Act 1: Chapter 6, Part 4

Posted on August 27, 2017

In Which They are Interrupted by Someone Not Paying Attention to What They Were Doing

Ryan. First Day of School. Sometime or another, Ryan has other things on his mind.

“It is a mystery,” Angie said with a shrug, “One that will remain unsolved unless another fae comes along to explain it. There’s not a lot of point in wondering about it.”

“If you say so,” Megan said, her eyes unfocused, gazing off into some imagined tableau. “I don’t think I’d be able to think about anything else if I were you! What did he mean by that?”

Angie shrugged again. “Either that I should keep on keeping on, if I want to ‘go places,’ or to change... you know, something? If I don’t want to get mixed up with the Fair Folk? But I don’t know what to change or whether it would be really so bad to go places, so I’ve just been living my life. It’s been almost a year, so… you know. What happens happens.”

“Sure,” Megan said, not sounding or looking entirely convinced, though Ryan wasn’t sure there was much else to say about the matter. He was immediately proven wrong when she said, “What if there’s just invisible fae of some kind just following you around and evaluating you?”

Angie got through all of “That--” in her attempt to reply before she was interrupted by a moderately loud crash and clattering behind Ryan. He and the girls, and most of the people in the immediate vicinity, all turned to look at the scene.

A handsome blond boy, softer and nobler of feature than Ryan was, but not as pale of hair, appeared to have knocked a tray of food out of Fira Cai’s1 hands, maybe fifteen feet away from them. He was blushing and apologizing profusely to Fira, and also darting looks at the people around them, interjecting the occasional ‘sorry’ at the crowd in between the apologies for Fira.

The kid’s handsomeness was a little shocking, even after their lunchtime experience with Gramyre, surrounded as they were by the more typical teenage patrons of the Food Court, and emphasized moreso by the fact that he looked maybe fourteen at oldest. Almost everyone looks pretty goofy at thirteen and fourteen, but not this kid. And Ryan did not recognize him at all. Maybe he went to one of the other middle schools or something. Maybe.

The kid became more and more flustered as people continued to stare at him, which they were doing probably because he was so very handsome. Somehow he also managed to continue apologizing to Fira for causing the accident and helping her clean up, while Fira seemed to be trying to accept the apology and reassure him in a rather flirty manner. He had produced some sort of napkin or wipe to clean with, and after twenty or so seconds of wiping up, he glanced over in Ryan and the girls’ direction.

The kid’s face became redder again, and he started sending nervous glances their way every few moments, at least for minute or so more it took him to finish cleaning the spilled food. After maybe the fifth glance the boy took at them, Ryan sensed Megan and Angie turn back to each other, but Ryan continued to watch the boy clean up the whole time.

“Ryan…?” Angie said after another twenty or so seconds. Ryan ignored her. Instead, he said, “Who is that?”

“Some kid,” Angie replied. Said kid blushed even more furiously when Ryan spoke; he appeared to be able to hear them despite the distance and the general noise level in the court.

The kid finished up, despite Fira’s overall lack of help, and then stood and led her away, toward a less occupied area, which happened to be in an area of the court that Ryan could watch if he sat in his seat normally. So he sat normally, keeping his attention on Fira and the kid as they grabbed a table together. As the two started to speak, Ryan glanced at Angie and gave her an innocent smile.

Angie narrowed her eyes at Ryan.

“Huh,” Megan said, shaking her head. “That was weird. Cute kid. What were we talking about?”

Angie continued to look at Ryan, not speaking, for five seconds by Ryan’s count, her expression unapproving, intrigued. Then she said, “Don’t recall.” In his periphery, Ryan noted Fira appear to look shocked, before adopting an unconvincing expression of casual ease.

Megan took the opportunity to finish off her vada pav, and said, “Well, what do you do when you’re not running into fae?” Ryan caught a glint of metal--of silver--as the handsome kid handed something to Fira. Ryan wasn’t the only person paying attention to them; he noted several other teens with their faces turned in that direction.

Angie laughed. “Yeah, that is like ninety-nine point nine nine percent of the time. Ryan spoke true earlier when I was giving him a hard time, though. I mean, we each have our own things: Evan shoots, I spend a lot of time practicing enchanting, and I’ve been into drawing lately, and Ryan has his coding.” She said it funny, just a bit of a smirk to her tone that implied that “coding” was a euphemism for something else.

Megan’s eyes darted to Ryan curiously. Ryan, trying to keep any reaction off his face, reached out under the table and pinched Angie’s thigh. Or tried to; her skin was smooth and her muscles toned enough that he couldn’t really get a good grip to actually pinch her. Ryan also noted the handsome kid leaving the Court, Fira still sitting at the table where he had left her.

Angie glanced at him, bemused, and then continued as if nothing had happened, “And then we hang out some of the time and do whatever. Watch shows or play games or go out or junk. At least since I turned fifteen we’ve gone out a reasonable amount. That extra hour and change on the ol’ curfew sure changes the game as far as going places goes. And somehow Ryan manages to sneak in just hours and hours of video games and television that he does not consume with the rest of us. Somehow.”

Ryan grinned. “I don’t really need all that much sleep,” he said. “In a manner of speaking.”

“In a manner of speaking,” Megan replied, giving Ryan another flat look.

“There’s just a lot of things you guys aren’t interested in,” Ryan said. “Or that one of you aren’t. You aren’t interested in Beast Fighter even though Evan and I are, and neither one of you are much for reality shows beyond the Great Beast Hunt, for some reason, even though those are great ways to see how real people react under pressure.”

“I just don’t feel the need to put everything in the universe under a microscope like you do,” Angie said, at more or less the same time Megan said, “What reality shows do you like?”

Megan glanced apologetically at Angie as Angie blinked back at her, giving Ryan the opportunity to say, “Oh, you know, anything with a game component, which should appeal to Evan but doesn’t for some reason. Survivor, Big Brother, the Flames of Love family of products--”

Megan perked up at the mention of Flames of Love. “Did you watch Fire in the Tropics this year? I just got caught up after missing the live airing while I was gone.”

“Oh no,” Angie said, but Ryan ignored her, and soon he and Megan were lost in discussion of the previous couple seasons of the show.

As they were talking though, Ryan still noted that Fira sat there for a little while longer, then wandered, dazed seeming, back into line at one of the food places. She appeared to have recovered her balance by the time she replaced her food, rejoining a table of other year twelves.

  • 1. Age 17, Junior year, a member of Mbali Encantador’s party, all of whom were significant actors in the year 12 social scene.