Oneshot - whatthegreencarrot
"But it's so hard," I groaned, face-planting into my textbook.
"That's what she said," my best (and perverted) friend Daniel said in a singsong voice. "Saying it as it is," he added when I shot him a dirty look.
I shot him an unappreciative scowl, then made a discontented noise. Why did he have to be the smart one? I deserved brains, too, but I didn't seem to have any. It just happened that I was the worst at math in my class, and Dan was currently at the top, acing all his quizzes. He might've been a math whiz, but he was the worst teacher ever. "Be quiet. Stop cracking disturbing jokes and help me out. There's a Calc test on Friday."
To which Daniel, being my oh-so-kind friend, replied to me bluntly, "And you're going to fail it anyway, so there's really no point. Deal with it, Kells. You're just not good at math." He shrugged and unwrapped a candy bar; he always had one up his sleeve to munch on.
"Oh, well, gee," I said snappishly. "Much obliged. But believe it or not, I don't want to fail my test, so help me. I don't get any of this. Ugh." I dropped my face back onto the textbook.
Simply shrugging and continuing to watch me struggle, Daniel popped more pieces of candy bar in his mouth. "Oh well. It's not like you're gonna major in Calculus, anyway." He stretched his long, lanky limbs. "You want to be a doctor or whatever, right? So original."
I rolled my eyes into my book, resisting the urge to throw it at him. Honestly; I loved the guy, but he could be so insufferable sometimes. "No, Dan, I've told you a million times. I want to be a private investigator, but I'm not going to get anywhere if I can't pass AP Calc in high school. Daniel, please. I'll buy you a candy bar."
He perked up a little when he heard that—I should've cut to the bribery sooner. I swear, the boy was addicted to those things. And he wasn't even fat, even though he consumed at least five a day. "Yeah? A Twix bar?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever," I said, waving my hand dismissively. He could have his chocolate when I aced—no, not even aced; avoided failing the test next Friday. "Now help me, don't just sit there. I don't get this formula."
"Of course you don't," he said, crunching on his chocolate bar. "You're doing it all wrong. See, like this . . ." He grabbed my pencil and started writing it out, explaining while he wrote. Now we were getting somewhere.
Thirty minutes later, we got kicked out of the library because Daniel kept on eating his candy bars. He must've eaten at least three in that last half hour we'd been working, if not more. I relayed this thought to him, and he shrugged in response.
"They're my power food," he explained. "I don't get fat, so might as well just eat all the sugar I can, right? Keeps me working. I like Coke, too, because of the caffeine."
"Naturally," I said, trudging along under the weight of my textbooks and backpack. "I kind of get the concept, actually. You're not a bad teacher when you have the motivation." Like candy bars, for instance. The thought of helping out a best friend for a Calc test? No, apparently not.
Dan shrugged. "One of my many talents," he said, grinning jokingly. "Thank me when you get an A on the test." He pulled his car door open, getting in and waving. "See ya at school, Kelly."
"Bye," I called after him, getting into my own car. I dropped my textbook-laden backpack onto my passenger seat, letting out a sigh of relief when the weight was off my shoulders. Sticking the key in the ignition, my car rumbled to life while I pondered my situation.
My best friend was a guy, and I didn't have many girl friends. There was one, Rosalind, but that was pretty much it. The rest of my friends were boys, Dan in particular. But I was sure lots of girls got into that . . . right?
Problem was, I didn't know much about girls and their friends, even though I was one. I basically hung around boys, and occasionally with Rosalind.
I was a klutz, and I couldn't do math to save my life. Neither were very attractive attributes, of course—some people thought clumsy girls to be the "damsel in distress" kind, but in real life, guys shied away from girls with two left feet.
Daniel was popular among boys and girls alike. He played basketball, and he was on the varsity team. I was a different matter. Like I said, I was a klutz, and playing sports was practically life-endangering for me. Nothing I wanted to do, nor anything my PE classmates wanted me to do.
. . . Yeah, you might have guessed that I did the most sitting out in physical education.
Humming quietly to myself as I drove, I watched the familiar rows of houses go by. This was an everyday routine; going to the library to study, with Dan occaisionally coming with me, and driving home after a few hours. I was arriving home early, since Dan had gotten us kicked out with his candy and whatnot.
Pulling into my parking space and turning my car off, I dug around for my house key in my backpack. I unlocked the door and shouted, "I'm ho-ome!"
My aunt shot me a disapproving look, walking from the living room to the kitchen. "You'll disrupt the neighbors, Kelly. Any reason why you're home so early?"
"Oh, that." I waved a hand dismissively. "Just Dan, he was eating in the library and got us kicked out. But I got a good idea of how the calc worked, so that wasn't a problem." Stuffing my keys back into my backpack, I made my way upstairs. "Tell me when dinner's done."
Aunt Bea made a disgruntled noise. I took it as a yes.
Thinking positive was key, right?
Monday, March sixteenth.
The teacher gave us our math tests back that day. I'd studied for hours over that Calculus test—if I failed, I'd never study again. Not really, but I'd be pissed as hell if I got a D or under.
Biting my lower lip nervously, I flipped the test on my desk over and held my breath fearfully. In my thin, sprawling writing was my name written messily in pencil. Under it, in red pen, was a big, fat "100%."
A hundred percent.
I'd gotten a hundred percent on a Calculus test! I barely held in a squeal and made a mental note to buy Dan all the Twix bars I could get a hold on. I'd never gotten a hundred percent on a Calc test, not this year. Gosh, I owed Daniel big time.
The bell rang, and I practically sprinted out the door, awkwardly juggling my backpack and papers but still in an elated mood. "Dan!" I called, seeing his familiar shag of brown hair. "Hey, Daniel! I got a hundred percent on the Calc test!" I threw my arms around him in a big hug. After a few moments of him standing stiffly, he reciprocated, but awkwardly.
I frowned. Daniel had never felt any awkwardness about hugging, so why now? "Uh, Dan?"
He pulled away, sticking his thumbs in his pockets. "Yeah, about that. Uh, Kelly, I have a new girlfriend." Dan shrugged, his face blank. "She's right there. Jenna Nelson."
Following his line of sight, I smacked him on the arm, gasping, "Daniel! You didn't tell me you had a girlfriend! Congratulations, oh my god!" I squealed, clapping my hands together. "My little boy's all grown up," I sighed, smiling happily. And here I was, thinking he'd be forever alone.
"Uh, thanks?" Dan said uncertainly. I thought I saw a flicker of disappointment in his eyes, but it went as quickly as it came. I must've been hallucinating, I decided. No way would Daniel be disappointed about getting one of the co-captains of the cheerleading squad as his girlfriend.
"You're welcome," I said, smiling satisfactorily. "I'm proud of you, Danny Boy." I reached out a hand to ruffle his hair, then skipped off to my next class. This was such a good day.
"Well?" I said after three days and him still not introducing me to his new girlfriend. "Aren't you going to introduce us? Like, ever?"
"No," Daniel said flatly, "I'm not. Don't argue, Kelly, I just don't want to. I mean, having one girl at a time is enough. Two girls in one room, cornering one guy? Nope."
I laughed at this. "You make it sound like I'm attracted to you, Danny Boy. Which, by the way, I'm not," I added when he opened his mouth to talk. "Don't worry, Dan, I won't mess up your relationship. It took you long enough to get a girlfriend. I mean, hell, you're not bad-looking, but you took forever to get yourself a GF."
Daniel rolled his eyes at me, waving his hand and leaning back in his chair. "I didn't take that long. Besides, it's not like you've ever had a boyfriend, Kells. So look who's talking." He unwrapped the Twix bar I'd bought him and began munching on it.
Pouting slightly, I held out a Snickers bar. "Will you introduce us if I give you this?"
He paused mid-bite. I could tell that he was wavering; the boy loved anything to do with chocolate. It was his biggest weakness. "Uh . . ." His eyes flickered from the chocolate bar to my saccharine smile. "Damn it. Fine. But only because you know me too damn well."
Smiling angelically, I threw him the candy bar. "You're welcome, Danny Boy. Now call your new girlfriend up, before you 'forget.'" I did know him well. Well enough to be able to tell that he'd "forget" and never introduce us.
"Ugh," groaned Daniel. "Now?"
I put my hands on my hips (the effect was somewhat diminished by the fact that I was sitting down) and nodded. "Yes. Since you always happen to forget stuff after I give you your payment." I put in a raised eyebrow for added effect.
"Okay, jeez, fine," said Dan. He made a face and pulled out his phone, tapping "Jenna Nelson" on his contacts list. "'Lo? Hey, Jen, it's Dan. Yeah, Kelly wants to meet you. If she comes off as psychotic, she's not usually that bad. Well," he amended, "she is, actually. But that's okay, she'll grow on you." I shot him a death glare, and he shrugged in response. "Yeah, we're at Tony's right now. Mm-hm, like the diner place. See you in a few. Bye." He snapped the phone shut and turned to me. "Done."
I smiled cheerfully, patting him on the cheek. "You're going to pay for insulting me, but I'm not going to do it right now, since you were nice enough to call up your GF." Humming happily to myself, I sat up straighter and smoothed out my hair. "D'you think she'll like me? Or will she hate me?" My eyebrows creased together as I started worrying. "Maybe I should have—"
"She'll like you fine," Daniel interrupted impatiently. "Even if she doesn't, it'll be on you, since you were the one who insisted on meeting her." He shot me a sour look, and I shook my head.
"It would have to happen someday," I said in chastising tones, narrowing my eyes at him. "I mean, I wouldn't like it if I never got to know my boyfriend's best friend before I got married to him. Imagine that." I shuddered. "I'd have to wait until the wedding, and then—"
Daniel made a slightly panicked noise in the back of his throat. "H-huh? What the hell, Kelly, I'm not going to get married to her, that just" —Dan searched for a suitable word— "it's . . ."
I waited expectantly for further elaboration.
"That's ages away, alright, Kelly?" Dan finished after a long, awkward pause. "Plus, probably ninety-nine point nine percent of high school couples don't make it. Chances are, we're not getting married."
Laughing at his silliness, I shook my head and patted his cheek, yet again. "Oh, silly you. You'll be the point one percent, dummy. You never got a girlfriend until now, a young man at seventeen." I clasped my hands together and smiled dreamily. "Tell me, Dan, was it love at first sight?"
Whatever he was going to reply with, I never got to know, because his girlfriend arrived just then.
What could I say? The girl was a stunner. Glossy, shoulder-length brown hair, a cream-and-roses complexion, and big blue eyes. It would've been very possible for Dan to have fallen in love with her at first sight.
A huge smile made its way onto my face. "Hi!" I said brightly, sticking my hand out for her to shake. "I'm Kelly Granger, you must be Jenna Nelson! I've been waiting for ages for this lunkhead to get a girlfriend, I was starting to think that he'd be an old maid." I jerked a thumb at Dan. "You must be something special, he's never dated before this."
"Kelly!" hissed Dan, giving me the evil eye. He quickly turned to Jenna. "She's not usually this bad, she can actually be civil—sorta." He frowned thoughtfully. "I guess it depends on your definition of 'civil.'"
I smacked him lightly on the arm. "Shush, Danny Boy. You're making me sound bad, and God forbid that ever happen." Making a face of mock-horror, I put my hand to my chest. "No!"
Dan cracked up, and after a short pause, Jenna started laughing too. I liked this girl; she wasn't the shy type. My grin widened. "So, have you guys done anything together yet? Like, maybe, having s—"
"KELLY!" shouted Daniel, looking slightly panicked.
"—sssnacks?" I finished in a higher-than-usual voice, the smile on my face turned into a slight grimace. But the grin quickly resurfaced as Jenna burst into laughter.
She grinned genuinely at me. That was one thing I liked about my school; we didn't have too many superficial popular people. The pops at our school were actually nice. "I can see why you're such good friends with Daniel. You're funny." She draped a slender arm around Dan's neck. "How come I've never heard of you before? I'd peg you to be the popular type."
Both Dan and I snorted loudly at this. I nearly choked on my milkshake (we were at Tony's, the local diner, and they sold the best milkshakes ever). After a bout of coughing, I finally managed, "Definitely not. Popular people don't appreciate my kindred spirit." I sniffed dramatically, putting my nose up in the air.
Daniel snickered. "Don't go all Anne of the Green Gables on us, Kells. We're counting on you."
I went back to drinking my milkshake, flashing him a sweet smile. "Of course not, dearest Daniel." Actually, I'd never read the book, I'd just read a summary online when my teacher assigned us book reports on it.
. . . I know, I'm a terrible person.
Jenna went up to the counter to order a milkshake (a small; she was on one of those diet fads or something like that). Meanwhile, Dan and I were left to sit in companionable silence . . . if you considered companionable silence to consist of endless quarreling.
"No, you owe me more Twix bars," Daniel said heatedly, waving an empty, chocolate-smeared Twix wrapper in my face. "I'm fresh out, and I got you an A on the Calc test, so you owe me." He crossed his arms stubbornly, scowling at me.
Shoving the wrapper out of my face, I decided to scowl right back. "I already gave you your dumb candy bars. I don't owe you anymore, and besides, I'm flat out broke. See?" I shoved my wallet across the table at him, which I'd emptied out earlier in the hour for my milkshake. Daniel eagerly opened it, clearly hoping that I still had a few cents left for him, but was met with an empty inside.
"Damn," he muttered, sliding it across to me and pouting slightly. His face brightened, meaning that he'd gotten an epiphany. Probably a bad one; all his ideas usually resulted in my near death. "I know, I'll just get some cash from Jen."
Okay. That didn't sound too bad. At least, it didn't sound like I'd be dying in the process, although mooching off of your girlfriend sounded rather unappealing to me.
"Better her than me," I said, shrugging and taking a long drag from my milkshake. I looked at it sadly; it was almost finished. Too bad I didn't have any money to get another one. "Damn it. Dan, can I borrow a few bucks?"
He shook his head, winding his candy wrapper around his finger. "Nope. You didn't give me any cash for my Twix, so no money for you." Dan oh-so maturely stuck his tongue out at me and stuck his nose up in the air.
I pouted, then turned to Jenna, who had come back from the counter and was now holding three milkshakes in her arms. "Are you going to drink all of that?" I asked, wide-eyed.
She laughed and slid one across the table to me. "No. I noticed that you were almost done, so I got you one, too."
I gasped with glee and turned to my best friend, smiling gleefully. "I love your girlfriend," I confirmed to Daniel, grinning as I took a sip of the milkshake she'd bought me. "Please marry her, I don't think I'd be able to stand seeing you guys splitting. My two favorite people in the world." My smile widened. "You guys would have such cute kids."
Daniel made a retching noise and coughed loudly. "Um," he said, "I think it's a bit early for that. Trust you to make something like that sound totally disgusting, Kelly. And you just met her, how can Jenna be one of your favorite people already?"
I looked at him with wide eyes, feeling scandalized. "She got me a milkshake!" I gasped, shocked. "How could she not be my favorite person in the whole wide world?" Pouting slightly, I glared at him. "You never got me a milkshake before. Jenna's cooler than you."
"Is not," Daniel protested.
"Is too. And she's nicer," I said, crossing my arms. We both stuck out our tongues at each other and pointed our noses up in the air. Our argument was disrupted by the sound of Jenna's laughter, and we both shot her mutinous looks. She covered her mouth, her laughs subsiding to slight giggles.
"I'm sorry," she said in response to our disgruntled expressions. "It's just that you two act like brother and sister. You know, like five year old twins or something like that." Jenna dropped her hand from her mouth, still smiling amusedly. I noticed that Dan looked rather disturbed by this comment—probably contemplating how horrible being my brother would be. Sharing and living in the same house as Kelly?No!
I snorted. Arrogant prick.
Of course, I did love Daniel—as a friend—but there was no denying that he'd had his fair share of moments, good and bad. Mostly bad, but Jenna could figure that one out later.
I sighed again, smiling to myself. They'd have such cute kids.
Months passed, and I got pretty buddy-buddy with Jenna and her friends. Being the kind and generous friend I was, I didn't get jealous when Dan and Jenna went out together, even when both canceled on me various times. Psh, no, I wasn't just trying to get milkshakes out of them. Even though I got my fair share of those, too.
It was in the mall that it happened.
Jenna, her friend Heather, and I were shifting through racks of skinny jeans in Forever 21 when Jenna confessed out of the blue, "I think I'm in love with Daniel."
Heather made a squealing noise and clapped her hands together, dropping the pile of jeans onto the floor. Ignoring the clattering noises and the dirty looks she was receiving from other customers, she squealed, "Oh my God, you guys are at the saying 'I love you' stage? That's so cute! When're you guys getting married?"
I rolled my eyes, bending down to pick up the jeans she'd dropped. "They're not getting married, Heather. They're just telling each other 'I love you.' There's a difference." What was that odd sensation in my stomach? The last time I'd felt like that was when Mary-Jane Louis got a brand-new iPod Touch in third grade.
"I know, but—" Heather began to persist. Jenna quickly cut her off.
"We're not at that stage, it's just that . . . well, I'm definitely not just 'in like' with Dan anymore." She flushed delicately, something that the local louts found very endearing. "But, you know, he hasn't said anything yet, so I figured I'd just wait."
I snorted, still trying to decipher the sensation flitting around in my stomach. "Since when have you waited? You don't even know how to procrastinate, Jen. Waiting won't work. You've got to tell him, or he'll never know. Trust me, Dan sucks when it comes to emotions." Heather nodded emphatically in agreement.
Biting her lip, Jenna nodded slowly. "Okay. I get it. I'll tell him."
As the unfamiliar emotion boiled over, it hit me: Jealousy. That was what it was. When Mary-Jane Louis had gotten an iTouch, I'd been jealous as hell, and now . . . Well, the feeling was being mirrored. I was jealous of Jenna, and I was jealous because of . . . Daniel?
Well, this was just peachy. Pining after my best friend.
My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I pulled it out. Unfamiliar number. I shrugged and hit the "Accept" button—I could always use a stalker every now and then. "Kelly speaking. If you want to stalk me, feel free," I said in a monotonous voice while Jenna and Heather exchanged smirks.
A pause on the other line. Then: "Why would I want to stalk you?"
Oh, okay. That was nice. "Thanks so much, Danny Boy. Remind me why we're friends again?" I said sarcastically, ignoring the butterflies in my stomach, not to mention the goofy expression on Jenna's face when she realized who I was talking to.
"You tell me," said Daniel. He continued before I could make do with a sarcastic comment. "Anyway, can you pick me up? The game just ended, but I carpooled with somebody who forgot to tell me that they had to go to their sister's dance rehearsal right after." His tone was cutting, and I heard a mumbled apology from the unfortunate boy. "So, how about it?"
I glanced at my friends, who were now squabbling over a skirt. "I'm at the mall with your girlfriend, but I'm sure she and Heather won't mind if I pick you up from basketball. Call me when you're done, I'm leaving," I added in an undertone to Jenna and Heather, who both nodded. I left the store. "Next time check if your ride can take you back or not."
"Yeah, sure. By the way, Davey has you as a contact on his cell. Any reason why?"
Frowning for a moment, I thought, but my mind came up blank. "Um, sorry, but who's Davey?" I asked, bemused. "Is he the guy from debate club? No, can't be . . . you don't know anyone from debate club. Neither do I, actually," I tacked on thoughtfully. "Hm."
"There's a Davey in debate club?" Dan said cluelessly. After a short pause, he continued. "Anyway, no. Davey's on my basketball team, I'm borrowing his cell 'cause I left mine at home. Pick me up from school, we're the home team." Then he hung up on me.
I stated at the phone in my hand for several seconds, allowing myself to be jostled by the crowd as people pushed past me. Daniel never ended a phone call like that. There was always a "bye" or a "see you later" at the end, but instead I'd gotten nothing. Was it just me being a worrywart, or was something wrong?
I sighed and pulled my car door open. Either way, I'd figure it out—whether I wanted to or not.
Several more months went by, and Jenna still had yet to admit to Daniel that she was in love with him. By now, they'd been dating for about eight months, not to mention the fact that they were now the school's golden couple. Co-captain of the cheerleading team and the MVP of the basketball team: both could do no wrong, in the eyes of students and teachers alike.
Honestly, it was kind of depressing.
As much as I longed for it to go away, my (minor) infatuation with Daniel grew every day. My heart seemed to flip every time he leaned on my lab table to talk in Chem—hell, not even that. Every time he talked to me, for God's sake. But I refused to call it a crush. It was just a . . . a temporary infatuation, or something of the sort.
Oh, hell, who was I kidding? I'd been chasing after the boy for three months, it wasn't so "temporary" anymore, if you caught my drift. Did long-term infatuation sound dumb?
. . . Whatever.
Homecoming posters were taped up all over the school, and there happened to be a particularly annoying one right above my locker. On it was a picture of the last homecoming king and queen, and last homecoming's queen was (surprise, surprise) Jenna Nelson. She was a great friend and all, but this was so not the time of year that I wanted to see Daniel's girlfriend on my locker twenty-four/seven.
At the moment, I was in my AP Chemistry class, which was (thankfully) the last of my classes for the day. It was also (not so thankfully) the only class I had with Daniel, current long-term infatuation and best friend. And, lucky me, he was my lab partner.
Note my sarcasm.
"So," he said after several minutes of working silently together. "I have a game tonight, at six."
"Good luck," I said flatly, keeping my face and voice emotionless, while my heart did a somersault. I went back to work, then noticed after a few minutes that Daniel was still staring plaintively at me. "And before you ask, I haven't got any candy bars on me. Or money." Satisfied, I started working again. He kept staring. "What, Dan?" I said, exasperated.
"You're not coming?" he said, hurt glinting in his eyes. I paused before shaking my head.
"Sorry. Finals are coming up soon, and I'm totally swamped with homework," I said, scribbling out an answer and putting a new one in. "Hey, can you pass me that measuring cup? Thanks."
Daniel fetched the measuring cup, but he held it out of my reach when I reached for it. I gave him an exasperated look, saying, "Dan, I know you don't like working, but we really need to finish working. Hand the cup over."
Daniel threw his hands up, looking furious. "That's all our friendship is to you nowadays, isn't it? It's all work to you, and you're being one hell of a crappy friend, Kelly. I dunno what's wrong with you, but you're sure not acting like a friend. And until you do, we can just not talk." He threw down the measuring cup and stomped off over to another friend of his, who was watching our one-sided argument curiously. "Hey, man, can I work with you?"
"Er, sure," the boy said, sending me an apologetic look. I shrugged and went back to working on the project, masking my hurt. He could go ahead and be an asshole, it wasn't like I cared.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
I finally gave up the silent treatment and put the phone to my ear, snapping, "Okay, fine, I don't care. We don't have to be friends if you don't want to, it's not like it matters to me. Just leave me alone, and stop making my phone freaking buzz."
Silence. Then: "It's almost six o'clock."
"Your point?" I said impatiently, wondering how many minutes I would be spending—hell, wasting—in this completely nonproductive conversation.
This time, the hurt was clear in Dan's voice. "I have a game at six, Kelly, remember? And I asked you to come, but you're not here yet."
"And I told you that I was busy studying for finals," I reminded him coolly. "Besides, why the hell would you want a crappy friend like me to come to your game?" The last bit was definitely a little bitter (for completely unknown reasons, of course).
"Seriously? You're holding that against me?" groaned Daniel. "Look, I'm sorry about earlier today, okay? Just—come to my game, it'll make me feel better if you're there. Please, Kelly." His voice was pleading.
"I'll see what I can do," I said brusquely, snapping my phone shut and sticking it in my pocket again. He wasn't the only one who could do abrupt goodbyes.
And so, for the first time, I missed one of Daniel Henderson's basketball games.
"What the hell was that?" Daniel yelled at me the next day in school. I quirked an eyebrow at him, waiting for him to elaborate. "Oh, don't even think about giving me that face, Kelly Granger, I asked you to come to my game! And what did you do? You just ignored me and stayed home."
I snorted, glaring at the students who were staring at us. "I said that I'd see what I could do, and it turned out that I didn't know a whole section of my biology textbook. So clearly, I couldn't make it. Finals are in a few weeks, Daniel. I'm not going to risk my future for a basketball game."
Daniel's jaw dropped open, and I had to fight down the guilt churning around in my stomach. "Seriously, Kelly? I've known you since I was six, and now you're just blowing off my game like it was nothing? It was the last game of the season, and we lost!"
"Then I guess it's good that I didn't go, because it would've been a complete waste of time," I said, my temper flaring. "Now get out of my face, Daniel, it's not going to win you your game." I pushed him to the side (not that it helped much) and stalked off.
It really did look like our friendship was beyond repair.
"Hey, did you see the newspaper article about you and Daniel?" my friend Rosalind asked me. I'd ditched Jenna and her friends for Rosa, since there was no question that Jenna and Co would pull a Spanish Inquisition on me about Daniel.
"No," I grumbled. "What kind of person with a real life writes about best friends gone wrong in the freaking school newspaper? That's just not right." Nevertheless, I took the newspaper from Rosalind, and my eyebrows immediately shot up. "Wow."
"No kidding," Rosalind agreed with me, sitting down on the sidewalk. "It's all bullcrap, though. I know that for a fact."
My eyebrows went higher and higher as I read more. It was a bunch of bull about me, Daniel, and Jenna caught up in a love triangle, and how I was an attention-seeking whore. "Um, who wrote this? Because I need to give him or her a piece of my mind."
Rosa shifted, looking uncomfortable. "Yeah, about that . . ."
My eyes flitted down to the end of the article, and they landed on two words: Heather Balanco.
I sighed. Everyone had turned against me. Even Jenna and her crew. "Dammit. You know, Rosa, I think I need to fix things . . . but I don't know how. Maybe I should back out, apologize to Dan . . ."
Rosalind gave me a tiny smile, her face sympathetic. "You can't, hon. It looks like you're in too deep."
That was how it looked from my perspective, too.
Homecoming came, and the end of the school year neared. The end of senior year—after that, I'd never have to see hide or hair of Daniel Henderson again. That should have made me happy, but it didn't. Why? He'd been my best friend for years, and my infatuation for months. He still was my infatuation, as a matter of fact.
"Kelly! Wait up!" a male voice called after me. I stopped in the hallway, turning around to see a tall, well-built boy with sandy hair and brown eyes. He smiled at me lopsidedly, and I stared at him in bewilderment. Was I supposed to know this guy? "Hi, I'm Davey, Dan's teammate."
"Oh," I said, frowning. "If you're here to deliver a message from him, skip telling it to me and go right back to tell him that I don't think that it's good for him to have a messenger pigeon."
Davey flushed slightly, the tip of his nose going red. "No, it's not like that, it has nothing to do with Dan. I was just wondering . . . would go mind going to homecoming with me? If you don't want to, that's okay, I just—yeah," he finished, smiling a little.
First time a guy had asked me to a dance. Wow. "Um, yeah, sure, why not?" I said awkwardly, smiling back.
"Cool," he said, grinning and looking relieved. "Thanks, I was—well, I hate rejection. It's always embarrassing. I'll see you later, Kelly." Davey walked off, exhaling as he left. I laughed at his awkwardness and continued walking to class.
I sat with Rosalind during lunch and recounted how Davey had asked me out to the homecoming dance. "It was cute, in a little-boy kind of way," I said, scrunching up my nose in thought. "Except that makes me sound like a bit of a pedophile."
"Why, are you resorting to going out with freshmen now?" sneered Jenna as she walked past my table. I blinked in surprise; had she really gotten that mean in such a small amount of time? "Pitiful."
"I'm going with a senior, Jenny Girl," I called jovially after her. "Which is more than I can say for you, because your boyfriend has the mindset of an eight year old. Is that really the best you can do, dearest?"
She just snarled in response and stomped off, nose high in the air. Poop-head. I scowled after her, forgetting about Rosalind for a moment. She cleared her throat and I jumped. "Huh? Yeah, what?"
"Nothing," said Rosalind, shrugging. "It looked like you were plotting murder, so I was wondering if I'd be able to help."
"Oh, hell yes," I grumbled, glowering at Jenna's figure as she pecked Daniel on the lips and sat down, smiling widely. My eyes met Daniel's for a moment, but he quickly broke eye contact. "You can come at her from the sides while I get a butter knife, how about it?"
"A butter knife won't do much, but okay," said Rosalind, her expression dry. She patted her long brown hair with a manicured hand. "Anything else in mind if Plan A fails?"
"Nope," I said cheerfully. "But that's okay, I'm sure that the butter knife will do wonderfully."
Finally, the night of the long-awaited homecoming dance came, and I found myself being manhandled by Rosalind and her mother. Woe; I had to put makeup on. Imagine (insert shudder here).
I smoothed the skirt of my dress out and ran to the door when it rang, finding Davey looking awfully chipper in a black suit. "Hi! C'mon in, there's no danger of you getting your photo snapped with me, so no worries." I smiled widely at his surprised look. "My parents are out. I don't think they even know I'm going to homecoming, but that's okay."
Davey laughed lightly and nodded his head at an obviously old but well-loved pickup truck. "That's our limousine for the night, m'lady. I hope you don't mind . . . Have you had dinner yet?"
I grinned and nodded in response to his question. "Yup, had a feast at McDonald's. To the magnificent limo?"
He snorted, walking by my side and opening the door to the pickup truck for me. "Yes, definitely." Davey got into the driver's seat, starting the car when I pulled my seatbelt on. "I heard about your fight with Daniel"—yeah, who hadn't?—"and it must suck. He's a good guy."
"Sometimes," I added mutinously. I wasn't annoyed with Davey for bringing up the Daniel subject, but I wished he hadn't. "Would you have minded if your best friend missed one of your basketball games because she was busy studying?"
"No," said Davey, shrugging. "But I guess Dan was feeling super pissed when we lost, and it didn't help that you weren't there to console him or whatever. I dunno, I'm not good with the feelings thing. All I know is that Dan has been sucky at basketball recently." He turned his brown eyes to mine. "I think it's because of you."
I bristled a bit. "So you think it's my fault—"
"No, no," he interrupted swiftly, blushing a bit. "Not that. It's just that Dan seems really down about the argument, and it's taking toll on his basketball." Davey sighed. "You guys should make up, but I guess that's not in the question."
"No, it's not," I said firmly, scowling at the very thought of Daniel. "He totally overreacted because I was freaking studying." I threw my hands up in exasperation, whacking them on the roof of the car. "Ow. But seriously, I was studying for finals."
Davey grinned at me, then turned his eyes back onto the road. "I know, Kelly. It's not me that you have to convince."
I huffed, crossing my arms. Then I remembered that I'd barely known this boy for two weeks, and that I'd practically spilled all of my emotions onto him like beans from a jar. Embarrassing much? I swear, I could feel my ears turning red.
"What?" queried Davey, seeing my blush. I shook my head and waved it off absentmindedly. "Okay then." His lips quirked up into an amused smile, his head tipping to the side. "I'll take that too. I'm guessing that you and Jenna aren't friends anymore?"
My lips twisted into a frown. "No. Heather wrote an article about me on the school newspaper, and she knew that none of it was true. You didn't see it, did you?"
Davey's lips quirked downwards, but his eyes stayed focused on the road. "I did, as a matter of fact. And if it makes you feel any better, I remember Dan giving her a full chewing-out for that."
"And Jenna?" I queried, an eyebrow going up. He still didn't take his eyes off the road.
"She didn't say anything," Davey admitted quietly, looking rather unhappy. "She's a good friend, but I guess that even she's enititled to her bitchy moments." His eyes momentarily flickered to mine, then dropped down to the pavement. "It's not entirely her fault, I guess, since you're making her boyfriend miserable, although that charming quote about your homewrecking activities was below the belt."
I scowled darkly, not wanting to think about that school newspaper article. "But I'm not making Daniel miserable. Right?" I glanced at Davey for confirmation.
Silence on his end.
"I'll take that as a no," I muttered grumpily, then pushed a hand through my curled-for-the-occasion brown locks. "God, I really screwed things up, didn't I?"
"Takes two to ignore each other," Davey pointed out sensibly enough. My spirits lifted a fraction. "But yes, you did screw things up pretty bad." Never mind, they were crushed . . .
But I supposed he was right. I had messed things up, and I had to fix them, since Daniel oh-so-clearly wasn't planning to. And truth was, I probably needed him more than he me. He had all his popular basketball buddies, and Jenna, too. But me . . . He was my only best friend.
"Hey, Davey," I said, sudden inspiration hitting my brain (I know, a shocker, but it does happen on occasion). "Can you make a stop at the nearest snack shack?"
The homecoming dance was finally here. All of my school was dead sure that I would be homecoming king and Jenna would be homecoming queen, and frankly, I agreed with them.
So why was I still unhappy? Definitely not because I'd just lost my best friend of who-knows-how-many years.
. . . No, definitely not because of that.
Fine, I'll admit, I missed Kelly like hell, but that didn't mean that I wouldn't enjoy this evening as homecoming king . . . right?
It was going to take my brain some convincing, but I was sure that I'd manage make it through the night—somehow.
"Daniel," my mother called, "you better get on with it, or you'll be late picking Jenna up. Hurry up, she won't be happy if you're tardy."
Great. Another complication in my life; Jenna. The thing was, I didn't actually like Jenna as a girlfriend. Sure, she was great and all, but there was another girl in mind, one that all of my basketball friends liked to call the "mystery girl" before I started dating Jenna. Hell, if they knew who it really was . . .
I sighed and shook my head to clear it, getting off my bed and walking towards the door. I'd been tempted to wear my usual T-shirt and gym shorts, but my mother had nearly gotten a brain hemorrhage when I'd broken this fact to her. So, since I didn't want her death on my hands, I put on a black button-up and jeans.
She still wasn't happy, but no hemorrhage, right?
Unlocking my door and pushing it open, I opened the door to my black Mercedes and got in. Time to pick up Jenna, the girl I'd never quite learned to love.
"Dan!" Jenna called when she saw me, her face lighting up like a candle. I pushed back the guilt and forced a smile at her. "You're here!" She laughed. "I was totally sure that you'd forget that it was homecoming and pick me up five hours after it ended."
"Gee, your confidence in me is stunning," I deadpanned, then smirked slightly. "Well, I remembered"—how could I not? an unpleasant inner voice added in—"so how about going?"
Jenna pouted slightly, pointing out, "You haven't told me that I look nice yet."
A slight twinge of annoyance bubbled up in my stomach; Kelly would have never made me do something like that. Then: No, don't think about Kelly, I scolded myself. I looked Jenna over—she was wearing an almost blindingly shimmery sequined dress, and I had a sudden urge to shield my eyes. She looked good, but she didn't look like . . .
"Never mind," I murmured to myself, then plastered a smile to my face. "You know you always look awesome, Jen, what's the point of telling you?" I said. Cheesy line, but it worked a charm on her. Jenna's face immediately broke into a smile, and that guilt began to show its head again.
"Thanks," she laughed, brushing past me and shimmering more brightly than light on water. I once again resisted the urge to hold a hand over my eyes and unlocked the passenger seat's door for her. "Hey, did you see that episode of Dancing With The Stars?" I hadn't, but I nodded along mechanically. "Awesome!" She began to ramble about it, and I gave her a bunch of "mm-hm"s and "that's right"s, zoning out. In ten long minutes, I'd be at school. And in several hours after that, this night would be over.
Thank god for that.
So ten minutes later, Jenna and I were standing at the entrance of the school, walking into the dance. Dozens of people smiled and nodded at us, and we nodded back out of habit, although I was pretty sure we gave a couple of freshmen heart attacks when we flashed smiles their way. Heh.
My eyes unconsciously roamed the dance floor for a familiar head of sun-highlighted brown hair, but I remembered what I was doing and reigned them in. I glanced at Jenna and forced out a grin. "Want to dance?"
"I'd love to," she said, her smile radiant. Not as radiant as her dress, though; I half-wondered if blinding me was one of her life goals, because it was about to be accomplished. We moved out onto the floor, and a bunch of underclassmen shot us wary looks. I supposed that we didn't have the best of reps with freshmen and sophomores.
"Without You" by Usher was blasting from the loudspeakers, and a couple of people cheered when Jenna dragged me onto the dance floor (i.e., the gym's wooden floor planks). I gave them slight smiles. Being the golden couple of the school wasn't as great as it seemed, trust me. Bunch of kids trying to suck up to you, attempting to get in good with the "royal two" and have some popularity for themselves . . . blech. It was almost horrifying.
Once again, my eyes started to wander as I looked around for Kelly, but I dragged them back onto Jenna's sequined, shiny figure with some effort, even though it was my natural instinct to look away from her bright dress, which was currently flashing in the lights. "So . . ."
Her smile was bright and not awkward at all, and I wondered how long it would take until it was forced. It had taken me about five days. "So, uh, Dan . . . I kind of have something to tell you."
That didn't sound good. All of my male alarms went off; when a girl said "I have something to tell you" to a guy, it was usually some sort of earth-shattering news. I was sure that this would be just as bad, unless she was breaking up with me. That, I wouldn't mind.
"Go on," I said warily as she hesitated. Might as well get it over with.
"I," she hesitated. "Dan . . . I think I'm in love with you."
There was a collective "aww" from the students who were listening in (uninvitedly, might I add), but I didn't bother with chewing them out. Instead I stood there, stunned and speechless.
God, this was freaking terrible.
Jenna Nelson liked—no, loved me? But that wasn't supposed to happen! She was just supposed to make her jealous, for her to like me.
Well, I'd screwed things up enough anyway, so I supposed that it wouldn't be so bad for me to go one step further and screw my social status completely.
Biting back the shock on my face, I said hesitantly, "Jenna . . ."
"Yes?" she said, looking confused by my reaction. Probably expected me to say that I loved her too, but that wasn't going to happen. Ever. "Dan, you look like you've seen a ghost. What's wrong?"
I ran a hand through my brown hair, sighing. "Uh, Jenna . . . I'm not in love with you. I don't even like you that much." Her face was stricken. "I—I'm sorry. I really don't see a reason in continuing this relationship anymore, now that—you know. I'm sorry." Since I screwed things up with Kelly already.
Yes. Kelly was indeed my "mystery girl." Years of friendship and liking her down the drain, all because of . . . what? A basketball game, some stupid finals? How shallow were we, really?
Again, I sighed. Well, maybe it wasn't her who was shallow. She didn't like me back, after all—she didn't even care enough to go to the last game of the season. And we lost, of course. Because there was no way in hell that I'd be able to play basketball knowing that Kelly wasn't there.
Jenna's lips were in a perfect O shape, and her face was beyond shocked. "But . . . But I thought you liked me!" she blurted, eyes wide. Cue guilty twinge.
"I do," I said, rubbing the back of my head rather sheepishly. Yup, there went my social status for sure. "I just don't like you in that way. I see you more as a friend than a girlfriend." I swallowed uncomfortably. "I'm, uh, really sorry, Jenna."
And then her natural girl-gets-rejected instincts kicked in, just as I had been expecting for them to. She bitched me out, and I welcomed it. I deserved it, after all—messing everything up with Kelly, actually believing that having Jenna as a girlfriend would make Kelly realize that I was more than a friend to her . . . everything. God, I missed her.
Great. I couldn't even think about how Jenna was feeling right now, just about myself and my messed-up love life. Some excuse for a guy I was.
Twenty or so minutes later, when Jenna had screamed and cried herself out at me, she finally stopped shrieking and turned towards one of her friends. Heather or something. "I want to go home," she said flatly to her, and the Heather girl immediately nodded and started dragging her out to the parking lot.
Well, I'd successfully managed to rid myself of both a love life and a decent social status, so I supposed that some partying and heavy drinking was in order. Thank God that the punch was spiked in high school dances.
Blowing out an exhausted sigh, I left the dance floor in low spirits, feeling the weight of dozens of eyes burning into my back. Hell, this was a total mess. Why had I even started it?
That was when something rectangular, small, and hard hit me in the head.
I swore and turned around to glare furiously at whoever had thrown the offending, unidentified object. My eyes were met with the sight of the ex-love of my life, and my breath hitched.
My eyes made their way back to the object, and despite myself, I smiled faintly after the initial moment of surprise. It was a Twix bar. Twisting around to call for her, I blinked in surprise. She was gone.
So maybe I did throw a candy bar at the basketball MVP's head. Some would call it domestic violence. I prefer the term 'making a peace offering.'
Apparently, Daniel didn't think it was that, because he gave me one of the evilest looks that I'd seen from him in history. And I'd even gone to the lengths of buying him a Twix bar from a grocery store!
I sighed. Oh, who was I kidding—there was no way of patching up our relationship, it was as good as done. Hell, not even done; it was dead. The least I could do was hope that he and Jenna had a long and happy life together.
But, as I learned several seconds later, even that was impossible for me to do.
"Oh my God, did you hear her screaming at him? I totally thought the gym would, like, explode," said a short, thin brunette to her ginger-haired and equally short friend. I was about to tell them that it was physically impossible for a (fairly) well-built structure like our gym to explode, just from the impact of some girl's screams, but her redhead friend's next words made me stop dead.
"I know, right? Jenna was so pissed off when Daniel told her that he never really liked her in that way. She, like, totes screamed for, like, an hour," the ginger babbled excitedly, her eyes gleaming like a hungry wolf's. "This is so exciting, I haven't seen gossip this juicy in weeks!"
. . . Wow. Weeks. This girl definitely had her priorities set straight. But nevertheless, I wanted to know more—shoot me, I still liked Daniel. It wasn't something that I could help.
So I talked to the bimbos.
"Wait, so did Daniel break up with Jenna?" I said hesitantly, half-expecting to get swallowed up by a string of rambling. Luckily, they tuned it down a little for me.
"Yeah, duh," said the ginger. "I mean, it's not like Jenna would want to be his girlfriend after all that, since he basically said that he didn't even like her, right? Because that'd be, like, totally emo. Right, Leesh?" she said to her brunette friend, who nodded emphatically.
"Like, totally. I heard that Jenna yelled for ages, and he just, like, stood there, watching her and saying nothing. How mean is that?" Her face was scandalized, but if that made her mad, she really had to get to know Dan better.
I glanced behind at the gym entrance, biting back a wistful sigh. "Yeah. I know better than anyone."
If only I didn't, I found myself wishing. If I didn't know Daniel, this whole mess would never have started. Too late now, though. Our co-captain of the cheerleading team was now nursing a broken heart, our basketball MVP wasn't acting very MVP-ish, and me . . . Well, as for me, I was just there.
I was tired of this. Always being overshadowed by my (ex) best friend, watching him check out girls and being with Jenna Nelson. Yeah, for once, I was actually going to do something for myself.
"Surprise, surprise," I murmured to myself.
"Huh?" the brunette asked me, confused.
Oh, right. The ginger and brunette were still there. "Um, never mind. I've gotta do something, I'll see you . . . around," I said. They nodded dumbly, and I began running for the gym. It didn't matter if Daniel hated me for the time being, I was going to tell him that I liked him, and if he didn't reciprocate—well, it was his loss, then.
Brown hair, brown hair, brown hair . . . Dammit, why did so many people have brown hair? I cursed out loud and decided to start looking for people who cleared six feet.
Alas, that was what we had the football team for.
Swearing profusely now, I stomped my foot (I stomped it, I literally stomped it—it's a fact that I'm truly beyond ashamed of now) and accidentally smashed it down on someone else's foot.
"OW!" the victim—I mean, the accidental receiver of my angry actions—shouted, jumping nearly a foot in the air. "What the f—watch it!"
I began to apologize—not very sincerely, but an apology was an apology, right?—but I then recognized that voice. My eyes widened. "Daniel?"
"Great, another fangirl," I heard him grumble unhappily. "Look, kid, I'm looking for someone, and she's a girl, so give it up. I'm never going to like you, done."
Even though he thought I was just another fangirl of his (and trust me, he had an abundance of them), the words "I'm never going to like you" stung. They were pretty demeaning, but I decided to press on. I'd made a decision to stand up for myself, and I was going to stick to it. "Dan," I said more firmly.
He turned on me, face in mid-snarl. "What?" Then his face twisted in shock. "Wait . . . Kelly?"
"Yes, Kelly," I said matter-of-factly, even though his words were still like rubbing salt on a wound. "It's nice to know that you'll never like me." A lump began forming in my throat as I said those words, because although he hadn't known it was me when he said them, what were the chances that he'd like someone like me? Social outcast and basketball extraordinaire? It would never work.
Daniel's face mirrored pure shock, and his mouth opened and closed like a fish's. "Kelly . . ."
"Don't," I said quietly. Confessing was going to be hard enough without him talking all over it, especially since there was a ninety-nine point nine percent chance that I'd get a big, fat rejection stamped to my face. "Look, Dan . . . I have something to tell you."
Daniel groaned. "Second time of the day," he murmured. I gave him a confused look, suddenly wondering if continuing was a good idea. Maybe confessing was a bad idea . . .
But then again, what was I best at coming up with?
Bad ideas, my inner conscience told me. Touché, conscience, touché.
Okay. Well, here went nothing. I took a deep breath and blurted out, "I kind of . . . like you." I put my hands over my ears, suddenly not in the mood for rejection. No girl liked to be told to give up, not even me. And, well, rejection was pretty much inevitable in this case.
Daniel's eyes widened to the size of saucers, and his mouth hung open a bit. I'll admit, it was pretty damn cute. But it was also a bit like adding insult to injury.
I waited for him to speak. Instead, I got silence.
Waited some more.
Met with silence.
So I waited . . . for another five minutes. When it was clear that he wasn't going to answer, I decided to take that as a "I don't really like you, but I don't want to reject you, so I'll just stay silent" kind of silence. I scowled, my eyes prickling slightly with tears and my cheeks heating up. "You know what, fine. Be that way. But I'm taking my Twix bar back." I looked around for the candy bar. Front pockets, nope; shirt pocket, nope; back pockets . . .
Yeah, well, phooey to him; I wasn't going to let eighty-nine cents of Davey's money to go to waste. He could stick all the candy bars in the world in his back pocket, and I'd gladly fish them out.
Easier said than done.
I grimaced and slowly, rather jerkily reached for his back pocket and carefully pulled the Twix bar out. God, that was embarrassing. But at least I'd gotten the chocolate back.
Ripping the wrapper open, I took a brooding bite out of it, one corner of my lip twisted down into a frown. That was when Daniel decided that having a body captive to the pod people wasn't fun and jerked out of his reverie.
Oh, so now he took action, not when I confessed that I was in like with him. He chose a candy bar over me—gee, I felt so appreciated. What a freaking jerk.
"W-what did you say?" he said, his voice slightly shaky.
I glared up at him. "That I'd take your candy bar away. And I did, so suck it." Ew, that didn't sound quite as witty as it had in my head. Ugh. Daniel had turned me into a pervert; only another thing to remind me of him.
"No," Daniel said, frowning slightly, "before that. You said that you . . . that you—"
"That I liked you?" I grumbled, staring at my feet as I spoke those words. "Well, yeah, but you don't have to rub it in my face, I know I'm not wanted when you choose a candy bar over me—"
And then he kissed me.
So I did what any love-struck fangirl/best friend would do. I fainted.
I woke up in Daniel's car. He was there, too, in the driver's seat, dark eyes fixed unmovingly on me. It was kind of creepy, but also kind of hot at the same time—if you know what I mean.
Then tonight's events came flooding back to my peanut-sized brain, and I buried my face in my hands. "Oh. Oh, shit, this is messed up."
"Wh—wait, what?" said Daniel, his face plainly confused. Well, he hadn't confessed to his ex-best friend that he liked her. I had.
"I'm an idiot," I mumbled, peeking up at him through my fingers. "You hate me, don't you?"
Daniel stared at me for a long time, and I was strongly reminded of when he was staring at me after my confession. Then he said, "Why would I ever hate you, Kelly?"
Oh, I dunno, because I missed your last game of the season because I was studying for finals a few weeks away, became your not-best-friend, and just told you that I liked you? my inner voice said sarcastically. I decided that maybe saying this to his face was a bad idea, so I settled for a, "Dunno."
"Kelly," he said, voice soft and hesitant, "I . . . I like you too. I have for a long time."
This time it was my turn to give him the silent stare. Served him right, anyway. Then:
"Is this some kind of sick joke?" I said loudly, ignoring the tears beginning to surface on my eyes. "Because you sure as hell haven't been acting like you like me, Daniel. I was freaking studying for my finals! You think I want to fail and work all my life in a supermarket because I HAD TO SEE YOUR STUPID GAME? You're so freaking dense, Daniel! And how the hell can you like me if you can ignore me for weeks straight? You know what? I can't believe I'm even bothering with you, you're the worst—you're—ugh! I HATE YOU!" I slapped his dashboard (yes, his dashboard, as in the car—lame, I know, but productive) and kicked the door open. "You are the worst. Freaking. Guy. Ever!" I slammed the car door shut and stomped off.
"Kelly! Kells, hold up!"
I heard the sound of him jogging up to me, not bothering to speed up; if he wanted to catch up to me, there was no stopping him. He was ten times more athletic than I could ever dream to be. "Leave me alone, Daniel."
"No," his voice was frustrated, "you stop leaving me. Is it really that hard to believe that I've liked you for ages? I've been dropping hints for years, Kelly! Years! It's just that you're too freaking dense to notice any of them! So what was I supposed to do, Kelly, wait for you and your slow-ass brain to figure it out? Not in a million years would you make sense of it, Kelly. You can't even do Calculus right."
"Oh, so now it's make-fun-of-Kelly day, is it?" I said heatedly, scowling darkly. "Just—leave me the hell alone, Daniel. You can go to hell for all I care."
"No—Kelly—" He grabbed my wrist as I turned to leave, and for the second time that night, his lips were on mine.
He broke the kiss and looked at me, frowning. "You're not responding to my advances, Kelly."
I frowned right back at him and decided, "You're a dork, Daniel Henderson." And since he looked so dorkishly handsome that night, I kissed him.
Four years later—
"So, seniors again," I said to Dan, taking one last look at the college campus before heading in to the auditorium.
"Yeah," said Daniel, rubbing the back of his head and frowning slightly. "I'm going to miss this place."
"You said that four years ago when we graduated from high school, too," I pointed out sensibly as we walked into the crowd of grads. Since my last name started with a G and his with an H, we ended up standing next to each other in line. They called my name first . . . ha.
"Kelly Granger." The guy announcing the names looked positively bored. He needed a lesson on life; maybe he had to read Anne of the Green Gables, too. (I had finally finished the book, five years after that book report was assigned.)
Dan was called after me, and once the names were done being announced, I found myself caught in a flurry of graduation hats and tassels. I threw mine up a little late and watched it fall to the ground. Daniel had been right. I would miss this place, and now I had no idea what I wanted to do anymore.
"Hey," Dan said quietly. I glanced at him. "You okay?"
"Yeah," I said. "Fine."
He glanced nervously towards the exit. "Good, because I need to tell you something . . ."
I remembered those words. Jenna had said them to him, and had gotten rejected. I, too, had said them to him on that same fateful night, and I'd gotten Daniel Henderson as a boyfriend. "Okay." I swallowed nervously. Hopefully this wasn't anything bad.
Daniel jerked his head towards the door, saying, "Let's go out." I nodded and followed him out the door. A couple of cursory glances were flashed our way, but the people looked away as our principal started speaking. Heh, ditching the graduation . . . this felt like high school.
"So," I said once we were outside, "what's all this about?" If he's breaking up with me, I'm totally gonna kill him, I added silently in my mind, narrowing my eyes slightly.
Rubbing the back of his head (it seemed to be turning into a habit of his), Dan said awkwardly, "Um, well, you know I suck at confessing and all that, Kells . . . So I guess I'll just—get to it."
Oh my God, he's breaking up with me, the thought went through my mind, slightly panicked. Four years, and he's breaking up with me? Four years?
"Kelly," he said, pulling a small box out of his graduation robe, "will you marry me?"
Okay, so maybe he wasn't breaking up with me.
I breathed out a sigh of relief, holding a hand to my heart. "God, Daniel, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. I thought you were freaking breaking up with me." Running a hand through my hair, I noticed that he was staring at me. "What did I do now?"
More staring. Heh, déjà vu . . . Kind of like that time at the homecoming dance that I told him I liked him, four years ago.
I hadn't said yes to his proposal.
OH, RIGHT. OOPS.
"Ah, yes! Yes, that's a yes!" I said quickly, my cheeks burning red. "I'm not going to reject you, gosh, Dan. Because that would totally suck, and you would've bought a ring for nothing, and—and—"
"Kelly," said Daniel loudly.
I blinked, stopping. "Uh, yeah?"
"Breathe," he drawled, his dry tone contrasting with the million-dollar smile that was slowly spreading across his handsome, basketball MVP face.
I breathed. Then I pulled a candy bar out of my pocket—a Twix bar, to be exact. Smiling, I held it out to him. "Um, happy graduation?" I asked sheepishly, grinning at him hopefully. He just laughed at me and said the very statement that I'd said to him four years ago:
"Kelly Granger, you're a dork."
And that was how I got engaged.
AN: What did you guys think? My first oneshot, so leave a review! Go ahead, you know you want to.
. . . That sounded kind of creepy. Well, toodles.