Hiding in what precious shade was left, the members of the lunch table sat around roasting in the midafternoon heat, surviving with possibly the best-tasting ice cream in the known world. I slurped on a strawberry cone, while others savored flavors like banana, pineapple, peach, and orange. Falcon and Kael were arguing about whether pear would be a good flavor or not when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
I tried not to smile at Tracer. He had a few grape-colored, ice cream dots on his face.
“I…I might come. You know. To the dance. Tomorrow.”
I nodded, trying to hide my joy. “Cool.” I turned to the rest of the table. “Who else is coming?”
Kael grinned behind his blond curtain, his eyebrows jumping up high on his forehead. “Well, my mom said no, but I’m going anyway!”
“I can, but I don’t have any nice clothes—”
“Yeah, but isn’t there a theme? Like, vegetables or something?”
Falcon thought a moment. “No, I think it was flowers for the girls, and…I don’t remember what the guys were s’posed to wear.”
“Clothes, I hope,” I muttered dryly. Falcon snorted into his ice cream, and Gator swallowed a huge bite all at once and laughed despite his brain freeze. Tracer almost did a spit-take with his ice cream and slapped his hand over his mouth, muffling his laughs. He stared incredulously at me. I gave him a subtle but devious smile.
“Yeah, me too,” grinned Kael. “But really, do you know what the theme is?”
I contemplated for a second. “Well, I think it was about the harvest and stuff. You were right about the girls wearing flowers, Falcon. And I remember the guys were supposed to have something more…I dunno…grains and leaf-ish stuff, I guess.”
“Ooh! Ooh! I’ll go as a leaf bug!” piped up Wayk, his smile giving himself away.
“No, dummy, you go as a type of leaf, not a bug that looks like a leaf!” corrected Kael.
“Hey!” said Gator. “Technically, he could go as a leaf bug, because they look so much like leaves that no one could tell the difference! It’s common sense!” He did his classic waving of open hands above the surface of the table.
“And you’re the expert, are you? Why don’t you just go and volunteer for the Watch? Obviously, you’re waaay too smart for us, and you’d catch anyone who tried sneaking in disguised as a leaf bug!”
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