I knocked on Nikola’s door again, hoping that he might at least crack the door open this time.
Hey Nik? It’s me, uh, Tim… Everything alright?
One look at his face immediately made me regret my choice of words.
Is everything… alright? Ha! Haha! Nope! Not at all! Um. B-b-but it’s not– I’m not sick, if that’s what you’re asking.
I-I’m sorry… Is there anything I can do to help?
…No, not really, it’s– this whole shebang is dredging up some supremely unpleasant memories for me and I’m just trying– not– to think about it. Can’t think about it. Nope nope nope.
He shook his head and snapped back into his bright TV smile.
I’ll be okay, Tim! It was super duper sweet of you to check on me and thanks for the food yesterday I just– need a little more time, okay?
Okay… but you’ll let me know if you need anything, right? Even if it’s just someone to talk to…
I will! Don’t you worry!~
His smile was already faltering as he closed the door.
…Don’t you worry, huh?
You better believe I was worried after all of that. No amount of acting could hide that something had seriously scared the shit out of Nik. But was it his secret, or the one he’d learned about someone else? Or could it be something else entirely?