Episode Twenty Four
De omnibus dubitandum.
All is to be doubted.
De omnibus dubitandum.
All is to be doubted.
As he dumped his trash, Tobie glanced at the table near the front of the cafeteria and smirked. Two chairs were conspicuously empty. He placed his tray in the receptacle, waited while Gus did the same, and then headed back to Mayan's Hall.
Gus prattled on about Rebeca and Sadie and Tobie tuned it out while scanning the premises. No activity. Nothing amiss. He slid back the door to 12A.
Gus elbowed his arm. "Dude, you hear me at all?"
This again…I have more important things to do besides listen to you pinning over girls you’ll never get. "Yeah, yeah," Tobie waved dismissively as they walked to their row. "You got it bad for Beca and Sadie and half the other hot girls. You're a broken record, man. Give it a rest."
Tobie caught a scramble of paper from the first row and picked up the pace, rounded Brooke Kent’s desk where she was re-braiding her hair, and hurried down his row.
A bark from the other side of the room."Sinclair."
Tobie looked up from setting his bag on his desk. Eddie heading for his row. Great. "Yeah, what?"
Eddie adjusted his golden watch with an imperious rattle as he walked between the desks, his light eyes filled with suspicion. "Where's your buddy?"
"Why whoever do you mean, Edward?" Tobie looped his satchel’s strap around the back of the chair.
Eddie grasped the clip board with both hands, looking as if he were about to pass judgment. "Where's Hughes?"
Tobie straightened, a few muscle’s in his arm itching to bunch. "No idea, man. Not a clue."
"He's consistently late." Eddie squared his shoulders, glancing down at his clip board and flipping a few pages. “Yesterday, two days before….”
"Yeah? So? Take it up with him." Tobie could feel his patience about to snap. Holon, man you so owe me!
Eddie gave Tobie a cool look. His eyes narrowed. "Something is going on here. You know something, Sinclair."
A rush of panic cooled the bubbling anger. Tobie tried to let it dissipate with a short laugh. "Man, you're paranoid. As far as I know, he went home for lunch and lost track of time."
"Losses track of time allot."
Tobie's hands slid out of his pockets. He did his best not to let them form fists. "Why ya hassling me, Ed?" Their eyes locked.
Gus looked sidelong at Tobie. The tension between the boys had ramped up a few notches. He stood up.
Eddie licked his lips, gaze flicking to Gus then back to Tobie. "You're…you’re his roommate," he said, his voice loosing the haughty overtones.
"Yeah. Not his handler. Lay off."
“We don’t have time to play messenger, Ed,” Gus put in, bracing himself on Tobie’s desk to lean closer to Eddie. “Do your own job.”
Eddie took a step backwards, tripping on Saddie’s backpack. "Well…you…He’s…He's getting detention for this," he finished, voice a bit higher.
"Yeah, ok Eddie.” Tobie rolled his eyes, reaching down to right Saddie’s bag just as she did. Getting to it first, he gave her a winning smile and set it upright. “You just let him know that.”
"If he shows up, I will." Eddie backed down Tobie's row. "If he shows up."
The door slid back and Rebeca walked through. Waving at Sadie, who was already tearing paper out of the notebook, she headed to her desk.
Lampman entered closely after and the classroom's volume went down a notch. "Hope everyone had a good lunch." He set his bag on his chair and pulled out his notebooks.
The door slid back just as the bell rang. Eddie's head shot up like a cat hearing a distant mouse.
Esther came in quickly, both hands on her satchel strap, and hurried to the other side of the classroom.
Tobie grinned at Eddie's obvious disappointment.
Lampman stood back from the mess of equations on the white board. "And that’s the basis theory of Sentential Logic." He dusted his hands off as the bell rang. "I will be going over it in detail next lesson. Do pages 114 and 126 in your work book, evens only," he added over the growing din of students quickly packing away their supplies. "Have a good weekend everyone."
Gus swiveled towards Rebeca’s desk. "Gonna watch us today after school?"
Rebeca threw Sadie a look.
Sadie rolled her eyes while packing up her algebra book.
"Come with us, Bec. Come on." Gus practically pleaded.
Rebeca tossed her pretty hair over her shoulder, glanced at Tobie.
Gus stepped closer to her. "It'll be a good game. Promise."
She rested her chin on her hand with a pout. "I don't really get soccer. And Sadie has to get home. Not much fun sitting in the stands by yourself."
Tobie grinned at Gus' deflated look. "Hey Jake, wanna keep Bec company at our game?"
Jacob looked up from Adan's desk. "Sure. Gotta get my bike though. Walk me out?"
"Come on, Bec." Tobie winked, inwardly smirking when her checks flushed a soft pink. "Let’s walk them out together."
Rebeca stood up faster then even Tobie expected. "Ok."
The four headed out into the chilly afternoon, rain clouds threatening overhead adding murky gloom to the day.
Rebeca stopped just before the bike rack. "Who’s that?"
Jacob turned from unlocking his bike. He sighed. "Ugh...man...That's my baby sister..."
"What's she doing here?" Rebeca squinted at the little girl hopping up the side walk on one leg, then switching to two, then back to one.
“Looks like Hop Scotch,” said Tobie.
"She goes to Wintin Conservatory, down the hill." Jacob pulled the lock off his bike and unraveled the chain from around the tiers. "She started walking up here like a week ago after they let out. Freaked her nanny the first time when she couldn't find her. Then she started just...showing up."
"So she waits for you after school?" Rebeca smiled at the little girl skipping along the avenue, singing softly. "That's so sweet."
"Nah," Jacob said, running an embarrassed hand through his hair. "She just likes to play up here. She says she has a friend," he added, putting air quotes around "friend."
Rebeca nodded knowingly. "My youngest brother had one of those."
"Dad's tried to put a stop to it, but nothing's worked so far. She just keeps coming up here to play."
"Have you tried drugs?"
Jacob glared at Gus. "She's only six, man. It’s just a phase." He pulled his hair back and put on his cap. "She'll grow out of it." He kicked off, stirring the bike down Westin's front drive. "Looks like I can't stay though. Sorry Beca. Later."
"Let's get back," Gus prodded, turning with Rebeca to head back up the Quad. "Don't need coach on my ass anymore. It won’t be a long game, Bec."
"Yeah, whatever man." Tobie, said, watching Jacob ride up to Layah, his feet leaving the peddles to skim along the sidewalk.
Layah straightened from searching for the rock skipped into the flowerbed around the grated trees. She let Jacob help her onto the book rack on the back of the bike. Leaning backwards she laced her fingers between the metal rungs of the rack, lurching as Jacob kicked off. Grinning, she waved back towards the Hop Scotch spot.
Tobie turned to follow Gus and Rebeca. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a thin glistening bit of air raise wavering from the ground, and wave back before fading away.
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