Felix scribbled out the last attempt with guessing on his chemistry homework when his father called out, “Felix! Come downstairs.” It was only 5 PM, and definitely not dinner time, so Felix had no desire in going downstairs and “be nice” to the random stray that his brother was bringing home. Felix knew for a fact that food wouldn’t be ready until 6 PM at the earliest, so if he go downstairs now, that would be an hour of:
Step 1: Felix trying to grunt out a hello.
Step 2: Stranger being taken aback by how Not-Glenn and Not-his father Felix was.
Step 3: Felix being irritated at the stranger, at himself, and at the world in general.
Step 4: His father, Glenn, and the stranger talking to each other trying to fill in the awkward Felix-shaped social black hole, resulting in Felix being left out of the conversation.
Step 5: Felix ignoring everyone, waiting for food, and hoping he could walk away from all this.
Felix rather skipped to step 6, which was when he could get food.
His father launched another “Felix,” but in the tone that implied that there might be consequences if he didn’t go now. Felix knew from experience he could get away with another “Felix!” before his father invade his room.
Felix could hear the talking downstairs, muted to soft murmurs by his closed bedroom door. A rumble of laughter followed.
Felix rose from his seat. He hadn’t heard his father laughed in so long. But then he thought about spending an hour being annoyed, and he sat back down. He skimmed through the textbook on his laptop again. Another rumbled of laughter drifted through the door, and his concentration was gone. Felix honestly couldn’t remember the last time he heard his father’s laugh.
Felix hadn’t met the stray that his brother brought back, but Felix already hated him.
The laugher downstairs tapered off. Felix waited for the third exasperated “Felix!” from his father to come, but only silence greeted him. Maybe they went to the kitchen. Felix didn’t know why he felt so disappointed and alone all of a sudden. It was ridiculous. His feelings were ridiculous. He should get back to work until dinner time. Then he would go downstairs, eat, then go back upstairs, and get back to work.
A firm set of three knocks at his door interrupted his thoughts.
“What?” Felix snapped. He instantly regret his harsh tone, but then he felt irritated that he even feel regret and guilty in the first place. Fuck this.
“Your dad said the food is ready if you want to come down!”
Felix froze. The voice was familiar and unfamiliar all at once. Felix moved to open his door before his thoughts caught up to his action.
“Hi!” The brightest smile Felix had ever seen greeted him. “My name is Sylvain.” Sylvain stuck out a hand toward Felix with an eager forward bounce with his entire body. The bright red wave of his hair gleamed under the golden hallway light. His other hand was gripping the door frame as he leaned toward Felix like a plant toward the sun.
I know you. You shouldn’t even exist outside of my head.
Sylvain seemed unfazed by Felix’s lack of response.
Felix looked at Sylvain offered hand. He wanted to feel the warmth of those hands once more.
“Felix,” he grumbled, shaking Sylvain’s hand. He stiffened at the touch. This hand didn’t felt quite the same. It wasn’t what he remembered. The calluses weren’t where they should be. But this didn’t make any sense. Felix hadn’t met Sylvain until now. He didn’t know this man. Hell, Sylvain wasn’t supposed to be real. How would Felix know what Sylvain’s hands were supposed to feel like?
Felix yanked his hand back. Sylvain let out a startled noise from the back of his throat. Felix felt his face warming up, and no, that wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do at all.
Felix scowled and brushed past Sylvain, hoping that it would be enough to hide the blush that he could feel breaking across his cheekbones. Damn it. Damn it all. “Why are you playing messenger for the old man? I heard him the first time.”
Felix could hear Sylvain’s quickening footstep following him. He wasn’t going to turn around. He definitely wasn’t.
“He wanted to try a new strategy since apparently the old one didn’t work so well in getting you out of your room.”
“Hey now.” Sylvain hopped in front of Felix and walked backwards. Felix tried his best to ignore the tingling feeling at his shoulder where Sylvain gave him a friendly pat as he brushed past Felix. Sylvain’s warm eyes tugged at Felix like a puppy begging for attention. “It worked, didn’t it?”
It was all too much, and Felix had to drag his eyes away from Sylvain. “Whatever.” Then, because he wasn’t interested in Sylvain suing them or something, he grumbled. “Watch where you’re going.”
For reasons that Felix couldn’t understand, Sylvain let out a delighted chuckle. What the hell was wrong with this guy. He sounded like he was actually fond of Felix. This was absolutely awful. Just awful. Felix hated and loved Glenn for bringing Sylvain.
“Besides, I had to see for myself.”
Felix had a bad feeling about this. “See what?”
“You might not like this.”
“Glenn said that you hate being touched by other people, so much so that you won’t shake anyone’s hand. I had to see for myself.”
“You—” Felix was at a loss for words. He didn’t know who he should be angry at—Glenn for talking shit about Felix to Sylvain (even though it was true), his father for asking Sylvain to get him, or Sylvain for testing him. Felix decided on the safe option and be mad at all of them.
He scowled and pushed past Sylvain.
Sylvain seemed undeterred by Felix’s attitude because he dared to give Felix another pat at his shoulder. “Hey, I’m really happy though. You know, that you shook my hand, even though you don’t like to do that in general.”
Damn it. Sylvain sounded so annoyingly sincere that Felix couldn’t even feel that mad at him. “Whatever.”
Felix wasn’t looking at Sylvain’s face, but somehow he could feel Sylvain’s damn smile at his back. It made the back of his neck feel warm, and Felix hoped that Sylvain didn’t notice because this was mortifying, and damn it Glenn for bringing Sylvain and making Felix go through this. Remembering his dad’s words from earlier, Felix realized with horror that Sylvain was going to be here all weekend.
His dumbass heart jumped in excitement, and Felix knew this weekend was going to be too damn long.