It's dark inside and outside, the only light in the room coming from Philip's laptop and a small lamp. The rain is coming down hard, splashing down through the tree by the window.
Philip taps his pencil restlessly against his desk as he waits for Lukas to pick up. Finally, the computer dings, and Lukas' face appears on the screen.
"Hey," Lukas says, smiling. He's sitting in bed in a hotel room with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
"Hey." Philip stares at Lukas for a moment, trying to take in every bit of him all at once. "So, tomorrow's the big day, huh?"
Lukas grins. "Yeah. Dude, it's going to be so great. I've been practicing, like, all day every day."
Philip twirls the pencil around in his fingers. "You know how proud I am of you, right?"
Lukas looks down and smiles again, and Philip misses him so much his chest aches. "Hey, don't be proud yet. Be proud tomorrow when I win the biggest race of the year."
"Too late," Philip teases.
Now is the moment when Lukas would hit him with a pillow or tickle him or something, but he can't, obviously, and the "long-distance" part of their relationship hits him for the millionth time in the day.
"You okay?" Lukas can apparently see all of this on his face despite the constantly decreasing video quality, which is impressive. Or maybe he knows because he's feeling the same way.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine." Philip takes a deep breath and tilts his head back, staring at the ceiling and waiting for his eyes to stop watering.
Lukas clearly doesn't believe him, the concerned frown not leaving his face, but he doesn't press it. "How's everything, anyways?"
"Fine, I guess."
"Wow, thanks, it's like I'm there," Lukas says sarcastically. He rolls his eyes. "Come on, just tell me about your day or something."
"It was boring," Philip says flatly. He flicks at the edge of his desk with his pencil until it slips out of his hand and falls under the chair.
"I don't care. Please." Lukas leans back against his pillows, pulling his blanket up to his chin, and he's sort of way too cute for Philip to say no.
"Ok. Uh… I had classes almost all day, and then I went to that little café I told you about."
"The one with the best hot chocolate that you've ever tasted?"
Philip smiles. "Yeah, that one. You'd like it."
"Will you take me there sometime? When I come to visit?" Lukas asks softly.
"Yeah. Of course."
There are a few strands of hair hanging over Lukas' face, and Philip wants so badly to be able to reach out and brush them behind his ear.
"You make any friends yet?" Lukas asks. He runs his hand through his hair and still manages to leave the same piece hovering above his eye.
"Yeah, I guess. I sort of hung out with someone in one of my classes."
Lukas fidgets slightly, looking away. "Yeah? What's his name?"
"Oh, wow, jealous already? Calm down, she knows I have a boyfriend." Philip smirks. "And, of course, I only have eyes for you."
"You're so sappy."
"Come on, I see you blushing. Anyways, if anyone should be worried, it's me. You spend
all your time with a bunch of cute boys who ride motorcycles," Philip teases.
"Shut up," Lukas says, smiling. He yawns and rubs his eyes with the back of his hand.
"You should go to bed. It's late. You have a big race tomorrow."
Lukas shrugs. "I won't be able to sleep."
Philip shivers in his cold room. "Being on the phone isn't going to help."
Lukas ignores him. "Why are you so cold? Are you sick?"
"I'm always cold," Philip says, rolling his eyes.
Lukas nods. He snuggles further into the blanket, rolling onto his side and placing his computer in front of him. "'s warm here," he says sleepily. "I wish you were here."
"Will you stay?" Lukas mumbles.
"I mean… stay on the phone… until I fall asleep."
Philip smiles slightly. "Of course. Turn off your light."
Lukas obediently sits up and reaches over to turn off the lamp. A second later the room is so dark Philip can barely see him. Lukas lies back down. "Don't hang up until I fall asleep."
"Okay." Philip rests his elbow on his desk and leans his head onto his hand.
"Promise." He wonders if Lukas can hear the rain.
Lukas closes his eyes, and Philip listens as his breathing slows.
Philip tucks his knees up to his chest in his uncomfortable chair and listens to the rain and Lukas' breathing and thinks about how much he misses him. He misses taking pictures of him and videotaping him riding his dirt bike and cuddling in the barn and he misses his smile and his laugh and how warm his hands are when they hold hands on the couch.
Philip waits until he's absolutely sure Lukas is asleep.
Then he waits until he's confident that Lukas isn't going to have a nightmare.
"I love you," Philip whispers. Then he hangs up.