Chapter 1: Arthit's POV
"I'm hungry. Guuuuuuuuys. I'm hungry."
"You're always hungry, you fatass."
"Shut up, you two or I will sew your traps shut! I'm trying to sleep here!"
"Easy there, Prem. Easy."
I stared at my bulky friend who was placating Prem and his always grumpy attitude, then looked around at my other friends. We might have looked like a comical bunch, with Knot's hulking frame, Prem's always dour look... and yeah. Those two. In contrast, Bright and I looked good enough to pass off as girls, which still surprised me, since Bright was so tall and so crass. Tutah himself, though his masculine features were more apparent in his clothes, he still looked fabulously good, even though he was sitting on the same grubby floor as us. As for me... I've been called cute ever since I was a child, then the adjective pretty was added to the plethora of things that people used to describe me. Maybe that's why I turned out to be bisexual? ...Or not. Eh, equal opportunity and all that.
"Bright, will you sit properly? You're wearing a skirt for pete's sake! I don't want to see your hairy junk swinging in front of me," I chided Bright. I really could see his underwear from where I was sitting beside Tutah, who scrunched up his nose when he turned towards him.
"I've lost my appetite even though I'm still hungry. Aren't they gonna feed us?" whined Tutah.
A sudden memory sparked in my head and I began to pat myself down. I felt those pouches and extracted them from where I put them a while ago before, when we were dressing up for the party.
"Where were you hiding that, Arthit?" asked Tutah warily when I handed him a slightly deformed candy bar.
"Pocket," I told him. He scanned the rest of my body then stared at me dubiously.
"Arthit. Don't bullshit me."
"Hmm? What're you talking about?"
"That dress is form fitting that you had to tuck your dick in just so it wouldn't show against the cloth. And it doesn't have pockets. So, answer me truthfully. Where were you hiding that?" Tutah asked.
"Aren't you hungry? I have food, just be grateful I'm sharing them with you," I told him with a glare.
"I'm not eating anything that I didn't know the origin of. How would I know that you weren't hiding that somewhere in your crotch area? I'm gay, Arthit, but I'm not into you."
"I'm not into any of you. That's akin to incest. I only love you like a brother."
"Aaawww, I love you, too, Tutah!" Bright interrupted, crawling towards our side of our temporary "accommodation".
"Not you! If I liked you like that, it would be bestiality! Get away from me and get back to your own corner!" Tutah screeched.
"I'm a handsome beast, I know!" Bright said as he unabashedly rubbed his head against Tutah's arm like a cat, if that cat was demented. "Glad you know that I'm a beast. You wanna know why I'm called a beast? Because I'm a beast in bed. True story. Rawrrr."
"Lies," Tutah said.
"Lies, number 2," I added.
"Lies, number 3," Prem said.
"Lies, number 4. Whoever told you that is a liar and she was pitying you and never told the truth," Knot finished.
"Some friends you are!" he exclaimed and grabbed the candy bar from my hand before he crawled back to his corner.
"Thief! I didn't offer that to you!" I accused as I watched him devour the chocolate.
"Hey, pass me some?" Knot said from where he sat on the wall facing the door. I opened the pouch again and handed him one.
"Seriously, where were you hiding that?" Tutah said, snatching the bag of goodies from my hand. I looked at him in disapproval, which he ignored, as he began to munch on one of my chocolates.
"In my bra," I finally revealed. He stopped chewing and looked at me with wide eyes.
"Don't tell me, all this time, this is the one that made it look like you had boobs instead of the foam?"
"Well, there's the foam of the dress but this one was tailored for a well-endowed girl. And the bra was big too. So, I improvised," I explained, as-a-matter-of-factly.
"And you can't just get other non-edible things to fill up the gap?" Prem asked incredulously.
"Where's the fun in that? Besides, we have food now, so I think it is a good idea."
The others nodded in acceptance. Well, I was their provider of food, so, hah!
The door beyond the cell opened up then, revealing men clad in black leather jacket. There were three of them, all wearing the same outfit: jeans, black shirt, black leather jacket, and ski masks. Well, one of them was wearing a black cloth face mask that was only covering half of his face. Seriously, what the fuck was wrong with these people? It's so hot in Thailand!
"Where'd you get that?" asked the one in front as they stopped shortly before our cell.
"Doraemon's butt," I muttered, making Tutah choke on his food.
"What? You insolent brat--!" said the same person. He had begun to take something from his back but the one with the facemask only held him back.
"Easy there. We don't want them damaged. Do you want to face the wrath of the boss?" he said in a voice with such smooth cadence, I could orgasm just listening to him... Or maybe he could order me to orgasm I would do it in an instant, as long as he used that voice. Mmm, yum...
...What? Don't look at me like that! I'm a twenty-year-old virgin and I'm thisty for some action! Instead, my friends and I got a different kind of action! Something that we would like to never experience again, thank you very much!
You see, it was Tutah's twenty-first birthday today, if it was still today-today, and we all decided to dress up as women, as a form of support for our best friend. He just came out as gay to his parents and they didn't accept it well. Their love for Tutah was still strong, though, that they would never disown him like what you see in typical TV dramas.
Just a little bit of a background of our lives. The five of us were a spoiled bunch of rich kids that when we decided to hang out with one another when we were small, our parents were forced to do the same, even though they were business rivals and didn't have a good relationship with one another. They didn't really have a choice since we loved to go to the park together, and go to each others' birthday parties, and so on.
It resulted into something good, though, because they managed to set aside their differences and they all became best friends, just like the five of us were. Our families were now known in all of Thailand as the big bad wolves of the business world, the Elite Five. We belong to the top tier of rich families in Thailand.
So yeah, we grew up and still were close with one another. We were even neighbors and we support one another. All of them were single children, except for me. I have a younger brother, Rome, who wasn't that close to us. He was raised by my grandparents back in the province so we didn't really hang out all that much when we were kids. So, the five of us treated each other as siblings, instead of just best friends.
Back to the present, I watched as sexy-voice guy had a staring contest with the ugly-one. Well, I was just basing his looks on his voice, and since his voice was a bit high and reedy, never mind the big belly protruding on his front and his short stature, yeah, that's my conclusion. I know, I know, I'm too judgmental, and I don't care.
Sexy-voice guy won—Yay!—and the short one stomped his way out of the room, leaving behind his two companions.
"Sorry about that, angel. I didn't mean for him to frighten you. Are you okay?" he asked in a low voice, not minding everyone present. I was surprised at how gentle he talked to me, and it made me blush hard.
"I-I'm fine," I said, ducking my head. Did I just stutter? Holy cow! What, Arthit, was that?!
"Okay, that's good."
I peeked at him and saw him getting yanked by his companion. I continued to peer at them through my bangs (my wig's actually), and noticed how broad his shoulder was. I traced the lines of his body slowly, descending further down, stopping at the cute bubble butt that was just begging for me to squeeze, then proceeded further along the long lean legs of his.
A slap was delivered to my head, snapping me out from my ogling. I glared at Tutah as he looked at me disapprovingly. Actually, all of them were looking at me disapprovingly.
"What?" I asked warily.
"Are you seriously blushing right now, Arthit? Are you crushing on one of our captors? He's a kidnapper for fuck's sake!" Tutah hissed near me. My eyes turned into saucers and a denial was at the tip of my tongue, but his expression morphed into a stern one. I ducked my head once again and nodded subtly. Then I lifted it up again and with a defiant glint on my eyes, I said,
"But he's hot. You can't deny that."
Tutah studied the male, who was still busy talking to his mate, then nodded grudgingly.
"I know, I know. Nothing will happen I promise. Can't a guy ogle in peace?" I grumbled. You see, Tutah and I had a keen eye for any hot specimen of human beings, and that guy right there was as hot as it gets. Like a fucking molten lava kinda hot.
I looked back at him and found his dark eyes staring back at me, his friend getting frustrated because his attention wasn't on him. I felt myself get pinned in place and I was getting hot and bothered. Just a simple stare, mind you. Maybe it was the desperation to experience physical intimacy with another human being that was talking. Dang, why couldn't I have lost my virginity first before I got kidnapped?
The trance I was in got broken when he finally turned his attention back to his friend. I gasped as if I had been underwater for too long, and my heart was beating like crazy. What the actual fuck? Did I just fall in love with my kidnapper? This wasn't good. This was not really good.
"Tutah..." I whispered, garnering the attention of my friend. I looked at him with wide fearful eyes and he was immediately on alert.
"Tutah... I think it's love at first sight..."
"What? What do you mean? With whom?"
"That guy," I inclined my head subtly towards the direction of Mr. Sexy Voice.
"Are you serious?" he hissed, aghast. I nodded my head, pouting at him.
He gaped at me with all the finesse of a demented fish that made him look comical. But I wasn't in the mood to laugh. I was in the mood to cry instead.
"Arthit... You can't."
"Maybe we could tell him to change his ways? I can feel that there's a connection between us, you know? I mean, he keeps looking at me and all his stares..."
"Yeah, he's looking at you right now. Don't look!" Too late.
He was indeed looking at me, and it seemed like his impromptu meeting of probably their nefarious plans against us with his mate was finished. We stared at each other, making my heart beat like crazy again.
"Arthit!" I heard Tutah hiss.
"What?" I asked distractedly, still keeping track of his movements.
"Oh dear lord. Arthit! Stop staring at him. What if he does something to you, huh?! Jeez, snap out of it!"
"He can do anything to me..."
A slap was delivered straight to the back of my head, surprising me and, at the same time, snapping me out of my trance. I turned to glare at my friend and was about to curse at him when the sound of hurried footsteps reached my ear. I turned towards the other room beyond the bars and there he stood before me, looking concerned. Well, I though he looked concerned. I couldn't really discern all that much because of the face mask and all.
He crouched down to my level and reached out a hand through the bars. He stopped hesitantly a few inches from my face.
"May I?" he asked for permission. What? Wuuuuuuut??? I was swooning. I nodded my head, a bit too enthusiastically, and then he was caressing my face gently.
"Are you okay?" he asked me.
"Yea—yes. Yes, I'm okay," I replied hastily. He tucked the long strands of hair behind my ear and fixed the displaced locks of hair (not mine, sadly. I would've love if he did those things to my actual hair instead of the wig).
"Should I transfer you to another cell?"
"No!" exclaimed Tutah.
"I'm sorry but we all stay together. I don't want anything happening to any of my friends, so don't you dare," Knot warned the other guy. Mr. Sexy Voice glared at him, unphased by the clear growl of the larger man, and pointed at Tutah.
"Well, your so-called friend was hurting this angel right here!"
"Angel...?" muttered Prem loudly.
"That's normal between us. He didn't really hurt our Oon. And who the fuck gave you the permission to call my friend that, huh? Are you flirting with my friend? If so, find somebody else. We don't want people like you for our friend."
"What do you mean by that, huh?! Are you discriminating me? Typical spoilt rich brat."
Knot narrowed his eyes at the guy outside our cell. I was kinda getting nervous because the two of them just kept on posturing against each other.
"Who would want their friend to get into a relationship with the likes of you?! You're bad news and in case you've forgotten, you're one of our abductors!"
The masked guy widened his eyes. Did he seriously forget that he was one of our captors?!
"Yes. So, stay away from our Oon, you hear me?"
He turned to me and with melancholic eyes, he caressed my face one last time before he retracted the appendage. I wanted to catch his hand and hold on tightly but it was too late.
"I'm sorry, my angel. Your friend is right. Even though I would like to be with you, we can't. I'm a bad person who does very bad things. Just... I promise you that nothing will happen to you and your friends here, alright? That's all that I can do."
"But you can do better. Free us," Knot interrupted. The guy heaved a heavy sigh and looked at me apologetically.
"I can't. It's too dangerous. Even if you managed to get out of this cell, there are still a lot of people guarding out there. Your best bet right now is if the boss got what he wanted. I'm sorry."
"It's okay... Don't... It's really okay. Don't worry about us," I told him.
Just then, another masked goon entered from the door and called for them. The guy bid me goodbye with his eyes and then he was striding towards the door. I slumped against the wall and closed my eyes.
Why did it have to be someone like him?
Sounds of gunfire came from near us, making us all jump into alertness. Tutah, Bright and I moved closer towards Prem and Knot, huddling together as we watched the door leading to the cells warily. This wasn't our first rodeo in getting abducted, being the sons of influential people. That was why we were pretty chill a while ago. We also knew that this rescue mission might go fine or it might as well go sideways too.
I thought of him and then I began to panic. Oh my god, what if he got shot?! No, no, no, no, no!
Knot noticed me beginning to hyperventilate and began to coax me back into breathing normally. I tried as hard to calm down but the thought of his lifeless body lying somewhere out there made me want to regurgitate the candy I've eaten a while ago. Tears blurred my eyes as I looked at my best friends helplessly. They kept on reassuring me that it will be okay; that everything will be okay.
I tried to tell them that that wasn't the only thing that was concerning me; that I was worrying about him, too, but the more I wanted to say something, the more powerful the sobs that was wracking my frame. Tutah finally understood the broken words and sentences that I was trying to convey, and then he was hugging me tight. He kept saying sorry to me even though he didn't do anything wrong. I felt several arms encircle my shaking frame and we huddled together amidst the gunshots reverberating beyond the door to our holding cell. Every loud bang that seemed getting closer to us, was like a shot through my heart. I didn't know if there would still be something left after this ordeal and I found out that he didn't make it.
My first love dying before it even began.
Suddenly the door beyond our detaining cell burst open, and in came—him. He looked unharmed, aside from the bruised cheek he was sporting. I stared at him wide-eyed, still not sure if what I was looking at was really him or just a mirage that my hysterical mind had conjured. He strode towards us and unlocked the cell door, stopping and staring at our pitiful state in surprise. A sob bubbled up from my chest and then I was crying my heart out again.
He approached us in panic, not minding my friends who seemed to tighten their hold on me at his approach.
"Hey, hey, hey... What happened? Did any of you get hurt?" he asked. He surveyed each on of us as my friends shook their head no, and stopping at my crying ass.
"Then, is it the gunshots? I'm sorry if that frightened you. But it's okay now. My team is here and I promise, nothing will harm you, okay? All of you. We're skilled at dealing with this stuff, so trust me, okay? Can you all do that?" he looked at us one by one.
I could tell that my friends were still wary of him, but I nodded my head enthusiastically. Call me a lovesick fool, but I wouldn't get offended. All I cared about was him and the safety of his arms. He seemed like a reliable person.
Although they were still distrustful of the guy, my friends and I didn't have a better choice. It was him and into the unknown, or with our captor and still, into the unknown. Only an idiot would deign to stay behind with their captors.
"Hey, Ko—I mean K. We don't have much window. We need to go now," the guy who was with Mr. Sexy Voice guy a while ago burst into the room, a little out of breath. K, my lovely and brave K, turned to look at him and then at us. He gently coaxed us up, and told us to follow him.
"Can the ladies keep up? No offense or anything, okay. Just... we need to run." He looked especially at Bright and me.
The five of us looked at him in confusion until it dawned on us that we were all crossdressing. Well, I was flattered that he thought of me as delicate as a girl. I wanted to preen at that moment but there were other times for that.
"We can. We can, don't worry," I answered. By then, I had managed to calm down after seeing the proof that he was fine.
"Okay then. Let's go. Keep close to one another and me, okay? I'll try to lead you on to the places with less fighting but if the time comes—"
"Don't worry. I am trained in Muay Thai," Knot said. Actually, I was too, but I was currently in a form fitting dress and I didn't know when the delicate thing will rip. But I would fight my way out of this if it became necessary.
We got out of the abandoned warehouse (we were held at the basement) fairly unscathed. Or rather, there were scratches but nothing too serious. K himself was also in good condition, and he took us into a small house somewhere in the outskirts after he had lost our pursuers in a wild car chase (A car chase! I only saw those in movies! It was nerve wracking but weirdly exciting.)
Just as he managed to settle us in, he gave a burner phone to Knot. He instructed us to contact our parents and tell them where we were so that they could come fetch us. I didn't like the sound of that and I had a niggling suspicion at the back of my head that he wasn't staying... and I was right. I held his hand when he was about to go out of the door.
"Where are you going?" I asked warily.
"I have to go back. My team needs me," he answered. He gently pried my hand from his arm and held them in his slightly larger ones.
"It was nice meeting you, Oon," he said with a smile that crinkled his eyes.
"No. No, no, no. Please don't leave me," I whispered desperately. "Don't go back there. It's not safe. Please?"
"I have to. I have my friends over there and I am not abandoning them to fend for themselves. Wait... Actually, I have a job for you. Can you do it please?" he asked me.
"If I said yes, would you stay?" I challenged him. He only looked at me sadly. I averted my eyes, trying so hard to stop the tears from flowing. But my traitorous tearducts kept producing moisture and a few tears managed to escape. I looked back at him and fortified myself.
"I can do it, depending on what you're asking me to do."
"Actually, I don't know from which family you came from but I do recognize Khun Kraicharoen, here. If your family is as influential as his, you have to tell your parents to take down Chet Ariyasakul."
"What? But he's one of our business partners! All of our parents do business with him! That's impossible."
He raised an eyebrow at me.
"Is it still impossible if I told you that he's the one behind your abduction?" he revealed, leaving me speechless. Was he lying?
"Look. I know it's hard to believe if you've known the man. Well, I thought he was clean as well, and he was just doing honest business. But he's not, Oon. We've infiltrated this underground fighting ring months before, and it ultimately led us to him, and that's not all that he does illegally. He's not what he lets other people see, Oon. He's dangerous. Here. If you don't believe me. Everything that we've managed to gather as evidence is in that thumb drive. You can view it if you want. But just to be clear, even if you destroy that, I still have a copy somewhere else."
"Then why don't you just take this to the police and send him to prison?" I asked.
"He wouldn't be destroyed by something as simple as that. His visible empire needs to be taken down first so that he would lose the power he holds against the law. Then, we dismantle the underground empire. With your parents' influence, I'm pretty sure that you could do that faster than me and my team could do. So, will you help us?" he asked pleadingly.
I stared at tiny object on my palm then back at him, who was staring silently at me. I didn't know him, not really. I didn't even know his name nor what he looked like. But I knew his eyes. His eyes were telling me that he was speaking the truth.
Unless those eyes were also lying.
"Alright." And I chose to believe him.
His eyes crinkled again at the corners at how wide he must've been smiling.
"Thank you. Thank you so much, Oon. You don't know how much you're helping us with this..."
"Don't let me regret this. If it turned out that you're lying to me, and that Khun Chet is innocent and we just took down an empire..."
"It's all true, I promise. Look into those files. There might be a laptop or something in here..."
"We'll view it when we get home."
"...o-okay." At the mention of us being home, his smile seemed to have dimmed a little. Then he was back to smiling at me again that I wasn't sure if I just imagined the flash of sadness on his face a while ago.
"I gotta get going then. Bye. Be safe, okay? I can see that your friend there is a reliable fighter. I think you're in safe hands." He said all this as he walked backwards towards his parked car. I bit my lip hard to stop myself from calling out to him to stay. He had a job to do.
I watched as he pivoted on his feet so that his back was turned on me. I ducked my head because I couldn't bear to see his retreating back. It all felt too much like I would never see him again. I had this spark of hope within myself that he would come back to me after everything was over. But watching him walk away with his back towards me, I couldn't help but feel despair.
A series of thudding footfalls of sneakers hitting the concrete pavement made me look up. I saw him running towards me, and my heart felt like it was soaring. Did he change his mind, afterall...?
He stood still in front of me for a few seconds, just staring at me, then he was dragging me towards the side of the safe house, on a secluded corner with bushes hiding us from the rest of the house. The street light from beyond the tall hedges illuminated our features and I gasped in surprise when his handsome face greeted me.
Unconsciously, my hands framed his face, my eyes tracing every inch of his bare face, from his dark alluring eyes, perfectly shaped eyebrows, his high-nose and sharp cheekbones, down to his thin upper lip partnered with a plump lower one. My index finger traced his sharp jawline, then my hand dropped back down. I took a step backward just to see him clearer but he desperately grasped my hand.
"I-I—This is me. Uhm, I know it's crazy, and I shouldn't fall for someone during an assignment, but you're... different. I-I'm sorry, this must be making you uncomfo—"
"No, it's okay. Sorry, I was just admiring your utter gorgeousness. Go on. Tell me more about these feelings of yours."
"I-... I like you. Really, I do. I hope you're not weirded out because I am one of your captors, and all..."
"No. You're one of our saviors now. You're upgraded. I've upgraded your status."
"Oh, okay. Then you wouldn't mind me doing something crazy, right?"
After he said that word, I felt myself being yanked towards a hard body, and then a pair of warm lips were on mine. I was being kissed. Oh my god, was that a tongue? I opened my mouth to let the exploring wet thing inside my mouth and I didn't know what to do. Oh my god, my virgin lips and mouth were getting penetrated! What do I do...?
His tongue coaxed mine to join it in some sort of a dance, and I hesitantly followed his lead. Then we were kissing properly. He was mostly dominating the kiss, what with my inexperienced ass that didn't know what to do. I copied whatever he was doing to me and I learned what made him moan.
After a while, we separated, breathing heavily against each other's lips.
"I have to go..." he whispered.
"Do you really have to?"
I nodded my head grudgingly. I have to let him go.
"Oon. After all this, I promise, I will come find you, okay? Let's continue this another time."
"Okay. I'll wait."
And I waited.
Why the fuck did I tell him that? Well no, scratch that. Why the fuck didn't I ask his whole name, god damnit! I was so fucking stupid. Stooopid.
"Aaargh! This is making me crazy!" I burst out. I heard an exasperated sigh from my left and I turned to glare at my best friend, Knot.
"Are you thinking about him again?" he asked monotonously.
"Well, it's your fault for being stupid, for not using that brilliant brain of yours. Who knew that even someone as smart as you would be so stupid in the face of love?"
I growled at him. Some friend he was.
So, just a recap.
We were fetched by our parents and there were teary reunions (our parents, not us, because, like I said, getting abducted was like our Tuesday routine, get what I'm saying?). After we got home, and all the daunting police proceedings, I plugged the flash drive into my laptop nervously, my friends huddling around me to face the screen.
Our jaws had dropped when we saw the hard evidences that Khun Chet really wasn't that good of a person. There was even a recording of him ordering the abduction of us, particularly Tutah, since his parents had started to deal with him less and less. It was only a matter of time before the other four companies would do the same, after all, our families were close. Gossips flew fast.
We brought the evidences to our parents, who were all gathered at the dining room of our house (my friends decided to sleepover at our house to keep an eye on me, and the parents stayed, too, to keep an eye on all of us). They browsed through the files for quite a while, their brows furrowing as the time went by. When they got to the part of the recording, their faces had gone scarily blank that it made us huddle closer to one another, even Knot. Then, like a well-oiled machine, they took action, calling people even in the dead of the night, or more aptly the early morning, and demanding things that needed to be done. By the end of the day, Khun Chet's empire had come crashing down, and our parents watched in grim satisfaction as the company stocks plummeted drastically. Soon, they were swooping in like vultures, gathering the almost invaluable stocks, and waited.
They didn't have to wait for long because a week later, Khun Chet declared bankruptcy. My mom had clucked her tongue and muttered about them taking way too long in making the bastard pay. I felt reverence for our parents then. After that, I guess K's team had done their jobs right because Khun Chet was arrested and got sentenced to a life imprisonment.
Everything went according to plan. Except for one.
That bastard never came to find me. It's been months. What a douche, right? Maybe I should've just sicced my parents on him. Oh wait. I didn't know even his name. Stooopid me.
"You know what, let's just end this meeting, okay? We can't finish this project with your mind drifting like that. And I am getting annoyed by your constant sighing. Geez. Just looking at you makes me depressed," Knot complained as he began to tidy up our workspace. He closed the reference books and notebooks, shoving his laptop neatly along with his notes into his bag. I did the same, albeit at a slower pace.
"Sorry..." I repented. I really need to get a grip on myself. I couldn't let a broken promise ruin my future, right?
'But he's your future,' my traitorous brain whispered.
'Shut it,' I answered back.
"It's also time that you should go. You're meeting your parents, right?"
I groaned at his reminder. I seriously didn't want to meet my parents right now. Not after what they kept on telling me to do. I mean, I am a goddamn adult! I could do things by myself, and that included getting someone to date me, thank you very much. I just chose to stay single.
Which they promptly ignored. I get it that they were worried about me not finding someone to be my life partner, but man, I was still in university! I was just turning tweny-one in the next few months. Barely an adult. I have still so much time to find romance, so they badly needed to chill.
But no. They kept on insisting. They even compiled a photobook of eligible bachelorettes and some bachelors, for me. Can you believe that? I was pretty sure, if I went to the restaurant, they would have a new compilation ready for me to browse. I was already getting tired even by thinking about it.
Something cold touched my cheek and I jerked in surprise. Knot chuckled, the bastard.
"Here. Something to cheer you up," he said, handing me a cup of chilled pink milk. Okay, he was forgiven.
I quickly sipped the milky goodness, trying to bury all my heartaches and frustrations under the momentary happiness I felt whenever I had my favorite drink. It worked for a little while. All too soon, the cup was empty, and with it, the emptiness I was feeling resurfaced.
Knot escorted me to the restaurant where I was meeting my parents and I was grateful for the company. Although he might complain about my "lovesickness", he still continued to be by my side, a silent pillar of support for me.
"Good luck," he said as I left his car. I showed him the finger and he laughed hard. I took a fortifying breath and hitched the backpack higher on my shoulder then trudged towards the doors of my doom.
I told the maître d', who had a resting bitch face on, the name of my parents. I wanted to roll my eyes at her, but I got impressed when her resting bitch face didn't even twitch after I mentioned the Rojnapat surname. I thought she was judging me since I wasn't really wearing the restaurant's proper dress code (I was in my uniform: Black undershirt with crimson worksop jacket, partnered with ripped jeans and sneakers) since I came from university and I didn't bother to go change. I liked her already. She instructed me to where my parents were seated and then I thanked her. She gave a small smile which I returned with my mega watt one, with the dimples and all.
I strode my way through the restaurant, ignoring the judging looks I received from the high society people and social climbers dining there. I found them in a secluded corner of the restaurant, and found the dreaded leather-bound book already in front of the only vacant seat. I stood a meter from the table, glaring at the book.
"Oon, sit down. And stop glaring at the book. It won't catch fire no matter how much you wish. You just don't have that kind of superpower, son," my dad, Aroon, said.
I grudgingly took my seat amidst my mom's snickers.
"Why do you keep doing this to me? I'm only twenty!"
"Correction. You're twenty yet you still haven't had your first relationship. Guys at your age would've had several failed relationships already, especially with that face you have. We gave you that face and it's an insult to us, as your parents, that you haven't even had your first kiss even with the face we have provided you," my mom, Madee, bluntly said. She kept her tact tucked away whenever she was talking with people whom she was close to. I kinda inherited that, but just a little bit.
"I agree with your mom. I'm really disappointed that you haven't had a girl pregnant by now—Ouch! Why'd you slap me, honey?" he whined. Mom and I looked at him, affronted.
"I don't want my baby to become a manwhore, you stupid fool! I just want him to be in a relationship, but I also want him to be responsible, too!"
Yeah, my dad tended to say stupid things whenever he was around someone he was close to, and I... also inherited some of that.
"Don't listen to your father, dear. And can you please just look at the selection? It's not a marriage thing, dear. Just... choose someone to date? Please, I'm worried about you."
"But mom... Why are you rushing me? Don't you think that I just want to enjoy my life right now? I have my friends and we're fine as it is."
"Fine. Fine! But just browse this one, please? I already went through the pains of sorting through the candidates and compiling them. I promise, this is the last one and then I will leave you be."
"Fine. But can we eat first? I'm starving."
We had our dinner in relative peace. They asked me about my studies and they talked about the company and other high society gossips. I listened passively and just wallowed in my own self-pity. I didn't want to date another person when I was still hoping that he would come find me. Even though almost four months have passed since that time, I still couldn't get him out of my mind. I eyed the book and thought that maybe it was time to move on.
After the table was cleared, I brought the book closer to me. I stared at the cover for a while, pep-talking myself silently and convincing my heart that I have to move on. My parents were looking at me expectantly as I began to browse the book.
Page after page, I looked at the pictures and skimmed the profiles briefly, not really satisfied with what I read even though some of them had outstanding backgrounds and they seemed to have amazing personalities. Some of them I even know and they would've made a great boyfriend/girlfriend. But I couldn't seem to appreciate them all that much. I continued to leaf through the pages, and I heard my parents sigh when there were only a few pages left. Then it happened. Fate was mocking all over again.
Because just when I decided that I should forget him, his politely smiling face stared up at me, as if sardonically telling me that I would never get away from him. I felt my traitorous heart start to beat like crazy and my traitorous brain whispered that there was hope after all.
I bit my lip as I stared at his face, contemplating whether I wanted to meet him again. For months, I felt abandoned; I felt cheated and been lied to. But I still hoped that he would come and sweep me off my feet. Seeing his profile then, I thought to myself, maybe I should do the sweeping? You know, sweep him off his feet and carry him towards the sunset and all that cliché shit.
Heaving a deep sigh to settle my thoughts that were in turmoil, I decided to give him another shot. I looked up at my parents, who were already looking at me expectantly.
"Him," I told them. I passed the book towards them then tapped at his picture. "Him."
"Hmm. Nice choice. He has a great profile," my dad said.
"Kongpob Suthiluck, 26. A bit old for you, but eh, age is just a number. He studied at SSU, IE, oh! He's from your school, dear. Is it why you chose him?" Mae asked me. I shrugged in response. "Hmm, he graduated with honors, too, then he went to study abroad for his Masters. Impressive."
Yeah, and he also saved us when we got kidnapped by your business partner.
"Hmm, I think we have that proposal from Siam Polymer, right dear?" dad mused, still looking at K's—P'Kongpob's—profile. "Maybe we could have a more permanent partnership with them. Siam Polymer is a good company after all. Clean and honest. I've met with Khun Kekklai several times and he seemed like a nice person. What do you think dear?"
"Yeah. Yes. Let's do that."
"Wait. Hold on, you guys. I thought this is not something about marriage? Why are you talking about permanent partnership and all?!" I asked them in panic.
"Don't worry about it dear. We're just talking business. Of course, you'll still have your choice. Just do your best in dating him, okay?"
"What? Ho—What, mom? Are actually selling me off? 'Seduce him, be good to him, so that we could save our failing business' is it that kind of thing? Is our business failing, mom?" I asked them in bewilderment.
My parents stared at me for a while, then they burst our laughing.
"Oh dear, sometimes I worry about you and your overactive imagination!" dad said chuckling.
"No dear. Our business isn't failing. If it is, you would know. You are a major stockholder after all."
"Oh, okay. Then why are you selling me off?"
"We're not selling you off," mom said, affronted.
"It's just that this could be a good opportunity to forge a partnership with the Suthilucks. With our children dating, we could form a better alliance with them. That's all," dad explained.
"But don't be pressured, son. This is a blind date after all, not a marriage meeting. If it doesn't work out between the two of you, it's okay. We won't let it affect our working relationship with Siam Polymer. Just choose who you want to. It's your life, anyway. We'll just be the one to vet your partner."
"Okay, dad. That's good to know."
"Okay, anymore questions?" mom asked, clapping her hand to get our attention. I shook my head in reply.
"Well then. I'll set up the date, okay? We'll talk to Khun Kerkklai and you just wait patiently, Oon. And no take backs!"
The blind date was set up a week later. I was a nervous wreck as I dressed that day. It was a Saturday and I told my friends that I have agreed to my parents' cajoling of finding someone to date, although I didn't tell them about the fact that it was K himself that I was going to see. I still wasn't sure if it was really him. He could very well be a look-alike for all I know.
My door suddenly burst open, making me drop the canister of wax in my hand. Tutah and the rest strode in. He took one look at me, clucked his tongue and then proceeded to doll me up. I sat on the stool and let him do his magic. My other friends made themselves at home in my bedroom, lounging somewhere else and doing something.
Tutah held the twin intertwined silver rings pendant on thin silver chain necklace before me in silent question, and I nodded my head in consent. He gently turned me around so that I was facing my vanity mirror. I gasped when I saw my reflection.
As he put the necklace around my neck from behind me, I studied the person staring back at me. His hair was a tousled mess, some strands falling against his forehead, artfully done by Tutah, and his eyebrows were shaped by make-up. Eyeliner ringed his eyes, making his brown doe-eyes pop. A sheen of gloss made his pink lips look inviting, like a siren call to anyone to come bite them. A silver chain earring dangled from his left ear while there was only a round stud for the other ear. The necklace completed the look, a silver glinting against his pale collarbones and chest.
"There. Now you look fuckable," Tutah declared, patting my shoulders like he was patting himself on his own shoulder.
"Oi! Tutah!" I exclaimed as I blushed. I glared at his smug looking face on the mirror.
"You're welcome, dear," he said primly. "Now go. Your parents are waiting downstairs."
I arrived at the restaurant that was chosen by my parents. It was a chic upscale restaurant that was more suited for young adults like me. I thanked my driver, P'Aat, and got down from the car. My heart beat like crazy as I took the steps towards the entrance.
"Excuse me. I have a reservation under Rojnapat," I told the maître d. Who just kept on staring at me. I cleared my throat and called out to her again. She shook her head and apologized for her behavior. I repeated my reservation details then she was confirming it and asking one of the waiters to usher me.
I could feel stares boring into me, making me a bit uncomfortable. Years and years of practice of being exposed to people was the only thing that made me maintain my composure even though I wanted nothing but to glare or hide away from them.
He led me to a table at the back, fairly secluded from the rest of the dining area. I felt my breath hitch when I saw him already there. He was looking outside the window as he sat back against the backrest of his chair, his arms folded against his chest. I studied his chiseled jaw and remembered how it felt like cradled on my hands. I wanted to trace his features again. I called out to him, making him turn towards me.
He froze when he saw me. This was it, oh my god. This was it! I felt my heart thundering against my chest. Did he recognize me? He did, didn't he? But why wasn't he jumping in joy? What's happening?
A shadow of uncertainty passed through me. I called out to him again, and I managed to bring him out of his stupor.
"You're Khun Suthiluck, right?" I asked. There, that should make him know that I knew his name.
"Oh, where are my manners," he said, standing up from his seat. He wai'ed to me in greeting and I did the same. "Yes, I'm Kongpob Suthiluck. Please have a seat."
We both took our seats. Facing each other, I smiled at him uncertainly. He smiled politely back and I felt my hopes begin to shatter.
"So, uhm..." Hmm, it seemed like he didn't know anything about me at all. Didn't his parents tell him a bit about me?
"Arthit. Arthit Rojnapat."
"Arthit. Sorry, I haven't had the chance to read about you." Just as I thought.
"It's okay, Khun Suthi—"
"And please call me Kongpob. Wait, how old are you?"
Fuck, he really didn't recognize me. Was I wearing too much make-up that day? I smiled wanly at him, the only smile that I could muster with my heart breaking into tiny bits. I wanted the dinner to end already.
"I'm twenty, P'Kongpob," I answered him, that smile still in tact.
"I see. You're pretty young, huh," he remarked.
Young. Barely an adult. While he was already pretty established himself. Were there anymore glaring differences between us? You know, to make me feel more inadequate than how I was already feeling right now?
I didn't deign to answer back or else I might've broken down. An awkward silence descended on us, with the waiter taking our orders the only respite we had from it. I wasn't the only one who noticed it.
"I'm sorry, I think I might have brought the mood down. I offended you, didn't I? If I did, please don't be afraid to call me out on it. And I apologize for anything I might've said to offend you—"
"P'. It's okay. I was just lost in my own world. It's not entirely your fault, okay? I'm good, P'Kongpob."
"If you say so."
A less than suffocating silence followed after that. He was empathic. He read the mood correctly and even apologized for his words. He would've been perfect if not for the glaring fact that he seemed to have forgotten about me and his promise.
We continued to make small talk—well, he was the one mostly talking and I contributed some answers here and there—until our foods arrived. The risotto I ordered looked really appetizing but when I took a bite, it tasted like cardboard in my mouth. God, I really wanted to go home.
We continued to eat in silence, the both of us lost in our thoughts. After dinner, he asked me if I wanted to get dessert, to which I answered no. I made a lame ass excuse that I was tired from all the works I had done the past week (which was true because being a third year IE student and head hazer was a daunting task). He called the waiter for the bill then smiled politely back at me. We went back to our slightly uncomfortable silence, minding our own business. When the bill came, I tried to quickly give my credit card to the waiter but he was faster. I tried to protest but one smile from him and all my protests vanished. Actually, all of my thoughts vanished. I hated myself for it, because he still held so much power over me that I wasn't sure if I could forget my love for him or not.
"Let's go?" he asked after he got his card back. He shot me one of his kind smiles which infuriated me so much. Like why the fuck would you smile at me when I was trying to get over you?! Damn it!
I nodded meekly at him and I felt so very embarrassed. I had been a very bad companion with all of my short answers and general silence that I must've came off as aloof.
"Do you have a ride?" he asked when we were outside.
"Yes, P'. I have my driver with me."
"Oh, okay then. Call them now. I'll see you off."
Oh, my GAWD! Why was he such a gentleman?! I called P'Aat and he told me he'll be here after ten minutes as he parked someplace else because of some errand my mother asked of him. I told as much to the older and he smiled his kind smile, again. Oh dear, my conscience was killing me.
"P'Kongpob." Wow, what now Arthit? "I'm really sorry for tonight. I—"
"It's okay, Nong. I didn't really mind." Liar. I saw how uncomfortable you were.
"No! It's really not okay. I wasn't the best companion and I knew I ruined dinner. I-I'm really sorry, because... I kinda used you?"
Okay brain. WHAT? Stop functioning now, goddamnit! He was already looking weirdly at me.
"The truth is... My parents, they uhm... they keep on setting me up to different people. They wanted me to date somebody since I was already at the right age and all. But I didn't want to and they made a deal that if I went on a single one, then they would stop and let me be." Well, technically that was true.
"Hmm, then may I ask why you don't want to go on those dates before?"
"I-I... Well, aside from I'm still young... I'm kinda... nursing a broken heart—" What the fuck was I saying? "I—I'm trying to get over someone since my love seems to be doomed. I—"
I began to sob because I just realized that I was saying the truth. I didn't want to be hurt anymore, and four months must've been enough to wait for someone, right? I waited for him and yet the moment I met him again, he had broken my heart to smithereens. I didn't like that feeling. I need to protect of my heart.
"I-I-I'm sorry, P', for having to witness this. You shouldn't have been dragged into this. Don't worry, I'll tell—I'll tell my parents that we didn't work out, okay? So, you don't have to worry about me. I'll be fine."
"You don't have to ask for forgiveness, Nong. You didn't do anything wrong. It was actually nice to have met you. I've only heard of you and your friends occasionally, and it was nice putting a face on one of the names of the Elite Five," he tried to cheer me up. I smiled a wobbly smile at him as I wiped my face with the back of my palm.
"Here," he said, offering a white handkerchief to me. I wiped my tears with it, smelling his alluring perfume.
"Thank you, P'. And who still carries handkerchiefs nowadays?" I asked him.
"Well me. In case gorgeous people like you needed something to wipe their tears away."
Was he... Did he just flirt with me?! I felt my face heat up. I snorted to hide my embarrassment.
"Yeah, right. And how many have you made swoon by offering up your handkerchief when they cried, huh?"
"Well, there's only you, so... You're one of a kind, you know."
I ducked my head after that line, hiding my red face from him. Oh, my god he was flirting with me.
"P'..." I whined, still not looking at him. It was getting harder and harder to forget him, with him showing this caring side of him.
"Sorry, sorry. I'll stop teasing now. Oh, I think your ride's here," he said. I looked up and, there really was P'Aat with the car.
"Thank you for dinner, P'. And I'm sorry for being such a horrible companion tonight."
"It was nothing. Hey, Nong?"
"Can you do me a favor?" I looked at him expectantly. "Be happy. I don't know what happened with you and that person, but be happy. I know it's hard. Heck, it might be looking impossible right now. But let yourself be surrounded by those who matter to you and share your burden with them. And then, be happy. Whether it is with your friends and family, or with someone new who will love you and cherish you like what you really deserve. Don't let one person ruin your happiness for you, okay? Can you do that?"
How could I hate him, right? I already felt a tad better after his words even though he was the reason why I was feeling this way in the first place.
I felt like I could smile a genuine one this night, so I did. I let my lips stretch wide into the smile that I knew let my dimple show.
"Thank you, P'Kongpob. Thank you so much. You don't know how much your words helped me feel better. So just... thank you. And goodnight P'. Take care on your way home," I told him as I entered the car.
"Night..." I heard him faintly say before I closed the door.
As the car sped away from his figure, I let myself smile a melancholic smile. He was, after all this time, an unattainable dream. It would be best to move on from him and heed his advice: be happy. That was what I planned to do.
Chapter 2: Oon-Captor, Kongpob!
As promised ~
I did something stoopid. I deleted the chapters thinking it was the drafts I made for chapter 2. Ugh 🤣🤣🤣
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Por presented to me the idea about a blind date with the son of a potential business partner, I immediately refused. First of all, why was he partnering me up with a guy? I have never given any indication that I was also into the same sex. I was straight as a ruler. Second, my heart already belonged to someone else. I only told him about the first reason, and decided to reveal about the second when I finally found my Oon.
Then he used his stern look on me, a warning, and I remembered that he was still not happy with me. I listened to him explain about the deal and that whatever happened with the blind date, it wouldn't affect the business deal with the other party. I grudgingly accepted it since that was a bit reasonable. I would just have to politely decline the other party and tell my Por that it didn't work out between us.
Because I know for sure it wouldn't work out.
It's been a month since I started my quest to find my angel, and it was proving to be difficult. It was like she disappeared off the face of the earth! Well, in all fairness, I forgot to get her whole name. With the dire situation we were in, that little bit of info slipped my mind. Now, all I got as a lead was that she was called Oon, her beautiful face, and some details. I was pretty sure that Oon was her nickname, not even her real one! She also belonged to the high society circle but there's still a number of people to go through. The other lead that I had of her was her being close friends with the Kraicharoen heir. But like I said, it was like she disappeared from earth, because not once had I seen her with him. (Yes, I stalked Khun Knot for a week and all I ever saw him with were his friends.)
I had assumed that it was her that Chet had targeted because, well... I kinda got blinded by her beauty. Hehe. Not a good characteristic for an undercover agent, I know. But I swear, that was the only time that happened to me. I fell in love with her at first sight, and I fell hard.
Wad, my partner during that mission, was the one helping me find her with little to no luck. I couldn't ask my other friends in that side of my work because they were busy on other missions.
So, the day of the blind date came, with me still not getting any closer to figuring out my angel's identity. With a heavy heart, I got ready for my date, nothing too fancy, then went to the restaurant my father mentioned.
The place was a bit upscale and surprisingly chic, a definite popular choice for young rich kids to go. I told my name to the maître d' and a waiter guided me to my seat. The other wasn't there yet. Well, I was fifteen minutes early. I had always been a habit of mine to arrive early for my appointments.
Ten minutes later, a guy entered the restaurant, then was being ushered by the waiter. I noticed him immediately because of his features. He was handsome, sure, but if I were asked to choose which adjective to call him, I would lean more towards gorgeous. Because he was gorgeous. I averted my eyes when the waiter turned towards our direction. I didn't want to be caught staring.
I focused somewhere outside the window, watching the cars pass by. Then, a soft voice called out to me, and I turned my head, a polite greeting at the tip of my tongue. Only to freeze in place when I saw the gorgeous man I saw before standing uncertainly in front of me.
"You are Khun Suthiluck, right?" he asked me again, snapping me out of my daze. I hastily stood up and greeted him politely, gesturing at the opposite chair. He sat down and smiled a small smile.
"Arthit. Arthit Rojnapat."
"Arthit. Sorry, I haven't had the chance to read up about you."
"Uh, it's fine, Khun—"
"Please call me Kongpob. Wait, how old are you?"
"I'm twenty, P'Kongpob."
"Oh, I see. You're pretty young, huh."
He smiled wanly at me. Somehow, I felt like that smile was not at all a good one. Did I say something wrong? The waiter came to us then, saving me from the awkwardness that had began to envelope us. We browsed the menu book and told our orders to the waiter. After he left, we were back to sitting awkwardly in silence. I guess it wouldn't be that hard to tell Por that we didn't work. Because we weren't working out.
"Uhm. Sorry, I seem to have brought the mood down," I said as I watched him fiddle with the folded table napkin.
"P'. It's okay. I was just lost in my own world. It's not entirely your fault, okay? I'm good, P'Kongpob."
"If you say so."
We proceeded on with the awkward dinner. I kept trying to engage him in conversation but it seemed like he wasn't really interested in it. I felt the sadness from him and I had hoped that my constant chattering would bring him out of his shell and that he would cheer up for a bit. I failed spectacularly though.
He refused dessert, and I guess he wanted the date to end already. I asked for the bill and I noticed him trying to pay for our dinner. I was faster though.
Being the gentleman that my parents raised, even though he was as much of a man as I was, I still escorted him out front and waited with him for his ride. I didn't know why, but I have the strong urge to protect him. I chalked it up to him looking vulnerable.
As we waited for his ride to come around, he apologized for being a bad companion this evening. I told him that it was okay. He continued on to explain about his parents pressuring him to date and then he began to cry as he told me about his broken heart. I felt a pang in my heart for him. How could anyone hurt someone as angelic as him.
I offered him my handkerchief and then proceeded to flirt with him, although I didn't understand why I did that. I comforted him, and told him to be happy; with his friends and family or someone who would love him unconditionally.
When his ride arrived, and he was opening the passenger door, he turned back to me and smiled widely. His eyes turned into crescents as his cheeks puffed up. But that wasn't the one that made me freeze. It was the single dimple on his right cheek and his pouty lips that did, reminding me of another pair, on an angelic face much like his. In fact, their resemblance was so uncanny if not for the blatant gender difference.
But Wad said that although the Rojnapat heir had a sibling, they were both boys, and that the younger one was living somewhere North with the grandparents. A memory flashed in my mind: three of the captives were crossdressing that night. Wad and I managed to confirm the identities of the two other men within their group, and identified them as Prem and Tutah, the both of them belonging to the Elite Five.
They seemed to be very close to one another so it was a bit disconcerting for me to not even having glimpsed my Oon among the three's friends. Instead, there were two other males with them, which Wad pointed out as the rest of the Elite Five.
Puzzle pieces began to slot on their place as I watched the car grow tiny the further it got away from me. Certainly, this change in perspective made more sense. But the question now was this: was I ready to accept the whole truth if my hunch was indeed the right one? Would I be able to handle it?
If Arthit really did turn out to be my Oon, was I ready to pursue him even though he was a man like me?
I mulled over the question over the next couple days as I continued to investigate this matter with this new angle, dragging Wad into it. He had looked at me with irritation and then surprise when I told him my theory and then he was diving into the investigation further.
I told my Por that I was considering Khun Arthit as a potential partner but I asked him to give me few days to think it through, to which he agreed. He was actually surprised by my answer, expecting me to return home and tell him it didn't work out.
My heart and my mind were a mess, because of one certain angel that kept spreading chaos into my very being. So I drowned on my work and my investigation further.
On the third day, I got my confirmation in the form of a CCTV footage (it was so hard to obtain this since the footages that time were at the police's hands) of them entering a hotel room and coming out as the ones we saw when they got captured.
I heaved a heavy breath after I rewatched the footage countless of times. The picture froze when Oon's—Khun Arthit's—face was angled towards the camera, the grainy image of him smiling towards his friend being imprinted in my mind.
I groaned in frustration.
I went off grid for the following days after I got my confirmation. Well, not really off grid since I told my father that I was going on a vacation, which he approved. I told him that I needed time for myself after the debacle almost five months ago.
I went to the countryside, where my grandparents were and decided to stay there for a few weeks, letting the peace of the place aid me in my mind that was in turmoil. I helped them manage the vast farmland we had there, visiting my old haunts as a child. Em found me there, my best friend since childhood. He had just finished his mission, and when he found out I went here, he followed.
"So, you're really retiring from the force?" he asked.
"Yeah. Dad gave me an ultimatum..."
He snorted in reply.
"As if that would stop you," he stated disbelievingly.
I smiled wanly, throwing the stone I found on the ground on the clear lake, disturbing the calm of the surface.
"Well, I also thought that it was time for me to buckle down. My parents are also getting old, so I need to learn now how to run the company."
"Oh yeah? Why don't I believe you?"
"Believe whatever you want then. I don't care," I scoffed.
He chuckled in reply.
"During my last mission... I met someone," I told him after a while of silence.
"The one you did with Wad?"
"Okay? Seems serious."
I chuckled at how nonchalant he was with his statement.
"Oh, it is. I fell for her," I admitted, glancing at him to watch his reaction.
His eyebrows raised and disappeared into his bangs, his eyes widening.
"Wow. That's a first. What made you finally fall for someone? As far as I know, you've only had flings and fleeting attraction to people."
"I know. It came as a shock for me too. And Wad," I said with a wry chuckle. "It was even love at first sight. Can you believe that?"
"Well. No. Not really."
"I won't believe it. Not until I see it with my own eyes."
I stared at him for some time before I stared back at the lake again. I was so conflicted even though I admitted that I did fall in love with that angel.
"I'm sensing that there's more to the story," he said after a while of observing me. I nodded hesitantly and turned back to him.
"The thing is... she's not who I thought she is..." I told him, pausing, not for effect, but to gather my thoughts.
"Don't tell me that she's one of the bad guys?! Are you like Batman or something? Falling for the enemy kind of shit? Or no, like Sherlock Holmes, because there's only one woman for him."
I snorted at his response. Leave it to my wacky friend to think like that. Well, I couldn't really fault him since my situation was a bit different than the norm.
"No, silly. He's none of those. He's just an honest to god civilian," I answered him.
"Wait, wait, wait, wait. You told me a while ago that you fell for a woman. And you kept using the pronoun for girls..."
"And I also told you that she turned out not what I thought she was."
Em's face was hilarious, I had to laugh. His mouth was wide open in an O-shape, and his eyes were also wide circles. He was gaping like a fish out of water.
"He-He- What is he?!"
"Hmmm. I don't know. But I'm pretty sure he's not straight."
"But what made you think he was a woman."
"Hmm... Because when we met, he was crossdressing. I don't know the reason behind it, but he and his friends were all dressed up as women. I really thought he was a woman though because he really looked pretty. He looked like an angel, Em."
"Wait, so you're gay now? The reason your relationships didn't last was because you weren't into women after all?"
I looked at him, unimpressed.
"I was really attracted to all those I've dated in the past. It's just that I didn't feel more than infatuation towards them. I also thought of myself as straight before I even met him."
"So, you're, what? Bisexual now?"
"Hmm. Probably. I don't know. Does it matter?"
"Hmm. Point. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. So. What happened?"
"Nothing?! What nothing?!"
"I've been trying to find "her" for the past month but I didn't have any luck so far. My dad then approached me and told me to attend a blind date with someone. I went, not wanting to anger him more than he was already at me. That's when I met "him". I didn't recognize him because I still didn't know that she was actually a he, but I'm pretty sure that he did recognize me. He knew my face, after all—"
"Wait, you even revealed your identity to him?! Oh dear..."
"I know, I know. It's a dumb thing to do. But—"
"I didn't say that. What I meant by that was that you're really serious about him if you're making him know about you. I know you know the risks but you still did that. Okay, okay. I am starting to believe that you're in love with him. So, what happened next? You went on a date with him, and then...?"
"Well... that was only a few days ago. I got clued in to his identity when he smiled at me after that date, Em. It was the same smile that she gave to me when we parted during that mission. That cute dimple, the same sad smile of someone who was trying to be brave—"
"What sad smile?! What happened?!"
"Well... the date didn't... really go well..."
"Because I didn't remember 'him'. Because I didn't recognize him. I was still thinking that she was really a woman during the date. So, it was really uncomfortable and he was sad about something, and now I think that was because of me."
"Okay? Then what happened next?"
"We ended the date amicably. When we were waiting for his driver to bring around the car, he told me about being broken hearted, Em. I-I think I'm the reason for that. He made a lameass excuse that he only agreed for this setup date by his parents to try to get over me, but I have the feeling that he chose to go with me because he recognized me. But Em... he said... he said..."
"He said that he will try to get over his love. And that means me, right? That means me..."
"You--! Did you just let him go?"
I nodded forlornly.
"You idiot! What the fuck are you even doing here?!"
"Well, I wasn't sure if it was really him! So, I had to investigate and it turned, my angel was really him! And I was so confused, Em... I didn't know what I wanted."
"But now? What do you want?"
I shrugged my shoulders. I knew what I wanted, but I was still afraid.
"You know what you want, Kong. So, get up and we will get back to Bangkok, now. I don't want you to regret having to let him go because I'm pretty sure, I would be the one to drag your ass back whenever you decide to drown your sorrows in alcohol. Come on!"
It was a few more days that I was able to see the younger again, even Em's nagging. Because as soon as we reached Bangkok, I was called into the force again, despite the disapproving looks I got from my parents. I only managed to calm them down when I told them that it was all office works and that I would also be there to process my retirement.
So, I worked for them for the last time. Em, who had filed his retirement months before, this latest mission being his last, helped me with the process. My parents were also giving me a load of work to make sure that I really didn't receive any missions.
It was only during one of these work-related outings that my parents dumped on me that I managed to see my angel. I was dragged along by my Por to my alma mater since he was a board member of the school. I dragged Em along with me, since he said he was bored. I forgot all about Arthit studying here until the president of the university led us to the cheer hall.
There, I saw him, in all his glory, (he was literally glorious, I tell ya), shouting at the seated freshmen, who were all silent and cowering before the serious looking seniors. We were on the balcony on the upper area of the cheer hall, looking down over the vast space.
His voice echoed around the space as he shouted orders to the freshmen. Surprisingly, this personality of his was a far cry from when I first saw him, dressed in women's clothes. Well. His and his friends' lives were in danger then so I could understand how he would be different from this head hazer, who had to look and act tough in front of the freshmen.
I was only staring at him, not paying attention to the others with me. I think the president was explaining to us how they take pride in their SOTUS system and how it helped the younger students learn the values that would be critical in the real world.
We watched until the freshmen were dismissed and the hazers, which turned out to be the other members of the Elite Five, trudged their way towards a secret meeting held after each hazing session. I knew of this because I had been a head hazer myself.
"Have you had your fill?" someone said near my ear. I jerked away from the person and turned to glare at him. I tempered my irritation when I found my father looking at me with a knowing look in his eyes. Behind him was Em, who was snickering behind his hand. I felt my face heating up, so I cleared my throat and told them that we should proceed to the next one.
The university tour went on for another half hour as the president showed to us the improvements that they had done to the university (some of which were impressive, I must admit).
Just as we were saying our goodbyes, a commotion got all of our attentions. I looked on curiously for a second before my eyes widened when I realized that someone was getting beaten up. The president and I moved simultaneously towards the fighting students, with him telling me to stand back and that he'd handle this himself. Just then, five crimson clad students rushed into the scene and started to restrain the students.
The hulking mass of the Kraicharoen heir along with the slightly thinner but also built male, held four students back with a bit of difficulty. Another tall guy stood between the two parties while Arthit himself was helping the two students who had been on the losing end. I recognized N'Tutah, who was on his phone, and seemed to be taking pictures of the situation. Then, he was furiously tapping on his phone again to do god knows what.
"I'm really sorry for this," the president apologized to our visiting delegation. While the older people looked on in disapproval, my father and I were observing the ongoing mediation in interest. It was understandable in my part since my angel was involved, but Por's interest was a bit suspicious. Maybe he was intrigued by the Elite Five, much like other people in our circle?
"Hmm, why are you not doing anything to get him, son?" my Por asked after a while. His eyes were still trained on the ongoing conflict. "I thought you were considering him, but I still haven't seen you do anything to pursue him. Have you changed your mind?"
He looked at me then, with a knowing look on his face. I felt my face flush for a bit before I was clearing my throat and looking away to cover up my embarrassment.
Just then, I noticed something on the background of the scene. My keen eyes followed the suspicious movement of one student who was stalking towards the scene. Arthit helped the two students walk away from the scene, probably to escort them to the infirmary since one of them was limping.
The figure from before changed direction after that, following the trio at a distance.
"Em..." I called out.
"I know. Should we?" he asked quietly. I nodded my head.
"Por. Stay here with them. Don't worry, I have Em with me," I told my father silently. He looked at me with disapproval but he resignedly nodded his head.
Em and I began to follow the students, and I heard Por telling some bullshit to the gathered adults with him about our departure. We hurried into the familiar nooks and crannies of the campus we had once spent most of our time in, following the suspicious man as discreetly as possible.
He was indeed following Arthit and the others since he even followed them up to the infirmary. He waited outside the door as Em and I observed him from behind of the large columns of the building. We crept closer, hiding behind a stack of boxes on the hallway, not taking our eyes off the target.
After some time, we saw the door to the infirmary open and our target moved. That made us move, too, creeping closer towards the two figures. Just then, the student in white polo rushed towards the one in crimson workshop jacket, grabbing the older student from behind and—
Em and I ran towards them, just in time to see a bloodied metal object being extracted from the body of Arthit. Em went to the culprit while I rushed towards the shocked student, supporting his weight with my body as the one bracing him suddenly disappeared.
"Angel? Oon? Come on, I need to get you to the hospital..." I said calmly, my Black Ops training kicking in.
"P-P'Kong...? What...? Did you do this?"
"No! Why would I do this to you?"
"Em," I called out to my friend firmly and I heard him grunt, not taking my eyes off the shocked ones of my angel. "I'll remove your jacket, okay?"
"Got him," I heard my best friend say. I only noticed then the sounds of struggle and someone growling in indignation.
"The weapon?" I asked as I pressed the crimson jacket onto the profusely bleeding wound. I coaxed him inside the infirmary, surprising the single nurse and the two students inside.
"It's here," I heard Em say.
"I need gauze. Lot's of it," I commanded the nurse as I led Arthit to an unoccupied bed.
"Hurts, P'," he murmured. The shock must've been wearing down, the adrenaline leaving his body.
"I'm sorry but it would start to hurt more. Keep putting pressure on it, please."
"Wait, where are you going, P'?!"
"Just..." I went to grab the fresh bandages that the nurse had, but the latter refused and instead, went to tend to Arthit.
"What just happened, sir?" he asked me, suspiciously.
"He got stabbed by one of the students. My friend had him detained outside," I told the male nurse. "Can you handle this? I'll just call the authorities and an ambulance—"
"Stay here. No, P'Kong!" Arthit suddenly said, struggling against the nurse's hold. I looked at him and found a panicked expression on his features.
"Okay, okay. I'll call them here. I'm here. Not gonna leave you," I reassured him as I tapped on my phone. I moved closer to him and sat near him on the bed, making sure that I wasn't in the way of the nurse.
"Wad, can you arrange someone to collect an assaulter here at SSU? Em got him detained for now," I requested as soon as the phone got picked up.
"Prae and Tew are actually in the vicinity. She's observing Chet's son, who is also studying there. What happened?"
"His son? Well, N'Arthit got stabbed. I'm not sure if he's the student who stabbed N'Arthit but send them in just to be sure."
I terminated the phone call and focused on the occupants of the room, particularly one head hazer, who turned out to be staring at me all this time. The nurse was looking between us surreptitiously, probably wondering what our relationship was.
"Hurts," Arthit muttered, still not taking his eyes off me.
"The ambulance would be here soon, and then they'd give you painrelievers. You just have to hold on, okay?"
"Okay. Don't leave me," he said, his eyes getting teary.
"I'm here, don't worry. Although, I probably need to contact your parents—"
"They're not in the country."
"What? Then who—"
"Hmm, I'll message them. I'll probably be taken cared of by my friends or the aunties."
We fell silent after that. I looked over at his wound and it still looked like it was still bleeding but not as badly as before. A few minutes later, Tew and Prae arrived, taking away the student, who turned out to really be Chet's son. Em informed us then that an ambulance was already outside the building. A stretcher was brought in and Arthit was getting taken away, too. I followed them until the car.
"P'Kong," Arthit suddenly said firmly. He was about to be loaded into the back of the ambulance. "I want P'Kong with me."
"Is he family?" one of the paramedics asked.
"No, but I know him. I trust him. If you don't want me to have a panic attack, because I am on the verge of a panic attack here, you better let him in with me!" he shouted the last part, startling all of us. I observed his face and sure enough, I saw the signs of impending panic on his face.
"Em, can you please tell dad that I'm—"
"Done. Take care of him."
I rode inside the ambulance with my angel, holding tightly on his hand, which was shivering slightly. I rubbed soothing circles on the back of his hand as the paramedics inserted an IV infusion set on his other hand. All throughout the ambulance ride, Arthit remained relatively calm. His eyes were teary, yes, but he stayed strong.
He was admitted to the ER and I was told to wait outside. One nurse asked me to fill up his details and I obliged. Having—aherm—investigated him before, I managed to fill up the forms relatively with ease. Then I remembered to contact Em and told him to tell Arthit's friends about this and to come to Bangkok Hospital, where he was admitted. Afterwards, a nurse informed me that Arthit was taken to the OR, and that the operation might take a while.
Approximately thirty minutes later, they arrived with Em, and surprisingly, my Por, too. Em directed them towards me and they asked me about their friend's condition. When they calmed down enough that I could finally speak freely, I told them that Arthit was being operated on and that we had to wait for a while.
I could see the worry evident on their faces, their eyes misty but never letting the tears fall, in silent solidarity to their friend who was bravely fighting for his life (this might be an exaggeration on my part but it also might not be. After all, abdominal wounds weren't to scoff at, especially if important parts of the body got ruptured).
An hour into the operation, I received a message from Wad regarding the suspect. I decided to deal with the matter then, taking Em with me.
"You're not staying?" asked my father. The college students were also looking at me with hope in their eyes. I only realized then that they were also depending on me for moral support, and I felt guilty for leaving them.
"I've got to deal with the suspect, Por. We're witnesses," I told him, but my answer was also directed to the others. I looked at their states and asked a favor from my father.
"Por, can you please accompany them, if it's okay with you?"
"No, Khun! We're fine. We're adults already so you've nothing to worry about. We can handle ourselves," N'Knot answered.
"But I can see that you're shaken, Nong," I told him.
"I agree you. I'll be staying with them, Kong. Don't worry."
"But you must also have important things to do, Khun Suthiluck," Knot addressed my father this time. Por smiled at him kindly.
"They can wait. Let me accompany all of you, okay? Until your parents arrive."
"...If you're sure, Khun."
With that, I left my parents and the younger men to wait for the operation to finish. After all, I've got someone that needs to be taken cared of, and I would make sure that he would regret ever doing that to my angel.
I couldn't visit Arthit for the following days since I became busy with the case. Add to that my responsibilities with the company, I could barely have time to get home and sleep. I didn't dare to spend the night at the hospital, since, well, I was barely an acquaintance to them, and I was pretty sure that there would be a lot of them taking care of him.
On the fourth day of my absence from the hospital, I received a text message from an unknown number.
"P'K. You better get your ass here in the hospital or I will be yanking all of these wires from my body and marching to where ever you are. I'm not kidding. This is Oon, btw."
"I'm so tired of you running away from me and then the next instant, you're there like a knight in shining armor. Either you leave me alone and never show your face again, or you come and talk this out with me like the man you are."
The message startled a laugh out of me. Fiesty. I found myself a fiesty angel. I eagerly tapped out a message, something to placate him from doing whatever he threatened me with.
"I'll take a day off tomorrow. Sorry. I got busy about your case and I am buried in a mountain of officework here at the company. I'll tell Por about tomorrow, okay? So calm yourself and don't you dare rip your IV's. Your supposed to be in the hospital for a couple more days, so don't discharge yourself right now."
"You'd better. I'll be waiting. If you don't come tomorrow..."
"I will, don't worry."
Armed with a basket of fruits and brown medium sized character stuffed toy that I bought on a whim, I knocked on his room. Minutes later, someone slid the door open. I found myself face-to-face with a beautiful woman with familiar features.
"Oh! N'Kongpob, what a surprise!" she exclaimed upon seeing me. I rearranged the stuffs on my hands to properly greet her with a wai. She ushered me in after we finished greeting each other.
I found Arthit propped up against the raised hospital bed, arms crossed against his chest. He trained an unamused glare towards my direction, his eyes flickering between the stuffed toy then to my face.
"Mae? Can you please leave us alone? I need to speak to Khun Kongpob, please."
Khun Madee looked between the two of us, eyeing her son warily.
"Mae, I'll be fine. I just need a moment with him, don't worry. And he's trustworthy. Didn't you investigate him before you let me meet with him before?"
"I'm actually scared for N'Kongpob here. Please don't kill your savior, okay? I don't know what happened between the two of you but please. Don't do anything drastic, okay?"
"Mae. I'm bedridden. What can I do against an able-bodied male?"
"Just saying. You're pretty crafty." With that, Khun Madee left, parting with a soft smile towards me.
I stepped towards him warily when he beckoned me closer. I sat on the side of his bed where he patted, being obedient to his every whim to make him less angry with me. He stared at me for several minutes, making me sweat. Then.
"Where were you? Didn't I tell you to not leave me?" he asked silently.
"I'm sorry. But like I told you in my message, I had been busy with work and your case."
"You couldn't have had contacted me?!"
"I... didn't have your contact number..."
"...oh. But I easily got your number through my parents. So why didn't you contact me?"
"Well, I didn't know if you're awake or not—"
"Again. Bullshit. You knew that I would still need to be here for a few days. I know that you have my condition monitored. Just tell me that you don't want to see me, P'Kong," he said defeatedly.
"Wha—No! I want to see you! It's just that..."
"I don't know if I'm welcome or not..."
"Why wouldn't you be welcome?"
"Because I am barely your acquaintance? I'm not close to you, Arthit. And if I visited, then, wouldn't it raise eyebrows—"
"What's the real reason, P'? Just tell me honestly, please."
I fiddled with my hands that were resting against my lap. I contemplated on my answer before I looked back at him, straight in the eyes.
"Because I am still unsure," I told him simply. He didn't utter a single retort. Instead, he observed me critically and listened.
"I'm still unsure about my feelings for you. I am also feeling guilty that you got hurt while I was around. I could've stopped the guy before he could even stab you. Instead, I was too late..."
"The first reason, I could understand. But the second one? You're an idiot, P'Kongpob," he answered bluntly. I must admit, that stung.
"You're an idiot because if you hadn't been there, I would've bled to death. You've taken action immediately and you even managed to capture the culprit. And afterwards, you've kept me sane. You've been my anchor when my mind kept on insisting to succumb into panic. You were my calming presence and I thank you for being there that time. Thank you so much, P'Kongpob," he said sincerely. "This is the second time you've saved me from harm."
"I..." I was speechless.
"Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room. P'K." Oh, here we go. Fierce Arthit was back and he wanted answers now.
"I am assuming that you do recognize me, since you called me 'Oon' and 'Angel'. Since when?"
"I've had my suspicions after our date. Your smile was so similar to Oon's that it jogged up a memory from before. So I investigated you. I got my suspicions confirmed three days after our date."
"Oh... So you don't really want me, huh..."
"It's okay, P'. I understand."
"No! It's not that! Not that at all." I took a deep breath brfore continuing. "I feel attraction to you, okay? It's just that, I stayed away from you and never did anything to think about all of this. About my feelings. I wanted to be sure all about it before I pursue something with you. You—You're different—special—from the others. I felt something that I have never felt for others that goes beyond attraction."
"Then what's there to think about, P'?"
"Well... the main of it was the fact that you are a boy," I answered him bluntly. I saw his eyes dim and he gave me a sad smile.
"I'm sorry. I don't think I can change that fact, P'," he said softly with that same sad smile.
"And I'm not asking you to. I just needed time to be introspective about it. Because if I wasn't sure, and I couldn't live with it, I didn't want to hurt you more if ever we were already in relationship. Like I said, you are special. Not just to me, but to your friends and family, too. I didn't want to return you to them, all broken up because of me..."
"I understand... Thank you, P'. So... Have you decided then?"
I stared at him for a long time, just studying his features. There wasn't doubt in my mind that he was a boy, and I found it in myself that I didn't look at him like a girl. I smiled.
"Hmm?" I decided to feign ignorance to tease him. He whined then rolled his eyes in response.
"You know! What have you decided? Did you decide to break my heart, now that I'm still not yet in too deep in my feelings for you? Or did you decide to make me the happiest man on earth?" he asked seriously. I laughed at how adorable he looked like.
"The second option please," I told him sweetly. He looked at me wide-eyed, still not believing what he just heard.
"Can you repeat that P'? Preferably, tell me that yourself. Your choice, I mean." I chuckled at his not-so-subtle teasing.
"I, Kongpob Suthiluck, decide to take Oon Arthit Rojnapat as my future lover, to make him the happiest man alive."
"I'm still not the happiest man alive," he said with a pout. I blinked my eyes at him in confusion.
"Why? I did what you told me. I told you what I chose."
"You said, 'future'. What are we now, then? You think I would be happy being someone's future lover?" he said sarcastically.
"Oh, are you proposing to me now, then?"
"No! You propose! I already did the hard part! The part where I got you to contact me and made you talk to me one on one to clear our issues!"
"Okay, okay. How about this? I, Kongpob Suthiluck, decide to take Oon Arthit Rojnapat as my intended, to make him the happiest man alive."
"...What does that mean?" he asked me suspiciously. I grinned impishly at him.
"'Intended' means I'm planning to marry you in the future."
His face turned crimson slowly as he stared at me wide-eyed and unblinking. He stayed like that for a worrying few minutes, frozen and blushing.
"Hey. Angel? Are you okay?" I asked worriedly. I touched his arm, jolting him from his reverie.
"H-hey, t-that's too a-advanced into t-the fu-future, don't you t-think, P'?" he asked haltingly.
"Well... It's nice to plan ahead. So, do you want to be my lover now or do you want me to court you first?"
"Let's just be lovers now. We already went on one date, already had our first kiss, and already wasted a fuck-ton of time. Now kiss me, I've been missing those yummy lips of yours."
I grinned widely at him, feeling so elated at this turn of events. I leaned over him slowly and captured his pink lips, making him groan in the process. Our second kiss was slow and sweet, conveying all of our feelings into it. It was like we were sealing our relationship with it. I felt everything fall into place, and I smiled. I felt his smile too, and I felt contentment after a long time.
"Why did you bring me Doraemon? Not that I hate him or anything. It's just that I'm not that much of a fan," Arthit asked his P'Kongpob, who was busy peeling one of the apples he brought. He caressed the blue and white stuffed toy and squeezed it to his chest anyway, garnering a chuckle from the older.
"I just remembered what you told one of the Chet's goons, Somchai, when you were abducted. You know, when he asked where the lot of you got your food," he answered. "Here. Eat this."
Arthit opened his mouth for the offered slice of an apple, thinking back on the incident nearly five months ago. He came up blank. Seeing his confused face, Kongpob chuckled.
"You answered, 'Doraemon's butt,' which, when you think about it, it's kinda gross but, well. It's stuck in my mind because I was taken aback then. You've been so brave then and that attracted me more to you."
Arthit's face lit up in recognition. Then he scratched the back of his sheepishly.
"I was overly brave that time, huh. It was dumb of me," he said. Kongpob chuckled.
"It's fine. Just don't make a habit of aggravating bad people, please."
"Uuhhh, I don't want to make a promise since, you know, I tend to utter things without thinking."
Kongpob stared at the younger who was looking anywhere but him.
"Do you get into trouble a lot of times then?" he asked in trepidation.
"Surprisingly, no. And I don't think it's because of our family status, too. Because not a lot of people know us since our parents kept our identities mostly from the the media. I do offend people but they would just stare at me and then they let it go... I don't know why?" the younger told him, looking all adorably confused.
The older observed the younger, and yeah, he could see that happening. It was the innocence that his angel possessed, with the big doe eyes and the pouty lips. Yes, he could see everyone seeing him as a could-do-no-harm person. He kept this to himself, though.
"By the way P'. You still need to apologize to me," Arthit seriously said, prompting the older to look at him in confusion.
"For breaking your promise."
"That you will come look for me. I was the one who found you instead, so a 'thank you' would not go amiss with that sorry," the younger said primly.
"Wha— how is it that you were the one to have found me?"
"The date. I chose you among the candidates that my parents presented to me because it's you. So yeah. Technically, I found you because if I didn't agree to that blasted date, we wouldn't have met."
"Well, in case you haven't noticed, I kinda confused you for a girl, so I have been looking for a girl all this time."
"You've been looking for me for four months?" Arthit squeaked.
"No. Only a month," Kongpob replied unthinkingly.
"Huh? Then what were you doing for three months then?"
"What do you mean by that, P'Kong?"
"P'Kong," Arthit said warningly.
"I was comatose for the most of those months, okay? And then I had to attend physiotherapy afterwards."
"...Why were you comatose, P'Kong?" Arthit asked faintly, looking at his boyfriend in fear.
"Well... the mission went sideways... I don't want to tell you the details, so please leave it at that," the older begged.
Arthit nodded faintly, still not averting his eyes from the older in fear that he might disappear.
"Hey, it's okay now. I'm okay. See?"
"P'Kong... Are you still gonna go back? To where ever you've worked before?"
"No. I've already filed my resignation. My parents weren't happy about it either and I needed to step up and take over the company in the near future."
"Good... good. Cause I don't think I can live knowing that I might lose you anytime with that dangerous job of yours."
"Oh angel. Come here. I promise, I will stay by your side for a long, long time, okay? You won't get rid of me that easily. I—I love you too much to do that to you."
"I-I... I love you, too, P'Kong. I love you, too."
There. A happy ending for our Oon. 😇😇😇