Sundown – Chapter 3 (Part 2)

[29th of August, 2740 AD; Red Rose Grille, Admorse, Ameci]

 

The still, early night set the stage as the four arrived at the restaurant. Henry and Tori walked together while Eva trailed behind Kirk. However, there appeared to be a long line coming out of the open doorway as Henry stopped and looked to see how long it was.

“Looks like we have an unexpected development,” Henry said.

“We could always go somewhere else,” Tori replied. “It doesn’t have to be here. All we’re doing is catching up with our friends, right?”

“No, I want to make this special,” he said. “It’s the least I could do for them.”

“It’s fine,” Eva said. “I want to go somewhere else, anyway.”

“Seriously, let us do this for you,” Henry replied. “When was the last time you dined at a fine establishment like this?”

He directed his attention towards the restaurant itself. According to Tori, it had only just opened two months ago but it was already one of the premier places to go in the city. As it was named after meaning of the city’s name, the Red Rose Grille was one of the places that everyone wanted to go to. Its red walls and bright lights made it stand out in a city that was known for standing out.

“You don’t need to do all of this,” Eva answered. “We could just eat hamburgers near the park or split a pizza or something like that. Where we eat honestly doesn’t matter.”

“What about you, Kirk?” Henry asked. “Surely you think this would be a nice place for us?”

“Don’t put me up to this,” Kirk said. “Like her, I honestly don’t care. We could eat here or not.”

Tori placed her hand on Henry’s arm. “I think we should respect their wishes,” she said. “I know you’re setting off tomorrow, but it’s not really about where we eat, is it?”

“You’re right,” he said. “Sorry about that.”

“Don’t be,” Kirk replied. “Anyway, what’s this about you leaving tomorrow?”

Henry explained, in the most basic terms possible, his trip overseas. Nothing mentioned about the search for Mr. Kuu, but instead attending the meeting with the general.

“That’s quite a task,” Kirk said, “But I’m happy to see that you’re acclimating to your position.”

“It is a tall task, but I’m sure I can handle it,” Henry said. “I’m interested to see how things are now in Rezar, ever since that day.”

“Knowing Alan, he’s already taken care of it,” Eva said. “There’s little to no doubt on his ability to lead, so that would have been easy for him.”

“What about you two?” Tori asked. “Are you doing anything interesting, Kirk?”

“I’m on a break right now,” he replied, “But I do have a plan for later… Ameci needs heroes of her own and I want to be a part of that group.”

“That’s great to hear!” Tori said. “What about you, Eva?”

“It’s something I have to think about,” she said. “I haven’t been part of a group like that in a long time…”

“So what have you been doing, then?” Tori wondered.

Eva looked off into the distance. “Most of the time I’ve been training in my backyard,” she replied. “No particular reason, just want to keep my skills sharp.”

“That’s great, Eva,” Tori said. “You always look like you’re so strong and I really admire that about you!”

Eva scoffed. “It’s… not really something to admire, personally…”

“I’m not sure what you mean by that,” Tori said.

“It means that you shouldn’t place your admirations in someone like me,” Eva replied. “To be blunt, I would rather you didn’t at all. I’m just nobody.”

There was a brief break of silence as Henry watched the line coming out of the restaurant gradually shrink. Kirk leaned in towards Eva and whispered into her ear.

“Eva, love, maybe you shouldn’t be so self-deprecating,” he said. “She’s just being nice, that’s all.”

“I’m sorry,” she said to Tori.

“Please, Eva, it’s fine if you don’t want to talk about it,” Tori said.

“No, I really do apologize,” Eva reiterated. “I apologize for giving you the impression that I was someone that I’m not.”

“I…”

“Tori, you had no idea,” Eva said. “Let’s just drop it.”

Tori struggled, but responded. “O-Okay, then.”

She turned to Henry, who was already at the back of the now small line. Enough time appeared to have passed for the four to finally enter the restaurant, but waiting for a table would be a different story.

“I think we’re going to go somewhere else,” Tori said. “Come on, Henry, we’ll just go here another time.”

Henry sighed. “Looks like it’s going to be that way,” he said. “Very well, we’ll head off.”

 

*****

 

After some time spent walking through in the Gardner district, the four settled on a small diner that served everyone’s needs well. Once everyone was finished with their meals, Eva decided to head outside for some fresh air. In reality, she needed time alone after what had happened. The night sky was clear as Eva sat on one of the benches in front of the restaurant. She wouldn’t be lonely for long, though, as Henry decided to join her on the bench.

“You don’t mind, do you?” Henry asked.

Eva shook her head. “I’m not going to stop you.”

“So it would seem,” Henry said. “Did you enjoy dinner?”

“Yes,” she replied. “Normally I don’t get to go out often, so this was a nice break from the norm.”

“Glad to hear it,” he said.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Henry said. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”

“Do I mind? Well… no,” Eva answered.

“I guess it’s not so much a question as much as it is me wondering,” he said. “What happened earlier between you and Tori… Is everything okay with Kirk?”

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, I should rephrase that,” Henry said, “Are you doing okay?”

“Why are you asking me about that?” Eva asked.

“Because I care,” he replied. “Kirk is a friend of mine, as are you.”

“Even if you’re my friend, I don’t have to answer your question,” Eva said. “Don’t you have something more important to worry about?”

“I do have more important things to worry about,” he said, “But if something is wrong, I want to try and help you if I can.”

“You really want to help?” Eva asked. “Why is my well-being such a concern to you?”

“Not too long ago, I went through some dark times,” Henry replied. “I felt too cowardly to confront my problems head on. I even felt like giving up at times, but I ended up getting support from the people who care about me.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” she said, “But I can’t really say what I’m dealing with is similar to what you went through. It’s just complicated and I can’t explain it even if I tried to.”

“I know how much it can hurt,” Henry said. “Sometimes it feels like a never ending waterfall of despair and you keep getting drenched in it. Even if you don’t want my help, the least I can do is offer my sympathy.”

Eva could only look down at the ground. “Thanks,” she replied. “I want to tell you something.”

“What’s that?”

“Good luck on your trip,” she said.

“Thank you, Eva,” Henry said. “I think I’m going to need it.”

 

To be continued…

 

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