"We only need thirteen! We only have use for thirteen members," said the voice of Lydia, who shared Mary's cabin, along with Helen and Anne.
"I know that," answered Anne, "Everyone here knows that. But Helen doesn't."
"She doesn't?" Lydia sounded confused, like this was a thing that Helen was definitely supposed to know.
"Helen doesn't know that," confirmed Anne.
Mary was still confused, but wanted to hear more. A bell sounded in the nearby area. The sounds Mary heard indicated that everyone ran over to the fire circle, Lydia and Anne included.
Great, thought Mary, another place where I'm not wanted. It was like elementary or high school all over again, except without Sophia's protection. Instead there was Helen, who seemed to be quite involved in this new community, despite "not knowing about that". It seemed that any time Mary looked over at Helen, she was staring back at her. Mary wasn't sure if she found that more flattering than creepy, or more creepy than flattering. Mary wasn't sure anymore how she felt about Helen, aside from the whole "She's my friend, and is wonderful, and irritatingly calm almost all the time, but I wish she'd stop telling her version of my lifestory to all these strangers, who must be wonderful people because they hate everyone else."
I left all of my little isolated confusing life behind so I could be the useless assitant of the court jester, thought Mary irritably. She wondered if she should ever bother going to the meeting that had been signalled by the bell.
She decided she might as well. She didn't want them to whisper that she wasn't willing to work, or didn't care enough to be here.
Mary left her cabin, still in her pyjamas. Her pyjamas consisted a ratty pale green shirt with short sleeves and a pair of red pants made of a light material. They could be mistaken for clothes, thought Mary defensively as she walked towards the fire circle, shabby clothes yes, but still clothes.
There was much chatter going on around the circle.
Helen glanced around, and saw her.
"Hey Mary," she said cheerfully. She was already fully dressed, as was everyone else.
All talking ceased at the sound of Helen's words.
Mary sighed inwardly. Wonderful, she thought, so now I am 'taboo'.