12) 'Put Down The Damn Money' And Other Things You Didn't Think You'd Say...

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12) 'Put Down The Damn Money' And Other Things You Didn't Think You'd Say Unless You Became A Mafia Boss


It was unclear how he managed to do it, but somehow, Thijmen taught Benjamin how to speak French. Very slowly, but he did. It might have also had to do with the fact that Benjamin secretly practiced talking in his room so he wouldn't get scolded for his awful pronunciation anymore. He would never be able to figure out how to make his r's roll, though.

They had only had two sessions and Benjamin could already successfully say in French what his name was. If that wasn't improvement, he didn't know what was.

"Bennie, you do know you eventually need to be able to say actual full sentences, right?"

Benjamin couldn't hold in a squeak. He was doomed.

"It's okay. We've got the whole year." A tiny sigh flowed out of Thijmen's lungs.

"Sorry," Ben peeped out.

Speaking about improvements, they'd gone a stage past hello. In fact, they'd had a conversation. Something about Benjamin wearing his Skyrim helmet and Thijmen asking 'what the fuck is that' and Benjamin asking if Vikings came from the Netherlands. It lasted about ten minutes. It was grand.

And then, during breakfast, they'd actually sit together. Kind of. More like trying to pick the same seat, and then Thijmen saying 'take it', and Benjamin saying 'it's okay' and taking different seats in the end. It was odd, too, because it felt like they were an inch away from saying something, but then they'd think it over or chicken out. At least in Benjamin's case. He didn't think chickening out was part of Thijmen's existence.

In short: despite appearances, the only time they actually spoke was during the French sessions. And, half of the time, Benjamin couldn't understand crap.

It seemed like their sessions were useless, since Benjamin felt like he wasn't learning anything, but Thijmen assured him he was improving, which sounded as doubtful as a cow successfully learning to ride a bicycle.

The first time they got to assess the alleged process was during their French class. The teacher asked Benjamin to read something. Sweat immediately started pouring out of every pore on his entire body. It probably came out of his nose as well. Or that may have been a cold.

He sniffed and briefly looked over at Thijmen, who nodded at him with a tiny smile.

Okay, he could do this.

In an alternate universe, maybe.

Here, in this world, very debatable.

But the teacher had been waiting for him to start long enough, so he cleared his throat and peered down at the book, even putting his finger under the line he had to read. Hesitantly, he parted his lips and started murmuring the strange words on the paper before him.

And it sounded horrible. Absolutely horrible. Like nails on a chalkboard.

Thijmen hid his face with his hands. Hid the shame. Benjamin thought it was a better idea to cover his ears, but to each his own.

While jumping (more like falling) from one word to the next with his offensive voice, Benjamin thought he could hear Thijmen mumbling vulgar things. In at least three different languages. Which was understandable. Imagine trying to learn a dog to sit for a long time, just to have said dog fall on his back the first time he does it with people watching.

After an awfully sweaty minute, Benjamin was done reading, closing the book with a sigh.

The teacher stared at Benjamin, letting out a sad, quiet 'wow' under his breath. Meanwhile, Benjamin was using all of his power to try to stop sweating.

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