Act 1: Chapter 2, Part 1

Posted on March 19, 2017

Chapter 2: In Which Megan Rings a Bell

In Which the Boys are Stubborn and Blind

Ryan. First Day of School. End of Third Period.

“Seriously though, who cares who he is?” Evan said, a single breath after the bells indicating the end of the class period, as half a dozen other conversations started up at the same time.

Ryan sighed. He, Evan, and Angie were all in Algebra 2 together. Megan had been surprised and a little chagrined to find out that Angie was in it and she wasn’t, as they had historically been equally good at maths. Regardless, it was back to just the three of them for the moment. Ryan started to gather up his stuff and said, “I’m gonna ignore how uncharacteristically dumb that question is, and give you the best answer for you personally, which is: maybe you should?”

“Why on Earth should I care about him?” Evan said, almost sounding offended as he shouldered his backpack and the three of them started toward the door.

“What is wrong with you?” Ryan replied, not bothering to hide his irritation. “Why are you being weird about this? You want to actually put some bullets in a Beast, right? You haven’t managed to make any friends at any of the ranges, so a new Light Bearer in the school who maybe doesn’t know the area super well would be a perfect person to convince to take you on patrol.”

Evan blinked, considering that, as they stepped out into the hall and headed toward their lockers. For her part, Angie looked at Ryan with eyes widened by surprise. Ryan could see an idea forming behind her lovely green eyes, which made him smile. He didn’t know how he’d lucked out so much finding such clever friends, people who could almost keep up with him. At least when Evan wasn’t being purposely obstinate over every godsforsaken thing that rubbed him the wrong way.

Evan opened his mouth to respond, but Angie cut him off, a smile spreading across her face. “If we made friends with the new Light Bearer, it’s possible that would make us respectable enough to get Lauren off Megan’s back, too.”

Evan had to stop again to consider that, too. After a moment he said, “How could we possibly do that? We’ve never exactly been the hits of the social scene, and that dude is almost certainly going to be.” They reached Angie’s coveted half locker first, and Angie started fiddling with the lock.

“Did you have an aneurysm?” Angie said mildly as she pulled the locker open. Evan sputtered a little, but she didn’t let him get any words out. “By offering to help get him the lay of the land. You go out on hunts with him, help him learn the terrain, show off your shooting and in the process soften up a few Beasts for him to take down. It’d be weird if you didn’t end up being friends, assuming you can manage to avoid being rude.” She finished putting her maths book away and closed her locker.

Evan made a face at her as they walked over to his and Ryan’s shared locker. “I know how to avoid intentionally giving offense. I know nothing about this guy though, and I’m really not, like, a great conversationalist.”

“Just listen, big guy. That’s how you’ve gotten this far,” Ryan said with a smirk.

“We heard from Tammy Whiteshrine in English that he’s crazy friendly,” Angie said. “Someone told her that he said one of his goals is to learn the name of everyone in the school before Star’s Solstice.”

Evan boggled at that. As they arrived at their locker, he said, “That’s pretty crazy. Still, it’d be better if Ryan could just finish the—“

“Evan,” Ryan said crossly. “You promised.”

Evan shut his mouth. For a moment they stood in silence as Ryan opened the locker.

“Fine,” Evan said, as Ryan put away his book, “but it still seems unlikely to work. Even assuming he wants my help, which is certainly not likely since most Light Bearers work alone, we have no reason to believe we’re going to become best buddies with this guy. We know nothing about him.” Evan threw his book in on his shelf, and they closed the locker back up.

“We won’t know until we try, man,” Angie said. “We’re in high school now. There’s no reason to go around reflexively assuming the worst about everyone’s intentions. There’re lots of new people we don’t know here. There are two other middle schools that feed into this school; just because Asphodel kind of blew doesn’t mean everyone from all of them will be terrible.”

“Hells Bells,” Ryan said, “Even Lauren wasn’t that bad this morning.”

“Ryan, have you both had aneurysms?” Angie said, giving him a disbelieving look.