The library was the only place Guang Hong could think to go when he fled theapartment. He's still new to the city and unfamiliar with what's in the area, but he remembered seeing the giant stone building a few blocks away the first time he, Leo, and Yuri came to look at what would become their new home. Truth be told, he's relieved he managed to find it without the use of his GPS. He has his phone with him, of course, but it's been turned off since he left. He can't bear the thought of either of his roommates calling to continue the argument.
He walks along the stacks of books, feeling a bit of his tension ease as he takes in the collection. He'd come from a small town with a library nowhere near this size and the nearest actual book store over an hour's drive away. He feels a little like a kid in a candy store; if only he weren't here under these circumstances.
“Hello,” comes quiet voice from the end of the aisle, and Guang Hong startles. “Sorry, sorry.” The boy standing there isn't much older than Guang Hong himself, with tan skin and dark hair, waving his arms placatingly. “I just wanted to say hello. Phichit.” He steps forward and holds out his hand. “I'm one of the librarians. I haven't seen you here before.”
Guang Hong shakes his hand. “I'm Guang Hong.” He tilts his head curiously. “Do you really recognize everyone who comes in here? This is an awfully big city.”
“Well...” Phichit rubs the back of his neck, smiling brightly. “I try, anyway. And I'm pretty sure I'd remember someone as cute as you.”
Guang Hong instantly goes crimson.
“Oh. Crap. I'm sorry.” Phichit waves his hands again, his face falling. “I'm being weird. Um...can I help you find a book?” The wince on his face says he knows that diversion isn't going to work, but he's going to give it his all anyway.
Guang Hong wills his embarrassment to go away. Below the shock, his heart is pounding with other emotions. He doesn't usually get called cute by complete strangers who also happen to fill that description. “I'm not looking for anything in particular,” he says, going along with the ruse. “More of a distraction really.”
“Books are a good distraction,” Phichit agrees. He makes to leave the aisle, motioning for Guang Hong to follow. “May I?” Guang Hong nods, following him curiously. The young librarian leads him across the building to another shelf, this one shorter than the last, the spines more brightly colored. “Middle grade novels,” Phichit says conspiratorially. “Always good for a bit of light entertainment. And, honestly, a lot of them are just as good as the adult stuff.”
“Yeah?” Guang Hong smiles. He suddenly feels much less awkward about the box full of just that reading level he has back at the apartment, waiting to be put onto shelves.
“Absolutely. So, any genre preferences?”
“Historical?” Guang Hong says, hoping Phichit doesn't pick up something he's already read. Or maybe that would be better? It would give them something to talk about, anyway...
“I have just the thing!” Phichit says excitedly, and reaches unerringly for a book, as if he's plucked the same one off this shelf many times. “This is one of my favorites.”
Guang Hong breaks into a smile when he takes it from him. “I've heard of this and been meaning to check it out.” He meets Phichit's eyes, a pink tinge back on his cheeks. “Now that I have a good recommendation, I'll take it.”
“Excellent. Did you need anything else?” When Guang Hong answers in the negative, Phichit says, “Okay, I'll check you out then. If this is your first time here, you'll need to sign up for a card, right?”
“Right. We just moved the the city, me and my two roommates,” Guang Hong explains as he follows Phichit up to the desk. It's unexpectedly easy to talk to him. “That's sort of why I'm here. We had a big fight, and I needed to get out for a little while.”
Phichit glances back at him, concerned. “Nothing too serious, I hope?”
Guang Hong half laughs. “Nah, it was stupid, really. Just over who has to do what chores when. None of us has ever lived with someone besides family before, so it's taking some time to get used to that stuff.”
“I'm sure you'll manage,” Phichit says confidently and he sits down behind the desk and starts rummaging around. “There's always growing pains in situations like that; we've all been there.”
“I suppose,” Guang Hong agrees with a little smile. He knows the librarian is right; Leo and Yuri are as nervous and confused as he is to out on their own, but they'll figure it out. Phichit finds what he's been looking for and hands him a form.
“Fill this out, and we'll get you taken care of.”
A few minutes later, Guang Hong is ready to leave, book tucked under his arm. “It was nice meeting you,” he says softly as he moves for the door.
“Don't hesitate to come back if your roommates give you any more trouble,” Phichit says. “Or any other time.” He winks, and Guang Hong ducks out the door before his face can go red again. His heart is still pounding, but in a strangely pleasant way.
He's halfway home before he notices the extra piece of paper sticking out of the book and pulls it out. On it is scribbled a phone number and a little winking face, and Guang Hong grins so wide it almost hurts. All the bad feelings left over from the fight melt away, and by the time he gets home, his roommates have had time to cool down, too, and the three of them calmly sort things out – at least for that day.