Phu stopped being self-conscious about the moment he will be disturbed again. There would not be a day the silly rabbit would not appear suddenly before his eyes. Usually, it happened before or during lunch, either as he walked to class or as he eats his meal at the canteen. Some days it was in the afternoon, as he worked on his projects in the cafe at the table upstairs, where it was always quiet. He knew there would be a moment when his peace will be disturbed, so he stopped being aware of it, going with it will happen anyway, might as well live my life peacefully until then.
Phu doesn't like those moments, he doesn't wait for them, he would pretty much prefer they don't happen at all. So why, as he tries to finish yet another page of this dissertation, he can't stop thinking that it's already 5 PM and he did not see the boy once and why does this fact affect him at all. Didn't he want this? To be left alone? Of course he did, it's just that it's weird.
6 PM comes around and the silly bunny still didn't appear. Should he start worrying? No, why would he? The guy is an adult, has his own life, what is he thinking? Better finish this thing already, it's getting late.
Okay, it's 7 PM. What is Kao doing? And why does he care what he is doing? He doesn't, it's just that... Is he okay? Maybe he doesn't feel good, truth is Phu didn't see a sight of him all day today. Which is weird, because even when Kao is late with his every day disturbing-Phu-business, Phu always catches glimpses of him around campus.
8 PM, okay, this is getting weird.
He saves his progress once again and closes his laptop, as he takes his things and does downstairs. He is surprised to see Solo at the counter, talking with the short barista.
"Oh, Phu. What are you doing here?"
"Working. It's quiet upstairs," he answers, showing Solo his laptop bag.
"Isn't your home quieter?"
Oh. That's right, in fact. Phu's apartment is quiet and is a perfect place to work in, why did he stay here this late to work at the small table when he could have done it in the comfort of his own home?
He doesn't want to admit to himself that he did, in fact, waited for Kao to come around and that the deadline for going home he imposed on himself got ignored for at least 3 hours.
Solo and Kao are friends, aren't they? Both in the same faculty.
"What are you doing here?" he asks Solo instead.
"Ah, just a quick visit. I was on my way to Kao."
"Kao?" he asks, his interest suddenly awaken, despite his internal protests.
"Yeah, he's sick and couldn't come to school today. Asked me to drop him the notes from today and some food and medicine."
"I can do that."
His mouth went ahead of his brain. Why would he do that?
"You can?" Solo asked him with one eyebrow raised, but it sounded more like he wanted to say you would? .
He would? Why?
You are kinder than what people say of you.
He is not, in fact, but now that he already said he could, he has to do it. And to be fair, Solo doesn't seem disturbed at all by his offer, judging by his willingness to drop the notes and bag of food in Phu's hands. He takes a quick glance at the barista, that is now taking an order, and he gets it. Of course Solo would drop anything to sit with his little coffee boy.
"Yeah, I'll drop them by, just give me the address."
It turned out Kao lived quite close to the cafe, as it only took a few minutes to get there by car. Phu stopped on the way and bought some congee from a street vendor when he saw the only food Solo bought was a bottle of milk and cereal. How would that help a sick person?
As he climbed the stairs, he realizes that he has no idea what is he going to tell Kao. I met with Solo at the cafe because I sat on that hard chair for 4 hours without realizing I was waiting for your annoying ass to come and without thinking I offered to drop these for him. Definitely not and he would not hear the end of it. He's just going to say he met with Solo by chance and that he did him a favour to let him stare lovingly at his coffee boy.
He knocked on the door, and what he assumed it was Kao's hoarse voice could be heard.
"Just come in."
He did, getting out of his shoes and putting on the slippers next to the door.
"What took you so long, Solo, I barely ate something today and-"
Kao was curled in two blankets on his bed, and he stopped talking at the same time Phu felt his own heart stopped beating. Kao's eyes were droopy and red, as well as his nose. His hair was sticking from under the blanket in all directions.
"P'Phu?" he asked, unsure.
Phu nodded, gently laying the food and the other stuff on the table next to Kao's bed.
"What are you doing here?" Kao asked the dreaded question, but he didn't make a move to get out of the blankets.
"I met with Solo by chance. Told him I would drop these to you for him."
Well, he didn't lie.
"Where? And why?" he asked, and then "You missed me and wanted to see me, right?"
"Do you want to eat or not?" Phu changed the subject quickly, taking the congee out of its bag. "Where do you have a spoon?"
"Okay, okay, don't answer me then. The spoons are in the middle drawer behind you."
Phu went to take one and gave it to Kao, who was now trying to get out of the blanket nest he built around himself.
"What happened to you?"
He asked as he sat on the bed.
"I caught a cold", Kao answered between two spoonfuls of food. "Wow, this congee is yummy."
Phu let him eat the rest in silence, but it was weird. It was never this quiet when Kao was around, the boy always talking, screaming or singing. He was always doing something, but now the spurt of energy Kao had when he questioned Phu was nowhere to be seen. He preoccupied himself with washing Kao's dirty dishes piled in the sink.
"You don't have to..." he heard from behind, but there was no strength in the words. "I usually wash them in the morning, but I woke up feeling bad and couldn't get out of bed."
When Phu came back to the bed, the congee was finished and Kao back into his blanket nest.
"I'm sorry... It's just that I am cold." Phu only nodded, taking the medicine and giving it to him along with a glass of water.
"Take these, it will make you feel better."
Kao only complied. It was weird, to see him so obedient. He really was that sick, huh?
"Phu, can you... Stay with me for a while?"
Even if Phu wanted to go home, he couldn't, not when the boy asked him in such a rough, broken tone. He nodded and Kao scooted a little to the side, to make room for him. He leaned against the bed frame, just watching the boy. He could take his laptop out and work some more, but he didn't find the strength in himself to leave the bed.
"I'm sorry... I couldn't come to see you today." He sounded sad for a moment, before changing to a more joking tone. "You must have missed me, huh?"
He did. He really did, and he got enough of pretending for today. Pretending he didn't like seeing Kao's face or hearing his silly jokes and explanations. Pretending he didn't spend the whole afternoon waiting and worrying. Today, tonight, no more pretending and questioning.
He gently patted Kao's head to tame his hair a little, when he noticed the boy must have fallen asleep. As he arranged the blankets around him, he smiled. The boy was really adorable, red snotty nose aside.
"I did. I missed you, so I came to see you myself."
He figured he could take a Saturday morning off, no one would mind. And if someone did, Phu really didn't care at that moment.