Lunch as an outsider.

I was slow out of music, the lesson had gone not quickly, but not slowly, it just sort of… was and I had hoped to have at least some feeling of accomplishment at the end of it all, but I didn’t. While everyone else had been subtly changing lyrics or making sure their chords fit well with the melody I was still sat there trying to think of any lyrics at all. I hadn’t even started thinking of the tune or even if I would play it on my mandarin or if I would learn how to play it on the piano or if I would sing it and ask someone else to play it or if I would be able to sing and play it. I just hadn’t a clue what I was doing.

 “Take your time woman. S’not like we made a really stupid excuse to come get you early or that we’re trying to get a bench first so that we don’t have to sit inside all lunch!” Bob smiled at me when I finally ambled through the doors. Her tone was harsh but she meant it in a nice way, I knew she did as did everyone else that knew her well.

 There weren’t a lot of them waiting for me, just Bob, Janet and Cathy. The rest of them must have gone off to buy lunch quickly or to get somewhere for us all to sit.

 Bob looked uncomfortable standing where she was, leaning against the wall and flinching every so often when a drip from the roof would fall near her, while Janet pretended to be interested in what Cathy was saying, which was probably pure craziness.

 “Let’s go!” Janet said like she was a little child who couldn’t quite get their mouths around t’s yet, grabbing Bobs hand and dragging her off down by the s-block so we could go see if the guys had gotten our bench.

 I trailed behind with Cathy while she laughed at something she had said; I think it was a comment on Bob and Janet’s relationship. They were just close friends who didn’t feel the need to be awkward around each other so held hands a lot, but Cathy liked to change things in her head so it was more like gossip, even though she wasn’t exactly the gossipy type… all the time.

 Dom waved us over when we emerged into the large open area of concrete where the humanities block used to reside but was now just an eye soar. He was sitting on our bench on his own, I felt almost sorry for making him wait so long on his own, if only I hadn’t wasted time in music just doing nothing then he wouldn’t have had to sit on his own.

 “Stop thinking.” Bob called over her shoulder to me and stopped moving her feet so Janet had to stop too so Cathy and I could catch up.

 “What?” I had to say it loudly because even though we had had time to catch up they were both still about seven feet or so in front of us.

 “You’re worrying. You don’t need to worry or feel guilty or anything like that. Just stop it.” Bob sounded annoyed at me, she probably was. She would never be mean to me in a mean way, but she hated it when I worried, which was all the time.

 “I absolutely loath it when you do that.” It was like she could read my mind or something.

 “But if…”

 “But if you stopped worrying then the world would end, just the same as if Jane stops being horny or Paddy stops singing or Janet stops liking rainbows.”

 Silently I cursed her for knowing what I was thinking and then knowing what I was about to say but just disproving it by putting in everyone else’s downfall.

 “So how would you end the world?” Kenny cut in, appearing from where appeared to be nowhere. He must have over taken me and Cathy and then just started walking next to Bob but I hadn’t even noticed him walking past me, although I was sure that Bob had known he was there the whole time. She never missed anything and I seemed to miss everything.

 Bob didn’t answer Kenny; she just reached her hand up to hold his that he had flung over her shoulder.

 “Are you guy’s going out?” One of the girls from our year went out of her way to come over and intrude into our personal lives. She looked expectantly at Bob and Kenny.

 Kenny looked to Bob and Bob looked at her shoulder where their fingers were intertwined.

 “Yeah, the three of us…” She swung her other hand that Janet was holding onto and Janet lifted their hands to her lips and kissed the back of her own hand, which made it look like she kissed the back of Bobs hand.

 The three of them got an odd look from Emma, I think her name was Emma, as we swerved towards our bench and she swerved back the other way.

 “We’re just one big happy family.” Kenny called back over his shoulder as Emma stormed past me and Cathy.

 “That was cruel” Dom laughed as we all plonked down on the bench, all of us par Janet and Bob. “I’m getting lunch, everyone else has already gone in but it kept it warm for you.” He smiled and patted the arm of the bench like it was a dear old friend of his.

 “Thanks for waiting.” Bob gave him a quick hug but jumped slightly like she was being electrocuted or something and made a sort of squeaking sound. “I take it back.” She glared at Dom as they pulled away from each other and Dom just smiled and laughed.

 “It’s so fun though. No one else jumps like that. Look.” Dom quickly buzzed Janet while she wasn’t paying attention but she just shook her shoulders slightly like it was no more than someone tapping her waist. “See!” Dom laughed again but opened his arms to give Bob a proper hug when she looked like she might sulk. “Aw. I don’t mean it.”

 “Yeah you do.” Bob lifted her hand up to tap Dom on the nose and we all watched as he blinked with every tap, he had always done it and we had always laughed. “Just the same as I really mean that.”

 “Paper game next.” Dom smiled and walked away towards the cafeteria so he could get lunch while Bob sat down on Kenny with a look of dread on her face.

 “I hate that damn game.” Bob leaned back resting her head on Kenny’s shoulder.

 “Just grab the paper.” Kenny laughed and flicked Bobs hair so he could see her face better.

 “It moves too fast.” We all laughed, Bob did too, while Kenny moved his hand in front of Bobs face and she had to try to catch it. She never could until she just grabbed his arm and held his hand that way.

 It wasn’t surprising that Emma had thought they were a couple, they acted as such all the time, but then again so did Bob and Janet, just none of them ever kissed or anything. Someone was always in contact with someone else, but as I had been told before they started hanging out with me that’s what their friends had been like. Apparently they were all touchy feely but the three of them had got tired of all the fights all their friends had and had come off the field and we, Cathy, Leanne and I, had been there to befriend them.

 Actually it was more like they had sat on some benches and we had just kind of joined them because I took RS with Janet and Bob and I just followed them there one break time after one of our lessons and Cathy and Leanne had found us and it has been the same ever since. We had gained a few people, such as Dom, Em, Jake, Jane and Sasha, but it was still the same, well it was for me. I couldn’t say much for the others, although Bob could, because she was a bloody mind reader.

 “They did fight a lot; I don’t even understand why… maybe being all over each other all the time makes people more protective over people and things…” She seemed to have been talking for a while, although Cathy seemed as lost as I was when Bob started talking. Kenny and Janet looked like they were both in on it, I wouldn’t be surprised if they could read minds too, or at the very least be connected to Bob’s head and when she read my brain they just got her feedback message.

 “All three of you are crazy.” I smiled, trying not to show how annoyed I was that they all had a past together and I wasn’t a part of it. It made me worry too, they acted as though their old friends didn’t bother them, but I didn’t understand how it couldn’t. It would have bothered me, why didn’t it bother them?

 “So. It’s the sane one’s you want to look out for; they are the real mass murderers.” Kenny rested his chin on Bob’s shoulder while he laughed slightly. He had always seemed suspicious of anyone that was too normal, but he did seem to have some logic to his scepticism.

 “You say that, but then what about Bob?” Janet plonked down on the bench between where Bob and Kenny were sitting and where I was, I could have told her that I wanted to sit in the middle, other people would have done it in a joking way and still would have gotten their own way, but I didn’t say anything.

 “Yeah. What? I don’t get it…” Bob looked confused at Kenny while talking in a terrible southern American accent.

 “You’re not normal, but we all have no doubt that you created the Texas chain saw massacre.” Kenny laughed and hugged his arms around Bob tighter.

 “I told you not to talk to my sister…” Bob looked down, trying to avoid eye contact with us all.

 “Where’s Leanne?” Bob asked, trying to get of the subject of her. “Not here.” She answered her own question.

I wasn’t sure where Leanne was, she was meant to be here with the rest of us, although I wasn’t sure what lesson she just had, she normally just met us on the benches where we always were, but she wasn’t here today.

 “What did she just have?” Janet asked, looking like she thought I would know the answer, I should have known the answer, but I didn’t.

 It made me worry that I wasn’t as close as I used to be with Leanne, we used to be really close, her, Cathy and me. But for some reason it wasn’t like that anymore, we weren’t all best friends and I didn’t know them like I used to. Sure I spent the most time with them, out of school my mum was friends with Cathy’s mum so we saw each other all the time, and then we couldn’t leave out Leanne so nearly every time I saw Cathy I saw Leanne too. Somehow I just wasn’t really with them when we were all hanging out, just the three of us. Admittedly I complained a lot. I didn’t know why it was just the three of us when we had so many friends at school who could have been with us, I felt like we were leaving them out and it didn’t feel right. They always included the three of us when they were planning something, often not inviting someone they really wanted to go to an event just so one of us wasn’t left out, we should have at least extended the same courtesy, but we didn’t.

 “What ya thinking?” Bob asked me, looking at me as though she had been trying to get my attention for a while.

 Like she didn’t already know what I was thinking, of course she knew, she just didn’t want to take over for me. “I was just wondering what Leanne just had… I can’t for the life of me even remember what subjects she takes. “

 “Um… Food, history, geography, French.” Bob listed like she had it committed to memory, but she could hardly remember what day it was, let alone her own time table. She knew everyone else’s though.

“Oh. She must have had history then. I think that’s what she has when we have geography.” Janet swept her eyes over the tarmac, looking to see if Leanne was lurking around one of the other buildings. “Maybe she’s still in her lesson?”

 “No way. We waited long enough for you,” Bob nudged my arm. “There’s no way she’s still in her lesson now. I bet she’s gone to see someone. Maybe a teacher, or at the office?” It was reasonable, but then again Leanne had a habit of just not being anywhere.

 “Should we go look for her?” I asked, not sure whether it was a stupid suggestion or if they were just waiting for me to suggest it.

 “Nah… She’ll come find us when she’s done with whatever she is doing…” Bob didn’t seem very concerned that Leanne wasn’t with us; she probably cared more but wasn’t showing it. “It’s not a stupid idea though…” She added, as though she knew that I would feel stupid for suggesting it if no one agreed with me. 

The End

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