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not trapped (anymore)

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It’s another day of a life made of bad decisions. The heavy thud of bass blaring from the speakers send a tremor through him, deep into his bones, making his forehead pulses. Headache, Hasbi supposes, what a great way to spend the night. 

He should’ve known better that parties like this aren’t for people like him—nerds, not exactly a recluse but he’s an outlier. He doesn’t know anyone here and he has spent half an hour looking around, plastic cup in hand. Hasbi doesn’t even know what’s in it, something sharp smelling. He only drinks beer, alright, and whatever is in it, it’s not beer.

At least the music is nice, although the bass causes his head to ache from the loud volume. People are either dancing, talking, or making out in the corner. Hasbi doesn’t dance, all he does is swaying a little, following the rhythm, not the crazed way people seem to move around. A couple is hidden in the darkened corner of the spacious room, sucking on each other’s tongues like there’s no tomorrow and Hasbi gags a little into his cup. God, that’s horrible.

All Hasbi wants to is to hop on a car and goes home, hides under his covers and plays with his cat but no, it’s incredibly stupid of him to forgot his wallet at home and not bringing a car. A friend drove him to this party, a friend who is nowhere to be seen. He sighs, taking a sip of the content of his cup, and grimaces as the liquid seems to burn down his throat. God, another horrible thing.

Like he said, his life is built on bad decisions and non-existent good luck. Just as he finishes his round of walking around the room in search of snacks, a hand shoots out and grips his upper arm, causing him to flinch violently. Thankfully, no plastic cup is thrown around and Hasbi blinks, adjusting his vision.

“Hasbi.” The man sounds amused though, no hint of surprise nor distaste. The voice is familiar, but under the dim light, it’s hard for Hasbi to—Oh.

Hasbi swallows, throat suddenly dry. “Mas,” he nods his head, offering the older man a sheepish grin. It’s a futile attempt to remove his arm from the iron grip and the man doesn't even budge nor does he recognizes the clear sign of reluctant in the way Hasbi smiles.

"Ngga nyangka bakal lihat kamu di sini," Ganda starts, his eyes flickering along Hasbi's figure. In the past, it always sent heat rushing to his face but now, now that Hasbi knows what Ganda is capable of, it only gives him a sense of mortification. "Apa kabar?"

"Baik, Mas," Hasbi answers, a tad too quickly. He squirms again, this time properly dislodging Ganda's hand from around his arm and goes to scatter away. "Anu, permisi dulu, Mas, mau cari teman saya."

He doesn't miss the way Ganda narrows his eyes at him, gaze goes dark with something Hasbi has always scared to name. "Buru-buru banget. Temenin Mas di sini, lah."

 "Tapi—"

"Dari tadi saya lihat kamu sendirian juga." The older man takes a step closer, and Ganda has several inches on Hasbi that it gets him frozen on his spot instantly. "Ayolah."

There is a hand tugging on his belt, fingers hooked on the loop. Hasbi swallows down, his throat dry with fear, but Ganda doesn't seem to notice. The man has a smirk curling up on his lips and he goes to wrap his arm around Hasbi's waist. "Yuk, ke belakang."

That invitation is what snaps him out of his reverie, a moment of cold comprehension dawns onto him, and it's hard for Hasbi to wriggle away from Ganda, because the older man is strong, has always been stronger than him and—

"Hasbi?" A voice calls out from somewhere behind him, making both Ganda and Hasbi still. A man, sounds only vaguely familiar, and when Hasbi glances from the corner of his eyes, he feels relief coursing through him in a dizzying rate.

It's Dirga Utama. They barely know each other, not even coming from the same major or faculty, but they're both members of Student's Council, along with Ganda. Judging from the hostile look that flickers on Ganda's face, the rumor is true; Ganda comes from the opposition party and there was something of a conflict between Dirga and Ganda.

Dirga, on the other hand, looks deceptively calm, eyes flickering from Ganda to Hasbi before he musters up a smile. "Malam, Mas Ganda." He pauses, turning his attention to Hasbi, and maybe it's the effect of the dim light, but his smile seems to grow wider when his eyes land on Hasbi. "Saya denger kamu nyariin saya, ya?"

Hasbi didn't, he hasn't even seen the man for the night but he nods his head. The encounter has left the arm curled around his waist slack, making it easier for him to pull himself away from Ganda and he goes to stand next to Dirga. "Iya, Mas. Kayanya saya mau pulang aja."

"Ngga bisa," he hears Ganda growls low, sending Hasbi into a flinch. He supposed Dirga catches that, because his gaze hardens and he pulls Hasbi closer. "Saya lihat dia duluan."

Dirga huffs, rolling his eyes, and if he isn't so terrified, Hasbi would laugh at the surprised look that crosses Ganda's face. "Tapi Hasbi bilang dia mau pulang, ya 'kan?"

Nodding his head again, Hasbi carefully avoids the older man vicious gaze directed at him. "Iya, saya pusing, mau pulang aja."

"Hasbi." Ganda sounds saccharine sweet, with a smile that doesn't match the playful lilt to his voice. "Ayolah, sebentar aja. Mas kangen sama kamu, udah lama kita ngga—"

His stomach flips uncomfortably—no one knows, fuck, no one but Ganda is supposed to know that Hasbi swings that way. A wave of nausea washes through him, shit, he doesn't want to glance at Dirga, too scared to see his reaction. Maybe disgust, or distaste—

"Kita pulang." Not a hint of repulsion, Dirga just sounds firm and with an arm around Hasbi's shoulders, he steers him away from Ganda. It takes several breaths until the urge to vomit dissipates and when Hasbi is lucid enough to take a shaky inhale of air in, they're already on the parking lot. Thankfully, it's barren and Ganda is not following them, making Hasbi breathes out a little easier. But still—

Hasbi swallows again, throat clicking, and he glances at his senior. He doesn't realize he's bracing himself for something, holding his breath longer. "Mas Dirga, saya—"

"Hasbi, saya minta maaf." Dirga beats him to it but his words are not what Hasbi has expected. "Saya minta maaf karena saya ngga lihat kamu lebih dulu."

The lighting that illuminates Dirga's car is closer to none, safe enough for Hasbi to turn a little on the passenger seat to glance at his senior. He's in confusion, that's only putting it mildly. "Kok?"

"Saya denger kabar soal kamu dan Ganda Hamdan," Dirga starts, grimacing a little but not in disgust. "Tapi saya kira itu ngga benar. Dan tadi saya lihat kamu sama dia … kamu kelihatan ngga nyaman."

"Masalah kamu suka cowok atau cewek, itu bukan urusan saya," he continues, shooting a small smile at Hasbi. "Munafik sekali kalau saya menggembor-gemborkan soal itu, saya juga, anu—"

The confusion clears and Hasbi feels so relieved that his head starts to spin. This is also the first time Dirga looks abashed, rubbing his nape with a sheepish grin. It startles a laughter out of Hasbi, more in surprise because, who would've thought?

"Saya udah lama ngga ketemu Mas Ganda, sih," Hasbi finally says because he owed the man who has saved him an explanation. "Udah nyaris setahun menghindar dari dia."

Hasbi carefully leaves how messy their relationship was, the word 'toxic' swarming his mind because no, no matter how Dirga is basically his savior tonight, he doesn't know the man enough to disclose his secrets. His arm will bruise, Hasbi knows it, and it reminds him of his past, one that he's trying hard to bury.

A warm hand lands on his shoulder, shaking him from his thoughts, and Hasbi takes a deep breath in surprise. "Kamu ngga perlu ngasih tahu saya apa-apa, Hasbi." Dirga sounds sympathetic, the curl on his lips is soothing and warm, so unlike Ganda.

They're both quiet, only broken by Hasbi as he recites his address to the older man. Dirga pulls over in front of his house after a moment, but Hasbi is somehow reluctant to slide off the car.

"Mas—"

"Hasbi—"

Cut silent, Hasbi only stares at Dirga for a brief moment before they dissolve into laughters, shoulders shaking and spine bowed. Dirga waves a hand, still trying to bite back a smile to no avail.

"Oh," he says after a moment, earning an inquiring look from Hasbi. "Mas minta kontak kamu dong. WhatsApp, LINE—apa aja."

Hasbi feels his face flushes red for no reason—it's just logical for Dirga to ask for his number after what happened tonight, right? Fingers tapping nimbly on the screen and Hasbi gives the phone back to Dirga, letting his senior name him however he wants.

"Makasih udah nganterin saya pulang, Mas," Hasbi says politely, offering Dirga a smile. To his relief, Dirga returns the smile, nodding his head.

"Ngga masalah," Dirga hums, peering up through the window as Hasbi slides out of his car. "Sampai ketemu lagi, Hasbi."

A chuckle slips past him and Hasbi waves a hand. "Hati-hati di jalan, Mas."

The car drives past him and Hasbi realizes he hasn't stopped smiling when he plops himself down on his bed.


His phone buzzes just as he's about to doze off to sleep, making Hasbi grapples for his phone, groaning in irritation. It's several hours after midnight, who the hell—

"Malam, Hasbi."

"Ini Dirga."

"Kontak saya disimpan, ya. :D "

Oh. Hasbi blinks sleep away, the urge to throw his phone away immediately disappears, and he's suddenly alert enough to type up a reply. He might be smiling the whole night, but no one has to know that.