Chapter 22Mature

Arriving to the scents of cooking meat some time later made him lick his lips. His stomach felt even emptier as he took them in and gurgled in response; he was almost certain he could hear Marcus’ do the same. Picking a spot near the right-most window, he set his helmet aside to mark their table while they went to order.

The idea of a steak sounded better than a burger. As did some spaghetti and garlic bread. In fact, everything on the menu looked good, causing Nathan to jump ahead of him when he couldn’t decide what to get. Settling on a steak and garlic bread on the side, he offered a ten to pay for his portion.

“So, how’s it feel to be 21?” Catherine asked as they waited for their meals to arrive.

“No different than 20.” Marcus said. “At least, not until I try a shot of whiskey.”

“Be careful if you do.” Alex said. “That stuff is powerful.”

“How would you know?” One side of Marcus’ lips curled up as he asked the question.

Alex snorted a laugh, but didn’t answer.

“Because he’s swiped a drink before.” Nathan chimed in, keeping a straight face.

“You know me better than that.” Alex said. “Anyway, after this, you all interested in going somewhere else?”

“Kind of sudden, don’t you think?” Catherine said.

“Never hurts to ask. Besides, it’s a birthday today.” After saying that phrase, he caught a small look of question in Catherine’s face. “What?”

“Eh, nothing.”

“I didn’t run into the guy again, if you were wondering. Still wish I’d known sooner though.”

“Water under the bridge.” Catherine said. “Nothing happened anyway.”

“Yeah, true.”

As the conversation ended, their orders had yet to arrive. Taking a few more chips and a drink of soda, Alex could smell what he was certain was garlic in the air. “Won’t be long now.

As it turned out, it was only a few minutes later before the side orders were brought out to them, along with Marcus’ refill of his soda. The cooked garlic was more powerful under Alex’s nose, making him want his steak even more.

Offering Catherine some of it since she was the only one who had yet to eat much, she instead chose to wait for her meal. “Thanks anyway. Looks good.” Alex nodded, and then directed his attention back to eating. Despite the nasal punch of the garlic, the bread was firm yet chewy.

Until their entrees came out to the table, the restaurant began to fill with more groups of people. A few families and what seemed like a business manager dinner group. A few individuals came as well; despite being around his age, neither of them had black and bleached hair. Much to his relief.

The End

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