Act 1: Chapter 3, Part 5

Posted on May 14, 2017

In Which Everything is Fine

Evan. First Day of School. Parting Time?

“Dang. Yeah,” Ryan said after a long moment. “That was pretty cool.”

Chris clapped his hands. His lunch had been devoured. “Okay! That was fun. I am way into this whole mystic birthdays thing, and you guys in general.” He gave them an easy, fond grin. “But I’m not going to learn every name by All Hallows if I spend every lunch period with a single table of people. It’s bad enough that there are other lunch periods. Megan,” he said, his head tilting toward her, “you mind giving everyone my number? And me their numbers, for that matter. No rush, just sometime today.”

“Um!? Sure!” Megan said, her eyes darting to Evan, to Angie and Ryan, around the lunch hall, including in the direction of Lauren’s table. “I can, uh, come with you, though. I know plenty of people!” She smiled, seeming to grow more assured. “I can introduce you.”

Chris blinked, and his shoulder sort of twitched a little before he shrugged more casually. “Uh, sure. That’d be fine,” he said, upturning one palm, then putting it on the back of his neck. “I’ll be fine on my own though, believe me. If you want to stay with your friends?” He raised both eyebrows and looked at said three friends.

“It’s fine!” Megan blurted. “Right everyone? It’s fine? You guys are cool, right?”

The three of them had been swinging their heads back and forth between Chris and Megan, following the exchange, and now the tables were turned as Chris and Megan both looked them. Evan, for his part, looked at Angie, as did Ryan.

For a beat too long, Angie stared back at Megan, then said, “Yeah.” Her tone of voice was halfway between casually chill and a dry sort of amusement. “It’s fine. We’re fine. It’s fine.”

“See?” Megan’s head swung back toward Chris, smiling wide. “It’s fine!”

“Um, okay. Let’s go,” Chris said, a hint of a puzzled expression on his face, tilting his backward toward the rest of the hall.

“Let’s!” Megan said, jumping up, scooping up her stuff. She grabbed up his hand the moment he’d finished picking up his own stuff, and she pulled him off in the general direction of Lauren’s table. They paused at another table between, peopled by some of Megan’s other friends who weren’t close enough to Lauren to sit at her table.

Angie. First Day of School. End of Lunch.

“It’s fine, right? Guys?” Angie asked, still watching Megan and Chris. All three of them were.

“S-sure!” Evan said, shrugging and glancing down to those remains of his lunch destined for the trash. “I’m cool.”

“I guess,” Ryan said, voice dry. “You didn’t ask about hunting, Evan.”

“Sure,” Evan said, sounding dubious. “Cause he’s going to need a sidekick.”

“Come on,” Angie said. It came out more annoyed than she meant it to. “You don’t know until you ask. And hells, we’re all Nineteens. That should make him more willing to consider it.”

Evan sighed. “Fine. I’ll ask him after school. I’m sure he’ll be hanging around and easy enough to find.”

Angie continued to watch Megan as she and Chris moved on from that table and over to Lauren’s table. Chris had a way with quick greetings, apparently. As they approached, Lauren seemed to wake up for the first time all lunch, only barely pulling herself together in time to greet Chris and participate in introducing him to the rest of her crew. Brandon wasn’t there; either he had first lunch or he was not eating in the lunchroom. “Lauren’s been staring at us the entire lunch period like a shade only just realizing that she’s passed,” Angie said, unable to keep a little bit of schadenfreude from creeping into her voice.

Ryan sighed, taking in Angie staring at the other two and Evan poking at his trash. “You know Megan. This wasn’t ever going to be her giving up on her other relationships for us. This isn’t that different than back in the day, only back then it was Angie being grabbed by the hand and dragged off to talk to everyone. Which will probably start happening again, too.”

Angie narrowed one eye and raised the other eyebrow. “If it does I’m dragging you along too.”

“Oh no,” Ryan said. “We can’t leave poor Evan all alone.”

“I am perfectly capable of standing behind people and not talking,” Evan said, taking over “guy being dry” duty. But that was better than moping.  

“Like you stood behind me at the Court not talking while I destroyed every challenger at Beast Fighter 4 the other day,” Ryan said with a grin.

Evan flipped him off, and as they cleaned up and headed for their lockers, their conversation shifted gears to an aimless discussion of the waning days of summer, before the bell rang a few minutes later.

Megan. First Day of School. Before Fifth Period.

“Well, it’s been nice chatting with you folks, but I’m going to--” Chris was saying when the bell rang. His cheerful expression shifted to one of disappointment. “Go to class, I guess.” Other people in the group made noises of affirmation, and started collecting their things and breaking off.

“S-sure thing,” Lauren said, smiling bravely at him. “What classes do you two have next?”

“I got Nihongo up next. Should be a breeze, since I’m fluent already,” Chris replied casually. “They did make me take Nihongo 3, but even so, I’m not too worried.”

Megan’s attention was mostly on Chris and thinking about later, when she had algebra with him, and how much she was looking forward to that, so it took her a moment to realize she’d been included in the question. “Oh, uh, I have Life Science next.” She made a face. “I’m bad at science.”

“Yeah, me too,” Chris said. “I got Physical Science third period.”

“I have History next,” Lauren said. She also sounded disappointed.

“Well, I think those are in three different buildings, so I’ll catch you ladies later.” Chris saluted them with two fingers, and then he was off, striding through the crowd.

Megan watched him go, still not quite believing he was real, let alone hanging out with her and her friends.

“Megan? I--” Lauren started.

“Well, don’t want to be late!” Megan said, summoning up her typical, innate cheerfulness. She stepped in and gave Lauren a quick hug, which served to keep Lauren from trying to finish whatever it was she’d been about to say. Then Megan said, “See you later!” and turned away, hurrying to escape Lauren before they could pick up where they’d left off that morning.