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The sun emerged from behind the clouds, promising a nice warm June day in Paris. I gratefully raised my hands in front of me, towards the warmth. It was 10 AM and I was sitting on the ground in front of the etrance to the stadium, watching first Rammstein fans gathering beside me. My eyes were kind of puffy and red, because I didn’t have any sleep last night and was waiting here for three hours already. But since I had no where else to go, I didn’t mind. At least I had a nice little spot, where I could just rest my eyes for a while and warm up in the morning sun light without looking like a homeless. I‘ve put my huge backpack to the luggage storage at Gare du Nord earlier this morning, taking with me only a small bottle of water and the show ticket I won last night at the bar. That was pure luck, because I could not afford it otherwise.  

I twitched a little, finding myself a more comfortable position. I didn’t have much cloths in my travelling backpack, and definitely not the bands‘ merchendise I left at home, not imagining I would go to their concert. I crossed my legs, covering them with the long black skirt all the way to my ankles, fixing the skirts bow around my waist that was nearly in line with my black crop top. I closed my eyes again, thinking about the time I was digging Rammstein’s music. It seemed like such a long time ago. Even though I started new life and new me, I just couldn’t leave everything behind me, things like music or art I loved. And having a déjà vu to something I used to know so well was the exact thing that I needed right now. I smiled a little, remembering the times at high school, when my friend showed me the band for the first time. Both of us laying in her bed, watching the live shows, singing along and having fun. The first time I saw them live back at home, first time I played Mutter on the piano without a mistake. Those were beautiful memories I wanted to keep, though I had to be carefull not to think about the others.

Few hours later, the space in front of the stadium started to be pretty crowded, people pushing to each other a little, so I had to stand up, my whole body protesting. My back was in constant pain from carrying the huge backpack all the time, my legs feeling all those miles I’ve walked already wandering around. Yet when they opened the gates, I sprinted inside, cathing the first row right in the middle. I looked at the massive stage with countless speakers and boxes of pyrotechnics, thrilled. This is gonna be amazing.

Salut!“ a voice next to me interrupted my thoughts. „Is that your first time seeing the group live?“ I gazed at the boy standing next to me, all hyped up.

„Hi,“ I responsed, my voice cracking a little from not being used for several hours. „No, I’ve seen them twice already.“

„Wow, that’s awesome! When did you see them, and when? It’s my first time today, I can’t wait! Amazing spots we got, right? Are you here alone as well? My name is Jules, and yours?“ Oh no, he’s so annoyingly happy and wants to be friends. Imagining the next few hours of waiting, I immediately regreted not pretending I didn’t speak French.

„My name is Marylin,“ I replied, not smiling on purpose, trying to give him the message without being forced to tell him.

„What an interresting name! Its like Marylin Manson, isn’t it?“ he asked excitedly. That was the curse of being named after someone as iconic as was Marylin Monroe or Marylin Manson. I felt like a fucking Harry Potter, being told he has his mother’s eyes over and over again. Then a girl standing on his other side saved me.

„Who said Marylin Manson? I love that guy!“ luckily these two spent the whole waiting time chatting with each other, leaving me with my own company again. I glared at them, they would actually make a nice pair. Suddenly I felt so alone, that I quickly focused on the stage, thinking about something else.

Finally it was time. Fifteen minutes to go, then ten, five…the concert started outstandingly, as always. I got so excited immediately, feeling the drums in my chest, guitars filling my ears and the singer’s deep voice giving me chills on the back of my neck. Only a few riffs were enough for me to forget about everything and just live in the moment. Despite the lack of sleep, I was jumping up and down to every song, screaming out the lyrics, suprising myself I still remembred them all. Being so close to the stage was simply amazing. I could see every little detail, every grimace the band would make, the flames burning on my tanned skin. One song after another went by awefully fast, I didn’t enjoy myself this much in a very long time. Actually for the first time since I left my country.

When Du riechst so gut came up, I overheard the boy next to me – Jules, was it? – to shout to the other girl that this is one of the last songs. I sighed, not wanting the show to end. The catchy riff filled my whole body, my eyes watching the singer turning around with the lighten-up bow. What a freaking show they always put out.

Du riechst sooo guuut“ we sang out loud with the chorus, jumping up and down. During the bridge the singer turned around to take a sip of water, so I looked over to the quitarists playing their solo, when something black came out of no where, hitting me hard on my face. Totally caught off guard, I’ve put hands on my face, as I felt my legs being tangled to the long black skirt, causing me to loose my balance.

„Marylin!“ the boy I-think-his-name-was-Jules shouted, picking me up again from the ground. „Are you ok?“ he stared at me, his eyes fixed on my face.

„Yeah, I’m fine. What the hell was that?“ I shouted, feeling the warm sticky blood on my face. From what I could tell, I was bleeding from my forehead and nose, that was probably broken.

„Till threw his water bottle towards the crowd and it got you!“ Jules shouted to my ear, wawing with the black bottle in front of my face. „Are you sure that you are ok? You are bleeding.“ No shit, Sherlock.

I just nodded, turning to the stage again, wiping some of the blood off my face. I looked up at the singer who was now singing the chorus again, when his eyes found my bloody face. He placed his hand on his chest in an apologizing gesture, raising his eyebrows asking if I was ok. I couldn’t help but smile again, the atmosphere there holding me away from feeling any pain. I nodded towards him smiling, and as he sang the words ich finde dich, I sang along with him, poiting at him as a joke. He giggled a little, then turned away and walked to the right side of the stage.

Two more songs have been played, which forced me to – as ladylike as I could – spit out the blood that accumulated in my mouth a few times. My vocals were almost numb from all the shouting, screaming and singing, my whole body aching, yet I jumped and danced (as much as you can dance to Rammstein) throughout the rest of the show. When the band members thanked the audience and disappeard in the backstage, I sighed loudly, enjoying the last vibes going through my body, feeling every inch of the energy. I glanced behind me to the crowd that was still standing there, waiting for the people in the back to move. Jules next to me just started kissing with the girl. So they really got together, even if just for tonight, I smiled to myself. I leaned to the metal railing, giving my back and legs at least some sort of comfort.

Pardon“? someone tapped on my shoulder. I turned back, facing a young french woman wearing the backstage vest. „Follow me, a doctor will take a look at your wound,“ she smiled at me, poiting towards the backstage.

„Ah, that’s ok, thank you. It’s just a little bit of blood,“ I thanked her, turning back again.

„No, you have to go, I was told to bring you with me,“ she insisted.

„You were told to? By who?“ I asked, looking at her suspiciously.

„The singer. So come on!“


Chapter Text

„You are kidding, right?“ I croacked.

The woman rolled her eyes. „Look, he told me to make sure that the girl he had knocked out with his water bottle gets to the backstage, so their doctor could check on her. And since you are the only one here dripping blood, I assume it’s you. Can you climb over? It would be the fastest and easiest,“ she said, offering her hand to help me out.

I sighed, pulling myself over the railing. I hated doctors. The last thing I wanted to do was seeing someone in doctor’s clothes, touching me and asking me how am I doing. Also I had to look like shit, all sweaty and covered in blood. I followed the woman, quickly trying to wipe my face, realizing that the blood have already dried onto my skin. Great, that would just give the doctor more reason to check on me.

As we walked behind the stage to the backstage, I started to panick. „Listen, I really don’t need a check up, I have to-“ I stopped in the middle of the sentence, noticing the singer and one of the guitarists standing near by, talking to each other. „You didn’t tell me they would be here!“ I hissed at he women, but apparently still loud enough, as the two guys turned around.

She shrugged. „That’s not my problem, I was just supposed to bring you in here. The doctor should be here in a minute,“ she said as she walked off.

I sighed. „Ok, thanks anyway.“ I turned, watching the guys walking up to me.

„Shit, that looks nasty,“ laughed the guitarist, a slight german accent audible when he spoke in English towards me. I placed my palm over my face like I tried to hide myself behind it. „It’s not that bad as it looks, it’s just a little bit of blood, really,“ I answered.

„I’m so sorry, I wasn’t aiming to you. I had no idea that the bottle would be so heavy and could hurt someone,“ said the singer in a deep soft voice with the same accent.

„I’m fine, don’t worry about that. The concert was amazing! Thank you so much, I really enjoyed it.“ I looked at both of them, smiling like a little child that got the so wanted toy for Christmas.

„Our doctor should take a look at it anyways, it looks pretty bad,“ said the singer. I glanced at him, noticing a little blood stream on his forehead. „I still look better than you,“ I joked, pointing at his forehead.

The quitarist bursted out laughing. „She has a point, dude“ he smirked, giving him a little pat on his back. „I’m Richard by the way“ he introduced himself.

„Nice to meet you, I’m Marilyn,“ we shook hands, his palm fitting into mine perfectly. „Wow, that’s a beautiful name!“ he said, kissing the top of my hand slightly. I blushed, which I hoped was succesfully covered by the blood on my face.

I looked over to the singer, raising my eyebrows slightly, being forced to tilt my head, as he was much taller than me. Richard rolled his eyes. „And this is Till“ he introduced the singer that kept staring on me. Oh God, he has no sence of humor and thinks I’ve insulted him.

„Hi, I’m Marylin. You know I was kidding, right? I appreciate your help,“ I said, looking into his blue-greenish eyes. „Yes, I know. It’s nice to meet you too.“ He shook my hand quickly, his being much bigger than mine.

I smiled to both of them. „Well, the show was really great, thanks again. It was nice to meet you both.“ I wawed a little to them, wanting to turn away and walk off, when Till’s deep voice stopped me. „You should wait for the doctor to check on you. It looks like I broke your nose.“ I was almost positive I could feel the anger and embarrasement from the tone of his voice.

„Richard, kommst du hier sofort!“ Head of the drummer peaked from behind the corner at the end of the hallway.

Ich komme!“ Richard shouted back in German. „Well, this has to be our goodbye, Marilyn. Make sure that the doc cleans your pretty face,“ he winked at me, turning back and heading to the end of the hallway. His comment made me very uncomfortable, I could feel my cheeks burn and my hands get a little sweatier. Except of the few people running around carrying speakers, wires and other stage stuff, Till and I stood there alone beside each other in an awkward silence.

„So by which of the famous Marylins are you named after?“ TIll broked the silence after a while. I smirked. „Well, I don’t know actually. My parents always argue whether it was Monroe or Manson. I think they just liked the name and years later wanted to give it a special reason.“ I looked up at him, smiling a little.

He looked back to me, not returning the smile. „I’m really sorry for hurting you. It must hurt like hell.“

„Would you stop that already, please? I’m really fine and I don’t even feel it.“ He looked so unhappy and unsured, that I added, „It wouldn’t be a great heavy concert without some minor mistakes and injuries, right?“ Finally he smiled a little. „Yeah, I guess so“. I wanted to add something, but a quiet caugh made us both turn to a guy carrying a bag with the red cross on it. He was also tall, but not as much as Till, his ginger hair bringing all the attention. Great, doctor is here.

„Frank, hallo, thanks for coming. Could you take a look at this young lady? I accidentaly threw a water bottle to her face. I think she has a broken nose.“ If Frank was surprised by the fact that a stupid water bottle messed up my face like that, he didn’t show it. He kneeled down to take out a pair of rubber gloves from the bag, putting them on. I sighed. He walked towards me, his hands reaching to my face, when my head pulled away from him in an reflexive move.

„It won’t hurt, I promise,“ said Frank calmly, thinking I’m scared of the pain. „It’s not that, I just really hate doctors. Sorry,“ I explained. „Ok, so what if I just take a look at your wound without touching it?“

„Fine,“ I said, looking at Till with a blaming stare. He probably got the message, as he frowned, looking really depressed. I rolled my eyes. He was being so serious.

„Well, I am worried I have bad news for you. Your nose is indeed broken and I have to fix it now,“ the doctor came into a diagnoze. I think I heard Till sighed.

„Can I fix it myself?“ I asked the doctor.

„That’s really not a good idea, you could hurt yourself even more. I understand you don’t like doctors, but I promise it would be very quick.“

„No, I mean - I’ve done that on myself already, when I broke it a few months ago, it’ll be ok,“ I explained.

„You should let him -,“

 „I would rather do that by my-“

None of them finished their sentences, as I quickly placed my hands on my nose, finding the little hump on it, and twisting it quickly back to it’s place, a loud crack echoing in the hallway. „Easy,“ I said, giggling a little as I saw their frightened faces. I could feel the heat and pain in my nose, but it was bearable. „See? I told you it was nothing,“ I looked at Till, then turning to the doctor. „Could you please give me something to clean my face?“

 „S-sure,“ said Frank, still in shock that his patient just fixed a fracture by herself in front of him. He handed me a pile of wet gauze. „I’m assuming you don’t need me here anymore?“ asked Frank, picking his bag up.

„No, actually you should check this too,“ I pointed to Till’s forehead. Frank looked at the little blood stream, and as he turned his back to me, I stuck my tongue out to Till as a childish revenge gesture for forcing me to do this. His eyebrows raised, the blue-greenish eyes blinked a few times before he smirked a little.

Ja, it’s ok, Till is bleeding a little after every concert, he knows how to take care of it,“ Frank stated. „So if that’s all, I’m gonna move on. Take care of that nose,“ he glanced at me, shook his head a walked off.

„You really scared the crap out of him by that. Actually the both us,“ Till murmured.

I shrugged. „Guess I have a lower pain treshold,“ I said.

Till took a few breathes in before he spoke again. „Listen, we are having here one more concert tomorrow. Would you accept an VIP ticket as an apology for me hurting you? If you want of course,“ he added quickly.

I looked at him, my eyebrows raised. „I can’t accept that first of all, and second of all, stop blaming yourself. It happend, we move on, everybody is ok,“ I said.

„I would just feel better if I could give you something as a pay-off.“ He sounded so sincered, that I couldn’t resist. Plus, another Rammstein concert for free, I mean, who would say no?

„Ok then, I will go to your concert for free, if you insist,“ I joked, smiling.

„Good! Just say your name to the security, and they’ll let you in,“ he said, obviously releaved a little.

„Thank you,“ I said, reaching my hand for his for a goodbye shake.

„You’re welcome. See you tomorrow.“ He gave me a last look and then walked away to the rest of the band members.

Chapter Text

I found a bathroom on my way out of the stadium. As I stepped in, a little gasp escaped my lips when I saw my reflection in the mirror. Half of my face was literally covered in blood. Now I didn’t blame Till and Frank being so worried. I leaned closer to the mirror, examining the nose. Looks like I fixed it right, no fresh blood was coming out, the hump disappeard. The wound on my forehead stopped bleeding as well. I grabbed the wet gauzes the doctor gave me and cleaned my face. Then I rinsed my mouth a few times from the irony taste of blood, and took a few sips of the water. I didn’t even try to fix my dirty-blond hair escaping the bun since they always looked messy, no matter how hard I tried to tie them up. I looked down, focusing on my white sneakers, now designed with blood drops. Both the skirt and top were fornutanely black, so no blood stains could have be seen. I hoped that the blood will wash off the shoes, reminding myself that I had only black Vans as my second pair of sneakers. But I had no time to clean them now. I glared at myself, looking exhausted. My blue, almost grey eyes were puffed, but at least I was clean. I threw the now pinky gauze to the trash bin and exited the bathroom.

Tonight I needed some place to stay and get some sleep, without a doubt. My body and my brain were so tired, all I wanted was just lay down right here in front of the stadium and sleep until the morning. But I knew I desperately needed a hot shower, nice bed with soft sheets and a different outfit. I reconciled that it would cost me a lot, especially to find a place to stay so late at night. I made my way to Gare du Nord where I left my packpack, forcing myself to keep moving. On the way there I’ve noticed some hostel offering beds for a good price per night. It turned out that they were offering a shared bathroom and a few rooms filled up with bunks. I did prefere having my privacy, but I didn’t have any other choice. I pre-booked one bed and rushed for my backpack. It was already 2 AM when I finally laid down to the bed, falling asleep immediately.

A loud crack woke me up, confused as I could not remember where I was at first. I opened my eyes, seeing one of my „roomies“ leaving the room, probably dropping her huge luggage on the hard wooden floor seconds ago. I grumbled, stretching my sore body. Because I’ve paid for my bed for two days, I didn’t have to get up. For the rest of the day I stayed in the bed, just resting my body and falling asleep occasionally, thinking how lucky I was that I met with two members of the band. In the afternoon I took a long steamed shower and washed my hair. Then a mini crisis came up, when I had no idea what to wear. How the hell was I supposed to know what rich people where to a rock concert in the VIP section? And where was I supposed to find something elegant, since all my cloths were rather comfortable, and crumpled? Finally I’ve settled for a compromise, picking actually a pretty elegant, yet casual jumpsuit. The black and white stripes optically made me look taller, since I was only about 165 cm high. Normally I would pair that with high heels, but black Vans with a white sole had to do the job. I‘d broke my anckle if I wore high heels for too long anyways. The european summer tanned my skin into a nice shade and pulled out a few freckles on my face, so I only put a nude lipstick on. I checked myslef in the bathroom mirror, quite satisfied after all.

When I figured it was time to slowly get going, I locked my backpack in my locker and left the building to the busy street. As I was getting closer to the stadium, an awful thought came up my mind. What if Till forgot to tell someone to let me in? Or what if he changed his mind? That would be pretty embarassing.

Bonjour, my name is Marilyn and I should be listed on the VIP section,“ I said nervously with a much higher voice than usual, feeling incredibly stupid and embarassed. The man controlling the tickets looked into a folder he was holding, frowning a bit.

„VIP section…oh yeah, here, Marilyn it is,“ he said as he stepped to the side, showing me which way to go. „Enjoy!“ he added. I thanked him and quickly made my way to the VIP section. When I entered the room, I gasped. Several tables pushed to the walls were filled with food and beverages, big and comfy chairs in front of the glass wall. The view to the big stage was amazing. There were only two men in black suits, quietly speaking with a glass of whiskey in their hands. They stopped talking immediately when they saw me walk in, scanning me from head to toe. I blushed, but nodded to them, going straight to the padded chair. I felt like an total outsider. In a few minutes, the room started to fill up with other people, all very high classed, judging by their cloths, jewerly and beverage knowledge. I avoided eye contact with everyone, just waiting for the band to start to play, thinking if it was even worth it to come here today.

I’ve never sit throuh out a rock concert, and now I knew that it was pretty shitty. Plus all the other people in the room were quiet or talking out loud with each other – which was making me furious – I couldn‘t sing along, move to the rhytm, anything. Though the band putted out an amazing show again, non of the energy transferred to the VIP section, so I wasn’t even that sad when the concert was over.

The door opened and the same woman that took me to the backstage yesterday walked in. Her eyes found me right when I was getting up from my seat. She moved across the room closer to me, smiling a little. „Vous souvenez-vous de moi?“ she asked. Of course I remembered her, even without the bright yellow vest.

„I do. Is there a problem?“ I replied quietly, well aware of the rest of the „fans“ still in the room, probably listening to every word we spoke. Oh God, there’s something wrong with me being here for free. They’re gonna charge me for it and I don’t have that amount of money. Shit shit shit shit shit.

„No there is no problem, but can you follow me?“ she explained, walking out of the room. I followed her, still shaking a bit, my palms sweaty.

„Where are we going?“ I asked, when she walked through the hallway. The answer was waiting behind the corner when we turned left. A few men were standing in front of the door that must have been the band’s private dressing-room. I recognized Richard and the other quitarist that was a lot shorter, Till and another man I didn’t know, but assuming it was their manager. Our steps faded away in a burst of laughing.

„Marylin!“ shouted Richard, the first one who noticed me heading to them, the woman walking away to the right hallway. He met me half way, big smile on his face. I raised my hand, wanting to shook with his, but he grabbed me instead, giving me a hug. Over his shoulder I saw the manager leaving, speaking on the phone with someone. The other guitarist was looking at me curiously. Till wasn’t facing us, yet his body language was showing frustration and – was that anger? Did my presence made him angry, did I interrupted them? Before I could think about that more, Richard’s voice brought me back to reality.

„Is that possible? You are even more beautiful that I remember from yeasterday! But the blood suited you as well“ he complimented as he was pulling himself back, yet his hand still resting on my arm. I stepped back a little, taking my hand out of his grasp. It seemed he noticed it, but didn’t say anything.

„Hi,“ I replied to him, moving away to meet with the other guitarist. „Hi, I’m Marilyn,“ I introduced myself nervously, shaking hands with him. I really didn’t enjoy socializing with new people, and definitely not famous people.

„Nice to meet you Marylin, I’m Paul. So what’s going on here? Are you Richard’s secret girlfriend that we don’t know about?“ he laughed, his smile all over his face. Richard laughed along. Till snorted, still not looking at us, staring onto his feet.

„No I really am not,“ I made myself pretty clear, but smiling a little, not wanting to look rude. „I actually don’t know why am I here. The lady took me here but didn’t tell me any reason.“ I looked at Till, vainly hoping he would explain.

„Well since Till here invited you today as an apology, we thought we could also hang out, if you are interrested,“ said Richard, getting closer to us. „Are you?“ he asked.

„Sure,“ I smirked.

„Awesome, let’s go!“ he wrapped his arms around my shoulder. I gently shook his arm, putting my hair behind my ear to cover the movement somehow. His flirting was too agresive for me, as well as the way he was so sure I’d wanna hang out with him as well. Not mentioning I didn’t wanna flirt or date anyone.

„I’ll be there in a minute,“ I said. He frowned a little, but nodded and walked to the dressing-room. As he opened the door, we could hear a conversation in German. I looked at Paul and Till.

„So how do you know each other?“ asked Paul.

„Well-“ I opened my mouth, but Till answered instead of me.

„She’s the lady I almost knocked out yesterday during the concert with my water bottle,“ she grunted, finally raising his eyes to the two of us.

„No way! So you are the Bloody Mary?“ I raised my eyebrows. „I mean, we all saw you dripping in blood. We should build an unbreakable glass between us and the crowd,“ he laughed.

„Come on, don’t be so dramatic,“ I said, noticing that Till probably took his joke seriously. „That would be no fun,“ I added. Paul laughed happily and nodded. God, I think he is even more hyped up than the guy in the crowd from yesterday. But in an oddly cute way.

„That’s totally true. Have you meet the rest of the band?“ he asked. I shook my head. „Then you should go now, before they get drunk, especially Flake,“ Paul giggled, heading to the dressing-room. I waited before the door closed, then turned to Till.

„Thank you again for the ticket,“ I said softly. It was absurd, but I felt like I had to kind of apologize to him by making him feel bad by breaking up my face.

„How did you like the VIP section?“ he asked.

„Decent or honest answer?“ I smirked. His body relaxed a bit as he giggled, his cheeks releasing some of the tension. „Honest, of course“.

„It was dreadful. So snobbish. The people in there – they cared more about how expensive their suits and dresses are, who owns a better car and making sure the others would know. I bet none of them listened to at least one song. I felt no energy from the music up there,“ I explained.

He nodded. „I know how it goes in those VIP sections, but a lot of people like that. I thought it would not be your thing, but it was the only spare space I could’ve get for you,“ he said.

„Thank you,“ I looked into his eyes, trying to express that I was genuetly thankfull. Seemed to me he got it, small smile appearing on his face.

„Are you ready to meet the rest of the guys?“ I nodded, following him into the dressing-room.

It was quite a big room but with only few people in. Richard and Paul were standing next to a table with some beverages on it, talking with the drummer. The one playing the keyboard was sitting on a couch, reading some article in a magazine, glass with alcohol in the other hand. As I glanced over the room, there were four or five other men that I didn’t know but figured out they were from the crew, and two women sitting in the right corner, talking to each other. I was suprised, expecting buch of people making noise and getting drunk -  typical rock band party with drunken fan girls.

Till first introduced me to the keyboard guy, Flake, who was incredibly thin and tall, but he seemed like a nice guy. As we walked to the guys standing at the table, Till told me that the other men are indeed from the crew, the women girlfriends of the guys. I didn’t see the bass quitarist anywhere, he must have left already.

„Finally, you’re here! Christoph, this is Marylin, the girl who got snapped by Till last night!“ said Richard loudly. I noticed his glass was empty already.

„Thanks for the detailed introduction. Hi, I’m Marylin,“ I reached my hand towards Christoph. He laughed, giving me a firm handshake.

„What are you drinking?“ asked Paul. I was too humble to say I didn’t want anything, so I got a glass of white wine.

I was worried that the conversation would be forced with my presence, but it went smoothly. We joked around, the boys drinking quite a lot, while I was still holding onto my first glass of wine.

„Doesn’t taste good?“ a deep voice mumbled into my ear. I turned to the sound, tilting my head to look up at Till.

„No, I’m just not in a mood for alcohol tonight,“ I explained, hoping I didn’t sound rude.

„What do you think? About the guys?“ he asked, leaning against the table beside me.

„I think you all are really cool. Nice and kind, even more I would have thought. Paul is really cute,“ I said as I watched Paul telling one of the guys some story while funny-dancing, his hands breakdancing in the air.

„Really?“ Till asked without any emotions in his voice. I was slowly starting to guess his odd and sudden moods, examining his face. I rolled my eyes. He was either having some problems with the guys in the band, or he didn’t like them talking to me or me liking them, which made me pretty mad. I won’t let anyone to tell me what to do or feel anymore. I got slightly annoyed, but kept that out of my tone.

„I think he’s cute because of how he’s so positive and happy. A lot of people are depressed and have bad moods, there’s a lot of bad people who wants to hurt you. Sometimes you need someone like Paul, to brighten your day a little. Everyone should have one Paul as a friend. Life would be easier if we would be more like him. Less hate and more love.“ It seemed like he was thinking about what I said.

„So are you depressed or bad?“ he asked after a while, half serious, half joking. I took a few seconds before I answered.

„I don’t think that I’m a bad person,“ I said slowly. Yep, definitely not a theme I’d like to keep talking about. I needed some air. „Is there a bathroom anywhere?“ I asked as I straighten up and put the full glass of wine on the table.

„Um-yeah,“ Till nodded, he straightened up as well, a little suprised my by sudden move. „It’s at the end of the hallway on the left,“ he said. „Do you want me to walk you there?“

„No, I’ll find that myself, thank you,“ I said as I walked out of the dressing-room. After I closed the door, I leaned to the wall on the other side of the hallway, cooling my back on its cold concrete, taking deep breaths in, trying to avoid the panick attack. I just forgot to control my thoughts, memories and feelings, that’s all. Go to your happy place and breathe, I kept on repeating to myself. Then the door opened and closed again. I looked up, seeing Richard walk towards me.

„What’s going on? Are you ok? You are very pale,“ he said, placing his palm on my forehead.

„Yeah, I’m fine, just needed a little bit of air.“ I assured him, my voice shaking, peering up at his face.

„Alright,“ he said, his hand slowly dropping down on my right cheek, his thump caressing my skin. Before I realized what he was about to do, he leaned down, starting to kiss me. Every nerve in my body started to scream inside of me, begging to stop the unwanted touch. „Get away from me!“ I shouted, sliding to the side and slapping his face. At the same time the door opened loudly for the third time.

„The FUCK you doing?“ Till’s deep strong voice echoed throughout the hallway. With three steps he reached Richard, pushing him away from me.

„Nothing! I just thought she wanted it too!“ Richard defended himself.

I didn’t hear any of it. My whole body was paralyzed, I could not concentrate on anything, only the flashbacks running through my head. The shouting brought me back to reality though, as I finally understood everything. I looked up at both of the guys, feeling the tears forming in my eyes.

„Is that why you invited me here? You think I’ll go easy?“ I screamed furiously. 

„No, that’s not - “ Till started to defend themselves with panick in his eyes, but I was already rushing away from them.

„Marylin, wait!“ I heard both of them shouting to me (or maybe to each other). I ignored it, raising out of the stupid building, tears running down my face, not looking back.

Chapter Text

It was a beautiful morning in August, the sun' rays reflecting from the shop windows and cars on the busy streets of Berlin. A baby's cry could be heard from the street across the road, vanishing in it's mother's calming voice. I took in a deep breath, enjoying this kind of freedome.

Ja, that’s fine with me,“ I replied to Stefan, who was poiting to a small coffee shop across the street. Stefan was my long time friend who contacted me few days ago to meet up, when I’ll be in the city. I was really glad he called, quite looking forward to spent some time with someone outside of the band. Stefan walked into the coffee shop, heading to one of the empty tables close to the exit.

I followed, looking around the small, cozy vintage room. It was painted in brownish-red color, faking a stone wall. There were a few tables with chairs and colorful armchairs, bookshelfs with tons of books and flowers on the wall. My eyes glimpsed over to the waitress taking an order from a couple sitting on the other side of the room. I almost walked into the chair in front of me. It was the same girl I‘ve almost knocked out at one of the concerts in France. Marylin. I‘ve been thinking about this girl for days after she ran off from me and Richard. I was always avoiding fans, but I‘ve never met anyone like her. The way she was thinking about things... she was so confident, funny and clever, but on the other hand I could sense some level of unsurness and sadness in her eyes. I remember not talking to Richard until the next show, thats how much I was pissed at him for going for her that way. But what the hell was she doing here in Berlin?

She was wearing black jeans and a simple grey shirt tanggled in them, her hair in a messy bun, just like I remembered. A small wrinkle appeard between her eyebrows when she was writting down the order from customers. She nodded, gave them a little smile and headed to the counter. When she turned around, facining the room, her eyes found me, standing there, still staring at her. Her jaw dropped, eyes widened and her face turned into dark red. I heard a pen falling onto the ground, and she dissepeard behind the counter.


Shit shit shit shit shit!!!!! I bounced down onto the floor, taking my head into my hands. What the fuck is he doing here? I cant come over there, not after the huge scene I put out... I narrowed back up, not looking over to their table, grabbed the phone that was laying on the counter, dialing Anna‘s number, my coworker, as fast as I could. Her shift was supposed to start in two hours, but I had to try if she could come here right now and deal with them instead of me. No answer. Damn! I left her a quick mesaage, begging her to come over ASAP, and hang up. It seemed like I had no other choice but go over there.

A minor flashback came into my mind. Oh god, this was so embarrasing. I SO overreacted back then, being such a drama queen. Non of the guys deserved it. Not even Richard, when I thought about it later on, when I calmed myself and already relized how hysterical I was. I knew he was flirting with me and I didn‘t express no clearly enough.

I took in a few breaths before I raised my head up, heading to their table, focusing on not falling down.

Hallo. Can I get you anything?“ I asked the other guy, not looking at Till. I could feel his stare at me though.

Ja, hi, can I get an espresso and a croissant with ham and cheese, please?“ ordered the guy.

„Of course,“ I replied, writing the order down to my small notebook. Most of the times I didn‘t really need it, unless it was a big order, but right now it gave me a perfect excuse to look at something else than them.

„And for you?“ I asked Till, my eyes glued to the paper.

„Uuum... What is this exactly?“ He pointed to the menu on the table, forcing me to look down and lean a little, reading the breakfast menu. I could smell his light cologne. Did de do that on purpose?? I told him what the special breakfast menu consists of, focusing on his finger glued onto it.

„Ah, I see. But I think I‘ll get the exact same as Stefan, please,“ he said.

„No problem. Anything else?“ I raised my eyes to the other guy.

„No, thank you,“ he said.

„Actually yes, I’ll have a bottle of water, please.“ Till’s voice was illegible, but I was almost positive he was having a great fun of that little inner joke.

I felt my face turning red. „Right away,“ I croacked and sprinted back to the counter. Good thing was that I had orders to prepare, thrilled I kept my hands busy, not having to think about what just happend. Well, at least not so much. I started to prepare the coffees for both of the tables, placing the trays onto the counter. I was almost finnished, when Anna rushed into the coffee shop. She had a confused look on her face, hurring towards me.

„What‘s going on? I got your mesaage, you sounded... upset“, she asked, staring at me.

„Hi, nothing...I just need to go grab some aspirin, I have a huge headache. Could you cover up for me? Just for today? I will owe you a big one,“ I mumbled, trying to keep our conversation down.

„Oh gosh, of course, go! And get some rest!“ She assured me, but the worried look still fixed on her face. I guess my red cheeks burning out of embarrasement gave her the impression of a severe fever.

„Thank you. These are the orders for the table one and five. The rest is settled,“ I said, rushing immediately into the tiny room for employes behind the counter. I quickly started packing my things into the bag. I was so ready to leave. The only problem was that there was no exit for employees only. I had to walk out right around their table. I stopped stuffing a spare shirt into my bag, thinking what to do, considering my options. I could stay here and tell Anna I feel better, but then I would be risking having to talk to the guys again. But if I go, I‘ll be running away like a little child. And for what? For being embarrased by the scene I made the other day? Well, it really was embarrasing. No, i gotta leave. I packed the rest of the stuff, walking out of the room.

„Thanks again, Anna,“ I said, giving her a little pat on her shoulder. „See you tomorrow.“

As quickly as possible, I got out of the coffee shop, without a single glance at Till’s table and run away.

Chapter Text

A loud honk from down the street woke me up. I growled as I looked at the alarm clock - I still had precious 20 minutes of sleep. I turned to my back, listening to the morning noise people and their cars were making on their ways to work. I liked this city, but it still was a city. I missed the sound of birds, smell of grass and flowers, quiet nature. I stretched my body and got up from the bed. I got out from the baggy shirt and tiny shorts and headed to the bathroom. If anything, hot shower in the morning is the answer to everything. I stepped in, waiting for the water to get warmer while releasing my dirty-blond hair from the bun. When first drops of boiling hot water touched my skin, a sighn of pure joy escaped my lips. It felt like the water was taking away not only the pain in my muscles, but also the heavy pain on my chest that was sitting there since yeaterday. I could not stop thinking about Till appearing at the coffee shop and how I reacted. Again. If he didnt think I was crazy already, he sure did by now. I trained myself not giving a damn about what other people think about me anymore, but this was different. I caught myself thinking about him all day yeaterday, no matter how hard I tried not to. I wondered what he was thinking. That I was crazy? Unstable? Wierd? Was he mad? Or was he just making fun of me? I had no idea, but I knew one thing. I didn‘t want him to think any of that. I did care about what he would think about me, even though I couldn’t say why. I sighed, relizing what‘s done is done, rinsed my hair for the last time and stepped out from the shower. I rubbed my hair into a towel and myself into the second one. When I walked into the kitchen, a pleasing smell of coffee hit my nostrils.

Guten morgen“, said Anna, turning her head over her shoulder, examing me. „How do you feel? You look better today".

„I do feel better," I replied, gratefully grabing the hot cup from her.

„But what was that? You looked terrible and it came out of no where," she claimed while she was taking bread out of the toaster.

„I think it was just a bad migrene," I said, sitting on top of the kitchen counter, bread slice in my hand.

"That‘s great you feel ok already, because it‘s saturday and that always mean a busy day. I would go CRAZY there alone," she rolled her eyes, laughing.

"So... How did it go yesterday? Was everything ok?" I asked casually, trying to make it sound like I was just curious about her shift.

„Yeah, it was ok. In the afternoon there were some annoying kids with totally stupid mothers who let them scream all over the place. Otherwise it was quite a calm day." she said. Ok, so she didn‘t noticed anything wierd. „But it‘s a pitty you left in such a hurry. The two guys sitting at five gave me quite a generous tip.“

„Really?“ I squaled. „That’s great! You deserve it,“ I said and I meant it. Anna was a sweetheart and she saved me by giving met his job. Even though I had a feeling this tip wasn‘t meant to be hers. But the reasons why it was given in the first place I rather left unanswered.

„I was shocked, but then I said hey, nobody lets money laying on the ground either. So this bread is on me!" she laughed, gave me a wink and left, going to prepare for work. „And hurry up or we’re gonna be late!“ she shouted from her room. I shook my head, ate the last bit of the toast, jumped down from the kitchen counter and hurried back to the bathroom to qucikly blow-dry my hair. For today I chose some comfy khaki loose pants with white shirt and my trusty black and white vans. I put on a nude lipstick and sprayed a little perfume on my neck, sprinting to the door where Anna was inpatiently waiting for me.

„Every morning! Why don’t you just wake up five minutes earlier?“ she rolled her eyes, locking the door.

That’s funny, today I actually did woke up a few minutes earlier. I guess it doesn’t matter how early I wake up, I always manage to be almost late,“ I emphasized, showing my watch in front of her face. „We are on time anyway,“ I said while running down the stairs, putting my hair into a messy bun.

„Only because of me, Marylin, and you know it!“ Anna screamed behind me, racing up to me. We rushed from the building together at the same time, holding each other around the waist, laughing out loud.

There was only me and Anna working at the coffee shop. Every morning one of us had the earlier shift when we would prepare the shop to open up and deal with the first customers of the day. Few hours later the other one would join in, closing the shop afterwards. On the weekends both of us worked the whole day since there were always more customers to serve. We lived together in a small apartment above the coffee shop for a good prize and we were allowed to keep the leftover food from the day. These benefits were covering the low salary, but you could always make a lot from the tips. Anna was practically my only friend in here. I liked some of her other friends, but we weren’t close enough. I was working every day and had no time for parties. Not that I would enjoy getting wasted in a nightclub full of people clinging all over me. I needed the money, and I needed the routine as well. Even though I would come home every night being extremely tired with my whole body being sore, I felt really good. Of course it will never be perfect. Never. But still, I felt fine. Like I almost accepted myself, my body, my inner me and this world in general. I was happy with the way my life was going right now. It wasn’t anything sustainable, but for once I did not wanna think about future or past. Just live in the moment. I was free afterall.

I started to put the chairs down from the tables and placing the today’s menu on them, while Anna started to work at the kitchen, preparing the food and displaying it on the counter. It was a regular saturday morning, people coming in for meetings, breakfast or just a good cup of coffee. The door bell rang once again, barely audible in the people’s conversations.

„Could you get that?“ asked Anna over her shoulder, trying to shout over the coffee maker.

„Sure,“ I replied, placing the dirty plates into the dishwasher, grabbing my notepad, running around the counter. Between the steps my heart missed a few beats and legs went numb when eyes saw who the customer was. There he was again, at the same table, sitting comfortably with crossed legs, hair falling slightly onto his face. Just keep going, my inner voice assured me, forcing my legs to keep moving. Third time is luck, right? I took in a deep breath before reaching the table.

Hallo, can I get you anything?“ I asked, trying my best to sound normal. My inner self jumped up excitedly as my voice actually did sound normal, not even shaking.

„Hallo,“ he replied. „You’re not gonna run away from me today?“ he said with a light smile.

„What?“ I asked stupidly, knowing damn well what he meant. „I didn’t ran away from anyone,“ I added, still managing to keep my voice firm.

„Really? I thought you were desperately calling someone, I assume your collegue, to come over so you could leave. By coincidence few seconds after you saw me walk in.“ His smile was less visible now, like he was still joking around, yet with a slight concern.

„I had things to do,“ I lied, possibly even my buttcheaks burning red.

„Ok then,“ he said, a bigger smile returning on his lips again. „Can you recommend me something?“ he pointed to the today’s menu, when I didn’t reply back.

„We have a delicious blueberry pie.“

„Blueberry pie it is. And a cappuccino, please.“

I made it back to the counter without tripping over. The fact that he clearly didn’t think I was crazy, as crazy as that was, made me feel a lot better. I could feel my shoulders and back releasing the tension, my whole body relaxing. It’s all good. I almost wanted to sing, that’s how happy I was. Like nothing happend, we could all just forget about it and I could be myself again. I placed the coffee and pie on the tray, making my way to Till’s table, when Mrs. Schmidt stopped me halfway there.

Meine Schatz, what made you look so happy today?“ she croaced loudly. Mrs. Schmidt was an 81 year old lady who was coming to our coffee shop three times a week. Always the same days, sharp like Swiss watch, ordering the same every time. She was a local sweetheart that everybody had to love.

„I had a good night sleep, Frau Schmidt,“ I replied with a smile, loud as well so she could hear me. „Would you wish anything else? Maybe more water for Otto?“ Otto was Mrs. Schmidt’s dog, an old and small dashhund. He was almost as deaf as she was, but still very playfull.

„No no, that’s alright sweetheart, we will get going in a while. Aren’t we Otto?“ she shouted, reaching her hand, trying to find the dogs head.

„Ok, I’ll be right back,“ I said, finally making it to Till’s table. „Sorry for the delay. Here’s your coffee and our speciality,“ I smiled, placing the tray in front of him.

„Thank you. Who is she?“ he tossed his head towards Mrs. Schmidt.

„Oh, that’s our granny, Mrs. Schmidt, our sweetheart. She comes here three times a week with her dog. She always has amazing stories to tell,“ I replied.

„Looks like you two have a nice relationship together.“ I nodded, not knowing what else to say.

„So…why did you run away yesterday? Are you mad at me?“ he frowned a little. Oh. My. God. He thinks I am mad at him.

„What? Why would you think that?“ I said, genuinely surprised.

„I don’t know. Yesterday you didn’t look happy to see me, you couldn’t even look at me. I guess it’s because of what happend back then? With Richard? I shouldn’t have let that happend.“ During those few sentences his face and voice went through various emotions – he sounded unsure, worried, sad and angry in the end. I shook my head furiously.

„You can’t think that. It’s not what it was all about,“ my voice shaking by the urgency I was speaking with.

„Then what? I thought Richard made a move on you,“ he frowned.

„He did,“ I admitted. He raised his eyebrows. „But it wasn’t about that. I mean, it was, but not only that. I panicked and needed some air, so I went to the hallway where he surprised me and tried to kiss me. It wasn’t his fault,“ I raised my voice a little when I saw him starting to protest. „It wasn’t. He was flirting with me very opendly and I didn’t give him a clear no. I was naive, I just hoped he’ll figure it out by himself. However, non of you deserved to be yelled at by me the way I did. I didn’t want to get involve into anything or anyone, including him. I was a real drama queen. I’m sorry,“ I finnished in one breath, wanting this conversation to be over as soon as possible.

He was looking at me for a few seconds, absorbing my words. „You should not be sorry for saying no to a man. You should be proud of that,“ he said after a while. We both blushed.

„But still. It wasn’t cool. It should have been a fun night,“ I replied finally.

„I was having fun,“ he mumbled, staring at the blueberry pie, picking it with his finger. A bunch of butterflies moved in my belly.

„Well, if you had fun based on that night…congrats,“ I said with a slightly nervous giggle. I looked at him, raising his eyes to me, the black hair almost covering them. „You don’t know me at all,“ I mumbled.

He smirked. „That’s why I’m here.“


„To get to know you better. I have a lot of questions.“ My cheeks  added one more shade of red. I tried to cover that, turning my head to the side a little, noticing Anna furiously wawing at me to help her out. I completely forgot I was working.

„And I have a lot to do,“ I waved back at Anna, giving her a signal that I’m coming.

„Oh…sorry. I don’t want to bother you.“ He sounded so sad and hurt, looking miserable at the armchair he was too big to fit properly into.

„Ok. One question.“

„Like now?“

„No, like today. I gotta go now.“

„Good. Then I’ll have to get used to eat a blueberry pie for breakfast regularly.“

„What do you mean?“

„Well, I have a lot of questions,“ he smirked.

I left that without an answer and hurried up to Anne who was losing it at the counter. „What the hell Marylin, I only have two hands!“ she howled at me. „Sorry, sorry! What can I do?“ I threw the notebook onto the counter. „Number one wants two croissants, one blueberry pie and a latte, number three wants homemade strawberry lemonade and Mrs. Schmidt wants the bill,“ she barked at me, running to take an order from customers who just came in. Stressed out Anna was not so fun.

I sprinted to Mrs. Schmidt to give her the bill and quickly started to prepare the food and drinks, secretly looking over at Till’s table. He was staring out through the shop window, eating the pie. What did he mean that he had a lot of questions? That he would come over for breakfast every day? What’s gonna Anna think about that? She’s not stupid. And what questions for god sake? My eyes traced at him again. He was now reading some book from one of the bookshelves. He raised his eyes, propably feeling my stare on his face, catching me.  I quickly looked down, spilling the hot milk from the coffee maker on my hand. „Shit!“ I whispered under my breath, putting my thump reflexivly in my mouth before resting it under the cold water in the sink.

Anna’s voice brought me back from my thoughts. „Hello, the earth is calling Marylin! Are you finnished here?“ she snapped her fingers in front of my face. „Yeah, I just need to get this to table one and I’m done,“ I quickly placed the now finnished latte next to the croissants and pie. On my way back Mrs. Schmidt was just getting up from her seat, leaving the coins under the menu, as always.

„Let me help you,“ I jumped over to her, grabbing her by her elbow.

„Thank you, liebe.“ She stood up, giving me the warmest smile. She placed her hand on my cheek, I placed my hand onto hers. That’s how Mrs. Schmidt was saying hello and goodbye to us. She caressed my cheek, called for Otto and slowly made her way to the door. I hold it for her and the dog, then stopping by at Till’s table.

„Did you like the pie?“ I asked, taking the empty plate.

„You were right, it was delicious. May I now?“

„May you what?“ I frowned.

„Ask you the one question of today,“ he explained.

„Umm…if you want to, go ahead,“ I said, bitting my lip, expecting the worst.

„What are you doing here?“ The simplicity of his question made me laugh. Of course I got he meant what am I doing here in Germany when I was in France at his concert, but the way he said it, so seriously and curiously, just cracked me up. I leaned down, looking over the coffee shop and whispered: „I am pretending to be a waitress in here, don’t tell on me.“ I was now so close that I could see the green color sneaking into his blue eyes, the same smell of him filling up my nostrils. He frowned for good two seconds before he got my stupid joke, his eyes widening.

„Almost fooled me,“ he smirked.

„I‘m on a longtime break from my past life, country and myself. I was backpacking across Europe, just me and what I could carry on. One night at some bar in Paris where I was resting, I overheard some guys talking about having a spare concert ticket for the other day. They were arguing whether they should try to sell it or not. So I made a bet with him that if he loses, he will give me the ticket for free. I won. I wandered around for a bit after the concert and made it to Netherlands, where I met Anna, who was there on a vacation.“ I smiled, looking over my shoulder to Anna, who was still talking to the customers.

„She told me she was from Germany and that they were looking for a second waitress. They offered me a place to stay and assured me it won’t be a problem to work here as a foreigner. Four days later I started my first shift in here.“

He was listening carefully to every word I said. „I thought you were from France, your French is perfect. And your German and English as well,“ he complimented me.

„Thank you. I always loved learning different languages.“

„And -“

A bunch of new customers – with a buch of kids – walked in. One look at Anna made it very clear who would be serving them.

„Sorry, I gotta go. Anna hates kids at the coffee shop and I hate when she’s pissed of,“ I apologized, grabbing the empty cup of coffee. „Do you want anything else?“ I asked, nervously looking over to the new customers shouting at each other, arguing where is everyone going to sit.

„No, thank you. You should go, your friend looks frigheting.“ Anna was on the best way to get into her I-hate-fucking-kids mood. „Let’s finnish the converstation tomorrow,“ added Till with a small question mark at the end of the sentence.

„Tomorrow it is,“ I smiled at him. His face lighted up with a huge smile on his face as I hurried up to the new customers.

Tomorrow it is.

Chapter Text

The shift seemed infinite. We got lucky with a lot of kid customers yelling and crying all over the place the whole day. In the afternoon Anna already looked like a forty year old alcoholic woman having a life crisis, even though I covered all the tables with kids for her. I assumed tonight we will be opening a bottle of wine or something to regain her nerves back.

„Do you wanna go out somewhere tonight?“ she asked me a few minutes later, just as I expected. „And I don’t take no as an answer. You need to spice up your life a little,“ she added in an educative tone, but I knew she was just fooling around.

„Actually I need to go buy some new cloths and stuff. Wanna go shopping?“ I replied while putting the dirty plates into the dishwasher. Even though I hated shopping in general, I really did need new clothes – this morning except of these khaki pants and white shirt I only had clean jean shorts, dress and the black and white jumpsuit. And now that I had a stable living situation and some saved money, I could allow myself more cloths and less washing up. Plus shopping with Anna was always less annoying and actually quite fun.

„Yeees, let’s do that!“ her eyes sparkled immediately. Sometimes I wondered how the hell the two of us could be friends.

When our shift was finally over (Anna left for whole ten minutes to breath out when some three year old threw a massive tantrum, trowing oat meals all over the place), we cleaned the shop for tomorrow and headed straight to the mall nearby. Anna locked her hand in mine, letting out a loud sighn. „I’m so glad that I finally took you out, it’s been quite a while since we went somewhere together,“ she said with a slight blame in her tone. „And the guys agree with me, you should hang out with us more often. Even Hannah spends more time with us, and she’s like super busy. Oh, did I tell you about her new boyfriend? He’s so cute, maybe a little too reserved, but they are made for each other,“ Anna started telling me everything about Hannah and Liam and other friends I rarely hanged out with as well. She was always keeping me informed about their lifes in such a detail that I almost didn’t need to see them at all. It’s not that Anna was gossiping, she wasn’t talking shit behind people‘s back. It was more because of her instant need for talking. Me on the other hand prefered taking the listerners role. This way both of us were pretty happy with each other’s company.

We have walked through most of the clothing shops in the mall, picking silly outfits and having fun, but also trying out some nice pieces. I was keeping an eye on my budget but still managed to buy actually very nice stuff. After attacking all the fashion shops we quickly purchased some toiletries and things for the apartment, and I bought myself new contact lenses that I needed. It was already late when we finished, so we headed straight home. None of us was feeling like cooking, so we bought some junk food on the way for dinner.

Even though Anna’s presence made my mind busy, I still had a vivid memory of this morning with Till and how normal our conversation was for once again. I pulled out a simple black spiral notebook from one of the bags. When Anna asked why I needed it, I just said it’s for my diary. But more than a diary I wanted to use it just as a way to put down my thoughts, so I don’t have to go over and over them in my head. A technique that sometimes is quite useful. I sat down and started writing, not really thinking about it, just letting my feelings and thoughts out. When I finished, it was very late, Anna already went to bed probably. I quickly counted how little hours I have before my alarm clock wakes me up and sighned. But today was a good day. I closed my eyes with a small smile on my face, falling asleep in a few minutes.


The morning was hectic as always, well at least for me. Anna was having breakfest with no hurry, already dressed, while I was panicking in the bathroom. Last night I threw away my contact lenses because they started to itch my eyes. But when I reached into the bag to grab the new ones I bought last night, they were gone. I must have lost them on the way, probably when paying for the junk food. I had no lenses, no glasses and a blurry vision with a whole work day ahead of me.

„How could this happend? I mean don’t you keep spare ones?“ Anna shook her head. Maybe she seemed loose around other poeple, partying and joking around, but as her roomate I knew she was a huge perfectionist. She would never got herself into a situation like this.

„Of course I do, I bought a new package last night, so I threw the old ones to the trash. I had no idea I lost them,“ I said, following Anna down the stairs. We agreed that I’ll survive today’s shift and go buy new ones after work, the shop was opening up later than us anyway.

At first I thought it could go well. We prepared the shop without any trouble, the problem was when people came in. I had a hard time writing down and reading the orders, walking with the tray, not seeing clearly where I was stepping, but I was trying my best. After two or three hours in, when my poor eyes were already giving up, a great fuck up behind the counter brought attantion of everyone in the room. I was squeezing some fresh oranges, and when I walked over to the other side of the isle to pour it into the glass, I stepped on something slippery and immediately went down with a huge noise. I broke the glass that I grabbed seconds before falling, spilling all the squeezed orange on myself. I quickly got up, laughing intensely of how silly I am, but dying of embarrassment on the inside. Yet another faux pas, another embarrassing moment to hunt me before I go to sleep every night. I looked down to see my now orange jumpsuit with a huge stain on it, the dirty floor covered in the chunks of fruit and shards from the glass and a small bleeding cut on my palm. And the people were still staring.

„Girl, what were you doing? Look at that mess! Are you ok?“ Anna’s slight anger turned into worriness when she saw the blood on my hand. Even though she knew how often I was tripping over or injuring myself, she was always worried.

„Anna, I’m so sorry,“ I whispered, trying to keep it down from the customers who slowly went back to their boring conversations. „I don’t know what happend, I must have sli-“ I got stuck in the middle of the sentence when I saw a piece of orange peel on the ground. I managed to put out one of the most typical and pathetic fails – slipping on a fruit peel. „Oh shit, I must have slipped on the orange peel, I didn’t see it falling to the ground,“ I mumbled angerily.

Anna couldn‘t hold it in anymore, letting out a giggle. „I thought it was just a myth, but there you are to prove me wrong,“ she laughed as she was maneuvering me to the sink to splash the blood from my hand. She looked at me and shook her head. „Honey, you gotta go change out of this messy cloths, put some plaster on your hand and go buy the new lenses now. You are useless here if you can’t see shit anyway. I’ll handle it for a while,“ she said while reaching for a mop to clean the floor. „No discussion. Now go,“ she added with an unexpected authority in her voice.

„Thanks Ann, I’ll be right back,“ I promised, rushing out through the coffee shop making sure I don’t trip over something or someone. I succesfully made it through the maze of tables to the door, sprinting out, and bumbing hard into somebody much taller than me.

„Ouch, sorry!“ I yelp. I knew it was him before I looked up, when my nostrils filled up with his now familiar scent. He was wearing a hat and sunglasses so I couldn’t really see his expression, but his mouth opened slightly in a surprise and then changed into a light smile as he recognized me. „Hi, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you,“ I said. Literally, added my inner voice sarcastically.

„Hey,“ his smile widened a bit more. Then he looked down on the huge orange stain on my belly, crouch and legs. He frowned a little but kept on smiling. I suspected him from practically laughing at my ridiculous presence. „What happend to you?“

„Don‘t even ask... I fell down and spilled an orange juice on me because I’m not wearing my lenses and didn’t notice the peel on the floor. Ridiculous. I gotta go change and run to the mall to buy me new lenses,“ I explained, walking around him and poiting out across the street. „We have delicious cakes today, you can try some,“ I added with a light smile, covering my eyes from the sun to see his face and wawing goodbye.

„Let me go with you,“ he said in his deep soft voice.

„What? I just need to change clothes and buy the lenses. I’ll meet you inside, Anna’s there“ I tossed my head towards the coffee shop.

„Marylin. You seriously don’t think that I will let you go alone to the mall when you can’t see properly, do you?“ he raised his eyebrows.

„I’ll be fine…“

„Yeah, I can see that,“ he pointed to my belly where the orange stain started to dry out on the sun. „I just want to make sure you don’t walk into the road and get yourself killed,“ he said, his lips moving to the side, creating some kind of a supressed smile that I now relized was quite typical for him.

„Fine, but I need to go change first. Follow me.“ On our way upstairs I was trying to remember if we left the flat cleaned earlier this morning before we left, trusting Anna’s tidiness. When we entered the small apartment, I went straight to the bathroom where we had a first aid kit.

„Do you live here by yourself?“ I heard Till’s voice from the living room slash kitchen. „No, I share it with Anna. It belongs to the coffee shop downstairs. It’s actually one of the main reasons I took this job. It‘ cheaper,“ I yelled back to him, grabbing some disinfection, small piece of gauze and a plaster. „Damn,“ I mumbled as I relized it’s gonna be hard to take care of the cut with my left hand. I sighed, pressed the things against my chest and walked back to the living room.

„I think I need a hand in here,“ I said while entering the room. He was looking at some of the books and photos me and (mostly) Anna had on the bookshelf, his sunglasses hanging on the top of his shirt. Looked like he really liked books. He raised his head, looking at me carrying the gaze and disinfection against my chest with my left hand, his sight tracing my right hand. „What’s wrong?“ he asked, meeting me half way. I raised my hand up, revealing the cut on my palm. „This is unbeliavable. I see you more often bleeding than being ok,“ he shook his head, twisting his lips the kinda wierd way again. „I know, right? But it’s normal, I have a very thin skin and tend to bleed a lot all the time. That’s why I was bleeding so much after the concert back then. If you’ve hit anyone else, they probably wouldn’t even get a black eye,“ I said. He didn’t say anything to that, just nodded and took the peroxide with gauze from me, looking around. „Can we do it over the sink here?“ he asked, pointing to the small kitchen isle. I nodded, following him. He carefully poured a little bit of the disinfection onto the cut, drying it out with the gauze. I handed him the plaster, watching him tear it apart. His hands were huge, but his moves and touches were suprisingly very gentle. When he placed on the plaster, he caressed it slightly with his thump.

„Thanks,“ I croacked breathlessly. „I’m gonna go change quickly,“ I said, grabbed the disinfection, dirty gauze and the wrapper of the plaster and hurried back to the bathroom. I threw it recklesly onto the counter and ran to my bedroom. I quickly tossed off the jumpsuit, took the flower vintage dress of the hook and got dressed. He was looking out the window when I walked in. He turned around and quickly looked me up and down, looking at the dress. Even from the distance I could see the twisted smile on his face. Really cute twisted smile, actually.

„Ready?“ I asked, grabbing the keys from the small table next to the door. He nodded, walking towards me and stopping in front of me. He looked at me and reached out his hand. I immediately stepped back in a reflective move, just like I did when Frank the doctor wanted to examine me. I didn’t like people invading my space or touching me, especially without letting me know first. „Sorry,“ he apologized. It surprised him and I could see the worriness in his eyes. „There’s something in your hair. I think a piece of the orange peel got stuck there. Can I…?“ he asked with patience in his voice, making sure I’m ok with him taking it out. I felt like he understood. I nodded, watching him taking the peel out. My heart started beating faster when he briefly touched my cheek and hair. Suddenly I had trouble breathing proparly, but it was a different feeling than fear or anxiety I was used to. „Thank you,“ I said shakily. I quickly turned around, not being able to handle him looking me in the eyes anymore and opened the door. He didn’t say anything else and followed me down the street, waiting for me to lock the door.

When we walked outside to the street, he stood beside me few inches back, making sure I don’t trip over with my bad vision. First few minutes we walked in silence. As we reached the crossing, he lightly rested his big palm on my elbow, carrying me across the street.

„Thanks, but you don’t have to do that,“ I said when we made it to the other side.

„I know. Just making sure,“ he replied. He wasn’t smiling, actually his face and whole body was pretty tightened. I guess he isn’t comfortable in public as much as he is in privacy. I looked at his sunglasses and grey cap, even though it was a very warm day.

„Aren’t you hot in the hat?“ I pointed to his head. His hand automaticaly went up to touch the hat, he let out a shaky giggle. „A little. I don’t like people starring at me and reaching up to me in public. I feel more like an object than a human being. This helps a bit,“ he mumbled.

„Oh.“ I was so surprised by the honesty and the seriousness he said it, that I had no idea what to say back. After a while he broke the silence.

„I didn’t know you wear contact lenses. How bad is your vision?“ My normal answer would be „oh, it’s all fine“, so I wouldn’t bother people with my actual thoughts and feelings. But with him I felt more safe to express myself, plus he was honest with me a minute ago.

„It’s not the worst, I mean I could be blind, right? Everything is just very blurry and my eyes and head hurts if I don’t wear glasses or lenses. It’s very annoying wearing glasses, in summer it gets sweaty and in winter foggy when you walk inside a warm room. Lenses are more practical, but my eyes are quite sensitive and from time to time it’s itching or hurting if I wear them for a longer period of time. That’s what happend yesterday. I bought new ones, because the old ones were scratching my eyes. I threw them out and in the morning, when I wanted to take the new ones, I found out I must have loose them on the way home,“ I replied.

„And you don’t have glasses?“ he asked, sounding actually curious and not just making a small talk.

„I had, but my vision got worse a little and then I broke them anyway. And lenses are cheaper.“

He mumbled in understanding and we went silent again until we reached the mall. Good thing I remembered where the store was because I could barely read the shop names. I thought Till would wait outside, but he walked in with me. I quickly asked for the type of my lenses and waited a little while for the vendor to bring it from the storeroom in the back.

„There you go. Weren’t you here last night?“ he smiled at me, placing the package on the counter.

„Oooh god, thank you so much!“ I yelped happily while picking up the package. „I was. But I lost them on the way and already threw my old ones away,“ I explained for a milionth time today.

„That’s too bad, I wish I could make it up for you somehow.“ I ignored his comment and started to look for change to pay. Till’s big hand appeard next to me, reaching for the bill. „Let me get that,“ he mumbled deeply.

„It’s okay, thank you,“ I glanced at him shortly ,then focusing on the money again. „Thank you,“ I repeated sharply when he ignored me and was about to give the vendor the cash. I quickly paid the check, grabbed the lenses and walked out of the store. Nearby was a bench, so I headed there, unboxing the package. I couldn’t wait to see clearly again. I sat down, tilted my head and applied the first lense. I blinked furiously to stop it from tearing up, feeling the releave when I saw the world sharp again. Till didn’t sit next to me but was standing above me, watching me putting on the other lense.

„Better?“ he gave me an unsure look.

„Hmmm. Much better,“ I sighned. Then I looked up at him. „I appreaciate you wanting to pay for me, but I’m not use to it and it makes me very uncomfortable,“ I said in a serious tone so he would know I’m not kidding or just pretending.

„But that’s what I do. That’s what gentlemans should do…“ he said, a small wrinkle of confusion appearing in between his dark eyebrows.

„I know. And it’s a nice gesture. But I’ve never had anyone to pay for me, it doesn’t fit for me. The same applies for high tips at work. Then I feel like you’re buying me or something.“

„Marylin, it’s not true and you know it.“ The urgency and seriousness he spoke suprised me.

„I know. I just can’t help myself though. Can you understand that?“ I asked, getting up from the bench. He just nodded so we walked out of the mall in silence once again. We were almost out, when two girls approached us. Well, approcahed Till. They asked for a picture with him, he patiently posed with them while I was waiting aside, watching him being all uncomfortable. The girls, younger than me, then thanked him and walked away. Till kept on walking forward, not looking at me. I sensed he was embarrased and didn’t want to talk about it, so I respected that and kept quiet. After a while he broke the silence again.

„Are you coming back to the coffee shop?“ he asked casually.

„I have to. Anna can’t be there alone for a long time.“ He nodded, agreeing that it’s understanable.

We were almost there, when I finally asked him the one question that was burning me the most and was written in capslock in the black notebook I bought yeasterday. „Why do you keep coming back?“ I asked, not even trying to sound casual. I covered my eyes with my hand from the sun, so I could see his face expression. Even though he was wearing the sunglasses, reading in his face was very helpful than just listening to his voice. It took him a few seconds before he replied.

„Because you are interesting and I like your company,“ he said slowly, thinking about every word. „And you are always working, so you basically give me no other choice.“ We passed the street corner and stopped before the coffee shop, which was a blessing because I had no idea what to say back to that. I was aware of my blushy cheeks but decided to ignore it. I tilted my head, seeing he took the sunglasses off. The summer sun light was colouring his eyes with various shadows of blue, green and bits of brown. I stared at him for good three seconds before finally speaking up.

„Will you come over tomorrow?“ I asked quietly. His lips twisted in the wierdly cute smile again. „Only if you want me to,“ he replied. I looked down to my feet in my own awkwardness, then looking up at him again. I smiled widely and nodded. He gave me the smile back. „Great. Before that, take care of yourself and watch out for orange peels!“ he teased me a little, a loud giggle escaping his twisted lips. He touched my lower back for a second as a goodbye, gave me last warm smile and walked away.

Chapter Text

The late afternoon sun was shining through the car windshield. It has been quite a long time since I last sat in a car, and I was really enjoying the ride. We didn’t speak, only the songs from the radio were quietly disturbing the silence. I looked at Till whos sight was focused to the Autobahn, and smiled.

Two weeks has already passed since the day he walked with me to the mall to buy my lenses. He kept his word and came to the coffee house every day. With every new day, the conversation and the situation in general was less and less awkward. We eventually forgot about the silly „one question per day“ rule and just talked about anything we liked or were interested in, as more as we could during my small breaks. One day he told me that he couldn’t come next day because he had some bussiness to do. In that moment I remembered that my boss gave me three days off after tomorrow. I wasn’t an official employee there and boss was expecting some kind of inspection or whatever. I told Till that I won’t be here on those days. He stayed silent for a few seconds and then asked me nervously if I wanted to spend it with him. He caught me off guard so much that he started to think I don’t want to….but I did.

„I’d like to be with you to and finally have a proper conversation with you. It’s just…“ I paused for a second. I didn’t know how to put into words how I felt, but I already saw the look on his face, telling me he’s probably thinking of different reasons.

„I just don’t think that I’m a good pal for you. I don’t fit in into the life you have. The high classed places, people, parties. It’s not for me,“ I explained, trying to express my thoughts as good as I could. His facial expression changed with a slight relieve.

„Well, I wasn’t going to take you into some fancy restaurant. No offence,“ he added quickly. „I was thinking we could go to my cabin. It’s a nice place away from the city. I wanted to go there anyways, but there’s no coffee house like that,“ he said.

I blushed a little, but I was relieved. I couldn’t picture myself in his world with all these people staring and being fake. So I agreed.

Anna wasn’t really curious where I was going, that was good. My boss told me I had to leave our flat upstairs for those days, because it was a part of the coffee house too. I only told Anna I’ll travel around the city and book some hostel. She knew that it was the way I lived before I started working here, so she didn’t ask much. I didn’t tell her about Till though. I don’t know why. Maybe because I just didn’t want to explain everything. Two days later I packed most of my stuff and Till picked me up in his terrain Toyota.

So here I was, sitting in Till’s car, going God knows where, yet happy. I sneakily watched him drive. Him focusing on the road gave me a great oppoturnity to stare at him freely, the sun glittering on his face and muscled arms. He didn’t wear his usual beanie and glasses, so I could properly see his face. He nervously looked sideways, realizing my rude long stare. I immediately looked in front of me, pretending I didn’t stare at him at all. We were passing among forrest on one side and a field on the other. I have been stuck in the Berlin city center for weeks now, so I gratefully accepted this wonderful view. Chop Suey started to play, and I leaned deeper into my seat. I loved that song, and when the slower part at the end came up, I unconciously started to quietly sing along.

„Trust in my self righteous suicide…“. I turned my head towards Till, as I realized I was singing out loud, surprised that he joined me.

„I cry when angels deserve to die…“. We sang the end of the song together, our voices matching quite nicely.

The song ended with a slightely awkard silence. „Wow, your singing is good!“ he said after a while. „You’re not that bad either,“ I giggled, easing the atmopshere a bit.

As we kept on going, the surroundings got wilder and wilder. After two hours the sky darkened, Till turned into a barely visible narrow road in the woods. Within a few minutes, we finally arrived to our destination. Till parked the car next to a beautiful wooden log cabin, that you only dream about. Now that’s some private goals, I though to myself.

„What do you think?“ he asked nervously. Does he really think that I wouldn’t like it?

„It’s beautiful,“ I said honestly. His face relaxed a bit, as he got out of the car. He rushed towards the cabin to turn on the light on the porch, so we could see more than just the two sharp lights from the car’s reflectors. Meanwhile I grabbed my bag from the backseat, still admiring the surroundings. The porch lights went on and I watched Till going back to the car.

„Let me get that,“ he murmured, reaching for the bagpack.

„I walked with it across countries, I think I got it,“ I replied. Something told me I screwed up, giving by his facial expression. „I didn’t mean it like that. I’m fine, thanks,“ I added, pissed at myself for ditching him like that. As I walked towards the cabin, I was thinking whether it’s normal not being used to guys carrying my stuff, and if I’m comfortable with that. I mean, girls usually ask for it, right? Am I wierd when I feel uncomfortable if someone wants to pay for me or help me out like that? My thoughts got interrupted when I stepped into the livingroom. It was furnished into a cozy style with a bunch of blankets and pillows on the couch and the armchair, covered in plastic sheets, bookshelf and fire place, that fitted perfectly with the wooden walls. Silent „wow“ slipped from my lips as I walked into the room, and I could hear Till giggeling with satisfaction behind my back. His bag was hanging on his shoulder like there was nothing in it, a huge box filled with food resting in his hands. I have to pay him for the food, I made a note in my mind.

„Welcome,“ he said, passing by. He went to the other side of the room through an open door that lead into the kitchen. I could see a table with chairs, a big wooden cupboard and a part of the kitchen counter. He placed the box with food on the table and returned back to me, still standing at the entrance.

„Do you want something to drink? Or put your stuff down first? I will show you your room,“ he said, pointing to the stairs on the left. I nodded. Not gonna lie, I felt relieved. When he invited me here, of course a though that going to the middle of nowhere with a guy I barely know is not that good of an idea. I trusted him, but still, when he said „your room“, I felt relieved.

We climbed the stairs leading into a small corridor with two doors on each side. The wooden floor was creaking under our steps, as we entered the first room on the left.

„This will be your room, if you agree,“ he said. There was a big comfy bed covered with a plastic sheet, little bedside table with cute vintage lamp on it, huge cupboard and padded armchair wrapped in the plastic as well. The minty green window curtains were closed, but I guessed there must have been a beautiful view into the forrest. I’ve put down my bag, looking around the room.

„This is amazing, thank you,“ I smiled. He returned the smile back and moved to the bed, removing the plastic sheet from it.

„It‘s for the dust and bad air,“ he explained, winding it into a small ball. I nodded and took the plastic sheet from the armchair.

„I will give you bed sheets,“ said Till, being a good host. He opened the wooden cupboard, looking for the sheets. I turned around and pulled the curtains to the side. I was wrong. There was a forrest, but the view was mostly to a clearing. From what I could hear and see in the dark, there was also a pond or a lake, maybe river. My smile widened.

I turned back just when Till was putting piles of sheets, blanket and towels from the cupboard. „You can put your cloths in here. The bathroom is across the hall, second door on the right. Here is your towel, bed sheets and a blanket. Do you need anything else?“ he asked, looking at the pile, thinking whether he forgot something or not.

„No, this is perfect, thank you,“ I replied.

„Ok. I’ll let you settle in. If you need anything just shout out to me, I’m staying next to your room,“ he smiled at me, grabbed a pile of bed sheets for him and turned around to leave.

„Do you wanna help with the sheets?“ I asked. He laughed.

„I’m used to do my own bed,“ he said.

„Really?“ I said before I could stop the words coming out of my mouth.

„Yes, really,“ he replied and walked out from the room. I putted my head into my hands. That was awkward. And stupid. I didn’t know if I offended him by that or made him sad or angry, but it was just stupid. I sighed, took the sheets and started making my bed. I was almost done with putting my cloths into the cupboard, when I heard a light knock on the door. Till’s head sneaked from behind the door.

„Are you hungry? I’m gonna make something for dinner, wanna join me?“ he said with a normal tone in his voice, smiling. Thank God.

„That would be great, thanks. I’ll there in a minute,“ I smiled back. He closed the door a little behind him, loud footsteps from the stairs echoing in the corridor. I’ve putted last few dresses into the cupboard and closed it, its door squeeking quietly. I took my toiletries bag and went out to the bathroom. Till left the door into his bedroom slightly open, but I couldn’t see anything in the dark, except of a shadow of the bed. I shook my head and placed the toiletries to the bathroom shelve. I checked my reflection in the mirror, and loosen my hair from the messy bun. I tried to put them into the right place, but gave up after a while. I quickly changed into comfy pants and a light sweatshirt with a hoody and headed downstairs. Meanwhile Till managed to unpack the food, placing the last items into the fridge.

„What do you say to a frozen pizza? I know it’s nothing special, but it’s already quite late to cook a proper meal…“ he asked cautiously.

„Pizza is perfect,“ I smiled and handed him a bag of potatos. He nodded with a slight releave, putted away the potatos and leaned back onto the kitchen counter.

„What do you wanna drink? I bought some beers and juice, but it’s not iced yet. There should also be some wine and some alcohol though.“

„I’ll have whatever you have, thanks,“ I said and sat down to the kitchen table.

„Let’s have wine then. Do you prefer white or red?“

„White please.“

„It’s in the cellar, I’ll be right back. Can you watch the pizza?“

„Sure,“ I smiled. When he left throught the back door, I stood up to check on the pizza. The cheese has melted and the crust was already done. I looked around to find the kitchen glove. It was laying on top of the fridge. I placed it on my hand, turned off the oven and took the plate with the pizza out. Just when I was looking for the knife, Till got back with a bottle of wine in his hand. He placed it on the table and opened one of the drawers to take out the knive.

„I got it. Pour the wine meanwhile?“ I asked. He handed me the knife and started to look for the bottle opener. I cut the pizza to eight slices, happy how well we can cooperate.

„Plates?“ I asked.

„The top drawer on your left,“ he said, not even looking up from the wine bottle. I took out three plates, put the pizza on one of them and grabbed the other two for each of us. Till opened the bottle with a loud pop and poured the wine into the glasses. I placed the pizza and the plates to the table and sat down. I wasn’t even that hungry, but the pizza smelled really good.

„I though I would serve you something better than a frozen pizza,“ Till said after he took a sip of the wine.

„Are you kidding? I love pizza, everybody loves pizza. Besides, I got used to junk food while travelling,“ I smiled and grabbed one slice of the pizza. Back at the coffee house, Till asked me once why I decided to travel by myself. I replied shortly that I just wanted a change, some closure and re-start my life when travelling. He understood that I didn’t want to specify it, respected it, never asked me again and I was gratefull for that.

„What’s your favourite food?“ he asked me instead. I finished the slice first while thinking about it.

„I don’t know, I would eat practically anything, honestly. But I love berries,“ I said, took a sip of the wine and sighed in satisfaction by its taste.

„Berries?“ he asked surprised. I nodded.

„Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. They taste so good. When I was little, I used to go out and pick them in the woods or our cottage garden,“ I said with a light smile and took another slice. „What’s your favourite food?“

„I’m also not a picky eater. I like to try new foods, cuisine, ingrediences and food combinations,“ he said. We kept on talking about the food, what drinks we like and that the wine he brought was very tasty. I’m no wine expert, so I didn’t know if it was expensive or not, but he sure has a good taste in it.

When we finished the pizza (I had only two slices - I wasn’t that hungry and I knew Till being a big guy needs to eat more than me), I washed the plates and glasses and Till went to put down the rest of the wine back to the cellar. I was drying the last plate with the dishtowel, when he came back to the kitchen. He helped me to put them back to its place and turned towards me.

„Now what? Do you want to stay or go to bed?“ he asked casually.

„I think I’ll go sleep now, if you don’t mind. I’m quite tired,“ I said.

„Sure, it was a long ride,“ he replied, like if I was driving the car.

We climbed the stairs together, Till turning the lights off behind us.

„I will let you go to the bathroom first,“ he offered, stopping half-way to his room.

„Thanks, I’ll be quick,“ I promised. „Thank you for the pizza. And inviting me here, it’s a beautiful place,“ I said, because I felt like I haven’t thanked him enough.

„No problem. Good night,“ he smiled, turned back and dissapeared in his room. I waited a few seconds and headed into the bathroom. After brushing my teeth, putting out the lenses and a quick shower, I lightly knocked on the door, letting him know that the bathroom is free. I went to my room, turned on the lamp and sat on the bed. I heard Till going into the bathroom. I rewined this day in my mind and had to smile. I took my „diary“ out of the bag, found a pen in the side pocket and quickly wrote a few words about today. Then I climbed under the cold sheets, turned the light off and looked towards the window. Normally I could not sleep well at new places and it always took me some time to get used to it, but tonight I fell asleep within a few minutes. Today was a good day.

Chapter Text

I stood in front of the cupboard for a while, thinking what to wear. It was about eight in the morning, still quite cold and I wanted to wear something cozy. Finally I picked loose black sweatpants and the grey oversized sweatshirt with hoodie from yesterday. I got out of my room, looking around the hallway. I couldn’t hear anything, not knowing whether Till is still asleep or not. I quietly walked into the bathroom, brushed teeth, washed my face and tried to put my hair into an acceptable look, then making a messy bun as always. I’ve put perfume on and walked out. I headed down the stairs, thinking Till might be there. Both the livingroom and kitchen were empty. I opened the fridge, looking for breakfast. We could have eggs, but Till bought some bread that should be eaten fist. I made black coffee and butter the bread, added ham and tomato on the side. Just as I was placing it all on the table, I heard heavy steps on the stairs. Seconds later Till entered the kitchen.

„Did I wake you up?“ I asked.

„I thought I heard you walking around. I was already awake,“ he replied, joining me at the table. „Thanks for the breakfast,“ he added, reaching for one of the plates.

„I think I should be thanking you. For the food I mean.“ I swallowed the part about paying him for it, predicting his negative response to it. He had his mouth full, so he just smiled and poured us both the coffee.

„Did you sleep well?“ he asked in between bites.

„Surprisingly I did. I mean, I don’t usually sleep well on other places,“ I explained when he raised his eyebrows. He nodded. „Me too. But when you travel so much as I do, you will get use to it,“ he said.

„Yeah, I can imagine. Do you like it?“ I asked after a while.

„What, travelling?“ he asked, thinking about his answer. „When we were at the beginnings with the band, it was all we wanted. To travel the country, hell the world, play our music there and party all night. It was fun for the first few years, but eventually you get tired of it. You spent too much time with a group of a very few people and you miss ordinary things and people you left behind. Instead of sleeping in a different city every night, sometimes I would rather just stay at home. But we love what we do, and this is the part of it.“

He sounded so worned out just speaking about it. „Do you ever regret it? Being famous, having to bbe loyal to the band, the fans?“ I asked. I knew it was way too personal, but he seemed to be honest so far and I was really curious.

He looked me directly in my eyes, thinking. Then he answered slowly, focusing on his cup of coffee. „You have to be humble of every success you have in life and push yourself forwards, otherwise you will be stuck forever. Of course there are days when I think what life would be like if I was just some guy from Leipzig, even wishing it was like that sometimes. But in the end, I have to be gratefull for what I have. I do what I love for living. The negative side effects are something I have to accept as a part of it,“ he explained. I felt that he was trying to look for the right words to express his feelings, meaning he maybe didn’t talk about it that much.

„But are you happy?“ I couldn’t help myself. It just didn’t sound well.

„I’m gratefull for what I have,“ he repeated, ate the last slice of tomato and headed to the sink with his empty plate. Yep, definitely went too far now. That’s a no-no territory for you, Marylin.

„What do you wanna do today?“ he asked, fortunetaly it seemed he wasn’t mad at me.

„I don’t know. What would you do if I wasn’t here?“

He shrugged. „Probably fishing.“

„We can do that,“ I said confidentally.

He raised his eyebrows. „Are you sure? Have you ever been fishing before?“

Rude. „I was a few times when I was a kid. I don’t remember much, but you could teach me again,“ I replied, getting up from the chair. I stood beside him, pulled up my sleeves and washed the plate and cups in the sink. I could smell his scent again, standing so close to him. I wondered if it was his cloths or cologne smelling so nice.

„If you want to, we can go,“ he said, a tiny doubt still audible in his voice, but also excitement. I smiled to agree but then frowned. I made myself look like I know what it takes, and didn’t know what to wear. I mean are we gonna get wet? How long are we gonna be there? Till noticed my frustrated expression. He gently placed his palm on my arm.

„Hey, what’s wrong? We don’t have to go, we can do whatever you want!“ he said and squeezed my arm slightly to emphasize his words. I looked up at him, my eyebrows still frowned.

„I don’t know what to wear,“ I said desperatelly. He stared at me for good three seconds and then bursted out laughing. He tilted his head, his laugh echoing from the kitchen walls. I’ve never heard him laugh that much, actually he hardly laughed or even smiled.

„Oh my god, I thought…“ he said in between his giggles. „I’ll find you something you could take,“ he said after he controlled his giggeling. I decided to ignore the question resonating in my mind, whether was he laughing at me or to me, smiled along with him and agreed. Upstairs he found me some knee-boots for fishing. They were a little bigger than my size, but I wore some thick warm socks into them so it was quite comfortable. I wondered who it belonged to. I wore my black jeans with a warm long sleeved shirt and Till gave me some light jacket. While I was getting ready, he went to grab his fishing gear. We brought everything in two walks, also bringing some beer with us. I looked outside from my window in the morning, and I could see the water in the distance, but couldn’t tell because of the trees how bit it was. When we arrived, I found out it was a big pond. Or a small lake.

We settled everything down on the pier, Till starting to get all the equipment together. Meanwhile I took the two fishing chairs and sat in one of them, looking around. It was very peacefull, trees slowly getting colored leafs. When Till was ready with the rods and all, he started to teach me how it works. I was only listening partly, knowing he will be there to do the job. I rather watched him being excited to talk about fishing. This was so interesting. It was like he had two completely different sides of him. One where he frowns and it seems like he could not care less, which I started to think meant he either thinks about the conversation, or is deeply lost in his own thoughts. The second was a lot more cheerfull and happy when he would get all excited by something, talked and smiled more. Fishing was obviously greatly influencing the second one.

When he was done with explaining, we sat in our chairs and opened the beers. We didn’t talk much. But it was a comfortable silence. The one where you feel good about the other one’s presence without any awkwardness or the urge to speak. When I thought about that, the only awkard moments we had were when we were talking. I think Till also prefered silence from time to time. I smiled and looked up the sky where the sun was hidden behind a single cloud on the bright blue sky. I could just lay here next to Till and call it a day.

„What are you thinking about?“ Till asked, noticing me smiling.

„This place. It’s so beautiful.“

He nodded. „I like it here. I love being with my family and friends, but sometimes I need a break and this place is perfect for it,“ he said. After a while he added: „I like to be alone. But I hate to be lonely. Do you know what I mean?“ he asked with sadness in his voice. Boy, only if you knew. „Yeah, I do.“ I replied quietly, not looking him in the eyes.

It could have been a few hours we sat there before heading back home. We (but really meaning Till) caught some fish, kept two and let the others go back into the water. I suggested to make potatos with the fish for lunch if Till takes care of killing them and preparing them. When we got back home, I quickly washed myself and changed back to the sweatpants and walked back downstairs. Till was just removing the bones from the fish.

„Your phone rang,“ he said over his shoulder when I walked in. I grabbed my phone that I left on the kitchen table and groaned. Seven missed calls and three messages. I opened the texts first. First one was from my boss: „Marylin, call me as soon as you can. B.“ The two others were from Anna. „Did you talk to Ben?“ and „Where the fuck are you??? Call me!!“. My stomach turned upside down. What the hell is going on?

„It’s from work, I’m gonna make a quick call,“ I said to Till and walked to the livingroom. I dialed my bosses number, wiping my sweaty hands off. This can’t be good.

He picked up on the third tone. „Marylin, finally. We need to talk.“ Ben’s, my bosses sharp and strict voice filled my ear.

„Hi, what’s going on?“ I asked, my buttcheeks clanged together ridicously tight. „Listen, I spoke with the people I told you about. I can’t employ you anymore, not if you can’t officially work and live here. I’m sorry.“ There was no pity or regret in his tone, he just wanted to get over it as quick as possible. Maybe he was angry he had lost a good waitress. I didn’t think about any of that. My hands and voice shook a little.

„What-what do you mean? You promised me this wouldn’t be an issue when you hired me. I need that job!“ I squeaked, way higher than usual.

„This is how it goes. You can’t expect me to risk my business over you.“ I tried to breath and think quickly what to do.

„I know. How much time do I have?“ I asked. If he gives me a month, I could find a new job and a place to stay and make a little more money.

„What do you mean how much time? You are fired immediately. Anna told me you packed everything up, but if not, I will need you to get it as soon as possible, before a new possible waitress moves in. I gave Anna the envelope with the money I owe you from the last shifts. Sorry.“ He said without any emotions.

I tried to tell him something more, but he already hang up on me. This is not happening, this can’t be true…I felt the tears filling my eyes. I whimpered, sat down on the couch and dialed Anna’s number. She picked up immediately.

„Marylin, did you talk to Ben? I - “ I didn’t let her finish.

„Yeah Anna, what the fuck! Is he serious?“ Anna’s voice was full of sadness when she told me again what happened, that Ben told her to move my stuff out and that she had to pretty pleased him to give me the money I earned in the last days. I started crying.

„But what am I supposed to do now, An? This can’t be happening,“ I cried, pressing my legs to my chest.

„Listen babe, it’s gonna be fine. Ben didn’t mentioned you working there so this is not a problem for us. We will find you something else, we well ask around and Finn knows a lot about job offers in Berlin. We’ll make it honey,“ she tried to calm me down. I heard the noise in the background, she was working. That didn’t help much. I sobbed.

„Marylin, you have to come back as soon as possible to solve that, ok? Where are you?“ she asked. Till’s head peeked from behind the kitchen door. Of course he had to hear everything. I turned around so he couldn’t see my red puffy crying face.

„I will call you back, I have to think about it,“ I said instead. Anna told me another encouriging words before we said goodbye. I tossed the phone in front of me on the couch. I heard Till moving at the door. He didn’t know what to do – he wanted to respect my privacy but also comfort me. I myself didn’t know what would be worse. I wiped the tears out and turned to face him.

„I just got fired,“ I said with new tears coming out. When I first went out to travel, I had some saved money and worked occasionally. But after a few months it was all gone, even though I tried to save as much as I could. When Anna offered me this job, it was a real saver. I managed to save some money from it, but it wouldn’t last long with no place, job and the ridiculously high prices in Berlin. Till crossed the room with a few steps, sat next to me and puted his arm around my shoulder. I rested my head on his chest.

„Why?“ he asked, so I quickly explained him the situation. „What are you going to do?“

„I don’t know. I have no place to stay now. I need to get back to Berlin, get my paycheck and the rest of my stuff, find some cheap hostel and look for a job,“ I said. The tears started to wet his shirt.

„Mer, stay here. It makes no sense to go back to Berlin now. You can stay here for as long as you want, and we will figure something out,“ he said so softly that it brought my attention for a second. He was gently caressing my arm with his thumb to calm me down. Something a good friend would do, but it felt different somehow.

„Come on. Let’s eat the fish we caught and then talk about it.“ He turned me towards him, wiped the tears from my face, stood up and reached for my hand. I sobbed one more time, grabbed his hand and followed him to the kitchen.

Chapter Text

I couldn’t sleep. I seemed to get rid of my nightmares and insomnia in the past few days, but this added stress about work brought me back to square one. Till assured me that I could stay here for as long as I needed. He even suggested paying the rent for me for some appartment until I figure things out, which I refused immediately. Having him paying off my shit and being so dependent on someone, even him, especially after so little time we knew each other, was unacceptable. But he did help me to figure out what I should do next.

„Do you want to be waitressing again?“ he asked me in the afternoon. We made the meal together earlier, he preparing the fish on the stove, me making the potato salad next to him. Occuping my mind with cooking help a little, Till’s close presence as well. We were now sitting on the porch, drinking the wine from yesterday.

„I don’t know. I liked the job, but it’s not something I’d like to do for the rest of my life. The money is quite good, but I will be tight with the budget every month. And I can’t affort all the bureaucracy with the authorities right now,“ I sighed.

„What did you do before you came here?“ he asked. We never really spoke about our past, but this situation kinda changed that.

„I was working in an office, taking care of the company’s business. But that’s not really an option now,“ I said. It wasn’t even that long I’ve worked there. We went silent for a while, when Till asked me again.

„And what would you like to do? What are you good that? I know you are good with languages,“ he reminded me.

„That’s true,“ I said, straightening on the chair. „I could translate something… but who would hire me to do that?“ I leaned back, frustrated again.

„You could translate from German to French and the other way around. You also speak English, that’s good!“ he encouraged me.

„Actually I also speak fluently Spanish and Russian, I could be translating in different variations,“ I said, thinking again about my chances and possibilities.

„For real?“ he blurted in disbelief. „But that’s amazing, Mer! With so many languages you will find a job for sure! And after we solve this out, I want to hear everything about how the hell you managed to learn all that,“ he added. It made me smile a little. He noticed and it seemed to make him happy and proud. Maybe I could find something in this area. Definitely good thing was that Till would have my back if things will go bad, in spite of my denial to accept his help. He also mentioned he might know someone who could find me some job.

The moon light was shining onto my face. I turned around in the bed. After another thirty minutes I gave up on trying to fall asleep, plus I got thirsty. I climbed out of the bed and slowly opened the door. I looked right into the pitch black darkness at the stairs. No matter how old I was, I still hated darkness, especially in a house surrounded by forrest. I decided I’ll drink from the sink in the bathroom. I slowly made my way there, trying not to make any noise on the creaking floor.

As I was getting closer, I heard something snarling close to me. I jumped, scared to death. I hold my breath, trying to hear it better. Here it was again, sounded like an animal snarling from being trapped or something. I started to think whether it could be a fox or something outside, when I realized what it was. I was standing at Till’s bedroom door. It was him making the sounds. Oh god.

I got a little closer, still listening. I knocked lightly on the door. Nothing. His moaning was getting louder and more and more urgent. I forgot about respecting his privacy and entered the room. He was tossing all over the place, groaning desperatelly. I quickly ran to his bed and sat on the edge. I pressed his hands onto his chest with one arm and placed the other on his forehead, trying to wake him up gently.

„Hey hey hey, shhh, it’s all good, it was just a bad dream,“ I whispered, leaning towards him. His whole body was covered with cold sweat. He suddenly opened his eyes, filled with panick. It seemed like he didn’t know where he was and didn’t recognize me at first. After a few seconds his eyes filled with another wave of panick, when he realized what was going on. He groaned, trying to push away from me, still shaking a bit. I knew he didn’t want me to be here. But I ignored it, knowing what nighmares can do to you. I layed on my side behind him and hugged him as tight as I could. I had to lay a little higher to be able to roll my arm around his wide chest and muscled arm. He tried to push away, but stopped after a few seconds. His breath was slowly calming down.

„Shhh, it’s ok,“ I whispered again, not letting go. Few minutes have passed and I felt his body ease on all the tension, his muscles gradually relaxing. I waited there until he finally fell asleep again. I slowly pulled myself out, carefully so I wouldn’t wake him up again. I quietly walked out of the room and went back to my bed.

Shit. And I though I was the broken one here.

I must have fell asleep eventually, even though it felt like I haven’t sleep at all. I got up, changed and stepped outside of my room. Till’s door were slightly opened. I peeked inside. His bed was empty. I quickly went to the bathroom and headed downstairs. Both the livingroom and kitchen were empty. Then I noticed him outside on the porch. I walked out to join him.

„Good morning,“ I said, leaning to the main door.

„Yeah,“ he replied shortly. He was sitting there, his disheveled black hair falling onto his face. He was smoking a cigarette, a glass of whiskey in his hand. He didn’t even looked at me. I winked quickly to stop the tears filling my eyes. He was mad. Very mad. I went back inside and made tea. I took the cups and went back to the porch. I placed them on the table and sat on the other chair. He kept staring onto the ground, ignoring me. I swallowed the tears.

„Are you mad at me?“ I asked quietly, almost whispering. I though he wouldn’t answer me, but then his voice filled with disgust hit me like a ton of bricks.

„No, Marylin, I’m not mad at you.“ Still no look.

„Then why - “ I tried to ask, but he was faster.

„I’m not mad at you, I’m embarrassed, don’t you get it? I invite you here, try to help you out and protect you, only for you to find me out in bed crying in my sleep. Pathetic.“ His voice was filled up with so much hate, anger, sadness and disgust that it almost physically hurted me. I got up from the chair, passed around the table and standed in front of him. I kneeled down, placed my hands on his legs and grabbed his hands onto mine.

„Till, listen. We all have our demons and deep shit we have to get through. You just had a bad dream, you can’t control that.“ He tried to pulled his hands away, but I didn’t let go.

„Hey, look at me,“ I said. He finally raised his eyes to my face, frustrated. „It didn’t make you look weak, it made you look human. And I feel like I can relate to that… to you, more. I might understand, Till…If its something that’s been bothering you regularly, you should talk about it… it helps. Trust me. But I’ll respect if you don’t want to.“ I squeezed his hands more to let him know I’m here for him. I thought he will either yell at me or calm down, but when his hands started to shake, I panicked. I didn’t expect this at all, but forced myself to stay calm.

„Tell me,“ I said softly.

He closed his eyes for a few seconds, it looked like he was considering whether to spoke up or not. „I don’t know what’s wrong with me,“ he finally said, the amount of sadness and frunstration in his voice almost unbearable. „I fuck everything up. Like last night with you. Everytime I start to feel happy, it all goes to shit. I don’t have time for my family, I see them so occasionally that it’s not the same as it used to be anymore… We argue a lot with the guys in band nowadays, and I’m so tired of all the fucking people and paparazzies, which makes it so much harder to find someone genuient to talk to…I don’t allow myself to be happy anymore… but why can’t I just be? I’m fucking tired of everything...“ He didn’t cry, but I knew he was dying on the inside.

„I know,“ I said, caressing his palms lightly. Then I stood up, reaching for his hand. Wow, the roles changed pretty quickly, I thought to myself. „Come on with me,“ I emphasized, pulling him up. He got up, but was still standing there.

„Where?“ he asked, confused.

„Just come with me. Trust me,“ I said and looked him in the eyes. He nodded and followed me around the house. I went to the small shed next to the house, where I assumed all the tools were. I opened the door, looked around and grabbed an axe. Till’s eyes widened. „What the hell do you want to do with that?“ he asked cautiously. I didn’t answer and led him towards the trees. After a while I found exactly what I was looking for: a fallen tree, not too thick but thick enough for our purposes. I pointed at it.

„Cut it,“ I said simply. He was now looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. „Are you serious?“ he asked. I nodded. „Cut it. It will make you feel better. Trust me,“ I repeated, really relying on the hope that he feels the same about me as I do about him, and that he will trust me. He kept staring at me for a few more seconds, then held the axe over his head and cutted into the tree. First few cuts I felt he did only to please me, but then he felt it. The releave hitting or breaking something brings you when you are shattered into milion pieces. Soon he really got into it. He handed me the axe after another few minutes. We were taking turns, sweating, shouting and letting it all out. When we’ve cutted the tree into small logs, Till slinged the axe on his shoulder and wrapped his other arm around my waist. We walked back home smiling.

Chapter Text

We both got pretty worned out by this wierd kind of workout, so we basically called it a day. I ran upstairs to take a shower while Till sat at the porch to finish his drink. I got into my room, took my sweatshirt off and threw it onto the bed. I should ask Till later on if I can wash some of my cloths, I still had limited options even though I bought a few new pieces couple days ago. I opened the cupboard, looking through my stuff to pick something cozy to wear. I spotted a simple grey shirt and placed it over my shoulder. The sweatpants were full of sawdust and was sticky from it’s resin. I sighed. These were my only comfy, kinda oversized sweatpants, all I had left were jeans and joggins. I grabbed the jeans, clean black bra and underwear and headed to the bathroom.

I ran the water first to get it warmed – this old cabin had old pipes and the water was warming up slowly and was a little bit rusty for the first few seconds – and took the rest of my cloths off. I leaned forward over the sink and looked at my reflection in the mirror. I had slightly dark circles under my eyes from the lack of sleep and my cheecks and forehead were blushed from all the wood chopping. I traced with my fingers all the red spots, that were less visible because of my tanned skin, even though I was slightly loosing it, becoming more pale as I always am in the winter. I stuck a tongue out to myself, grinning. Although I looked a bit tired, even I could tell that I looked happy. How’s that even possible? I just lost a job, had no where to live, practically no money and no home.

The sound of running water filling the shower floor interrupted my thought as I realized I wasted quite a bit of it now. I jumped quickly under the hot steam and gratefully raised my hands towards the warmth, the hot water running down my hair and body, equaling with my inner tempeture. I bended over to reach my shampoo and body wash, but found out I left it on the shelf. I growled, not wanting to get out of the shower, when I spotted Till’s shower gel in the shower corner. I picked it up, opened it and smelled it. This was Till’s scent, the one I couldn't figure out, even though something was missing. I turned the bottle around, reading the caption to find out the ingrendiences. Organic lemon extract, soap concentrate, nettle oil, aloe vera, eucalyptus fragrance, mint, lemon, lemon grass.

I squeezed a tiny bit on my palm, rubbed it into my skin, closed my eyes and smelled it again. The so familiar, yet not complete smell combining fruits and herbs filled my nose. I never really liked citrus shampoos or perfumes because the smell was always kind of agressive to me, but this one was very pleasant. I sniffed it a few more times, trying to remember the specific smell. Then I giggled, shook my head and washed it off. You’re acting ridiculous, it’s just a shampoo. I stepped out of the shower, grabbed my stuff and quickly washed my hair and body. The bathroom was filled with the hot steam, closed door not letting any of it to get out. I rubbed a towel around my torso, picked up the cloths I chose minutes ago and tip-toed as fast as I could into my room.

When I finally walked downstairs, Till was still sitting on the porch, even though he already finished his drink. „You sat here the whole time?“ I asked, joining him.

He nodded. „It’s very peacefull here,“ he replied without any further specification, but I understood what he meant. This place was a shrine, you could just stare into the woods, lost in your thoughts for days without even noticing. „Is the bathroom free now?“ he asked after a while of silence, looking at my wet hair.

„All yours,“ I smiled and lifted my legs to my chest so he could pass by. When he walked off, I reached for the whiskey bottle and poured a tiny bit into Till’s now empty glass. I took a sip, shivered a little because of how strong it was and stared in front of me. The tree branches were slightly moving with the light breeze, bringing the smell of wood closer towards the cabin. As I was looking at the trees, I spotted a small brown squirrel climbing up fast and shortly after disappearing behind the branches. I stretched my hands behind my head, smiling. This place is amazing. I got back in my thoughts to this morning, when Till was so fragile and vulnerable. I would never guess that he can also have some problems of this kind. Sure, he was a bit shy and quiet, but I assumed that was just his personality. I felt honored that he trusted me enough to confide, even though he wasn’t very specific about what was bothering him. So far it sounded like he was done with life in general…

„You sat here the whole time?“ Till’s deep soft voice cracked the silence. I jumped a few inches on the chair – I was so relaxed and deep in my thoughts that I didn’t hear him come at all. „God, you scared the bejesus outta me!“ I yelped, placing an arm on my chest, feeling my crazy heartbeat. Till ignored my scared face and laughed. „I told you – it’s very peacefull here!“ he joked and leaned against the doorjam, crossing his hairy hands on his chest. He wore a black shirt that tightened his wide muscular body. I forced myself not to stare and pointed towards the trees.

„I saw a cute little squirrel right there, it was climbing the tree,“ I shared. It had to be an ordinary thing for him, but I was thrilled by moments like this after so many days I spent in the city.

„Good to know, maybe I’ll be able to hunt it down,“ he said while looking up the tree, trying to spot the animal. My eyes widened. „Seriously?“ I asked quietly. He tore his eyes away from the tree and looked down on me. „Well, yeah…“ he said slowly. „I hunt, I thought I told you.“ I placed distractedly a piece of hair that fell over my face behind my ear. „You did, but…I mean, why would you kill it in a first place?“ I was confused. A squirrel?

„It’s the nature of hunting and this is how it goes in the wilderness as well. Eat or be eaten, hunt or be hunted. That’s the circle of life“ he explained. I looked up at him in disbelief. „You wouldn’t actually eat that little guy though, right?“

„There were times when me and guys from the band didn’t even have enough money to eat. We were hanging around doing nothing besides getting drunk and trying to do music. If we could find any kind of meat, we would eat it. I don’t kill unreasonably.“ He wasn’t looking at me, his eyes were pointed behind the trees, but it seemed they were looking much more far away.

I didn’t know what to say back to him so I left him wander around in his past. I couldn’t imagine Till living like this. Even though I was sure he would take care of himself and survived an apocalypse based on the little he told me, his strenght and skills, I still couldn’t picture him being forced to do this for real. And the fact that he would still eat that poor animal even though the freezer was full of meat was beyond me.

I stood up, stretched my arms one more time and turned to Till. „I’m gonna cook something for lunch, what do you say?“ I asked while taking the empty glass and the two cups of untouched tea.

„I made you hungry with my story, didn’t I? Do you want me to go hunt that beautiful squirrel for you?“ he teased me, knowing how I felt about it based on my reaction. I grinned. „I’m making us a nice meal before you go and hunt that beautiful squirrel!“ I replied, pretending to be very serious. I slided through the gap between him and the door – a strong scent of lemon and mint hitting my nostrills – and walked towards the kitchen.

Chapter Text

I searched the fridge and kitchen cuppboard to think about what to cook. If it was just for me, I would’t even bother and grab something small, but I knew he was a big guy so I should probably feed him well. Plus I actually felt hungry from the excercise anyways. I decided to roast some vegetables in the oven with a steak and pepper sauce. I washed the carrots, peppers, zuchinni and tomatos and started to slice them up. I would never guess a man like Till would buy such vegetables. The kitchen was dead quiet except of some occasional creaking of the wood. I looked around and spotted an old fashioned radio on top of the cupboard. I took one of the chairs, stood on it and reached for the radio. Because we were in a remote location, the service was really shitty, but I managed to tune some rock/country station. When I was done with the vegetables, I prepped the meat and started making the sauce on the second stove. While I was turning over the steaks I wondered what Till was doing. I could’t hear him walking or anything over the radio so I assumed he’s sitting back on the porch or is up in his room. Just as the vegetable was nice and crispy and the meat smelled real nicely, he showed up in the kitchen. He looked over my head to my cooking skills. „That smells so nice!“ he complimented my poor effort, headed towards the cuppboard and pulled out two plates. „Thanks,“ I acknowledged his help and tilted my head over two glasses of cold lemon water. He grabbed those and placed them on the kitchen table. I took forks and knives, served the food on plates and put them in front of us. Till took first few bites and muttered. „Is it tasty?“ I asked, worried a little bit – I was never a big cook, I always prefered time over quality. „It’s delicious,“ he said and I believed him. After all it really was good.

„So what are you planning on doing for the rest of the day?“ he asked, chopping off a huge piece of the pork.

I shrugegd. „I don’t know. I was thinking I would go for a little walk.“ I drank the water, playing with food with my fork. Previous hunger was all gone. „I gotta think what to do about the work situation.“ As much as I wanted not to think about it as Till told me, it was too much of a task. And I really should get back to Berlin now.

Till cleared his throat, staring to his plate. „I was thinking about it too. I might have an idea, but I’m not sure you if you will like it“. He looked up at me, a mix of worry and defiance. Am I really that distant to him? I chuckled. It seems it’s time for more trust and to let him a little closer. „What’s the idea?“ I asked, giving up on eating and putting the fork on the table, leaning a bit towards him.

„Since you told me about your language skills, I thought you could work for me. I mean for us, for the band. You could help with translations while managing the tours, booking and press.“ My jaw dropped a tiny bit, although I felt like it went all the way to the ground. „It’s just a suggestion,“ he added quickly, misinterpreting my reaction.

„No, no…wait, are you serious?“ Very original, but words could’t form properly in my head yet.

„Well, yeah. I already called our agent to see if we have someone like it in our crew already. He said we hire some people like that from time to time but no one works for us permanently. You could start practically immediately.“ Now the defiance look lost to the worried one, he was probably thinking he went too far by speaking with their agent before suggesting it to me. Normally I would be on edge with it, but right now it didn’t matter at all. It meant that I’ll have a more or less steady job. I didn’t pay attantion to the though in the back of my head to the argument that spending more time with Till was the bigger reason.

„I’m in!“ I yelped, placing hands on my temples. I could’t belive it.

„Really? You would like it?“ he reassured, with a warm happy smile on his face.

„Of course I will!“ I replied, chuckling still in disbelieve. Then a sence of reality hit me a little bit. „But I’ll take a minimum payment. I imagine it doesn’t take much work. I don’t need any special favors. It will be a real proper job, right?“ I asked, biting my thump nail, worried not only that he might just do that to help me out, but of him taking it bad as well.

„Sure, as I said, we do hire people to do that from time to time. It’s real,“ he said.

I laughed. „Oh my god, that’s amazing! Thank you so so much, I don’t know how I will repay you this one“. He just shook his head like there is no need to, laughing with me.

„So are you still planning on that walk?“ he asked with a slightly full mouth. I started eating again, hunger reappearing after such good news.

„Why not? If you want to go with me?“ I asked, still smilling.

„We have a plan then,“ he said, dipping the last piece of vegetable in the sauce. I quickly took a few more bites and grabbing the plates from the table. „I’m gonna go make a quick call to Anna to tell her the great new, ok?“ I said hapilly, walked around the table to exit the room. Then I stopped, turned around, leaned down over the back of his head and kissed him on the cheek. „Thanks again, Till,“ I mummered, feeling a light surprised smile on his cheek. I hurried out of the room to find my phone.

„You’re fucking kidding!“ Anna said for at least fifth time. When I run up the stairs to my room, I dialed her number immediately. „I know, it’s great,“ I replied, smilling. I layed on the bed, legs resting on the wall.

„It freaking is!“ she yelped. „How much will you be getting?“ she asked.

„I don’t know, we didn’t talk about it yet. He just tol dme he spoke with his agent that the position is free,“ I explained.

„Oh…but Mer, don’t you think he did it just for you, right? Like to own you or something?“ she asked nervously. I started laughing. Even though this thought has crossed my mind as well and even if he did, it would sure be because his wish to help me, not to „own“ me or anything.

„No. He heard me on the phone speaking with Ben. He wondered what I would like to do and what I’m good at, and I said at languages. I mean, yeah it’s a nice gesture and all, but I don’t think he has bad intentions. He is a really good friend,“ explained, lowering my voice a bit. I didn’t say anything bad, but still I wouldn’t want him to hear me talking him through like that.

„Is he really just that though? Just a friend?“ Anna said teasingly. I swallowed, remembering the night before, pressing my body against his and smelling in his shampoo. I could see his smile and big deep eyes in front of me.

„Yes Anna,“ I said simply. She must have sensed the small tention so she laughed but didn’t go any further with the interrogation. „So can you keep my things onto you for a little while before I go get them and move out?“ I asked, turning to my belly.

„Of course,“ she said and went quiet for a few seconds. „How long are you b ethere with him? And where exactly are you?“ I felt that she wanted to ask me those questions so much I had to smile. Beforehand I told her I was going away for the weekend with him. Normally I would tell her where exactly as well, but since I didn’t know the location Till was taking me, she was clueless.

„It’s a nice old cabin in the woods – and don’t panick for God’s sake,“ I added fast so she didn’t have time to freak out. „I have my phone with me and the town is close. I don’t know how long we will be staying here, since I don’t have to come back to Berlin immediately. But I’ll let you know as soon as I know more,“ I promised. „How’s Finn doing?“ I asked her, knowing talking about her boyfriend is one of her favourite things to talk about.

After a few minutes we said out goodbyes and I hunged up the phone. I turned on my back again, staring to the ceiling. Are you really just friends? Anna’s question was resonating in my head over and over again. Only if I knew that. I had an amazing time in his presence and I thought he did as well with me. But we stayed on the friend level for too long to change the relationship now. It would probably be wierd. The thing is I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave with like this. I moaned desperately over the situation we got ourselves into and layed my face to the pillow. Then a light knock on the door got me back to reality. I jumped up, sitting on the bed. Only if he could hear my thought, I chukled. „Yes?“ I raised my voice a bit so he could hear me.

„Are you ready to go outside?“ Till asked, his voice muted by the door.

„Yes, give me ten minutes,“ I shouted, got up off the bed and headed towards the closet.

Chapter Text

„For how long have you had this cabin?“ I asked as we were walking through a narrow trail in the woods, while pulling up the long fabric of camouflage sweatpants. I couldn’t find anything appropriate in my poor wardroabe to wear since my sweats were dirty and other cloths weren’t comfy enough to wear to the woods. Till gave me his old pair of pants even though they were too long for me. We had quite a laugh when I was putting them on, having to hold them up so they won’t fall off my waist, my feet disappearing in the long fabric. I didn’t own any belt so I took out one of my shoelaces to secure the pants with it. Till ended up having to do it by himself because I couldn’t do it while holding the sweats‘ waist still up. He stand behind me, looking over my shoulders to see properly on making a small knot, his breath tickeling on my skin. „Alright, put your hands down,“ he said, watching me take a step forward and turning around. We both looked at my new dyi outfit, laughing. „It’s actually pretty good,“ I replied, jumping up a little to see if the lace holds on. „Is it too tight?“ he asked, putting his hands to his pockets and raising his eyes up to me. „I think it’s perfect,“ I said truthfully.

„It actually belongs to my family. I used to go up here when I was a kid quite often. But nowadays it’s practically just me coming back here and checking the place out,“ Till said quietly, making his voice deeper even more. Both of us automatically lowered our voices as we stepped to the woods. Not that we could meet other people here, but shouting out loud in this pure nature didn’t seem right. It was a beautiful coniferous woods. Even though it was a bright day, the rich tops of the trees weren’t letting too much light in. It was magically quiet, only our muted steps disrupting it, followed by happy bird chirping and a remote running water, probably some small stream. „Why?“

„Becuase it looks like you know your way around,“ I replied. We were walking on a path, but he sure knew where it was heading and when to take the right turns. He chuckled. „Were you an outdoorsy kid?“ I asked another question. It really felt like I got to know a more personal and very much more chilled side of him. His loose outdoor outfit, consisting of similar pants he gave me, black shirt and heavy boots in addition to this surroundings erased the last wrinkless on his face. He looked very relaxed.

„Oh yeah. I always liked nature and sports. My father tought me how to fish as soon as I was able to hold the rod and I was swimming from a young age. I loved reading books about animals, nature, hunting and camping. I was always outside as much as possible with friends or alone,“ he replied. I loved when he opened up a bit, giving the fact that he wasn’t a type of a sharing person.

„So you are a water guy, huh? Based on your fire shows I would have guesst otherwise,“ I giggled.

„That doesn’t exclude each other,“ he laughed. We walked next few minutes in silence. During the past few years I got used to talk less, but in his company I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. „It’s really peacefull here. I’m not suprprised you keep on escaping here.“

„Yeah. Everyone needs a bit of quietness from time to time, especially if your daily life is hectic and full of people,“ he said, running his hand through his hair, with not much of an effect since his front hair fell back on his forhead in a few seconds.

As we kept on walking, the trees were getting more and more closer to each other, creating even less light and making more forest sounds. I could hear a woodpecker somewhere to the left and spotting a cute little squirrell high up in a tree. Just as I thought that the forest can’t get any deeper, we were about to take  a turn to the right. „This is one of my favourite places,“ Till mummered, placing his hand lightly on my back, walking me forward. When we walked aroung a huge dark bushes and made the turn, we walked to a beautiful clearing. It was almost a perfect circle with soft green grass and moss covered in daisies and other meadow tiny flowers. The afternoon hot sun was sparkling on dew on them, finnishing the perfect picture.

„Oh…“ I uttered, not able to form any words. When I got used to this beauty, I turned to him. „But places like these are only in movies or art…this is unbelievable,“ I turned my head, still in disbelief. He just simly nodded. I took a few cautious steps forward, almost worried I’ll ruin it. An eagle screamed over our heads, flying smoothly with his beautiful wings spreaded.  I kneeled down and placed my hands on the soft ground. It was a little bit wet, even though it was a warm summer. Till got down next to me. I looked at him, feeling a mix of emotions. „Thank you for showing me this, Till. It must be a special place for you.“ Based on his expression I realized it was true and I felt even more blessed and thankfull. It was a big gesture, at least for me.

„It is,“ he simply replied. „Also because of another thing.“ I though he would specify it more, but he didn’t. „For what?“ I asked, raising my eyebrows curiously. „Just watch,“ he said leaving me in guessing. I got into a more comfortable position then and just admired the beauty of this place. It must have been a good half an hour of peacefull silence, when Till grabbed my waist to get my attention, placing his finger on his mouth to stay quiet, then pointing to the right. At first I didn’t know what he meant, but then I saw it. A beautiful deer was standing at the edge of the clearing. His brown flawless skin was shining on his head and neck, the rest of his body staying away from the sun. He was staring at us precausionessly. My jaw drop. I leaned a tiny bit more forwardd, towards Till, so I could see him better. I’ve never seen a deer in wilderness before. I could feel my eyes watering out of surprise, happiness and pure beauty. All three of us stayed dead still for good three minutes before the deer pinched, probably hearing some disturbing noise and got lost in the woods.

„Oh my god,“ I whispered, wiping my cheeks to dry off the tears that escaped my eyes. „That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,“ I added, my voice cracking from the sudden tears and not talking for a while. Till nodded, smiling. „I was hoping one of them will show up,“ he said, pulling out a tissue from his pocket and handing it to me. I was too emotional to care that he saw me crying, just hoping I didn’t have any gross snot on my face. „One of them? What do you mean – wait, there’s more?“ I exclaimed. Till nodded again. „A lot of deer live in this area. They come to this spot quite often. Almost no people wander this deep into the woods and if you are quiet and stay still, they will usually show up, sometimes in groups with little ones as well.“ I gasped at the thought of little fawns. A cute smile appeared on his face. „You have never seen them so close, have you?“ I nodded, wiping my nose. „Thank you. I will remember this for the rest of my life,“I said and I meant it. He looked pleased that he made me this happy. He got up and offered me a hand to help me stand up, pulling me up with ease. „I’m glad you liked it,“ he said as he navigated us to our way back.

As we were heading back home, I felt the urge to pee. Well, that’s unfortunate, I thought to myself. Oddly enough, anytime I cried it made me want to pee. With every other step it got even more urgent. „How far is it?“ I asked, already turning red. „About half an hour. Why, you want to take a break?“ he asked with care in his voice, probably worrying I’m not used to long walks in the wilderness. „No… but I gotta go to the bathroom,“ I whispered, feeling the hottness on my cheeks. He chuckled. „I will give you some privacy then,“ he said pointing behind a bush and heading forward, speeding up. I wiped my face in embarrassement and stumbled through the rough roots behind the bush. When I was finnished, I signed with releaf. As I stood up I realized the provisional situation with my pants. Calling for Till to help me out after I just took a pee was an immediate no. I hold the pants with my teeth, quickly making a knot with the shoelace.

I walked back on the trail, but there was no sight of Till. As I was dealing with the pants, I turned around a few times and forgot in which direction we came here from. Everything looked the same. „Till?“ I called. Nothing. I could feel panick already building up in my chest, waiting to hit me hard and settle in. „TILL?“ I fully screamed, looking around furiously. I would’t find a way back in milion years, that was for sure. I only heard the chirping of birds, then a twig cracked to the right of me. „Yes?“ his deep voice replied as he walked from behind another turn. „Oh thank god,“ I blurted out, exhailing sharply, covering my eyes. I put my hands down and Till was already standing in front of me, looking worried. „I thought I got lost,“ I said with a small laughter, trying to ease the nervous tone in my voice. He grabbed me into a bear hug, his hand carressing my back. „Sorry. I walked a bit forward to give you some privacy. I should have stayed at sight, you don’t know the surroundings here,“ he apologized as if it was his fault I freaked out. I laughed it out again, the laughter muted in his chest. This time it didn’t sound too fake and shaky. „I’m sorry,“ I said, pulling out away, rolling my eyes. „Next time I gotta pay more attantion to where we are going.“ Till rewined me towards him as we finally headed back home. „Trust me, it won’t take long.“