Act 1: Chapter 4, Part 1

Posted on May 21, 2017

Chapter 4: In Which the Consequences of Lunching with a Light Bearer Make Themselves Apparent

Evan. First Day of School. Before Fifth Period.

Evan was by himself again for Freshman Fredonian Common. Ryan and Angie had coordinated their schedule selection pretty closely and had managed to get most of their classes together; Evan had tried for a lot of the same classes too, but he’d forgotten to submit his picks for a week and half after they had turned theirs in, and so hadn’t gotten into all the same classes as them. And Ryan hadn’t been willing to bail him out. This was fine. When Evan was by himself in a class, he just sat in the back, did his work, and kept his head down.

After parting ways with Ryan and Angie, Evan wasted no time getting to the classroom. As a result, he was one of the first people there, so sitting in the back was no problem. He got his (currently empty) Fredonian folder out of his bag along with a pencil, settled in, and primarily tried to think about anything other than what a weird lunch that had been and what weird day this was turning out to be as he watched his classmates trickle in.

Until two girls and a boy walked in. Not anyone he knew. But when they looked around the room, their eyes widened when they reached him, and one of the girls looked at the other and whispered something excitedly. Evan felt himself tense up as they started walking toward the back of the room, and him. The girls were looking at each other as they continued whispering something, but the boy behind them was unashamedly staring at Evan; Evan tried not to meet his eyes, watching them out of the corner of his eyes instead as he attempted to look like he wasn’t paying attention to them.

He didn’t have a choice about paying attention to them when all sat down around him; one girl to his left, with the aisle between them, the boy in front of her, and the other girl right in front of Evan. She wasted no time, turning around and looking at and addressing him directly, “Hey. So we saw you eating with the new Light Bearer today.” The others were nodding.

Evan stared at her, taken aback at her directness, even though he’d been worried about this since the moment they walked in. She had olive toned skin, with large dark eyes and dark brown hair; a broad nose and a small mouth, braces. “I’m Sam Manoogian,” she went on, lifting one hand and placing two fingers on her sternum. Then she pointed at the other two. “They’re Vicky Hooks and Jack Riddlesworth.”

“Jonathan Riddlesworth, actually,” the boy said. He was shorter and stockier than Evan, had similarly dark brown hair, but ruddier skin, and blue eyes. “But I go by Jack.”

“Okay, 1950s sitcom dad,” Evan said, and immediately regretted it.

Thankfully though, they all laughed. Sam said, still laughing, “That was funny!”

Jack scratched the back of his head, still chuckling. “Yeah, it’s a little old fashioned, I guess.”

“We’re from Arcadia,” the other girl, Vicky, said, referring to Arcadia Middle School. She had dyed dark hair shot through with highlights, with broad cheekbones and wide set hazel eyes.

There was an expectant pause, and Evan realized it was time to introduce himself. “Um, I’m Evan Cadell.” They said what school they’re from. He probably should too. “Went to Asphodel.”

“With the Bakilis,” Jack said.

Nodding, Vicky said, “And Megan O’Sadie.”

“Uh, yeah. I guess,” Evan replied. The Bakilis made sense, but how did they know who Megan was?

“So how’d you end up eating with Megan and the Light Bearer? His name’s Chris, right?” Sam asked, with an expression of intense interest. As she spoke, a woman who was clearly the teacher, with brown skin and dark hair, entered the room.

“Um. Megan use--Megan’s a friend, and I guess they met this morning and…”

“Something weird happened!” Vicky said excitedly. “I told you Sam, when I was late to third period, I saw something happen between thos--” At this point, she was cut off by the second bell, indicating the start of class. “Two,” Vicky finished.

“Well, nice to meet you, Evan,” Sam whispered, directing a sincere seeming warm smile at him as the teacher started speaking. Then she turned to pay attention.

Angie. First Day of School. Before Fifth Period.

When Lauren came in, Angie and Ryan had already reached their History classroom and settled in on the far side of the room. Angie was sitting behind Ryan; she liked to lightly poke his back with her pencil’s eraser. It would make him shiver sometimes, which Angie enjoyed.

Angie had never had a class with Lauren, but she’d heard enough talk and witnessed it herself often enough to know that Lauren always entered a room or area the same way. Lauren would look over the room in a manner kids referred to as the Sweep, evaluating and rendering judgement on each person and thing in the room, allowing her to decide what, if anything, was worthy of her attention.

Lauren did not Sweep her eyes across the room when she came into History. Instead she seemed stunned, barely even paying attention to where she was going. Katie Kay and Beth were more or less leading her, guiding her gently where she needed to go, to the row of desks closest to the door.

When she saw Angie at the other end of the room, Katie glowered at her. Beth, on the other hand, gave Angie a small, tentative smile.

Angie smiled back at them both with good cheer.

Megan. First Day of School. Fifth Period.

Megan’s Life Science teacher, Mr. Levi, was going through a pretty bog standard class introduction, so she was having a hard time keeping her mind from drifting back to Chris. With a start, she realized she hadn’t sent Angie and the boys his number yet. Without really thinking, she pulled her phone out of her bag and started to do so.

“Miss O’Sadie,” Mr. Levi said. “What exactly do you think you’re doing?”

Megan froze. Almost instantly, her face was flaming, as she slowly looked up at Mr. Levi, who was standing only a few feet away from her. Holding out his hand. He was in his fifties or sixties, with short dark grey hair and a receding hairline. He had a large, severe nose, but while he was not amused looking, he did look genuinely curious.

“I needed to send someone’s number to someone else?” she said, her voice squeaky. “I didn’t want to forget again, and I’m used to it being summer, when I could pull it out whenever I want? I wasn’t thinking, I’m so sorry.”

Mr. Levi released a small sigh. “Clearly. I’m afraid you need to hand it over. You can pick it up from the office after school.”

The whole class was watching, and Megan’s face was going to catch her hair on fire. She looked at his hand and her phone in dismay. “C-can I finish?” she asked, without much hope.

That almost seemed to amuse him. “Are the people you’re sending this number by chance also in class right now?”

“Um. Yes?” Megan said in a very small voice.

“I should think not, then,” Mr. Levi said. He sighed again, shaking his head. “If you want write the number down quickly. If you see their intended recipients before the end of the day you can deliver them that way.”

Knowing that she had class with Chris the next period, Megan jotted down Angie, Ryan, and Evan’s numbers super quick instead, her face still burning as the class waited on her. Then she handed her phone over to the teacher.

“Thank you. I hope you’ve learned your lesson; I’d appreciate it if you could avoid interrupting my class again like this in the future,” he said.

“You don’t have to worry, sir,” Megan said, her voice still very small. She hadn’t been this mortified in a long time.