Coffee and Bliss

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Chapter 6: Harris' Life Lesson

He saw something flickered in his eyes. But it faded away quickly. He smirked at him and started cooking. Mia asked many questions though. She was a nice and smart girl. They interacted as if it was only the two of them were in the kitchen.

“I am here too, you know?” He just glanced for seconds at Tristan and saw him pouting.

After a while, the food was already done. “Little girl, wash your hands first before eating, okay?” he said. He arranged the food nicely on the table. He just added some toasted bread, ham, and orange juice.

“You looked like a mother to me, P’Harris.” Mia’s sudden outburst echoed in the kitchen. She had an innocent smile without knowing what her words mean to him.

No one talked after that. They fell into silence. He was trying to regain his composure, Tristan seemed tense and was rolling his spoon on the food and Mia was being herself, eating innocently not realizing the effect of her statement.

But he was curious. He wanted to know where it came from. Why did Mia say it? After thinking thoroughly, he cleared his throat. “Why did you say that, little girl?”

He could sense the tension radiating from Tristan. Maybe something happened before.

“P’Gia always did that to Erin, her daughter, you know. She was cooking for her because she said that it’s what mothers do to their kids.” The fact that her smile didn’t reach her eyes, his heart clenched at the sight.

“Little bun, I always cooked for you!” Tristan glared at his niece.

“But either burned, the food did not taste good,” Mia answered, then stuck out her tongue to her uncle.

“Little girl, it’s bad sticking out your tongue to someone older than you. And you should thank your P’ because he cooks food for you.”

He expressed that Tristan and Mia looked at him. Well, he just thought that the tan man was the only one who took care of Mia. He hasn’t seen other people home since he came here yesterday.

“I’m sorry, P’Harris. I will remember that.” Mia said then turned to her P’. “Sorry Phi. Thank you because even though you burned the food, you still cook for me.”

He looked at Tristan with amusement. Because the tan man got teary-eyed. But before it fell, he smiled at Mia and patted her head. “That’s okay, my little bun. Let’s just eat. Foods getting cold.” He murmured, a smile formed on his lips but it was a sad smile.

He knew deep inside, Tristan was touched. But he didn’t intrude anymore, he had no right to lecture them after all. He just got carried away because it was what he was doing to his nephews. Maybe he just missed them a lot.

***

Tristan cleaned the mess in the kitchen while Harris was acquainting Mia on how to do little things to help. He was teaching her to wipe the table after eating. It was a good start to his morning. Never did he imagine that he would have someone to guide Mia beside Gia. Harris knows how to handle a kid, that’s for sure. He was tender and smart. And Mia was right, he really looked like a mother figure. He smiled with that thought.

“Stop imagining things and move already. I can almost see my face on the floor, you know? How many times do you have to mop this?” He pouted after hearing Harris’ words. He really had a smart mouth.

He snapped back on his thoughts and saw the pale man leaning on the table, right brow-raising, arms crossed on his chest. His hair was disheveled.

“Where’s Mia?” He asked after noticing that they were the only ones in the kitchen.

“She told me that she will be in her P’ Gia’s store while we’re at school. I asked her if she can take a bath by herself because I kinda help her if she doesn’t. But she just ran to the bathroom. Hm, how about you?” Harris’ rambled words made him smirk.

He gasped. “I can take a bath by myself, no worry.” He said only to receive a smack on his head, again.

“Idiot! What I mean is how about you, are you going to mop the floor until midnight or care to move and get ready for school?”

Tristan just smiled thinly because of embarrassment. He touched the part of his head where Harris smacked him, he sure could hit hard.

“P’Harris, can you help me with my buns?” Mia shouted from her room. Harris looked at him and flicked his forehead then went to Mia.

“Shia! What happened to you, Tristan?” He asked himself. He left the kitchen and got ready to go to the university too.

When he came out of his room, he nearly tripped from what he saw. Harris was doing Mia’s hair. He tied them up with pink curly tails. ‘Was he a woman before?’ He left his question in his mind because he was afraid for another smack from the pale man.

Mia looked cuter than before because Harris really knew how to handle kids. He saw him knelt fixed Mia’s shoelace.

“You need to tie your shoelace tightly. Because it’s your guide for a better future. If you encountered your only chance in your life and your shoelace was not tied tightly and you tripped, you might have missed that opportunity.”

“But P’Harris, I can use shoes without lace instead.” Mia pointed to her shoe rack.

He covered his mouth because he was around to laugh hard on Mia’s debut. He didn’t know why Harris suddenly connected the lace for her niece’s future. Well, his niece was right. She had many shoes because he loved to buy them for her. It was kind of a collection.

“And that’s the lesson. Not every time, you can have choices to choose. So better use wisely what you have at the moment.”

He was taken aback after hearing Harris’ words. They really made way in his heart and mind. He jotted them down mentally. Fuck! Harris was really something. Even Mia might not understand it well because of her age but he knew that she would remember it. Especially him. Because he felt that those words were intentionally meant for him.

He cleared his throat, interrupting the two. They both looked surprised but then again they ignored him and talked again as if he wasn’t there. Poor him!

***

After dropping Mia at Gia’s store, he drove to the university with Harris. He didn’t give up until the pale man agreed to come with him. He parked his car and was about to open the door for him again but Harris glared like he would kill him if he did it. So he just shrugged and waited for him to come out.

“Thank you for guiding Mia. I never thought that she would actually listen to you. Well, Mia was stubborn sometimes and didn’t listen to anyone. But you caught her attention just for one day. Amh, just—seriously I thank you.” He said with a low tone. They were walking side to side.

“No worries. I have nephews who are more stubborn than Mia that’s why.”

“Mia’s parents were—”

“Don’t, Tristan. I can see how hard it was for you. I mean, I saw you struggling back there in the kitchen when Mia opened up that issue. You can tell me if you’re really ready,” he said. He gave a smile perhaps to assure him that it was alright.

He bit his lips. Harris was a really understandable man and that was what he needed. The pale man patted his shoulder and gave him a thumbs up. Before he could say anything in return, Harris made his way out to his department.

“Woah what have we got here?” Roy and Regan surrounded him like he was being investigated. He punched their shoulders lightly.

“What now, idiots?”

“You’ve disappeared after talking to that pale man. Who is he, by the way?” Regan asked. He followed his gaze to Harris who was walking very fast.

“Harris.”

“Harris? Harris what?”

“Just Harris.” He said, copying the pale man’s tone when he said that to him.

“So it’s not something but someone. He’s the one you’re interested in? Well, he looks good but a little bit of a jerk. He dared to shout on you, and what? You just let it pass.” Roy began with a curious face.

“Come on, give me a break. I’m still sorting things out.”

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