“Hmm.” I say, staring ahead.”Fork in the road.”
“I go left, you go right?” Ly says looking at me.
I shrug. “Sure.”
“Yeah, and I’ll go with you, Mich!” America says.
I feel my face do that anime thing where the forehead darkens and the sweat drop falls down. “You really don’t need to do that.” I say.
“But what if you need a hero?”
“You don’t think I can be my own hero?” I say, miffed.
“No, no but, there’s a burger shop there! I could show you how to get there!” He says.
My eyes widen. “Burgers?” I ask.
Ly laughs. “Looks like he found your weakness, huh Mich?”
“Shut it.” I say. I turn back to Alfred. “Fine, but I’m only letting you tag along to find the burger place.”
“Alright!” He says.
“See you later!” Ly says, and we part ways.
We come across a Culvers soon enough.
“Come on!” He says, pulling me inside.
We go to the order station.
“So do you want a kiddy burger or something?” Alfred asks.
“I feel offended by that statement.” I say as I order. “Hi, I’d like three butter burgers with Lettuce, Ketchup, Tomatoes and Pickles, all with fries and a large chocolate milkshake.” I turn to Alfred and he’s staring at me in admiration.
“That sounds great! I’ll have what she’s having!” He says to the cashier. We get our food and sit down.
“Hey guys!” A soft voice says as I’m about to bit into my burger. I look to my left and see the other guy that helped me up when I first got here. Matthew I think?
“Hi, Matthew, right?” I ask him.
“Huh? Who are you talking to?” Alfred asks me. He looks over at Matthew. “Oh! Hey Canada, I didn’t see you there!”
‘Canada, figures.’ I think.
“Yes, hi America. I’m surprised as well. I didn’t know if you would notice me.”
“Why wouldn’t I?” I say, closing my eyes and taking a bite out of my burger. ‘Delicious as always.’ I think. I look back at them. They are staring. ‘They like to do that, huh?’ I think.
“Well, mostly people don’t notice me, or mistake me for America. Sometimes they just forget about me.” Canada says.
I shrug. “Hard to forget about it. I am still technically a Canadian citizen.” I take another bite.
“What? You’re from Canada?” Alfred asked. I nod.
“I was born in Canada and lived there until I was three. Then I moved to Wisconsin. Then Sweden, then Iceland, then when I was ten, we moved to Georgia.”
“Why all the cold places?” Canada asks.
I shrug. “My parents always said they were preparing me for becoming a snowman.” I said, checking my phone. I have a text from Zara.
Hey, tomorrow at 6:00 am meet me at the starbucks
Why? I text back to her.
BECAUSE... JUST DO IT She texts back.
“Whatever.” I mutter, putting my phone away.
“You moved around a lot, didn’t you?” America asks.
“Yeah, I still remember how to speak Swedish, too.”
“How many languages do you speak?” Canada asks.
“Four. English, German, Swedish and Spanish.” I say, finishing my burger and moving on to the second one.
“Why German and Spanish?”
“My family is mostly German. My mum is half German, and my pops moved to America from Germany when he was four. Spanish was the only foreign language they offered at my school.”
“You took a fourth language?” Canada asks dumbfounded.
I shrug. “Easy A.”
“Can you say something in all of them?” America asks, excited.
“Natürlich kann ich das , du dummer Junge, Klart jag kan, du dum pojke, Por supuesto que puedes, muchacho estúpido, Of course I can, you stupid boy. German, Swedish, Spanish, English.”
I eat my second and third burger.
“That was incredible.” Canada says.
“Thanks.” I say, slurping my milkshake. “You know, you can pull up a chair and sit.”
“Oh no, that’s okay.” He says, smiling. “I wouldn’t want to intrude anymore on your date.”
I choke on my milkshake. “D-date?!” I say, between coughs.
“Yes. Goodbye, Alfred, goodbye, um. I’m sorry I never got your name?’
“Michelle Hoffman, and this isn’t a d-”
“Right. Goodbye Michelle.” He walks away.
I angrily chew on a french fry. “This isn’t a date, you know.” I say to him.
“Hey, Canada’s the one who said it, not me.”
We finish the meal in awkward silence, which is weird, because I almost always know what to say.
‘Apparently not on dates.’ A voice in the back of my head tells me.
‘It’s not a date.’ I huff back, then I realize, I am literally fighting with myself.
“Well, this was fun, but I need to head back to the nest.” I say, standing up.
“Huh? But don’t you need to find Julie?” America asks.
“Nah, Ly texted me saying she found her.” I say, clearing my trash.
“Oh, okay. Want me to walk you back?” He offers.
I smile at him. “I think I can manage. Thanks for the lunch though.”
“Any time.” He says, smiling back.
I exit through a staircase leading to seemingly nowhere. Once I get back home, my brother, Max, asks where I’ve been.
“Oh, just chillin at Zar’s house.” I say.