Chapter 8: Truth & Lies
“How does she know you love her?” Strumming my guitar, I sing softly to the person standing in front of me who’s trying to catch the fireflies hovering outside my window. The glow from the lamp on my table glistens softly off of smooth skin as a hand gently reaches out and hovers over the flowers.
“Use your feelings.” Focused on the glowing bugs, Win doesn’t even spare a glance as he gives me direction. Is it possible to be jealous of insects?
“How does she know she’s yours?” I purposely drag out the last note, making it loud and obnoxious, knowing it will catch Win’s attention. I guess it is possible.
“Please stop.” Finally turning to look at me, Win smiles in amusement. “This is embarrassing.”
My head drops in mock defeat at his words. He might not have liked my ‘singing’ but I got him to smile at me. I win.
Win’s phone suddenly gives a sharp ring so he pulls it out of his pocket to look at the message. Wide-eyed, he types a short reply and slips it back into his pocket. Grabbing my arm, he steps away from the window, pulling me with him.
“That was P’Tam.” Win shoves his books and papers back into his school bag. “Pa and Ma are on their way home.”
“Oh shit!” Since Win’s dad banned my presence, we’ve barely gotten to spend any time together. He’s even taken to timing Win on getting home from school. This evening was the first time both of Win’s parents were going to be gone. Thankfully, their house servant, P’Tam, is willing to help us out. She’s got a soft spot for me since she practically raised the both of us.
“See you at school, Pepper.” Waving, Win rushes out the door, leaving me behind.
“See you, Mawin.” I doubt he can hear me but I say it anyway.
The finalists in the band competition are announced this afternoon. P’Ohm gave me the list to post outside our club room. As I’m pinning it up, I notice my band’s name is on the list. I can’t wait to tell Win. He’s gonna freak.
P’Noh comes up next to me and leans against the wall, trying to look casual but utterly failing. I step away and he looks closer at the list. A delighted smile lights up his face and I can guess why. The band Mafia is near the top, which means a certain student council secretary made the cut.
“Why are you smiling, p’Noh?” Leaning to the side, I get a closer look at his face.
“Huh? Nothing.” P’Noh says quickly, his smile fading a little. Glancing again at the list, his smile sneaks back and he turns to walk away.
“Where are you off to?” I ask him, even though I have a pretty good idea where… I mean who he is going to see. Though I don’t know why, I do know he is on the outs with this person and it has had him in a foul mood all day. I have to tease him a little. “To make up with p’Phun?”
“No, just to let him know that his band made it through.” P’Noh answers without thinking. When he realizes what he just indirectly admitted to, his face scrunches up in annoyance and the tips of his ears turn red. Taking a half step closer, he raises a hand to point at me which is my signal to leave. Grinning at p’Noh, I quickly make my escape back into our club room. I have my own person I need to tell the results to anyway.
Inside the club room, I try to call Win but it goes directly to voicemail. Texting him doesn’t get a response either. He must have forgotten to charge his phone. Frustrated, I put away the phone and gather up my stuff, shoving everything into my school bag. I still haven’t gotten used to going home alone. The spot beside me as I walk through the gate and into the streets is empty. My adorable human shadow is missing.
After a very boring trip home from school, I collapse on my bed. Rolling onto my back, I put an arm behind my head and look around the room. My eyes fall on the jar of rocks and I immediate think of Win. My phone has been silent and I’m beginning to worry. I wonder if his father is keeping the promise he made that night. Is my staying away really keeping Winnie safe? I haven’t been able to spend any time with Win since the evening he helped me practice my song. It was the only night that both of his parents were gone.
Standing up, I walk over to the jar and grab a rock. I need to know if he’s alright. At school he always looks so sad but I can’t tell if he’s hurt. I couldn’t see any new bruises but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. His father is usually very careful about where he leaves a mark so they can be easily hidden by clothes. I throw a rock across and hit Win’s window. There’s no response, so I throw another and another. Still nothing and my worry intensifies. Win should be home and, if he’s not, it means he’s gone to our spot. He only goes there without me if there is something wrong.
Sitting back down on my bed, I stare out the window at the sunshine pouring in and then over at the jar of rocks sitting in the shadows on my nightstand. I made a promise to stay away from Win to keep him safe. I made that promise but I can’t keep it. If Win is hurting, I can’t stay away. Making my decision, I leave the house and head out to find my best friend.
Sitting on a bench in the corner of the park, I see a lone figure hunched over and rubbing his eyes. His bright white shirt is wrinkled and half untucked from the distinctive blue shorts. Shoulders shaking slightly, he quietly sniffles. Walking up to Win, I sit down beside him but he doesn’t notice.
“Your dad went too far with you again, didn’t he?” While I can’t see any damage, I’m sure I’m right. Keeping the anger out of my voice is difficult but I manage to keep my voice soft. The last thing my friend needs is another person screaming at him, even if it is in his defense.
Win’s dad is an adult. He made a promise. Is really too much to ask for him to stop hurting Win?
“It’s nothing.” After a long time, Win finally answers me but avoids looking into my eyes. “It was my fault this time.”
We sit there in silence. He doesn’t look at me and I can’t look at him. We both know that he’s lying. It’s not nothing. It’s not his fault. No matter what Win has done, he can’t deserve what his father does to him.
“Per, didn’t you give him your word that you’d stay away from me?” With this question, he looks my way hesitantly, seemingly afraid of my answer. His eyes return to staring down at the ground.
“Your dad went back on his word, then so can I.” Thinking about it, this is the most logical answer. The deal was that he would stop hurting Win if I stayed away. He didn’t keep his end of the deal. “It’s only fair.”
Win smiles a little, relief evident in his eyes. He doesn’t want to be apart from me anymore than I want to be apart from him. Living next door to each other for so long, neither of us have ever really spent much time without the other. We have practically lived in each other’s pockets.
“One sec.” A vibration in my pocket gets my attention. Pulling my phone out, I check to see who’s calling and my eyebrows raise. Looking over at Win, I smirk. “It’s Knott.”
“Hello?” Leaning my elbow on my knee, I answer the call.
“Hey Per! How come you’re not at the party?” Knott asks immediately. I can hear loud, rowdy voices in the background.
“Party? What party?” Okay. What the hell am I missing? How can there be a party without me?
“Everyone is at p’Noh’s house.” He says as if I should already know that.
“No one told me.”
“Oh, I thought someone else did already. You better hurry. The sukiyaki is almost ready.”
“Sukiyaki? Sure, sure.” Hell, yes, I’m coming over if there’s food. I look over at Win and pause. If I’m going, I’m taking him with me. I can’t leave him to the uncertainty of his own house. “One sec.”
“Do you have plans today?” I ask Win as I hold the phone away from my face.
“No. I don’t.” He thinks for a moment before looking at me and answering.
“You do now.” I tell him happily, not bothering to ask if he wants to go with me. “Let’s go eat sukiyaki at p’Noh’s place.”
“Are you sure?” Win looks off into the distance as he considers. “I don’t know anyone there. I only know p’Noh.”
“It’s fine. They won’t mind!” I assure him. This group of guys is really chill and we’ll have a lot of fun if I can just convince Win to go. He needs a break from all the drama in his life. “Let’s go.”
“But, if I get home late, my dad will be even more mad.” A bit of fear enters Win’s eyes but he tries not to show it.
“Here’s what we’ll do.” A sly smile crosses my face at this new idea of mine. “If he doesn’t let you into the house, then you can sleep at my place. Pack all your things, I’ll take care of you. Okay?”
Win slowly raises his eyes and stares at me. A twinkling of hope shining in his eyes now instead of fear. A sweet smile peaks out which he tries to hide and he looks back at the ground.
“So, you’re coming, right?” I push a little more, knowing that he’s going to agree.
“Hello, Knott?” Putting the phone back to my ear, I talk to our friend again. “We’ll be right there. Tell the guys not to eat so fast and wait for me. I’m bringing Win, too. See you in a bit.”
“Hurry your asses up. I’m not promising about the food.” Knott laughs. “See ya.”
“Okay. Bye-bye.” Hanging up, I stand and turn towards Win to hold out my hand. “Come on. Hurry up!”
Win looks up at me for a moment before reaching out to grab my wrist, sending a tingle across my skin. Ignoring the feeling, I pull him up and eagerly drag him out of the park. If we don’t hurry, there’s going to be no food left and we starve. Also, who knows what kind of interesting gossip we are missing.
“P’Im, p’Ann!” Arriving at p’Noh’s house, I find his two house servants outside getting eaten by mosquitoes.
“Hello, Nong Per!” The chubby cheeked p’Im greets me with a huge grin.
“Haven’t seen you in a while now!” I wiggle my body like a two year old kid in feigned excitement.
“Nong Per!” P’Ann shouts at me suddenly.
“You brought a friend?” She asks in interest, smiling widely. I can see where this is heading.
“Please don’t hurt him.” Putting my hands on my hips, I watch as she gets up close to Win. Both of these women are crazy for cute boys and there’s no one cuter than my Win.
“He’s so adorable.” P’Ann puts a hand on either side of Win’s face as she admires him.
“Please don’t. No.” Moving quickly, I remove her hands so she can’t molest him further. Win is laughing at our antics. “Don’t hurt him. Don’t hurt him.”
“I was just getting into it!” Stomping one foot, p’Ann faces off with me, her short pigtails bouncing on her shoulders. P’Im shakes p’Ann’s arm and nods over to Win. Batting her eyelashes, p’Ann turns back to him and smiles coyly. “Can I have your number? You can have my number. 0-8-9…”
“23999…” I break into her recitation and Win giggles even more. He hasn’t said a word and a pink blush tinges his cheeks at the attention, making him even more adorable.
“I’m never cooking you food ever again!” P’Ann threatens, shaking a finger at me.
“We gotta go now!” Not wanting her to actually follow through with that threat, I grab Win’s hand and pull him towards the door. Win pulls back, refusing to go further. “What? What now? We’re already here!” Win shakes his head and looks at me in question. “Come on! You ran out of excuses!” Ignoring his resistance, I drag him into the house.
Coming in, we greet everyone with a wai and sit down on an empty spot on the floor across from p’Noh and p’Phun. (I guess those two made up since they are smiling happily at each other again.) Thankfully, there is still plenty of food left for us. Grabbing a couple bowls, I fill them up and hand one to Win. The atmosphere around the room is very relaxed and gets more boisterous as the evening wears on and the alcohol disappears along with the food.
Looking across from us, I’m amused when I see p’Phun filling up p’Noh’s bowl with tofu. P’Noh tries to stop him, saying that he has enough, but p’Phun just keeps finding tasty bits and giving them to him. At his limit, p’Noh finally makes the comment that he’s gonna be shitting tofu in rectangles. Their conversation gets really quiet after that so I turned back to Win. Seeing that his bowl is empty, I grab it and refill it again, making sure to put in plenty of tofu in case p’Phun decides to steal the rest for p’Noh.
“Hey, hey, hey, everyone.” After everyone is finished eating, a somewhat tipsy p’Ohm calls for our attention. “Let’s play the Truth Game.”
“How does it work?” One of the guys asks.
“Confused?” P’Ohm asks before continuing. “You’ve never played it right? That’s no good. To make this crystal clear for everyone, we’re gonna go over the rules again because we have new members with us today. Per, Phun, and nong Mawin.” He points the bottle at each of us and I wonder why Knott isn’t included. When did he play this with the guys? Where was I?
“Here’s how this game works. I’m gonna spin this bottle.” P’Ohm holds up the glass bottle then points to the mouth of it with his free hand. “Whoever this thing points to, they will have to answer the question honestly. They gotta tell the truth.”
“The truth?” I have to ask. It’s not like I have a lot of secrets but, the ones I do have, I’d rather not share. That’s not going to stop me from playing the game, of course. I’m no chicken.
“How do we spin that bottle?” Noh asks, indicating the mess of dirtied plates and left over food scattered on the table.
Everyone works together to clear off the table, piling the plates and utensils in the sink and putting the food back in the refrigerator. It takes almost no time at all and we are sitting around the table again ready for the game. P’Ohm sets the empty bottle on the table and spins it. The first victim in p’Khom who ends up admitting that he’s still a virgin and that he doesn’t date a girl to get into her skirt. It’s p’Khom’s turn to spin the bottle but he doesn’t let it go on its own. His hand reaches out and forces it to stop… pointing at me!
“Hey! This game is so rigged!” I accuse him while laughing.
“Give him a hard question.” P’Ohm whispers to p’Film. Why p’Film is asking the question instead of p’Khom, I don’t know. I’d prefer p’Khom because, he’s such a good guy, I doubt he’d ask anything too outrageous. P’Film is a whole different story, especially with p’Ohm egging him on.
“How many convent girls have you fucked so far?” Getting a serious look, p’Film points at me as he asks the question.
“No way!” I should have known it would be this after what they asked p’Khom. This is not a question I want to answer and I am uncomfortably aware of the warm presence of Win beside me. Tell the truth and shock everyone. Tell the lie and shock him. “Never, I never have.”
“Per, if you don’t tell the truth then I’m gonna kick your ass.” P’Ohm threatens me. Damn, I am not going to get out of this one. They only want one answer, the answer I don’t want to give.
“Only the convent girls?” Rubbing my chin, I ask trying to be cocky.
“All the convents?” I smile wickedly, making a joke of it.
“Yes! What else is there?” P’Film demands.
“Okay.” Thinking back, I try to remember every name. It’s not easy to keep these straight. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5.”
“There are 6.” Knott corrects me.
“I only counted 5!” I’m sure it’s five. What name did I forget?
“Wanna count together then?” Knott challenges as if he knows better than me.
“Okay.” I agree and we say the names together. “Roong, Fah, Ple, Som, and Fern… and who else?”
“Did you forget about p’Ning?” Grinning, Knott knows he’s got me. I had forgotten that name. Damn his fucking memory.
“Oh, yeah.” It sounds so bad. At this rate, I’m going to have the reputation of a man-whore. “So that’s 6.”
“Better be using protection, man.” Eyes wide, P’Noh shakes his head at me.
“Yes.” Looking down at the table, I answer him. Since it is p’Noh saying that to me, I won’t get defensive. I know how much he cares about us.
It’s my turn to spin the bottle and this time it stops on the biggest loudmouth in the group. “You’re so lucky, p’Ohm!”
“Are you gonna ask a question or not?” Making a grab for the bottle, p’ tries to get us to skip him. “If not, I’m gonna spin it now.”
“Wait! Chill.” Stopping him, I consider my question. There is something I have been very curious about and I know the rest have been too. “Here’s my question for you. Short and simple. What exactly is the nature of your relationship with Mick?”
“We’re bothers.” Leaning back on the couch that he’s sprawled on, p’Ohm answers with a straight face, but no one believes him.
As the others argue with p’Ohm, I notice that Win has left my side. I look around the room and then get up to go search for him. Not finding him on the first floor, I head up the stairs to Noh’s room, but find it empty. Just as I’m about to leave, I catch a glimpse of Win standing outside on the deck and walk out to him. He’s gazing sadly up at the stars and it pulls at my heart.
“What’s wrong?” Stepping up next to him, I lean my elbows on the railing. “Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?”
“It’s nothing.” The slight scowl on his face says otherwise.
“Were you uncomfortable?” Rubbing my hands together, I worry that this party is too much for my quiet friend. The guys in my club are a bit rough and crude at times but they are all good guys.
“Not really.” Shaking his head, Win denies it.
“What’s wrong then?” If Winnie’s not happy, I can’t just let it be. He’s my responsibility. “Do you wanna go home?”
“No way. It’d be rude if I leave now.” He frowns at me.
“Nah. I’ll drop you off.” I wave off his concerns. “You wanna leave?”
“And you’ll come back?” Win asks, though it doesn’t really sound like a question. He already knows my answer.
“Yeah, I’m having fun.” I give him the answer he expects. Truthfully, I doubt I would come back if I take him home.
“Then that’s okay.” As if my answer is his answer, Win follows my lead. “I’m staying. I’ll go back inside in a bit.”
“Is there something wrong?” Though he hasn’t said anything yet, I can tell there is still something bothering him. I have an idea that it’s what I said in the game, but I’m not going to bring it up unless he does. Win shakes his head, but I get closer and look into his eyes. “What’s wrong? Hmm? What’s the matter?”
“Nothing’s the matter.” Win says again with another shake of his head, making his bangs loosely swing over his eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Getting even closer to his face, I can almost feel his breath on my lips. This close up, I can see every detail of Win’s face, from the shine of his dark brown eyes to the velvety smoothness of his skin and the pink fullness of his lips. It’s an irresistible combination and I’m a bit in awe as I look at him.
“What are you doing?” Confusion in his eyes, Win looks at my parted lips. I get even closer and make a face at him to break the awkward tension between us. He shoves me away with one hand. “Fine.”
“Tell me what’s bothering you.” Leaning on the railing, I wait for him to explain.
“About you sleeping with all those convent girls…” Win finally admits.
“Why? Jealous?” Grinning, I tease him but he doesn’t respond and I feel a weird hollowness in the pit of my stomach. “I’m only kidding. Why?”
“Well…” Pausing, Win looks down at me and I can see the hurt in his eyes. “Is it true?”
“I never told you, right?” I can’t look at him. This is something that I never really wanted him to find out about. A truth he already knows, but doesn’t realize, hidden by a pack of lies that I didn’t tell him. It’s time to come clean. “If I tell you this, do you promise not to tell anybody?”
“The truth is…” I continue after Win nods his head in agreement, wringing my hands as I lean on the railing. “I’ve never slept with any of those girls. I made it all up.”
“Then why do all the guys believe that?” Win asks in confusion, not quite sure if he believes me or not. “Even Knott knows all their names.”
“Because once you lie, you can’t just take it back.” This is not my proudest moment. I feel embarrassed that I have to admit my failings, but it’s better than Win getting the wrong idea. I don’t really care what everyone else thinks of me as long as Win knows the truth. “You know how once you start lying about something, you’ll have to keep lying to cover up the previous lie? Plus, Knott knows everything I do. He knows if I talk to someone… but only talking. No one would actually wanna be with me.”
There’s a smile on my face, laughing at how ridiculous I am, but there isn’t any humor behind it. The fact is that I am very ordinary, just a skinny teenage guy with a mouth full of metal. I’m actually surprised that any of the guys believe the stories about my sexual prowess. Sure, I’ve made out with a couple girls when we’ve had too much to drink which is why Knott believes the lies. I’ve even spent the night with a few, talking until we passed out. I may not be the most handsome guy out there but I am a really good listener and have been ‘friend zoned’ more times than I can count. I don’t mind since its nice having a warm body next to me during the darkest hours of night… though it always feels like there’s something missing.
“I’m telling you this because you’re a really close friend.” Win grins down at me, his mood a lot lighter than before. Reaching up, I ruffle his hair and rest my arm on his shoulders. Our eyes meet and, for some reason, my heart flutters in my chest. Seeing him happy warms me inside and out. After a little while, we make our way back downstairs to find the Truth Game had already ended.
“How did it go?” I ask the room at random.
“Per, where the hell did you go?” Knott demands while hitting the buttons on the game controller in his hands. “Everyone already stopped playing.”
“How come?” Damn, I wanted to see some other secrets get spilled from these fuckers. They are always ragging on me so it’d be great to have something on them.
“It kept pointing at me and I got pissed off so I quit.” P’Ohm grumbles from the couch.
“How can you do that? I didn’t get to play.” My disappointment is obvious and Win rolls his eyes at my childish behavior.
“Why can’t I?” Focusing his eyes on me, p’Ohm continues belligerently. “I started the game, I could also stop the game.”
“Cheater.” I mumble under my breath.
“Come massage my leg, Per.” Slapping his thigh, p’ stretches his long legs out in front of him.
“Here?” Walking over, I kneel down and press around his knee and down his shin. It doesn’t occur to me to protest his demand until I already have my hands on his skin. Sometimes, I really wonder about me.
P’Ohm brushes me off as he pulls a school bag onto his lap. The weird (and sorta creepy) doll… is that a gnome?… on the bag identifies it as Noh’s. Without any consideration, p’ opens it up and digs through the contents. P’Phun comes into the room and plops himself down on the arm of the couch next to p’Ohm.
“What are you doing?” Sitting next to p’Ohm, Knott stops playing his game and watches our senior.
“Trying to keep myself entertained.” Intent on the bag, p’ doesn’t even look up to answer. After pulling out a few school books, he holds up an unmarked CD. “What’s this CD?” He holds it out to me. “Play it.”
“Me?” I can guess why he wants me to play it.
“That way I can blame it on you.” P’Ohm answers, confirming my suspicions.
“What are you guys doing?” After coming down the stairs, p’Noh stops on the other side of the table.
“Gonna play this CD.” Holding up the disc, I give him a wide grin.
P’Noh’s reaction to seeing the disc is extreme. Eyes wide as Frisbees, his whole body freezes in shock. I’m not even sure if he’s still breathing. He comes back to himself and looks over at p’Phun, panic evident in his features.
“Go on!” P’Ohm shoves my shoulder to get me moving.
As I try to stand up, p’Noh suddenly makes a grab for the CD. The other guys take it out of my hands and p’ is practically climbing on top of me to get to it. He finally manages to wrestle it out of p’Phun’s hand and runs into the kitchen.
“Noh, what the hell?” Everyone stares after p’Noh as if he’s lost his mind. What the hell was on that disc that p’ doesn’t want people to see? The way he acted, you would have thought it has the nation’s biggest secrets on it… or some really kinky ass porn.
“You can’t even share with your friends?”
“Give it back! We want to see!”
“There’s no CD, but his phone is still here.” P’Ohm holds up his prize, the phone’s cover a graphic black and white picture of a wolf’s face. There’s a passcode on the phone and p’ tries several number combinations, including ones the rest of us suggest, but none of them work. Holding out his hand, p’Phun takes the phone from p’Ohm, who gives it up easily, already bored. Seconds later, p’Phun holds the phone up with a triumphant smile, showing the unlocked screen.
“You got in?”
“Yeah. He knows.” P’Ohm says as if it’s a given that p’Phun would know the code.
Shortly after, p’Phun sets the phone on the arm of the couch that he just vacated and excuses himself. His face is white as a sheet. He quietly leaves the house without even telling p’Noh. This does not bode well. I freaking hope they don’t get into another fight because p’Noh gets super bitchy when they do.
“Where’d Phun go?” P’Noh asks when comes back from the kitchen. The disc is noticeably absent from his hands.
“I don’t know.” The game controller in his hands, p’Ohm answers him as he concentrates on the TV screen. “He left, I guess. I saw him play with your phone then he left.”
“My phone?” Picking up his phone, p’Noh unlocks it and his eyes get huge at whatever he sees. First a crazy ass CD he won’t let anyone watch and now there’s something freaky on his phone. I’m really beginning wonder about our club president.
“Yeah, your phone.” P’Ohm barely glances away from the game as he continues. “You put a passcode on it. None of your friends could figure it out. Phun only had to try it once or twice. How’d he figure out the passcode anyway?” Before p’Ohm had finished the question, p’Noh was out the front door and gone, leaving the rest of us in confusion… again. P’ is really acting weird tonight.
“Per.” Tugging on my sleeve, Win stands up. “We should probably leave since p’Noh isn’t here. Besides, I need to get home.”
“Sure, sure.” Nodding, I follow him up and to the door where we give everyone a wai.
“Leaving already?” P’Ohm asks as he sets down the controller.
“I need to take Win home.” Patting the top of Win’s head, I smile at p’Ohm.
“Uh huh.” A teasing glint enters p’s eyes as I open the door to leave and he winks at me. “Make sure your wifey gets home safe.”
“Shouldn’t you be calling Mick to wish him a goodnight?” Sticking my tongue out, I grab Win’s wrist and drag him out of the house before p’ can react.
It didn’t take long for us to make it back home. The dark streets aren’t very busy at this time of night and the street lamps light our way with a harsh glow. P’Noh’s house isn’t that far away so we are able to walk the whole way home. When we get to the edge of his property, Win quickly scans the house. Most of the windows are dark and the front porch light is on waiting for him.
“I think my dad went to bed already.” Raising a finger to his lips, Win signals to keep our voices down and we wave goodbye. I watch as he heads into his house and the quiet of the night surrounds me. I continue on to my home without worry.
After greeting my Ma, I go up to my room and crawl onto my bed, adjusting the pillow so I can lean comfortably against my headboard. A manga I had been reading off and on is open and face down on my nightstand. Not yet ready to go to sleep, I pick it up and start reading, but I’m too restless for it. Tossing the book onto my bed, I look around for something else to do.
“Per!” Ma’s voice yells from the bottom of the stairs. “Can you come downstairs? Someone is here to see you.”
“Yes!” Looking at my watch, I wonder who the hell could be stopping by at this hour. If it’s any of my friends, I’m never going to hear the end of it from Ma. I scramble off my bed and make my way down the stairs to the brightly lit family room where I can hear voices quietly talking. The soft feminine tones means it is definitely not one of the guys.
“Ah, Per. Mawin’s mother is here to see you.” Spotting me in the doorway, Ma calls me into the room.
“Hello.” I greet the older woman with a wai and sit down cautiously. There’s something about the way she is looking at me that makes me uncomfortable. She’s gripping a large box which looks a little familiar but I can’t place where I’ve seen it before.
“Hello, Per.” Win’s mother returns my wai then goes back to gripping the box, avoiding looking directly at me again. My stare goes from her to the nondescript box and a cold shiver creeps up my spine. Somehow, I really don’t want to know what’s in that box and I really don’t want to hear what she has to say. Every instinct in me is telling me to run, that I don’t want to be sitting here in this bright room with this nervous woman and her black box.
I apologize for any grammatical mistakes. I haven’t had a chance to really edit this but hopefully will get to it soon.
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