FFM 2021 2: A Hidden Bruise

No prompts used. This story is set some time after FFM 2020 28: Awkward Stranger.

Once Raiyo was absorbed in the day’s tutorial and mostly still, Levi was free to observe the younger man. Now, he was able to confirm that the splotch he had spotted on his newest coworker’s cheek was indeed a bruise. One half of him wanted to ask where it had come from, the other half to just stay quiet and mind his own business. Interfering with others’ business would only cause more trouble than it was worth.

It was easier to stay silent. As long as Raiyo did not bring the cause of the bruise up to him, it was none of his business.

A part of him hoped that Raiyo would not make any kind of trouble that was not related to work his business at any point.

“Uh, Levi?”
Levi startled. “Yes?”
“Do you mind if I take a quick bathroom break? It won’t take long, I swear.” Raiyo twisted his hands, unsure where to put them.
“Oh, of course not. Go ahead.” Levi made an effort to smile, but it felt too fake to be convincing.
Raiyo made an awkward smile in response. “Thanks.”

Raiyo leaned against the sink and took a few breaths, trembling. Being under Levi’s silent watch was even more unnerving than the earlier days. Maybe it was just that he was hiding his bruise and Levi was close enough to spot it if he was attentive enough. Maybe it was just the fight and lack of sleep last night. Maybe it was the magpie that stole his bread while on the way to work. Maybe it was…
“Fuck it,” he hissed through his teeth, took yet another deep breath and left the toilet. He had to keep this job, and that meant not taking long extra toilet breaks.

“Everything all right?” Levi asked out of courtesy when Raiyo returned to the desk.
“Eh, yeah. Just… just too much coffee in the morning.” Raiyo forced a chuckle out of his mouth, but he could tell that it was the most unconvincing lie he had told ever since he dropped out of school last time.
This time, Levi’s smile was more sympathetic than awkward. “Don’t worry. It was the same for me when I started out, except that I drank tea.” He paused, trying to figure out how he could lighten the tense mood. “Not that I ever learned not to drink too much tea. Now no one just knows how many bathroom breaks I take during the workday since I’m working from home.”
Raiyo made an effort to look amused. “Figures.”
Levi’s smile turned awkward again at the obvious failure of his efforts. He gestured at Raiyo’s tutorial. “Shall we continue?”
“Y-yeah.” Raiyo sat down and resumed his training.

In the meantime, Levi watched the trainee work through the tasks and prayed for the work day to be over soon. He wanted to get back home.

Actually, once the official break would begin, he had to text Warren to get him some cake for the evening. He desperately needed something sweet to make up for today’s awkwardness.

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