Akk woke up the way he did most mornings: with a smile on his face, in the arms of Tone. It had been seven months since they had participated in the Hotel Stars contest, and never once did Akk regret giving up his winning position for Tone. The knowledge and experience he had gained for his homestay was way more than enough. Most days, Tone would leave for the hotel early in the morning and help Akk manage the homestay in the evening. Akk loved their little routine and was grateful to the universe that he was able to meet Tone through the internship program.
“What are you thinking about?” A sleepy Tone’s voice interrupted Akk’s thoughts.
“Nothing much, just glad you’re here.”
“Mmm...you’re the one who invited me here” teased Tone, pulling Akk in for a kiss.
God, how Akk loved Tone’s kisses. Sweet and simple, yet full of passion. Their first kiss had been back in their shared room, on the last day of the program. Tone had told Akk how grateful he was yet again, but he wasn’t sure where he would stay. Akk had offered to let him stay at the homestay (pretending the reason was so that he could get some extra help from Tone), and Tone had been so overwhelmed that he pulled Akk in for a hug that quickly turned into a kiss. Akk couldn’t even say who had kissed who first. Tone had stayed in a different room at first, but that had quickly changed when Akk couldn’t resist visiting every night.
“Shouldn’t we be getting ready for today?” Tone asked in between kisses.
“You don’t have work at the hotel today, let’s stay here a little longer”
As an answer, Tone put one hand in Akk’s hair and one around his waist to pull him even closer. The two kissed until Akk regretfully pulled away.
“Okay, we do have to work now”
Tone watched Akk leave the bed, smiling as he saw Akk’s little pout. He doubted that Akk even knew he was making that face, but it was adorable either way. Tone stretched and left the bed as well, heading to the closet for fresh clothes. He didn’t need his hotel uniform today, so he grabbed a t-shirt and jeans and got dressed. Now he was ready to help Akk.
Akk was cutting up vegetables for that night’s dinner when he felt arms around his waist.
“Hello Tone” Akk said, looking up and smiling. “Finished washing the sheets and towels?”
“Yup. Need any help with cutting?”
“Sure, I need the onions and carrots done next”
The two cut their vegetables in companionable silence, until Akk heard sniffles.
“On no, Tone, don’t cry!” Akk drew closer to Tone and put his head on Tone’s shoulder, making a pouty face for Tone’s benefit.
“It’s the onions and you know it” Tone said as he rolled his eyes, but his pleased look said he enjoyed the attention.
“I’ll kiss the tears away anyways” Akk replied as he cupped Tone’s face, wiped away the tears, and gently kissed Tone’s cheek.
“You’re an idiot” Tone said as he pulled Akk close.
“Yeah, but I’m your idiot.”
“That you are” Tone replied before he kissed Akk’s forehead.
The two finished cutting vegetables and put them in the fridge to cook later. Now they were going to put clean sheets and towels in the rooms. Akk was used to doing it on his own, but it was always better to do it with Tone. The two of them smiled at each other as they made the beds the way they learned at the internship.
“This is so much more fun when I do it with you than at the hotel” Tone remarked.
“You say that every time” teased Akk. “Are you sure it isn’t cause it’s only four rooms with six beds?”
“It could be double the amount I do at the hotel and it would still be more fun with you”
Akk stuck his tongue out at Tone, then smiled to himself. They had discussed Tone working at the homestay full time, but for now, the hotel salary was extremely helpful, and Tone was happy working there. They had decided to stay where they were for a little while longer as they saved up. Eventually, they hoped to move to a bigger place farther out into the countryside, but for now, they were happy with what they had.
“How are Nook and Valen?” asked Akk, realizing he hadn’t had the opportunity to ask what had been happening at the hotel, as Tone had been working late the last few days.
“They’re fine. They finally started dating officially, did I tell you?”
“No, you didn’t...but I thought Valen had feelings for Ying?”
Tone raised his eyes to the heavens. Akk could be very hopeless when it came to recognizing love. Tone had heard from Pong that Akk thought Neung and Kay were straight, which made no sense. Tone also knew that Akk did have feelings for Khun Sompai, it was just that his feelings for Tone were stronger.
“Where did you get Ying with Valen??”
“The way they argued, they seemed like they were hiding that they liked each other?”
Tone smiled as he shook his head. He had a feeling he could ask Akk who was dating who and he’d have no idea.
“Akk...I’m curious. Do you know who is dating who from our internship? Or the hotel?”
“Kin is dating Pong.” Akk replied promptly. “Kin told me in one of his letters”
Tone smiled at that. Akk and Kin had the strongest friendship of all the interns. Tone had seen the two hold hands and knew there was nothing to worry about, since it was purely platonic. Sending letters when Line existed (and was easier) was something only they would do. Every week or so, Tone would find a new letter, in different stationery every time, and he would leave the letter on Akk’s nightstand.
“Okay, so that’s Valen, Nook, Kin, and Pong...what about the rest?”
“Toey is dating...Ying? I thought I saw some chemistry there if she wasn’t with Valen? And Neung and Kay are dating, since Pong and the baristas made fun of me for the rest of the internship when I said they were straight.”
“Honestly, Akk, I still don’t get that. Neung and Kay. Straight??? Where??”
“I don’t know!!! But is Ying dating Toey or not?”
“Nope. Toey is dating his senior from college. He seems really familiar, when he and Toey visited one time, too...tall and good-looking? I might have known him from my one semester of college? I’m not sure, but he didn’t seem to like me for some reason.”
Akk frowned at that. Who didn’t like Tone?
“Mmph. What about Ying?”
“She’s currently dating Sompai, actually! I think they’ve moved in together, actually. Nook knows the story better than I do, so remind me to ask her about it”
Akk raised his eyebrows at that. Khun Sompai had been very understanding, considering he had used her to get fired. Ying could use Khun Sompai’s sweetness to balance her out.
“Challenge mode, Akk. Hotel staff. Three couples”
“P’Oam and Chef Man” Akk replied with confidence.
“Not even close” Tone said with a chuckle. “P’Oam is with P’Phume, while Chef Man is with P’Golf”
“I told you you were hopeless. Who’s the last couple?”
“Man, I don’t know”
“P’Wharn and P’Pat, you know, the front desk girl, but they are a little more subtle than our friends, so I can’t blame you for not knowing that”
The two finished the beds and went to work on the bathrooms. The three guests they had wouldn’t be back until dinner, so now was a perfect time to get them cleaned. While they scrubbed and wiped down, the two exchanged little stories of their work experiences. When they were finished, they found that they had some free time, so Tone suggested a walk. The two put on their shoes and headed out. As they walked, Tone put his arm over Akk’s shoulders.
“Hey, isn’t that Toey?” Akk asked.
“Yeah, and that’s his boyfriend. Want to say hi?”
“Sure, why not?
The two got closer to say hello. Akk noticed that Toey’s senior really did seem to dislike Tone, pulling Toey closer to him when he saw Tone and scowling. But when he saw Akk, he smiled and said hello immediately, introducing himself as Min. Akk thought it was weird how familiar he seemed, like maybe they were friends in middle school or something. Akk couldn’t figure it out. Either way, the two couples went their separate ways after a few minutes of small talk.
“He sure seemed to like you a lot better, that Min” Tone said once the other couple was out of sight.
“He seemed familiar to me too, not gonna lie”
The two looked at each other and shrugged. It wasn’t that important. Dinner, on the other hand, was coming up and needed to be made. Kay was coming over to help make it, which he did a few times a week to help try out new dishes.
“Is Neung coming with Kay today?” Tone asked when they got back to the homestay.
“I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure Neung is taking pictures for a department store today”
Tone nodded and went off to their room to relax, as he wouldn’t be needed until after dinner, when he would wash the dishes. Akk went off to the kitchen, where Kay had already started cooking the chicken curry. Akk nodded at him and started working on the noodles with vegetables. The rest of the evening passed uneventfully, with dinner going smoothly and the guests retiring early. When Tone finished the dishes, the two went back to their room.
“Today was a good day” Tone said when they were all settled in.
“Yeah, it was. I love it when you get to stay here all day”
“Don’t worry, it won’t be very long till I get to every day”
“I know” Akk said with a smile. “Ready for tomorrow?”
Tone made a face, as he would be on front-desk duty tomorrow, but he much preferred housekeeping.
“Sorry I asked” Akk said with a chuckle. “Here, this will cheer you up”
Akk snuggled into Tone’s arms and started kissing him. Tone pulled Akk closer and the two eventually fell asleep with smiles on their faces.