“We’re here,” Jisung unbuckled from his seatbelt and went out of his car. Chenle did the same and followed Jisung.
“You really think he’s here?” Jisung just nodded in response to Chenle and pointed towards the shoes on the porch.
Upon reaching the front door, Jisung held his right arm up and started knocking. No one answered.
He knocked again this time louder. Still, no answer from the other side.
He knocked the third time and still nothing.
“Should we just barge in?” Jisung suggested.
“No. He’s probably just out here. I will go look for him while you stay here in case he returns,” Jisung grabbed Chenle’s arm before the latter left. “I am coming with you. You barely know this place. You might get lost.”
Chenle slowly removed his arm from Jisung’s grip. “I’ll be fine Ji. I have my phone with me. Call me if he returns.”
Chenle hurriedly left towards the woods. He honestly didn’t know where to start looking until he noticed shoe tracks on the ground. He followed it carefully until he reached a huge tree. There he found, lying on the ground, Mark.
He ran faster than the speed of light and kneeled beside the boy. He touched Mark’s skin and it’s cold. Chenle is now more worried than ever. He checked the boy’s pulse. He sighed a huge relief when he felt it beating. He placed his left hand on the boy’s cheek and started patting it softly while saying his name in the sweetest sound possible as if he is waking up a sleeping baby.
“Mark. Mark, wake up. It’s cold out here. Wake up Mark,” after a few attempts, the sleeping boy finally woke up. His eyes were swollen and his nose is red as Rudolph’s could be. “Was he crying?” Chenle thought.
He helped Mark sit upright. Removed his jacket and wrapped it around the freezing boy. “Can you stand?” Mark nodded in response.
Chenle grabbed Mark’s arm and put it over his shoulder while he held the boy on the waist to support his body while they walk back to his cabin.
When Jisung saw Chenle and Mark coming back, he ran up to the two and immediately helped Chenle in supporting Mark on the other side.
None talked until they reached the front door.
“Key in the shoe.” Mark tried to speak but his voice was obviously very weak. Jisung picked up the key and opened the door. He let the two enter first.
Chenle gently dropped Mark on the nearest bed before he averted his attention to his best friend who is as equally shocked as him with what they are seeing. The two walked closer to each other before whispering, “he did all this himself?” Jisung asked directing it to no one. Chenle just shrugged.
“Jisung, can you boil some water and bring out all the food you can find in the fridge and the cupboards? I’ll go pick him a clean set of clothes. I’ll cook whatever you will find here after I clean him up. Thanks. ”
“Yeah sure.” Jisung did what he was told. Chenle on the other hand prepared Mark’s fresh clothes before cleaning him up. Mark felt so weak. He can barely lift his limbs anymore nor open his eyes further. He just lets Chenle scrub his body with a damp towel and change his clothes like a little baby. He doesn’t know why, but he felt comfortable and relaxed while his boss was cleaning him up.
“Done. I hope that wasn’t uncomfortable for you Mark. I know you can’t get yourself up to take a shower at this state so I just did what Jisung once did to me when I was in your kind of state back then. Okay, I am blabbering. Uhmm, just rest there and I will prepare you some food okay.”
Jisung went to Chenle’s side with a glass of water in hand. “Have him drink this first. He might be dehydrated.”
“Thanks Ji.” Jisung just smiled and went back to what he was doing in the kitchen.
“Did he drink all?” Chenle showed the now empty glass. “These are all that I could find. I’m already cooking some rice over there. Just let me know what else I need to do to help.”
The two best friends started cooking whatever they can with the ingredients present in the cabin while Mark finally slept soundly and comfortably for the first time in days on his bed in the cabin.
After cooking, Chenle and Jisung went to Mark's side. They were admiring the sleeping boy. Chenle’s urge to caress the boy’s hair was so strong but Jisung kept on slapping his hand away afraid that Chenle’s touch might wake Mark up.
“I just wanna caress my son, Jisung.” Chenle whined.
“We're not even sure yet? You can do that when he’s awake. Let the boy sleep in peace for now.”
“Fine,” Chenle stood and started checking out the rest of the cabin. Jisung followed and did the same while they wait for Mark to wake up.
“I can’t believe my son did all this. He is definitely as genius as me,” Jisung slapped Chenle in the head jokingly. “Stop saying that. We are still not yet 100% sure he is your son.”
“Why are you so against it? You’re jealous again, aren’t you?” Chenle teasingly asked his best friend.
“What if I am? Look, that’s not important. What’s important is that we need to explain to him what’s happening first and convince him to do some DNA test with you so we can all finally know the truth.” Chenle smiled at Jisung fondly.
“You see. This is why I can’t bear to live without a Jisung Park in my life. You put sense into things when I am at a kinda lost state.” Jisung was about to put his hand on Chenle’s cheek when they heard someone wake up from his sleep.
“Uhmm, did I interrupt something?”
“Mark!” Chenle exclaimed while excitedly going to his bedside.
“How are you feeling? Did you sleep well? Wait I’ll get you some water,” but before Chenle could get up, Jisung was already holding a glass towards Mark, “here.”
Mark took the glass from Jisung and gulped the whole content down.
“You must be famished. Me and Jisung cooked some food for you. We just made whatever we can using the ingredients we found here so I hope you’ll still like them.”
“Are you not mad at me?” Both Chenle and Jisung looked at him confusedly. “Mad for what?”
“For stealing your idea and launching it as my own,” Mark answered. Chenle just sighed and said, “we’ll talk about that after. But for now, your health is more important.” Chenle grabbed the opportunity to brush the boy’s hair before getting up and bringing him some food.
Mark was astounded by the amount of food in front of him. He gotta admit, his stomach is growling and he is beyond famished at this point. He started eating the food prepared by the two, letting out satisfied murmurs in between his bites.
Chenle’s grin was so wide while looking at Mark chowing down on the food they prepared for him. He seized another opportunity to brush the boy’s hair and let out a comment saying, “so cute” when he can.
After all the plates have been emptied, Mark let out a loud burp that made the three of them laugh so hard.
“Thank you so much for the food Mr. Zhong and Mr. Park. I don’t know how you found me here but I guess I can say I am kind of glad you did.” There was a shy smile on Mark’s face.
“How many days have you not eaten?” Chenle asked with concerned eyes.
“I don’t know Sir. Maybe around 2-3 days, I guess?”
“Wow. Ohh we’re so glad that found you here now.” Jisung remarked.
“So….can we talk now about what I did? Are you going to hand me to the police?” Mark’s voice was trembling while he asked.
“Yes, we can talk about it now and no we are not going to hand you to the police.” Chenle gave him a smile as assurance.
“I won’t go in circles anymore and go straight to the point,” Chenle began. “We need to take you for a DNA test.”