At Lunchtime, a beautiful blonde haired girl with bright blue eyes and a birthmark on her forehead sat at a table with a group that made her stick out like a sore thumb. Besides her, the other residents of the table were three young boys who could only be described as quiet and nerdy. These were the Mathletes, and they were infatuated with their fourth member, the only girl at the table, who's name was Jean Hartman.
As an only child she knew no love or rivalry with a sibling. While she had never felt any strong connection to her parents, she never doubted their support of what she wanted to do with life. They constantly reminded her of how great she was. She was, without a doubt, loved. She was also friendly, humble, pretty and smart. Jean had it pretty good.
Jean wasn't mean-hearted but it wasn't uncommon for the average person to know just how good she had it and jealously hold it against her; because of this, she was perpetually on guard. It wasn't anything she denied, either, as she was well aware and eternally grateful for her good fortune. She knew she wasn't ugly, she knew she wasn't unlikeable, and she knew that it was her addition to the Mathletes that had won her school 1st place in statewide competitive test taking.
She was good at math problems, but one thing she was decidedly not as good at yet, was managing her relationships in a male-dominated field. She had to assume that she would get better as life went on, but at this very moment she was having trouble. She simply stared down at her lunch tray and fiddled with her food as she was hit with a barrage of questions.
"So, ah, Jean." Snorted Spence, a portly boy with brown curly hair who always wore pocket protectors and pens on his button-up shirt, "Have ya heard of this deal at The Pub after school?"
Jean had heard. She wished she hadn't, because she didn't really care. The kids at this school already treated her terribly so she didn't much fancy the idea of socializing with them anymore. She also had a pit in her stomach that told her if Spence and the other Mathletes found out their relationships with her were platonic in nature, her only semblance of acceptance in the Mathletes would be over.
Despite this, she reluctantly told the truth, "Yeah... I did."
"You ever been there?" Asked another boy at the table, a guy with messy black hair and an over large t-shirt named Edgar.
"Don't be an ignoramus, Edgar, The Pub is a mostly adult establishment." Said Christopher, a tall lanky boy with dirty blonde hair and a bowl haircut who spoke in a matter-of-fact tone, "They've just recently instituted this Teen Night everyone is talking about. I think this is the first night."
"How does that work?" Edgar asked.
"Well," Christopher deduced, "I imagine that if they put away the alcoholic beverages for a night and only serve soda and snacks they could get away with a night that allowed young people in if they advertised it as such exclusively. I also imagine they would not let in patrons of adult age."
"Sounds like a desperate ploy to bring in business." Edgar nodded.
"Anyway," Spence prodded Jean once more, "You goin'?"
"I'm..." Jean looked up from her mashed potatoes to meet with all three of their inquisitive gazes. "Ummm... I don't know." She ended flatly.
"Well, I mean." Spence started, "I was thinking of possibly checking it out."
"Yeah, me too!" Edgar blurted out.
"You just said it was a desperate ploy for business!" Spence shot back.
"I never said it was unsuccessful I just said it seemed desperate." Edgar defended, "So, what do you say, Jean? Would you like to go with me?"
Spence cleared his throat very deliberately,
"Us," Edgar immediately repositioned, "Yeah we could all go together, right?"
"Yeah, sure." Said Spence, who's awkward expression made it clear that a group outing was not what he had initially planned on.
"I suppose I could clear some time of my schedule this evening." Christopher said, "If we all decided to go that is."
Jean sighed, defeated. This was the only group of friends she had now, after all.
"If you guys are going," Jean said, forcing a smile, "I guess I'll go."
"Hey, ah," Spence started, "Does anybody know that kid over there?"
Spence gestured to the side of the table, where an intense looking boy with platinum blonde hair stood in the distance, leering in their general vicinity. He seemed particularly focused on Jean.
"Never seen him before." Christopher said, perplexed.
"I've seen him around, he hangs out with a girl in my history class." Edgar said.
"He's coming this way." Spence said.
Just before Jean could turn slightly to see who they were talking about, an unfamiliar but cool voice spoke to her.
"Good morning, Jean." The voice said, and Jean turned to look into the studied gaze of Jon.
A sharp chill rushed up Jeans spine and she began to blush. She wasn't sure why, but at that moment Jon smirked, which made it seem like he knew what was going on. Jean began to think he was there to ask her out, just like the rest of the table.
"H-hello?" Jean spat out, "Good morning?"
"My name is Jon." Jon said without missing a beat, "Sorry, I don't mean to interrupt your lunch. But I do have something to tell you of the utmost importance."
Edgar pounced, "Lunch is almost over, Jean, we need to get back to class."
"Yeah, ah, there's a lot of work to do at Mathlete Mission Control." Spence said confidently, eyeing Jon cautiously.
Jean rolled her eyes. She wished Spence wouldn't call it mission control. She liked Mathletes, but at the end of the day all they were doing was math problems on paper.
"It will only take a moment." Jon said, just as calmly as his first statement, "I just need to ask you about something important."
There was a shifting of bodies and light murmurs upon the other Mathletes at the table.
Jon glared at the collection of beta males at the table, unamused at the protection of their prized single girl in the group.
"Um..." Jon said, "Alone, please."
Jon held out his hand to help Jean up, but not ever one to rely too much on what cocky guys thought of as chivalry, Jean ignored this and placed both hands on the table, lifting herself up to stand.
"I guess, but I can't be late to class." Jean said, approaching Jon, much to the horror of her fellow Mathletes, "He said it would only take a moment, right?"
Jon nodded and they stepped away from the table.
"Not too long now!" Spence yelled after them as they walked away from the table.
As they walked, Jon glanced beside him at the look on Jean's face. One of anxiety and slight annoyance. He tried to lighten the mood a bit.
"Quote a protective group, aren't they?" Jon chuckled softly.
"This is far enough, right?" Jean sighed, "Just so that they don't hear us?"
"Sure, I suppose." Jon nodded, "I just didn't want any interruption because I've got something very specific to ask you."
"I know." Jean said unenthusiastically, "Let's try and get this over with as soon as we can."
"You know, eh?" Jon cocked an eyebrow. There was no possible way she could know what he was about to ask her. Unless...
Was it possible she had regained her memories?
"Look, Ron..." Jean said.
"Jon." Jon interrupted, trying his best to hide a growl. He didn't like that condescending tone in her voice.
"Right, Jon, sorry." Jean continued, "I've been in this awkward situation before."
"And what situation is that?" Jon asked, knowing full well the answer was going to test his patience.
"I've had plenty of guys do this," Jean began to recite the story that she was sure was Jon's, "You saw me from far away, I looked lonely. You are too, we might be soulmates. I don't know what is it about me that makes people want to watch me from afar and get to know me but I promise, I'm super boring and not interested in romance at all. There's also plenty of other girls who are prettier than me I just have a quiet mysterious thing going on. But I'm nothing special, Jon. Just a girl who wants to do math problems and be left alone."
Jon didn't think this conversation would leave him as the speechless one, but was lost for words nonetheless. Was this girl really so full of herself?
"I'm sure you're going to ask me out to The Pub tonight." Jean said, "But I already have my hands full with my friends over there. They're going to find out that I'm not interested in romance too. When I saw you approach the table, I knew exactly what your intentions were so I just wanted to do you a favor and let you down gently. It's not you, I'm not interested in any..."
"I am NOT," Jon snarled, "Here to ask you out on a date you little egomaniac."
"Ego?" Jean's bright blue eyes widened with surprise.
"You have your little fan club over there to fawn over you." Jon said sternly, not looking to entertain her delusions of him wanting to ask her out, "What I said was I have something important to ask you."
Jean looked into Jon's dark eyes, eyes which were more tired and more serious than she had ever seen in anyone her age, or any adult for that matter. Her annoyed anxiety turned to uncertainty.
Jon looked down at her intensely, not letting her gaze go.
This made Jean uncomfortable. If this guy wasn't thinking of asking her out, it was confusing as to why he wanted to share such an intimate moment staring into her eyes.
"Okay, look, I'm sorry for assuming you wanted to ask me out." Jean said, breaking eye contact, "That probably looked really bad. It's just my friends over there recently decided to be pubescent and awkward, I'm not really sure how to process it."
Jean tucked her hair behind her ear nervously.
"Soooo... what did you have to ask me about?" She asked.
Jon thought for a moment how to tell her what he had to say. There was a minute chance that Jean knew exactly why he was here, which meant they could skip formalities and jump to fulfilling his mission. He had been waiting so long, living a hollow existence as a student of this high school that the slim chance of her regaining her memories might just be the miracle from the stars he was hoping for. The convenient happy accident that was his prize for being so patient.
Jon was also not a fan of, as people in these parts would put it, beating around the bush. If he started with the main point, he could backtrack with any questions she was bound to have. But the time was now to start the final phase of his mission.
The retention of the most powerful force in existence.
"Jean, what if I were to tell you." Jon started, "That you are the Princess of the Universe."
Jean's jaw involuntarily fell slightly open at the audacity of that phrases existence. The Princess of the Universe... The words hung in the dead air as she digested what they could possibly mean.
"And I've been looking for you." Jon continued, "Since the day you were born."
With that, the high-pitched digital bell rang signaling the end of the period.
Any internal thoughts Jean had were drowned out by the murmurs of students exiting classes, exiting the lunch hall, and continuing on with their day.
But Jon and Jean just continued to stand there looking into each others eyes. Even if she did not yet understand the extent of this truth, Jon had just revealed the Princess's identity to herself and had set in motion the beginning of the end of his mission.
And, quite possibly, existence itself.