Our group starts heading towards the Mexican restaurant, with Max, Hailey and Carol leading the way and me and Sam a bit behind them walking hand in hand.
“How was your lesson by the way, sweetie?” Sam asks.
“I-it went pretty well.”
“You should’ve seen her! She was amazing, even the professor was praising her!” Hailey looks back at us.
“She definitely is incredible at improv.” Carol gives me a wink.
“Is that so?” Sam smiles. “I’m so proud of my talented girlfriend.”
Catgirl goes blushy.
“By the way,” Carol inquires. “What do you study, Max and Sam?”
“We…” Both Max and Sam start talking at the same time but Sam decides to let Max answer in her stead.
Max laughs and continues. “We both study physiotherapy.”
“Eh, not really. If you know your basics you can figure everything out from there on.”
“And you two study art like Amicia?”
“Yep!” This time it’s Hailey who replies.
“Did Sam tell you what I study?” I turn myself to Max.
“Yeah, because Sam loves to talk about you.” Max smiles back at me. “My girlfriend is so amazing, she’s so cute, and omygosh, did you know she studies art?!”
“T-that’s not how I sound at all!” Sam’s face is completely red.
“I’m just teasing you.” Max continues. “That being said, it’s really cute how she gushes so much about you.”
“I already knew she was a big softy on the inside.” I squeeze Sam’s hand.
“She sure is.”
Soon after we arrive at the Mexican restaurant, the smell coming from the front door smells outright delicious.
“Is Mexican food spicy?” I ask the group.
“Is it your first time, Ami?” Carol opens the door and walks in.
“Mhm.” I nod.
“Oooh! Generally I’d say so yes, but you can always ask to make it less spicy.”
“How come you never ate it before? It’s pretty popular in this city as far as I know.” Hailey asks.
“Ehh… My parents…” Now it’s time for Sam to squeeze my hand.
“Ah, say no more.” Carol pats me on the back. “We’ll just order some nachos first so you can have a bit more time to think about it.”
“Ok.” I follow Carol and Hailey as they pick out a table for us. The table they choose is right next to an impressionistic painting of what I assume is the Mexican countryside.
Carol must’ve seen me staring at the painting because she almost immediately engages me about it. “This is a painting by one of my favourite artists - I can send you some of their other work later when I’m on my laptop! They usually don’t make landscapes though.”
“Oh, what do they work about then?”
“Mostly about internal struggle, things like that. They are trans so I assume it’s mostly from their own experience.”
“I know right!” Carol enthusiastically hands over the menu to me as we sit down.
“Miss, could we have a big plate of nachos?” Carol is already ordering to one of the servers.
Sam looks over my shoulder at the menu. “How about these fish tacos?” She pushes the fish tacos and an image pops up.
“Oh, that looks pretty nice!”
“It does, doesn’t it.” She gently rubs my back.
“What are you going to eat, Sam?”
“Hmm, I think I’m going for chili con carne.”
“And what about the rest?”
“Chicken quesadilla.” Max quickly replies.
It takes a little bit longer for Carol and Hailey to decide though.
“And for me some chicken tacos.” Carol and Hailey respectively reply too.
When the server comes back with our order of nachos we order our other food. The plate she brought is pretty impressive in size and has 4 pots of sauce.
“What are all these sauces, Carol?”
“These two are tomato salsa, one is mild, the other is spicy.” She points to the two tomato bowls. “And these two are probably cheddar, same concept as the tomato salsa, one mild, one spicy.”
“And which one is hot and which is spicy?”
Carol smirks. “That’s for you to discover.”
Hailey knocks her friend on the head again. “These ones are spicy, these are mild.” As she points at the little bowls.
“Thanks Hailey.” I smile and take a nacho chip, dip it in the mild tomato salsa and put it in my mouth.
“And, what do you think, Ami?” Sam asks, the rest of our friends are also looking at me.
The rest of the table smiles and starts eating nachos too.
Sam takes a dip from the spicy sauce and after she bites from it turns back to me.
“You should try the spicy one too, it’s not terribly spicy. It’s around the same spice level as the wraps we made.”
“I don’t remember putting any spice on mine though…”
“Oh? Didn’t you?”
“I was debating it but I don’t think I did in the end.” I shuffle a bit closer to Sam and whisper in her ear. “I also read that cats can’t really handle spice that well.”
“Ah… I see.”
Max chimes into our conversation as well. “I do have to agree with Sam though, it is still a very mild sauce, just don’t touch the cheesy one, that one is hot AF.”
I look at the nachos, having a small internal debate.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Sam takes my hand.
I shake my head. “I do kinda want to try…”
“You would have a good excuse to drink milk if you tried.”
“Oh, right!” I quickly take a nacho chip and dip it in the other tomato sauce and start nibbling on it.
Oh, this is indeed not that bad! Wait, did I just get convinced because of milk?
Max laughs. “Haha, do you like milk that much, Amicia?”
“Uh, yeah, kind of.” I shyly rub the back of my head.
“Hey, whatever floats your boat.” She winks.
“Oh, by the way, Max.” I think it’s my time now to tease Carol a little.
“Mhmm?” Max puts a nacho with the spicy cheese dip in her mouth.
“Carol asked me if you were gay right before we met you at the gymnasium.”
Carol almost chokes on a nacho and Hailey starts laughing incredibly hard.
Max chuckles and after she finishes her nacho, she replies. “Yes, I’m incredibly gay.” And winks at Carol who immediately breaks out in a blush.
“I-I-I was just curious.” She stutters.
Max leans a bit over the table and snaps a piece of the tip of a nacho. “Well, if you’d like to go on a date with me I’d definitely not say no.”
Hailey can only barely catch her breath as Carol’s face turns even redder.
“I-I-I-I would like that.”
“Me too.” Max continues. “I don’t get the opportunity to go on a date with a cutie every day. What about grabbing a movie on Saturday?”
Carol shyly nods. “S-sounds good to me.”
“Hurray. See, that wasn’t that hard Carol.” Hailey finally stops laughing and chomps down on some more nachos.
“Didn’t expect Ami to push me under the bus like that though.”
“I pushed you with love.” I reply as the entire table starts laughing.
Only a couple of seconds after we finish the nacho plate the rest of our food arrives as well.
Luckily the fish tacos also weren’t super spicy, their flavour however was immensely good.
“So, do you think you’ll visit this restaurant more often, Ami?” Sam asks me.
“Yes! The fish tacos were so good!”
The server who is clearing away our plates smiles. “Thank you, I’ll tell the chef for your kind words.”
“I think the entire table would like to thank him.” Max comments and both Hailey, Carol and Sam nod as well.
“I will definitely do that.” The server takes away our plates and heads back over to the kitchen.
“How are we splitting the bill?” Max asks.
“I’ll pay for you and for Ami.” Sam replies.
“And I’ll pay for myself and Hailey.” Carol does so too.
Before Hailey has a chance to protest Carol jumps in again. “You paid for me last time, it’s only fair.”
“Alright then.” Hailey smiles. “But next time I’ll be paying then!”
“Yeah yeah.” Carol smiles.
Max looks over to Sam. “Are you sure you want to pay for me?”
“I asked you to come, so it’s not only my duty as a team captain but also as your friend to do so.”
“Allright, I’ll allow it this time then, miss captain.” She gives Sam a wink.
After paying the bill we all leave the restaurant and head back to campus.
“We still have quite some time, would you want to hang out a bit in the park? The weather is quite nice.” Max looks at her phone.
“Sounds good to me.” Hailey replies and the rest of us nod along.
When we are in the park Sam pulls my attention. “Ami, look at those birds! I don’t think I’ve seen them before.”
I look over and immediately spot the birds she means. “Oh, I think those are some kind of parrots.”
“Huh, maybe they escaped from someone’s home.”
“We should let the campus know, maybe they can hang up flyers or something.”
“Ami, watch out!” Carol suddenly calls out to me.
Before I can see what she was yelling about I trip over something on the ground. Luckily I do manage to not fall face first onto the ground and perform a handstand into a midair spin to land on both of my feet.
“Phew, that was close.” I let out a sigh of relief. When I turn back around I see Sam staring at me, her face completely pale.
“W-what’s wrong Sam?”
She motions at her neck.
I gulp and quickly bring my hand to mine. My choker, gone. I look around and see Carol standing there, mouth dropped, my choker in her right hand.