I heard the rustling of clothing and then a couple of minutes later, Rowan reappeared with a tamed head of hair, fully clothed. He always wore the same thing, basically. A pair of faded jeans with a baggy tee and odd socks. That always made me smile; those odd socks. He was so organised in everything else that he did, so the socks that never matched made me want to laugh.
He dropped his dirty nightclothes into the wash basket and moved to make his bed. After he was satisfied, he turned to me with one, definitive nod. “Let’s go.”
“OK. Oh, but I need to get my bag on the way there. I left it in my room.” I said over my shoulder as he locked the door.
“Right,” Rowan smiled, tucking the room key into the back pocket of his rucksack as we made our way down the hall.
As promised, we made a detour and passed my dorm room so I could dash in and claim my school bag. Rowan kept the door propped open with his foot and watched me clatter around the messy room to find my books with an amused smile.
“What?” I asked indignantly as we left the dormitories and walked towards the canteen.
“Your room is so messy,” he chuckled and I opened my mouth to tell me that no, my room wasn’t messy, but his was just freakishly clean but he continued before I could, “yet you seem to know exactly where everything is.”
“Well of course I do,” I huffed, “it’s my room!”
Rowan just carried on laughing to himself, and I didn’t really care to understand why he thought that was so funny.
As we entered the dining hall, I spied Ryan sat at our table and narrowed my eyes, groaning. “I really wish he wouldn’t try to be so pally with us all the time. Is he usually like this?”
“Nope. He’s just taken a special interest in my new friend.” Regardless of how irritated I was feeling towards Ryan; Rowan’s use of the world ‘friend’ warmed my heart. Which was stupid really because I knew I was his friend. It’s just nice to hear it first-hand.
“No idea why though,” I replied, bewildered. Rowan shot me a slightly puzzled look, as though the reason why should have been obvious. I mirrored his stare and then moved to grab some toast from the rack and put it on my plate which I had snatched up as he approached the food counter. We shuffled along the queue and I picked up a mug. The school put the tea bags and tea spoons inside the mugs so they were ready for the making when we sat down at the tables, on which were piping hot pots of water, little jugs of milk and pots of sugar.
We left the line and headed for the table which Ryan was sat at. All the other tables were occupied. This is why I hate arriving late for breakfast, I grumbled to myself.
“What’s up, dorks?” He grinned after we’d sat down and I rolled my eyes, choosing to ignore him. I picked at my toast and felt Ryan’s stare on me.
Rowan had apparently decided the same thing and started to shovel his baked beans in his mouth. I felt my mouth pull down at the corners in distaste. I really didn’t like baked beans.
“Oh, God, I know right,” Ryan said in a sappy voice and I looked up at him in surprise.
“Baked beans. They’re horrible.”
“Stop that, Ryan,” Rowan grunted.
“I don’t get it,” I said stupidly.
Ryan just cackled and picked up his coffee, sipping at it. All the while, he stared at me intently, obviously trying to focus on something I didn’t understand. It was unnerving and I found my gaze avoiding his any way it would.
“Ryan.” Came Rowan’s next warning.
“What?” He asked innocently.
Rowan made a disgruntled noise and glared at his brother as he continued to clear the plate of food. I finished the last of my toast, and picked up my mug so I could fill it up with hot water.
“Why don’t you ever sit with Audrey in the mornings?” I asked, dipping my pinky into my tea to test the temperature. I looked up at Ryan, and was delighted to see he was shifting uncomfortably, I grinned.
“She can be a little too much for me to handle in the mornings.”
“So you decide to come and pester us,” I muttered, “you’re too much on a morning, too you know.”
“I know. And as far as I’m concerned, bugging you two is way more fun than being bugged by Audrey,” Ryan smirked and I shot him a venomous look.
I had to admit, even if Ryan was one of the most annoying people I knew, the arguing was all in good fun and I couldn’t help but relish in our exchanges of quips. And although Rowan would never say the same out loud, I somehow knew he felt the same.
“Oh, yeah, nearly forgot,” Ryan said, “where were you all of yesterday?”
“Karin felt sick and had to go back to bed,” Rowan cut in smoothly before I could stammer a poorly constructed excuse.
“Yeah. What he said.” I ducked my head down and took another sip of my tea.