----------------------------------

A Sorta Fairytale

Chapter One: Break a Silver Lining

July 2004

-----------------------------------

"Being popular isn't everything, Danny," Sam sighed, glancing at her best friend. "And close your mouth. We are outside, you know."

Paulina disappeared around a corner, and Danny shook himself, returning to his sandwich.

"Yeah, but think of how much better'd things be if we were," Danny protested around a mouth full of peanut butter.

"He's got a point, Sam," Tucker added, nodding at his friend. "None of us would get stuffed into our lockers again, or shoved out of the way of the jocks, and we'd have social lives."

"If there's a point," Sam retorted coldly, getting to her feet, "then I fail to see it. Those guys are jerks."

"You can't say that," Tucker said, "you don't know them."

"Neither do either of you." She rolled her eyes. "See you guys in class."

Danny watched her walk away, narrowing his blue eyes.

"What's her problem?" he asked. Tucker shrugged.

"Girls," he said. "You're not supposed to know."

Danny laughed, and picked up his brown paper bag.

"Yeah, you're right."

"Of course I'm right." Tucker raised an eyebrow, watching his friend stand. "Where are you going?"

"Bathroom. See you later, okay?"

Tucker nodded, facing his lunch once more.

Danny adjusted his backpack on his shoulder, shaking dark bangs out of his eyes and began toward the school building.

Sam stood at her locker, glaring at the contents inside it. She couldn't help her irritation, even though she wished she hadn't snapped at Danny. Well, it didn't really matter; he never seemed to notice when he hurt her.

She sighed. He was such a nice guy … but about as observant as a rock. She tried to excuse it, chalking it up to the "fourteen-year-old boy" syndrome … but Danny had always been like that. She didn't blame him for it; it was just part of who he was, what made him Danny. She would hate to think of him changing in any sort of way—

"Hey, Sam."

She froze, one hand on the door of her locker. Who better to interrupt her thoughts, right?

"Oh, hey, Danny. Where's Tucker?"

She stared hard at the back wall of her locker, feeling the bitter sting of tears in the corners of her eyes. She never cried; why the hell did she have to start now?

"Outside. I was on my way to the bathroom … but, um … is everything okay?"

"Why wouldn't it be?" she asked, her tone colder than she intended … but she didn't care. Anything to make him go away, right?

"You just, you know, seemed –''

He stopped speaking suddenly; Sam didn't have to look at him to know why.

"Sam, you know I hate to do this to you, but I gotta put you on hold for five minutes."

"Sure."

There was a distant crash and a girl's high pitched shriek. Danny sighed.

"Make that six minutes."

"Of course."

He hesitated; she felt his bright blue gaze on her. Her stomach clenched. He didn't see it. Was she that good at hiding it? She doubted that. It was Danny; he couldn't help it. Oblivious as anything, that's all.

But that didn't stop her heart from feeling as though it would rip in two, didn't stop that single tear from escaping, from sliding down her cheek.

He turned away before he could see it, and was tearing off down the hallway. Sam tightened her grip on the locker door.

"Sure, Danny."