Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday. But now things are back to normal as we kick off 2014. So here is Part 5 of The Saga of Steve and Joey. If anyone can't remember where we left off, all of the previous parts are linked under the Free Read page, which can be found on the right sidebar. Enjoy!
I turn the page of my newspaper as I use my fork to spear some more lettuce in my salad. It’s not very exciting reading, as Monday editions are usually quite light, but there’s always something cool about seeing your work in print.
I’m just finishing up an article about the latest tax hikes that my colleague Shelly wrote when a shadow falls over the paper. I look up to see Lucas standing over me with a huge grin on his face and a hoagie in his hand.
“Uh…hi,” I say awkwardly in the face of such a stupid expression.
“Hi,” he replies back with a sly undertone. “May I join you?”
I gesture towards the empty chair on the other side of the table and he immediately takes the hint and sits down. I should’ve been a little confused as to why he was so excited to eat lunch with me. Sure, we had dined together a few times, but it was always in a group setting, not one-on-one. So this should have surprised me. But it doesn’t. I know exactly why he’s here.
“So…” Lucas says, stretching out the word in the hopes that I take the hint.
“Yes.” I may know why he’s here, but there’s no reason for me not to mess with him for a little bit.
But he isn’t going to play my game. “Don’t play coy, Joey. How are things going with you and Steve?”
“Shouldn’t you be asking him that? He’s your best friend.”
“Yeah. But he doesn’t tell me things. Believe me, I’ve asked.”
“So if he won’t tell you, why should I?”
Lucas sighs and he pops the lid on his take-out meal and starts to pick at his sandwich. “I guess you shouldn’t. I just…look. I worry about him okay. He’s been a different person ever since he started med school. Before he was this carefree, happy guy. But ever since he started to get into the meat of his work, he’s just been tired and borderline depressed. I know he really wants to be a doctor and I’m sure one day it will be worth it, but for, right now, I’m worried about him. That’s the whole reason I set the two of you up in the first place. In the hopes that maybe he would lighten up a little. And it worked. He’s been a lot happier since the two of you went out. I’m just scared that the bottom will fall out and he’ll be even more depressed than before. He won’t tell me anything, so I’m asking you. I don’t need details. I don’t even want them. I just want to make sure that you guys are solid enough that he doesn’t slide backwards.”
I sigh. Any irritation I felt earlier fades as I hear the concern Lucas has for his friend. I suppose I would feel the same if I were in his position. It’s not easy to be left in the dark over something like this.
“Things are going pretty good,” I say after a short pause. I still don’t want to expose the intimate details of our fledging relationship, but I would like to put Lucas’s fears to rest. “I mean, we’ve only gone out a few times, but when we have it’s been really nice. I think we have good chemistry.”
“And his work schedule.”
“Well, it’s not always the easiest thing. I didn’t know it was possible to work so many hours and yet stay sane. But we try to talk a couple times in a week and get a date in every other week.”
“It’s been a little over a month since you guys first met, right?”
“Yeah. We’re taking things a little slow because of his work obligations, but I think it’s going well.”
Lucas lets out a sigh of relief. “Good. I’m sorry if I was prying. I just wanted to make sure. It started out slow, but now he seems so much happier and I don’t want that to be taken away from him.”
“Me neither,” I whisper in complete honesty.
I didn’t mean for that to slip out or for Lucas to hear it, but the small smile he gives me is all I needed to know that it’s okay.
“Awesome. Although, you know if you hurt him, I will have to kill you.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
We exchange smiles before going back to our lunches. I may have known Lucas for while, but now it feels like we’ve crossed some invisible line. Maybe now we can be more than coworkers and start being real friends. I don’t have many of those, so that would be nice. In any case, I think I may have just passed the best friend test. And that is reason to celebrate.
Well, there is Part 5. Tune in next week to see how Steve is holding up with his progressing relationship with Joey. Have a good week everyone!