Love and War
When they opened the door, the quiet of the halls was replaced by the clanking of trays against the lunch bar, and the clamor of soldiers talking to each other. Some of them were fresh recruits from Rome and its neighboring cities, some were from other places around Europe, but all of them wore the U.N.'s bright blue camouflage uniform. Amid the sea of blue, there were still quite a few empty table seats.
"Good," Sofia sighed, "I was worried there wouldn't be anywhere to sit."
"That's a relief. Ooh, let's go see what they have!" Soleil ran ahead and grabbed her tray. Sofia couldn't help but smile. She followed along, a few people behind her in line. The boy in front of her had headphones on, and was bobbing his head from side to side as he waited for the line to move. He was one of the few people besides Soleil and her who wasn't wearing a uniform. Sofia guessed this must be because he was one of the new recruits as well; but that had to mean everyone else here was more experienced then sheme k nd that made her feel even more out of place than she already did.
She scooped macaroni and cheese onto her tray, along with broccoli, and a generous serving of chicken parmesan. It made sense that they would be serving Italian food, although she was a little suprised the menu wasn't a little more diverse. She didn't have much time to care about this, though, because of what she saw in the last box at the end of the line: stawberry gelato. It was her absolute favorite food in the entire world, many long nights had it gotten her through without feeling sad. Well, that and her smoking.
She didn't bother to wait for the headphones boy to get done checking out, she peeled back the lid, dug her spoon in, and put it to her lips. The sweet taste of real stawberries filled her mouth, and her heart was overjoyed. Sometimes, she thought, there were things even more addicting than cigarettes.
"Ma'am?" Asked the man at the checkout counter.
"Oh! Right," she woke up from her gelato daydreams and told the man her name. She looked around for Soleil, but didn't see her anywhere. She did see headphones boy, though. She tapped him on the shoulder, and he pulled his headphones off and let them rest on his neck.
"Hey, sorry. What's up?" He said, smiling.
"Have you seen a girl with pigtails around here? I sorta lost her." Sofia explained. "Hm...is that her?" He pointed to where Soleil was standing, looking around for Sofia.
"Yep, thanks!" Sofia nodded to him and called for her, "Soleil, over here!"
Soleil turned around and made her way over to the two of them. "Hey, who's your buddy?" she asked.
"Oh, I dunno. What's your name?"
"It's Paul" he answered, "hey, if you don't have anywhere to sit yet, you wanna come sit with us?" He asked.
"Us?" Sofia traded him one question for another.
"Yeah," Paul explained, "My brother and my other friends. They're great, you'll love em!"
"Hey, neat! We did wanna make some friends while we're here. Lead the way, Paul!" Soleil saluted him, and Paul laughed.
He showed them over to the table where his friends were.
"Finally," said a boy who looked identical to Paul, save for his eyes weren't blue green like his; rather, they were a sort of red. "Where the heck were you?"
"Sorry" Paul answered, "I met some friends on the way."
Sofia and Soleil introduced themselves, and learned that Paul's twin brother was named Marc, and that they were from France. They also met Paul's other friends, one was an American boy named Simon. He had black hair and seemed pretty friendly; and the other was an Austrian girl named Karina. Her hair was also black, and she was typing something on her phone. She looked up sometimes to talk to the others, but always stayed busy with her phone. She and Soleil talked the most, about things they had in common and what they liked to do. Sofia figured Soleil could strike up a friendship with just about anyone, but she seemed interested in Karina the most.
She smiled, she was happy her friend was finding people she liked to talk to. In truth, she never really felt good enough to be Soleil's friend, like she wasn't a good enough person to have such a happy girl as her best friend, but Soleil helped her put those feelings aside, and that's what she liked about her.
"Yeah" Paul went on, "so you basically found the gay table."
"Oh, you're gay?" Sofia asked, eating her frozen slice of heaven.
"Mhm, Simon is too~" Paul poked at Simon's stomach, which turned his face red.
"Hey..." He mumbled, looking away.
"Those two are always up to that...leave em alone and who knows what they'll get up to..." Paul's brother, Marc commented.
"So are you gay too, Marc?" Sofia asked, finishing her gelato.
"No, I'm what you might call a lone wolf. Love's too much trouble for me." He answered, looking back down at his food.
"Oh...sorry." Sofia felt bad for asking. Karina felt her awkwardness and spoke up.
"Uh, I'm gay though!" Everyone laughed at her outburst, even Marc who had been characteristically straight-faced. They laughed for a long time together, talking and learning all about each other. They shared stories and talked for what must have been hours, and Sofia smiled. She felt, as she did when she was with Soleil, a little less alone.