"thanks for the tip, Caty," i whispered back, trying to sound cool. Knut took one last smirky glance at me before he turned his total attention to Mr. Loathe.. i mean Mr. Lothaire.
after the bell rang, we filed out for lunch. Lauren crashed into me as i was in the lunch line. the lunch lady gave her an unapproving stare.
"hola, bonita," Lauren said, happily.
"i thought you were failing spanish. sounds pretty good to me," i said.
"it's not that i'm no good at it. it's just that i'm no good at it when it counts," she said, putting a chocolate milk on her tray.
her hair looked shorter. it now stopped right above her ears and winged out. the color was still black as oil, purple and popcicle- blue streaks worked as highlighters. she had on black skinny jeans. a white shirt with the British flag on it. and tall black lace up stiletto boots with hot pink shoe strings. her make up was her usual. purple eyelids, lots of black eyeliner and dark lips. and rings practically everywhere on her body. she had her necklace that she bought yesterday around her neck.
"did you cut your hair?" i asked, amused and surprised. i shouldn't be.
"you like?" she sasheted her shoulders.
"if you keep on, you're gonna be bald," i told her in a serious tone.
"it's just hair. it'll grow back when i want it long or whatever," Lauren retorted. i picked up a slice of pizza that looked like it was a couple of days old.
"excuse me, madame. is this pizza even fresh?" Lauren asked the lunch lady, as she gave my pizza a disgusted grimace.
"Spider, this is not a delicatessan. it's a high school cafeteria," i reminded her. the lunch lady thanked me with her eyes and subtle smile. "oh. and cool contacts," i complimented Lauren, after i noticed her new icy blue eyes.
"i was feeling more vampire this morning," she thought aloud. "you like?"
we went into the cafeteria and looked for vacant tables. people were separated by style, and then even more separated my click, and then that broke down even more by sports teams, and people who were on speaking terms with each other. Lauren and i sighed at the bird's eye view table near the center of the room. i was hoping for a more hidden away table.
"i don't mind. i like when they stare," Lauren said. we walked on over to that table. most girls, with their noses in the air and sticks up their behinds, looked at us like we didn't belong even in this cafeteria. they snuffed us. we sat down, unbothered. but i had more trouble hiding my feelings. Lauren had no trouble at all. or she just really didn't care.
"ignore them. theyr'e puntas," Lauren said. i laughed a little bit.
"how can you possibly be failing spanish?" i asked, rhetorically. she shrugged and smiled. she looked over and saw Shane at a table with his male friends all hovering around. he was a baseball player and naturally sat with his team mates. he acknowledged us and smiled. Lauren waved her hand for him to come over. he passed.
"so hows your pizza?" she asked.
"stale," i said, my mouth full of a stale tasting bite. Lauren took some sauce off of my face that was stuck to my chin. i laughed. a few prep girls looked at us and laughed viciously. Lauren turned around.
"oh, you like that do you? which one of you is single?" Lauren taunted. i dropped my chin to my collarbone.
"relax," she said to me. "they're just jealous cuz they're not hot like us. we do what we want. they just follow each other around, asking each other what to do and say next."
i smiled really big when i saw Eli Capulet walk into the cafeteria. he usually sat with us when he wasn't skipping school. i waited impatiently for him to finish going through the lunch line and come sit with us. so much that my knee was shaking.
he eased my anxiety when he came over and sat down. i let out a breath of air.
"hey, guys" his voice was soft and light, but still deep. he spoke as if he wanted no one else to know he could talk, but us.
"hey, Eli," Lauren said.
"nice hair cut," he said to Lauren. she smiled. we heard snickers around us. every now and then Lauren Dawson's name was said.
"they are so jealous, it's pathetic!" Lauren said with her head low.
"don't let them get to you," Eli said.
"they're not. i wish i could get away with giving them a taste of their own medicine," Lauren said, poking at her stiff broccoli.
"count me in," i grumbled. Eli ignored our bouts of vengeance, and started eating his pizza. i found myself watcing the entrance. he had to come in for lunch. but what if he's one of those kids that thinks they're too good for school cafeteria grub and sneaks off to some fast food joint or subway during lunch hour.
"who are you lookin for?" Eli asked as he chewed with his mouth closed. politely as usual.
"oh nobody," i said. then i retracted that lie. "you know that new boy. where do you think he's gonna sit?"
"there's a new boy?" Lauren asked, secretly thrilled by this new info.
"down, Spider. you have a guy," Eli said.
"there's this new kid in our biology," i informed her.
"is he cute?" she asked. i thought hard.
"in an untraditional way. yes," i said.
"what does that mean?" Lauren asked, crypted.
"some people might not think he is, but others could find him attractive," i shrugged. Eli chuckled with his cheeks full of pizza. speak of the devil and he shall appear. Knut walked into the cafeteria. black boots on that i hadn't noticed in class. my heart fluttered. he might as well be walking in slowmo. i cut my eyes back to my tray of unwanted old food. as my heart pounded against my chest. what was happening. the beat got louder, but no one could hear it but me of course. Eli looked over his shoulder.
"speak of the devil," he laughed. Lauren looked off.
"that's him?" she asked.
"yep. his name's Knut," Eli said.
"K what?" Lauren squinted.
"Knut. kuh- noot," Eli pronounced for her. Lauren giggled, flirtatiously. and then she watched Knut as he cruised through the foodline. Eli shook his head.
"he is hot," she whispered loud.
the cafeteria looked crowded towards the second half of the hour. as Knut looked about with his eyes for a place to sit and eat, i imagined the prep girls taking him, crowding around him, ripping off his dingy looking clothes and then giving him a prep boy make over. i shuddered, dramatically. Lauren looked at me.
"are you cold?" she asked. this dramatic shaking caught his attention. some of the preppies raped him with their eyes. he immediately lost interest in their cookie cutter , not to mention unnecessary, uniforms. was i the only one that caught that glance their way and then that quick decisiveness to move on? he only came over to us because he recognized Eli and me from class i assume. he sat down. Eli gave him some space. some of the other girls still threw curious looks at Knut.
"hi," Knut said, looking directly at me with a smile.
"hey," my voice had no air to ride on. "this is Lauren. she's our friend," i gestured to Lauren. "Lauren, this is Knut."
"hey, Knut," Lauren said. Knut's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he layed eyes on Lauren. or maybe it was more her look that took him by surprise.
"you are officially one of my favorite people here," Knut said. that was a compliment on her style.
"i knew we'd become fast friends, Knut" Lauren joked.
"just call me Noot," he said. "but either pronunciation is fine. as long as you know my name is not Jerry or Hyde or Luther."
"gotcha," Lauren winked. "and nice necklace," she touched his shirt. i saw Shane was watching her. his knuckles curled up in a ball.
"it was a gift from my aunt," Knut said. "it was my initiation present."
my fork clinked on my tray.
"yours is nice, too," he told her. "and yours." he told me.
"we bought ours from this store," Lauren said, proudly, as she touched her necklace.
i wonder what he really thought of ours. i wondered if he thought we were just some wannabe witches, or some silly kids messing around with the Craft.
"initiation?" Lauren asked. "are you in a real live coven?" her sudden over excitedness about it made me wanna slap my hand over her mouth before she says something to embarass us. Knut chuckled, happy to explain.
"i guess you can call it a real coven. it's my family's tradition. we're all very devoted," he smirked.
"do you guys, like, call the corners and stuff?" Lauren asked. he chuckled again.
"we do way more than that," Knut said. "it's mainly my parents' and their friends. and me."
"my mom would never in a million years be a Wiccan. she wouldn't even in a million years let me be a Wiccan," Lauren said.
"it's not somethng your parents can choose for you. you have to decide for yourself. i could easily go against tradition and become a Bhuddist. but Wicca is what i am. it's my blood," Knut said. "and my blood is strong."
i felt my heart start to race again. i wasn't sure which of him was affecting me. him? or him and Wicca? i thought about how fun that must be, growing up in a completely Wiccan household.
"so where are you from?" Lauren asked. she put some broccoli in her mouth.
"Sweden," Knut said. "i'm actually new to your whole country."
"why'd you move?" Eli asked, jumping into the conversation.
"complications," Knut said. "ones you might not be able to wrap your heads around." he smirked, playfully.