No prompts used. This story is a continuation to FFM 2022 17: The Morning After.
Just as Raiyo had expected, he was met with Levi and Warren in the kitchen when he found the courage to exit the guest room.
“Good morning,” Levi greeted with his usual deadpan before returning to scrolling his phone.
Warren’s greeting was far warmer. “Good morning, Raiyo. Did you sleep well?”
Even though his mouth felt dry, Raiyo managed to force the words out normally, “Good morning. I did, thank you.”
Despite having planned on leaving as soon as possible, Raiyo found himself sitting at the table with a cup of coffee in front of him. So, the questions were about to start.
“If you don’t want us to do anything about whatever is going on in your life, we won’t,” Warren assured. “However, we are worried about you. Do you have anywhere to go?”
“I do. I’ve… I’ve got a roof over my head.” Most of the time. “Yesterday… just wasn’t a day I could be there.”
Warren nodded. “Will you be safe there?”
“I will. You don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be fine.”
“Are you certain?”
“I am. I… I appreciate your worry, but there’s no need for it. I’ll be fine.”
“Very well. Nevertheless, if there’s a situation where you’re unsafe or can’t stay at your place, please know that you can let me or Levi know. We’ll let you stay the night if you need a place to stay.” Warren slid a paper with his name and phone number to Raiyo. “Here’s my number. You may call me at any time of the day for absolutely any reason, understand?”
“I understand. Thank you.” Raiyo took the paper and committed to never calling the number. He stole a glance at Levi and saw that the other man was still scrolling the phone, although this time the scrolling looked more absent-minded than before. “I, um, I should probably be going. I don’t want to impose any more than I need to, and I have lectures today.”
Warren nodded again and went to fetch the lunch he had packed. “You probably won’t have time to pick up lunch on your way to campus. It’s yesterday’s leftovers.”
Raiyo had half a mind to decline but since the lunch had already been packed for him, it was for the best to accept it to avoid offending Warren. “Thank you. You didn’t have to.”
Warren smiled. “I know. I did it anyway just because I could.”
Raiyo put the lunch into his bag and stood up. “I am very grateful that you let me stay the night. Thank you. I should be going now.”
“It wasn’t a problem,” Levi spoke up. He now looked at Raiyo and nodded to him. “See you at work.”
Raiyo nodded back. “See you at work.”
Warren led the way outside and seemed to bite back worried questions and words simply to give Raiyo the directions to the campus. “Take care and remember what I said.”
“Thank you. I will. Take care as well.” Before Warren could say anything more, Raiyo walked away and prayed that nothing more would come out of this.
When Warren had returned inside, he looked at Levi. “He is being abused, isn’t he?”
“Considering what we know now, it’s likely. We can’t act without better evidence — and probably Raiyo’s cooperation — though.”
“Then we must earn his trust.”
“…I’ll see what I can do. I can’t promise anything except that I’ll try.”
“That’s all I’m asking for.”