This is actually based on a relationship I once had. Though I changed it up. A LOT. But the...
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“Danny?!” I gasp.
“DANNY!” Lauren squeals as she peers over my shoulder.
“Amy and Lauren?!” Danny seems just as surprised as us.
“Um… Adam?” Adam mutters and then chuckles under his breath as if he said the funniest thing ever. He is so drunk he probably thinks he’s some kind of standup comic.
Where to begin? This is the boy I haven’t seen in seven years. The boy that was my very first guy friend- because boys of course were considered icky before that- and taught me so many things about life. Danny was the one who showed me the easy way to pull a tooth when it won’t come out. You know when it’s barely hanging there and pulling it hurts like crazy? Just twist it, he told me. And it worked. He was also the boy that showed me the secret desk an upperclassman had written cuss words on- which probably wasn’t the best thing for a fifth grader to read.
Danny was the one who told me how nasty grape flavored gum is, and from then on I never tried anything grape flavored because it turns out I hated the taste too. Danny made me laugh with his Scooby-Doo impersonations and I would always pet his head as if he were a real dog. Danny was my best friend and I loved him for being there for me. He wasn’t just one of my very first best friends; he was also my very first crush. And now here he is. Standing right in front of me as if nothing ever happened. It was exactly like old times again.
“Holy shit,” Danny whispers.
Um. Maybe not exactly like old times…
“Wow! It’s been like, what, six years?!” Lauren says. She finally comes around to where everybody can see her instead of hiding behind me. Her smile looks big enough to crack her make-up-clad face and her hands are moving around as if she literally can not contain her excitement and is trying to release it through her fingertips.
“Seven years,” I correct Lauren. Nobody seems to hear me.
“Hold on, wait just a minute,” Adam slurs as he raises his hand crookedly. We all turn to look at him. This ought to be good. Adam looks from me, to Lauren, to Danny with an unsteady gaze. “Are you saying that you guys all know each other?”
It took him that long to realize what is going on. He is so drunk. “Damn,” Adam mutters. “That’s like… A one is a million chance? One in a billion?” He holds up his fingers as if he expects to count to a billion on one hand. “That is so weird. Isn’t it weird? I think it’s very-” And then his head slumps onto the table and he’s out cold.
“Oh my God,” Lauren sighs.
I roll my eyes at Adam and the cup of beer that is still standing at an angle in his hand. Pathetic. Danny peers at Adam curiously. “Is he okay?”
“Oh yeah, he’s fine,” I tell him reassuringly.
“Yeah. This isn’t the first time this has happened,” Lauren pipes up.
It really isn’t the first time. Probably closer to the third or fourth time. Adam has a few… Well, um, issues, that he doesn’t exactly know how to deal with. Hence the drinking and the cussing. I think that it has something to do with his parents, but I’m always too scared to ask.
“Interesting,” Danny mutters in a way that makes it clear that he does not find it interesting at all.
Then an awkward silence sets in. I hate these things. They can take over a perfectly pleasant moment and strangle it. All the empty air does nothing for the conversation’s dying breath. But almost as if to make it worse, it is not silent. People are still screaming and carrying on, not noticing the life-changing moment unfolding before them. The music is blaring some overplayed rap song that I never even liked in the first place. To the window, to the wall. How does that even make any sense? What if the window is on the wall you’re talking about? What then? God, I seriously do not understand the concept of rap. Oh, wait. I have to get back to Danny. Stupid ADHD brain.
“So,” I begin slowly, “what are you doing here anyway?” I stare into Danny’s enticing brown eyes. They look like melted chocolate. How could I have never noticed that? Maybe because I was only ten… You don’t exactly notice how hypnotizing boys’ eyes are when you are only ten years old.
It takes Danny a second to realize I am speaking to him. But who else would I be talking to? “Oh, I um… I kind of moved back to Jacksonville. So I’ll be going to school here and everything again.”
I think my heart just stopped. What if it really does turn out to be like old times? What if we become friends again? We could even be more than friends… I can’t believe that he is even back in the first place! Okay, Amy, play it cool. Don’t freak out like Kairi Summers. Just be cool.
“That’s cool,” I say breezily. Oh man, now I sound high or something. Or like a hippie. I am a high hippie.
I look desperately at Lauren. Help! I try and plead with my eyes.
She doesn’t seem to understand my internal “freaking out” dilemma. Does she not notice how hot Danny has gotten in the past seven years? Because I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. Must. Stop. Thinking about it.
“So what all has changed in the last few years?” Danny asks us.
“Nothing much,” Lauren sighs. “All the girls are still sluts, yet they act as if they are innocent God-fearing children. All the guys are still annoying and believe that high school football is the greatest thing since microwave popcorn. There’s nowhere to go and nothing to do. Same old, same old.”
“This town is absolutely riveting,” Danny says kiddingly. But he looks so serious that I can’t help but giggle a little bit.
“Being with friends helps a lot. Right, Amy?” Lauren looks at me enthusiasm.
“Oh sure. Friends are always there to make things more exciting,” I say to back up Lauren’s remark.
As if the “exciting” part of my sentence needs proof, Adam suddenly wakes up form his beer-induced slumber.
“What the?” he mumbles. Then he clutches his head and his brow furrows in pain. “Damn it. My head hurts like hell.”
He thoughtfully examines the beer that he miraculously managed to hold on to in his state of unconsciousness. “How many of these did I have?”
“Well, just from the time I was sitting here, you had at least four. And you were already at the table when I came into the kitchen,” Danny tells him calmly. Seeing Adam drunk doesn’t seem to faze him at all. Most people were shocked by it. Adam isn’t exactly the type of guy you would think likes beer this much.
Adam begins counting on his fingers and slurs, “So that’s like six or something.” But he’s holding up ten fingers. Either way, he’s had way too much to drink.
“Come on, let’s get you home,” I say as I make my way around the table. I try to grab one of Adam’s arms to help lift him up, but he pushes my hand away.
“I can stand, thank you very much,” he mumbles. He rises out of the chair unsteadily and his eyes become unfocused. He sways on his feet and looks around the room confusedly. “Holy shit. The whole house is spinning. We must be in the Wizard of Oz,” he says in amazement.
I nervously look at Danny, but he only smiles at Adam. Danny stands up and says, “Hey man, let’s go see the wizard all right? I’ll lead.”
Danny slides over to Adam, grabs his arm, and gently places it over his shoulder so that Adam has his full support. Nobody moves during this process. It seems that everybody is too curious about the outcome to interfere.
“Awesome. I want to ask him for courage, like the lion,” Adam giggles. He makes a pitiful rawring sound and swipes at Lauren. Thanks to his drunken haze, he was a good two feet away from actually hitting her.
“I think what he really needs is a brain,” Lauren sighs.
“You don’t have to do this,” I tell Danny. How pathetic is it that we can’t even take care of our best friend? He must think I’m so stupid.
“No problem,” Danny says with a smile. “I’m used to this kind of thing.”
Used to it? What is that supposed to mean? Before I can ask him to clarify though, there is an abrupt subject change.
“Follow the munchkin!” Adam screams. At first I think that he is just taking scenes from The Wizard of Oz, but then I realize that he’s actually pointing at Jessica Widly, a student from Oxford High School. She is one of the shortest girls in the county. She also just so happens to glance our way when she hears Adam’s outburst. Apparently she’s used to hearing that word directed toward her.
Instead of saying something that would probably suit Adam’s colorful vocabulary, she just rolls her eyes and shoots him the bird. More kindness than he deserves, in my opinion.
Danny drags Adam through the crowd, which miraculously parts at the mere sight of him. I guess it isn’t only the girls that are gossiping about a newcomer. By now, everybody in Jacksonville knows, and everybody is interested to see what he’s like. Fantastic.
Lauren and I follow closely behind so that we won’t be swallowed up by the crowd. We can’t lose Adam again. Besides, Danny wouldn’t know what to do with him. Not only does he not know what Danny’s car looks like, but he doesn’t know how to get him home either. He actually doesn’t exactly know Danny at all. So far the only thing they have in common is one party, two friends, and a few beers. What a lovely way to start a new friendship.
Kairi spots us through the mass of bodies, and I can hear her high-pitched squeal above the not-so-subtle whispers. She gives Lauren and me a thumbs-up. I guess it’s to congratulate us for finding the mysterious new guy. Wait until we tell her that we actually already know him. That ought to blow her mind. I can already feel the rumors forming, and know that I’ll hear about them as soon as school begins. Most of them being about me.
We part from the party and make our way across the lawn. The moon is full and bright with causes it to act as some sort of spotlight shining upon our unusual scene. Adam stares at it in awe, which makes me wonder what he‘s thinking about. No doubt something ridiculously stupid. But he’s been quiet ever since Jessica flashed him her middle finger. Maybe he’s finally starting to sober up.
“Somewhereeee over the rainbooowwww!” he wails. I sigh softly to myself. Why does reality always have to prove me wrong?
“He really loves The Wizard of Oz, doesn’t he?” Danny observes. Chuckling to himself, he watches the moon alongside Adam. He really seems to be getting a kick out of this. Most people would have left us by now. I know I would if Adam wasn’t so important to me.
“Here we are,” Lauren says as we reach Adam’s beaten blue Toyota. The sentence almost feels too normal. It just shows how used to the madness you become. It’s quite sad, actually.
Lauren is busy searching for the keys in her huge purse, and Adam is not exactly up for conversation right now. So I guess that it’s up to me to say something. “Thanks for all of your help,” I say to Danny without meeting his eyes. I still find this whole situation extremely embarrassing.
“No problem,” he replies. He removes Adam’s arm from his shoulder and lets him slump onto the side of the truck. “Just promise me you won’t let him drive home and we’re even. I don’t want anybody getting into an accident the day before senior year.”
“We promise,” Lauren says while shoving Adam away from her. He is trying to grab the keys out of her hand. He is obviously the only one who disagrees with Danny’s request.
Lauren leads Adam to the back door and pushes inside the truck, closing and locking the door for good measure. I can hear them from the other side as Danny and I stand awkwardly together. At first we just listen to the argument going back and forth from each side of the door. The repetition of “Keys, keys!” from Adam and the “I said, no damn it!” from Lauren. Then I hear the passenger door open and slam shut and the argument is muffled. I guess I’m driving.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you at school.” I mumble as I take a hesitant step backward.
“Yeah,” is Danny’s only reply.
I don’t know why I expected any more, but I did. A kiss good-bye or even a friendly hug would do. Disappointed, I turn away and open the car door. I stop when I hear a soft, “Hey.”
I look back at Danny with my hand still resting on the handle of the door. I can see his smile glowing the moonlight as he says, “I’m glad we found each other again.”
The nerve-wracking noise destroys the calm atmosphere and nearly gives me a heart attack. Lauren and Adam both stare up at me with owl-like eyes from the depths of the car, pointing accusatory fingers at each other. I give Danny an apologetic smile as I hop into the Toyota and start the engine.
Everybody gives half-hearted waves of good-bye as I back out of the driveway and head out into the night. Lauren and Adam start arguing as soon as we are on the main road again, but I just ignore them. The only thing that I’m thinking about right now is Danny and the words I left unspoken, which are echoing in my mind. Me too, Danny. Me too.
I can’t sleep. Just thinking that to myself makes me feel like a teen girl cliché. I mean, not being able to sleep because of a schoolgirl crush? How many movies are based off of that? It’s so overdone, that even boys would recognize it as being overdone.
So why am I trapped in teen crush mode? It’s just Danny. Sure, he’s gotten tall, tough, and handsome. Not to mention that badass (pardon my French) tattoo and I’m-too-cool-to-care hairstyle. He looked… Dangerous. And I like it. Yet another cliché I’m falling into. I’m beginning to sound like the heroine in a romantic comedy, which really doesn’t suit me at all. I’m not the boy-crazy girl who has a date for every weekend. I’m not the suave, sexy chick who has men kneeling at her feet. I’m just me. And “just me” isn’t the kind of person who sits here, getting a headache from overanalyzing, and goes on and on about a boy. So why am I? Because… Well, because it’s Danny. My Danny.
Well, he’s not mine, but I knew him first. It’s not fair that my classmates are fawning over him. I should be the only person who can look at him like that.
Oh God. Just listen to me. I sound like Kairi. Worse than that actually. She’s never so territorial. Every girl should at least get a chance at Danny. I’m no exception. But it has to be an even fight. And that won’t happen without some outside help.
I squint through the darkness and see the fuzzy outlines that make up a clock face. Four thirty. Too late to call. A quick text explaining the situation should do it.
I lean over and blindly reach for my cell phone, which I always leave on my bedside table for situations like this. I scroll through my contacts until I find the right one. Then I start typing.
Lauren, I have a mission for you. I need your beauty expertise… It’s about a guy. Please help.
I want to say more, but there is only so much that you can fit into a text. So I press the send button and lay back down. I guess there’s nothing to do except wait. And Lauren is fast asleep by now, so I might as well try and get some shut-eye of my own.
Before I can even think about dreaming, my phone lets out an R2D2 beep -Yes, very nerdy, but I love it.- that signals the arrival of a new text message. I snatch up my cell so quickly I nearly send it flying across the room, but my hold is secure enough to keep it from taking flight. I tap a random button as to light up the screen. One new message.
Of course it’s from Lauren. I know she’s a night owl (which is weird because she is also a morning person), but this is still stretching it. I expected a reply first thing in the morning when she woke up. Not now though.
I open the message and short and simple reply takes up the screen. When can I start? ;)
My smile is automatic as I type ASAP. Knowing that there will be no reply I lay back down with an easy mind. Suddenly I feel much more relaxed, because I know that my best friend has my back. And deep down, I really think that I have a chance with Danny. Boyfriend or best friend. He will be mine.
And with that in mind, I fall into a peaceful sleep.