Ghani Zulham is not a fan of new things and uncertainty. He can always find comfort in habits and knowing things. That is exactly why he hates Ganda Hamdan; he is spontaneous and he has the power to make Ghani feel unfamiliar things.
Like when Ghani saw Ganda's neatly trimmed beard for the first time. Ghani had asked Ganda to accompany him to an event where he knew there would be pretentious people so Ghani could really use a company.
"Ganda, kamu cukur?" Ghani asked, completely… stunned? No, not stunned. There had to be another word, he thought, but he couldn't find it.
Ganda rubbed his beard. "Iya, dong. Rapi, kan, Pak?" Ghani wanted to wipe the pride off his voice, if he could. The sight of his lackey in that beard, purple shirt, and a suit made Ghani curse under his breath. The way Ganda raised his eyebrows said that he knew what he was doing.
It was, Ghani decided, a wrong decision because in that moment, the hatred towards Ganda started to develop. He was used to seeing Ganda with his messy beard, even when he disliked it. Seeing it neatly trimmed made Ghani feel things he could not understand. His stomach felt warm and he was not breathing enough air from the shallow breaths he was taking that night. It must be hatred, he thought.
He also remembers when he was sick and Ganda Hamdan took care of him. Ghani had insisted he could do it by himself, but Ganda wouldn't believe him, especially when he could barely walk straight since his vision was blurry from the migraine.
Ganda's arm was around Ghani's waist when he walked him to the bed. All Ghani could think was that Ganda had just broken an unspoken rule; no one was allowed to enter him room except Ghani himself. Even when he had brought people home to have sex, they had done it on his couch or office. Ganda didn't hesitate when he entered the younger man's room, he even sat on his bed.
"Pak, saya masakin makan, ya." It was a statement rather than a question.
Ganda had placed Ghani against a stack of his pillows, but he tried to straighten his position to show some kind of resistance toward Ganda's… he didn't know if he should address it as affection or just action. "Saya bisa sendiri," he defended himself, even when he was not attacked or accused at all.
"Pak," Ganda's voice was soft as he placed his hand on Ghani's shoulder, rubbing his thumb against it. He also might have pushed Ghani a little or Ghani had done it on his own will, but the sick man went back leaning his body against the pillows. "Bapak tidur aja dulu aja gak apa. Nanti saya bangunin pas udah jadi."
That night, Ghani tasted Ganda's cooking for the first time and he hated the fact at how delicious it was. He even might have moaned a little when the chicken broth entered his mouth, but he would never admit that.
Ghani started hating him even more when one day, Ganda decided to ride a motorbike instead of driving a car to pick him up. As defense, Ganda had said it was to avoid the jammed traffic in the city. It made sense, even to Ghani, but he would rather have Ganda discussing that with him first. If he knew, he would have prepared himself to see Ganda in a leather jacket, approaching him with bullet motorcycle.
"Biar gak macet, Pak," Ganda said, sound muffled by the helmet, but Ghani knew the man was smiling; he could tell by the way the man's eyes lit up.
The first thing Ghani did was to look up at the sky and he noticed how there were already heavy grey clouds that could spill anytime. He furrowed his eyebrows. "Memang, gak keburu hujan di jalan?" Ghani asked, but he put on the helmet anyway.
"Aman," he answered proudly, waving his hand.
Ganda clearly didn't mean it. The clouds spilled before the two men could reach Ghani's place. Ghani could already taste 'I told you so' on the tip of his tounge, ready to be spat out, but he held himself back. He would rather give the other man a silent treatment.
"Waduh, harus neduh kayaknya kita," Ganda informed, sounding a bit apologetic. "Di mall itu kali, ya?" He pointed at a building near them with his chin. Ghani thought it was a good idea, but he stayed silent. He often forgot that Ganda was someone who could understand his different type of silence because Ganda actually turned left to enter the mall without waiting for an answer.
The disaster did not end there. The mall was cramped and full of people, Ghani had always disliked crowd. He didn't like to bump his shoulders with other people or had his feet stepped on. But, most importantly, he didn't like the feeling like he was suffocating and lost.
"Korban kehujanan semua, kayaknya." The voice came from Ghani's right. When he turned his head, he could see Ganda was offering him a comforting smile like he knew what Ghani was feeling. "Ngopi aja, yuk," Ganda said.
Suddenly, there was a firm hand holding Ghani's hand; it was Ganda's. The man even had the audacity to link their fingers together. "Biar gak kepisah," Ganda said. While it was a fair point, Ghani still cursed the man in his mind; he hated Ganda.
Now, he's lying on his bed, facing the back of the man he hates with all his heart. Ganda is no longer making sounds except for his soft breaths. The man doesn't snore, thankfully. Ghani will hate him even more if he does.
"Saya gak suka sama kamu, Ganda," Ghani starts, whispering. "Benci, bahkan."
Thoughts and memories come to his mind and he needs some time to process them all. He's trying to calm himself by matching his breathing with Ganda's. It works. It always does.
"Kamu itu bikin bingung saya setiap hari. Saya gak suka, Ganda, tiba-tiba kepikiran kamu kalau saya kerja. Mengganggu," Ghani admits. He has never told Ganda about this before, of course.
"Saya gak bisa marah sama kamu, padahal kamu bikin saya jengkel terus." His eyebrows are now knitted in the middle. "Saya gak suka. Benci."
"Senyum kamu bikin saya gak bisa mikir." Even remembering Ganda's smile makes Ghani stops for a moment, he feels warmth spreading all over his body. "Saya jadi kayak orang bodoh, Ganda," he adds.
"Saya juga gak suka kalau kamu peluk-peluk saya. Bikin saya takut kalau suatu saat saya gak bisa merasa senyaman itu lagi."
To Ghani's surprise, Ganda rolls his body until he's on his back. He's looking at him with soft and sleepy eyes, but comforting.
"Ghani," Ganda soothes him, cupping Ghani's cheek in his hand with his thumb rubbing on the soft skin, "itu namanya cinta." He kisses the tip of his nose cheekily. "Nanti kita belajar lagi, ya?"
Ghani doesn't answer, he's still embarrassed by the fact that Ganda wasn't sleeping. He only leans into Ganda's touch and lets out a stuttering sigh. Ganda understands, but he never pushes Ghani. Ever.
"Sudah. Sini tidur," he says, pulling Ghani into his arms and let him nuzzle his face on Ganda's neck. "Jangan mikir aneh-aneh, saya di sini," Ganda adds, pressing a kiss on Ghani's head.
Another thing Ghani hates about Ganda Hamdan is the fact that he's really warm and smells earthy, almost like woods. Ghani can be lulled to sleep within minutes in his arms.