Thirty-One: One Messed-Up Hot Chocolate Date †

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I was meant to be meeting up with Scott outside of the little café in town where we first met up.

I was a little nervous on this Saturday, frosty morning. The weather had dropped dramatically in the past few days. But that didn't undermine the "hot chocolate dates".

I had eaten breakfast and gotten ready. I was merely shrugging my little russet bag over my shoulder of my coat when I began to amble out of the room, slipping the key card into my bag simultaneously which consequentially resulted in me barging into someone.

"Sorry," I mumbled, looking up.

I had actually walked into Lea, but Jason got the aftermath of it. He was stood staring at me, his face emotionless and unreadable. Their hands were entwined. Lea smiled timidly apologetically at me. No one said a word for a moment.

"I-" I endeavoured choking out. Nothing followed after the first syllable.

"Lea, aren't you coming?"

We all turned our heads – mine twisting to the right. Ruby was standing there, impatient and sporting minute, denim hot pants, thick tights, Vans, a baggy top that fell half way down her chest and a leather jacket which was easily too short on the arms. She glowered instantaneously at me when her eyes landed at the cause for Lea and Jason's immobility.

"Oh, God," she muttered. "Come on!"

Lea let go of Jason's hands and immediately set off to Ruby. Jason was a little sterner and kept his ground. He turned to me and smiled imperceptibly. "Hi," he spoke, "I'll talk to you a bit later I suppose then."

I nodded, my throat dry and scratchy. "Yeah. Bye."

Jason marched off and entwined his hand with Lea's again. I felt a pang in my chest and the sound of my heart plummeting to the pitch of my stomach. Nevertheless, I followed them out of the building silently and wordlessly so they wouldn't turn around at any point. Ruby was still prancing ahead like she was the queen and Jason and Lea were her royal subjects. It was outlandish and laughable, and she needed a reality check.

The three musketeers walked through a shortcut to get into town while I managed to quicken my pace so I wouldn't be late for Scott. I could see him sitting down at the table, glancing periodically at his watch. Jogging, I was panting by the time I reached him. It was never good to run in cold weather.

"Hey," I breathed, plopping down into the chair opposite. "Mine?" I gesticulated to the hot chocolate closest to me.


I took a big gulp, the beverage instantaneously smouldering my tongue. I drew back and deposited it back on the table that shook a little, unsteadily unstable. Scott watched me for a moment but moved his gawp to someone else around the corner.

"Sorry about being late," I declared once I managed to breathe suitably again, "I was stuck behind Jason, Ruby and Lea."

He nodded, comprehending my words. "It's fine, don't worry." Then, in a gruff voice, he said, "I was actually beginning to wonder if you'd come at all. I mean..." His voice dispersed in the air around us, his unspoken words lingering aimlessly.

"Of course I'd come," I murmured, feeling as though he had some inexplicably low prospects of me.

He nodded. "I know that now." Then, he broke out into a broad grin.

The day was as followed. Walking round the town, buying a few things here and there and having lunch at a sandwich shop, we watched the cars sweep past us. Sitting at the bench in the park, we observed the few little children who were running around wildly trying to stay warm in their overly-thick winter coats. Of course they'd been dressed by their mom, I perceived.

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