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when you smile

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The tall man pushed his trolley through the supermarket aisle, softly repeating the ingredient that he was looking for. “Excuse me, where is the food coloring things?” He asked, approaching one of the staff that were arranging stocks of pre-packaged cake mix. “Oh, it’s at the end of this aisle actually, just walk straight ahead,” came a simple reply from the staff, index finger pointing towards the direction mentioned. A slight bow and just like that Khai was off to get the most important thing for his shopping of the day.

Khai wasn’t that much of a cook, barely went to their kitchen area unless for something simple but mostly it was his husband who frequently there. It was kind of a silent agreement between them, Third handles cooking and kitchen related things while Khai does the laundry and the dishes thing. But when he found out from his mother-in-law that Third used to get a specific cake for his birthday during his childhood and the fact that specific cake isn’t sold anymore due to the shop closing a few years back when his husband was a young teenager, Khai was determinant on baking that cake. By hook or by crook.

 

As soon as he succeeded on fishing further information from the brief phone call and with an old photo that was sent by Third’s mother as his reference, he spent the next hour searching and scrolling the internet for a replica of the cake’s recipe. And if he’s being honest after 3 hours of reading and scrolling through long paragraphs of useless background stories from numerous recipe blogs, nothing beats the feeling of finally found what he had been looking for.

“You’re baking a cake?” the voice from the other line shrieked making Khai pulling his phone further from his ear. Two’s voice was so loud, the whole store could hear him the tall man grumbled, simultaneously debating on which butter he should buy. “You don’t have to screamed you know? I can still hear you just fine,” he says as grabs the unsalted butter. “Unsalted butter is always the choice when it comes to baking, so we can control the salt content,” he remembered Third saying when he asked why bother used the unsalted one if they are going to add salt anyways.

 

“Sorry… I was just caught off guard,” Two said, sheepishly. “What kind are you baking anyways?”, “A polka dot cake, it’s something Third used to get for his birthday in the past,” Khai answered now pushing his trolley to the checkout counter after he finally finished the things. “Sounds… difficult,” his friend says, worriedness evident in his tone. “The blog says it’s easy even for beginners-” Khai assured, unloading several items from his trolley. Besides based on the brownie that they (or really just Third, Khai just hangs around to accompany his best guy and maybe sneaks a few kisses along the way) made last weekend, baking doesn’t seem that hard of a thing to do. “-Or should I say a piece of cake,” the tall continued which receives a loud groan from the other line.

 

Khai was oh-so wrong. Baking was a difficult task, even harder than cooking. And judging by the amount of sweats and flour that was scattered on the kitchen counter, Khai knew that it won’t be long until Third will be back from one of his meeting with the staffs. A series of knocks managed to interrupt him, a deep flush visible on his cheeks with a subtle hint of flour he noted as he passed by the mirror hanging in their living room. “Ai’ Khai it’s Bone, Two says you’re baking a cake for Third?” and with just one sentence, it managed to ease the anxiousness that Khai was suppressing, simultaneously making him relieved that he won’t be ruining Third’s birthday surprise.

“Shia it looks exactly the same!” the taller marveled as he compares side by side of a picture of Third’s 7th birthday and the cake that was bake by Bone “Hey you helped too,” Bone said earlier as soon as the cake was placed on top of the kitchen counter which receives a mental eye roll from Khai. Humble bastard. A loud ding came from his phone and as he checks a rush of giddiness came over him. “I just finished the meeting, I’ll be home soon <3” the message read and Khai quickly grabs the decoration that he hid a couple of days ago.

 

“Love? Khai? Where are you?” Third calls out after seeing the dark living room. The shorter quickly turns on the light switch which receives a sharp sound from a confetti popper. “Happy Birthday my husband!” Khai exclaims, grinning with his arms wide open. A soft smile instantly carved on Third’s face after seeing the whole set up that Khai did at their living room must be a real pain to clean this up later he internally thought but quickly shake it away. Wanting to get into his husband arms, Third slowly lets go of backpack that he was carrying and approaches but stopped after seeing what was on Khai’s hold. Third was a simple man, he doesn’t care what kind or flavor of cake he gets on his birthday but there’s always a small part of him, the child in him that longs for Aunt Som’s special polka dot cake. A small hint of disappointment always hits him not seeing the colorful cake on his special day until today. His oh so wonderful husband managed to replicate it, thought it wasn’t as accurate as the one in his memory but seeing how proud the taller is, Third can say this is the best polka dot cake he has ever seen.