5) 'I Don't Even Know Him' And Other Lies That You Hope Are Very Convincing

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5) 'I Don't Even Know Him' And Other Lies That You Hope Are Very Convincing

The situation was as follows: Thijmen had suddenly switched personalities, and apparently now he was talking to people. By extension, this meant he was getting attention—scratch that, he was the center of attention—which meant Benjamin would have to endure the side-effects if he wasn't careful enough.

Ignoring Thijmen was too risky. By now people inferred they had some sort of connection, and somehow he felt like the Dutch guy was the sort of person to not give a crap about Benjamin's wish to stay irrelevant.

No, no, it wouldn't work. Benjamin would have to talk to him.

Eventually. Once they could be alone. This also proved to be risky, for obvious reasons, but...

"Hey, come to think about it," spoke out Martin as he twirled his fork around his noodles, "Anyone know about the exchange student yet? The one that comes every year for—"

"No," Benjamin blurted out.

They all sat at their cafeteria table, Ben and Messiah and Heston and Martin and Pi, and only the latter proved to be a threat. He wouldn't stop leering at Benjamin. The rest were fine. In fact, thanks to Heston, nobody really tried to steal their table. Every year, due to his looks, he got a few people swarming around him. By the third week of classes, he'd chased them off. He was that last layer to the group's already infallible virginity shield.

Martin had been twirling his fork around the instant cup ramen for so long it was almost hypnotic. "Shit," he grumbled, "I hope my family's elected."

No you don't.

Benjamin strategically sipped on his chocolate milk. Don't look at Pi, don't look at Pi, don't look at—

"What about Thijmen?" asked Pi, "The new kid. Isn't he—"

"No," said Benjamin.

"You didn't even let me finish!"

"No," said Heston.

"No," said Messiah.

They both burst out laughing.

On the bad side, this was one of those moments where Benjamin wondered how he'd even ended up with these people (ignoring the fact they'd group together because they were the social pyramid's leftovers). On the good side, it diverted attention from the topic. It gave him time to think.

He needed, somehow, to convince Thijmen to keep their situation a secret.
Or it would be good-bye to his plans for sure.

They spent the trip back home as they usually did: ignoring each other.

How peaceful.

Isaac, the chauffeur, seemed content with this. Everyone did. They had this thing where each would develop their own tiny universe. When it came to just Benjamin and Thijmen, ignoring each other had become more of an habit than anything else. They had implicitly formed a routine in such a way that, when one went to the bathroom, the other would stay inside, and so on and so on.

Breaking this proved to be harder than expected. Once at home, Benjamin crawled out of the car like the time around him was distorted. This was no problem by itself, but Thijmen sat on the side opposite to their house, so he had to wait until Benjamin was done to get out.

Which he didn't.

Well, he needed to break the ice somehow.

"Benjamin," snapped Thijmen, "Hurry the fuck up."

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