After orientation Walter and Ned got out of the lecture room and waited by the entrance. They were bickering as students passed them on their way out.
“Is this necessary?” Walter questioned.
“It is Walt, just give it a chance” Ned said wiping his forehead.
Serra and Beatrice exited the lecture room laughing amongst themselves.
“Uh, excuse me…” Ned said, cutting the girls’ laughter short.
Serra responded with a puzzled face, “Yeah?”
“I know this is kinda weird but – – – would you two mind hanging out with us?”
“Um…” Serra looked just as confused as Beatrice “…why?”
Ned scratched the back of his head, “Well, we got off on the wrong foot, and uhh, since we’re all new, it’d be nice if we became friends”
An impatient Walter entered the conversation, “He has a ‘need to fix everything’ problem, so either you say yes, or get the hell –“
Ned quickly stepped in, “ – SERRA, and Beatrice, forgive Walter’s politeness. It would be nice if you said yes, please. It’ll just be for a few minutes, just a few, I promise”
Beatrice and I tagged along with Walter and Ned, we had some small talk as we walked casually towards the Sports field. I still didn’t get it though, why Ned would go out of his way to stay on good terms with complete strangers such as us. It wasn’t because he was interested in either one of us, I was sure of that, as we talked I could feel he was genuinely being friendly. Walter on the other hand kept staring into the distance, he would smile occasionally; it wasn’t clear if it was because of our conversation with Ned or something on his mind.
We reached the Sports field and a number of students were there, some were playing basketball and others tennis. The rugby field was not being used, the number of students sitting there idly chatting made that abundantly clear. From where we were standing we could see the entire field with ease, there was a long set of stairs ahead of us leading downwards to the lush green rugby pitch. All four of us stood by the first step, silently soaking in the view, and noise.
“Walt, there she is” Ned said with his eyes focussed, Walter and Beatrice looked in the same direction.
“Good luck, soldier. I’ll pass on this one” Walter gave a weak handed salute.
Ned looked disappointed as his shoulders dropped, “Really? Come on man”
“Well Ned, it’s been nice talking to you and walking around, but it’s time for us to, um, go” I said preparing to turn around and leave.
“Serra! Its Marie, look!” Beatrice exclaimed in excitement pointing towards her. Marie had a bunch of girls surrounding her, a common sight, even in high school.
“You know her?” Ned asked looking intrigued.
“Of course! She’s our best friend!” a joyous Beatrice responded.
“The irony of it all, I was just planning to talk to her and introduce myself, isn’t that amazing?” Ned grinned.
Beatrice beamed with excitement, “It is! Serra, we’ll introduce Ned to her right? We owe him that much at least”
“Um, sure” I could feel my throat swelling.
Ned turned towards Walter, “Last chance, you sure you don’t want to come along and be a good wingman?”
Walter gave Marie and her friends a second look, “You know me, I rarely change my …” he paused as his mouth opened, like he’d seen a ghost, “… mind”
“Whats up?” A concerned Ned asked.
“Let’s go talk to her” Walter said proceeding down the stairs.
Ned raised his eye-brow, “Whoa – – – I don’t know what peaked your interest, but I’m glad it did”
“I’ll take the girl with the red hair, your friends can take the other ones” Walter said to Ned, he looked excited about all this.
It was none of my business how Ned was planning to get Marie, in fact, I didn’t really care that much. Although, the sudden interest by Walter came as a shock; all of a sudden he had this drive and eagerness I hadn’t seen since I met him. This was the closest I had seen him get involved with the three of us that afternoon.
As we came closer, Marie and her friends were now sitting by picnic benches on the very edge of the rugby pitch; it was common for students to have picnics and hang-out there I’d heard.
Once we were in Marie’s earshot Walter made our presence known, “Hello, Cherise” he said, looking at the girl with red hair.
“Wait, wait, wait, you know her?” Ned was highlighting our shock as well.
“Walter!?” Cherise said in disbelief, “Wow, I-I can’t believe this” she stood up and gave him a hug, “It’s been so long!”
“Yes, it’s been long” Walter was actually showing his teeth as he smiled, the girl must have been really special to make him do that.
Beatrice and Ned quickly greeted Marie and her other two friends, I did the same. It all made sense why Walter was eager to help, he knew the red-haired girl, but from where? Cherise gently pulled Walter away from the picnic bench where everyone was, she probably wanted to talk to him privately.
(Please leave a comment, and if there’s a particular part that struck you or if you have a favourite character, i’d love hearing about it) 😀