—Three years prior; 13 days after Tao’s departure—
Outside was hell. There was a tree near Tao’s window that had a branch constantly hitting and tapping at the glass. Personally, Tao didn’t mind. He thought that the sound of the rain pelting the roof and the sound of the tree whacking its branch on the glass was all soothing.
There was nothing in his room, but the sound of the weather and his own breathing. It was a soothing environment, especially with the scent of rain lingering in the air. Lying on his bed, the entire world seemed to have faded in the background as it was drowned out by the raging hell storm outside.
Taking his ipod from the bedside table, Tao stuck the earphones in his ears and clicked play to the current song on pause. He balanced the sound so he heard a perfect harmony of music and rain, then hummed along as he closed his eyes.
The storm outside didn’t lighten up as the time went by. In fact, it got even worse. Tao had drifted off into sleep, but was abruptly woken up by grandmother, who shook him awake.
Tao groaned after being woken up, but nonetheless, he got up without being pushed by his elderly grandma.
“Tao, there was a stranger at the door…” she calmly said.
Rubbing his eyes, Tao glanced to his window where the rain was beating against the glass. “At the door… You mean outside? Out there?” he asked wearily.
His grandma nodded. “He didn’t say exactly what he was here for, because he was wet from head to toe… He was freezing—teeth chattering—so I just let him inside the house,” she explained. “He’s about your height and size so I’m going to have to ask you to spare some of your clothing, alright?”
Tao blinked, but then he nodded. “Okay…”
“Bring them to the kitchen. I made him drink some hot tea to warm up.”
“Alright,” Tao said slowly scooting off his bed and putting his ipod on top of it. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
After that, his grandma smiled at him before leaving his room. Tao’s eyes glanced over to his closet before scuffling over to it. He didn’t know exactly what to get so he got the loosest shirt that he could find and a pair of basketball shorts.
With clothes in hand, Tao exited his room and went off to the kitchen. Walking down the hallway, Tao was thinking about what kind of jarred idiot would be outside in the weather that was relentlessly pounding down. It didn’t take so much as a glance to who was sitting in his grandparents’ kitchen that Tao saw that it was Kris who was the idiot out in the fucking rain.
Tao froze, not believing his eyes. When he saw his grandmother giving him a questioning look, he mechanically moved over to the table, fully aware that Kris was watching his every move. Tao placed the clothes on the table quickly and brashly, not bothering to cover up the fact that he was not happy by any means by Kris’ presence.
Once the clothes were off his hands—which Tao made a mental note to burn once Kris was done using them—Tao turned on his heels.
Kris opened his mouth to say something, but Tao’s grandma beat him to it. “Tao, properly greet him.”
With his back turned to them, Tao put up an annoyed face, but got rid of it before he turned and nodded his head at Kris. “Hello,” he said tonelessly.
“Hi…” Kris mumbled back.
There was a stand still before Tao glanced off. “Well, I guess I’ll go back to my room…” With no further interruption, Tao left the kitchen, heading back to his room to try and pretend like he didn’t see Wu in the same house as him.
Tao felt like he couldn’t even exit his own room, but then again, he put himself in that corner. Thirty minutes went by and Tao didn’t know whether he was more relieved at the fact that Kris hadn’t bothered him ,or curious as to whether Kris was still in the house of not—if so, what was he doing?
There were a few things in Tao’s head. One of those things was that Kris would never just burst into his room. His grandparents were probably keeping him preoccupied with small talk in the kitchen.
All the thoughts and expectations of what Kris was doing, and what he could and couldn’t do crashed when Tao’s grandmother let herself in his room again with Kris following behind her small and frail figure.
“Tao, after talking with Kris here, your grandpa and I think that it’d be best if you two talk,” she calmly and kindly said.
Clenching his jaws, Tao sat up on his bed, glaring at Kris—not his lovely grandmother who didn’t know what kind of fucker Kris was. Tao was about to demand as to how she knew about Kris’ reason for being there, but before he could, she already answered the question that was lingering in his head.
“Kris told us that he’s from your school back in Korea,” she started. She motioned for Kris to edge closer to her, which he did. “He says that he’s here to try and convince you to go back. Now, I might be old, but I do know that school in Korea’s not quite over. Kris told me that he’s here without the school’s knowledge so he’s being marked absent every day he’s here.”
“Now I want you two to talk things out, because Kris needs to go back home as soon as possible to take care of his own education career,” she said, giving Kris a slight pat on the back. “Well, I’ll just leave you two at it, then. Tao, listen to what your friend has to say…”
Turning, his grandma went out the way she came from and left Tao to fend for himself against the asshole in front of him. Getting off the bed to jump on the offensive, Tao threw Kris a look. “Manipulating elderly people, now?”
Kris didn’t look impressed as he closed and locked the door, garnering Tao’s immediate attention. “I’m not here to argue with you.”
“Are you here to convince me to take a one-way trip back to Korea, then?” Tao sarcastically asked. “Cause the answer’s still no—oh wait!” Tao raised a finger and mockingly glanced up as if a light bulb just went off in his head. “You’re here because you want me to fucking forgive you for that photo.”
“I’m not here for any of that—”
Tao cut him off. “—By the way, when the rain stops, get the fuck out of this house.”
For the entire time that Kris was in China, he promised himself that he wouldn’t snap back to jerk-mode. Obviously, he knew that Tao was going to snarky and insulting—part of his automatic defense—but being hit with the same accusations and having to deal with words being stuffed in his mouth just pissed Kris right off the edge.
Moving around the bed, Kris quickly closed the space between them. Tao was apprehensive on what he should do. First instincts told him to punch the threat. In the spur of the moment, Tao ended up listening to his first instinct.
With fist clenched, he tried to pack a punch on Kris, but to his surprise, Kris dodged the attempt. Instead, he grabbed the arm and the back of Tao’s neck. Then Kris forced Tao’s arm behind his back and proceeded to push Tao on his bed.
Tao gritted his teeth when he felt his face pressed against the mattress. “You fucking—”
“Shut up,” Kris ordered. “Shut up and listen like your dear grandma told you so.”
Turning his face from the mattress, Tao tried to turn his head to Kris despite being in a bended position making it hard for him to do so. “The fact that you’re using my fucking grandma—”
“Hey,” Kris warned, pressing slightly harder. “Your grandma can’t hear as well as you can at her age, but at least she listened to what the hell I had to say unlike you.”
“Stop pressing so damn hard!” Tao growled. Then he paused. “What exactly did you tell her, you ass!?”
“Everything,” Kris muttered.
Tao’s eyes widened and he struggled even more. “What the fuck do you mean everything!?”
“Everything,” Kris repeated as he let go of Tao by the back of his neck. “Everything from what we really are and down to how you left a space in everyone’s life when you left—especially mine.”
Tao scoffed. He tried to turn on his back, but Kris used an arm to keep him facing the bed. “There was never a fucking we, alright? And shut up. Quit spinning crap. You’re using my grandparents for your own god damn use—but damn it! Let me go already! This position is killing me!”
Against the struggling guy beneath him, Kris held his hold. “You’re only lying to yourself if you say that there never an us,” Kris said in a hard tone.
Tao gave a bitter laugh. “No, really, Wu. Fucking here and there doesn’t equal you being my boyfriend!”
Growing angry with Tao’s resistance and stubbornness, Kris took a hand and slapped Tao hard on the ass. Unintentionally, Tao let out a gasp that morphed into a slight moan at the end. Kris’ ears caught it and he smirked. “Liked that?”
Tao’s mood flared as embarrassment and anger rose. Luckily for him, Kris decided to finally let him roll over of his back, but the unfortunate part came soon after as Kris took his hands and locked them above his head.
Not done resisting, Tao lifted his leg. He successfully kicked Kris hard on the thigh, but it only made him wince. Kris wasn’t willing to be kicked again so he moved in between Tao’s legs—much to his pleasure and much to Tao’s annoyance.
“Now, you’re gonna listen to what I have to say—some of which I’m gonna have to repeat because your thick head didn’t understand me the first time around at that basketball court a few days ago.”
Tao tried to free his hands, but he couldn’t. “Get off.”
Kris ignored him. “I took the photo because I was pissed off at you—”
“—For accidentally hitting you in the face!” Tao snapped. “Accidentally, Wu! Then you went ape shit and fucking cornered me—wait! Not to mention ripping my clothes off and sticking your god damn fingers inside me, you fucking violator!”
Kris took it with a blank face. True. Everything was true, but only a part of him felt guilty for bringing that entire situation on Tao, because the other half actually enjoyed the experience. Realizing how he felt, Kris scoffed at himself.
I’m slightly sadistic…
Setting his thoughts aside, Kris looked at Tao. “I don’t regret that only because you felt nice,” he admitted, muttering the words. “I took the photo to hold it over you—”
“Yeah, I know,” Tao gritted. Then Tao mocked Kris’ voice. “Panda Shit, do this. Panda Shit do that. Panda Shit, take these over to the library—oh, you don’t want to listen? Remember the photo, Huang. Do what I say. Do what I say. Do—what—I—fucking—say!”
Kris’ jaw tightened. “Yeah, proves my point. I used it as leverage over you at first, but then you almost drowned—”
“—Thanks to you,” Tao cut in sharply.
Kris scowled. “Fine. I’ll take responsibility for that, but you never told me that you couldn’t fucking swim!” Kris cursed knowing that they were off topic, so he moved on. “Never mind that incident. You already know that I’m sorry for what happened.”
Tao was about to snap back with a snarky reply, but the tone of Kris’ voice persuaded him in knowing that what Kris was saying was true. He really was sorry for that water incident.
“You and I started doing things—stop that!” Kris barked, gripping Tao’s hands harder. “Don’t fucking glance off when I’m talking to you.”
“Or else what?” Tao challenged. “You don’t have the photo anymore.”
Kris frowned and then he thought. With his free hand, he dragged his fingers to Tao’s groin, pressing against it. Tao automatically looked flushed and began to thrash again, but like all the other times, Kris was dominating over him.
“You don’t have the right to touch me anymore.”
Kris raised a brow, but pretended like he didn’t hear. “—Like I was saying before you interrupted, you and I started doing things. Whether that was sex, tagging along to go buy shit, or being forced to hangout because of some big ass group gathering, you and I got closer. I didn’t need that photo anymore.”
Frowning, Tao asked, “Then why the hell did you not delete it back then?”
Kris only stared at Tao for a second before cocking his head down on him. “I jacked myself to it.”
Tao’s eyes grew wide. “What—”
“Because having a real image of you naked was better than trying to imagine one up,” Kris shamelessly admitted. Then after a second, he said, “I deleted it the day you asked me to.”
Ignoring the remark, Kris continued. “You asked me, and then I evaded answering. I left you to go to lunch alone, but then I thought about it for a second and decided to delete it then. But that’s the thing. I didn’t have my phone with me. I left it in the classroom so I—”
“—You left your cellphone in the classroom…” Tao slowly repeated.
“Kris, you’re a fucking moron!” Tao snapped. “You don’t keep a god damn password on your phone! I know you don’t because you’re stupid and you’d forget that shit the moment you set it!”
Kris blinked. “Right…”
Tao glowered at the guy hovering over him, but knew that at that point, he couldn’t deny it anymore. Everything inside of him was screaming that Kris wasn’t the one who sent the photo. Tao mentally groaned.
“Then who sent the photo?” Tao asked.
It took a moment for Kris to answer. “I don’t know.”
Tao pursed his lips before glancing off for a second. Gently, he tugged to try and release his hands from Kris’. “Let go.”
“You’re gonna try and shove one in my face again—”
“—Shut up!” Tao said. “I already made that mistake once and it got me ass raped and photographed. Now, let go. I’m not going to try anything.”
Kris thought about it momentarily before letting Tao’s hands go—though he still kept his position in between Tao’s legs. After having his hands freed, Tao rubbed his wrists. “Never mind. I don’t want to know who sent that shit everywhere… It wouldn’t change anything, anyways.”
When Tao tried to push himself up, Kris gently pushed him back down again. “Now that you finally listened and realized I’m not the fucking culprit, let’s talk about us.”
Tao sighed, relaxing his shoulders on the mattress. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
“Right,” Kris sarcastically said. “And you don’t like it when I hit your ass. Now, shut up and listen, because you were doing so good.”
And with that request, Tao actually kept his mouth shut.
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but yeah, I do act like an overprotective—sadistic, maybe—boyfriend,” Kris said, looking down on Tao, who suddenly went blank. “If I really hated you, I wouldn’t have agreed to drive you to places you wanted to shop—scratch that. Never mind. You’d have me drive you to places just to window shop sometimes—not even to go inside and get something. You’d ask me to accompany you on fucking trips where we’d just waste time walking around.”
Kris took a breath. “Which I didn’t mind—wasting time, I mean. So if I really didn’t like you, Huang, I would’ve given you the bird, and I would’ve told you to go fuck off—but hey, I didn’t…” Kris glanced down. “I wouldn’t fuck or suck off someone if they weren’t mine, either.”
Tao opened his mouth to say something, but Kris didn’t allow the opportunity. “In reality, the moment you and I first fucked was the moment you and I really happened. So now, you really can’t say that there was never an ‘us’, Huang. I let you drag me everywhere on what I call ‘unofficial dates’ and we’ve shared beds and nights together. Don’t you dare and try to tell me that there’s ‘nothing’ to talk about, that there’s no ‘we’, or that there’s no ‘us’ because I would beg to fucking differ.”
Tao’s facial expression was static for a second and Kris thought that his words left a bland after effect, but then—out of nowhere—Tao clenched his fist and punched Kris on the arm hard.
Kris grabbed his injured area. “What the h—”
“You couldn’t have told me that back then!?” Tao yelled, not even caring that his grandparents were in the same house.
“You…You fucking ass twat!” Tao cursed. He scowled before burying his face on his bed. “You’re gross, you’re disgusting, you’re possessive, you’re sadistic,” Tao said, counting off, “and you’re corny as fuck—Chanyeol’s been rubbing off on you, I bet.”
Kris frowned. “Tao—”
Turning his face back up, Tao glowered at Kris. “I don’t know how the fuck I ended up with someone like you.”
Kris shrugged. “It all started with a ball to my face.”
“Sometimes I wish I never accidentally kicked you in the face with that…” Tao mumbled. Kris was about to go on his emotional-defensive mode at the words, but then Tao added, “But overall, I’m glad that mistake happened, because you amuse me—you as an idiot and you as a sexual predator in bed.”
Kris gave a small grin. “So, there is an ‘us’?”
Tao tried to bit down a creeping smile. “Maybe.”
“I’m straightforward, Huang,” Kris replied. “So give me a straight forward answer. Yes or no.”
Tao slanted his lips before rolling his eyes. “Y—”
Kris already knew the answer at the first sound, and before Tao knew it, Kris had captured his lips unexpectedly, just like the way the stupid, sadistic bastard captured his heart like the sly snake that he was.
Once Kris had his fill of Tao—something that he had been missing for nearly two weeks since his lover ditched the country—he separated, gazing down on the flustered mess beneath him.
Tao shook his head. “I’m not going—”
“I know.” Kris gave him a look. “But once you finish school here, come back. Go to college there, because I want my boyfriend in the same country as me.”
Taking a heavy, deep breath, Tao nodded a bit. “Alright…”
“I’m not taking any half-assed ‘alright’ answers, Tao,” Kris warned, caressing Tao’s jawline. “Yes or no.”
Any other person would’ve gotten tired of Kris’ “yes or no” options, but Tao was used to it. “Yes.”
With that, Kris leaned down again to kiss Tao, moving his hands up and down his torso. Gradually, as their tongue touched and explored each other’s mouths, Kris snaked his hand underneath Tao’s shirt, but the moment that Tao felt fingers brush against his buds, he pulled back.
Kris gave him a look. “What?”
“We’re done with this,” Tao said. “We’re done kissing—and get your hand out from under my shirt—”
“Why!?” Kris asked, irritated.
“We’re at my grandparents', you asscrack!” Tao hissed.
Kris’ jaw locked as he glanced down at their bulging groins. “Fuck.”