Untitled (2017-04-02)

“I didn’t think it’d be you,” he says, sitting across the table from her. The plate on his tray nearly overflowing with unappetizing, dark red mush.

“What?” Her fork pauses midway in its path to her mouth. A glob of distressingly orange macaroni falls, splattering messily. “Ah, geez, that’s going to stain.”

Almost apologetically, and yet, simultaneously,  unimpressed, he slides a napkin over to her.

“What is that?” she asks as a distraction, nodding at his own unfortunate choice of lunch while wiping furiously at her shirt. It is a lost cause.

“Beet surprise,” he answers.


“You’re not curious about what I said earlier?” he asks, eyebrow raising.

It’s true that in the past ten years of knowing each other–the way people growing in the same small town know each other–they’ve maybe said less than twenty words. They aren’t exactly in different leagues, per se, but neither do they run in the same social circles.

She’s curious, but not enough to follow through. If he wants to explain, he will, if not then she’ll just chalk it up to a bizarre interaction and forget it in a matter of days.

She shrugs.

“I thought maybe it’d be Belinda,” he says, apropos of his opener. They both struggle not to stare at the school’s queen bee, before he continues, “her or maybe Kevin.”

Kevin. Her goofy looking, wall-flower of a best friend? Who could not be further from hyper-competent, stunningly gorgeous, Belinda? That Kevin?

“He volunteers at the library on weekends; Silva doesn’t let just anyone work there.”

Okay, now she’s just confused. “What does the old librarian have to do with anything?”

If anything, he looks confused right back, “He’s a magician, obviously,” which is bewildering enough until he adds,

“Just like us.”

She spends the rest of the school day vacillating between honestly contemplative, suspiciously irritated, and full blown discombobulated. She doesn’t so much mutter like a madwoman as she does make wildly disconcerting noises of confusion.

Kevin notices, says nothing, and offers her his emergency chocolate bar which is much appreciated even if it’s both melted and crumbly.

Once school is out, though, that’s a whole other story.

Mostly because resident rebel, weirdo who willingly chooses beet surprise over fake mac n’ cheese, and, apparently, teen magician Geoffrey Haider is leaning against her third-hand car impatiently.

“What are you doing?” she asks, drawing herself up to full height. At five foot three, it’s unimpressive, but it prompts Kevin to do the same. He’s gangly and awkward, but six feet plus of sharp bones and overlarge hoodies is more impressive than her own efforts.

“We’re going to the library,” Geoffrey–who doesn’t even have the decency to spell his name with a J–says, which deflates Kevin’s posturing immediately. Unsurprisingly, he loves the library, and would much rather do his homework there than in the food court of the mall where she works at the Hotdog on a Stick even if she does give him endless refills on lemonade.

Kevin turns hopeful eyes to her, and curse his boyishly endearing face.

“Fine,” she huffs, already trying to figure out an excuse to text to her manager, opening the trunk of the car and tossing her backpack inside, “But if I get fired, I’m blaming you.”

No way is she getting fired. The uniform for Hotdog on a Stick is a travesty, and no one but potheads and people with no shame are willing to work there.


A/N: … unsure where I’m going with this.

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