I always thought I was a good judge of character. Fakes were easy to spot. They smiled with blank looks behind the eyes, incessantly nodding in agreement, like a plastic doll mounted on the dash of an eighteen wheeler barreling down Interstate-5. Jerks were another group to discount quickly. Their M.O. was to move in like a pack of wild dogs following their alpha male. They isolated the weakest and began the ritual of circling. It didn't take long before they devoured their victim, which in high school meant embarrassing them relentlessly.
I had my concerns when Chris unloaded from the car with his buddies. His saunter with hands buried in his pockets taking in his options with a sweeping scan of all the girls huddled in cliques. When Josh introduced his friends, Chris' polite “nice to meet you” was not what I expected. A grunt, a nod, or looks at my blond friend with her cleavage bursting out of her low cut shirt were normal responses.
Paired up while our friends followed their agendas, Chris and I made the best of our situation. Sitting on the dried grass we compared concerts attended in our lifetime. Although enchanted by his music history, my attention strayed to a problem growing behind him. I couldn't take my eyes off of a lanky boy trapped in a triangle of jerks, bouncing him around while their girlfriends giggled.