Around me I was surprised to see Lor, Don and Teritt watching Miss Lyson with expectant looks on their faces, not working. Ed and Dave continued to answer the summary questions for section 3.3. I watched the others curiously to see what would happen.
After a time Miss Lyson looked up. Her expression became cool at the sight of the non-reading, non-writing boys.
“I’m guessing from your behaviour that it is supposed to be the students’ time now?” Her tone indicated she didn’t think much of ‘students’ time’.
“It was meant to start five minutes ago actually,” Lor replied cheerfully.
Miss Lyson’s face brought the image of a blizzard to my mind.
“You can work for five more minutes for using that tone of voice with a member of staff, Mr Greatmaw. Everyone else, you may do as you like.”
Lor looked annoyed but silently obeyed. Everyone else stood, surprising me.
“Come on,” Dave said, smiling. “We all sit and chat now.”
I stood up and walked over to the wide space in the classroom where Teritt, Ed and Don were sitting cross-legged on the floor. I sat in between Don and Dave as we formed a rough circle.
“So you’re secretly a nerd?” Teritt asked, winking.
I laughed. Dave and Teritt grinned. Ed’s smile was a little sad. I remembered with a pang that I had lost his respect. Don ruffled my hair and I didn’t let my sadness show.
“I don’t mind school,” I confessed, responding to Teritt’s comment. “And Moon Child Law is interesting for me. The thirteen rules are ... well, interesting.”
Dave, Don and Ed nodded, though Don’s nod seemed a little absent like he was only half paying attention.
“I guess. Though I like the laws of the Kaysa del-lie Nockay better.” The foreign words slipped off Teritt’s tongue fluidly and in a different accent, making me wonder where he was from.
“That’s an interesting pronunciation of Casa de la Noche,” Ed murmured.
Teritt flushed. “I ... um... researched how the inhabitants said it.”
Something about the way he answered made me think he was lying. But why should he lie?
"Why?" Don asked, smirking.
"Interest," Teritt replied.
"What law did you like?" I asked kindly.
Teritt looked grateful.
"No wolf may steal another's lover."
"How do they control that?"
"The wolf is arrested if there's any seriousness in a flirtatious comment or gesture."
"Wow," I murmured.
Ed was frowning slightly.
"I'm not such a big fan of Casa politics, actually. It's a bit like a dictatorship. There's one law stating 'A subject's will is bound to royalty'."
Teritt looked alarmingly distraught.
"But that's not set in stone, you know!"
Edward stared at his boyfriend.
"What's wrong, Teritt?"
"Nothing." Teritt's cheeks flamed and he pulled himself together. "I just think the eldest prince may change things."
"Dennis?" Don asked, raising an eyebrow sceptically. "He's 11, isn't he?"
“Nine,” Territt mumbled. “And Vittoria’s 26,” he added seemingly unconsciously.
“Vittoria?” Don asked, confused.
Teritt looked up, startled.
“Did I say her name?” He blushed. “Oh well, now you know. I’m obsessed. Vittoria married a subject. I think she has kids now.”
Don looked amused. “Have you always been gay, Teritt?”
Teritt looked outraged. “I am not a stalker.”
Ed looked shocked. “Teritt, he was just kidding.” He suddenly pulled Teritt into his arms. “What’s wrong? Tell me, baby.”
Teritt shook his head.
“It’s nothing,” he said quietly. “I’m over-reacting. I must be tired. Or emotional. You know how I get.”
“What, hot and passionate?” Ed whispered.
I looked away, blushing.
My gaze met Don’s and he smiled at me.
“What’s the drama today?” he asked, sitting between Dave and Ed, who budged to make room for him.
“Nothing,” Ed replied.
Teritt let go, smiling thankfully at Ed.
To Lor he said, “I was being silly. We were talking about the Casa de la Noche and I over-reacted when Don implied I had a crush on the princess.”
I noted with interest Teritt’s now Spanish pronunciation of the name. I wondered why he was saying it differently this time.
Lor shrugged in a way to convey there was nothing he could say to that.
Then, his tone calm for someone who had just been deprived of five minutes of his own time, he said, “I swear there are more than two royal children.”
"What?" Teritt asked, looking amused.
"Well, I can't remember because I was in prep school but I'm sure there was a prince more than eleven years ago."
"Perhaps you're confused," Teritt said. "Dennis was born in 2002. You would have been in prep school then."
Lor's brow was furrowed. "But I'm sure there was another."
"So, what, he disappeared off the face of the earth?" Teritt asked, with a derisive smirk on his face.
Don chuckled. “You Europeans have your royals and can’t even keep track of them.”
I laughed. “I’d say royals rarely disappear but I can’t say I’m an expert. I couldn’t even name all of Britain’s.”
Lor grinned. “Neither.” For a second he looked at me and there was something wistful in his gaze. But the next instant he was looking at Teritt and saying, “Yeah, I guess I’m wrong then. I must have dreamt my mum saying ‘Prince Terry is so adorable’.”
Teritt cocked his head to the side.
“How would she know?”
“The newspaper, you idiot.”
She read a werewolf newspaper in front of you?”
“Why shouldn’t she? Both my parents are werewolves and they’ve never hidden anything from me.”
“Wow,” Ed murmured. “I can’t imagine my mum saying anything.”
“My dad hasn’t even talked since the taster day,” I said.
Lor looked like he remembered something, and cut across the end of my sentence.
“Oh, of course,” he said to Ed. “Your mum was horrified when I appeared at your door.”
Ed laughed. “No! That was because she thought you were my boyfriend.”
Lor tensed. “Oh great.”
“When were you told?” I asked curiously.
“The last week of Lupin Scuela’s summer term last year,” Ed replied. “If my birthday hadn’t been in the summer holidays, I’m sure they’d have told me when I turned 16. That’s how it works.”
“When is your birthday?”
“Is that nice?”
Ed nodded, smiling. I could see strain in his eyes, though.
“When did everyone else come here?” I asked.
“February last year,” Lor answered laconically.
“September,” Dave replied, “because my parents found it before the Alpha found me. They didn’t even know if I was a Moon Child. But I’ve taken all my A levels and I don’t want to go to university yet.”
“Wow,” I murmured.
“I’ve been in England for three years,” Don said, “and I did my GCSE’s in the same school as Lor. My mum learnt of his transfer to here and talked to the Alpha after I’d finished my exams. I started last year.”
I looked to Teritt.
Teritt spoke slowly and carefully.
“I’m ... a bit special. Mrs Naevar, the receptionist’s mother, is a friend of the Alpha’s and she offered to look after me when my parents brought me to him. I was six then. They paid her annually for my upkeep until I was fifteen. Then they paid the Alpha to start my education and they pay larfe amounts of money to the school.” Teritt flushed. “So I started Lupin Scuela last September.”
“Where were you before Mrs Naevar started looking after you?” I enquired.
“Spain,” Teritt answered.
“Do you remember any of it?”
“I remember the heat. Oh, and poinsettias. There were loads of poinsettias.”
“Cool,” I said, smiling. “I’d like to go there myself.”
“Maybe I’ll invite you one day,” Teritt murmured. He glanced at all of us. “Maybe I’ll invite everyone.”
“Did your parents stay, then?” Lor asked.
“They had to,” Teritt answered calmly.
“Why would they do that, though?” Ed asked. “Have you brought up in another country?”
Teritt shrugged. “Perhaps they prefer the English education system.”
“That may be part of it,” Dave said, startling everyone. He gazed straight into Teritt’s eyes and suggested, “Both parents must have important jobs. But they care enough to make sure their son is well looked after. They want to keep him away from people who might kidnap him to blackmail them for money so they send him to a country where there’s a good education system, not too close to Spain, not too far away, where their names aren’t known.”
Teritt stared at Dave, his expression... grateful for some reason. And even more oddly, there was a frown in his eyes.
“That’s a valid suggestion,” he murmured.
Don looked as if he found all this hilarious.
“You make it sound like Teritt’s family is in the Mafia, Dave.”
Dave blinked and looked at Don, rolling his eyes.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m sure they’re just wealthy businessmen.” His brow furrowed. He looked once more to Teritt. “But I’d be careful if I were you.” There was subtle emphasis on the word ‘careful’ that I didn’t quite understand. But it appeared to me that there was now some secret between Dave and Teritt. Teritt had evidently let something slip and Dave had been intelligent enough to pick up on it. Teritt’s suspicious behaviour resulted from some significant piece of information but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I wondered if I’d know if I were as clever or as scientifically minded as Dave. I wondered if anyone else had worked out the secret but wasn’t saying anything.
Teritt’s response was a simple nod.