City Lounge: Berlin (Book One, Chapter Three: Out on Berlin)

Chapter Three: Out on Berlin:

Stephanie stood outside and perked up when I opened the door. She clapped her hands together.

“Em!” she cheered. “It’s so good to see you again!” She kissed me on both cheeks. My old friend hadn’t changed at all. Her red puffy ponytail bounced as she talked. She had on bright gold lipstick today.So thick, that I don’t think I will be able to wash it off. The rest of her looked just as flashy. Today, Stephanie wore a leopard-print halter top, skirt black leather skirt, and equally black leather high-heeled boots. I looked down at my own modest jeans and shirt.

“Uh… should I go and change?” I asked.

“Nah, what you have on is fine,” she said.

“But…”

Stephanie grabbed me by the hands. “It’s fine.” I winced at the tight grip she had on my hands. She grinned and finally let go.

“Are you ready to go?” my old friend asked.

“I guess…” I mumbled. She smacked me on the back.

“Let’s go!”Stephanie said. She pushed me along before I could think of anything to say.

I looked up at my wild friend. “So where are we going?”

“Just around.” She looked me in the eye. “How well do you know the city?”

“Pretty good.”

“Great, I think I will need a guide around this lively city.”

“Heh?” Why didn’t she say that from the beginning? Stephanie’s always been like this. She has a long round-about way of asking for help? She would try and hide it behind fun and adventure.

“Where are we going first?” Stephanie asked. I looked at her with big eyes.

“What?!” I asked. “You’re the one who invited me out with you! You should know what we are doing today!”

“Okay, okay,” she said. “I want to go to a shop.”

“A shop?” I asked, tilting my head.

“That’s right. Is that a problem?”

I shook my head. “No. Would you like to go to Friedrichstraße?” The street name came out tangled. Two years in Germany and my German could still use a little work. Sometimes, I switch back and forth between German and English when I am talking. Stephanie patted me on the back.

“That would be great!” she said. I tried to rub my back.

“Ow,” I said softly. As predicted, she had to drag me along.

——–

Friedrichstraße looks like it was starting to wake up for the day. I have been here about once or twice. I try not to stay on this for too long. (I am not a fan of big crowds.) Stephanie put her arms in the air.

“What shall we do first?” she asked.

“Uh… that’s up to you,” I said. My friend looked at me, pouting.

“Let’s people-watch,” she said.

“Seriously?”

Stephanie smiled and sat on a random bench near the street. She patted a spot next to her. I dropped my shoulders and walked over to her. I might as well since I’m out here. My old friend smiled as I sat down next to her. She leaned back on the black-painted bench.

“What have you been up to all these years?” she asked.

I rolled my hands in my lap. “Working mostly.”

“How are you liking Berlin?

“Good. I am planning to apply for citizenship when my internship ends.”

“Any lovers yet?”

“No, I am too busy with work to look for anybody.”

Stephanie tilted her head. “What do you do for fun?”

I sat back, thinking. “I stay home, watch TV, and read.” I noticed her frowning and narrowing her eyes at me. “What?” She smiled and shook her head as she patted me on the shoulder.

“Em,” she said. “You live in the capital of Germany. Go out and live a little!”

“But I have to work.”

“I’m talking about besides that!” She took her hand off of my shoulder. “That’s it you are going to be my personal project starting today.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. Stephanie grabbed me by the shoulders again. “Come with me, mate! I am going to show the real taste of living!” I blinked as I gave her an odd look.

“Why?” was all that I could ask.

“Because we’re young! We should be enjoying life. It breaks my heart to think that you are wasting away in your apartment after work.”

“But I don’t like going out too often.”

“Don’t have to do that. Just for a little while from time to time.” Stephanie grabbed me by the hands. “Try it for today, Em. Please?” She pouted and gave me sweet little baby eyes. We’ve done this before. Yes, I remember now. It was one weekend on the spring break of your senior year. She wanted to go on a road trip with just her and me. Initially, I wasn’t interested. I just wanted to stay how and read and watch TV. Stephanie teamed up with my mom to change my mind.

“Please?” Stephanie asked. “It will so much fun. It’s not fun to be travelling alone. I already talked to your mom and she’s okay with you going with me as long as it’s legal.” Just like now, she pouted and gave me sweet little baby eyes. Right away, I could predict what was coming next. Just like back then, I lowered my head.

“Alright,” I mumbled. Stephanie pulled me into a wild hug.

“Thanks, Em!” she shouted in my ear. “Welcome aboard Project Free Woman! You won’t regret this!” I winced from all of the shouting ringing in my ears. I tried to believe that she could possibly be right. After all, she wasn’t the type of friend to give me hell intently. Today should be fine, right?

Stephanie jumped to her feet and raised her arms above her head.

“Think a shop’s opened up yet?” she asked.

“I’m not sure,” I said. My old friend looked around at the still mostly empty street. She froze and pointed further downwards. I leaned over as I took a look. I raised my eyebrow at the shop in question’s gold, cursive letters.

“The Chocolate Shop?” I asked.

“Yeah, let’s go!” Stephanie said. She grabbed me by the arm and dragged me down the street. I would have to grin and bear this morning before I could come up with an excuse to get back home.

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