Patrick laughed and then reached for Gus’ hand, turning it so that it was palm up and gingerly placing the boat upon it. “F-f-for you,” he explained a little shyly. “To…to cheer you up. N-n-not that you r-really n-n-need it today, but l-lately…. I mean I d-didn’t know you were d-doing b-b-better, I just…. Well, it’s d-dumb, but—”
“Thank you,” Augustus murmured.
Patrick flushed, holding Gus’ hand for a second longer and then letting go to stuff his own into the pockets of his jeans. “You can f-fold it to store it and k-keep it from wrinkling.”
This Augustus did, folding the boat along its creases and then swinging his backpack around to his front so that he could slip it inside for safekeeping. There was a bird merrily chirping in the tree nearby. He wondered whether it could have been the parakeet Tobias was tracking. The last he’d heard it was still cleverly eluding his grasps.
“S-s-sorry,” Patrick said, glancing at him uneasily. “I sh-shouldn’t have b-brought it up. I—”
“What? No, it’s—it’s okay,” Augustus said. “Don’t worry about it.”
Patrick opened his mouth to say something else, but Gus’ phone emitted a particularly loud tri-tone, causing them both to startle. He’d forgotten that he’d turned his volume up in case Gemma called.
“Sorry,” he said with a grimace, “hang on….”