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Raini Dazys and Monday

One of the biggest draws attending the Blue County Charter School was its small class size and hands-on focus, so it was easy to spot a new kid showing up - especially in the middle of the year.

Such was the case when Shawn Monday transferred in ("On a Monday" as the joke went) half way through Senior Year and naturally a slew of rumors came with him - why would any kid finish the last five months of his high school career as a transfer student?

The new guy's reputation wasn't helped when he got into a loud shouting confrontation with Mr. Branch the Math Teacher his first week at the school and was sent home a second time a week later when he threw an apple at the annoying Mitch Butler during lunch (luckily for Butler he missed!).

Raini Dazys was one of the few students who didn't get caught up in the dramatic gossip surrounding the new guy, mostly because she could care less about his story. She had her own problems to deal with and she didn't have the interest to think much about Shawn Monday on any day of the week.

But about a month into the last semester of her last year in high school, Raini had no choice but to get to know the new guy a little better when she ended up working with him on a school project.

Mr. Nelson the Civics Instructor paired the two students together to work on a video story the class was recording on the topic of local government. Raini and the new guy were assigned to develop a theme, draft specific questions, and then interview the Mayor of Greenville and the President of the Town Council.

The charter's school curriculum included plenty of group projects so Raini was used to working with fellow students even though she was among the least social kids in the school.

Having received her fair share of bullying and bias given her heritage and culture, Raini remained cautious, suspicious and guarded whenever she interacted with any of her fellow students at the school.

Raini decided to let the new guy do most of the talking when they got together for the first time in the school library during free period to discuss interview question ideas. They were seated across from one another at the table but for the first ten minutes all the guy did was stare at her.

Raini waited him out but she finally realized that he was testing her and maybe even screwing with her.

"Are you going to be a jerk to me too?" Raini finally asked with annoyance.

"So, Nelson puts the two outcasts together," Shawn finally said in response.

"I'm not an outcast," Raini said even though she knew she was.

"Yes, this school is full of students from India," Shawn observed.

"I was born in Greenville," Raini replied.

"You know what I mean," Shawn said.

"You have a slight accent," Raini observed.

"So don't you," Shawn replied.

"For obvious reasons," She said, rolling her eyes.

"I lived in Maine when I was younger," Shawn explained. "I picked up some of the down easterner twang."

"No matter how Americanized I think I've become as a born here Indian-American, I'll never escape the sing song quality of my native tongue," Raini sighed.

"I think it's kind of sexy," Shawn told her.

She was surprised that he was that forward and inappropriate their first time together. "You shouldn't talk like that," Raini warned.

"Oh, so you're a prude too," Shawn stated.

"Why do you insult me the first time we formally meet?" Raini asked with annoyance.

"Saying you have a nice voice is an insult?" Shawn frowned.

"That's not what you said," Raini retorted.

"Okay, I'm sorry you took it the wrong way," Shawn let her know.

"Can we focus on the assignment please?" Raini requested.

Shawn leaned across the table and looked her in the eyes. "I noticed you right away," he said.

"Of course you did," Raini grumbled. "A brown face in a white crowd."

"Actually, it was all those bright colors you're always wearing," Shawn countered. "Everybody else wears jeans and tee shirts but you're always showing up in those colorful dresses and skirts."

"They're called Sarees, churidars, and kurtis," Raini explained.

"Although sometimes you wear those pants pajamas," Shawn observed as he sat back in his seat.

"They aren't sleeping pajamas," Raini groaned. "They're literally called pajama."

"Very colorful," Shawn said, nodding his head with approval. "And all those colorful shawls too!"

"I didn't realize you were a fashion guru," Raini said sarcastically.

"I do notice that they're all ankle length though," Shawn commented.

"That's the shoulder-knee rule," Raini explained.

"Huh?"

"Women in India don't expose their shoulders or legs in their fashion ware," she said. "Although an occasion narrow tummy slit is allowed."

"What's the story with the dot on your forehead?" Shawn asked.

"It's called a Bindi," Raini replied, sounding offended. "I consider it my third eye so I can see through jerks like you."

Shawn grinned. "You're very observant," he acknowledged. "Why the color red?"

"Red represents honor, love and prosperity," she answered. "Can we please get to the assignment now?"

"We're running out of time," Shawn shrugged. "Maybe we can get together after school this week to do that."

"I work after school," Raini said curtly.

"Oh, yeah, where?" Shawn asked. "I'll come visit."

"That won't be necessary."

"Oh, wait a minute, I get it," Shawn said as his face lit up. "All Dazys (and Night) Food Mart! I just made the connection! I drive by it every day."

"There are four of them," Raini clarified. "Two in Greenville, one in Riverside and one in Miller City."

"Which one do you work at?"

"All of them," she sighed.

"Wow!"

"But mostly the one on South Main Street in Greenville," she said. "Have you thought about what kind of questions we should ask the Mayor?"

"So, your father owns all four stores?"

"I don't understand all the particulars."

"But you work for your father?"

"Yes." She peered at him. "Don't you have a job?"

"I've been fired from a couple," he admitted. "I doubt your old man would hire me."

"I wouldn't hire you either."

"Ouch," Shawn said with a grin. "Aren't you afraid of me to be saying something like that?"

"Why would I be?"

"I'm sure you've heard the rumors," Shawn responded. "How I torture dogs and kidnap children and beat up students."

"I know you got suspended twice here already," she said.

"See, I'm a dangerous person," Shawn warned.

Raini studied him for a moment. "Why are you even talking to me?" She wanted to know.

"We're on assignment," he reminded her.

"We haven't even talked about that yet," she pointed out.

"Don't you want to be outsiders together?" Shawn asked.

"We're different kinds of outsiders," Raini said.

'That's true," Shawn agreed. "I don't wear Sarees and Churidars and Kurtis and shawls and pajamas."

"Not even to bed?" She joked.

"And I don't have a Bindi."

"You have a reputation," Raini said.

"And you're still not afraid of me."

"The only man I'm afraid of is my father,' she replied.

Shawn stared at her with surprise.

"I shouldn't have said that," Raini realized with embarrassment.

"But you meant it," Shawn replied with understanding.

"I should go," Raini said nervously as she stood.

"We still have to do the assignment questions."

"Lunch tomorrow,' she said before hurrying away.

Shawn watched her leave the library, already looking forward to seeing her again.