Bella goes to gym.
"Change anything as in change how creeped out you are. I guess not."
Bella shrugs again. "My creep-outed-ness is but one of many factors you get to weigh here. Probably doesn't matter much next to the other factors, especially since I'd have other reactions to consequences thereof too."
"I don't want you to be creeped out, though," he says. "And I can't stop getting off on getting beat up, and at this point I probably couldn't stop getting beat up even if I stopped trying, but maybe if I can explain why I don't creep myself out then I won't creep you out either. Except I guess not."
"There doesn't have to be a perfect answer. The universe does not care if people think there ought to be."
"...yeah, you don't have to tell me that," he says, giving her a bit of a look.
"Sometimes I have to remind myself."
Alice snorts. "I don't."
"Yes, well. We're not identical twins."
She laughs, a little. "Do you happen to know at what point Ms. Finch will be annoyed by us hanging around in her gym?"
"Not unless we tell her to fuck off when she comes to kick us out," says the voice of experience.
"How long does that usually take?"
"My ride'll probably show up first, actually."
"Huh, that hadn't occurred to me. Is there some official reason that it doesn't appear as soon as school lets out?"
"Is 'nobody really gives a shit if I have to wait half an hour in the parking lot' official enough for ya?"
"It still seems weird. Do your parents value the driver getting to procrastinate for half an hour? Do they unaccountably believe that you will get up to nothing untoward in this context, while they're perfectly prepared to ban you from being in your own basement with me? Does the driver have a lot of other places to go and things to do in the early afternoon that cause delay? Is he spending this time doing something your parents don't know about and you haven't said anything because you don't care if you wait half an hour in the parking lot?"
"Making sure I go home right on time every day when I don't usually go to more than three of my classes is kind of locking the barn door after the cows fuck off," he points out.
"Yes, but who is neglecting said door, is the question. Does the driver figure it doesn't matter, or did your parents tell him to not bother?"
"Dunno. If I had to guess, I'd say it's Theo not bothering to get out here on time and them not bothering to get on his case for it."
"Makes sense. Should we migrate to the parking lot so we spot him when he comes in?"
"Sure, why not."
Bella gets up, grabs her coat, and meanders out. She's careful on the sidewalks; there could still be ice, even though it hasn't snowed for a few days.
Alice follows her out, looking thoughtful. And not paying any particular attention to the footing.
There is one slightly damp bench at the edge of the parking lot. Bella looks at it, and then says, "We can sit in my car."
"Deal," says Alice, looking at the bench.