REFLECTION OF THE SUN
Chapter 7: My Friend’s Boyfriend
An irritating buzzing pulls me out of a deep dreamless sleep. Without opening my eyes, my hand bats around the nightstand until it connects with the damn cell phone. The buzzing continues as I raise it up in front of my face and blearily open my eyes. Why the fuck would I set my alarm for 6 am?!
My eyes clear more and widen when I see the background picture on the phone. This is, without a single doubt, not my phone. The photo is a candid selfie of Kongpob kissing Arthit’s cheek, whose eyes are wide but a small smile graces his lips. A body shifts next to me, making me aware of the warm arm circling my waist and the head nestled against my side. It’s an odd feeling, one I’m not used to, but I definitely don’t hate it. In fact, I think I like it a bit too much. I quickly shut off the alarm and glance down to find Kong curled up beside me. The memories of how I ended up in bed with my friend’s boyfriend hit me and I want to groan. What a fucking mess.
“Kongpob… Kongpob….” When my voice doesn’t work, I reach over with my opposite hand to shake his shoulder and repeat his name again. He grumbles and snuggles closer, his arm sliding down slightly with his eyes still shut. Damn it! I’m not a freaking teddy bear and I’m sure as hell not made of stone. “Fucking Kong, wake your ass up!”
Kongpob jackknifes up and looks around the room wildly before his eyes settle on me. The guy has messy morning bedhead, a slightly puffy face, and red-rimmed panda eyes and is still freakishly handsome. Add that to the fact that he’s the top of his class, is good at sports, and can charm the pants off a person at twenty paces… How is this fucking fair to the rest of us mere mortals? Arthit is an idiot.
“Morning, p’Prem.” With a wide yawn, Kongpob stretches his arms out over his head and climbs out of bed.
“Do you want the shower first?” Kongpob pulls out two fluffy, white towels and tosses one over to me.
“Go ahead.” I wave him off and pick up my phone. There’s no hurry since my first class starts later in the morning and I really don’t want to get off the bed at the moment. “Hey, Kong. Are you going to class today?”
“Yes, p’.” Looking down at the towel in his hands, Kong frowns and twists the material a little. “I already missed yesterday. I really shouldn’t miss today, too.”
“Are you sure you’re ready? I don’t think anyone will think less of you if you take one more day.” My concern peaks when he looks so miserable at the thought of going to class. His frown deepens and his fists clench tighter on the innocent towel.
“It’s fine, p’Prem. I don’t want to miss another day.” Throwing the wrinkled towel over his shoulder, Kongpob gives me a humorless smile. “It’s not like I’m actually sick and knocking on death’s door.”
“You’re not.” Though he looks a bit like he’s tiptoeing by death’s door, I still agree with him. “But, just in case, I’ll be around if you need me.”
“Thanks, p’Prem.” The tiniest of smiles flashes across his face as he turns away and walks into the bathroom. Seeing it is a nice change from the sadness and tears. It’s a small victory.
The rest of the morning routine flows quietly as we prepare for the day. Luckily, my class starts later than his so I can stop by my place after dropping him off to change my clothes. As we are walking out the door, my stomach growls reminding me that we haven’t eaten breakfast yet.
“I’m starving. Let’s stop for some breakfast on the way, Kongpob. We have plenty of time.” I walk out first with Kongpob following behind. He makes sure the door is locked securely after closing it.
“Sure, p’Prem.” Kong looks up at me with another small smile. Maybe today won’t be so bad for him since he can still smile.
A sound behind us causes Kongpob to stop suddenly. I turn to look at him and, out of the corner of my eye, I see Arthit standing behind us at the end of the hall. One look at Kongpob’s face tells me that he saw him, too, even though Kong hasn’t turned around. Moving closer, I loop and arm over his shoulders and lean in.
“Don’t worry about him. Whatever you want to do, I’m right here.” He nods his head almost imperceptibly and he starts walking again until we step into the elevator. Arthit doesn’t say a word or try to stop us. It makes me wonder why he’s even here.
Once the elevator doors close, I remove my arm and Kongpob slouches against the back wall taking a few deep breaths with his eyes closed. He straightens up and pulls himself together by the time we reach the first floor and the doors slide open. This crazy nong manages to impress me once again with his strong will and determination. There’s not a lot of people who would be still standing at this point. Most would either still be curled up and sobbing their eyes out or vowing vengeance and destruction or throwing a huge theatrical fit the second they see the other person, not relatively calmly walking away from the person who hurt them to head to class.
After I buy some breakfast at the stalls and Kongpob picks up an iced coffee, we sit down at one of the empty tables. There’s still thirty minutes before his class starts and it takes less than ten to get there. That’s gives us plenty of time.
“You should really eat something, Kongpob. I know you didn’t eat much yesterday.” Holding up a large bite of food from my own plate, I offer it to him. “Try some of mine. It’s good.”
“No thanks, p’. I’m really not hungry.” He tries to wave me off but I’m not letting this go. The last thing I want is for him to pass out in the middle of class because of starvation. Just as I’m about to push the issue, Kong’s stomach gives a loud rumble.
“I think your stomach strongly disagrees with you, nong.” Amusement laces my words and I finally get to see Kong laugh for the first time in two days. His warm smooth hand wraps around mine and guides the spoon into his mouth.
“See? It’s good, right?” I push the plate over to him and stand up when he nods in agreement. “Eat some more. I’ll go get another plate.”
“You don’t have to do that, p’Prem. I can get my own.” He protests and tries to push the plate back across the table.
“Shut up and eat your food, Kongpob. That’s an order from your senior.” I shake a finger at him before walking back to the stall to order another plate. When I look back, satisfaction courses through me as I watch him take another big bite from the plate. I may not be able to do much about his broken heart but at least I can make sure his body stays healthy. It’s not much but it’s the best I can do for him.
Thinking about the shitty scene Kongpob had to witness that put him in this state, makes the anger boil in the pit of my gut. After everything Kong had done, after everything he had been through, I never would have expected Arthit to do something like that. To watch the one you love, love someone else and kiss someone else is so fucking painful. It’s a knife straight to the heart that continues to twist each time you remember and every time you have to face that person.
“Your order is ready.” The aunty’s voice from the food stall breaks into my dark thoughts and I turn to take the plate from her trembling hand. Her half scared look is fairly common for me to see, to be honest. Toota and Bright say that I have a nasty resting bitch face, so everyone tends to steer clear of me because I always look pissed off. It’s not a bad thing since it keeps me from having to deal with a lot of bullshit but sometimes it gets fucking annoying. This time though, I’m sure my dark thoughts aren’t helping the issue.
I hand her the money and walk back to the table where Kongpob is waiting. The plate in front of him is already half gone and he takes another bite as I sit down. Knowing he doesn’t need to see my scowling face, I try to clear it so it’s just the normal bitch face he’s used to. I’ve really been around Toota and Bright too much.
By luck or by chance, we made it through the meal and all the way to Kong’s classroom without seeing Arthit. There were a lot of weird looks thrown our way since Kongpob and I aren’t known for being particularly close. His friends especially gave a hesitant wai with big question marks in their eyes. I just return the greeting and turn to walk out. They are his friends and he can choose what to tell them.
“P’Prem?” My steps pause and I glance back at Kongpob. His face and voice don’t show it but I can see the hesitation and worry in his eyes. “See you at lunch?”
Raising two fingers to my forehead, I give him a salute with a smile. The other guys stare at me as if I’ve grown three heads but I don’t care. Kong is reassured and that’s what matters.
“Pay attention in class, kids.” I walk out of the room and make my way out of the building. Near the doors, I take a seat on one of the benches and slouch down putting on my dark sunglasses. It’s been an exhausting couple of days but I don’t regret it. There’s no way I could leave Kongpob alone to deal with this. His attachment to Arthit is so strong, so deep, that his whole world revolves around the guy.
To a lot of people who hear what happened, they might say that a kiss is just a kiss and that it’s not like they had sex or anything, but they weren’t there. I saw it and felt every bit of it. The kiss was bad enough but what destroyed Kong was the contented smile and hug afterwards. That small show of happiness from Arthit shattered his world. No one understands that better than I.
The door slams shut nearby and I look up to find Arthit stumbling out. His face is streaked with tears and his eyes are puffy as he hurries by without seeing me. Leaning a hand against one of the trees, he doubles over gasping for breath.
Standing up, I take a step towards him without thinking. The sight of him like this twists me inside. Angry Arthit I can handle. Happy Arthit is easy. This Arthit tears me apart. No matter what he’s done, he’s still Arthit. I walk closer to help but he straightens and runs in the direction of his dorm. Stopping in my tracks, I let him go and grab my phone to text Knott. I can’t be the one to help him but maybe Knott can.