Stars of Destiny
After School

The bus pulled up to curb and stopped, the door swinging open. Kousei stood, slinging his backpack up onto his shoulder, and got off. Dimly, he could hear the bus pull away, heading towards its next stop as he walked up the small grassy hill and down to the parking lot on the other side. There weren’t many cars there yet. He looked at his watch.

Only four thirty three. It’ll start getting busy soon. I wonder if Yan and Teir are here yet, he wondered as he approached the building.

The elegant writing on the glass doors proclaimed it to be the Southside Café. He opened the door and walked in, looking around. The hostess smiled at him.

“Are you looking for your friends, Kousei?” she asked pleasantly.

He nodded, reading her name tag. “Are they here yet, Lizzy?”

“They’re at the usual table. Please, go on in.”

He thanked her and walked in, taking the most direct path through the round, white covered tables. The one he wanted was in a corner against one of the windows. Yan and Teir were already there. Kousei sat down beside Teir and set his backpack on the floor.

“You took your time getting here,” Teir commented, sipping on something yellow that smelled strongly of fruit.

“Coach Brady wanted to talk to me about the practice schedule for next week,” Kousei complained. “He kept me so long I missed the bus I should have taken and had to wait.”

“Poor Kousei,” Yan teased as he flipped through a stack of photographs, sorting them into three separate piles. “I bet you can’t wait for your parents to decide you’re ready to get your licence, huh?”

“No self-respecting teenaged boy can,” Teir said casually.

“Personally, I don’t see much point in learning to drive,” Yan told him.

“That’s because you can usually con me or one of your parents into driving you somewhere,” Teir retorted.

“He has you there, Yan,” Kousei said with a grin.

A waitress approached them. “How’s everything today?”

“Good,” Teir replied.

“I’d like an order of fries and gravy and a Sprite, please,” Kousei said.

Dutifully, she wrote that down on her order pad. “Is there anything else I can do for you three?”

“We’re good,” Yan assured her as he studied a photograph.

She nodded and walked away.

“If you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing with those pictures?” Kousei asked curiously.

“Photography assignment,” he replied. “We’re supposed to be taking pictures of unusual things. I managed to get some good shots the other day. The trick is in trying to decide what the most unusual things are in this batch.” He set the picture down on one pile. “I almost wish Cory and Hateshi were more tolerable. They found these really interesting pendants in that antique store just south of the downtown core.”

Kousei eyed him. “You want to take pictures of women’s jewellery? That’s a bit out of character for you and not the most unusual subject matter.”

Yan shrugged, looking embarrassed. “I dunno; there was something about those necklaces that just felt…weird.” He fingered the watch he wore around his wrist. It matched ones worn by Kousei and Teir.

Kousei shook his head. The waitress returned with his order and he tucked into the fries, his eyes closing with pleasure as the flavour of the gravy filled his mouth. “I’ll never stop liking this stuff,” he said with a happy sigh.

“You know it’s really bad for you, right?” Yan asked, looking down his nose at his much taller friend.

“Coach Brady would skin me alive if he knew how much junk food I eat,” he replied with a shrug. “Ask me if I care.”

“He burns most of it off exercising anyways,” Teir said, toying with his straw. “So, what are you two doing this weekend?” Yan asked, done now with his picture sorting.

“I’ve got an early practice tomorrow morning and then I’ve got a study session with Cory in the afternoon. So far, I’ve got no plans for Sunday.”

Teir waggled his eyebrows. “Are you going to try to take Dionne out on another date?”

“Careful, Kousei,” Yan laughed. “She’ll probably just stand you up again.”

Kousei scowled at his friends. “Yeah, probably, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right?”

“You, my friend, are a sucker for punishment,” Teir said, shaking his head.

“So what about you, Teir?” Kousei asked him. “What are your big plans?”

“I don’t have any yet.”

“I find that hard to believe,” Yan scoffed. “Are you sure you don’t have some internet chatting thing happening? Maybe you have a new book to read?”

“Believe it,” Teir said firmly. “I have no plans.”

“No need to get snippy,” Yan said, scowling. “It’s just I’ve never known you to not have something planned.”

Teir shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m sure I’ll find something to do.”

“You could come with me,” Yan suggested.

“Oh? What are you up to?” Teir looked slightly worried.

“My cousin Manda invited me to a concert tomorrow night. I have two tickets but no idea what to do with the second one. She suggested I take a date, but none of the girls at school are at all interesting.”

“Wait, what?” Kousei asked in confusion. “You’re inviting Teir to a concert but not me?”

“You have plans. I’m sure you’d like to not be kicked off the team due to low grades. Studying is more important than a concert. Besides, this is Manda’s band.”

“Which cousin is she again?”

Yan smirked. “She’s the one with the multi-coloured hair.”

“The one with the droopy Mohawk thing?” Kousei asked, cringing.

“The one who’s always hitting on you,” Teir confirmed.

“Studying with Cory just got a lot more appealing.”

“I bet it did,” Yan said. “No hard feelings?”

“Nope, none at all.”

“Good.”

“I’ll just invite you guys to my next away game and call it good.”

“Road trip!” Teir whooped.

“He’s more excited about that than about the game I bet,” Yan snickered.

“That’s fine with me, really,” Kousei said, looking at his watch. “Yipes! I should head home soon or I’ll be late for supper.”

“Want a ride?” Teir offered. “It’s on my way home after all.”

“That’d be great, thanks.”

Teir took out his wallet and tossed a few coins on the table to pay for his drink. After Kousei had put payment for his food on top of that he said, “Let’s go then. If I’m going to a concert tomorrow I should get my homework done tonight.”

“You always do your homework on Friday night,” Yan said.

“True, true,” Teir admitted, laughing. “I’ll call you later about tomorrow night, ok?”

“Sounds good,” Yan said, nodding. “Drive safe!”

“Will do.”

Kousei stood and shouldered his back pack, heading out of the restaurant with Teir close behind him.