his most precious position. He keeps it on his treasure box”

Tine can recall every single moment of the first time they met. It’s weird, the way his mind decided to store every single detail on his long-term memory, as if it knew somehow that they’d see each other again.

He remembers Pete, so tiny on the hospital bed. He didn’t know he’d turn out to be such a tall kid, but he found him so adorable, sweet and polite since the beginning. Then there was Sarawat, so attentive to his medical advice, so worried about his kid and so devastatingly handsome.

“I don’t think you realize how incredible you are Tine, not just to me, but to everyone. Your heart is so pure, so big, I wish I could protect it, so it always stays that way” that’s so beautiful, his words, Tine thinks. “I would have been just as happy being friends with you, if that meant always having you by my side” he looks emotional, Sarawat, his eyes glassy. Tine feels the same way, his words digging deep. “You are so good to us, so good to me… I never thought- sorry” he interrupts himself to rub the unshed tears of his eyes away. “I never thought life would give me a chance to love”.

Tine feels like crying, and he is crying, it seems, as he feels something wet sliding down his cheeks. Sarawat kisses the tears away, but it’s counterproductive, as it makes him cry a little bit harder. It’s not from sadness, though, on the contrary.

“I love you nuisance” he says, holding Tine’s face between his hands. “I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again, I want you to be my nuisance forever”.

His chest feels like it’s going to explode. Is this what love feels like? He could get used to it. It makes him feel alive.

“How am I gonna top that?” Tine asks.

“You can’t. But you can top me” his boyfriend says with a flirty wink.

Tine blushes. He’ll look forward to it. “Perv” he says, with a shy smile. “I… I love you too, Sarawat. You are a dream came true, a dream I never knew I had”

The other man smiles at his words, so big and happy Tine promises he’ll say it every day for the rest of his life if it means seeing that expression on his face.