Michael walked into his last class of the day. He'd try to get James to tell him more in his last class, but he'd been stubbornly silent. As he scanned the science room it became clear neither Darren nor Zara were here. He grabbed a stool in the far corner, sticking to the back seemed to be the best way to avoid attention. He regretted the decision when a few moments later the door opened. Lewis walked in, closely followed by Anisha and Evan. They made their way to the back, Lewis spotting Michael quickly and smirking.
“Michael,” he announced, sitting next to him. Anisha sat on his other side, and Evan sat directly in front. He couldn't help feeling horribly trapped by the situation.
“Lewis,” Michael replied, unsure what else to say in the situation. He couldn't help remmebering Zara's face. Could this guy really have killed her brother and framed it as a suicide?
“These are my friends, Evan and Anisha,” Lewis said. Evan kept his back to them, looking bored more than anything. Anisha sent him a side-look when Lewis said her name. The only way Michael could think of to describe her face was disgusted. He'd seen the look before in the past, they must've heard he was gay already.
“Hi,” Michael said. Anisha flicked her dark eyes away, disinterest replacing the earlier disgust.
“How's your first day so far?” Lewis asked, leaning back in his chair. That sense that everyone in the room was half-listening returned.
“No different from any other school I've been in,” Michael shrugged. He hoped the teacher turned up soon. The door opened and two others walked in. Michael recognised Lily and Kim from lunch. Kim had straight dark ginger hair that framed her petite face. Her eyes were a pale blue and followed Lily's to where Michael sat, surrounded by Lewis and his friends. Lewis met Lily's gaze evenly for a few seconds. When he broke it off it was with an annoyed sound.
“Talk to you later,” Lewis promised, leaning in close enough that Michael could feel his breath. Lewis stood up, Anisha and Evan following suit. They moved to another table near the front. Michael barely had a second to breath a sigh of relief before Lily and Kim were taking Lewis and Anisha's old seats.
“I should've checked if you were in any classes with him,” Lily murmured once she was sat down. “Let me see your schedule,” she demanded, holding out a hand. Michael blinked at the sudden words before doing as she asked. Her eyes scanned the paper and she muttered a curse.
“You have a few classes with him,” she said, handing it back. “Just don't say or do anything to antagonise him,” she added. Michael blinked again, thrown by her whole attitude.
“I didn't realise I'd done anything in the first place,” Michael said, surprising her. She sighed, a flash of guilt on her face.
“You went near the lake,” Kim said, her voice carefully neutral.
“Kim-” Lily began, a warning in her voice. Kim ignored her.
“You know the more we tell Lewis to leave him alone, the more he's going to bother him,” Kim said. Michael had the feeling this was an old argument.
“Zack said-” Lily started, irritation lacing her words.
“Wake up,” Kim said, loud enough that Lewis glanced over his shoulder at them. “Zack is barely holding on.” Michael stared straight ahead, trying to figure out what half of their words meant. Lewis seemed to find their argument amusing. The teacher walked in and the conversation stopped. The tension between them stayed though, putting Michael on edge as well. The two girls barely spoke to him as the teacher talked. When it came to do the actual lab experiment, Lily paired with him and Kim worked with someone else.
The other girl looked terrified as Kim approached her and asked her to work with her. She gave a frantic nod and kept her head down the rest of the lesson. Michael couldn't deny it anymore, the way everyone acted and spoke around these guys was messed up. Lily didn't speak as they followed the step-by-step instructions. How Michael stopped himself blurting out so many questions he didn't know. When the final bell rang he left the room quickly, his mind spinning. What was that conversation between Kim and Lily about? He had a feeling Zara would know. She seemed to know a lot more than people realised.
Or maybe everyone in this town was just nuts, including Zara.