The First Night
“Do you have feelings for me?” I try to look him in the eyes. I really do, but I can’t hold it. My breath is caught in my throat as I wait for his answer and I can hear each heartbeat counting out the seconds as they pass. His silence unnerves me.
It doesn’t matter if he confirms or denies, my heart can’t handle either one.
Never mind, I don’t want to know. Forget I asked. If he answers, I have to respond and I have no idea what to say.
“What do you mean?” He stares up at me with those beautiful brown eyes of his and I’m actually relieved. With this, I can ignore my suspicions and my own confusing emotions. We can stay as we are and I can stay by his side for a little longer.
Eyes closed, I concentrate on keeping my breathing steady as I lay on my back. The bed shifts next to me but I refuse to look. I know he’s there, so close I can feel the heat radiating off of him. Close enough that our elbows bump.
I’ve never been so aware of anyone before and my nerves are tingling. The words he didn’t say earlier keep running through my mind like a litany. The answer he may have given echoes in my heart leaving an ache in its wake.
The bed shakes again as he changes position and I can’t stay still anymore. Rolling onto my right side, I try to relax. It’s just Kongpob. He’s just my junior in school. There’s no reason to be nervous.
No matter what I tell myself, it doesn’t help. I can feel his warm breath on my flushed skin. The musky smell of his soap that we both used surrounds me. Overwhelmed and afraid of what I might do, I roll over to face away from temptation.
I can’t be feeling this way about Kongpob. I’m his senior. We’re both men. There’s no way I can have these feelings. I’ve never liked a guy before this. . . Well, there was that cute high school senior last year who came for an interview. He looked so troubled that I couldn’t resist stopping to talk to him and try to reassure him. As we sat together, I could feel it a bit then but I don’t really remember his face now.
“P’Arthit. . . are you already asleep?” Kong’s soft whisper breaks the silence but I ignore him. “What you asked me. . . if I have feelings for you. . . I don’t know what your meaning is. . . but, if it’s the same as mine, . . . I do have them.”
My heart stops. . . I am so dead.
Soft light from the morning sun creeps into the room and forces my eyes open. Still tired from the restless night and barely awake, I stretch my arms as I roll onto my back. My right arm falls to the side and my eyes open wide when I realize I’m not in my own room.
The previous night’s memory hits me and I look to the other side of the bed. I’m alone. I search the room with my eyes, but Kong isn’t anywhere. The crumpled sheets under my fingers are still slightly warm where he slept and I feel a coldness inside. Kong is gone. He left without saying a word.
I tell myself that it’s good that he’s gone. I won’t have to face him now. I don’t have to look him in the eyes and pretend nothing has changed. I have time to deal with the chaos his words left me in, to figure out how I really feel.
I tell myself but I don’t seem to be listening. My hand slides down the area where Kong slept and I almost want to cry. It feels so empty. With a confused groan, I cover my face with my hands. Just as I’m about to roll back over to hide under the covers, I hear the bathroom door open.
Shit! He’s still here! My heart gives a happy jolt which pisses me off. It’s such a traitor.
“You’re awake?” Kong’s question has me sitting up to look at him. This is a mistake. The handsome jerk is sharply dressed and brightly smiling. Damn him for looking so good this early in the fucking morning, while I’m sporting some serious bedhead, rumpled clothes, and my breath would probably scare away a hellhound.
“What time is it?” This is a safe question and the only one I could come up with. I know it’s early, especially for a Sunday.
“8:30” His reply is tinged with amusement as if he can read my thoughts.
After I freak out over the time (let’s face it, anything before noon on the weekend is insane), he calmly reminds me of his niece’s birthday celebration which is today. I had forgotten even though that’s what we went shopping for just yesterday. Too much has happened since we bought the brown teddy bear. Too many confusing thoughts and weird emotions have piled up.
When Kong offers to give me the spare key to his room, I lose it. I have to get away. It’s too much. The worst part is that I really want that key. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me, but I want it. I want it and I know I shouldn’t so I reject the offer quickly and run into the bathroom before I can change my mind.
After a hot shower and a stern lecture to myself in the mirror, I think I can face him normally. It’s just Kongpob. I can do this. After leaving the bathroom, my towel gets hung up next to his and I pack my bag as he tells me he bought us some breakfast. Kong holds out my drink and our hands brush when I try to take it from him. A shock tingles my fingertips and my hand jerks away suddenly. The glass drops and shatters on the hard floor.
Embarrassed, I apologize and kneel down to clean up the mess but Kong stops me. I watch as he bends down in his good clothes to pick up the broken pieces. I can tell that he doesn’t want me getting hurt from the sharp pieces. He’s taking care of me like he always tries to do. I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know what to say.
His phone rings and Kong answers it while cleaning. I take this chance to leave. He’s distracted so he can’t say anything. He can’t stop me and I won’t have to face him any longer. I practically run out the door and he can’t even say goodbye.
I feel like a coward.