Interrupted in lunchroom
Julie stared at the letter, biting the inside of her cheek in thought. Even though she had brought the bandages in a bag, she didn’t have any intention to wrap herself to look like a mummy. If her letter bully thought that she would listen to every word that was being ordered to her, the person was sorely mistaken.
So far, the letter thief hadn’t done anything to harm her and had only made her do bizarre things.
‘Don’t have them.’
How strange, thought Julie to herself. She didn’t have her family with her either. Picking up the notebook from the table, she wrote down a new note instead of writing in the same letter that she had received—‘Yes, I brought them with me. Why do you want me to turn into a mummy? What are you going to be during Halloween?’
With that, Julie placed the letter at her window and stepped out of her dorm to check if Melanie had returned. But when she knocked on the door, she received no answer and guessed her friends would return on the second bus, unlike her.
She headed towards the building where the lunchroom was. Stepping in, she noticed the place wasn’t as crowded as it usually was. Walking towards the counter, she ordered her meal. Collecting it, she walked towards the far end of the lunchroom so that no one would notice her.
Julie turned to meet one of the few seniors whom she knew in this university. “Dennis, hey,” she offered him a polite smile.
Dennis was carrying his meal in his hand, and he returned her smile with his own. He looked around her and asked, “You are eating alone? I didn’t know you stayed back over the weekend. If I knew it, I would have joined you for the meals.”
“I returned in the first bus,” replied Julie, and he nodded in realization. Seeing him continue to stand, she asked, “Do you want to sit?” It was rude to have someone standing at the table while she was sitting.
Dennis smiled, and he sat opposite to her. Julie noticed his meal that consisted of breast chicken, steamed vegetables and other healthy things. “Are you planning to join the football team?” questioned Julie, and he stared at her as he didn’t understand what she meant. “Your meal looks like a lot of protein and everything a person needs to maintain good health.”
Hearing this Dennis laughed, and asked, “Are you telling, you aren’t trying to have good health?”
Julie grinned at his question, replying, “I eat what makes me happy. I mean whatever I want without restricting myself.”
“That must be really nice. I wish I had such privilege,” Dennis responded to her, and he started to cut the chicken into thin slices before putting it in his mouth. “I grew up in a strict family, who follow rules.”
“Even on food?” asked Julie, dipping one end of her potato fries in the ketchup and then throwing it in her mouth.
“Even on food,” affirmed Dennis.
“How sad,” muttered Julie under her breath, and when Dennis looked at her, she shook her head. Remembering what he said earlier, she asked, “You didn’t go to visit your family?”
“I had a lot of assignments that needed to be completed. Still in the process of finishing them. Being in senior year is tough with the amount of work the teachers give,” answered Dennis, pushing his glasses upwards with the back of his finger. “What’s the prescription of your glasses?” he asked, shifting the subject.
Julie touched her glasses as if to make sure it was still there on her face, and she answered, “It is minus two something. I haven’t gotten them checked since one year.”
Dennis nodded his head and said, “They look pretty on you.”
Julie cleared her throat.
She had never been good at taking compliments about her appearance because, in the past, she had never been a person to receive it. She said, “I got them specifically made. It has this anti-glare. What about you?”
“I have the same as you,” responded Dennis. The shape of his glass frame was a typical rectangular. “Did your family miss you?”
Julie only nodded her head without uttering anything and smiled. Her aunt had missed her to the point that she had decided to catch the first bus. “How long have you been studying here? You seem to be someone who gets the highest grades.”
Dennis chuckled at her words, “Is it because of the glasses? Then I might say the same to you. I have completed three years since I joined to study here in Veteris, this year being the fourth one. And no I am not. There’s another student in the year whom I am trying to beat with better scores, but I always end up in second place.”
“I am sure with hard work you will be able to clinch the first spot,” Julie motivated Dennis. “I am still learning my subjects. It was only last week I applied the wrong formula and component.” She didn’t forget last week when Roman had pointed out she had made a mistake. How embarrassing, thought Julie to herself. He could have told her what her mistake was, but instead, he had asked her for money as a fee.
“I still have my notes from last year. Why don’t you come by my dorm and I will give them to you,” he politely offered, and Julie quickly nodded her head.
“That would be really helpful. Thank you,” thanked Julie.
While they continued to talk about the subjects, Julie noticed how Dennis’ eyes moved to look at the entrance. She turned her head, following his sight when she caught sight of the Devil she had remembered a few moments ago. Roman entered the lunchroom accompanied by Maximus next to him, walking across the floor as they headed towards the counter that sold the meals and snacks.
Julie turned her back to the way she had earlier been sitting.
Dennis then said, “The group is a little too flashy and loud. The other students named them as the famous five,” he shook his head as if he disapproved of the clique. “It is just hard to believe that someone that rebellious tops the year every time. Roman Moltenore I mean.”
“He’s the person?” Julie’s eyebrows drew near each other.
Dennis gave a small nod before going back to have his food.
She remotely remembered Conner mentioning the group having good grades, but she didn’t know Roman was a brilliant student.
While Dennis engaged Julie in another conversation, Roman and Maximus stood facing the counter while waiting to get their snacks packed, explicitly made for vampires.
“Cookie chips, the cola, the sticks. A lot of them,” Maximus said to the person at the counter. Turning to Roman, he asked, “Why did Dante have to allow two days of holidays? The place is so empty and hard to feed on the good ones with most of them who have gone home.”
“She was hoping to catch the imposter in here, but there has been no suspicious activity,” responded Roman, who had a broken toothpick in his mouth. “Two days is long,” he murmured. The one amusement he had caught had gone home, and there was no one else to pass his time because the rest of them were boring.
“We have always verified the students who enter Veteris, isn’t it? There’s a thin chance of-” Maximus raised his hand while bringing two of his fingers close as he turned, and his eyes fell on the girl sitting in one corner of the lunchroom. “Julianne?”
Hearing the name, Roman turned his head and caught sight of her.
He noticed Julie sitting with a male student, the same person he had seen her talking to last week before they were stuck in the small room. She sat at the table, listening to what the guy was speaking and occasionally replying.
She hadn’t bothered to tie her brown hair, and it was let down that stopped right above her waist. She was wearing jeans and a blouse that was covered by a sweater. He bit into the stick between his teeth as he stared at her. It seemed like she loved her sweaters a little too much, thought Roman.
Girls usually liked to dress modestly because they were shy or because of the cold weather. But Roman got the feeling that Julie didn’t fit in any of the two categories.
“I didn’t know she was friends with Dennis Mcoy,” hummed Maximus. “Looks like her friends aren’t there and he’s giving her company.”
“Someone I should know of?” questioned Roman, leaning against the counter and placing both his elbows to rest behind him. At the same time, he remembered one of the letters where Julie mentioned a person she had tried to get away from during the football match. Was this the one?
His head tilted to the side, and he gauged the boy, who looked like an average friendly nerd.
“Dennis Mcoy is in the same year as us. He tops second and I know this because Olivia has been pissed because she lost her second position after he got admitted here. I didn’t care to know the rest of it. Teacher’s favourite unlike you because he always has full attendance and participates in other class activities,” Maximus shrugged his shoulders.
A grin cracked on Roman’s lips, and he said, “Remarkable isn’t it. To top our year even after missing half of the classes.”
Roman shifted the stick in his mouth as he stared at the two of them. He concentrated on what the two of them were speaking.
“I usually make a timetable and it helps me track time. This must be the first week I ended up lagging in my assignments else I am usually on time,” said Dennis while finishing his meal. “You know what, I was looking for someone with whom I could study in the library. The other students have their own study group, which I didn’t join before but I think it would be great if you join me.”
Julie was slightly taken aback by the offer, and she said, “I am sorry, but I study with my friend.”
“Oh, is that so,” Dennis politely exclaimed, and she gave him a nod. “Maybe you can ask her to join too. I wouldn’t mind.”
Before Julie could refuse the idea, someone else did it for her.
“She’s with me.”
Both Julie and Dennis turned to their side and saw Roman, who had come and stood next to their table. He placed both his hands on the table with a light thump that got Julie’s eyes on them.
Wait, what did he say? Asked Julie in her mind, and she looked up to meet Roman’s eyes. He completely ignored Dennis and said,
“I thought we had already planned to study together to make sure you don’t write wrong answers like last time.”
“No?” said Julie with a confused look on her face. Did he hit his head, or did she lose her memory? “I told you last time, I am not going to-”
“I will see you in the library tomorrow after the classes. Unless you or I end up in detention,” the corner of his lips pulled up.
Dennis wasn’t happy with the sudden interruption, and he said to Roman, “I don’t think Julianne wants to study with you. Leave her alone, Moltenore.”
Roman’s eyes shifted from Julie to look at the boy with whom she was sitting. With a casual attitude, he asked, “Do I know you?”