I was embarrassed to realize that I had zoned out while Agatha was trying to talk to me. “Sorry. What was that?”
She gave me a studious look. “I said that enough eggs have been made for now. You can come back at about an hour ‘til noon. We get a lot more people here for lunch than we do for breakfast.” She paused a moment. “Are you... all right? You seem... distant.” I wondered if that was her way of saying that she didn’t like to be ignored.
“Yeah, I’m alright,” I replied quickly. “I just don’t function well in the morning. I’ll be alert by lunch-time.” Even as I said it, I couldn’t tell if I was fibbing or not, which alarmed me. Everything I said made sense, but I couldn’t remember if it was the truth or just an explanation I wrote for myself to explain away the fact that I was thinking of other things.
Yes, I was fibbing, I thought with a sense of relief of finally figuring myself out. I’m just as prone to zone out in the afternoon as I am during the morning, but I’m planning to figure out how to get my head on by the time I need to come and help fix lunch.
When I finally shook myself out of my thoughts, I was vaguely surprised to find a plate with eggs in my hands, apparently having just come out of the lunch line. I scanned the room. Only a few people were around, and the only one I knew was Mrs. Jenson, and I really didn’t want to deal with her baggage, so I headed over to an empty table and sat down. I gave a sigh. I wished I’d just get a life.
A few minutes later, I was surprised to see Daisy walking in my direction. After the way that her boyfriend reacted when I got close yesterday, I had thought she and her group didn’t like me. Brandon had detected that I wasn’t being up-front, and it humiliated me to think that he figured it out so easily. And if he, an ordinary human, could sense it, surely hyper-sensitive Daisy could as well. Did she know I was being dishonest but choosing to be my friend anyway?
She stopped about four feet away, as if she didn’t really want to get close. “Hey, can I sit here?”
I wondered why she was asking, even though she wasn’t acting like she wanted to come near. “If you want.”
She took the seat next to me and started picking her eggs apart with her fork, looking at it with a suspicious expression. I hoped those didn’t happen to be the eggs I had tried to prepare.
I didn’t want to say anything, but the way she was dissecting it was driving me nuts. “What’s wrong with it?” I sounded a little more testy than I intended.
She jumped. “Oh! I’m so sorry! I forgot you were on breakfast!” I thought she must be blushing, but it was a little hard to tell because of her dark complexion. “I thought I detected something off about the eggs-- the way they developed, not anything that was added after the shells were broken!”
I ducked my head, feeling like a jerk. “Sorry. I didn’t realize you might be looking at the... um, whatsits.” I couldn’t figure out how to describe what she just told me. She was a lot better with words than I was.
She seemed to relax a little. “There are a lot of little things I do that would seem strange if you’re not used to me.” She gave me a sheepish smile.
I decided that now was a good a time as any to ask some questions. “So, why did you choose to sit with me? Isn’t that your foster mother over there?” I nodded in the general direction.
“She wanted to be left alone. You didn’t.”
Involuntarily, my hand went up to my head.
Daisy gave an exasperated groan. “No, I didn’t read your mind. I only picked up on what you were broadcasting. Probing your thoughts would be intrusive.”
I blushed and thought that maybe it was time to change the subject. “Would you mind telling me your age? I’m a little confused; you don’t look as old as you act.” Too late, I realized that might have come off as being rude; kids hate to be mistaken for being younger than they really are.
Daisy must have gotten that a lot, because she didn’t seem bothered by it. “I’m going on sixteen. The reason why I look younger is because I wasn’t able to practice using my Gift for most of my childhood, and it caused me to not develop properly.”
I turned around to see Dereck coming running up to us, jostling bits of egg off of his plate as he went. I gave an inward groan. Oh, no. This guy was aggressive and had no concept of personal space.
“Daze! They’re serving both juice and milk with breakfast!” He ran up to our table, allowed himself an instant to put his plate on the other side of Daisy and started jumping up and down. “Didja see? Didja see?!”
“Yes, Dereck, I saw.” Daisy picked a piece of streak out of her eggs and popped it into her mouth.
I gave him a blank look. “Why is this so exciting?” I hadn’t been planning on speaking to him, but I just had to know.
“They used to only serve milk or juice every other day because of a stupid cheap-sake budget. The fact that they’re serving both means we have a better budget! No more endless mac and cheese!” He gave a shudder. “I used to like mac and cheese.”
Tommi's wings to come out someday soon. Part of the rough draft can be found here