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In my greetings for you

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It was already nearing 3pm after the young film director following his boyfriend to looking around for the nth apartments since early in the morning. The numbers of every few sq per meters, fully furnished or not fully furnished, which towers headed to whichever specific direction, if it was too high or too low, the security problems, the facilities, how big is the parking lot, the consideration if the area were strategic enough for his daily routine, the problems of 2 bed rooms or 3 bed rooms were been dizzying his head out. Especially when for all his life, the Traipipattanapong never moved from the house that he currently staying in, and even when he had to looked out for new places or dorm to live when he was in college, the scholarship team already provided for him, so he just simply had to put his stuff there. And it had been more than a month since he accompanying his boyfriend for an apartment tour every weekend or every time they simply free from their work to almost every apartment complex in center of the city, and it seems that his boyfriend still haven’t decided yet.

“Why do you need new places to live, anyway, Phi? I think your current condo already nice to begin with?” The younger one asked him in between of his boyfriend comparing the endless brochures from the apartment that they have been going to for the day.

“Well... the rent going to finished soon... I just want to buy one, since my dad said that it would be better for future investment...” He read through the specification without seeing to the younger one while he answering it, still focusing on the brochures while they were waiting for the agent to search for the lock for empty rooms that would be available for room tour. “You’ve been saying that you wanted to rent one, too, right? Look over for yourself too, then,” His boyfriend looked up to him.

The young director simply couldn’t relate. The thing was, no matter how his work going pretty well, it was just that he needed to help with his family financially in the mean time because his dad’s business didn’t go pretty well these days because of the pandemic. Therefore, he already put aside his own dream to live on his own, and been taking as much projects that he could do. It was a blessings that the series turned out to be well received, so that a lot of advertisement company, production house, and his colleagues from past projects been offering him to do a lot of interesting projects. He couldn’t be as idealistic for the time being though. He considered that had enough experiment in the series, and if he wanted to created another idealistic project, at least he would be waiting after his family’s condition to be better and until he had enough savings to produced it in the future.

His boyfriend, in another place, were privileges even from the day he was born. And given that he already been in the industry for years already, he had enough savings from the endless works that he took right after he graduated to buy for his own properties even without asking for help from his family. Well, it was also a blessings that his family never been that impacted with the whole crisis, aside of the fact that old money family probably already been through a lot of economical crisis from the past so they already knew how to deal with it in the present time, they also always made their merits whenever they had time, so it must be the good karma doings. He never really envying his boyfriend’s family and status, instead, he always looked up to them on how they managed their time, money, and education and put it into a good use.

“Nah, Phi, I would probably postponed that plan. It cost too much, especially the deposit money. My dad’s company still struggling at the moment, I don’t think it would be wise enough for me to be a selfish kid right now...” He pondered a bit. Not being particularly sad, just being realistic with the whole situation.

His boyfriend look at him fondly, full of understanding, “Let’s just wish that the situation would be better soon, okay?” He caressed Gulf’s cheek softly and held his hand, “Now, just please help me to look which one is the better one.”

 

 

 

 

“Aooow, my cutest Nong Gulf, how are you, my dear?”

“Ah Ma, how are you,” Gulf wai her politely before she reached to him for a warm hug and kissed both of his cheeks.

“Why are you becoming thinner, Nong Gulf??” The grandmother of the Jongcheveevat tapped his face in concern.

It has been a long time since he had time to visit P’Mew grandma from Aunty Jong side, and finally after he could take a breather a bit from work, and an impromptu “Let’s go to Ah Ma’s house since it’s near here!” after they sightseeing the apartment complex, he finally met the beautiful lady, despite the obvious wrinkles and the graying hair. Aunty Jong’s family blood line was pretty strong in terms of their looks, and it was obvious enough that his boyfriend and Aunty Jong looks shared from Ah Ma, with their rather sharp eyes and sculpted jawline.

“Mew kha, you’ve been telling me that you would Nong here, why just now??” His boyfriend’s grandma asked him in a nagging voice.

“Sorry, Ah Ma, it’s just that our work been holding us for a while...” He kneeling in front of her and wai her politely, which just made her tsk-ed loudly while still reaching for her grandson to kissed his cheeks as well, “Work, work, work, that’s all of the excuses that you’re trying to make.”

“I’m sorry Ah Ma, I will try to visit you more often in the future, okay?” The younger director smiling at her, which just made the grandmother smiling with concern at him, “Aow, it’s Mew’s fault, not yours, Nong Gulf,” She turned to nagged again at her grandson. “Here, here, took a seat beside me.” She tapped the free space beside her at the sofa and insisted that he should take a seat there.

“How was London, my dear? I heard that you’ve been continuing your study there...”

“Ah, yes, Ah Ma, actually I already got the result of my thesis project last month... And now I just had to finished some revision and leftover college papers and administration papers that I have yet to finish, and then hopefully I would be graduating next summer, Ah Ma...”

“Why summer? Isn’t it still like... 6 months away?”

“Well, my campus only held graduation twice a year, during summer and fall, therefore I have no choice but to join the closest one, which is the summer graduation, Ah Ma...” He tried to explained slowly and politely.

“Ah.... I see... will your family go to the London as well?” She tilting her head and asked him kindly.

“Ummm, I don’t think so, Ah Ma, since it would be pretty expensive if the four of us would be going to UK... Unfortunately, the scholarship would only covered my transportation....” Gulf held a heavy sigh.

“Aow, don’t be sad that you will be graduating alone, okay, Nong? My husband also graduate from his university all alone back then in Beijing, so I would understand how your family feels...” She put him into a comfortable hug to reassure him, and then turned to his grandson. “Ah, Mew, why don’t you accompanying him to his graduation?”

“Ah, actually...,” He let out an awkward smile.

“What other excuses that you would make, Mew? Why are you being so cruel to Nong and left him all alone at foreign place?” Ah Ma tapped Gulf’s back as if to protecting him.

“It’s just that... I would definitely accompanying him, Ah Ma,” He let out another awkward toothy smile.

“Really?” His grandma turned to him with a proud look. “That’s my boy. You have to make sure to protect him, okay? This precious Nong,” Ah Ma tapped his cheeks adoringly, which made her grandson smiled amusedly at them.

They continue the day as they forced to stay for dinner as the aunties already prepared it for them, and as Ah Ma insisted, “So that Nong wouldn’t turned even thinner.” With — of course — any kind of dishes with basil, particularly the khra paow because today was all about Nong Gulf according to Ah Ma. During the dinner, she and Aunty Alex keep telling them all of the cute and amusing stories from their childhood whenever Gulf had to visit her back in the day, which just made him either embarrassed or laughed loudly.

“Does she know about us, Phi?” The younger director pondered as they went back to both of their family house.

“I don’t know, I haven’t told her, though, maybe my mom did,” He shrugged while he was focusing on the road and turning to him a bit, “What’s wrong? Does it matter?”

“No... It’s just...,” Gulf leaned his head at the car’s window to think.

“What? As if she knew?” His boyfriend chuckled lightly.

The slightly tanned boy turned to his Khun Phi and nodded, while the older one pulled him into a side hug and ruffled his hair fondly when he stopped for a red light, “You know how the elders usually have sharper eyes than us, right? Maybe Ah Ma also knew that we will ended up together ever since we were both small? Who knows?”

Gulf just nodded while still pouting, whilst his boyfriend tapped his head lightly, “Don’t you love it? Being adored by all of my family members?”

“Overwhelmed, maybe, at some point, but they already babying me since forever, anyway, so it’s not like I’m not getting used to it,” He shrugged lightly as he leaned back because the traffic lights already turned green.

“But anyway, Phi. I think.... I have to comeback to London earlier than what I expected...”

“Huh?” He asked him confusedly.

“Yesterday the professors been telling me that I need to prepare for the administration papers on my own, like, a couple of months before I graduate,” He pouted sadly.

“Really?” He turned to his younger boyfriend sadly, “Will you be doing fine?”

“Will you be doing fine, Phi?” He sighed. “I have to tell all of my co-workers in my on going project regarding this, though, either I have finish the projects really fast, brought my work there, postponed it, or left the project...”

When his boyfriend just keep silent when he still focused on the road he turned to him again, “I’m sorry, okay, Phi? It’s not like I want to do this either...” He said apologetically.

The older one just shook his head softly, “No, no, no, I understand, really, and I always will be supporting your education no matter what... it’s just that— I need a moment to seep this new information upon my head...”

“I’m sorry, Phi...” He pouted at his boyfriend sadly. “Do you want me to stay at your place tonight?”

The older producer just staying silent while still focusing on his steering wheel and the road. After a long minutes, he finally replied, “No, I want to meet your parents tonight.”

The younger one snapped his head really fast he wished it wouldn’t break, “What, Phi??”

“Uh huh, I want to meet your parents tonight,” His boyfriend finally turned his head to him and nodded surely, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

He didn’t know what will be going on, but this discussion certainly made the younger boy low-key nervous for some reason. He started to panic and opened his phone, texting P’Mai because he was confused on the seemingly like a sudden emergency situation.

goob⚽: p’mai???????
davikah🎀: what’s up, nong?

Thank God she was online, or else he had to ask for P’Mild that certainly won’t giving him any help.

goob⚽: please help me phi????
goob⚽: i think i’m in emergency situation?????
davikah🎀: what’s wrong????
goob⚽: i—
davikah🎀: yah, just explain it, why didn’t u just call me like usual anyway????
goob⚽: i couldn’t!!!
goob⚽: i wish i would, but i just can’t!!!
davikah🎀: just explain it or else i would turning off my phone bcs u keep telling me nonsense.
goob⚽: so earlier i told p’mew
goob⚽: that i had to be back to london like, 2 months before my graduation
goob⚽: i said sorry, right
davikah🎀: and then?
goob⚽: and then he become silent
goob⚽: and suddenly told me that he want to meet my parents tonight?????
goob⚽: wtf?????
davikah🎀: ????
davikah🎀: what’s wrong anyway?
davikah🎀: well, i mean u guys already used to meet each other’s parents to begin with?
davikah🎀: why r u panicking?
goob⚽: but it sounds so different rather than usual????
davikah🎀: explain ‘different’
goob⚽: ?????
goob⚽: i don’t really know bUT its def. making me nervous???

“Why you’re being busy with your phone, my love?”

He startled when he heard his boyfriend’s voice, he almost dropped his phone, “Uh work, Phi, P’Tong trying to make sure about something for the next day’s meeting.” He made lame excuses. He just wished that his voice didn't sound shaky, so that his boyfriend would ended up catching his lame lies. Fortunately, the older one bought it and nodded, and turning back into the road. He started to panic even more when he saw that they already becoming even closer to his house. He gulped nervously and turned back into his phone, which already full with P’Mai's messages.

davikah🎀: so?????
davikah🎀: wait—
davikah🎀: do u think the same thing that i think right now????
goob⚽: i think?????????
davikah🎀: what??????????
davikah🎀: well, i mean i knew that he’s a hopeless romantic..
davikah🎀: and love to do the unimaginable things....
davikah🎀: but i don’t think that he would be asking (((that))) in an impulse ?????
goob⚽: ikr, my thought exactly ?????

He gulped down and put down his phone nervously when the car stopped and his boyfriend already parked in front of his house. His boyfriend turned off the engine and put off his seat belt, then turned to him confusedly, “What are you waiting for? Let’s go?”

Which just he replied with a nervous nodded while he put off his seat belt as well and picked up his bag, then go outside to unlocked the gate, albeit with several tries since his hands were sweating and he nearly dropped his keys because the older one’s existence behind him making him even more nervous. After he successfully unlocked the gate, he didn’t expect that his mom would be opening the door.

“Is it you, Gulf? Why are you making such a loud sounds just to unlocked the gate?” His mom frowned at him.

“Khun Mae, I’m home,” He wai his mother politely, followed by his boyfriend.

“Nong Mew? What are you doing here?” His mother asked him confusedly because it was already pretty late at night.

“Actually, Khun Mae, I really want to ask something to you and Uncle....” P’Mew asked her politely.

“Huh?”

“I’m sorry if I disturb you late at night... but I think it’s pretty important... at least for me...”

“Uh, okay, come in..?” Khun Mae replied confusedly and finally let the boys in.

At the living room, the same one where they were being interrogate a while ago, the younger one seating beside his boyfriend restlessly and been tapping his foot nervously. His parents just stared at them in confusion, waiting for the son of the Jongcheveevat to talk.

“Okay, Nong Mew, what are you wanted to talk about?” His Khun Phor asked him kindly.

“The thing is, Uncle... both of you must be already knew that Gulf will be graduating this summer, right...”

Both of his parents nodded and asked him to continue.

“Well, since I knew that both of you wouldn’t be able to attend his graduation, I just wanted to tell you that I want to ask for your permission properly, Khun Mae, Uncle...”

The younger one just looked at his boyfriend nervously while biting his lips, while suddenly his boyfriend entwined their hands together.

“That I will be accompanying Nong Gulf for his graduation later,” He nodded surely. “I knew that he have to come back to London two months before his graduation... But I will be following him probably a week before his graduation, Khun Mae, Uncle, and I will make sure that he will be having a good time there, graduate happily, and will bring him back to Bangkok safely.”

They were all just staying silent upon hearing their son’s boyfriend and nodded understandingly afterwards. “Really, thank you so much, Nong Mew. You really don’t have to do this, but still, thank you for accompanying my son for his graduation,” Khun Mae smiled at him fondly.

“Just... thank you for not letting him graduate all alone, Nong Mew,” Gulf’s father nodded at him and reached to tapped his shoulders thankfully.

They were all having a light conversation about this and that afterwards, and Gulf just staring at his boyfriend confusedly. Did he actually expecting something more? His boyfriend turned to him and raised his eyebrows, as if wanted to ask him “What’s wrong?”

He wanted to asked to his boyfriend, like, “That’s it, Phi?” just to make sure, but he just shook his head and laughed it out. Gulf certainly wouldn’t be prepared enough should he suddenly asking him the question that he thought his boyfriend would be asking to his parents. They didn’t need to rushed it, right? Their relationship?

He just smiled to his boyfriend, entwined their hands together, and whispered, “Thank you for coming to London for me, Phi.”

 

 

 

 

The ticking sounds of clock being heard loudly in the room. It was oddly silent, because just several weeks ago, the boyfriend of the owner of the new sleek and modern furnished apartment still often coming over to his place. Now, they had to settled with another long distance again. He just glad enough that the pandemic already calming down from the end of last year, and almost all countries already opened their gate internationally, which made him able to accompanying his boyfriend for his graduation soon.

“Phi???? Phi???” The sound of the younger boyfriend nagging around being heard from the other side of the phone.

“Are you unconsciously sleeping at the sofa in the living room again???” He tsk-ed annoyedly to his boyfriend that already gone from the screen but still turning on his phone. “I told you that just take the phone from your bed, right? I knew it would ended up like this because it’s already past your sleeping time,” He nagged over the phone, because the matter of time differences made their communication pretty hard to be done again.

“Phiiiii, P’Mew, wake up!!! You will be catching cold again if you’re not sleeping properly in the bed, Phi!!!!” He tried again, certainly didn’t give up until his boyfriend woke up.

“Hhhhhh,” The said boyfriend grumbled and raised a bit with his prescribed glasses skewed on his face and he tried to moved his hair away from his face.

“Good, good, you’re waking up, right now,” He tsk-ed again. “Now, move to the bed properly, chai, Phi? And remove your glasses, or else you will be hurting your face again tomorrow morning.”

The younger one watching his boyfriend obediently following his instruction over the small screen, while obviously still 90% being sleepy. When he already see the older one tucked in with his comforter on her bed comfortably, he smiled amusedly, “Good boy, P’Mew khaa, now sleep properly, okay, Phi? I will be waiting for you on the airport tomorrow night, okay? See you, Khun Phi~” He blew an air kiss even if he knew his boyfriend already went into a deep sleep, which just made him chuckled afterwards before he cut off the call.

 

 

 

“Sawatdee krub na P'Gulf....”

Gulf shrieked and nearly wanted to jumped out and slapped anyone that standing behind him because it scared him out, the fact that suddenly someone blew a hot air on his nape when he trying to texted his boyfriend. Except, when he was turning around, it was obviously the said annoying boyfriend. “Ai’Phi, you scared me!!!” He lightly punched his boyfriend who currently wearing a laidback checkered flannel over a casual shirt.

“I miss you, too,” The older one chuckled, pulled his boyfriend into a hug, and kissed the top of his crown, which made the younger one engulfed into those familiar scents again.

“I thought you will be coming out from the other side, Phi,” He asked the older one, trying to help him to carry one of his luggages, but being declined by his boyfriend.

“I don’t understand either, I just followed the way like other passengers,” He shrugged.

The younger one just nodded, “What do you want for dinner, Phi? Or you already ate at the plane? Want to go directly to the hotel instead?”

“Let’s just order room service if we happened to be hungry later, I’m way too tired from the long flights,” The stretched his body so it would creaked.

“Fine, welcome back to London, my Khun Phi,” He kissed his boyfriend on the cheek before he pulled him to the taxi queue.

 

 

Since it was obviously not their first time on London, they tried to look for another options for interesting places which not includes generic touristy place, like say, Big Ben, London Eye, or Buckingham Palace. Upon their one week before the younger one’s graduation, they tried to discovered London’s newest trendy places by café hopping, trying several interesting coffee shops, and went to museum hopping as well. The nerdy side of his Khun Phi insisted that they should visited Sherlock Holmes Museum and Warner Bros. Studio Tour to see the Harry Potter Museum as well and took picture on some of the iconic places from both movies, which just made the younger one amused by his boyfriend’s childish act when they visited both places.

After having a cultural visit at Victoria & Albert Museum, they settled in for having a slow day at Soho while they just sightseeing and did a little bit shopping while enjoying some food afterwards because right after Gulf’s graduation tomorrow, they would be taking a flight back to Bangkok as soon as possible. Therefore, they wouldn’t have any time after the graduation to explore London.

 

 

“How do you feel this morning, Khun Kanawut Traipipattanapong, Master of Art, First Class of Honours,” The older one helped his boyfriend to put his preppy shirt and black dress suit for his graduation after finished styling his hair.

“Grateful that I finally could finished this study,” He chuckled while he let the older one make sure that his boyfriend would be dressed properly before he put his graduation gown. “And finally to go back to my hometown,” He let out a sighed of relieved.

“I’m proud of you, Yai Nong,” The older one smiled to the younger one fondly while he tapping both of his cheeks as they connected their forehead together for a while before smiling to each other.

Then, the graduation ceremony went as usual, it was begin with a procession of academics, wearing academic dress. This procession is accompanied by music, and a ceremonial mace was carried. Afterwards, an official reads out the names of the graduates one by one, organized by class of degree and/or by subject. When their names were being called, the graduates walk across the stage to shake hands with a senior official, often the university's Chancellor or the vice-chancellor. A speech by the chancellor towards the graduates was delivered at the start or towards the end of the ceremony.

After he took endless pictures with his friends that graduated together with him, the older boyfriend who unexpectedly suddenly carrying a big bouquet that Gulf never saw before, suddenly walking up to him after he deemed that the younger one already have enough time with his friends.

“Congratulation, my love,” The older one put him into a kiss, which gladly he took with a smile.

“When are you actually having time to buy the flowers, Phi? Where do you find a florist, anyway?” He laughed at his boyfriend amusedly.

“I always have my ways,” The older one smiling to him rather smugly, which just made the younger one smiling sheepishly and inspecting the pretty flowers. “Will they allowed us to take these flowers to the flight?”

“I don’t know?” The older one laughed as well.

“Let’s go, we have to go back as soon as possible to the hotel to picked up our baggages,” His Khun Phi dragged him to the taxi queue that already starting up to be filled with people as soon as they done taking pictures at the graduation venue. “Our flight would be within 3 hours, anyway.”

“Ah, anyway, Phi, I just notice it before, why you didn’t buy the direct flight like usual? I thought you never really like to take a transit flight?” Gulf tilted his head in confusion on his boyfriend.

“I just couldn’t hide anything from you, isn’t it?” The older one smiled at him.

“Huh?”

“Actually I want to tell you at our transit place, but I think it could work here as well...” He let out two pieces of colourful tickets from his inner pocket of his blazer.

“Shut. Up,” The younger director shrieked when he realized what the older one currently holding on his hand. He looked up at his boyfriend in this belief, “How could you get this, Phi????? Are you freaking kidding me????”

“Do you need another reminder that your faen have his ways to get things?” He smiled amusedly upon seeing the younger one’s shocked face.

“What the hell, Phi, but to get a ticket to an Opening Ceremony of World Cup at Qatar is..... Are you a magician or what????” He shrieked again, pinching his own cheeks, trying to make sure that it wasn’t a dream.

“Which explain my reason to take a one day transit flight at Qatar, right?” His boyfriend sounded so smugly again. “Ah also, before I could get you these tickets...” He let out a small box from his breast pocket, a box so familiar that he didn’t believe that would be seeing right now at his graduation. He gulped down when his boyfriend opened it for him, “Gulf Kanawut, the love of my life, I know that want to focused on your career first, and I would be waiting for you until you’re ready, whenever it would be, but please, at least give me the assurance that you would stay with me, like, forever?”

He didn’t realized that his eyes would turned into a glassy one, “You actually remember it?” He looked up to his boyfriend in disbelief. “Aunty Alex’s ring?”

His boyfriend just nodded at him in amusement, certainly proud of his own doings. 

“It’s not the one that you bought for P’Mai, right?” He retorted in suspicion.

“Yah, Ai’Nong, I’m not that low, have some decency for me,” His boyfriend was clearly feeling offended. “I didn’t even buy this kind of ring for her back then...”

“Oh my God, what was just happening,” Gulf hitting his head with the big bouquet from his P’Mew earlier in disbelief. “Is there any prank camera here?”

“Nong, just answer it already, we have flights to take...,” His boyfriend asked him tiredly.

“How would I know that this is real??” He shrieked again, as if what they were doing earlier didn’t just making people around put their attention upon them.

“Ah, while we’re on it,” His boyfriend let out another thing from his breast pocket. Gulf never know that his boyfriend borrowed a magic pocket from Doraemon or something. “Here’s the key to my new apartment — could we please just started to live together already? We already acted like an old married couple, anyway.”

“Phi, do you want to make me having an endless heart attack today or what???”

“Just answer it already, my love, or else we wouldn’t be able to catch our flight,” He put his left arm on hips and sigh. “Do you want to watch the Opening Ceremony or not?!?”

“Phi, couldn’t you be more romantic when you’re asking all of these to me???

“If I’m not being romantic, I wouldn’t be doing all of these in the first place, Nong...,” He let out a heavy sigh. "Ah, anyway I already gave the 19M dowry to Khun Mae before I'm coming here."

"What????"

“So, do you want to watch it or not??” He asked for the nth time desperately.

“Yes, okay, okay, okay,” Gulf gave up and finally answered even it still seems vague, which clearly didn’t make the older one satisfied.

“Yes to what? Okay to which questions?” He asked again annoyedly to make sure because his boyfriend weren’t being clear earlier.

“I swear to God—“ Gulf let out a heavy sigh and buried his head on the flowers before looked up again at his boyfriend. “To all of your questions, Phi!!!”

They didn’t realized that they were being watched from the entire graduation venue and attendees, which suddenly clapped and cheering for them, even if they sounded like a couple who having a massive fight earlier. They nodded awkwardly to all of the people, and suddenly the taxi driver coughed at them lightly, telling them that they have been waiting for a while and there are still a long queue behind them, asking if they still want to take the taxi or not.

They smile awkwardly to each other and laughed when they already at the car, whilst Mew been pointing out how Gulf being reddened up to his neck and ear the moment he realized that they were being the center of attention. The younger one just shook his head tiredly and leaned down to rest his head on his boyfriend’s head, which made the older one turned to caressed his hair fondly. Who would’ve thought that he would be getting his 5 year-old childhood dream in that previous chaotic situation, right?

He also never thought that he would be attending one of the events of his dreams that he never realized he also dream of before — he used to think that having to watch Premier League with Chelsea and Liverpool competing with each other was enough. But now, he would be attending the event that every soccer fan never dared to dream before. Live. Not just from television or on his laptop. He let out another heavy sighed while chuckled at the entire situation before he remember something.

“Phi, before I forget...” He looked up to P’Mew which just turned to look at him in question.

“Please don’t embarrass me later if you don’t know the soccer player names... just cheering and random ‘whoooo’ and ‘yaaaay’ are enough, Phi.”

“Yah, you ungrateful kid!” His boyfriend knocked his head lightly. “Just be grateful that I already spent my blood and tears to get it for you, Nong,” He ruffled the younger's boyfriend hair in amusement.

“Right,” He chuckled and reached out to kiss his boyfriend briefly on the lips and smile so brightly, it turned his eyes into a moon shape, “Thank you for always gifting me with all of the unimaginable things, Phi.”