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Topic Started: Feb 5 2016, 07:19 PM (659 Views)
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((Danny Brooks continued from Ice Cream Truck Beat.))

“Ughhh, Jacob, where are you? Answer my texts, you jerk!”

Danny glared at his phone like it had personally slapped him. It was after school. He was meant to meet Jacob near the Green Belt before they went off to do things—bro things, which were usually pretty awesome things unless Jacob was being weird, and admittedly he was weird a lot because, y'know, that was just Jacob—but Jacob hadn't turned up yet and he wasn't answering his phone. Had Danny muddled up the days? He'd done that before.

He let out a huff and put his phone back into his pocket, retrieving his mp3 player instead. He could wait a little longer. He stuck his earbuds in and started cycling through music. No, no, no, god, why was finding the right tune always such a pain? Theoretically, every song on here was picked by him and thus awesome, but—

He finally stopped cycling when he came across a jazzy tune that blasted out for a moment before mellowing into a fast but comparatively quiet strummy kind of thing, building up to the full-on music.

“I think it's time to blow this scene. Get everybody and their stuff together.”

“Nice,” Danny muttered, putting his mp3 player back into his pocket and adjusting his earbuds. Nothing was quite as much of a buzzkill as accidentally yanking them out halfway through an awesome song.

“Okay. Three, two, one, let's jam.”

All the more trumpety/saxaphoney/whatever stuff kicked back in and Danny launched into a dance. There wasn't enough room to do anything too drastic, not without yanking his earbuds out, but he had moves. He had so many moves.

Nothing was as awesome as dancing. Nothing. If Danny could just dance forever to some never-ending but super catchy song he'd probably… eventually die of exhaustion, okay, but it would be the best death ever.

He was so into it that he didn't notice someone sneaking up on him.
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Danny would like to claim that he handled the sudden appearance of his ex-girlfriend—uncomfortable closeness, whispering and possible butt-pat included—in a mature, calm and rational manner. Unfortunately, he did not.

“JESUS CHRIST!”

He took off immediately. Fiyori still had a grip on his earbud, so his mp3 player got yanked out of his pocket as well. He paid that no mind, instead sprinting off towards the green belt and, beyond it, freedom.

He didn't have long to consider his actions. After all, Danny was a fast runner. He wasn't wide receiver on the school team for nothing. This gave him very little time to make decisions like 'should I try and parkour over that waist-high wall in between me and freedom?'

He decided he should try. Thing is, Danny could not parkour.

His attempt to vault over the waist-high fence resulted in him crashing and rolling once before coming to a halt. It was very painful. His mind caught up with his actions, and realised he wasn't going anywhere until he figured out if he'd just broken his ankle.

Play it cool.

“...Sup,” he said, arranging himself in a slightly less crumpled position and trying to look like he'd meant to do all that.
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Danny made a face at her comment about his music—excuse you, my tastes are awesome—then immediately covered it with his hands when she launched into that joke.

Why, Fiyori. Why. He could take other jokes at his expense, but why'd she have to go right there?

Still, he tried to pass it off like it didn't bug him. “Yeah, I'm real torn up about it. Sometimes I cry about it late at night.” He uncovered his face, although his cheeks had gone pink, and stuck out his tongue. “I'll live.”

Truth be told, Danny still liked Fiyori a lot. Not like-like, not anymore, but he thought she was fun. She was funny. And the relationship had been somewhere between warm enough to stay all nice and cuddly and stuff, but without getting over-bearing and dramatic and clingy and all that.

He probably would have stuck with it longer than it did if Fiyori hadn't tried to push things a little further. He'd thought he'd be okay with it—why was he never okay with it—but then it just felt so wrong, and he panicked, made an excuse to leave and dumped her over text message. He'd then proceeded to avoid her for fear of retaliation.

That had been a while ago.

Now, with his leg still rebelling against the idea of getting up—although he didn't think it was broken—he was torn between trying to crawl away before she got any closer or hoping that if he pretended nothing had ever happened that she would too. Sometimes girls didn't hold grudges. He'd reconnected friendships a couple of times, usually when they ambushed him to tell him that it was a douchey thing to do but fuck it. But… sometimes they did hold grudges. Most of the time, really.

He shifted back a little, now looking in any direction but Fiyori's.
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What does that mean? Chance of redemption? Proposal? Was she proposing to him? ...No, that's too far. Or was it? Oh god, who even knew? Sometimes girls were weird like that!

Why did that grin look like she was going to eat him? Combined with Fiyori's natural hunchiness, it made her look like a hyena.

“Fgahhgh,” he said, before warily eying the hand offered to him. He felt like it was going to suddenly turn into some clawed monstrosity and rip his face off. He didn't want that. He had a good face.

But redemption meant 'I am not quite about to rip off your face.' Maybe that meant there was a chance to smooth all this over.

“What… kind of propo… thing?” He looked her in the face and tried to pretend like he wasn't about to shit himself from fear.
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Danny's thought process briefly short-circuited. He'd blame that on the face patting. He spent a long moment staring at Fiyori, one eye kind of squinted and trying to discreetly lean away from her hand without making it obvious he was trying to do so.



…….

………Alright. Thought process was back online.

Well, at least that wasn't 'I require most of your limbs as payment.' But no, he couldn't do that, could he? Okay, yeah, he enjoyed Fiyori's company when she wasn't focusing the scariness on him—and it'd be really nice if she could stop touching his face now because that was making things extra confusing—and it wasn't like hanging out with her there would be a bad thing. He'd do it for sure if it was in a friendship way. He really didn't think she meant in a friendship way. Or maybe she did. Fiyori was Fiyori. Maybe this was just to mess with him. She liked doing that. But maybe she didn't. Maybe he'd finally gotten a stalker. He'd always kind of wondered if that would happen.

Stall. Stall for time.

He shuffled slightly back, again further out of reach of her hand. “You… don't have anyone else to go with? I mean, yes, I'm stunning, but—“
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Danny wrinkled his nose when she flicked his forehead, and squinted slightly when she said she had a lot of suitors.

Okay, he could have believed her if she'd said a couple. But if she had 'lots' she had to have a better choice than 'the guy who climbed out of her bathroom window once.' Unless she was crazy. She could be crazy. If he was going to accuse any of his exes of that, Fiyori would probably be top three. And the 'not a request' line leaned in that direction.

The obvious answer here, and hopefully the one that wouldn't result in her playing the hyenas in a live reenactment of Scar's death from the Lion King on him, was to make an excuse. A good excuse. Not 'I have to use the bathroom' this time.

“I…” Danny said slowly. “I have… a prior thing. Engagement? Yes. A prior engagement that I can't possibly back out of.”

...Nailed it. Or he would have nailed it once he figured out if that meant 'I already have a date' or 'I'm not going because of reasons.' Both presented issues.

“So, um… I mean, yeah, I owe you, I totally owe you, but… my hands are tied.” Danny climbed to his feet, testing his bruised ankle gingerly, seeing if it would be in a decent condition to run if he had to.

That was looking like a likely option here.
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That was not a good place for a leg to be.

Please don't kick my crotch, please don't kick my crotch, please don't kick my crotch.

Fear of crotch-kicking aside, he was now almost certain the crazy stalker thing was just an act. Fiyori wasn't that mad. And she'd always been up for pranks. So at that last line, he just let out a little 'pfft.'

"Nah, you're not. I assume 'deal with' means murder in this case? If you were gonna do that you wouldn't tell me. You'd just do it. And then leave the head in my bed, Godfather-style, or something." Also said girlfriend would have to exist. "But seriously, Fi. You're not that bananas."

He paused for a moment, then let out a little sigh.

"And if I'm about to be proven wrong, you have permission to put those last words on my tombstone. ...Please don't kick me." He shifted uncomfortably, looking downwards at Fiyori's strategically placed foot.
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He did flinch when she raised her leg, instinctively moving his legs closer together. But she didn't kick him. But how she tensed and what she said… that was way worse.

Shit.

Shit, shit, shit.

This is exactly the conversation that Danny always tried to avoid. He always sent texts and just crouched while walking past classrooms because that was always so much easier. This, however, was a giant, red neon 'you are an asshole and that doesn't change because you tried to ignore it' sign.

He considered running. Heavily considered running. He even moved one foot back, like he was about to turn tail and sprint off, like he'd attempted to do at the beginning of this conversation. But after a moment of consideration he shifted his foot back again, crossing his arms and covering his face for a moment with one hand.

He was here. And they were having this talk. Running could be done. But… running when she was giving him that look? Even he wasn't that bad.

“I… I know.”

Danny couldn't look at her face. So he just stared at the ground.

“Look, Fi… I… fuck, uh...”

He shifted weight onto one leg, then back again, bouncing a little as he mulled over his words.

“I… I was a jerk. I… I do know I was a jerk. I just… I panicked, and I made excuses and I ran. And I didn't explain why because I still don't know why! But… I was an asshole, and I… I treated you like shit, and I'm sorry. And you… you so deserve to be mad.”

He fidgeted with his fingers for a moment.

“...And you can kick me in the crotch if you really want to.”
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She was touching his face again, although this time it was less face-strokey. He did meet her gaze when she made him, although he shifted uncomfortably and his eyes squinted a little.

She said they should be friends again. That leaving school without being friends would suck. And she was right. It would suck, to lose someone as cool as Fiyori because he couldn't deal with taking his pants off.

“Yeah. Yeah, same, I'd… yeah. I'd like that.”

She'd let go of his face, ironically the moment that it had become less uncomfortable. And she was smiling but she was also breathing weird. And Danny was feeling pretty emotional. Ashamed and happy and relieved and more than a little awkward. It made his stomach feel very tight, and he shuffled on his feet for a moment.

He cleared his throat and spoke in perhaps a slightly louder and cheerier voice than what was perhaps suitable.

“Yeah! Friendship! High five!”

He lifted his hand up, grinning. Nothing like a high five to make shit go back to normal in a good way.
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She returned the high five. It did make everything feel better. Lightened the knot in his stomach a little. Angry people burning with hatred didn't return high fives.

"Yep. Absolutely." He did owe her. (Okay, he probably owed a lot of girls but that was a giant pit of owingness that he really could not acknowledge without screaming right now.) "I mean... I could go with you to the dance, if you wanted? Not as, like... stalkers or in a romantic way, but..."

He paused, then shifted awkwardly again.

"Um. ...Yeah, I may have lied about the prior thing, too. Sorry. You did have me going there for a moment with the stalker thing. But that's the last lie or excuse, I swear!

"And nah, you earned the right to be a little insane." Danny laughed and added, "If you can't fake at being a creepy stalker in this situation, then when can you?"
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“What, 'Cosmic Space Adventure?' What's not awesome about that? It's adventure. In space!” Danny lifted his hands and wiggled his fingers, to emphasise just how awesome adventure in space was. But that was fair. School dances weren't for everyone. Danny just really liked any excuse to dance.

“But I getcha. Uh… and much appreciated. I like my junk where it is.” He rubbed the back of his head and grinned wider. His cheeks were still a little pink.

“Uh, I guess I'll see you there if we end up in the same place, then?” Although he'd have to figure out where said party was. He was not ready to confront every ex-girlfriend he had yet. Even if he knew, based off this experience, that it might be a good idea in the long run.
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He took his mp3 player back, looking down at it for a moment before switching it off and sticking it back in his pocket.

"Thanks. Uhh... I dunno, I got a lotta songs on there. Jazz is always pretty nice, though."

And, oh great, that wasn't an awkward question at all.

"Girls on the go? What? I don't have girls on the go," Danny said defensively. "I have exactly zero girlfriends right now. Besides, I don't cheat on girls. That's just... no."

He rocked back and forth on his feet for a moment.

"But, if you mean 'how many did I dump via text message and then attempt to avoid'... then yeah, the number might be... slightly higher." He was looking at the ground again.

God, he was a piece of shit, wasn't he?
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He didn't really say anything as she left, although he kind of awkwardly waved once she was some distance away.

He supposed it was progress. Maybe he should find all the other girls he'd been a jerk towards. Try and apologise. Some of them probably would kick him in the junk. But it was better to wrap things up, right? And maybe he'd regain a few friends, like with Fiyori.

Of course, Danny wouldn't do that. He was a coward, that didn't change because of one encounter. But it was a nice thought. Maybe one day it would be more than a thought.

Danny sat down, back against the wall he'd unsuccessfully tried to jump over, and put his earbuds back in. He had some things to think about. Now was as good a time as any.

((Danny Brooks continued elsewhere.))
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