The room was half-full. There were three rows of battered looking tables, each table sitting two. Mostly jock types and pretty girls. In the far corner he saw a seriously gothed up chick with short dyed red and black hair. Heavy eye-liner and blood red lipstick. She was wearing a skull embroidered, bright green vest over a long-sleeve black mesh thing. A knee-length layered black skirt fluffed up around her as she sat. She was talking to two other guys. The one sitting next to her looked like her, but a lot more toned down, with only a small amount of eye-liner.
The second guy was sat on the table across the small space, his legs resting on the table the girl and guy were sitting on, blocking the walkway. He had a similar build to Derek. His hair was black and closely shaven. A tattoo of some kind poking out from under one of his band tee sleeves. The girl paused mid-sentence, noticing him staring. Michael quickly averted his eyes and sat in the nearest empty table – which was a few rows in front of them. He had the feeling there were whispering about him but he couldn't be sure.
“You the new kid?” the girl asked suddenly, her voice throaty. Michael hesitated before glancing behind him.
“Yeah, I'm Michael,” he nodded, unsure if he should look away or not. The girls eyes scanned him, her lips frowning.
“Where are you from?” she asked, tilting her head, making her curly mane tip to the side in a perfect wave.
“London,” he said, shrugging. She raised an eyebrow at that, mildly impressed it seemed. “Before that it was Newcastle. We lived in Glasgow for a while. There was also a small village in Dorset. There were some other places I can't remember and York as well,” he rambled. She blinked at him as the list grew. He could've listed more places but decided to stop.
“Dude,” the guy sitting on the table said, his eyes wide. “Meet any hot chicks?” he asked. Michael faltered, shifting uncomfortably. The second guy made a triumphant sound and held out a palm for the girl.
“Told you he was gay,” he said as their hands slapped together. Michael glanced around nervously around the room, but no one else seemed overly interested. Apparently this school was a lot less fussed than some of the previous ones he'd been too.
“Don't worry. Some of the dream-crew are gay,” the girl said, reading the panic on his face.
“Dream-crew?” Michael asked, thrown.
“I'll point them out to you at lunch. Their families run this town,” she explained. “My name's Zara,” she said. She gestured to the empty table in front of them. Michael stood up and as he dumped his bag on the table and sat, she gestured to the guy next to her. “This is Darren.” Her hand moved, pointing to the guy sitting on the table next to them. His head was still shaking from Darren's comment. “And doofus is James. We only let him hang out 'cause we feel sorry for him,” she joked, grinning.
“Sure, it has nothing to do with the crush you've had on me since year three,” James threw back, smiling himself.
“Grow boobs and it might happen,” Zara smiled. “And you owe us a tenner, cough up,” she added, holding out a flat palm and twitching her fingers. James groaned, leaning his head back.
“Can't I just buy you both lunch instead?” he asked.
“You asking Darren on a date?” Zara teased. Both James and Darren shivered at the idea.
“I have standards,” Darren muttered. Zara giggled at the comment, a knowing smile on her face.
“Right, I forgot. A certain Mr Faller,” Zara replied, her voice dropping a few octaves. Darren face flushed red at the comment and he shoved her away lightly. Michael watched the whole exchange with his own growing smile. As far as friends went, they seemed pretty cool.
“Mr Faller?” Michael asked.
“Derek. One of the dream-crew guys,” Zara explained. Michael blinked, remembering him from this morning. So they were talking about the group from the coffee shop? He didn't get a chance to ask anymore as the teacher walked in. From that point on, it was finding classes and realising how much he had to catch up on. At this rate, he was going to be lucky to get D's.