One would obviously expect a bunch of high school students to be perfectly behaved during study hall. To be more specific, they're a particularly large group of 16-year-olds shoved into the school's gymnasium for one hour. They all study for tests and do their homework quietly like the good little children they are. Right?
That would be a damn funny joke. Of course that's not right.
The teenagers wouldn't go so far as to, say, burn down the school - there were monitors present, anyway - but it was close. Paper airplanes flying every which way, pockets of conversation turning into loud laughter, boys playing basketball with their friends, attempting to impress the few girls present. Chaotic, to say the least. The poor monitors were trying to keep them all wrangled, but it was no use.
A sharp contrast, though, were the few kids who were trying to get a head start on their work. Almost all of those kids were girls, but a handful of boys were there, too. It was obvious they were part of well-behaved families who certainly did not accept frivolity occurring all around them.
Erzsébet was one of said girls, much to the annoyance of one of the basketball boys, Gilbert Beilschmidt. She honestly couldn't stand the guy, and she thought she had made that pretty obvious, but of course that wasn't the case. All she wanted was a break from his shenanigans.
She tried to ignore him and attempted to block out all the noise (which was a lost cause from the start, anyway) by turning on her favorite hard rock playlist. Finally she could study in peace. Her pencil scratched her flash cards to fill in the blanks in her mind for her English test, and was actually starting to make good progress. The key word here being "starting", because…
"Hey, Erzsi, what do you think about this dress?"
"Iryna, please shut up. I'm trying to study for English."
"Seriously?" the tall blonde, who had just been named "Iryna", teased playfully. "Didn't you study for over three hours last night? I think you've studied enough for that test."
"My deepest apologies, Iryna, for actually wanting to get an A in English this semester," Erzsébet said, frustration dripping from her words. Didn't she understand? Vocab was a hard subject for her (when would she ever need to know the meaning of "cognizant", anyway?) and here Iryna was, trying to tear her away. What nerve.
"I'm just trying to help," she offered.
"She's right, Erzsi," her best frenemy, Vlad, piped up from a few feet away. "I'm pretty sure you were texting me last night complaining about how you had been 'studying since 5:30 and still weren't done'. Also, Iryna, that dress looks beautiful. Please buy it ASAP."
Iryna beamed as she excitedly tapped the website's "add to cart" button. "See? Vlad gets it. Live your life a little."
"Since when have you liked–" Erzsébet looked up for the first time to take a good look at the dress Iryna was going gaga over, "–black dresses with lace and a slit on the thigh? You don't even care that much about clothes, much less lacy dresses."
"I need to look elegant for the dance next month, don't I? The best dress I have as of today is that ugly green velvet dress. I've had that thing since I was eleven!"
"Think, lady! The continuum! This new thing is way beyond your prime."
"It's called a 'continuum' because you can fall anywhere inside its lines. It's different than, like, a chart where your data is more specific. So that means I can still be a 'Cinnamon Roll' and also be a bit of a 'Rich'... well, you know the word."
Erzsébet couldn't help but smile at that. She was still amazed at how innocent her friend could be, even at age 16. Erzsi herself had nothing short of a potty mouth, while Iryna still apologized to an upper being after saying "crap". She wouldn't admit it for the sake of her own embarrassment, but it was damn adorable. In fact, Iryna in general was damn adorable at times.
The duo had created what they affectionately called the "sociable continuum" when they were freshmen so they could try to figure out all the people at World X Academy. It had seemed simple enough at the time, but it was manufactured to be difficult at times, mostly due to one or both of them forgetting what a continuum was.
"Speaking of which, I reserved a spot on the Rags-or-Riches diagram for the hot new German transfer kid, who I totally ship you with," the Ukrainian responded with a wink.
"Except Roderich is Austrian. And he is not my boyfriend!" Erzsébet screeched, causing more than a few heads to turn their way.
Call her a hypocrite, but while she liked shipping her friends or characters from a TV show she liked, she did not like it when people shipped her. She had already been the victim of ErzsBert, Vladzsébet (despite her blatant, off-and-on dislike of the Romanian), and now ErzseRich. Those were the only ones she knew existed; Šterzsébet and Dimizsébet had probably existed since middle school without her knowledge.
She really hated being friends with so many boys sometimes. If Erzsryna and/or Petzsébet existed, too, she might just go out and kill-zsébet someone…
"Mm. Sure he isn't." Scratch the whole "innocence" and "naïvety" thing Iryna had going. Erzsi had never realized before how well her friend could pull off sarcasm, but here she was, her words drenched with it.
"The continuum is editable, you know. I could move you to the worst sides at any point."
"Okay, okay, calm down!" Vlad, who was eavesdropping on all of this, was snickering at this point. Erzsébet turned and gave him what she thought was a death glare, but either he didn't catch it or he was just ignoring her. "The point is, I'm adding Roderich to the Rich...dog side of the Rags-or-Riches diagram." (Despite her annoyance, Erzsi couldn't help but snicker alongside Vlad here.) "I asked Vasch about it, and he said Roderich's family is pretty rich. They just moved here from Vienna."
"Sexy." For the first time since Iryna had interrupted her, Erzsébet set aside her vocab list and whisked it away into her book bag. This change of heart was met by a happy grin from her friend.
Seeing her friend with that huge smile made something flash through Erzsébet's heart in a split second, something she couldn't quite put a finger on. Whatever it was, it made her want to move Iryna to the "Cutie" side of the Hotness scale.
Of course it had to be Vlad who interrupted this moment of hers. "How rich is he? Are you talking, like, Bonnefoy-rich or Mišić-rich?"
Iryna giggled. Vlad's Serbian friend was not poor, per se, but it always seemed like he was complaining about his family being "ass at saving money" (his words). "Definitely more Bonnefoy-rich. Vasch says he went to Roderich's house for some project in their German class and that's how he knows. He was hesitant to tell me anything at all, actually, but I told him it was for a good cause."
"I'm sure he definitely believed that," said Dimitri sarcastically, chiming into the conversation for the first time. It was becoming apparent that sarcasm was a major theme in this conversation. "Vasch is just the most free-speaking kid in the 11th grade who is very gullible and believes anything anyone tells him."
"Of course!" Iryna responded in a tone in which Erzsébet couldn't immediately tell if she was being sarcastic again or if she was being serious.
Suddenly the flash was gone and all Erzsébet wanted to do was go find Roderich and apologize for all the "he's not my boyfriend"s she had claimed in the two weeks he had been at WXA. She still didn't want to be with the guy, but the least they could do is have an intelligent conversation about it…
"I think Erzsi has gone into a romantic coma over there," said Vlad while smirking, causing Iryna to start giggling once more. "Your shipping of her and Roderich has gotten to her head. Better him than Gilbert, I guess."
"Nyasgem, Vlad," growled a flustered Erzsébet.
"Oh, I'm—" the brunette boy started to threaten, but lucky her was saved by the bell. Before any of them could blink an eye, she had already bolted out the door in search of her Pre-Calc class.
☆ ☆ ☆
"She's clearly getting Gilbert vibes from you, loser," Dimitri pointed out, ripping his earbuds from his ears as he packed up. Iryna had already left, along with most of the other kids. Now it was just them and a few leftover stragglers.
"Well, no shit," said Vlad, rolling his eyes. "She's gotta have some crush though. Who it is is another mystery entirely. I need answers!"
Dimitri gave him an annoyed side-stare that clearly said "whatever you're thinking of doing, Vlad, please don't even try, for the love of God". Vlad, being the person he was, chose to ignore it. A plan was already starting to form in his mind — a perfect one, at that!
"Erzsi should make a new diagram on that continuum of hers devoted entirely for master planners," he told his best friend (of sorts) pretentiously.
Dimitri rolled his eyes as the two walked out of the gym. "Oh sweet Jesus. What are you gonna do this time? Attempt to recreate one of the spells from Harry Potter? Scare Roderich enough with your fangs so he can force-feed you info? Break into Erzsi's house at 2 AM?"
"To be fair, I had permission from her to break into her house at 2 AM," said Vlad. "God, how creepy do you think I am?"
Extremely, the Bulgarian thought bitterly.
"No, no, no. I'll show Erzsi the best fucking time of her life and hopefully she'll be on Cloud 9, so she can confess her undying love that way."
"Way to be specific on your 'master plan'." Call Dimi a bitch, but not only was he stressed out and sleep-deprived, but his friend could just be flat-out unbearable sometimes. Perhaps it was a formula for a toxic friendship but somehow it all worked out in the end.
"Hey, I'm still working out the specifics here!" Suddenly the warning bell rung for third hour. "Well, see you at lunch. You'll figure it all out by the end!" Then he ran off to class.
Dimitri didn't even have time to react. He really didn't understand Vlad at all sometimes.
What was he supposed to do now? He could warn Erzsi, but since Vlad had just given him the goddamn skeleton of his "plan", he probably couldn't do much about it. Or maybe he could try confronting Roderich and just tell him. But not only did he not even know the guy at all, she'd probably get bitter at him for the better part of a week or so. Not to mention he didn't share any classes with him anyway.
So he was just going to have to wait before planning his next move. It wasn't the sort of thing that Dimitri Mladenov liked doing, but it had to happen for now.
One glance at the clock was all it took to get Dimitri walking again. He didn't want to be late to class.