As most of my readers are well aware, I update sporadically as I have time and inspiration. This is actually the third rewrite I’ve done for this chapter. I scrapped the first two drafts because they weren’t working out the way I wanted and weren’t up to the standards I set for myself.
I haven’t had a chance to really edit it yet, so please excuse any errors.
Thank you for your patience and continued support for this story.
Wants, Blames, and Airplanes
“Ai Arthit! … Ai Arthit! … Fuck!” A hand grabs my elbow and forces me to turn around. Knott’s concerned scowl is blurred by my tears which refuse to stop falling. I turn away and rub furiously at my face. So fucking embarrassing. I didn’t want anyone to find me like this, even my best friend. It’s bad enough that he had to see my moment of disgrace with Namtarn and then help clean up the mess afterwards. I don’t deserve his friendship but I’m so glad that I have it. “Shit, Oon, let’s go up to your room.”
A pathetic gratefulness leaves me weak as I lead the way into my dorm and up to my room. I don’t even have the energy to correct him for calling me Oon. Knott sits at the small table by the window and sets two bags down. One is packed with food boxes and the other has two cups of drinks. He puts the large cup of pink liquid on the other side of the table and serves up the food.
“Sit down and eat something. I doubt you’ve had anything decent to eat in the last two days.” The look he gives me is stern, a look that I think I’ve seen my father give me when he says he’s doing something for my own good. I automatically sit down but the smell of the food is twisting my stomach. “Eat.”
I don’t want to take a bite. Staring down at what should be tasty, I push the chicken around on the plate making strange paths through the rice. The sight of it brings thoughts of all the meals I’ve eaten with Kong. How many times have we sat at this table or the one in his room and shared a similar meal? How many times did he sit across from me with his perfect smile and cheesy sweet words?
“What are you, three years old? Do I need to feed it to you to get you to eat?” Scooping up a large spoonful, Knott holds it in front of my mouth which refuses to open. He raises an eyebrow at me with a frustrated frown. “I not making fucking airplane noises so don’t hold your breath for a show.”
The ridiculous statement has me imagining the big, burly Knott flying a spoon around while making propeller noises. A small laugh escapes me and he takes that opportunity to shove the food into my open mouth. Tricky bastard.
The food tastes like ash on my tongue but my stomach rumbles in response. It’s true that it has been too long since I last ate anything. My body isn’t going to let me refuse the food again. Picking up my own utensils, I mechanically dig into the dish while Knott watches me satisfied.
“Are you going to classes this afternoon or should I bring you the notes?” Half my food is gone by the time he starts in on his. He shakes his spoon at me. “It’s fine if you don’t want to come but you already missed yesterday. Eventually, you are going to have to come back. It can’t be avoided forever.”
“I’ll go to class.” Damn him for knowing me so well. Practically calling me a coward in his very low key ice bastard way, if I don’t go to class.
Walking to class, Knott stays a half step behind like he’s afraid I’m going to make a run for it. I won’t. I’m not that irresponsible. Once I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it even if I don’t want to.
No, I don’t want to be walking outside in the fresh air with the damn birds chirping. No, I don’t want to go sit in a classroom with a bunch of other people pretending that I give a fuck about what is being said. No, I don’t want to face the concerned or condemning stares of my friends and the possible stupidity of what might come out of Bright’s mouth. No, I really don’t want to be here.
What I want isn’t possible. I want to go back and push Nam away from me before the kiss happened. I want to go back and run after Kong so I never have to see that broken look on his face ever again. I want to go back and make everything right so I could have been the one feeding him breakfast this morning and walking him to class. That’s what I want but I can’t and it’s my fault. I can’t change anything so I’m stuck walking to class next to Knott.
“Oon!” The soft feminine voice freezes my hand as it reaches for the handle of the door to the building. It’s a voice that i would recognize even in a crowd of people. One that I dreamed about not so long ago. Now, there’s nothing except guilt bubbling up at the sweet sound.
“Ai’Arthit, I’ll wait for you inside.” Setting his large hand on my shoulder, Knott gives it a supportive nudge before walking into the building leaving me standing alone with Namtarn.
“Oon, can we talk?” She takes a hesitant step closer and reaches out a hand to touch my arm. I step further away and her hand drops back to her side. Confusion and hurt fill her wide eyes but she stays where she is. “Oon…”
“My name is Arthit, Namtarn. I don’t go by Oon anymore.” The flash of hurt deepens and a frown mars her porcelain features. This mess is not her fault. I know it isn’t but I can’t stop the anger that tinges my words.
It’s not her fault. It’s mine.
A deep breath.
It’s not her fault. She doesn’t deserve my anger.
A deep breath.
It’s not her fault.
“I’m sorry, Namtarn, but I have to get to class. Can we talk this afternoon when classes are over?” Thankfully, my voice is calm and even. “I’m done at 4:30 if you’re available.”
“I finish at 4:00 so I’ll wait for you at the benches over there.” She points a slender finger to a shady spot a short distance away.
“Fine. I’ll see you then.” With a short nod, I quickly turn and almost run into the building without looking back. Add this to the list of thing I don’t want to do today. Fuck my life.
“What the fuck did you do, ai’Arthit?” Bright’s shout greets me as I enter the classroom with Knott. For the millionth time, I really wish that guy came with volume control or at least a mute button. The next best thing happens when Knott walks over and smacks him upside the head making him yelp and rub his head. “What was that for?!”
“Too loud,” is Knott’s only response as he takes a seat next to me.
“Seriously, ai’Arthit, you look like you went to hell and got spit back out.” Toota leans closer and holds out his cosmetics bag. “Want me to fix you up?”
“I’m fine. Thanks, ai’Toot.” Waving him off, I slouch a bit in my seat and avoid looking over my left shoulder. I can feel Prem’s stare drilling a hole into the back of my head.
“What the hell is going on?” Unusually serious, Bright looks from me to Prem to Knott and back again. “Ai’Arthit comes back from being MIA looking like a corpse, Prem’s bitch face is setting a record even for him, and Knott’s parental vibe is off the charts. What the fuck did I miss?”
“What do you think you missed, idiot?! Don’t you remember what happened the other day?” Smacking Bright’s arm, Toota waves a pen in front of his face. “You’re the one that set this shitstorm in motion!”
“Me?! What did I do?!”
“Your big mouth spilled the beans about ai’Arthit’s coffee date with his high school crush. What did you think would happen after n’Kongpob ran off? That everything would be sunshine and fucking rainbows?” Toota huffs a frustrated sigh but his words have me turning to glare at Bright.
“You told who what?” I spit the words out through my gritted teeth as Bright backs away in his chair with wide eyes.
“I didn’t know he was standing there!” Raising his arms to show innocence, Bright hides behind Toota’s wider frame.
“Don’t go blaming Bright for your screw up, ai’Arthit.” The low growl hits me hard and I finally turn to face Prem. “I’m your friend and, as your friend, I have to tell you when you’re being a dick…and you, my friend, are being a dick.”
“You’re my friend? Are you sure about that?” Vivid images of Prem with his arm around Kong and Prem feeding Kong flash through my mind. My imagination conjures up pictures of them cuddling in Kong’s bed during the night and sharing the shower. Shit that I never want to see but it’s burning into the back of my eyes as if it happened in front of me. “You didn’t look like MY friend when you were all cozy with MY boyfriend this morning!”
“After what you did, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge.” Sitting up straight, Prem’s glare intensifies. “And I AM your friend, whether you like it at the moment or not, whether you trust me or not.”
Before I can retort back, our professor enters the room and demands our attention. There nothing to do but fume in my seat. By the end of classes, I realize what an ass I had made of myself. I was being a dick, just like Prem said. Another layer of guilt to blacken my soul. The words to apologize get stuck in my throat. I try to speak but nothing comes out and Prem is gone without a word.
Knott bumps my elbow as we walk out of the classroom and gives me a sympathetic look. His support is something I desperately need. Kongpob is avoiding me, Prem is pissed at me, Bright is scared of me. Knott and Toota are the only ones left and, at the rate I’m going, I’ll probably alienate them both by week’s end.
“Do you want to go get some dinner together?” Knott asks and shifts his bag on his shoulder.
“Can’t. I told Namtarn that I’d meet her after classes end.” It comes out almost as a mumble but Knott hears it and raises an eyebrow at me. “It’s not like that!”
“Are you absolutely sure?” He stops at the top of the stairs and looks over at me. Several students pass by talking to each other or on their phone, so Knott pulls me to the side. “It’s time to make your choice so make sure it’s the right one before things get worse than they already are.”
“There isn’t a choice, ai’Knott. There never was one.” What happened was a horrible mistake but it did show me one irrevocable truth. For me, if it’s between Kongpob and Namtarn, Kongpob will always win. Between Kong and anyone, Kong will always come first. I was stupid and I hurt him but he owns me heart and soul.
“Then go set things straight with Namtarn and call me later.” A fist bump and a half smile then he disappears down the stairs.
“Ai’Oon, we need to talk.” Turning, I find Jay coming down the hall towards me still looking angry as fuck.
Am I fucking cursed? Not only do I have to go down and explain to Namtarn about Kong, now I have to deal with Jay’s temperamental ass. This is officially the shittiest week ever.
Fine! If this is the way the fates want it, then I’ll fucking roll with it!
“Good! You’re here.” Grabbing the collar of his shirt, I pull a surprised Jay down the stairs and out the building to where Namtarn is waiting, her eyes wide at the sight of us together. “You both want to talk, so let’s talk.”
Yes, another freaking author’s note at the end. As if having one disturbing your reading at the beginning wasn’t enough, here’s another for you to ponder over or skip.
It was a long time coming, I know. Everyone can now put away their torches and pitchforks. I’m usually down for a good angry mob scene but my schedule is so packed. I’m not sure I can fit it in. Maybe next time.
So, lay it on me.
Give me your thoughts, your fears, your pain, your tears.
Tell me who you love, who you hate, who makes your heart shake?
Can you taste the anger?
Can you feel the pain?
Are you torn with frustration?
Are you confused and going insane?
As always, my dear readers, I thank you for reading and hopefully commenting / liking.