19 Shadows of the past

When the crying ceased and only the hiccups remained, Yul pulled back slowly, so did Zeng. But as the older tried stepping away, his legs wobbled. Crying had completely drained him out of energy. Yul caught him in time and steadied him.

With one swing, Yul scooped Zeng in his arms and carried him to the sofa. Zeng wasn't even surprised. He knew how physically strong Yul was when they held hands.

Yul gently placed him down, made him sit and left for the kitchen to bring a glass of water.

Zeng was still in a daze when Yul came back. He urged Zeng to drink water and later he wiped the tear stains off his face with a tissue. He didn't seem to care as he felt numb all over and kept staring into space, wanting nothing but to just perish away.

Yul waited till Zeng felt better. He had a lot of questions to ask and he needed the answers, moreover, the reasons behind them. No matter how frustrated he was, this thing wasn't meant to be dealt with force. It was not his training ground. It was Zeng and so must be dealt with care and tenderness.

But one thing was sure, if it was only about the insecurities, he wasn't letting Zeng go. He would erase all the doubts and insecurities that Zeng might be harbouring. It would take time as Zeng had warned before. But he was willing to wait.

However, before that, he must know what had happened that still had such a strong impact on Zeng.

He must know and Zeng was the only one that could make it happen.

As Zeng got back to his senses, he realised what pathetic things he had done in the past hours. Right from leaving Yul in an unknown place without any notice, up to sobbing pathetically in his arms. He was so shameful. He had cried his eyes out like a wailing baby before the younger guy. It wasn't something to be proud of.

"You must be thinking I am a pathetic old fool now. I am sorry for being this way," he sniffled, looking at the floor, ashamed of himself.

Yul shook his head, "All I am thinking is you being hurt and I being clueless and unhelpful." He shifted closer to Zeng but not too much that would make the other awkward. "Can you please tell me what had happened? Why are so set on making me leave? Do I make you uncomfortable? Do you not like me?"

Zeng snapped his head to look at him, rejecting the possibility so quickly and was surprised at his own actions, "No, it's not like that, Yul."

He blinked at the last question. He liked Yul and he had already realised that.

He looked away, "Nothing's going to change even if I tell you."

"But I want to know. It's about you and that's why I need to know." Yul tilted his head down, "You know I won't judge. I don't have that ability, you know that."

Zeng took a long look at him and Yul's gaze didn't waver. Recalling everything was going to be tough for him. He had only shared everything only once before, with Zaria. Not even his parents, he did want them to look at him with pity.

He took a deep breath and began after giving it a thought, his voice carrying a pain that made Yul's heart clench in despair.

"My ex-boyfriend . . . William. He was my senior by three years in UG. We met through a common medical seminar where we represented our own colleges. I was never the guy to fall in love at first sight but he was different . . . the prince charming I always wanted. His dimples had charmed me; they were magical. So was he. He was just perfect." Zeng smiled at the reminiscence of those memories. He looked down at his hands and interlocked the fingers so that they would stop trembling. He had avoided talking about this for so long however, today he must go on. Yul deserved to know.

"He proposed to me for a relationship soon after and I accepted it despite knowing that he was a bisexual. He had said I was the first man he ever had feelings for, the first he loved this much and I thought, if I love him enough, there won't be any problem. We were together for about two years and for that time, I was truly happy and I believed he was too."

Zeng paused. The memories were painful to himself. Even the beautiful ones.

"He was everything I wished for in a partner. He was so polite, so loyal, so loving that every time he smiled at me, I couldn't help but fall for him even deeper.

The first two years were great but as time passed by, he must have realised that it was ultimately better to be with a woman.

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He used to talk a lot; he was a talkative person by nature but then, he somehow started getting more silent around me. I began to feel him being conscious whenever we went out together. His charming smile with dimples went rare. He wasn't himself anymore. He never cried but I could sometimes see the tears in his eyes. He was hurting on the inside . . . I was hurting him. He looked so chained as if I was restraining him from freedom.

At times, he would just hug me tightly and mumble words of apology. I couldn't understand why he was doing so or maybe I chose to ignore the reason. Because he was with me and that's what I needed. Nothing else matters. How selfish of me!

Days later, I came to know that his family had started pressuring him for marriage. His parents had thought that their heterosexual son should be getting married by now as he was of age. Never would have they thought, he was with me who had been caging him for years.

I believed . . . I hoped that he would fight it. But he gave in. More like he accepted that being with me would bring him no good. I was still in denial of accepting that we were falling apart.

And then the worst happened. My nightmare turned into reality."

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