the lunchroom was giddy with excitement, for the summer dance had finally been announced. girls giggled as they conversed with their friends on what dresses they were going to buy, while the boys whispered to each other on what girl they were going to ask out.
at their own little table, angel listened to her friends talk about the upcoming event as she chewed on her carrot sticks.
"who do you guys have your eyes on for dates?"
"maybe joseph, or arthur."
"arthur radcliffe? ew! he's such a nerd!"
"but he's a cute one!"
angel drank from her little chocolate milk carton. she stayed silent until suddenly, the attention was on her.
"what about you, angel?" mary-jane asked, inciting the two other girls to look at the doe-eyed girl. "who do you got your sights on?"
placing the milk carton down, the honey bee conjured up a response. "w-well, i don't know. i don't know if anyone wants to take me to the dance."
her pals concomitantly awwed at the naïveness of those two sentences.
"angel, literally everyone loves you!" lilith asserted, rubbing the doe-eyed baby's arm. "there's not one person in this school who wouldn't want to go with you."
"you know who'd be dying to ask her out?" tabitha inquired. the girls huddled close, as tabitha completed the rest of her declaration. "james."
mary-jane and lilith hooted in agreement, while angel couldn't help but grimace.
"no... that'll be weird."
james macaroe was undeniably the school's prince. he was good looking, a fast runner and incredibly smart, but overall it was his kindness that captured everyone's attention. he was never rude, smiled at everyone, and was always there to lend a hand, whether it be to a struggling math student or to a teacher who needed help carrying school supplies.
all the boys wanted to be him, while the girls wanted to be with him.
all girls, except for angel.
in the fourth grade, james moved from arizona to connecticut. after becoming acquainted with everyone, students quickly noticed how soft james was with angel just days after meeting her. he'd take her backpack to her cubby spot, hold her hand while they headed for lunch, and even offered to do her math class work when she was struggling.
these cute actions resulted in everyone talking about how cute of a couple they'd be, while angel stood there, disagreeing. james was nothing more than a brotherly-figure to her, much to her peers dismay.
after six consecutive school years, the angel and james propaganda had eventually died down, since they were now in tenth grade and they still haven't dated. although a majority of the students had long forgotten about that occurrence, there were a handful of those that still believed in james x angel. those handful contained angel's friends.
"it wouldn't be weird. you guys known each other since elementary, so you guys should know everything about the other."
"but he's like a brother to me! and i'm sure he sees me like a sister too!"
the girls chortled at angel's remark.
"oh, angel. you're so oblivious."
suddenly, the school bell rung, signaling the end of the lunch period. rising up from their seats, the girls began to speak. "i outta get to class. mr. murray'll kill me if i arrive late again. angel, you coming?"
popping her head up at the mention of her name, the flower answered back with a, "i have to use the bathroom, you guys can go without me."
nods of approval, the girls left the cafeteria, leaving the now solemn girl by herself with her thoughts.
oblivious? was the girl oblivious? more importantly, what does that word even mean?
it was the end of the school day, and angel found herself walking home without her friends.
it was a monday, so that means lilith was off at tennis practice while tabitha was attending her youth volunteer group. she would have mary-jane with her, but unfortunately for angel, she was picked up early shortly after lunch for her dentist appointment.
given the opportunity of being alone for the first time in a while and not wanting to go home quite yet, angel decided to walk down to fulton park; a large, but ambient space to indulge in her emotions.
taking a different route, she managed to arrive at the park in about seven minutes or so.
when she got there, however, she was taken aback to see a familiar figure sitting underneath the largest sycamore tree in the grassland, smoking away peacefully.
wasting no time, the honey bun marched her way to the tree, standing right in front of the beautiful living piece of artwork.
"hi, " she simply greeted, as the boy took the cigarette of his mouth.
"hey, sugar." he responded, a sly smile in tow.
the sugar warmly smiled in return. slash wordlessly patted the area of grass right next to him, signaling for the blonde girl to take a seat. she complied.
it was tranquil for a couple of beats, as slash smoked away, while angel watched a couple of kids play a couple of feet away from them in the playground.
eventually, angel grew tired of the silence and moved to launch a conversation.
"what does oblivious mean?" the girl innocently asked, peeking at the boy adjacent to her, waiting for a response.
"did someone call you that, tiger?" cigarette smoke left his mouth as he asked the question, causing his voice to deepen a little. that did something to angel's tummy.
yes. "no, i just read it in a book today and i don't know what it means."
he nodded. "it a word to describe someone that doesn't know what's happening around them. they're too naive. too innocent."
"oh." angel replied, thankful for the definition. it went quiet again, until angel started up again.
"do you think i'm oblivious?"
"you're cute, that's for sure." slash promptly responded. "way too cute. i'm not sure about oblivious, yet. i don't know you enough to figure that one out."
"then let's get to know each other now!" angel excited said, sitting up from her previous criss-cross seating position to now bouncing up and down on her knees.
"okay," slash complied, turning his body so he was face-to-face with the jumpy bunny. "what's your name?"
"oh, it's angel," she answered with a smile. "it's not my real name, but everyone calls me that so i just go with it."
"huh. well, nice to meet you, angel. i'm slash." switching the cig towards his left hand, he extended his right hand out to jokingly shake the girl's hand.
giggling, angel conceded with a "oh, i already knew your name."
slash stopped shaking. "you did?" he asked smoothly, but with a hint of confusion in his voice.
angel stopped shaking as well. "my friends talked about you one time. why? what's wrong?"
"what's wrong? honey, what do you mean what's wrong?"
angel stammered. "i-i-"
"of course they have. i should've known as soon as they pulled you away the first time we saw each other. of course they told you about me. of course they told you what everyone in this town thinks of me."
deafening silence filled the air, despite the little songbirds above them singing. slash had turned away from the girl, looking straight ahead as he took drags from his coffin nail.
"i don't believe them," angel said, in an attempt to pacify the situation. "i really don't."
more silence. not a vocal response, not a head nod, nothing. just mist floating out of slash's mouth as he smoked.
after more beats had passed with no reaction, angel felt herself break down a little. she hated being ignored, especially in the mists of arguments. especially when she didn't understand what she did wrong.
tears poured out of the distressed girl's eyes, little noises spilling out in spite of her attempts to suppress them. "i'm sorry, " she said, voice audibly shaking. "i'm really, really sorry."
the weeping was enough to obtain slash's attention. veering his head in the direction of the crying pixie, his eyes soften with dismay. he expanded his arms, signaling a hug.
the little lady practically jumped into his arms, a sobbing mess. all slash could do was hold her as tightly as he could, making sure that his cigarette in his hand didn't graze over her clothes.
"it's okay," slash assured. "you have nothing to apologize for."
they stayed like that for a while, warm in each other's embraces. slash rubbed up and down the girl's back, while angel grasped at the boy's shirt. after a couple of minutes, angel had finally calmed down due to the sobs now replaced with hiccups, and her breathing back at a steady pace.
slash pulled away from her. "let's get outta here, honey."
angel nodded, and the pair stood up, their legs a little woozy after being seated for so long. before they left, slash remembered the cancer stick still in his hand. he hurled it onto the grass beneath them.
"step on that for me, sugar?"
angel complied and did what was asked of her. satisfied, slash held his arm out as a manner for angel and him to link arms. they did, and together they walked out of the park.
between the both of them, their question from before had been answered.
angel was completely oblivious.