“You’re not worth my time!”
In the moment that those words are released, filling the strained air of his apartment, Khai feels as though he has been punched in the gut. The sheer anger and revulsion that boils beneath those words are powerful enough to knock all of the wind from out of his lungs.
Never, in their three years of knowing each other, did Khai ever expect to hear Third yell at him like that. He knew his best friend (or should that now be ‘former’?) had a reputation for being the bluntest within the Extreme Gang – could cut a person down with a few well chosen words, specially selected to generate the maximum amount of hurt – but never did he think it would be turned upon him. Him! Khai Khunpol Krichpirom!
He tries to muster up an equally hurtful quip in return, but at the sight of Third’s face: eyes narrowed, lips pursed, and his cheeks almost scarlet in rage, he lets whatever he was about to say die on his tongue. Instead he settles for -
“Shut up!” the shorter man snarls – literally snarls – in front of him. “Shut the fuck up, Khai!”
It is then that Khai notices Third’s fists balling up and, without realising it, he takes a step backwards to put some distance between them, away from the door of the spare bedroom that he’d knocked on minutes ago with an ultimatum, and a smug smirk when his friend had finally opened the door to him.
“Are you actually an idiot, Khai?” asks Third between gritted teeth. “Do you think you can just stand there and demand that I talk to you, and try to put the blame for this situation on me? After what you did?!”
Third is trembling now, looking like he’s ready to burst from his pent up fury, and Khai is almost ready to take another step back when he notices, truly looking at his best friend properly for what may be the first time in his life, just how red his eyes have gotten and the small pools of water that are gathering at the corners, moistening his eyelashes.
“I knew you were a dick, Khai, but I never thought you would do something like that! Not to me.”
For the first time since this conversation started, Khai can hear the wobble in Third’s voice, betraying his emotions ever so slightly. There’s something else there, hidden deep beneath Third’s skin that he’d never seen until now.
‘Shit,’ thinks the taller of the two men. ‘What have I done to piss him off so much?’
They had been at their usual bar the night before after having wrapped up their stall at the Nitade Fayre*, intending to pre-emptively celebrate their success at raising the most money for the university’s upcoming theatre production with the other two members of the Extreme Gang. They’d drank a little, laughed….hell Khai had even sang a song for Third in front of everybody in the bar!
‘How is any of that a reason to get mad at me?’
‘Okay, so perhaps I sang that song to test Third’s feelings, but he doesn’t know that. And he didn’t even react anyway,’ he thinks as he continues to stare at his friend, who appears to be trying to hold back the unshed tears that are making his eyes shine. ‘Nah it can’t be that, he doesn’t know and Bone wouldn’t tell him about it.’
“Third...” Khai tries to speak again, hoping that he won’t be cut off this time. If Third would just tell him what it was he had done so wrong to elicit his friend’s wrath he could apologise for it and get things back to normal, right? He knew that he pushed Third too far at times, but in the end they were always able to reconcile and then things would go back to how they were before, like nothing had ever happened. He couldn’t lose Third. He wouldn’t lose him.
“Third, if you don’t tell me what I’ve done wrong, then I can’t fix it.” He carries on when he realises that his flatmate isn’t planning on interjecting. “One minute we were fine and then the next thing I know, Two is telling me you’ve stormed out of the bar. Then, when I get back to the apartment thinking you’d be here, you weren’t and I had to wait hours on you to come home, only to be yelled at! So tell me, Third, what the hell is the problem here?!”
Khai can feel his own anger starting to rise up within him but he tries his best to push it down. Pissing off his roommate any further was probably the last thing he should do in this situation. He may lack some tact at the best of times, but he didn’t want to die.
“You said it wasn’t the girls, and I stopped bringing them weeks ago anyway, so what is it? Just freakin’ tell me already.”
Oh shit. That was the wrong thing to say if the glare Third sends in his direction is any indication. Fuck, if Third he were anything but human, Khai thinks that that look alone would have been enough to eviscerate him on the spot.
“I told you last night, Khai!” the shorter of the two finally yells back, and one of his fists that has been balled up at his sides until now suddenly bashes against the wood of the doorframe he had been leaning against. “You played with my emotions like they’re a part of some game, and treated me like shit! And now you think I still want to be friends with you?!”
The taller man still doesn’t understand where all of this is coming from. How had he played with Third’s feelings? ‘I’ve been a lot nicer to him this entire week!’
“Friends don’t do what you did. Not to people they supposedly care about.”
“So I’m done. I can’t take it anymore, Khai!” Third snaps. “You’re not worth it.”
At those four words, so final and like yet another thump in Khai’s stomach by a heavy first, Third pushes past him and makes his way to the door of their shared apartment where he slips on a pair of his trainers and leaves. The slamming of the door the final word in their argument.
Khai can only stand, gaze fixed solidly on the front door and run his hands through his hair, tugging what was once neatly styled into a ruffled mess out of frustration.
“He’ll come back, right?” he asks himself as he remains standing outside of Third’s bedroom. “He’s just pissed, but he’ll come back.”
Even as he mumbles to himself, Khai is unable to convince himself that he will. Not after Third’s declaration in the coffee shop earlier this afternoon about moving to Two’s dorm room.
He glances back at the door of the spare room that had become Third’s, and before he can stop himself he walks forward, pushing it open and making his way inside. The sight in front of him is enough to erase any doubt he had about his flatmate’s intentions. On his bed is his silver suitcase, and the other large travel bag he had brought with him before, filled with Third’s belongings that Khai had helped him to unpack several weeks previously.
“Fuck. He’s really leaving,” he speaks out to the empty room as he continues to stare at the luggage strewn over the bed. “He really doesn’t want to be friends anymore.”
He had felt so cocky before as he had knocked on the door to his (now former) best friend’s room earlier, so sure that Third wouldn’t be able to ignore him or be willing to risk their friendship over whatever seemed to be pissing him off from the night before.
He hadn’t counted on Third throwing the offer back in his face and calling it quits.
He hadn't thought that Third, his loyal friend of three years, would be able to leave him.