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Life is a bowl of cherries

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When Intouch first appeared in Korn's life, the older one knew that this ray of sunshine in a human body would turn his life upside down if he wouldn't stop him. So he tried to distance himself from the first year as much as he could. But Intouch was persistent and he always appeared out of nowhere, worming his way into Korn's life and then heart. Even after they talked about the consequences of their relationship, Intouch stayed. He knew about Korn's father, his family situation, and his little brothers whom he wanted to protect at all cost. So Intouch did the only thing he could think of, he stayed and supported Korn within his power. 

Them moving together was a step towards independence and freedom. Their condo was supposed to be only theirs and no one else's. Maybe Korn's brothers and In's sister and niece. It was maybe a day after they decided to slowly fill their space with their stuff when they encountered an envelope on their doorstep. It was a simple white envelope with their names written on it. They sat down and together read the message inside it. Their fathers knew about them, they knew that both went against their orders and kept meeting. Intouch felt his breath slow and then speed up so he found it hard to breathe. Next to him, Korn was gripping the paper and shaking slightly. They both knew that their fathers would do everything in their power to separate them. 

"P'Korn, what to do now?" Intouch dared to look at his boyfriend, who was staring blankly ahead. "They will come here, they probably already know about the condo." He said quietly, focusing his gaze on his hands. 

"We can talk to them. Explain everything, but..." Korn's voice drifted off, his eyes looking dull.

Intouch chuckled emotionlessly and sighed. "They wouldn't listen. My mother and sister will, so will your brothers, but not our fathers." 

Korn stood up and looked around, then his gaze fell onto Intouch, who was playing with his sleeve and biting his lips. He kneeled down before him and took his hands into his. Seeing tears gathering in Intouch's eyes, he slowly dragged him down so that he could wrap both his arms around the smaller boy. Feeling Korn being so close to him made Intouch break down. He started to sob uncontrollably, his hand gripping Korn's shirt tightly. 

"Shh, In. We will deal with it. I promise you. We will always be together, we won't be separated. Okay?" He kissed the top of In's head and tightened his arms a little, listening to Intouch's irregular breathing and dying down sobs. 

Korn's head was a mess and his only thought was how to make their fathers see reason. He couldn't understand what exactly he and Intouch did wrong according to their fathers. There was one thought that was coming back to him all the time, as much as he tried to get rid of that idea it always came back. It was heavily sitting inside his mind, lurking in the deepest parts of his brain. It was a final decision, he knew it. But in the light of new information did they really had any other choice? Korn knew his father, that man would rather let himself be cut open and tortured than accept Korn and In's relationship. And he saw bruises on In, his father wasn't much different he suspected. 

"Come on, we go to them and try to talk." He whipped In's tearstained cheeks and pressed a kiss to his forehead, sighing. He hoped Intouch would forgive him.

Several hours later, after they called their fathers that they wanted to talk to them everyone gathered in one place anticipating Korn and In.

"Mr. Ariyasakul? Mr. and Mrs. Chatpokin? Can we talk to you?"

Both families were gathered together in Ariyasakuls' living room, waiting for their sons. Anhtika was sitting with Alin, playing with a small book. Kritt and Kann were sitting next to their father, waiting for their older brother to arrive. Both Surat Ariyasakul and Nirut Chatpokin were standing near the window, waiting for Korn and In to arrive. Pannin was watching her daughter and granddaughter playing, her hands fixing her skirt.

When the doorbell rang, both men moved to the door. But they were not expecting police officers there. 

"What is happening?" Pannin asked, her voice trembling. An moved to her mother, letting Alin go sit on the floor. 

"Can we come in? We have to talk to you all." 

Everyone moved to the living room, parents nervously watching officers, who took off their hats.

"An hour ago, a young man driving through the national park called a fire station about a fire near the road. When the fire department and police arrived, they discovered a car that drove off the road and slid down. It hit several large stones and trees, causing the engine to explode. Sadly, we have discovered two bodies inside and two students pass. One was for Korn Ariyasakul and the other for Intouch Chatpokin. We are very sorry for your loss."

An slid down onto the floor, sobbing loudly along with Pannin, who looked like she was about to die herself. She kept hugging herself and murmuring something incorrigible. Surat and Nirut were frozen on the spot, both were shaking and looking at the police officers like they were not fully believing what they just heard. Alin was looking at everyone not really understanding what was going on since she was not fully listening. Kritt and Kann were hugging each other, crying. 

"Bodies were burnt during the fire, sadly there is no way of recognizing them as you remember them to be. We have arrived with the psychologist and PTSD specialist. If you need to talk to them, we can call them in." The other officer looked at both families with pity in his eyes. Three parents and three siblings just lost their sons and brothers, he couldn't even imagine what they were going through. 



30 years later



Pharm fixed his tie and looked into the mirror. His uniform was in perfect condition since it was the first time he would wear it in public. He once again fixed his hair and sighed. It was the beginning of his university days and he was nervous, especially since he was alone in Thailand, not counting his cousin Sin. He grabbed his yellow backpack and looked around the apartment if he didn't forget anything. 

During the ride, he received a call from his parents who wished him luck and to call them when he would be finished. His father once again mentioned that he would be visiting him soon during his business trip next month. He parked near the entrance to the Engineering Faculty and walked to the registration station. When he arrived, a boy with dark hair who kept looking around got his attention, he looked like a freshman. Pharm stood after him in line, watching as people slowly moved forward. 

"Hi, are you also from the Economics faculty?"

Pharm looked at him with surprise and nodded. "Yeah, I'm Pharm."

"Awesome. I'm Team and as I said, I'm from the Economics faculty. You kind of have an accent, are you not from here?" Team tilted his head to the side and observed Pharm. 

"I was born and raised in the US. I came back to study in Bangkok and to meet some of my father's family also." 

"Are you guys from Economics maybe?"

Both turned to see a girl with long brown hair standing behind them. She was looking at the unsure, but with a bright smile on her face. 

"Yup. I'm Team and this is Pharm, we were just talking about the new year." 

"Oh hello. I'm Manaow also in Economics. So did you maybe thought about the clubs? I heard that the swimming and theater clubs are very popular." She said a little more relaxed this time.

All three started to talk about the clubs and what they were expecting in the new academics. Their turn to registration came and when they finished, they moved more into the campus. Manaow was idly explaining that her passion for acting came from the movies she saw with her sister. Pharm mentioned to his new friends his passion for cooking and his decision to apply to the cooking club. 

"A real angel. He cooks. Oi, Pharm we can count on you right?" Manaow smiled widely and tugged the shorter boy's arm a little. 

"I can cook for you if I'll be accepted into the club. And what about you, Team? Swimming club right?"

The black-haired boy nodded. "I have the scholarship, so it would be good if I can sustain my condition. I have tryouts in an hour, will you join me? You can cheer for me!" He said happily. 

"Oh yes. I can watch all those muscular boys in swimming shorts. I'm going!" Manaow clapped her hands, while Pharm blushed a little. "Look! It's Dean, he's the president of the swimming club!" She pointed discreetly at the tall boy in a white and blue sweatshirt, that was passing near them with other swimmers. "The blonde one is Win, vice-president." She looked at the rest of the swimmers and ducked behind Team when one of them turned his head in their direction. 

"Manaow? What is it?" 

"Um... That one, he kinda saved me from fall this morning. I slipped on my own shoe." She admitted, blushing. "It was embarrassing." 

"Oh," Team wrapped his arm around Manaow. "Don't worry. It could happen to anyone! But please come, we can get something to drink and then go to the pool. Pharm? Pharm?"

The shortest boy was busy watching as the swimmers disappeared behind one of the buildings when his friend was calling his name. He woke up from his state when Team started to wave his hand before his eyes. He shook his head and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, got lost in thoughts. Where are we going?"

Both Team and Manaow shook their heads and dragged Pharm away to the restaurant. 

"I heard they have the best coffee, even though it's a restaurant." Manaow was almost jumping in place when then walked into the main hall. 

Almost every wall was glass, only the one behind the hostess and bar was painted white. Everywhere different types of plants were hanged near the ceiling, their stalks nearing the tables and some wrapped around the wooden beams. Many tables were full, people eating, chatting, or drinking, while waiters and waitresses in beige uniforms walked around the room. 

The trio walked to the hostess, who immediately seated them on the small indoor patio at the end of the room. Manaow was busy taking pictures for her Instagram, while Team was already reading the menu. Pharm lightly touched the wall covered in green vines and surprised took his hand away, when it got wet. 

"Careful, the wall is a waterfall and a hydrating system for every plant here." A waitress appeared to take their order and lightly chuckled, seeing the stunned expression on Pharm's face.

"This place is" Team was lacking words to describe everything around him. And also dishes and desserts on the menu.

"Different, right? Hom was very specific when she was designing everything. No waste, ecologic produce only, no plastic and most importantly, green everywhere." 

"Hom? Hom Atul? This is her new restaurant?" Manaow was staring at the older woman. When she received a nod, she squeaked. "Oh my God! I cannot believe it!"

"Huh?" Both Team and Pharm looked surprised at their friend's reaction.

"Hom Atul is one of not many Thai celebrities that are working abroad. She is a singer, who is very active in the LGBT+ community, I heard her brother came out and she then started to be even more supportive. And she now opened like three different restaurants. One here, one in Korea, and one in Taiwan." Mananow rambled. 

"You can really find anything on Wikipedia."

Another woman, dressed in a black and red dress came over and smiled at them. 

"Although I don't know if it's a bad or good thing." 

"You're... you're Hom Atul."

Manaow placed a hand over her mouth, while the woman in question just smiled at them. She was short, had black hair in a ponytail and her eyes were so dark they were almost black. 

"I heard someone was having a quite informative chat," she smiled. "From there." She pointed at the hostess station and just then three students realized how loud they had to be.

"We're sorry P'Hom. We didn't want to interrupt other guests." Pharm stood and waied at her, looking apologetic. 

Hom just laughed and shook her head. "No worries. I was glad that someone was interested. If I might give you a recommendation, we have very good coffee shakes. They come in twenty-eight flavors, so you have a wide variety." With that, she turned and left them.

"...and that's Hom. Don't worry, she wasn't angry. She was genuinely surprised someone was interested in her restaurant. So... coffee shakes for you?" Aren, their waitress, smiled when all three nodded and started to choose between flavors. 

Sometime later, Manaow was dragging Pharm to the free seats in the stands, where they could watch Team. Many people were already there, either to cheer for the people who were in the tryouts or to watch the swimming team. 

"Look, there's Team!" 

They watched as their friend swam and placed first, both standing and clapping when a whistle sounded. Quickly they gathered their bags and walked down to meet him. 

"I was first!" Team looked happy and surprised, he wasn't expecting to be the first one. Sure he was good and had a scholarship but he thought that he would have some concurrency. "It's good to be back in the water. I missed it." 

As they talked, they failed to notice three third years who were watching their new teammate and his friends. 

"Kid is fast," Pruk said, looking down on his timer and then letting his eyes focus on the girl.

"And cute." 

"Win, no fucking your teammates," Dean warned him, not tearing his eyes from Pharm, who was smiling brightly at Team. 

"Oh, come on." Win whined and crossed his arms, his eyes full of curiosity. "Dean, Pruk. No fucking your teammate's friends." He smirked and jumped back when Dean raised his arm to hit him. "It's only fair this way!" 

Team turned around and watched as his three seniors started to chase each other. Then he shrugged and turned to Manaow and Pharm. "Can we go eat now?"