After the girls dropped him off at the bridge and Thomas walked the rest of the way home, he went to his room, to the Tome. It seemed to be calling to him, the thought scared him, though, and he turned away from retrieving it. Instead, he went into the kitchen, his dad was there staring into the fridge.
Tony let out a sigh when he heard Thomas approach and said, "I'm out of beer."
"And we're out of food," Thomas replied.
He shut the fridge and walked out of the kitchen, grabbing his jacket and truck keys. "Be back in an hour. Want something, a candy bar or whatever?"
Sometimes he had forgotten how decent his dad could be when not drunk. It was nice. "Pepsi," He replied.
Tony scoffed and was out the door. It wasn't a “no,” Thomas thought.
With time to kill Thomas played around with his TK abilities, becoming more coordinated with them. They weren't very strong, at most he could lift ten pounds or so but that was strenuous, so he didn't push it. Soon enough he was bored again, so he pulled out the strange glowing book and flipped through the pages, most were empty.
As he looked through the book he grew tired and at some point dozed off. He dreamed of a golden man with almond-shaped eyes shining a vibrant orange color. The word echoed in his head, but only two were coherent, "Connected...Stronger..."
A pounding on his door woke him up suddenly. "I made hamburgers come eat," Tony said.
He put the Tome back under his bed and tossed a dark blanket over it to hide its brilliant light then went to the kitchen to eat. Next to his plate, with a hamburger and some fries on it, was a snickers bar and 1-liter bottle of Pepsi. "I got to get into work early tonight I'll be pulling a double shift. I expect these dishes cleaned, and the food put away when I return."
The next day at school Thomas sat alone at an empty lunch table as he always did. Today's lunch was just a couple red apples, he wasn't feeling very hungry. Bored and with nothing better to do Thomas spun a quarter standing up, staring at it as it twirled endlessly.
"This seat taken?" Miranda asked him politely.
He looked up surprised and smiled, "Miranda?" The quarter fell flat as his attention shifted to her. "I, no it's um... Please." He gestured to the open seat at the bench table across from him.
She sat, and he looked back to his quarter, "I was just... Being bored." He admitted. He turned his hand and the quarter rose from the table into his palm, and he put it back into his pocket.
Miranda stared at him with surprise, "How'd you do that?"
Should I tell her? No, no that's stupid she'd think I'm crazy and never talk to me again. Why is she talking to me, though, did she want to ask me about last week again? I told her everything already. Realizing he hadn't answered her yet, he paused blankly to think of an answer.
"Well?" She asked impatiently.
"It's a...magic trick. Yup, just a stupid magic trick."
Miranda frowned and was silent for a time, in her own thoughts. Eventually she asked, "Would this magic trick have any to do with a massive glowing book? One that might have alien writing in it?"
Thomas didn't answer her.
"I got one too, it just showed up to me in my locker last year. It gave me a barrier spell, funny enough that’s how I met Normia. Her drunk friends almost crashed into me last winter, my barrier saved me, though. Anyways she found me after that and shared her magic abilities with me, and now we're friends.
"Though between you and me I'm kind of jealous of her, she can teleport wherever she wants while I can block a fly baseball from giving me a black eye. And ward myself from the cold or heat, so that's cool too. What about you?"
"I can move small object with my mind, I guess."
"Wow, that sounds pretty awesome actually."
"Yea levitating a baseball above my head amazing," He said sarcastically. "How the hell is that going to help me pass Tomorrow's math test?"
Miranda shook her head, "I got nothing."
Thomas smiled meekly and said, "So are there many others out there, like us I mean?"
"Normia called us Mages, the name stuck. And far as I seen it's just us few, but Normia said she encountered numerous others in New York. I don't know anything else about the Tomes, nor does Normia, but I think these powers we got from them are here to stay."
Their talks changed to normal subjects after that and for the first time in a long time lunch at school was a pleasant experience for Thomas. After the bell rang, Miranda had to rush off to class promising to see him at lunch again tomorrow, and Thomas was back to his old routine and boredom.
The next day, at lunch, almost to his surprise, Miranda returned to hang out like before. But his eyes were locked elsewhere, to the most beautiful girl in the world: Lexi Bear. He'd been in love with her since he first laid eyes on her in 6th grade, one of these day's he was going to ask her out.
"Thomas!" Miranda half shouted at him.
He snapped back to her attention, "Yea, yes... What?"
She rolled her eyes, "I said it's going to be raining all week, do you want a ride home with us?"
"That would be great actually. I don't have an umbrella or rain jacket... Or anything really."
"Cool, meet with me in the creative arts wing after school. Normia parks as close to that wing as possible each day. It's her first-period class, so she gets to stay in the car blasting the tunes until the bell rings."
Thomas met with Miranda in the creative arts wing of the school. A long hallway over half a dozen unique art courses, video and photography included. Outside the rain was pouring hard but when they walked out there not a single drop touched them. Thomas looked up in confusion and saw the rain bounce off an invisible bubble of some sort and land on the ground away from them.
"I told you," Miranda said, "shield magic, great for days like this if nothing else."
"This is incredible," Thomas said in awe.
Normia's car was a very short walk as promised. The music was blaring, but she turned it down when they got in. Miranda sat in the front Thomas in the back.
"So Thomas I hear you have TK?" Normia asked.
"Yea, I mean I can't lift more than ten pounds at the very most, but it's a fun little trick I suppose."
"Cool, hey maybe you can give some of those bullies a wedgy from across the hall huh? A little payback?"
Thomas blushed at hearing how she knew about his bullies. But the thought of her prank made him grin.
"I didn't know you were being bullied," Miranda said with concern.
"It's no big deal really." God, why did they have to hear about this. Now they must think me some kind of loser.
"You should stand up to them."
"I did once... It ended with a serious ass kicking. But I threw the first punch at least."
"That a boy Thomas!" Normia shouted as she started the engine then pulled out of the parking lot.
This time, they dropped Thomas off at his house. Before he got out of the car though Normia turned to him and said, "Hey Thomas I can come pick you up before school too, so you don't have to go half way through the city to the bus stop."
"I, I don't want to burden you anymore."
"Hey, prick I'm trying to be nice take my offer."
Thomas scowled at her.
"Come on Thomas is riding with us really that much worse than riding the bus, or getting soaked on the long walk home afterward?"
"I'll think about it okay?"
"And I'll see you at six-thirty, or round there," Normia said decisively as if Thomas didn't get a choice in the matter.
True to her word Normia showed up at Thomas' house early in the morning to pick him up. Miranda was next, she lived in the middle of the city in a cozy two-story house. When she climbed into the car, Normia said, "Well kids for today’s music choice we have Nine Lashes."
She popped the CD in and "Anthem of the Lonely" started to play. She blasted it so loud Thomas could barely hear himself think.
When they got to the school, Normia turned the car off and joined them. "Let's go get some cinnamon rolls before they run out," She said.
They made their way to the food court until being stopped suddenly by a boy with turtle cut brown hair, and pale skin. He seemed jittery, headphones in his ears playing so loud that they could all hear what he was listening to. He said nothing to them just stopped them from moving on ahead. Before any of them could move past him, a guy on a dirt bike sped right in front of them, shouting in excitement and forcing anyone who got in his way to dive to the ground to avoid being hit. The rider wore a thick leather jacket and a full headed helmet.
The boy moved on after that as Normia watched with a huge grin as the guy on the dirt bike was chased into the halls by security guards. "You guys get me a cinnamon roll I have to see how this ends," Normia said joining in the chase.
"Who was that?" Miranda asked.
"The guy on the bike? I have no idea."
"No the jittery guy with the weird hair and ear shattering headphones. The one who saved us from potentially getting run over by the guy on the bike."
"Oh, that's crazy Kellen."
"Why do they call him that?"
Thomas shrugged, "Well in eighth grade he started talking to himself at random, and would sometimes yell for everyone to shut up even when the whole class was quiet. Later he said he heard voices in his head, and they were keeping him up and distracting him. He just grew more skitzo as time went by, started drinking a lot of coffee too and blowing out his eardrums with his headphones."
"That's horrible," Miranda said sympathetically.
"I tried talking to him once, but he was all twitchy and didn't seem to hear a word I said. He seems to be doing a lot better now than before, though."
They shifted the conversation to the mystery man on the bike while going through the lunch line. Only a handful of cinnamon rolls were left. They bought an extra for Normia as she asked but nearly dropped all of them when she suddenly appeared before them as they were heading to an empty table.
"You guys missed it," she said grabbing the extra plate from them. "Whoever that mystery rider was he kept going all the way to the gymnasium then started doing donuts all over the first floor until the security guards arrived. After that, he busted through the doors to the outside and disappeared down the road."
"Wait those doors that lead outside are metal how did he bust it down with a dirt bike?" Thomas asked doubtfully. "I mean even the push handles on the inside need to be pushed down then forward to be unlocked you can't do that while in motion on a bike."
Normia smirked while tearing off a chunk of her cinnamon roll and putting it in her mouth. "Alright maybe not easily but it's not impossible," She said between bites. "Or maybe he had a guardian angel who opened the door for him from the outside."
"Oh my god you didn't?" Miranda asked.
"Hey someone that badass does not deserve to be caught by those chump guards."
There were sometimes after they finished eating to hang out. But before too long the bell rang, time for class.