Earth and Mix have been on the road for two hours already when the rain started to pour. They still have four hours left to drive but the radio broadcasted a tropical storm is crossing the region. The fog is getting thicker too, so they really have to stop and find a place to stay in for the night. But there’s nothing in the road but trees and cliffs. The only option they had was to stop at the next town.
During those two hours, Mix was everything but quiet. He jammed to songs that were blaring on the radio. He talked about anything and everything, and loudly admired the scenery they passed by. Earth doesn’t mind though, in fact he finds it adorable. In a span of two hours, he already learned a lot about Mix.
Mix told him that he came from a working middle class family. His mother was a science high school teacher while his father was a former marketing analyst before quitting his job to tend to their small mom-and-pop shop in their province. He has two other siblings, One is her older sister who works as a chemist and lives far, only coming home during the holidays. The other is their beloved younger brother, who is clinically diagnosed with a mild to severe case of Autism. He’s the jester of their family and also the troublemaker. “But not in academics ‘cause I always excel in class.” Mix even added, and chuckled at his side comment. He took up biology as his pre medicine course and proceeded to med school, but he thinks medicine is not really the path for him despite how exciting his first year was. He loves peach mango pies, strawberries, and the sea. He also loves animals and always wanted to have a pet wolf. Mix pretty much told his life story in just two hours, and Earth loves to hear more.
“Oh, found one!” Mix exclaimed. He’s been searching through various travelling sites for a place to stay nearby. He’s been scrolling through Air bnb just now.
“It’s a lodging house not far from here. It’s quite affordable. Do you want me to call ahead and tell them to reserve a room for us?”
“No need. Just hook up the directions and we’ll just book a room in person. We really need to get out of the road. The fog’s getting thicker and the road’s becoming sleek.” Mix nodded in obedience and hooked the directions into Earth’s car.
Earth followed the map’s direction for twenty minutes before finally reaching their destination. The roads weren’t flooded so they made it safely. They saw a white steel gate with a sign that said “Power Guest House” which was the place they were looking for. Earth stopped the car and went out. He went near the gate and pressed the doorbell. A few moments later, one of the house’s staff came out and opened the gate for them. Earth returned to the car and let it inside. After he parked his jeep. The two of them got out, bags hung at their backs. They asked the staff if they still have an available room. The staff told them they only have one room left. They told her to lead them to the room.
The room is quite spacious, complete with a living and dining area, a kitchen, a bathroom with shower, and one bedroom. There’s also a grilling and laundry area at the back side of the room that can be accessed through the kitchen backdoor. When they checked the bedroom, it only had one king-sized bed. Without hesitation, Earth paid for the room.
“I’m really sorry to bother you like this. I’m gonna pay you back, I promised.” Earth assured him that it’s no big deal for him. But Mix can’t help but feel bad. Earth has been generous and kind to him since they met at the port. He can’t help feeling useless.
Earth plopped his things beside the living area’s couch. “You can sleep in the bedroom. I’ll take the couch.”
Mix shook his head. “No. I’ll sleep on the couch. It’s too much for me if I’ll also take the bedroom. You already helped me a lot and even paid for this room and let me stay too. At least let me take the couch.”
“No, it’s really okay. And the couch looks comfy enough.”
“How about this. No one’s sleeping on the couch. The bed’s big enough for the two of us anyway.” Mix suggested.
“Are you sure?”
“Okay then. I’ll put my things inside okay? I’ll also shower first ‘cause all that driving made me sweat like hell.” Mix nodded. He told Earth he would head out to find them something to eat. Earth agreed and handed him a wad of cash to use.
After several minutes, Mix came back carrying several bags filled with to-go meals, snacks and drinks but almost dropped it when he opened the door to their room. He sees Earth come out fresh from the shower, a towel wrapped around his waist, his well-sculpted pectorals and abs a little wet from the shower, and damn. His sharp jawline, deep-set almond eyes, and thick eyebrows made Mix’s legs want to buckle.
Earth’s handsome. Mix already noticed that since port. But he didn’t know he’s this hot. Several bad things happened to him today but meeting an adonis like Earth is worth the unfortunate events.
“Oh, you’re here? I’ll get dressed first then we’ll eat.” Mix didn’t have the power to respond. Good thing Earth immediately went inside the bedroom to change. Fuck. The bedroom. He’s gonna share a bed with Earth. This would be hard for Mix. Really hard.
Earth woke up in the middle of the night. He turned to where Mix was sleeping but his friend wasn’t there. He sat up and checked the time on his phone. It’s 2:33 am. Where could he be at this hour?
He searched their room but didn’t find him, so he went outside. He found him at the side of the pool, feet dangling in the water. As he got closer, he could see Mix’s puffy red eyes. Was he crying? Earth sat beside him.
“Hey. You okay?”
Mix wiped his tears. “Yep, I’m okay.”
“You sure?” He didn’t respond. It was quiet for a moment before Mix took a deep breath and spoke.
“Do you know why I’m here, why I took this road trip?” Earth stared at him intently, wanting him to continue.
“A few months ago my mom died due to aneurysm. It was sudden. We didn’t even expect she would be gone this soon. I was with her at that time when she fainted. I didn’t know what to do. At that time I was still a biology student. I just shook her body and cried, desperately hoping for the ambulance to arrive. We arrived at the hospital after two hours but it was too late.” He turned away as tears came rolling down again. Earth caressed his back.
“After the funeral things were never the same. We tried to get back on track, but it’s really not the same. My dad spent more time at our shop and took my brother with him. My sister went back to where she worked, leaving me alone and stuck. I got into med school and hoped to become a doctor to save lives, because I couldn’t save my own mom. One day, I messed up. I had a bad score. My dad was furious. The next thing I know, he told me that I was the reason why my mom didn’t survive, and he wouldn’t be surprised if I couldn’t save him too when he would get sick in the future.” He cried more.
“So, I ran away. It wasn’t the first time they made me feel that it was all my fault, and I couldn’t blame them either. I too blame myself for what happened. I went here to escape from all that, cause if I didn’t run away, all the guilt and sorrow I feel would suffocate me. Or worse.” He didn’t finish the sentence, but Earth knew what he meant.
“He would end himself.”
They sat there in silence, letting the sound of night be heard. Finally, one of them spoke.
“I too, went here to escape.” Earth said quietly, eyes looking at his reflection in the pool. Mix stared at him, eyes still red and crying.
“My fiance broke up with me three months ago. He didn’t tell me why or what I did wrong. He just decided that he didn’t love me anymore and returned the ring. It’s supposed to be our wedding tomorrow. I don’t want to see everyone pitying me so I took off.” dead silence again.
“So we both have some extra baggage coming here, no?” Mix wiped his tears and laughed at their sorry situation.
“Yeah. I guess we do.”
“And being stranded did us something good too.” Mix added.
“How?” Earth asked.
“We get to let out those extra baggage. At least by saying it out loud it eases the pain for a little bit.” Earth nodded in agreement. They sat there in silence again. Then Earth spoke.
“How about this? Let’s forget all the burden we are carrying and enjoy the day tomorrow. I’m quite familiar with the place we’re heading to. So why don’t we just have fun?”
Mix smiled. “Sounds great to me.”