When Aim and Wad hand them the package, snickering to themselves, Kongphob just rolls his eyes and sets it on the table without another glance. “Thanks guys.”
Arthit, however, is staring blankly at it. The towel set is lovely. The two towels are both fluffy, white-tinted-eggshell-blue, and embroidered with gold leafing. The only problem is that they’re intended for newlyweds. Straight newlyweds. The His and Hers lettering are staring him right in the face, and he wouldn’t be surprised if they were causing his eyes to bug out.
Prem notices Arthit’s grimace and apologizes with a pat on the back. “Sorry bud, my boyfriend can be a dick. I love him but,” He feigns a frustrated growl, “You know? Anyway, happy house-warming!” He congratulates, toasting Arthit with his plastic solo cup.
“Thanks.” Arthit smiles weakly.
With that, Prem leaves him alone.
The night is winding down, and Arthit and Kongphob’s new apartment is surprisingly still clean after the party. Their friends were kind enough to clean up after themselves.
For the first and last time, Arthit is sure.
“You know, I’m all for gag gifts,” Kongphob begins, dumping an entire grocery bag of baby clothes onto their bed. “But there’s a point where it becomes inconvenient.”
Arthit snickers. “Where, exactly, is that point?”
Kongphob looks down at the pile of tiny outfits decisively. “Right about…” He slices it in half with his forearm, then pokes one of the protruding bundles of baby shirts. “There.”
“Well then,” Arthit considers, pushing half of the pile back into the bag. “Let’s keep that much.”
Kongphob stares at him with a warm smile.
“What? You never know!” Arthit yelps, cheeks flushing red.
Kongphob mock gasps, then squeals as he falls back onto the bed. “Don’t tell me. I’m going to be a dad!” He blinks up at Arthit with false hope, but Arthit recognizes the distant desire in his eyes.
Arthit rolls his eyes. “Never mind.” He says, beginning to dump the onesies and such out again. He shakes the bag a good few times, and jolts with surprise when the towel set plops out. He frowns subconsciously.
“What?” Kongphob asks, peering down at the towels. Noticing the discomfort on Arthit’s face, he sighs, immediately understanding. “Okay. Come on.” He ushers, grabbing a set of keys and leading Arthit out the door.
“Where are we going?”
When they finally reach the nearest all-night bed & bath store, it’s nearly 11PM. The two are the only couple in the store, and are milling toward the back, until they finally reach the towels.
Arthit raises an eyebrow, cringing when he spots more of the His & Her towel pairs.
Kongphob gestures vaguely at them. “Choose.”
“What?” Arthit asks, his upset hiding beneath the brimming levels of his voice.
“Choose your favorite.”
Arthit whines a little on the inside, but can’t muster the heart to protest. With hesitation, he rubs a thumb against the nearest set. They’re simple, the His towel is blank save for a watercolor moon in one corner, and the Hers towel with a watercolor sun. Arthit frowns again. “This one… is fine.” He decides.
“I like it too.” Kongphob agrees. He smirks, his devilish and, frankly, extra plan beginning to kick into gear.
They take the towels to the register and pay quickly, Kongphob tucking them under his arm and Arthit trying to get as far away as possible.
Arthit eyes the packages suspiciously as Kongphob unwraps them, watching in aggravation as the towels neatly slide out of their plastic casings. He clenches his fist, “Kong-”
“Here.” Kongphob says, dumping both of the different Hers towels into Arthit’s arms. He turns to attend to tidying the rest of the gifts, then glances back at Arthit.
He’s standing there dumbfounded, mouth hanging open, arms stiff beneath the soft fabrics.
Kongphob pretends to be surprised. “Aren’t you gonna get rid of those?”
“You- you want me to throw them away?” Arthit asks.
Kongphob thinks for a moment, then laughs. “Of course not! We’ll give them to Prae or something. I meant for you to just set them down by the door so we remember.”
“Wait, but- I’m not- What?”
“Art.” Kongphob giggles. “You didn’t think I was gonna make you use those, did you?”
“I don’t know!” Arthit argues. “You seemed set on it.”
“Why would you think that?” Kongphob asks.
“Well, the guys’re always joking about me being the wife in the relationship. So I just assumed you felt the same.” Arthit mumbles.
“P, you’re a guy, right?”
Arthit scoffed. “Well, yeah?”
“And you’d prefer to be referred to as a guy, right?”
“Yeah.” Arthit agrees, still confused.
“Then you’re not my wife!” Kongphob proclaims with a smile. “They’re just making crude fun, Art. We’re obviously both guys here.”
“I know we are, that’s why I felt weird!” Arthit explains, setting the Hers towels down.
“So, which one do you want?” Kongphob asks, turning his attention back to the custom His & His set meant for them.
Arthit squints at the two towels, then allows himself a small smile. The gold one is screaming out for him. “That one.” He says decisively, reaching out to clutch it like it’s his baby.
“Then I’ll be the moon to your sun. The His to your… other His.” Kongphob grins.
Arthit rolls his eyes, but leans into Kongphob to kiss him on the lips. He sighs, squeezing Kongphob’s cheek. “I love you, nong.”
“I love you too!” Kongphob makes grabby hands at Arthit’s towel. “And the best part of us both being guys is that we can switch!”
Arthit glares, protectively pressing the towel flush against his chest. He looks at the ground, his chin helping to secure the towel to his body. “Nice try, sucker.” He mutters softly.
Kongphob goes at Arthit like a Spanish bull, lightly butting his head into the older’s chest, then wrapping his arms around his waist. Arthit squirms in discomfort beneath the towel, so Kongphob settles for nuzzling his head into Arthit’s neck. “P, you are my wonderful husband. Never ever think otherwise.”
Arthit blushes, using one hand to awkwardly ruffle Kongphob’s hair. He presses a kiss into his bangs and mumbles. “Baby, we’re not even married.”
Kongphob props his chin up onto Arthit’s shoulder and smiles at him, a glint of mischief shining in his eyes. “Not yet!”