Apparently, Alak was not the only one making a trip to the kitchen.
Standing in front of the refrigerator was a beautiful man’s back. Naked back that was. With one arm holding the refrigerator door open, and the other holding a pitcher, highlighting his sinewy biceps and his beautiful back. He was wearing gray sweatpants that were hanging dangerously low, showing his black Armani brief waistband.
The man turned around showing his glorious front view. Alak quickly looked elsewhere.
“Oh, you’re still up,” Koran said as he poured himself a tall glass of water.
“Uh, yeah. I wanted some water.” Alak said, feeling a little embarrassed as the half-naked man casually poured a glass for him.
“Thanks. I’ll let you get back to sleep.” Alak said, wanting to retreat.
“Oh, I’m actually hungry. I came out scavenging for food. I’m debating between instant noodles or a bowl of cereal. I don’t feel like a salad right now. Are you hungry?” Koran chuckled.
“Uhm, no no. Don’t worry about me.” Alak said. And almost like on cue, his stomach betrayed him with a loud angry growl.
He didn’t eat lunch because of the whole debacle with Chet, and then he was too preoccupied with the clients to get enough bites in to call it a meal during dinner. So, yeah his stomach was rightfully protesting at the mere mention of food.
“Well, I think your stomach wants to join me.” Koran tipped his chin at Alak’s growling stomach.
“Well, let’s have noodles, and let me make it. It’s the least I can do.” Alak walked around the counter that was separating him and Koran.
Koran took out two packs of noodles and a pot for Alak.
“Do you have any meat or veggies that you want in your noodles?” Alak asked as he took the pot from Koran.
“Uhm, I don’t know. You can check in the fridge. I really don’t know how to cook beyond boiling water to make the noodles.” Koran admitted.
Alak walked over to the fridge and peeked inside. That fridge had got to be the most organized fridge he has ever seen. Fruits, veggies, and meats were compartmentalized perfectly. The veggies looked so fresh and vibrant, that they looked fake.
Alak grabbed a stalk of leek and red bell pepper. There were some prawns, so he grabbed a few of those, and two eggs.
Koran was amazed at how Alak had turned plain old simple instant noodles into something so appealing. It looked good enough to be on food magazines.
Alak set down their bowls on the counter table, and they both hovered over their noodles ready to dig in while standing. Koran excitedly picked up his chopsticks and took his first bite.
“This is the best instant noodles I’ve ever had,” Koran said as he happily slurped his noodles.
Alak can’t help but feel proud of his handy work. All these years cooking and cleaning after Chet, he never got a thank you let alone praise. And all he did here was make instant noodles.
“You have a lot of stuff in your fridge for someone who doesn’t cook,” Alak said, trying to make conversation.
“Well, my maids come to cook and clean for me when I choose to eat in. But that’s a rare occurrence since I’m mostly at work. They do make breakfast every morning though.” Koran replied as he slurped more noodles into his mouth.
“Where are they now? I didn’t see anyone else here.” Alak looked around to see if anyone was hidden and he hadn’t noticed.
“Oh, I don’t let them stay the night. And they don’t come on the weekends either. I like my privacy too much.” Koran chuckled.
Alak didn’t know what to think of that when the man just let him, a stranger, stay the night and very much invade his privacy.
“Aren’t you cold? The air conditioning is pretty strong.” Alak asked out of curiosity.
“No, I was actually working out just for a little bit, so I was quite hot. I like to do push-ups whenever I’m stuck thinking about something.” Koran said nonchalantly.
Alak looked at himself, maybe that’s a habit that he should start taking up.
Alak attempted to peel a prawn and accidentally splattered a bit of soup on his face. He couldn’t clean it off as his hands were still holding the prawn.
Seeing Alak’s situation, Koran chuckled and moved closer to Alak. Alak’s breath hitched. Koran took his napkin and dabbed on Alak’s face until it was clean.
“There, all better,” Koran said and went back to his noodles.
“Thanks,” Alak said looking away. The little gesture left Alak feeling a little too warm.
“You know what goes best with instant noodles?” Koran asked with a bright smile like a kid given a piece of candy.
Alak was lost for a second, but then curiously responded, “what?”
Koran excitedly opened the fridge to pull out a bottle of Coke and opened it before handing it to Alak.
Alak took the bottle and took a big gulp. It did taste wonderful after eating the salty and spicy noodles. Alak set the bottle down on the counter, but it was quickly picked up by Koran.
Koran took the bottle and started drinking.
Alak watched as Koran threw his head back downing the bottle, and Koran’s Adam’s apple bobbed up and down.
“Ahhh. That’s perfect.” Koran said as he tossed the empty bottle away.
Alak quickly looked away. Trying to refrain from being found staring.
“Hey, I drank out of that.” Alak pretended to protest.
“I don’t mind. It was the last bottle.” Koran said, shrugging his shoulders.
“For a grown man, you eat like a kid. Do you always eat so unhealthy?”
“Uhm, I just don’t eat much period. I don’t have time. The most I eat is breakfast when the maids prepare it for me. Throughout the day, I am too preoccupied to think about food. So when I’m finally feeling hungry, I’m usually alone. So, I just make whatever I can. It’s just food.” Koran put his bowl in the sink.
“Well, you should take care of your health.” Alak didn’t know why he was saying all this to Koran, someone he barely knew.
“Mmm, I’ll keep that in mind. You can leave the bowls there. The maids will clean them.” Koran said as he crossed his arms over his bare chest and leans on the counter.
Alak again was looking at all the wrong places. He shook his head, “tomorrow is Saturday, you said they only come on the weekdays, right? Besides, it’s the least I can do.” Alak began washing the bowls.
“You are making me a bad host.” Koran chuckled but didn’t really stop Alak knowing there was no point in trying.
Alak finished cleaning and turned around to see Koran was still in the same position, only he was now deep in thought, and biting his lips.
Alak needed to leave now. Right now.
“Huh, I’m going to go back now. Goodnight.” Alak said quickly heading back to his room.
“Oh, okay. Goodnight.” Koran said while he still lingered around.
Closing the door shut, Alak couldn’t escape fast enough. He was starting to get flushed just looking at the man. He wondered if that man was even aware of what he was doing? Why would he walk around like that? Especially when he had a guest in the house.
He went to the bathroom to brush his teeth again, and the time on the mirror showed 12:55 am. Alak climbed in bed, and he didn’t know if he was just really tired, or was this the most comfortable bed he had ever been on.
Now that he had settled in, he replayed his entire day in his mind. Let’s see, he got royally dumped by his boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend of five fucking years. The guy that he had basically been supporting for the past five years. Because his ex-boyfriend Chet believed that he was the next rising star just waiting to be discovered. Chet has been in as many movies as extras as there are grains of sand in Pattaya. Some were even pro bono. Who does that? If Chet ever had any money, Alak hadn’t seen it. Chet spent his money either on what he called trend-setting fashion or getting professional headshots.
So, when their landlord offered a discount on rent if they paid in advance for a year, Alak took it without a second thought. At the time, he even thought it was perfect timing since his CD account had just matured giving him the interest that he needed. On the day of signing, he was busy with a client, so Chet went to sign the lease on his own. So, now he was screwed and homeless.
He took a deep breath, waiting to cry. To mourn the end of his relationship. He waited a little longer.
The truth was, he felt nothing. Of course, he was pissed about how ugly it ended and completely caught off guard. After all, even if he wasn’t a doting boyfriend, he had been there for Chet through the years chasing those unrealistic dreams one after another. Alak used to at one point even believed in them too. He even thought it was great that Chet wanted to chase his dream. Unfortunately, that’s all it was, a dream that turned into a long nightmare.
Long gone were the days where they wanted each other’s company. Alak had been working hard to make a living and build his career these past years. He spent more time in the office than at home. And Chet slept most of his days away even when he didn’t have work. On Alak’s day off, he had to spend it cleaning after Chet. So, there was no real love lost here. If you had to ask him why he stuck around, he would say maybe he just got too comfortable. Maybe he was too busy, or maybe he was just too afraid to put himself out there again.
After all, he had gone through a lot to be with Chet. Breaking up would mean that they failed. And that meant he had failed. That was probably the biggest reason right there. He didn’t leave home to become a failure. However, that was what it had become, hadn’t it? A complete failure. The only good outcome of their relationship was probably Popeye. Their silver lining. Popeye was their five-year-old corgi that Chet had adopted from the animal shelter as their one year anniversary gift. Alak didn’t want a pet at the time, but Chet kept saying it was their love baby, and that got Alak good.
Alak at the time had just recently left home after coming out of the closet so to speak, and was still trying to get his footing in life. The last thing he needed was added responsibilities. So, Alak was reluctant to keep Popeye. However, Popeye bonded with him right away. You see, Popeye was abused before being adopted, so trust did not come easy for Popeye. He was tiny and always shivering. Alak had to hand feed him everyday otherwise he would rather go hungry than come out to eat by himself. He would just hide under the coffee table all day if you let him. He didn’t want to go out for walks like other dogs. He just wanted to snuggle up with Alak all the time.
Popeye didn’t like Chet no matter what Chet tried. The only time Chet was able to hold him without him squirming was when Chet gave him Popeye’s fried chicken. So, that’s how he got his name Popeye. Unfortunately, the only Popeye’s in Thailand had since closed. But it didn’t really matter because Chet got bored of Popeye a few months after bringing him home. So forget the fried chicken. Chet didn’t pitch in to care for Popeye as he had promised at the beginning and used the excuse of Popeye preferring Alak to make him do everything. Alak later learned the only reason why Chet had adopted Popeye was that Popeye was the only purebred Corgi at the shelter. He was actually looking to sell him if the opportunity came along. Alak really hoped Chet wouldn’t sell Popeye before he could figure things out.
Now, onto the next disaster of the day. Losing his damn wallet, and his pride along with it. Without his wallet, he couldn’t even put a roof over his head however temporary it may be. He had to drag his suitcases and his dignity around town looking for shelter. He knew he had some great friends because they came through for him when he left home years ago, but today the odds were against him. Even his phone that he had for less than a year decided to quit today.
However, being the forever optimist that he was, he would say that whatever was written in the stars, or whoever that wrote his fate had probably shown him mercy already. As it could have been worse, right? Like being struck by lightning, trapped in a falling elevator, or being in some high-speed chase for whatever reason. So, it’s not too bad, right? It’s all about the silver linings in life. And right now he was laying in a super comfortable bed, had a wonderful shower, a full belly, and a roof over his head, at least for the night. Let’s just worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Goodnight.
Hmmm, what time was it?
Cracking my eyes open, I peeked at the clock on the nightstand. What? It was only 7? Where was I? Oh, right. I shouldn’t sleep in, should I? Of course not. That would be rude. But the bed was so comfortable. Ugh! Fine. Let’s continue my miserable life, shall we?
All my clothes were so wrinkly. That stupid bastard. Now, I really looked like a hobo.
After freshening up, I quietly went out of the room. I wanted to go to the kitchen to get a drink of water.
Oh, the owner was asleep on the living room sofa. He was still half-naked with his long legs stretched across. He looked so peaceful and young. I wondered how old he is. He should be around my age I would guess. Not that it mattered. Maybe I should put that blanket over him. Yeah, I should do that so he wouldn’t catch a cold or something. Observing him closer, his skin looked so smooth and nicely tanned, almost flawless. He had a nice sharp nose too. It complimented his eyes and smile. He looked so serious back at the office and in the car, but he was so relaxed and easygoing when we ate together. This man was quite interesting.
This man, very much a stranger, had shown more kindness to me than my so-called family I’ve known all my life. He didn’t pry or ask anything that I didn’t want to say. Not making me feel uncomfortable or pitied. He was easy to talk to. If only he had on a shirt, I probably would have told him my life story. Oh well.
Now, maybe I could make some breakfast for him as a thank you. His maids wouldn’t be around today, so I guess I could feed him.
Koran heard some noise coming from the kitchen. So he woke up to find himself under a blanket. He got up from the sofa rising to his full height. He stretched his arms above his head and then pulled his elbows back twisting from side to side.
Koran quickly turned around to see what’s going on. He walked over to the kitchen where Alak was holding a bloody finger. Koran quickly ushered Alak over to the sink, ran his cut under the cold water, and then handed him a paper towel to dry it.
“Wait here. I’ll go get the first aid kit.” Koran said and rushed away. A minute later he came back with the kit waving for Alak to come over to the other side of the counter where they could sit on the bar stools.
Alak hesitantly compiled and stood in front of Koran while holding his cut finger. Koran took out a cotton gauze soaked with disinfectant and reached for Alak’s finger.
“I can do it myself,” Alak said.
“Why? Just relax, I’ll be gentle.” Koran replied while he started to disinfect the cut.
Alak let Koran treat his cut, it was his fault for distracting him after all. If Koran wasn’t stretching his arms showing his full wingspan, and twisting his waist here and there about, Alak wouldn’t have forgotten he was still holding a knife cutting fruits.
Alak looked up through his lashes to watch Koran concentrated cleaning his wound and put a bandage on it. When Koran was done treating Alak’s cut, he took Alak’s hand and looked at it from the front, and then the back to check out his handiwork.
“Okay, I think it’s okay now. What were you doing? Let me help you since you are injured.” Koran said looking at the dishes in front of him. There were omelets and french toast.
“Uhm, I made breakfast since you said the maids aren’t here today. I was just going to finish it off with some fruits, but somehow I cut myself. I’m sorry.” Alak explained.
“Why are you sorry? I’m the terrible host here. I should be making you breakfast. Although, I wouldn’t recommend you eat anything I make beyond instant noodles.” Koran said, chuckling to himself as he put away the first aid kit.
“So do you want to eat now? Alak asked, awkwardly glancing up at Koran.
“Yeah, do you want to eat at the table or here at the counter?” Koran grabbed the two plates.
“Here is fine. It’s more casual. Let me get the fruits.” Alak was about to get up.
Koran put the plates back down. “I can do it. Here, let me help you too.”
Koran stepped in front of Alak. He reached his arms around and behind Alak’s waist to untie the apron and then lifted the strap that was around Alak to remove it.
Then Koran casually walked away with the apron and plated the cut fruits. He brought the plate of fruits over while Alak was hyper-alert to Koran’s every move.
“Let’s eat. Everything looks great.”
“Thanks. Are you sure you don’t want to put on a shirt?”
“Nah, I’m going to shower after I eat.”
“Oh, okay.” Alak looked away feeling a little embarrassed.
“Mmm, this french toast is perfect. Not too soggy, yet not too dry. Where did you learn to cook?”
“I kind of had to when I moved out from my parents’ house. I just watched a lot of cooking videos.”
“I see. Well, I can’t cook to save my life. In fact, I would probably endanger it, and my neighbors.”
Koran and Alak both laughed.
They ate in comfortable silence for a while. Then Koran broke the spoke again.
“So, what are you going to do today?” Koran asked casually.
“I’m going to try to get my phone fixed, and then call a friend to see if I can stay with him for a while.”
“Okay, I can drive you to get your phone fixed. I want to get out for a bit anyway. Being cooped in the office all week is too suffocating.”
“That’s okay. I don’t want to trouble you anymore than I already have. I’m sure you have better things to do than getting my phone fixed. If you can just let me leave my things here while I’m gone, that would be great.”
“Well, it’s up to you. I’m still going to go out for a drive. You can ask Thak to drop you off wherever you need to go. And don’t worry about your stuff. It’ll be fine.”
“Thanks. I really appreciate it.”
“Don’t mention it. Well, thanks for breakfast. Your cooking is so good, I should just hire you instead. I’m going to shower now.”
Koran placed his plate in the sink and walked away rubbing his non-existent belly in happiness.
Alak finished up and got ready to go out. He had even found 100 baht in one of his many jackets Chet had packed. Today couldn’t be that bad, right?
Twenty minutes later as Alak came out of his room. He found Thak standing outside by his door.
“Good morning, Mr. Ronpaisarn. Mr. Sunthorn has asked me to drive you wherever you wish to go today.”
“Oh. I can manage on my own. I don’t want to trouble you.”
“It’s no trouble at all sir. This is my job, and Mr. Sunthorn just wants to help.”
“Thank you, Thak. Let’s go then.”
Just as Alak and Thak stepped out of the house, they heard the sound of a motorcycle roaring.
And then Alak watched as Koran stopped in front of them on a red crotch rocket BMW bike fully suited up in black leather pants, and a black sleeveless top with a black leather vest. He took off his helmet and shook his hair a few times to get it to cooperate.
“Sir, have a safe ride.”
“No worries, Thak. Just take care of Alak. I’ll be going now. I’ll see you guys later.”
Koran nodded to Alak, and put his helmet back on, then drove off. Leaving a speechless Alak standing there.
All Alak could think was, I could have been riding on the back of that?
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