„Hey, you listening, dude?“ Someone nudged Emmeret. The world around them appeared again. They sat on a little wall, outside of the SIU headquarters, where they worked as a hacker and cyberspy. That’s the words they’d use to explain it, anyway.
“Huh?” they looked around, finding Angel next to him, Paper, her strange shadow monster, sticking to the wall behind her.
“How can you be so immersed in a book about informatics?” she leaned in to glance into his book but quickly turned away with an exaggerated look of disgust.
“It’s interesting.” they explained.
“Anyway, you wanna grab a pizza on the way home?”
“But our ways home are opposite from each other.”
“Then I’m gonna walk with you. I wanna hang out with the people I work with. Now get up, it’s dinner time.”
Emmeret shut their book and got up with a sigh.
“Shut up, we’re having fun.” Angel grabbed their hand and tugged them onwards.
“I know the best pizza place in town, their pizzas taste super delicious.” Angel said.
“What’s that gonna do for me? We Shanttari have no sense of taste.”
“Oh yeah, right. Well, fuck it, I’m paying so what do you care? It’s all about hanging out anyway.”
“Can we slow down though?”
“Eh, damn it, Emmy.” Angel slowed down her pace and let go of Emmeret.
At a much more comfortable speed, they made it to the pizza place.
They sat down at a table outside, Emmeret put their book under their chair and Angel put a new one in their hands.
“Choose your meal.”
“We’re really having a moment here, don’t we?” Emmeret hoped the sarcastic undertone was audible.
“You’re so slow with everything, you would probably have looked at the scenery for an hour before picking up the menu.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, I can still do that while eating.”
“Well… tell me about yourself, Emmeret Chapel. What do you like?”
“I like learning new things.”
“What do you like doing, Angel?” Emmeret hoped Angel would be more interested in talking about herself.
“Well, having fun, actually. Fucking around town, getting drunk, you know?”
“What are you having?”
“How boring.” Angel complained and avoided eye contact.
“They are all the same to me, why choose one pointlessly more expensive?”
“I’ll look like I’m hanging out with a dweeb.”
“Now whose choice was that?”
“I was just trying to be nice and sociable.”
Emmeret finally caught Angel’s eyes. “Aggressively so. What will you have?”
“Diavolo.” Angel evaded their gaze again, looking down.
“Enjoy that then.”
She fell silent for a while. The waitress came and took their orders. Angel was the one looking at the scenery now while Emmeret studied her behavior. When she finally did look at them they got red and asked: “Dude, are you staring at me?”
“It’s funny how you’re behaving.”
“Shut uhhh-hup, nerd.” She groaned.
“I’m sorry if I make you uncomfortable.”
“Well… who is Paper?”
“My shadow? She’s a friend who just appeared one day. I don’t know what her deal is but I like having her around.”
“So you don’t know much about her either, hm?”
“I know that she is my friend, that’s all I need to know.”
“Well, I hope we’ll become friends too. Can I tell you a secret?”
“What is it?”
“I’ve hacked into the SIU database. We’re paired up for a mission. They’ll tell us tomorrow.”
“Are you serious?”
“There’s this group that’s been gathering over the past five years. Lead by some girl called Thalia. We’re not exactly sure what they’re up to but rumor has it, it’s something big. We’re supposed to investigate.”
“Well… in that case, sorry if I’ve been a bit rough with you. But if we’re gonna be on a mission, you really need to pick up the pace.”
“I’m sorry if I’ve been a bit snarky but you need to slow down in my opinion.”
For a while they just remained in a staring competition. The waitress just put their pizzas on their table and left.
“You know what, Emmy, I’ve always kind of liked you.” Angel said and stuffed a slice into her mouth.
“I think we’ll manage this just fine, friend.” Emmy bit off a piece of their pizza and tried to act like it… felt good in their mouth… or something.