Him: Day 100 - Is it okay to be friends?

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I've got to give her credit for pushing aside her emotions and talked without adding any snide comments. Her lips pressed as she paused to glance around the crowded place. It was clear how uncomfortable and overwhelmed she was by the situation. Though I hadn't wanted to be the person who was the root of her discomfort, this was the only time I could be close to her.

I'd regretted how I phased my words from our last meeting. It wasn't how I intended it to be. And I tried to be happy for what she achieved—even at the expense of our own relationship. She'd accomplished something, but it didn't change how I felt about her decision.

We approached the area the bistro was occupying. It was their first time joining the city's annual event. Cassandra, her mother, and the owner of the restaurant were lovely enough to allow this opportunity. I remembered how enthralled Emilia had been from last year's state fair— back when we were still together. When I saw her—astonished she'd been playing the water gun game for two rounds, I couldn't get myself to walk away. For three years, I was conditioned to only look at her and no one but her. I'd easily pick her silhouette in a crowd.

"Anything, in particular, you'd like to order? We're only serving five from our main menu." Emilia reeled me back to the present. It was then I realized I had been staring at her for quite some time.

I tore my gaze and turned towards the stall, noticing one of their staff, Nate, who looked stunned, glancing between us. Clearing my throat, the poor man jolted out of his daze.

"What do you recommend, Chef?" I inquired about keeping her close.

There was another brief silence, making me look back at her again. Before I gauged her expression, she turned away and started walking around the stall towards the back. She left without giving me a reply.

Not sure how to proceed, I turned to Nate and studied the fine print of the menu list placed on the counter.

"Hey, Nate, which one of these is the bestsellers of the day?" I said with nonchalance.

He stared at me for a second before responding. From the tone of his voice, there wasn't a hint of shock at what happened. "Well, we got a lot of orders from our grilled chicken and bacon sandwich."

"Then, I'll order three of those and three canned sodas as well." I pulled out my wallet.

"Got it."

After I paid, he spun around, drawing my eyes towards the makeshift kitchen at the back. He repeated my order towards the attending cook with a loud and clear voice, who I noticed was Penny, Emilia's sous chef.

Like Nate, Penny was also staring at me in disbelief. She quickly recovered when Emilia rejoined her, wearing a brown apron. Emilia nudged Penny by her elbow, telling her to grill the chicken breast.

When she was back in my line of sight, I was drawn to her again. I watched with interest while she copped and flipped ingredients without breaking a sweat. I've always found it endearing watching her cook. She was serious and passionate—it made me doubt at times why I'm so against her going to Italy.

And then, I remembered why. She decided to leave me out of it. She might not have even considered me to be part of her plans in the long run.

"Collin? This is an interesting sight." A familiar voice called beside me.

Standing a good arm's length away was nearly an identical clone of Emilia if she was twenty years older and had a lighter shade of blond hair. Cassandra looked young for her age. Knowing Emilia's had her mother's beauty, it was a sight to see she'll still be radiant once she reached her age.

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