Dismal Company

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We end up finding Tyler
just inside the pizza place;
immediately, Natalia runs up
and plants a big kiss
on his cheek,
one that makes me feel
slightly uncomfortable.
"This is Tyler,"
she introduces us
after dragging him over to
where Seth and I
had been left by the door.
"Ty, this is
Seth and Matty."
We all exchange
brief greetings before
Tyler leads us off in
the direction of the table
he had saved for us.

Seth wasn't really wrong
in expressing his obvious dislike
of this guy -
at least, not in
my opinion.
He's tall, sure,
and looks fairly athletic -
that seems to be a trend in
the boys Natalia dates.
But he has this lazy look
in this eyes when he
looks at Seth and I
one that send shivers
down my spine.
A look up at Seth,
at the grimace on his lips,
confirms that he feels
the same as I do
about this guy.
"Deadbeat,"
he mutters under his breath
when Natalia isn't looking.

There is something
sort of untrustworthy
about the way Tyler is
clutching Natalia against him,
like he thinks she'll
slip away if he's not careful.
But of course,
she doesn't notice,
and laughingly pushes him off
as she takes her seat.
She never notices these things,
does she?
Maybe she's blind when
it comes to seeing
bad things in other people.

We're in one of those booths
that typically line the walls
of any restaurant.
Tyler and Natalia are
on one side, while
Seth and I are crammed
into the other.
He accidentally bumps my leg
as he sits down;
color creeps to my cheeks
and, from across the table,
Natalia smirks at me.
She must think her plan
is working -
but she doesn't know
just how uncomfortable
tight spaces and
a lack of personal space
makes me feel,
so I can say with
absolute certainty
that it isn't, not yet.

She, on the other hand,
looks supremely at ease
being squished against Tyler.
I can't help but be
a little bit jealous -
she always seems so calm
and comfortable with everything.
Then again,
she and Tyler are dating,
while Seth and I are not.
Maybe that makes
a difference in things.
I'm not quite sure,
as I've never dated before
and have no idea
what to expect.

We end up buying
two medium pizzas:
one cheese, as per
Natalia's request, and
one Hawaiian,
decided by both Seth and I.
The boys agree to
split the bill after -
"Because no girl
should have to pay for herself
on a date,"
as Natalia says.
Tyler looks somewhat
amused by that,
while Seth merely
rolls his eyes at her.
As soon as the pizzas arrive,
the boys dig in
with no preface,
obviously eager to begin
stuffing their faces.
Natalia clicks her tongue
in disapproval.

"Jeez,"
she complains,
"wait for us,
would you?
What happened to chivalry?"

"Chivalry is dead,"
Seth retorts around
a mouthful of his food.
"Didn't you know that,
Natalia?"

"Does that mean
you and Tyler
won't be paying for the pizza?"
I surprise myself
by putting in.
"Because I don't know
about Natalia, but
that would be
kind of upsetting..."

Both Seth and Natalia
just look at me
for a moment,
as if surprised that I had
said anything at all.
Tyler, of course,
isn't paying much attention
to anything besides his pizza.
It's silent for a moment -
so long of a moment
that I almost start to feel
self-conscious -
and then Natalia starts snickering
from behind her hand,
and Seth lets out and indignant,
"Well,
I never said that..."

"If you don't pay,"
Natalia scolds him
after she's reigned in
her laughter some,
"I will personally
hunt you down and
humiliate you in front
of the entire school
for ruining Matty's date."
What a threat.
I can't help but
smile at the faux-seriousness
on Natalia's face.

"You wouldn't."
But Seth is grinning now, too,
obviously entertained by
the idea of it.
"What, are you
going to pull my pants down
in front of everyone
or something?"

"We're not in middle school,
you pervert,"
she snorts.
"If I'd wanted your pants down
in the first place,
I have much more efficient
ways of going about it."

Seth mutters something
unintelligible
with a pointed grimace
at the same time that
Tyler looks up and,
for the first time,
inserts himself into
the conversation.
"Hey, now,"
he says indignantly.
"I'm right here,
you know."

"Oh."
Seth blinks, and then
frowns in mock confusion.
"I didn't even
see you there, Tyler.
When did
you get here?"

A crease forms
on Tyler's brow
at the same time that
Natalia and I
burst out into a
fit of giggles.
He looks like he's about to
snap out an angry reply -
but the entire conversation
is suddenly forgotten as
Natalia jumps up
in her seat, still laughing,
and exclaims,
"Oh, look Ty!
Isn't that Jackie Hennessey
and her boyfriend
over there?"

And then, without further ado,
she proceeds to push
Tyler out of his seat
so she can escape the booth
and run across the restaurant
to one of the only other
occupied tables.
I vaguely recognize
the girl seated at it
as someone I've seen
in passing at school,
though I've never heard
that name before.

With Natalia's sudden departure,
the friendly atmosphere at our table
seems to dissipate,
leaving us staring awkwardly
around at each other.
Tyler is the first
to break the new silence
as he picks up
his pizza slice and mutters,
"There she goes
forgetting me again,
just like always."

"Get used to it,"
Seth says with a sigh.
"She does that
quite a lot."
The silence resumes itself,
broken only by the distant -
but still rather loud -
sounds of Natalia chattering
with the other students
some tables over.
Suddenly feeling
very tiny and insignificant
around these two boys
that I barely know,
I nibble at a piece
of pineapple from my pizza
and wish for Natalia to
get back as soon as possible.

Of course,
that doesn't seem too likely
after she sits down
beside the girl she's talking to;
we seem to have
been long forgotten.

"This is stupid,"
Seth says at last,
pushing himself up
from his booth seat.
"She's obviously not
coming back any time soon.
What d'you say
we get out of here,
Matty?"

I know that he
doesn't hold Tyler in
the highest regard,
but I hadn't expected it
to come to this.
"What?"
is all I have time
to say before
he digs a few bills
out of his wallet,
slaps them on the table
for the pizza,
and motions for me
to follow him as he
starts for the door.
No explanation is given -
and considering I would
rather not be left behind
with 'Tyler the pothead,'
I excuse myself from
his dismal company and
follow Seth out of the restaurant.

×

Long chapter today. Y'all can thank me later.

So, any thoughts on Tyler, you guys? Or just the date in general? I enjoyed writing this, mostly because it was fun to see Seth and Nat bickering a little before she ruined things by leaving. I feel like they could be good friends if they both weren't so strong-willed and independent. Or maybe that's just me. Either way, Tyler really is a deadbeat. For once, Seth isn't wrong about that.

Anyway, if you guys liked this chapter, I'd love if you would vote and tell me what you all think in the comments! It would be very much appreciated <3

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