Heya guys! I'm back (thankfully unmaimed, although all of you seemed pretty ticked about the cliffhanger... woops, sorry :D) with the last chapter. It's extremely long to make up for the last one.
Now, this weekend I'm going to Disney with the school band. Woooo! Yes, being a band geek with the freakin' marching uniform finally paid off. I've gotta be at my high school at 2:30 AM, but I figured I'd post this before I leave.
So alright; last part. Hope you guys enjoy it.
I stood up. Instead of replying, I just stared at him. I'd never seen him before. Well, if I did, I wouldn't have known it. He had light brown hair that, although mostly straight, flipped out slightly at the ends. It was just long enough to hang over his eyes, which were a mix between green and brown. He looked pretty much exactly how I pictured him, but that wasn't the part I was relieved about. I was relieved because he wasn't someone I couldn't stand, like Joshua Lamburt. And, most importantly, he wasn't my best friend's "guy." I immediately felt a little better about the situation.
"You're… You're the kid I've been talking to? No bullshitting this time?" I finally replied.
He furrowed his eyebrows, looking puzzled. "What?"
I glanced over my shoulder at Alex, but he had completely disappeared. "Nothing," I said as I turned back to face the boy.
Although he still looked kind of confused, he cracked a smile. "Uh… Alright. So you're the one who…?"
I nodded. "Claire."
"Danny," he replied, extending a hand towards me. I shook it, but kept my eyes on the metal bleachers we stood on.
The next minute was probably one of the most awkward moments of my life. The two of us just stood there, facing each other but still dodging glances.
"Alright," he finally said, breaking the silence. "This is weird."
He cleared his throat, unintentionally adding to the awkwardness.
"Should I just… go, you think?"
"No," Danny said, shaking his head. "No… I feel bad; I made you drive all the way up here on a Sunday. Let's at least talk for a few minutes or something."
I nodded. The two of us sat down a good distance away from each other on the bleachers. Still, though, it was silent between us. "About what?" I asked.
He rubbed the back of his neck, trying desperately to think of a conversation topic. "So what are you planning on going to college for?"
"Business engineering… How about you?"
That conversation didn't last particularly long. Once again, the two of us fell into an uncomfortable silence.
I shifted uneasily, beginning to think that maybe this wasn't such a great idea.
"Let's play a game," Danny suggested.
I raised an eyebrow. "Alright," I agreed skeptically. "What kind of game?"
"It's called Word Association," he told me.
Slightly interested, I twisted my body around and put my legs up on the bleachers, sitting cross-legged. "Okay. How do you play?"
"It's not hard," Danny assured me. "I'll think of a random word and I'll say it out loud. Then you blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. When it's my turn again, I'll work off your word. Get it?"
"I think so," I said. "Are there any rules?"
"Only two. No repeats, and you can't ask why someone said their word."
I nodded. "Okay. You start?"
"Yeah… Umm…" Danny peered around, searching for something he could use as a springboard. "Field."
"Baseball," I replied.
"The Fourth of July."
"Corn?" I repeated, shooting him an odd look. "Lightning reminds you of corn?"
"I dunno; first thing that came to mind! You can't ask why I say anything, remember?"
I laughed and put my hands up defensively. "Alright, alright," I muttered. "Umm… Popcorn."
I had been absentmindedly staring at the Astroturf on the empty football field while we played, but at his last word, my head snapped up to attention. "What?" I whispered.
Danny's face went completely white. "Shoe," he mumbled nervously. "I said shoe."
I narrowed my eyes at him, a tiny smirk forming on my mouth. "I thought I distinctly heard you say--"
"I said shoe. Like the things you wear to protect your feet… You know; made out of leather or rubber… Usually extends no farther than the ankle… Unless you're wearing boots, of course, but then it wouldn't really be considered a shoe, would it? No; it'd be considered a boot…" Danny stopped his babbling and shut his eyes tight, nervously rubbing his forehead. "Oh God," he murmured.
I couldn't help but laugh. "Woah, woah… Calm down, dude," I replied. I was tempted to ask how "shoes" reminded him of "dates," but I figured I'd try to keep from embarrassing him any more. And, as I had been reminded before, that was against the rules, anyway. "Alright. Shoe. Umm… Laces."
"Rope," Danny said, but he timidly averted his gaze and barely opened his mouth while he spoke.
Before I could even reply with the next word, a loud voice came from underneath the bleachers.
"Oh, just ask her out already!"
My eyes went wide. Both Danny and I snapped our heads to the side, looking underneath the rows of seats we were sitting on. There had to be at least a dozen people staring back at us. One girl in particular (Bridget Stevenson; A cheerleader in our grade who had too big a mouth for her own good) had her hand covering her open lips, shocked at the words that had just escaped. Danny and I looked back at each other, exchanging terrified glances.
"Danny… There's like, twelve people staring at us from under the bleachers," I whispered out of the corner of my mouth, as if they couldn't hear me.
"I'm aware," he murmured back. "What should we do about it?"
I shrugged a shoulder furtively. "No clue… What are they doing here?" I whispered.
"Hell if I know."
I brought my gaze back over to the mob of teenagers underneath the school bleachers. This time, my eyes found Alex Fletcher. Well, that explains where he disappeared off to.
"What do you want?" I asked, directing the question at the large group. They just blinked at me with looks of guilt written all over their faces.
"State your purpose!" Danny demanded in a pseudo-cop voice. I would've laughed at his joke had I not been so utterly creeped out at the moment.
Somebody mumbled something underneath their breath. I was pretty sure the incoherent words came from Alex Fletcher's mouth. "What?" I asked.
"Same reason I am," he repeated, louder this time so I could hear. "They saw the desk."
Eyebrows furrowed, Danny and I looked around at all twelve of them. We were both thinking the same thing. Not all of them could've seen the desk. Mr. Campbell only had seven periods a day, two of which were mine and Danny's classes. That meant that only five people (besides the two of us) sat in that particular desk; which meant that these people had told other people about the written conversation and brought them along, too.
Sure enough, as I scanned the group with my eyes, I started to see connections. Bridget Stevenson had brought Amber and Melissa; her two best friends from the cheerleading squad. Mark Malcolm had brought three people from the chess club. Grace Martinez had brought her twin sister, Madison, and Taylor Winston had brought her boyfriend, Chad Torres.
And all of this brought me to but one conclusion.
If a dozen high school students would take time out of their weekend to hide under bleachers simply because a desk said, "This Sunday, 5:00, the football field" and they were curious about it… Well, then high school can't be as interesting as it's cracked up to be.
"So… You guys wanna…" I cleared my throat, unsure of what to do, since I can't say I'd ever been in a situation like this before. "You guys wanna… You know… Leave now?"
Once again, they stared at me from the breaks in between the bleacher seats. The group didn't budge; they just blinked.
"Get outta here!" Danny yelled. Suddenly, they all grabbed their stuff and scattered off in different directions. He waited until all twelve of them were out of view before he cracked a smile. "Well… That worked unexpectedly well."
I laughed. "You think?"
Both unsure of what to say (especially after a situation like that), Danny and I fell to silence yet again.
"Word Association again?" He asked, looking up hopefully.
"Sure. What were we up to?"
Danny bit his lip. "I forget."
"Me, too," I replied.
The two of us started another game. We played for a good twenty minutes until the sun was beginning to sink down past the trees on the other side of the football field. The more we played, the more I noticed that Danny was beginning to get restless. He seemed sidetracked, and his responses took twice as long.
"Sand," I said.
"Umm…" He pulled himself out of his thoughts for the fourth time this round. "What? Sand? Oh… Uh, beach."
This time, the word didn't process in Danny's mind at all. He looked up at me, tearing his gaze away from the fence he had been focusing on. "What're you doing this coming Friday?"
Caught thoroughly off guard, I went tongue-tied for a few seconds. "Is… Is that your response? Are full phrases even allowed, because I was under the impression that you could only use single words…"
Danny laughed. "No, Claire. I'm not playing anymore; I'm asking you… What are you doing this coming Friday?"
"Oh." My mouth went dry and I started to get butterflies in my stomach. "Nothing. I'm not doing anything, I don't think," I said, glancing at him out of the corner of my eye.
He nodded, trying desperately hard to force the words out of his mouth. "You wanna do something? Kind of like a date, I guess?" He murmured finally.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make any sound come from my throat.
"If not, it's cool," he muttered. "I totally understand. I mean, we don't really know each other that well, but I just figured since technically we've been talking for a few months now that—"
"I want to," I said finally.
An incredible grin spread across his face. "Seriously? You do?"
"Alright. Alright, awesome," Danny said. "I wasn't too sure if I should ask, cause… Well, yeah. But you seem like a really cool person. And I'm really glad I decided to meet you. Well, putting the whole a-dozen-people-spying-on-us-from-underneath-bleachers thing aside, of course." He stopped short and brought his eyes back over to me. "I'm babbling, aren't I?"
I laughed. "Don't worry about it. We were up to 'summer', right?" I asked.
Grateful for the distraction, he nodded quickly and we resumed our game.
As I walked from the bleachers towards the parking lot, I could feel the dew underneath my sneakers. I treaded across the school field in complete darkness, but I'm sure there was a huge, stupid smile on my face nonetheless.
Danny and I had been able to (eventually) branch off from Word Association and have a real conversation. After two hours of sitting on the bleachers and doing nothing but talking, I felt extremely comfortable around him.
I fished my cell phone out of my pocket and, almost instinctively, dialed my best friend's number. Sam picked up on the first ring, as if she had been waiting for my call.
I didn't even have time to open my mouth. "Well, what happened!?" she demanded into the phone. "What'd you find out?"
"I found out that your ex-and-future boyfriend likes soap operas. Now come pick me up."
Just as planned, Danny and I had our date that Friday night. We watched a horror movie on his couch, and then he took me out to get dinner and some strawberry ice-cream.
Afterwards, I thought he was taking me home, but I was bewildered when he pulled to a stop into the parking lot of our high school. Being roughly 9:00, the secretary at the door was just about to close up the office.
With his fingers laced with mine, he asked the secretary if he could just swing by his locker to pick up a few books he had forgotten. The secretary reluctantly agreed, but she told the two of us to hurry it up.
As soon as we were out of view, Danny pulled me under the staircase and whispered for me to shut my eyes. He then began to lead me down the hallway. Although I couldn't see where we were going, I had a pretty good idea.
The door to the classroom was unlocked, as our teacher was (as I've told you before) completely senile. Danny led me to the back of the room, sat me on "our" desk in the back of Mr. Campbell's dark History classroom, and told me I could open my eyes.
It was there that we had our first kiss together. Of course, nothing that clichéd ends up perfect. As luck would have it, the janitor walked in soon after and flicked on the lights. The janitor reported us to the secretary, who told the dean, who called us down to his office first thing on Monday morning. He assured us that breaking into a classroom after school hours was a very serious offense, but since nothing was stolen and the door had been unlocked anyway, he let Danny and me off with two weeks of detention. To be honest, I didn't care much. It had been perfect.
Danny and I spent the entire summer together before we went off to college. It was, by far, the most incredible summer of my life. To thank for that, I had a desk in the back corner of the most uninteresting History class in the state of New York.
So next time you're bored out of your mind and you go to write a message on your desk, keep in mind that it might just alter your life. You never know who may respond.
Woo! Done with another not-so-one-shot-one-shot. Thanks so much to everyone who read and reviewed... You guys always make me so happy :D
Final thoughts or constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one.