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The Hardest Thing I Had To Do Is Not Kiss You

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“So.” Pran sets down his food tray and slides into his usual spot at their group’s lunch table. “What are we thinking of doing for the fair?”

Three pairs of eyes land on him. He doesn’t like their matching glint.

Safe is the one who speaks up first. “We want to do a - drumroll please -“ He gestures to Wai and Louis who immediately oblige by drumming on the table. Pran frantically glances around for professors and tries shushing them to no avail. “A kissing booth!”

Pran groans. Of course they want to do another kissing booth, he should’ve known. After the surprising success of their booth last year, they’d spent the entire next month holding it over Pran’s head. ‘See?’ they’d said. ‘Told you it was a good idea!’

“Guys, no,” he grouses. “Not this again.”

“But it did so well last year!” Safe insists. “Come on, you should join!”

Louis nods, “We would make so much more money with you there.”

Pran has to bite his tongue to keep from scathingly remarking that the only money he made them last year came from the jealous and protective streak of a certain someone. Knowing Pat, the kissing booth would be put on hold for Pran’s entire shift if he participated. Somehow he highly doubts that’s the outcome his friends are hoping for.

“No.” He puts his foot down. Last year is not going to happen again. “Count me out, you’re on your own again.”

“Please?” It’s Wai who prods this time, but both Safe and Louis are matching his pleading eyes. Pran wants to flick one of his noodles at them. “Just a short shift, only kisses on the cheek, it’s-“

Wai’s words trail off as he makes eye contact with something over Pran’s shoulder, but before Pran can turn to see what he’s looking at, a pair of strong arms drape themselves across his shoulders, hands clasping over his chest, and he already knows. Pran could easily recognize him by touch alone, even long before they started dating.

Pat.

Pran leans into the familiar touch immediately.

“No can do, guys.” Pat rests his chin on Pran’s head and Pran can feel, more than see, the grin spread across his face. “His kisses are all reserved. From now ‘til forever.”

Pran cranes his head up to look at him as best as he can. He’s rewarded with Pat nuzzling his hair.

“Someone’s ambitious,” he jokes.

“And competitive,” Pat replies without missing a beat. “Which means I can’t lose.”

“Is that so?”

Pat mockingly ponders the question and Pran can already guess what he’s going to say.

“Well, I did used to have one worthy competitor. But I don’t think he’s going to fight me on this.” He grins at Pran and bats his eyelashes, as if Pran needs any convincing. “Do you?”

Pran tips his head back further to plant a kiss on Pat’s nose and smile at his ridiculous boyfriend.

“No, somehow I don’t think he will.”

The smile Pat flashes him is probably just as ridiculously fond as his own and he couldn’t care less. He’s waited forever to have this, to have Pat by his side. He thinks they deserve to be disgustingly in love.

“Okay okay, we get it, no kissing booth for you,” Wai gags, but Pran knows at this point that it’s all in good fun. And a little bit because since they’ve started dating, he and Pat have remained attached at the hip. His friends joke that it makes them feel really single, but he suspects it’s not entirely a joke. “You can stop with the PDA now.”

“And no bathroom breaks either!” Pat points accusingly at Wai, who just scrunches his nose in an inoffensive grimace and looks very much like he wants to stick his tongue out at Pat in retribution. Pran doesn’t hold back his smile. Seeing his boyfriend finally getting along with his friends makes his heart feel light.

Then Pat leans down and whispers into his ear, “Wouldn’t mind repeating what happened after though.” and they’ve been dating for almost a year, but somehow it still manages to make heat rise to Pran’s cheeks that he desperately hopes his friends can’t see.

Pat,” he hisses, elbowing him in the stomach with less force than he deserves. “Get off, we’re in public.”

“So? I can’t cuddle my boyfriend?”

“You can cuddle your boyfriend after he’s done eating.” It’s too late, Pat dug his own grave. They both know Pran is more stubborn. “If you behave.”

Pat gives him a quick squeeze and a peck on the cheek before releasing him and replying with, “Then eat quickly.”

Pran doesn’t dignify that with a response beyond a snort and an eye roll, instead just slides over the tray of food that he ordered for Pat while he was buying his own.

The whole table chats amicably for a few minutes - Pran mostly eats and listens to them, Pat and Safe guiding most of the conversation and him throwing in his two cents when he can take a break from chewing and swallowing - before Pat spots Korn in the distance, then the rest of his friends, and he waves them over. His friends who, as per their routine, presumably made their way directly here after the class they shared with Pat.

“Wait, what time did your class end?” Pran doesn’t really have to ask, he has his boyfriend’s schedule memorized. He checks his watch and raises an eyebrow at Pat. “Did you run here?”

“Yup, made pretty good time too. I should join the track team.” Without even an ounce of shame, Pat grins at him, leans over, and whispers, “I just really missed my boyfriend.” Pran still never gets tired of hearing the word. My boyfriend. Judging by the grin on Pat’s face, he hasn’t gotten tired of saying it either.

Pran really can’t help it when Pat says things like that so what happens next is entirely Pat’s fault because he knew exactly what he was doing. It was probably all part of his master plan.

Pran throws one leg over the bench so that he’s sitting sideways, facing Pat, and Pat, who’s beyond in tune to Pran’s body language by now, immediately twists to the side to receive his kiss. It’s gentle, it’s close-mouthed, and it’s quick because they have an audience and Pran does still have some self-restraint, but he revels in it nonetheless. Pat does too, if the way he curls his hand around the back of Pran’s head and pulls him back in for a second kiss, obligingly but reluctantly short, is anything to go by.

They only break apart for the sound of someone - almost definitely Korn, who’s typically the most… vocally supportive of their friends - wolf-whistling at them. The rest of their friends, however…

“Oh, come on, we literally just got here and you’re already-“

“If you two don’t stop, I’m leaving-“

“I’m trying to eat here-“

“No, please. Don’t stop on our account-“

“Ugh, just get married already-“

Pat and Pran burst out laughing. Their friends roll their eyes and elbow them playfully. It escalates until Pat gets into a wrestling match with his friends as they taunt him relentlessly for being a sap, and Korn makes sure to tousle Pran’s hair to let him know that he isn’t off the hook either. Pran swats him away and successfully dodges a second attempt, which of course makes all eyes fall on him, like hunters to a fleeing target. He spends the next five minutes trapped in a chokehold by Korn as Wai messes up his hair and he squawks in protest. It’s going to take him forever to look presentable for his afternoon class but he can’t stop smiling regardless.

Once he’s free and everyone’s sitting - mostly - and chatting at a volume that should have a professor screaming at them, Pat reaches over to hold his hand. Pat smiles, Pran smiles. He interlocks their fingers and continues eating, only half listening to their friends rambling on nonsensically. It’s chaos, but it’s their chaos and it’s perfect. Pran wouldn’t have it any other way.