The atmosphere was clammy and irritating. Though each group sat at their own table, all ten groups had been assembled in the gathering room. The chatter, the laughter, and the overall immaturity was positively sickening.
"I think we're in the wrong crowd," Casady muttered.
It was true. There was something about Rune, Casady, and Morgance that separated them from all the other guests.
"No kidding," Morgance said. She glanced around the room. "Only ten tables. I guess that means we'll have to eat with all the other idiots from our group."
Stifling laughter at Morgance's words, Rune entered the line to get his food. They were a few minutes late, but there were still some trainees who hadn't filled their plates yet. There were far too many choices - from chicken to steak, from coleslaw to fruit salad, from miniature loaves of bread to overstuffed muffins - there was plenty of food to go around, to say the least. Rune took quite awhile choosing his meal before he joined Casady and Morgance with the rest of the trainees from their group.
"So, how's the singing going?" Delancey asked, smirking at Morgance.
"Excellent! I haven't sung a single note," Morgance said with smirk to beat Delancey's.
"You'll get in trouble," Malcus declared.
"Says the boy who can hardly fit the tenor range because his voice is as high as a little girl's," Morgance retorted, crossing her arms. "You were so crazy high-pitched that even Aretta said something about you!"
Blushing, Malcus didn't deny Morgance's words. He simply slunk down in his chair a little further.
Oliver, Malcus' roommate, must have decided it was his turn to antagonize, for he opened his mouth to say something when Casady butted in.
"I think now's a perfect time to get to know one another instead of putting each other down," Casady said, looking pointedly at Oliver. "The fact of the matter is, Morgance didn't want to sing. Frankly, I think she has more of a backbone than any of us put together. Don't you think, Rune?"
Rune, uncomfortable with the fact that the conversation had been turned to him, shifted in his chair. I wish I could just shrivel up and disappear right now. "Yeah, I think you're right. Well, probably. I mean, there's no way to no for sure," he rambled, tapping the table nervously.
Lisha raised her eyebrows. "Looks like you're about as smart as Morgance," she said, rolling her eyes.
"That's a pretty big compliment," Morgance shot out.
"Okay, okay, okay," Brookie broke in, speaking for the first time. "Enough arguing. What do you all think about our trainer? You know - Vinnia Valdeza."
"She's pathetic," Malcus said, clearly having recovered from his embarrassment.
"I think she's nice," Rune offered, but only Casady and Morgance paid mind to his comment. I shouldn't have even opened my mouth to talk. I'll only sound stupid.
"Nice?" Oliver mimicked. "I agree with Malcus."
"Why do you think she's pathetic?" Brookie interceded.
I wonder if she's not as stupid as we thought, Rune mused. It seems like Brookie has a good head on her shoulders.
"I don't know. She doesn't sing at all. All she does is listen and tell you how to improve your voice. Makes me wonder if she can even sing at all," Delancey said, shrugging. "I don't like her. But at least she's not fat."
Morgance shot up from her chair. "For your information, I am curvy, not fat!" She patted her hips and glared at Delancey. "You're just jealous that your figure isn't as fine as mine! They're fe-mi-nine charms - that's what they are!"
"Enough!" Casady exclaimed. "If we can't get along, then I'm moving to another table!"
Morgance lifted her crystal glass from the table and threw it onto the floor, causing shards of glass to fly everywhere. "I'm sick and tired of you people!" she shouted, her anger getting the better of her.
Rune stood and put his hand on Morgance's shoulder. "How about we not break things?" he tentatively suggested.
Morgance whirled around and began to stalk away.