Black was furious, he felt like a cartoon character with steam billowing out of his ears as he stomped home to his apartment to face off with White. He hadn’t even drunk anything, but half a beer, too busy tapping his foot on the floor and getting chewed out by Jennie for upending Gram’s drink all over her floor. Everyone was staring at him like he was crazy and Black, for the first time in his goddamn life felt a little fucking crazy. Gram and Yok were not helping one bit with the way they kept looking at each other, speaking about him without even moving their lips. He could stand it so long before he was storming out and just finally biting the bullet he was avoiding-- that being talking to White like Sean suggested.
That didn't mean he was going to do it quietly or happily. Anyone who had the misfortune of passing him on the sidewalk were diving out of his path, put off by his thundering steps and swinging fists. Black told himself he was going to let out all this anger now and then he was going to try to go about this with a level head. It just pissed him! He should have punched Sean. He should have beat the shit out of him the minute he started to fool around with White.
How could he do this? White was Black’s precious baby brother by four minutes. They may have not been in each other’s presence in years, but that didn’t mean they were any less blood brothers. Black’s entire childhood was spent protecting White. It was hard not to when his younger twin was just so… naïve. He was fragile, always tending to get himself in harm's way more often than not. Bullies loved to pick on them for being small and where Black stood up and told himself that he wasn’t going to take this ridicule, White quivered in fear.
Black had to spend the last ten years watching as White got destroyed in another country for the fact he didn’t speak their language fluently or that he was naturally smaller than all those huge Russian boys. It felt like salt in Black’s old wounds that the minute White got back in his arms, he was then being targeted by the worst person ever (in Black’s humble opinion).
He and Sean never saw eye to eye, this fact was as true as the sky being blue. When they first met each other, Black thought they could co-exist on the same plane if they just didn’t cross each other’s path. Like avoiding a black cat on the sidewalk or not going under a ladder-- stay away from the superstitions-- but Sean was just so hard to outrun. Every time they talked Black felt like Sean was trying to out smart him. He always had to loudly point out when Black was supposedly wrong, like he personally enjoyed making him feel like the biggest fuckhead in the garage.
“Why are you always hitting Gram, what are you? Twelve?” Sean had once said, eyes like venom as he, an outsider , tried to insinuate Black was a bad person for smacking Gram upside the head from time to time. It wasn’t like he was abusing his friend, Gram just needed a kick start in his brain every so often. Sean always had to stick his nose in things, Black wanted to tell him to just focus on his sad life rather than pointing shit out that was none of his business.
Now that White was in the mix-- and Black knew that Sean thought his brother was something akin to good meat-- it made him want to grind his teeth all the way down to the gum. What if he said something smart like that to White, becoming as toxic as Chernobyl to his baby brother… Black wasn't insinuating that Sean was abusive or anything, but was it so wrong to try and protect the one person he had left in his life. Unarm the bomb before it could explode so to speak.
Black loved his brother, he loved that snarky little bitch more than anyone in this horrible cynical world. So why couldn’t White go compare hand sizes and twirl his hair around his finger about another boy. What was so great about Sean?
This didn’t help that Sean was playing the goddamn devil’s advocate in their metaphorical court case. “ why do I gotta go through you when a relationship between me and him doesn’t even involve you! ” Oh, give him a fucking break, not everyone wants to destroy you from the outside Sean…
Entering the apartment building, Black stomped up the steps and furiously ripped his keys out of his satchel to open up his door. White had decided to stay at his apartment, he said Dad’s mansion ( that was so kindly passed down to him being the favorite son and all ) was too quiet without anyone around. Black thought it was great, he missed sleeping next to White’s familiar body. The only problem was that Black couldn’t outrun White to talk about stupid, emotional things-- this was a vice versa con.
Black slammed the door shut, startling White who was laying belly down, kicking his feet back and forth as if he was some cliche 2000’s rom-com protagonist. All he needed was a phone cord to twirl around his finger and some chewing gum to fit the stereotype.
This nonchalant wasn’t cutting it for Black To convey even more that he was pissed, Black threw his bag down on the floor, uncaring about the books inside, more concerned with how loudly they thudded together. Raising his head to glare at White, Black was met with his twin brother raising an eyebrow at the display.
“What?” White jeered, “join the drama club, why don’t you?”
“Shut the fuck up,” Black seethed back, if he was cat his hair would be standing on end. “What are you doing?” he asked without caring, steering away from his bed that had been taken over by all of White’s stuffed animals and going to the kitchen to get a cold, hard drink. When Black’s ‘cool mancave’ turned into some Hello Kitty shit hole was beyond him, White was just a fucking hoarder of cute things.
The culprit to the mess on Black’s bed made a humming noise, from where he could see him in the curtains White was kicking his legs back and forth excitedly. “Just watching a drama,” he said, holding up his IPad that had been buried in some poor teddy bear’s stomach. “I missed all these old Thai dramas when I was away, I didn’t have the right VPN. Thought I'd catch up now, Eugene gave me some recommendations.”
Black shut the cabinet, unscrewing the large bottle of vodka the same way he unscrewed oil canisters in the shop. Without a care for a cap and with a flick of his finger to send the plastic flying across the room. “When did you and Eugene conspire together?” a pause, “vodka?”
“With a little bit of coke, heavy on the vodka,” White answered without missing a beat, Black had to chuckle at that answer. White used to drink like that even when they were younger, he should have remembered that order. He somehow had a great memory for people’s drink orders, Gram used to say he should take over for Jennie and be her bartender tutelage. Black thought he was a load of shit.
Opening the mini fridge and grabbing the first can of coke he saw, Black cracked it open like a beer knowing it was just going to be thrown away at the end of the night with it’s content mostly filled. White liked his vodka and coke, heavy on the vodka with a tablespoon of something sweet.
As he was mixing the drink, Black suddenly realized the dodge of his first question, “Hey, when the fuck did you speak to my girlfriend, don’t ignore me,” he snapped, grabbing the two drinks he poured and walking towards the bed, “from my knowledge you spent the whole day seducing a fucking asshole.”
“Seducing,” White scoffed, taking the drink without even a thank you and sipping it. What a bitch. “Is that why you arrived in such a huff? Because I talked to P’Sean.” Black jumped onto his bed, grabbing the first stuffed animal he saw, some black cat with a pretty pink bow, and set it under his elbows, taking the same position as White.
As he laid down like an old dog, Black mimicked White in a cruel, girly voice, “ Talked to P’Sean , ha, my fucking ass.”
In White’s retaliation he rolled his eyes in the back of his skull and dropped his swinging legs down on the bed. “For your information it wasn’t like I was seeking out P’Sean,” he responded smartly, pausing the series with the jab of a finger and taking a big gulp of his mixed drink. When Black went to retort, White held out a hand to stop him and swallowed his drink harshly before speaking, “and I already know, ‘ Sean’s an asshole, yadada, he’s a negative two out of ten, White you could do better- -’ Black aren’t you tired of saying the same thing over and over again.”
Black sighed loudly, jabbing his finger into White’s forehead to make the other stutter backwards, “I’ll keep saying it until you realize how fucking dumb you are.” White gave a little whimper at the harsh treatment, rubbing gently at his forehead and giving Black a pair of killer puppy eyes. Black’s solution: closing his eyes. “Don’t even try,” he shouted, throwing his chin up when he felt White grabbing at his face and trying to manually rip his eyelids open, “I told you not to touch the button and you touched it!” Black ranted on, throwing his drink up above his head so it wouldn’t spill on his duvet.
“I didn’t mean to touch the button!” White whined, giving up on forcing Black’s eyes open and now throwing himself on his brother and hugging him tightly, “I was going to avoid him P’Black, but we ran into each other and I saw he was reading a book I liked so I said how it was good!” White was right at Black’s ear, purposely shouting to make the older cringe, “and he said I had good taste and I got those butterflies , because he was so nice to me and then we started talking about the plot! P’Black he was so nice to me!” White was starting to ramble in nervousness, voice full of true fear that he did something wrong… It was shooting straight in Black’s heart.
“ Alright, alright , don’t have a fucking aneurysm” The older finally opened his eyes, staring down at White who had his head buried in his shirt, fake ( ?) sniveling. “Join the drama club why don’t you,” he repeated the same thing White had said to him when he entered, just softer and more fond.
“It was an accident,” White whimpered, lifting up his head and Black cursed inside his head when he saw shiny tears clinging in his brother’s eyes. The ‘ older brother panic ’ set in quickly, Black grabbing their drinks and setting them carefully on the side table so he could freely crush the smaller in a hug. Well , they were the same size, but White always felt smaller than Black.
“Calm down, you know I hate it when you cry,” Black said awkwardly, petting the top of White’s head the way he wished he could all those years they talked over the phone and heard the other get emotional. Though, White was always like that. Even the smallest thing could set him off, Black had come home too many times to White crying over those sad homeless dogs commercials that guilt tripped you into giving money to the foundation. Honestly, this was all so tiring. Dad used to say White would make a better politician, Black thought his old man was a piece of shit, because White started crying when people yelled at him. That would go over real well in a debate.
“He was really nice to me,” White’s melancholy voice was muffled from how buried he was in Black’s shirt, probably getting nasty snot and tears all over the fabric. “He wouldn’t even take my LINE.”
A pregnant pause filtered over the room, Black’s eyebrows furrowed so tightly on his forehead he felt a sharp pang of pain. “He did what? ” The furious feeling Black had all day was coming back tenfold. Sean told his little brother what? How conceited did this guy think he was that he wouldn’t even take White’s fucking LINE ID.
White pulled himself away, his face was all red and swollen, it made Black want to rip himself out of the grip and go beat the shit out of Sean. With a terribly sad sniffle, White wiped his nose with the sleeve of his hoodie and gave Black a pair of watery doe eyes. “He said it would make you mad,” he whispered, tucking a strand of messy hair behind his ear, “P’Sean didn’t want to make you mad at him so he told me he’d just see me later… I still put my number in his phone, just in case if something bad happened to you and he needed to call me… but he made it pretty obvious that was all he was going to do with it…”
Black had a massive headache. Leaning across the way, he grabbed his discarded drink and downed the entire thing, relishing in the way the vodka burned his throat and filled his stomach with a giggly warmth. “ God … White just start from the beginning.” He didn’t want to hear this, but he kinda had to at this point, “tell me everything.”
White looked like a pitiful dog, throwing his IPad away to clutch the big teddy bear to his chest and snivel quietly to himself. “Well it started out with Eugene coming over this afternoon, you already left for work and she wanted to drop off your good jacket you left at her dorm. We started talking and when I asked her the time you got off work she wasn’t sure, because you usually go out to drinks and I wanted to go out and eat tonight,” Black got a sinking feeling in his chest, reaching across the way and take White’s hand for being such an asshole and sticking him up. “I just decided to go to your work,” White shrugged his shoulder, rubbing his face on the bear’s soft fur, “I wanted to walk and I didn’t want to call you and possibly bother you. When I came through the doors, P’Sean was at the front desk…”
The outside was blazingly hot, White let out a soft pant as he grabbed the hem of his sweater and fluttered it to make air get down on his chest. Thailand was really beating his ass with this tropical weather. In December, Russia was frigidly cold, he didn’t know what he was expecting wearing a sweater knowing the change in countries. He still powered through, excited at the fact of seeing P’Black at work and possibly talking to his brother’s friends… he’d avoid Sean for P’Black’s sake, but his brother didn’t say anything about Gram or Yok.
With a slight pep in his step, White eagerly threw open the front door of the garage and sighed happily when he was hit with cold AC. The front office was small, it had a few chairs set up for waiting and a desk that was diagonal towards the front door. There was even a window in there so White could peek in and possibly see P’Black at work. His brother loved cars and bikes, White didn’t share the same obsession, though he would never act like it didn’t peak his interest. Regardless, getting all dirty in grease was more of P’Black’s idea of a good time.
White gravitated towards the window, looking in on the big garage filled with different cars and bikes, eyes searching for his brother. He was so occupied he didn’t hear the sound of a locker closing and someone walking out from the small cubby area attached to the office. “Hey,” the voice was deep, White jumping a little as he turned around and was met with the one person his brother hated.
He wasn’t going to lie, P’Sean was very attractive and just White's type. He had a great body and he held himself so rigidly that White just wanted to see him break into laughter and lose that seriousness. His face was so handsome with thin slit eyes like a perpetually disinterested kitty-cat and a little bit of a mustache on his lower lip that White wanted to feel when he kissed him. It felt like a childish romance, but to White, P’Sean looked like a handsome prince.
When he still lived in Russia and was in that hellscape they called boarding school, all the boys were just so unattractive. Sure, there was some good guys, but they always turned out straight as a board-- or a straight up asshole. White could spend time making himself look weak and small, feminize himself so he could actually get out sexual frustration, yet it felt frustrating when he searched for love at the same time. The minute he touched down and saw the handsome and allusive Sean walk into the garage with his cutely serious face and good body, White couldn’t help the drool that slid from his mouth.
He was back in Thailand, not trapped back in that damn boarding school where he was stuck with the same people over and over again until he was so sick of seeing their face. White was free to flirt, free to find love and chase handsome boys that apparently were dicks, according to Black. He spent his life flirting with boys who were more likely to call him a slur after he sucked their soul straight from their dick, so what was so bad
And also, White kinda had a type for assholes . What? Judge him when you stan fucking murders on Twitter. He never said he was perfect for liking trash. Jesus…
“Hi!” White decided to take a cheery tone, bringing his hands together in a wai to politely address his senior. P’Black said Sean was a year older than him. “I’m--”
“You’re Black’s brother, right?” P’Sean cut White off, he had a soft smile on his face that was intensely attractive and then he had to lean up on the side of the front desk all casually and shit. God, did he know how hot he was or was he just ignorant to how hard he was making White’s heart race.
It was human instinct that White’s cheeks started to hue with red and he began to sway back and forth shyly. “A lot of people can’t tell us apart,” he said quietly, squeezing the strap on the satchel he brought with him for something to ground him in such a rose-hued situation. “I’m White, if you didn’t know…”
P’Sean chuckled, if White could combust at that moment he would, because it was the sweetest and hottest thing he ever heard. He never knew a deep laugh could make him flustered, but here he was-- Shyly twisting a strand of hair in his fingers and dancing from toe to toe like he was going to pee himself. Oh, this was even more embarrassing, why did his crush have to be so attractive when P’Black told him not to waste his time.
“It was pretty easy, N’White,” When White looked up, he was surprised to see that P’Sean’s ears were turning a shade of red too. It was a dead give away that his cool stance on the desk felt like an act. Was… Was P’Sean also getting shy? Was White not the only one feeling this little spark.
Unsure what to say, White just giggled and pulled his hand away from his hair to limply grab at the hem of his sweater. He was being too obvious, he didn’t want to give P’Sean everything right up front. “Does…” he trailed off, biting his lip, “White is looking for P’Black… Does P’Sean know where I can find him?” White was purposely acting cute and also subconsciously doing it at the same time. P’Sean was making him feel like he was walking through a haunted house, constantly on edge and about to be scared by an actor in a poor costume.
“Black…” P’Sean repeated, his eyes cutely looking up as if he was searching his brain for the time last saw his brother. “Er, I just got off break so I’m not sure if he’s still where I last saw.” Without much of an answer, P’Sean lifted up a paperback book and the pack of cigarettes pressed into the cover to prove that he was actually on break. White blinked his eyes as he recognized the cover, almost a little shocked that he would see such a book with someone that P’Black venomously hissed about their entire brunch.
White took hesitant steps forward until he was standing right in front of P’Sean. Being this close he had to look up at the other and White internally screamed about the fact that P’Sean was so tall. Tall people were so good at giving hugs and White always dreamed of his husband being taller than him. P’Sean was even at perfect height to give him forehead kisses! “P’Sean is reading Pride and Prejudice,” he pointed out, pinching the hem of P’Sean’s work jacket sleeve to bring the hand holding the book closer to his face, “P’Sean likes romance books?”
Looking upwards and straining his neck, P’Sean looked a little bashful that White could read the English title. He probably wasn’t betting on anyone in this garage able to read it, not saying that those at P’Black’s work were uneducated, but Pride and Prejudice was such a classic romance novel. White spent his whole time reading that book tossing and turning, screaming and giggling at the courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. He used to self-insert himself as Lizzy, pretending the attractive, brooding Mr. Darcy had found him positively dashing and so ardently loved him regardless of his family.
P’Sean could be Mr. Darcy… Just thinking such a thought, White felt his heart begin to start to race as he imagined the two of them in a England ballroom, the music stopped and in came in the allusive Mr. Sean. P’Black would be in his ear, the perfect Jane Bennet who was too pretty for his own good, but too shy to say anything. P’Sean and him would look at each other, the same way they are looking at one another now, and they’d both feel it. The spark.
There was a blooming feeling in his stomach that had White internally squirming and squealing the same way he did when he first read the book at just the thought. Still holding P’Sean’s sleeve, White could practically feel the warmth that radiated from his crush’s skin. He knew if they actually touched, skin to skin, White would be shocked from the tension building.
It must have been a mutual feeling, because P’Sean looked very shy. White’s stomach dropped thinking he may have come across a little too strong, as P’Black said sometimes. though… P’Sean didn’t look to mind it that much. Setting down the packet of cigarettes, P’Sean handed the book over fully to White and let him begin leafing through it, careful not to jostle the crimson red bookmark squeezed in page 108. It was so attractive that P’Sean didn’t dog tag his pages.
“Sometimes I like romance.” Sean answered, leaning down a little bit on the desk so he was around the same height as White just so subtly. “I personally was thinking about the story yesterday and wanted to reread it again. It’s an English classic.” White might have just met his soulmate, people who reread Pride and Prejudice were immediately very good people.
“I like this story, it made my tummy go all warm,” White flipped to one of his favorite pages, he practically memorized the lines already. In Russian Boarding School he didn’t get many books to read, only a few classics he hid away in the mattress of his bunk bed and reread every so often to feel something that wasn’t homesickness. “ In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you …” White sighed dreamily, trying to hide how red his cheeks were by turning away from P’Sean’s calculating gaze, “I love that line… even if Mr. Darcy isn’t coming from the best place in his confession. If I was Lizzy I think I’d be in a puddle!”
“Your English pronunciations are really good,” P’Sean praised and White wanted to cover his red face and simply disappear. Why was this supposedly asshole guy being so nice to him and saying such nice things. Was P’Black wrong? Was P’Sean really such an asshole? “I loved that scene too, even if it was a bit melancholy. It kicked Darcy in the ass to reevaluate his feelings for Lizzy and confess with true feelings. My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever. If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul. I love you. ”
Oh God, he memorized Mr.Darcy’s ending confession… Can White just marry him!? Can they elope? White’s crush isn’t a crush anymore, he most certainly wanted to wake up in the wee hours in the morning and have P’Sean whisper Pride and Prejudice quotes into his skin.
White laughed and even if it was awkward and brimming with shyness, he couldn’t care anymore. If P’Sean didn’t realize they were flirting at this moment he had to be the stupidest guy on the planet. “You memorized Mr.Darcy’s confession?” White asked softly.
“Mh,” P’Sean hummed, taking the book very gently from White and showing him the inside front cover that had his name written in the top corner. “It’s my own copy. I think I’ve read the book thousands of times now. It’s a classic that never gets old…”
“Have you seen the movie?” White took P’Sean’s hand, squeezing their palms together and relishing in the heat of the older man’s skin. P’Sean looked surprised at the sudden contact, but did not pull away, “I have the movie on DVD!” Oh God was he really doing this? White wanted to watch the entire movie and then later fake British accents with P’Sean, that’s like the best dates. “We could watch it together… The 2005 one with Kiera Knightly.” Before he could ramble on anymore, White clamped his mouth shut and smiled with thin lips.
It was so hot the way P’Sean was so casually letting him hold his hand and then not freak out, just lean against the window to the garage like he had no care in the world. White had to be not an inch away from him, P’Sean up close smelled like gasoline and cigarettes, White never knew he could crave such a scent. He never liked the smell of gasoline or cigarettes before, yet now he wanted to bury his nose in P’Sean’s shirt and have the smell linger on his pillow after the man left. “That’s the best rendition of the book in my opinion.”
Did P’Sean want White to kiss him on the lips?!
White was quivering from excitement, this feeling overflowing in his stomach to make him squirm in place. There were so many things he wanted to do and he wasn’t sure if they were okay, yet. P’Sean just made him feel crazy. White was sure he would have kissed P’Sean right there if not for the sound of the plexiglass rattling loudly from something being thrown at it.
They pulled apart immediately, White crying out and throwing his arms over his face as if the plastic would shatter and P’Sean made a similar noise of fear. They looked through the window at the same time, White feeling a little faint when he made eye contact with P’Black glaring so venomously it would kill him dead. P’Sean seeing P’Black gave a loud bark of fear, panicking with his hands so much that White could only grab the hem of his shirt.
“Nong White, I’m sorry,” P’Sean spoke so softly to him, it made White wonder if P’Black really believed that the man was a bad person.
“It’s okay!” White gasped, squeezing the fabric in his fists, “can I have your LINE?” He asked before he would lose the courage and simply pass away from P’Black’s glare radiating from behind the glass window. “We don’t have to watch the movie, but we can talk!” White rambled on, smiling so hard his dimples were pained.
P’Sean looked worried, glancing at P’Black and back to White like he was currently suffering through a big decision. White wanted P’Sean to only look at him, P’Black had nothing to do with their relationship, but he wasn’t going to act stupid that P’Black must have said something to make the man so wary. “I…” P’Sean trailed off, eyes painfully sadden, “I don’t think your brother would like it very much if I had your LINE.”
Goddamnit P’Black! White wanted to cry, already feeling the tears building up in his eyes. “But I can take your number if I ever need to contact you,” P’Sean then word-vomited, digging in his pocket to produce a phone for White and shoving it towards him, “but only for that… Nong White, I’m sorry I can’t do more. I don’t want to piss your brother off too much.”
White never felt so sad to put his number in his crush’s phone, pressing call just briefly so his own phone rang and he could save P’Sean number with a bunch of hearts attached. “P’Black isn’t in charge of me,” White muttered quietly, handing back the phone, “If White likes P’Sean… than White likes P’Sean.”
It was so simple and White wanted to rip his hair out because of his dumb cockblock of a brother. P’Sean’s laugh felt like a balm to a gaping wound, his cheeks tinted a sharp hue of red from the confession. He looked at White so fondly that there had to be a spark between them. White couldn’t be the only one feeling this… He had to talk to P’Black soon, convince his brother that P’Sean was his future husband and he would simply die if they never saw each other again.
The perfect man P’Sean was, smiled, slapping the top of his book gently on White’s head and left as abruptly as he arrived. White rubbed the top of his head, butterflies swirling in his stomach and toes tingling with how shy he was right now. P’Sean may just be his dream guy…
White shyly played with his fingers, avoiding all eye contact with his brother. It was so embarrassing recounting how giggly P’Sean had him. He wanted to keep their conversation close to his heart, trap the memory in a box and never allow anyone else to see it. Yet, P’Black simply would never allow that to happen. “He turned me down, because of you…” White muttered, wanting to go outside and kick rocks around in sheer frustration, “don’t kill P’Sean or anything… It would be hypocritical for you.”
“Stop sulking, goddamnit,” P’Black shot back, a little exasperated. White finally looked up and was met with P’Black looking constipated. His twin had an ugly sneer on his face, rubbing at his forehead like he was trying to ward away a seriously bad headache. “I can’t believe you and fucking Sean were out there quoting a stupid book.”
“P’Black!” White blanched, “Pride and Prejudice is an English classic, not a stupid book!”
“ Yeah, yeah , whatever,” P’Black rolled his eyes, but from White’s perspective he looked exhausted. White wanted to pester his older brother for having such an expression on his face. A part of him was excited that P’Black’s resolve may be crumbling, but the other part warned him that P’Black might have been more disgusted that he had to hear about P’Sean flirting.
Taking a deep breath and willing away the fear, White gently leaned his head on P’Black’s shoulder, looking up at him with round, doe eyes. If fake crying didn't work, than acting cute might just be his bet. Manipulation was his favorite tactic when fighting with an enemy like his brother. “Is P’Black going to kill P’Sean?”
P’Black shut his eyes, schooling his expression before he looked down at him, “no.” White had to force himself not to do a happy dance.
Instead he channeled this feeling into confidence to ask, “does that mean P’Black will let me try with P’Sean?”
“I’m not saying I love him yet…” White cut the other off, reaching out and bringing P’Black’s hand in his own. His brother’s hands were so different from his. The soft skin that should be on his palm was instead hard with callouses, scars littered on his knuckles from fights White never was able to talk him out of. It wasn’t until that moment that White realized how much of a stranger he was to his big brother. “If P’Black doesn’t want me to speak to P’Sean anymore then I wont’t. He’s your friend and you know him best… I don’t want him to come between us.”
“White.” P’Black said in the same harsh tone, squeezing White’s hands tightly, “stop fucking talking like that, Sean is not coming between us.” Then, without much of a warning, P’Black pulled White into a squeezing hug, arms practically crushing him so hard he could feel his bones move, but White never felt safer. P’Black smelled like gasoline, sharp, yet slightly sweet to the nose. White buried his face in his brother’s neck, surrounding himself in such a comforting scent. P’Black smelled like P’Sean. “You’re such a nerd,” P’Black said fondly, scratching gently at the base of White’s skull.
“I know…” White responded, if he was a cat he would be purring from the head scratches. It felt so good to have P’Black back, to have his hugs and get his head scratched. White always resented the fact that he was separated from his brother and he’d do anything to stay with him again. P’Sean may have been everything White was looking for and more, but if a relationship between them would cause a rift between P’Black just when he got this again. White was not averse from getting over the heartbreak and finding someone else.
Even if he would mourn the loss of a really good relationship, P’Black always came first for White. His big brother who always protected him, the one who always was punch first, asked questions later. The one who protected him from the bullies and gave the best hugs in the world.
A boyfriend was temporary, twins were forever.
“You’re also stupid,” P’Black’s voice had a lit of a grin. White looked up at him and rolled his eyes at the shit eating grin stretched across his cheeks. “And your type in men stinks.”
Ugh… They couldn’t even have a moment . White pushed P’Black roughly causing the latter to flourish in laughter at the treatment. “It does not!” He defended himself knowing full well his type did actually stink. White never said he didn’t see the red-flags, he saw them and thought they were funny, duh .
“Uh huh,” P’Black sniffed sarcastically, grabbing the top of White’s head and not so kindly casting him off in the other direction. There wasn’t much power behind the push, but White threw himself down on the mattress and let out a cry of pain just for shits and giggles. P’Black sent him a searing glare, before scooching up on the bed and grabbing his phone. “I’m done talking about this, I can only deal with so much Sean in a night.”
White frowned, looking at his brother’s face illuminated with the white light of his phone. “But you never gave me an answer… Can I talk to Sean?”
“Can you not be annoying for one fucking night?” P’Black snapped back, crossing his arms tightly against his chest. White could see the signs that P’Black wasn’t going to waver under any circumstances that night. It was frustrating, because White really wanted to test out the new number he had on his phone, though he also was aware P’Sean was probably not going to answer anyways.
Huffing loudly to convey how discontented he was, White pulled his IPad out from where he stored it under his hoard of stuffed animals. If P’Black wasn’t going to answer him then White is going to play his series as loud as he wanted.
P’Black couldn’t kick him out anyways.
To say Gram was angry was an understatement. It wasn’t often that he got pissed off at Black, he was usually the type of guy to let water run down his back, but Black was being a fucker . Gram wasn’t sure who pissed in Black’s rice krispies this morning, he did however have a good guess it was either White or Sean, yet this was ridiculous. When Gram arrived at university, his engine roaring loudly from the echo of the building, he already was planning for this day to turn into a shit show. From what happened at the bar with the dog fight and leaving things to rot until morning, Black was not going to be happy.
This whole situation made Gram want to grab Sean by the shoulders and shake him until he finally used that big brain he bragged so much about. He had no qualms with Sean being a fucking fruit, what he did mind was Sean looking at every available guy on the planet and picking Black’s precious brother. Sure, Gram didn’t know much about Black’s family, again, the guy was big about clumping his family problems with vague words, but the arrival of White made so much sense.
Black may have the personality of a wannabe gangster, though at core the little guy wasn’t that big on airing out his dirty laundry. Normally, if Gram wanted to get anything sentimental out of his best friend he would have to buy out a goddamn liquor store and get Black drunker than a skunk. That was when the pieces of Black’s childhood started to come together and Gram sucked in every little detail to better understand him. It was rough, he knew Black was born from a family of politicians, wealthy politicians to be clear, and there was an obvious distance Black had between him and his father.
There was always resentment, Black would tell you cold sober he hated his father, but even with alcohol he didn’t go into much of the reason why his father was so bad. Gram had to do his own detective work, Googling Black’s name and finding his father was a politician in a different country. From what he seen at the time, he came to the conclusion that after the death of Black’s mother, another sore spot no alcohol could cure, his father didn’t have any more roots back in Thailand so he packed up and left.
What Gram didn’t know was that Black’s father left AND he took Black’s twin brother with him.
This thousand piece puzzle that Gram had been hunched over for the entire time he knew Black was finally getting the pieces that he needed. Things were coming together, he was seeing the picture clearly, and suddenly a lot of things were making sense.
The way that Black always seemed to be looking for someone else when they were all together having fun.
The way Black avoided the garage like hell when Sean’s brother came to get his motorcycle fixed.
The way Black would go off for long periods of time to take phone calls and come back with a small smile on his face that Gram just assumed was Eugene’s doing.
The way Black looked off into space, his eyes filled with sadness and brows tight whenever anyone asked about his ‘Family Shit.’
The person that Black was missing, his other half that was ripped from his side, that was White! His precious baby brother that shared the same face as him. Gram tried to put it into retrospect. He tried to imagine himself looking in the mirror and seeing back the image of a brother that wasn’t at his side anymore, because of a tyrant father. Well… the feeling he got was heart piercing sadness and that was a lot to take in. Twins were a strange thing…
To think Black did this everyday, knowing that he saw himself in the mirror and the addition of a brother who may have been one phone call away, but completely out of reach, it was gut wrenching. Not to mention the fact that Black was famously closed off with emotions, so he probably was spending those phone calls never getting to tell his brother how much he truly missed him.
Then, out of the blue and one dead dad later, White was back! White was here in the flesh. He looked like Black… well from what Gram saw in the window of the shop. Honestly, he didn’t know that much about White other than he looked like Black and wasn’t like them. Nevertheless, Gram didn’t need to know anything about White, because what his presence did was make Black happy. The hole his best friend had in his heart was now being healed by the presence of the person he loved most.
White was there, he was cheering up Black and also making him wish he never arrived in the first damn place. Gram wasn’t going to point fingers, he didn’t need to know who talked to who, or who was the first to switch from talking to flirting. That was useless to debate and Sean was on a high horse about totally being an angel to this whole situation. From what Gram gathered from the argument Sean liked White and it wasn’t about the vendetta (Gram had to look that word up when he got home, stupid Sean using big words) he had on Black.
Black didn’t care in the end, he told Sean to hit the high road and Sean told him he had no room to talk when a relationship with White doesn’t involve Black at all. Two very convincing cases presented in the court and Gram knew whose side he had to take. Even if it was wrong.
In the beginning Gram wanted to help Sean, he saw nothing wrong with the relationship. He was more on Black’s back for being homophobic, in Yok’s glass closet honor, surprisingly he was met with venom for insinuated such a thing. It wasn’t homophobia, but just a deep hatred for Sean’s sharp attitude and know-it-all personality. His second rebuttal, Sean’s father being abusive, which they still weren’t sure if it was true or not. Bruises just appeared on Sean at random. The guy liked wearing sleeveless shirts with long cuts down the sides and the purple splotches spread on his ribs felt like something they should talk about and also not at the same time.
Boss Gumpa told them once or twice Sean was staying in the garage, the fucker had his own pad upstairs when he didn’t want to go home. Yet, very similar with Black, and Gram wished he could point out the solidarity these two sworn enemies had, Sean was allergic to feelings and talking about them, sober or drunk. When Gram brought up Sean’s Pa, the guilt trip chipped a piece from Black’s shoulder, but it also may as well have made his defense stronger. Since Black decided to do his own catastrophizing and decided Sean was using White or could possibly hurt his brother.
Honestly, this was all one big mess. Gram wanted to look away, but as the saying goes, it’s hard to rip your eyes away during a train wreck. After some good shower thoughts and a pros n cons list, Gram knew what he needed to do when there was a rift in their gang. It was no secret that he was notorious for taking Black’s side, even when his best friend was horribly in the wrong, that was neither here nor there. Black needed a favor for all the times he saved Gram’s ass and even if it sucked, Black was his brother.
Getting up this morning, Gram was ready to nominate himself as a shield to keep Sean from White, that, or become an accomplice to a crime when they slash Sean’s tires. Slinging his bag over his shoulder and approaching the building, Gram kind of felt like he was arming himself for Armageddon. Black was a ticking time bomb normally, so when he had someone light his fuse he was off without a hitch. Gram just hoped this freak out wouldn’t end up with them cornering Sean in an alley and breaking the shit out of him.
Sighing, Gram braced himself with only a smile as a weapon, and opened the door to the classroom. As expected, Black was already sitting in his seat, lounged lazily in a slant and talking to Gram’s ex-girlfriend, but still very good friend Nona. He offered her a bright wave, slyly blowing her a kiss that she rolled her eyes at and sat down heavily in the desk next to Black. “Hey man,” he said casually, or as casually as one could after listening to Black shout after Sean to get hit by a bus for flirting with his brother.
“Hey,” Black simply grunted, turning back to Nona like Gram didn’t even exist. “Is Khur testing on impunity today, because I saw on the slides she sent us impunity was in there, but she never got to them in the lectures…”
“I’d bet my life on it being on the test,” Nona scoffed, sliding over her printed packet of notes for Black to skim over with just his eyes. “She also didn’t go over this case, but I saw it mentioned on the powerpoint and I know she loves to make us look up stuff after class. Here, let me get the case for you--” Nona pulled away to start rifling in her backpack, Gram took this as a chance to finally swoop in and get a read on Black.
“About last night-” he tried gently, tapping Black’s thin arm.
The little guy pulled away from him like the touch burned, eyes burning hell-fire under thick eyelashes. “Shut the fuck up Gram,” Black warning was generic at this point.
“I just wanna let you know I got your back,” Gram sped out, soothing metaphorical feathers with a hovering hand, “if you wanna go slash Sean’s tires after this I got the knife, buddy.” The look Black gave him made Gram want to start backtracking. It almost looked shocked with a mixture of confusion, which out of everything, Black never got that look when they did shit to make Sean’s life a living hell.
“What’s this about slashing tires?” Nona asked, her presence had been completely ignored and Gram stood ramrod straight that they got caught.
Black rolled his eyes, shaking his head in disbelief, “nothing, Nona, you know your boyfriend is fucking stupid. He probably didn’t even study for this test.” And you know what… Gram didn’t.
Like there was a fire lit under his ass, Gram cram studied for a total of ten agonizing minutes before Khur came in, flashed the slides like the madwoman she was, and then handed out the fist size thick tests that were probably exams. Gram totally deserved this, spending the entire night trying to psychoanalyze Black’s entire life to finally come to term who’s stupid side he was going to be on. He was a university student, he didn’t have time to get himself in trouble for sticking his nose in the famous Sean and Black drama.
He wanted to hit himself for being so nebby in the first place, though this exam he half assed felt like enough of a punishment. When Gram finished, Black was already outside the classroom with his arms tightly crossed against his chest. Like a shield, Nona was standing beside the little guy, judging Gram the way only she can and anyone else would get a fist to the face. They were long broken up, but Gram would never feel fondness for the trans girl, she was an amazing girlfriend, they just came to realize they were better off being friends in the long run. That didn’t mean Gram didn’t cry about it, and by God he cried like a goddamn pussy over that break up, even Black was uncomfortable.
When he arrived in the small group, Black gave him an untrusting side-eye and Gram tried to make enough space that he wasn’t in hitting range. “Did I miss something?” Nona, always one to sense the room, shot a finger back and forth between the two boys.
“Just stupid shit,” Black responded before him, voice light in amusement. Gram for a minute had the encroaching sense of dread that Sean met Black’s wraith earlier, body already rolled up in a carpet and on the way to the dump. “Gram’s poking his nose in my business like usual.”
How Black could also read him like a book was open for debate. Gram blinked owlishly and then felt a wave of exhaustion creep under his bones. “Sorry,” he sneered, unsure where he adopted such a venomous tone, though it might have been from lack of sleep. “You had me going fucking nuts last night, Black. I had to prepare myself for the fucking prick you were going to be today.”
Gram should have seen it coming, truly it was deserved. His tone, the way he was accusing Black, the ending insult. It was like seeing a car racing towards you, the lights in your eyes and you can hear the horn of the vehicle. One could easily make the assumption that a car was going to hit them from context clues. Yet, in this analogy, the car was Black’s fist.
The impact against his face is a shock, not much in pain since that will follow along later tomorrow. Gram, not surprisingly, has been punched many times before, but nothing can ever prepare him for the suddenness of it all. Black’s knuckles had so kindly careened themselves in the hard bone of his jaw, creating an almost boomerang effect of Gram’s mandible shifting all the way to one side and then going right back to where it was supposed to be. It knocked the wind out of chest and his feet out from under him. Gram fell unceremoniously, bare arm slapping against the glossy surface of the university floor that hurt more than the punch.
Around them there was cacophony of scuffles and shouts, no sounds really sticking nor standing out to bring the focus away from his aching jaw and raw arm. Gram, out of human instinct, grabbed his jaw and held the burning flesh in the cup of his palm, trying to focus his spinning eyes on something. When he finally got some grounding, he looked up and saw Black looking absolutely unbothered, more so interested in the redness of his knuckles. Nona had her hands raised in the air, palms open and arms in the shape of a goal post. Her face was shocked and she was unsure, if her hand and arm placement wasn’t obvious, on who to grab or help.
This would be solved when a few students came running over to separate Black from Gram, even though Gram knew Black was not going to hit him again. That punch was enough of a warning, yet those people didn’t know that. A professor, thankfully not theirs, came out to tell them both off, making big gestures and remarks about ‘ this is a university for the educated, not children! If you wish to fight you should have stayed in high school ’ Gram wanted to snark at him so badly, but his jaw was cramping like all hell. He deserved that punch and the light in Black’s eye told him when they got to work they’d have a real fight.
A part of Gram was relieved to see that edge back in Black’s eyes, it was finally a shred of normalcy this day needed, and he wasn’t going to back down from fighting the other fairly after he got caught off guard by that punch. They were then separated by the professor, Black told to walk one way and Gram to walk another, so in the end he had to circle back to get his bike and drive to work.
It took even more time since Gram finally remembered Nona and texted her that he was okay and it was just how he and Black played. He also gave her a heads up that they were probably going to look pretty rough tomorrow, knowing how much pent up aggression Black had in him due to the whole Sean x White situation going on in the background. This anger Gram had been expecting was more subdued than what he catastrophized last night, but he welcomed it.
They were boys, they were going to fight. They were going to fight about who got to date who. They were going to fight with family, fight with friends, fight with strangers. Fighting was a constant and Gram welcomed it knowing it wasn’t Sean or White that were going to be meeting Black’s wrath. He also was aware of the fact after the fight, when their bodies would be sore to all hell, Black would finally have a moment to breathe without the weight of aggression in the front of his brain. There was something mentally unstable with Black, something Gram ethically shouldn’t be feeding into, but after a good fight Black made some really good decisions.
He became a little more human, able to separate himself and make a plan without jumping the gun. A plan is all they needed to figure out this whole situation and Gram just needed a blueprint in what he would not so secretly reiterate back to Sean so he’s on the same wavelength.
Shoving his phone back in his pocket, Gram sauntered his way into the garage, not caring about his bag half hanging out of his locker or the wrinkles in his uniform jacket that he threw over his shoulder. Boss Gumpa was gonna be pissed about them fighting on his hour, though Gram wasn’t going to out the man for always giving them tips later on how to better themselves. Boys will be boys , he guessed was the saying Boss Gumpa repeated as a mantra when he saw them exchanging fists behind the hood of a car.
It was easy to find Black, he was hanging at the base of the stairs that led to the upstairs office and Sean’s secret man-cave, back turned towards Gram. He must have changed since the last time they talked, because he was wearing a navy sweater and a pair of knee length jeans. Gram had never seen Black wear a sweater, but there was a little bit of a draft in the garage from the AC, so this might be the reason. He wasn’t really thinking, still hopped up on adrenaline as he picked up the pace to where Black was idling oh so vulnerable.
Gram wanted to get him back, Black punched him by surprise so it was only fair. An eye for an eye, right? Rubbing his hands together, Gram didn’t hold back when he cracked the smaller man on the back of the head. There was a surprise shriek, an octave Gram has never heard Black hit regardless of any pain he’s been through, and he fell on the lower half of the stairs. Unsure what to make of this, Gram took a step back watching as Black grabbed the back of his head in pain.
There was a little CHINK noise, something so small that shouldn’t be so loud. To Gram, this sound was like a death knell ringing over the land for his entire family’s funeral-- including himself. What made that small, clunking noise, well it was a pair of thin, silver rimmed glasses falling from Black’s face and hitting the iron stairs.
Black didn’t wear glasses….
Gram…. Buddy you’re screwed.
A rush of panic consumed Gram as he watched in horror as White-- Black’s precious twin brother -- turned his head to give Gram the biggest pair of watery doe eyes he’s ever witnessed. Not even his kid-niece could pull off such a look of pure pity, it felt like watching an angel cry. He didn’t know what to do, or what to say. ‘ Sorry I thought you were your asshole brother?’ like, what was White going to do? Get up and be like ‘ Haha yeah, it’s okay! ’
The little guy, even littler than Black, was gripping the back of his head and letting out a shaky breath that did nothing to calm the tracks of fat tears racing down flushed cheeks. Black could take a hit like that, probably say something smart like it didn’t hurt at all, because he was an asshole and extremely thick headed metaphorically and physically. White… Gram didn’t even know White! They hadn’t even exchanged greetings yet!
It was a godsend and also bad luck when the sound of heavy feet came rattling down the metal stairs. In all his glory, there was Black, Boss Gumpa, and Yok, all three of those bastards, looking at him like he just kicked a puppy. And you know what , Gram might have just done it.
Black so tenderly touched White’s head, like he was afraid to hurt his brother, carefully assessing the situation before his eyes slit dangerously at Gram. “What the fuck,” Black said very clearly, words perfect pronounced and clicking in sheer fury. Gumpa stood in the middle of the stairs, arms crossed like a disappointed father watching his son come drunk for the thirtieth time after promising he was going to stay sober. Yok not far behind him, disbelief evident.
“I-” Gram stuttered out, grasping out his straws, but his hand was still stinging from smacking White right where the curve of his skull meets the long expanse of his neck. “White,” he turned to the little dude, suddenly needing to make sure he was okay, but Black stood in the way. Gram’s best friend looked like a snarling dog, teeth gnashed so hard the blue vein in his neck was sticking out. “I didn’t mean to,” Gram rushed out, “I thought he was you! After you did that cheap shot at me I wanted to get you back!”
This panic and confusion was turning to anger. Gram knew he was getting cornered and in his desperation he was starting to unconsciously try and appear bigger than his enemy. “Yeah? so you bitch slap my little brother?!” Black accused, words lined with jagged icicles.
“Your identical twin brother! How was I supposed to know he was even here?!”
“I don’t know?! Maybe greet me before you throw a bitch slap like a normal person!”
“Oh yeah? Like the way you gave me no warning when you punched me in the hallway when I called you a prick?! Black, you are so fucking hypocritical!”
“Well don’t butt your nose in my goddamn business, how about that?!”
“Black! Gram!” There was a ringing call that echoed in the concrete garage. Yok was the one who made the call for order, Gumpa freely letting them go at it like dogs. Fucker. They turned to the designated clown of their gang, who had moved down enough steps to help White sit down and put back on his glasses. “Guys, if you’re gonna fight, do it upstairs where customers don’t see or hear us.” he pleaded, a voice of reason they usually looked over.
Black gave a haughty sniff, inclining his head towards the upstairs like an invitation. Gram’s lips went into a tight line, unsure if he truly wanted to enter a fist fight with Black when he literally just did a cheap shot at his brother. On the other hand, this was going to be the fight of the century and he was antsy to get in it. Black moved to the stairs, invitation accepted with a nod, but he didn’t get far since a hand shot out and grabbed him by his swinging wrists.
Gram held his breath, watching the twins look at each other. “P’Black,” White’s voice was soft, gentle even in a slightly higher pitch than Black’s rumbly smoker voice. “This isn’t necessary, please don’t go up and fight,” Whatever crack Black’s parents were smoking when they named the twins must have been some real good shit. White was the perfect name for him, because he had the aurora of a pure saint.
It was almost laughable in the way Black’s shoulders fell slightly, the fight in his eyes barely even a sparkle as he looked at the pitiful creature that was his twin brother. “I got to go let off some steam,” Black explained with a tight huff of air, “there’s a punching bag and shit up there, it’s not like we're going to kill each other,” there was a punching bag upstairs, but Gram didn’t think they were going to utilize it. For a brief moment, there was a touch of fondness that Black allowed them to see when he put his free hand on White’s head and ruffled his hair. He walked maybe three steps up the stairs before he turned around and said, “Sean’s out back. Go bother him or something.”
It felt like the start of something new. An era of plague that meets a curing vaccine. Gram wasn’t expecting Black’s words and White didn’t seem to believe it either. There was a poignant pause in the air, one that changed everything, but, Black never one for emotions, hightailed it up the stairs in twos to not stick around and feel it. As Gram passed Gumpa he was cuffed on the back of the head for his effort and Yok had ran up after them with an excited shout that he wanted to be the referee. Something told Gram he really didn’t need to worry about Sean and White as hard as he’s been doing.
They were going to be fine.
When Sean got to work he was immediately whisked in a thrilling story of hearsay from a hyper Yok. As he put his things away, he only half listened as Yok recounted that he heard Black and Gram got into a fist fight in the hall of their faculty. Sean had to scoff at that, what a bunch of barbarians. It only rang true to Sean’s hypothesis last night that Black was incapable of having a debate without using his fists. Why he and Gram fought? Well that could be a number of things, but something told him that himself might just be the reason.
Why did White have to talk to him yesterday? Sean had planned to avoid Black’s brother like he had a contagious disease, but then White had to walk in and be absolutely radiant . He was adorable, probably one of the cutest people Sean had ever laid his eyes on. He had a sweet face, one with full cheeks and dimples that he just wanted to pinch and see them glow red. Not to mention his best features, those goddamn lips. Who the hell allowed that?
Where Sean thought Black was grubby and straight up disgusting, White was this angelic looking boy who could recite book quotes and smelled like sweet cream pastries. What the fuck . And then, Sean thought he could easily slide past White with a small crush, but then the Angel had to start responding to him. Like Sean wasn’t the only person feeling this undeniable spark of interest. The fact that White was interested in him felt like he was being hooked up to a guillotine. Everyone knows that blade was coming down and Sean wasn’t one to be a sitting duck.
So instead he let White have his phone number for emergencies only. He could tell White was disappointed in the way those plump lips curled into an obnoxious crescent moon. Even pouting he looked adorable, Sean wanted to take it all back and just add something about maybe texting him, yet he caught himself before he did anything reckless. He told White he’d see him around, because he probably was, and tapped him on the head with his book just to see a small break in the pitiful sulk.
White just had to smile at him, all pearly white teeth and cute dimples that should have been a bullet to Sean’s poor heart. If this was anyone other than Black’s brother he would have asked White right there if he was interested in getting dinner. He couldn’t, because he was Black’s fucking brother and the hurt was something akin to heartbreak. It’s not like Sean went home and had vivid dreams of White, absolutely not.
Though.. If you’re asking nicely, he most certainly did dream of that Angel.
They were laying on a towel under a long leafed tree with a view of a ubiquitous white sand and cyan waved beach. The weather was hot, but not hot enough for it to become unbearable, just perfectly comfortable. Around them was a symphony of calming noises, the waves a constant push and pull of white noise, seagulls calling in the air, even childish laughter of someone having fun in the distance. It was a cut of paradise.
Sean was happy to lay and enjoy the shade of the tree, a book folded between his fingers and a heavy, yet fond weight of a body hooked gently on his bare chest. White looked beautiful, the light on his face appearing in odd patchwork shapes from the leaves and a off-white long sleeve shirt that had loosely tied criss-cross ribbons up the collar. The shirt was already a deep V and falling ever so gently off his shoulder, White’s skin was tanned just so slightly pink and freckled from being out in the sun. He was absolutely stunning.
Sean felt calm. It was the first dream he had in a long time that brought him a sense of serenity. All he did was lay there on the rough fabric of the blanket and draw shapes into the raised knobs of White’s spine. He was free to look, to take in the other’s soft face and touch those sweet lips. They didn’t talk, or if they did Sean didn’t remember clearly. They just got to lay there and listen to the waves, enjoying each other’s company and not worry about anyone else.
Towards the end of the dream the waves started to pick up, the shore rising up onto the beach in a dangerous, foreboding way. White didn’t seem to care, his giggle seemingly echoing in every corner of Sean’s mind as he straddled him like he was getting up on a horse. Sean reached out to grab his hips, familiarizing himself with the weight of White sitting atop his lap. Just slyly bringing the tops of his thumbs under the billowing white shirt, smoothing the delicate skin of his bony hips and smooth stomach. White smiled at him from where he sat, the sun created a halo on his inky black hair to appear like he was secretly the reincarnation of a benevolent God.
And then he woke up, literally and metaphorically. He put his head in his hands, a headache forming from the guilt and an unfamiliar, yet unwanted palpation in his chest.
To Sean, in a way, White did feel like a benevolent God. He was so kind, so sweet, so perfect-- yet so completely out of reach.
Religion mostly fell out of practice with Sean after he realized no one was answering back. The guys at the garage said shit like his Pa was abusive when his Pa was fucking dead . Been dead for years now after he got wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to have a hero’s death. What a fucking joke. At home was a battle of tension between him and his Ma, two people grieving with no clue how to help each other and Khai… well Khai was Khai . He was busy at school and fucking girls to relieve the pain of not being good enough to figure out time to mourn.
Ma said Khai would get his time to finally come to terms with the death, that there is no need to curse him to hell when he was normally self absorbed. Someone will come along and knock some sense into that dumb boy’s brain, just not today , she’d smile and click her tongue. Sean wished someone would come and knock some sense into his dumb brain.
He actually wished for Black to come and finally give him hell for flirting with his brother. Sean didn’t lie last night at the bar, he did feel a connection with White, but Black just flew off the handles any opportunity he got. A part of Sean knew Black was just being protective, he didn’t know a lot about the guy due to them being more ‘ good to be in the same room together ’ rather than friends. They talked sometimes, a handshake of solidarity over a beer about school or bad customers that they wished to rip to shreds, but that was all. It wasn’t like Sean wanted to know Black the way Gram knows him, he wouldn’t even touch that gremlin with a nine-inch pole.
Black was awful. Sure they joke about it, but at times Sean doesn’t even know how Gram and Yok put up with the fucker. He complained all the time and his idea of fun was riling someone up without knowing where the line was to indicate when his fun became more bullying than playful remarks. People like that pissed Sean off and he couldn’t help himself to try and bring Black down a peg, which led to their all famous screaming matches. It had gotten so bad that Gumpa told him to ignore Black, ‘Son, there will be people you meet in life that are just dicks. Don’t give them fuel to your fire.’ And Sean did! He stopped fighting back, he stopped antagonizing Black, he stopped everything for peace of mind.
And then White showed up and blew everything out of proportion. Black was an asshole, but by God-- Sean wanted to do his twin brother.
Shutting his locker with a bang and effectively shutting Yok’s incessant rambling off, Sean turned to level him with a look of disinterest. Nothing was less interesting than Gram and Black’s married couple spats. “What does that have to do with me?” he asked, leaning his body on the locker.
Yok scratched the back of his head, as if he wasn’t sure either. “I’d just steer clear of Black today, he’s already mad at you about-- you-know-what. There’s no need to get caught in his wrath.” Out of all the fuckers in this garage, Yok was probably the kindest of them all. He was empathic, always looking out for those he was friends with. Sean wanted to tell him he didn’t deserve to be weighed down by Black, but who was he to assess a relationship he was an outsider to. Or, that’s what Black always sneers at him whenever he asks a little too many questions.
“I won't, actually I wasn’t even going to go near him in the first place,” Sean decided to say simply, ending the conversation quickly and doing his job unlike all his other friends who loved to slack off. It was baffling that they got revenue in this garage, because Sean barely even sees anyone working. Gumpa must do it all at night or something. Maybe gremlins like Black live in the ceiling and do it. Huh. Maybe White was making him go crazy.
Sean didn’t know how long he worked, he got around to a few of the cars and did a bunch of different things, but if you asked him what he actually did he wouldn’t be able to tell you. He just knew that the minute Black walked into the garage with White tailing behind him, it was time for his mandated break.
Seeing White again was like a kick in the shin. They didn’t make eye contact, nor did they acknowledge each other’s presence, but Sean could feel him in the room. It would be actually crazy to admit aloud, it felt absolutely crazy in his head, yet nothing could take away the goosebump inducing shiver that crawled up Sean’s back when White entered.
So, he ran, like a fucking pussy.
He grabbed his book and his pack of cigarettes from his work station and fled to breathe in the humid air outside. The cigarette he had been craving the whole time he was in the garage burned his lungs in the best kind of way. Sean never realized how much pent up tension he had in his muscles until he ended up smoking and the nicotine brought him back down to something comparable to stability. His Ma hated that he smoked, said he was going to end up dying an early death and leaving her just like Pa did.
That guilt was enough for him to smoke only a few a day and resent the growing addiction he knew he was wiggling in. With a cigarette held between two fingers, Sean braced his back on the cold metal of one of the roll up garage doors and began leafing through his paperback book. It wasn’t Pride and Prejudice, the book reminded him of White and the wound was still fresh to start picking at it.
Yet, it seemed almost like fate when Sean thought of White the other appeared.
The cute angel came stumbling out the fire exit, body as rigid as a board as he tried to catch his bearings with clumsy steps. Out of pure instincts, Sean flicked away the cigarette and grabbed ahold of White’s shoulders, keeping him from completely eating asphalt. The only problem is that it brought them so close that Sean could smell the sweet pastry scent that seemed to emit itself from the Angel. Not even the hard scents inside the garage could stomp down something so uniquely White and Sean had the urge to bury his face in White’s neck to smell it from the source or go out and buy a muffin to sate his cravings.
“ Hey, hey , watch where you're going on,” Sean started stupidly, unsure what to say when White came barreling out of the fire exit like a bullet. It was all so sudden that it was hard to catch his bearings and morph his face into something that wasn’t unbelievable fondness for the Angel. Also side note, he had to stop calling White 'Angel' in his head, it was only feeding into his problem. Smoothing his face into disinterest, he let go of White’s shoulders and stepped back enough to give them space.
Everything would have gone fine if White didn’t turn to him with a face streaked with watery tears. Sean’s heart physically burned in his chest at the sight of how pitiful he looked and then came the ripple of protectiveness. “N’White,” he said softly, not caring anymore about looking disinterested. The sweet White who smelled like pastries and could quote love confessions in Sean’s favorite books was crying . There has to be some law out there against making someone so pure cry.
And yet with such a silly thought, suddenly Sean realized in those moments why Black was so protective of his brother. It's hard to not be. White looked small and he acted small, he was sweet smelling and a little bit of an airhead. White was the type of person Black loved to pick on and that fact made Sean smile at the older brother syndrome in his worst enemy. The ‘ I can bully my little brother, but if you say anything about him that is just remotely mean sounding I’ll kill you .’
Sean was a younger brother, Khai used to chase him around with worms on sticks and do Indian burns on his arm until he was screaming and kicking. Sean and Black may have been going about their relationship differently, a hatred set into place due to different childhood backgrounds. Black growing up bullying his younger brother and Sean being bullied by his older brother. He was more sensitive and Black’s venomous remarks felt fond when he played ‘Black’s worst hits’ back in his brain.
That was something… interesting to put into perspective.
Yet, Sean didn’t care when White was fucking crying softly, as if he was afraid to actually make a sound. “N’White,” Sean tried again, his hand hovering just briefly over White’s shoulder before he could get the confidence and finally close down on the thin bone. Even through the navy colored sweater, Sean could feel White’s skin radiating warmth under his palm. He felt human, more achievable and less like an apparition created by fantasy. He steered the smaller towards the garage door, stubbing out his lit cigarette on the asphalt in the process.
White let out a little whimper, his hands rubbing at the back of his head in a constant loop, something was clearly wrong with his head so Sean just so carefully raised his hand to hover over area. It was disrespectful for Sean to outright touch White’s head, they were barely even acquaintances so he didn’t want to cross the line, just merely bring attention to it. “Did something happen to your head? Are you hurt?” White was crying, so it was clear as day he was actually hurt
The pout White gave Sean was big and dramatic, face scrunched up as he stopped rubbing the back of his head and instead feel for a raised bump. It took a moment until White huffed and said quietly, “P’Gram hit me.”
Now put that one down in Sean’s Top 10 Shocks In His Life. Gram hit White hard enough to make him cry? What the fuck? “What the fuck?” Sean’s brain to mouth filter was broken from shock.
“He thought I was P’Black,” White sounded like he was telling on Gram, rather than explaining the situation, Sean’s heart filled with even more fondness. He was afraid it was going to overflow at this point. “It hurt, he hit me really hard,” a pause for a delicate sniffle and a pair of watery doe eyes blinking up at Sean, “it hurt,” he repeated, the perfect image of pity.
Sean… Sean gets the prickly feeling up his arm that tells him he is being played right now. No, he’s being fucking guilt tripped by White for sympathy, that’s what this is.
Sean spent too long scratching away at his metaphorical beard over how White could possibly be Black’s brother. He just appeared so kind, so different from Black’s cynical asshole-ness. Now, Sean can proudly tell someone that White was most definitely related to Black. How? Manipulation. Straight-up manipulation to get something they want.
From where he was standing, White was purposely making himself smaller. Shoulders folding in towards his chest and his free arm hugging its way around his hip. His face was the full show of crocodile tears and pouty lips, it was almost maniacal the way White so easily performed miniscule changes. Though, he was rubbing his head still and there was a tick in his eyebrow that said that Gram probably did hit him really hard.
Sean, a smitten asshole, decided what the hell, he'll just play along. When in Rome, you’know.
“Aww, Nong White!” Sean finally made the decision to set his hand down on White’s head, pulling the smaller boy into a hug, tucking him close as he feverishly, yet lightly knowing it probably hurt like a bitch, pretended to check the back of White’s head. “Look how pitiful you look! Come closer, come closer! How could he be such a brute to a cute boy like you?!” His voice was kindly mocking, a piece of him wanting to take the pain away with laughter. The same laughter he heard yesterday and had haunted his dreams like a dead spirit.
There was a pause, Sean having a brief moment of ‘oh shit maybe I pushed too much,’ but then White was looking up at him, boney chin digging into Sean’s clavicle and a pout so big it was criminal. “P’Sean is making fun of me,” White whined dolefully and easily latched onto him like a limpet.
Then, similar to when the sun comes out after a day filled with rainy clouds, White smiled evilly and snuggled his nose deep into the junction where Sean’s neck meets his shoulder. Mission accomplished , he guessed with affection and slight exasperation. “I’m not, I’m not,” Sean so vehemently refused, White whining high in his skin. Just the tips of the Angel’s ears were dusted with pink, Sean wanted to roll his eyes at the fact White was shy when he got exactly what he wanted. “What do I do with you?” he asked with a sigh, hoking his chin over the top of White’s head and squeezed that little body closer to him.
The question was rhetorical, yet also not at the same time. What did he do with his feelings for White? “Hug White,” the other responded regardless, rubbing his cheek on Sean’s neck like he was a cat trying to force his scent into his skin, “hug White and hold White very tight.” So Sean did, who was he to say no to this manipulative Angel.
With a huff of laughter, Sean rubbed the expanse of White’s back, the same way he did in the dream, “Nong White--”
“No talking!” White spat, tightening his thin arms that shouldn’t have that much strength around Sean, it was so tight he felt his ribs start to move. When White used that tone he sounded so akin to his brother trying to be cute, it was ridiculous, yet by God Sean was a man with an enormous crush. They had met only a day ago and already White was giving him a run for his money.
Like he knew for a fact Sean liked him and was going to abuse it to get anything in the world. The worst part, Sean was fine with White doing just that. They barely knew much about each other, Sean was pretty sure Black might have told White every misdemeanor he ever done in life and yet-- White was here manipulating Sean into hugging and babying him. This boy was so headstrong he could rival his own goddamn brother… “You’re a minx,” Sean ignored White’s demand to be quiet, free to pinch the pink tips of ears that poked from soft black hair, “did Gram even hit you or is that another elaborate ruse for another hug?”
White grumbled into his skin, vibrating every bone in Sean’s body. “No, P’Gram did hit me,” there was a break from the cutesy voice, irritation breaking it to show White’s normal, gentle voice, “it really hurt, but it was worth it the moment he realized it was me.” There was a devious giggle that broke from White’s cute mouth, those big brown doe eyes staring straight into Sean’s soul as he so cruelly sneered, “He looked like he was about to piss his pants.”
“And what next,” Sean prompted with a shit-eating smile as he imagined the scene, “your P’Black came charging in and you so slyly slunk out of the room to have me console you.” he petted the top of White’s head, even going as far to bend his knees so they were at similar height, “poor little angel.” The nickname came out without Sean even meaning it to, but the irony of a nickname given before he truly knew White was very laughable. White wasn’t quite an angel, maybe a little demon dressed up as one.
The look White had on his face was soft, lips curled and eyes squeezing into crescents as he soaked in all the pets he was getting. “Nope,” he shook his head, just a little so it wouldn’t disrupt all the attention that hand was doing to his injured head, “P’Black told me to go bother you. He’s upstairs beating up P’Gram… I think.” White scratched his temple, eyebrows furrowing as he looked up at the second story of the garage from the outside, “or watching us.”
Goddamnit. Was Sean on fucking ‘Big Brother’ he couldn’t do shit in this place. Though he wasn’t pulling away from White either, nothing has been thrown at him yet, so he thinks he’s fine. “He told you to come bother me?” It felt a little too good to be true, like Black was now baiting him with the help of his cute, but evil twin.
“Yep,” White proudly rose to the tips of his toes and then cutely fell back on his heel with a devious smile. “Like I said, if White likes P’Sean than White likes P’Sean. P’Black is my big brother and…” there was a trip of trepidation in White’s voice when he added softly, “we are a package, me and him. If P’Sean dates me then P’Black comes along too. He may be protective and unforgiving, but P’Sean gets to have me forever.” Sean wanted to wrap White up in a blanket and smoother the cute Angel pointing at himself like he was the bright side of this terrible deal being made.
Sean kind of already thought about it and came to terms that if he was going to pursue White, Black was going to be there too. They were twins goddamnit, he couldn’t just tell White to ditch him… well not yet, they’d have time to run away from Black third wheeling their dates very soon. “So what’s your answer,” White moved so suddenly it was almost a jumpscare, their faces so close to each other all Sean could see was the smooth expanse of ivory skin unmarked by any blemish. “I promise my brother won’t kill you, but only if you say yes!”
Again, there were pearly white teeth flashed from behind rose petal plush lips-- White looked like a dream when he smiled. So close he could smell that sweetness of pastries again and something he knew whenever he passed any bakery ever he was going to think of this starry eyed Angel. “Do I have a choice?” Sean questioned teasingly, rolling his eyes when White pouted big and dramatic. He would have to get used to that, build his walls early so he didn’t cave every single time that pout would make its entrance.
If dramatics is what White wanted, he would be woefully saddened knowing Sean at heart was a hopeless romantic and a book nerd. He gave a sigh, one so heavy that it had White furrowing his eyebrows and taking a cautious step. “White,” Sean reached out and took White’s hand in his own, they were so small compared to his. Soft and neatly manicured, it felt like holding hands with a living doll. Sean made sure he was staring directly into White’s eyes, squeezing their shared hands together, “I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. This past day since we last met has been a torment. I came to this garage with the single object of… well working, ‘cuz it’s my job, but also seeing you…” there were stars in White’s eyes and Sean never felt so confident in his life, “ I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, your brother’s normal dickatry, the inferiority of you being so out of my league it’s not even funny. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.”
There was a beat, a deafening pause that Sean was afraid White was unfamiliar with his speech and then out of the blue the angel was crushing his hands close to his chest. The realization had his jaw dropping in shock at all the puzzle pieces coming together. “I don’t understand P’Sean!” White cried, voice anguished if not for the shit-eating grin smeared across his face.
“Go out on a date with me!”
“ Aow ?”
White blinked, cheeks puffing out in a pout, “the line is ‘ I love you, ’” the heat of a blush was creeping up on Sean’s face, a little bashful he just played out his teenage fantasy of quoting Pride and Prejudice to ask his crush out. Sensing the shift, the confidence becoming barely bread crumbs, White practically attacked Sean in a crushing hug, snuggling his way in his neck like he belonged there in the first place. “P’Sean won’t you say them correctly, naaaaa…. na na ,” he began to whine, linking his hands behind Sean’s neck and there was suddenly no space between them. As if they fused together as one person and stopped searching for their second half.
Sean wrapped his arm around White’s waist, hoisting him a little up just to hear the cute squeak of surprise. “Let’s go on a date first,” he met in the middle, “then we can see about me giving you the uncut version.” White sighed at that, the same heavy sigh Sean had used for his dramatics. Without much thought, Sean grasped his hand under White’s jaw, squeezing just lightly so his fingers dented in puffy cheeks. “Can I ever make you happy?” he asked with exasperated fondness. Something tells Sean he’s never going to get tired of this.
White’s head moved with Sean’s hand as if he was a puppet on a string, letting himself be forced to shake his head. That didn’t mean he took it nicely, adopting a look of pure annoyance that wouldn’t even look scary to a bug. “P’Sean is such a tease,” he huffed, unfolding octopus arms from Sean’s neck and crossing them over his chest. He pretended to sulk, barely even a minute before he smiled, “P’Sean can make it up to me by taking me to a very fancy restaurant.”
“Er, White, look at where I work,” Sean pointed to the garage, a little sentient over the fact he was way over his ten minute break. White looked at the building, his nose wrinkling before he so haughtily sniffed, unbothered. “I know this really good food truck that sells dumplings and noodles,” Sean then coaxed gently, taking White’s elbow and tugging those arms out of the tense cross. “And ice cream?” he added as an after thought.
At the mention of something sweet, Sean could tell he peaked White’s interest. No wonder the boy who smelled like a goddamn toaster strudel liked sweet things. The sparkles in White’s eyes were laughable, but Sean didn’t dare. He was too lost in those stupid sparkles. With the ruse up and White going back to hugging him like he was trying to crawl in his skin, there was a moment of pure, electric spark when the Angel whispered, “we can go anywhere. Where P’Sean goes, I’ll go too.”
Sean’s Ma was wrong. He shouldn’t be waiting for a boy to come around and knock some sense in his brain, Sean was waiting for his boy to get knocked in the head and come stumbling out of a fire escape just to manipulate him for sympathy.
It just had to be fate that his worst enemies’ brother was the right one for him.
“Wow, White played Sean like a goddamn fiddle,” Black remarked, scrutinizing the exchange going outside his window.
“You don’t sound surprised,” Gram mused back, stepping up on the tips of his toes to better see the two hugging without the cloth overhang obscuring his view. Black scoffed at that statement, rolling his eyes in the back of his skull.
“You think I just came out the womb being a bitch?” Black looked away from the window and raised a challenging brow, “have you ever guessed who taught me the art.” With a poignant tap on the window, like a gavel ending a debate, Black sauntered away to leave Gram gaping in surprise. “He’s Sean’s problem to deal with, not mine. Now, let’s go slash his tires like you promised me would.”
Now that … Gram could always get behind slashing Sean’s tires. For getting Black as a brother-in-law on the first day, slashed tires were going to be the least of Sean’s worries and dates were always better when you walked, right?