Tine never planned to fall in love. Does anyone ever plan it? Tine doesn’t think it’s possible to do that, actually.
You may have an ideal someone in mind, a certain type, and certain standards that you'd like the person to meet, certain requirements. But then again, sometimes love comes in the most unexpected moments, and you fall for the most unexpected people. In some occasions it works out, and they love you back, and you’re happy. But in others (most of the times, at least for Tine), destiny is cruel, and life makes you fall for someone who doesn’t love you back, or doesn't care for you the same way you care for them, so you’re left feeling like you're giving away too much of yourself and they're not giving you enough of them, or they eventually get tired of you, and you wonder Why, what’s wrong? , and then you see them loving someone else the way you thought they were going to love you, and you think What is it that I’m missing? Why can’t it be me? and there’s never an answer.
But anyways, Tine never planned to fall in love, nevermind in this particular kind of situation, but he did, and now he’s here, and Sarawat doesn’t love him back.
The first time they meet it’s when Tine is running to catch up with him, a horde of girls running behind him, trying to get there first to catch sight and maybe exchange a few words with the elusive campus celebrity.
Tine stops in front of him, panting slightly, and stares for a second while trying to think what the hell he’s going to say to convince a dude he’s never talked to in his life to fake date him in order to stop Green (a dude he probably doesn’t even know) from chasing him everyday. He curses his friends for coming up with this stupid plan, and he curses himself for agreeing and going through with it.
He ends up not being able to say it, though, as he hears Sarawat tell him that if he keeps looking at him like that (and how is that?), he’ll kiss Tine ‘til he drops (how does that even work?). He just stares, gawking, not knowing how to reply to that, as he watches Sarawat’s retreating back get further and further away.
It doesn’t actually start there, Tine thinks when he looks back at this moment. It’s nothing like love at first sight or some fairy tail stuff like that, but it is the start of the beginning, and it is the point in which his life started to become happier and, at the same time, kind of transformed into hell.
He keeps trying, because he never backs down from a challenge, and Sarawat is one. He doesn’t know why, but he just feels the need to prove he can change Sarawat’s mind and convince him to help. Otherwise, he’d feel like he lost. It doesn’t make sense, but there’s a force driving him to keep trying, keep asking him, keep doing whatever it’s needed to win. No matter how hard Sarawat runs away from him, he’ll be just a couple of steps behind him, never backing down.
Finally, one day, after a couple of failed attempts at getting Sarawat’s attention and keep it on himself for more than a few seconds before he’s being ignored, he catches Sarawat and makes it so that he won’t be able to run away this time.
Tine feels like it’s now or never, as he drags Sarawat towards an empty corridor at the side of the building. He has to say it now or he’ll never get the opportunity again, so he does.
“Be my boyfriend?” he lets out as he grabs onto Sarawat’s sleeve, preventing him from turning away from him. He sees Sarawat’s eyes open wide, and he backtracks a bit to explain. “Not a real boyfriend! I just need help getting someone to understand I won’t date them. I need a fake boyfriend for that, and you’re my best option. We don’t gotta date for real, just pretend until I can get rid of this someone.”
Sarawat keeps listening with a frown on his face. He doesn’t look mad, just a bit confused, and if Tine were in his shoes, he’d be confused too.
“Why? Is she not your type or something?” Sarawat asks.
“It’s a guy, actually, but I like girls.” explains Tine.
“What’s wrong with that? It’s good that someone likes you, right?”
“It’s not that he’s a boy, I just don’t like when people get involved in my personal life.” Tine continues and watches as Sarawat frowns as if thinking over what he just said. Tine waits a moment before he says, “Please?”
“No.” Sarawat replies after a few seconds. “It's annoying, you're gonna have to find someone else.”
And he leaves.
Obviously, because he’s stubborn and he WILL NOT lose, Tine signs up for Music Club. Now, you may ask, can Tine play an instrument? No. Does he know anything about music? Not really. Does he listen to a variety of genres as to familiarize himself with the huge diversity that exists in music? He only listens to Scrubb, actually. So, well, Tine might not know how to play the guitar or read music, but he makes it up with his endless enthusiasm to always strive to become better! And, of course, ‘cause he's a sore loser.
So he signs up, just like another 20 or so girls have done (to be with Sarawat, apparently), and he's met with the challenge of learning how to play basic chords or basically get kicked out of the club and lose the opportunity to annoy Sarawat to the point of him agreeing to fake date him.
“If I pass and get into the club,” Tine tells Sarawat as they gather their stuff after a guitar lesson by given by P’Air. “you will be my fake boyfriend. We got a deal?”
“No.” Sarawat replies, picking up his guitar case and starting to make his way out of the room.
“Oh, come on! Are you so scared I'm gonna make it and you're gonna lose that you can't even accept a simple bet?” Tine says with a smirk, hurrying after Sarawat.
“No. I know you're not gonna make it, so I’ll be nice and spare you from embarrassing yourself.”
“Nah, I think you're just scared.”
“I just said I'm not, you nuisance.”
“Cute nickname, but that doesn't change the fact that you're still scared.”
They reach the parking lot, and Tine is supposed to go the other way, because he doesn't have a car, but he isn't leaving until Sarawat agrees (he would even chase him with a bike like he did once, but that's another story).
“Come on, just accept it. If you're so sure I'm not gonna get in, just do it.”
Tine follows Sarawat to his car, and in a quick flash he stands in front of the passenger door and leans against it, preventing Sarawat from opening it and getting on.
“Come on. Come ooonnnn. Please? Come on. Just say yes, yeah? Com-”
“Fine! God, you talk so much. Alright, if you get in I'll fake date you. You happy?”
He, of course, gets into the club. How? He's not sure. He practiced all night and learned to play the easiest Scrubb song he could find, which still was not that easy, but he managed to do it and somehow, P’Dim thought he was good enough to be in the club. Tine isn't gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.
Sarawat just sighs when he hears the news, and hands him his phone, telling Tine to add him on Line so they can talk about what they have to do with the whole situation.
That night, after discussing the details of the deal over Line (they'd just do basic stuff like Sarawat buying him stuff, picking him up from classes, having lunch with him, and maybe holding hands), Tine tells him he's off to bed, and Sarawat sends him a cute sticker of a bear saying “Good night”, so overall, Tine thinks Sarawat isn't that bad of a guy.
After about three or four weeks of fake dating, Tine can say they've moved from being mere acquaintances to actually becoming what he'd like to call “friends”. They stop eating lunch together out of necessity, and now they do it simply because they enjoy each other’s company. Tine feels surprisingly comfortable with Sarawat, and he didn't expect that. They text each other almost every day, and Sarawat has been teaching Tine to play guitar, and they've studied together in the library too. Tine is surprised by this shift in their relationship, but he can't say he minds.
They're hanging out after Sarawat’s football practice, sitting on the grass of the field and munching on snacks, Tine’s phone blasting Scrubb songs, and Sarawat singing under his breath. Tine looks at him from the corner of his eye.
Last week, P’Dim had assigned the rookies to partner up with someone who could already play an instrument. They were to record a video of them playing any song they chose, and it would be evaluated by P’Dim and P’Air.
Naturally, Tine partnered up with Sarawat. That same day he'd gone over to Sarawat’s house, buying a few snacks on the way in case they got hungry.
“Wow,” he’d said as he entered the room. “This room’s kinda creepy, dude, even the walls are black. Are you sure it's not haunted?”
“It is, there's a ghost standing right behind you, watch out.” Sarawat had replied.
Tine had jumped and called him an asshole, and Sarawat had laughed a bit. Then, they'd settled on Sarawat’s bed (even the bed sheets were black).
And then, Sarawat had started playing a song by Scrubb on Tine’s request, and Tine had started singing along with Sarawat, and under the low light of the lamps, the familiar melody, the quiet of the night, and Sarawat’s slightly raspy voice, Tine had just sat there mesmerized by the whole scene, unable to take his eyes off of Sarawat. His skin had looked golden, his fingers moving comfortably on the guitar neck, changing chords as naturally as he would breathe, and for a moment Tine had the weird and embarrassing thought thatd Sarawat was… beautiful. He knew he was handsome, he couldn't deny it, he'd known since his friends had shown him a video of Sarawat playing guitar on the stage during freshy night. But that had been different. That had been happening under a spotlight, in front of a thousand other people, and it hadn't felt as personal.
But in the quiet, slightly cramped space of Sarawat’s dark room, looking at the bridge of Sarawat’s nose, his deep cupid’s bow, hus long fingers playing music for him, his long eyelashes fluttering over his slightly rosy cheeks, Tine’s heart had fluttered a bit. But it was just because of the song Sarawat had been playing, obviously, he convinced himself. At one point he'd stopped his singing and had just sat there staring at Sarawat’s face, who had his eyes closed, concentrating on getting the notes and lyrics right, and Sarawat had, suddenly, opened his eyes and met Tine’s, and he’d felt embarrassed and quickly looked away, pretending his eyes hadn't been on Sarawat’s face the entire time.
Now, Tine thinks it was just a weird moment. You know, guys are handsome, and he likes watching good looking people, so he'd just stared a bit. He ignores the feeling he gets now, watching Sarawat lean back on his hands, head slightly thrown back, mouthing the lyrics to s song, a small crumb of the chips he's been eating stuck on the corner of his mouth. Tine’s heart rate speeds up, and he feels a strange sensation in the pit of his stomach, his hands getting sweaty for reasons he can't understand. Tine watches the way Sarawat swallows and his adam’s apple moves, the way a drop of sweat makes his way down from his temple to his chin, and the way his fingers are playing with the grass underneath him. Tine suddenly lets out a sigh he didn't know he'd been holding.
He snaps back his head to face front, and shakes it to get rid of the strange thoughts plaguing his mind.
“Hey, uh” Tine tries to say, but it comes out raspy and his voice cracks a bit at the end. He clears his throat. “You, uh, you got a crumb there.” He points at the corner of his own mouth.
Sarawat scratches the wrong side of his mouth. “Did I get it?”
And before Tine’s brain can catch up to his body, he raises a hand and wipes the crumb off for him, his fingers just barely grazing Sarawat’s lips. His whole hand feels like it's on fire, and he snatches it back like Sarawat’s skin burns him.
Sarawat looks just a bit surprised, but he says “Thanks, nuisance.”
“Uh, yeah” Tine replies, because he's forgotten how to talk.
One week later, they hold hands for the first time. Well, it’s not really hand holding, Tine wouldn’t really call it that, and it wasn't the only relevant thing that had happened, but honestly he’d rather just… push this memory to the back of his mind for the time being.
It happens during Music Club. They're being paired up (again) by P’Dim, but this time it's just a simple practice to finally learn all the chords they hadn't been taught. They can choose who they want to pair up with, and Tine’s eyes immediately find Sarawat as P’Dim finishes explaining what they have to do. Sarawat cocks an eyebrow at him, but otherwise stays silent.
Tine begins approaching him, but suddenly Green is in front of him, letting out a long Tiiiiineeeee , and asking him to be his partner. He apologizes and says no, explaining he already has Sarawat.
“Tine, you're spending a lot of time with Sarawat lately.” Green pouts. “Are you guys flirting for real?”
“Yeah, I told you” Tine looks over Green’s shoulder at Sarawat picking up his guitar and getting ready. “This guy’s like, really into me, so we're flirting.”
He leaves Green slightly pouting, and goes straight to Sarawat. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Sarawat replies. “Let’s get started. I know you're gonna take a long time to learn these so let's get straight to it.”
“Hey! I'm not that slow, you know?”
“Whatever you say, nuisance.”
They get to it. They both sit on a bench, and Tine grabs the worst guitar the music club could've given him, and attempts to play the chords Sarawat is teaching him, but the strings are so hard and difficult to press down that his fingers are starting to ache, and he can't put any more pressure on them. He hisses as he feels another stinging pain on his fingertips.
“Ouch, these strings are shit, they make my fingers hurt.”
Sarawat sighs, muttering something like you're too delicate under his breath, and takes the guitar from Tine’s arms without asking, and puts his own guitar in them instead. Tine blinks a few times, trying to process what he's supposed to do now.
Sarawat must see it in his face, because he goes “Just play it. I'll let you borrow it for now.”
Tine nods, and moves his fingers into position to start practicing the chords again, but they must be wrong, because he hears Sarawat tsk at him and bring his own hands onto the matter, grabbing Tine’s hands and trying to reposition his fingers into the right places.
Tine’s heart speeds up, and he can feel it against his chest, and he's scared Sarawat can hear it too. Sarawat is so close, his face only inches away from Tine’s as he looks down to their fingers on the neck of the guitar, and Tine can almost feel his breath against his skin. The places where Sarawat’s fingers touch his own are starting to burn, and he feels his face get hotter by the second.
Then, almost giving Tine a heart attack due to the sudden closeness, Sarawat looks up and right into Tine’s eyes. Sarawat is slightly frowning, looking directly at Tine, his fingers frozen over Tine’s, burning his skin, and Tine thinks he's going to die right there.
He looks back at Sarawat, his heart going crazy, and feels like it's going to come out of his chest any second now. Tine licks his lips, because they feel so dry, and he sees Sarawat’s eyes follow the movement of his tongue against them, and Tine, for some unknown reason he can’t quite comprehend at the moment, starts leaning in. He's crazy, he's out of his mind, he's not sure what's happening, he doesn’t even know what he’s trying to do, but he feels a magnetic attraction pulling him closer to Sarawat and something in his head tells him lean in just a bit more and kiss him , so he does.
Or tries to, at least, because the next second, Tine can hear P’Air’s voice calling him over to the opposite side of the room, and Tine snaps back into reality, and realizes what he's doing, and where he is, and who they’re surrounded by, and he almost drops Sarawat’s guitar to the floor because he's in a hurry to get up and away from him. He doesn't look at him as he hands him his guitar, but he can feel Sarawat’s eyes burning at the back of his head as Tine approaches P’Air.
He looks at Sarawat over his shoulder the entire time P’Air is talking to him, trying to stay focused on her and listen to what she tells him, but his eyes keep wandering back to Sarawat, who’s now apparently texting someone with a small smile on his face. His eyes snap back to P’Air.
Tine tries to get his heart to calm down, and he tries to listen to what P’Air is saying, but it’s like he can barely hear anything over the thumping on his chest and a voice telling him you just tried to kiss Sarawat in the middle of music club .
Tine goes to bed that night not knowing how to feel about it. Sarawat hadn’t mentioned anything after Tine’s conversation with P’Air, he’d just handed him his guitar back and kept on teaching him. Tine had been distracted and called the practice off early, and he’d returned to his condo.
As much as he thinks and thinks and tries to untangle all the different thoughts popping into his head, the only rational thought he can come up with is Fuck, I think I like Sarawat?
And it’s... It’s weird. Tine’s never liked a guy before. He’s never even considered the fact that he could like a guy. And he’s kind of freaking out, wondering what the fuck he’s gonna do now that he’s figured out he thinks he might like a dude and, well, that the dude is Sarawat. It feels kind of weird; both saying he might like a guy and that the guy is Sarawat. It doesn't feel wrong, just weird, unfamiliar, and a bit scary. He tries to wrap his mind about it, and it makes sense, but it also doesn’t. He’s always considered himself straight. And he still likes girls, he still would like to kiss a girl, he’d like to date a girl, and sleep with a girl. But now, apparently, he realizes he also wants to do that with Sarawat too. Not the sleeping with him part, cause that feels a little too much for him to even think at the moment, but- kissing him (like he’d tried to do that same day) and holding his hand (like they’d...kinda done that same day too), and then his mind wanders off and suddenly there's an image of Sarawat burying his face in Tine's neck and stroking the small of his back, whispering sweet nothings into Tine’s ears and Tine feels his body temperature get higher, his cheeks burning, and there's a tingling sensation that runs along his spine. Fuck, Tine thinks, fuck fuck fuck fuck. Well, that unexpected thought certainly made him feel… things. Things that he's still not entirely ready to process. He breathes in and out deeply, turning off the lamp on his nightstand.
He doesn’t hate it. That thought. He feels different, but he also feels like he’s always felt: like himself. He doesn't feel like that small, almost-revelation has changed him st all, or made him look at himself in a different way, but, well, he's not going to figure out what exactly all these thoughts and feelings mean right now. He’s tired from today, and he probably needs advice from his friends, so he pushes all of these thoughts aside for the night and goes to sleep.