Daniel watched students trickle in and out of the front door of the school. Normally he’d have gone inside by now, but today, things were different. Someone had hung a bit of mistletoe in the doorway, and it made for some interesting people watching. One pair of students chatted under the doorway, oblivious to the decor above them. It didn’t take long for a third to join them and point it out.
Even from his vantage point thirty feet away, Daniel could see their faces turn red. He chuckled to himself as both leapt out from under it and promptly parted ways. Of course, not everyone had the same reaction. Some had no problem taking the opportunity to make out in the doorway, blocking all traffic in and out of the school. Others didn’t see it at all.
“What are ya doing, Dan?”
Dan jumped and turned to see his friend, Wiley.
“Could you maybe not sneak up behind me?” Dan said, “You’re gonna give me a-”
“Heart attack? At sixteen? I think you’ll be alright.” Wiley glanced towards the doorway. “So, are you enjoying my addition to the decor?”
“You did that?”
“Genius, I know. Won’t be long before the janitor takes it down though, so you’d better take advantage of it soon.”
“What are you rambling about? Did you forget to take your meds again?”
“I always ‘forget’ to take them, you should know that by now. Anyways, you know that cliché schoolboy crush of yours? The one you creepily stalk and never talk to, just like the protagonist in some cheesy middle school movie?”
“And you know how, in those movies, the hopelessly awkward social outcast somehow manages to get that girl to date him through the power of plot convenience?”
“I don’t think I’m that awkward.”
“Whatever you say. Anyways, that mistletoe is your plot convenience. Now, she should get here any minute, and when she does, all you need to do is just so happen to stop her under the doorway and boom! You’ve got yourself a girlfriend just in time for the holidays.”
“Now hold on a minute, that’s not how it-”
“Relax! I know from experience, this’ll be just like the movies. Or maybe this is a book. Doesn’t matter, I’d be open to either.
“Look, there she is now!”
A black limousine pulled up to the curb and a girl in high heels and a mountain of jewelry stepped out. Immediately, she was flanked by two other slightly less rich and popular girls, who served as her posse.
“My word,” Wiley said, “They fit the bill perfectly. Maybe this really is a novel.”
“It’s real life. You do know that, don’t you?”
“Whatever. Your opportunity is slipping away, go talk to her before she goes inside!”
“No! This is insane, you’re insane, and I want no part in it.”
“Guess you’ll be needing a little nudge then,” He said, “Hey, Audry!”
He started towards the trio of girls.
“What are you doing?” Hissed Daniel, chasing after him “Do you want to publicly humiliate me?”
Wiley ignored him. “There’s someone I want you to meet!” They had reached the girls now, and all three stared at them.
“What do you want?” said the girl on the left, “I thought I told you never to speak to us again.”
“Ooooh,” Said Wiley, “Right, I forgot about that little incident.”
“You stood me up twice in the same day! Last week!”
“Uh, hi.” Said Daniel, “Sorry about my friend here, he’s off his meds. We’ll just leave you guys alone now.”
“Aren’t you, like, always off your meds?”
“Yeah, but that’s besides the point,” Wiley said, “This is that guy I wanted you to meet, Audry.”
“Uh, cool. Great. Now go away.”
Daniels face grew warm. “Will do.” He muttered, and turned to walk away.
“You’re fine, I was talking to him.” She pointed to Wiley.
“Alrighty then,” he winked at Daniel, “Good luck dude.”
“Walk with us,” Audry said, “I’m curious, why did Wiley want us to meet you?”
“Oh, you know Wiley,” Daniel chuckled nervously, “There’s really no knowing what goes on in his head. One minute we were chatting about… dumb guy stuff, then he saw you and decided to introduce me.”
He glanced at the doorway, growing dangerously close.
“So, you’re not gonna, like, ask me out or something, are you?” Audry said, “Because that’d be like, mega weird. I don’t know you, like, at all. And, no offense, but you’re not exactly my ‘type.’”
“And she wouldn’t date a friend of Wiley, anyways.” Said the girl on the right, “He’s a jerk, and it might rub off on you.”
“That... wasn’t the plan,” Daniel wiped his brow, “Like I said, I have no idea what he was thinking.”
They passed through the doorway and into the school. No one noticed the mistletoe, and Daniel certainly wasn’t about to point it out.
“Good,” Said Audry, “Anyways, we’ve got to go to class. It was cool to meet you, or whatever.”
“Cool,” Daniel muttered, “Just great.”
“See you later, I guess.”
“Yeah, see ya.” Daniel stared at his shoes
The girls left without another word. Daniel slumped against the wall and sighed, trying to hold back the tears that sprang to his eyes all too easily.
Wiley rushed into the building. “What on earth was that?” He said, “They didn’t even notice it! Man, I knew I should’ve made it bigger…”
“Please leave me alone.”
“Don’t worry about it man, you’ll have another chance. Your epic romance novel is just beginning!”
“It’s not a novel,” Daniel said, “It’s a short story, and it’s over now. Go find someone else to entertain you.”