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The Answer is No

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     Team considers himself to be a pretty chill guy. He hardly ever gets really mad—unless Manow tries to snake his french fries—and likes it that way.  His favorite emotions are excitement and amusement, and he just hasn’t ever had reason for much more than that. Aside from everything that happened years ago with his brother, which he tries to avoid thinking about, he’s never in his life been overly upset.

     That’s why dating Win can be so frustrating.

     Win basically has a degree in flustering and annoying Team, with a minor in getting him going (in more contexts than one) to no end, cultivated over the past months they’ve been together officially. He adores Win, so much that it grosses him out a little if he thinks about it too long because before Win, he hadn’t ever put much stock in finding anyone he’d want to be with. He’s 19 and what’s it matter, really.

     But then he had met Win, and along the way of coming to terms with their connection, Team began to understand the feelings that he’d only ever heard about from others, like Pharm or (the arguably more lustful) Manow. He suddenly got why even the idea of touching hands at the canteen made Pharm turn red, or how Win’s hand on Team’s back could burn right through the fabric. It made sense. Well, it didn’t make sense, but he could do the math well enough.

     The worst emotion that he hadn’t been expecting was one that came on a Saturday afternoon, he and Win just wandering the mall after having seen a movie. Team hadn’t been paying a lot of attention to the other movie-goers, but they were in an Adidas store because Win was in the market for new kicks when Team realised that he recognized a couple girls there. They’d been at the movie too, and now that he thinks of it, they’d been sort of looking their way. Again, he hadn’t paid them much mind before, but like having a moment of deja-vu, Team is suddenly acutely aware that these girls had been staring at his boyfriend and giggling to one another since two and a half hours ago—and are now, what? Following them around Siam Center like stalkers?

     Win is invested in the shoes, of course, and holds up a pair in clean white (that are pretty much the ones he’s got on right now, but a newer design) for Team to check out.

     “Nice,” Team mumbles, still trying to covertly watch the girls. They probably don’t even notice Team, so focused as they must be on Win. It isn’t a shock or anything; Win is, even objectively, probably the most attractive guy at Pinyo, more so than Dean (which Pharm would disagree with) or anyone else. Pruk is okay, yeah. But Win with his beaming white smile and tattooed arms and industrial piercings and practically sinful hands, it’s unfair—Okay. So yeah, Team gets it. Better than anyone. Because he’s Win’s boyfriend. And these girls are ogling him like they’re in the market for fresh meat that they want Win to provide.

     “‘Nice’?” Win echoes, eyebrows raised. “What about you? You said last week you need new sneakers; see any you like? It’s almost your birthday...” When Team shows no sign of listening, Win whacks the side of his head, not hard, just enough for Team’s eyes to yank back to Win. “Earth to Teerayusiri,” the older boy says.

     “What?” Team demands. Win turns to follow where Team had been looking. He spots the girls, who drop their eyes and pretend to be looking at the sign by the entrance.

     “Checking out girls when you’re with your boyfriend?” Win whistles low. “That’s cold.”

     “I wasn’t—They were—” Team huffs in that way of his. “I wasn’t. They’ve been staring at you nonstop since we left that movie; I think they followed us here to ask you out or something.”

     Win’s eyebrows lift again. “So?”

     “‘So,’ what?”

     “Why’s it matter? Am I gonna say yes if they did?” Team shrugs his shoulders listlessly and Win sighs. He glances around before stepping closer to Team, making sure that Team has to meet his gaze. “The answer is no,” he says. “I told you ages ago, you’re it for me.” Team shrugs again, but he’s blushing, so that must mean Win is making progress. “I can go over there right now if you want, tell them to fuck off. I’m glad to look like an asshole if it’ll make you happy.” Team does smile then, just a little, and Win grins.

     “It’s okay,” Team relents. “I know it’s nothing.” He shakes himself a bit. “I hate this feeling. I hate it.”

     Win kisses Team’s hair quickly, aware that Team doesn’t love being affectionate in public. “I know. It’s fine.” He pauses and leans in to add teasingly, “It was sort of cute, though. You liiike me.” Team whacks at his chest without much force and succeeds only in making Win’s grin widen. He gestures to the wall of shoes. “Come on, find a pair you like.”

     “Excuse me?” The boys turn to see one of the two girls standing there, smiling brightly. She goes on to ask, “You aren’t single, are you?” Except that’s crazy, because she isn’t looking at Win when she says that. Her expectant eyes are focused on Team, and he’s at a loss. Hadn’t they been watching Win this whole time? Had he gotten mad for no reason?

     “I’m not,” he says, glad that Win hadn’t felt the need to jump in and answer for him. “Did you need something?”

     “My friend thinks you’re cute,” she says, matter-of-factly. “But if you’re taken, that’s okay. Thanks anyway.” She gives a little wave and turns on her heel to go. Win stares after her, mouth open, and Team looks at him.

     “So… sneakers?”

     “It was you,” Win says. “She sent her friend to hit on you. I should’ve told them to fuck off before; it was a joke but now I think I should’ve fucking said something—” He looks at Team, who’s got an amused look on his face. “What?”

     “Who’s jealous now?” is all he asks.

     Win’s jaw drops, face flaming, and he stammers just as Team had, “I’m not—They were—”

     Team kisses Win’s cheek, lingering for just a second to say close to Win’s skin, “It’s cute. You liiike me.” Win readies himself to defend his actions but Team is already dragging him by the arm for the exit.

     “I’m hungry,” he says. “Shoes can wait.”

     “Team—”

     “The sooner we get back to the dorm, the sooner we’re back at the dorm,” Team says pointedly. Win takes in his flushed cheeks and doesn’t need to be told twice.

     “I’m thinking we get our food to go,” he suggests, and laughs when Team just nods and squeezes his arm.