This became boring after a while so I looked around and saw other little groups of students at tables lined up in the courtyard. I could see my friend James at the year 9 table, the group of “popular” (need I say more?) and the year 11 table. I spent half my time with them when I’m not with our group due to the fact that one of them was sort of in our group as well. Ryan doesn’t live with us in the Casa Lobo; him and a couple our older people bought a small house together on the other side of Chiltern. He has a longer journey to school and he travels in the opposite direction so we see him very little. This is why I have been adopted into this tight knit society as an honorary year 11. (We’re so uncool, we’re cool.)
As I looked away from them, my attention was instantly focused on one person. Oli was looking warmer than when I saw him before and he looked a lot more angry. He was striding towards a trio from the “popular” crowd with a mixed look of fury on his face.
I started to stand up and our table quietened down dramatically. I could easily hear the confrontation coming from the other side of the courtyard.
“What did you say about me?” Oli growled, head down, eyes up. Impressive, I thought. The table behind me agreed. The trio in question turned round slowly to study this defiant kid.
Their leader scoffed at him. “I have no idea what you mean.”
Oli’s eyes narrowed to slits and he flicked his hair away from his eyes in defiance. “You know what I mean.” His anger actually made the rest of the “popular” crowd look away. Not these three. They knew that Oli was nothing against them; so did I.
Oli spoke again, slowly this time, “What did you say about my parents?”
The leader spoke again, putting his finger to his head in an act of pretend contemplation, “Oh yeah! Hey, do you remember guys? We were talking about hot girls and ‘not’ girls...” His cronies chuckled. “...and your MUM came up in conversation.”
I could see Oli was going to lose it. Quicker than earlier, I sprang across the 50 foot courtyard to stand between Oli and the trio. I remembered these three came from the rival territory, Keynes, directly north of Chiltern. They’re leader asked for permission for them to come into the Edward Boyd last year. Now in year 11, Reece Kirby looked, and felt, as threatening as he did then. I leaned towards them in what I hoped was a dominant stance; they smelled like black pepper and dried straw.
“I think this needs to stop, don’t you?” I asked them, almost casually but with a hint of warning.
Some of the wind was knocked out of Kirby’s sails; only a little. “Back off Glaedr, this isn’t your business.”
I felt the whole table of my friends I’d left behind growl under their breath. The cheek! ... How dare he! ... He deserves to be ripped apart right now...
I looked him straight in the eye, which made him cringe a little. I put the power of my indirect authority over him into my statement. “We are in Chiltern territory. Therefore, everything that happens in Chiltern is my business. You three are here on conditions from Keynes and you gave your word to respect my territory. Don’t you understand?”
Kirby’s two cronies looked at each other in panic. One tapped him on the shoulder. “Re, back down man, it’s not worth it.”
“You should listen to your friend Kirby.”
He sucked in a breath to growl at me but thought against it as each of my friends stood up slowly. “Fine” was all he said to me. To Oli, he glared and spat, “You won’t get away so easily next time freak!” He turned round and walked away with his cronies on each side. I was sure he would be back.
“I was handling it!”
I kept on staring after the trio as I said to Oli, “Confrontation with those guys always ends in trouble, trust me.” I could tell they felt the same feeling of being pulled towards Oli as I did. None of the “popular” crowd did – their upturned noses and sneers proved that – and neither did the year 9s close by. This could have affected Kirby and co. in any way but I didn’t have the power to find out what they might do about it.
Oli heard the warning in my voice and, as I turned to face him, his eyes widened a little and he tilted his head to the right in a very lupine gesture. I started forward and round him to escape the strange feeling that bothered us so. However, Oli stepped in front of me. Oddly, although my group noticed his movement, they didn’t react with outrage like they had just now. They almost thought it as normal. How odd.
“Those people over on that table?” Oli kept his gaze level with mine as he nodded in their direction. “They’re your friends aren’t they?”
I too kept eye contact with him. “Yes, they are.”
He narrowed his eyes a little and tilted his head again. Not saying another word, he stepped to the side to give me space to move. I made a confused face and started forwards. Glancing around the now silent courtyard, I could see several pairs of eyes staring at me as if I was the new Messiah. Some were whispering but a few looked away in embarrassment.