Tally whipped her phone back out and dialed Ryan's number.
"Hello?" he said, his tone indicating he was definitely drunk, answering only after she thought he wouldn't. She rolled her eyes.
"We're over," she said.
"What?" He sounded alarmed, but only in that bewildered way drunk people were. "Why?" he slurred. She could still hear the giggling. "Not now," he told someone in the background, not bothering to whisper.
Tally hung up.
Daniel stared at the floor as she called, not daring to look up. He squirmed a little, uncomfortable with the anger and hurt in his voice. He felt a pang in his chest. How dare someone hurt her? How dare that jerk hurt her?
"Alrighty," Tally said shakily. "We can... start now. How do you want to do this?" She scribbled a heading at the top of her paper: Project Bully-Smash. It made her laugh a little.
"I-I don't know. I was never the one who dealt with...Bully Smashing." Daniel said. He opened his notebook to an empty space.
"Well now you are," she said with another rare smile. "So....deal with it." She started doodling. "How bout we hold demonstrations? It can be with the dance team, or we can ask the art club to write graffiti on the walls. Washable of course. And also, we could write on the mirrors in the bathrooms. Everyone participating in demonstrations can wear masks, and they'd swear to keep identities of participants secret." She looked up, wanting his approval.
"Okay..." Daniel nodded. He had to look away, both to write and calm down his heart beating in his chest. His pencil move both carefully and quickly over the paper.
"So. Any more ideas? Elaboration? I'm stuck." She tapped her pencil on the paper, thinking. "How can we make this interesting--exciting? If people get excited about it, we could get the entire school behind this."
"Um..." Daniel thought for a moment, his pencil going still. He stared at the page, his eyes following the blue lines across the paper. "Well...I've never been a people person...I don't know." He finally said sheepishly.
"It's never too late to become one," she murmured. "We could do it together. I'm like you, I don't trust people easily. But I'm trying."
Daniel smiled at her. A quiet little smile. Not the big, dimpled grin from his photo, but still a smile.
Tally smiled back, slowly, getting lost in his eyes for a second... They were so familiar. Then she cleared her throat and said, "so.... Any thoughts?"
"Well...Um...W-we could...could...figure out about the kids who are bullied the most...or just outcasts...A-and help people befriend them...?" Daniel immediately flushed. "Nevermind, it's a dumb idea..."
"No! It's great.. It's exactly what I was thinking. But we'll need more than just the misfits to make a change. We have to spread the word." She started thinking about it and smiled. "My friend Kat knows a lot of people.... I could ask her to help. She's nice, and once she gets to know you she's crazy." Tally laughed.
Daniel smiled a little wider, though it was a little sad. Crazy, eh? That summed her up. He stared distantly at his notebook for a few seconds.
Tally sighed. She never knew where Daniel went, in his head, when he was like this. She waited for him to speak.
"Crazy?" Daniel asked absently, snapping back to the present. He blinked at her, tilting his head to the side a little.
"Totally," tally said. "One time she snuck into my room when we were supposed to be at school, on my birthday, and decorated it." Tally loved Kat like a sister. She was always there for Tally, and Tally decided she needed another friend like that. Maybe it could be Daniel?
"Oh. Yes, I understand." Daniel smiled a little wider, a little sadder.
Tally let out a breath. "Daniel?" She asked slowly. "Why are you so sad? I feel like I'm only making it worse." Her lip threatened to wobble.
"Oh...oh it's nothing. I-I was just...remembering..." Daniel mumbled, going red. He had to look away from Tally's face.