“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.”
Gross, Sappy Shit
First and second years leaving their classes immediately quiet down in the hallway as soon as they notice the tall senior leaning casually against one wall. Every single one that comes within his sight greets him respectfully and hurries away. Many avoid him entirely, choosing to turn around before he notices them and take the long way out of the building. The senior’s sharp gaze, serious expression, and well-known reputation intimidate them all. All except for a small group of friends that are among the last to leave their classroom. They greet him with smiles, not bothered by his unfriendly appearance.
“Have you been waiting very long, p’Prem?” Kongpob takes a small step closer to stand beside him.
“Just got here a few minutes ago. Are you ready to get some lunch?” After Kong nods, Prem looks around at the rest of them. “What about you guys?”
Aim, Tew, and Oak immediately agree but Wad, who is standing slightly back from the group, stands silently studying the senior. Prem raises an eyebrow at him in question and Wad gives him a noncommittal shrug. Shaking his head, Prem leads the way out of the building with Kongpob at his side and the others following behind.
“Hey, Kong.” Prem leans in close to whisper once they are outside since he’s not sure how much the younger man has told his friends about what happened. None of them are giving him weird looks like this morning so Kongpob had to have said something to them to relieve their curiosity. “Did you…”
Before Prem could finish his question, Kong stops in his tracks with his eyes glued to a small group of people standing in the shade nearby. Oak almost runs into his back and is about to say something when Aim grabs his arm to stop him and gestures with a nod at the scene that has Kong’s attention. Prem and Tew follow their gazes and Prem scowls darkly.
“Just ignore them, Kong. Let’s get something to eat.” Tugging on the younger man’s arm, Prem tries to guide him forward when a familiar voice yells out in his most head hazer voice.
“I told you, I’m dating Kongpob, asshole! What? Do I have to spell it out for you?” Dark brows drawn down, Arthit’s eyes are menacing slits as he faces off with Jay.
“You expect me to believe that after all the years we’ve spent together admiring girls and that fucking kiss I witnessed with Nam that suddenly you like some guy?” Folding his arms, Jay gives him a disbelieving look and snorts. “If you’re going to lie to me, at least have the decency to make it believable.”
“Were you always this much of an idiot?” Arthit huffs a sigh of exasperation. “What guy is going to admit that he’s in love with another guy just to clear up this mess if it isn’t true?”
“But you kissed me, Oon.” Namtarn finally speaks up in shock over the whole thing and not sure what to think. “You kissed me and hugged me. I thought you liked me back.”
“You kissed me, Namtarn. There is a difference.” His voice takes on a more gentle quality as he responds to the confused girl. “Yes, for half a second I kissed you back and I am sorry that I did. For most of the last decade, I thought that I was in love with you but I never said anything and then you started dating one of my best friends. I didn’t want to lose either of you so I stayed silent.”
“See! You just admitted it! You do have feelings for my girlfriend!” Giving Arthit an angry shove, Jay takes a step closer.
“Ex-girlfriend,” whispers Namtarn but neither of them hear her.
“Back off, jackass, and let me finish talking before you decide to try to pulverize me.” Arthit shoves him back with a glare. Turning back to Namtarn, Arthit gives her an apologetic smile. “I kissed you back because of all those memories of liking you but it made me realize that I only like you as a friend. I don’t love you. I hugged you as a friend. If Kong and this bastard over here hadn’t shown up, I would have explained everything to you then.”
“So, you don’t love me?” Apparently the shock is a little much for Namtarn as she tries to understand. “You don’t love me but you do love that handsome freshie that I tried to set my friend up with? The one I asked you about? He’s gay?! You’re both gay?”
“This has got to be one of the shittiest ways ever to reject someone. You’re gay?! My ass! Why don’t you just man up and admit the truth instead of pulling this crap?” Jay wraps his arms around Namtarn’s shoulders, either to comfort or maybe to protect her from Arthit’s words. The woman doesn’t move to stop him as she continues to stare at Arthit with wide eyes.
“I’m fucking crazy, head-over-heels, and all the rest of that gross, sappy shit in love with Kongpob! Yes, he’s a guy. An annoying, too handsome for his own good, flat chested, hairy armpits guy who I want to smack as often as I want to kiss. Why would I lie about something like that? You think I want to be possibly ostracized and judged by society just for shits and giggles?” Putting his hands on his hips, Arthit takes a deep breath and tries to calm down before he ends up punching the stupid out of his long-time friend. “Never would I ever want to hurt Namtarn, but she deserves to know the truth and so do you… even if you are being an ass about it. What the hell do I have to do to make you understand? Drag him to you and make-out in front of your face?”
“As if you would…” Jay stops talking mid-sentence and stares at something behind Arthit, who glances over his shoulder when a new voice joins their conversation.
“That’s not a bad idea, p’.” Wrapping a hand around Arthit’s head, burying his slim fingers in the silky hair, Kong forces Arthit to face him. Warm lips connect and the rest of the world disappears. Sliding his hands around Kong’s waist, Arthit tugs the younger man closer and a tingling rush spreads over his body. It hasn’t even been a week, only a couple days, but it feels like forever since they were this close. A few sweet pecks ends the kiss and they stare into each other’s eyes. “I missed you so much, p’Arthit.”
“I missed you, too.” Not caring anymore about who is around them, Arthit’s focus is entirely on Kongpob and his heart is nearly bursting with the need to clear up this misunderstanding. “I am so sorry, Kongpob, so unbelievably sorry. I don’t blame you for being mad at me for what happened. You can hit me if you want, kick me, do whatever, but please don’t leave me. Please don’t. The time without you almost killed me.”
“Holy fuck! You really are dating a guy!” With the worst timing possible, Jay’s interruption has both men turning to look at him. “How the hell did this happen?”
“Do you have a problem with that?” The tall form of Prem walks up beside Arthit with Tew, Aim, and Oak following to stand by Kongpob. He sounds surprisingly calm but his patented bitch face is firmly in place as he stares down at the shorter Jay. Stronger men than him have been known to quake in their shoes when confronted with this look.
“Prem?” Jay asks weakly, recognizing the good looking engineering student.
“You two know each other?” Looking from one to the other, Arthit drops his arms from around Kong only to lace their fingers together, still needing the reassurance that Kong is really beside him.
“Yes.” Jay, his eyes never leaving Prem’s, answers at the same time as Prem whose response is a definitive, “No.”
An awkward silence spreads out over the group as the others look from the overly tense form of Prem to the guilty looking Jay. Neither guy explains their differing answers and neither looks away from the other.
“Jay, what’s going on?” Still wrapped within Jay’s embrace, Namtarn looks up at him even more confused than before… if that’s possible.
“Nothing. There’s nothing going on.” The words are cold when Prem answers instead of Jay. He doesn’t even glance her way. “Your boyfriend is mistaken.”
“I’m not her boyfriend, not anymore. We broke up.” Jay denies quickly.
“Yeah, it looks like you did.” Prem’s voice is heavily laced with sarcasm as he nods toward Jay’s arms which are snugly around the beautiful woman.
The arms drop from her slim shoulders as if they had been burned and Jay hastily sets Namtarn away from him. She stumbles at the sudden release and would have fallen to the concrete walkway if Oak hadn’t stepped forward to catch her. Feeling weak from all the drama, Namtarn leans heavily on the slender freshie and allows him to guide her over the bench to sit down.
“I don’t understand.” Namtarn complains. Crystalline tears gather in the corners of her eyes but she refuses to let them fall. “Will one of you please tell me what’s going on?”
“I’m in love with Prem,” Jay blurts out and everyone stares at him in shock.
“Well, there’s a crazy assed twist for you… and he was getting all up in p’Arthit’s grill for being with ai’Kong.” Oak mutters loud enough for everyone to hear. He really doesn’t know how to whisper or, better yet, keep certain comments to himself… even if it is what most of them are thinking anyway.
Without a word, Prem turns and walks away with heavy steps. This is not something he is ready to deal with. He has spent the last two months trying to forget about this prick and he isn’t about to lose what sanity he has left by letting that fucker back into his life. It’s bad enough that he still misses Jay with every breath and every beat of his broken heart.
“Prem! Damn it, Prem, would you stop and listen to me!” Chasing after him, Jay both curses and admires Prem’s sexy, long legs.
“Fuck off!” Prem tosses over his shoulder, not slowing down in the least.
“Not a chance, you crazy buffalo.” Jay runs in front of Prem and grabs him by the collar. “I’m sorry about before. I panicked and acted like a jackass. You didn’t deserve any of that and I sure as hell don’t deserve you. I know that, but I’m never going to give you up ever again.”
Pulling Prem down, Jay smashes their lips together. It’s painful and seductive. It only takes a moment for Prem to wrap his arms around Jay and tug him closer, lifting him off his feet. The kiss softens and brings with it the memories of their one night together. The timid and exciting exploration of warm, taut skin. The dark, delicious taste that is all Jay. The realization for Prem that this friendship means a whole lot more than he ever thought it would.
With the sweet comes the bitter. The look of horror on Jay’s face the next morning. The nasty words he spat out that shredded Prem’s soul. Every day since, he has been teetering on the precipice of darkness, clinging desperately to the small bit of happiness that is still in his life.
“No. I’m not going through that again.” Prem pushes Jay away harshly.
“I love you, Prem. Just give me the chance to prove it to you.” Jay hugs Prem desperately as he begs. “I’ll do anything, as long as it takes, to show you how much I care. Please, Prem.”
“Damn it.” Unable to resist his heart any longer, Prem returns the hug with an gruff sigh. “This isn’t over. You have a shit-ton of groveling to do before I even consider forgiving you.”
“That was unexpected,” Tew says dryly.
“Wait! Let me get this correct.” Holding up a hand, Namtarn points over to Arthit and Kongpob. “Oon doesn’t love me and is actually dating n’Kongpob, the campus moon of our university, the guy he always complained about?”
“P’Arthit, have you been talking bad about me?” Kongpob raises an eyebrow at his lover.
“Don’t I always?” Smirking, Arthit elbows him gently in the ribs. “You usually deserve it.”
“That would be a yes, p’Namtarn.” Aim confirms when the guys in question keep flirting with each other instead of answering.
“My ex-boyfriend, Jay, broke up with me because he is in love with and trying to date that big, scary-looking guy?” She points towards the newly established, semi-official couple who is arguing and hugging several steps away.
“Interestingly enough, that one is a yes, too.” Watching Prem and Jay in amusement, Tew nods in agreement.
“I think I need a drink.” Standing up, Namtarn pulls her bag over her shoulder. “Anyone else want to join me?”
“P’Arthit and I need to have a long conversation so I think we need to pass this time. Sorry.” Giving the older woman a wai, Kong steers Arthit in the direction of their dorms.
“I promised May that I would meet her in the library.” Aim quickly gives her a wai and speed walks away before anyone can force him to join.
“Sorry, I can’t either. I have to meet up with p’Knott about an activity we’re planning for our faculty. Goodbye, p’Namtarn. Later, ai’Oak.” Following the same path as Aim, Tew takes his leave.
“I can come with you, p’.” Oak stands up with a smile, hoisting his backpack onto his shoulders.
“You’re not gay, too, are you?” Nartarn studies the younger man closely, her eyes squinting with a suspicious glint.
“Straight as an arrow, p’. Not a curve or bend in sight.” Giving her a wink, Oak’s smile widens as he pushes up his round glasses to fit more securely on his nose.
“Are you sure? Normally, I have no problem with people loving who they want but, for today, I am entirely gayed out.” At his confident nod, Namtarn loops an arm around Oak’s and pulls him down the walk to the parking lot where her car is located. Oak’s delighted laughter sends a warm rush through her and Namtarn finds herself smiling, despite the weird and somewhat painful turn of events. “First round is on me, nong.”
The end is in sight!
Thank you to all of my readers for their patience as I slowly churn out updates. It has been a delicious whirlwind of angst and heartache, darkness and pain. The Prince has been delightedly swimming in the pool of tears that he collected with pride.
Who was surprised at the’ships that started sailing?
Before any of you start lighting your torches and brandishing your pitchforks because I dared to pair Prem with Jay instead of Wad, I would like to point out that they were the Apron Couple from LoveSick long before Prem met Wad. I wanted to give them their shot at a happy ending. There are plenty of other stories where Prem and Wad end up together. Let my Apron Couple shine for these few moments.
Sweet SOTUS Dreams, my friends
-Prince of Evil-