Ann found a yellow rose taped to her locker door, a plain little card dangling from the thorn-less stem.
You’re weird. So much weirder than I had any reason to suspect.
That’s okay: you’re still cool. I know you don’t want to be friends, either. Have a flower anyway. I won’t bother you anymore. See you around (in a non-romantic, non-friendly, acquaintance-only kind of way).
She tucked the note into her back pocket and was threading the flower into her braid when she realized Josh and Marcus had come up beside her in the hall, waiting. She jerked the stem from her hair and crossed her arms, eyes narrowed.
“Hey, Fellow Student,” Josh said, studying the ceiling instead of looking at her.
“I have to go to class.” She pointed at Marcus. “You have to go to class.”
Josh took his attention from the ceiling. “He wants to talk to you. I don’t want to talk to you. That is, I’m not opposed to talking to you, but I get that you don’t want -”
Marcus shoved him. “Go wait over there. We’ll just be a sec.”
Ann watched to make sure Josh moved all the way out of earshot, then glared at Marcus. “You’re still friends with him?”
“Of course I’m still friends with him.”
“You don’t stop being friends with someone every time an ex-girlfriend starts spreading rumors. No offense.”
“None taken: look, he can have friends, just after he defeats The Evil Overlord.”
Marcus glanced at Josh, who was shifting from one foot to the other, hands in his pockets. “Can a person defeat an Evil Overlord alone?”
Ann sighed. “Most Chosen Ones have too. The Evil Overlord makes sure he’s alone, in the end.”
“But it’s not ideal, is it? I mean, that’s not the way to do it if you didn’t have to, right?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess not. Listen, we really shouldn’t be talking.”
“We can’t be friends either?”
Ann blew the air from her cheeks. “It’s not . . . . insanely stupid, I suppose.”
“Well, I’m not looking to make friends.”
“I do have a question.”
She leaned against the lockers, arms still crossed. “Okay.”
“If Josh is really The Chosen One, shouldn’t he be – you know – manifesting some kind of weird powers? Super-strength? Battle prowess? Laser-eyes?”
“I don’t know! I mean, look at him – it’s just Josh.. What’s he going to do against an Evil Overlord?”
“That is an excellent question, but Josh should be asking it of himself, and of his mentor – not me. I am not getting involved. Involved is the last thing I want to be right now.”
“Josh said you talked to Mr. Fredricks on Sunday.”
“So . . . isn’t that getting involved?”
She tipped her head back. “What’d Mr. Fredricks say?”
“What do you care?”
She sighed. “Fair point.”
“I’m serious: Why do you -”
“We really have to get to class.”
*This has been Part Four of Ann versus The Evil Overlord