The drive to the high school was a short one; Jensen doesn’t believe in speed limits unless he can see a cop. As he maneuvered the 1967 Pontiac GTO that Seymour had given to him for his eighteenth birthday in to the parking lot, I caught sight of the real reason I had wanted to stay behind.
Sure, I wanted to finish the school year in the same place I had started it, but the biggest reason I had wanted to finish school in the same place was Ryan Walker, senior. He was in several of Jensen’s classes, he was not hot, like what other girls raved about, but he was adorable. He was smart, really sweet, and he had smiled at me once.
So I couldn’t just leave without finding out if I had a chance with him.
Classes always went slow. I always read ahead of the class, because I wanted to learn so much, and wanted an excuse to get out of training, and so I already knew everything the teachers tried to teach. But lunch came around, giving me a respite.
I sat with Jared and Jensen on the front lawn, since it was still warm outside, eating the school lunch of the day; country fried steak, not really my favorite. Jared chatted almost none stop about his classes, what he was learning, and who he was meeting. Jensen was quiet, and I became worried about what else had been in the letter.
The tree we were all leaning against was rough against my back, but it was a comforting roughness. It wasn’t something that could really hurt me, and it was something real, something permanent. I could lean on that tree for as long as I wanted and it would always support me.
Kind of like Jensen. He was like the tree, constant, supportive.
I twitched, startled, and glanced around the tree at Jensen. He was watching me, quite a feat since I was on the opposite side of the tree. I smiled and nodded.
“Just dandy,” I said. I didn’t want to tell him what I had been thinking, because I wasn’t sure how he would react. And I wasn’t keen on finding out just yet. “I’m the one who should be asking about you, are you okay?”
Jensen glanced at Jared, who was calmly reading a book, oblivious to everything around him. I hadn’t even noticed that he’d stopped talking. That shows just how good of a listener I was.
Jared nodded his head in the direction of an empty corner of the yard, and stood up. Frowning, I wasn’t sure what he meant until he waved for me to follow him. I climbed to my feet, brushing a few grass clippings off my legs, and hurried after him. Jared didn’t even glance up.
“You’re old enough,” Jensen started as soon as we were out of Jared’s hearing, “that you’ll understand. Seymour did get us a house, but from the letter it’s pretty clear he’s set up several tests for us.”
I frowned. “Tests?” Jensen nodded.
“He didn’t say it out right, but he wants to see how we handle ourselves on our own,” he said. “I don’t want Jared to know, I don’t want him to have to worry about it, but you and I have to keep our eyes peeled for everything.”
I swallowed. Jensen was being really serious about all of this, which meant he was worried. He wasn’t completely serious very often, always cracking jokes or trying to lighten the mood. But he was worried, and that made me worry. What could Seymour have in mind as tests? Did he really think we needed to be tested? Couldn’t we just live like normal people? Wasn’t it enough that all three of us knew how to kill someone with our hands and could run for miles?
“Alright, enough sad face,” Jensen said, returning to his normal self. He gave me his usually smirky half grin. “Everything’ll be just fine.”
I tried to smile back, but while he could but on a face, I hadn’t worked up that skill quite yet.
“Come on, before the little mop head gets lost in his book,” Jensen said, wrapping and arm around my shoulder. That, I had to grin at, and I felt a little better. But underneath it all, I could still feel how worried Jensen really was. He was scared, he just didn’t want to admit it.