The lunch bell rang out, a series of chimes ringing throughout the school to call students and staff to the Meal Hall, I didn't want to call it the cafeteria, because from what I had seen of it it was nothing like a school cafeteria. I pushed back from my desk, rubbing my eyes. I'd been reading through some papers, trying to make lesson plans for this week. I had put it off, another bad habit from my school days, and now I was cramming. I couldn't just improvise my first week of classes.
I stood from my chair and tried to put the papers in a neat stack, with out much success. Finally I gave up, my growling stomach telling me that the work could wait. I pulled out my map, tried to memorize the route to the Hall and strode out of the classroom, trying to show anyone in the halls that I knew what I was doing.
I made it to the Hall successfully, I only got lost once. And walking in, I saw that I could go unnoticed, many people staff and students milled about, all carrying trays. I found the line that led to food and got in it. I heard some giggles behind me and turned to see a group of girls pointing at me. I grinned and waved at them, which made them giggle more. At last, a positive reaction. I turned back to the line, to find Eve had cut in front of me. I jumped, which made her grin.
"Hey Oliver, enjoying the new job?" She said, winking at the girls. I raised my hands, I wasn't sure whether I was trying to ward her off or show my innocence. Probably both.
"I don't know what you are talking about." I said stiffly. The line moved ahead of Eve, she didn't notice, looking at me. I tried to gesture that the line was moving but she ignored me. I looked despairingly at the food that I couldn't get to.
"Don't you?" Eve said coyly. "I have to say, those girls are pretty cute. If you're into that sort of thing" she flicked her fingers at the giggling girls in a flirtatious manner. They stopped giggling, I imagine they walked away but I didn't look at them to find out. I was looking over eves shoulder, the gap in the line had widened, soon people would be getting in in front of us thinking that we weren't in line. My stomach growled. I'd had enough.
"Think what you want Eve. But I am here for one purpose and one purpose only." With that, I put my hands on Eve's shoulders and moved her aside, hurrying to catch up with the line. Eve didn't try to catch up with me, I saw her grin again and stride out of eyesight into the crowd. I got my tray of delicious smelling food and walked with it to a table that the head of the room where some teachers already sat. I sat next to Melissa and Harold, nodding a greeting before tucking into my plate. After my initial hunger pangs were gone I looked around, searching for a familiar face. When they were all seated the student body looked way smaller than I had thought, maybe fifty students, though Harold said more would come before the day was out. I saw Eve and that girl Naomi sitting together with another girl and two boys that I hadn't met yet. They seemed to be friends which surprised me, they were so different.
Anthony came to sit beside us,
"Good afternoon Oliver, Harold, Melissa." Harold and I nodded, Melissa ignored him. Anthony ignored her as well. The ice between them was palpable. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.
"Ah there's Naomi," Anthony waved in her direction, smiling, the girl waved back before going back to her conversation.
"What's with her? She seemed so shy this morning," I asked, noting the change in demeanor.
"Oh, she's like that with newcomers, Naomi has been here for a long time, you see that girl next to her?"
"Eve? Yes we met already, she's... Interesting to be sure."
"No, the other one," Anthony looked thoughtful. "So that's Eve, I pictured her differently, from what I've heard all the boys are trying to get her attention.... Anyways, not Eve, Makenna. She has been here for a long time too, she is less shy than Naomi, and will open up to you more. She has vision," Anthony laughed. Harold joined in.
"Yes, she believes that everyone here can save the world." Harold said. "And the way she tells it, they can."
"Whys that?" I asked. The other men stopped laughing.
"Oh... I forgot..." Harold muttered, so quietly I couldn't hear him well.
"Pardon? I didn't quite catch that."
"Never mind him," Anthony interjected. "We should introduce you officially to the students, for now at least, we may have to do it again at dinner." He winked and stood up, clearing his throat.
The students went silent.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to Decorus Virtus Academy." Anthony began his speech. "Now, I know that the welcome speech doesn't usually come until dinner, but seeing as we have a new Headmistress," a wave of muttering went through the students, "I thought I might want to say a few words now." He held out a hand towards me. I stood up, trying to stand tall at this sudden public speaking moment. "Please welcome our new English teacher, Oliver Robyns."
The students clapped politely. I nodded and quickly sat back down. Anthony continued. "I hope that you all had a wonderful summer, and welcome back to DVA!"
Cheers and clapping rang through the room. Anthony sat back down, grinning.
"Seems like the students really like it here,"
"Oh yes, this place is home for them, Outside can be a scary place" Harold said enigmatically. I was as starting to get used to the strange way people talked. Starting. I pushed back from the table, taking my tray over to a nearby receptacle.
"I have some work to do, please excuse me gentlemen, Melissa." I left the room to go back to my planning. Maybe I wouldn't get lost this time.