“Are you actually here?”
I jumped at the voice. “Apparently not. Uh, hi, Barry.” He’d apparently got tired of following me around at a distance and was back to trying to get my attention directly.
“I know you don’t want to see me, but you seem very out of sorts.”
“It’s personal.” I would have said family stuff, but everyone knew I didn’t have a family. Or did I? I didn’t know that, not for sure.
Valkyrie. Even the thought of the word caused tension in me.
“It’s going to make you sick if you don’t stop worrying it,” he opined.
“What do you know about it?”
I let my shoulders fall. “I’m sorry. Look. This isn’t something I can talk about. But you should know…that the real reason I’m not interested in you is because I’m leaving DC right after graduation.”
He nodded. “I can see that. This is a crazy, mixed up city and what do you have to keep you here?”
“Nothing.” Kanesha would get her scholarship, the way she was going, and she had already said none of the schools in the area particularly appealed. Of course, she might not be able to get one that covered out of state. Which would suck.
“And you don’t want to ruin that with me or anyone else.” His voice was a little sad. “Do you actually hate the city?”
“I hate the city’s housing prices. Like I’m going to get anything above minimum wage.”
“Point.” He let out a breath. “Alright. I’ll leave you alone.”
I didn’t think he would. He thought he was in love with me. But everything I was learning made it even more important not to let him act on it. For his sake. I did, though, watch him go, wishing things could be different.
Lots of wishes. None of them could come true, even if gods were walking the city. And if they weren’t, well, Barry didn’t deserve a headcase for a girlfriend. He wouldn’t work well with Kanesha either, I mused. She’d railroad all over him.
Most boys don’t want to date a girl quite that obviously smarter than they were.
“You really should just date him,” Prue said as she came up next to me.
“Nah. Barry’s a long term kind of guy. I’m not interested in that much commitment.”
“Good point. He probably is. There’s Warren?”
“I’m not interested in that little commitment.”
She laughed. Warren was notorious for his first dates. He had a lot of them. For some reason, he had very few second dates. That reason might have to do with scheduling multiple first dates in a week.
“I guess I’ve just got other things to think about than dating right now.” I brushed back my hair. “But thanks for trying to help.”
“Like your grades? They’re going up lately – I heard the teachers speculating as to why.”
I tensed. “Uh…I think I just got settled in.”
“Or did a few memories sneak back?” She raised her hands. “Sorry. That was kind of uncalled for.”
“I really wish that the entire school didn’t know. Hard to hide, though. But no. I think my brain just needed to get back into the pattern of learning.”
Or maybe something was waking back up after months of dormancy, but I couldn’t say that out loud.