I sat down in the nearest empty seat as a reflexive response to having my wrist tugged downward. I look over at Quinn for some clue as to what was going to happen next. She shot me a wide-eyed dangerous look.
Got it, watch out for these guys. Is one of them trying to hurt her? And, that was kind of weird, sounded like I could hear her in my head, sort-of. This has to be the most eventful day I've had in years.
There was an exchange of nervous and suspcious glances all around. We sat in a stalemate, all brought together, but not knowing what to do next. I looked at the tall auburn-haired guy who was leaning back in his chair, obviously trying to make some sense of the situation.
The silence was broken by the new arrival who was still catching his breath from rushing inside. "Hi. Now. Someone explain to me why I am being chased and what we are doing to stop it from happening again," he said.
Ok, so I'm not the only clueless one around here. I'll let Quinn make the first move, she seems to have the best handle on things so far. Plus, I trust her to have my back more than these people I just met.
The tall one sitting across from me spoke up, "Someone explain to me just what is going on in general!" he said and chuckled at the situation.
Should I tell him what I know so far? I look over at Quinn who gives me a tiny shake of her head. Not yet, don't trust them yet. Especially the girl. Quinn looks at him and says, "You first."
After another long pause, I decide to try to speak up and approach it from a different angle, "Um, guys? I have a stupid question here." Blood starts to rush to my face as they all turn their attention to me.
After clearing my throat again, I say, "Are we all on the same team, or what? You know, because, I'm thinking we don't exactly belong on the .." I wave my arms above my head and gesture to the room around us, ".. the other team. The regular team."
The tall one asks, "What do you mean?"
Is he really going to make me say it? Out loud in front of everyone? He's got those eyes that get people talking, I can tell. Maybe there's something going on with those silver flecks floating in them. I can definitely see why these girls seem to be into him, he's got that magnetic aura thing going on.
I lean closer and lower my voice to try and keep some semblance of privacy, "What we got happening on our backs, dude. It's not exactly what the baristas over there are working with."
He considers this and says, "I don't think it means we have to be on another team. We're still humanoid."
I am about to argue that we are not humanoid enough for the rest of the world and am jolted to attention by Quinn jumping in her chair in reaction to someone walking by the window. I get ready to sprint, but she settles back down when they continue walking up the street. "Trust me. There's another team. I say we call a truce for now and go somewhere more private to talk about this," she says.
I scan the group to gauge the reactions, most seem to be considering it, but one of the girls looks visibly disturbed by the idea. The tall one notices this and asks, 'Where do you suggest we go?"
Quinn answers, "Someplace private."
The nervous girl gets even more visibly tense and says, "I'm not going anywhere with strangers."
I don't blame her. Without Quinn here I'd be sketchy on the whole idea too. The tall one asks her, "Don't you want to find out more?" She looks down, not openly contradicting him, but not exactly accepting the idea.
That's what this is coming down to, curiosity warring with caution. We need each other, but don't trust each other. Not yet, anyway.
As if to mirror my thoughts, the girl I saw earlier in the forest chimes in, "She's right, I don't trust any of you. Especially her," and she stares daggers at Quinn who returns the favor.
"I have a spot on a farm outside town. It's not far and it's wide open so you can bail if you get nervous. Let's at least regroup in someplace with less people and jazz music. Fair?" I ask.
The nervous girl says nothing and stares at the teacup she holds tightly in her palms. The tall one leans back in his chair, grins and says, "Yeah, I think that's fair."
I startle again as Quinn slams her cup on the table and stands up, "I'm with Brian here. I don't care who stays or goes, but I'm not waiting here like a sitting duck." She reaches into her pocket, pulls out a dollar bill and slams it onto the table. Other customers begin to glance over and I chuckle nervously. "Here's a tip. Stay safe," she says and turns her back to us and starts slowly walking toward the rear exit.
I stand and look at the tall one, "Come on, man. It's safe as milk."
The new arrival who has been quiet the whole time speaks up, "I'm with them. Someone is chasing us and we need to get the hell out of here," and moves to follow Quinn.
The tall one takes a deep breath, and says to Quinn's back, "Yes. I will come," and slowly stands up.
The nervous one seems resigned to the situation, nods and says, "But if I don't like something, I am so out of here."
Only one left. Come on, get over your issues, we need to stick together. I have a feeling we are going to need all the help we can get.
I look at the final standout - the other girl from the woods. I hear her mutter under her breath, "I don't know why we couldn't just move this conversation to the woods," but she stands and moves to join us moving toward the back exit.
Her eyes grow wide as, walking behind the guy who rushed in just minutes earlier, she looks at his back. "Whoa! What happened to YOU?!"