Tame a Monster

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Chapter Twenty

The next day, I was hoping Daniel forgot all about asking me to sit by him at lunch.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it all morning, the anxiety was getting to me. I wish I hadn’t said yes at all.

They were not going to like me, I just knew it.

I really did not want to be hated again, especially not by this school’s vast majority of female students.

In the cafeteria, I made sure to keep my head down and walk by Daniel’s table really fast, hopefully unnoticed.

But of course, that would be asking for a miracle.

Not only does he spot me, but he makes a show of calling out my name in front of the entire student body, capturing the attention of everyone in the cafeteria.

“Angeline! Almost missed us there! I saved a seat for you!”

Some people looked at me as if I grew two heads, and to make matters worse, Daniel wound an arm around my shoulders with a huge cheerful smile on his face. He guided me to his table and introduced me to all of his friends.

Although I saw some genuine smiles, I mostly got questioning looks. One girl in particular, a pretty red-head gave me a once over, taking in my appearance, before making a face. When Daniel introduced us, her greeting seemed forced and almost pained.

Oh no, she likes him doesn’t she, are they dating?

But it didn’t seem like it, he would’ve introduced her as his girlfriend otherwise.

The first few minutes were awkward, with Daniel trying to include me into conversations I could hardly relate to. But with Daniel being the charismatic person that he was, he quickly had the whole table, me included, in hysterics.

A lot of his friends opened up to me after that. I really liked Shelby and Jonah, this really awesome couple. Shelby was really sweet and kind to me, asking me questions about myself and including me into conversation with the girls.

By the end of the lunch period, I was surprised by how okay it went.

Even the red haired girl, Lacey, was being overly nice to me, granted it was obviously for show but I’d take that over rude any day.

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“So… how do you like my friends?”

“They were surprisingly really nice and welcoming, I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Well I told you so, they’re good peeps.”

“Yea, I like Shelby a lot, she was really nice.”

“Why did you think they wouldn’t be welcoming?”

“I dunno I don’t have the best experience with meeting new people.”

“How come?”

“Probably because my appearance throws them off.”

“But you look fine to me.”

“I wasn’t fishing for compliments but thanks anyway, and I know that’s not true. I look like a homeless man, been told so, many times.” I say with a shrug.

“Now that’s just ridiculous, if anything you look like a crazy cat lady.”

I snorted out the water I was drinking and some of it came up my nose. Letting out a loud laugh, I smack him lightly on the arm.

“Hey! You were supposed to tell me how wrong they were! And that I actually resemble a beauty queen!”

“What was it you told me huh? Something about not fishing for compliments?” He grinned.

Rolling my eyes, I couldn’t help the smile on my face, “yea yea, whatever.”

Oh my god! Am I flirting with Daniel!? No, not possible, this is just friendly banter. Even if I was, it’s not like he’d ever flirt or like me back. I honestly don’t understand why half these girls are getting so riled up for.

Obviously first and foremost, I’m not his type to begin with. Second, his “fixation” on me will be as temporary as this friendship. Once the “new girl“ excitement wears off, he’ll come to his senses and realize there is nothing different or special about me after all and move on to better things.

“What are you doing Friday after school?”

I paused, “huh?”

“What are you doing Friday after school?” He repeated.

“Probably homework and then making dinner for my dad, why?”

“Me and some friends were going to go bowling, I was just wondering if you wanted to come?”

“I don’t know, I don’t have a car, I wouldn’t be able-”

“I’d pick you up, no worries.”

“Well, I don’t have a phone either so I-”

“Woah! You don’t have a phone? But this is 2020!”

“Some of us are behind on the times, thanks.”

“You know that’s not an issue either, we’ll resort to the good old fashion way of setting a time.”

Dammit! He has an answer for everything!

“Well, the truth is that my dad is really strict. I doubt he’d let me go.”

Daniel stood silent for a moment, “would he feel better if he met me in person? I’m totally down to talk to him and reassure him.”

Again with this boy was persistence.

“Oh god no! If my dad found out I was going alone with a boy, he’d KILL me! Absolutely not!”

“We won’t be alone, we’ll be in a group,”

“But he won’t see it that way! But I’ll just talk to him anyway okay? I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

“Sounds good! Bye Cat Lady! Gotta get to class.”

“Wait!” I yelled after him.

“Yea?”

“Is this some kind of trick?”

“What?”

“Are you setting me up?”

“A set up for what?”

“For humiliation?”

“What kind of person do you think I am!?”

“A good one I hope. Can I ask you a question?”

Daniel’s perplexed expression turned wary. “Uh… yes?”

“Why are you nice to me?”

“What do you mean?”

“You went out of your way to make me feel welcomed and you were nicer to me than anyone probably has been my whole life, why?”

“Because I’m a decent human being?”

“That’s it? No ulterior motives?”

“Christ no! Look I know you had it bad in your last school, but we are not them. I’m not a bully, I’d never do that to anyone, ever.” He looked at me baffled, offended, but mostly... sincere.

And I… believed him. He hasn’t given me a reason to doubt him, so then why am I?

I smiled at him, a real smile, “I’m sorry for going all crazy and accusatory on you, it was uncalled for.”

“It’s fine I guess,” He said skeptically, “one has to make sure one way or another.”

“Yea… but I’ll let you know tomorrow! Bye!”

“Ok, bet.”

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That night, as we ate dinner, I contemplated whether I should ask my dad or not. I doubt he would even let me go, especially after what happened at Chambers.

My dad was absentminded most times and downright clueless when it came to teenage girls, but recently he’s been asking me everyday how school is and if anyone was bothering me. He went from a nonchalant indifferent parent, to a smothering protective one, there was no way he’d let me go. I think it was his way of compensating for not being there for me before, but he doesn’t realize that it wasn’t his fault and I didn’t blame him, I never did. I wanted to protect him.

I should just scrap the idea, who was I kidding?

But I had nothing to lose by asking either.

Before I could change my mind again, I just decided to go for it.

“Dad.”

“¿Si?”

“My… uh… friend… uh… my friend invited me to go bowling with them. I was just wondering if I can go?

“I mean, I don’t have to go, but I was just wonder-”

“Your fren, whas her name?”

I contemplated changing her name to a girl because then he’d be far more likely to say yes, but I also knew he’d probably want to see her in person first.

His name is… Daniel.”

“A boy?”

“Yes, he’s a boy but he’s only my friend, and there will be other people there too!”

He nodded, “okay then… you can go.”

“We won’t be alo- Wait, Really?!”

“Yes, go, have fun, make frens.”

“Oh… okay… but are you sure?”

“¡Si! What time you go?”

“Um… seven?”

“What time you be home?”

“Ten?”

“Fine.”

Well damn, that was easy… too easy.

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