Adam tends to dedicate the three days before a big exam to studying.
He sits himself at a table in the back of his favorite cafe on campus, where no one ventures because of how cramped it is, and makes himself at home. The sloped roof, wooden beams, and aged hardwood floors remind him of his tiny room back at St. Agnes.
Today, the smell of dust is enough to conjure up a memory from last summer; when Ronan helped him pack away his belongings the night before he left for college. He quickly pushes the memory away before it can take root.
Like usual, his classmates only join him for day one of what they call the Parrish Regiment, while his roommate stays through day two to keep Adam company. The third day, however, is when Adam is left to study on his own.
He becomes restless from studying for hours upon hours with little time in between to use the bathroom, eat, and sleep. But the more time he spends here, the higher the chances are that he’ll pass his exams and head into his winter break stress free. Just a handful of days until he gets to see–
His cellphone vibrates on the table, a picture of Ronan holding up his middle finger popping up on the screen. He answers and tries to sound as if he weren’t just thinking about the other boy. Apparently, that’s not hard to do when you’re exhausted and running on four hours of sleep.
“Lynch. I’m studying,” Adam croaks, while rubbing at his eyes. He’s read the same passage in his textbook four times.
“Adam!” It’s Opal’s high voice that greets him and Adam instantly feels warmth begin to flood his chest. All traces of exhaustion are momentarily forgotten.
“Opal,” he sighs fondly. There’s a sound of buttons being pressed, then comes Ronan’s voice:
“I thought the brat should know something other than ‘Kerah’ and elementary level Latin. How’s the studying going?”
Just like Ronan to change the subject so Adam wouldn’t comment on him taking the time to teach Opal his name. The attempt doesn’t stop the burning behind his eyes or the lump forming in his throat, though.
“I miss you,” Adam whispers.
“Adam. You know I miss you, too,” Ronan doesn’t hesitate with his response. “Finish studying, so you can ace your tests, hop in your shitmobile, and get your ass back here. Your break starts next week, right?”
“Mm,” Adam bobs his head a little, a smile tugging at his lips.
“Hey, keep studying. I’ll stay on the line and keep you company, so you don’t cry like a fucking wuss. Deal?”
“Deal,” Adam laughs.
And Ronan does keep him company. He puts himself on speaker while he goes about the rest of his evening, so that he’s not making too much noise in Adam’s ear. There’s the sound of Opal’s hooves on hardwood floor, a screen door opening and closing, pots and pans being moved around in the kitchen. At one point, Ronan begins to sing something Adam’s only ever heard him hum before and he thinks of Cabeswater, of peaceful summer nights spent in the Barns with Ronan’s hand in his.
“Thank you,” Adam says so quietly, he’s sure his boyfriend won’t hear it. But he does.