City Lounge: London (Book One, Chapter Eight: The Old Block)

Chapter Eight: The Old Block:

Sophie and I made it up to that old ice cream parlor. The girl behind the counter perked up she saw us coming in.

“Welcome to the Frozen Palace! How can I help you today?” she asked. Sophie already knew what she wanted.

“The Royal Strawberry Caramel Chocolate mix, please?” she asked.

“I’ll take peppermint,” I said.

“Coming up!” the girl behind the counter said. Sophie looked at the brightly colored ice cream on display. Her tongue was out while she was panting. I patted her on the shoulder.

“Please don’t drool on the glass,” I said. She stuck her tongue out at me. Despite the gesture, I join Sophie in watching the girl make our ice cream. We both ordered our in “love it” in giant waffle cones. I just love watching them put it together.

“When was the last time we were here?” Sophie asked as the girl put chocolate chips in her mix. I counted up in my head.

“I don’t know,” I said. My eyes stayed on the girl behind the counter. I could barely keep up with her hands as she added the yummy extras to the ice cream. Grandma Peggy must have taught her well. Speaking of which…

“Hey, Grandma Peggy?” I asked.

“On vacation,” the girl said.

“How long will she be out?”


“Okay.” Aw, that’s bollocks. I was hoping to say hi to Grandma Peggy. She would’ve been shocked to see Sophie and I together again. Oh well, maybe we’ll come down here next time and surprise her. Wait, well there even be a next time?  Why am I bringing this up again? My head’s starting to hurt again. Okay, I’m going to stop before I confuse myself again.

The girl handed us our cones. I insisted on paying for both of them. (Sophie complained about me doing too much. I just felt like I had to do it. Don’t ask me why. I just did.) We ate our ice cream cones outside of the shop. While we ate, we looked out at the block. Everything looked the same from the time that we went out on our first date. The shops looked half-asleep, but I knew they were open. How many of the owners were still here? I took a lick of my ice cream. It tasted nice.

“Mmm,” Sophie said. “This place has the best ice cream in London.”

“Hey, Sophie,” I said.

“Yeah?” she asked.

“Why exactly did you call me out to spend the day with you in the old block?”

She tilted her head, thinking. “I don’t really know, to tell you the truth.” She took another lick of her ice cream. I could hear Indian music playing from the smoke shop from across the street. I actually do not mind it competing with the cars zipping by. The old man out there sat out there as usual, luring in customers like he always had. He still had that faded sign over the shop. Most of the light bulbs were broken. I still want to give that sign a fresh cold of paint.

“Where to after this?” I asked.

“No idea,” Sophie said. I rubbed my finger along the tip of my nose.

“You got a little bit of ice cream on your nose there,” I said. Sophie took her thumb and rubbed it off. She licked it off and smiled.

“Cheers, mate,” she said. I munched on some of my cone to get to the ice cream.

“You got some running on your hand,” Sophie said. I had to hold my cone in my other hand as I licked it off.

“Cheers,” I said. I waved at the old man across the street. He waved back with his logger in his hand.

“Must be a slow day for him today,” I said.

“Who?” Sophie asked.

“Mr. Irani,” I said pointing across the street. That old man waved at her when he saw her.

“So he is,” she said. I looked at Sophie’s cone and noticed that it was half-gone.

“How are you eating it that fast without a brain freeze?” I asked.

“I’m not,” she said. “It’s just really good.” Next door to the smoke shop on the right was a print shop. A young woman came out of said print shop to get the mail in the golden box. Mr. Irani winked and said something in Indian. Judging by the big, goofy grin on his face, I could guess that he was flirting. The young, fit bird rolled her eyes and walked back into the print shop. Sorry, Mr. Irani, nothing for you today.

“How long do you think he’s been married?” Sophie asked.

“No idea,” I said. “Do you think that slows him down from flirting?”

“Nope,” she said back. She sucked the remaining ice cream out of her cone before chomping on the end. I looked down at my ice cream. I still had half a cone. I happened to look up and see Sophie staring at me, smiling.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she replied. “I just like watching you eat sometimes.” I gave her a strange look.

“Why?” I asked. Sophie shrugged with her smile.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I just always have for some reason.” I wrinkled my nose and rolled my eyes.

“You’re weird,” I said.

“You said that last time on our first date, remember?”

“Did I?”

“Yeah, in fact we stood outside this shop, eating the same ice cream, and Mr. Irani flirted with the woman in the print shop that day. I said that I liked watching you eat and didn’t know why. And you said I was weird then too.”

I thought about all of that. “Yeah, I guess that did happen.” I turned to her with the ice cream-trapped cone in my head.

“Do you want to do this again?” I asked. Sophie began to frown.

“What do you mean?” she asked. “Do what again?”

“This whole trip, the lunch, the ice cream, watching Mr. Irani get rejected again.” I almost wished that I hadn’t said any of that now. Too late, it was out now. Sophie pushed some of her hair out of her eye.

“Maybe…” she said in a quiet voice. I sucked out my ice cream and finished off my cone.

“Ready to go?” I asked. Sophie nodded once and we resumed our walk. Why did I have to come out and ask her that. Stupid. So stupid.

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