Ben was not in her next two classes. Thus, she did not see him again until lunch. She was sitting in her usual table, next to the wall, back towards any who might mock her. Ben found her easily, and sat down beside her.

"Hey, is this stuff edible?" he asked, in reference to the mystery meat that the cafeteria had served that day. He picked up a fork and poked at it. It gurgled.

"No," Alicia replied, eating the peanut butter and jelly sandwich she packed.

"Who's Rob?" Ben got right to the point. He asked it in a nonchalant way, not even looking at her, while he continued to poke at the "food".

"I'm sure that what others have told you about Rob is far more interesting than any true story I might be able to supply," she answered coldly, but with no other trace of emotion, and continuing to eat her sandwich. She hated all of them for spreading lies. She did not need friends; she had lived for two years without friends. But oh how she longed for a comrade, someone who smiled when he saw her, someone who cared about her well being.

Alicia shoved her emotions aside. If Ben cared enough to ask i her i who Rob was, maybe he would believe her, at least to some extent.

"Rob was my lover. He died two years ago. You've probably heard how, from all those people I hate. And you know, they're probably the ones who would tell it best, since they won't give any qualities to Rob he didn't have. Of course, they won't allow him any decent qualities either. Rob was the most noble person I knew. He would never take drugs. he was above that. He died to save me. Any other questions?" Ben glanced over, saw a tear running down her pale cheek, and went back to poking his food.



They ate the rest of their meal in silence.