River

With a click of the remote car key, my Mercedes flashes alive, allowing Lea's entry into the passenger seat. Rounding the hood, I grab my phone from my pocket and send a text to Georgia who I was supposed to meet with this afternoon.

Sorry, I'm a bit held up, can't come over right now. I'll call you later.

Once the message is successfully delivered, I stuff the phone back into my pocket and climb into the driver's seat.

"Have any place in mind?" I ask, adjusting my seat belt.

"Nope,"

Tapping my fingers against the fabric of the steering wheel as I think, the perfect place pops up in my memory. "I know, how about Smithie's?"

"Never heard of it, but okay," she smiles as I turn to her, mouth slightly agape.

"You've never heard of Smithie's?" I say, turning on the engine, putting the car in drive and pressing on the accelerator. Rounding the fountain, I drive down the long driverway and exit our property.

She shakes her head, "is it good?"

"Well, you can be the judge of that," I tell her, finding my way onto the main road.

At a set of traffic lights, I take the opportunity to glimpse at her side profile. Her blonde hair is tied up in a messy bun, spilling the shorter stray strands from all sides, which flow down to her collarbones. The sunlight seeping through the windshield makes her otherwise subtle freckles, that are scattered sparingly across her nose, rather obvious.

"How's exam prep going?" She turns to me, catching my gaze.

Not well, but I'm trying my best.

"It's going okay," I lie. "You?"

Moving the car again when the light turns green, I take the next left into a road with many of the finest restaurants in all of Colston. I spot Smithie's in the distance and maneuver into a parking space a few meters ahead.

"Eh, this house situation has thrown me off a bit, but at least they're just mocks, not the real deal yet."

I wish I can say something other than sorry, "I'm sorry."

She chuckles, "it's fine, you don't need to say sorry."

Getting out of the car, we make our way towards the small retro cafe, Lea's steps slightly behind mine as I lead the way. Arriving at the door, it makes a small chime when I pull it open, gesturing for Lea to walk in. She surveys the room for an available table, choosing the one closest to the window.

"I can't believe you've never been here, they make the best pies," I say, sitting myself down on the chair opposite Lea.

She smiles, but there's something in her smile that makes me think she's withholding something. "You don't like pies?" I ask, sounding stupid.

This makes her laugh, brightening up her face. "No, I like pies. I just wanted to ask a question, I hope you don't get annoyed by it, though."

"Not at all, go ahead,"

"Uh..." she looks me directly in the eyes with a delicate stare. "Your, uh, girlfriend doesn't mind that we're..." With her hand, she points at the table between us.

"That we're eating lunch together? No, she doesn't mind." I state, unsure of its truthfulness. I didn't tell Georgia I was having lunch with Lea; I don't know exactly how she would react. At least it's lunch and nothing more.

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