"Your laugh sounds like Papa Paul's chuckle," I smiled.

Daniel was charming. That much could be said for certain. We exited the truck at the same time. Daniel didn't have much choice, after my comment I hopped out of his truck. If he wanted to continue the conversation he'd have to follow me.

I stood outside my closed door and stretched my arms above my head. It reminded me of the few times I did yoga with my mom. She got into it right before she died. I kept stretching until my back popped. Even if it was horrible for my posture, I loved to sit "Indian style" in cars. It made me feel like a little kid again. I felt my shirt rise up as I bent backwards to continue popping my back.

"Oh," I heard Daniel whisper.

"You okay there?" As much as I knew about Daniel from reading his file and hanging out with him today, he still confused me. Chris told me last night at his house that Daniel liked me. But Daniel shied away from me touching him. Now, as I tugged my shirt back down to cover my belly button, Daniel stayed behind the bed of his truck.

"We're gonna have to work on your shyness." I nodded my head matter-of-factly. I tugged my shirt back down as I breezed past Daniel.

I didn't know how to handle guys who were shy around me. Most of the guys I hang around I either grew up with or make their feelings very obvious. I didn't think acting different would bring Daniel out of his shell, so I just stayed the same.

"My shyness?" Daniel raced to me. "I am not shy."

"You're acting like it," I shrugged. It didn't matter to me one way or the other. I folded my lips in, clipping them with my teeth. I spun 180 degrees to face Daniel head on. "You wanna be my friend?"

"I feel like I'm in grade school again," Daniel answered, looking around wildly.

"If you're going to be my friend," I rephrased. "You'll have to be honest with me, no matter what. I won't have it any other way."

Daniel gave a slow nod. He stood facing the building. All the doors to our school had huge windows. I wondered what he saw as I stared up at his face.

"Chris told me that you have feelings for me," I said it to his chest.

When a girl sends another girl to tell a guy that she likes him, it's a favor. When a guy rats out his friend to a girl about feelings without the guy's knowledge it's kind of like an invasion of privacy. Daniel just nodded his head. A sudden jerk without looking at me made me turn around and face the doors.

"Did you sucker some other guy into taking you for ice cream?" Carter held open a door for Daniel and me.

"Carter, this is my new friend, Daniel. Daniel, this is my oldest friend in the world, Carter." I waved a hand as Daniel and I crossed the threshold.

There wasn't a teacher in sight. I wondered if at other schools teachers could be seen in the hallways interrogating students wandering about, or just looking aimless.

"Have you been waiting for me?" It felt like a natural question. I felt Daniel move to stand on my right side. He was farther in the building and hadn't said a word since we made it to the steps outside the school. He angled himself in, facing Carter and I.

"Chris saw you from his government class on the second floor. It's almost time for athletics so I was here early and I saw you get out of his truck." Carter gestured toward Daniel with his head.

"So athletics hasn't started yet?"

I asked and the bell rang. The halls flooded with students. Our once quiet surroundings became suddenly live concert level loud. Carter was shaking his head as his girlfriend walked up. I hugged Jackie and they walked off, hands entwined.

Daniel began to move off but I grabbed his sleeve.

"Call me tonight, if you get bored or whatever."

"Or if I get harassed by your bulldogs?" Daniel grimaced.

"Daniel, you want to let me in on the secret? I thought we had a good time today." I got an anxious feeling starting in my toes. Something was off.

"How many guys have you taken to get ice cream? Or talked into getting you ice cream?" It was a low grade anger that simmered under Daniel's skin.

"Just Carter," I dropped my hand from his arm. "The first day I was back at school after my mom's funeral, Carter took one look at me and dragged me out the door. We spent the day in the back booth of a Baskin Robbins. He ate. I cried."

"We're not even dating and I'm acting like a jealous boyfriend," Daniel shook his head solemnly. "I'm sorry. I probably will call you, even if I could die for it tomorrow." He gave another laugh that I associated with the de Luca males.

I took two steps toward him before stepping on to my tip toes. It was an impulse to hug him, but I was never one to shy away from impulse. I wrapped my arms around Daniel's neck.

"I think it is sweet you're jealous," I whispered into his ear. Standing on my tip toes, I could just reach Daniel's ear. I felt his arms slowly circle my waist. "It's good to know I'm damaged but still lovable." I laughed stepping back.

The hall was thinning out and I was worried Daniel would be late to athletics. I had an empty class that I usually spent in the library or dance studio. If any of the football players saw us, which was more than likely, Daniel would be in deep for arriving late. The teachers treated me like a glass object, I was damaged. Daniel was just new. He would be shown no mercy.

"Don't be late," I left Daniel with a smile on my face, and his.

I planned to show up at the practice after school today. Dad was still in Corsicana. Carli said she wouldn't be home until late. No one was expecting me to be home by a certain time. I was gonna be at that practice to make sure Chris didn't do anything overly stupid. Daniel just couldn't know it.