By Spiral Breeze
It had been three days. Three days of back breaking work, three days of roasting in the sun, digging, planting, feeding Pokémon and tending to every single one of their needs to the exacting standards that were Bobby's the Day Care Provider.
Cilan lay on his stomach on his bed, his shirt sticking with sweat to his back, his hair a complete mess, the hem on one of his pant legs had ripped and he was in severe pain. His once soft manicured hands were now callused, and his feet were too swollen and blistered to fit into his elegant Italian leather shoes. Tears were brimming in his eyes, but he had sworn he wouldn't cry, not in front of him. All this work, day after day, it simply must be done, he thought, I'm going to be a top Pokémon Connoisseur no matter what!
He wiped his tears on his pillow, something he would never have normally done and winced once again at the pain in his back, neck and shoulders. It wasn't even time for bed, in fact, Bobby was busy in the kitchen cooking dinner, but Cilan could not bring his body to move. He could smell the mouth watering aroma of pan seared pork tenderloin with shallots, artichokes and mushrooms, he breathed in deeply and sighed. It was just about time for Bobby to deglaze the pan with perhaps a dry white wine: South African, definitely.
"Knock, knock, knock!" Bobby sang as he rapped his knuckles on the door jam. "Dinner's almost done, aren't you gonna eat?" He walked into the room and it was then that he noticed Cilan's predicament. "Oh, Cilan!" Bobby rushed to his side and kneeled next to the bed. "Why didn't you tell Bobby?"
"Cause I wanted to live by the motto of grin and bear it." The younger man muttered.
"Nonsense, Bobby's gonna fix you right up, don't you worry!" He said with a smile. "Now, roll over."
"I'm afraid... I can't."
"Hmm..." Bobby's expression finally changed. "You really are in pain aren't you?"
"That's about the size of it."
With deft hands, the Day Care Provider carefully rolled Cilan over onto his back so he could remove his sweat drenched white linen shirt. He peeled the fabric off of his skin and noticed that he was developing a rash. Bobby tutted, and rolled the connoisseur back onto his stomach. The series of tiny bumps, most likely a heat rash, was an angry red all over the young man's back as well as his chest. Bobby gently placed a finger on the small of Cilan's back and the poor young man grimaced in agony.
"It hurts..." He moaned.
"Shh, it's alright, Bobby will be gentle."
Cilan tried to smile through his discomfort, but his muscles simply would not let him. He felt the Day Care Provider stand and heard him leave the room, but he was back about a minute later. This time he sat on the edge of the bed and Cilan could hear him shaking a bottle. Next, he felt the wonderfully cool sensation of a washcloth being lightly pressed onto his skin, his nostrils were suddenly filled with the calming scent of lavender.
"That feels nice." Cilan managed to say. "Thank you Bobby."
"Oh, Bobby's not done yet." He spoke softly, a promise of things to come.
Bobby removed the cloth after a while and Cilan mourned it's loss, however his lament did not last very long. His friend replaced the cloth with his bare hands and another delightfully aromatic product: lemongrass oil. The young man groaned as practiced fingers glided over his tortured muscles. Bobby kneaded and rolled and worked every kink, knot and stabbing pain in his back. He pressed his palms around his neck, loosening the tightness and strain. When that was done, he worked his way down his spine, where his thumbs circled and pressed and circled again into the small of his back. Little by little, his skin, tendons, muscles, bones and joints seemed to come alive and although there was still a dull ache, the pain had all but vanished.
"Feel better?" Bobby whispered, his breath tickling Cilan's ear, as his hands smoothed teasingly up and down his spine.
His voice had failed him, so he nodded, an almost childish grin on his face, as a blush spread across his cheeks.
"Bobby's glad to help." He withdrew his hands carefully, but the removal left Cilan in a bittersweet anguish. "D'ya feel up to dinner?"
He could still faintly smell the pork with the addition of the white wine (Bobby must have added it when he left to get the cloth and oil) wafting through the bouquet of lavender and lemongrass. Cilan managed to roll over and sit up. He stretched his arms easily, and Bobby opened a drawer and helped him put on a luxuriously soft white cotton t-shirt.
"Thank you so much."
"Don't mention it, next time, tell Bobby you're in pain. Bobby will do whatever he can to help. Now, let's eat."
The younger man stood and followed his companion out into the kitchen for their dinner. He sat across from him as he had done for breakfast, lunch and dinner the past three days and smiled. Three days, of working side by side, three days of analyzing different Pokémon to sharpen and hone his connoisseur skills, three days of sweating in the hot sun with aching feet and hands, but three days was all it took: to fall in love.