A Few Notes
The college mentioned below is, for all intensive purposes, my college. I may change some things, but it's still basically my college.
This is one of the stories that I've been anticipating. I don't think this chapter will be one of my better ones, but I needed a way to start it. It'll get better, I promise. If you aren't interested after reading it then I ask you to please read the next chapter when I put it up. Perhaps it will spark your interest then.
Disclaimer: I'm not worthy! I love Danny Phantom, but Butch Hartman is the genius who owns him.
Chapter 1-The Opening Act
Tucker had been waiting for about a half hour before the sound of a familiar vehicle cut through the other sounds of the college campus. Twenty seconds later, a familiar motorcycle came into view from the road that led down to the small town that the college overlooked. He grinned and waved a hand to signal the rider where he was and waited patiently as the motorcycle sped over and finally stopped in front of the college's Main Hall. Tucker ran down the steps to greet his friend as the helmet was pulled away.
"Sam! Hi, how are you?"
The girl gave a grin. "You saw me over Christmas break, Tucker. Not much has changed since then."
"Okay, then…how was your trip?"
"I ran into some construction and the roads weren't clear from snow in some places, but I managed. Sorry, I'm a little late." She glanced around. "I forgot how small this place is."
Tucker nodded. "It's a lot different form Casper High."
Ferrell University was a small college with only about 600 students. It had been founded in the late 1890's, and, while modern conveniences had been added, the school still retained a classic charm to it. There were two main dorm buildings and then other houses for students were situated on and off-campus. The hill the college sat on overlooked the small town of Cody. The town only had about 5000 people, but Sam recalled that there was a larger city named Lexton about fifteen miles away.
Tucker glanced suspiciously at the one bag Sam picked up from her motorcycle. "Please tell me that's not everything you have."
"I'm shipping everything else. Hopefully, it's gotten here by now. Where's Danny?"
"At the Student Union." Tucker internally laughed as he remembered exactly what his friend was doing there.
Tucker rolled his eyes. "He has no idea you're here or that you're even coming," he recited.
The smile Sam gave him made Tucker consider edging away from the Goth. Maybe he shouldn't have helped her. But the thought of Danny's face kept him from spilling the secret. This was going to be priceless. From the look on Sam's face, she was having similar thoughts.
No, that sounded stupid, he thought. Danny scratched out a line and glared down at the paper that was supposed to be a letter. He'd been working on it for about an hour. So far, "Dear Sam," was the only thing worth keeping.
He was a coward, he admitted it. After fighting his growing attraction for his best friend, this was how he was going to tell her? It was pathetic, it really was. He could fight ghosts and save his city from disaster after disaster, but he couldn't say, "Sam, I love you." to her face?
And the letter wasn't even turning out like he wanted it to. Darn it all! He knew what he wanted to say, but getting it out on paper was an entirely different matter.
He bit the back of his pen nervously as he tried to think of what to say. He didn't even acknowledge it as the door opened and two people stepped inside.
Tucker and Sam glanced at each other before returning their gazes to their friend. It was just too easy. Danny was off in his own world. Sam frowned for a second as she took in his desperate look of concentration. Classes didn't start until tomorrow so what exactly was he doing? It had to be something stressful if he was biting his pen the way he was. She hoped everything was all right. A faint blush arose as she stared at him, and she shook it away to concentrate on what Tucker was saying.
"How's it going so far?"
"Fine," Danny murmured, his eyes still trained on the paper in front of him.
"Are you sure? Maybe you should take a break."
Danny just shook his head. Tucker frowned. He knew how strained Danny was over the letter, but if he would just look up then the letter would be pointless anyway.
"I kind of wanted you to meet a friend of mine."
Sam had been growing increasingly worried and decided the game was over. "Hi, Danny."
Danny's pen hit the table from where he'd now been twirling it his hand. His eyes stayed on the paper. It couldn't be. He was hallucinating.
Sam gave a small smile. That was around the reaction they'd been expecting, if somewhat bigger. She turned to Tucker.
"I need to go get checked in and make sure no one steals my motorcycle. I think it's safe to say that Danny is going to be like that for a while. Why don't we meet at dinner? Maybe he'll be a bit livelier then.
Tucker nodded and Danny only started to lift his head as she made her exit. He was able to make out his friend's back as she left. So he could see the hallucination, too.
And as the door closed, Sam was able to hear Tucker as he started to laugh. She gave a relieved sigh, though. The Arts college she had been at before was nice, but the feeling that she was missing something always lingered in her mind. And the school was a little bit too big for her. She had really missed and Danny and Tucker and the adventures the three would have together. The thought that she might transfer had crossed her mind, but she hadn't taken it seriously until she had seen Danny and Tucker over Thanksgiving. Then she had started making arrangements. And somehow she'd forgotten how being around Danny was a problem. Her feelings for him came back over Christmas break. She was just going to have to keep them hidden. He didn't feel that way about her. He'd spent years it seemed drooling over Paulina (though that phase had thankfully ended) and, by now, he probably had already found someone here at the university that he liked. Keeping her feelings hidden was for the best. No one wanted a broken heart.
Danny's reaction flickered in her mind again and she gave a small chuckle also. Surprising Danny had been worth it. She'd confided in Tucker so he could keep Danny busy while her things were brought back home from her previous college during the first week of Christmas break. Tucker wasn't the most reliable person, but, from Danny's reaction, he hadn't spoiled the surprise. She gave a small chuckle again as she reached the college's business office. She didn't realize that she was going to do a lot more of that in the future.
The sound was muffled because Danny currently had his head buried in his pillow. Hopefully, the statement did not mean that Danny was trying to asphyxiate himself.
Tucker gave an exasperated sigh from where he was currently working on his computer. "It's not that bad. You act like her being here is a bad thing."
"It's not!" Danny finally raised his head away from his pillow. He had been in that position for most of the time. Ever since they had said good-bye to Sam last night after talking with her as they showed her around. He had acted normal yesterday after the initial shock, but now he seemed more traumatized then Tucker had ever seen him. "I mean, it is! It is for me!"
"And why is that?"
"I can't…I'll just blurt out that I love her."
"But you were going to write a letter to her about it."
"But if I tell her…she probably doesn't feel the same way."
Tucker have a snort of disbelief. How blind could Danny be?
"And if I don't blurt it out than I won't be able to tell her at all. I just can't win. And I thought she was happy at the Arts school she was at. Why did she transfer?"
Tucker shrugged. He had asked her the same question, but had yet to receive a direct answer. Still, he thought as he glanced at Danny, he thought he had a good idea.
""She said something about how the school just wasn't what she thought it would be."
"But she should be going to a school that will help her with her career. She wants to be an artist. There has to be some Arts school that will help instead of a small university like this."
"So why are you here, Mr. Astronaut?"
Danny gave a chuckle. "Touché."
"But you're acting like you don't want Sam here."
"I do. I'm glad she's here. She just surprised me. But I've been keeping this secret for so long…we've been friends for so long…she's not going to feel the same way."
"You can't know that. You can always find out how she feels."
The look he gave Tucker was wary. "How?"
"Flirt with her. Give her subtle hints and see how she responds."
"Flirt?" Danny's face screwed up as he tried to picture it. "With Sam?" Obviously, from his facial expression, what he was picturing wasn't pleasant. "Tucker, if she doesn't feel the same way then she is going to kill me."
"You don't have to do it. But if you aren't going to just tell her then I don't see what other choice you have besides ignoring it all together. You could try the letter thing again, I suppose. But I don't think Sam is going to be the one to start this."
Danny gave a groan and buried his head in his pillow again. "I'm so dead." Tucker glanced at the clock.
"What time did you say your History class started at?"
"Ten," came the muffled reply. "Why?"
"Do you think that Mrs. Reese will allow wallowing in self-pity to be a valid excuse to be tardy on the first day?"
Danny looked up at the clock. "Crap!" It was probably the fastest Tucker had ever seen him go as he ran around the room in search of his things. Books in hand, Danny took a second to check his appearance in the mirror. He paused and turned back towards Tucker.
"Why exactly am I taking advice on my love life from you?"
"Well, there's always Jazz…"
"Right." Danny was almost out the door when he stopped and turned back. "And, if Brandon calls, will you tell him that I already heard about the practice tonight from Sheila?"
"Got it." Tucker hadn't turned away from his computer the entire time.
"Thanks." And he was out the door.
And now it is time for my challenge. I want you all to guess what Danny is referring to when he mentions a practice. I'll tell you if you get it right. I'll give you a few clues.
It has nothing to do with athletics of any kind.
It's something you would not normally find in high school.
I just want to see if any of you will get it. I really think the idea is rather original also…which I guess is another clue. Oh well.
Oh, and Sam having a motorcycle is in tribute to my friend Lisette getting her permit over the summer. Except I can see Sam on a motorcycle, I can't see my friend on one. Telling us that she had gotten her permit was one of the most awesome things I've ever heard.
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