When Tin reached Wadee she was sitting on the front steps to her house, the family doctor already kneeling in front of her treating the split in her lip and the bruise blooming around her eye “holy fuck P’Wadee, what did that asshole do to you?” pausing a few steps away from her Tin spun around searching the area “where is N’PhuPha?”
“Not here” Wadee winced as the doctor pressed to hard at the area around her eye “Tul made sure he wasn’t here”
“Because he wouldn’t want your son seeing Daddy bet the crap out of Mummy” Tin spat the statement like it was poison on his tongue.
“Now now young man, these injuries are from a fall”
At the doctors words Tin turned all his anger on the man in front of his sister-in-law “what did she fall on his fucking fist?” the man stood up turning on Tin but before he could utter a word Tin tore into him “how the fuck does your conscience let you sleep at night? Wait, let me guess, on a pile of money the Medthanan’s bribe you with. Do you tell rape victims that if they had worn more appropriate clothes they wouldn’t have been raped? I bet you think cancer patients are just faking it”
The doctors mouth gaped moving like a fish out of water when a loud laugh issued from Wadee pulling their attention to her “I called you here N’Tin so that I would have someone with a level head”
Pausing to process her word Tin dropped down in front of her and checked over her wounds “we need to get your lip disinfected and a cold compress on your eye to help keep the swelling down” gently grabbing her wrists Tin look at her forearms finding bruising and a few scrapes there as well “we will also need to get some soothing cream” Tin half turned back to the doctor now watching them “on these defensive wounds” the low pitch in Tin’s voice had the doctor taking a step back.
Looking up from Tin studying her Wadee locked eyes with the doctor “you can go now” Wadee’s voice was free from emotion as she stared at the man.
“I still need to examine you” the doctor’s voice had come out unsure talking a tentative step towards them as they moved to go back into the house.
“You misdiagnose my injuries as a fall, I have zero faith in your abilities to carry out a competent medical examination” Wadee snapped as Tin stapped back holding the door open for her.
Once Tin had found the first aid kit and had sat the both of them down in the kitchen he began using the skills he had acquired being the boyfriend of an accident prone hyperactive mess. With the wound on her lip disinfected Tin worked on making a cold compress and a hot compress for her eye “you seem to know what your doing N’Tin” Wadee enquired holding the cold one over the bruise while watching Tin test the heat in the other one on his forearm.
“I have a friend that injures himself often enough” Tin said almost absentmindedly as a soft smile pulled at his face.
“And rewards you in kind” Wadee let out a light laugh as she pressed at a hickey Can had given him as thanks for patching the cut on his cheek.
“Sometimes” Tin said with a devious smile as he changed over the compresses.
Once all the patching of wounds had been done and both compresses had grown warm Tin help Wadee pack. Going through PhuPha’s room Tin found all his favourite toys, his school supplies and picked out as much clothing as he could fit. On his way out Tin doubled back collecting the boys pillow and blanket knowing that he would need some comfort though this and his own bedding would go along way, it was what Tin had missed most during the cold English nights.
Walking into Wadee’s room Tin found her with her bags packed sitting on the edge of her bed with her eyes locked on the carpet “did you want to tell me what happened?”
Taking a deep breath Wadee lifted her eyes from the floor to Tin’s concerned face “when I got home he was drunk, I could smell it on his clothes and his breath. He took one look at me and it was like a switch had been flipped and I knew something was wrong so I ran to PhuPha’s room. He followed me laughing like a lunatic as he knocked pictures off the walls and smashed statues and vases as he went” Wadee’s whole body began to shake pulling Tin across the room. The moment Tin’s arms wrapped around her Wadee felt herself relax into his warmth “when I reached PhuPha’s room I remembered he wanted to stay another night at his friends, that was when Tul started screaming at me about Ai Sean disappearing and how I had to know where he was and if I didn’t tell him he would make me regret it”
Tin could feel Wadee starting to shake again “it’s alright, we will make sure he can’t come near you again” Wadee turned pressing her face into his chest as her tears broke free. With a gentle rock Tin waited for her to calm down before he continued “where is Tul now?”
Wadee sat back looking at Tin with are tear puffed eyes “I don’t know, after he had called the doctor to come look at me he jumped into my car and left”
Silence stretched around them as Tin gave Wadee time to pull herself together as best she could “did you want me to take you somewhere?” Tin asked cutting through the quiet.
“Thanks N’Tin but my parents should be here soon, I called them before I called you” Wadee gave Tin a weak smile as she moved further onto the bed and pulled herself into a ball. As another stretch of silence fell around them Tin found his mind wandering to his Cantaloupe. Wanting to leave and find him Tin found his nerves growing agitated but he couldn’t bring himself to leave Wadee, not until someone else got there to take his place. Watching Tin pull out his phone Wadee sat straight up “GPS!” Tin filiched at the sudden noise “Tul made me set my car GPS to our phones” Wadee pulled her phone out and tapped away at it “he said it was because PhuPha was in the car but it was so he could keep track of me”. Wadee’s phone chimed as it found the location of her car “strange, I don’t recognise the place” turning the phone to face Tin he lent forward to see the tiny writing.
The address looked familiar, when it clicked Tin’s eyes widened in shock “Cantaloupe” Tin breathed the word before pushing to his feet and bolting out of the house.
Can pushed open the exit door, slipping through the small opening he had made he threw his weight against the door pinning it shut as something hard hit at it from the other side. The outside air started to clear the fog from Can’s mind but with each jolt of the door behind him panic set in.
Tin had been driving so fast that he had almost over shot the pub, the screeching of his tires echoed around the area as he swerved into the carpark and skidded to a stop. Scrambling out of the car Tin had barely taken two steps when Can came running towards him looking frightened but relieved “Tin there is some fuc-” Can’s sentence was cut short as the door to the pub was thrown open the bang ringing in their ears.
Tin reached out to Can pushing him behind his body so that he stood in-between Can and a raging Tul. Seeing his little brother Tul stopped short “I see you turned up to save your filthy peasant” Can felt Tin tense. About to warn him that the guy wasn’t quite right in the head Can stopped when he felt Tin press something into his hand. Looking at it hidden from the drunk guys view by Tin’s body Can saw Tin’s phone open on the camera, already recording.
“Please P’Tul” Tin’s voice had taken on a tentative quality that Can had never heard before “you have just had a bit too much to drink, I’m sure you didn’t mean to raise your hand against your wife” Can’s head shot up from Tin’s phone just in time to catch Tin’s side profile and the slight head nod off to the side. Understanding Tin’s hint Can quietly slipped off to the side to hide and film the event.
“So that bitch called you huh, what did she tell you?” Tul spat at Tin “did she tell you that she betrayed me, that her and that whore worked together” that part lost Tin as Wadee hadn’t mentioned anything about getting help from anyone when it struck Tin. Wadee hadn’t been surprised about Tul’s mistress and had even stated they were friends.
“P’Tul, P’Wadee is pretty beat up”
“That bitch deserved it” Tin could see the way Tul swayed as he drew closer and the stumble he had in each step “you know she has what you are looking for N’Tin, she has the evidence of my crimes against you” Tul punctuated the word ‘you’ with the back of his hand smashing across Tin’s face.
Tin made sure to take the hit “what are you talking about?” Tin asked cradling his abused cheek in his hand.
“I know your not dumb N’Tin or did falling for that idiot football player effect your IQ?” Tul mocked shoving Tin backward a few steps and watched as Tin fell against his own car and onto the ground. Walking over Tul stood over Tin looking down on his little brother with all the hate he had for him, “I would have thought you had worked it out, I was the one that set you up to be busted for drugs and I was the one that told the media. You’re such a pathetic fool little brother”
The distant echo of sirens had been what he was waiting for, Tin smirked up at Tul but kept his voice low so that it wouldn’t be picked up by Can’s recording “you had already informed me of your crimes in another drunken stooper, like that tragically hopeless bitch you are”
Tul snapped raising a leg behind him Tul swang it forward kicking Tin in the ribs, on the second kick Tin fell to the side, the pain being more than he had been prepared for. When the third kick made contact Tin grabbed on as two police cars pulled into the carpark their sirens blaring “they are here for you big brother” Tul looked down at Tin’s face with the angry red mark blooming across it “and about the evidence P’Wadee doesn’t have it, I do”
Tul’s rage flared, yanking his foot free of Tin’s hold he was ready to stomp it down on him when he was pulled away from Tin’s batted form. The fight finally left Tul when he heard the officers informing him of his arrest.
Tin pulled himself off the ground making it look far harder than it was as a police officer raced over to help him. Once Tul was cuffed and in the police car Can stopped filming and raced to Tin’s side, a mix of anger and worry on his face as he slipped in under Tin’s waiting arm not daring to interrupt as Tin gave his statement to the police officers.
Can had thought the night would finally be done when he took Tin’s car keys off him and was driving them home. However half way there Tin’s phone rang with a call from his mother, with his phone connected to the car when Tin answered it came over the speakers “Tin, your brother has been arrested”
Can felt a growl build in his chest. “I know, I was there” Tin said with a slightly pained voice as he reclined his seat to ease some of the pressure on his ribs.
“If you were there why didn’t you help him?” Tin smirked seeing Can’s knuckles turning white with his grip on the steering wheel.
“I was a bit preoccupied with Tul kicking my ribs in to stop the policemen from dragging him off me” even as Tin’s voice came out without emotion he reached up tugging on Can’s arm until Can took that hand off the wheel and linked it with his.
Can raised a brow at the extended silence as they waited for a response from the woman. When she finally spoke both boys were floored “you’re not going to press charges, I’m sure you can understand that he isn’t quite himself at the moment”
“Are you fucking kidding me!” Tin glanced over at Can’s explosion “that fucking lunatic beat the shit out of his own wife, assulted me and then kicked the shit out of his own brother and your messed up fucking excuse is ‘he isn’t quite himself’. You people are fucking sick in the head, I’m so glad I am taking Tin away from you insane assholes”
Tin’s smile made his cheeks hurt with how wide it was but it had glued itself on his face even as his mother asked “who that hell is that Tin”
“Can….. my fiance, mother” Tin’s voice issued with pride that melted a bit of Can’s fuming anger.
“Now is not the time for one of your jokes!”
“Cantaloupe is not a joke mother and you are mistaken if you think I’m going to help Tul in any way” Tin could hear his mother floundering on the other end “if you will excuse me, I have just gotten home and with the state I’m in I am sure I am going to have to deal with a very worried family” Tin enjoyed hanging up on the woman and setting his phone to do not disturb. He didn’t enjoy having to sit up and get out of the car, his ribs were really starting to hurt and all he wanted to do was pull Can into a tight hug.
Tin had been right, not even a full three steps into the house and Apple was buzzing around him “oh my Sweetheart, what happened to you?”
Tin couldn’t help the happiness he felt bubble inside him at having this woman care about him and worry over him. Tin had never felt a mother’s love before but was sure that this is what it felt like “my older brother finally played his hand”
Apple and Oak looked at each other shocked, the way it had been explained they had expected Tin’s brother to use underhanded methods. To bring the boys down by affecting their futures. They hadn’t expected a physical attack “what else did he do?” Apple’s voice shook with panic and anger as she lifted up his shirt seeing the way he was holding himself.
Lemon had come down just in time to see the bruises blooming on Tin’s torso and Can swing into a rage “what kind of asshole does that to his own brother? If that fucker gets out of jail I’m going to make him regret laying a hand on my fiance” Can yelled as he yanked the freezer door open to get cold packs out. Turning around Can was met by three pairs of dumbfounded looks and a sheepish Tin “what?”
“Honey” Apple said even as she was replaying his words in her head “I think you misspoke”
Can’s head tilted as he thought about what he had just said “asshole…….fucker...make him regret it” Can mumbled to himself, “no, I don’t think I did” Can said to his mum as he lightly pressed the wrapped cold pack to Tin’s ribs.
Tin winced as any pressure on his bruises was too much “you said fiance not boyfriend” Tin whispered as he grabbed the hem of Can’s shirt.
“It’s the truth isn’t it” Can shot back not letting Tin back down from the fact in the face of his family.
Tugging at the material in his hand Can steeped closer letting Tin rest his head against his shoulder “I love you Cantaloupe” Tin didn’t try to hide his words and was rewarded with Can’s hand gently rubbing at the nape of his neck.
Looking over his shoulder at his family Can gave them a soft smile “mum can you take a look to make sure Ai Tin doesn’t have a broken rib”
It took some coaxing to get Apple to move again, but after getting Tin up to Can’s room and lying on his bed Apple was able to take a look “just severe bruising” Apple informed them after a tense concerned filled moment. Moving away from the bedside Can quickly moved into her vacated spot “if you think we aren’t going to talk about that fiance comment you have another thing coming”. Looking at the pair she could see that no matter what they said they wouldn’t be able to talk the boys out of it “but get some rest, it can wait” Apple closed the door on them not waiting for a reply.
After a few painkillers and despite the pain, a very enjoyable sponge bath Tin was ready to go to sleep. With a bit of shifting they found a comfortable position that let Tin hold Can in their sleep without pressing on his ribs.
The boys were finally woken by Lemon when the clock had hit past midday and they hadn’t rose on their own. Tin let out a pained groan as he struggled his way out of bed. Can fussed over him all the way down to the kitchen and Tin didn’t have it in him to stop his adorable Cantaloupe. It made him feel far to warm and amazingly loved, he wasn’t going to do anything to stop that feeling.
Sitting down at the dining table Tin half hoped that Can would fuss over him enough that he would insist on feeding him. But with the family watching their every move Tin was a little glad he didn’t. “Should we discuss the matter at hand” Oak said as he sat down opposite the boys to watch them eat.
Placing his utensils back down Tin looked at Apple and Oak “I’m sorry I didn’t seek your approval first but we didn’t really plan for it to happen. But it is what is right for us and no matter what you say we aren’t going to change our minds” Tin kept his voice calm, desperate to prove that they were adult enough for this kind of life decision.
“We know Sweetheart” Apple said softly as she smiled at the two “we aren’t going to try to talk you out of it, we just ask that you wait till you finish school before you make anymore massive choices”
Tin and Can were quick to nod their agreements “however” Oak cut in making them weary of their happiness “what we do need to discuss is N’Tin’s living situation”. Tin and Can looked at each other before turning to Apple and Oak “it might be a little cramped but until we can work out the next step how about you move in here”
Tin’s tongue froze unable to believe they were willing to offer him refuge, a home. Tin tried to take a deep breath but the sharp pain in his ribs prevented it. “Is that really okay?”
“Sweetheart of course it is, you will always be welcome here” Apple watched as Can shuffled closer to Tin and Tin instinctively made space for him.
Oak nodded as he leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest “eat up and get dressed, I have some boys from the station coming over soon to escort you to collect your things”
“Station?” Tin asked sure he knew what Oak meant but didn’t want to just assume.
“Dad is a police officer” Lemon chimed in having watched with excitement from the couch.
It had turned out that as the boys had slept the story of Tul’s arrest was leaked to the press. Along with a video of him attacking Tin, it was from a different post then where Can had been standing and the audio quality was poor so it didn’t catch any of Tul’s confession. If Tin had to bet he would put his money on his noir detective, taking his phone off do not disturb a stream of notification poured in. Ignoring them all Tin called the guy half wondering if he would have to talk to the fake receptionist first. When the detective answered Tin’s call he seemed a bit apprehensive but Tin soon learned that is was because he had been right. He had been the one to give the press the shoddy video. Tin had just laughed, informed him that he wouldn’t need his services anymore and that his fee plus a bonus had been transferred into his account.
Tin could see from the back of the police car the swarm of press that were surrounding the gates of the Medthanan house. Tin tried to sit comfortably while the camera flashes went off all around the car and the press shouted out questions as they waited for the gate to open. Tin was thankful that Oak was right next to him and that the man had helped him in convincing Can that he should stay home, he didn’t want Can to be connected to this mess if they could avoid it.
Tin’s parents hadn’t been impressed when Tin had finally shown up after ignoring their calls with a police escort. To Tin’s amusement the officers kept his parents a safe distance from him as he walked to his room to collect his things. It had gone surprisingly quick as Tin had been setting things up for the possibility of having to leave. Oak had been watching with interest, helping Tin carry things because of his still tender ribs while Tin’s parents stood by talking at him. On more than one occasion Tin had seen Oak stop himself from stepping up to the two when they had said something nasty about Tin. The one time Oak almost lost his cool was when the matter of Can was brought up. Tin’s own father had remained quiet through out Tin’s mother ranting at Tin. It wasn’t until Tin was almost done that he finally spoke up.
“Where do you plan on living?” Tin didn’t have to reply to his father’s question as Oak stepped in.
“He has been provided lodgings until more permanent living arrangements can be made” Tin bit down on his smile at Oak’s choice of words.
Shooting a glare at Oak that achieved nothing Tin’s father turned back to Tin “I will arrange for an apartment to be set up for you”
Tin looked his father dead in the eye “that will be gifted to me, I don’t want to be struck with the Tax on it and that is solely in my name. I won’t risk having someone take it from me or use it to control me”
The laugh that issued from his father had been a surprise “you have a keen business mind, I look forward to seeing how you use it after you complete your education” for the first time in his life his father extended his hand for Tin to shake. He was getting treated like an equal and not a stain on the family name.
The news about Tul’s arrest had only stayed on the front page for about a week then a government official was caught using government funds to pay for prostitutes. The family had pressured and paid off the right people to get Tul a speedy trial. It hadn’t helped as the prosecution had somehow gotten their hands on a video confession starting with audio of Tul calling Can a filthy peasant and ended when Tul was cuffed and in the back of a police car. Tin sat in the witness box unfazed by the glare in Tul’s eyes knowing that the video had been his doing. His eyes only dropped from Tin’s when photos of Tin’s bruises where shown to the court.
Shortly after Tul’s sentencing Tin moved into his new apartment. Apple and Oak had put their foot down not letting Can move in with him but weren’t stupid enough to belive that they would be able to stop Can staying there most nights. And once the reporters realised the Medthanan story was dead the matching rings moved from the chains around their necks to their rightful place on their ring fingers.
The two started hanging out with each other in the open earning a few curious looks at first but that quickly went away when people grew used to seeing them together. One afternoon when Tin want to pick Can up from class and walk him to his training session Can complained about being tired as he sulked and flopped against Tin. Rolling his eyes Tin shucked him off before crouching down in front of him to let him climb on. Smiling Can laid himself over Tin enjoying being carried.
Arriving at the field Champ, Techno and Type all watched as Tin approached with a smiling Can on his back “does he have embarrassing photos of you?” Type asked Tin as they drew near curious how Can got the icy guy to do it.
Can looked pensive for a moment as Tin came to a stop in front of them “I have some of him in his underwear but they aren’t embarrassing so much as hot” Can’s face morphed into a dopey grin as he remembered the photos.
“Why do you ask?” Tin enquired as he let Can’s legs go so that he could go get changed.
“Well there has to be a reason you are carrying him around” Type said with a light shrugg.
“It’s called love P’Type, you should try it some time” Can called before disappearing through the doors that lead to the changeroom.
The three seniors turned back to look at Tin who was just smiling at the door that Can had disappeared through “is that true N’Tin? Are you and N’Can and item?” Techno asked so tentatively that Tin thought the senior might be afraid of him.
Looking at the three guys Tin nodded with a sweet smile “yeah”
Just then the team started streaming out of the change room Champ and Type quickly calling for everyone’s attention. When the whole team was standing in a group giving the three seniors their attention Champ pulled Can to the front. “It has just come to our attention that we all need to congratulate N’Can here on securing himself one of the schools top bachelors as a boyfriend” Type called out over the group as Champ pulled Tin to the front of the group shoving him next to Can.
“We’re not boyfriends P’Type” Can said even as he took Tin’s hand in his.
“I remember you saying something like that at the start of the year” Type teased.
“But we’re not P’Type, Tin and I are engaged” the stunned silence dragged on and as it seemed that the seniors and the rest of the team weren’t going to get over the shock anytime soon Can gave himself an early mark, happily letting Tin drag him away.
***One Month Later***
“No that’s got to be rubbish, there is no way ice cold Tin is dating someone”
“It’s what I heard”
“Well get your ears checked because I’m telling you that’s impossible. Even if he wanted to date someone who is going to put up with his attitude?”
“No it’s true, I heard that they are really cute and super friendly”
Pete smirked as he listened to the gossip passing between the three friends at the desk in front of his. If Tin hadn’t come in late because of his ‘cute, super friendly’ partner then the gossip wouldn’t have started up or kept passing around class like it had been even after Tin had arrived with a very prominent hickey on his neck and jaw. Looking over at his friend Pete could tell that Tin had heard what they were saying, the twitch as he tried to hide his smile made that obvious. Tin continued to listen in to those around them even as he took his usual fastidious notes.
“Tin, Tin, Tin, Tin, Tin” Pete had to muffle his laugh at the smile blooming across Tin’s face when Can burst into the room at the beginning of the lunch break “Tin, you need to feed me”
Rolling his eyes Tin looked over at the hyperactive boy “why do I need to feed you?” Tin pushed out his chair to approach his loud boy.
“Because I’m going to sleep at your place tonight so I’m going to need a lot of energy, “ Can said pushing himself against Tin and up into a kiss that had a collective gasp echoed around the room. Pulling back Can realised just how full the classroom still was, eyes landing on Pete Can tried to hide his embarrassment by calling out to him “hey Ai Pete are you coming to lunch too? Tin’s paying”
“Who said I’m paying?” Tin tried to use his icy stare on Can only to have Can give him a kiss on the tip of his nose that made Tin blush and Pete had to try to hide another laugh.
“Of course you are paying, Ai Pete is your best friend and I am your ……………” Can paused not sure how he should refer to himself in front of others that didn’t know.
“Is fiance that hard for you to say or hard for you to omit?” Tin teased as Pete moved through their stunned classmates.
Pouting Can crossed his arms “give me a break, I’m still getting used to it. I’ve never been someone’s boyfriend let alone fiance”
“I’ve been a boyfriend, I wasn’t very good at it” Tin smiled as he pulled Can’s crossed arms apart and wrapped them around himself “but the fiance thing is a first and it’s working out great, I look forward to being a husband”