SOTUS S: The Third Year and the Office Worker
SOTUS S, Lover’s Rule No. 10: Look forward too going away.
It is said that the sea is a sacred place.
Because, it makes you feel many different things.
All the way to the hotel, the fleet of buses and private cars stopped at the hotel and the employees of the Ocean Electric Company got off the buses one after another, feeling the refreshing waves and sandy beaches, to recharge their bodies and minds which had been working hard in the concrete building for a long time. If you pay attention, you will notice that everyone is wearing different colors of clothes. Because before the hike, we were divided into four teams by lottery.
The Purchasing Department has already divided up the colors.
Danai, the manager, was green;
Somoo was yellow; Earth and Todd were pink;
and Arthit was blue.
John was too busy to join the two-day, in a one-night excursion organized by the company. As soon as everyone had their luggage packed, they gathered in the open field and waited for the host to speak before the event began.
“All right! Before the groups break up, let’s play a game called ‘Little sidekicks’! The rules are simple, whoever’s name we draw, we have to take care of him/her without being seen, until the last day when the identity is revealed.” Arthit lined up and took a piece of paper from the tube, then opened it silently and read it. When he noticed a man in a blue suit coming to greet him, he stuffed the paper into his trouser pocket.
“Who did Phii Arthit get?”
“It wouldn’t be funny if I told you.” He raised an eyebrow at Kongpop, who happened to be on the same team,” What about you, who did you draw?”
“I won’t tell you either.”
They kept each other’s secrets. Also keeping their own secrets, was the production engineer. Dressed in pink, which contrasted with his simple face and sharp eyes, he was looking towards the trainee who was standing beside him in blue, looking down at the name of his ‘little sidekick’. But when those big, round eyes looked up and met his eyes, Yong quickly turned his face away and walked away to help the other interns carry the boxes of recreational props to the beach.
The first” Color Games” competition was to Knock A Watermelon Blindfolded. Kongpop was representing the blue team and Todd was representing the pink team. When the whistle blew, the blindfolded participants were instructed by the voices of their teammates to move.
Arthit tried to shout at the man with the stick, who was clumsy and couldn’t find his way around. At the same time, Earth was giving swift and clear orders.
“Todd! Three steps forward, 90 degrees to the right. Okay, hit it!”
Boom! This international-looking guy hits and the watermelon crumbles, easily winning the game for the Pinkies.
Earth gave her brother a high-five. Todd quickly removed the blindfold, just to catch a glimpse of the happy smile of his sister, who was guiding him with her clear voice.
“It’s all thanks to Phii Earth.” And Todd gave a big smile, his brown eyes shining with joy. On the other hand, Kongpop, who lost the game for the blue team, smiled sadly.
“What a shame.”
“It’s okay. There are several more rounds to play.” Arthit reassured but as soon as he had said that, he tried to take it back, because his opponent, who was supposed to be frustrated, replied in a cheerful tone,” If it was ‘Blindfold Arthit senior’, I would have won.” Is this the right time to tease?” If it was ‘hit the person next to me on the head blindfolded’, I would have won.”
“Oh Arthit, don’t be so cruel”, Kongpop said pitifully. The cruel man, with a happy look on his face, gave Kongpop an order to make up for his mistake.
“Then you help distribute the watermelons to the other teams.”
“Okay but,” the big tall guy paused, moved closer and slyly leaned his face down to whisper in his ear, stirring his mind.
“This blindfolded thing can be played with by Arthit when we are alone in bed.” Arthit’s face turned as red as his name and he shouted, “Kongpop!”
It was so loud, it could have been the whole beach. Needless to say, the one being scolded ran away, fearing a real knock on the head. The sea was distracting and Naai was with his yellow teammates but the young gamer was not interested in this out-of-character amusement, for he was staring at the vast expanse of the blue sea.
This Chiangmai boy, who had become accustomed to mountainous forests, was so impressed by the sound of the waves and the softness of the sand that he wanted to take a deep breath and fill every inch of his lungs with the scent of the ocean. Suddenly, he smelled the sweet aroma of fruit approaching him.
“’Little sidekick’ told me to bring you this.” Yong, in the guise of a third person, handed him a bag of watermelons. But something didn’t escape the observant teenager’s attention and he noticed something unusual about the fingers of his left hand, as if they had been cut with a knife.
“What happened to Phii’s hand?”
“No, it’s okay.”
The big hand pulled back and hid it behind his back, then left immediately. Naai looked down and saw the bag of sweet and juicy watermelons, already cut into pieces. Watermelons were much more common than the sea but this was the first time he’d seen a big man who’d cut his hand cutting a watermelon.
But there were many other things that Naai found himself in for the first time. The next competition was chair grabbing. Each team sends five representatives around the chairs, the number of chairs decreasing with each round. When the music stops, the players have to find a chair as quickly as possible and the one who doesn’t get the extra chair is eliminated. Naai, the representative of the yellow team, leisurely circles around to the rhythm of the music, locking in his aim. Just as soon as the music stops, he rushes to the chair on his right, which happens to be the same chair someone else has chosen.
Naai was stunned when he found himself sitting on the lap of an unruly-looking Pink Team member who had come before him. Normally the latecomer would have run to find a seat again but Yong stood up hastily, waved his hand and gave up his seat to his opponent.
“Please.” Although there had been a fight over football, as if the word, “lose” did not exist in Yong’s vocabulary, this time he gave in easily.
“Thank you, Phii Yong.” So Naai easily occupied the chair and the man who gave up his seat returned to the loser line in a depressed state. Even in the middle of the break, the production engineer didn’t stop his strange behavior.
Naai was sitting intently on the beach building forts, not caring that it looked like he was playing with childish things, after all, he was only visiting the beach once in a while. If a man is almost thirty years old, playing with childish things, then it’s even more strange.
“I… Hoeei! The ‘little sidekick’ asked me to bring you some seashells.”
Naai bowed his head, looked at the different sizes of shells on the big board and chose one to decorate the sand castle, as a ritual. But Yong didn’t leave, looking as if he had something to hold back but finally made up his mind to ask.
“Well, I… Can I play? /Please step back a little.” Two voices mingled, one trying to join in, the other trying to drive the other away.
“Excuse me, excuse me.” Yong turned around and was about to go back, when a voice from behind him explained the reason and he realized that he had misunderstood.
“No, you’re not bothering me. It’s just that I broke the watertight door to my sandcastle.” These sharp eyes realized that they were stepping on a puddle of sand, which was overflowing with water.
Yong pulled his foot away but Naai didn’t mind.
“If you want to play, help me shovel that sand.”
The one who got the promise replied quickly and then immediately went away to shovel sand not far away, while Naai watched secretly. Not that he didn’t know what they were trying to do but he had adjusted his mind to the fact that he had been assigned to the Quality Control Department and was just pretending to ignore them. Because it seemed to him that the unconventional actions of this man, who had always been a stickler for principles, attracted his attention more than the sea. The sea makes one feel lonely and isolated and after the day’s activities, it’s time for the evening party. The restaurant on the beach at the scenic spot has been bought by the Ocean Electric Company to host a celebration dinner for the staff. The restaurant was filled with all kinds of seafood and huge portions but before the party could begin, the company management had to give a speech to start the party.
“I would like to invite Mr. Pairot Kengphaisanpanich, Chairman of the Board of Directors, to come on stage and speak!”
Now to a round of applause, the head hazer, with a glass of wine in his hand, came to the microphone in the middle of the stage.
“Thank you for your hard work for the company and I hope that in the days to come, you will continue to work hard so that you can improve, so that the team can improve And now, I hope to let you all relax and enjoy this wonderful evening!”
Mr. Pairot raised his glass in salute and the men and women in the office raised their infinity glasses and clinked their glasses together in celebration. Earth didn’t have anything in her hand, because she wasn’t going to stay drunk, she was just standing here watching. However, the waitress came over and offered her a drink.
“I was asked to give this to you.” It’s neither white wine, nor a strong cocktail but a glass of sweet pink frozen milk, with a post-it note on the side that says: “For Earth.” – from ‘Little sidekicks.” The woman looked to the left and right, trying to find out who was watching her and taking care of her, until she met a pair of eyes that shone like stars, as if they had been staring at her for a long time. On the stage a soothing folk song was playing, perfect for the seaside atmosphere.
Then Todd walked right up to her and started chatting with her.
“Does Phii Earth come to the beach often?”
“Not often, I work so hard, I don’t have time to play.” she said, laughing at herself. But it also made her realize how much work had been weighing on her shoulders, so when she came to a place like this, she felt some relief.
“I really like this atmosphere and I haven’t felt this happy in a long time.” The breeze gently ruffled Earth’s long hair and the strands on one cheek flew so wildly that she sometimes had to brush them up against her ears. But it was these small, natural gestures that stirred the heart of the young man beside her.
“Someday, I’d like to take Earth to the beach again.” The other invited, like a gentleman and Earth, hearing the invitation, immediately laughed.
“Aww hey you are so nice to me, Todd you’re my ‘little sidekick’ aren’t you?”
“I’m not Earth’s ‘sidekick’ but I want to be more than a ‘sidekick’, even more than a colleague.”
The feelings he conveyed, were more real than ever. Todd decided to reveal the feelings he had been hiding in his heart.
“Phii Earth, I’ve liked you since the first time I met you, I’ve loved you.” In a drama or a novel, anyone who heard those words would have raised their hands and covered their mouths in surprise, their cheeks blushing shyly. However, the strong lady from the Purchasing Department’s heart was not affected by this sudden confession. In fact, Earth was a smart enough girl to see what Todd thought of her and that’s why she tried to avoid such a situation. But now that it had happened, she had no choice but to make her feelings clear to him.
“Thank you but I’m really only as close to Todd as I’ve ever been and I don’t want you to think about it.” Todd’s heart leapt to a height of 10,000 meters and instantly fell to the ground with a heavy thud. Even though Todd was prepared for the disappointment, he couldn’t handle it. He leaned back, took a deep breath, adjusted his emotions and looked up at the person he had fallen in love with.
“I see.” After saying that, the boy who was hurt by love turned around and left. As the other man looked away, the strong-willed woman fought back her inner panic. She didn’t dislike Todd at all but the wounds of an old love had not yet healed, so her heart was not ready for a new one. How long would it take to be ready? That question nagged at Earth’s mind and she wondered when it would end. And she, too, was not able to find the answer. The sea is always so charming on a romantic night, the sound of the waves seems louder than the day and tonight the moon has disappeared, making the stars shine brightly in the darkness, a perfect atmosphere for a sea breeze and a beautiful view. So Kongpop and Arthit sat down on a coconut bar stool away from the party and talked openly and freely.
“Six months ago I was a head hazer, coming to the beach for ‘gear orientation’. And now, with one month left, my internship program will be over.”
Kongpop reminisces about the time when he was a freshman, then a head teacher, then a head teacher, then an intern and soon a new graduate. Time flies and everything, in a blink of an eye, becomes what it used to be. Arthit experienced the same feeling and before he knew it, the” future” was there, so he asked: “What are your plans after graduation?”
Kongpop’s eyes showed a hint of hesitation and his tone was filled with worry.
“I’m not sure if I want to work first, or go on to do the masters!”
“Well, take your time, whatever path you choose, it will be a new experience for us.” Kongpop nodded in agreement, for he too had gained valuable experience from the path he had chosen.
“Phii Arthit know, I am very happy to come here for my internship.”
Arthit tore his eyes from the sky, turned around and asked.
“This place has taught me a lot about responsibility, about taking responsibility, about adjusting myself, about fitting in with a new group and” he paused in the middle of his sentence, as if to emphasize what he was about to say.
“Made me realize how wonderful it is to work beside the people we love.”
“You always come to me and realize something odd!”
Although he muttered this, he felt the heat in his heart, which made him turn his face away and cast his eyes to the sky once again. Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of a shooting star in his peripheral vision.
“Hoeei! There’s a shooting star!”
“Make a wish now”, Kongpop said to him.
“There’s no time for that. Besides, even if you make a wish, it won’t come true.”
Who is old enough to believe such lies but the man beside him will not stop.
“If Phii Arthit wished upon a shooting star, what would he wish for?”
“Why should I tell you?” Then the man who stammered suddenly asked, “What about you?”
“I made a wish that Phii Arthit would say ‘I love you’ to me every day.” Kongpop teased, expecting the hard-headed nature of his opponent to yell but unbelievably, this time his wish came true.
“I love you.” These three words, so strong and so strong, made his heart tremble with the force of a spell, wanting to hear them again and again and again.
“Say it again.”
His request was immediately denied and as the saying goes, you never have to say it again. When the tall man heard the explanation of the reason why he was more moved than the words” I love you”, he was silent.
“I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me if I told you too much. But even though I didn’t say it, I still love you.”
Arthit is making him fall in love so deeply!
“I will also love Phii Arthit more and more every day, not a day less!”
Kongpop spoke his heart out, then moved closer to the other man following the feeling. Arthit didn’t flinch, he just lifted his face up, closed his eyes willingly and felt a warmth on his lips. The kiss was soft and sweet and penetrated deeply into his heart. When Arthit opened his eyes, he knew at last where the shooting star had fallen from the sky.
Kongpop’s eyes were sparkling as if hundreds of stars were shining in the sky, even made him wish and pray, though he knew his wish would not come true. Because he only wished for one thing… can he? Was it possible? He wanted the happy moments to stay forever. The sea was a relief and though he didn’t want it to end, the Ocean Electric Company’s excursion was coming to an end.
“Now it’s time to announce the results of the ‘Color Games’ competition!”
In the past two days and one night, these cocoons had put aside their identities as company employees and put on the faces of athletes to be serious and devoted for their teams, as if they were being sent to the Olympic Games. That is why we were so nervous and eagerly awaiting the result of the competition.
“The team with the highest score is Team Pink!! !”
As soon as the results were announced, the fans cheered with joy, except for one person – Todd. Despite fighting tooth and nail for the past few days, he shined brighter than the rest of the contestants and deserved an award for” Best Player”.” Yes. But right now, he’s accepting the award on behalf of the Pink Team and he looks haggard and depressed.
“Okay, now for the much-anticipated final event, the reveal of the identity of the ‘little sidekick’!”
There is one more game to look forward to, which evokes the excitement of the jubilant staff.
“’Little sidekicks’ go ahead and reveal and introduce yourself to the people in your care!”
Like bees coming out of a hive, they all went their separate ways to find their ‘buddies’. Naai walked straight towards his target, Somoo and took a big bag of sweets as a gift for his sweet-smelling sister. Then, a man poked him in the back. When he turned around, he saw the production engineer who had been acting strangely the entire trip and explained his behavior: “I’m your ‘sidekick’,” he said.”
“I already knew it was always you Phii”, Naai snatched the words without any surprise.
“Is it because of intuition again?”
“It doesn’t take intuition to know, it’s too obvious.” Yong also knows he’s not very good at hiding secrets without showing his face he’s not a good liar, nor is he a good cajoler.
“Well, have you calmed down yet?”
Now that we’re here, let’s take this opportunity to ask the questions we’ve been trying to figure out for weeks.
The big guy looked confused.
“The reason I’m not mad at Yong is because I was never mad at him to begin with.” This time Yong even more confused.
“But… but why does Naai keep avoiding me? And won’t go with me from work when it’s time to leave?”
“That’s because I was mad at myself.” Naai further explained to this one-sided misunderstanding: “Yong tried his best to give me advice but I didn’t get into Production, so I was mad at myself and I was afraid to face Yong.”
Didn’t Naai ask him,” Phii, you knew I’d be sent to Quality Control” because he was afraid he’d be disappointed? What the hell is in this kid’s head!
“I thought you were mad at me for not keep you in Production.”
“That’s the company’s decision isn’t it? Could Phii Yong influence a decision to keep me into the production department?”
“Well, that’s not possible. But I didn’t fight for you when you were assigned to Quality Control. I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for, after all, I’ve seen a lot of good things.” When Yong heard the positive answer from the other party, it was a relief.
“Yes, the Quality Control Department is perfect for an observant man like you.”
“I don’t mean the Quality Control Department.” The man laughed and even this logical thinker could not guess if there was something strange going on in his head. But for Yong, just to see this innocent face laughing once more was enough. On the other side, there’s one more intern left to find his ‘buddy’.
“Phii Earth, I’m your ‘little sidekick’.” The one who heard the greeting turned to Kongpop, with a hint of surprise in his eyes.
“Ow! I thought it was Todd with the frozen milk. Thanks for taking care of me, Kong.”
“I should be thanking Earth, for taking care of me since the day we audited the factory.” Kongpop was just thanking the senior for her concern from the first day we met but it led to another thing.
“The day you should have told me, you were going to do an internship here. You and Arthit, have a secret.”
Something told him, from the falcon-like eyes of his predecessor, that there was a hidden meaning to the” secret” he was talking about.
“I found out about you and Arthit at the factory.”
At the factory? Was it when he was teasing Arthit and kissing him? In that case, would Earth know that they are together? Kongpop was speechless and his face became worried. When Earth saw the situation, she told Kongpop to relax.
“Don’t worry, I understand you. Kong, you must continue to take good care of Arthit.”
The older woman nodded in the direction of the purchasing engineer, who was talking to Chairman Pairot in a reserved manner, presumably that’s the ‘little sidekick’ he had drawn. Although she had no prejudice against homosexuality and even thought Arthit and Kongpop were a good match and could have guessed that they didn’t want to make their relationship public, she didn’t want to make her brothers feel inhibited, at least when they were with her, so that they could express their feelings for each other openly. Kongpop, perhaps because of the similarity of their personalities, understood the good intentions, he did not reject the wishes of his predecessor, so he did not hold back and bravely agreed.
“Yes, I’ll take care of Arthit.” Phii nodded, gestured to him to leave and said, ‘I’ll excuse myself.” Earth left and came to the side of someone who usually approached her but today stood quietly by herself, until she broke the ice.
“Didn’t think Todd was so good at sports, your team won all the events.”
“Not at all.” Todd muttered, trying to hold back his frustration. Because there was one thing he couldn’t win, and that was the heart of the man in front of him.
“Why doesn’t Phii Earth go to ‘Little sidekick’?”
Phii lowered her gaze slightly, then decided to reveal her identity.
“I’m Todd’s little sidekick.” Finally, the young man understood why.
“Is that why Earth has been so good to me?” That’s why Earth took care of me?”
It was too much for him to endure,” I’ll be off.” Todd immediately left without looking back. Earth could only follow his footsteps and her heart ached with pain. How could this happen? Why should the heart, which should be no longer sensitive, be in pain? But while she was still puzzled, Manager Danai came straight towards her with a tense look on his face.
“Earth, notify everyone in the department of an emergency meeting!”
“Is something wrong?”
Seeing the boss’s anxious reaction, all her immediate feelings changed. The sea is scary.” Our smokeless grills are being returned by our customers!”