CHAPTER 63: UNDEFINED THINGS
I quickly rush to take a shower and wash my hair once we get back to the campsite after having survived a day of hell. I've been soaked with sweats all day long and if I don't get cleaned up soon, I'm sure I'm gonna start growing some fungus somewhere. I really wish these jerks could leave me alone for at least 10 minutes. Shampoos are not edible, damn it! I can taste it in my mouth!
After making it through the war in the washroom, (which felt like an attack on the Taliban because I was alone and Phun didn't even help me) we changed into something much more comfortable and headed to dinner. Everything looked beyond tasty because the aunties in the neighborhood decided to thank us for dutifully (really?) planting those grasses by cooking a delicious meal. =]
I would've been much more grateful if the food weren't so damn spicy! Jeez! This is full-on Esan style cooking. They didn't even think of a city boy like me! Everyone is moaning and groaning by the end of dinner, except Ohm who clearly enjoyed his meal. I saw him shoved spoon after spoon in his mouth. I, on the other hand, got stuck eating plain rice with some fried eggs and a bowl of plain vegetable soup. (Thank god no one added chili to the soup.) Ohm, you paid them to do this, didn't you?! You went too far this time!
Even though dinner was excruciatingly painful, but the atmosphere after is a festive one. Everyone is up front taking turns singing karaoke. Phun's turn is especially hilarious to me since he got dragged up there by the ladyboy staff members. "And we finally found~ Found each other~" Ahahaha. It's obvious that he doesn't wanna be doing this. (Not that he has a choice at this point.) His expression causes everyone watching to burst into laughter and requesting for an encore. (It was hilarious, don't look at me like that.) Not only that, Ohm barges up there without an invitation. "I need~ Somebody~ Love~" He sings as he moves lewdly. I can't take it anymore! Get down from there!
While this is a fun atmosphere, there are also terrifying moments to be had as more and more campers continue to get eliminated. Since this is the last night at the camp, the vampires are attacking with a full force. A group of us had left to use the bathroom together, consisting of Earn, Pete, Pong, Phun, Ohm and me. (Phun saw that I was leaving and he immediately followed me, ugh.) So the six of us made it to the bathroom but Pete was quick to finish peeing first and he was impatient. He left us behind instead of waiting. As expected, the vampire (You-Know-Who) ripped a corner of Pete's name tag right in front of the bathroom. Hahaha, serves him right. (Will I be able to survive? I'm sleeping next to a vampire tonight.)
Right now, my name tag is the most valuable possession. I need to protect it with my life! More importantly, I should not go anywhere alone with anyone suspicious. (Especially him!) We leave the scene of the murder and join the rest of the campers back at the stage. They're singing fun country songs and I glance over to our table and see piles of dirty dishes. I can't believe these guys. I guess they're too busy having fun and forgetting to clean up after themselves. How awful.
Of course, a super nice guy named Napat is here to help. I quickly rush over and pick up all the dishes. Naturally, this has nothing to do with the fact that there are a couple of leftover grilled chicken drums. Not at all!
But who is that making noises near me?! I flinch and stuff the last piece of chicken in my mouth. (Such a glutton.) Then I look around for the source of the noise apprehensively. (I'm afraid that it'd be a vampire.)
Turns out it was just Phun. I knew he'd be around. I glance at the guy whose name tag is yellow, yet he's picking up after the red team. I was about to tell him that he doesn't need to help and that I can finish cleaning up myself when I remembered that we were still in the middle of the Cold War.
Fine, he can help. I won't interrupt. I shrug to myself before I finish collecting all the dirty dishes. I carry them to the dark room behind the cafeteria. There are two large buckets with faucets in front of me.
Uh...nobody told me we'd have to actually wash the dishes ourselves.
"Heh heh..." A sneer chuckling is heard nearby. Phun walks up to faucet and crouches down in front of one of the buckets. He proceeds to start soaping up the dirty dishes slowly. I have no choice but to sit on a stool next to him and rinse the dishes with clean water.
Naturally, there is only silence between us (if we ignore the sound of water running and the loud karaoke singing coming from the cafeteria).
I sneak a glance at Phun. I can only see his side profile but I can tell that he's smiling softly even though he's being quiet.
So how did this silent treatment between even start in the first place? I'm already forgetting the reason.
If that's the case, why don't I try striking a conversation with him? What do I have to lose, I guess?
"Um..." I open my mouth to start a small talk with him. I figure I could talk about the weather. (There are so many damn mosquitoes.) But before I could say anything else, he beats me to the punch.
"So you really aren't gonna try to make up with me, huh?" Eh? Well, I was about to! You beat me to it!
I frown and look at him. Phun is still washing the dishes without paying any attention to me. (Then who was speaking just now? A ghost?) So I really have to make it up to him after all? What have I done wrong exactly?
"Why are you even mad at me?" I ask him irritability while accepting a plate from him to be rinsed clean. Phun lets out a mocking laugh.
"Do I need to repeat what you said to Earn? I can recite it word-for-word." Jeez, do you guys believe me now that he's the type that when he bites he won't ever let go easily? He can recite it word-for-word too? That is a little much. I'm starting to get a bit angry with him now, because it feels like he doesn't trust me.
"You heard not even half of the conversation, how could you have realized what we were even talking about? I wasn't talking about that kind of shit, you know." There's a tone of annoyance in my voice now. How can I possibly not be annoyed by this though? Have I not shown enough proof that he is the person I chose to be with?
Phun goes quiet. He doesn't respond. I suppose he could feel what kind of mood I'm in right now. I let out a long sigh and try to calm myself down, then I resume to speak calmly. "...don't you trust me?"
"Heh heh..." What is so damn funny?! I look up and stare at his face when I heard him laughing. I can see him trying his best to stifle his laughter. His cheeks are puffed up. His eyes are tiny. "Why are you laughing?" I ask him while dragging the last syllable out to show my annoyance. However, he smiles wide enough to show his teeth before he answers me.
"If I didn't trust you, do you really think I'd be sitting here next to you right now?" He asks me in return. He smiles at me, though it feels suspect to me. This conversation is reminding me of something. Huh...
"The ones that don't trust you? They'd usually avoid you and refuse to speak to you when you try to talk to them. They wouldn't listen to any explanations. They'd go on a pure jealousy mode. Reminds you of somebody? Heh heh heh." Y...you...you bastard! Are you using what happened with Pam to make fun of me?! I am taken aback and suddenly feel embarrassed. Well...well, I had my reasons for misunderstand the situation back then though!
Phun smiles slyly at me before dropping the last plate into my bucket. "Wanna bet that if the situations were reversed you would've killed me by now?" Shit, I'm not that inhumane. I stare back at him with wide eyes instead of averting his gaze. "As if. I probably would've behaved like how I did at the most."
"Doing that would've felt the same as you killing me." He argues and my face begins to feel hot for a bit. Then Phun asks the question I dread the most. "Well? Did Earn really kiss you?" Sh...shit. How should I answer him?
I stutter my words as Phun Phumipat moves his face closer to mine as he searches for the truth. I stare back at him and I'm trying my best not to look away. (Because it'll seem guilty.) "Well...well...what exactly did you see?!"
"I don't know what happened. I didn't see anything. I only heard what you said to him. So are you gonna answer me or not? Did he really kiss you?" Fuck. What should I do now? I slowly move away to avoid his intimidating face, then I run my hands through the water to search for the last plate. I find it and rinse it off before I hastily put it away.
"Did he kiss you...the way I kiss you?" Phun changes his question after he had noticed I chose not to answer. There was a slight twinkle in his eyes when he said the word kiss. Sigh. I know that no one would want their boyfriend or girlfriend to do something like that with someone else, including me. And he was right. I would've been devastated if the situation were reversed.
"Our...our lips simply touched. Can we not call that a kiss?" I bargain with him. Based on his gaze, he doesn't seem to be satisfied with my answer. But he keeps his composure. I was expecting something worse.
"I knew it. That kind of game..." He mumbles to himself with some frustrations. Then he turns his attention back to me. "And how did you feel? Did you like it?" Jeez. If I could've kick him in the face I would've done it because of that question.
I shoot him an irritated look, intending to curse him off. But then I notice the uncertainty in his eyes and I change my tone. "Yeah. I feel like...I do like him." I tell him softly. Phun's expression changes immediately. His sharp eyes are now hollow, the provoking looks from just a few seconds earlier are gone. They're black without any shadows, as though the owner of these eyes' soul has left his body. I couldn't keep going.
"As a friend! Hahaha! I love you much, much more, dude. Haha! Gotcha, didn't I?"
Ahaha! How satisfying! But before I could get my fill of laughter, Phun growls at me with his teeth showing now that his soul has returned to his body. He moves in close and invades my personal space. "You really got some nerves pulling a prank like this on me! You nearly gave me a heart attack, you know!" He yells at me as he continues to his moves his face closer and closer to mine. I feel like I'm in danger because there's no more room left for me to make my escape. Ah, shit!
"Dude, get off me. I can't breathe."
But Phun refuses to listen. He keeps moving closer and closer menacingly. “You know what? You're a little brat. You messed with my head so much I could barely think straight. You need to be taught a lesson." He whispers to me, his tone deep. I swallow hard. I could feel the familiar warm breath on my skin. "What...what are you planning to do? We're at a camp, there are people around!"
"Exactly. So I am going to...follow this camp's rules."
I am stunned for a whole second when I hear the strange sound. My body feels odd. Phun smiles at me slyly (even more than usual) as he backs away and returns to where he was sitting, leaving me to witness first hand of what had happened.
He ripped my name tag!
Fuck! Phun's a vampire!
My mouth hangs open. I am at a loss for words. My brain is shutting down with the message of "Phun is a fucking vampire!" repeating over and over in my head.
The hose that was used to rinse the dishes is now being used to rinse off young master Phun's leg. I snap out of my haze (and begin to accept reality that I've been murdered). I get up and stare at his face with anger. "You actually killed me!"
"And? Hahaha." This asshole! Listen to him! I lift my leg with the intention of giving him a kick. Instead of doing that, Phun sprays water at me so I could rinse my legs off too so I comply. Why is he wearing those sneakers anyway?
"Honestly though, I never planned to kill you." He quickly gives an excuse. I guess he's afraid I'd tell him off. Not to worry, I'll do exactly just that but I'll hear what he has to say first. I give him the stink eye so he hastily continues giving his excuse to me. "Why'd you have to act like an ass for? When you said that you liked Earn, I thought I had died. So I had to kill you in return so we could die together. Heh heh." Bastard, that was your reason? How should I pay you back for this? Damn it! I smack him in the head before I shuffle away from the water. Enough already, my toes are turning wrinkly. So we're even now, is that it? You're happy now that you got to kill me, you asshole?!
"What's with the sneakers anywhere? You think you look so fucking cool wearing those around here or something?" I'm in a bad mood so I'm just picking a fight now. Phun's simply wearing a pair of sneakers and somehow that's enough of a reason for me to call him out. The Student Council Secretary busts out laughing before he swings his arm over my shoulders and lead me back to the cafeteria with him. (It's like a war zone here now. Everyone is singing as if they've never sung before in their entire life.)
And of course, with Mr. Phun-pular's return, he gets dragged up on the stage by a particular giddy person. (I'm so over these popular guys. Yes, Earn too.) As for the basic looking dude like me (that's the only thing about me that's basic), I sit on the sideline and enjoy the show since no one wanted to sing with me, hahaha. (But actually, everyone had noticed that my name tag has been ripped. They asked me a million questions about who the vampire was. As if I'd spill the beans. Pete, only you and I know about this, right? About what a asshole the vampire really is?)
We're all banging on the cups loudly to the music. (Real trashy.) We get even louder when Earn and Phun are being encouraged by everyone to dance to a popular single by a girl group. (Cringe!) Hey, how come these girl group members look so different in person? Their legs are so hairy! I can't handle this!
While we're jamming to the music, Ohm goes up the the stage to join them. (Gross!) Suddenly, I feel a small hand tapping my back interrupting me.
I flinch hard. (I got scared!) I turn around to see Jeed smiling at me. "Can you spare a minute, Noh?" How am I supposed to answer if she asked me like that? I raise my brows and look around the table at my friends. Everyone is averting my gaze. No one is willing to help me out. (The ones that could've helped are all on the stage dancing their asses off.)
Well, here goes nothing! "Sure. Do you need help with something?"
"Do you mind coming with me and help with the dirty dishes? I'm kinda scared of going alone because of the vampire game." After hearing that, I can't just let her go alone now, can I? (I completely understand how it feels to be murdered by one. Y_Y) So I get up and join her. A pair of menacing eyes are staring at me from the stage. It couldn't be helped though. I'll try to finish as soon as possible.
I walk with Jeed to where dirty dishes get washed. However, this isn't the same area as where I was with Phun! No wonder it was so dark where we were. People were actually washing them at the other area. This place is well lit and there are proper sinks too. More importantly, there are mosquito repellents set up here!
Damn it. Then why did I go to the other area and got myself killed by a vampire?! You're such a dumbass, Napat!
The sound of water hitting the sink goes with the beat of Jeed's cheerful hums. She seems to be in a good mood. I watch as she cleans a glass and can't help but tease her a bit. "I should leave and let a vampire get to you. Hehe."
Jeed turns to me with a sweet smile. "You wouldn't 'cause you're too nice. Hehe." Aw, man. How'd she know that I'm actually a nice guy 24 hours a day. (Hehe.)
"You asked me to come along. Aren't you afraid that I'm a vampire? I should kill you now." I pretend to threaten her again. Jeed keeps up her sweet smile. "How could you be a vampire when you've already been killed? Look at your ripped name tag, haha." Dang it, I forgot there's actual proof on me.
"So who killed you, Noh? My friend is a witch doctor, I can tell her to deal with them for you. How about it?" Oh, what a good idea. I chuckle as Jeed finishes up the last plate.
"You're done? Let's go then." I head off first and lead the way back to the cafeteria. Jeed grabs me by the edge of my shirt. "W...wait."
"Hm? Are there more we need to wash?"
"No, but...can we talk?" Her tone sounds apprehensive but her eyes twinkle with confidence. It's like she knows I won't leave. And she would be correct since I'm not walking away.
We stay in silence for a few moments before Jeed breaks it by speaking up first. "So I heard that...Yuri and you broke up." She begins. I don't have an answer for her since it wasn't a question. And I know that she didn't want to ask if it were true. It's pretty clear to everyone at the camp how Yuri and I behave around one another.
"Oh...thanks." I nod at her kind gesture, although I don't quite understand the intentions behind it. Because first, it's been a while since I broke up with Yuri. It's gotten to the point where people have stopped talking about us. And two, based on Jeed's expression, she doesn't seem to be even slightly sad over my failed romantic relationship with Yuri at all.
I notice how she bites her lower lip and smiles a bit before she continues with another question. "Are you seeing anyone right now, Noh?”
"Jeed, if there's something you want to ask me, you can go ahead and ask me. It's fine." I cut her line of questions short because I didn't want to answer what she asked me. I also what to know what it is she really wants from me.
After hearing that, her expression changes a bit. Then she finally gets to her point. "It's just that I think we'd get along well. We both belong to a music club, so we'd have more stuff in common than someone like Yuri who only cares about what she wants."
Suddenly, a sense of disagreement washes over me. To say that Yuri is self-centered is far from the truth. She has never behaved like that to me. She was giving and gave in as much as she could. If anything, I was the self-centered one in that relationship. I didn't deserve any of the love that Yuri had graciously given to me.
I purse my lips tightly and try my best to suppress my anger. I begin to speak, using as little words as possible. "Yuri isn't like that. I'm sorry but I am not interested in going out with you." I turn around and head back to the cafeteria. I stop in my track when I hear Jeed's response.
"You're gay, aren't you?"
"......." I freeze up. Jeed walks up around me and faces me once again. There's a victorious expression on her face. "People are saying that you're gay. It's true, isn't it?"
I look at her blankly. No words are leaving my lips. There's only silence.
I don't have an answer for her. Because the entire time that I have been with Phun, I've never put a label on myself. I've never thought about what I'm supposed to be identified as. I've never cared about what kind of romance we're supposed to be having. I only know that I love him. And sometimes it can be painful when reality hits me in the face and I am reminded that our love is different from the social norms.
I meet her eyes and give her a brief reply.
"I call it love."