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Paul, Jude, Vanessa, and Anastasia emerged from the car, and stepped onto the curb. In front of them was a sprawling building with a large sign that read ‘Vanguard Place Mall’. They stepped through the sliding glass doors, and into the air conditioning.
The mall was bustling with people, and the group slipped into the stream of traffic. They maneuvered around varying stands of people selling everything from ice cream to drones. Jude felt strangely comfortable here, in this crowd. He was by no means a front page celebrity, but since he didn’t wear a mask, some people occasionally recognized him. In a crowd, he had a sense of anonymity. They were eventually spat out near the food court, and sat down at a table. Jude sat across from Paul, with Vanessa and Anastasia on either side.
“So, what do you think?” Jude looked to Anastasia.
“Well, I guess we’re sitting somewhere noisy instead of at home?” Paul laughed.
Jude stifled a laugh and sighed, “I was talking to Anastasia, Paul.”
“Yeah, I’ve actually been here before.” She looked around the cafeteria. “Just once, with my mom.”
“Oh, what about your mom?” Paul asked. “You just haven’t mentioned her.”
Anastasia’s smile faded and she looked down at her lap. “Oh, um. She actually passed away.”
Paul’s face went red. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s alright.” Anastasia patted Paul on the arm. Jude stifled a laugh, as Vanessa grabbed Paul’s hand and moved over next to him. “Anyways, tell me about yourself, Jude. You said everyone had a ‘thing’, what’s yours?”
“Oh, well, I suppose besides being Dayspring…” He thought for a moment. He spent most of his time training, talking to Paul and Vanessa, or sleeping. “Well, I guess I collect comics. That’s a thing. I’m not heavy into it or anything.”
“Oh please.” He laughed and turned to Anastasia. “He has a filing system. They’re all in dust covers, and in mint condition. One time, I tried to read one, and I think if I wasn’t holding his comic, he might’ve incinerated me.”
“You folded the cover over!” Jude was laughing, but still wasn’t quite over it.
Anastasia laughed. “Okay, Paul, what’s your thing? Besides ruining Jude’s comics, that is.”
Paul thought for a moment, “Well, let’s see. I still play keyboard and bass, I write, songs and fiction, and other than that I guess I just watch movies and listen to podcasts.”
“Wow, I didn’t think you could do-” She cut herself off, and her face went crimson.
Paul turned towards her with mock indignation, “Didn’t think I could what?
“I’m sorry I didn’t meant to-” She started to stammer.
Jude couldn’t hold in his laughter anymore, and broke. “Come on, Paul. She’s new.”
Paul couldn’t contain himself either and burst out laughing. “I’m messing with you, I don’t care. I didn’t think I could still do things either for a while, but here I am. I learned and adapted.”
Anastasia buried her face in her hands and laughed. “Okay Vanessa, what about-”
Anastasia was cut off by a teenager walking by, “Dayspring!”
Jude sighed and put on a fake smile. It seemed he couldn’t just blend in with the crowd. He thought about trying to lie, but he seemed to know for sure. A lie likely couldn’t hold up to close scrutiny. “That’s me.” He got up from his seat.
The teenager walked over and stuck out his hand for a handshake. He was thin, but not scrawny. Upon further examination, he actually looked to be a little muscular. He had perfect skin, and brown hair. Dayspring shook his hand and nodded. “My name’s Nick by the way, huge fan.”
“Thanks, Nick.” Jude turned back to his friends, sat down, and hoped nobody else noticed.
Hello all! Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed. I hope you have had a wonderful week, and have a nice weekend.
I’m not thinking that it should, but there is a chance that the impending hurricane could impact my posting schedule. If the post schedule is off next week, please be patient! Stay safe!