Conrad had known Lucas since the freshman year.
The girls said he was cute, but Conrad felt that he was looking average after he saw him in person. Maybe, they said that because of his Asian genes.
Regardless, Conrad's first impression of him was, he seemed like a nice guy with an amiable personality. It was easy to talk to him, considering they had many mutual friends.
Although, Conrad didn't think that he would get along that easily with Lucas. After all, Lucas was a model student with scholarship and straight-A grades, the polar opposite of him who took it really easy in college. He somehow understood why those girls said Lucas was cute after their first meeting. He did have that kind of charisma on him.
They didn't talk much during the freshman year except for the casual nods whenever they both ran to each other. But in sophomore year, they started to talk more, knowing that they both played the same online game after being in a group work together.
Conrad's impression of Lucas quickly changed as time passed, as he found out that Lucas wasn't actually that much different than a "normie" like him. Perhaps, that was why Conrad could easily talk about his nasty roommate who didn't do the dishes and left his laundry everywhere.
"Then, you wanna be my roommate?"
Conrad only brought it up since he just wanted to rant. But that offer wasn't actually that bad. At least, he knew that Lucas would be much decent than his current roommate. Soon, he found out that Lucas's roommate was way worse than his roommate. It was no wonder he was so quick to ask Conrad.
Setting that aside, Lucas was a decent roommate. He wasn't always tidy and rather on the lazy side, but so did Conrad. Lucas knew his bound, never sticking his nose where it didn't belong. And though he was really petty about money, there were times he would be generous and treated him to some meal. The most important part, he wasn't complaining about Conrad playing games until dawn, since Lucas was an extremely heavy sleeper. As long as Conrad wasn't being too loud, Lucas wouldn't wake up no matter what.
However, months ago,
Lucas was haunted by nightmares every single night. At first, Lucas would only groan and mumbled in his sleep. But as it went on, he screamed and kicked some stuff, which startled Conrad every single time. At times, Lucas would even complain about Conrad making noises at midnight, though Lucas himself never usually noticed it.
Conrad was annoyed, but he couldn't even tell him off. After all, Lucas himself looked emaciated. Eye bags formed below his eyes, his face turned pale, and he lost weight to the point Conrad could clearly see his cheekbones and sharp jaw.
Something was definitely going on, but every time he asked, Lucas didn't seem to be willing to answer. Instead, he abstained from sleeping every night by drowning himself in coffee.
Therefore, he wasn't that surprised when he heard that Lucas finally collapsed. Despite their friendship getting a bit strained lately, Conrad was planning to visit him in the hospital. He could go now, but he had assignments piling up thanks to him procrastinating.
Conrad just finished his last class and was about to go straight to his desk the moment he opened the door to his apartment. What he didn't expect was, Lucas was there with his bloody shirt, fiddling with his laptop. Conrad thought his heart was almost dropped from the surprise.
"Man, you surprised me. Why are you here? You haven't even changed your clothes." Conrad held his chest which was beating so loud, that Lucas could even hear it. Lucas was looking like a ghost from his sleep deprivation, not to mention his bloody shirt just added to the suspense.
Lucas, who was still engrossed with his laptop, finally realized Conrad's presence and looked over to the front door.
"Conrad?" He muttered.
Lucas's tone sounded more like someone who hadn't seen him for so long. But perhaps, Lucas was just confused after collapsing at school. Why did the hospital release him already? Lucas didn't seem to look fine at all.
"Yeah?" Conrad responded, still being bewildered.
Yet, Lucas only stared at him from top to bottom, before finally averting his gaze.
Hearing that, Conrad felt strange. Did Lucas hit his head when he fainted? Or perhaps, it was the after-effect of sleep deprivation? Whichever it was, Conrad finally decided to walk inside and put down his stuff near the bed.
"The fuck, man? Are the finals finally getting to you?"
"Finals? Yeah, I guess so." Lucas answered vaguely. Perhaps didn't have anything to say, he turned his back to do something on his laptop again.
Still observing Lucas, Conrad asked.
"What are you doing now? Writing the final essay for tomorrow's class? You know what? You should just tell the professor, I bet he will let you off easy. Besides, everyone knows you are having a hard time lately. To be honest, I just want you to go to rest before you collapse again."
Hearing those words, Lucas halted whatever he was doing. He turned to Conrad with a frown on his face.
"Are you always this nice?" He asked. His tone sounded somewhat doubtful.
Hearing that question, Conrad burst into a laugh. He didn't expect Lucas to be sarcastic considering his condition. But it was Lucas after all. Honestly, Conrad felt he was being nice quite often. But perhaps Lucas was just being sensitive since they did bicker over something petty recently.
"What? You don't like it? I am always nice to my friends unless you are an asshole." Conrad asserted, punching on Lucas's shoulder playfully.
But somehow, Lucas didn't seem to be pleased with his playful punch, as Conrad felt a brief glare from Lucas. Conrad decided to brush it off as Lucas's gaze quickly turned to normal as if nothing had happened.
"Friends, huh?" Lucas murmured out of a sudden. Rather than saying it to him, it felt that Lucas was just talking to himself.
"Say, if by chance there's a monster coming from the window right now, would you, A. Sacrifice yourself as bait, B. Running off by yourself while it eats me or, C. Try to run together knowing the monster will kill us both?" Lucas asked, staring straight at Conrad as if he was looking forward to Conrad's answer.
"Is that a new personality test or something?"
"Yeah, it is,"
"Really? Then C." Conrad said almost immediately.
Lucas looked somewhat amused by his answer, as he showed a grin. "So, you decided to stick by morals?"
"Morals or not, the monster will kill us both eventually no matter what I choose, right? Might as well run together than to feel regret from sacrificing one of us." Giving out his well-thought answer, Conrad felt a bit proud. After all, he thought that his answer sounded cool and somewhat touching.
"Regret.... you're right." Lucas quietly muttered, looking skeptical despite what he said.
"So, how is my answer?"
"Good enough." Lucas smiled as he responded.
Lucas didn't elaborate more, leaving Conrad a bit disappointed. He wanted to hear the full answer of that riddle after all. However, Lucas already cut him off before he could even ask, "Anyways, do you know where I keep my passport?"
Conrad frowned over that seemingly random question. "Passport? I don't know, you seem to always keep important stuff inside your drawer."
Lucas unhesitatingly reached for the drawer. But, it was locked.
"Where is the key?" Lucas asked again.
"Do you get Alzheimer's or something? Maybe inside your pencil case. I don't know, man." Sighing, Conrad walked off to his bed since their conversation seemed to be over.
Throwing his body on the mattress, Conrad asked.
"What's the passport for? Summer vacation? Where are you planning to go?"
"Morocco," Lucas said as he rummaged his bag, oblivious to the strange look Conrad was giving him.