Wait, I thought back at him. The teachers aren’t always in the dining hall anyway. Are you sure it’s not just chance?
Pretty sure, he thought back.
Behind me, Tara had been walking with Camille and Haley. As we stepped into the dining room, Tara stopped chatting with Camille and said, “This isn’t right.”
To me at least, nothing about the dining hall seemed in any way strange. Students talked and laughed at the tables. The upperclass students mostly stuck together while the first year students took up half the room, mixing a bit with my year.
The only thing even different about the room was that someone had given the room a baseball theme—pictures of baseball games and famous baseball stadiums on the walls, pennants showing the logos of different baseball teams decorated both the walls and the tables.
I noticed a blue pennant with the Detroit Tigers’ gothic “D” logo in white on the wall near me.
This wasn’t weird at all. I could see how a caterer’s mind might jump from our tournament to sports. Plus, wasn’t major league baseball’s All Star Game in the middle of July? We were in the middle of July already.
It was probably tonight.
In a hushed voice, Camille asked, “What’s not right?”
Tara had been joking around with Camille, but now her voice turned quiet. “There’s almost always a teacher in the dining hall, and if one of the teachers isn’t available, they arrange for someone from the compound to watch us. Usually at least two people are in the room. Today, there’s only one, and it’s Earthmover.”
I hadn’t noticed that at all.
Turning back past Haley to look at them, “Could it just be his turn?”
Tara pursed her lips, nearly closing her eyes, but then opened them, saying, “I don’t know. All I know is that he hasn’t ever watched us before.”
I looked over at him. Earthmover wasn’t in costume, and probably hadn’t been in years. He’d practically told us as much when he’d introduced himself when we arrived. He wore jeans and a button down shirt that didn’t hide either his muscles or his belly.
Should we leave? I thought at Daniel.
We’d look extremely suspicious if there is something wrong. All of us walking in, taking a look, and walking out?
No kidding. I guess that we should eat, and watch for Adam. The fact that he’s not here doesn’t mean he won’t be.
Daniel thought back, I’ll keep on listening for any reason the adults are gone.
Works for me.
We all went through the buffet line, taking food and sitting down together. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t say very much. I can’t speak for other people, but what I desperately wanted to do was speculate about where Adam might be. Talking about that out loud wasn’t a good idea, and Daniel and I had covered everything we had to say about it telepathically already.
The only bright side in this was that all the people with superhuman senses wouldn’t be distracted by talking.
The not so bright side was the on going clink of silverware as we all said nothing.
Haley put a leg of chicken back down on her plate. “I wonder if we should be saving food for Vaughn, Amy, and Samita? They might not get back before the dining hall closes.”
I began to wonder if that would be possible. Depending on Samita’s religion, that could become more complicated than we’d expect, but if she weren’t particularly religious, it could become considerably simpler. Then I realized that Rod would know.
I was about to ask him when Izzy froze. Her voice low, and not looking up from her plate, she said, “He just walked through the door.”
I saw him.
Adam stood next to Gifford and Hunter as well as a few first year girls that I didn’t know at all. This, I supposed, was my moment—except not exactly. I decided to let him go through the line and sit down before I walked over to talk.
I asked Daniel to pass that on to everyone, and continued to eat while everyone watched Adam’s group go through the line and find a table.
It took a good twenty minutes before I felt comfortable with the idea of interrupting. He seemed to be most of the way finished with what was on his plate as I came up to their table.
Even before I make it over, Gifford saw me and made a comment to Hunter. I couldn’t catch any more than my name, but from the smirk on his face, I doubted he’d said anything nice.
Given everything that had happened with his older brother Gordon, I supposed I couldn’t blame him.
Adam looked up from his plate as I came closer. Giving a small smile, he said, “Hey Nick, congratulations.”
Gifford’s face tightened, but he said, “Yeah.”
“Thanks,” I said, as Hunter and the others threw in their congratulations as well.
Turning my attention on Adam, I asked, “But I was wondering something. Have you been noticing anything out of the ordinary? I’ve run into some fairies lately, and Rod thinks they’re from the Unseelie Court. Have you seen anything?”