twenty

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When I finally left the bathroom Michael was already home, greeting me in the hallway with a watering can. He cracked a smile upon seeing me, yet it quickly vanished when he noticed the state I was in.

"Uhm, are you okay?" he asked hesitantly. I nodded and started walking towards my bedroom.

"Yeah, I just ate something with wheat flour," I replied, opening the door to my room. "I'm gonna take a nap. Hopefully, I'll never wake up."

Sleeping was a pain in the ass since I had to run to the bathroom time after time and my stomach ache didn't really get better, but I somehow managed to survive the night. When I met Michael in the kitchen the next day I actually felt a little better, except for a throbbing headache and the stomach ache from the day before.

"Good morning," Michael greeted me. He was sitting at the table already, with a newspaper folded out in front of him. "How are you? Better?"

I nodded as I sat down at the other side of the table, grabbing one of the bananas I had just recently made him buy. Michael never ate any fruits and only seldom if ever vegetables, so I had made him change his diet right away – not that I was the healthiest person myself, but I appreciated being able to just grab a fruit as a quick snack.

"Yuh, but thank god it's Saturday. I don't know if I could manage school," I said with a shrug, peeling the banana. Michael nodded as he reached for the coffee.

"Good."

I eyed him as he went back to his newspaper, noticing for the first time that he looked different in some way. He was still wearing his usual dull and creased clothes, but his hair wasn't as messy as usual and somehow his whole facial expression seemed less sad. Less tragic. As if there was some kind of happiness he had lately found.

Doubting that it had much to do with me I leant back in my chair, turning my attention on my banana instead.

"I ran into Anna at the store yesterday," Michael suddenly said, immediately catching my attention.

"Really?" I said, sitting up a little. "And what did you do? Did you talk to her?"

He smiled a little. "She approached me, and we had a little chat. I invited her over for dinner."

For a second I just sat there, staring at him in disbelief before breaking out into a bright grin.

"Shit, for real?" I asked, still not quite believing what he had just told me. "Who are you and what have you done to Michael?"

He looked away with his face slowly reddening, but he couldn't hide the grin on his face.

"So, when's that dinner? We've got to impress her. How long does it take for you to learn how to cook?"

Michael hesitated and his grin shrank a little. "Uh, tonight," he said. "I was actually hoping you could cook something since you, you know, are more skilled than me."

I shrugged and leaned back in my chair again, my stomach still quietly rumbling.

"Only if you feel up to it, of course. I could always just make lasagna or something," Michael added quickly.

"Nah, it's fine, really. I'll think of something," I said with a smile. "You focus on everything else. When did you tell her to come?"

He smiled back at me, now not as nervous as he was just five seconds ago, and reached for his mug again. "At seven. Is that okay?"

I nodded. "Like I told you, it's fine. Stop worrying."

When Michael left for work I went back to bed, thinking about how I could manage dinner tonight. To be honest, I didn't feel up to standing in the kitchen for a ridiculous amount of time. But Michael deserved something impressive – there was no doubt he only seemed happier because of this whole thing with Anna.

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