Second Lunch


It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the late Fall. Jeremie had warned the others of an activated tower, and they had sprung into action as per usual.

All of them, except Odd.

"I have time," he said reassuringly, checking his watch. It was almost two, the alert having gone out fifteen minutes prior. He stood in a short line inside a crowded Burger King to get a second lunch before heading to the factory.

"Next!" the person at the register called. She spotted him. "Odd!"

"Cadence!" He flashed a smile. "I'll have my usual, please."

"Coming right up!"

He passed her a twenty-euro note and received his change, moving to the side so the person behind him could order. He checked his phone. At least ten text messages from Jeremie filled the screen, berating him for being late.

They'll be fine. I've only been gone a few minutes!

He watched the people behind the counter preparing his food in a flurry of activity before glancing up at the menu board again. Did he want a sundae or a Fusion to go? Or a chocolate fondant? No, he'd have to eat the fondant there… Cake with melted chocolate inside was usually messy if you took it to go.

He made a mental note to go back and get a Bounty Fusion before leaving.

"Odd!"

His head snapped up as he locked eyes with Cadence, the redhead placing a tray with his order on the counter in front of him.

"Here you are! A Double Cheese Bacon XXL, a large Fry, six Chili Cheese Nuggets, and a large Coke."

He beamed, happily taking the food. "Thanks!"

He settled into a quiet corner of the restaurant, watching all the people going in and out around him as he chewed his food, savoring every bite. A little girl at a table near him was crying because her older brother took the toy she received in a kids' meal, and was playing keep-away with it. Their mother scolded the boy, demanding he give the object back.

Odd was completely oblivious to the possessed robots storming through Kadic and destroying everything in their path, as he was in the next town over, where everything was pristine and quiet. Once he was finished devouring his burger, he moved on to the nuggets, shoveling them down before dipping each fry meticulously in ketchup, so as to get the proper ratio of flavor.

He'd long since silenced his phone, as Jeremie's texts had gone from berating him, to being downright infuriated that he didn't bother to at least check in. He shrugged it off; XANA attacked all the time, but a moment to himself in one of his favorite fast food restaurants was hard to come by.

Granted, he'd already had lunch today: Rosa made beans and hotdogs, and while he'd even gone for seconds, including swiping a dessert, he still craved the artery-clogging, salty fast food he loved so much.

He sipped his Coke idly, lost in his thoughts. Would Claire turn him down for their date again tonight? He heard a rumor that she'd had a thing for Thomas Jolivet, and while he brushed it off as only just that, he couldn't help but wonder. After all, Thomas was more charming than him, despite Sissi thinking he was a creep.

But Sissi had higher standards for dating, anyway. Claire did, too, to an extent, but after about a year of chasing her and apologizing for seeing both her and Magali at the same time, she'd finally agreed to go out with him. She just… kept postponing it, for some reason.

Maybe he'd have better luck with Azra. He could pretend to be interested in learning Turkish again. That would charm her, right?

Odd checked his watch again, disregarding his phone completely. It hadn't taken him that long to eat his second lunch, so he decided to get up and go for the chocolate fondant cake. After he discarded his trash, he took his place in line to order dessert. However, it had grown to twice the size compared to when he'd made his lunch order, and was now stuck waiting behind at least five large families, as well as an older girl at the front who didn't know what she wanted – it didn't help that English seemed to be her first language, not French, and there was an obvious barrier when she tried to communicate with the guy at the register.

Odd took out his phone once more, ignoring Jeremie's texts and calls, and opened up a game to play while he waited. He regretted not taking his handheld gaming system so he could play Tetrix Annihilator, but the phone would have to do.

Finally, after almost twenty minutes, it was his turn again. He faced the guy at the register, a middle-aged man who looked like he wasn't too happy with his job. Cadence must've been on her break.

"Hi," Odd said, chipper. "I'll have two chocolate fondants, please."

The man gave a half-hearted grunt as Odd gave him some cash and received his change. He stepped aside once more so the family behind him could order, and in record time, his cakes were passed to him.

He marveled at them as he walked back to the table he'd secured earlier: Two chocolate cakes, one with a melted dark chocolate center and the other with white, each with a little dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.

He immediately dug into the one with the white chocolate first, saving the dark for last. The dark was his favorite.

He'd returned his phone to vibrate, and ignored the outpour of messages he was getting, all of them undoubtedly from Jeremie.

Finally, his phone actually rang. Of course, it was Einstein himself, most likely poised to yell at him for being so late to help Aelita get to the tower.

"Hey," Odd greeted, his mouth full of cake. "How goes it?"

"You missed it!" Jeremie shouted, exasperated. "The whole attack, Odd! Where are you?!"

"I'm at Burger King, finishing up my second lunch!" He wiped his mouth free of chocolate, waiting for the call to finish so he could dig into the other cake.

"Second lunch–" Jeremie shook his head. "Whatever. Aelita's in the process of deactivating the tower. I'm going to launch a return trip as soon as she's done."

"Sure thing."

He ended the call, stuffing the cell phone back in his pocket. He smiled down at the remaining dessert.

"At least I get to have my cake, and eat it too," he said.

He shoved the entire cake in his mouth, finishing it just as he was enveloped by the white light from the return to the past.