Wally was tapping his pen against the table top at super speed. Every few seconds he would turn around and face the entrance from the zeta tubes. "What are you doing?" It was Tula. She had been waiting for her tuna melt to finish and his tapping was grating on her nerves.
Wally stopped immediately, as though he hadn't realized he was even expressing his nervous tick. "What?" He was slightly hostile and took a breath before turning back around for a quick glance.
"Are you waiting for someone?" Tula sat down even as the toaster oven dinged. Her tone suggested she knew exactly what was going on, but planned to tease him about it. The girls on this team would be the death of him. He swore they got together to egg each other on in trolling the rest of them; and those meetings were led by Dick.
"Yea." He tossed his pencil down, "yea, I was waiting for Artemis but I guess she's not coming." His voice was bitter and even Tula was able to recognize the underlying hurt in his tone. Her smile slipped off her face.
"Did you make special plans with her?" She asked, as though trying to salvage something positive. She had only joined at the end of January, and she was still getting used to her teammates. It was so easy to forget she had only been on the surface for four months. She got along so well with Artemis, Zee, and Rocket with their mutual love of teasing and quick wit. But sometimes, she still had the clueless moments where she reminded him of M'gann's first few months on Earth.
"Well- no. We meet every day after school though to do our homework together." He sighed heavily, "It's not like its set in stone, but-." He knew exactly why she hadn't met with him, and his voice was quiet when he said, "but I thought she'd at least- I dunno." A text or something. A message sent with- well she couldn't send a message with Dick because she didn't know Robin and the freshman at her school were the same person.
Wait, that was an idea! He pulled out his phone and sent a text to Dick, knowing the boy wonder was in the gym sparring with his girlfriend. 'hey loverboy, you know why Artemis isn't coming to the cave today?'
He set his phone on the table top and waited before looking up to Tula, "you gonna eat that sandwich?" He asked as his stomach growled.
She laughed as she stood to retrieve it, "I can make another one," she said as she slid the plate over to him, laughing again as he gleefully picked it up to take a bite. It was then his phone buzzed with the declaration of a new text message.
He read Dick's message, 'Not that I know of. But I didn't see her much today.' And texted his reply, 'Could you interrupt your adorable flirt match to ask Z?'
Tula was putting away the supplies for her second sandwich when she saw him typing into his phone fervently, "what did she say?"
Wally looked up, confused. "Who?"
"Artemis." She gestured to the phone.
"I wasn't texting Artemis." He said, scrunching up his nose at the preposterous accusation. "If she's not going to talk to me, I'm not going to talk to her first." Even as he said it, he knew he deserved the look of consternation on Tula's face. He groaned and put his sandwich down.
"Is there a reason you're not talking to each other? I was under the impression the two of you were dating." She was quiet for a moment as she set the timer, "is this one of those strange surface customs Kaldur told me about?" She asked as though suddenly the strange conversation they were having made sense.
Wally snorted as he picked his sandwich back up, "yea, it's called a fight," he muttered between the two bites it took him to finish eating. His phone buzzed again, 'I'm supposed to tell you that you should already know... And with that, I'm staying out of this.' Wally rolled his eyes. Fine. He tucked his phone into the back pocket of his jeans and threw his notebook in his backpack. She didn't want to talk to him, or tell him she couldn't make it, or whatever. Fine. He wasn't going to help her study, even if she did fail that stupid test. He wasn't going to waste anymore time looking at that stupid page of questions he'd made from her notes for her to practice, and he wasn't going to waste any more time in Biology trying to think of ways to teach it to her in a way she would understand. Because even though she loved Chemistry and Physics just as much as him, and even though they would read about advancements in robotics together, she couldn't make sense of the stupid prophenoloxidase-activating system in invertebrates, and whatever else she was learning. What did he care?
He leaned against the back of his chair and let his eyes drift to the hallway. "Whenever Garth and I have a disagreement we always talk about it and help each other understand why we became upset." Tula was looking at him with a passive expression, one he had seen on Kaldur so many times.
He was sure the blank look he gave her in return wasn't encouraging, but he was processing what she'd said. She was right, and he didn't want to hear it. So he just shrugged his shoulders, "I'm sure that works great down there, but..." He trailed off as he tried and failed to think of a reason he wouldn't just take her advice. He shook his head and stood up, grabbing his backpack by one strap. "Thanks for the sandwich, I gotta go. See you tomorrow."
She just nodded and chewed contemplatively as he left the kitchen, "you know, sometimes love's greatest adversary is pride." He stopped in the doorway and only tilted his head, but she knew he'd heard her. Knew it would have to be enough for now.