The Visit - Part 5

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"If you get the job, what are you going to do?" Alex asked when we reached his dorm building.

"Accept it. Then find a place here."

"Oh?"

We were thinking about the same things, I knew. Should we live together? Or was it a bad idea? What if Alex wanted to bring over a date? What if I got a girlfriend? To begin with, was it too close for comfort? Too close for the guy who used to be in love? But wasn't it strange for us to find other roommates when we had each other? And if we lived alone, wouldn't we end up spending all day at just one of our apartments, anyway?

"Liam, you tend to focus on a single factor when you plan."

"I've got it," I assured him. Really, all I got was that I would find a solution when it came time. That's how it worked for me.

Alex led me to his dorm room and opened the door. His roommate, Tim was sitting at his desk and turned around.

"Hi," I greeted immediately. "Thanks so much for letting me stay."

"No problem." Tim glanced at Alex and they stared at each other silently communicating something.

It bothered me.

I walked over to Alex's bed and hopped on. He'd elevated it pretty high. Waist-length for him. Alex was about 5'7", three inches shorter than me. So getting on wasn't difficult, but it was definitely different, going up rather than down to get on a bed.

"What are you doing tomorrow?" Alex asked, standing beside the bed and leaning on the mattress.

"Hm... I was hoping my best friend would take me on a city tour."

Alex raised both eyebrows. "Oh, really?"

I winced. "I was hoping?"

Alex frowned, looking a bit sad.

I gave a frown as well, mine regretful and apologetic. "Did your plans change again?"

"No."

But he didn't agree. "I was just hoping... I mean, I'll go by myself," I tried to recover. Honestly though, I'd rather watch Alex do homework than tour the city by myself. "Are you mad?" I asked, my hand inching closer to his. "I'm sorry."

"I'm not mad," Alex said, pulling his hand back. He lifted himself onto the bed beside me. "Liam, I just don't understand you sometimes. Why did you come here?"

"To spend time with you," I answered easily. "Is that bad?"

Alex didn't say anything. But then I felt his head hit my shoulder as he leaned on me.

It made me nervous to think he was allowing it. Allowing himself to show me the same affection he showed his friends. It wasn't like earlier when he'd hugged my arm. That time, it was like he forgot himself. But this time, it was deliberate.

I noticed Tim glance over at us from his desk. "...You two look so gay," he muttered.

I thought Alex would pull away, hearing that comment. But he didn't. He only looked at Tim, unamused. "Liam is straight as a pole, Tim."

Tim gave us another glance. "Clearly."

Alex sighed. "You know, in South Korea, straight guy friends will hold hands. Unlike these guys who can't even give each other compliments without adding 'no homo'."

"Liam doesn't look Korean."

Alex sat up. "My point, Tim, dear, is that it really doesn't matter and straight guys shouldn't be so afraid of being affectionate. It's not going to turn them gay like they're oh so afraid of."

"Whatever, Alex. This is Canada. You two look gay. Didn't say it's a bad thing. Just letting you know."

Alex rolled his eyes.

I looked between them, then settled my eyes on Tim, wondering how well he knew Alex. They had chosen to be roommates for a third year, but didn't seem to be friends in any sense of the word. I recalled the look they gave each other when we were first introduced.

"Have you two ever kissed?" I asked.

"What?!" they both exclaimed, turning their heads towards me.

"No, it's just..." Sexual tension wasn't the right word. It was just... weird... There was something between them. "Nothing." I dropped my upper half onto the bed and hid my face in the sheets. There were a few moments of silence and then I rolled off my face. "...Have you?"

"No!" they both answered at the same time again.

"Just wondering...."

Alex jumped off the bed and looked at me like I was strange. "Let me get you sheets to sleep on." He went digging in a box under his bed. "Aw, shit. Tim, do you have extra sheets?"

"No. Haven't done laundry yet."

Alex sighed. "Fucking Jay."

I sat up. He was fucking who? "What?"

"I haven't washed the sheets and they're stained."

"With what?"

"Pizza and pop."

"Oh."

Tim explained, "Alex's ex-boyfriend tripped and fell flat on his face." He snorted as if remembering.

Alex slammed his hand on the floor, flustered. "He is not my ex-boyfriend!" He glanced at me quickly then looked down and muttered, "He's not my ex-boyfriend."

Unsure of what to say or why Alex was getting flustered, I looked away myself.

"You have money for a sleeping bag? We can run to the store."

"I could sleep here." I patted the mattress.

Alex stared at me and I stared back. He knew I wasn't implying he could sleep on the floor without blankets.

"Do Korean straight guys have sex with each other too?" Tim asked.

"What?" Alex snapped, looking at him, frankly, like he was purple shit.

"Don't forget our rules."

"Not funny, Tim."

"I was not trying to be funny. At all."

I looked at Alex. "Head to foot, if you want."

Alex scrunched his nose. "I don't want to sleep beside your feet."

"Back to back?"

"Fine."

**

"You get in first," Alex told me, standing beside his bed after I came out of the bathroom, freshly showered.

"Okay. Wait a second." I put my dirty clothes into a separate pocket in my backpack. "You have drinks, right?"

"In the refrigerator." Alex gestured between the two desks.

I raised an eyebrow to see what appeared to be Tim and Alex on good enough terms to share a fridge. They were really giving mixed signals. I pulled out a bottle of water and dug in my bag for my pill bottle. Alex watched me silently as I took my medication then climbed into bed. I scooted up close to the wall and felt Alex get in behind me.

"Feels like a sleepover," I said.

Alex chuckled and I looked over my shoulder so that I could see his smile. "It is, though."

"I mean like we had when we were kids."

"We never slept in the same bed."

"Yeah, but we always slept right next to each other."

Alex was quiet for a moment. "Yeah. We did." He laid down, his back to me. "Goodnight, Liam."

I faced the wall again. "Goodnight."

The body heat radiating from his back onto mine was comforting, though. I closed my eyes and fell into a peaceful sleep.

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