Kongpob is alone at home, until an intruder breaks into the apartment, and he has to think quick on his feet.
It’s been awfully quiet for the past week.
Kongpob finds himself still momentarily confused when he wakes up to find the space on the mattress next to him cold and empty. There’d been one night earlier in the week when he’d completely forgotten that he was alone, and had accidentally bought dinner for two. Not being able to stomach spicy food, he’d given the other meal to a homeless woman instead. One time, he’d forgotten to bring his towel into the bathroom, and had called out from the shower, only to remember that there was nobody to help him. He’d poked his head out cautiously to check that he wouldn’t be exposed through any windows before carefully traipsing his way, naked and dripping everywhere, to the bedroom.
It’s not often that he has the apartment all to himself. Frankly, he’s not even upset about it. Of course, it had taken some getting used to, but towards the end of the week, Kongpob had found that it allowed him room to do things that he wouldn’t normally be able to, like eating all the blandest foods that brought him comfort, watching historical documentaries and gardening shows, and going to bed early.
By Friday, he’s bored enough in the evenings that he goes to the market and buys an absurd amount of fruit and vegetables, filling the fridge to the brim with an array of produce. He’d read somewhere about the different benefits of juicing, and had decided that a minced pork omelette with rice probably wasn’t bringing him the most balanced nutrition. Tonight with dinner, he makes himself a strawberry, apple, pear and carrot juice.
He marvels at the reddish-pink colour, and smiles fondly, as it reminds him of something – or rather, someone – else he’s fond of.
Arthit’s supposed to be home from his trip tomorrow afternoon. Sometimes his work takes him to other provinces for a day or two, or occasionally, to Laos or Cambodia. This time though, he’s been invited to attend a conference in Tokyo and is gone for a full ten days.
Kongpob resists the daily urge to bombard him with messages of How’s it going? and Are you eating alright? or even just I miss you <3 , knowing that his boyfriend prefers some space from time to time, especially when he’s busy with work. And so Kongpob finds a myriad of ways to distract himself in the evenings. He starts by mopping the floor so clean you could eat off of it, making every combination of juice he can think of until he feels their blender getting warm, or taking extensive notes as he watches Animal Planet. Literally anything to keep his hands too busy to overwhelm Arthit with texts.
Tonight, he puts in the extra effort to have the latest episodes of all of Arthit’s favourite animes lined up in their TV, puts a couple of bottles of pink milk in the door of the fridge, and refills the drawer of their bedside table with the appropriate supplies (they’d been running low anyway).
He has a somewhat restless night of sleep, waking every half hour or so to the slightest noises or disturbances, turning in his sleep so often that the bed sheet begins to crease from the movement. The room is both too warm with the blanket on, but too cold without. It’s uncomfortable sleeping on his side, but he can’t fall asleep lying on his back, and yet lying on his front hurts his neck. After he’s woken up yet again by the muted slam of a car door outside the building, he finally accepts defeat and sits up in bed, rubbing his eyes as he peers at the wall clock. It’s three in the morning.
Maybe he’s just dehydrated. Yes, the irritation in his throat might do well with a cold glass of water. So he pulls himself out of bed, making his way to the kitchen in darkness, the only light coming in from the windows, with the vague glow of warm white street lights that line their neighbourhood.
He opens the fridge, moving aside a few cucumbers and peaches to grab the water jug, before feeling around the kitchen counter for a glass. The icy cold fluid does soothe his dry throat, sending a pleasant chill throughout him, and he moves to pour himself another glass.
Just as he’s about to pick up the jug again, he hears a sudden click coming from the front door, followed by the faint shuffling of footsteps.
His entire body freezes for a moment, panicking at the thought of an intruder. He’d read the news lately about burglars in their district, stealing anything and everything they deemed worthy of reselling.
Had he forgotten to lock the door? It couldn’t be that; he always made sure it was the last thing he did before residing in his room for the night. Unless the burglar could pick locks? How else would they be able to enter into people’s homes so easily?
After a few deep breaths, he blindly grabs the first thing he can reach in a moment’s hurry, keeping his eyes trained behind him in case anyone should suddenly sneak up on him. Then he carefully and silently shuts the door of the fridge, turning to make his way towards the living room slowly, his weapon of choice gripped firmly at his side in his trembling hand.
His heart is beating so madly that he can feel it drumming in his ears, and he wills himself to be steady enough to successfully attack the intruder so that they’re at least unconscious for long enough for him to call the police. He almost manages to maintain some semblance of calm, until he sees a dark figure emerge from the front hallway.
And then the lights flicker on.
“AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NO NO NO NO! JUST TAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT! PLEASE DON’T HURT ME!” he screams frantically, squeezing his eyes shut and aggressively, aimlessly whacking the air in front of him with whatever is in his hands.
“Whoa, whoa, what are you-“
“J-Just take the television! Or the wine glasses! They’re brand new! S-Spare my life, please!”
He yelps in terror again as he feels firm hands grab his wrists in an attempt to stop him from struggling.
“Kong, stop it! What are you doing?!”
Hang on a second…the burglar knows his name?
Still panting in fear, he slowly peeks an eye open, his entire body seeming to sigh with relief when he sees that it’s just his boyfriend, who looks proportionately alarmed and confused. He pushes his suitcase aside and shrugs his backpack off, raising an eyebrow at Kongpob’s distressed state.
“P’Arthit! You almost gave me a heart attack!”
“What the heck are you doing? And why are you up so late?”
“I was getting some water,” Kongpob groans, shuffling forward to step into Arthit’s slightly outstretched arms. He exhales into his lover’s shoulder, the familiar warmth and strong arms around his back, bringing him immediate comfort. “Why are you back so soon? I thought you weren’t supposed to be back until this afternoon.”
“I caught an early flight because I wanted to surprise you,” he chuckles softly into Kongpob’s hair and playing with the tag hanging out of the back of his sleep shirt. “Now, are you going to tell me why were you trying to attack me?”
Kongpob pulls back slightly, a little embarrassed as he avoids Arthit’s amused expression.
“I…I thought you were a burglar or some crazy murderer. There’ve been some news reports about it lately.”
Arthit’s grin widens now, and he laughs as he looks down at what’s in Kongpob’s hand.
“And…you were going to try and fight off this psycho with…a head of celery?” he says gently, but with a hint of teasing in his voice. He bites his lip to stifle back a laugh, but snickers a little anyway.
Kongpob now brings his hand up to look at the somewhat dishevelled looking vegetable before quickly hiding it behind him. Indeed, it would not have made a very effective tool in fighting off a criminal, who might potentially have had a knife or gun. Arthit is properly laughing now, though he’s trying to stifle it behind his hand.
“P’Arthit!” Kongpob groans. “Don’t make fun of me! I just grabbed the first thing I could!”
“Aww, I’m sorry,” Arthit pulls him closer again, petting the back of his head. He’s still grinning with amusement, though. “I won’t make fun of your very nutritious weapon. Although, I think a white radish might have made a greater impact.”
His boyfriend huffs softly into the crook of his neck, but eventually returns the hug, placing the celery aside on the end table near them.
“I missed you, P’Arthit,” he says quietly, breathing in Arthit’s familiar scent. “I really tried not to bother you because I know you were busy, but I just-“
“I know. I missed you too,” Arthit gently unwraps Kongpob’s arms from around his waist and, taking in the sight of Kongpob’s slightly pink cheeks, can’t help but press his lips to his forehead. He’s too cute when he’s embarrassed, something that doesn’t happen often. In fact, he’s usually on the receiving end of Kongpob’s relentless teasing. “Although I’m glad you grabbed celery and not a knife, or this night would have turned out very differently.” He pauses a moment, narrowing his eyes in question. “Why did you buy celery anyway? Please don’t tell me you tried to cook again.”
“No,” Kongpob looks at him pointedly, ignoring the jab at his far from perfect culinary skills. “I’ve just been making some smoothies. Do you want one?”
Arthit peers at the rather sad-looking vegetable on the end table, half the stalks snapped in half from his lover’s violent swinging, and the base looking bruised from where he’d gripped it tightly in fear.
“I’m not sure I want to drink your murder weapon juice.”
“Fine, then,” Kong says, feigning nonchalance. “I’ve read that celery boosts the release of certain hormones, but…if you’re not in the mood, then we can just go to sleep,” he shrugs, then keeps his eyes trained on Arthit’s as he makes his way back to their room.
His boyfriend stares after him a moment, eyeing the celery again, contemplating what Kongpob is implying. It’s certainly been a long week and a half.
“Kong, wait,” he calls after him. “Tell me more about celery juice.”