City Lounge: Berlin (Book Two, Chapter Four: Girls at Lunch)

Chapter Four: Girls at Lunch:

Stephanie invited me out to lunch today.

“Please?” she asked.

“I won’t have a long time with you,” I pointed.

“That’s fine with me,” Stephanie insisted. “I only get to see you on the weekends anyway. Where do you want to meet up?” She’s got that weird why of persuading me. I pressed my lips together as I tried to think. Uh… Um…

“Would you like to go to the deli?” I asked. “It’s fifteen minutes from where I work.”

“That will work,” she said.

“Good, I’ll send you the directions.” I got onto Google maps and sent it off to her via text. “Did you get them?”

“Yeah,” Stephanie said.

“Good, I’ll see you there in twenty minutes.”

“Cool.”

“Bye-bye.”

“Bye.” I stared at my phone after she hung up. Like she would ever listen to me otherwise. Still, it would be nice to get out of the office for lunch for a change. Plus, we get a two-hour lunch break each day. The deli was only fifteen minutes away too. Only problem was Stephanie. She sometimes showed up late. Time has no real concept for her. My dear friend didn’t even own a watch.

“Why would I need one?” she asked. “So unless. Time is just an illusion.” Actors are so lucky. They didn’t have to worry about the little things in life. Those of us with normal jobs do.

To my surprise, I found Stephanie waiting for me at the doors of deli. I had to pinch myself in the cheek when I laid eyes on her. My dear friend gave me a strange look when she spotted me.

“What’s the matter, Em?” she asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something.” I shook my head.

“Nothing,” I said. “It’s nothing.” I walked up and pushed open the glass doors.

“How did you find this place?” Stephanie asked behind me.

“By chance,” I said. “I was wandering around, looking for something to eat other than food from the cafeteria for a change. And I spotted this deli.”

“I see,” she said. We purchased our meals and came back outside to eat on the bench in front of the building. Stephanie took a bite into her Fleischwurst sandwich.

“How is it?” I asked.

“Pretty good,” she said. “How about yours?” I looked down at my German-style barbecued pork sandwich.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I never have been a fan of ketchup.”

“Can I try yours?” she asked.

“No,” I said, wrinkling my nose. “I’ve already taken a bite out of it.” Stephanie pouted. I turned my back to her.

“Please?” she asked.

“No,” I said. I glanced behind me out of the corner of my eye. “Though, I do have a question.”

“What is it?” Stephanie asked.

“Well… What do you think of Sebastian?”

“He seems cool.”

My face dropped. “That’s it?”

“Well… yeah. What else do you want me to say?” That’s when Stephanie noticed my face. “Oh. Don’t tell me…” She covered her mouth as puckered her lips. My face turned bright red as I looked away.

“It’s not like that!” I shouted. My Australian friend raised her eyebrow as she smirked.

“Is it?” she asked. I dropped my head.

“I don’t know! I barely know anything about him!”

“What’s stopping you from getting know to him?”

I lifted my head. “Hm?”

Stephanie shrugged her shoulders. “I mean, it can’t hurt, right? It’s not you’re just going to marry the guy right away. How much do you know about him, anyway?”

“Well, he’s a freelancer photographer who’s bi and likes Jacob’s coffee and swing music,” I said.

“Good,” Stephanie said. “What else about him?”

“He does like beer like most Germans here.”

“And?”

I tried to think hard, but nothing came to mind. “I’m sorry, I don’t know.” I shook my head. Stephanie’s smile made me feel that much worse about myself. Her next question seemed to smack me around the place.

“What do you want out of him?” she asked. My jaw moved up and down, but no words came out. I leaned back with a look of contemplation. Stephanie patted me on the head.

“I have to admit,” she said. “Sebastian is quite the looker. And you’re not sure if he’s single or not?”

“I haven’t asked,” I said. “I usually don’t know what to say around that guy.” Stephanie had an amazed looked on her face with her lips puckered up as if to say, “Oh?” I gritted my teeth and looked away.

“Oh, don’t look at me like that,” I complained.

“Look at you like what?” she asked.

“Like you feel sorry for me.” I buried my face in my hands. “You’re just as bad as Julia!”

“Julia?” I heard my dear friend ask.

“Coworker,” I said.

“Ah,” Stephanie said. I dropped my hands into my lap.

“She’s always asking about you and Sebastian,” I said. “I don’t know she finds the both of you interesting.” My Australian friend raised her eyebrow.

“Is that right?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said. I took another bite into my sandwich. I wrinkled my nose as the ketchup touched my tongue.

“If you don’t like the sandwich so much, why keep eating it?” Stephanie asked.

“It’s not that bad, actually,” I said. “I do like the flavor aside from the ketchup.” I looked up to see my friend smiling at me.

“What?” I asked. She smiled as she rested her chin on her hand.

“That’s what I like about you,” she said. “You can adjust to anything so easily.” I tilted my head.

“Is that right?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “The world could be burning around us and you would still find a way to make it work out for your life.”

“I hope that never happens,” I said. My dear friend laughed before she took the last bite of her sandwich.

“You will still find a way to survive either way,” she said. For some reason, I couldn’t help but smile as I finished my sandwich. Unlike my previous lunches in the cafeteria back at work, today’s lunch actually tasted much better with Stephanie as my company. Maybe we cane do this more often during my work days.

“Hey, Steph,” I said.

“Yeah?” she asked.

“Are you busy tomorrow?”

“No, why?”

I leaned forward with a little smile on my face. “Let’s have lunch together, tomorrow.”

“Sure.”

“Same time?”

“Cheers, mate.”

“Alright.” I balled up my wrapper and threw it in the trash can next to us.

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