Hao Mei realizes that there is something different with KO these recent days. It’s not that KO got home later than usual or that the chef became more stoic or that when KO got home, he just dashes to the room and shut himself up. No, not because of those reasons, but because one time when Hao Mei accidentally got into the bathroom and caught KO half naked, he saw a large scar behind the chef’s back. KO quickly shut the door so Hao Mei couldn’t get the chance to ask about anything. Hao Mei waited outside and just when he wanted to ask what that scar was, KO gave him a glare.
After that, Hao Mei notices that there are lots of scars on KO’s body and despite being oblivious, Hao Mei knows that they are not cooking’ scars. Who would believe the red mark on KO’s shoulder was caused by cooking? It’s not like KO did an acrobatic or whatsoever, right?
Today, tonight, Hao Mei decides to find the reason or reasons and if KO still want to avoid him, he would use the last effort – blackmailing the chef that he could not live in Hao Mei’s apartment anymore. It would surely do the trick.
“Alright, I would go.”
Apparently it doesn’t end up like how Hao Mei thought it would. That night after finishing their dinner (Hao Mei waited until he got his favorite food first, of course), Hao Mei confronted KO and the chef answered it as calmly as usual. Like it’s not a big deal. Instead of shocking, it is the otherwise and now it’s Hao Mei’s turn to be dumbstruck.
“Wh – what?” Hao Mei stutters as KO unperturbed by the blackmail and just collecting all the dishes.
“You told me to go, then I’ll go.” KO answers as he cleans the dishes.
“But you could have just told me!” Hao Mei almost shouts. He stands beside KO now, trying to find the logical approach of all. “What’s with the scars? Why do you not want to tell me?! KO!” KO ignores the tantrums and does the dishes. He doesn’t even give a single respond to the owner of the apartment. “Fine! I should ask Third Brother then!”
That gets KO a reaction. He stops his actions and turns to look at Hao Mei – the owner smiles. Finally! “Don’t,” KO says, somehow it seems a bit sharper than usual.
“If you don’t want to answer me, I could just find why or you could just tell me instead! No need with all this hide and seek thing. Damn KO, what are you hiding? You’re not a secret spy working for the government, are you? Or that you just hack to the government – oh wait, you did that once. Then what is it?!”
KO stares at Hao Mei intensely and turns his head back to the dishes. “I’ll go,” he only says.
Frustrated with KO’s answer, Hao Mei dashes to his phone and quickly dials Xiao Nai’s number. After one ring, he is suddenly dragged and pushed into the sofa. His phone has quickly turns to the other hand and being shut off. “Don’t,” is the only word comes out from KO’s mouth.
“What the – Okay KO, you got on my nerve now. I am just worried okay? You don’t want to tell me of your scars or how you got them, but you also didn’t inform me you got one! What if something happened? What if the scars infect you, what if –“
He is cut off by something soft covering his mouth – KO’s hand. “I don’t have the explanation for these, I couldn’t. I hope you understand.” It is something in KO’s eyes that soothes Hao Mei, something that the latter couldn’t explain but understand. Slowly Hao Mei nods and then KO releases his hand off Hao Mei’s mouth. “I would finish the dishes, you go rest or finish the program.”
Hao Mei could only stay in silent and let KO goes back to the sink. Hao Mei sits on the sofa and just watches KO, doing nothing but observing the chef. Sometimes, Hao Mei couldn’t understand KO, but other times (most of the times) he is the only one who could – or what Yu Ban Shang often tells him. To tell the truth, more than what causes the scars, it scares Hao Mei more that KO doesn’t do anything with them. The chef could actually put some sort of medication or anything, but he don’t. Hao Mei is afraid that what if the scars get worse.
What if they could not be healed anymore and they got worse?
What if one day when getting home KO would be out of breathe?
What if one day he could not see KO anymore?
What if –?
That night is not easy for Hao Mei. He couldn’t sleep with all those ‘what-ifs’ thoughts, so he decides to get up and go to the kitchen to find anything to drink. He notices that there is still light on KO’s room. Quietly, he approaches the room and just when he wants to knock, the door is opened and there stood KO with his backpack – the same backpack that the chef brought when he came.
“Wh – what?” Hao Mei is startled.
“I would go.” KO says after a moment of silence between them.
“No, you don’t have to. I mean –“ Lost of words, Hao Mei tries to stop KO from leaving.
“I have to,” is all KO says before he walks to the door and leaves Hao Mei behind. Still dumbfounded, Hao Mei couldn’t do anything. He doesn’t even try to stop KO from leaving. He just stands there and stares even after KO gives him a thin smile.
“Wait!” Too late, the door is now closed and KO is gone. He dashes to the door to find KO before the chef’s gone, but either KO runs very fast or that he has such a slow reflex, KO is gone from the hall. There is no one there. Nothing at all.
Closing the door unwillingly, Hao Mei leans on it and slowly rolls to the floor, sits on it. Hugging both his legs, he put his head on them and let the emptiness consumes him.
Outside, KO stands in front of the apartment, watching it for the last time with an indescribable expression. He takes out his phone and reads the message again once more. Holding it so tight that it could break anytime.
Happiness does not suit you, 489.