The Loner's Aftermath


 The way things go sometimes, you just got to let it be
that way. The Beatles said it all along, didn’t they? Let it be… and that’s
what had to happen. Daniel got the girl, and you know what, I didn’t have a
problem with that. Leaving them by themselves… in the darkness of the night…
bothered me little. That was the reality of things… Daniel getting what he

 Whatever I said at the meeting was perfectly masked with
fake happiness and forgiveness. I had done my best to mask the hollow feeling I
actually had. Closure was all I sought, and I didn’t even get that… Daniel
eased away from answering my question by apologizing. I should’ve bailed when
he said that, but I was foolish and decided to stay.

 They were together in the hallways these days, holding
hands and doing whatever the heck they wanted to. In retrospect, Samantha and I
were wondering in the hallways, holding hands and doing whatever the heck we
wanted to.

 We had finally grown completely separate from each other.
Claudia and I shared glances at each other sometimes… and I thought that felt
just the same as me about this current situation we were forced in to. No, not
forced, but by choice I took this lifestyle. Didn’t that sound familiar?

 Daniel shot half-worried glances at me sometimes, because
he knew one thing was very clear between the two of us. One day, he was waiting
for Claudia to arrive at his class; it would be the first time they would be
publically together. Before she entered, I turned towards Daniel and left him
with a warning.

 “Let me tell you this… if you do not treat her properly…
if you do anything bad to her in any shape or form… I will beat you until you
scream bloody murder” I threatened, and it was far from hollow. It had
surprised Daniel and seemingly scared him, and so far he was doing fine. I felt
that I should ‘protect’ Claudia… I wasn’t her boyfriend, but she was still my
oldest friend.

 Excluding that last conversation, Daniel and I said
nothing to each other, and Claudia only offered a weak ‘Hi’. There would come a
day, I theorized, when we wouldn't even see each other; we’d find a way to avoid
being seen.

 This… I can cope with. Samantha was fine, and her friends
were just as nice as Daniel. They didn’t think I was conspiring against them,
did they? Just yesterday, our group went out to watch a very nice horror movie.
This marked another night getting high on caffeine and kissing when we could.

 I enjoyed life now. I embraced it openly. You can never
have the same friends for forever, can you? They grow old eventually and move
on, and that’s just how life is; people coming and going. I think I had finally
found people that wouldn’t go away… at least not in a while.

 Everything was fine until some events began to take place
that changed our ways of life… at least mine. Wandering through the halls one
day, I saw a very tall, very ugly, very well-built individual walking down it.
I quickly ducked into a nearby crowd to avoid his gaze.

 It was Craig Johnson.

 I thought I had seen the last of him at middle school!
But no, there he was, looking almost just like he did three years ago… when he
took Samantha from me. What if that’s what he came for… just to give me more

The following week found me trying my best not to get
pushed around by the only person that tried to beat me up ever in my life. As
soon as he finds Samantha and I, I knew my days would be numbered. He was
rumored to have nearly killed someone before. 

However, the worst was yet to come. Minding my own
business in science class, the teacher suddenly pulls a project out on us.
Naturally, we groaned and complained. She went on to say that she was picking
our own partners, which resulted in more loud groans and complaints.

 “Alright, when I call your names, please go with that
person” the teacher began. She started reading off names, and I soon noticed…
she hadn’t called Daniel, Claudia, Samantha, or I. “Daniel and Samantha, you’re
partners. That just leaves Lionel and Claudia”.

 Awkward, angry, and confused gazes were shot across the

 Daniel, particularly, looked like he did when he thought
I was setting himself up for depression. Claudia looked just like I had over
the years… she was the one stuck in the middle now. Samantha, who knew nothing
of the broken friendship she stepped into, was thankfully ignorant to the
troubles this situation now caused.

 “At the beginning of the class, you are to get with your
partner right away and get to work. This project is due in two weeks, and your
best effort needs to be put into it. You may start working today or complete
your homework for today”.

 With that, I walked over and sat by Claudia. Daniel was
unmoving, so Samantha joined him.

 “Certainly an awkward turn of events” I muttered, my
voice still recovering from its usage last night.

 “That’s one way to put it” Daniel replied icily.

 “Don’t assume I set this up, because I did not. I told
you, you can have her. I’m done with you… was that not clear?”

 “Please… let’s put all of this behind us… can we handle
that much?” Claudia said, trying to break the tension that was growing. It
seemed as though she succeeded. Daniel walked away into a separate corner leaving
Claudia and I alone.

 “So… what do you want to start with?” she asked me,
though I was hardly paying any attention.

 “I really can’t believe we used to be friends… then after
one meeting that was meant to fix that… all it did was completely break me apart
from you guys. You’re too…” I coughed, then continued. “You’re too wrapped up
with each other”.

 “Forget it” she said, waving her hands. “I don’t want to
hear it… forget it”.

 I sighed, then walked over to get some supplies. On my
way there, a foot was extended in front of me, causing me to trip and fall flat
on my face. Grunting, I rolled over to see Craig Johnson looking rather amused
with his antics.

 “Look who else is in my class” he said with his dark,
deep voice. Craig had entered my science class as soon as he appeared in school
suddenly. Since my name was openly broadcasted by the teacher, I was now open
to his insults and aggressive behavior.

 “You’ve been keeping Samantha well for me?” he joked in
his own manner of sick humor. “She’s played you, boy. Can’t you see that? She’s
always played you, an you always fell for it”.

 I kept my mouth shut, trying my best not to shout any retort
back at him. He took this as an opportunity to continue his teasing brigade.

 “She’s not interested you at all. You’re a
low-life-loner, know that? What friends do you really have? The dust mites in
the dark corner you frequent?” he laughed, shoving my head against the hard,
cold floor of the classroom. I didn’t feel anything break or break open and
bleed, so that was a good start.

 “Leave him alone” I heard a voice say. Daniel now stood
over me, looking down on Craig. Seeing this, he stood up and towered over
Daniel, who wasn’t fazed by this action. With a small shove, Craig pushed him
out of the way and walked over to a different corner of the classroom.

 I stumbled back and leaned against a cabinet, gasping.
What if… how… what? I held my head, another aching pain brewing inside of it.
That has been happening to be more often than ever… I needed to sleep. That’s
all I needed.

 “Thanks” I said, this comment directed at Daniel. He
nodded and walked away. Like Claudia, had I judged him too quickly?

 Samantha had observed the scene play out, and I could
have sworn I saw a small smile appear on her face.

The End

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