Chapter 6 | Daxten

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The announcement that Flight 143 is delayed does not distract me from my phone as it burns a hole in my pocket. I can't bring myself to take it out. I feel it vibrating. If it's Leah, she's probably making sure I'm okay and I don't need sympathy from her.

      I pull out my wallet from my trouser pocket and leave a tip on the table – it's out of habit; I have no idea if they accept tips here. I forget I'm not in America.

      As I turn around, I see Brando outside the coffee shop, shaking his own wallet. I have to squint to make sure it's actually a wallet and not some thin piece of leather he might have found on the floor. I won't put it past him.

      He looks disappointed. I feel something again, something I felt before for him, something I don't want other people feeling for me. I look over to his friend, alone on his table but with his phone to his ear. He's talking to someone and laughing.

      I shouldn't meddle, so I walk to the exit and leave the coffee shop. It feels like I've been in there for hours. My legs are stiff and I have to stretch to feel the blood circulate.

      Brando notices me as I walk out. He avoids my gaze. I look to the gate and contemplate whether I should just sit there or if I should make amends with this stranger. Sit alone or talk to someone? The decision is harder than I thought, even though I hate loneliness.

      I decide to go for the latter. 'Hey, I want to apologize for before.'

      Brando looks up at me as he pushes his wallet back into his pocket. He doesn't respond.

      I continue when I realize I haven't given him enough of an apology. 'I shouldn't have overstepped. It's none of my business. So... I'm sorry.'

      Brando is silent at first, but his face softens. 'It's fine. I shouldn't have been so sensitive. I get really defensive when I shouldn't. What you said was harmless and you may even have a point.'

      I hear something faint – a rumbling. Brando looks to the floor.

      'Still,' I continue, 'I should know when to shut my mouth. I do that a lot, just so you know. It's not just you I do that to. My sister hates me for all the times I've been a little too honest with her.'

      'Your sister,' he says as the rumbling sound of his stomach adds a bit of background music to the scene. He's talking a little louder so I can't hear it. 'You have siblings.'

      He's making small-talk to cover up the fact that his stomach is rumbling. Maybe that's why he was looking in his wallet, to see if he could afford food. Judging by the sadness that glosses his eyes, I'm going to say that he cannot.

      'I do, do you fancy talking about it over some food? My treat, for being too... me before.'

      This is completely unorthodox and way out of my comfort zone but I feel like being a good guy right now. I need the distraction from the vibrating of my phone – anything to divert me from reality.

      'That's nice of you but I don't need you to buy me food,' he says as he turns around to walk away.

      I stop him, perhaps a little too franticly. 'Don't go.'

      He looks at me. What am I even saying? I don't need to have company that badly. He doesn't need to accept my apology. I don't owe him anything.

      I let go but he doesn't walk away. He keeps his eyes on me and I have no idea what he's thinking. I feel so exposed and he doesn't even know me. But those big brown eyes see a lot more than I can even comprehend.

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