"Hey," the boy sitting next to him said.
"What?" he asked.
"I saw you looking at that girl," he said making a gesture toward Lotus. "Is she your girlfriend or something?"
"No. I have a girlfriend, but she's in a different class."
"Ah." There was a bit of an awkward silence between them. "Hi," he spoke again, "I'm Alkiviadis Colonomos," he said reaching his hand out. "I come from a Greek family." Rikki shook his hand.
"Rikki Soto," he said.
"Oh, you're him? That's awesome!" he said with a smile.
"You know of me?"
"Yeah. Everyone knows you."
"You and Suzy Garrison are in a relationship, right?"
"Yeah, how'd you know that?"
"Because I told him," Aoi said with a friendly punch him from behind. Rikki stared at her.
"You told him we're in a relationship?"
"Not just him, a lot of people."
"Thanks for that. Now don't tell anyone else, please." He sighed angrily.
"You underestimate the power of social media," she said like a mock warning.
"You posted it online?"
"Yep. You mad bro?"
"A little, yes."
"Have faith," another voice chimed in. It was Max Ride. "If anything, it just makes you famous."
"Social media is not one that makes individuals famous," McCracken said, showing a hint of a wry smirk, not looking up from her laptop. "No matter how much they try." There was the chiming that marked the end of class. "See you all tomorrow," she announced cheerfully over the noise of the students standing up and leaving. Rikki went stepped out into the hallway to go to his next class. The gym like one with Coach Loguinov. Max walked with him.
"Oh, come on," she told him with a voice of confidence. "It wasn't that bad. It can't hurt you that much. They're just bytes."
"Yeah, bytes that hurt."
"You are so funny."
"I try not to."
"No wonder she likes you." They stepped outside and walked to the area where the Coach was.
"Come on, come on," the Coach said. "Gather round, gather round." All the kids came over to him. "Is everyone fully aware of what their Gift actually does?" A lot of students said yes. "You, wing girl," he said pointing to Max. "You know how to fly?"
"Da,"Max said in a not-too-bad Russian accent.
"Show me, then." Max stepped forward and she kicked off the ground, her wings flapping raising her higher. She was high in the air, cruising the thermals. The coached waved her down. She brought her wings in and she steered toward the ground. Just above the ground she opened her wings which slowed her and she touched the ground with her feet and skidded along the grass to a safe and even stop. Some of the students started to applaud.
"Yes!" the Coach exclaimed. He walked over to her. "What is your name?"
"Max Ride," she said with her confident look.
"Max here is a role model. In this class, you will learn to control your Gifts so that you can utilize them the way she does. She has mastered flight. This is what I expect from you all. Mastery like this." Max raised her arm and formed a conquering pose. "Alright, alright, enough showing off," he said to her.
"I think he should go," Max said pointing to Rikki.
"Alright then. You." Rikki stepped forward. "What's your Gift?"
"Energy absorption, sir," Rikki said slightly nervous.
"And how exactly does that work?" Coach asked almost sounding genuinely confused. Obviously, he had never heard of this kind of Gift before.
"It works like this," Max piped in and she punched Rikki in the face but her hand didn't seem to do anything to him. Some of the kids gasped as she did that.
"Thank you," Rikki said sarcastically.
"Now he has energy," Max said.
"And what can you do with this energy?"
"Whatever I want really," Rikki shrugged.
"How does it work?"
"It works like this." He touched Max in the side of her head and he transferred the energy from the punch onto her causing her to cry out and her head to reel back. More gasps and a few laughs. He smirked at her.
"Thank you," she said sarcastically rubbing her cheek and giving him an angered look.
"Wonderful," Coach said. "Now I want you all to carefully show each other what you can all do. If you have already, well, you're going to go it again. Let's go." All the students started to spread out on the field. Coach held Rikki back.
"What, sir?" he asked.
"What you did surprised me."
"How so, sir?"
"You seem nice and you have a girlfriend, yet you punch her?"
"Hey, she punched me first-wait, how do you know about my…" Coach gave him a wry look. "Oh." Coach laughed.
"Let's go join the others."
History class. Rikki waved to Suzy when he came in and she waved back.
"Now it was back in 1430, when Jeanne d'Arc was captured by the English and then later burned at the stake at the age of only 19," Ms. Martinez lectured. "People believe that the reason she went to war was because of visions, but it has been confirmed that she had a Gift. Up until the 1800's a reason why some women were believed to be witches, is because they had Gifts." There was the tone. "Alright, we'll continue tomorrow." Everyone made their way out of the room. "Rikki wait," she called after him.
"Yes, ma'am?" he asked even though he had a feeling he knew what she was going to say.
"Oh nothing, the look on your face today, made me think that you wanted to ask me something."
"Oh, I thought you were going to ask about my relationship." He regretted saying that.
"You're in a relationship? That's great! Who with?"
"Suzy Garrison." You idiot, he told himself.
"I thought so."
"Wait, you knew?"
"I saw the way you looked at her when you two came in."
"Better get to your next class." Rikki hurried out the door.
Combat class, the final class of the day.
"Alright, so today, I will have one of you learn how to form a defensive stance so you can protect yourself from another's attack," Hawking said. Since Dan was in this class he taught another student how to look out for Dan's teleportations and how to find his weak spots. At the end of class he talked to Rikki.
"Make sure you do your best to keep your girl happy," he told Rikki.
"Don't worry, I will." This was getting really annoying.