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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:18 pm 
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The awkward smile Shift put on had gradually curled into a plastic one, each sentence from John stabbing away at his interest. For perhaps the first time he could remember, the more he learned an answer, the less he wanted to hear it. Thankfully, Lucas seemed to catch on, and directed the grand storyteller back toward the kitchen.

Keeping his eyes on the man, who moved through the room with hardly a sound, Shift confirmed his departure before turning around. Letting out a long sigh, and finally relaxing his mouth, he looked up to catch Lucas's apology. "Not your fault. I asked him, after all," Shift chuckled. "I was prepared to pay for it too, so thanks for saving me."

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:05 pm 
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"No problem. It's what I wish someone had done for me."
A crooked smile came upon his face, an airy laugh coming from his lips. He leaned backwards in his seat. Taking amusement in watching the staff run around frantically while John yelled at them for not working fast enough...Even if they were.

It was in no time that a large platter of food was slid in front of him and Shift, the rich aroma wafting up and begging him to take a bite. But of course he wasn't going to take a bite until Shift ate. Even if he knew that Shift wouldn't mind, he was taught better than that.
"Take a bite, don't worry about saving food he always gives seconds...And thirds...And fourths..."
With a chuckle, Lucas turned to where he knew John was watching them (Even if John thought he was being sneaky about it) and smiled, John's cheeks turning a rosy color from the unsaid praise.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:37 am 
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Soon after they both spoke, the restaurant seemed to return to life, the air filled with energetic commands before giving way to more incredible smells. It wasn't long after that a grand meal was placed before them, and Shift's faced another tough fight - one against his desire to dive in. The food was meant for two parties, so he couldn't be as selfish as usual...or so he thought. Following Lucas's gaze, he spotted the big, blushing man who prepared the feast before them, and who he had no trouble believing would prepare even more. "I'll take you up on that offer," Shift said, with the faintest hints of eagerness. Grabbing unto his utensils, he piled a plate up with some of everything, being sure to leave at least half of each dish for Lucas. As he pulled the plate close, the aroma threatening to rend all inhibition, he managed out a quick thanks for the food and took the first bite.

Choosing to start with beef patties was definitely the right choice. The feeling that coursed through his body was pure bliss. Shift knew this sensation well, and often accredited the feeling to his involuntary fasts, but none of that mattered right now. He was finally getting to break it, and this time, in a decidedly pleasant setting. After slowly savoring the bite, not only to appreciate the taste, but to give his body fair warning, he swallowed audibly and let out a short sigh. "I'm not leaving this chair for a while...," Shift droned out, leaning back with an eased expression.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:27 pm 
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The wait for Shift to take his bite was painstakingly slow, but the moment he did...Lucas was already gone. Inhaling his food like air, and not taking time to actually enjoy it. Surprised that Shift was able to savor it and eat slowly.
Moving quickly through one plate, he grabbed another and piled it up as well. Mind telling him to slow down, but heart telling him to speed up.
It was after his 3rd glass of milk that he was able to take break. Leaning his elbows on the table.
"It's so good."
Lucas rubbed his face, wiping his mouth on his sleeve.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:51 pm 
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Acting out exactly as Shift wanted to, Lucas earned an interested smile from the laid-back observer. But not to be outdone too greatly, or risk wasting the incredible meal, Shift straightened up in his seat and slowly built-up a healthy pace of indulgence - putting down food and drink, quite appropriately, as someone who needed it. After they'd both managed to clean the first round of plates, he returned to a resting position, looking toward the ceiling as thoughts wandered out, "That was as fun as it was delicious. Way different than the employers I've dined with..."

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Lucas leaned back in his seat as well, observing Shift with a careful expression; eyes narrowed slightly. Of course it wasn't his business to pry, but he couldn't help but think. How often did Shift go out with friends...And did he have any? Other than his horses living as a merchant must get pretty lonely. The people you meet are not friends by any standards. So any interaction must be pretty formal.
Which brought him to another question; how was he going to tell John he was leaving? John was the only real friend he had here. Even though he was pretty popular among the teenagers and young adults, John was the only one that he could actually talk to. How would he react?
Lucas silently hoped John wouldn't cry, something he tended to do often when upset.

His gaze had sometime moved upwards, his posture mirroring Shifts. His lips had turned downwards slightly, thumb rubbing his palm through his glove out of habit. It felt like a few minutes, but in reality it was only seconds before his brain decided he was feeling to sad and needed to shut it out.
"Yeah man it was great!"
He pushed himself to feign some level of cheerfulness, pushing himself back up to grab more food. After all, food made everything better.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:56 am 
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Soaking in the peaceful ambiance, Shift sat leisurely in place, his eyes aimlessly tracing the ceiling. There really wasn't anything that drew his attention at first glance, just a number of pleasant enough pieces to gloss over rather than linger on; but as a voice replied to his fleeting thoughts, effectively granting them an extension, he found himself facing forward at Lucas.

Whether intended or not, Shift had been pulled from his daydream, or perhaps drawn further in, leaving him with a look of growing surprise. It had been less than a day since meeting Lucas, but having survived a shared crisis, and eaten one of his most enjoyable meals with him, it somehow felt like they'd known each other longer. At the very least, their encounters shone beside the dull routine he'd maintained for some years.

As these feelings danced between palpable and fading, obscuring the true source of its product, a question began to form in Shift's mind. Yet just as it seemed ready to rise to the surface, to consume him with a fresh set of concerns, his eyes blinked back to the moment before him - one where Lucas was reaching for an empty plate. Quickly reacting to that simple sight, Shift came out with a sincere, yet somehow plain, tone. "Sorry, Lucas. I finished off the first round. Should we start a second?"

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:44 am 
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Lucas hadn't realized his hand was grabbing at air for some time, mind wandering off to think of something else before his hand even made it to the plate.
Upon Shift's question, Lucas's eyes trailed down to his hand, eyes staring at it until he wrapped he got his mind around the question. Acting quickly, Lucas started talking before his cheeks had the chance to turn red and embarrass him further. Even if it was pretty funny.
"Oh-seconds sound good, I always get seconds here. John?"

Upon hearing his name, John called out from the kitchen-
"-Coming!"
A few seconds later the man could be seen balancing a large trey filled with more food, moving swiftly around the tables to get to theirs. Where he pulled off the empty trey, and set down the full one.
Thankfully John was able to understand they wanted their privacy, and left as soon as the plate was set down.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:41 pm 
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Though it took Shift a moment to realize it, he'd seen this sort of response many times from Lucas, occasions when his response felt more reactionary than expected. At first, he'd written it off as a quirk of self-proclaimed warriors, but thinking back on it now, most of their talks flowed without such flair or speed - at least until something threw one of them off. As his casual look became one of concern, Shift silently gathered his thoughts as the next round was brought out.

In no time at all, John seamlessly set the stage for a new wave of indulgence. And once everything was in order, he was quick to return to the kitchen, perhaps sensing the strange silence in the air. It seemed that no matter how straightforward John was, he knew when to pull back, prompting Shift to reconsider his approach. His own abandon in round one made for good fun, even if he'd end up paying for it later, but with the rush of that moment behind him, he decided to continue with due caution. "It looks as amazing as the first round, but I probably got carried away keeping up with you earlier. You go ahead and start. I need to let things settle before I can enjoy it again." The answer came out easily, as the reasoning was true, but Shift was hoping to create a certain scenario - one that he thought could help ease the tension. With calm eyes and a small smile, he kept his sights on Lucas, waiting to see how things would pan out.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm 
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As much as Lucas didn't want to put a damper on their outing, but anxiety over how John would react ate away at his mind...And his appetite. He subconsciously followed John with his eyes until he was out of sight, eyes then falling to the platter; food piled high. His hearing decided to tune back in, just in time to finish hear what Shift was saying.
"Haha, suit yourself"
Of course Shift wouldn't be hungry. Most people can't finish one plate, let alone two. Lucas just had an ungodly stomach that demanded ridiculous amounts of food. It didn't really matter what type of food...Though he was lucky to be in a place that specialized in culinary art.
But even as he was heaping food onto his plate, his stomach didn't respond in the usual grumble but rather with a queasy feeling.
He should've expected that.

Lucas twisted his fork within his fingers, poking at the food as if prodding it would make his stomach feel less nauseous. His lips-for a split second-twisted downwards, eyes furrowing. Lucas was well aware that this was a trail, something that would probably never affect him in this current life, but it still worried him nonetheless. The second it was over he would move on, symbolically shutting the door to this chapter of his life while simultaneously opening a new one.
But for now, Lucas needed to stop worrying about himself. Shift was someone who was giving him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Lucas wanted to do his best to make sure he wasn't uncomfortable of worrying about him.
And so he stabbed into that sausage, waving it in the air with a smile. Putting his anxious thoughts away for another time so he could enjoy this moment.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:56 pm 
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While Lucas waved his fork high, smiling as hard as he might, Shift's laid-back look was drained from his face. The situation had become exactly what he wanted...yet, anything but. Hardly any distance away, Lucas stuffed his face, granting the perfect chance to open up without interruption, but there was no way he could do that now, and no way to feel less distant.

It wasn't uncommon that Shift also masked his feelings, or simply wore a mask to convey them, but watching Lucas linger on John, as if he'd soon lose the chance, brought those just formless worries into existence. Yet unlike how they'd have formed earlier, prompting a detached assessment of their dynamic, Shift now saw his relation to Lucas for how selfish it was. Surely, they both had things to gain from traveling together, but only Lucas had to sacrifice the life he'd known. Perhaps the only one he'd ever known. Compared to him, a ghost with no home, there was a lot of sacrifice involved in that choice, and he wasn't eager to carry that weight, that guilt, on his travels.

Only a few moments into Lucas's grand bravado, Shift's eyes became downcast, unable to watch the act before him, as he threatened to break both of their facades with a solemn question, "Can you really leave this all behind?"

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:13 am 
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Lucas stopped mid-bite, fork suspended in the air. Of course Shift would be able to see past his charade. Is this what happens when you’re not constantly around people? 
Shift’s observant eye took in details Lucas would miss, and was able to connect the dots in ways others wouldn’t understand. Was it because he wasn’t constantly around other people, and was able to pay closer attention to the people he did meet. Or was it part of his job? Being able to read another’s emotions played well in earning money.
His happy face twisted, the pleasant smile changing into a bitter one. The was no use in trying to lie, Shift had already broken the tense atmosphere.
“I…I umm…”

His throat closed up, the seemingly simple words unable to make it out of his mouth without serious effort. He had just met Shift, yet it seemed as if he already spilled his entire life story to him. Why was it so hard to talk about feelings?
“I want to go with you.”
Lucas started, setting his fork down next to his plate. That was easy to say, because Shift already knew that. Anybody could see that.
But Lucas felt bad, unloading his emotions onto Shift in such a short period of time. However, he was going to be living with this guy for who knows how long, it was bound to come out eventually.
“But I…I don’t know… How to say goodbye. To John.”
The last part came out in a whisper, and he felt much better once he had gotten it out.

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View Likes PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Eyes veiled behind dark hair, and body still as a statue, Shift gave no signs of emotion or reason, he just sat silently, displacing all other 'noise' to hear the answer. A long pause followed as Lucas processed the news, but Shift never broke position. Even when the first words had finally formed, searching for what to latch onto, he remained unmoved. It was only after affirming his desire that Shift's eyes, though still hidden, angled up toward Lucas. The tone was genuine, and clearly trying to share something, but what came next would make clear how much Lucas trusted him, and whether or not their journey would start with deception.

In the silence preceding the answer, Shift's outward figure seemed immovable, perhaps composed, yet the longer it dragged on, the harder it became to maintain it. Fortunately, the direction of the answer was clear from the first word, and Shift's shoulders slowly began to ease back from stone to skin. Until he was certain that Lucas had finished, Shift listened quietly, taking in everything those words offered, everything that they shared. Once certain that it was his turn to speak, Shift drew in a deep breath and let out a long sigh, returning the rest of his body to that of a feeling creature.

Now raising his eyes to meet Lucas, Shift spoke with a sincerity, and sense of investment, that almost surprised himself. "Lucas...thank you for being honest with me. I've never said goodbye to anyone important to me, but I've seen enough people part ways. It's rarely without tears, but...the one's who aren't honest shed the bitterest ones. As long as you're open with John, about what you're doing and why you're doing it, then there'll be nothing for you to regret." He paused for a moment before adding, "It won't be painless, but it'll be the better pain to have."

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:01 pm 
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Lucas listened intently, mind latching onto every word out of Shift’s mouth. His hands twiddled nervously together, a habit he’d picked up when he was young. A hint of shame crept onto his cheeks, a punishment for his thoughts of not telling John and just leaving like normal. How could he even think that?
A heavy silence settled over the table, but unlike their previous conversations this one wasn’t awkward. Shift always seemed to say the right thing, what he needed to hear. Albeit it he was surprised when he admitted to him that he was nervous, something that wouldn’t have told anyone. It was as frightening as it was relieving.

“Thank you.”
Breaking the silence, Lucas tipped his head towards Shift. A sincere, soft smile playing his lips. His hand ran through his hair naturally, stopping at the back to rest comfortably.
“I should probably go tell him.”
Ahh…There were the butterflies. Standing up, Lucas slid out of the booth. Turning to give Shift a thumbs up before disappearing into the kitchen.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:29 pm 
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The silence that followed his words felt natural to Shift. Not because he was accustomed to it, but the very fact that he wasn't. Inviting Lucas on his journey, indulging in a friendly feast, and sharing his thoughts freely...they were the strangest things in the world, yet, somehow, the very best. It was as if for small moments, mere seconds in time, he'd removed the mask of a merchant and become someone else. Someone who craved that liberation. But no matter how often this passed, or how well it was understood, he'd eventually return to the comfort and control of the mask. It'd simply been on too long to ever truly separate. It was a part of him, and always would be.

Even so, Shift never let these moments slip by; and better yet, they wouldn't let him. Whatever brought it on commanded his attention, and it was in this state that he watched his new friend shine. Without any hesitation, Lucas embraced the advice, already gathering courage to put it into action. So by the time he stood up, flashing his thumb and pressing forward, Shift was convinced he’d found someone special. In less than 24 hours, he’d become fascinated for a second time.

Lingering in the afterglow of emotions past, Shift watched him go with a soft smile, listening carefully to the sound of his steps crossing into the kitchen. Lucas was heading toward something frightening, a battle that probably still scared him, but there was no doubt in the merchant's mind that he'd manage to win. That's just the guy he was...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:42 pm 
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Lucas’s soft steps were quickly drowned out by the familiar sounds of pots and pans, the kitchen worker’s half waving to him as they went about their regular duties. It was relieving that they didn’t ask questions. People ‘Aww’ing’ as they hugged them while saying they’d miss him would be awkward for the both of them. Maybe his look of determination…Or what he hoped was determination, kept them at bay.
After a few minutes of bumbling along, trying to find John as he simultaneously made a fool of himself, he managed to spot him in a corner. Counting stocks with a pen dangling from his mouth.

“Ahh, Lucas! What do you need?”
John turned to face him, his trademark smile on his face.
“Hey could we…Go somewhere private?”
John was probably able to read his expression, or the atmosphere around him, enough that he instantly moved them to a private room.
“What did y-“
“I’m leaving.”
“What?”

And so Lucas went into a rambling explanation, tripping up over his words every time he made eye contact. Of course his eyes were tearing up, at least he managed to make it farther than John did. The man already sniffling and wiping his eyes. Face beet red.
When Lucas finished, John was scrubbing away a few fat tears that rolled down his cheeks. Lucas had expected him to feel a little bit sad…But not to this degree. So he certainty didn’t expect to be wrapped up in a giant hug moments later. A large man reduced to a sniffling, shaking mess.
For a few seconds Lucas froze, body shaking with every tremble from Johns, before hugging back. Tears of his own escaping his tightly closed eyes.

They stayed in that position for a while, gripping each other tightly. Each letting out a tears that desperately needed to fall. It was a private, emotional moment that Lucas would cherish deeply.
It ended far too soon. Lucas finding himself standing outside the kitchen, a light pink dusting his cheeks from having to walk past the staff. John had decided to stay inside the room, taking a moment to compose himself. Lucas couldn’t blame him.

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