It had been a strange couple of days – Mizuki’s daily life was carrying on much in the same way as before, with the exception of the houseguest he was entertaining, without knowing much about him, or having much to say really. And yet, he couldn’t deny that it was sort of nice to have someone see him off in the mornings and greet him when he came home in the afternoon.
Settia was strange, that was so; he didn’t eat much, and Mizuki could only assume that he ate while he was away for the day, he slept soundlessly on his futon, and from what Mizuki gathered, he barely had any interests of his own, but Settia was still kind and sweet as nobody else, and seemed to be seriously concerned with Mizuki’s well-being.
“How was your day?” he’d say, the moment Mizuki lowered his book bag onto the floor. “I missed you!”
“Don’t say things like that…” Mizuki would reply, awkwardly, his cheeks flushing.
“But I did,” was the chorus. “You were so good to me, Mizuki!”
He didn’t know how to respond to that – apart from changing the subject. They didn’t know each other, and yet he was allowing Settia to stay at his place, night after night, on the futon on the floor. There was a certain comfort in having him around, despite their lack of interaction, which had been particularly weird during the weekend, even though Mizuki had spent a good amount of hours in the library even then. He could be talkative though, when he asked about Mizuki’s life, his home country, his studies, and of course Christmas, a favored subject.
“Christ,” Mizuki exclaimed. “What is it with people, huh? I don’t celebrate Christmas because it’s not part of my culture. Is that hard to understand?”
“But you hate it?”
“I don’t…. I just don’t like all the stress, okay?” he blew on his instant noodles, scowling at Settia across the table. “I don’t have to defend myself to you.”
“I didn’t mean it like that, I’m just curious.” Settia sipped at his massive glass of water. “I’m just trying to figure you out, because I care.”
“You care?” Mizuki blinked, “We don’t even know each other?”
“So you say,” Settia whistled. “Listen, what are you doing tomorrow?”
“Going to school.”
“And after that?” Settia looked hopeful.
“I don’t know..? Studying I guess… What, did you want something?”
“I was hoping we could go shopping. I need a coat.”
“A coat? I have a spare if you…”
“No,” Settia shook his head. “I have money and everything, but if you could come with me to the mall?”
Mizuki groaned. “The mall? In December..?”
“You walk past there anyway right? I could meet you there, then you won’t have to come back here first.”
“In that case,” Mizuki drew out his answer, wondering why he was being so soft with Settia. They were strangers after all, even if the other man acted as if they were lifelong friends. “You borrow my jacket okay? I don’t want you catching cold.”
It was always such a flirty tone with Settia. He didn’t know what to make of that, or his own instinctive protectiveness of this virtual stranger for that matter.
“No I’m not,” he dismissed the statement. “But sure. If you take my coat and meet me at the mall at four, I can go with you.”
“Great!” Settia beamed at him – a smile so dazzling, Mizuki felt his heart jumping. While it was nothing like him to open up to a stranger like this, he couldn’t help letting his guard down around Settia, even if their encounter had been of the strange kind. His eyes rested on Settia’s body, hidden inside the baggy clothes. “We should probably get you a change of clothes as well…” he opted. “You can’t keep wearing my old rags forever.”
“I don’t mind.” Settia said it with such a straight face, in such an innocent way… He didn’t know what to reply, averting his eyes in an almost shy fashion.
“I need to work on my thesis…” he mumbled, grabbing for his laptop.
“Sure,” Settia smiled, continuing to watch him silently. His patience seemed to be endless.
So did you guys notice one of the final lines in the last installment? I was reading through it, and all I could think was “Bare til i morgen, ikke sant?” Ahahaa, classic moments only Norwegians will get. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.