City Lounge: London (Book One, Chapter Five: Slow Down Here)

Chapter Five: Slow Down Here:

I paced around near the disconnected red phone box. We always liked these strange boxes for some reason. Maybe it was nostalgia or something like that. When we were kids, we would try to cram ourselves into a phone box just to see how many of us would fit in at one time. God, I miss those days. I looked at my mobile. Knowing Sophie, she’s probably going to be late. She was always late when we were to meet up somewhere. For some reason, I wasn’t annoyed. In fact, I seemed to glow at remembering this as the old days. That thought was replaced by excitement in the present.

Sophie and I were going to meet up again. Sophie and I were really going to meet up again. I had to tell myself not to get too excited. Nothing could happen. We could just talk again and catch up, nothing more. But, that didn’t stop me from (maybe) foolishly hoping that we could maybe…

“Paul!” I heard someone yell in the streets. I glanced up to see Sophie running towards me. Her dark brown ponytail bounced as she ran over towards me. Her clothes looked slightly messy. Seeing her like this brought back more memories as she caught up to me.

“Sorry, I’m late,” she said at last. I moved my arms behind my head.

“It’s fine,” I said. “I kind of half-expected it from you.” Sophie frowned as she looked at me.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I said. “It’s just… you did the same thing when we were together.”

“And is that a bad thing?”

“Not really. What are we doing today?”

“I hadn’t planned on much. We could just walk around from the city for a bit.” It felt just like our first date. I shrugged as I shoved my hands into my pocket.

“That sounds fine with me,” I said. “Shall we go?”

“Alright,” she said. Just as easy going as before. Somehow, I’m okay with this. It’s a welcome change from this one relationship that I was in. That bird only liked expensive things. I didn’t make that much money to begin with. She didn’t care. It was all about bragging rights between her friends. I couldn’t take it anymore. I basically told her, “Fuck it, I quit.” Turns out, she already had her eye on someone else the whole time. Good luck mate, she’s your problem now.

Today, however, was much more relaxed. Sophie and I didn’t have to talk while we walked. I just enjoyed being around her. Sophie never demanded much from me to begin with. I guess it’s because she didn’t hold me to high expectations.

I happened to look beside me to see her smiling.

“What?” I asked.

She smiled and shrugged. “Nothing. When was the last time we were like this?”

I did a quick count in my head. “I think it was about three or four years ago.”

“That long ago?”

“Yeah.”

“It felt like it was much longer for some reason.”

“I know what you mean.” We used to just walk around most of downtown London. Today felt pretty warm. Part of me happened that it wouldn’t rain just like it did on our first date. Sophie looked up at the sky with her arms behind her head. I wondered what t was on her mind right now. However, I opted against asking, worried that I might ruin the mood.

“Do you think that Thai place is still around?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“That place had good food.”

“Let me guess, you want to have lunch there if it’s still there.”

“Can we?”

I smiled and rolled my eyes. “Sure, you’re lucky I brought a little money on me.”

“Ooo, we should see if some of the old shops are around.”

I gave her a puzzled look. “Old shops?”

“You know, the glass shop, the art shop, that candy shop, the fabric shop, that one shop with all of the fancy costumes and clothes…”

“Whoa! You want to go to all of the old places?”

“Well, not today.”

I gave her such a confused look. “What do you mean not today?”

“Well, I don’t know.”

“Do you want to walk around London like this more often?”

“I guess.” This sounded just like the promise that we made on our first date. She and I agreed to walk around London every day. Sophie looked me in the eyes.

“Do you want to take more walks around London with me?” she asked. My eyes grew wide. Did I want to do that? Are we going too fast here? We haven’t done anything physical… yet. Wait, where did that “yet” come from? We haven’t even gotten back together yet. There it was again. I slipped another yet in my line of thought with this lady. Does she even want to get back together with me?

“Hey, Sophie,” I said.

“Yeah?” she asked. I fidgeted with my fingers in my pockets.

“Why did you call me out here to walk with you today?” I asked. She looked at me with a blank expression on her face.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I just felt like it.” It didn’t make sense, but that wasn’t what I was focused on.

“Do you want to get back together with me?” I asked. I expected her to wrinkle her nose, get offended, and shout “no” at me. To honest, that would’ve been easier for me to deal with. Instead, she looked even more confused than when I asked her why we were walking together in the first place.

“Huh?” she asked. Should I even repeat the question or drop it before things get even more awkward?

“Do you want to get back together with me?” I asked again.

“I… I don’t know,” she said. “Do you?” Anything I could’ve said to her then just died in the air. I looked down at my feet.

“Can we just drop it?” I asked.

“Paul?” she asked.

“Drop it, okay,” I said.

“Alright…” Sophie mumbled. We didn’t speak for most of that walk. The question of us getting back together still remained, however. That wouldn’t be the last time it would pop up either.

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