The cool breeze of the wind caressed their skins as the four guys decided to have their meal outside the house. The table was set properly, the whole banana leaf was prepared, the rice were equally scattered in the leaf, shrimps and seafoods were served as toppings. Khein started drooling when he saw the mouthwatering dishes.
"Okay, wash you hands properly so we could start eating." Ethan declared. Khein immediately washed his slender hands on the sink while grinning. Rei immediately followed the rebel boy while hesitating whether he would get spoons and forks or go directly to the sink. Rei stood beside Khein awkwardly, unsure of what he would do next.
"Hurry up and wash your hands, I'm hungry." Khein said with an excited face. Rei stared at Khein's happy face with both his hands soaked under the running water from the faucet. Khein noticed that Rei was not washing his hands but just soaking them.
"You don't know how to wash your hands either? tsk! tsk! what a dummy." Khein said and grabbed Rei's hands. Rei flinched when Khein started washing their hands together. Rei knew that the running water was cold enough to make him shiver. The smell of the hand wash tickled his nose like the smell of chrysanthemum.
'It feels so warm' Rei thought while staring his hands being washed by Khein. Then, reality awoken Khein.
'Damn! I did it unconsciously: grabbing his hands and holding it firmly?! What's gotten into me to do the first move?' Khein couldn't believe that he just did that. He was about to unhold Rei's hands but he was afraid that Rei might get hurt with his reaction. Bowing his head to hide the embarrassment, Khein frowned and washed their hands thoroughly. Rei was grinning like an idiot as he started playing with Khein's fingers under the running water.
"Kheiny, look! Your hands fit perfectly with mine!" Rei said cheerfully and intertwined their fingers. Khein blushed as he tried not to look at Rei.
"What the hell are you saying. Just... just wash your hands quickly!" Khein yelled and let go of Rei's hand. The rebel guy immediately grabbed the hand towel and dried his hands.
"What took you two so long?" Ethan asked with a grin plastered on his face as he looked at Rei. He was giving his friend that 'I've-got- your-back' look. Rei cleared his throat and stopped himself from grinning.
"Stop smiling, it's not cute at all" Khein said and threw the hand towel towards Rei's chest. Rei quickly dried his hands and followed Khein behind like an obedient puppy.
Khein and Ethan started eating happily while Rei and Center watched them cautiously. Center didn't want to disappoint Ethan but he couldn't sacrifice his own health too so he ended up using a separated plate, a spoon and fork. Rei's hands were trembling as his fingertips were steadily lying on top of the food in front of him.
"Hey, eat" Khein elbowed Rei on the waist. Rei watched Khein eating his meal deliciously so he could encourage himself that there is no harm in doing it too.
"Don't force yourself. You can use plate and utensils too." Khein said casually as he noticed how uneasy Rei felt and how envious he was towards the eating spoiled brat across him.
'Trust me, it's fun' Rei remembered how Khein looked so excited when he said those words to him. He remembered how Khein tried his best to be useful when he volunteered to help Center get the banana leaf. He realized how much Khein had sacrificed for him.
He should at least try to have fun with his puppy in eating their meal. She stared at Khein happily eating the food when the rebel guy looked at him again. Khein's hand stopped in the air as he was about to eat the food. He offered to feed Rei using his hand and smiled slightly.
"Try it for once. Don't worry, if you think you can't swallow it just spit it out on my palm." Khein said and offered the food in his hand to Rei. Rei hesitantly opened his mouth and ate the food. He was about to spit the food when Khein said : "I'll let you lick the grains on my fingers if you swallow it" with a fierce look. Rei's eyes widened and accidentally swallowed the food.
"Hehe, how is it?" Khein asked while grinning, he was licking the grains sticking on his hand. Rei's hurt thumped as he saw how happy Khein was when he swallowed the food.
"Not bad" Rei replied without taking his eyes off Khein. The rebel guy made a satisfied smile and realized what he just said earlier. He thought: 'He's not going to lick my hand for real, right?! I was just kidding awhile ago!'
Of course, Rei knew what he should do so he didn't dare to lick Khein's hand.
"Now, go get your plate and eat for real." Khein said and continued eating. He knew he couldn't pursue that rich kid, he just wanted Rei to try it for once. Just by looking at how Rei looked so sick like a mysophobic person when he ate the food from Khein's hand was enough for the rebel guy to understand.
"Hmm, teach me how to feed myself properly then!" Rei said cheerfully and picked a handful of rice. He offered it to Khein as the grains were falling on the banana leaf. Khein chuckled and taught Rei how to eat like a pro in a boodle fight. Rei kept feeding Khein with his hand and the rebel guy tried to act normally, as possible as he could.
The three of them enjoyed eating a lot while Center was having a usual meal etiquette across them. The spoiled was not convinced nor envious at all. Rei has gotten used to it and he really did fill up his stomach.
Ethan cleaned the table after their meal with a smile. He looked at the altar where his mother's picture beside his father's ashes were located and smiled.
"Mom, dad, I'm having a hard time but I'm thankful that I have my friends here with me." Ethan said softly. Rei and Khein were playing chess in the living room while Center kept yelling and distracting the two players.
"Move the queen, yes! I said use the queen, idiot!" Center yelled at Rei's ears which made the psycho guy frowned and irritated. Center had no interests in any board games and he was just trying to annoy the two. He was starting to get bored and he wouldn't let the two love birds to have fun while leaving him lonely. Ethan headed towards the living room and called anyone to help him wash the dishes.
"Who's going to wash the dishes?" Ethan asked. Both Khein and Rei pretended that they didn't hear anything and continued to focus on the game. Center tried his best to avoid having an eye contact with Ethan.
"It should be him since he was the only one who used plate during our lunch." Rei said with a straight face, eyes focused on the chessboard.
"Wha-!" Center was about to protest but he realized that Rei was right.
"I'll wash the dishes!" Ethan declared and headed towards the kitchen sink. Ethan was not concerned about Center's inability to do any household chores but he was worried about the plates that might get broken. Center followed the smaller guy behind like a tamed St. Bernard.
"Hey Eeth! Do you think Khein likes Rei? Or he was just getting along with that stick because he knew that Rei was into him?" Center asked while the two of them were washing the dishes, it was Ethan who did most of the work though.
"They like each other, I'm pretty sure about that." Ethan said without hesitation. Center sighed deeply and chuckled.
"Isn't it ironic? We can tell who a person likes but we can't tell who likes us?" Center asked while rinsing the glass. Ethan cleared his throat as he already expected the flow of their conversation.
"Center, don't you have anyone else you like?" Ethan asked as he wiped the plates with a clean towel. Center was taken aback with the question.
"You already know the answer to that question, you just don't want to believe it" Center replied. Ethan sighed and continued wiping the plates.
"Ethan" Center called Ethan's name in a passionate and at the same time, lonely way.
"If you already have someone you like,..." Center gave Ethan a lonely smile.
"...Please let me be the first person to know." he continued. Somehow, Ethan felt uneasy and sad at the same time. The kind of face that Center was showing right now, he looked like he was about to cry.
Ethan responded with a bitter smile and said, "Yeah, sure."
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