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The Twelve Days Before Christmas

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Team stretched his hands and tapped the side of the pool, signaling the person that he had reached the end of his lap. He hauled himself out of the water and took off his goggles. He panted and looked at his trainer with expectation. When Win looked up from the timer and nodded, Team nodded back and walked towards the locker room. It was the end of today’s practice. 

Win watched as his junior left him alone. He sighed and recorded the younger’s latest lap time. He wanted to praise Team for shaving off 2 seconds from his previous time and beating his record, but the younger kept on ignoring him if he’s not giving any instructions. He was starting to believe that if Win was not part of the swimming club and their best friends were not dating each other, Team would have never given him any time of the day.

When he entered the locker room, he heard Team taking a shower on one of the stalls. Win put the timer and the clipboard on the shelf where they store records of team members’ lap times. He went to his locker and got his towel out. A shower stall opened as he approached the shower area. He swallowed when he caught a glimpse of Team’s white thigh before he looked elsewhere. 

Team stared at Win as though he’s a deer in the headlights. He hurriedly knotted the towel around his waist and held it in place to make sure that it won’t slip down. “P’Win. I’m going first,” he said before leaving, trying to hide his growing arousal. When he reached his locker, he hastily put on his clothes while trying to forget Win’s tattoos. He took out his bag from the locker, closed its door, and leaned his forehead on it, closing his eyes. He sighed. Hia’s too hot . He pushed himself away from the locker and gathered his things. He walked out of the locker room - away from temptation.

On the other hand, Win was left staring after the Team. He shook himself out of his stupor and entered the shower stall that Team vacated. After making sure that his towel won’t get wet, he turned the knob and let the cold water clear his thoughts. There are many reasons why he couldn’t approach Team, and this is one of them. Since the first time that he was introduced to the younger boy, he had a hard time controlling his body’s reaction towards him. It was pure torture. Still is.


“The last day of classes for the semester is on the thirteenth, right?” asked Team after swallowing the last piece of his sandwich. “What are your plans for the holiday?”

Pharm looked up from the paper he was editing. “I’m planning on visiting my mom and little brother with P’Dean. We booked a flight a month ago, and we’re flying on the fourteenth.”

“Good for you, Pharm! Honeymoon with P’Dean in America!” Manaow teased.

“Manaow!” Pharm reached over to flick her on the forehead, but she successfully warded off his hand. 

Manaow stood up and hid behind Team. “Protect me na, Team!” 

Team rolled his eyes but brought his arms up, fending off Pharm’s hands. “Okay. I’ll protect you.” They were so absorbed with their game that they failed to notice Dean and Win arrived at their table.

Dean cleared his throat. “It seems like you three are having fun.” Win shook his head and sat down on the chair opposite to Team’s. He put his plate in front of him.

“P’Dean!” Pharm turned to face his boyfriend. He lifted his arms for a hug, which Dean gave immediately.

As Manaow sighed, Team and Win groaned. They gave each other a surprised look before looking away. “Ai’Dean! Stop hugging. There are only 30 minutes left before our next class.” Dean glared at him but did as told. Pharm smiled at Dean and rubbed his back to comfort him. “So, N’Pharm? What did these two do to you for you to attack them?”

Pharm was about to answer, but Manaow opened her mouth faster than him. “P’Win, Pharm was just telling us about his honeymoon with P’Dean this holiday!” 

Dean choked, and Pharm’s cheeks flushed. “Manaow!” He wanted to hit Manaow again but reached for a water bottle instead. He uncapped it and gave the water to Dean. Dean drank the water gratefully.

“A? Why didn’t I know about this?” asked Win. Pharm fumbled and nearly dropped the water bottle that he got back from Dean, who glared at him.

To change the topic, Team asked Manaow, “Manaow, you didn’t answer my question yet. What’s your plan?” The attention went to Team, and Pharm sent him a grateful look. 

Not noticing the change of topic, Manaow answered. “I’ll probably go back to my hometown and then come back a week before classes start. What about you, Team? Are you going home?”

Team glanced down. “Probably not. Nothing good happens there anyway.” He looked up and smiled. “I might just stay in my room and play games all day.”

“Or you can go home with me! I’ll let you have a taste of my mom’s food.” Manaow excitedly said while clapping her hands. “I hate to think that you’ll be left here alone.”

“She’s right, Team. Why don’t you visit?” Pharm asked. He was trying not to show his worry over the other boy’s reaction about going home.

Team frowned. “And what will I tell her parents? ‘Hi! My name is Team. I’m one of your daughter’s best friend!’” He snorted. “They’ll never be going to believe that even if it’s true.”

Manaow flipped her ponytail. “Of course, they won’t! They’ll never believe that no one has fallen in love with their beautiful daughter.”

Team and Pharm rolled their eyes, while Dean and Win watched amused with the dynamic between the three. 

“Do you have any plans, P’Win?” asked Pharm.

Win swallowed the food in his mouth before answering, “I’m staying here and going back home on the twenty-fourth. I need to get some projects done, and I know I won’t be able to finish them if I went home.”

Team blinked. “Projects?” 

Win looked over and gave him a small smile. “I’m interning at my dad’s company. The main office is located forty-five minutes from my dorm.”

“Win might be born a few years after his older brother, but he’s the heir of their company,” Dean informed them.

The younger three looked at him with wonder, but when Win blinked, Team was wearing the mask he has when he’s around him again. 

“I didn’t think you were that great, P’Win!” Manaow exclaimed.

“It’s not that great, you know? Those board member meetings I sometimes need to attend were so boring.”

“You mean you enjoy correcting their assumptions and putting them in place so much,” Dean revealed. “I remember attending one in my dad’s company, and you sat in one of the chairs in the corner of the room. I still don’t understand why you would choose to sit there instead of waiting for me in the reception area. You pointed out everything wrong in all of their proposals, and before we knew it, my dad was calling yours to ask if you can be his successor instead.” 

Now, Team can’t hide his admiration. He watched as Win blushed and bowed his head while laughing at Pharm and Manaow’s praises. He still can’t believe that this person with the bad boy appearance is considered a genius by many. But he is . He shook his head and sighed. Hia is just so damn perfect.


Team groaned and pulled his pillow over his head to block the ringing from his phone. After a couple of seconds of silence, it began to ring again. He sighed and reached for it, blindly pressing the receive button and dropping it on top of his ear. “Hello?” He asked groggily. 

“I broke up with P’Dean.” 

Team was startled. This is P’Dean and Pharm. Their relationship is enviable . “What do you mean, Pharm?” He slowly sat up.

Pharm sobbed. “Can you come to me?” He sniffed. “Or I’ll just come to you.”

Team’s feet touched the floor as he swiftly left the comfort of his bed. “No! Don’t you dare drive in that state! I’ll come to you. Wait for me, okay?” He put down the phone when Pharm answered him yes. He pulled the jogging pants up his legs and snatched his phone and car keys. He locked his door. 

On the elevator ride down from the ninth floor, Team dialed Pharm’s phone number. “Pharm, are you okay? I’m coming now.” He walked straight past the security guard to his parked car. “I’m going to drive now. Do you want to talk about it?” He placed the 

Pharm didn’t answer. 

“It’s okay if you can’t talk about it.” He placed the phone on the passenger seat, the loudspeaker was on. He wanted to make sure that Pharm will not do anything stupid during his 20 minutes drive. Anything can happen.

“I broke up with P’Dean,” Pharm repeated what he said earlier. “I broke up with him because I can’t trust my feelings for him.” He sobbed harder.

Team was confused. Pharm and P’Dean’s love story is admired by everyone on campus. P’Dean is so understanding and loving, and Pharm is the same. He only has eyes for the older boy. What could have happened for Pharm to doubt his feelings for P’Dean? If only Manaow didn’t have to catch a flight back to her hometown right after class. “Pharm? Why don’t you try to close your eyes for a bit? I’ll be there soon.”

“Okay,” Pharm’s shaking voice resonated around his car.

Team gripped the steering wheel harder. His worry for his friend overshadowed the worry that he kept trying to ignore but is still there. If the perfect couple broke up, then there’s no forever. An image of a blond man flashed in his mind before he focused on driving again - the red stop turned green on time for him to forget what he was thinking.


When Pharm opened the door for Team, he had already calmed down. He gave Team a small smile and invited him in. They sat on the edge of Pharm’s bed. Pharm leaned his head on Team’s shoulder, and Team wrapped an arm around the other. There was silence for a long time. Pharm didn’t know how to explain the phenomenon that happened between him and Dean. Team, on the other hand, felt like he didn't have enough experience with love to offer advice.

After what seems like an eternity, Team let go of Pharm and looked him in the eye. “I’m not sure what’s going on, and even if I know I might not be able to give you any advice. But you can tell me anything when you’re ready, hmmm?” 

Pharm nodded and smiled gratefully at him. 

“Let’s go back to sleep?” Team asked.

“Okay.”


Team blinked as the sun shone on his face. He yawned and sat up, stretching his arms. He looked around the room. His eyes were searching for where Pharm is.

“-be able to visit this year, Mae.” Pharm listened to the person he was talking with. “Something came up.” He noticed that Team was awake and waved a hand. “Yes. Yes, I’ll try to visit on the next break. I need to go now. I love you, Mae!” He ended the call. “Get up, Team. I made breakfast,” he said and sat down on one of his chairs.

Team got up and sat on the other. He lifted the spoon and started eating. “Good morning,” he said in between each slurp of the corn soup.

“Good morning.”

When they were done, Team helped Pharm bring the dishes to the sink. He also washed them himself. As he dried his hands, he asked, “So you’re not going to America today?”

Pharm shrugged his shoulders. “The flight already left. I already called for a refund.”

“What are your plans now?” Team sat on the sofa.

Pharm sat on the bed, facing him. “Maybe I should follow Manaow? I don’t know. Travel around Thailand? I haven’t been here since I was a kid.”

Team perked up. “I should go with you!”


Team was currently playing a game on his phone while relaxing on his bed, and Pharm was sleeping on his. They were taking a rest after the tour they participated in around Kanchanaburi. He was startled when his phone suddenly rang, the name flashing on the screen was that of the man with blonde hair. Team pressed the answer button hurriedly when he heard Pharm groaned. “Hello?” he whispered.

“Team! Are you with Pharm?” Win answered with a frustrated tone.

Team glanced at the other man in the room. He furrowed his head when he saw a tear ran down Pharm’s cheek. He got up and opened the door towards their room’s balcony. He closed the door behind him. “P’Win.”

“It’s been five days since Dean came to me crying, and he’s been acting a zombie ever since. The people in my dad’s company building are starting to think that he’s a ghost.” Win complained. “Where the hell is Pharm? I can’t reach his phone.”

“Phi! Why would you look for Pharm? He doesn’t have anything to do with P’Dean anymore!” Team protested for his friend. 

“W-what? What do you mean he has nothing to do with Dean?” Win was startled.

“They broke up five days ago.”

“Oh.” They lapsed into silence. After a while, he said, “Dean didn’t say anything to me.”

Team sighed. “Pharm broke up with him. I still don’t know why, and I don’t dare ask. We’re currently in Kanchanaburi.”

“Why would the two of you be there?” Win asked in surprise.

“He wanted to travel around Thailand, and I don’t want to leave him alone!” Team leaned on the railings. “I’m trying to distract him. He seems like he’s been enjoying the tours we signed up for, but I can still hear him crying at night. Even if he tries hard to suppress it.” He revealed.

Win massaged his temple. “Well, after the night Dean cried to me, he has been following me to work. He would sit on the sofa in my office and stare all day while he waits for me. Del and Don told me that he’s not eating breakfast, and I need to force-feed him during lunch and dinner. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“I don’t like seeing Pharm fake a smile, too, P’Win,” Team said. “Phi, I have a plan!”

Win smiled. “Let’s hear this plan of yours.”


“You can go to the restroom, and I’ll check us in,” Team said. Pharm uttered a thank you and briskly walked towards the restroom. Team watched him, and he pulled his phone out of his pocket when he was out of sight. “P’Win, we’re at the hotel.” 

“Okay. Just tell them your name, and they’ll know what to do.”

Team walked to the receptionist and smiled. “Hello. My name is Team Teerayu Siriyothin.”

The receptionist perked up at the name. She opened her drawer and took out a key. “Here’s your key, Sir. Your room is located on the highest floor. Enjoy your stay.”

Team stared at her for a minute. He was startled when Pharm called his name. He grabbed the key and said his thanks before turning around to face Pharm. “Pharm! You came back fast.” When Pharm looked at him questioningly, he awkwardly laughed. “Anyway, I got our key. Let’s go?”

Pharm nodded. When they got inside the elevator, he was surprised when Team pressed the button for the highest floor. “Team? I thought our room’s supposed to be on the second floor?”

“Ah! Yes! T-They said that the customer upstairs accidentally left the faucet in the bathtub open. It flooded into our room, and we can’t use it now. They were sorry, so they upgraded our room. Haha.”

“Okay.” Pharm was doubtful but didn’t inquire further. Besides, they just reached their floor. “So, which room is it?”

“Ummm,” Team scratched his head. “I forgot to ask.”

Pharm shrugged. “Well, seeing as there are only two doors on this floor, we can try using the key to see which one matches.”

Team nodded fast. “Yes! Let’s do that!” Team began walking to the right of the hallway and stopped in front of the door. He tried the key, but it remained locked. He looked at Pharm. “I guess it’s the other room.” They walked past the elevator and stopped in front of the other door. He inserted the key and twisted the knob. The door opened. They entered the room and exclaimed. “Wow!”

They were greeted with glass windows overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. On the opposite wall hang a giant television and a fireplace beneath it. Facing the T.V. were comfortable-looking sofas and an antique table. There was a little kitchen and a dining table set, too! 

The two best friends looked at each other before dropping their suitcases. They raced towards the only other door in the room and opened it together.  They were more amazed by what they saw. The glass windows extended towards one part of the bedroom, and everything they see is the ocean. There’s only one bed, but it was huge! It almost occupied the whole room. On the wall are another T.V. and a low cabinet beneath where they can store their clothes later. 

Team walked towards what he thought was the bathroom door and opened it. “Damn! Pharm, I want a bathroom like this someday!” There was a huge mirror and two sinks, a large jacuzzi bathtub, and a shower area that looked. He walked near the shower stall. “Pharm! The shower has multiple nozzles!” Pharm giggled behind him. “I don’t know what those buttons are for. I’m afraid to find out.” He said while pointing at the touchscreen controller.

“I think that’s what you use to turn on the shower and adjust the water temperature.” Pharm joined him.

“Well, I think we need to call someone to teach us how to operate these things.” Team said dryly.

Pharm laughed. “I think so, too. Let’s unpack first, then explore later. It’s my first time here in Pattaya.” Pharm turned to leave.

“Okay.” Team followed. 

They went to the hotel room’s lounge to get their suitcases. Team waited for Pharm to enter the bedroom before saying, “Pharm, I think I left my phone in the reception. I’ll go down and get it.”

Pharm nodded his head and laid his suitcase on the floor. “Then I’ll unpack first.”

Team closed the bedroom door. He hurriedly pulled his suitcase towards the suite’s entrance. When he got out, he noticed that the room’s key was left in the keyhole. He took it and entered the room again. He left it on the center table and turned around to leave. He locked the door and wheeled his bag towards the other suite.

“Phi!” he whispered while knocking. He yelped when the door opened, and he was pulled inside.

“You did a good job!” Win praised the younger. “Settle in!”

Team observed the room and noted that it mirrors the one he was in before. “Your family’s hotel looks excellent, P’Win.” 

“Thank you.” Win smiled.

Team let go of his suitcase and sat on the sofa. “So, where’s P’Dean?”

Win pointed to the T.V. screen. It was showing multiple CCTV monitors. Team saw Dean walking towards the elevator.

Team looked at the other man. “You didn’t arrive together?”

Win shook his head. “The four of us arrived almost at the same time. I was parking the car when I saw you and Pharm walking towards the hotel. I was glad that I forced Dean to sleep during the drive.” He sighed. “He said he wanted to walk at the beach, so I let him. I needed the time to prepare.”

“Thank you for helping me, P’Win.” Team said sincerely.

Win reached out and messed with the younger’s hair. “I’ll gladly execute all your plans for you, Nong.” 

Team froze and stared at him in shock. When Win noticed what he did, he snatched his hand back. They both turned their gaze towards the monitor and saw in time as Dean entered the other suite.

Win took out his phone and called someone. “Mek, cut off the power running the elevator towards the highest floor, please. Are we sure that the fire exit doors were locked? Okay. Thank you.”

Team watched in wonder but turned his gaze away when Win looked at him.

“Oh yeah. You left your phone at the reception desk. The receptionist gave it to me.” Win took the other phone on the table beside him and gave it to Team.

“Thank you.” Time stopped when Team’s fingers brushed Win’s when he reached for the phone. They both turned their gaze away.

A loud knock on the door startled them. “Win! You fuck, open the door!” Dean swore.

“Team! If you don’t open the door, you won’t be able to taste my cooking ever again!” Pharm threatened.

Win and Team looked at each other and sighed. Team stood up and walked towards the door. “I can live with him being angry at me for a while, but I don’t think I can ever live without his cooking.” 

“Understandable.” Win followed him.

They saw an angry Dean and a flushed Pharm when they opened the door.

Pharm pulled Team. “What the hell were you thinking!” 

Dean pushed Win. “Ai’Win!”

“Wait! Wait, can the both of you calm down first?” Win said. He didn’t like the grimace on Team’s face when Pharm suddenly pulled him. For a little chick, he’s quite strong .

“Shut up!” the broken couple yelled.

He sighed and pushed Dean away. He took Team’s arm and freed his wrist from Pharm’s hold. Then he looked at the other couple. “Let’s get inside. You’ll get your explanation.”

“We better.” Dean walked in, and Pharm sauntered after him.

Win looked at Team. “Are you okay?” The younger’s wrist was a bit red. “I have no idea that N’Pharm can be violent.” He said jokingly.

Team looked at him and laughed. “I’m good. Oh, you just don’t know it, but the reason why Manaow always asks for my help is that she can never win against Pharm.”

“Isn’t that understandable?” Win asked fondly.

Team shook his head. “Her body’s bigger than mine, and she packs a punch.”

“Are you saying you’re the weakest out of the three of you? Win teased.

“Stop teasing, Hia. Let’s follow them.” He left Win in the hallway.

“Hia?” Win smiled. “I like that.” He followed Team.


“So I made a plan to have you meet and talk it out, and P’Win helped me!” Team explained. 

Win frowned when Team called him ‘P’Win’ instead of Hia, but he didn’t complain. “I agreed to help him because Dean is a walking zombie and is scaring my employees.” He pointed at Dean. “Now Team and I will go down to the food court, and both of you will talk to each other.”

Dean frowned. “You can’t just-”

“P’Dean.” Pharm interrupted. He got up and hugged Team. “Thank you for worrying about me, Team.” He released the younger boy. “I’ll talk to P’Dean now, okay?”

Team nodded. “P’Win, come on.” He pulled on Win’s arm. He gathered their cellphones and what he thinks is the room’s key. “Let’s go.” They left the suite and closed the door behind them.

Win pressed the down button on the elevator, but it didn’t open. 

“P’Win, you had someone called Mek cut the power off.” Team reminded him. He handed the older’s phone to him.

“Oh, you’re right.” Win reached for the phone and called. “Mek, you can turn the power on. Also, ask someone to unlock the fire exit door. Thank you.” After a minute or two, he saw the red indicators on top of the elevator doors blink as if to restart. When it stabilized, he pushed the down button, and the doors opened. When the two got inside, he pushed the fourth button.

Comfortable silence enveloped them, and they reached the fourth floor fast. When the door opened, Team was assaulted with the delicious aroma of the food that the hotel’s restaurant is serving. His stomach grumbled. “P’Win, I can eat anything I want, right?”

Win smiled. “Mmmm. It’s my treat.” He directed Team towards a seat near the windows. A waiter promptly gave them a menu book when they were seated. He watched as Team eagerly opened the book.

Team’s excitement was lessened as he browsed the menu book. He looked up. “P’Win, they’re so expensive. I-I don’t think I can take advantage of you like that. You’re already paying for the rooms.”

“Hia.”

Team slightly tilted his head. “What?”

“Call me Hia again, and I’ll let you take advantage of me in any way you want.” 

Team flushed. “O-okay, Hia.” He brought the menu book up to cover his face. “Then, I want to try the steak. Well done, please.”

Win turned to the waiter. “You heard him. Gave us two of the steak, a vegetable platter, and two glasses of orange juice. That’s all for now.” Win gave him the menu book, and the waiter received it. “Team, he needs the menu book back.”

“I know.” Team looked down and closed the book. The waiter took it and left.

“Are you shy, Team?”

Team looked up, his face flushing more. “Hia!” 

Win laughed delightedly. “No need to be shy.” He teased. “Tell me, Team. Why were you so cold to me before.”

Team shifted his eyes. “Ahm. It’s because…” Win waited. “It’s nothing, Hia.” He said softly. He looked back at Win. “What about, Hia?”

Win blinked. “Oh. It was because you were so cute, but you’re my junior at the club and Dean’s boyfriend’s best friend. I didn’t want to cause trouble.” He said casually. Team’s cheeks flamed up. It was redder than before. “You don’t need to do anything about it, Team.” He said when the other boy fidgeted on his seat.

“Hot.” Team whispered.

“What?” Win was confused. The hotel’s aircon is on, so how was it hot?

Team bowed his head. “It’s because Hia is hot. And perfect. And hot.”

It was Win’s turn to blush. He laughed freely and reached out to pinched the younger’s cheeks. “Ai’Team! Be ready, ah! I’ll take that as a sign to chase you!”


Hours later, Win and Team got out of the elevator door. They looked to the right and the left. “So? Which suite are we sleeping in tonight?”

Win glanced at his phone. “Dean’s message said that they made up. That’s it.” He looked at Team. “I only have the key to our supposed room.”

Team walked towards Dean and Pharm’s suite. “Well. I’m pretty sure they had sex, and I don’t want to see that.” 

Win followed while laughing. “Agreed.” He twisted the knob and pushed the door. “They left it open.”

“I think we picked the right suite.” Team observed. He opened the bedroom door and looked in. “The bed’s empty, Hia.” He looked back and saw Win staring at him.

“I’ll sleep on the sofa.”

“Are you crazy? The bed’s so big! I’m pretty sure you can fit 5 people in here.” Team remarked and sat on the edge of the bed. He bent down to take off his shoes and socks. “I honestly want to change clothes, but I’m not risking seeing my friend naked.”

“Team.” When the younger looked up, he saw Win leaning on the door frame. “You look so beautiful sitting on the bed and waiting for me.”

“Hia!” He chucked his socks toward Win.

Win walked towards Team and leaned down. “Don’t worry. No matter how tempting you are, I won’t touch you unless you permit me.” He flicked the younger’s forehead and walked to the other side of the bed. He took off his shoes and socks. 

Team, who was already lying on his side of the bed, watched Win. His eyes widened when Win took off his top, the wings tattooed to his back looked like it would unfurl at any moment. “Hia! What are you doing?” He asked when Win got up and freed his legs from his pants. The only clothing left on his body is boxer shorts.

“I’m not sleeping on my pants.” He got inside the blanket. And turned to look at Team. “Good night, Team.”

With flushed cheeks, Team said, “Good night, Hia.” He closed his eyes and tried to imagine Win’s body away.

Win smiled when Team snored minutes later. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Chapter Text

The gang was currently sitting on the table that was already “reserved” for them. Del and Manaow were talking about the latest release of Myss Cosmetic. Pruk was eating quietly beside Manaow. Across him was Dean, who was being fed by Pharm. Team sat on Pharm’s right side, and Win sat next to him. 

Team stole a piece of meat from Win’s plate, and Win stole a vegetable in revenge. 

Del turned around and looked at the couple in front of her. “Aow, what is everyone doing during the holiday?”

Pharm kindly smiled at her. “I want to hold a Christmas Party, but my room is a little small.” He worried.

Dean comforted him. “Why don’t you hold one in our house?”

“What?” He turned to face his boyfriend. “But it’s embarrassing. And besides, I don’t want to intrude.”

Del clapped her hands. “I think it’s a good idea.” She frowned. “Mae and Por won’t be home again.” She sighed.

Pharm reached out to hold her hand, which she willingly gave. “Okay. I’ll host it at your house.” He smiled. “How about everyone else? When are you free this holiday, so I know when to schedule it.”

“I’m not going home again this holiday. I still have nightmares about summer.” Team said while frowning.

Win looked at him with worry but answered Pharm’s question. “I’ll be around until the twenty-fourth, N’Pharm. But I need to go home for Christmas.”

“I’m spending my holiday here because of the play I’m part of.” Manaow asserted. “We need to get as much practice as we can.”

“I live around the area,” Pruk said.

Pharm perked up. “How about the twenty-third then? It will give everyone time to buy gifts.”

“A? Gifts?” Team asked. “I gave you all my money already, Pharm!”

“Why would you give him your money in the first place?” asked Win irritatedly.

Team glared at him. “He cooked me breakfast, Hia.”

 “You didn’t leave a small amount in your bank account?” Pharm asked.

“I did, but I use most of them to top up in-game.” Team grumbled.

Pharm groaned. “You and your game!”

“Why not make it a Secret Santa,” Dean suggested. Pharm brightened up.

“Secret Santa?” asked Manaow and Team.

Dean nodded. “We write down our name on a piece of paper, and then we’ll draw random names to become someone’s Secret Santa. After opening the presents, the giftee has to guess which member of the group was their Secret Santa.”

The otters on the table were excited. “I think that’s a cool idea, P’Dean!” Team said. “So, um, how much should the gift be?”

“Is 500 baht okay for everyone?” Pharm asked. Everybody agreed. “Okay! We can draw names now if you would like!”

“Pharm, can I bring P’Alex?” Del asked. 

“No.” Dean denied.

Del pouted. “Okay. Then can we add P’Don?”

Pharm smiled. “Yes. We can add P’Don.”

Del beamed. “Then I’ll ask him to come here.” Del pulled out her phone and dialed Don’s number. “Phi, are you free on the twenty-third? Okay. Pharm is hosting a Christmas Party in our house. We’re planning a Secret Santa. Do you want to participate? Okay. Okay. I’ll tell them.” She looked at Pharm’s anticipating eyes. “He said yes.”

“Is he coming here or-”

“I’ll pick for him!” Del smiled.

Pharm brought out a piece of paper and a pen. He folded the paper to make ten sections and unfolded it. He tore the paper and made ten small pieces. He wrote their names using his bold handwriting. Team helped by folding the papers and putting them in the empty lunch bag. 

“I’ll pick mine and P’Don’s first,” Del said. “Can I put it back if I got our names?”

Pharm laughed. “Of course. He won’t know otherwise. Remember not to tell whose name you draw, okay?”

Del nodded. She reached into the bag and pulled two papers. “This one is mine, and the other is P’Don’s.” She unfolded the paper and smiled. “I’m good with what I got!”

“You’re not checking P’Don’s?” Manaow asked. “What if you picked his name?”

“Um,” Del unfolded Don’s paper. “I think we’re good.” She bit her lips. 

“You look worried.” They noted.

“It’s not his name at least,” Del said. “You can pick yours, Manaow!”

Manaow excitedly reached for the lunch bag. She unfolded her paper in a hurry and frowned. 

“I’m worried now, a. Your reactions are so frustrating. I’ll pick mine next!” Team cried out. When he got his paper and saw the name on it, he was stunned. “Oh.”

Pharm sighed and snatched the lunch bag. “I didn’t put any weird names in here. Why are the three of you acting that way?” He pulled a paper out of the bag and read the name. He smiled brightly.

Ah. He got P’Dean/Dean’s name . Everyone thought.

Dean softly smiled at him. He stuck his hand into the lunch bag and pulled a paper. He unfolded it. He sighed when he read the name written on it. He pushed the lunch box towards Pruk, who nodded in contemplation when he got his.

He handed the bag to Boun. Boun reached for the last paper and unfolded it. His automatic reaction was to look at the boy sitting next to him, but he stopped himself. He smiled and looked up. “I’m good.”

They eyed each other. “So… can we ask other people for help?” Manaow asked.


Team looked at his bank account worriedly. In truth, he still has a couple of hundred thousand baht on it, but he’s a scholarship student. His math might not be great, but he can calculate his expenses. At the rate it’s going, his bank account will be empty before the next school year starts. And I just have to draw Hia’s name! He tried not to think about last year’s Pattaya trip. What can I give someone who seems to have it all? He logged out of that account and logged in to the one set up by his parents. This bank account has been sitting untouched since he turned twelve when his parents divorced. He hesitated but chose to log off. Don’t ever touch that money, Team. You’re better off without it. He closed his laptop and put it on the bedside table. He laid down and covered himself with his heavy blanket.  Let’s worry about it tomorrow.


Tomorrow turned into a few days, and Team didn’t notice, but it was the twenty-first already. He turned around on his bed and chewed at his lips. After a few more turns, he sat up and looked at the door hesitatingly. He sighed and stood up. He took his bag and left his room to visit the person who is sleeping just one floor up.

He knocked on Win’s door and waited. Win opened his door and leaned his arms on the doorframe. “What are you doing here?”

“Can I sleep with you?” Team asked.

Win blinked at him but made way. He watched as the younger entered, dropped his bag on the floor, and laid down on his bed in a horizontal position. “Oi, Team! Give me some space!” Win closed the door and walked near the boy. When Team only groaned in denial, Win knelt on the bed and leaned towards him. He took his hands and pinned them above Team’s head. He brought his face near. “You sure you don’t want to?”

Team stared at Win’s eyes for a couple of seconds. When Win was about to bring his lips near his, he kneed his stomach. 

Win rolled away from the younger boy and clutched at his middle. “Ai Team!”

Team righted his position to give Win some space. He lifted the blanket and covered himself. Win laid down beside him and turned to face him. Silence followed after.

Hesitatingly, Team asked, “Hia?”

“Hmm?”

“What do you think is the best Christmas present?”

Win’s forehead crinkled. “Is this about the Secret Santa?”

Team changed his position and laid on his side to face Win. “I only have one more day left, but I still haven’t bought a gift.”

Win brought his face closer and put an arm around Team. “If the person who gave the gift is important to me, then I’ll be happy no matter what it is.”

Team closed his eyes, and Win followed. “Hia?”

“Hmm?”

“Do you want to see the Christmas lights tomorrow? Then help me shop for a gift.” Team whispered.

Win drew him closer. “Okay.”

They fell into a deep and peaceful sleep.


Team walked beside Win while munching his Lays Around them were Christmas lights everywhere. He was happy because he was able to pick a present. 

“I thought you said you like to see the lights, but all I see is that you keep eating,” Win observed.

“Hmm.” 

“Hmm” 

Team nudged Win. 

“What?” he looked at the younger.

“Can we sit here first?” Team asked and pointed at the bench. He reached down his left leg and complained. “My legs hurt.”

“You said you want to see the lights!” Win shook his head when Team ignored him and sat down. He sat down next to him and looked around him. He remembered something and turned to Team. “Last time you were telling us about the story of the red thread, right?”

Team nodded. “Yes. Why?”

Win smiled mischievously. “How about… the story behind a Christmas tradition?”

Team shook his head. His face was full of curiosity. “No, what is it?”

“They said any couple who kisses under a mistletoe will have a long and lasting love.” Win stared.

Team shifted his eyes and looked around. “Where can we find the mistletoe?”

Win opened the bag beside him and pulled out a ‘mistletoe.’ “Here. I brought it.” He lifted it above their heads and watched Team’s reaction. “Are you brave enough?”

Team stared at Win’s lips before turning his gaze and examining their surroundings. When he saw no one was around, he turned back and gave Win a peck on the lips. He got up. “Let’s go! My legs don’t hurt anymore.” When Win didn’t stand up with him, he shook his shoulder. “Quick! Get up!” He turned around and began walking.

Win shook his head and laughed. “So freaking cute!” He placed the ‘mistletoe’ back in the bag and followed Team.


The Wongnate house was decorated with Christmas lights from top to bottom (an exaggeration, of course, but Pharm and Del did use a lot of Christmas lights). Win and Team arrived together and knocked on the door decorated with a wreath. Del opened the door for them.

“Pharm! P’Win and Team are here!” Don called out. “Why don’t the two of you sit down first?” He motioned towards the sofa. 

Win and Team nodded and sat. They tilted their heads and looked at the decoration. “It looked like you went all out, Don. It’s beautiful.” Team got up and walked towards the Christmas Tree. It was big and full of ornaments. There are gifts below it. He crouched down and placed the paper bag that holds his present underneath the tree. “Hia! Come and put your gift here!” 

Win went to him and placed his gift on top of a box. It was a simple envelope with Team’s name scrawled at the back. “Don’t look at it.” 

Team pouted. “Hmmph!” He stomped his feet and left Win in front of the tree. “Pharm! Where are you?” He walked to the kitchen. “O, Del! Let me carry that for you!” He said when he saw Del holding a huge bowl of salad. “Do I just put it on the table?”

“Yes,” Del said. “Thank you, Team.”

Team nodded and walked back out of the kitchen to the dining table. “Del, I don’t think there’s any place left for the bowl!” 

Pharm and Del went out of the kitchen. “Hmmm.” Pharm rearranged the plates of food on the table. “You can put it here.”

Team nodded and placed it down. 

“Is everyone here?” Pharm asked.

“Merry Christmas everybody” Manaow shouted as she walked in. Pruk was following her. “Oi Pharm! You cooked a lot!”

“Del helped me, so I was able to.” Pharm smiled.

Dean walked down the stairs. “I guess everyone is here.” He hugged Pruk and Win and went to Pharm’s side. “Let’s eat?”

“Okay! The food might get cold if we wait.” Pharm beamed.


“So… how do we do this?” asked Pharm. All of them were lounging around the living room hours after they ate and cleaned up the dining area.

“I’ll call your name, and you get your gifts,” Dean said. He stood up and sat on the floor in front of the Christmas tree. He reached for the first gift. “Manaow.”

Manaow excitedly reached for her gift. She opened it and saw the Myss’ Christmas season collection. “Oooh! Thank you so much! I love it!” She hugged her gift.

Pharm laughed. “You need to guess who gave it to you, Manaow.”

Manaow bit her finger. “Ummm... “ She looked at their faces. “It’s so hard! Everyone of you knows what I want! I choose Del! I remember mentioning it to you!” When Del smiled and nodded, Manaow went to her and hugged her.

Dean looked around for Del’s gift. “Del. Here’s your gift.”

Del let go of Manaow and took her gift. She carefully lifted a journal out. She lifted her head and said, “thank you.”

“You should open it,” Pharm said.

Del looked at him and opened the journal. There was a detailed recipe written on it. She turned the pages and saw another one. ‘Pharm!”

“I thought you might want to practice cooking with me,” Pharm smiled.

Del hugged him. “Thank you!”

Dean brought Pharm his gifts. 

“I got two?” He asked as he took them.

“One from me, and the other from someone else.” Pharm opened the gift for the Secret Santa first, so Dean frowned.

“A keychain?” Pharm lifted the chain and saw a little stuffed bear hanging on it. “Who would’ve given me this? Manaow?”

“It’s not me!” Manaow denied. 

When Pharm looked at Team, he shook his head. “P’Dean?” When he also said no, Pharm gave up. 

“Why don’t you open your other gift, N’Pharm?” said Win.

Pharm unwrapped the box. He gasped when he saw a small velvet box. “P’Dean?” he asked.

“Open it,” Dean whispered.

Pharm slowly opened it and saw a key inside. 

“Move in with me?”

Manaow and Del screamed. Win and Pruk hollered. Don grinned.

Pharm cried and hugged Dean. “Yes, I’ll move in with you.”

When it seems like the two have entered their world, Win got up and looked for Don’s gift. “Here, Don.”

“I hope you’ll like it,” Pruk said, reaching out for the gift that Win was handing him.

“I’m sure I will.” Don ripped the cover. “Oh! A new game! Thank you, Phi!”

“You’re welcome,” Pruk replied. “Ah. I know who gave me this.” Pruk showed them the pack of swim shorts. “Thanks, man.” He looked at Win. 

Win shook his head. “I didn’t give you that.”

Manaow and Del watched the scene with fascination. The couple was already cuddling and minding their own business, and the men just broke the rule of Secret Santa. They watched as Team flushed.

“You’re my Secret Santa, Hia?” 

Win nodded. “And I guess you’re mine.”

Team opened his hand. “What did you get me?” He eagerly took the envelope from him. He carefully opened it and frowned when it tore. 

“You don’t need to open it so carefully.” Win sat next to him. “I love the gift you picked for me.”

Team glared at him. He pulled the contents of the enveloped out. “Two tickets?”

“How about a trip to Phuket before the next semester starts?”

Team hugged Win and leaned his face on his shoulder. Win returned his hug.

Manaow and Del shrieked at the sweetness in front of them. They took out their cellphones and took pictures. They’ll ask Team and Pharm later if they could send it to their Fan Club’s GC.

Dean’s gift from Manaow was left forgotten under the tree. It will be a few days later before they notice that it’s there.


Win and Team were back at the dorms. Team was playing with the pendant of the necklace he bought for Win. Both of them were lying on the elder’s bed.

“Go to sleep, Team. I won’t be here tomorrow and on Christmas, but I’ll be calling you, okay?” Win hugged the boy closer. “I’ll be back on the twenty-sixth, and we have our flight the next day.”

Team burrowed deeper and wrapped his arm around Win. “Okay, Hia. Good night.”

Chapter Text

Team felt his body hit the water. The waves were pushing him down, and the current was dragging him further. It’s cold. He curled into himself and tried to ignore how the water began to fill his lungs. Bubbles coming out from his nose and mouth. He felt himself gasp for air .

Team turned his head side by side and groaned. His pillows were soaked with sweat. He turned to his side and hugged his knees.

Team heard the front door slammed followed by his mom’s begging. He cracked his door open and took a peek. His mother was sobbing hard, but he didn’t dare hug her. He closed his door slowly and silently and locked it. He climbed his bed and pulled the blanket over his head.

A few minutes later, he heard someone knock. “Team! Team! Te-”

“-am! Oi, Team, wake up and get ready! We’re leaving in two hours,” Win shook the younger boy.

Team opened his eyes slowly and squinted. He got out of the bed, unmindful of his naked body. He walked to the bathroom and turned the shower on. As he waited for the water to heat up, he peed then brushed his teeth. He mechanically went over his routine, and thirty minutes later, he’s in front of the table and eating his breakfast. 

“I already made sure that we have everything we need,” Win informed the younger boy. He cocked his head to the side and lifted an eyebrow. “Are you okay, Team? You’ve been quiet. Do you still want to visit my family with me?”

Team snapped out of his reverie. He looked at Win and smiled. “Of course, Hia! I can’t wait to meet your relatives.”

“Mmm… If you’re done eating, then go brush your teeth. We’ll leave right after.” Team stood up and was about to bring his plate to the sink, but Win stopped him. “It’s fine, I’ll do it for you.”

Team nodded and went to the restroom to brush his teeth.


“Do you always take the bus when you visit home, Hia?” asked Team and glanced at the man sitting next to him.

Win looked at the boy. “No. I use my motorbike, but I don’t expect you to travel that way.”

“Why didn’t we use my car instead?” Team asked curiously.

“If we did, then we wouldn’t be able to cuddle like this.” Win reached out for the boy and hugged him tightly.

Team struggled out of the hug. “Ai Hia! Someone will see us!” He glanced at the person seated across the aisle and blushed when he saw her watching them.

“So what?” Win whispered. “Let them see.” Team pinched him until he let go. “Ouch!” Win rubbed his side.

“Hmmph!” Team bent down and reached for the plastic bag by his feet. He took out a bag of Lays and began eating. 

Win watched him with fondness.


“Team, wake up. We’re here, Nong.” Win whispered as he caressed the head leaning on his shoulder. The car that fetched them in the bus station is currently parked in front of a big mansion’s front door.

Team lifted his head and blinked his eyes open. They heard someone knocking on the car’s window, and both of them turned their heads towards it. They saw a fifteen to sixteen-year-old kid smiling widely at them. 

When the driver unlocked the door, View opened it. “Hia!” He shouted enthusiastically and was about to hug the person in front of him, but he saw that they’re not his brother. “Oh. Ooooh!” He nodded his head. “Are you Hia’s boyfriend, P’Team?”

“What?” Team looked at Win. “What have you been telling them?”

“The truth. View, get out of the way, so we can get off!” Win ordered.

View went to the side to let the cute boy accompanying his Hia out. His big brother followed and opened the trunk of the car and withdrew their suitcase. He watched Win clasped the other boy’s hand and guided him towards the front door. View closed the car door and followed after them.

“Welcome home, baby.” Win whispered. He tracked how Team turned his head and body around to look at the interior of the house. He wanted to know what Team thinks, but he remained silent. He just stood there in wonder. “Come, let’s go to my room, and you can rest a bit before meeting my family, okay?” He tugged Team’s arm towards the staircase. “View, please tell the others that we’ll be resting a bit, and we’ll meet them for dinner later. Thanks!” Win called out when they were halfway up.

Team was startled and looked back. “Ah! Wait! Hia, I haven’t said hi to your brother yet!”

“It’s fine. You can formally say hi later.” He said.

“But he greeted us-”

Win pulled him away, “I’m sure he won’t take offense.”

Team sighed and looked at View again. He lifted his hand and waved. He smiled satisfyingly when View returned it. Then, he let Win tugged him to his bedroom.

“It’s normal.” Team commented when they entered the room. He sat on the bed and looked around. 

Win scrunched his eyebrows while setting the suitcase on the floor. “What did you think it would look like?”

“The suite in Pattaya,” Team replied.

“As much as I would like one, my family needs as much space as we can. Three to four generations of my family live here.” Win said as he began to take out the clothes in their suite and put them in his closet. 

“Hia, you don’t need to take out mine.”

Win smirked at him. “I just love seeing your things next to mine.”

Team blushed. “Hia!”

“Go to sleep, Team. You didn’t sleep well last night, and I want you to be rested when you meet my family.” He pushed Team on the bed and tucked him in. “They could be a bit much.” He kissed the younger’s forehead.

Team yawned. “Okay. Please wake me up when it’s time to get ready.” He closed his eyes and heard Win hummed his agreement. He fell into a deep sleep.


“So… Team, what course are you taking?” An elderly man asked the person that his grandson brought home.

Team looked at him and revealed a small smile. “Faculty of Economics, Sir.”

“Oh! What do you plan to do with your degree?

“Ummm…. It’s just a back-up plan. I’m planning on becoming a professional swimmer.” Team blushed when he heard someone snort. He bowed his head.

“Then isn’t it great that you have our Win as a back-up plan, too?” 

Everyone turned to look at the Auntie who talked, while Team didn’t dare lift his head. 

“Nan!” Win’s grandfather roared.

“What? I’m just telling the truth.” She looked at Team with disdain before looking elsewhere. “I still don’t understand why you broke up with Aom, dear.” She told Win.

Win clenched his teeth and stood up. He leaned down until his mouth was near Team’s ears. “Let’s get out of here.” He looked at his grandparents and parents. “We’ll retire first.”

Win slammed his bedroom door closed when they got in. He guided Team towards the bed and lifted the latter’s face. He frowned when he saw his red-rimmed eyes and unshed tears. He hugged Team. “Don’t worry about what they said, okay? We’ll leave tomorrow morning, and we can celebrate Christmas somewhere else.”

Team hugged him back and shook his head. “It’s fine. We can follow our schedule. Let’s go back on the twenty-sixth.”

Win protested. “But-”

“I don’t want you to break your family’s traditions. I’m really alright, Hia.”

Win sighed. 

“Who’s Aom?” Team asked when they let go of each other.

“She’s just an ex.” 

“Your aunt seems to like her for you.”

Win snorted. “Of course she would. Aom’s her niece from her other side of the family.” He ruffled the other boy’s hair. “Don’t worry, Team. You’re the only one I love.”

They changed into their sleeping clothes and laid down on the bed. Win has his arms around Team. “We’ll leave the house in the morning, and I’ll bring you around the town. You’ll love it here.”

Team looked at Win’s face. “But I remember your mom telling me that it’s a family tradition for everyone to help decorate the house.”

“I’m sure they can do it without me.” Win poked a finger on Team’s cheek. “Let’s go on a date.” Team was going to say no, but he looked at him with pleading eyes. “Please.”

“Okay.” Team nodded. 

So cute . Win kissed him on the forehead.


“Your dad is getting married.” Team watched his mom as she hysterically laughed. “He forced me to sign the divorce papers because he’s getting married! And he had the gall to invite us to their wedding!” She spat.

Team groaned and turned in his sleep.

“I’m getting married, Team. I’m sure you’ll love your new dad.”

He frowned.

“-still give him money.”

“It’s not money that he needs!”

“Well, your new husband can give him that fatherly attention! Weren’t you just telling me how great he is!” 

“Don’t bring up my husband! I never mentioned your slut of a wife and your bastard daughter!”

“You!”

Team whimpered.

“Team, Manaow! P’Dean kissed me!”

“Kyaa!!”

“I broke up with P’Dean.”

“I broke up with P’Dean.”

Team opened his eyes. He was panting. He looked at the person sleeping next to him and hugged him. I’m good. We’re good. Hia will never leave me .


“Here. This tastes good.” Win put som tum on Team’s plate.

“You know I don’t eat vegetables, Hia!” Team said after swallowing the barbecue in his mouth. 

“Then it’s fine because it’s a fruit.” Team frowned and pushed the papaya to the edge of his plate. “Just try it, Team.” Win sighed. 

The two of them were currently out in the city and having their lunch. After walking around for hours, they decided to have an early lunch and rest their tired feet.

Team reluctantly placed some of the fruit in his mouth and chewed. He brightened, looked at Win, and gave him a thumbs up. “So good!” They continued to eat in silence when Team remembered something. “Hia! I didn’t prepare any gifts.”

“We’re just college students, Team. They don’t expect us to prepare gifts. Besides, we already gave grandpa that ginseng win that nearly broke your bank account.” Win replied.

“Still.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

After lunch, Win brought Team to other tourist spots around the area before going home to prepare for the Christmas dinner.

“Oh, so you’re back.” 

Win and Team stopped on their tracks and nodded at Nan. After that, Win tugged himself up the staircase, and Team let him. He didn’t want to be alone with Win’s aunt.

So disrespectful. She smiled when she heard someone knock. She opened the door and saw a beautiful woman waiting outside. She was carrying bags of presents in both hands. “Aom! I’m so glad you came!”

“Aunt, thank you for inviting me.” 

“No problem! You know you’re always welcome here. Let me help you with your bags.” She reached for the bags that Aom was carrying, but the girl dodged her attempt.

“It’s fine, Aunt! I don’t want you to carry anything. Besides, they’re heavy.”

Nan guided Aom towards the Giant Christmas Tree in the living room. “You’re such a well-mannered kid! Unlike that boy who Win brought home! So disrespectful! They just got home from roaming around outside and didn’t even help us decorate!” She fumed.

“I’m sure Win just wanted to show him around, Aunt.” Aom put the gifts down. “He’s always been kind like that.” She smiled.

“You’re the kind one.” Nan praised. “Come. Most of us are in the dining room. Your other aunts and uncles would want to meet you.”


Laughter greeted Win and Team when they entered the dining room. Most of the older generation were talking to a beautiful woman with straight black hair and fair skin. Even Win’s mom was smiling while listening to her. 

View lifted his gaze from his mobile game and saw the couple came in. “Hia! P’Team!” He stood up and hugged Team. 

Surprised, Team returned the hug.

“Don’t worry, Phi! Hia’Wan and I have your full support!” he whispered before letting Team go.

Team blinked in confusion and looked at Win who shrugged his shoulders.

“Win, Team, you’re both here. Take your place, and we can begin.” Grandma Pree said kindly. 

Team nodded and followed Win who kissed his grandma. “Thank you for waiting for us, Grandma.”

“Thank you,” Team repeated.

“Hmmm…” She patted his arm as though giving him strength.

The dinner started pleasantly. Team focused on his plate and treated the conversations around him as background noise. Win would serve him something now and then

“Aom, I heard you just got back from America.”

Team paused. He turned to Win when he felt him clenched his thigh. He smiled and continued to eat.

“Yes! I got home two days ago, and I’ll be here until next year.”

“How’s your study?”

Aom beamed. “I’m part of the Dean’s List again this semester, Uncle!”

“What an extraordinary girl!”

“Win! Why don’t you prepare a trip with Aom and your cousins! Just like the old times. I remember when you were still together, you disappeared to Chiang Mai for two weeks.”

Win clenched his hands. His knuckles were white. “Uncle, please stop talking.” He looked up. “I came home this year to introduce my boyfriend , who every one of you has been disrespecting since yesterday. And you wonder why we left the house this morning? Can’t I protect him from your toxicity?”

“Win!” His mom scolded. “I didn’t raise you to act this way!”

“Well, did grandma raise them to act like children?” Win snarled. “They’ve been bullying Team!”

“Hia!” Team pulled at his shirt.

 Win stood up. “Let’s go.” He walked away.

Team followed.

“Hia!” Team called. “Hia, please. What are you doing?”

Win laid their suitcase open on the floor. He opened his closet. “We’re leaving.”

“What? No!” Team stopped him from returning his clothes to the suitcase. “We need to go down there and say sorry.”

“I have nothing to apologize for!” Win shouted. 

Team flinched and withdrew his hand.

“Let’s just go back to Bangkok, please.”

Team nodded. They packed the bag silently.


It was 3 AM the next day when Win and Team laid down on the bed of Win’s apartment. They fell asleep right away due to exhaustion.

“Team. Promise me, never fall in love.” His mom leaned on him; her breath smelled of alcohol. Today, his mom learned that his step-father has a mistress, and she’s been drinking ever since. “Everyone will just leave you someday. When you find yourself falling, make sure to turn around. Run in the opposite direction. Don’t let them catch you. Protect your heart, my precious boy.”

He stiffened when she hugged him. 

She smiled bitterly at her son’s reaction. She let go and walked out the door. 

Team wanted to run to her. He wanted to hug her. He wanted to shout her name. But he was frozen. Maybe if he did his mom would still be alive.

Team sobbed in his sleep. The arms around him tightened, but it didn’t bring him the same comfort as before.

“I heard she drove herself while drunk… a big possibility of suicide… “

“How can she not think of her son?”

“His father is taking him in.”

….

“Never fall in love.”

“Run away.”


Team opened his eyes. There was a suspicious clarity in them. He got up and did his usual morning routine, leaving Win on the bed. When he got out of the bathroom, Win had already fried some eggs for him. He sat down and ate quietly.

“You’re too quiet. Are you still thinking about what happened yesterday?” Win asked. “Don’t worry about it. N’View called while you were taking a shower. He said that grandma and grandpa scolded the adults for us. My mom said that she was sorry for not defending us, and she hoped that you can visit again soon.”

Team took a deep breath. “Hia.” He breathed out. He looked Win in the eyes. “Let’s break up.”

“W-What? What are you talking about?” 

“Let’s end this.”

“Is it because of what happened?” Win asked. He tried to hold Team’s hands, but he pulled them out of reach.

Team shook his head. His tears were falling.

“Did I do something wrong?” Win stood up from his seat and knelt in front of Team. “Team?”

Team shook his head once more. “You have been so good to me, Hia. So warm. So perfect” He cupped Win’s wet cheeks with his hands. “I thought I could be brave.” He kissed his lover’s forehead one last time. “I’m sorry, Hia.” I love you . Team stood up and left the room. He leaned his back on the closed door and wiped his tears. But sometimes it’s not enough . He walked away. 

Chapter Text

A man in a thick full coat was looking out in the streets. He was sitting alone in a café; his laptop was open in front of him. A blank Word document was open. The cursor has blinked a thousand times. He absentmindedly reached out for the cup of coffee in front of him, brought it to his mouth, and sipped.

The streets outside were covered with pure, white snow that gently falls from the heavens. Twinkle Christmas lights and wreaths made of pine leaves decorated the stores. Even the café itself was decorated in line with the festivities. It’s Christmas again.

“I’ll take that as a sign to chase after you!” He placed the cup back on its saucer.

“Where can we find the mistletoe?” He reached for the pendant of the silver necklace still hanging on his neck.

“Let’s break up…. I’m sorry, Hia.” He closed his eyes and clenched his fist. 

A year has passed, but he still can’t believe that the person he thought is the one has left him. After he left, Team took all the light in Win’s life. Oh, he chased after him. He would call and leave messages until his number and social media accounts were blocked. He would knock on the younger’s door until the building’s security guard would drag him out. He would show up at the university only for Pharm and Manaow to tell that “Team already left.”

He was in the middle of a meeting when he received a message from Team. His face brightened, and he hurriedly opened his phone. But what he paused on what he read. “Please stop.” Two simple words, but Win can hear Team’s plea. So, he did. He stopped even if it hurts. He applied for an MBA here in London and took an absence of leave from work, citing how he would like to gain more knowledge. His parents, who felt like they caused the kids’ break up, supported him.

And now here he was, drinking coffee in an empty café even though he hated spending his time idling around in coffee shops. It’s because they remind you of Team…

“Hi! I saw you were alone, and I thought you might want some company!” A blonde woman, bundled in a huge beige jacket and scarf asked. She placed her cup on the space on the table and sat on the vacant chair in front of him.

Win blinked at the woman before looking around the shop. He noticed that there were empty tables still available. He turned his gaze back at the woman and smiled. “Sure!”

The woman laughed. “My name is Madison. I study Finance at xxx University.” She reached out her hand for a handshake.”

“Win.” Phawin shook her hand and let go.

“Hello, Win. What brought you out on this cold Sunday? Shouldn’t you be celebrating Christmas with your family?” 

“I’m an international student, and I opted to stay here during the holidays. I”m living in the dorms so…” Win shrugged his shoulders.

Madison’s smile widened. “Then would you like to spend it with me?”

Win paused. “Are you asking for a one night stand?”

Madison laughed. This handsome man was so surprising. “And here I thought you were innocent. You looked so shocked when I asked you to spend your time with me!”

One night stand used to be my forte… until he came, at least. Win shook his head and reached for his coffee.

“What were you working on?” Madison asked curiously. 

“I’m part of a program at my university. I was supposed to write a letter to my pen pal and help them with their English.”

“Wow. You’re so kind, Win.” Madison’s eyes twinkled.

He smirked and looked at her behind hooded eyes. “So… does that offer still stand?” When she blushed and nodded softly, he closed his laptop and stood up. “Follow me.” They left the café.


Hours later, two sweaty bodies entangled under wrinkled sheets. Win hugged Madison to his chest, and she was playing with the silver Gucci pendant. “What’s a team?” she asked.

Win paused. His face contorting in horror. His grip on Madison’s shoulder tightened. “Where did you hear that?” he whispered.

Madison lifted her head. “You shouted it out when you came.”

Win let go of her. He sat down at the edge of the bed and put on his underwear. He reached for his shirt that was thrown on the floor. “Madison, I think you should go. I’ll call a cab for you.”

She sat up and clutched the sheets to her chest. “Why?” She watched as he pulled his pants on and sat on his swivel chair - across from her.

Win frowned. “Because Team is not a what but a who.” He ran his fingers on his hair frustratingly. “And I might have unconsciously used you.” He looked at her. “Let this remain as a one night stand. Please, Madison. Just go?”

Madison was silent for a long time. “Do you still love her?”

Win nodded. “I do. I still love him.”

She sighed. “Let me use your shower.” She stood up and picked the articles of her clothing off the floor one by one. When she got out of the bathroom, Win has already changed the sheets and covers of the bed. She sat down on the bed. “Tell me about your Team.” When Win just looked at her guiltily, she smiled. “It’s alright. Honestly, I’ve been looking for rebound sex after I dumped my cheater of a boyfriend. I got lucky. You weren’t half bad in bed.”

Win gave her a small smile. “I’m sorry, Madison.”

“I accept your apology.” She returned the smile. “So… tell me what’s with your Team that you panicked as though you’re cheating on him?” She paused. “You’re not cheating on him, right?”

“We broke up last year.” He smiled sadly. “Why would you make sure about our relationship when I told you that Team is a who 20 minutes ago?” He looked at his phone’s screen.

“When I saw you in the café, you looked like you’re thinking deeply about something. You looked like a gentleman. I guess that something is someone instead.” 

Win’s phone vibrated. “Your cab is here.”

Madison looked at him amusedly and smiled. “You did call a cab for me?” She laughed. “Come, Win. Walked me down this building.”

They left the room, and Win escorted him to the entrance. Madison turned to look at him. “Thank you for the wonderful sex.” She winked. “I hope you can find whatever you’re looking for.” She entered the cab, and Win watched as it drove away.

“Find whatever I’m looking for?” he whispered. He went up to his building. For a long time after he entered the room, he just stood there and stared. He walked towards his study table and opened his laptop.

December 25, 2016

Dear Ms. Sunflower,

I read your letter….

Chapter Text

“... You’re getting good with simple sentences, and your grammar has improved. I would like to point out the differences between the use of there , their, and they’re . There is the opposite of here. It also means ‘at that place.’ You use it when you’re answering the question where. On the other hand, their is a possessive pronoun. It means ‘belongs to them.’ They’re is a contraction of ‘they are’ or ‘they were.’

In your next letter, I would like you to use more compound sentences…

Thank you so much for your stories. I enjoyed them. It’s nice to learn that the cafeteria is still selling that fried rice. I agree that it is deliciously made. Your account of the swimming meet is a comfort. Did you go to all of their practice, or do you know one of the members? Is it alright if you tell me more about their captain?Tell me how their lap times are or who your favorite swimmer is. I need to go now. I’m expecting your response tomorrow morning.

Merry Christmas, Ms. Sunflower!

Sincerely,

Mr. Sun.” 

Team slid down until he was lying on the bed. He put his laptop next to him. “Even if I didn’t correct him, should he call me miss? Sunflower is gender-neutral,  you know!” he grumbled.

Team was spending his Christmas alone. Pharm invited him to their Christmas party, but ever since he broke Win’s heart, Dean started to act cold towards him. He was sure that Pharm’s fiancé only tolerated him because he was one of Pharm’s best friends. He even caught the two having a heated discussion about his and Win’s break up. Well, I hate myself, too . He smiled ruefully. He was glad that Pharm and Manaow were there to help him. They didn’t ask what happened. They just hugged him and supported him. And a year has passed… Tomorrow, I’ll send a letter to Mr. Sun .


Team sat in front of his laptop. He has read the letter, again and again, searching up some of the words that Mr. Sun has used, so he could understand it better. This correspondence with an unknown person happened because he signed up for their university’s program called A Secret Holiday Pen Pal. Students who were struggling with their English writing and composition were encouraged to learn by practice, and the English Department of their University partnered up with xxx University from England. 

He signed up one of the forms that someone from the English Department was distributing during one of his breaks, and forgot about it until he received an email saying that he was partnered with someone called “Mr. Sun.” 

Please make an account on this website and look for “Mr. Sun.” You can send them a message or a letter when you’re done. Your conversations won’t be monitored for the sake of preserving your privacy, but please keep your conversations clean. You can report any inappropriate or offending words to the admin.

I hope that you have fun and that you learn something! Good luck!

Team was going to ignore the message, but it has been days since the holiday started, and he has no one with him. Besides, he felt guilty not sending Mr. Sun a message. The other person might be waiting for him to send one. So he did.

His first message was two sentences asking Mr. Sun to call him Sunflower with the generic ‘How are you doing?’

Now, he was here using Google translate to understand what Mr. Sun wrote in his letter.

“Okay, so that’s the difference between those three.” Team nodded. “I wonder why he’s so enthusiastic about the swimming club. Should I tell him that I’m a boy and I’m the captain?”

December 26, 2016

Dear Mr. Sun,

Thank you for your prays. I try really hard to write you in English. I don’t know why you like the fried rice in the cafeteria. Clearly, the som tum is the best. Thank you for liking my university’s swimming club! All the swimmers are doing well and improving their lap times, some are faster than others. I want to ask if you also swim? How do people in England swim during the winter? Is it snowing there? 

You asked me who my favorite swimmer is? When you asked me this only one person came in my mind. He’s not a swimmer here any more though. He already graduated. I really liked his strokes and form when swimming. But what I really like was how he looked like he is flying when he enter the water. He looked so cool. I actually miss him so much.

Anyways, I have been attending every practice and swimming meet since I became a university student. I’m a senior now. If you have any more questions about our swimming club, you can ask me!

From,

Sunflower

P.S. Please don’t call me Ms. Sunflower anymore. I am a boy.

Team hit send.


Win was lying on his bed when his phone lit up. He reached for it and saw that his pen pal had sent him a letter. With nothing to do, he opened the message and read it. “You know I don’t eat vegetables, Hia!” A sweet voice echoed in his head followed by an image of Team swallowing his barbecue entered his mind. He shook his head and focused on the letter. “Oh. So she’s really a fan. But a senior?” He furrowed his eyebrows. “I might have seen her before then.” But then I only have Team in my eyes. “Wait, a boy!” He was shocked. “He’s a Mr. Sunflower then.”

“Good morning, my sunflower.”

“Hia, why do you keep on calling me sunflower na?”

“Because when I’m with you, I’m very cheerful and always smiling. When I’m stressed, I smile because you’re there.”

“Then if I’m the sunflower, you’re my sun. I exist today because of you.”

He closed his eyes and dropped his phone beside him. “But you’re not by my side anymore, sunflower.” Hot tears left trails on his cheeks. He reached out for a pillow and hugged it- thinking that it was Team he was hugging. He fell into a deep sleep.

He woke up hours later. He was sitting at his table, his dinner in front of him. But he wasn’t interested in the food. Instead, his attention was on his pen pal.

 

Mr. Sunflower

Monday 06:48 PM

Good evening? Or was it morning in Thailand?-

I’m sorry for sending you a message during this time.-

Also, for assuming that you’re a girl. 😅 -

07:02 PM

-Hi! It’s actually 2 AM here. But it’s fine.

-I can’t sleep anyway. 👍

I read your letter, and I noticed some grammar mistakes.-

But what stood out was you keep on using really. Try to curb-

your tendency. Sometimes, you don’t need to use superlatives.

-Thank you for your tips. You have been helpful.

No problem. It’s my job.😊-

You mentioned in your letter that you’ve been to all practices-

and meets since you were a freshman. You’re such a dedicated

fan.

-😠 Why must you keep on assuming things?

I’m part of the swimming team, you know!

                                                           Seen


“Eh? Why did he not reply anymore?” Team wondered. He’s in bed watching a movie while eating potato chips when his pen pal suddenly messaged him. He couldn’t sleep, so he decided to chat, but it has been 15 minutes since he last sent a message, and the other person hasn’t replied yet. 

Mr. Sun

😠 Why must you keep on assuming things?-

I’m part of the swimming team, you know!

Seen

02:18 AM

I’m sorry for sending the angry emoji and-

acting close to you. I didn’t mean anything by it.

I’m not really angry.

-....

-Team?

???!!!-

How did you know my name?-

-I miss you, too, my sunflower.

…-

Umm? Mister, why are you calling me your sunflower?-

😕 -


“The wings on your back looked like it would unfurl any moment, Hia. You looked like you were flying whenever you entered the water. It looks so cool!”

When Mr. Sunflower said that he’s part of the swimming team, Win went back to the last letter and re-read its content. He remembered when Team said those similar words to him. They were lying in his bed after sex, and Team was tracing the tattoo on his back. He was so aroused that he pounced on top of the younger boy and gave him a deep kiss. He was lost in thought while reminiscing about that night when Mr. Sunflower sent him another message. He couldn’t contain his happiness when he confirmed that it was Team on the other side. He quickly sent a message saying that he missed him, too. He was about to reveal that it’s him Team was talking to but remembered what happened last night. He hesitated.

Mr. Sunflower

07:35 PM

It’s nothing. It’s just that I found out I’m actually-

the fan between the two of us. Hello, Team! I’ve

been your fan since I saw you swim during your

tryouts. I’m an alumna, so I was your senior. 😊

-Oh? Is that so? Thank you for supporting me

and the group! Everyone is doing great. We have

hardworking members this year. Our line-up is strong.

I hope you can come to watch us compete next time!

I’ll try to be there, but I can’t promise that I will be!-

Go to sleep now, Mr. Sunflower! It’s nearly 3 AM!-

Get some rest!

-I will! Nice talking to you.

Good night!

                                     👍


A week of exchange messages with Team made Win’s holiday better. He felt guilty about many things, but he would do anything just to talk to his beloved again - to know his thoughts and his days; to know that he’s doing well even if he’s not by his side anymore.

Team also enjoyed their conversation. After a few times where Mr. Sun has corrected his grammars and sentences, they spend almost every day just talking about random stuff. For some reason that he couldn’t describe, he felt comfortable when he’s talking to Mr. Sun. It’s like he can say anything, and the other person will get what he meant and will support him. He decided that signing up for the Secret Holiday Pen Pal is the best decision he has made in a while.

Mr. Sun

Monday 03:11 PM

Good morning, Mr. Sun! How are you?-

-Good morning! ☀️ I’m doing particularly well

today. 😊

That’s great! So… The program is ending this week.-

Classes start next week, you see.

-Oh. That’s… Can’t we keep messaging each other

like this even if the program ended?

I think it’s fine. But I got an email from the organizer.-

They said that if we want to keep our new friends, we 

should exchange actual contact information. They’re

going to delete the accounts under this project for

next year. 

-I didn’t know that. 😔

It’s okay! You can just give me your Line ID, and I’ll- 

follow you. My ID is CantLiveWithoutLays

-So predictable.

?-

-It’s nothing. I just need to make a Line Account.

I’ll send you the details later.

👍 -

Umm... Mr. Sun, I’m wondering if… - 

 -What is it?

Participants have the chance to meet this Friday-

during an online party. It’s a Meet and Greet! To

get to know our new friends. I’m just wondering if

you’re attending?

-... .... 

-I’m not sure yet. But you can attend if you would

like. See who else participated.

Oh. Okay. Talk to you later, Mr. Sun.-

-Of course.

                  Seen


Win sighed. He logged out of his Line account and was about to make another one. He gripped his phone. Should I tell him the truth, instead?

My Sunflower

Tuesday 10:23 AM

-Hey! I’m just wondering what’s your Line ID is!

You haven’t sent me an invitation yet.

Wednesday 07:00 PM

-I was busy today. I’m trying to finalize my subjects for

next semester.

-Did you know that it’s my last?!

11:09 PM

-Hi! Are you okay?

Thursday 04:27 PM

-HI! I’m not sure what happened. Did I do 

something wrong?

-I hope I’ll meet you tomorrow.

-If you’re having a hard time making a Line 

account, here is my number: XXXXXXXXX

-Nevermind. International call is costly. I hope

nothing happened to you.


Team was about to sleep when he heard his phone ring. He saw that the number was unknown, so he didn’t answer. When it rang again, he suddenly felt tense. He remembered that he gave his number to Mr. Sun. He answered the call on the third ring. “Hello?” He heard someone breathing on the other side. “Um, Mr. Sun?”

Win let out a sigh. It’s been so long since he last heard Team’s voice. He wanted to cry. “Hi,” he whispered. 

Team sat up- suddenly alert. “Mr. Sun! You called! Where were you these past few days? Are you okay?”

“I miss you, Team.”

Team paused. He knew that voice. It was his lullaby whenever he couldn’t sleep for almost three years. It was his music as he fell apart on the edge of ecstasy whenever his Hia made love to him. It was the peace he felt whenever Win hugged him. “Hia?” his voice came out in a shudder. He ended the call.

After a second, his phone rang again. He stared as it rings a couple of times before stopping. Then it began again. He covered his mouth with his trembling hands and closed his eyes shut. Tears wetted his cheeks. He reached for the phone and answered. “Hia?”

“Hi, Team.” Win was relieved.

“Hia~” Team sobbed.

“It’s okay, baby. I’m here.” Win whispered sweet words as he tried to stop Team from crying. His heart was hurting whenever a sob came out of Team. 

“I’m sorry.” Team sobbed. He curled on his bed. “It was lonely without you.”

Win smiled. “Do you want to video chat?” When Team sent his affirmation, he said, “I’ll drop the call then. Make sure to answer.”

“Okay.”

Win hurriedly sent a video call to Team, and the other accepted right away. “There you are.”

Team gave a wobbly smile. He sniffed. “Hello.”

“How are you, Team?”

“I’m good.”

“Yeah? I heard from a little bird that you’ve been missing me.” Win teased. His smile widened when Team giggled.

“Of course, you’ll know. I can’t believe you’re Mr. Sun all along.” Team sobered. “I’m really sorry about what I did, Hia. I’m sorry for hurting you.”

“What happened, Team?” Win asked. “Why did you run away?”

“Because I’m a coward, Hia.” Team said sadly. “I… My mom made me promise not to fall in love. And I don’t like how I’m the reason why your family reunion was… I don’t like how I destroyed it for you. I was scared…”

“So, in the end, you did.” Win sighed. He watched as Team nodded his head. “I told you before. You can be afraid of anything. I will be right beside you, but you cannot be afraid of me. My feelings for you… be brave about it.”

Team shook his head in denial. “No, Hia! I was never afraid of your feelings. I was scared of mine. It turns out freedom is nothing but missing you. I thought I'd be done being scared when I let you go, but I just wanted to go back to last December and changed everything. I wanted to reach out, but I was ashamed.”

“I understand.” Win said. “You took the time off to find yourself. Were you able to, Team?” “I hope you can find whatever you’re looking for.” Madison’s words echoed Win’s mind.

Fresh tears flowed down Team’s cheeks. “I realized I found myself when I had you.”

Win stared at Team. “Baby, I have a confession to make.” He took a deep breath. “I had sex.” He swallowed. “I had sex with a girl named Madison on Christmas day.”

Team was shocked. He can only utter a weak “Oh.”

“I’m sorry, baby.”

Team shook his head. “There’s no need to apologize, Hia. We’re not together anymore. Of course, you’ll find someone else. You’re-”

“I wanted her to be you.” When Team just stared at him, Win continued. “She didn’t stay the night. It was just one time. I never saw her again. I was thinking about you when I took her. Before she left, she told me that she hoped I’ll find what I’m looking for. The next day, I found out that Mr. Sunflower is you, and I was so guilty about not telling you that Mr. Sun is me. I don’t know how to tell you, so I haven’t been answering your messages. I’m sorry.”

They were silent for a long time.

“So did you find what you’re looking for?” Team asked slowly.

Win smiled. “I did. I found you.”

“Hia. Can we start over? Can we be together one more time?”

“You want me back? You’re not disgusted by what I did?”

“Of course, I’m sad, but I don’t have any rights. And, I would like to thank her for being there with you.” Team smiled gently. “Hia, let me woo you this time?”

Win laughed. “Okay, Mr. Sunflower.”

Chapter Text

“Even though I placed second during the competition, I’m not satisfied with my time. There was 2 seconds difference from my time while I was practicing. It’s not a good sign.” Team complained.

“Were you unable to sleep the night before?” Win worried. 

“I did! I heard you breathing in my ear before I fell asleep,” Team said. “It’s a nice substitute for your hugs.”

“I’m not sure what happened because I was unable to watch you live, but see if your coach got you on camera. Send me a copy, and I’ll look it up for you, okay?”

“Okay.” Team answered. “So, how was your day, Hia?”

“Hmmm.” Win scratched his head and shifted in his chair. “I still have a lot of reports to write. Sometimes, I don’t think that signing up for the Winter Intersession was a good idea.”

“You could’ve just come home for Christmas instead.” Team pouted. He watched as Win looked up from what he was reading to stare at him through the phone.

“I want to get my Master’s fast, so I can come home to you earlier. You know that.”

“But you didn’t come home during the summer. I missed you.”

“I’m really sorry, baby. I was only able to get 3 days off for your graduation before coming back here.” Win abandoned his papers. He took his phone and walked to the bed. “How was your summer with your family?”

“It went okay, surprisingly. My dad went on a sermon on how I should use what I learned instead of becoming a professional swimmer, but by then, he was too late. I already signed up with the team. My step-mother was very supporting though.”

“I’m glad you and your step-mom are okay now.” 

“It was just me who was stubborn. I grew up thinking that it’s her fault why my dad left us. After you gave me a second chance, I changed my perspective on things.” Team smiled. “It turns out that she genuinely wanted to connect with me. I chose to ignore her efforts instead.”

“Well, you have the time now. Your team was given the holidays off, right? Why don’t you visit them again?”

Team snorted. “My relationship with M-mom- gosh, still weird to call her that- might be mending, but I don’t have a good relationship with my siblings. Once a year is enough for me. I don’t want to overstay my welcome.”

“Oh, Team…” Win frowned.

Team laughed. “It’s fine, Hia! I’ll be at my apartment eating my dinner and chatting with you. My holiday is already complete. Besides, Pharm invited me to their Christmas party.”

“Hmmm…”

“I’ll be fine, Hia! I’m hanging up the call. Make sure you finish your reports na~” Team said. “I love you!”

“I love you, too.”


Win looked at his phone. Dean mentioned to him that their family was hosting a Christmas Party this year, but he knew that it’s before the actual Christmas day. He was scrolling through his Contacts when he reached the very end. He tapped on Wan’s number before he could stop himself.

“Hello?”

Win smiled. For his Hia Wan, Win was a very independent child. Except for special occasions, Win rarely calls or asks for anything, so Wan will always answer whenever he did. “Hello, Hia. Where is the family hosting Christmas dinner this year?”

“Hello to you, too.” Wan shook his head. “You rascal! Are you coming home?”

“Just answer the question, Hia!”

“It would be the same as last year,” Wan said.

“... Visit Grandma and Grandpa on the twenty-fourth, and dinner at our house on the twenty-fifth?” Win clarified.

“Yes.”

“What did Grandma say when Mom and Dad decided not to join last year?” 

Wan sighed. “They said that they understand. The other relatives were angry that the family was breaking tradition though.”

Win snorted. “It was their fault in the first place!” He gritted his teeth.

“Well, they don’t see it that way.” Wan rolled his eyes. “Let’s just forget about them. Tell me the real reason why you called?

“I’m wondering if Team can spend the holidays with the family. He’s alone at his apartment, and I don’t want that for him.”

“I can fetch him after work if you want.”

“No! Just come pick him up on the twenty-fifth. I still need to tell him about it.”

“Sure.”

“Hia? If he refused, please convince him for me?”

Wan paused and smiled. It seems that his little brother is really in love. “I will.”


Five days later… 

A knock on his door woke Team up. He groaned and turned on his bed. He saw the small hand of his clock pointing at number seven when he glanced at his alarm clock. Who could be so early in the morning? He got up and opened his door. “Hi- P’Wan! What are you doing here?”

“Don’t tell me he told you to call me Phi instead of Hia?” Wan asked.

“W-What? What’s happening?”

Wan took in the messy hair and dried drool on the side of Team’s mouth. “He didn’t tell you anything.”

Team scratched his head. “Umm? Do you want to come in?” He got out of the way and let Wan come in. When he did, he closed the door. “What are you doing here, Phi?”

“Win said I should fetch you today. You’ll remain with our family for the rest of your holiday.” Wan answered as he looked around the room. A simple sofa by the window, a bookcase on the corner full of picture frames instead of books, and potted cacti. The most eye-catching was a large picture of the younger boy in his graduation regalia, laughing and hugging his brother, Win, hanging on the wall. 

“He didn’t tell me anything!” Team screeched. “What was he thinking?”

Wan looked at him and sat on the sofa. “He told me that you’re celebrating Christmas alone and asked me if you could come to the family dinner. And spend your holiday with us. I said yes.” Team stared at him. “Well? What are you doing still? Go take a shower and pack a bag. I’ll wait here  for you.”

Team didn’t know what’s happening, but he took a shower and packed a bag. The next thing he knew was he was seating on Wan’s passenger seat. “Uh, P’Wan?”

“Yes?” Wan stopped at the red light.

“Uh. How are grandma and grandpa doing? And Mr. and Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul? And V-View?”

Wan let go of the brake. “Grandma and grandpa are doing well. We visited them yesterday. As for Mom and Dad, they’ll be sad if you called them that. Just call them Mae and Por. They don’t mind. View’s a senior in high school now, so he’s been busy preparing for entrance exams.”

“Y-yesterday?” Team asked confusedly. “We’re not going to the ancestral house?”

“Do you expect me to drive that far?” He glanced.

Team fidgeted. “I don’t, but… it’s a family tradition.” He whispered. 

“Well, our family hasn’t followed that tradition since you and Win left the house in the middle of the night two years ago.”

Team bowed his head. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s not your fault.” Wan laughed. “Grandma moved the family dinner on Christmas Eve last year. She said it’s time for a new tradition.”

“Then where are we going, Phi?”

Wan smiled at him before focusing his attention on the road. “You’ll see where Win grew up. Mom can’t wait to show you his baby pictures.”

Team relaxed. “I can’t wait to see them, too, Phi.”

After escaping the traffic in the city, the drive was so much faster. Wan’s car entered what seemed like a private subdivision. Team stared at the houses they passed by and was jolted out of his wonder when Wan parked his car. 

“We’re here.” Wan stepped out of the car and waited for Team.

Team got out slowly and stared at the house in front of him. It’s smaller than the Wanichakarnjonkul Ancestral House but is so much bigger than any house Team has ever lived in. It’s a three-story mansion.

“Don’t be intimidated. Everyone living here are normal people.” Wan said and strode towards the front door. Team followed him, still in awe.

A man in casual clothes opened the door for them. “Sir, I’ll transfer your car to the garage.” Wan gave him the car key.

“Definitely not a normal household.” Team whispered to himself. He gripped his bag’s strapped tighter.

Wan turned to him. “Did you say something?” Team shook his head. “Follow me. I’ll show you the room you’re staying in.”

They walked the flight of stairs until they reached the third floor. “The second floor has guest rooms, game room, and the theatre. The third floor is for the family. And this will be your room.” Wan opened the door and guided Team in. “Bathroom is through that door. Get some rest. Mom and Dad will be home for dinner.”

“T-Thank you.” Team looked around the room. Posters of motorcycles and swimmers dominated one part of the wall. A shelf of English books decorated the other. A colossal TV was mounted on the wall opposite the bed. A cool sound system was set up underneath it. Team took a deep breath and placed his bag on the floor next to the bed. He sat down, and his gaze caught the frame on the bedside table. He reached for it and gasped. It was a photo of him- candid and was taken without him knowing. Only his side profile can be seen, and his mouth was open. A chopstick with sushi was ready to enter his mouth. “First date as a couple…” 

He looked around once more and concluded. “This is Hia’s bedroom!” He got up to explore the place.


Team just got out of the bathroom when the door opened. View came in. “Hia’Team! You’re here!”

“N’View! You grew up!” Team opened his arms. View embraced him. “You’re so tall now.”

“Yeah! I’ll be taller than you, soon!” He laughed. “You didn’t keep in contact with me.” View pouted as he released Team.

“I’m sorry, Nong.” Team regretted a lot of things, and one of them was ignoring View’s messages to him when he broke up with Win. He became busy with his last semester and trying to be part of his new swim team that he kept on forgetting to message View. Another thing to change about myself .

“I’m the one who’s sorry, Hia. I’m sorry about how my family treated you.”

“You don’t have to worry about those things, N’View.” He ruffled the younger’s hair. “I heard from P’Wan that you’re taking entrance exams this year. Have you decided what course you’re taking?” He changed the subject.

“Not sure yet. But I want to go to your university, Hia!” View beamed. “Let’s go watch a movie before dinner!” He invited.

Team laughed. “Sure.” He followed View out of the room and down the stairs. “What would you like to watch? We have Blu-rays and DVDs, but we could also watch on Netflix. We also have Hulu and Disney+, if you like.”

“You can pick the movie, N’View.”

View stopped and looked at him. “Hia’s afraid of ghost… but I love them. Do you want to watch horror with me?”

Team’s eyes sparkled. “I love them, too.” They continued towards the theatre. “Hia would cling to me whenever we watched one before.”

View giggled. “You can sit anywhere.” He used the remote the operate the huge television in front of them. “Hia said he’s not afraid of them. He just hated how unscientific they are.”

Team took in the aptly named theatre. A huge monitor occupied one of the walls. There were speakers attached to the ceilings near the four corners of the room. Two Red Velvet Lexington Chaise Lounger face the monitor. He sat on one of the sofas and promptly sank on its comfort. It was heavenly. On one side of the room are cabinets and a sink. There are a microwave and a rack of wine. 

“The cabinets have blankets and comforters in them if you want. The smaller cabinets on top of the sink have microwavable popcorns with different flavors.” View said when he noticed where Team’s eyes were. “If you want soft drinks instead of wine, there’s a small refrigerator on the cabinet below the sink.”

Team looked. “Oh. It’s okay. I’m good for now.” He smiled. “So, what are we watching?”

“I chose Pee Mak na.” View looked at him guiltily. “In truth, one of my English homework is to watch a movie and write about it. Analyses or something.”

Team laughed. “It’s fine. Pee Mak is a great movie.”

View settled next to him and hugged him. “I’m so glad you’re back with Hia.”

“I am, too. Thank you for being good to me, N’View.”


They were in the middle of the movie when someone knocked on the door. View reached for the remote control and stopped the movie from playing. Both of them turned at the sound of the knob turning. Team stood up suddenly when he saw Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul peeked in.

“H-hello, M-ma’am.” Team shuffled his feet.

“Team, please call Mae,” Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul hugged Team. She let go and looked him up and down. “Look at you! You’ve grown so well and so handsome! I heard you got into a national swimming team!”

Team blushed. “Yes. I, I did.” He grinned shyly.

“Were you helping View with his English homework?” She asked gently, glancing at the monitor.

Team was shocked. He didn’t think that she’ll be this involved with her sons’ studies. Well, all of them were smart. “I’m just here to keep him company, Mae. Nong, will have to work on the analyses himself. I’m afraid I can’t help him. English was my weakness when I was still studying.” Team replied.

Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul laughed. “That’s fine. Continue watching. One of the helpers will call you when dinner is ready. Merry Christmas, Team.”

“Merry Christmas, Mae.” Team and View watched as she walked out and closed the door. Team glanced at View. “I guess we should continue.” He sat back down and leaned on the backrest.

View nodded and pressed start. He also resumed hugging Team. “Mae really like you for Hia, you know?” He whispered. 

Team was slightly doubtful but nodded. “I guess so,” he whispered back. 

An hour later, a helper knocked on the door informing them that the dinner was laid out. View turned off the monitor, and they followed her downstairs. When they got to the dining room, no one was there yet. View sat on one of the chairs and motioned for him to sit on the one next to him. Team sat.

He was amazed by the variety of cuisine placed on the table. There are mango and sticky rice, made with fresh coconut cream, a pork belly braised in 5 spice broth with soft-cooked egg and fried tofu, and a salt crust fish stuffed with lemongrass and served with dipping sauce. There were Western dishes like mashed potato, ham, and pumpkin pie, too.

He looked at the entrance when he heard someone approaching. Wan trudged in.

“Oh, you’re both here already.” He took a sit on the chair opposite View’s. “Where’s mom and dad?”

“We’re here.” Mr. and Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul entered. Team stood up from his seat. “You don’t need to stand up, Team.” The couple sat down on their respective chairs. “Come on, sit down.” Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul motioned.

Team nodded. “Hello, Mr. Wanichakarnjonkul. H-how are you?”

Mr. Wanichakarnjonkul looked at his wife. “I thought you said that Team calls you Mae already? Why is he not calling me Por?” He looked back at Team and saw him panicking. “I’m just teasing you.” He laughed. “Let’s start eating!”

Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul reached over and started serving them food. Team just looked on and saw them piled up his plate. She smiled at him and whispered to him to start eating. He nodded his head and did. 

“How’s your time with your teammates, Team? How’s the practice?”

Team swallowed. “It’s harder than in a university, but there’re some improvements in my movements. My teammates were also welcoming.”

“That’s great! So when is your next competition?”

“It was too late for me to join the Olympics last year. Hopefully, I can join the one in 2020, if no problem will arise. My next competition is next March. I’m not sure when’s the exact date yet. I, I hope you can come. If you have time, that is.” Team answered.

“How are you and Win?” Everyone turned to look at him.

Team smiled at them shyly. “Our relationship is much better than before. We learned to communicate properly now.” He grinned. “Although he should have told me that I”m supposed to spend Christmas with you, so I could’ve prepared a gift!”

They laughed. “Ah. That boy, really. He must not have known how to tell you! I’m so glad that you gave him a second chance, N’Team.” Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul said. “That’s the best gift you’ve given this family.”

Team shook his head. “I’m the lucky one. I’m doing my best to love him much better. I promised to hold him forever and never let go.” A blush dusted his cheeks. He looked down at his food and put some in his mouth.

Wan gagged. Mr. and Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul looked at each other and smiled. As she giggled, MR. Wanichakarnjonkul looked at him. “Don’t break his heart again, Team.”

Team smiled. “I won’t.” He said with confidence.


“Here, this was when Win first got into a swimming pool. He was around 11 months when it happened.” Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul recounted as she pointed at a picture of a cute baby Win with arm floaties on. “He loved the water ever since. We needed to install a gate around the pool because he’ll surely dive into the water. We hired an instructor early on, so he’ll learn how to swim properly and not drown.”

Team traced the picture. “So cute.”

“How about you, Team?” She asked. “When did you learn how to swim?”

“I learned how to swim when I was eight years old. I visited my grandmother and someone taught me how to swim. I loved it too much… that I nearly drowned.”

She patted his back. “That must have been traumatic for you. But I’m glad that you were brave enough to pursue your dreams, N’Team.”

Brave enough . Mae and Hia are the same. “I actually have nightmares about the drowning until now. Hia helped me sleep.” Team blushed. Too much information .

“Aiya! You don’t need to be shy.” Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul laughed. “Based on my son’s history, I”m pretty sure something happened between you, too already.”

Team’s blush deepened. 

“Oh! It’s quite late already.” She put the album aside and took Team’s hands between hers. “Why don’t you go to sleep? I’ll bring you to the mall tomorrow. Let me dress you up, yes?”

Team nodded. The two of them walked up to the third floor. “Good night, Mae.”

“Good night, Team.”

They entered their respective rooms.

Team searched for his phone right away. He saw that it only has 25% battery life left. Win’s phone call notifications dotted his screen. He tapped on one and dialed the number. Win responded right away. “Hia! You crazy person! You didn’t give me any warning!”

“Hia’Wan said that you and my mom enjoyed looking at my baby pictures.” 

“Don’t change the subject, Hia!” Team sat down on the bed.

On the other side, Win sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I just didn’t know how to. And I”m not sure you’ll agree, so…” 

“Hia, these kinds of things, we agreed to talk about them, right? No more assumptions. No more surprises?”

“We did. I’m really sorry, Team. I promise to do better.”

“We’re good.” Team smiled. “Thank you for today, Hia. I love you. Merry Christmas.”

“I love you, too.” Win smiled. “Merry Christmas, Team.”

Team snuggled up in Win’s bed and closed his eyes. “Good night.”

Chapter Text

Team took out his suitcase from the cab‘s trunk and closed it. He watched as it drove away. He turned to look at the building in front of him and down to his phone’s Notes. When he was sure that he’s in the right place, he strode towards the entrance. The guard stopped him from entering. 

“Sir, I’m sorry, but only the students and their escorted guests can come inside.”

Team looked at him. “I’m sorry, Sir. I don’t understand.”

“Outsiders can’t come in.” The guard said forcefully.

“Um, I looking for student here. Name is Win.” Team tried to explain.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t think I know someone like that. Please go.” The guard motioned for him to go.

“Um. I, please call him. Tell Team is here.”

“Please, Sir.”

Team bit his lips. He turned his back on the building and walked away. He paused and shivered. He doesn’t know whether he should call Win or not. It’s supposed to be a surprise . He looked up when he felt something drop on his head. Snow! It’s his first snow. He stood there and closed his eyes, trying to enjoy the feeling of snowflakes kissing his cheeks.  A shout snapped him out. Team turned towards the owner of the voice.

“Hia!” He let go of his suitcase and ran towards Win. But the wet pavement made him slip. His world tilted, and he couldn’t even shout from the shock.

Win automatically moved and caught him. He hugged the body closed to his chest and panted. His heart felt like it would give out. The adrenaline had him close his eyes for a bit. “Are you okay?”

Team laid limply in the arms of the person hugging him. His strength left him from his fall. He slowly brought his arms around Win’s shoulder.

“Is everyone okay, Sir?” The guard who witnessed everything stopped by their side.

Win looked up. He righted himself, taking Team with him. “We’re good. Thank you.”

  The guard nodded and went back to his post.

"Team, let’s get your bag and settle in my room, okay?” He gently whispered against the younger man’s hair.

Team nodded and let go. “Okay.” The two of them got the suitcase and walked towards the dorm. The security guard nodded at Team, which he returned with a small smile.

Win guided him to the elevator, where he once again hugged Team. “How were you here?”

“To surprise you,” Team murmured.

“Well consider me surprised.” Win snaked his arm around Team’s waist and pulled the luggage. They got out of the elevator and walked towards the end of the hallway where Win’s room is. 

When the door closed behind them, Win let go of the suitcase and pushed Team until his back was leaning on it. The kiss he gave the younger man was full of longing and desperation. Team fought back. His kisses brought fervent love and hope. They were panting when Win let themselves breathe. “Hello, Nong.” He rested his forehead on the other. “I missed you.”

“Mmm. Miss Hia, too.”

“You’re wet. Why don’t you take a shower? I’ll make a hot choco for you.” Win said. “The bathroom is over there.”

“Okay, Hia!” But Team didn’t move. He still held Win close to him. “Shower with me?”

Win’s eyes lit up with need and want. He lifted Team, and the younger man hugged his waist with his legs, fully trusting that his Hia would support him. Win carried him to the bathroom, exchanging kisses on the way. When they were inside, he squeezed Team’s round ass, signaling that he needed to let go. Without releasing the Team’s lips, Win began to undress him, dropping articles of clothing one by one on the bathroom floor without any care. 

Win unbuttoned Team’s pants and pulled the zipper down. He hooked his thumb on them and trailed kisses from Team’s mouth down to his chin and throat, down to his chest, and to his abdomen. Team helped him take off the pants by lifting his legs out of it. Win looked up at Team and saw the younger looking at him with hooded eyes. He changed the direction of his gaze down to the bulk hidden by a boxer brief.

Team shivered when he felt Win’s breath moistened over his arousal. He moaned when Win kissed him through the underwear, the kisses were hot and gentle - as though asking for permission. He gripped the older’s hair, and that’s all Win was waiting for. He opened his mouth and wetted the bulge with his saliva. “Hia~ nngh…” Team thrust his hips forward. “Hia~ wait…” He panted. “Please wait.”

Win let go of his hold on the Team’s hips. He slowly stood up. “What is it, Team?” He whispered hotly

“Shower.” 

Win chuckled and left the boy in front of the sink. Team leaned on it and panted. He turned around and saw Win testing the temperature of the shower. Win noticed him and smiled. “There’s a lot of us here, so sometimes we run out of hot showers. How are you, Team?” Win asked as though he wasn’t about to make him come earlier. 

Team pouted. “I would feel better if I’m not the only one naked, Hia.” Team moved closer and started taking off Win’s clothes. “Did you lose weight?” He gripped Win’s upper arm. “I felt like you lose weight.”

Win took off his own pants. “I didn’t, you just gained more muscles since the last time I saw you.” He looked at Team’s abs and down his strong thighs before bringing his eyes up to his face. “You look beautiful, Team.”

Team blushed. “Stop it!” He pushed Win to the shower stall. “Can we just take a shower? I”m so tired from my flight… I just want to snuggle up with you in bed.” 

“Are you sure that’s the only thing you came to England for?” Win teased, but he stepped into the shower. 

“Hia!” Team followed him. The door to the stall closed behind him. He stared at the eyes full of unbridled lust for him. He hooked his arms around Win’s shoulders, his hands clasping behind the other’s nape. “I love you, Hia.” He pulled Win’s head down and gave him a kiss. The music of making love filled the small space for a while.


Team’s head nestled on Win’s firm chest, his right arm was slung over the body next to him. Win, on the other hand, was playing with Team’s hair. The comforter and their body heats were keeping them warm from the cold December evening. “Did you like my surprise?”

“Best surprise ever,” Win murmured. “Until how long will you be here?”

“I have ten days with you, Hia.” He looked up and their eyes met. “I’m spending Christmas with you.”

Win made a face. “I might not be able to spend every day with you. I signed up for another Winter Intersession classes.”

“And that’s the reason why I visited you, instead.” Team smiled. “It’s okay, Hia. I’ll stay here in your room and wait for you. You can bring me around when you have the time.”

Win hugged Team. “Thank you for understanding.”

“No problem. You’re graduating soon. Next December, right?” he asked for reaffirmation. “I’m so proud of you, Hia.”

“Hmm… I’ll be spending the rest of my life with you soon.”

“Is that a proposal?” 

Win chuckled. “Not yet. You need to wait~”

“No problem. I’ll just propose to you first.”

“Is that a challenge?” Win’s finger caressed Team’s back.

“What do you think?” Team teased, but Win has already attacked his sides with his adept fingers.

Giggles filled the night.

Chapter Text

The humid air slapped Win on the face when he stepped out of the automatic glass door of the airport. He made a face and took off his jacket, hanging it on his suitcase’s handle. He walked sedately, searching for his brother in the crowd of overzealous family members picking up their relatives from abroad. He saw his brother leaning against a beam, looking expensive and out of place with his suit and black shoes. He’s the only one who looked calm in the chaos.

Win walked closer and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hia.”

Wan turned and saw Win’s frowning face. “You’re here. Let’s go. I parked in the parking structure, and it’s a long walk from here.” Wan started walking, so Win doesn’t have any choice but to follow. “How was the flight?”

“Long. But it was comfortable,” Win answered. “Why are you so dressed up?”

“I came straight from a meeting.”

“Oh.” 

They arrived at Wan’s car, and Win lifted his luggage at the trunk before sitting in the passenger seat. When he was settled, Wan drove the car out of the parking structure, stopping at the exit to pay for the parking ticket. They entered the city streets. Win watched the scenery as they passed by. 

“Does Team know that you’re arriving today?”

“I’m planning to surprise him.” Win answered.

“So, I should deliver you straight to him, I guess…” Wan muttered. He turned the steering wheel and changed directions. “You should have told me.”

“Where are we going?” Win asked. “This is not the road to Team’s apartment. Did he change his address?”

Wan glanced at his brother. “I can see that you’re tired from your flight. Why don’t you sleep it off? I promise I’ll bring you to N’Team.”

“Uhh…” Win frowned. He wanted to protest, but he’s sleepy. “Okay.” He closed his eyes.

An hour later, Wan parked his car outside a building with an indoor swimming pool. He shook Win awake. “Win. Win, we’re here.”

Win shook his sleepiness away. He looked outside the car. “Where are we?”

“Team’s practice.” 

Win perked up. He got out of the car and approached the entrance. He stopped when he didn’t sense his brother following him. “You’re not coming?”

“It’s fine. I’ll drop your luggage at N’Team’s apartment. Just claim it with their receptionist… Get a ride with N’Team instead. Make sure to visit our house tomorrow.” 

“Sure, Hia. Thank you!”

Wan nodded. “Bye,” He reversed his car, and Win watched until the car's tail end disappeared from his sight. 

Win walked to the entrance and peeked in. Swimmers were practicing, the sound of people entering the water, and the shrill noise from the whistle filled the place. A coach was telling his team to “swim faster.” Win looked for the familiar figure of his lover and saw him swimming on the second lane, way ahead of his peers. He sat on one of the benches and observed for a while. He couldn’t help but clap when Team finished his required laps and hauled himself out of the water. He saw the younger boy take off his swimming cap and goggles, his breathing was steady as he talked to his coach.

Team was listening to his coach’s suggestions regarding his strokes when he felt a pair of eyes on him. He lifted his gaze, and his eyes met Win’s. He brightened, completely forgetting about his coach, who was now praising the improvement to his laps. “Hia!” His voice echoed in the building, but he couldn’t care one bit. “Excuse me,” he said to his coach and walked rapidly towards Win.

Win welcomed him with a hug. “You did great!”

“Forget about that!” Team dismissed. “You’re here, Hia!” He tried to kiss Win, but it was foiled. He pouted.

“Don’t pout at me. Your team members are done, and they’re all looking here,” Win said.

Team looked back and confirmed Win’s words. He blushed hard. He hid his face on Win’s chest. He lightly punched Win when he felt him laugh.

“Mr. Win Phawin Wanichakarnjonkul.” The coach approached the two. “So, it’s you.”

Team let go of Win and stood on his side. Win’s left arm was still around him. Win presented his right hand in front of him and reached out for the coach’s hand. “Sir, we met again.”

The coach shook his hand. “Hmmm… it’s been years since you graduated. How’s your form? Do you still swim?”

“I still do, but not competitively,” Win replied.

“That’s a shame. You were such a great swimmer. You and Dean.” He turned to the other swimmers. “That’s all for today. Go home and enjoy the holiday. Make sure you still do your exercise. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, coach.” A resounding reply came from the swimmers. One by one, they walked towards the locker, glancing now and then to see their mysterious guest.

“Now, Team, why don’t you go change your clothes. Mr. Phawin and I will wait for you here.”

Team looked at Win before he nodded. He followed his teammates to the locker room. Once he entered, everyone flocked around him, asking questions about Win.

“Who was that?”

“How did the coach know of him?”

“Is he a swimmer, too?”

“Is he your friend? Your boyfriend?”

“Ai! Guys! Stop na. Let me go change first before I answer your questions.” Team grabbed his towel and escaped to the shower stalls. When he got out, he saw his teammates already dressed and waiting for his answers. He sighed. “His name is Win, and he was my senior at the university.”

“Win? You mean Phawin Wanichakarnjonkul?”

“Uhhh…” Team scratched his head and nodded.

“That’s so cool! I didn’t recognize him with his black hair. He looked more mature than before!”

“What? You guys know him?

“Who doesn’t?”

Team took that opportunity to get his things from his locker and escape. He met his coach and Win by the pool. The two stood up from the bench they were seating on when they saw him approached. 

“I didn’t know that you two were dating each other,” his coach commented. Team smiled. He didn’t know what to say. “Okay, I think I get it now. Both of you can go. Win, take care of this boy here, okay? Don’t tire him too much.”

Team blushed as Win laughed. “I won’t, Coach. I promise.”

“Go!” The coach watched as the two left the building. He shook his head. “A~ young love.” He turned and saw his other swimmers. “What are you guys standing there for? Do you not want to start your holiday?”

“We do! Goodbye, Coach. Merry Christmas!” They hurried out of the building


“Have you been to Mae’s house yet?” Team was driving, but he doesn’t know where to. Usually, he just goes straight back to his apartment after practice. 

“No.”

“Then we should visit them first. Mae and Por might not be at home, but View should be.” 

“Why don’t we go to your apartment instead? We can visit them tomorrow.” Win frowned.

“No can do. You need to spend time with your family first, mister.” Team teased. Win grumbled. “I know you want to have me by yourself, but you need to at least show your face to your parents.” He patted Win’s knee and then ran his palm up and down his thighs. Stopping just before the older’s groin. “And then we can spend my holiday together.”

Win covered his hand. “Promise?”

“Promise.” Team drove towards the Wanichakarnjonkul mansion.


View looked up from his game when the front door opened. He saw Team came in, followed by his brother. He blinked. “I knew Hia’Team will convince Hia to come home today! I’ll be getting money to buy a new game from Hia’Wan.”

“You bet on us, kid?” Win ruffled his brother’s hair and hugged him. “I missed you.”

“I miss you, too, Hia!” View returned the hug.

“Are you the only one at home right now?” Win let go of him and looked up the stairs.

View went to Team and hugged him before answering the question. Team returned the hug. “Yeah. Mom said she’ll be home tonight, but Dad needed to fly to Hong Kong last minute for a business meeting.”

Win turned to him and made a face. “Okay, stop hugging my boyfriend and sit.”

View relented. He tugged Team and motioned for him to sit beside him. 

“How were your classes?”

“Too much homework. Let’s just say that I”m glad I have at least a month of free time!” View replied.

“Just don’t be complacent and still read your books when you have time.”

“Only you do that, Hia. Right, Hia’Team?” View asked cheekily and snuggled up on Team's side.

“Stop doing that! You’re already twenty years old!” Win scolded.

“I’m still the baby of the family!”


Later that night, after a nice dinner with Win’s mom and brothers, the couple went back to Team’s apartment. After fetching Win’s luggage at the reception desk, they went to Team’s residence and promptly collapsed on the bed. They took each other’s clothes off, so they’ll be more comfortable.

“No matter how much I want to bury myself inside you, we’re both exhausted. Sleep, Team.” Win said. 

Team groaned his yes and hugged Win close.

“I love you, Team. See you in the morning.”


Team woke up the next morning and smiled when Win’s sleeping face greeted him. He stared at him and memorized all the curves and arches. He tried to count every freckle and eyelashes until he couldn’t help himself but reach out and touched the apex of Win’s nose. He lifted his finger and traced the bridge and watched as Win slowly opened his eyes. They stared at each other until he shifted his gaze on the plump lips before him. Team’s morning greet was lost amongst the moans that followed. What a nice morning greeting...

Chapter Text

The Wanichakarnjonkul mansion was decorated accordingly. A giant Christmas tree was erected in the corner of the living room, heavy with ornaments. Stockings and Christmas Wreaths hanged on the walls. Garlands wrapped itself on the banister of the stairs. Potted poinsettias were placed by the entrance. The house was lined with Christmas lights that blink and change to different colors now and then. On the front yard were fake snow and reindeer statues in the middle of prance.

Inside the house, the Wanichakarnjonkuls were wearing their expensive suits and gown. Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul looked fantastic in her Valentino Red Georgette Dress. The silk reflects the light coming from the chandelier, the V-neck was low enough to show some cleavage, and the waist tie details created an illusion of a small waist. She looked stunning. The men didn’t disappoint with their matching Armani suits and red diamond silk ties. They’re expensive, and their guests can’t help but stare.

Such was the case with Team’s family members who were currently sitting on the sofa. They were also dressed up, although in much modest and affordable suits and dresses. His father’s eyes glimmered with barely concealed shock, his younger half-brother and -sister was filled with quiet envy and awe. It seems the only one who was truly happy was his stepmother, who exchanged pleasant words with Grandma and Grandpa Wanichakarnjonkul. His father watched as Team, also as sharply dressed as his [future] in-laws, welcomed their friends inside. 

“Who’s already here?” asked the newly arrived Manaow who was accompanied by her husband, Pruk.

Team hugged here. “Pharm and P’Dean are already here. Pharm is helping the chef with the cake.”

“That Pharm ah! We’re here to party, but he’s still working!”

“Well, it can’t be helped. We ordered the food we’re serving today from his restaurant.” While Pruk and Win caught up with each other. Team guided Manaow towards the kitchen.

“P’Win’s house is enormous. Don’t you get lost in here?” Manaow asked as she looked around.

Team chuckled. “That’s why focus on following me instead of looking around!”

Manaow pouted. “Where’s Del and P’Don?”

“They’re coming together with Mae and Por,” answered Pharm, who walked out of the kitchen.

“Everything’s good?” Team asked.

Pharm nodded. “The chef and the helpers know what to do. Let’s go back to the living room.”

“Eh?” Manaow protested. “I should go in there and do some taste test first, right?”

“Manaow!” Pharm laughed. “You never change!” The two boys dragged Manaow away from the place.

When they got back, they saw Del looking for them. Don was chatting with the other boys in one corner, a glass of wine was being shared between them. Manaow went to Del, while Pharm and Win approached their respective men. Pharm hugged Dean, and the other turned to hug him back. Team stood stiffly next to Win. 

Win lifted an eyebrow. “You’re not hugging me?”

Team glowered. “Hug yourself!”

Win reached out for him and wrapped an arm around his waist. He brought his lips near Team’s ears. “Stop glowering. You know how hot you look when you do.”

“Stop flirting.” 

“These people really don’t know when’s the right time to spread sweetness everywhere.”

"I have a wife, but why do I feel like I'm a third-wheel* all of a sudden?"

Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul approached them. “Boys, I think it’s high time for dinner? Everything’s ready, right, Pharm?”

Pharm smiled sweetly. “Of course. Your staff was fast and helpful.”

“That’s good to hear.” She turned and with a raised voice, she invited the others to join her in the dining room.

One by one, they all followed and gasped in wonder when they arrived. Just like the rest of the house, the dining room was also decorated with Christmas decorations. Even the long table was decorated with garlands and ball ornaments in the middle. The candles were lit up, saturating the air with a sweet cranberry scent. A variety of food crowded the table from one end to the other.

“Did you prepare all of these, Pharm?” Manaow exclaimed.

Pharm smiled shyly. “I personally cooked some of them, but Chef was the one who pulled everything off.”

“I can’t wait to taste every dish!”

“Everyone, please sit.” There was some chaos as they figure out the seating arrangement, but everything worked out in the end. Grandpa sat on the head of the table. Grandma sat on his right, and Mr. Wongnate sat on his left.

Seating arrangement:

 

Don

Dean

Pharm

Team

Win

View 

Wan

Mrs. W (Hia’s)

Grandma

 

Mr. W (Hia’s)

                 

Grandpa

 

Pruk

Manaow

Del

Half-

sis

Half-

bro

Step-

mom

Father

Mrs. W

(Dean’s)

Mr. W. (Dean’s)

 

While the elders were talking about business, Win and Dean kept on feeding Team and Pharm. Pharm smiled shyly at his husband, while Team grinned. He loved it when Win feeds him. Manaow and Del shook their heads.

“Aow. These people still haven’t change~” Manaow teased.

“Feels like it’s lunch break again and we’re eating dog food*.” Del agreed.

“Do you want me to feed you, too, Manaow?” Pruk worried.

“Ai! Phi, you know you don’t need to! I’m a big girl already!” Manaow exclaimed. She reached out for one of the chicken barbecues and put it on Pruk’s plate. “I’ll feed you instead na~”

Mr. Wanichakarnjonkul lamented his seat placement. Grandpa addressed him, and he sighed with relief. “Yes. N’Win will be taking over next year.”

“Isn’t it too fast? I only started shadowing you last year. Besides, Hia’s doing a great job with his position. Why not pass the position to him.” Win protested.

Wan reached over and pinched him. “Be quiet.” He hissed. “Por, I agree with your decision. Please appoint Win next board meeting. He’s ready.” He looked at his father.

Win made a face. He’s already busy even when he’s just shadowing his father in the company and getting used to working. He wanted more free time to spend with Team.

“Excuse me? Is it alright if I ask what’s happening?” Team’s stepmom asked.

“Win’s taking over the business next year. He’ll be the new CEO.” Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul replied.

“Shouldn’t it be N’Wan?” Team’s father inquired.

The family looked at each other. “It doesn’t matter who takes over. I believe anyone of the kids can do a great job,  but Wan told us that he didn’t want to inherit the business.”

“Ah. I think it was my fault.” Mr. Wanichakarnjonkul said. “There was a time when I was rarely home because of work. I learned to manage my time better afterward, but Wan refused to inherit the company after that.”

“Besides, I’m good with what I do. I like being COO.” Wan added.

“So the burden fell on me.” He looked at Team sadly. “We would be having less time together starting next year, N’Tteam.”

“Maybe you should ask Por how to manage your time,” Team joked. He rubbed Win’s back. “It’ll be fine, Hia. Besides, View’s graduating soon. You can dump it on him if you want.”

“Hia’Team!” View pouted. Laughter filled the room (though some of them can’t understand a thing).


After dinner, they dispersed. The elders went back to the living room and continued their talk there, while the younger ones went to the second floor where the entertainment area is. Some of the men were playing billiards, others were playing darts. Someone brought out the playing cards and shuffled them. 

It was nearing midnight when they went downstairs. Mr. Wanichakarnjonkul signaled the helpers to bring out the champagne and sparkling apple ciders (for minors and designated drivers). Win took this hint and pulled a confused Team to the middle of a half-formed circle. When everyone was served with their respective drinks. Win stared at Team’s eyes.

“Eight years ago, I met a freshman who was so quiet and snobby. He doesn’t look at me and would often ignore my presence. I slowly fell in love with him anyway, but he was so hard to reach.” He held Team’s hands. “I was so glad when the coach assigned me to help him practice, but as much as I enjoy being near him- I thought that it was pure torture. But in December, he let me chase after him.” He smiled bitterly. “I thought I would be happy forever, but he broke my heart two years later.” Team tried to say something, but Win shushed him. “Listen to my story first, Ai’Team!” Team bit his lower lip but nodded. “To escape from the pain, I went to England to study. I signed up for the Holiday Secret Pen Pal program and began to help Ms. Sunflower improve her grammar. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Ms. Sunflower is a boy, and that boy is my beloved. We gave each other a second chance, and here we are now.” Win smiled shakily and dropped on one knee without letting go of Team’s hands. He looked up and stared at the eyes that are now sparkling with tears. “Team, please marry me?” He asked softly.

Team laughed through his tears. He nodded his head once, then twice. He stooped over and hugged Win. “Yes,” he whispered. “Yes.” He repeated many times. “I love you, Hia!”

 

Pharm, Manaow, and Del were shrieking and crying. The men were hollering. All around them were greetings of congratulations.

Win ignored them and stood up. He reached for the ring that he slid into his pocket when he was getting ready for the festivities and put it on Team’s ring finger. They were lost in each other when Win felt a clap on his back, and Team saw Pharm and Manaow staring at him with eager eyes.

“Team! Show us the ring!” Manaow danced around him. 

Team chuckled. He lifted his hand, and they all looked at the ring. It was a simple engagement ring. It’s a band engraved with an ocean waves design. He loves it. 

“It’s so you, Team.” Pharm commented. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you!” Team beamed, and he looked over his shoulder at the same time as Win did. Their eyes met and they smiled.

Chapter Text

The white chiffon framing the canopy danced with the ocean breeze. It threatened to escape from the blue cord decorated with the blue and white lilies that held it in place. The path towards the canopy was carpeted with million blue-stained roses, bubble machines were alternately placed between each side to strategically produce bubbles non-stop. 

Guests were already sitting on the silver chairs with soft baby blue cushions - the seating arrangement was nonexistent, but everyone tends to congregate with those they’re familiar with. Leaving the front row open for immediate family and the groomsmen and groomsmaids, the guests can be categorized into two: family and co-workers. Team invited his teammates - both from his current swimming team and from university- while Win invited those who were part of the Board of Directors of their company. For family, other than Team’s father, stepmother, and half-brother and -sister, he invited no one else. Though Win invited almost all of his clan members… some still couldn’t believe that they’re actually getting married, others were ashamed of their behavior many Decembers ago. The person they looked down upon won Gold at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in the Philippines and represented Thailand during the Olympics 2020 in Japan. Their hearts were bitter, but they couldn’t complain.

In contrast with the backdrop of the vast ocean and calm, blue sky, these people anxiously waited for the event to start.


The Phuket branch of Wanichakarnjonkul Hotel and Resort was bustling as workers prepared for their employer’s wedding. The reception area was decorated with the same white and blue lilies and twinkling fairy lights, the chef made sure that all dishes were prepared and ready to serve, and the hotel manager made sure that other hotel guests who arrived without knowing about the event were given their accommodations. 

Team lounge on his hotel room’s sofa while playing with his phone. His pure white suit was accented with a blue rose pinned on the left breast pocket.

Manaow was glowing with her six months pregnant belly hidden by layers of chiffon. She’s putting on some finishing make-up and smacking her lips. “You’re so undisturbed, Team. Should you be… I don’t know, pacing? Panicking?”

Team looked up from his game but didn’t stop violently tapping on the screen, his opponent’s HP was nearing zero. “Who said I’m calm?” He glanced down in time to see the word ‘Winner’ flash before his eyes. “I just finished killing my tenth opponent. I”m on a streak here, Manaow.”

“Sorry. You know how I was at my wedding.” She sat down next to Team and snatched the phone from him. She began a new game.

“Your dress nearly ripped, and you broke down while saying your vows.” Team chuckled.

Manaow hit him on the shoulder. “Stop reminding me!”

Pharm opened the door and peeked in. “We’re ready.”

Team stood up and let Manaow hold his arm as support, so she could stand up. “Is our flower boy ready?” He asked and looked at the three months old Gon sucking on his blue pacifier. The baby was wide awake and is looking around his surroundings. His white little suit was pristine, and Team has no idea how Pharm kept it that way.

“He’s been lively since his shower. Though I’m not sure about the throwing flowers part.” Pharm answered. He pressed the down button, and they waited for the elevator to reach their floor. “I tried letting him hold the little basket, but he doesn't have the ability and always reaches for the petals and tries to put them in his mouth.” They entered the enclosed space.

Team frowned. “Well… If Hia just let me move the wedding date to next year, then we will have a flower girl and a ring bearer.”

Manaow snorted. “P’Win can’t wait to marry you already ah! He’s the last of their group to get married!”

“We’re already living under the same roof.” 

"It's not the same!"

They walked out of the elevator and into the sun. At 8 AM, it was a perfect time for a wedding. They slowly approached the beach, where everyone fell into a hush as the groom approached with his best friends and godson in tow.

Win turned to look in wonder, and he found himself in front of Team. “Hello.” He didn’t notice that Pruk came and took his wife away to get in their position for the ceremony.

“Hi. I miss you.” Team was about to reach out for him, but Manaow called out.

“Guys! Let’s finish this thing already! You can kiss each other later!” Waves of laughter rolled through the crowd. The grooms nodded at each other and went to their respective places. 

The hotel employees who were hired to play their wedding march song gave a thumbs up and began playing in harmony with the sound of the waves’ gentle kisses to the shore.

Heart beats fast

Colors and promises

How to be brave

How can I love when I’m afraid to fall

But watching you stand alone

All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

The sweet voice echoed through the open air. Team watched as Win walked confidently towards the makeshift altar. When he got there, he turned to look at the rest of the entourage. He beamed at Team when their eyes met, but his eyes were clearly misty.

One step closer

Dean walked down the aisle by himself. Followed shortly by Pruk and Manaow.

I have died every day, waiting for you

Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years

I’ll love you for a thousand more

Dean stood by Win’s side. He reached out and patted the groom’s back. Win looked at him and gave him a shaky smile. They watched Pruk lead Manaow to the other side before joining them.

Time stands still

Beauty in all he is

I will be brave

I will not let anything take away

What’s standing in front of me

Every breath, every hour has come to this

Del and Don walked next and separated when they reached the altar- Del standing next to Manaow, and Don next to Pruk.

One step closer

They turned to watch Pharm help Baby Gon scatter the blue rose petals. Dean smiled at his family who walked towards Manaow and stood next to her. But Win’s eyes were on Team, and he watched as his groom took a deep breath and closed his eyes. 

I have died every day, waiting for you

Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years

I’ll love you for a thousand more

He took a sigh of relief when Team opened his eyes and took his first step. Their eyes glistened with unshed tears and never left each other’s gaze.

And all along I believed, I would find you

Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years

I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer

One step closer

As the last note faded, Team smiled at Win and offered his hand. Their entourage went to their respective seats, but they were lost in the moment. The officiant cleared his throat to get their attention.

The officiant was a kind-looking older man. He patted their entwined hands before starting the ceremony.

“Dearly beloved and honored guests, we are gathered here to join Win Phawin Wanichakarnjonkul and Team Teerayu Siriyothin in the union of marriage. This contract is not to be treated lightly, but thoughtfully and seriously, and with a deep realization of its obligations and responsibilities. It’s a binding promise, and I would like to ask before I continue if anyone opposes this union?” The officiant asked. Win and Team turned to look at their guests, daring them to say something. When no one said anything, the officiant smiled. “The grooms have each prepared vows that they will read now.”

Win reached for the paper he slid into his pocket. It was crinkled, and one can see the folded marks tearing a bit. Win smiled. “Team, I love how your quiet self shines brightly wherever you’re with people you love and loves you deeply. I love the way you look when you stuff your face with food I bought for you. I love the music you strum on Hia’Wan’s old guitar and your soft voice when you sing me lullabies. I love how you hit me when you’re shy, and the way the heat creeps up your face every time I tease you. I love it when you become one with the water and your delight whenever you beat your personal records. I am so damn proud of you. You have become my best friend, my lover, my soul, and despite our differences, you let me make you understand my side. And before we sleep, everything is fine. When you were afraid I made a mistake and let you go. Now I vow to you that from now on until the day I last breath, I’ll give you reasons to stay brave in my feelings for you. My sunflower, I’m so lucky I found you.” 

Team smiled through his tears. He sniffed as Win tried to wipe his tears away. With falling tears, he read his vow. “Hia, you were so cool, you know?” Win laughed. “I really hated how your tattoos looked like they have a life of their own when you’re swimming. I hater your blonde hair that was tied in a samurai ponytail. I hated the way your stares affected me.. Made me want to jump under cold water. I hated the butterflies in my stomach and how my heart squeezed when you’re in the perimeter. Because you were so popular, so kind, so smart - you already have everything, and I don’t deserve you. So when you told me you love me, I thought I was dreaming. And I tried not to let my doubts win and take you away from me, but they did. And I hurt you. Hia, I want to thank you for the second chance. I want to thank you for letting me show you how much I love you. Today, I vow in front of everyone, that I’ll never be afraid again, that I’ll always be brave in your love for me, that I’ll let you catch me. Today, I promised you, I’ll love you forever. “

The officiant gave the grooms a time to hug each other. “Umm… Can we get them some handkerchief and water?” 

Win and Team let go of the hug and wiped each other’s face. “Hia! You’re smearing my snot!”

Dean walked up to them and offered them a handkerchief. Win took it and wiped Team’s face. When he was done, he used the same piece of cloth to wipe his. Team took the water offered to him by one of the hotel staff and drank half of it, giving the remaining to Win.

“You’re ready for the next part?” The officiant asked, and they nodded shyly. “After those lovely vows, I want to ask, Win Phawin Wanichakarnjonkul, do you take Team Teerayu Siriyothing to be your husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect him, forsaking all others, and holding only unto him forevermore?”

“I do.” Win vowed solemnly.

“And Team Teerayu Siriyothing, do you take Win Phawin Wanichakarnjonkul to be your husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish, and protect him, forsaking all others, and holding unto him forevermore?”

“I do.” Team answered confidently. 

“Team and Win will now exchange rings as a symbol of love and commitment to each other. Rings are a precious metal; they are also made precious by you wearing them. Your wedding rings are special; they enhance who you are. They mark the beginning of your long journey together. Your wedding ring is a circle- a symbol of love never-ending. It is the seal of the vows you have just taken to love each other without end.”

Dean stood up and fished out a velvet box out of his inner pocket. He gave the two their partner’s rings and went back to his chair.

“Win, please place the ring on Team’s left hand and repeat after me. As a sign of my love…”

“As a sign of my love,” Win repeated.

“That I have chosen you…”

“That I have chosen you.” The ring reached Team’s middle knuckle.

“Above all else…”

“Above all else.” He paused and looked at Team’s eyes.

“With this ring, I thee wed...”

“With this ring, I thee wed.” He pushed the ring all the way in.

And Team please place the ring on Win’s left hand and repeat after me. As a sign of my love…”

“As a sign of my love.” Team focused on inserting the ring on Win’s finger.

“That I have chosen you…”

“That I have chosen you.” He beamed at Win when he was successful and didn’t drop the ring.

“Above all else…”

“Above all else.” His focus went back to the ring.

“With this ring, I thee wed…”

“With this ring, I thee wed.” Without any resistance, he was able to slide the ring into Win’s finger. HE looked up and grinned.

“And now by the power vested in me, it is my honor and delight to declare you married. Go forth and live each day to the fullest. You may seal this declaration with a kiss.”

Win didn’t think twice and pulled Team closer to him. He grabbed the younger’s nape and crashed their lips together. The kiss was sweet and hot at the same time as Team fought to open his mouth.

Camera shutters were heard as the photographer caught the kiss from every angle possible.

“I present to you the newlyweds, Mr. Phawin and Teerayu Wanichakarnjonkul.”

The guests stood up and gave a round of applause. Manaow and Del’s enthusiastic cheering filled the area. 

Win and Team’s breath fanned each other’s faces as they panted. “I love you,” were the whispered words they said to each other before focusing their attention on the people who were cheering for them. They held each other’s hand and walked down the aisle together, laughing along the way.

Chapter Text

It started when Team woke up on Christmas morning. He struggled to stand up from the bed with his big stomach in the way. He sat on the toilet seat just in time for his urethral sphincter to open. He sighed with relief and looked up to see his husband watching him at the entrance of their ensuite bathroom. The tenderness and love in Win’s eyes nearly made him burst into tears, but he’s better than that - at least better than he was on his first trimester when everything made him emotional. He cleaned himself, and Win helped him stand up; helped him pull his pants up. He washed his hands on the sink and let his husband guide him out of their bedroom. 

He was watching a drama on TV hours later after their hearty breakfast when he felt the first contraction. His wince didn’t go unnoticed, and his husband was by his side in seconds, asking him what was wrong. Used to Braxton Hicks by now, Team asked Win if they could walk through the gardens to appease the twins he was carrying. Win let him. For a while, the painful contractions lessened. But the kids’ vigorous movements didn’t.

Assuring his husband that he was okay, Team went for an afternoon nap. Two hours later, he woke up from an unexplainable pain in his belly and lower back. “The kids kicked me from the inside, Hia!” He complained. Win couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. “Stop laughing and help me!” And Win did. He prepared a warm compress and massaged Team’s lower back. The relief was instant, but it didn’t last long.

Team decided that it was time to get ready for the Christmas Dinner with his in-laws. And maybe, just maybe, the hot water from the shower will relieve his aching muscles. Win took apparels out of their closet and laid them down on the bed. He helped his husband to the bathroom and took his clothes off, too. The shower was as hot as it can get (still tolerable, but hot enough to be painful). Team sighed with relief as the water hit his back. His husband whispered words of his beauty as the shower sponge he’s holding traveled all over his body.

The temporary relief was enough for them to dress up and sit in the posh leather of their Mercedes-Benz when Team’s water broke. Clear fluid pooled at the passenger seat, and Team looked at Win in surprise.

“W-What?” Win panicked.

“Hia. Calm down.” Team sighed. He grimaced when a contraction hit him. “Just start driving to the nearest hospital. Don’t rush. Don’t panic. I can still take it.”

Win took a deep breath and nodded. He looked at his husband with worry one last time and started driving. Team groaned as another contraction made his stomach hard as a fully pumped basketball. He tapped his phone screen and called Pharm. “Pharm? Is your family coming to Mae’s dinner party later?” He gritted his teeth. “Instead of going there, can you come by our house and pick up my maternity bag.” He closed his eyes. “Ye-yeah. The babies are coming…” He gasped - Win’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. “Yes. Thank you. Yes. Please bring them to xxx Hospital. The one near our house. Yes. Bye.” He reached out and patted Win on the shoulders. “You’re doing great, Hia. We’re doing great.” 

He felt his babies move around for a comfortable position. He patted his stomach and dialed his phone again. “Hello, is this the xxx Hospital? I’m in labor. My husband is currently driving us to the hospital. We’ll be by the emergency room in about ten minutes. Please get ready to admit us. Thank you.” He screamed from the pain before he could end the call. He was sure that the phone call receiver heard it before it was cut off. 

“Are you okay?” Win tried to ask calmly. He was sweating, yet his nape felt cold. 

“Just drive, Hia. Please.” Tears leaked from Team’s eyes. “It hurts so much. I just want them out of me.”

“Okay. I’ll bring the three of you there. Just a little bit more, love.” 

“Mmmm….” Team was so tired now. He could believe that a 15 minutes drive would take a toll on him. He scrolled through his contacts and dialed one last number. “Mae… Oh, Pharm told you. Yes, please. I’m sorry we couldn’t come to dinner. Hehe. Okay. We’ll be waiting for everyone at the hospital. I can’t wait for you to meet them. Yeah. See you.”

Their car entered the hospital’s vicinity. Win followed the signs leading to the Emergency Room. Someone was there waiting for them with a wheelchair. Win turned the engine off and helped Team out of his seatbelt. He got out of the car and opened the passenger side. The nursing assistant helped him transfer Team to the wheelchair. “Sir, please park the car, first. We have available parking space for you over there.” Win wanted to protest, but he didn’t want to inconvenience others. Besides, Team was telling him to go park. He entered the car again and looked for a vacant space. After locking the car, he ran back to the ER.

“Hi! My husband… just now… giving birth.”

“Sir, this way.” Once his identity was verified, another nursing assistant brought him inside one of the rooms. Two nurses were helping his husband get on the bed. He was instructed to take off his expensive outfit and wear a gown. Win went closer to help. He smiled at his sunflower.

“Tell me, Mr. Wanichakarnjonkul, when did your contraction start?” A nurse asked. She was filling out what seems to be a questionnaire on the computer terminal.

“Afternoon. Maybe noon…” Team answered, grimacing from the pain. “I thought it was false labor contractions… I’ve been having them since last month.”

“Understandable,” said Nurse Ja (according to her nametag). “You had your prenatal checkups in our clinic, so I’m able to pull up your information. The record shows that you’re having the twins anytime this week… 40th week to be precise. We already called someone from the Labor and Delivery Unit. We will transfer you there because they have the technology to monitor you and your babies better.”

“Ummm… Nurse. I don’t think I can wait. I’m having the urge to push.” Team cried out.

“Let me get the Doctor.”

Win held Team’s hands and wiped his forehead. He whispered sweet nothings and cried when his husband tightened his grip on his hand. He barely greeted the doctor who came to check Team. Not until he heard him calmly say that it’ll be a cesarean.

“Doc?” Team asked. His voice was anxious and scared.

“Team, listen to me,” The doctor said, his hand was still inside Team. “The umbilical cord descended, just now. It descended while Nurse Ja was talking to you. It can cause hypoxia to the babies. We need to operate on you.”

“I’ll sign the consent, Doc.” Win said. He looked at Team, and they nodded at each other with understanding.

“Please do everything you can for my babies, Doc.”

“I will.”

Hours seemed to pass by as Team was prepped, was given anesthesia, and was wheeled to the sterile operation room. Win was with him all the way. He was given a scrub suit and disinfected himself. A bright light shone on him, and that was the last thing he saw. His last thoughts were if only I knew that having sex with Hia last March would result in this, I would’ve shoved him off the bed.


When he opened his eyes, Team felt a lightness that he hasn’t felt in months since the babies grew inside of him. He lifted his hand and brought it to his stomach. His eyes opened wide when he remembered what happened. A tall man approached his bed, and he was relieved when he saw Win’s smiling face. “How are they?”

“They’re perfect. All little fingers and toes were present. They were red and angry when the doctor pulled them out of you.” Win looked at his stomach sadly.

Team patted him. “When can I see them?”

“The Baby Nurse is currently doing some assessments. They’ll be here before you know it. Do you want the others to come in first?”

“Sure.” Team whispered. He watched as Win opened the door and called someone. He smiled when Manaow and Pharm entered the room.

“I’ve got your maternity bag here,” said Pharm. Dropping the bag on one of the chairs. “How are you, Team?”

“Feeling good, despite having someone professionally gut me.” Team joked.

Manaow grimaced. “Eew. That’s an image I never wanted to think about.” She beamed and hugged Team. “Congratulations, Team! The boys look so cute!”

“They do. Unlike Gon whose skin was so dry when he was born.” Pharm laughed.

“That’s because he wasn’t planning on coming out of you!” He said. “If not for that induced labor… So, you saw them already.”

“Yeah!” Manaow said. “We tried to take a picture, but P’Win said we might not be able to stop ourselves from showing them to you, and you should meet them in person instead of through a picture.” They looked at the man who was hovering by the door.

Team smiled at him. A knock on the door broke the silence that suddenly descended upon them. Win opened it, and his lips lifted into a smile. “Hello, daddies. The babies are here.”

Pharm and Manaow looked at each other. “We’ll give you privacy first. Just message us when all of us are allowed to crowd in here.”

“Thank you!” Team said.

The nurse let Win take over the bassinet while she helped Team sit up. She adjusted the bed, stopping when Team said he’s comfortable. Win pushed the bassinet near. 

“Daddy, meet Baby A and Baby B.” The nurse motioned.

Team looked in wonder at the two angels sleeping soundly together. He noticed that the twins were holding hands. He reached out and caressed Baby A’s soft cheek. “Hello, Chonlathi.” He brushed Baby B’s wispy hair. “Hello, Chonlatharn.” He smiled through his tears. He looked up at Win who had his phone out recording the first meeting between a father and his babies. “Look, Hia. They’re so perfect.”

“Mn.” Win agreed. Ending the video. “You’re all so perfect. Do you want to hold them?”

Team shook his head. “It’s fine. Let them sleep first.” He lifted his head, and Win bent down to kiss him. “I’m also sleepy.” He looked at the nurse who was pointedly looking elsewhere. “They’re rooming-in with me, yes?”

“That’s right, Sir.” The nurse brought out a disposable Blood Pressure cuff. “I’ll just do some assessments on you, and then you can rest. Is that okay?”

Team nodded. He let the nurse do his assessments, and when she left, he focused his eyes on the twins.

Win approached him. “Thank you for giving us a family, Team.”

“You talked as if you didn’t take part in their creation.” Team chuckled. “I was upset when I found out I’m pregnant but looking at them now… I don’t regret everything. Maybe next time, let’s not be apart for who knows how long, and you might end up fucking me raw again.”

“Team!” 

“What? They’re babies. They won’t understand a thing. Besides, they’re asleep.”

“Look again.” 

Team peered inside the bassinet and saw that the twin’s eyes were opened. One of them yawned, and the other scrunched his nose. “Oh, Tee, Tharn. My babies are so cute ah. As cute as daddy.” Team cooed.

“Do you want to hold them now?” Win asked.

“C-can I?” Team watched as Win walked to the other side of the bed where the bassinet is. He pushed the up button, and the upper half of the bed changed angles until he was sitting. “Do you know what to do?”

“It’s been a long time since I held View when he was a baby, but between Dean and Pruk’s kids, I think that skill is well-practiced.” He reached for one of his sons and brought him to his other father’s waiting arms. “Like that. Support the head.” A cry startled them, and they saw Chonlatharn grasping for the warmth that left him. Win hurriedly took a hold of his second son and offered his pinky for him to grasp. 

They were immersed in their little world for a while.

Chapter Text

After a year of late-night wake-up calls, dirty diapers, and spoiled milk, Chonlathi and Chonlatharn were able to grow up well under their parents’ love. And the help of a whole village. Mr. and Mrs. Wanichakarnjonkul adapted to retirement life well and spent most of their time babysitting the twins. Pharm, despite having to manage his growing number of restaurants, always finds the time to set up playdates with the twins and Manaow’s little girl. Wan loves ditching his job to play with his nephews, and View spoiled them rotten. Sometimes, Win and Team wondered whether the Tee and Tharn still knew who their parents were.

But Win was thankful because Team refused any help during the twins’ first month. He lost a lot of weight and nearly fainted. And he didn’t like that. Now he was sitting on the carpeted floor watching as the twins chased each other. Learning to walk opened up a new adventure for them. He smiled when Tharn caught his older brother and tackled him. Their giggles echoed throughout the living room.

“What are you three doing?” Win turned and saw Team standing on the archway entrance to the dining room. His hands were planted on his waist. “The visitors will be here soon.”

“Team~” Chonlathi and Chonlatharn ran towards their dad and hugged his legs.

Team stooped down to be on their eye level. “You naughty kids. Oh, why are you so cute?” He hugged them tightly. He stood up. The twins in his arms wrapped their tiny arms around his neck and grasped the front of his shirt.

Win walked to them and kissed Team. “Hug these two if you want, but your lips will always be mine.” He muttered when he finally let go.

“Ai! Hia!” Team kicked his shin. He walked to the sofa and sat down, cuddling his babies closer. The two wiggled out of his arms, wanting to go down and play again. He let them, and Win sat down on the space beside him, drawing him closer. They watched the twins with eyes full of love. 

They’re currently in their newly-purchased house. It was big enough for their growing family, with its 4-bedroom, 3 ½ bathrooms, and office on the second floor. The living room and the dining room were currently decorated with KartRider Rush+ theme decorations for their sons’ first birthday. On their lawn, the bounce house is ready.

“I think we went over the top… what was the bounce house for?” Team asked. “We should’ve set up a water slide by the pool instead.”

Win paused from playing Team’s hair. “I didn’t think of that. I can call the company to send one if you like.”

“Stop wasting your money, Hia!” Team glowered at him. “Do you think I wouldn’t notice those Maserati GT parked in the garage? They’re one year old!”

Win winced. “Yeah… that was a mistake. But they can use it when they turn three or four…” 

“You should’ve waited when they turn 16 and bought them a real car then. They’ll grow up fast, and they won’t fit in those kiddy cars anymore.” Team lectured.

“... I’ll think things through before buying them stuff next time.” 

“Good.” A knock on the door startled them. They saw the twins run towards it. Team got up. “Get out of the way, Double T.” He opened the door when he was sure that it wouldn't hit the kids. “Pharm, P’Dean! Hello, N’Gon!” Team reached out for the other kid who was clinging to his dad’s hand. Gon took his hand and stepped closer to him. He was grabbed by the twins instead. “O Tee! Tharn!”

 

“P’Go!” The twins shouted as they hugged their friend. They took his hands and pulled him inside the house.

Team followed them with his eyes before turning to Pharm. “Sorry about that. Come on in.”

Pharm smiled. “It’s no problem. I’m just glad that Gon has N’Achara and the twins to play with. Otherwise, he’ll be a serious kid.” He leaned closer and whispered in Team’s ear. “Like his dad.” The two giggled. “Anyway, I brought the kids gifts. One for Christmas and one for the birthday.”

“Both of them get one for each occasion?” Team asked. “You shouldn’t have, Pharm. We didn’t even decorate for Christmas, so they won’t get confused.”

“It’s fine….So, how will that work? Christmas and Birthday at the same time…”

“They’ll probably grow up thinking that Christmas is on the 24th. We went to Mae and Por’s house yesterday and have our Christmas party there.” Team brought the gifts to the dining room, where a table meant for gifts lined the wall. Pharm looked at the dining table, and Team followed his gaze. “We’re serving buffet style. Maybe next year, we’ll just host it in one of your restaurants. Preparing a birthday party at home is so stressful.”

“It’s missing something…” Pharm responded. “The cake! We left it in the car. P’Dean!!!” He called out, walking to the living room where their husbands were talking business. “We left the twins’ cake in the car. Please give me the key.”

Dean shook his head. “It’s fine. I’ll go get it.

Pharm beamed. “Thank you!”

“Can’t believe you still both act like newlyweds…” Team commented.

“You don’t?” Pharm asked Win and Team confusedly.

“Of course we do.” Win hugged his husband from behind. “We’re always loving each other like this.” He teasingly kissed Team’s nape.

Team blushed when Pharm grinned at him.

“Hello, Pharm! Team! Where are my beautiful boys?” Manaow entered the house with her usual exuberance. She looked around the house to find Gon and the twins. Her daughter, Achara, was carried by Pruk.

“Manaow!!!” The twins popped out of nowhere and hugged their aunt's legs. Gon was following behind them sedately.

“Hello, boys!” She looked up after ruffling their hairs. “I still can’t believe you let them call everyone by their names instead of their title. It’s cute though!”

Achara wiggled on her father’s arms, and Pruk bent down to let her feet touch the ground. “Gon!” She presented her hand out for the other kid, who willingly held her hand.

The twins let go and approached Achara. “P’Cha! Play!” 

“I’ll bring them to the bounce house. You go catch up with one another.” He looked at the kids. “Come on. Let’s go bounce, okay?”

The kids beamed up at him. Tee and Tharn lifted their arms towards him, and Win carried them. Pruk carried Gon and Achara and followed them.

“Will they be alright?” Pharm asked. Dean, who came out of the dining room after putting down the cake patted his back and followed the other fathers.

They watched as the men went inside the bounce house with the kids and sat down. The kids started crawling everywhere because they can’t find their balance. “Everything will be fine.” The team led them to the sofas. “So… I haven’t seen you two since two days ago, what’s up?”

“More importantly, did the twins just call my princess a pizza?” Manaow asked.


Enthusiastic singing can be heard from the dining room. The guests were wishing the twins happy birthday, and their parents carried them while standing next to the cake. Win and the Team blew the candles on the cake that Pharm made, and thanked everyone who came to celebrate Tee and Tharn’s birthday with them.

“It’s time to eat the cake!” Team let Tharn down. He picked up the cake slicer. Win let the other twin down and helped Team by transferring the sliced cake on small plates and handing them out one by one.

Other than their friends, Win and Team’s relatives also came to celebrate. The Wongnate were also present.

A pile of gifts towered over them, the table nearly overflowed…

That night, when the guests were gone, the presents were left unopened, and the food was packed and stuffed in the fridge, Win and Team kissed the twins good night and left them in their room. They climbed their bed and Win hugged Team close to him. “What did you wish… before you blew the candle?”

“Nothing. I have everything I could ever wish for.”

Chapter Text

The twins’ birthday party this year was less hectic than the first one. True to his words, he held the party in Pharm’s restaurant. But that reprieve was but a small thing during this season. Last year, they were unable to celebrate their wedding anniversary because they were focused on the twins. It was certainly easy to remember the date of every important occasion in your life if most of them have the same dates, but that just means that you need to pick which one to celebrate. This year, Win and Team left the twins with their grandmother and grandfather for a much-needed vacation.

Team was relaxing on the lounge chair situated by the private pool of their rented villa. He was wearing a swimming trunk, sunglasses, and nothing else. Win came out of their lavish bedroom, with its king-size bed and canopy, holding a glass of tropical fruit juice. He sat on the unoccupied lounge chair and handed Team the glass, which he gratefully took.

“Did you put on a sunblock?”

“Mmm…” Team agreed. “So beautiful here, Hia.”

“It is the perfect season to visit the Maldives.” Win frowned when he heard someone hollered from the other suites. “That just means there are more visitors around this time of the year.”

“We should come back with the twins next time.” Team said.

“Okay… but these two weeks off are just for me, okay? Mom and Dad will call if they need us, but I want all of your attention.” Win pouted.

Team took off his sunglasses. “Aw… Was I not paying you enough attention, Hia?” He moved closer.

Win met him halfway. “I just miss the times when it was just you and me…” He pressed his lips on Team’s, slowly tilting his head to find the right angle, opened his mouth, and coaxed his husband’s mouth open.

Team moaned and wrapped his arms around Win. When the older man made a move to lift him, he wrapped his legs around his waist, groaning when their growing erections rubbed against each other.

Win carried Team inside their hut and laid him down on the soft white bed. His lips made a trail from the mouth down to the navel, and back up to wet the left nipple with his tongue. He pulled Team’s swimming trunk off and pumped the heavy rod between the younger’s legs. Team moaned out loud and pulled Win’s hair. His back involuntarily arched as Win changed targets and began licking the other nipple. They didn’t leave their accommodation the whole afternoon…


Team frowned when he sat in front of their reserved table in the resort’s restaurant. He was sore from all the activities and his stomach grumbled from being empty for far too long- his last meal was hours ago when they were still in Thailand. He couldn’t stop himself from swallowing when he smelled the aroma from the seafood platter served on the table opposite them. 

Win turned to see what he’s looking at. “You know you can’t eat those, right? You’re allergic to seafood, Team.”

“Allergic to some of them.” Team pouted. His eyes watering.

“Sorry, baby. I already ordered our steak. I can’t have you experiencing anaphylaxis out here. Even though the resort has a clinic, it’s still almost an hour to an actual hospital.”

Team clutched his stomach. “I know.”

They didn’t wait for long before their food came. Win reached out for the champagne bottle and opened it. He poured some on the champagne flutes and handed Team the other one. “I know your tolerance to alcohol is not impressive.” Team glowered at him. “And I would rather you not drink at all, but today we’re celebrating our anniversary, so… Happy Anniversary, N’Team!” He raised his glass and made a toast with Team before downing its content. He noticed that Team didn’t drink his. “Is there something wrong? You usually take every chance you can get to taste alcohol?”

Team put his glass down and fidgeted on his seat. “Let’s just eat, Hia! I’m hungry already.”

Win was confused. “O-okay?” He took his knife and fork and began cutting on his steak. He watched as Team ate his meal with gusto. He shook his head and smiled when Team beamed. 


They were lying down on the bed after an hour of night swimming. Their hair was warm from the hairdryer. He was scrolling on his phone, liking all the pictures of the twins that his mother-in-law posted on Instagram. “Look, Hia! Mae brought the kids to an aquarium today!” Win glanced at the screen and agreed, looking at the pictures with tenderness. “Hmmm… Do you want to hold another baby in your arms seven months from now?” 

Win stared at him. “You mean you’re…?” He glanced at Team’s flat stomach.

“Pregnant?” Team nodded. “Happy Anniversary, Hia!” He smiled.

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