Part XI: Lunch Outside
In the end, Amber and I made it to homeroom with only a few seconds to spare before the bell rang. I could feel people staring at us, like they knew exactly what we’d been up to… Judging us… I let paranoia take the better of me and I sat down next to Tyler rather than sit with Amber…
“Up late again?” Tyler asked.
“No, I was just hiding in my room all morning.” I said, avoiding to mention Amber.
“Oh alright. Say, my HotM supergroup is doing it’s weekly raiding today, want to join us for buried Ziggurat?”
“Sure. I mean I’ll think about it.”
We went back to our daily lessons, which I kept screwing up, words and numbers getting jumbled in my head, much to my frustration. I’d only ever reached 12th grade without being held back due to massive amount of remedial classes and pity from my teachers… Although each classes was only about an hour and fifteen minutes, Homeroom felt like it took hours for me as I struggled so much… Eventually, Lunch came about and I was freed from my misery. I knew I’d have to ask Mr. Martin for help eventually but I hated failing so miserably. It made me feel so stupid…
The fast food counter had something I hadn’t seen in three years; poutine, which I’d first tasted on my family vacation to Canada a few years back. It was a mix of french fries, gravy and cheese curd. It was pretty freaking delicious. Once I got out of line, I saw Amber heading toward me, a tray in hand. Unlike me, she’d gone for soft-shell tacos.
“Want to go have lunch outside? It’s a nice day.” I proposed.
“Sure I guess.” She answered. “And it’s a bit more private than the cafeteria…” She then added suggestively. That made me blush.
So the two of us left the cafeteria together, finding a nice spot beneath the shade of a willow tree where we weren’t easily visible.
“What the hell is that thing?” Amber said once she saw my choice of lunch.
“Poutine, it’s amazing.”
“That looks like a mess.”
“A delicious mess.” I corrected her. She didn’t look convinced so I speared a few fries and bits of cheese curd before raising it toward her. “Try it.”
She hesitantly leaned forward and put the food in her mouth, chewing for a few seconds before swallowing.
“It’s nice, but damn there has to be enough grease in there to oil a car.” She said, making me feel self conscious. Being fat, people often judged me by my choice of food…
“Crap, I said something wrong.” She said, looking at me. “Greasy food just makes my stomach feel heavy and my whole body sluggish.”
I nodded and dug into my food. Amber offering me a bite of her tacos in return. She’d picked some shrimp tacos which were pretty nice and fresh. As we ate, we just talked about random things, nothing serious. Apparently we were both fan of old school metal bands, which was pretty cool.
“So, I’m not entirely sure how to phrase this without being weird or insulting…” Amber began, looking uncomfortable. “And I don’t want to like pretend not to notice… But you’re Asian, right?”
It was a question I’d gotten a million times, although most people just phrased it as either ‘are you Chinese or Japanese?’ as if no other East-Asian ethnicity existed or they just asked me where I ‘was really from’ as if I really wasn’t from California…
“Yeah, I’m actually a sixth-generation Korean-american. My great-great grandparents emigrated here like forever ago.”
“Oh.” She said, thinking about it for a moment. “I’m an immigrant too, well, my parents are. They’re German and Irish, they came to America just a few years before I was born.”
“I knew I detected the slightest hint of an accent.” I said, teasing her.
“Ja.” She mumbled, becoming shy all of a sudden. “I don’t speak much German or Gaelic though. My parents didn’t seem to think teaching us was a priority.”
“My family doesn’t speak Korean, my grandparents know a little but my parents couldn’t speak a sentence to save their lives. I took a few classes so I know how to ask for the bathroom but that’s about it.”
She let out a snicker. “Guess I’m not the only one who get screwed with the family heritage.”
“So, what’s the story with your sword? Like you’re pretty good with it, so it’s not like you just randomly got it.”
“It’s a family gift I guess… My folks made me take sword fighting when I was young.”
“They made you learn sword fighting? Most parents would swing the opposite direction.”
“It’s complicated.” She sighed. “But with my mutant abilities, enhanced strength and endurance, using a greatsword is fairly easy.”
“So it’s a greatsword?”
“Well, it’s inspired by Scottish claymores, although a purist would say it isn’t a true one since the cross guard doesn’t end with a quatrefoil.” She explained all serious. There was an enthusiasm I hadn’t seen before in her voice. “It’s actually made of duranium, which is a titanium based alloy; only about a third of the weight of steel but twice as durable, which is better than pure titanium based sword, but far more expensive. Even then, it’s actually one of the most commonly used material in superhero gear, most armors you see out there are actually duranium based.”
I couldn’t help but just stare at her, captivated. She was pretty darn cute when she was being a weapon nerd.
“Of course duranium isn’t the actual name, just a brand name. In reality it’s called compound T14–”
She didn’t finish that sentence as I kissed her. It took her a second to process what I’d just done and return the favor. For a moment, we just sat there, our lips meeting again and again.
“You’re hella cute, you know that?” I whispered when we broke apart.
In answer, she looked away and turned red in embarrassment.
“Aww look at you, all shy.”
“Shut up…” She said, jokingly but still clearly embarrassed.
“Wait, am I your first relationship?” I asked.
“Oh come on, big gorgeous girl like you? You’ve never…”
“I didn’t really have the chance… I moved around a lot.”
“Like you’ve never done anything not even just to try or as part of a dare or something?”
She shook her head timidly.
“Dang. Guess I’ll have to go gentle on my girlfriend then.”
There was a few seconds long pause before she spoke.
“Say, you don’t think we’re kind of rushing into things?” She asked. “I mean, we’ve just met… It’s not exactly normal…”
“Honestly, I don’t know… My life is all crazy and I don’t even know what normal is anymore… All I know is that you’re cute and that life’s too short to waste time thinking about when it’s too soon to do what I want to do.” In my case, life’s shortness was all too real, the Shigeo-kai could have tracked me down and their assassins could jump me any second…
My thoughts were interrupted when I noticed a large gathering not too far from us. It wasn’t hard to recognize that it was our class; Rowan and Ahti were very noticeable, even from a distance.
“What the hell is going on over there?” I asked myself out loud.
Amber turned around and saw the rest of the class assembled nearby, watching Allen getting his ass kicked by the Rook.
“We should probably join them.” She said.
We got up and joined the others.
“I yield.” Allen said, on the ground in a heap at the Rook’s feet.
“Uhm.” Rook intoned before turning toward the others. “Hopefully one of you will be less disappointing.”