Maia Antares's phone rings.
Antares picks up after a ring and a half. "Yeah."
Antares "So is everyone in school crazy, or did I just get lucky today?"
Maia "Why, what else happened besides crazy band dude?"
Antares "Ah, he seems okay." She pauses a bit, frown carrying through the phone, then says, "What's up with Furud these days?"
Maia "Furry? Not a lot, right now. You guys don't talk any more?"
Antares "Coming back is weird. I sort of lost touch with everyone after the Trudeau Bridge thing, and now it's hard to get back into things. You were the only one who never cared."
Maia "It's not that they didn't care,...I don't think...they were just...scared, I guess."
Maia "Some of us tried to go visit you in the hospital...but you were already gone. And then you went to the Academy instead of coming back to school."
Maia "They're good kids, but they're not very good at dealing with real stuff."
Antares "Yeah. It's just like... okay, so Merope today, in science, she recognized me, and got all, 'oh my god, that's so horrible!'" Antares' tone is a passable imitation of Merope's. "And it's like after the bridge I stopped being me and became the thing that happened. And that makes me want to fucking smash things."
Antares "Anyway, fuck that. Who's still good people, from the old days?"
Maia "I swear to God, there was a time Merope used to be a human being."
Antares "What happened, or is it none of my business?"
Maia "I don't even..."
Maia waves an arm around but Antares can't see.
Maia "Heka tried to make a move on me last year, and when I turned him down because he's Merope's TWIN BROTHER, he told everybody I hit on HIM but he dumped me cause I was frigid."
Maia "And of course Merope and Asty believe HIM over me."
Maia "And, so, here we are."
Maia "They just...got really excited about being popular, I guess."
Antares "That's fucked up. You ever need me, you know I've got your back, right?"
Maia "I know. God, I'm glad you're back," she says with feeling.
Maia "My band peeps are pretty cool. And Furud's not so bad, really. Other than that, everyone got really shallow since you left."
Maia "You don't need em."
Maia "You and me, we can rock this town. They'll be BEGGING to be our friends."
Antares "'Sright," Antares says with a smile in her voice. "Hey, shit, I just remembered something. You know Polaris?"
Maia "The really young girl, skipped a bunch of grades or something? Wrote that paper on spec for NASA?"
Antares "Yeah, that's her. So when I was eight, right, I tried to walk the church roof blindfolded because of this bet with Furud. And when I fell off into the bushes and broke my arm, the first thing I see is her, pulling off my blindfold and looking down at me. And she says, 'That'll teach you to listen to him,' and walks away."
Antares "He's her cousin, right? Like I said, everyone around here is crazy."
Maia "MAN, that's creepy. How come you get all the creepy stuff happening to you?"
Antares "Oh, I am so not the only one. Remember that time last year we got drunk and visited the palm reader after the tattoo place? The guy took one look at your hand, went white, and said he was closed for the night."
Maia "Hahaha. Oh man. I can't believe we got matching tattoos!"
Maia "I wonder what that guy's problem was."
Antares "You were all pissed about that cheating asshole you'd just dumped--maybe you scared the guy. Still, it definitely counts as creepy, so don't be laying that all on me."
Maia "Fine. We've got constantly intertwined horrible destinies. Happy, superstar?"
Antares "Yo, I float on a pink cushion of happiness. Whatever happened to that guy, anyway?"
Maia "His house burned down."
Maia "I already know what you're thinking, and I'm serious, his house totally coincidentally burned down."
Maia "I think they had to move out of state."
Antares laughs. "I'd say there's no such thing as coincidence, but then you'd punch me the next time you see me. So is there a new guy?"
Maia "Nah. BOYS. Hell, I was gonna take Tyler to Merope's party, just cause I have no one else to go with...hey, wait."
Maia "You should come with me!"
Antares "This is the same Merope I have already sorta but not completely decided is a bitch, right? I think I could talk myself into going."
Maia "She's just scared of you. She was supposed to be ON that bus. She had nightmares for weeks, actually. I'm probably not supposed to be telling you this, except fuck her."
Antares "So, uh, I can't figure out if you're trying to get me to lay off or tear into her. That settles it, we're definitely going."
Maia "I can't tell EITHER. Let's go get you a costume."
Antares "You said nothing about costumes. What are we going as?"
Maia "It's a costume party. I had a Phantom of the Opera costume, but I didn't pay for it, so it's not like a big loss if I get some other costume. Or you can get a cat costume and we can go as Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals."
Antares "Oh, you as Phantom is good. Lemme think about the cat thing--I've got Eliot around somewhere, I'll see who fits me best."
Maia "You and your source materials."
Antares "It's poetry," she says defensively. "That's a lot like music."
Maia "Hey, I'm just teasing. You know what's best."
Maia "Meet you at the mall tonight?"
Antares "You bet."
Maia "See ya."