Sword fights, ketchup bottles, and burning
15 minutes after losing his papers, Rhydian was back in the cafe sitting with 5 other boys he’d never met before.
“Ah, thank you all for helping me get my work before the rain destroyed it all,” Rhydian said, smiling thankfully at them. He glanced out the window, rain pouring down on the other side once again. Luckily, Rhydian had gotten all of his papers back and protected them before it began to rain mercilessly on the group of strangers.
“It was no problem at all!” A dark blue haired boy with a lip ring replied, flashing Rhydian a friendly grin. Rhydian found him incredibly intriguing. Steampunky…. Hehe, I’ll have to create a character in my book like him.
The shorter teenager sitting next to the steampunk boy was looking at his camera. “Yeah, thanks to you, I got some pretty neat pictures,” He said, smiling a little. His inky black bangs fell choppily in front of his eyes while the rest of his hair was held in a short and high ponytail. He looks like an anime character… so cool!
“This has probably been the most fun I’ve had on a lunch break, ever,” A tall blonde boy with striking hazel eyes commented, putting his hands behind his head and leaning his back against his chair.
“You almost ran over me with your bike,” the steampunk laughed, his pale blue eyes shining in amusement as he crossed his arms. That sounds terrifying.
“Hey, I apologized!” the blonde exclaimed with a pout. “Anyway, I’m Jasmin. ***** you all?” Jasmin… never heard that for a boy’s name before.
Rhydian pushed up his glasses and straightened his pile of slightly damp papers, figuring he should go first since he caused this whole thing. “I’m Rhydian. Nice to meet you all,” He introduced himself, his face slightly warm. I hope that was a decent enough answer.
Next, the dark cherry haired cyborg spoke. “I’m Ace.” His answer was short and somewhat hesitant. He’s the one who talked to me earlier. Rhydian smiled at him and turned to the photographer.
“I’m Luca. A pleasure to meet all of ya!” the black haired boy said with a grin. It may have been for only a split second, but Rhydian was sure he had seen fear behind his ice blue eyes. Probably just my imagination, he convinced himself, pushing up his glasses again. With the one I have, I wouldn’t be surprised.
The Steampunk went after. “I’m Reuben, the boy who almost got hit with a psycho on a bike.”
Jasmin turned to the last person; a boy with peach colored, wavy hair, freckles, and grey eyes. “What’s your name?” He asked, shifting his position to where his chin rested on the palm of his hand. The freckled boy sighed. “I’m a green grouch in a trashcan.” He looked away, toward the front of the coffee shop.
… a green grouch in a trashcan-?
Jasmin gasped. “Oscar-chan!”
Oscar’s shoulders tensed at the honorific that was attached to his name. “C-chan?” He turned around and gave Jasmin both an annoyed and confused look. Jasmin ignored him and changed his focus to everyone. “So, let’s see if I can remember all of these…” He closed his eyes. “Rhydian, Luca, Reuben, Ace, aaaaaaaand Oscar-chan~!”
Oscar scowled at him. He was the only one with an honorific included. Just as he opened his mouth to say something, Jasmin did instead. “Can I read your writing, Rhydian?” He asked out of the blue, catching Rhydian by surprise. The blue haired boy quickly pulled his papers closer to him. “U-uh… I’m not finished yet.”
“I still want to read it! Pleeeeaaaase~” Jasmin gave him puppy dog eyes. “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase~?”
“B-but it’s not good! It’s nothing special-“
“I disagree. I’ve read my entire bookshop and half of the city’s library,” Oscar began, cutting Rhydian off, “And that passed my acceptance test with flying colors so if you say it’s bad, I’ll throw you out a window.”
Rhydian blinked. A wave of embarrassment was slowly spreading over him and his face felt hot again. “Y-y-you read it?” He stuttered nervously. Only one other person had ever read his writing besides him.
Oscar nodded, his face expressionless. “I really liked it. If you finish it, send me a copy.”
Rhydian had never felt so nervous before. He’s read an entire bookshop and half of the library?! My writing probably doesn’t even deserve to be compared to all of the books that are there…
Unfortunately, this seemed to only fuel Jasmin’s desire to read Rhydian’s work. “Please please please please pleeease can I read it~?” begged Jasmin, his chin now resting on the table. “Please please please please please please please~!”
Rhydian let out a sigh. He had a feeling that it would be a long time before Jasmin stopped pleading.
“Fine…” He reluctantly slid the pile of papers to the center of the table and rubbed the back of his neck as everyone except Oscar took a piece from it, even Ace, who looked like the type who hated reading. This is embarrassing…
Soon, the group was passing around the papers to each other so they each could read the entire thing. While they were doing that, a waitress, none other than Rhydian’s self-proclaimed biggest fan, came up to the table.
A huge smile came onto her face when she saw the group passing around Rhydian’s writing. “Looks like you’ve got yourself some new fans, Rhyd!” Kalisha said, her dark eyes sparkling with pride. Rhydian slid down in his seat.
“They forced me to let them read it…” He muttered, his face flushed. Kalisha crossed her arms. “Well, if they hadn’t, they’d definitely be missing out!” She exclaimed. “Guess that means your number one fan will have some competition!”
Oscar looked up at Kalisha. “You’re his #1 fan? How did you manage to read it?” He asked her. Kalisha grinned. “I had always seen him writing over here for hours, so one day when he went to the restroom I couldn’t help myself and snuck a peek at it. I couldn’t put it down, though, so when he came back, he saw me and oh my god his face was priceless!” she explained with a giggle, making Rhydian pull his beanie down over his eyes.
Kalisha put her hands on her hips. “So I then proclaimed I was his biggest fan, gave him his coffee, and walked away.”
Oscar glanced at Rhydian. “Wow… I wish I had the confidence for that.” He then gave Kalisha a determined look. “I’ll fight you for the title of biggest fan.” Rhydian sunk lower in his seat.
Kalisha stared at Oscar for a moment before realizing he was 100% serious and burst into laughter.
“I think you’ve gotten yourself a fan club, Rhyd,” She said, grinning at the blue haired boy who was now almost on the floor.
“Alright, now, orders! The reason I came over here! What do y’all want?”
“Muffins! Ooo, and a caramel frappuccino please~!”
“Ah… just black tea is fine.” (Oscar)
“Iced tea, sweetened, please.” (Luca)
“Lemonade, please!” (Reuben)
“Coffee- no sugar or cream, please.” (Ace)
Kalisha quickly scribbled down everyone’s orders onto her notepad. “So, 6 muffins, a caramel frappuccino, a black tea, an iced tea, a lemonade, a black coffee, and a green tea with three sugar cubes.” She glanced at Rhydian as she added the last order and he nodded in reply. She had memorized his usual.
The dark skinned waitress put her pen behind her ear and smiled at the group. “I’ll be back shortly with your orders!” She said, before walking away.
When she came back, Rhydian insisted that they all give him his papers back, which, hesitantly, they did. Jasmin was especially stubborn.
“But Oscar-chan got to read it all and I want to too~!” Jasmin whined. “Stop calling me that!” Oscar growled at him, but Jasmin paid him no attention.
Rhydian bit his lip. If I say no, he’ll keep bugging me about it… and he- somehow- really seems to enjoy it, so…
“Okay, okay!” Rhydian said, caving. He sighed.
Kalisha passed around their orders, having to go back for the caramel frappuccino and the muffins.
“Enjoy!” She said once they all received what they wanted. They all replied with a “thank you!” in unison as she went to her next table.
“Thith ith tho goof~!” Jasmin exclaimed through a mouthful of muffin. “Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Oscar muttered, flicking Jasmin on the side of the head and giving him a glare. Jasmin swallowed and stuck out his tongue.
Reuben laughed at the two and sipped at his lemonade. Luca was taking a picture of his iced tea glass for some reason- which Jasmin quickly photobombed.
Luca eventually gave up and changed to taking pictures of the cafe. Rhydian smiled. This is fun. He had never felt so elated before. Normally, being around people would drain him, but this time was different. Odd.
“Hey, Luca~! Take a picture of us~!” Jasmin put his arm around Oscar, who almost choked, and Luca grinned and snapped a picture of the two. Oscar then proceeded to whack Jasmin on the head with the ketchup bottle that sat on the end of the table.
Ace snickered. Whoa, he showed an emotion!
Rhydian sat up and rearranged his beanie, unable to stop himself from smiling.
“Hey, Rhydian? Can I try on your glasses~?” Jasmin asked, making the writer pause in the middle of sipping his tea. “Huh? Uh, yeah, sure.” He pulled off his black-framed glasses and passed them to Jasmin, who stared at Rhydian.
The blue haired boy blinked. “W-what?” He asked, suddenly self-conscious.
“You’re so cute without glasses~!” Jasmin exclaimed, making Rhydian blush furiously and Reuben spit out his lemonade.
Oscar shook his head at Jasmin as Reuben wiped lemonade off of his face with a napkin. “You have no self-control, do you.”
Jasmin turned to him with a pout. “Oh shut up, you’re just jealous!” Oscar deadpanned. “Of what, may I ask?”
Jasmin smirked. “That I called Rhydian cute and not you!” Jasmin put his arm around Oscar. “But don’t worry, I think you’re cute too, Oscar-chan~!” He said with a wink. Oscar’s face went beet red and he whacked Jasmin with the ketchup bottle again.
Rhydian rubbed his eyes. I can’t believe someone called me cute… He quickly drank some more of his tea. Jasmin likes to flirt, I figured that out from the moment he handed me all the papers he had collected. His comment shouldn’t have surprised me.
Jasmin finally put on Rhydian’s glasses. “Wow~! Everything looks so weird- haha, your face is so blurry, Oscar-chan~!”
Somehow, Rhydian’s glasses ended up being passed around the entire group like his story had. “You must be blind,” Reuben commented, taking off the glasses and handing them to Luca. He blinked a few times. “I feel cross-eyed now.”
Before Luca put on the glasses, he snapped a quick picture of them on the table.
“You love taking photos, don’t you?” Reuben asked, amused. Luca grinned and nodded. “Yep! Photo opportunities are everywhere. You just have to find them!”
Finally, Rhydian got his glasses back and the world stopped being fuzzy.
The group continued to chat for awhile, a thunderstorm raging outside and Luca taking pictures of everyone else. Who knew being around people like this could make for a million great pictures? Luca thought to himself with a small smile.
Ace had been quiet for most of the first half of his time with the group, but he eventually started to contribute to the conversation more, even if it was only a few words.
Most of the other people in the cafe had left as the storm grew worse, but the 6 boys stayed. It wasn’t that late into the afternoon, either, but the amount of people coming into the cafe was very small. The few who did decide to stop in only stayed to receive their order before going back into the stormy weather.
Luca’s attention was drawn back to the others as Jasmin and Reuben began to ‘sword fight’ with a pair of forks.
Grinning, Luca reached down for his camera, not wanting to miss the great photo opportunity, but he froze when he saw his hands.
No… not again… not here!
They were on fire.
Horrible pain rippled through his body from his hands and Luca struggled to fight the urge not to yell out. He pressed his hands to his chest, hoping that somehow the pain would stop, but that only made the fire appear as if it were spreading over the rest of his body.
I didn’t take my medication… why didn’t I take my medication?!
Eventually, the terrible burning pain spread over Luca’s entire body.