As far as days go, this one is turning out pretty unimpressive. He’s tired, mostly. Tired enough that he doesn’t notice right away that someone is walking up to him. The moment Caleb says his name, Adam’s head whips up and his heart takes the opportunity to start beating a staccato rhythm against his rib cage. Hadn’t this happened before? On Monday? It takes some willpower to not look around for Caitlin.
Caleb’s looking at him a little funny, a little unsure. Adam’s a lot unsure. He raises his eyebrows in a passable imitation of a very calm human being wondering why his name has been called.
“I, uh,” Caleb says. “I liked your Macbeth presentation.”
Oh god, he thinks. Oh god. Okay, act natural. Adam’s eyebrows inch higher. His face is starting to feel hot, which he desperately ignores. Oh man.
“Um.” Caleb shifts and his hands end up shoved in his pockets. “So, hey, do you wanna get lunch sometime? Maybe today?”
The question jolts him into action and the answer sort of… spills out. “Yeah. Sure.”
That sounded lame. That sounded like he didn’t really care. But maybe it would’ve been worse if he had sounded like he cared? Shit. No, okay, it doesn’t matter. He already said yes and Caleb’s giving him this little smile. It’s kind of awkward. It’s cute. Okay.
Adam gathers his things, Caleb hanging back a little while he waits, and they head for the cafeteria without saying much. But it doesn’t really feel awkward until they actually get their food. Adam doesn’t always eat inside, not if he can avoid it, but when he does he usually sits by himself. And it’s not that Caleb doesn’t already know that he’s some kind of weirdo that no one wants to be around, but he doesn’t want to drive the point home—
“Hey, do you mind if we eat outside?” Caleb asks. He looks askance, rubbing at the back of his neck with the hand not balancing his tray. “I don’t really like the noise in here.”
He nods, tensed shoulders easing. “Yeah. I don’t either.”
The walk outside feels lighter. Curiosity is pushing through the confusion and the nerves to settle in his chest. He liked his Macbeth presentation? Honestly, it hadn’t seemed like he’d been paying attention. He almost brings it up, just to break the silence, but as he opens the door to let Caleb through, it looks like he’s about to say something.
“I— I wanted to apologize. For yelling last week. I didn’t mean to— I’m sorry.”
Adam sits on the steps leading back up to the school and sets his tray on his knees. “Sure,” he says. The shame prickles at the back of his neck the way it had then, but he shoves it down. “And, you know, thanks. For helping.”
“Yeah.” Caleb puts his tray on the concrete next to him, leaning back. He looks anywhere but at Adam for a moment, then takes a breath and glances at him sideways. “The guys on the team aren’t all bad but it was still a shitty thing to do.”
Adam shrugs, picking through the suspect school lunch. He’s never heard of a high school that serves anything approaching quality food. “Think this fry looks diseased?” he blurts out.
Caleb laughs, looks surprised, and laughs again, quieter. “Kinda.”