They got settled into their seats as Sarah approached the arena. Her opponent was a guy named Elliot. Cal didn't know what his affinity was, but he did know that he was going to be rough for Sarah. Sarah was the type to avoid violence when she could, but Elliot lived for it. He was in a few different sports teams and was responsible for half of the fouls that the team got.
They faced each other and the horn sounded. Sarah started healing herself right away, and then started to simultaneously cloud Elliot's judgement. Elliot sprinted towards her and then hit her, lifting Sarah onto his shoulder and running towards the edge of the field. Sarah twisted out of his grasp and pushed Elliot towards the edge, but he didn't cross it, and Elliot grabbed her and pushed her over the edge. The horn sounded, the applause half filled with boos.
Apparently Elliot was also a healer, but he focused on improving his muscles. They shook hands and the arena was cleared for the next match. When Sarah got back to them she shrugged.
"You almost had him at the end there too." Cal said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"I couldn't cloud his head well while I was trying to heal myself at the same time. It's okay, combat really isn't my thing." They still celebrated a little bit, mostly as an excuse to get more food, and then they headed back to the courtyard outside. They sat beside the fountain and talked for a while. The sun was above them, making the droplets of water from the fountain sparkle, and bringing out the colors of the flowering bushes on the edges of the courtyard. They talked for a long time, discussing the big change from school to this, the tournament itself, and their futures after it. By the time they stopped talking they were getting hungry. They had a cool restaurant picked out, but before they could leave Vera approached them.
"Can I borrow Cal for a minute?" She asked. Sarah looked like she was about to refuse, but Josh said that they were going to go to the restaurant and Cal could text them and maybe meet them there.
Cal didn't really know why he wouldn't be able to just meet them there, but before he could voice his confusion, Vera pulled him over towards the trail into the woods.
"I'm really hungry. Do you want to get dinner?" She asked him. Yeah he wanted to get dinner, that's where he was headed right before she "borrowed" him.
"Yeah, that would be good. What did you want to talk to me about?" Cal asked.
"I must have forgotten." She said. "What did you have in mind for dinner?" She asked, holding onto his arm while they walked.
He was about to say that he had the restaurant in mind, but she new about that so she must think he is eating somewhere else. Where else would he be eating?
"I am not sure. Did you have something in mind?" He finally asked, giving up.
She perked up a bit. "I know! Why don't we have a picnic!"
"I don't really have a picnic ready, do you?" He asked.
She shook her head. "We could just go buy the food though and then I can heat it up when we get there."
"Oh! Good thinking." He told her. He considered making some food for them, but he didn't know a good way to do that without her knowing about his powers, and they could just go shopping anyway.
They turned towards the road and then walked into town. They passed the restaurant and Cal saw Josh and Sarah. Sarah seemed to be upset about something, so she was doing that thing she does where she gets quiet and pokes at her food a lot. Josh didn't seemed fazed though. He pulled out his phone and texted them that he wouldn't be able to make it, and that he would meet up with them later.
They turned into a small supermarket and started to pick out some food for their picnic. They picked out some fancy bread, some fresh veggies, cheese, and some sandwich meat so that they could make sandwiches. Sarah also grabbed some spicy chicken to put on hers and some butter so that she could toast her bread and melt the cheese.
After that they made their way to a little opening in the woods, where they sat under a tree that looked a lot like the spot where they met. They made their sandwiches and ate. Vera leaned her head against his shoulder. She was very outgoing. He couldn't really imagine having a picnic with Sarah and John, or either of them resting their heads on his shoulder, but she also had a lot of friends and did other extroverted things that he thought was a bit weird, so he didn't think too much of it.
They talked about the tournament a little bit. She mentioned some of the people she knew that would be tough competition. Then she brought up why they wanted to win.
"What would you do if you won?" She asked him.
"I would fix some things." He didn't go into more detail. "What about you?"
"I would use my position to get a guy that I like's attention." She said.
That seemed odd to Cal. She seemed very motivated, like she had something to fight for, and it wasn't a guy, but he let it go.
"I hope he pays attention, it be a shame if he didn't know that you liked him." He said to her.
She sighed and then they sat for a while longer.
"Okay, you can go back to your friends, I have had my fun. Thanks for the picnic." She said and kissed him on the cheek. He blushed, she must have been from abroad or something where that was more normal.
She smiled and then left, and Cal texted both Josh and Sarah that he could meet them at the restaurant if they were still there.
"Awesome!" Sarah texted back.
"Thank god." Josh texted him. Sarah must have been bothering him about whatever she was upset about and he couldn't change the subject. Cal was much better at this and could get Sarah talking about happier topics pretty quickly.
He walked in and sat next to Sarah, since she was patting the seat next to her and Josh was pinching the bridge of his nose. The restaurant was quieter now that the dinner rush was over, but the ambient noise of the fans and the kitchen still meant that they could talk without feeling the need to talk quietly.
"How was your guys' dinner?" He asked them.
"It was great, we should definitely eat here again." Sarah said. She seemed to have gotten over whatever was upsetting her, Josh must have figured it out before he got here.
Josh just nodded. They talked for a few more minutes and then Sarah asked Cal to move so that she could get past him and go to the bathroom.
"How was the date, Romeo?" Josh asked him with a grin.
Cal shook his head. "No, we just had a picnic. We are just friends. It was nice though."
Josh rolled his eyes. "Jesus dude, I knew you had to be oblivious to not notice.. the state of things..." He said ominously. "but I didn't realize you were a total idiot."
Cal shook his head again. "No, really. I haven't known her for very long. She just seems into me because she is outgoing."
"She doesn't act like that with anyone else, I have seen it." Josh told him. "Tell me everything that happened and I will decide if it was a date or not."
Cal told him about all of it, his face getting progressively more red as he realized that Josh was right.
"Dude! She kissed your cheek, talked about a guy she liked that didn't notice her, and was all touchy with you, holding your arm and leaning on your shoulder and all that. Damn, you either need a trophy or a goddamn glasses prescription because you are blind if you don't notice that."
Cal put his head in his hands, his face hot from the blushing. "I'm such an idiot." He mumbled through his hands, Josh laughing hard now.
They had settled down and fallen back to normal conversation by the time that Sarah came back and slid past Cal and into her seat. After a bit longer of hanging out, everyone seeming much happier now, they went back to their dorms.
On his way back Cal looked for Vera, but had no luck. He wished that he had her number.
He went to bed in disbelief at the fact that someone like Vera was into him.