10) 'Mercy Bo-Coop' And Other Things That Aren't Actually Pronounced The Way...

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10) 'Mercy Bo-Coop' And Other Things That Aren't Actually Pronounced The Way You Always Thought They Were


On the good side, Benjamin no longer felt at an edge. On the bad side, the squad wouldn't stop asking him stupid things. "Does he snore loud?" "Does he sleep in your room?" "Does he kill pigeons and eat them in soup for breakfast?"

Benjamin would reply, then, "No, no, no."

No seemed to be the key word for everything, actually.

During French—one of the few classes Benjamin and Thijmen shared—Martin kept nudging his shoulder and pushing Benjamin to Thijmen. They were supposed to translate a passage from Antoine de-Saint Exúpery The Little Prince into English, but the squad was as savvy of French as most people were of Dungeons and Dragons and The Elder Scrolls trivia.

"Talk to him," hissed Martin, "he's alone."

Benjamin clung to his seat. "So?"

"He's one of the cool kids. We'll be cool kids if we hang out with him."

Oh, of course.

Pi snorted. "That guy looks like you'd have to force him to hang out with people like us. Just look at Heston. He's sticking his fingers into his ear and taking out the wax like he thinks nobody's seeing him."

Cue Heston quickly pulling his hands off his head.

"Benjamin," whined Martin.

They wouldn't leave him alone, would they? Finally, Benjamin stood up, grumbling, "fine," and acting all angry when in reality it took every shred of self-control not to start shaking like a chihuahua. What would he say? Something like, 'let me help you out' or 'the teacher said I could help you, since we live in the same place and all'. Sounded good enough. Ignoring the stares, he waltzed his way to Thijmen, whereupon the Dutch guy noticed him and Benjamin began to hyperventilate.

Thijmen greeted, "hello, Bennie."

At least that helped calm down the hyperventilation. Genuinely frustrated, Benjamin snapped, "stop calling me that."

"Benji?"

"No."

"Dragonborn?"

"Yes. I mean no." If only. "Just call me Benjamin. Or Ben, if you must."

"Very well, Ben—" he said, before adding with a smirk, "—yamin. What's up?"

A sigh escaped Ben's lips.

He wasn't even going to bother correcting him this time. Thijmen only did it to piss him off and if there was one thing Ben learned about people who try to provoke someone, it's that you should ignore them until it's no longer funny to them.

Though, knowing himself, that was something Ben was never going to achieve.

"Do you, maybe, want to sit with us? For... you know... uh..."

"For what?"

"Well, you're really good at French, aren't you? I mean, you were really good at it a few days ago, during History..."

He trailed off, wondering if what he was saying wasn't just very silly. Why would Thijmen want to sit with and help a bunch of nerds? He probably wanted to sit with other kids who were cool like him. Or maybe he wanted to sit alone—

"Yeah, sure, I'll help you learn la langue française."

"O-oh, okay. Thanks."

Thijmen looked around, green eyes narrowing a bit as he looked, Benjamin assumed, for whichever group looked the most loser-ish (a.k.a., the likeliest for Benjamin to hang out with). It must've been pretty obvious, because Thijmen nudged his head at the gang. "Are they the 'us' you're referring to?"

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