Dream nudged his friend with a shoulder. “You might burn a hole into him if you stare at him any harder.”
Elle couldn’t help it. His junior was sitting at a table that was in their direct line of sight, and there was something alarmingly familiar about the person he came with. He managed to catch a name earlier. P'Good. Even the name seemed to nag at some part deep inside him that he himself had trouble accessing.
“There’s something there.”
“Maybe you just think he’s attractive.”
“He definitely is, but that’s not what this is."
Dream rolled his eyes. “Whatever it is, stop staring at some junior’s brother.”
“It’s better than staring at some junior like you’ve been doing for weeks,” Elle teased. He turned to his friend with a grin already on his face. “You think I wouldn’t notice?”
Dream frowned in response. “I’m leaving.”
“Tell N'Runway I say hi!”
Dream gave him a dismissive wave as he stood up and Elle laughed.
The ghost of his laugh was still on his lips when he turned around and was surprised by the sight of N'Guide walking towards him with his brother.
Guide tried to appear all smiles but the stiffness in his posture gave away his discomfort. He greeted Elle with a wai, and Elle returned it to him, but his eyes were trained on the older gentleman behind him, who was staring at Elle with a serious and unreadable expression.
“P'Elle, this is my brother Good. He… thought you seemed familiar and wanted to talk to you to see if you guys have met.”
That surprised him. “Oh. You look familiar to me too. Do you have any idea how we know each other?”
Good paused. Elle just met him so he couldn’t be sure but it looked like he was… sad. But the expression was quickly covered up with a small smile. “No. Sorry.” Before Elle could even respond, he turned around and walked away. Guide’s eyes followed his brother with worry etched between his brows, and after throwing a quick apology Elle’s way, Guide followed him to the exit.
Elle stared at the spot where Good stood long after he was gone. He didn’t do anything wrong. Didn’t say anything wrong. But guilt invaded his thoughts anyway and all these things he was feeling that he couldn’t explain was starting to pick at his sanity.
Before he could really question it, Elle found himself walking towards the exit too. Just as he reached the doorway, he heard raised voices.
“It’s just too much,” he heard Good say. “First it was Kafe. It was her but it wasn’t, and that happened twice and now that’s Elle but it’s-”
“It’s okay. You don’t have to explain anything to me,” Guide said.
There was a deep sigh. “I think I should go home.”
"It’s fine. Just go. We can have drinks another time, okay?”
The sound of keys jangling spurred Elle into motion. He burst out the door. Guide was just outside and jumped back in alarm, but Elle headed towards Good anyway. When he looked back, Guide seemed conflicted.
But he wasn’t chasing them.
Elle jogged forward. He saw the elevator doors start to close from a distance and sprinted towards it. His heart was racing in his chest from more than one thing. Good knew something. He could tell.
He slammed his hand on the elevator button just as it was about to close. There was a moment where it paused and Elle was daunted by the possibility that he would have to take the stairs. But the elevator doors opened, and revealed Good looking surprised.
He was attractive even when he was caught in surprise and Elle cursed at himself for noticing it as he walked in. Good was leaning against the back wall of the elevator, and they stared at each other until the light on his face got blocked out by the doors.
They were alone.
“How do we know each other?”
“We don’t,” Good said. His jaw was too tightly clenched for that to be true.
“I heard you talking about me. You compared me to… Kafe?”
Good went silent.
“Who is she?” The edge in his voice surprised even him. But he had spent this entire time feeling like there was apart of himself he didn’t recognize because it recognized this man he just met.
They did just meet right?
Elle took a few steps forward. Good looked uncomfortable, but he didn’t stop Elle from looking at him up close. His eyes even followed Elle as he moved from one side of Good to the other. An idea struck his brain. It didn’t make any sense, but neither did whatever he was feeling right then.
Before he could stop himself, Elle leaned in and kissed him.
A warmth spread throughout him; starting from where their lips were pressed together until his whole body was enveloped. Making him feel alive, alive. Alive enough that a sudden onslaught of memories assaulted him.
They weren’t coherent. There was a car on a rainy night. A house he had never been in. Him and his juniors at a beach. And Good. Good laughing over a slice of pizza and waking up with bleary eyes and smiling at Elle as he dried his hair and strong arms carrying him into a bathtub.
A bathtub? That can’t be right. Just as Elle was about to pull back, he felt the strong arms from his memory encircling his waist and oh. Oh, he was kissing him back.
He had been so caught up in everything that he hadn’t realized Good hesitating. But now he was pulling Elle closer and Elle felt all his nerves run a million miles a minute.
There were still images dashing through his head, but he didn’t have it in him to be distracted by them. He had a feeling he wouldn’t be able to figure it out anyway. Instead, he surrendered to warm lips and strong arms.
Just as Elle was about to deepen the kiss, a loud ding reminded them of where they were. They both pulled apart, but not quickly enough.
The doors opened and revealed Dream and Guide staring at them with paired expressions of disbelief. It was then that Elle realized that neither him or Good pressed a button when they got in, so they were still at the same floor, and they were lucky enough that no one else interrupted.
Good opened his mouth, but Dream held up a hand to stop him. He ducked his head into the elevator, pressed the close button and ducked back out. He looked at Guide.
“This is none of our business.“
The last thing Elle saw before the elevator doors closed was Guide shaking his head. That boy knows something.
This time, Good actually pressed a button and the elevator whirred to life. Elle, however, stood frozen with confusion at everything that just happened. He thought back at the images he saw, but it was like the first strokes of a painting spread out on a canvas; distinct and with nothing holding it together for it to make sense. Yet.
The elevator doors opened again with a ding, and Good walked out without another word.
“We know each other,” Elle said, stopping Good dead in his tracks.
Good was equal parts conflicted and frustrated at this answer. After a moment of hesitation, he took out a card from his pocket and handed it to Elle.
“I can’t do this tonight.” That was all he said before he walked out into the parking lot, his steps heavy. Elle watched his figure retreat for as long as he could. When the elevator doors closed, it left him feeling oddly stranded. He had even more questions than before.
He touched his lips.
And also a little crush.