“ Stop saying I’m Kongpob’s wife! It’s fucking annoying! I’m a man!”
“ Well your hubby certainly seems to think you're his wife.” Kongpob heard his seniors' laughter from the back of the bar and halted his steps.
“ I hate it and you know that. I wish he would stop being so… so…”
“ Alpha male?”
“ So annoying little piece of shit!”
Arthit’s frustrated yell was like a punch to Kongpob’s gut. Was this how Arthit felt? That his boyfriend was annoying and too… much? Silently Kongpob slipped away from the bar and headed home. He had just arrived at his condo when he got a message from Arthit.
Where are u?
With trembling fingers Kongpob typed an answer: Hi P’ I was just about to text u. I need to finish my sheets for tomorrow and it’s taking longer than I thought. Can’t be there tonight, sorry!
Arthit answered quickly: Work hard!
The message was soon followed by another, which made Kongpob swallow tears.
Not too hard, u need to sleep too!
Maybe Arthit didn’t hate him, maybe Kongpob hadn’t yet ruined everything. Kongpob stared into the darkness of his condo and replayed Arthit’s words from earlier in his head over and over again. He thought about their relationship, all the times he had pushed and annoyed his boyfriend. He felt guiltier by the minute and the almost forgotten darkness he never told anyone about was seeping into his mind. I am too much. Is this the reason he never wants to be intimate? I should’ve known. Is he finally getting tired of me? Will he leave me? The thought was painful and brought hot tears of fear and shame into his eyes. He couldn’t let Arthit leave him. He needed to change.
Slowly Kongpob got to his feet, put on the lights and sat by his desk. He pulled his notebook in front of him and stared at the fresh, empty page. What kind of boyfriend Arthit wanted? Maybe someone sweet, cute and small? Determination written all over his face Kongpob got to work.
1. Do not anger P’Arthit!
2. Avoid talking unless you are talked to 3. When you speak, keep your voice small
4. Do not eat! You need to get smaller!
5. Avoid touching unless P’Arthit touches you
6. Nothing sexual unless P’Arthit initiates it (and be submissive about it!)
Kongpob read the list through and smiled in a bitter satisfaction. Do not anger him, Kongpob! He’s going to leave you if you do! He kept saying to himself. It was almost like a mantra in his head.
Every morning Kongpob whispered his six rules and in the evening he went through them again so many times that they lulled him into restless sleep, filled with nightmares. Kongpob felt proud of himself every time he could go through a day without breaking the rules. So when he was suddenly getting snapped at, after spending his day off in Arthit’s condo, trying to be helpful and take care of everything so Arthit could concentrate on his studies, he felt utterly crushed.
“ Go bother someone else!”
“ I’m sorry, P’. I’ll get going.” Kongpob whispered and started gathering his things.
“ Good! I don’t want to see you anywhere near my condo for the next three weeks!” Arthit yelled at him. Kongpob knew Arthit ment that as a joke, he really knew it, but just couldn’t feel it. He felt he was punished for being a disappointment to his boyfriend. Once again.
Kongpob hurried across the street and back to his own apartment. He didn’t get any sleep that night. Instead he wrote a list of things Arthit probably hated in Kongpob.
“ Hey, N’Kongpob! Are you coming with us?” Knot asked Kongpob, when he was gathering his books after an unofficial tutoring session they had had between juniors and the hazing team.
“ Coming where, P’?” Kongpob asked while his gaze flicked to Arthit and back.
“ We’re gonna have a few drinks and relax.”
“ Of course he’s coming, aren’t you, Kong?” Tew smiled brightly and Oak nodded his head like the matter was already decided.
Hesitantly Kongpob inched himself to his boyfriend’s side. “ Um… P’Arthit?” Arthit turned around and gave Kongpob a stern look which obviously told him to take a step back, which Kongpob quickly did.
“ What is it?” Arthit asked.
“ P’Knot asked if I was coming with you to the bar.”
“ Well are you?”
“ I - I don’t know. D- do you want me to come?” Kongpob blushed at the tremble in his voice, he was afraid of attracting the attention of their friends, but even more afraid of angering Arthit.
“ Yeah, that would be nice. We haven’t spent enough time together lately.” Arthit gave Kongpob a quick smile that almost brought tears into Kongpob’s eyes. P’Arthit smiled at you! P’Arthit wanted to spend time with you!
The juniors had all gotten drinks and kept the table reserved while the hazing team went to get their drinks. Kongpob had stomped down the urge to offer to get Arthit’s drink. He wanted to take care and spoil his boyfriend, but he knew he was supposed to stop fussing and pushing, so he settled into making himself as unnoticeable as possible.
“ Scoot over, 0062! I’m not going to sit in your lap!” Arthit snapped angrily when he came back to the table.
“ Sorry, P’” Kongpob whispered and with his head lowered he shuffled to the far corner of the small sofa. He tried to make himself as small as he could and not let the tears in his eyes fall. You should be smaller, you idiot! Why can you never do anything right? His head screamed at him, while he took a sip of his drink.
“ Kongpob, I’ve been thinking…” Arthit’s voice trailed off. His fingers were softly running through his boyfriend’s hair, which made Kongpob want to cry, because he was so grateful for the affection. They had been kissing and cuddling on the bed after they came back from the bar. Kongpob had thought Arthit snapping at him at the bar had ruined his chances of pleasing Arthit, but apparently he was forgiven and given a chance to be near the man he loved.
“ Yes, P’?” Kongpob whispered and kept his eyes shyly lowered.
“ Um… I - I’d like to try… you know, doing it.”
“ Oh, okay.”
“ Yeah, I know you’ve got the stuff here, don’t you?”
“ Yes. W- would you like me to prepare myself for you, P’?” Kongpob pulled the lube and condoms from a box he kept under his bed. He was nervous, but tried to sound only soft and obedient.
“ I… I… you want me to… I thought for sure you would like to... I mean…” Arthit looked hesitant before he visibly pulled himself together. “ I mean I should prepare you, don’t you think?”
“ I don’t want to bother you.” Kongpob whispered nervously and regretted his words immediately. Who says something like that, when their boyfriend is giving a green light for sex for the first time? You fucking stupid idiot! You’re lucky if he’s not going to leave you now! Kongpob went pale and his hands started shaking.
“ Kongpob, are you okay? We don’t have to do this now if you don’t want to.” Arthit said. His voice sounded a little hurt and that made Kongpob panic. He quickly dropped himself on his front, hid his face to the pillows and quickly said:
“ I… I want to do it now.”
Arthit chuckled at that. “ This is more like you, being so eager!” Arthit tried to swallow his surprise at Kongpob’s willingness to let him top. He had thought it would be an issue. Now he felt both nervous and thrilled. Slowly he started to prepare his boyfriend. He was very careful and gentle, he kept checking on Kongpob and asking how he felt. He was so nervous and excited himself that he didn’t catch the pained hitch in Kongpob’s voice, when he asked if Kongpob was ready. “ I’m ready, P’.” Kongpob whispered and bit his teeth together to fight against the burning pain waving through his body. He was far from ready, but he was too afraid to say it. He leaves you, Kong! Take what he offers and stop whining.
“ Have you noticed how pale and thin Nong Kongpob is these days?”
“ Ai’Arthit what’s up with Kongpob?”
“ Um, what do you mean?” Arthit gave his friends a confused look.
“ C’mon, don’t tell me you haven’t noticed!”
“ Noticed what?”
“ That Kongpob looks quite sick to be honest. Look, there he is! Look how pale he is.”
“ Have you two had a fight or something? He used to follow you like a stubborn puppy, but we rarely see him anymore.”
“ Psh! We haven’t had a fight in ages.” Arthit scoffed. “ 0062! Come here!” He shouted with his head hazer voice and couldn’t fail to notice the way Kongpob visibly flinched and turned a terrified gaze towards his boyfriend. Kongpob approached Arthit and his friends quickly, but averted their eyes.
“ Hi, P’Arthit!” He said in a small voice and greeted the group respectfully.
“ What’s wrong with you?” Arthit scrunched his eyebrows in concerne. His friends were right, Kong looked thin and pale… and almost scared. How could he have not noticed? Change like this didn’t happen in one night, not even a week. Arthit knew he wasn’t exactly the boyfriend of the year material, but was he really so bad a boyfriend that he hadn’t noticed this?
“ Nothing, P’” Kongpob assured, but his voice did not sound like Kong at all. It was soft and small. Suddenly he realised that Kongpob had indeed been talking in a small voice lately. If there had been any talking to begin with. Hang on… how long had they been like this? Not really talking. No that was not right. Arthit had talked just as much as before, but there had been no teasing from Kongpob, no conversations started by Kongpob, no fussing, no pushing, just… nothing really. What was going on?
“ You - you look pale.” Arthit stammered. He was painfully aware of his friends hanging on their every word.
“ What he’s trying to say is you look like a corpse!” Bright unhelpfully supplied.
P’Arthit will leave you! Look what you’ve done! You have made yourself even uglier than before. Why can’t you be small and cute? Kongpob’s mind was spiraling into the darkness.
“ I - I’m in a bit of a hurry. If you’d um… excuse me.” Kongpob hastily whispered and gave a respectful wai before dashing off with unshed tears in his eyes. Arthit knew he was the only one who saw that Kong was about to cry, but others did notice that his boyfriend most definitely was not his usual self.
“ I better go and check on him.” Arthit muttered and jogged after Kongpob. Except he couldn’t find Kongpob. He checked the nearby bathrooms and all the tables his juniors were occupying, but Kong was nowhere to be seen. He called Kongpob’s phone way too many times and when he didn’t pick up Arthit went to demand M to tell him where Kong was.
“ I don’t know where he went, P’. We saw him leave the campus, but he didn’t pick up our calls or answer our messages, when we asked where he’s going.” M explained.
“ Is everything okay between you two, P’?” May asked tentatively. “ It’s just that Kongpob hasn’t been quite himself lately and we’re a bit worried about him.” Arthit looked like he was lost for words for a while. Had he really been the only one who hadn’t noticed anything? What kind of unobservant jerk was he?
“ I’m going to check if he’s back at his condo. Don’t worry, I make sure he’s alright.” He mumbled and turned quickly on his heels.
Kongpob shivered on the bathroom floor. He had thrown up the little food he had had that day and curled up in the shower stall, but didn’t bother to reach for the water tap. Maybe if you just close your eyes and stop breathing, maybe the pain will go away. You knew it would come to this. You can just give up now. Just let him go, so you don’t have to go through the pain of him telling you how much he hates you.
“ Kongpob! Kongpob, are you here?” Arthit’s frantic call rang through the small condo. Kongpob stifled his whimpers and tried to keep still on the floor where he was shivering. From there Arthit finally found him. “ Oh my God, Kong! What happened?”
Arthit dropped to his knees and started checking Kongpob’s body for injuries. When he couldn’t find any he pulled Kongpob’s upper body to his lap and pressed his boyfriend’s head against his chest. Kongpob had forbidden himself from begging, he had promised himself he would let P’Arthit go without a fight, but when the love of his life held him close, all his decisions were forgotten.
“ P’Arthit, please don’t leave me. I - I’ll do anything. I’ll be anything you want, just please don’t leave me. I’ll do better, I promise.” He sobbed and begged. Arthit frowned at that and pulled Kongpob up from the floor. He led him gently back to the room and helped him sit down on the bed.
“ Kong, what are you on about? Why would I leave you?” He asked and his eyes were full of confusion and worry.
“ Be- because I never get it right. I tried, I tried so hard. A- and I will get it right, I will be cute and small. I’ll never again do anything you don’t like, I promise. I’ll be the wife, don’t worry, just don’t leave me.”
“ Be the wife? What wife? You always said yourself the whole husband and wife thing is stupid! If anything we will be husband and husband one day.”
“ You are always so angry at me and your friends teased you because of me. Because I - I was all wrong. I should be cute and shy, you know, to suit you. So… so I tried to be what I’m supposed to be. But… but I think I failed again. I was supposed to be cute and small, but all I did was make myself even uglier than before.”
Suddenly pieces started to fall into place and Arthit could remember even more incidents that started to make sense in the most sickening way. He had yelled, snapped and bullied his boyfriend, the man he loved, without realising what he was really doing. He had been mentally abusing Kongpob. Arthit felt so guilty, he wanted to vomit and maybe flee the country. But pale, terrified looking Kongpob was more important than the guilt tinted fear in Arthit’s mind, his lover needed him. He needed to fix the mess they had fallen into. He knew it was not all his fault, no one had suspected Kongpob had mental health issues, not even Kongpob himself, as far as Arthit knew. Because Kongpob’s behavior was far from healthy.
“ Kongpob, Kong, b -babe? There is nothing wrong with you. I can’t believe you’ve done this to yourself because of me. I can’t believe it took me this long to notice things were not right. I’m so sorry, Kong.” Arthit’s voice was rough with tears and he pulled his boyfriend to a tight hug.
“ No, no, P’ should not be apologising! It’s me, I just failed again. I know I’m a failure, have always been.”
“ What on earth do you mean? You’re my stupidly handsome and brave boyfriend! You are smart and athletic, hard working and friendly. You never seem to fail anything if you ask me.” Arthit gently shook Kongpob’s shoulders and could feel tears running down his own cheeks. “ I love you, Kong.” The genuine vulnerability in Arthit’s voice and the desperation in his eyes shed long lost light into the cloudy darkness in Kongpob’s mind.
“ I’m so sorry, P’. For making you worry. I just don’t want to lose you.”
Arthit hugged Kongpob tightly. He suddenly realised how much he had missed Kongpob’s laughter, constant questions and even the dirty innuendos. He wanted to see the flirty smile of his boyfriend again. He wanted the heated kisses and embarrassing public affection. “ I’m not going anywhere, Kong. You’re stuck with me.” He smiled gently and petted his boyfriend’s hair. He was going to dig into this odd compliant and scared version of Kongpob and pull his annoying boyfriend back to the surface again. Because there was nothing he wanted more than to be annoyed by his beloved 0062.