Regrets never adressed
What if Type had never been brave enough to tell Paifah „no“? What if he’d stayed the night and hadn’t gone back to Tharn?
Lying next to Paifah Type desperately tried not to think about Tharn. About his kisses and hugs, his smiles and this adorable pout he sometimes showed. No, he was definitely not thinking about Tharn’s face whenever Paifah had been a topic during the last week. Or the way he’d distanced himself, or the way he’d looked when he had said it was all about sex between them. Or how Tharn could hold another man in his arms right now and Type wouldn’t have any right to protest.
Type curled into himself, realising his own nakedness even stronger. No, he couldn’t go back now. He’d promised Paifah to be her boyfriend and he’d slept with her. Even though he wished to be in Tharn’s arms right now. To lean on him, just like that. But it could never be „just like that“. No matter how much he wished to be with Tharn, he couldn’t say it.
So this was the best way, wasn’t it?
And so Type didn’t say anything, but gave Paifah a goodbye kiss the next morning and went back to the dorm. Tharn was already gone, but Type had imagined as much. Staying over had been a clear sign, hadn’t it?
When Tharn came back later he wore a careful mask and Type felt a sharp pain.
„So, how did it go?“
Type was still looking at him from his bad as Tharn put his bags on his bed and sat down, a slight smile on his face.
„Well“, Type said an shrugged, „We’re a couple now.“
The smile became a bit more stifled: „Congratulations. I wish you the best.“
Type couldn’t smile but look at Tharn. Hoping Tharn could read his mind and see how much this pained him. But Tharn’s smile didn’t change.
For a moment Tharn looked down at the floor, taking a deep breath, before he looked up again and straight at Type: „That’s it then, isn’t it? You have a girlfriend now and our little affair is over.“
Type hated how this sounded. Their little affair. As if Tharn hadn’t been clinging to him, telling him he couldn’t live without him. As if Tharn hadn’t taken him to his favourite bar and kissed him. As if Tharn hadn’t gotten jealous. As if Tharn hadn’t given him feelings of happiness and had touched him more intimately than anyone else ever had.
Type nodded slowly, although all he wanted to do was shake his head. Because no, he didn’t want it to be over. But it was for the best, wasn’t it? They couldn’t have an affair forever, could they?
Tharn smiled, this time a bit wider: „Thank you for the time, I guess.“
„Hm“, Type shrugged, turning back to his phone, even though he couldn’t care less about what it showed. Tharn’s only reaction to that was a shallow laugh.
Some changes happened quickly, some happened slowly.
Tharn got distant quite instantly. He also stoppped coming closer or touching Type at all. No more seductive glances or smiles, no more dirty jokes.
But he also started taking less and less care of Type. Within a few weeks he’d stopped bringing him breakfast or dinner. He’d also stopped washing his clothes or tidying up for him.
Truth to be said, Tharn actually stopped coming back to their room most of the time. He was studying a lot and slept over at a friend’s house more often than not. Seeing Tharn had become such a rare occasion, Type had to control his emotions whenever he saw him. So he wouldn’t start smiling or throwing insults at Tharn’s head. Both were a real danger.
At least it wasn’t hard to act in front of him as if he was happy with Paifah, since he didn’t see him anyway. Which would have been more and more difficult, because he wasn’t happy at all. Whenever Type was with her he was thinking about Tharn. And when he wasn’t thinking about Tharn he still didn’t know what to talk about with her.
So, two and a half months after they had gotten together Type broke up with her.
It wasn’t actually a surprise for her and he had the feeling she was secretly relieved. She’d cried a bit, but it was probably only a short shock. She hadn’t tried to hold him back anyway.
He’d tell Tharn instantly as soon as he’d be back. And if he wouldn’t come back soon Type would even call him. It was probably too late, but he could try. Maybe he could at least get his friend back. Because besides missing the sex and the kisses and hugs he missed having someone to talk to.
Coming back to the dorm he could see the door to their room wide open. Was Tharn actually back?
For the first time in weeks Type felt some kind of excitement and happiness. If he was back already they could talk now!
Walking inside with a smile was new to Type, but his smile froze in a second. Half of the room was almost empty and it wasn’t his side. Tharn and two other people were just collecting the last few boxes on the floor. Tharn was looking around as if searching for something he was missing.
His heart, Type thought while a sharp pain shot through his body. He was missing his heart.
Type had been standing in the door entrance for some time until this friend of Tharn, was it Lhong?, turned and saw him. Type saw Tharn turning slowly as well, his face a carefully guarded mask. Or was it simple indifference?
„What’s going on?“
Tharn came with his friends towards the door. Two of them went outside, but Lhong stayed just behind Tharn, kind of lingering.
„Didn’t I tell you? I’m moving out. Found my own room in another dorm without a curfew. It’s been a bitch with all the concerts and late sessions during those last months. As you’ve probably realised I haven’t been able to sleep here very often.“
Type felt himself become pale in mere seconds. Tharn was moving out?
And he hadn’t even told him beforehand? Did Tharn think so little of him now?
Of course he did, Type thought with bitterness. And it was his own fault. How could he think he still had a chance after those months? After rejecting him at every corner?
So he tried to smile, but he was quite sure it came out horrible because Tharn’s smile stopped for a moment. It almost looked as if he wanted to ask a question, but he decided against it.
„Tharn, we have to go now. The car is waiting!“
Lhong pulled them out of whatever they had been in. Tharn put on his business smile and turned.
„Ah, yes, of course“, and turning back to Type, „Sorry for the rush, we have a car waiting for us.“
Type tried his smile again: „It’s okay. I wish you the best.“
„Thank you“, is time Tharn’s smile got a bit more truthful, „All the best for you, too.“
And with those words he was out of the door and out of Type’s life.
At least for one night he didn’t have to hide his tears.
Type grew accustomed to a life without Tharn. He even grew accustomed to his new roomate. Who was fun and nice but nothing more. They went out drinking a few times, but that was about it.
And slowly the pain became numb and although Type was still thinking about Tharn now and then it was okay. Like a distant dream.
Or so he thought ... until he saw Tharn again six months later.
He’d avoided the music building as much as possible and it hadn’t been difficult. Not having a reason to go there in the first place had been enough. But who would have thought he would see Tharn on the engineering campus again?
Seeing his face again was like a punch in the gut. All the feelings came rushing back as if they’d only been hidden inside a closet, ready to to burst any moment. Joy about seeing him again, pain because of all the memories and crushed hopes, confusion because he didn’t know what to do any longer.
Which was why Type just kept staring instead of walking on. Slowly his gaze traveled along Tharn’s figure. He was smiling and talking and ... holding someone’s hand.
The joy he’d felt for a split second vanished as if it had never happened. Instead it was as if Tharn had personally dumped a truck load of ice into Type’s stomach.
No, he was seeing right, Tharn was sitting there, talking with a guy Type didn’t know and they were holding hands. They didn’t even seem focused on it, more as if it was common for them to hold hands. Tharn was stroking the other man’s thumb the way he’d done with Type’s a hundred times.
He knew he had no right, but to see this made him feel hollow. As if his own experiences with Tharn had been fake. As if his emotions were worthless now that Tharn had found someone else.
Type looked up, afraid he’d been seen by Tharn himself. But Tharn was still talking and smiling as if Type had never existed. How could he say he wouldn’t be able to live without Type but have another love only six months later?
Type shook his head to get those thoughts out and focused on the person next to him. What was his name again? Lhong? Wasn’t he one of Tharn’s friends?
Lhong smiled at him, but Type just stared.
„So“, Lhong said, „How are you? Haven’t seen you for months.“
„Yes. Since Tharn moved out.“
„Ah! Right, I forgot!“
As if, Type thought, feeling anger curling in his belly. Lhong knew exactly why they hadn’t met anymore. So why was he talking shit like that?
„So, how are you?“
Type shrugged: „I’m well. How are you?“
„Wonderful, thank you! What are you doing here?“
Type shrugged again: „Meeting a friend. You’re meeting Tharn?“
Lhong seemed clearly confused, which confused Type. He pointed towards the tables and watched Lhongs expression go from smiling to frowning. No, not only frowning, he was looking kind of furious. Furious and ... hurt?
‘Don’t tell me he’s the same?’, Type wondered.
„Oh, that must be his new boyfriend.“
„You don’t know him?“
„Tharn hasn’t told me about him yet. Must be really new.“
Type looked at Lhong. The way Lhong had said it made him shiver. There was a cold fury in his voice as if he’d just caught Tharn cheating. This wasn’t a normal way for a friend to react, was it? Even he wouldn’t talk like this. Because he knew he had no right to.
Lhong huffed and turned to Type, a cruel smile on his lips: „He won’t last long. They never do.“
„They never believe in Tharn and accuse him of cheating just because he smiles at people. Can you believe it?“
Oh, he’d seen Tharn’s smile and he could understand how someone might get jealous. But why would they break up with him instead of showing who he belonged to? Kind of the opposite he had done?
So Type only shrugged, but Lhong’s fury didn’t go away: „This one will be the same. I bet you he’ll run and break Tharn’s heart in less than a month.“
Type didn’t actually want to speak with Lhong any longer, but his behaviour made him more than suspicious.
„I bet he’ll stay for more than a month.“
Lhong seemed taken aback for a few seconds. But after this moment of shock his smile grew cold again: „You want to bet? Then let’s bet! What’s your Line ID?“
Staying in contact with Lhong wasn’t difficult. The guy was eager to tell him every bad thing about the new boyfriend and about Tharn as well. Which made Type suspect Lhong didn’t know about his past with Tharn. Otherwise he wouldn’t talk like this, would he?
Knowing more about Tharn and his boyfriend hurt, but the suspicions regarding Lhong grew bigger from day to day. Soon Lhong started telling him about past boyfriends of Tharn, including his earnest opinion about them.
Apparently there had been quite a few short lived ones. Which was still longer than whatever Tharn and Type had had. Apart from those, two relationships appeared to be dominant in Tharn’s life. One when he’d been 14, an older man, almost like a brother of his. The other younger and with even more impact on Tharn. Lhong seemed especially angry about this guy. Not about the break up though. Just about Tar having the audacity to be with Tharn.
The longer Lhong talked about them, the more Type had suspicions about him. Nothing specific, but just ... something. Maybe if he’d get Lhong drunk? Or be drunk himself? Maybe then Lhong would spill his secret? Because there was a secret, no doubt. And if Type was right it was horrible. And it was something which hurt Tharn.
Because he couldn’t believe anyone would leave Tharn just like this. Maybe one or two, but so many? And always because they didn’t believe in Tharn? Because they suspected him of cheating?
Looking back he wouldn’t believe Tharn to cheat on anyone, even though he’s called him a whore early on. But he would have had the right to have several lovers at once back when they had their something going on. Still, he hadn’t done it. He’d promised Type often enough he was the only one and Type knew it was the truth.
Type may not have another chance to be with Tharn, but he’d still protect him from anyone who wanted to hurt him. This way he could at least somehow give his feelings a purpose. Because they hadn’t vanished as he’d thought. They were back with full force.
Getting Lhong to go drinking wasn’t difficult. Just the mention of those bastards was enough to convince Lhong. He couldn’t wait to spill the beans on the people he hated, apparently. And brag about how he himself had saved Tharn often enough.
Type was astonished how much this guy could talk. Once he had some alcohol intus himself and thought Type to be drunk he didn’t only spill beans. He spilled whole trees.
How he’d always tested Tharn’s boyfriends and how they’d never gotten through the test. How Tharn’s new one was already getting suspicious of Tharn, mistrusting his words.
But when Type mentioned Tar, Lhong got angry again: „This little snake! He wasn’t so easy, no. He trusted in Tharn, taking him from me as if he had a right to! No, I knew I had to do something special. Something I didn’t have to do another time, because everyone after this snake was weak and stupid. But in the end this little asshole wasn’t strong either. He couldn’t stay with Tharn, was too embarrassed of himself. He wasn’t worth it at all and Tharn should have seen it. Should have seen it all along. But he didn’t and so I had to make Tar see it himself. His worthlessness.“
Type wasn’t sure he actually wanted to know, but he had to. So he lifted his head sluggishly and looked at Lhong with half lidded eyes: „What did you do?“
Lhong let out a chuckle, which was full of cruelty: „I made him realise how much of a bitch and whore he was. Have the proof as well. It was easy to find someone willing to make him moan. Such a little whore!“
Type felt as if his whole body turned to ice. His heartbeat was like a drum in his own ears ans sweat was running down his back. He should call the police, shouldn’t he? But Lhong would deny everything and he didn’t have proof. But Tar had. Tar was his proof. If he would talk about it.
Thinking back to his own experience, Type grit his teeth. Telling someone and being open about it was horror. He wouldn’t wish it onto someone else. But from what he’d heard, Lhong was still in contact with the kid. Maybe he was still blackmailing him as well.
It shouldn’t be difficult to get his contact information, should it?
His whole being full of fury Type finally sighed and pretended to fall asleep.
He would crush Lhong. This guy wouldn’t know what had hit him.
Finding Tar wasn’t as difficult as Type had feared. Lhong had told him enough to know which school he was attending and luckily No’s brother was attending the same. Within a few days Type was sitting with No in a cafè, waiting for Tar to appear. As he apparently was always doing around here every morning.
How would he look like? This famous ex of Tharn? This guy who had apparently had such an influence on him? Would he be tall and dark? Or small? Pale? Soft or dominant? Tharn had told him he had been a top even back then, didn’t he? But Tharn was soft as well. So maybe someone a bit more dominant could be his boyfriend as well? Especially one Tharn hadn’t even broken up with himself.
Type hated how he felt. Especially since he wanted to work with Tar instead of against him. But all his insecurities came back with full force.
Suddenly No’s brother let out a shout: „That’s him!“
He pointed outside of the cafè to a small guy with light skin and a cute face. ‘So I’m definitely not his type, am I?’, Type thought bitter. But no, that wasn’t why he was here.
No’s brother was already on his way, bringing Tar inside with an excuse. When the pair reached Type and No Tar looked completely confused.
„Why am I here? Who are you?“
Type stood up: „Hello. I’m Type and I want to talk to you. It’s about Tharn.“
He could see as every colour vanished out of Tar’s face, leaving him pale, sweating and trembling.
It wasn’t easy to persuade Tar to stay, but he did in the end. Only Type telling him over and over again he wanted to protect Tharn from Lhong and to destroy Lhong as much as possible, won Tar over. He was still trembling, but he sat down and started talking.
Soon enough they decided to go to Tar’s home so no one could overhear them. Talking with Tar brought back all those memories Type still tried to surpress. Of the chair, the ball, the smirk on this man’s face. The sick feeling deep in his belly. But he kept his calm, controlled his fear. Because he had to. For Tar.
It was amazing how fast his feelings went from jealousy to protectiveness regarding Tar. He was afraid, was living his whole life being afraid of what might be and he still made it through. Somehow. Type didn’t know how Tar could have survived all of it. Without telling someone. Without telling Tharn of all people. He had spilled the beans even when they hadn’t even been together. Did that make him weak? Or strong?
But it wasn’t the same situation and Type tried not to compare them too much. He could understand some of Tar’s feelings and that was all that mattered. He told Tar as much as Tar broke down in his arms, crying until there was no energy left in his small and soft body.
„We need to make him pay!“
Tar looked up, still comfortably cuddled in Type’s arms. Something Type wouldn’t have predicted for himself like ever.
„We will trap him!“
Getting Lhong to fall into his trap wasn’t the hard part. This guy was seeking for attention, searching for validation of what he had done. Showing him signs of support and understanding was like throwing a starving man a bone.
But to behave as if he was interested in the shit Lhong had done? As if he found it amusing and good? That was the hard part. In the end Type was so disgusted by himself he was close to throwing up. Not only did he hate to behave like this, his trauma got triggered all the time as well, making it almost impossible to go to bed without crying and shaking. It was at those moments he missed Tharn the most. The security he had finally felt with him. His arms around him ... but he had to do it, had to endure this shit to make sure Lhong would pay. And to make sure he could never again hurt Tharn and Tar like that. Or anyone else.
Type just hoped he could spit into this guy’s face at least once. When everything was finished he would do it. Just once.
When the day finally came Type felt sick. All morning he was close to run to the toilet and give his breakfast back again. But he had to fight, had to make it happen!
In the afternoon he had his appointment with Lhong who finally wanted to show him this snake, Tar in his true form. Tar himself had been in contact with Lhong as well, asking him to delete the pictures and plainly annoying him with his questions and pleads as much as possible. So much, Lhong was ready to repeat the whole treatment from back then. So much, Lhong was even ready to take Type into his full confidence. Which they needed to get the evidence to make him pay.
No, who was part of their team, had been asking him all morning long if he was alright and Type was close to screaming. But No was just concerned and Type was happy he was with him in such a situation. Still ...
He met Lhong in front of the hotel they’d meet Tar in. Soon. Lhong was grinning at him, even more than usual. Did he really enjoy giving Tar so much pain?
Type tried to stay calm. Couldn’t be something had happened to cross their plan, could it?
„Tharn is single again!“
It was like a fist to the stomach. And Type knew from experience how that felt like.
„The little shit he was dating finally broke it off. He actually believed the rumors, can you believe it?“
Type was torn. Between being angry at this asshole who’d actually believed another asshole instead of Tharn. And being angry at Lhong who’d worked so hard to make this happen. Being worried for Tharn, knowing he would be devasted now. And being angry at himself for having this little spark of hope inside his chest.
So instead of reacting to any of his own feeling he grinned and nodded to show Lhong his support.
They had to act fast, so Tharn could have a chance of getting back together with this idiot of his. Or Tar, if he wanted to.
Because, Type thought with a sharp pain in his chest, why should he think of getting back together with someone he hadn’t been in a relationship in to begin with? Someone who’d pushed him away, had rejected his kindness and hurt him as much as possible. No, that one wouldn’t be ...
„So, what’s the plan?“
Lhong grinned even wider, showing his teeth: „I told the little snake to come here to get his pictures. He would have to do just one little job.“
„Being a cute little fucktoy for my friends.“
Type felt sick. As if he had a stench he would never be able to get rid off, even if he’d rip the flesh from his bones.
„How does that benefit you?“
„Oh“, Lhong said with a laugh, „They will have fun, I’ll have fun.“
„Will you actually delete his pictures?“
„Of course. I mean it won’t be necessary after this anyway.“
Type felt an ice cold shiver run down his spine. Lhong had kept the evidence to keep Tar away from Tharn. So if he didn’t need it anymore ...
„Tar won’t know I’ve invited Tharn under some pretence as well. This little shit has been enough in Tharn’s memories. Time to show him his realy colours!“
How could one person have so much hate in them? So much hate they’d destroy someone’s life? Just like that?
„So where will we be?“
Lhong looked at his watch: „We’re going in now. You can hide and I will talk with Tar so he’ll behave nicely. I mean, he should be. That’s his chance, isn’t it? To get rid of me. And he’d a bitch anyway.“
If he didn’t have different plans, Type would claw Lhong’s eyes out here and now. But they needed more evidence. More people.
So instead of ripping Lhong apart he followed him inside, keeping his distance while looking around. Hopefully Tharn wouldn’t be here already. Seeing him would make it even harder to keep his facade.
Lhong let him to a room he’d booked and for a moment Type wondered if this asshole knew. He could simply send those rapists to him instead of Tar and be done with it. But no one was waiting for them and Lhong had already prepared a laptop to monitor what would be happening inside the next room. Which simply broke every level of fucked up Type had ever had.
„Just chill, I’ll go and get Tar. Need to make sure he’s ready.“
„Ok. When will Tharn arrive?“
„His meeting is scheduled in about an hour. They have to finish around the time, so we’ll start in about twenty minutes max.“
It was all planned to the second, wasn’t it? Couldn’t he have used those abilities for good?
As soon as Lhong had left the room Type pulled out the recorder he had hidden inside his shirt. It was still running and when he checked up on the recording the voices were loud and clear. He instantly hid it again, although there was no danger of Lhong coming back so soon. Instead he appeared a few minutes later on the laptop screen, next to Tar. Who looked scared shitless. Shit ... what had they done? Why had they put Tar in such a danger? And when should they stop?
Listening to the instructions Tar just got from Lhong, Type took out his phone, choosing No’s number. Better be ready. It needed to be the right moment, but he’d rather spare Tar any pain than have the perfect evidence.
Suddenly he realised there wasn’t only one video open. Lhong had actually two cameras hidden in this hotel and Type wondered what could have been had Lhong been a loving and nice memeber of society. Seriously ... choosing the second video since Lhong had already left the room, Type could see the entrance hall. No was sitting in one of the chairs, reading something. And there ... came Tharn. Fuck.
Hearing the door Type changed to Tar’s room again and sat back.
„So, everything’s ready.“
Lhong grinned and looked at the laptop. When he changed to the entrance hall he let out a quiet „fuck, he’s early“ and sighed.
„Tharn is too early. He should come later, but okay. He has to wait until he’ll get the call.“
„He thinks he’s here because some company wants to promote us. I’ll call him, telling him the room number, which might actually be the wrong one, but he’ll knock and they’ll open ... you know?“
Type stared at Lhong, not sure how to respond. Lhong had just broken his own „this is so fucked“ record and Type couldn’t stand it any longer. But Lhong didn’t want a response, enjoying the audience for his master plan just like that.
„Seems I have to send them up sooner“, he said and took out his phone.
Now. It had to be now!
While Lhong spoke to one of his people, Type took out his own phone, sending the prepared message to Non.
„What are you doing?“
Type looked up to see Lhong staring at him. His gaze was cold as ice and he was dangerous. Lucky for Type he wasn’t intimidated by someone like him. Sick yes, but not intimidated.
„Just sending a message to my friend. He wanted to know if I’m coming over this weekend. Didn’t know you needed my attention every second.“
„Don’t fuck with me!“
Lhong stared at him, obviously calculating what to think of him and what to do next.
„Who did you call?“
„I called no one. I texted. Chill.“
But Lhong couldn’t be chill: „Give me your phone!“
„I won’t let you rat on me, you fucker!“
Seeing a commotion on the screen, even if unclear what kind and where, Type decided it had been enough.
„You’re the fucker!“
Lhong seemed actually taken aback. Had no one ever talked to him like that?
Oh, he wouldn’t know what had hit him in a few minutes. Slowly, as if on a walk, Type walked towards Lhong, keeping his eyes on him.
„You’re a fucker who ordered other assholes to rape someone. Several times. And who continued to blackmail this person. Just because of your so called love for Tharn. That’s not love you asshole.“
„Shit, no, it isn’t! If you would love him, you would care for him and be happy for him. Not threaten everyone away to have him for yourself!“
„I care for him! And I’m only testing them, can’t you see?“
„Oh, testing? And what’s that right now? Another test? To destroy Tharn’s happiness even more? Believe me when I say, you’re shit!“
He saw the fist coming, but he didn’t avoid it. Let Lhong beat him up. Let Lhong being the aggressor and forget what was going on ...
„You know nothing about me!“
„Really?“, Type wiped his mouth, watching the blood which was now smeared on top of it, „You’ve done nothing but tell me about you for weeks now. I know more about you than I ever wished for!“
Lhong didn’t seem to know what to do, his fist still lifted: „You know I only want to be loved.“
„I don’t care. If you want to be loved, behave like that. What you’re doing right now? It’s fucked up. You will never get Tharn’s love and you know it!“
And because Lhong had deserved it. Because he couldn’t listen any longer as he had listened for weeks, Type pulled his arm back and let it fly directly into Lhong’s face. His fist connected with some bones, there was a weird noise and Lhong went back flying. Blood was dripping out of his nose as he stared at Type in horror. Horror and hate. For Type, for this world. Hopefully also for himself.
When another hit came onto him, Type let it happen. And this time Lhong didn’t stop. His hits might be weak, but they were fueled by hate and anger. Type tried to protect his face at least, but soon he was down on the ground with Lhong right on top of him, screaming at him without words.
Just when Type was sure something had to be broken inside his body, a loud noise came from the side and there was so much more noise suddenly. Noise and arms who’d pulled Lhong away from Type, letting him finally breath again.
Type had closed his eyes, only wanting some peace, but hands were on him in an instant, making him look up again. No was in front of him, worry clearly written on his face.
No lifted one hand: „How many fingers?“
Type pushed himself up, letting out an annoyed huff: „Three, idiot. I’m alright.“
It almost seemed as if No was the one to faint and Type let out a low chuckle. Be sure his friend would be overly worried.
„Ah!“, he suddenly remembered, looking at No urgently, „Tar!?“
Techno supported him while wiping some of the blood from Type’s face: „All is well. The police went in and he’s safe. Nothing happened, but he’s shaken, of course. Still, there’s a therapist caring for him already.“
Letting out a relieved sigh, Type let himself sag a little bit, using No’s support. He really wished he could have fought back, but this setting was definitely better. It had to be clear Lhong was the aggressor. No doubts, no questions.
„Where is Lhong?“
„He’s been taken by the police already. They were the ones pulling him from you, didn’t you realise?“
„No“, Type shook his head and looked around the room for the first time. It was actually full of police officers. They were inspecting the laptop and whatever Lhong had put there as well. A medic was also just entering the room, pushing Tharn aside who just stood there and ... wait, Tharn?
Type stared. There was Tharn, standing in the doorway, his eyes focused on Type and he seemed a little lost.
Tharn jerked a little when he heard his own name, taking a tentative step towards him.
Techno turned before looking back at Type: „Right. He knows what’s going on.“
No shrugged: „I told him.“
He didn’t want Tharn to even know he was part of it all. He didn’t want to be reminded, didn’t want to remind Tharn as well of their past. He should only know about Tar and an anonymous tip. And No knew ... so why?
„Because he deserves to know, Type. And your help deserves to be regonised as well.“
Tharn had reached them, but Type wasn’t able to look him in the eyes. Luckily the medic kneeled down right then, taking his face into his hands to check up on him. And so Type could stay silent, could ignore Tharn’s gaze as well as No’s.
„You’re quite lucky“, the medic said, a dry smile on her face, „Your nose might be a bit sensible and there will be pain from the bruises, but nothing seems to be broken. You should still check up on your ribs in the hospital, so we’ll take you with us.“
Type only nodded, keeping his eyes away from Tharn as much as possible. He didn’t want to be seen like this. He didn’t want him to know. He didn’t want ... when in reality all he actually wanted was to be in Tharn’s arms. Safe and warm ... and to know it would never be, broke his heart a second time.
When Type got into the ambulance, Tar was already in it, looking at him with big, watery eyes. He didn’t have to think for another second, but pulled Tar into a hug. Tar who had been so brave despite all the pain and fear he had felt. Tar who hugged him back, crying into his shoulder. At least this part was over now ...
The hospital told Type to stay, because one of his ribs was slightly broken and the bruises should be tended to with care. Type didn’t think it was necessary, but he agreed to stay for two days. Not more, but two days. No was with him all the time anyway, taking care of all his things and he would do so afterwards as well. He had no other visitors aside from his best friend. He’d chosen not to tell anyone where he was and had forbidden No to tell anyone himself. Tar would have wanted to come, but he got taken care of at home by his brother. Who definitely wouldn’t let him go out yet and they knew they could talk in only a few days. No rush, no pressure.
Whenever the door opened Type had this slight but painful hope it might be Tharn. He hated himself for this hope and he hated himself even more for being disappointed whenever it wasn’t Tharn. Which was always.
He shouldn’t hope, he shouldn’t dream. His own signals had been clear enough. He hadn’t looked at Tharn, hadn’t even talked to him. He didn’t want to be involved again. Even if his reasons were probably different than Tharn himself thought. But that was ago, because the goal would be the same.
With a deep sigh Type started packing the stuff he had with him in the hospital. Which wasn’t much, just a few clothes, a game and some books and comics. Thanks to the painkillers he’d slept most of the time anyway which was why he hadn’t touched most of it anyway.
There was a knocking at the door which was probably No or a nurse to come and get him.
The door opened behind Type, who was still putting his stuff into his bag, but there was no cheerful „Hey“ as No would say it and no casual „Hello“ of any of the nurses. Instead a soft „Type“ was to be heard. Or rather broke the room as if it was a bomb or a blizzard.
Type stared at his bed and bag, not moving and not daring to turn around.
Hadn’t he hoped exactly for this all those days? Irrationally?
Wasn’t this what he had wanted?
The door was closed again and almost silent footsteps came closer. Even if he hadn’t heard them, he would have felt the heat coming from Tharn’s body. Or did he imagine this as well?
It was the way Tharn always said his name. This little hiccup when he stretched the ‘y’. It had burnt itself into Type’s brain, making it unable to forget the way it was said. It almost made Type cry.
Slowly, with every last bit of self control he had, he turned around. Careful not to look directly into Tharn’s eyes. To avoid looking at the man himself as much as possible.
He couldn’t say his name back. Not when he felt Tharn’s gaze burning into him.
„He asked me to bring you home.“
He should have known No would do something like that. And he wasn’t even angry, because he probably would have done the same. Of course they needed to talk. Still, he didn’t want to.
„I asked him not to.“
Tharn let out a huff: „I thought so. Shall I ask him to come and get you instead?“
There it was, his way out! He could take it and not see Tharn ever again. He wouldn’t have to talk to him, to listen to him, to explain anything to him. He only needed to nod or say nothing and Tharn would step back. Type knew he would. He’d learnt to respect Type’s wishes, to keep his distance whenever Type wanted it. Sometimes he was even too good.
But somehow Type didn’t nod, didn’t say anything except for a little „No“. He still couldn’t look at Tharn, but he didn’t want him to go as well.
„Okay“, Tharn seemed unsure as well for a moment, „Then let’s go. Do you want me to carry anything?“
Type would have loved to say ‘no’, but although he had not much baggage he had enough for two people to carry. And his ribs were still hurting. So he pointed at his bags with a vague gesture and stepped aside when Tharn took both of them, of course and went outside.
They were quiet on the way down any Type was slowly able to look at Tharn a bit more. He then had to check out at the reception. When he turned back to Tharn he was on the phone, typing something before putting the phone back in his pockets and smiling at Type as if it was a reflex.
Was he already back with his former lover? Or was it Tar he’d talked to? Or someone new? It could just be his brother or a friend, Type reminded himself. And it wasn’t his right to ask at all, but still ...
„I just told No you agreed to letting me get you back.“
Could Tharn read his mind? For a short moment Type looked suspiciously at Tharn before turning his gaze away again: „Okay.“ It was a relief.
Sitting down in Tharn’s car was strange. It almost felt like yesterday when they’d driven to the pub together. And at the same time it could have been a century ago as well. Sitting so close together was not particularly good for Type’s nerves as well, but at least Tharn didn’t attempt to start a conversation in the car. Would he talk at all? Or would this drive be all? The end? Type didn’t know any longer if that was what he wanted.
Soon they were at the condo. Tharn parked close to the entrance and looked up to their former window. When Type started to remove his seatbelt, Tharn finally spoke: „Is your roommate home?“
Startled and with a clearly unhealthy heartbeat, Type stopped to look at Tharn who was still staring outside: „I’m not sure.“
Finally Tharn turned to look back at him, a careful mask over his face: „Is there a place for us to talk privately?“
That was it, wasn’t it? The moment he had dreaded and somehow ... also wished for. To talk to Tharn, to have him close, to have some chance of keeping him by his side. While at the same time he was so afraid of this talk. Of explaining himself, making himself vulnerable and open. Funny how he hadn’t been this afraid when he’d confronted Lhong.
When there was no reply, Tharn tried to smile: “I would suggest my own condo, but I guess you won’t like it.“
Tharn’s own room? Type tried to imagine it, but everything which came to his mind was how easy it must have been to bring his lovers into his own room instead of the one he’d shared with Type. Had that been a reason for him to move?
„Yours is good.“
Wait! When had his brain decided this? Type was shocked by his own words, but he couldn’t take them back now. And seeing as Tharn’s eyes went wide, he was quite speechless as well. At least for a moment.
„Okay, so it is. My condo.“
And without another look at Type he started driving, his eyes firmly on the road.
Entering the room was like entering a forbidden world for Type. He felt as if he shouldn’t be here. As if he didn’t deserve to set a foot inside and he hated this feeling. All of those feelings which made him feel low and afraid. Afraid of what might happen. Of his own feelings.
„It’s strange, seeing you quiet like this.“
Type stopped looking around and instead turned towards Tharn who was watching him.
„Well, a lot has happened.“
Tharn nodded: „It sure has.“
With his hand he pointed towards the couch and sat down on a chair close by himself. Keeping some distance between them. Of course, Type thought and sat down.
It was quiet for several moments. Type didn’t want to start this conversation, because he didn’t know what would be. He’d lost Tharn, had protected him and that had been it for him.
Type strartled, again: „What?“
„Thank you for finding out the truth about Lhong. And for protecting Tar. You could have told me, you know?“
„I wasn’t sure if you would have believed me.“
And he’d wanted to protect Tharn the most.
„Fair enough“, Tharn smiled drily, „I probably woulnd’t have.“
Type sighed: „And I am sorry.“
„I wasn’t fast enough. Lhong told me your boyfriend broke up with you already.“
The sign of deep pain came so suddenly over Tharn it made Type freeze on the spot. Tharn’s wide eyes were filled to the brim with tears and he looked even paler than before. Had he loved this man so much?
„You can tell him, you know? I can tell him if you want to. He’d be an idiot not to take you back!“
And why did he say shit like that? Did he want to stab himself?
Tharn flinched as if he’d been slapped before turning away: „Yeah ... an idiot ... of course.“
„Don’t you believe me?“
As sudden as the pain had appeared, there was anger as well: „How can I? Tell me Type, how can I believe you in this matter? You who rejected me for months? You tell me now someone else would be an idiot not to take me back? I don’t want to hear it from you, so please stop. You’ve never been the one to care or sweet talk anyone, so please stop.“
And Type stopped, pressing his teeth together so much it hurt.
When Type didn’t say anything else, Tharn tried to relax again, wiping his almost tears and sitting up straight again, as if he was in control. Back in the days Type had felt as if Tharn had always been in control, which had made him furious and afraid. But to see him like this he realised he’d been the one in control. The one who could have turned it all.
„How did you know what was going on?“
Type swallowed to take his own control back: „I went to the engineering building one day and saw you sitting there with your boyfriend and met Lhong. We exchanged a few words before he realised you were sitting there with a lover. I’ve never seen anyone having so much hate inside them like him.“
When Tharn lifted an eyebrow, Type rolled his eyes, feeling a bit like his old self again: „Even me. I mean Lhong knew about your sexuality but still hated this stranger who just happened to be your lover or boyfriend. First I thought it was because you hadn’t told him and maybe that was part of it, but it was just the fact of this guy having something Lhong didn’t have. Which was you.“
Saying those words made his heart ache. Because he himself had wished for what this man had had back then: Tharn.
Tharn shook his head slowly. It was clearly a sign of helplesness, not disbelief.
„But why didn’t he say anything till now?“
Type shrugged: „Maybe he hoped you would realise your feelings one day. I’m not sure. All I know is he was behaving really scary back then and he started to tell me a lot of fucked up things in his rage. Nothing explicit, but enough to make me suspicious. Which is why I asked for his number to learn more about your exes and join in his rant. Which he gladly accepted.“
„Must have been a real torture.“
„To learn about my exes.“
One look at Tharn and Type knew how he meant it. As if Type was so repulsed by him knowing about his exes would be horrible because it was about a gay man.
Tharn looked up, more pain in his damn beautiful eyes and Type almost couldn’t stand it. Why did Tharn look like this? Now and with this topic? As if Type’s thoughts were of any importance?
„Because I compared myself to them all the time. And we weren’t even a couple.“
There it was. The truth. Quietly spoken, but still. Now Tharn could do with this what he wanted. Type tried to ignore how loud his own heartbeat sounded in his ears.
„It doesn’t matter now. All the talking was at least useful to know more about Lhong and what he’d done. Once he’d told me everything I knew I had to stop him and make him pay. Especially after Tar ...“
„What exactly has he done to Tar?“
Type was surprised: „You haven’t talked to him yet?“
Tharn shook his head: „No. He told me over text he isn’t ready to tell everything again, since he has to work with the police now. And I should contact a more important person first.“
But he didn’t, Type thought bitterly. Tharn had tried to talk to Tar first.
„He sent me the text out of the blue“, Tharn said as if he’d known Type’s thoughts. Again.
„I was still unsure how and when to approach you when I got his message.“
„Yes“, Tharn said with a huff, obviously happy he’d guessed Type’s thoughts correctly, „So, what has he done?“
„You should talk to Tar about that one. It isn’t my story, but I can tell you it’s enough to get Lhong into prison.“
„It was something similar to what he’d planned this time, wasn’t it?“
Type kept silent, but it was enough of an answer.
„Because of me? He did all this shit to Tar and my boyfriends because of me?!“
Type could see the desperation in Tharn’s eyes and he knew this idiot would jump to the wrong conclusion!
And before Type knew he was in front of Tharn, kneeling on the ground and taking Tharn’s fists into his own hands: „No, you can’t think that way! Lhong is a fucked up asshole who thought he had any right to your love and your attention. It was him who did this, not you. Do you understand me?!“
Tharn stared at Type and down where their hands were touching.
„Do you understand me? I didn’t listen to this bastard for weeks for you to think it was all your damn fault as if you’d singlehandedly hurt everyone yourself. You didn’t know he was fucked up and you didn’t know what he was up to. You are a victim yourself. Do you understand?“
Slowly, as if in trance, Tharn nodded, his gaze still glued on their hands. But when Type tried to stand up he turned his own hands and held him, preventim him from getting up.
„But why did you do it, Type? Why did you listen to him for weeks? Why do you care?“
It wasn’t a difficult decision. Two months back it might have been, but now he was already on his knees, Tharn’s fingers intertwined with his own. He may have no right anymore and there may be no hope, but this may also be his last chance.
„Because I didn’t want anyone ever to be hurt by him again. Because I couldn’t let an asshole like him roam free without consequences. Because I wanted to protect you. Because I do care.“
Tharn’s breathing grew heavier: „Why? Why now? Why do you care so suddenly? And why didn’t you tell me about Lhong? Why did you do it alone? Why did you let yourself be beaten up? Why are you quiet like this? Instead of shouting at me?!“
„Because I couldn’t bear to bring you in any danger. Because I wanted to keep you safe. Because I wanted you to be happy instead of being hurt. Because I needed this asshole gone for you and for Tar. Because I can’t bear to look at you, knowing I have no right to be jealous or to have any hopes anymore. Because I have always cared, Tharn. It’s not suddenly, I simply wasn’t brave enough to say anything and now I shouldn’t because you have found someone else.“
At this point Type almost started choking, feeling as if he throat was being pressed into nothing. He wanted to make Tharn happy. Even if it was with another man.
Type stared at their joined hands until he couldn’t anymore and closed his eyes. Suddenly there was a soft stroke over his thumb. Almost too soft to notice. But Type kept his eyes closed, even when Tharn spoke again: „So why now?“
„Because you asked.“
Tharn let out a huff.
„And because I can’t take it anymore. I thought I was over you, but I’m not. I still get jealous whenever I think about you with another man. It already drove me crazy back then and it still does. As if I had any right. You drive me crazy just when I think about you. I was too late back then and I might still be too late, but at least I want you to know the truth.“
„But you didn’t want me to know it yesterday?“
When Type finally opened his eyes to look at Tharn, he saw him smiling. Only a little and it seemed as if his face wasn’t used to it, but it was a smile.
So he dared to smile as well as he shook his head.
„No. Why should I? You’ve moved on. Clearly. What good would it do to tell you now? To talk about old wounds? We haven’t even been together and I didn’t want to get into your way of getting back with your recent ex or Tar ... or whoever you want. But I wasn’t even your ex.“
„You really would have stayed back and watched me getting back with Tar?“
„I probably wouldn’t have watched, but yes. I would have stayed back.“
Tharn rolled his eyes, but pressed Type’s fingers even more. As if he would simply change his mind and walk out. As if he could ...
But ... „May we change to the couch now? My knees start hurting like shit. And I promise I won’t run away.“
Tharn had to laugh, but complied. But the moment they sat he took Type’s hands back into his, bringing those damn butterflies in his belly back to life. Even stronger than ever.
„Just to make one thing clear. I won’t go back to my recent ex. I won’t go back to Tar as well or to any other ex.“
„I will tell you once you’ve answered a few more questions.“
„Sounds kind of unfair, but okay. Shoot.“
Type almost felt like his old self. No, that wasn’t right. His old self wouldn’t have let Tharn take his hands and wouldn’t have confessed his feelings in front of Tharn. But at least he wasn’t feeling as if he couldn’t talk any longer. Fucking time!
„When did you realise?“
„You’ll probably hate me for that one, but kind of when I had sex with Paifah.“
„Yeah. I know. I kept thinking about you during the whole night, but I hated myself for it. I thought it would be for the best like this. To have a girlfriend, to be back to normal to how things were supposed to be. While I also kind of wished you would see right through my bullshit. Still, I wasn’t brave enough and I can’t blame you for listening to me.“
Tharn had gone completely quiet and Type knew he was hurting. Probably reliving the pain. Because he had always known he was hurting Tharn deeply.
„I thought we might just have a friendship and it would be simpler and easier. But you drew back and I was losing you. You won’t believe how many nights I stared at your empty bed going crazy imagining where you might be. I’m really fucked up, aren’t I?“
Tharn nodded, still quiet and passive except for the crushing force with which he held Type’s hands. But Type didn’t say anything, knowing he deserved the pain and maybe holding him like that was exactly what Tharn needed. Didn’t it also prove he was still important to Tharn? If he wasn’t, Tharn would have told him already, wouldn’t he?
„After two and a half months I broke up with Paifah and wanted to tell you. I was finally ready to tell you about my feelings and beg you to come back to me. I don’t joke. I was ready to beg. But yeah, it was the day you moved out of the dorm. Which was quite a clear sign for me and ... yeah. That’s about it.“
Tharn losened his grip on Type’s hands a bit, staring down again instead of looking at Type himself. As it had been his habit over half a year ago, he was stroking his thumb gently, almost absentmindly.
„I am sorry, Tharn. I really am. When you moved out I realised how much I had fucked up. But I didn’t know how to repair it. I didn’t even know if you felt anything for me any longer. I thought I deserved all the pain and you deserved all the happiness you could get. Which was without me, because all I had done was to hurt you. And that’s why I didn’t want to get you involved. Or to talk to you. Because I was afraid I’d hurt you again. And I didn’t want to be reminded of what couldn’t be anymore.“
„Do you miss me?“
And without a beat, Type confessed: „Like hell! I’d really love to fall asleep once without missing your kisses and hugs, damnit!“
Tharn laughed and this time it sounded a bit more natural. He also moved closer and Type felt his heartbeat speed up again. He’d die because of a stroke at this rate.
„You wanted to know why I won’t go back to any of my exes? Not even the most recent one?“
Type nodded, staring at Tharn without blinking. He couldn’t miss any word.
„Because I still love you, Type. I’ve tried living without you. I even tried being with someone else to get over you, but I can’t. I only cared when he broke up with me, because he’d at least been a distraction. But I couldn’t be angry at him or his accusations, because I was cheating on him. It was only in my mind, but it was the truth. We may not have been an official couple, but getting over you has been my hardest and most unsuccessful task.“
Even though thinking of Tharn with someone else was still painful, knowing the last one had only been a distraction made him feel giddy. Which wasn’t nice, but it was good. Because it gave him hope.
„So ... where do we stand now?“
Tharn sighed: „I should suggest to take it easy and slowly. I really should. But I don’t have any patience left and I have no wish to live another day without being able to have you by my side. So let’s be whatever you want. An affair, a hidden couple, friends.“
„Are you crazy?!“
Type pulled a very surprised Tharn into his arms and kept him there with as much force as needed. Although not much force was needed. Tharn stayed there happily. And a bit stunned.
„I’ve spent months pining for you and I won’t settle for hidden lovers, an affair or just friends. I’ll tell the whole world you’re mine and I don’t care anymore what anyone thinks. Friends, pfff ... as if that would work out. No. I’ll be your boyfriend and you’ll be my boyfriend and if any fucker tries to break us up I’ll destroy them. Just watch me!“
By the end of his monologue Tharn was giggling in his arms, making his whole body vibrate.
„Alright, alright. I see you’re back to your old self.“
„My old self? Forget it. My old self is dead in a ditch. That bitch was too weak to confess to you and I don’t need it anymore. Seriously!“
„Enough, I get it! Will you finally let me kiss you?“
Kissing? That was definitely an idea Type could get behind. Especially after months of withdrawal. But instead of letting Tharn kiss him, Type took the initiative this time, cupping Tharn’s cheeks with his hands and pulling him in to give him a kiss he would never forget.
Later, when they were in Tharn’s bed, kissing and moaning and feeling, Type gladly gave the lead back to Tharn, knowing he was safe in his lover’s arms.