“We have to stop meeting like this,” he teased when Peter sat down next to him.
At first Peter said nothing, but gave him a deflated look. The girls sat down on either side of them as the other boy laid his hand on Peter’s.
“You could transfer to Pine Ridge High, if you think it’s so bad here,” he said, knowing what Peter must have been thinking. “You know there’s a bus that could take us up the hill.”
Peter shrugged. “It’s only been a couple months. We said we’d give it more of a chance than that.”
The other boy smiled. “I’m glad to hear that. By the way, did you see the moving truck this morning?”
“We sure did!” Cerys cut in. She ignored the dirty look that her brother gave her. “Himeko and I even met one of the new residents. He’ll be a senior here.”
“Oh, I met James, too,” the boy said. “Wait, Peter didn’t met him? I told him you’d be thrilled to meet him!”
“You didn’t!” Peter protested, his eyes widening.
“I did. I told him, ‘Wow, my boyfriend would love to see your silver eyes.’ He didn’t even bat an eye. He just said he looked forward to meeting you, too. Why didn’t you meet him if your sister did?”
“What is this?” Peter huffed as he got up from the bench. “Some kind of inquisition?”
“No one expects–” But he stopped, realizing that his boyfriend hadn’t entirely set up for the joke he had in mind. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
Again, Peter only shrugged. “I have to get to class.”
“Was it something I said?” the other boy called after him.
“No, it’s not you,” Peter replied. “Just… have a good time in History, okay? I’ll see you in math class.”
He sighed as Peter disappeared into the crowd, then looked hopefully to Cerys.
“Don’t look at me, he’s your boyfriend, Bayani” she told him. “I thought you would know what happened to him.. He was grumpy last night, too”
“Nothing specific. I guess it’s not easy having a boyfriend who’s incredibly handsome,” he said teasingly. Then, more seriously. “And Filipino. Different races, both boys, and he’s this far,” Bayani held his thumb and index finger an inch apart, “from being goth. He wants to be himself–”
“But being himself isn’t easy,” Cerys finished for him. Then she sighed. “At least you’re good to him. Have a good day, Bayani. “I’ll catch up with you around lunchtime.”
Cerys walked with Himeko to Mister Harrison’s class. Jame’s joke running through her mind as she passed through the doorway right when the first bell rang. They sat down together in roughly the middle of the room and whispered to each other until the second bell, when Mister Harrison instructed the class to start the bell work while he took role. Cerys sighed as she read the question, and then pulled out a notebook to start writing.
What difficulties did Alexander the Great have as he made his way eastward? That part she copied down from the board. She sat tapping her pencil for a moment, trying to think of how to respond to that. A look from the teacher made her stop tapping. Soldiers dying, she wrote down, then dropped her pencil on the notebook.