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Finally, Jonah had finished his appointment with his last patient before he had time for a lunch break, and it was a late lunch break at that. His stomach was already growling about an hour before he knew he would be getting any food, so he tried to shut it up with some water, but the fact of the matter remained – he was starving. The last couple of patients had been hard to get through being that he was so hungry, but they were thankfully good kids that Jonah enjoyed visiting with and checking up on, so that made it a little bit easier at least. Nothing could stop his sigh of relief after the last patient exited his office with his mother, though, and he smiled to himself at a job well done – but more importantly, getting the chance to get out for something to eat. He grinned at the receptionist (and his friend) as he strolled out, patting the countertop as he announced he’d be going out to eat and could be reached by cell phone if there were any emergencies.
A little over a week ago, Jonah had tried a burger for the first time at Port of Call, which had been so amazingly delicious that he had been craving another one ever since. With the next few substantial blocks of his schedule cleared, he figured now would be the perfect time to indulge again, and there was nothing better to ease a little stress than food. Well, there were probably tons of better ways to ease stress, but it was (quite obviously) one of Jonah’s go-to remedies. He got seated at a table and quickly decided on his meal before checking his texts to make sure his parents weren’t having any issues with anything. They’d be staying a little over a week with him and Ryan for Thanksgiving as well as his birthday, and as he had predicted, his parents really weren’t letting him and Ryan hear the end of it for their impromptu wedding on Halloween. It just sort of happened that way, which resulted in his parents not being present for the wedding, which he frankly thought his mother was blowing way out of proportion. He loved his parents, but there was only so much of that particular guilt-tripping he could take.
While he was waiting for his food, Jonah spotted a familiar face entering the dining area of the restaurant and he waved to the woman. Adelaide Chevalier was her name. He couldn’t forget her name or face after having a rather awkward (and somewhat painful) run in with her – or more aptly, her soccer ball. They ended up having a pretty nice conversation, however. She took care of his nose bleed and he met her dog… it wasn’t half bad, considering it had started with Jonah getting smacked in the face with a soccer ball. “Hey!” Jonah waved a friendly greeting before looking over both shoulders for comic effect, then back at Addie. “We’re clear of soccer balls, right?” Jonah had never been one to shy away from self-deprecating humor, or at the very least, bringing up things that others might not have wanted to mention out of embarrassment. He’d gotten over that a long time ago, although it would be wrong to say there weren’t still things that embarrassed him and made him feel awkward and self-conscious. He just tended to be a little better at hiding it because he had so much practice in that area.
With more people filtering back into their regular shifts at the news station, Addie was able to cut back a bit on her hours. It freed up a surprising amount of time, with which she wasn't sure what to do. Several months back she'd taken up kickboxing and amateur mixed martial arts. While running and the occasional pickup soccer game were fun, they didn't quite take the edge off anymore. Addie was someone with a lot of energy, all the time, so she found exercising made it a little bit easier to function the other 23 hours of the day.
She was tired and sore from a training session, and absolutely nothing sounded nearly as good as almost literally anything on the menu at Port Of Call. She knew she needed to maybe consider watching more of what she ate, but honestly her metabolism was high enough and she was otherwise active enough to counteract most of what she put into her body. Addie did her best to get all the grit and sweat off her face, make herself look a least a little bit presentable before she went waltzing into the restaurant. She had a couple hours before she had to make it home to catch the evening games, so she'd have a beer and a burger and maybe a could hundred fries --- she'd burnt something like a billion calories the last hour, she was sure of it.
As soon as she entered, she found a familiar face and voice calling her over. She recognized him at once as the poor man she'd drilled in the face with a soccer ball. "Hey!" she greeted back, heading over his way. "You're in luck today! I just finished an MMA training session, I doubt I could even kick a ball right now," she laughed, hands on her thighs as she dreaded sitting down because then she'd have to stand back up. "Looks like the nose healed up well," she teased a little bit, glad there weren't any hard feelings between them. Not that she thought there would be, judging from their last interaction.
One thing that was partly annoying about being a big guy was he couldn't really be as excited about food without getting laughs from people who were giving him the whole "I know why you're excited, ha ha". It was definitely something he was used to and never complained about it out loud, but internally, he did feel like it got a little old. When Ryan got excited about food, it was different. She'd get all these jokes like "where does it all go?" and "but you're so thin!" which were true, and Jonah teased her about the same things to be sure. In the company of friends it was a lot different, because they were much better at reading Jonah's mood and knowing when not to say that stuff, but he still got it all the time from waiters and waitresses who thought they were being friendly and charming. Just like he had done all through junior high and high school, Jonah just smiled and laughed and let that be that. They didn't mean by it of course, but hearing it as often as Jonah did could get taxing.
At the same time, he did pretty much invite it to happen, because it was almost pure reflex by now to make jokes at his expense, which had started when he was about fifteen or sixteen, in an attempt to say something before someone else could. It was much easier when he liked the person he was talking to, like Addie, who had just come into the restaurant. Their first meeting had been painful for Jonah, but still very nice. There were no hard feelings and Jonah was happy to see her.
Addie shared that she had just finished some MMA training, and Jonah couldn't help but raise his eyebrows in surprise. "Is there anything you don't do?" He asked her, impressed by her clear devotion to physical activity. "You may not be able to tell," He started, patting his gut. "But I used to be pretty into the MMA myself. Had to stop when I ended up competing in the underground circuit. Serious stuff." It all came out before he had a second to think on whether or not Addie had ever been exposed to his jokes that were less punchlines and more short stories. For some people, they came out of left field because they hadn't yet realized that Jonah was the class clown type, through and through. Old habits die hard. "Hey, thanks." Jonah laughed. "Are you here with anyone? Wanna join me?" He offered, gesturing to the seat opposite him. "I'd hate to eat alone. Plus, when I order half the menu, they might just think we're sharing," He teased himself easily. Pure reflex.
Addie gave an easy laugh at his question. In terms of physicality, there wasn't much she didn't do. "I've never been great at cards," she shrugged. Her brothers would never let that die. While she could school them in a lot of sports, they'd always have her at poker. Especially when they were younger and Addie much more easily baited into things, they'd appeal to her competitive side and swindle her out of money or into doing their chores for them. She was kind of convinced they cheated, but she could never really prove it.
When Jonah went into his joke about being in MMA himself, her eyes grew wide with excitement. "No way!" She wasn't the kind of person who would assume that just because of his size that he wasn't into being active. There were all kinds of reasons for people being bigger, not just that they were lazy or enjoyed food. And even if that was the reason, it was still none of Addie's business. Unfortunately though, Addie was the type of person to believe just about everything that came out of someone's mouth. Except her brothers of course - she always assumed they were bullshitting her. "There's an underground circuit? Maybe one day when I get good enough they'll tell me about it," she seemed a little offended she hadn't heard about it, since she believed him entirely that he used to be into mixed martial arts.
"Nope, just me," she shrugged, "I'd love to!" She took the seat across from him. Within her brain there were distinct plans of ordering a massive amount of calories because she was ravenous. Of course, when the hell was she not hungry enough to eat an entire horse? She'd been blessed with an overactive metabolism that her mother kept reminding her would slow down. Addie huffed a laugh at his attempt at self deprecation. "Umm, no. They know me here. They'll assume it's all for me," she laughed. "I like food," she almost said in a whine while looking over the menu and trying to decide what to get. But in all seriousness, she had been here enough that a lot of the staff recognized her and were aware of how much food she could put down. "I'm thinking burger, but also chili cheese fries. Maybe some potato skins," she said, then looked up at Jonah. "What are you considering?"
The awesome thing that Jonah had already pinned down about Addie was that she was so humble. She wasn’t that super sporty type that heavily judged everyone else when they weren’t as active or coordinated. Jonah had known way too many people like that growing up, and had the misfortune to know some people like that who were still involved in his life and wouldn’t let him hear the end of their athletic excursions. They were the Facebook athletes more than anything – the type of people Jonah never really saw out and about doing anything athletic before, but wouldn’t shut up about all the hikes they were taking, runs they were doing, bike rides, etc., on Facebook. Still, he had to admit it was pretty entertaining to see how into this stuff people got. “I can’t say I am, either.” He didn’t have a ton of experience playing cards regardless, but he was pretty sure he would be terrible at it. He had a terrible poker face.
It took Jonah a few moments to actually realize that Addie fully believed everything he was saying. Maybe she just wasn’t very exposed to people with his sense of humor before. He caught himself before he spent too long giving her an open-mouthed, perplexed stare, and then shook his head. “Ah, yeah, no. I am… definitely not a martial artist by any stretch of the imagination. That was… I was joking,” Unless she was joking right now by pretending to believe him and totally turning it around on him. “I kind of hope there’s not any underground MMA. It’s probably just street and bar fights that result in arrests and make the average guy – like yours truly – feel a little bit safer.” As he spoke, Jonah watched Addie for a reaction, trying to get a read on whether or not she actually believed him. If she did, he’d probably feel pretty bad. He knew people in high school that tended to believe everything he said, and those people were known by one very specific word – gullible. It just didn’t seem very fair to apply that descriptor to her.
When Addie accepted Jonah’s offer to join him, he smiled, knowing that he at least wouldn’t have to pig out alone. She deflected his joke by explaining that they knew her here, and he chuckled a bit, knowing the feeling. He wasn’t well known here, but both him and Ryan had a few restaurants they were regulars at. “Me too,” Jonah agreed without hesitation. She looked at the menu and Jonah listened to her list the foods she was interested in having, making him wish he hadn’t already ordered. Although, he could always order more… even though it was right before Thanksgiving and it probably wasn’t a very health-conscious idea at all. “I already ordered. I got a cheeseburger and a baked potato, but now that you’re talking about chili cheese fries, I really, really want some.” He sighed and sipped at his water. They say you’re not supposed to shop on an empty stomach, but did the same thing apply to restaurants? Because that kind of defeated the purpose.
To say that the humor went slightly above her head was a safe bet. Once she got to know people, it was easier to call them out when they were bullshitting like this, but she didn't know Jonah very well so for all she knew, he could be the best martial arts master there was. When he cleared it up that he'd been joking, Addie's gaping maw slowly turned into a grin as she let out a laugh at her own expense. "Man, I totally believed you!" she half-scolded, then attempted to make a mental note that Jonah was a jokester, and she needed to be more careful about blindly believing everything he said. She was generally a little more skeptical, being in the news business and having to chase down fake news and fake fake news, as they'd taken to calling it. "I feel like there's not really a scene for that here," she leaned back some, "or maybe there is and that's why Bourbon street never sleeps."
Hell if she knew.
Once she sat down the waiter delivered her a water and assured her he'd be right back to take her actual order. "Alright so definitely on the burger and chili cheese fries -- I'll get a large order and I'll share," she decided, not really giving Jonah any real choice in the matter. "Mmm, but fried pickles... those have to happen too. But I won't share any of those," she warned him with a serious look that degraded rather quickly into a laugh. When the waiter returned, he asked if she'd be having the usual, which she declined and put in her order for at least two peoples' worth of food solely for herself. "Oh, and a PBR," she added. Can't forget the liquid calories! "Okay so you have to distract me until the food gets here so I don't start eating the table. What do you do?" she asked quickly, not one to allow much silence.
It was pretty rare that Jonah ran into someone who took his joking literally. The entire population of the world seemed to be pretty fluent in sarcasm by now, but he supposed there would always have to be exceptions. Addie being one of them. Or maybe he had just gotten too accustomed to the way he and Ryan always communicated with each other. Ryan was way more sarcastic than Jonah had ever been, and he thought he’d been pretty sarcastic, especially in high school. He didn’t even know until he met Ryan. Her sarcasm was frequently a lot more biting than his ever was, too. He usually used it in a more comedic way, although that had certainly rubbed off on Ryan at least a little. Jonah laughed when Addie said she had believed him. “I’m gonna take that as a compliment,” He smiled. It was a little refreshing to have someone like Addie actually believe he could be an MMA fighter, when some people wouldn’t even believe him if he told them he’d be able to run up three flights of stairs. “If you ever figure out, you have to let me know,” It was mostly a joke – Jonah wasn’t a huge fan of watching fights of any kind.
Once Jonah had pointed out the chili cheese fries sounded delicious, Addie was kind enough to decide to order a large enough portion for both of them to share. “Mmm,” He perked up a little, not going to argue with her on the decision, although he didn’t really see an opening to disagree with her. “Fair enough,” Jonah laughed with Addie. She was probably already a lot more generous with food than Ryan ever was. Jonah would be slightly embarrassed to admit the intensity of some of the arguments they had over food in the past. “Can do!” He rose to the occasion when Addie requested that he distract her until the food got there. His stomach rumbled at the thought of food and he could see that he needed a distraction as well. “I’m a pediatrician.” He answered. “How about you?” He could only imagine what she did for a living. Someone who did MMA, and used to play soccer at LSU – it was probably something very sports-related.