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It was already midday, so Vanessa stepped out of the hospital to grab a quick lunch from the food truck. It might not be high cuisine, but Ina sure made the best fries.

She ordered a portion and, as she watched Ina turn to put the fries in oil, a thought came to her.

“Say, what have you done to Chiara?”

Scheiße!” A loud shout came from the cook, who had obviously spilled some hot oil on her hand. Vanessa felt guilty when she had to repress a chuckle.

Ina covered her hand with a wet cloth and turned to Vanessa.

“What do you mean?” she asked, with a hint of nervousness in her voice, likely not related to her cooking accident. “There’s nothing…I have done nothing to Chiara.”

What did she mean? Well, for starters, Chiara was far nicer than she had ever known her. Yesterday, she even offered to help Christoph and her with Henry. Offered. And her snarky comebacks had been reduced by 30%, at least.

“Doesn’t she seem…more relaxed to you lately?”

Ina shrugged and promptly turned around again, fixing her gaze on the fries. “Well, maybe. I mean, why would I have anything to do with it?”

“I have always thought you were a very good influence for her. I thought maybe something else had happened.”

Ina, even more nervous than before, blurted some “no, nothing that I know about.” Vanessa smiled but decided not to push it.

Chiara herself showed up as Ina was handing her the fries and ran the last of the distance as she noticed the rag on the cook’s hand.

“Are you ok? Were you hurt?” Chiara took Ina’s hand in hers without waiting for an answer.

“It’s fine, just a silly accident,” said Ina, putting Chiara’s mind at ease.

“It was my fault. I distracted her,” Vanessa chimed in.

“Oh, hi. I hadn’t seen you there,” said Chiara turning to her. “How are you?” she added, more as a courtesy sign than genuine interest.

“Fine thank you,” replied Vanessa, not entirely surprised about her momentary invisibility. “I was just getting my lunch and I’m going back to the hospital.”

Chiara nodded and faced Ina again, asking her whether she needed her to apply some yogurt like last time, whatever she meant by that.

Vanessa felt herself fading into the background and she just left the money on the counter and took her fries, decided not to disturb any further.

Something was definitely going on between the two of them, but she wasn’t going to dig in any deeper. At the end of the day, it was Chiara’s choice to tell her when she was ready, if ever, and she was just happy her half-sister had finally found her someone.