Throughout the school, the class bell rang loudly. Every student in Elan’s class stood up, grabbed their phones and lunchboxes, and left the classroom. He was the last to leave. His thoughts were on today’s lunch menu. If his memory served him correctly, today was pizza day, his favorite. He walked the emptying corridor with his hands in his pockets. He wondered if he’d see any of his friends in the cafeteria. Usually, he’d walk with Dakota (whether he wanted to or not) but he’d left well before everyone in class.
Elan’s eyes were lazily observing the ground, his mind full of these thoughts. Unexpectedly, he walked up to a student and looked up. The boy appeared to be a younger raccoon around Dakota’s age. He smiled at Elan innocently. “Oh. Hello.” Elan said and waved. The boy pulled out a knife and brandished it at him. “Hey yourself. Give me your money.” He said. Elan looked around in a panic for someone to help him. Did this kid seriously have the guts to bring a weapon to school!? Elan raised his hands. “W-Wait, no! P-Please!” He pleaded. The boy approached and jabbed him with the blade. “Boop! You’re dead.” He said and stuck his tongue out. Elan looked down at his tummy and expected to see a bloody wound followed by a blade. And yet, he was unmarked and felt no pain.
Elan rubbed his tummy in search of a cut as his heart raced. His suspicions were confirmed. The blade was a fake, and he wasn’t harmed. He looked at the boy again and saw he was laughing into his hand. “It’s not a real one, dummy.” He said, and plunged the blade into his own chest. He pulled it back and Elan could see the blade telescope back outwards. Elan breathed a sigh of relief. “U-Um, you shouldn’t play like that.” He said. The boy didn’t appreciate being lectured. “Yeah, well, I don’t have to listen to you. My family’s kind of a big deal.” He said. “I’m Zee. But you can call me Sweets. Sweets as in the Sweets mafia family, heh.” He introduced himself.
This boy was an odd one for sure. A pretend mugging isn’t how Elan preferred to be introduced to anyone. He turned his attention back to the name Zee had mentioned. “Sweets? Uh, Sweets mafia? I don’t think I’ve heard of you. Sorry.” He said. “Oh we’re a big deal all right. Did you hear about that huge bank robbery a week ago? That was us. Millions of dollars, all ours.” Zee said. Elan was even more nervous now. This kid’s a part of a mafia family, and here he is bragging about his family’s latest misdeed. Whatever the case, Elan wanted to get to lunch and move as far away from him as possible. “Are you seriously believing this loser? You’re dumber than I thought, ‘Eee-lan.’.” A familiar voice spoke out from behind him. It was Dakota!
“Dakota!” Elan said. He subconsciously moved behind him for protection. … Even though Dakota is younger and shorter. “What did you say, huh!?” Zee shouted and pulled out his toy blade. “You heard me, wimp!” Dakota shouted back and butted heads with him. “I said you’re full of it! You’re as fake as that stupid dollar store blade. Hmph! Pathetic.” He said. The two were natural rivals with each other. Dakota was the prankster of Elan’s group, and he didn’t appreciate some stranger encroaching on his turf. After seconds of staring each other down, Zee yielded and backed up. “You’re lucky, kid. Because your friend made me laugh, I’ll spare you. But if you cross me again…,” he made a menacing slicing gesture across his throat, “It’s green light.” He said. “Oh, get out of here already!” Dakota yelled and turned around with Elan.
Without thinking, Dakota grabbed Elan’s hand and led him toward the cafeteria. Walking with him eased his fears and calmed him. “Um, thank you.” Elan’s voice broke the silence. “I didn’t do that for you, nerd. I can’t stand losers like him. Thinking they’re a big shot around here. It pisses me off.” Dakota said. “Heh, you can pay me back by giving me your pudding. Otherwise, I’ll let him have you.” He said. Elan squeezed Dakota’s warm hand tighter. “Alright, alright. But you’d better help me next time. I mean, please?” Elan said. The two entered the cafeteria and ordered their lunches together in the busy serving line. Now that they had everything they needed, they had to find a free seat. There was only one table left, occupied by a student with their back to them. “Great. Why can’t he eat on the roof or something? I’m getting rid of him…” Dakota said. “Wait! But he was here first!” Elan begged Dakota not to threaten them. “Hey guys. What’s up?” The student said as they turned around. It was Zee again!
Dakota snarled and dug his claws into his blue plastic tray. “Get lost.” He said. Elan walked past him and sat down opposite Zee. “Um, he was here first. Can’t we just eat together?” He reasoned. “C’mon, fwiend. Let’s eat.” Zee teased Dakota. Dakota sat down next to Elan and stared daggers at his adversary. He took a huge bite out of his pizza and made sure to bear his sharp fangs. Zee noticed his staring and chuckled. “I’m glad you think I’m cute, but I’m not really into girly boys.” He said. “W-What the—!?” Dakota shouted. He didn’t expect to have his secret figured out so quickly. “Woah! How’d you know?” Elan asked, amazed. Without looked up his skirt, Dakota’s cross-dressing was perfect. There’s no way anyone would know his masculine identity without doing their own sleuthing. “Mafia family. Remember? I know allll about ‘Ms. Burke.’ Because of my henchmen.” He said and mocked Dakota’s gender by calling him miss.
Dakota’s temper was starting to boil over. But he had to refrain from attacking him, or he’d get detention. Detention on today of all days would mean he’d miss his favorite show’s latest episode. “Tch! You’re not a freakin’ mafioso!” Dakota yelled. Zee raised his left hand to show off a shiny gold watch to him. “Whatever you say, girl.” He said. Elan and Dakota had their doubts about Zee’s true identity, but now they were even more uncertain. If that gaudy watch was real, it could easily cost several thousand dollars. Dakota seethed in his seat after witnessing Zee’s flaunting. “Oh, blow me.” He said and looked away, pissed off. This mysterious boy was stealing all the spotlight from him and enjoying every second of it. “Maybe later~.” Zee teased. Dakota was taken aback by his ballsy flirting. He’d officially reached his limit. “I’m out of here. Get bent!” He said, and threw his juice all over Zee before leaving.
“Oh my god! I’m so sorry!” Elan ran back to the cafeteria’s serving line for a bundle of napkins. He returned to Zee and dried him off. “Your friend’s a riot, Elan. And kinda cute.” Zee said. Elan didn’t expect to hear that from him of all people. Come to think of it, he’d never heard anyone compliment Dakota before. “You’re not going to kill him?” Elan asked. Zee broke out into a loud burst of laughter, slamming the table with his palms. All eyes in the cafeteria were on the two. Elan could only shrink in his seat from the sudden attention. “Haha! Oh, wow, you’re funny! Tell ya what. Just for you, I’ll put him on our family’s whitelist. Satisfied?” Zee said. He certainly had a knack for making Elan anxious. “Y-Yeah, thanks.” Elan said. “Well, this was fun. But I’m out. Here, I’m done with this junk. Keep it.” Zee said. He unceremoniously tossed his watch to Elan. Its polished exterior shined brightly, and it had weight to it. Was this kid serious about being a don’s son? Before Elan could ask him anything, he was in the distance.
Whether he wanted him as a friend or not, Zee was here to stay. Elan had both the blessing and the curse of attracting interesting people to him. Good and bad. Zee talked a big talk, but it was very possible that his boasting was the truth. At the very least, Elan would have to get his new watch appraised to confirm its authenticity.