|11| - "Lunch with the locals." -

"I don't understand. What do you think we've got to do?"

"Why are you asking me? You're the Italian speaker."

Jasmine and I stood side-by-side at the train station, staring up at the departures board. Even though it was in Italian, it was still obvious which words related to which information—but neither of us could find a train to Padova.

"Let's just buy the tickets from the machine, and then hopefully we can choose Padova as the destination and it'll tell us the time and platform."

Jasmine nodded in agreement at my suggestion and we joined the queue for the self-service machines. As soon as we were at the front, I jabbed at the British flag on the screen, claiming that Jasmine needed to understand, too.

"I did plenty of research on how the trains work," I said under my breath as Jasmine typed in the destination. "I didn't think something like a departures board would trip us up."

"Chill, it's all part of the fun."

My plan worked. With the tickets purchased, I proved that I had done research by demonstrating to Jasmine how we validate them before boarding.

When we were sat on the platform, I glanced at my phone to see that Nathan had messaged me.

- Have a good time in Padova today.

Jasmine was engrossed in her own phone so I typed out a reply.

- Thanks. I'll message you at lunch.

- No it's fine. Enjoy your day. I don't want to intrude.

- You're not intruding. Lunch is our time to chat and Jasmine doesn't mind 😊

- But we don't have to do that every day haha

Without realising I'd done it until Jasmine looked up at me, I let out a long sigh. I knew it wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things but, deep down, it still bothered me.

"What's up?" Jasmine asked.

I bit back my instinctive self-deprecating response of how I was being overly sensitive. Jasmine could always see right through me.

"Recently I've been feeling like Nathan doesn't want to talk to me as much as I want to talk to him. He's said he won't message at lunch because we're out together, but then he has his Christmas pub crawl tonight so you'd have thought he'd want to catch up before then."

She dropped her phone into her bag and crossed one leg over the other, twisting to face me. It was a sign that I had her undivided attention, and I appreciated her efforts to demonstrate that.

"I'm sure he does want to talk to you."

"Yeah, maybe it's not that he doesn't want to talk to me, it's that he doesn't feel the need to as much as I do."

"And why do you feel that way?"

I shot her a sideways smirk. "What are you, my psychiatrist?"

Her lips curled upwards but her eyes remained serious. Absentmindedly, she ran a hand through her striking red hair, fluffing it up before pulling it over her right shoulder.

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