Somewhere Else

©2019-2020 Kassie N (dear-llama). All Rights Reserved.


Chapter 25: The Best Part


I've arranged to meet Aksel by the southern entrance of Sibelius Park in Töölö– not because we're planning to eat at the monument, but because Aksel has suggested a café nearby.

We can walk there together from the tram stop, he had typed in his message. It's a little far in, near the water.

I haven't been there, so I acquiesced.

I spot him out the window even before I alight from the tram. He's lounging by the side of the road, glancing alternately up and then back down at his phone.

He spots me as I step off and straightens, sliding his phone into his back pocket as he strides towards me.

"Hi," I say, when he's within earshot.

"Hi," he says back.

I stuff my hands into the pockets of my coat. Now that he's right in front of me, I find myself having trouble looking directly at him. We'd held hands just last week – and parted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. But how do I greet him now?

I wonder if Aksel can feel the hesitation radiating off me in waves. At any rate, he seems to have picked up on my mood, standing aside and watching me out of somber eyes.

I laugh: a fluttering, embarrassed sound, and move towards him for a greeting hug. I don't know why I'm second-guessing myself now – I would greet an acquaintance the same way. And no matter what, he's more than an acquaintance, isn't he?

"Is everything okay?" Aksel asks, after I have given him two quick bisous, barely touching my cheek against his before pulling away. There is the ghost of a frown creasing his brow.

"Of course," I say, a little too quickly. I swallow and look down at my shoes. "So… should we go?" I tug a hand out of my pocket to gesture down the road. According to the maps app I've looked up beforehand, the café is on the other side of the park.

Aksel pauses, and I can feel his gaze on me, but I don't look up. Eventually, he says, "Sure."

We start walking. I'm still watching my feet, moving swiftly against the pavement below. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Aksel's leather work shoes moving in a path parallel to mine.

One, two – one, two. I feel my breaths slowing to match the steady drum of his footsteps.

"So," I say, because the silence has stretched on too long. What's happened to the nice, easy camaraderie of last weekend, when we had lain in the grass and talked about everything and nothing?

I can't help but notice that his hand is mere inches away from mine.

"So," echoes Aksel.

I clear my throat, shaking my head to clear my wayward thoughts. Then, before I can think myself out of it, I launch into the topic that I've been turning over in my mind since the phone call with Mamma yesterday. "I heard you know something about Singaporean culture."

His step falters. "What?"

"I spoke with Mamma yesterday," I say, looking up now. "I wanted to ask her for some movie recommendations. Singaporean movie recommendations," I correct myself. "And she told me that you'd probably know some. Because you've asked her about them."

Aksel swipes a palm over his face, turning away so that I can't see his expression. Is he embarrassed?

His reaction soothes the prickly anxiety that has settled over me upon seeing him. Suddenly, I feel myself breathing easier. "I wish you'd told me," I say.

He mumbles something I don't catch.

"Huh?"

He's turned back; I can see his face again. He repeats his question, and I hear it come out in a low mumble.

"Would it have made a difference?" From his unsmiling expression, it's clear what he thinks the answer will be.

I take a moment to think it over. He's already turned away again by the time I reply.

"I think so," I say.

Aksel's head swings back towards me. "You think so? Really?"

Faced with his stare, I find myself backtracking. "I don't know," I say, turning my head. "Maybe."

Maybe it would've helped if I'd known he had been interested in the part of me I've always tried to deny. Or maybe I would've felt resentful of it.

More likely, it's only now that I've opened my mind to learning more about the Singaporean side of me that I can appreciate his efforts in having done the same.

"I think," I say, when the weight of his gaze doesn't let up, "that maybe all of this–" I wave my hands in a wide arc, to encompass the here and now, the situation… Us. "It all had to happen for me to learn to appreciate it. So, no. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference back then."

I pause. Then, so softly I could be speaking to myself, "But that doesn't mean it can't make a difference now."

He's quiet for a moment. "So," he says finally, "what you're saying is – after everything that's happened, you can appreciate it now?"

I duck my head to avoid his gaze. "Yeah. I do."

There is a silence as he digests my admission. I wonder if he's coming to his own conclusion about what I mean. I'm not even sure what I mean.

I hear him push out a loud puff of air, seconds before he reaches for me. I open my hand in acquiescence, and feel his fingers slide into place in between mine. In that moment, the air fills my lungs and my shoulders smooth out. I curl my fingers around his.

Strangely enough, I am no longer jittery.

"So," I say, my voice coming out surprisingly nonchalant, "do you have a favourite? Out of the Singaporean films you've watched, I mean."

"Not a favourite, per se," he says after a moment's consideration. "But there are some I liked. They were a little difficult to understand sometimes, though. Their English was… different."

"Oh," I say, my voice lifting into an exclamation, because I immediately get what he's talking about. "I know what you mean. They have their own variation of English that they speak colloquially – I've heard Mamma using it when she calls her friends back there, and I don't understand it at all."

Aksel chuckles. "Yeah. I didn't understand it at all either." Om accord, we both turn to look at each other at the same time. A smile dances on Aksel's lips, and I laugh.

"I still want to watch some of those films, though," I say. "I could show one at film night with Priscilla and the rest."

"You're not choosing a German film?"

"Of course I am," I say. "I'll probably show them something like Isi und Ossi – just to show them that not all German films are dark and depressing. But I'm also half-Singaporean, aren't I? I have two cultures. I should get two films."

The tenderness in Aksel's eyes is something I haven't seen in a long time. "Yeah," he says softly, "you should."

I quell my first instinct – to pull away, to escape the insinuation of a look like that – and smile back. "All right," I say. "I know who to come to if they veto my idea, then."

"Sure," he says, laughter brimming in that one word. "I'll be your…" He scrunches up his forehead, thinking.

"Character witness?" I prompt.

"Hm," he says. "I'm not sure it's a character witness you need. Maybe more like a defence lawyer."

"Are you saying I'm a criminal, then?" I try to sound indignant, but an answering laughter is already creeping up my throat.

"Hey," Aksel says, holding up his hands as if they are figurative white flags, "Defence lawyers don't only defend criminals. Innocent people sometimes need defending, too."

"And I'm one of those innocent people?"

Aksel casts a glance over me, considering. Then he says, decisively, "Nope. Whatever it is, you must've done it."

I'm starting to get that warm, achy feeling that comes right before you succumb to a laughing fit. I compromise by stretching my lips in a grin, so wide my mouth might burst open any second now.

Aksel smiles back. His eyes dance with a light that reminds me of a blue flame – they say it burns the hottest. I'm starting to understand that saying.

"You know," he says now, trailing his finger over my palm. "You were behaving so oddly earlier, I got worried. I thought something was wrong."

I widen my eyes, half as a response to his statement, half as an involuntary reaction to his astuteness.

"Almost like–" He pauses, dropping his gaze before looking back through lowered, almost shy eyes. "Like you'd changed your mind."

"About what?" I ask, even though I already know.

He just raises his eyebrows at me.

I look away, feeling a flush envelop my cheeks.

In response, I feel his grip tighten on mine. I squeeze back, even if I'm not sure what I've just wordlessly committed to.

We come to a stop by the water. From this distance, I can see the large hanging sign on the distinctive red building that is the lakeside café Regatta.

"This looks so typically Nordic," I laugh. The red facade, painted with white lines at the sides, is the hallmark of many a traditional Nordic building.

"Yeah," says Aksel. "They've retained the old style. That's part of its appeal now."

"It's pretty cool," I agree. "Gives it a really rustic feel."

"There's a Finnish saying," Aksel says, "Punainen tupa ja perunamaa. It means–"

"Hold on," I interrupt, holding up my free hand. "Don't tell me. Let me try."

Obligingly, he repeats the phrase, more slowly this time. "Punainen tupa ja perunamaa."

"Punainen is red," I say. "And perunamaa… Is that like potato country?" Peruna – potato; maa – country.

"Perunamaa means 'potato field'," Aksel says. He smiles. "But you're right – separately, they mean 'potato' and 'land'."

"Isn't tupa something like a house?" I'm frowning, trying to place the word. "But wait, that's talo…"

"Tupa is a cottage," Aksel says.

"Red cottage and potato field," I translate, then laugh. "Okay, that's so stereotypical."

There's an answering smile lifting the corners of Aksel's mouth. "It's an old stereotype – but the phrase is about how Finns only need a red cottage and a potato field to be happy."

"The simple pleasures in life," I say.

"Exactly."

We both turn back to look at the café now. After this little Finnish lesson, I'm looking at it through new eyes.

"It would look good with a small potato patch," I say.

"Definitely. And we would know exactly how fresh the potatoes are."

I laugh. "Well," I say, tugging at our linked hands, forcing him to start moving again. "Fresh potatoes or not, I'm hungry. Let's go in."


"That was depressing."

This from Zuzi, who is sprawled across the cushions of the seat, her legs dangling off the sofa arm.

Normally, we would all be piping up with our own opinions, but a sweeping glance around the room shows that even Ludo has sat up a little straighter and fixed his full attention on Frederik.

Priscilla catches my eye as I look at her. She raises her eyebrows a little, then looks to Frederik.

"Yeah," says Frederik, after the silence has dragged on long enough. "It is. But it makes you think, doesn't it? We don't know how long we have with the people we care about."

There is an edge to his tone as he says this last part.

"Mm-hm." Zuzi is not looking at him.

"Well," Priscilla says, when it looks as if the interaction between Frederik and Zuzi is at an end, "I can understand why they decided on that – but I can't imagine how they just feel. Imagine knowing that it's your final dinner together as a family…" She shudders visibly.

"At least they had the chance to have one last dinner together," says Ludo.

"That's one way of looking at it," Zuzi mutters.

Frederik turns to me, his eyebrows raised. I'm the only one who hasn't commented yet.

I shrug. "I get it," I say. "Why she wanted to do that. I can't say I wouldn't do the same either, if it came down to it. It's really sad for the family, though."

"Would you?" Priscilla asks, shuddering again. "I could never."

"It's better than suffering and then suffocating to death eventually," Ludo says.

"Yeah, but…" Priscilla looks torn. "I don't know. I just couldn't."

"Hopefully it's not something we'll have to think about personally," Frederik says. "Though it does make you think about life and mortality, doesn't it?"

We all nod solemnly.

I can't help but notice that Zuzi has spent much of the conversation staring at the ceiling, not engaging with us. I glance at Priscilla and see that she's also noticed.

"Zuzi," she says brightly. Zuzi turns her head to look at her as she continues, "Your film is next."

"Yeah," Zuzi says. "Sure. I'll think of something."

"I've never seen any Slovakian films," I say. "It would be interesting to see what they're like."

Zuzi just shrugs. "We have some good ones, I suppose."

Frederik is looking down at the floor.

Priscilla and I look at each other.

"Okay," Ludo says, "this has been going on for weeks. What's wrong with the two of you?"

I can almost see Zuzi's hackles rise. "Nothing," she snaps, a little too quickly for it to ring true. "Why don't you mind your own business?"

I have to physically bite my lip to prevent my thoughts from spilling out. She hadn't practised what she's now preaching when it came to me and Aksel.

Something must have shown in my expression, though, because Priscilla gives me a sympathetic grimace. Or maybe she's just reacting to Zuzi's hostile tone. I can't be sure.

"We had an argument, that's all." Frederik speaks up unexpectedly. He's finally raised his head to look at Zuzi. His elbows are propped up on his legs, and I can see his fingers clasping and unclasping between his knees. "And Zuzi won't let it go."

Zuzi shoots up at that. "Excuse me?"

"When will you stop being a child and talk about what you're feeling?" Frederik snaps, matching dangerous tone for dangerous tone. "This sulking is getting old."

"Well, fuck you!" Zuzi says hotly, looking in all the world like she's ready to pick up a table and toss it at Frederik. "You don't speak to me like that."

"Then stop ignoring me."

They glare at each other for a long moment.

Ludo has sunk back down into his seat, watching them with an expression of muted amusement on his face. For the umpteenth time that day, Priscilla and I exchange glances. But none of us say anything.

"I'm not ignoring you," Zuzi says finally – a little sulkily, I think to myself. "I just have nothing to say to you."

"Oh?" Frederik looks disbelieving. "You seem to have a lot to say when it comes to throwing insults at me."

"Maybe I wouldn't have to if you weren't such an idiot," Zuzi snaps.

Frederik spreads his hands, as if saying: point made. "I should have said this a long time ago, but we need to talk."

Zuzi is mutinously silent.

"Maybe in private," Frederik says, casting a sweeping glance at the rest of us. I don't know about the others, but I drag my gaze down to look down at my hands.

Ooh. I've never noticed this particular line running over the knuckle atop my pinky before.

"I don't want to go anywhere with you." Zuzi sounds disgruntled.

Disgruntled – and unconvincing.

"Yeah?" Frederik says drolly. "Are you going to wait till the next time you get drunk to–"

"Shut up!"

Frederik waits. Watching them in this moment, staring each other down like that, I feel a pang. They are both so prideful, so unwilling to proffer an olive branch – and yet, neither can stay away from the other.

I can sympathise.

"Fine." Zuzi huffs eventually. Without waiting to see the look of satisfaction spread across Frederik's face, she turns and flounces off in a flurry of movement. Frederik follows her out the room.

We sit in silence, listening to the slap of their footsteps against the wooden floor.

A few moments later, a door slams.

"Well," says Priscilla, her tone deliberately bright. "That was…"

"Weird," I say.

"Entertaining," Ludo says.

"Both," Priscilla says.

We look around at each other. Then Priscilla lets out a snort, and within seconds, we are all bent over laughing.

"Shit," I say, in between breaths, "we probably shouldn't be laughing at them."

"The way they fight, though," Priscilla wheezes. "It's so… cute. Like two little cubs growling at each other."

"I think Zuzi would object to that," I say. "You'd better not let her hear you."

Priscilla snorts again. "I love how it's Zuzi we're afraid of."

"Maybe we should worry about Frederik in there," Ludo says. "We don't know what Zuzi will do to him."

That sets us all off again.

"It's been going on for the longest time, hasn't it?" I ask. "I was starting to get really worried about them."

Priscilla flaps a dismissive hand. "Oh, come on. I told you they'll figure it out."

Ludo shrugs. "It felt weird that they weren't arguing all the time."

I sit up. "That's it, exactly! They're always at loggerheads, it felt so unnatural that they weren't sniping at each other in some way or another."

"They flirt like kids," says Ludo in disgust.

"Spoken like a truly old man," Priscilla giggles.

I eye Ludo. He is older than the rest of us, after all. I find myself wondering what he thinks about all our problems. Whether they seem unbelievably childish to him.

"Do you think they make a good couple?" I ask him.

He shrugs again. "Probably not," he says, after a pause. "But I've seen a lot of people who aren't particularly good for each other to begin with, end up working out quite well, so… who knows."

Priscilla is now wide-eyed. "This must be the longest sentence I've ever heard you say," she says to him.

Ludo rolls his eyes. I start laughing again.

"Are you laughing at me?"

At the sound of Frederik's voice, I start coughing, trying to sober up mid-laugh.

"No," Ludo deadpans. "We are laughing at the both of you."

"Excuse me?" Zuzi, who has come into the room behind him, plants her hands on her hips. But there's no dangerous glint in her eye, nor is her tone particularly wholehearted.

"Everything okay?" Priscilla asks.

Frederik and Zuzi look at each other. Even though they don't say anything, the mere act alone tells me that everything between them – if it isn't already – is going to end up just fine.

"Whatever," Zuzi mutters, heading towards us and flinging her body back onto the sofa.

Priscilla catches my eye and winks. I smile back in acknowledgement. She'd been right about them after all.

"Right," says Frederik, disappearing into another room. When he returns with a six-pack in his hands, I realise it was the kitchen. He's given us a short tour of his apartment when we arrived, but since it's my first time here, I find myself struggling to remember what is where. "Who needs another drink?"

Ludo sits up obligingly, hand outstretched. He's already finished two in the time we were watching the movie, and the empty bottles stand upright by his feet. Frederik tosses him a bottle before leaning over to hand Zuzi one. Then he looks at me. "Emi?"

I shrug and hold out my hand.

"Emi!" Priscilla whines, sounding betrayed.

I shoot her an apologetic grin. "Sorry," I say, as I take the cold bottle from Frederik, "I'm in the mood for one now."

Priscilla pouts.

Frederik waves a bottle at her, but she resolutely shakes her head. Shrugging, he drops the remaining bottle onto the table before falling casually onto the seat beside Zuzi.

She scrambles up at once, moving to put space between them. I see Frederik look at her – and the flush that tinges her face.

Frederik holds out his bottle in a peace offering.

Zuzi scowls, but lifts her own to clink the bottle necks together.

"I told you so," I hear Priscilla's satisfied voice in my ear. Some time in the last few minutes, while my attention was fixed on the minuscule acts of flirtation between Frederik and Zuzi, Priscilla has migrated from her spot to perch behind me. I don't need to turn around to know she's grinning widely at the sight of Frederik and Zuzi's truce.

"You were right," I murmur back, taking a quick swig of the beer – and make a face. I've forgotten how much I dislike the bitter undertones of the drink.

Priscilla leans in so her mischievous expression is all I can see. "It's not the only thing I'm right about," she whispers. "You'll see."


Things have started changing.

I say as much to Aksel when we meet again on Saturday. We've just had dinner near the city centre and, overwhelmed by the crowd of people out for a fun Saturday night out, escaped to Tokoiranta on the opposite shore for a breather.

The park is calming; the water of the bay doubly so. We find a bench by the waterside and I have my feet curled up under me. Aksel is sitting beside me, so close the sides of our thighs are almost touching.

Almost, but not quite.

My heart is thumping hard, and I can't decide if I want him to move any closer.

"I suppose change is the only constant in life," I say, gazing out at the twinkling lights dancing across the surface of the water. "Nothing stays the same. Even the good things have to come to an end sometime."

Aksel takes so long to reply that I turn to check that he's heard me. But he's looking out at the water, expression hidden in the half-light. "Maybe they don't."

I laugh, shaking my head, letting the strands of hair fly out and hit me in the face. "No," I say, "everything does, eventually. But maybe it isn't all so bad either – because endings pave the way for new beginnings. If nothing ever ends, nothing can begin either."

He lets the silence settle a little before breaking it. "That sounds very philosophical." I only detect the tremor in his voice because I'm listening so closely.

I shrug. "Just thinking about changes and endings."

"Any particular reason?"

"My Finnish course," I say, before I remember that hehad been the one to pay for it. It would make more sense to call it his Finnish course. "It's ending soon."

"Oh."

Is it me, or is there a wealth of relief in his voice?

"Next Friday is our last class," I say.

Aksel chances a quick glance at me. "Are you happy about that?"

I think about it. "I guess it ending means I've finally completed this level – so that's a good thing. But I've gotten used to it, so it will feel strange not to have to go for class anymore."

I'm going to miss being in class with the group. And Elina, who has helped me so much.

Maybe I should get her a little card to show my thanks.

Aksel is silent for a bit.

When he speaks again, he sounds hesitant, as if testing the words out in his mind before letting them out. "Will you stay in Finland even after the course is over?"

I've been expecting that question, but expectation differs greatly from preparation. I don't have an answer ready.

"I don't know," I say. And it's true – I don't know how long I'll be here. I haven't planned that far ahead. "For as long as there's something to keep me here, I guess."

But as soon as the words are out, I want to swallow my tongue whole. Because, if that were true, I'd end up staying forever.

He looks away. "And is there," he says slowly, "anything keeping you here?"

I freeze. I'm not ready for this.

The moment drags out and deflates. I don't know what to say. When I look directly at Aksel, I see that his lips are pressed into what someone else would think is a smile, but I recognise it for what it is – disappointment.

"I think," I say carefully, "that depends on a number of factors. Not just one. You know?"

If it's one thing I've learnt, it's that I need to have my own life as well. I need to have my own goals, my own purpose.

"I get that." Aksel's response is barely the breath of a whisper.

"I think I've found some of that here," I say. I'm thinking of Juhani – of the new trial lessons I've set up in the next week. And of Priscilla and the others, of our film nights. Somewhere along the way, I've managed to find a life here.

There's just one thing missing.

I glance over at Aksel again. He's not looking at me, choosing instead to look down at his hands. His thumb is tapping erratically against the side of his index finger.

A part of me has been waiting for him all this time, I realise. And I will end up waiting forever, if I don't find out now.

I clear my throat to dislodge the ball of anxiety that has suddenly clogged up my windpipe.

"Why?" I ask half-jokingly. I feel the waver of my smile. "Do you still think I should leave?"

He whirls to face me. "I never wanted you to leave," he says, eyes boring into me in a way that feels like he's trying to drive a point home. "I thought it would make you happier if you went home. That it would be better for us both."

"Hm." I let out a flat hum of acknowledgement. He's said it enough times for me to understand it from his point of view. And I get it – I do. But that doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt. "And now?"

His answer is quiet but firm. "I want you to stay. But only if you're happy to be here."

Our eyes meet.

I try to shrug nonchalantly. "I'll see how that goes."

Aksel looks away, a strained smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

On impulse, I reach out and lightly touch his hand. His gaze turns back up to fix on mine. We stay that way for a while, staring at each other, both frozen by indecision.

Finally, I look away. What are we now? The question is floating at the forefront of my mind, but I don't voice it.

"I've missed you," Aksel says lowly.

I swallow. My mouth has gone dry. The urge to say something flippant, to make a joke, nags at me. But instead I say, "Yeah. Me too."

He continues looking at me, as if searching for something I'm not saying. My heart turns over. His eyes are so blue. I'm transfixed by them, by that steady warm gaze. By the emotion hidden behind his eyes. By everything he's already said and everything he's not saying.

I lean forward.

The kiss starts off slow, warm – comforting. His arms slide around to my back, pulling me to him. My hands lift to wrap around his neck, to move upwards into his hair. The strands are soft and silky to the touch, and I close my fingers around them.

And then everything seems to explode.

Aksel presses into me, hard. I mirror his actions, pushing into him so that my body is flat against his.

Suddenly, it feels like the most important thing in the world that I get as close to him as possible. Even after we break apart, I stay in his arms, lightly resting my head against his shoulder.

I try to laugh, but my heart is beating too fast and it comes out more high-pitched than I would've liked. "This always seems to happen when we say we miss each other."

I feel the vibrations in his body when he chuckles. "Yeah, I've noticed that too."

"Is that why you said it?"

He looks down at me. The bright smile he flashes me now is a far cry from the one he had on mere minutes ago. "Maybe."

I roll my eyes, but don't move from my position. His arm is loose around my waist.

"I could stay here forever." I don't realise I'm about to say the words until they're out. I open my mouth to tack on a caveat, then slowly close it.

What the hell. What does it matter, anyway? I'm pretty sure he knows how I still feel for him.

"Me too," Aksel replies. I cast a quick look up at him. From my position, I can only see his jawline and part of his profile, but then he turns and I see the warmth in his expression.

My heart aches.

I close my eyes and burrow into the side of his neck. He smells just the way I remember – there is not a scent in the world that even comes close. I've missed it. I've missed this.

I miss us.

A warm hand comes up to stroke my hair – tentatively at first, then more firmly.

"I've missed this," I hear Aksel whisper.

He feels the same. Something deep within me falls into place and settles.

"Me too," I admit. It comes out so soft, it's almost just an exhalation of air.

But he hears it. He leans down, and I feel his lips land on my cheekbone. It's the only part he can reach without dislodging my head from its perch.

"Minä olen kaivannut sinua," I whisper, parroting word-for-word the phrase I had said to Aksel right after my arrival in Helsinki. How long ago it felt. I had looked up how to say I have missed you in Finnish before moving here – and never forgotten it.

It's the only thing that has stayed rooted deep within me the whole time. This feeling that never quite goes away.

I don't have to look up at Aksel to know he is smiling. He whispers something in Finnish, so quick and so fleeting, that I don't fully grasp it. But as I play the sounds back in my mind, I realise I recognise one of them.

Rakkaus.

The word for love.


A/N: Uhh... I actually spent a bit thinking over these last two lines, because I feel like people don't really use "love" as a noun. And if you use "love" as a verb (such as "I love") in Finnish, it becomes rakastan instead. So, for the sake of the story, let's just imagine the differences between noun and verb in Finnish don't exist.

Or maybe he said something like "you never know when love his you until it does". Ha. :D

Okay, NaNoWriMo is coming up in November and I've also realised that the year is ending (UNREAL! Where did 2020 go? It's been a year in limbo... in certain aspects), so I want to try to step up my writing speed. I wanted to finish this by the end of this year. Hope that's still possible.

Anyway, it's been a month of changes! My birthday came and went, and then my bf is having some health issues, so we are changing our diet almost completely to help with that. It's depressing when you feel like you might lose someone earlier than expected - I mean, he's not been diagnosed with anything, it's just that he already has a genetic disorder and it might affect his heart now. And all this makes me think about mortality all over again. And how we never know how long we have with someone because the body is such a finicky thing.

Oh yeah. This reminds me of the Danish film that Frederik showed. I've forgotten the title, actually, but it has the word "heart" (in Danish) in the title and it's about a family's last meal together because the mum has some sort of disease. I can't remember what exactly, but it affects the muscles and causes degeneration. It's a really good movie.

I've also decided on Zuzi's film, which will come in the next chapter. Haha, I feel like I'm doing some sort of movie recommendations list here.

Also, a piece of trivia about the chapter title: I was looking at "making up" quotes, because (haha) isn't that what this chapter is all about? Couldn't find any ones that really stood out, so I chose this that said "the best part of an argument is making up". So... that's what "the best part" is. Making up. XD

The end is nigh! I don't have a concrete plan (pantser through and through), but I can feel the story winding down. Maybe 2-3 more chapters? We'll see. I want to tie up some loose ends and then we'll be done! I think I might be really sad when I've finished it, even though there will still be all the editing to do. But it's been a part of my life for so long, it would feel like I've lost something.

Right, a special thanks to the people who have reviewed the last chapter!

Fangalitious: So... how did you like the dinner? Did it live up to your expectations? :P

Et28: Woohoo! Thanks for sticking around :)

All right, I'm off. Oh, and I've been participating in the prep challenge run by NaNoWriMo on Instagram: #instawrimo. It's been pretty fun. XD

As usual, thanks for reading and please review!