Dax loves going to this one café near his university.
Of course he’s a coffee-addict. People always seem so surprised when he says he drinks at least three cups per day. Nobody can blame him when he needs that much caffeine in his system when he’s such a busy college student.
And right now, he’s pretty sure his roommate needs the blessings of coffee too.
“Hey, you okay mate?” he asks the silver-haired boy slumped over the table, almost half-asleep he assumes. He just got home from a class and opening the door to see his roommate, who’s usually always so serene and ethereal-like, in such a state of tiredness worries him.
Beyal turns his face to look at Dax, large bags under his bloodshot eyes, and doesn’t say a word. He merely whimpers.
“…Alright, you’re not okay. Come on, you’ve been on that desk ever since I can remember. You need some good ol’ sunshine.”
“No buts. You’re overworking yourself mate.” Dax walks over to Beyal’s study, and slams the textbook shut. “Now wash your face. We’re gettin’ some coffee.”
Beyal doesn’t complain—he never does—as Dax leads him all the way to that family-run café about a ten minute walk away from the campus main gates. He looks better now that his face is washed, but he still looks very sleepy and his steps are sluggish.
Dax is, of course, very worried for him. He’s not even sure if coffee is a good idea for him anymore.
The taller man holds the door open, the bells above them ringing, and ushers the smaller one in. Beyal almost stumbles over his foot.
Dax makes way straight to the counter, where a familiar man with black hair and blue eyes beams at him.
“Hey, Dax! The usual?”
“You’ve got that right, Chase. Oh, and a—” but Dax couldn’t finish his sentence, because he feels something soft against his back, and he flinches. When he turns his head over his shoulder and sees Beyal’s tuft of white hair against him, he feels an eye twitch.
“Beyal? Oi, mate, don’t fall asleep on me now!” Dax turns around, ignoring the confused Chase in favour of the smaller one he brought with him. “Yeah, you definitely need some coffee. You’ve got another class later, right?”
Beyal merely mumbles some words, before Dax pushes him to the front of the counter.
“Chase, get this guy something strong before he passes out.”
“Uh…? Sure thing, I guess?” Chase punches a few buttons in the cash register, pointedly looking away from sleepy Beyal, and says, “Take a seat. I’ll have Jinja send your order to you soon.”
Dax grins and gives a thumbs-up to the blue-eyed man, before he leads Beyal by the shoulders towards one of the empty tables. Before he got far though, he looks back t Chase and says, “Oh, and throw in a muffin for me too, why don’t ya?”
Dax makes Beyal sit, and lets him take a nap on the table too. Beyal’s really overworked himself this time, thought Dax. He’s never seen someone work as hard as Beyal does, and since Beyal comes from a far and rural village, he’s sure the other boy’s never been to a café either. He doesn’t even have a phone. The city life must be stressful for such a gentle boy.
As the Australian waits for his order, he sneaks a peek at the counter when he feels like he’s being watched. And true to his instincts, Chase is looking their way with a squint in his eyes. When he catches Dax is also looking his way, he immediately pretends he’s busy with the cash register, but as if a trick like that could fool a street boy like Dax.
Jinja stops by with their drinks and his muffin, her voice cheerful as she speaks to Dax and tease him about too much caffeine. She takes note of the napping Beyal and raises her eyebrows at him, since he always comes here alone. He quickly dismisses whatever thought she has and explains that Beyal’s his roommate who does nothing but study and he decided to take him out to see the ‘world’ to relieve some stress.
She makes a face that she gets it, and then she grins. “Well, someone behind the counter over there thinks something else. I think he has a grudge on you right now.”
“What?” Dax says, incredulous. Oh my God. It couldn’t be. How dumb can that boy get?
“I’m gonna tell him you told me nothing and let him freak out a little bit more. I think he’s got love at first sight for your sleeping friend here.” Jinja nods towards Beyal, still grinning mischievously. “Good luck dealing with lover boy.” She says before she skips off, and where Chase immediately hounds her.
Dax has to suppress a fit of laughter.
It’s at that moment where Beyal wakes up too.
The smaller of the two rubs at his eyes, yawning a little after. “Uhm… Dax, where are we?”
Dax couldn’t hold back his laughter at that. “I brought you to a café. Here, your drink,” he pushes a cup towards Beyal, “It should be able to keep you awake for your class later. And if you’re hungry you can have that muffin too.”
Beyal, his mind still befuddled from sleep, merely nods. “I see…” he says. His arm reaches out for the muffin, and with his other hand he tears off a piece from the delicacy and eats. His eyes widen slightly, and Dax thinks he might be more alert now.
“Oh. This is very good.”
“Right?” Dax grins.
Beyal nods and continues eating the rest of the muffin, before he takes tentative sips of his drink. It’s cooled down a bit now, so he takes big gulps after he realizes how good it tastes, and then he’s no longer sleepy or dreary.
His eyes are sparkling now.
Dax is laughing a little. “You want more of that muffin?”
When Beyal nods eagerly, Dax tells him to wait there and he gets up, making his way to the counter. When he gets there, Chase is so not hiding the contempt in his eyes as he glares at Dax.
Dax, on the other hand, thinks he’s been laughing too much in these past few minutes.
“What’s got your panties in a twist?” Dax says, arms crossed on the counter.
Chase huffs. “Just tell me what you want and get out of here.”
“Without paying? You know I’d do that in a heartbeat, but you’ve got my name and where I live, mate.”
When Chase does nothing but glare, Dax smirks. “Alright, alright. Just give me another one of those muffins, you hear?”
Chase nods curtly, basically punching in the buttons on the cash register this time. “So, I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.” He says, with the venom apparent in his tone of voice.
That’s when Dax really loses it.
He begins slapping the marble counter in his fit, clutching his stomach and finding that he can’t goddamn breathe because Chase goddamn Suno thinks that Beyal is his boyfriend.
“Mate… I hope you know that for one, he’s my roommate. And for two, I see him as a little brother, alright?”
Chase freezes up. He’s not looking at Dax.
Dax, meanwhile, props up his head with his hand on the cold surface. He’s looking at Chase with a shit-eating grin on his face.
“So, love at first sight huh, Chase Suno?”
Chase blushes bright pink. “Just… get back to your seat, Dax.”
With a lingering smirk, Dax winks at him. “Don’t forget my muffin, mate.”
He can feel Chase glaring at the back of his head as he walks back to his table, with Beyal looking at him curiously.
“You seem to be on friendly terms with the cashier…” Beyal says.
Dax shrugs, dropping into his seat. “I worked here when I was in high school. This entire café belongs to his family, the Sunos. It’s a nice place, ain’t it?”
He gestures towards the rest of the café, where other college and high school students linger, chat, relax or work. The overall theme of the café is the typical. It gives off the feeling of one being in a log cabin, sitting by the fireplace on a cold winter’s day. There are family pictures on the wall, no doubt put there by Chase’s mother. It makes the place feel even homier than any other café.
Beyal nods, his eyes roaming the café as well. “It is very comfortable, yes.”
A soft smile graces Dax’s face. “You feel like coming here again?”
At this, Beyal looks unsure for a moment. Dax instantly knows that Beyal’s worried about having enough time to come here, worrying about his assignments and papers and exams and his scholarship, and Dax knows he’s going to say ‘maybe’ but means ‘no’, because that’s just how Beyal is.
The smaller of the two opens his mouth to speak but is interrupted by the appearance of one Chase Suno.
“Fresh out of the oven!” Chase’s voice rings out, one hand placing a plate of a giant muffin on the table and the other hand holding onto a tray.
Dax suppresses the reflex to punch Chase. (It’s mostly out of surprise, he swears.)
The Australian sends a glare to the black-haired boy, but the cashier literally ignores him. All of Chase’s attention is on Dax’s roommate, and all of Beyal’s attention is on Dax’s friend.
Dax can practically see the pretty pink-purple background with sparkles and flowers flying around as the two of them continue to stare into each other’s eyes, oblivious to the world around them, drowning out every sight and sound except one another.
(He has not been watching too much anime.)
With furrowed brows, Dax snaps his fingers in between their faces. “Oi, oi, I’m right here.”
That seems to break them out of their trance because Beyal looks away almost immediately, his cheeks darkening, and he stammers, “S-Sorry…”
Chase turns up to look at the ceiling, scratching the back of his head with a nervous laugh. “Well, uh, enjoy!” he says and scurries off.
Dax huffs at him.
He turns to look at Beyal again, and he notices that Beyal’s eyes are following Chase’s retreating figure. Dax make a face between utter disbelief and mild disgust.
“Mate, please don’t tell me you’re already smitten with that idiot.”
“Nothing. Never mind.”
Maybe it’s a temporary thing. Maybe it’s a momentary attraction. Maybe it’s all a bad, humorous dream.
That’s what Dax tells himself as consolation, as the weeks go by and Beyal keeps asking him if he can come with Dax to the café again. And every time they’re there, the same scene happens over and over again, like a cheesy song from a romcom movie played over and over again on the radio.
Sparkly pastel backgrounds.
Glitter in their eyes.
Romantic acoustics in the air.
Dax wants to rip his dreads out of his head. It’s not like he can say no to Beyal anyway.
Jinja notices Beyal and Chase’s behaviour as well, and she partly blames Dax for it (since he’s the one who accidentally introduced them to each other. He can’t even deny it.)
The worst part is neither of them ever said a word.
Not even a hello, or something. When he arrives with Beyal in tow, the staring would ensue for what feels like minutes, and when Dax breaks them out of their trance, they would turn shy all over and would only steal peeks for the rest of the day.
It’s driving him mad.
“Oh god, kill me.” Dax groans, his body stretched out over the table.
Jinja, who’s sitting across him, snorts. Bren chuckles nervously.
The three of them are gathered in the university courtyard as they wait for each of their classes to start. Well, Jinja and Dax are. Bren is just waiting with them until they leave so he can leave too, since he’s already working as an apprentice for a robotics scientist and is on holiday.
“Come on, it’s not that bad.” Bren says.
Jinja and Dax stare at him.
“Are you sure we’re talking about the same people here? It’s Chase Suno. He’s the type of guy to get all mushy and romantic when he’s in love. He’s the same guy who cried over Titanic! Gee, I’ve lost count of the times he’s messed up in the café because he’s thinking of his ‘dreamy starlight angel’, as he calls him.” Jinja points out, her arms flailing.
“And I’m like, 100% sure Beyal’s never had a crush before until now. He’s an innocent flower. I don’t want Chase to contaminate him or something! I don’t even know how serious Chase is about this! …Wait, did you just say Chase calls Beyal his dreamy starlight angel?”
“Dax, now you just sound like an overprotective mother.”
“And what if I am, princess?!”
“Guys!” Bren calls out, effectively stopping Jinja and Dax from another heated argument. “Seriously, they like each other, right? And the only reason you both are so annoyed by it is because neither of them are making a move, right?”
Begrudgingly, they nod.
“Then just help them out.”
And that is how he and Jinja and Bren hatch up a plan to send the two on a date without either of them realizing it. (Since the trio are convinced that if they knew who they’re meeting they’d bail immediately.)
Beyal doesn’t really know what’s wrong with him.
When he closes his eyes all he can see are pretty blue orbs, fluffy black hair, and a blinding smile that can make any person feel like they need an instant trip to the hospital.
That’s what Chase Suno makes him feel like.
He’s utterly confused. He doesn’t understand why seeing Chase—even thinking about him—would make his chest flutter, his cheeks heat up, and his tongue all tied into knots. Every comprehensible word or sentence disappears inside his head each time Chase appears before him, rendering him completely quiet, and dare he say it, look like an utter fool.
He is pretty certain that he’s never felt this way before, never gone through it before.
But in the same time…
A knock on the door shakes him out of his thoughts. Beyal gets off of his bed, opening the door and feeling very confused to see that it’s just Dax. Did his roommate forget or lose his keys?
“Oh, good, you’re dressed.” Dax says, scanning Beyal from head to toe. “Let’s go into the city.”
Beyal blinks. “Now?”
“Because I want to.”
“Are you incapable of going alone?”
“…Your wording makes it sound like I can’t go anywhere by myself.”
Beyal looks flustered for a moment. “Ah, that is not what I meant…!”
Dax laughs and ruffles his hair. “I know, mate. I was only jokin’. So come on, we’re gonna hang out with a friend of mine today!”
After Beyal manages to get Dax’s hands away from his hair, he blinks once before turns his face up and asks, “Friend?”
Chase knows exactly what’s wrong with him.
Seriously, how did it come to this? Years ago he would’ve politely declined the idea of him experiencing love at first sight if anyone ever asked.
But now here he is, pining for the friend of a friend.
Every time Chase sees that hair made of starlight enter the café his family owns, he swears he wants to do cartwheels around the entire kitchen out of sheer excitement. And every time he sends an order to them, he hypes himself up for a chance, for one small chance to talk to Beyal and to get to know him better…
Except for the fact where Chase Suno, romantic boy extraordinaire, always chickens out right at the last second.
When he’s that close to Beyal… His nervousness spikes over the roof, his brain turns into gumbo soup, and his tongue imitates his shoelaces, all tied up and knotted. He seriously feels like such an idiot.
God, why is it so hard to just talk?
Maybe he can ask Dax for tips on what to talk about with Beyal… Dax’s his roommate, right? He’s bound to know something. Chase will bet his chips on that.
It’s convenient too that he’ll be meeting with Dax soon enough for a little ‘overdue outing’ (Dax’s words, not his). The blue-eyed man slips out his phone and swipes away needless notifications, searching for a distraction to pass time as he sips on his smoothie and waiting for his friend.
He’s not entirely sure why Dax wants to meet him in the middle of the city at a famous fruit smoothie vendor. They could’ve just met at the café if it’s to talk and catch up properly.
He’s considering calling Dax to ask him where he is, when Chase catches sight of him snaking through the weekend crowd. It’s hard to miss his dark complexion, beanie, and tall build—a stark contrast to the rest of the people around him.
Chase raises his hand to alert his friend and smile, when his smile turns into a jaw drop instead as he sees that trailing behind Dax’s tall self, is none other than the smaller and way cuter… Beyal.
Is it too late to run now?
Dax locks eyes with him and Chase swears—he swears—that the Australian grins mischievously at him. That’s when he knows there’s no way out, no escape, no retribution for all the sins he’s ever committed in this life and all of his past lives.
He prays to God that Dax wouldn’t embarrass him in front of Beyal and completely obliterate any chances of a first date, ever.
“Hey, Chase Suno!” Dax calls out, making a beeline for his table. Chase can only raise his arm in return, lips pressed nervously together.
“H-Hey Dax. Didn’t know you were bringing your friend with you!” he manages to say.
Did he imagine it, or did Beyal just shoot Dax a look?
Dax’s still grinning. Either he didn’t notice or he’s blatantly ignoring his roommate. “Aw, no harm done, right mates? Besides, I haven’t properly introduced you two yet!”
Before anybody can say anything else, Dax casually takes his hand, and Beyal’s other hand, and joins them together, going, “Beyal, Chase. Chase, Beyal.”
Chase did not burst into a furious bright blush.
Nope. No. He absolutely did not! He’s as calm as a man playing poker, face completely blank of emotion and whatnot. He is calm.
Oh God, Beyal’s hands are so warm.
He never wants to let go.
(The irony here is it’s that exact thought that made Chase let go immediately. He can feel the embarrassment crawl up his neck.)
“Uhm, hi, it’s nice to officially meet you.” Chase manages to get out without stuttering.
(One point for team Chase!)
Beyal looks nervous for a moment, before he looks up into Chase’s eyes and with a soft smile says, “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.”
That smile is the blessing of an angel.
(Team Chase is down for the count!)
He’s convinced his cheeks are still flaming red (and if he isn’t imagining things, he’s pretty sure Beyal is blushing too) when Dax breaks the trance they’re in by obnoxiously clapping his hands together.
Chase really wonders how he’s friends with the guy.
“Alright lovebirds, let’s go catch a movie!” Dax says without consulting them and starts pushing them forward into the crowd. Chase grabs his unfinished smoothie and thankfully doesn’t spill it.
He wants to protest and ask why the heck are they watching a movie now of all times, or at least ask what movie they’re going to be watching, but he can’t get a single word in because Dax keeps on talking and guiding them towards the nearest cinema.
Before Chase knows it, after hustling in line for tickets and popcorn, he’s in the theatres with Beyal sitting beside him and Dax out of sight.
The tallest of the trio said he was going to take a call before they went in and told them he will be back soon. But Chase is wondering where the hell Dax is now because the movie’s been playing for like half an hour before realization hits Chase smack in the face like a baseball.
This is a set up.
Dax didn’t need to take a call. Dax didn’t even want to hang out with Chase today. He got Chase and Beyal out here for an arranged date. And they completely fell for it! The two of them! Like a bunch of idiots!
Suddenly the place feels much colder than it’s supposed to be, like the AC powered up and lowered the temperature even further. But in the very same time, his cheeks are heating up like the sun and this mixture of hot and cold is making him go insane.
He dares to sneak a peek at Beyal, only to blink in response.
Chase turns to face the other side fully.
Beyal is asleep.
Chase finds himself staring at the sight. He takes the scene in, etching into memory how the light from the screen illuminates Beyal’s face as if dancing to an invisible music.
He realizes later he’s forgotten to breathe.
When he manages to recollect himself, he reasons that it must be uncomfortable for Beyal to fall asleep like that with his head in a weird angle. So Chase carefully, gently, without any other intentions, slowly pulls Beyal’s head over to his side so that the smaller of them would sleep on his shoulder.
Yup, totally no other ulterior motive.
(Chase is screaming inside.)
He continues to watch the movie, sometimes throwing popcorn into his mouth, but not really watching the movie per se. He’s too distracted by the weight on his shoulders, the periodic tickle of hair on his cheeks, and the occasional stir of movement that gives him a heart attack thinking Beyal might be waking up.
The movie is a slow one, with a generic plotline that’s been overused at least a million times—the same story, just different names and faces. It makes him yawn a few times. It’s not long before his eyes droop lower and lower… until he finally falls asleep, his head resting against Beyal’s.
Even if this is an arranged date, it’s a pretty nice one.