t w e n t y - t h r e e

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   The screech of the knife grinding against the plate brought Catalina out of her reverie, making her cringe. She hadn't noticed when she finished her pancakes. She set her knife down and stabbed a tater-tot with her fork, popping it in her mouth.

   "Everything okay, baby?" Philip tilted his head, reaching for her hand.

   Catalina refrained from retracting her hand from his. Offering him a smile, she nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine."

   "You liking the food?"

   "Of course." Catalina bit down on another tater-tot; they'd always been her favourite. "Sunny's tater-tots are to die for."

   He furrowed his brows and leaned towards her. His green eyes were tinged with concern. "Is it exams? Are you still worried for Hydro?" He frowned. "You know, baby, you've got this, I know you do. You always try your best on exams."

   She nodded as she picked at her food. "Mhmm. I know."

   Philip stroked the back of her hand gently. "Babe, you know you can always trust me; I'm here for you, willing to listen. We promised we'd always communicate, so just don't be afraid, sweetheart."

   Catalina smiled at him and slipped from his touch, picking up a glass of water and taking a sip. It didn't feel right. Things didn't feel right with him. It was as if they were picking up broken pieces and trying to mend them perfectly; they'd never get there, not without resurfacing the hurt and betrayal.

   "Cat, I know things are rough right now. I know we're just starting things up again, but we have to build each other up, yeah?" He smiled and pushed a lock of her hair behind her ear.

   She tapped her ring against the glass, liking the click-clickity sound it made. "Yeah, I know. I'm just a little tired."

   "Have you been sleeping well?"

   Catalina shook her head and dropped her gaze. "To be honest, not really." She sat back on her chair and avoided his gaze. "I've just been thinking a lot."

   "Nightmares?" He asked, leaning towards her slightly.

   She used to have a lot of nightmares when she was stressed, but it wasn't like that these days. "No, I guess it's something like insomnia. I find it hard to fall asleep."

   "Do you want me to call you at night, like how I used to?"

   "No," she shrugged, "it's okay. You need to sleep too. It's exam season."

   Philip stirred his coffee and nodded. He'd probably end up calling to check up on her. After all, it was Friday, he didn't need to wake up early for class or anything. He didn't mind calling her and lulling her to sleep.

   "The food's amazing," Cat commented, pouring herself another glass of water. "As expected of Sunny's."

   For a girlfriend, Cat seemed awfully cold these days. Philip understood, she was still getting over her break up with Jae, he only needed to be a bit patient, show her he trusted her.

   "I was thinking we watch a movie later, you up for it?" He raised an eyebrow.

   Catalina shook her head. "No, I have to finish a project before twelve or else the prof will murder me."

   "Then, do you want to chill Monday?"

   "Yeah," her eyes lifted from her plate, "want to go to the park? We could walk around for a bit and then watch a movie? Yeah?"

  "Yes, I'd really love that, it'd be a lot of fun." This was the first time since they began dating that she had actually suggested something. She'd been out of it, but he was happy she was trying. He knew how much trouble he'd caused her but it was nice that she was starting to be social with him again, even if little by little; they'd get there eventually, there was no reason to rush things.

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