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Widows, Braces, Frozen Lakes and Milkshakes

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Luka Lemmens never texted girls first. Not without a reason. They always texted him. It happened even more when he was in a relationship, which made things so much worse. That is, because he couldn’t resist them.

When Luka started dating someone new he used to tell himself that maybe this time things would be different. This time it would be too perfect for him to ruin it. He couldn’t go on jumping from one relationship to another forever, could he?

Apparently, yes. His relationships always got boring, the passion faded away and in a few months, it was all over.
Luka loved girls, that was true. He loved being around a girl in love. Not because they were in love with him, not necessarily. There was something really magical about them. Being in love made them glow. That spark in their eyes, that hunger for the one they loved. He loved that. It wasn’t pleasant when one of his relationships ended with a girl angry and crying and saying she found out he cheated. Watching their spark of love die in front of him was always the worst part. Some of them had already lost it—the spark—others didn’t care about the cheating and ending things with those was even more difficult. He had had 7 girlfriends. Luka didn’t know why he kept trying.

Something different happened when one of his hook ups—a girl with blueish green eyes and a metallic smile—confronted him. It wasn’t the first time someone told him he was a jerk for sleeping around but it was the first time he actually listened.
Maybe because Jana wasn’t one of his girlfriends, he didn’t owe her anything and there she was, still calling him out on his bullshit. He felt kind of ashamed. She seemed about to cry and was being bullied by the whole school for kissing him while having a boyfriend when nothing happened to his reputation after that kiss and his cheating. She was super upset on the night they kissed. Ironically, her boyfriend seemed to be doing something wrong behind her back and Luka felt like comforting her. The only way he knew how to do it was like that. Kissing, making out. They only had one quick kiss and he hoped she felt better afterwards. Deep down he knew she didn’t.

He remembered Marie’s face when she found out and wished he could have kept his promise even though he could never reciprocate the love she felt for him.

Luka and Jana met at the FreeFest kick off. She had found him among the crowd, dancing. Jana had told Luka someone was looking for him. It all turned out being a misunderstanding but since that night their paths never stopped crossing each other’s .

Luka Lemmens used to have a type. Blonde, popular, extroverted. Pretty much everything this girl wasn’t. Still, he couldn’t help but try to get her attention every time he saw her.
Sometimes she would give him the finger, yes. But other times... on those she’d smile at him and they’d exchange an inside joke just by looking at each other. No words necessary.

The idea of asking her out kept crossing his mind even though he was sure she wouldn’t accept the invite.

And what would be the point if she did? He would never change and once it was over in a couple of months Jana would hate him. He didn’t want that. Luka knew she kinda hated him already, but not quite.

Funny thing was that his best friend Senne was going through a similar situation.

Senne wasn’t much of a talker when it comes to feelings. Luka had known him since they were 6 years old, which made it harder for him to hide something that big. He could read him like a book. Better than one, actually. It was 1) strange and 2) easy to notice that something about his best friend had changed.

Funniest part? Those two girls that permeated their thoughts lately were best friends, too.

Luka could never keep his thoughts to himself so he always mentioned Jana.

Senne rolled his eyes every time Luka decided to post a selfie with an indirect for her.

He found it curious that Luka cared about someone to that extent. Putting that kind of effort to be noticed? So unlike Luka. In truth, none of them ever had to show much interest for a girl to like them, let alone own somebody’s respect. People usually loved to please them, to hang out with them, to be part of their lives. It didn’t matter for them if it’d only last for a single day.

Senne lived on autopilot most of the time. At school, he was pretty good at pretending he gave a shit about what was going on. Sometimes he asked himself when the hell would this people realize all of it was a farce. Senne De Smet was everything people wanted him to be for the time he was in their presence. He seemed to be doing a good job at pretending.
Senne didn’t like being himself or thinking about what it meant to be himself—a quick solution to this was to drown himself in books, booze and yes, girls.

His pride wouldn’t let him fail anything just because he had parties to throw and attend. He could do it all, so that’s what he did.
Senne was perfect if you looked from afar.
Nobody dared to look closer. Until her.

On that first day, Senne felt like being hypnotized by Zoë’s eyes and words, except instead of making him sleep, she had woken him up. How could someone 1) spit so many truths at his face while smiling and 2) how could she be so right?

He felt it hurt so bad for the first time in so many years. Feelings? They were long gone and buried. All that stayed with him were the nightmares and panic attacks and sleepless nights. He could get rid of them easily nowadays. He became numb and that had been great. Again, until now, until Zoë.

Senne wanted to get to know her too, he was fascinated by her. He decided to use his self confidence mask and pursue her, even though he was pretty sure it wouldn’t work.

Zoë was singing to her friend the first time he approached them. She tried to explain why she was singing/listening to that particular song. A surprisingly good sign. She cared about what he thought of her, somehow. Her no when he asked her out for a drink didn’t sound like it would be changing anytime soon.
Zoë wouldn’t answer his texts, but she also wouldn’t block him.

It wasn’t much about getting her to say yes at this point, he just wanted to talk, get to know her little by little during their short interactions. He always knew exactly what to say so girls would be pleased, except around her. Every single word he said sounded wrong afterwards.

So Senne would make a fool of himself if that’s what she wanted. He’d kneel down, pick up and organize the pages of her paper. He didn’t mind at all. If that would make Zoë realize he was serious about her, so be it. He wouldn’t hide the fact that he felt something for her, either. She would have to deal with that.

The way she smiled at him on that Kerry Feest two days before Christmas almost made him believe in Santa again.

She felt something too, didn’t she? Could he show her he wasn’t the asshole she thought he was? The problem was: Senne didn’t actually know what he had to show her. It’s almost as if he’d been watching himself being on autopilot for so long that now that he was again in control, he didn’t know who that was.

He used to give one of his mother’s jewelry for each girl he had sex with. He couldn’t deal with having more than one night stands and that was a nice souvenir, he thought. “You came to the De Smet’s house and you had fun!”

He also did that to take revenge on his mother. The woman that left that box full of those shiny stupid things behind while she was out there in the world being everything—except a mother to him. He dreamed about the day she would find out he was giving them away. She would see how much of it went missing and she would freak out, scream at him, beat him, do something. Anything.

 

Senne was trying to give Zoë some space after their interaction before Christmas . Maybe she would miss him? However, it was New Years. It was a good excuse to message her. So he did.

S- Hey, do you know my only wish for the new year? Seeing your smile again. Happy 2019.

Cheesy. Dumb (even though apparently surprisingly smart) boy. Zoë tried not to smile while reading it, then she realized she was alone, he would never know she did. He would never know his message was the reason of her first smile of 2019.

12:00AM and he was texting her. Why would he be thinking of her instead of celebrating the new year?

Senne was always in the back of her mind lately, like a movie that caused an impact on her. Bande de Filles and Senne De Smet had been sharing a room inside Zoë Loockx’s brain for a while now and she had no idea how to get him out of there.

It was new year’s, though. She felt like making an exception. Just for today, she would reply to his messages.

Z- May 2019 bring you more self respect, Seppe. My smile? That’s such a lame goal.

S- You took it all away from me (the self respect, I mean).

Zoë prepared one of her favorite meals, watched one of her favorite movies and now she was in bed reading a great book. She liked to celebrate the new year in her own way. That was self care.
It was a bit too late to realize she should have turned her phone off.
Now that Senne and his annoying messages were making it hard for her to concentrate on such an interesting book. She didn’t want to miss important parts of the story while thinking of stupid text messages, so she stopped trying to focus on the book and closed it.

Senne was sitting on a comfortable chair at the veranda, watching Luka play beer pong with some of their friends on his living room.

He wished he had his house to himself, but that was rarely the case. People were always there. Senne’s house had always been the house everyone could party til late with no one ever interrupting. That’s how he became popular, if he stopped to think about it. No parents to ruin the night, ever. Limitless, never ending fun.

It took him two minutes to recover from the shock of Zoë actually replying. Just knowing that she spent 30 seconds of her time typing him a message was enough to make his day. The annoying hope she’d reply again took over him.

Z- Why aren’t you partying or... I don’t know, hooking up with the next poor soul that crosses your way?

S- Because I don’t feel like doing this anymore.

Z- Partying?

S- The second part. I’m partying, though. At least, there’s a party happening at my house right now. Once you go to a bunch of them, it gets too repetitive, they’re pretty much all the same.

Z- Why do you go or throw them, then?

S- It’s what people expect.

Z- Wrong answer.

S- Is this a test?

S- I don’t want to disappoint my friends. Have you never done something to please your friends?

Z- I should be reading.

S- And why aren’t you?

Z- Your message threw me off my book.

S- That impacting, huh?

Z- Oh can’t you pretend you don’t think the universe revolves around you for just one second?

S- I don’t think that, believe me.

When she took longer to answer he sent another message, he was afraid she would stop answering with no previous warning.

S- Which book were you reading?

Z- You wouldn’t know it, primate.

S- Try me. I can be surprising.

Z- As surprising as a cliché can be.

S- Why are you always so mean?

Z- So you’ll get a grip and go away.

S- What if I stay?

S- Zoë?

S- What can I say for you to accept going to the movies with me?

Z- Hypothetically speaking, IF we went, we could never go alone.

There was light at the end of the tunnel. Was he imagining this conversation? Was he too drunk that he fell asleep and was dreaming it all?

S- How about bringing that friend of yours... Jana, and I’d bring mine? They seem to get along.

Z- Then you would stop asking me out after this? Promise?

S- Promise.

Z- I’ll talk to Jana.

He wanted to jump up and down when he read that. It made him so ridiculously excited.

S- Well, tell Jana my life is in her hands.

Z- Don’t count on her mercy.

S- Happy new year, Zoë.

Z- Yeah, Seppe. You too.

Zoë had strong reasons to believe that Jana would never accept to go with them. It was a safe bet. After all, Jana despised Luka, right?

Jana’s phone received an instagram notification at 12:58AM.
A private message. It was a video of a drunk and cheery Luka saying “happy new year, stalker!”

She laughed and rolled her eyes. Jana was already back from the little party she went. Luka on the other hand, she could hear the loud music and voices on the background of his video. Still partying, as usual.

J- Happy new year, jerk.

L- Wanna go to the movies tomorrow? Your friend is going with Senne, we could come along, what do you say?

J- Amber?

L- No? Zoë! That one that thinks we’re irrational animals.

J- Zoë is going to the movies with Senne? Did you hit your head somewhere?

L- Wanna bet?

J- What would be the prize?

L- If Zoë tells you she is going, you have to go with me, if not, we’re not going.

What the f was happening? Zoë would never agree to go on a date with Senne. Luka must have been too drunk, that was the only explanation.

 

J- Ok, the bet is on.

Jana saw she had unread messages from Zoë on WhatsApp.

Z- H

Z- Sorry! I wanted to type Happy New Year and my finger slipped. Haha

 

J- *fake laughter gif* happy new year, Zoë! <3

Z- Thanks! So... Jana, what would you say if I asked you if you’d go to the movies with me and... Senne and that other asshole... Luka?

WtFOCK?

Jana’s jaw dropped.

J- I’d say “who abducted Zoë?”

Z- So you wouldn’t want to go, right?

J- No I mean... are YOU going?

Z- Only if you come with me.

J- What’s happening?

Z- I just want him to leave me alone. I know he will if I just... spend some time showing him I’m not his type, that he’s not getting anything from me, you know?

J- The more you step on him the more ~in love~ he seems, didn’t you notice?

Z- Jana! Are you crazy? Fuckboys don’t fall in love, my dear. They don’t have a heart.

J- How do you know so much about them, may I ask?

Z- I’m a great observer.

J- Okay then, yes, I’ll go.

Z- You... what?

J- Yeah, sure. I’ll go with you. So you can get rid of him or whatever.

Luka and his dumb bet, he really thought her accepting going would mean he won?
Jana would make him pay. Figuratively and literally. Including the popcorn.

Senne had told Luka about his chat with Zoë. With that (and half a dozen beers later) he found the courage to message Jana. The video wishing her a happy new year.

When Zoë texted Senne to inform him that Jana had accepted going, Luka could see genuine happiness on his friend’s face. That was probably the happiest he had looked in 9 years, actually.

They were kind of drunk and hugging and celebrating. 2019 had only just begun and it already looked like a very promising year.

 

***

 

It was 10AM when Zoë messaged Senne asking which movie they would see.

She thought that could be her last chance of bailing on this damn date. If he chose a stupid movie she’d just say it was the wrong answer and that would be it.

S- Good morning to you, too.

Z- Ha ha

S- You think I have no taste in movies?

Z- Come on, quit stalling and tell me. Which movie do you want to see?

Senne had spent some time looking at the movies playing and thought he had found one that would please them both.

S- Widows? It seems like a nice thriller.

Zoë was a bit surprised for a second.

He was probably thinking that would impress her, that’s why he chose this one. She shook her head, disappointed on herself for almost believing he could have nice taste in movies.

Z- Ok. Widows it is.

He couldn’t help but smile at the screen, proud of his movie choice.

Senne told Luka to buy the tickets since his friend got there first, he didn’t want to risk getting there and finding out there were no tickets left. He got a bit paranoid thinking something would get in the way of this date.

The two beat boys were trying to keep it cool with that situation that was actually new to them.
They usually made out with girls at parties and that was it. Luka went on movie dates because he was in serious relationships but Senne’s dates never lasted that long.

It was the first time they were going on a double date and it was the first time none of them had any hopes of making out with their dates by the end of it.

Wild.

Senne got there 20 minutes before the session started. Five minutes later, Jana did too. They exchanged hellos.

“Let’s go get some popcorn and snacks before the movies starts?” Luka asks, speaking only to Jana.

“Where’s Zoë?” Senne questioned, looking at the time on his phone, visibly worried.

“Oh, she said she was on her way, want me to message her?” Jana answered, kind of feeling sorry for him. He was always trying so hard to get Zoë’s attention. If only he had fallen for Amber...

“Yes, please.”

He was so noticeably anxious, every person that came by was a new disappointment she saw on his face. Jana couldn’t stand that anymore . She accepted going to get popcorn with Luka, then.

 

“Surprised by your punctuality”, Jana said when they were in line to buy their popcorn buckets.

“Why? Did you think I’d be late?” He said, looking amused.

Jana had a recent memory of a movie date fiasco on her mind, that’s why she was surprised by Luka being on time. She quickly brushed the past of her mind and shrugged.

“Candy?”, he asked, picking 3 different kinds for himself, she guessed.

“No, it would likely get on my braces and it would be a mess.”

“Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.”, he said, putting the candy back.

“What do you mean you forgot about that?”

“Oh, I used to wear braces, too. Got mine off two years ago. It’s so freeing, you’ll see.”

“You did not.”, she said, smiling and thinking he was lying.

“What?”

“Wore braces.”

“Yes I did, ask Senne.”

She didn’t say anything back.

“You look nice. Braces and all.”
He said. It was a lame compliment but he really meant it.

“Th... anks.”, she couldn’t help but roll her eyes while blushing.

Jana didn’t know if he was being honest or if that was just regular fuckboy talk. How could she know? She couldn’t fall for that.

They were heading back after Luka paid for everything (even though she offered to pay for her food and Zoë’s) when he asked “So, what’s like to lose a bet?”

He smiled mischievously.

Jana looked sideways at him, an even more mischievous smile than his appearing on her face.

“Did you really think I’d fall for your story?”, she replied, raising her eyebrows.

“I know Zoë would only accept coming if I came with her, so basically you “won” the bet thanks to me. The bet is canceled now.”

“Why did you come, then?”

He asked, while looking at her in awe. Luka wondered how could she always keep on surprising him? He never knew what would be her next move.

“I did this for Zoë. She needs to solve this thing so all of us can move on.”

“How do you think this will end?”

“I just hope she doesn’t kill him.”

Luka blinks, then laughs.

“I hope so too, I’d miss him.”

While Jana and Luka were busy buying their food, Zoë finally arrived.

“The tire of my bike stuck.”

She took a deep breath before mumbling “Sorry”.

It was the first time they were really alone together with no friends around to observe them.

Senne didn’t even know what to say at that moment so he just nodded.
He was so glad she had come.

They just stood there for a couple of minutes without saying a word. Senne couldn’t take his hands out of his pockets, he couldn’t open his mouth and blurt out something that she would end up calling him out on.
Zoë looked around, not knowing what to say to keep their regular bantering going.

She remembered she had to ask about Jana.

“Is Jana here already?”

Senne smiled.

“Yeah, Jana arrived on time, she went to buy popcorn with Luka. They’re taking a long t...”

“Maybe we should go see if...”

He loved hearing her say “we”. Ridiculous, he was aware of that and he didn’t care.

“They’re probably on their way.”, he said.

“You were the one complaining it was taking long.”, Zoë shrugged.

“I wasn’t complaining.”

Zoë sighed loudly.

“How’s 2019 been to you so far?”

“I spent most of it sleeping.”

“Yeah, same.”

They were both lying. It took them a long time to get to sleep thinking about today’s date.

“There they are, finally!”

Jana gave Zoë her popcorn bucket, Coke and candy. Luka decided to throw Senne’s soda can at him, when Senne caught it, the can suddenly exploded and soda flew all over Zoe’s face.

“I’m so sorry! Let me help.”

Zoë’s mouth was wide open in shock. She couldn’t believe on what had just happened. Stupid boys.

“Shit.” Jana said.

“We’re gonna miss the beginning of the movie.” Luka told them.

“Get in and save us seats, will you?”Senne said.

Jana wanted to stay with Zoë but Senne told it was his fault so he would help her.

Zoë was so stressed she didn’t even bother disagreeing, she just shrugged to Jana.
She was trying to take deep breaths to calm down.

Luka and Jana saw the room was packed, there were four empty seats in the last row, so they sat and waited for their friends.

Luka was trying hard not to laugh but then he saw Jana was laughing so much she was shaking so he finally did too.

“God, could he be less of a disaster?”

“He’s never been so unlucky with a girl before, I swear.”

“I believe you.”

Luka shook his head, still laughing but also feeling sorry for Senne.

“It had to happen with the only girl he-“

Luka stopped himself mid sentence.

“”The only girl he..?” what?”

Jana asked, looking curious.

“Never mind. I can’t tell you, it’s his business.”

“Oh, she’s just “business” to him, then.”

“What? No. She’s everything but business to him. She’s the real deal. I’ve never seen Senne give two fucks about what someone thought of him until Zoë came along. It’s rare to see him speaking of it because he’s very private about... feelings, but when he does... I can’t explain. I just know it’s serious. I’ve known him for over 10 years, he’s my best friend.

“Okay.”

Jana sighed. It was nice to hear him talk lovingly about someone.

She can’t even begin to form an opinion on this, Amber would freak out if she knew. She’s seen Senne around Zoë, though. At first it looked like regular annoying asshole behavior but in the last few interactions they had... she noticed there was something more there. He was making an effort. And she could have sworn Zoë didn’t completely despise him, even if she tried really hard to.

Senne went to the bathroom and brought Zoë a bunch of paper towels, she looked so done with him already. Her scarf was soaked wet so she had to take it off.

Senne watched her dry her face.

“Here”, he said, and before she could prevent it, he caresses her cheek and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear.

“There was... a piece of paper towel there. Sorry.”

“Let’s get in and over with this already.”

She said, not looking directly at him.

Jana and Luka couldn’t keep the seats for Zoë and Senne, more people arrived and they didn’t care for their excuses on why their friends weren’t there yet.

When Zoë saw Jana, Jana mouthed “sorry” and all Zoë could do was sigh once again.

Senne was desperate to make her feel better.

“Come on, there are seats there.” At the left side of the last row, there were still two seats available.

Zoë’s favorite seats on a movie theater were in the 5th row, but she didn’t want to search for a better seat right now, she just wanted to sit and watch that damn movie, then go home.

 

Zoë looked around and saw two kids sitting by her side, she found that really weird.

“Isn’t this movie PG rated?”

Senne looked it up on his phone and confusion hit him, too.

“Hm, it’s actually R rated.”

The movie started and when its name appeared on the screen they understood why there were kids there.

“Seriously?” Zoë scoffed, looking incredulously at him.

He texted Luka immediately.

S- Luka, what the fuck did you do?

“He isn’t answering. Can’t believe he actually turns his phone off.”

Senne was gonna kill him.

Luka was trying to pay attention to the movie but every time he heard Jana’s laugh he had to look at her.

She noticed he was looking and it didn’t make her feel self conscious or anything. She felt good, especially when their laughs seemed synchronized.

Senne could only pay attention at how bored Zoë looked. Zoë was thinking that she didn’t even had to try making this date a bad one. Senne would finally stop wanting her company and that was great. Absolutely great.

Halfway through the movie, Luka whispered in Jana’s ear.

“I bought tickets for the wrong movie.”

“What?”

“Yeah. Senne told me to buy tickets for a movie called Widows but I thought it sounded depressing as fuck, so...”

Jana laughed and whispered back on his ear.

“I’m glad you did.”

She was smiling in his ear, he got chills all over. Both of them felt the tension rising, he turned his face a bit and her lips met his.

This kiss was much better than their first. Slow at first, and then urgent.

Nobody was crying, nobody was cheating, nobody felt guilty.

Luka held her face in his hands while she put one of hers around his neck. Fortunately, the people seating next to them were adults.

“I like kissing your braces.”, he told her and she had to laugh.

“You’re dumb.”

Luka shrugged and kissed her again.

 

Zoë was always checking to see if Jana was okay and she couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked at her direction this time.

“Are they....”

Senne looked at them and felt disbelief and also a bit of jealousy. Damn, Luka.

“Yep.”

“I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Neither can I.”

“Was that a plan?” Zoë raised her voice, sounding angry.

“What?”, Senne answered, confused.

“I don’t know, did he plan this? Did you help? Did you think THAT would happen here too?”

She pointed between the two of them.

“Wha... no. Not at all. I doubt that he “planned that”, either.”

“It’s just so fucking weird.”, Zoë said, sounding more irritated in general than only at Senne.

 

“Look, maybe they just like each other, okay?”

“Ha! Right.”

She laughed, dryly.

“What? You don’t believe it’s possible?”

“Jana deserves better.”, Zoë said, very sure of her opinion.

“You don’t know Luka, how can you say that?”

The parents sitting with their kids near them begun shushing Zoë and Senne.

 

Zoë had her arms crossed and wasn’t paying any attention to the movie anymore. She kept looking at Jana and Luka and they kept kissing!!! It’d been going on for more than 15 minutes now.

 

“Wanna get out of here?”Senne finally muttered.

“With you?”

He kept looking at her without answering.

“Only if it’s to go home. Me to mine and you to yours, obviously.”

Senne rolled his eyes.

Zoë sighed loudly.

“Fine. Let’s go.”, she said.

Senne smiled to himself when she wasn’t looking.

“Where do you wanna go?

“I told you Seppe, home.”

“Come on, let’s go to that café around the corner first. You didn’t even enjoy your Coke and... I’m thirsty thanks to the—you know—soda can exploding on your face.”

She rolled her eyes and he knew she meant yes.

They got in his car.
She took a look at it, so expensive, such a show off. He must be really insecure deep down to need this to impress girls. Typical.

He decided to bring their previous conversation back.

“As I was saying, you don’t know Luka.”

“I know plenty of guys like you two. You’re all the same. Cute package, nothing on the inside.”

“You think I’m cute?”

She didn’t answer. Shit, she shouldn’t have said that.

He continued.

“That’s prejudice, you know.
You’re judging a book by its cover. It hurts.”

“Oh, yeah! I’m the wrong one here. I bet you guys never judge a book by its cover. The girls you choose by their flawless appearance are pure coincidence, and the way you throw them away like an empty can, too. That’s very cool and not at all hurtful.”

 

“Look, girls want to have fun, we do too, so we have fun. We go our separate ways afterwards, what’s wrong with that?”

“Your friends’ girlfriend didn’t think like this, neither did Amber. How’s that fun?”

“Fine. Sometimes things get out of control, feelings get hurt, it’s not like it was premeditated.”

“Huh.”

They arrive at the café and Zoë orders a milkshake.

“Sure you don’t want a warmer drink?”

“I like cold drinks even when it’s cold.”, she sounds defiant.

He smiles.

“To match your personality?”

“That’s what you see? A cold bitch?”she asks, almost pleased.

“No.”

She was curious for him to say more but would never show it by asking him.

He continued.

“You’re like a frozen lake. This is just a layer of hard and cold ice.”

“The water under it is just as cold.”

“Yeah, but there’s life there.”

He says, looking deep into her eyes.

She wishes he wasn’t this disarming all the time.

His cell phone buzzes.

It’s Luka. They’re coming here, I texted him saying where we went.

She felt relieved. Staying alone with him was an odd experience. It couldn’t last longer than it already had.

She couldn’t look at him so she concentrated on her glass of milkshake.

“It was awful, right?”

“Huh?”

“The date.”he says, a disappointed smile on his face.

Luka and Jana arrive pretending nothing major happened at that movie theater between them. If you knew those two, you would have noticed. It was written all over their faces that they had spent the last 40 minutes frenching each other.

“So how did the movie end?”

Senne asked and Zoë looked attentively at Jana to see if she’d blush. She did.

“You don’t want spoilers, do you? Why did you get out early, by the way?” Luka asked, changing the subject.

Jana was grateful he did.

“Yeah, why did you leave?”

Jana asked Zoë.

Zoë shrugged.

“I was bored. That wasn’t the movie we were supposed to be watching.”

“Oh, about that...”

Senne gave Luka a serious look.

“Yeah, would you care to explain to us why the fuck did you buy tickets to Ralph Breaks the Internet instead of Widows? “

“I thought the other movie would be depressing. This one at least had badass princesses, right?”

Zoë rolled her eyes while Jana couldn’t help but smile.

That bastard was cute. And hot. She kinda hated him for that, but not quite.

“Ok, let’s go then?” Zoë said getting up and taking out her wallet.

Senne made a gesture with his hands that meant “don’t worry”. Then he took out his wallet and called the waiter to ask for the check.

 

“But we just got here.” Luka pointed out.

Zoë made a tired face.

“Ok, let’s go.”Zoë said, entwining her arm around Jana’s.

“See you guys.” Jana said looking at Luka and waving goodbye.

“You sure you don’t want a ride?” Luka offered.

“Yeah, we’re in the mood for walking.”

Zoë answered before Jana could.

At the last second, Zoë turned to look back at Senne.

“Seppe.”, she called.

He looked at her, Zoë could call him whatever she wanted, Senne would answer.

“Could have been worse.”, she said, almost smiling. Almost.

It took him two seconds to understand she was talking about the date.

He felt like it was a big accomplishment.

When they were in the car, Senne for once in his life felt like babbling about what had happened. He was going on and on about frozen lakes and milkshakes and paper towels in Zoë’s hair or something, from what Luka gathered.

Luka, on the other hand... For once he didn’t feel much like talking, he was still reminiscing his last two hours with Jana, the way they spent the entirety of the rolling credits holding hands. He couldn’t pay full attention on what Senne was saying even if he tried.

Luka Lemmens decided to text the same girl first in a span of 15 hours.

“When do we meet again?”

It took 33 minutes for her to answer. The butterflies in his stomach were going crazy.

J- We’ll see.

Zoë had been complaining about the date and Senne non stop for half an hour now, but Jana wasn’t buying any of it. She was pretty sure her friend was only trying to convince herself she didn’t like it. Jana’s answer to Luka only took that long because she didn’t want to give away that she was also looking forward meeting him again very, very soon.