“Charlie?” A voice echoed through Charlie’s dreams. “Charlie! Wake up, they’re serving breakfast!”
Charlie snapped awake.
“Breakfast? What breakfast? Where’s breakfast?” he questioned frantically, looking to Henry, his best friend of almost ten years.
“Yes, breakfast. Pyogna, your favourite. In the cafeteria across the hall. I think downstairs has pudding, we can go there after.” Henry spoke cheerfully.
“Pyogna? Does it have egg?” Charlie asked. Pyogna was an odd dish. Bacon and white rice with tomato sauce mixed through. Occasionally, egg would be added to the mix, too.
“Not today,” Henry shook his head, “but I heard a rumour that it will next week.”
Charlie nodded, hopping out of bed. Henry turned away, seeing as Charlie preferred to sleep naked. Charlie knew the drill, so he made his way to a rather small closet. He didn’t have many clothes, for he didn’t have many occasions in which he would need them. On days where he had to work, he would just stay in his studio, wearing nothing but an overly large shirt, trusting Henry to bring him his meals.
He dressed himself in some loose fitting pants and a baggy t-shirt, one that he had stolen from Henry many months ago, around the anniversary of his mother’s death. Henry didn’t mind.
“Right, lets go” Charlie spoke as he moved to stand beside Henry. Henry looked to him, a sheepish smile playing on his lips.
“People know thats my shirt. I used to wear it all the time. Seeing you in it may bring them to the conclusion that we’re romantically or sexually involved.”
Charlie shrugged. “Oh well. If they think that, then so be it.”
“Charlie, I don’t want them getting the wrong idea. You know how people around here can be. They’ll assume we’re together, they’ll tell everyone else, the girls will disprove, the guys will probably spit on us, and then I won’t be able to get a girlfriend!” Henry exclaimed, a little riled up.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure anyone who thinks that will change their mind.” Charlie spoke confidently, sending a wink Henry’s way, as he started walking out of the room, best friend in tow.
“Charlie, if you hex anyone for thinking we’re together, the Elders will be mad at you.”
“Henry, you really think the Elders will do anything? They know I’m slowly becoming more powerful than them. Besides, anything they try to do, my sigils can defend against. Probably.”
“Probably? What do you mean probably?” Henry now held a look of worry upon his face.
“All I mean is that they might do something or use some spell or something that I’ve not thought of. You know how many sigils I have carved into my body,” Charlie gave Henry a glance, “I’m more than likely protected against anything they’d like to do.”
Henry sighed, giving up, as they walked into the cafeteria. Charlie perked up when they walked in, hurrying over to get in line for breakfast. He was rather talkative with the workers, having a simple conversation with them as they served him pyogna and peach, handing him a glass of fresh orange juice as well, something spared only for the workers favourites.
Charlie threw a smile back at Henry.
“I’ll get us a place to sit, okay?” Charlie spoke lightly as he walked away. “Don’t get too much, we still need to go downstairs.”
Henry nodded, getting to the workers and offering them a smile. They smiled back politely as they handed him his food.
“Apple, peach or pear?” a worker asked, her voice sweet.
The worker nodded, grabbing some pear slices for him and handing it to him, a glass of not-exactly-fresh orange juice in her other hand. Henry took them both, smiling politely at the worker, muttering a gentle “thank you” as he placed the two on his tray. He left as soon as possible, glancing around to find where Charlie had sat.
Charlie noticed him looking and stuck a hand in the air, smiling brightly when Henry caught sight of him.
“Bad juice?” Charlie spoke as Henry hurried to sit beside him.
Henry nodded, gently taking Charlie’s own glass from his tray and stealing a sip, listening as the younger let out a light chuckle.
“You should put in a good word for me, man. Those workers may smile, but I swear they hate me.” Henry spoke, all too serious.
“Come on, if they hated you, do you really think you would get this juice?” Charlie spoke after taking a sip of Henry’s own juice. “You and I both know, they have far worse in the back.”
The two shuddered at the unpleasant memory that had just resurfaced.
“Don’t remind me.” Henry spoke, unnerved.
The conversation ended there, leaving the two in a comfortable silence, eating the first part of their meal.
It took half an hour for them to both finish eating. Once done, they returned their trays with their plates, cups and cutlery to the workers, having thrown their rubbish in a bin already.
The duo made their way to the cafeteria on the floor below the one they had previously been on. Slipping in silently, they walked to the serving bar, looking over the array of puddings and various other sweets that they could help themselves to.
In the end, they both chose chocolate pudding, but their sides were remarkably different. While Charlie had butter biscuits and a blueberry muffin, Henry had gone for a chocolate bar and a double chocolate chip cupcake.
Charlie stared at his friend, a disbelieving look on his face.
“What?” Henry defended. “I like chocolate. Can’t blame a guy for having a sweet tooth.”
Charlie shrugged, simply moving to find them a place to eat.