in which nadia's plans are canceled

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amil deliberates on nadia's number the next day, during his math class. he's found all of his classes incredibly boring so far, and he's honestly disappointed in them. from all that sam had said, he'd assumed being a human was fun. sam always told him stories about huge parties and nice dates and nadia. he never talked about how being a teenager involved being trapped in a classroom for hours on end.

i'm doing this for sam, amil reminds himself, a few times a day. it's not true, but he needs it to be, so it's fine.

nadia's handwriting is scrawly, all up his forearm, and the two is only barely distinguishable from an 's'. he hasn't put it in his phone yet.

quinn is in his class, sitting one seat over and one down. they have a perfect view of him. he's wearing a huge sweater today, with shorts and fishnets. the outfit is cute, but he looks annoying. quinn switches between examining him- his hair is loose today, falling over his forehead like angry waves- and planning their evening. they're transfering a collection of souls between two big-name demons. big-name as in important, and big-name as in twenty-seven letter titles that quinn isn't even going to try to pronounce. the two demons aren't allowed in each others territories- trying to is like a bird trying to get into a greenhouse- so they hired quinn. the pair hired them last-minute, too. they had to cancel plans with nadia.

they also haven't told nadia that.

the math teacher, mr. howards, is about as observant as a mouse under a blanket, and the girl sitting next to quinn has been on her phone all hour. quinn thinks it's safe to text nadia.

their phone is cracked and the back is held together with duct tape. sam calls it a safety hazard, but he never offers to get her a new one, like rani would. quinn likes that.

so i can't go out with you and sam tonight. i have a thing!

a long pause. quinn sometimes wishes they had an iphone, just because the thinking bubble would make everything so much easier and they would know if they should put their phone back in their pocket, but also iphones suck and are expensive.

they don't have to worry about that for too long, thankfully, because nadia responds a second later. that's cool i don't really want to hang out with sam anyway.

quinn raises their eyebrows at the screen. o-kay

yeah shut up ill tell you later. ms. welsk is glaring at me.

k that's fine just wanted to let you know! quinn switches off their phone and tucks it back into their pocket, switching their attention back to the linear equations they're graphing. or, the linear equations mr. howards is graphing. everyone else is paying about as much attention as quinn. amil starts etching his name into the desk- his real name, not the name amil- with the tip of his pen. quinn sighs.

nadia, her plans canceled, meets up with kia that night. they rendezvous at nadia's house, immediately going up to nadia's room because while her parents are nice, they also don't understand who kia is and are apt to say something mildly offensive. nadia wants to avoid that. it's not that her parents are rich, it's just that they kinda are. not as obscenely rich as rani's family, and it's not old money, but nadia's mom invented something related to contraceptives and they're rich enough that there's two stoves in their kitchen and nadia has the newest iphone. nadia never talks about money with kia and she doesn't want to start doing so now, so they race each other up the stairwell like they're still nine and collapse on her bed.

nadia grins at kia, half-heartedly attempting to kick off her doc martens. "so, how was work?" she asks, and bends over to untie them.

kia shrugs half-heartedly. "you know. people suck."

"ugh, yeah." kia works at super one, which is a store that nadia tries her best to never visit. when kia started working there, a few months ago, nadia asking that question would have resulted in an avalanche of complaints: everything from the store's just-a-bit-too-cold temperature to soccer moms misgendering her to screaming children. the job sounded like a nightmare. now kia just sounds resigned to it. she doesn't complain about much of anything, which nadia thinks is practically superhuman. kia's better than wonder woman. "did you ever see black panther?" nadia asks, rolling over and wrapping an arm around kia's back.

one of kia's least favorite things about her complexion (other than the whole white trash thing) is how obvious it is when she blushes. "no."

"wanna watch it?" their plans were thrown together last minute after sam and quinn canceled on her, so it's not like they have dinner reservations at eight. (not like nadia and kia would ever get dinner somewhere that they'd need reservations, even if they were, in some other universe where kia is lucky and actually likeable, dating.) their entire night is wide open.


netflix is opened and the right movie selected. nadia's mom somehow figures out that they're watching a movie and gives them popcorn as the opening scene starts.

sam lingers outside amil's apartment, turning his phone over in his hands. amil's place is not as far from sam's apartment as he would have thought, but it's in far worse shape. none of the nice windows that sam's has. it does have a street lamp right outside, casting yellow light over the potholed street. sam leans against the pole.

amil is up there, looking out one of the small windows at sam's shadow. he's wrapped in a plethora of quilts, his homework abandoned on the floor a few feet away. honestly, who's able to do that stuff? focusing in this human form takes way too much energy for amil. after he realizes that sam's going to spend a few more minutes pondering he switches to fucking around with his new phone- well, not new, per say. the powers that be, when granting his license to be on earth, got him an LG phone off ebay, and the edges are scratched up and the corner has a hairline crack. he plays subway surfers for a while and doesn't look out the window.

sam tucks his phone into his pocket and fixes his jacket. he swallows and kicks at the sidewalk for a moment, stalling. he fixes his hair, dragging a manicured hand through it.

amil opens the door as soon as he knocks. he's wearing an oversized t-shirt and boxer shorts, a far cry from sam. amil thinks he looks like he's about to pick up a date- nadia. nadia, nadia, nadia. amil stares at him.

"nice place," sam says, craning his head to look into the rest of the apartment. the bed frame is metal and looks like it would creak, and there is stuff everywhere. the wall is modge-podged with posters and there are a random dusting of thrift-store knicknacks on every flat surface.

"it works." amil shrugs, steps aside. he ushers sam in with one hand. sam collapses onto one of amil's kitchen chairs, which is sitting in the middle of his living room.

"no, seriously, i like it." sam nods to himself.

"thanks." amil hops onto his counter and stares at sam. "so, what's up? why're you here, now?"

"maybe i missed you, angel, we haven't talked in a while."

"and whose fault it that?" amil asks, hoping he sounds calmer than he feels. he walks over to the wall and leans against it.

sam turns in his chair to face him. he straddles the back of the chair and rests his head on his arms. "i'm sorry," he drawls. he does not sound sorry. amil picks at his nail polish. "i got a job. some actual friends, you know. why do you even care?"

"maybe i missed you," amil says bluntly. "and i have homework." he gestures at the door. "i'll see you tomorrow."

sam leaves. (there went his evening plans, maybe he'll call nadia. she's probably hanging out with kia). amil stares at the door, then at his homework.

that didn't go perfectly.

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