Technicolor Daze

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twenty-six.

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

What’s on Noah’s mind?

That was a recurring thought, playing over and over in Theo’s mind as they stood at the ticket counter. Noah stood beside him looking absentmindedly at the sign above the counter that displayed the time they’d get the ferry to Kowloon in Hong Kong - 11:30 am.

Noah suddenly turned to him, interrupting his train of thought, and said, “I have some plans early tomorrow, so I might have to sleepover at my place tonight after we get back.” He seemed hesitant as he said that. Cautious almost.

“That’s fine. I understand,” Theo felt like a weight had been dropped in his stomach. He wished he didn’t have to part ways with Noah that night, because he knew that something was wrong.

“Sorry that I had to cut our weekend plans short. Something came up for tomorrow and I can’t really say no...” Noah tried to explain himself and he seemed frustrated and somewhat anxious about the circumstances as well.

“You don’t need to apologize. I’ve got you all of today anyway, so I’m already happy,” Theo gave Noah a reassuring smile. Noah smiled back just as the person at the counter left and they were the next in line to buy the tickets.

“Two tickets, please,” Noah said to the lady at the counter.

Theo gave Noah his share of the payment for the tickets and Noah grabbed his own wallet to pay for his ticket. Once they’d acquired the tickets, they crossed the customs area to head to the waiting area at the boarding gate of the ferry.

“Oh man, I haven’t been to Hong Kong since last year,” Theo said as he looked at the ferry they would soon board through the large glass windows.

“I went there in February for my friend’s birthday. Speaking of him, he’ll probably be pissed off when he finds out I went to Hong Kong without telling him,” Noah chuckled, as he joined Theo and gazed through the window.

“Aren’t you going to tell him?” Theo looked at Noah.

“Nah. I just want it to be the two of us this time. You can meet him another time,” Noah smiled at him and Theo brightened at the thought of meeting Noah’s friends.

Before Theo could say anything, a voice announced that the ferry was ready for boarding. The two men waited for the crowd to go in first, before getting in line and showing their tickets to the person at the gate.

Once they were at the outdoor area before boarding the ferry, the two men decided to smoke a cigarette, as they wouldn’t be able to smoke until they arrived in Hong Kong. “I’m almost out of smokes. Should’ve gotten another pack earlier. They’re more expensive in Hong Kong,” Noah sighed as he put his pack in his pocket and lit his cigarette up.

“I bought a brand new one, so I should have enough for both of us this trip,” Theo said as he lit his own cigarette up.

“Oh great, thanks.”

“We never really decided on a wager for our bet. The one to quit smoking,” Theo said as he exhaled a smoke cloud.

“You’re right. Maybe it’s a sign from the universe telling us not to quit,” Theo laughed at Noah’s comment.

“Or we just don’t have the self-discipline to commit to this healthy goal,” Theo gave Noah a knowing smirk.

“Possibly. There is always next time,” Noah’s mood seemed lighter as they exchanged friendly banter.

Once they’d finished smoking, they boarded the ferry and looked for their seats. Noah got a window seat and Theo sat right next to him. Luckily, nobody sat beside them.

They spent the whole ferry ride making fun of the videos playing on the small communal screens and laughing like idiots, earning some curious glances from the staff and other passengers. Theo enjoyed seeing Noah with a smile on his face. The ride was smooth and there were hardly any bumps along the way, which wasn’t always the case when Theo went to Hong Kong. Whenever he went with Alice to Hong Kong, he always had to deal with her whining because she often got seasick, but with Noah, it seemed like everything was going smoothly for the two men. Almost as if the universe was doing everything in its power to make the day a good one to cheer Noah up.

As the ferry approached Hong Kong, they also began seeing islands appearing in the misty distance. It was a view Theo always found beautiful. He suddenly came to the realization that he hadn’t explored much beyond Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Those small islands speckled around the Hong Kong Island and peninsula, shrouded in the light mist, were still a mystery to him.

Once the ferry had arrived at the Kowloon pier, Theo and Noah waited until most of the passengers had left the ferry, taking their time and avoiding the crowds. They both could avoid the queues at the customs area, as they could use their Macau IDs in the electronic channel for Macau residents.

After going down several escalators and reaching the ground floor of the ferry terminal, Theo turned to Noah and asked, “So, where should we head first?”

“Well, it’s almost lunchtime so we might as well go somewhere for lunch. What do you think?” Noah fished a cigarette out of his pack and lit it up. He also offered Theo one.

“Thanks,” he lit the cigarette up, “And yeah, I could eat something. Any ideas?”

“Ever been to the Chungking Mansions?” Noah asked.

“No, is it any good?” Theo had vaguely heard about that place, but he’d never been there.

“It’s got some amazing authentic South Asian and Southeast Asian food and it’s pretty affordable,” Noah explained, “My friend and I go there for lunch sometimes when I visit and the food is pretty good.”

“Sounds good. Lead the way,” Theo smiled at Noah, who extended his arm out to his left in an almost gentlemanly way, almost as if saying ‘after you’, earning a chuckle from Theo.

The two men wandered through the busy streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, as they smoked their cigarettes, heading towards Nathan Road. Once they’d crossed the street and were walking past the Citibank on Nathan Road, some men started approaching them, asking them if they wanted a Rolex watch, or perhaps a suit, or some hashish. Different products to serve different kinds of people. They ignored the offerings and headed onwards to their destination.

Noah then stopped in front of a building with a big black sign saying ‘Chungking Mansions’. It didn’t look very big on the outside, so Theo found the name quite ironic. “Is this it?” He asked Noah.

“Yeah, the restaurant’s inside. This place is like a labyrinth if you don’t know it. So, hopefully, we won’t get lost,” Noah gave Theo a playful smirk before adding as he stepped in, “Follow me.”

The interior of the building was definitely much bigger than Theo had anticipated. It was like a whole other world was crammed inside that building. Theo followed after Noah, navigating through a dizzying array of busy stalls selling watches and other useful gadgets, a few restaurants and clothes shops before Noah stopped in front of a green and orange restaurant with a big yellow sign saying ‘Syed Bukhara’. Theo could already feel the smell of spices and grilled meat wafting in the air.

“This place has some really good nasi lemak and biryani. What do you think?” Noah said as he looked at Theo.

“It smells amazing so yes, let’s head in,” Noah chuckled at Theo’s answer before following after Theo.

The restaurant was reminiscent of a food court in a Southeast Asian country, which left Theo excited about what he was about to eat. He always seemed to discover new things and places with Noah - one thing he cherished about the other man.

They sat down at one of the empty tables and the waiter brought a menu over to them. Noah ordered nasi lemak and Theo ordered their mutton Bukhara biryani special so that they could share each other’s dishes. They also ordered some chai to drink.

“This place really looks legit,” Theo told Noah after they’d placed their orders.

“Yeah, it also tastes pretty legit. At least according to my friend. He’s been to Malaysia a few times as he has family there. I haven’t been there yet.”

“I’ve been to Malaysia once. I really enjoyed it over there. Spent two weeks traveling around the country with my family,” Theo explained, “And this place definitely gives me similar vibes to some places I visited there.”

“It’s kind of funny how you were born in the States and have traveled more around Asia than me, even though I was born in Thailand,” Noah smiled at the irony of the situation.

“Now that you mention it, it is kind of ironic,” Theo smiled back, “Hadn’t really thought of it that way.”

“Is there a place you’d love to visit, but haven’t been to yet?” Noah asked with a curious look on his face.

“Hmm... I mean, I haven’t really been to Europe, so I’d love to visit and you’ve made a pretty convincing case for Germany,” Noah raised his eyebrow at Theo, who gave him a meaningful look.

“I think you’d enjoy Germany. If we’re ever there at the same time, I can take you around the country,” Noah blushed slightly as he said that.

“Ooh, I get a private tour guide?” Theo asked in a playful teasing tone.

“Of course, but I expect a handsome tip,” Noah retorted with a mischievous smirk, making Theo laugh.

The waiter returned with their food as well as their drinks and placed them on the table. They thanked him and Theo looked down at the meals laid out before them. Both of them looked absolutely delicious and Theo couldn’t wait to try them out. The portions were also fairly generous for the price, which was surprising to Theo who was used to paying a lot more for meals whenever he visited Hong Kong.

“This looks amazing,” Theo said, almost drooling at the food.

“Let’s dig in,” Noah said as he tried a bite of his nasi lemak, “Oh man, that’s good. That sambal is delicious as fuck.”

Theo tried a bit of the mutton and the rice and instantly moaned at the taste of the bite he’d eaten. “You have to try some of this biryani as well,” he said to Noah.

They tried out each other’s dishes and ended up mixing and matching elements of each other’s dishes as Theo and Noah both enjoyed the dishes. The creamy sweetness of Noah’s coconut rice, the spiciness of the sambal, the beautiful harmonious blend of spices in the biryani and mutton was like a symphony in their mouths. The chais also tasted lovely, but the two main dishes stole the show. Once they’d finished devouring the food, they asked for the bill.

“Thank you so much for bringing me here,” Theo said to Noah with a grateful smile on his face.

“No problem. It’s a great place and I knew you’d enjoy it,” Noah grinned back at Theo.

“So, where are we heading after this?” Theo was curious about what Noah had in mind.

Noah pretended to think about it for a bit before giving Theo an answer which left him intrigued, “It’s a surprise.”

“Aw, don’t I even get a hint?” Theo persisted.

“Well... I’ll give you this. We’ll need to get some drinks at 7-eleven before we go there,” Noah said, which didn’t Help Theo narrow down much.

“So not a place where we can get drinks, I guess.”

“Nope, and that’s all I’ll say about it,” Noah mischievously smiled at Theo, ”Los geht’s!"

Noah and Theo walked side by side to the nearest 7-eleven and bought some beers. Theo still had most of his pack of cigarettes so they decided against buying an extra one. While at 7-eleven, Noah checked something online using the free Wi-Fi from the convenience store. Theo couldn’t see Noah’s screen, as Noah found the information before Theo could catch a glimpse.

“Okay, I know the way to the place. Let’s go to the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station,” Noah said as he led the way. Theo quickly caught up and walked beside him. They zipped past crowds of people until they spotted the entrance to the station. Once they’d gone down the stairs, Noah walked to a ticket machine and bought them two tickets for Yau Tong Station. Theo was even more intrigued as he’d never been to Yau Tong and he had no idea what there was to see in that area.

“Here you go. Let’s go to the Tsuen Wan Line,” Noah handed him one of the tickets after paying for them.

“Okay,” Theo followed after Noah, touching his ticket against the ticket reader to go through the gate. After both of them had crossed to the other side, they went down the escalators and walked for a bit until they reached the platform they sought. The train heading towards Tsuen Wan had just arrived so Noah and Theo made a dash for it, stepping in seconds before the door closed.

They talked a bit about some of the locations on the metro line as they made their way to the place Noah had in mind. Noah wasn’t revealing any clues about the destination, but once they reached the Mong Kok station, Noah said, “We have to switch to a different line here.”

They got off the train and walked to the Kwun Tong line to get the next train that would take them to Yau Tong. The train didn’t take long. The doors opened and they stepped into a somewhat empty carriage.

“Can’t you even give me a small clue about the place?” Theo asked Noah as they sat down on some empty seats.

“Nope. We’re almost there anyway. You’ll see when we get there,” Noah smiled at Theo. Theo couldn’t resist that smile.

Once they reached the Yau Tong station, they got off and Theo followed Noah’s lead out of the station and walked along some streets before approaching an area with a lot of nature near a Chinese cemetery. “Are we going to hike?” Theo asked when he noticed Noah stepping foot onto a trail.

“Yeah, but the place I’m taking you is definitely worth the hike,” Noah said with a bright grin on his face.

They walked uphill, following the trail, breathing in the fresh air. The location felt very different from the concrete jungle of Hong Kong, resembling more a location Lara Croft would explore. Shortly thereafter, they found themselves in the middle of some fortifications that appeared to be military stations from the past.

“This used to be a military gun battery. The Gough battery. I discovered this place at one of those raves I mentioned to you,” Noah explained.

They walked around the abandoned concrete structures, partially hidden and covered by vegetation, exploring them and Theo was surprised he’d never heard of that location before. There weren’t many people around them either. Theo only noticed three or four other people exploring that place.

“This is really cool. How is it not more popular?” Theo asked as he touched the walls of a structure.

“I don’t know, but it does make this place more special in my opinion. But this isn’t the place I wanted to show you. Just a stop along the way,” Noah explained.

“Oh? There’s more?”

“Yeah, we have to hike up a bit more though,” Theo followed Noah as they went up a steep uphill path. It was fairly short and as soon as they got to the top, Theo understood why Noah had brought him there.

Although Theo had enjoyed exploring the abandoned gun battery, what he witnessed at the top of that steep climb left him speechless - the magnificent view of the Victoria Harbor from where they stood on top of some rocks.

“Wow,” was everything he could muster to utter.

“Right? This place is called the Devil’s Peak,” Noah said gazing happily at the view before turning to look at Theo, wanting to witness his reaction.

“This is much better than Victoria Peak,” Theo said as he sat down to appreciate the view. Noah sat down beside him. There were a few other people sitting on the rock as well, but as far as Hong Kong went, it was a pretty empty place, which was pretty rare.

“Definitely. I came up here at the end of the rave to watch the sunrise and it’s become one of my favorite spots in Hong Kong. I thought we could chill here for a bit, have some drinks and maybe watch the sunset. What do you think?” Noah suggested.

“Sounds perfect. Thank you for showing me this spot. It’s... just wow,” Theo couldn’t help but admire the view.

“I’m glad,” Noah smiled at Theo before grabbing a beer can from the 7-eleven plastic bag, “Want one?”

“Sure,” Noah handed Theo one of the cans before grabbing one for himself. They opened the cans and took some sips before sitting back and admiring the view.

Theo noticed that Noah still appeared to have a lot on his mind as he took in the views. His gaze was fixated on the horizon and yet his mind lingered elsewhere. Theo fished out a cigarette and offered it to Noah, who accepted it, before taking one out for himself and lighting it up.

“What’s on your mind?” Theo asked as he watched Noah exhale a cloud of smoke, a pensive look on his face.

Noah briefly glanced at Theo, longing emanating from his eyes, before turning his gaze back at the view, “I like coming up here whenever I have something on my mind. Being up here puts things into perspective. Think about it. The buildings down there,” Noah pointed at some skyscrapers in the distance, “from down below look huge and they appear to touch the sky, but from here... they look small.”

“Is that how you feel when you think about the problems on your mind when you’re up here?” Theo asked curiously.

“That is how I hope to feel. I come here with the hope that I can believe that any problem can be solved and nothing is as big of a problem as I make it out to be,” Noah took a puff from his cigarette before exhaling.

“Does it work?”

“Sometimes,” Noah kept gazing at the horizon. There was a brief lull in the conversation as Theo didn’t know what to say to Noah’s answer, before Noah broke the silence, “You know that rave I mentioned? That night my friend ditched me ’cause he met a girl to have sex and I was about to leave the party because I didn’t really see the point in staying, but as I was about to leave, this guy showed up and asked me if I wanted to join him and his friends for a smoke. I decided fuck it, why not. So I joined them. We ended up chatting all night long and getting high as fuck and it was one of the best nights in my life. Just a bunch of strangers bonding over a couple of joints at the top of a hill at night. We never exchanged contacts or anything and I kind of regret it, but that night was definitely magical.”

Theo was enjoying hearing Noah talking about the party and seeing a more carefree expression on Noah’s face. Noah took a sip of his beer before continuing, “At the end of the night just as the sun was rising, they dragged me all the way up here to watch the sunrise. As I watched the sunrise I felt really happy for the first time since I’d arrived in Macau. I’d been feeling homesick until that moment. Missing the life I’d left in Berlin, but as I watched the sunrise and watched as the city below me slowly woke up, I knew I was going to be okay.”

“Oh wow, that’s pretty deep,” Noah chuckled at Theo’s comment as he stubbed his cigarette out.

“Yeah, I guess,” Noah smiled at Theo who also extinguished his cigarette, “Do you have a spot like this for you? A place where you go to clear your mind of negative thoughts?”

Theo thought a bit before answering, “Well, I don’t have one spot per se. When I broke up with my ex, my spot was my bedroom. I was a mess for the first few days and stayed locked in my bedroom at my parents’ place. Alice actually came over to my house and dragged me out of my room and to the garden in my parents’ building.”

“How long did it take you to start moving on?” Noah asked.

“It took a while. I mean, I started going out again after a week, but it wasn’t until I started therapy that I saw some progress and that took a long time and some convincing on Alice’s part. I was really hesitant about it.”

“Are you still in therapy?” Noah seemed curious about that topic.

“Nah, I stopped last year after two years. It helped a lot, but I felt ready to try going without being too dependent on my therapist. So far, I feel like I’m doing well, though at times I still have my occasional low moments.”

“That’s good. Your ex sounds like a real jerk, so I’m glad you managed to heal from that relationship,” Noah gave Theo a genuine smile.

“Time can heal a lot of wounds,” Theo gave Noah a meaningful look, hoping Noah would get the hint. He knew Noah had some deep wounds and was afraid of giving in to his feelings because of those wounds, so he wanted Noah to know that there was hope for him.

After that, the two men just exchanged some stories about their childhood and teachers at their school.

“Can’t believe we went to the same school for years, knew some of the same people and yet never crossed paths before,” Theo said as he recovered from a laughing outburst after hearing a story Noah had told about one of his classmates who was so infamous that even Theo had heard of him.

“It’s a small world,” Noah smiled back.

The afternoon flew by as the two men drank beers, smoked cigarettes, and learned more about each other’s lives. Theo wanted to know everything about the man sitting beside him and it seemed like Noah felt the same way about Theo. It was an afternoon filled with laughter and by the time the sun started to set, the initial tension in Noah’s shoulders and underlying pain in his eyes had made way for a lighter and carefree expression.

“The sunset is really beautiful from up here,” Theo said as he watched the sky turn into multiple shades of orange, red and purple, bathing the city in a warm glow.

“I know, right? Definitely makes the hike worth it,” Theo just nodded at Noah’s statement, silently taking in the view.

Once the sun had set, Noah turned to Theo and asked, “Shall we head back down to grab some dinner?”

“Yeah, getting hungry,” Theo got up and noticed he was slightly tipsy, “Oh wow, I think I had too many beers.”

Noah chuckled as he stood up after picking up their mess and shoving it into the plastic bag, “I’m okay. Feeling a bit warm but otherwise fine.”

“You’re going to have to lead the way then or we might get lost,” Theo lazily smiled at Noah, who grinned back at him.

“You’re such a lightweight. Come on, follow me,” Noah grabbed a hold of Theo’s hand and tugged him along the trail, heading back down the same way they’d gone up. Theo didn’t even attempt to resist, enjoying the feeling of his hand in Noah’s, their fingers laced together.

They wandered all the way back down, occasionally stumbling on some fallen branches or tree roots, stopping to look at some things, tipsily giggling at some things they’d say, and sharing a kiss or two. It was already seven by the time they stood beside the busy street.

“Where should we head for dinner?” Theo asked, his mind a bit clearer after the hike down.

“We could have dinner somewhere in Tsim Sha Tsui and then walk around Avenue of Stars. I know this great cha caan teng in Tsim Sha Tsui not too far from Avenue of Stars,” Noah suggested.

“Sure, that sounds good.”

The two men took the MTR all the way to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station. Theo just followed Noah’s lead like he’d done the entire day. He realized that although he’d visited Hong Kong many times in the past, he hadn’t fully explored it to the same extent as Noah had. He always discovered new places and things with Noah. He smiled as that thought crossed his mind and he glanced at Noah, whose mood had improved a lot throughout the day, sitting beside him as they rode the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui.

When they exited the East Tsim Sha Tsui station they walked a bit until they stood in front of a small local eatery - what they call a cha caan teng. The restaurant’s name was in Chinese and it looked packed. When they stepped in, they noticed they were lucky as there was only one vacant table.

“What do you recommend here?” Theo asked as he looked at the menu.

“Their char siu and egg rice is really good. That’s what I’m getting,” Noah said, placing the menu on the table, having settled on his choice.

“I’ll have that too and some milk tea. No, actually, just some green tea. I had some beer earlier so not sure if milk is a good idea,” Theo said as he placed his menu down too and called the waiter over.

“I’ll have some chrysanthemum honey tea,” Noah said.

They ordered their meals and drinks before Noah said, “I really missed Hong Kong. I’ve been so busy these last few months that I haven’t come here as often as I used to.”

“You work too hard. Have you ever considered just doing dancing full time rather than working at the bookshop and dancing?”

“Actually, one of my former D2 colleagues mentioned that there are a few job openings at the House of the Dancing Water and mentioned that he could help me get an interview to work there,” Noah said matter-of-factly.

“That sounds great!” Theo knew from talking to Noah that he had submitted his CV to the House of the Dancing Water when he’d first arrived and never got called back, but he knew Noah really wanted to work there.

“Yeah, but that would mean I would have to reduce the classes I teach at my friend’s school...” Noah added.

“Oh...” Theo hadn’t thought of it that way. He wondered if that had been the issue on Noah’s mind since Friday night.

“Yeah. I found out about the job openings on Thursday and I’m thinking about it, but I still don’t know. My friend is kind of counting on me and I wouldn’t have as much time as I do now...”

“Why don’t you talk to your friend about it?” Theo asked.

“Yeah, I plan on talking to her. I don’t want to ditch her now that she is gaining a lot of new students without at least making sure that she can find at least one other teacher.” The waiter showed up with their meals and drinks shortly after Noah answered.

Although Noah seemed torn about his decision, it didn’t seem like that was the issue that was eating at him. He’d talked about it in a calm manner, almost as if he’d already thought it through. But there was something else. Something related to the text message he’d received the previous night.

“Anyway, let’s dig in!” Noah said, enthusiastic to taste the food.

Noah had been right yet again - the food was delicious, so much so that the two men didn’t exchange many words as they chowed down on their meals, feeling hungry after their hike and after a few beers.

“That was exactly what I needed after that hike,” Noah said as he rubbed his belly after finishing his meal.

“It was really good. You know way more places in Hong Kong than I do!” Theo finished his meal as well.

“Yeah, I spent a week in Hong Kong with my friend and he showed me around. And I used to visit once a month before I started working at D2,” Noah explained.

“That’s pretty cool. We should come to Hong Kong together again so you can show me some more cool spots,” Theo smiled at Noah.

Noah smiled back before a thought popped into his mind and his expression briefly turned a bit somber. He quickly recovered and plastered a smile onto his face as he said, “Shall we head out and go for a walk before going back to Macau?”

“Sure,” Theo wanted to ask what was wrong as he’d noticed the fleeting change in expression in Noah’s face, but Noah had already gotten up to pay for the meals.

After the meals had been paid, the two men walked out of the dining establishment and strolled down the street, heading towards the Avenue of Stars. It didn’t take them long before they were walking the Victoria Harbour waterfront, looking at the bright lights and neon signs of the Hong Kong island skyline. They looked at some of the names on the stars displayed on the ground beneath their feet, exchanging comments about some of the biggest names like Bruce Lee, Chow Yun-fat, Leslie Cheung, Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow, Wong Kar-Wai, and many other big names from the Hong Kong film industry.

“We should watch Kung Fu Hustle together one of these days. It’s such a hilarious movie! Have you seen the English dub version?” Theo asked Noah enthusiastically when he found out Noah also liked Stephen Chow movies.

“I watched the Cantonese version with my friend. It was still hilarious though,” Noah said as he leaned forward on the rail along the waterfront when they stopped to look at the view.

“Oh, you gotta watch the English dub! We can watch it next time you come over to my place if you want,” Theo said with a huge grin on his face.

“Sure, I’d like that,” Noah smiled back before looking at the dancing lights of the tall skyscrapers in front of them, towering over them in the distance. Theo did the same, admiring the view he was starting to associate to a man with endearing hazelnut eyes. Theo looked at Noah’s side profile, studying his features, taking them in. He never got sick of looking at the man.

Noah noticed Theo’s gaze on him and asked, “What?”

“I like looking at you - that’s all,” Theo smiled. Noah chuckled at Theo’s comment but his cheeks also turned a light shade of pink.

“You’re so cheesy sometimes,” Noah said as he shook his head.

“Well, I’m only speaking the truth,” Theo said.

Noah turned to face Theo and stepped closer to him, leaning in slowly before pressing his lips to Theo’s.

“You’re also nice to look at. And I like kissing your lips,” he whispered after giving Theo a taste of his lips.

“You’re such a tease,” Theo whispered back as Noah pulled away.

“By the way, thank you for coming with me to Hong Kong,” Noah smiled at Theo with a grateful look in his eyes.

“Don’t mention it. I also really enjoyed spending the day with you here,” Theo smiled back.

They gazed at each other for a while before looking at the view again for a bit. Eventually, they noticed the time and decided to make their way to Sheung Wan where they’d get the ferry to Macau.

They rode the MTR all the way to Sheung Wan and bought some tickets from a vendor selling cheaper tickets by the staircase. They managed to make it in time for the ten-thirty ferry and arrived at the gate just a few minutes before they were allowed to get on the ferry.

As the ferry left Hong Kong, Noah leaned his head on Theo’s shoulder and closed his eyes to have a nap. Theo looked down at Noah’s sleeping face. Cute, he thought. He leaned his own head against Noah’s to get some rest on the way back. The ferry was fairly empty and quiet, quite a contrast from how it was during the day.

Theo had never been one for napping so he spent the first half of the trip back to Macau thinking about his day with Noah and it warmed his heart. He was falling hard and fast for the man sleeping beside him and he knew there was no turning back. He’d gone past the point of no return.

About halfway through the trip, Noah stirred in his seat and started mumbling something. Theo wasn’t sure if Noah was awake or not, “Noh?”

“Don’t... leave me...” Noah mumbled in his state of slumber. Words he wasn’t aware he was uttering, “I didn’t want to do this.... Please, don’t hate me...”

Theo wasn’t sure what was going on in Noah’s dream, but he wanted to ease Noah’s pain. He adjusted his position to wrap his arm around Noah tightly and brushed his fingers on Noah’s furrowed brow, trying to get it to relax. He noticed that Noah seemed to melt into his embrace and made a pleased humming sound. Theo smiled at the change in Noah’s expression but he couldn’t help but feel worried about Noah’s problem. He knew whatever was happening in Noah’s dream had to do with the issue that was on his mind, seeping into his subconscious.

Noah didn’t stir from his slumber until they arrived in Macau. When the ferry started approaching the pier, Theo woke Noah up, “Noh, we’re here.′

He was a bit disorientated at first and confused about how he wound up in Theo’s embrace. “Did I sleep the whole trip here?”

“Yeah. The ferry is about to dock,” Theo said, smiling as he looked at Noah’s sleepy expression.

“Sorry about that. You must’ve been bored this entire trip back,” Noah said with an apologetic look on his face, completely unaware that Theo had witnessed a sliver of his dream.

“It’s fine,” just as Theo said that passengers started exiting the ferry which had just finished docking in the Macau pier, “let’s head out.”

“Yep,” Theo helped Noah up, as he was still a bit groggy from his nap.

They left the ferry and walked through the terminal before crossing the customs area to be able to leave the building. Theo wasn’t sure what the plan was after they left the terminal. He knew Noah would head to his place, but he didn’t know if he wanted Theo to stay over or if he wanted to go home alone. He hoped it was the former.

By the time they headed to the taxi queue, Noah still hadn’t invited Noah over. He appeared to be a bit lost in his own thoughts, almost as if the dream had reminded him of the thoughts he was trying to avoid. And he kept on not mentioning anything even as they reached the head of the queue and the taxi approached.

“Guess I should be getting home now,” Theo said when he spotted the taxi he or Noah would be getting on.

He felt a sudden tug on his wrist and he looked at Noah who looked at him with a pleading expression on his face. He uttered in a small voice, “Stay with me tonight. Please.”

And when Noah gazed at him like that, Theo just couldn’t refuse.

“Okay.”

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