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Pen Your Pride

~Carlos’s POV~

Music from the jukebox was blaring through the 50s diner when my girlfriend and I sat down in a booth for lunch. I thought this would be a typical Saturday afternoon but she had other plans. The waitress wrote down our orders and then left (Y/N) and I alone to converse until she came back moments later with our drinks, silverware, and condiments for our meal. I cringe the minute she places the ketchup onto the table. Let’s just say, I am not fond of this sweet sauce. I ate it so much as a child and now, I find it repulsive.

“What’s wrong?”  My girlfriend asks, raising her eyebrows at me.

“Nothing…” I respond, twiddling my thumbs and avoiding eye contact.

She instantly was aware of the predicament and smirked. “Come on Carlos, you’re 24. That’s too old to live in fear of something so trivial.”

“I’m sorry! It’s not my fault I have a fear of a certain condiment.” I mutter under my breath.

“You can’t even say the word? Repeat after me, KET-CHUP.”

“Please don’t make me.” I plead, hoping she would stop taunting me. Honestly, I cannot bring myself to say the word.

“KET-CHUP.” (Y/N) reaches over and grabs my lips and jaw, opening and closing my mouth while she speaks that disgusting word.

After she did that, the waitress came with our food. Two hamburger plates with fries and a pickle slice.

“Los, just dip one fry in ketchup, I will shut up and quit hounding you.” She says, sweetly batting her eyelashes.

“Ugh, fine.” I grabbed a fry and proceeded to put a little bit on and chewed it thoroughly. Needless to say, my stomach was churning in revulsion but I was forced to eat it. “Satisfied?”

“Why, was that so difficult?”

“Yes.” I mumbled, washing down the taste that lingered in my mouth with a soda.

“I think you learned an important lesson today.” She replies, staring at me.

“Which is…?”

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. It’s a proverb.” My girlfriend shrugs her shoulders.

“Great, I’ll be right back.” I excuse myself from the meal and slide out of the booth.

“Where are you going?”

“To scrub the heck out of my tongue with toothpaste and some mouthwash.”

“You’ll never change. That’s why I love you though.” I hear (Y/N) call after me which made me smile.

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