The rest of the day studying went rather peaceful. Alfred seemed to be really impressed by my drawings, even though I think they didn't really look as good as he told me, but still it made me a little happy to see someone impressed about something I made for once. This didn't happen often.
We stayed at the library until it closed and afterwards we wandered around on the street for a bit, Alfred still giving small glances to my bruised hand every now and then.
"Artie, I wanna come over to yer place!" Alfred said excitedly. Unfortunately for him, I never let someone get near my home. I didn't like it if people got ideas about what was going on in the household. It's none of their business.
"No," I replied shortly, not caring about explaining; It'd cause me even more trouble.
"Aw, but why, Artie? We're friends!" The other guy now pouted. Damn git
"Just because I don't want to. But we could eat something before going back home?"
"Yes! Okay, sounds awesome, I wanna eat at this awesome, cheap restaurant down the road!"
"Could you be more specific? There's multiple restaurants down there,"
"I dunno, I only recognize when I see it,"
Seemed Alfred was as random and oblivious as ever, but I still decided to tag along. If it was about food, the boy seemed to know everything.
The rain was still pouring, and several more dark clouds were on their way to may even cause a thunderstorm. I'd not like to have to walk around outside tonight, so I'd better eat now and then lock myself up in my room when I arrive at home. It's the best thing I can do.
Eventually, while both hiding under the umbrella Alfred brought, we arrived at the restaurant the lad told me about.
It was a lovely place. It was nicely decorated, rather antique-looking compared to most restaurants these days, but it fitted my taste quite well. Overall the colours differed from between red-pink to brown. It didn't look girly though, it just looked nice and cosy.
Alfred let me decide where to sit. I've always liked looking around at all people passing and shopping, so we ended up at the seat closest to the window. Once we settled down it didn't take long before a friendly looking woman gave us a small menu. The woman smiled at us, and her brown, wavy hair made her look even more happy. She seemed to be rather happy to have us eating at this place.
"You want to order something to drink for now?" She asked politely, still having a nice smile on her face.
"Hm, a cup of tea please," I replied, since I'm sure nothing can beat the nice taste of tea, even if it's near dinnertime.
"What flavour, sir?"
"Twinning's Lady Gray, please, if possible,"
That's one of my favourite flavours. It's like Earl Gray, but a bit less strong and a small hint of some tropical fruit. Just perfect for the late noon-early evening.
"Yes, sure that's possible, so what does your friend want to order?" She asked Alfred as she wrote down my order.
"Uhm, I wanna have a coke, please!" He beamed, again smiling. His face always lightened up when he was talking about food, it seems. A bit weird, but it suits him
"Sure! Your drinks will be here soon," And she walked off.
Both Alfred and I picked up our menu's to take a look at what to order. Alfred was right when he said this restaurant was cheap; instead of the usual over-priced restaurants I used to come across, these were very reasonable prices.
"So, what'd ya wanna eat?" Alfred suddenly asked me. I was a bit shocked since I was completely occupied by my own thoughts about the restaurant.
"I think I'll go with the
" I looked at the menu again, since I forgot what it was called, "Uhm, wait, these dishes just have country-related names? How the hell am I supposed to know what I want?" I noticed. I must say it was a quite nice idea, but I'm not really good at knowing what food is from what country, it's never really interested me
"Well, just chose the American one! There's no doubt it's the most delicious one!"
It was then that the woman with the flower in her hair arrived again, holding a tray with soda and a nice, steaming cup of water-the teabag still needed to be put in of course.
"Haha, well it's okay if you don't know what food is from which country! Let me tell you," She started while putting our drinks on the table, "The country names refer to the most popular and well-known dishes from that country, which is obvious I guess?"
Both Alfred and I nodded in return.
"Thus the American dishes include fries-,"
"Chips," I quietly corrected her, though she didn't hear and just continued talking;
"-sauce, and of course a hamburger," she summed up and Alfred's smile got even wider as he heard the word 'hamburger'.
"So, what's for the English dish?"
"Fish and chips, of course!" the woman said, and I figured it was to be expected, "And, let's see, for Italian we've got pasta or pizza, for German potatoes and wurst, for Japanese sushi, and so on
Today's specialities is Dutch traditional food, though!"
"So, what's in the Dutch dish then?" I asked, rather curious. I remembered some Dutch guy from my class, and well
he was quite tall, I've always wondered what he ate to become that tall
I think it wouldn't mind if I were a few inches longer
"It's called 'boerenkool met worst' in Dutch, which is literally translated as 'farmer's lettuce with sausage' though, well, that doesn't make any sense," the woman informed us, "It's the so called 'boerenkool', which is a type of lettuce, mixed with squashed potato, small pieces of bacon and dish-gravy mixed together, and a piece of 'rookworst' on top. 'Rookworst' is a sausage that hang in the smoke of a fire, it's got some very strong taste," She explained on, "It's mostly eaten at cold winter days," she finished off her story. I kind of lost it half way, but it seemed to be a nice and stomach-filling dish, so I ordered. And also because it was the cheapest, since it's the meal-of-the-day
A little time passed and by the time our food arrived we were both kind of hungry. The steaming plates looked even more delicious then we could've imagined and without too much formalities we just dug in.
The so called 'boerenkool' I ate was kind of a weird dish, but I figured it tasted nice enough. The most delicious was the sausage, though.
Alfred also seemed to enjoy his meal. But then again, when did he not?
We both finished our plates and were grateful for the nice food. The waitress now came to pick up our plates as she asked "You boys want a dessert?"
Both of us nodded happily. After all, who could resist the nice-looking pictures of the desserts on the menu. I chose the French dessert, which meant I got myself some 'Dame Blanche'. Alfred just went along with me and ordered the same, assuring me 'he'd always wanted to try a true French dessert,' though I thought it was rather ordinary.
We, once again, finished eating soon, stating it really was delicious. When our stomachs were filled we received the bill, which was rather payable, even for me. We paid the bill and were ready to leave the restaurant until the woman who was our waitress for today started talking us again
"Please come again soon, you boys are so nice!" she told us, "My name is Elisabeta, don't hesitate to drop by once in a while!"
"Thank you, miss," I said politely, "We'll be sure to return, the food was delicious and the service sure was nice,"
"Aw, see, I told you boys were sweethearts! See you around!"
"Sure, m'am," Alfred beamed here a smile, and we walked out of the story, again using the umbrella to stay dry. We waved until we were around the corner that was a little further down the street, and we walked on, non of us really knowing where to go.
There were cars rushing on the road, trying to be home soon, since it was already past rush-hour. We arrived at a traffic light, and when I saw the green light, I started to walk.
What I didn't see was a car that was driving on, blinded by the rain. By the time I heard it, it was already too late. So
this is how I die, after a long life of unhappiness and when I finally found a friend
I thought to myself.
But I was surprised when I felt someone grab my jacket and pull me back to the pavement, holding me close.
It all happened so slowly, but once the car had passed I started to come back to reality and could hear Alfred's voice from above my head. He sounded rather angry for his usual cheerfulness.
"Don't ever do that, Iggy! It's dangerous! Ya wanna die, or somethin'? Dude that was scary, yer lucky with havin' a hero as a friend!"
I could feel how his arms were still wrapped around me, holding me rather tight around my ribs. It didn't feel too pleasant, since he touched the exact same spot as where my father kicked my ribs last time. I still wasn't sure if it was a bad injury after all I didn't want to go to the hospital for a check-up in case they'd suspect anything- but I can say it hurt quite a lot.
I'd bandaged it, and tried not to move it too much, but with the lad's arm holding so tight onto me, I couldn't help but grasp for air by the pain it caused me.
"Seriously, dude, ya shocke-
Are ya okay?" he finally noticed my pain.
just let go
of me!" I said in between my grasping. He quickly released me and I bent forward, grabbed my ribs and tried to get myself together.
"Wow, dude, what's wrong? You okay? Did the car hit ya or anythin'?"
"No I'm fine, just some minor injury I already had," I replied, still holding my ribs, trying to ease the pain sooner as it slowly started to fade away.
"It's not some minor injury if yer havin' this much pain! I'm not stupid,"
"It's fine, just let me rest a little and I'll be fine," the usual stubbornness I had returned.
Alfred stopped talking and let me rest, knowing he couldn't do anything else since I was being stubborn, and only looked at me with worried, blue eyes.
He'd dropped his umbrella, he noticed, and quickly grabbed it off the ground again, though by the time he put it above our heads again, we were already soaked.
"I'm fine now," I told him as I barely felt any more pain in my ribs.
"Should I walk ya home?"
I gazed at the boy, not sure if he was serious
Unfortunately, he was.
"I'm not some damned damsel in distress!" I told him off. He might claim himself being a hero, but I can take care of myself just fine!
"It's okay, just askin'," Alfred murmured in return. He looked at me a bit longer, probably to make sure I really was all right, but I pretended I didn't notice. I shouldn't make him too suspicious of having injuries, whether minor or important, since if he'd notice it too often, he might start meddling in my business, and I don't want that.
It's not that I don't trust him, not at all. Actually I trust him more then I trust most people, and even I don't know why. But still, no matter how good of a friend he was, I still wanted to help my dad by my own power.
We continued walking on, now more cautious of the traffic, and soon we arrived at the place where we usually parted. We stood still for a bit, trying to stay under the umbrella as long as possible, even though we were already soaked.
We could hear thunder in the distance, which meant it will become a thunderstorm here soon as well, but we didn't worry yet.
At the moment we were just enjoying the smell and feeling it gave when it rained. For some reason this always seemed to make me happy, no matter how sad most people thought it was. I just enjoyed the smell of everything being wet by the rain and the sound of thunder that became louder and louder as the time passed. It was as if the world stood still, as if nobody but Alfred and I were here, enjoying the view, smelling the rain, feeling each other's presence.
But, even though I felt like this moment could stay forever and I still wouldn't ever be bored, Alfred started to talk.
"It's goin' to be a storm tonight, we better hurry up 'nd go home,"
I must say I agreed with him, but for some reason my gaze didn't waver as I kept staring at how the rain fell onto the ground. I didn't want this moment to end, I didn't want to leave Alfred's side, I didn't want to go back to the house where my dad was now being angry about how I came home late and didn't make him any meal. I was sure he'd beat me again.
"Artie?" Alfred asked, turning so he now faced me, "Ya like the rain, don't ya?" he asked, smiling.
"Sure I do, you don't?" I was glad I could make this moment last a little longer.
"Hm, I prefer the sun. But rain is nice
It suits ya,"
"Why would it suit me?"
"Yer grumpiness," he joked and I gave him a glare. I couldn't stay mad at him for long though as he continued, "And the nice, peaceful feelin' once it's over. It's like ya,"
"I still don't see why I'm like that," I continued, not sure if it was my stubbornness that didn't want to admit or if I really didn't understood the lad that was now staring at me with his sky-blue eyes, that reminded me of the clear sky, with no rain at all. The happy sky
"Well, at first it looks all grumpy 'nd mean, but when ya wait long enough, the sky will open up, 'nd will show ya a refreshed, nice world, filled with energy," he explained.
I gazed back in his eyes, which were hidden behind frames that made him look even more handsome then without them. It was as if this guy could see right through the wall I built around myself to protect myself from any harm. This guy, with his clear eyes, seemed to also clear up my sky, the rainy sky that then turned into the refreshed and nice one.
I could feel my heart raging in my chest and my cheeks started to become warmer. The moment seemed to take minutes, hours and maybe even days. Or so it felt.
I soon was pulled back to reality as Alfred started brushing through my hair with his free hand and continued talking to me.
"Take the umbrella, ya'll need it. See ya Monday," he smiled at me, again, and started walking off, waving back to me, "Don't forget, I'm yer hero!" he said and soon started jogging, to be home quicker.
Yes, maybe the guy really is a true hero, making me forget about the sad world, creating a happy world filled with
Or that's what I though as I continued to walk home, holding the umbrella above my head and preparing for the beating I'd get when I got home, if my dad would still be awake