To all of my readers: I don't think I can express how sorry I am for the long delay between this and my last installment. I did not do it on purpose. I just got very busy with school, work, and my swim team. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, in fact, I'd go to school for six hours, go to swim for two, go to work for three, and go to sleep as soon as I got home. Then, when swim season ended, I had two huge school projects to do, so I had to spend all my spare time working on those. When summer break finally arrived, my computer broke. (Probably from all thestress of those projects...j/k...it's just kind of old.) I had to take it to a computer doctor and they gave me a whole new screen. However, it's almost a full inch smaller all around, which makes a huge difference.
Like I said before, I'm incredibly sorry about the wait for this update. I can't promise that nothing terrible will ever occur again, but I can promise to try not to let anything happen.
Anyway, I'd like to send thanks to all my readers, and special thanks to those of them that reviewed. I hope you all enjoy the third chapter of "Haunted."
Chapter III ─ Even More First Day Drama
Danny, Sam, and Tucker continued chatting outside their lockers during break. After agreeing that the ghost Danny "fought" that morning was weird, the subject switched to something else.
"Whatever," Tucker said, "I heard Danny embarrassed Sam a lot in first period."
Danny's eyes widened and he spun around to stare at Sam. She put her hands up by her face, signaling that she hadn't said anything.
"How'd you know about that?" asked Danny, with slight fear recognizablein his voice.
"Geez Danny, don't get all bugged out. I was just making conversation."
"Danny, I didn't tell him." Sam added. "Besides," she hissed, so Tucker could not hear, "I thought we were supposed to forget everything."
"Tell me what? What happened?" Tucker asked suspiciously.
"Nothing." Danny and Sam said together.
Tucker eyed the two of them, then decided, "You guys are acting so weird."
Tucker turned around to pull something out of his locker, watching Danny and Sam the whole time. When he had to look away to put in his combination, Danny leaned close to Sam's ear and whispered, "Sorry."
"You've been apologizing a lot lately," Sam snapped. She was a bit angry, partly surprised, but mostly stunned by how close Danny's face was to hers.
"Sorry about that too," he said, sounding amused.
Sam didn't say anything. He was laughing softly, right in her ear. She could feel his breath against her neck and the side of her face. 'Why doesn't he just lean back a little? Do people always stand this closely when they whisper? Why do I even care?'
Tucker looked back from his locker. Danny immediately stepped away from Sam and tried to look like he hadn't just been whispering behind Tucker's back.
"Yeah, you're definitely acting weird," he stated.
The bell rang again. This time it signaled that break was over, and that all of the students needed to head for their third period class.
"Hey, this is when we all have Spanish together, right?" Danny asked.
"Yeah, with Ms. Hazel, I had her last year." Tucker grinned, "This class promises to be quite fun."
"Great," Sam said sincerely, "shall we go?"
The three of them all headed off towards Ms. Hazel's classroom in the Foreign Language and Fine Arts Hall.
Paulina turned out to be with the three of them in their Spanish class. Sam wondered why she was only in Spanish II when she obviously had a Latino heritage. It was probably because she could get an easy "A" in an easy Spanish class.
Sam, Danny and Tucker all seated themselves in the fourth row back, but as soon as class started, Ms. Hazel told everyone to stand up; she would assign them a seating chart.
Everyone in the classroom groaned. Hadn't they outgrown those things by now?
Ms. Hazel turned out to be a very…quirky woman. She had a different way of looking at things that sometimes made her students impressed, and other times made them wonder if she forgot to take her pills that morning. She showed this side of her when she assigned their seats. She called up three students at a time, in alphabetical order, and gave them a random set of three seats in a row. The first group to be called was "Abner, Anderson, Briggs", and Sam recognized Sarah Anderson from her first period. The three of them were placed in the same three seats that Sam, Danny, and Tucker had just occupied.
The teacher called out another set of students, and placed them in the back corner. The next group called out was "Fenton, Foley, and Geyser". Danny and Tucker high-fived each other at their good luck, and as they took their seats (Danny in the front row, Tucker behind him, and a boy named Dean Geyser following him) both of them smiled hopefully towards Sam.
Ms. Hazel called out the group with Paulina's name, and Sam could practically hear the silent prayers of every male in the room begging to be placed next to the popular girl. When Ms. Hazel gave her the seat right next to Danny, he beamed as if he had just won the lottery. Sam crossed her arms angrily. 'She's so shallow, I can't even ignore her.'
When her name was eventually called, along with Chelsea Medford and Krystal Osen, Sam crossed her fingers and silently begged to be placed in one of the seats next to Tucker or Danny. She wouldn't be able to stand it if they got to be together with Paulina, but she was all alone.
"Krystal, this is your new spot," Ms. Hazel pointed to a seat for her in the middle of the room, "Chelsea, you get to sit here, and Samantha, this is your seat." Ms. Hazel pointed to a spot as far away from Tucker and Danny as she could get without being in the previously assigned back corner. Sam sadly placed her books on her desk and looked over towards her friends. They both looked apologetic. Sam silently shrugged her shoulders and smiled sadly.
When Ms. Hazel finished assigning seats, she got back in front of the classroom and asked, "Does anyone have any problems with their current spots?" she paused, "Is anyone seated next to their archrival? Is anyone worried that they'll cheat off the person to their left? Can everyone see the board?"
Sam suddenly felt inspired. She raised her hand and called out, "I have a problem, I sometimes need glasses to see the board when I'm this far back, but I don't have any."
Ms. Hazel grinned and asked the front row, "Does anyone here want to give up their seats for her?"
Almost immediately, Paulina's hand shot up. Front and center was never a comfortable place for anyone as trendy as Paulina was, especially when it was next to a loser like Danny. Ms. Hazel nodded and Sam smiled, her new seat was going to be right next to Danny's!
"You two may switch," stated Ms. Hazel.
Sam practically ran up to Danny and Tucker, both of whom seemed a little sad to see Paulina go, but perked up and were impressed that Sam's plan had worked.
Sam took her spot on Danny's left. 'Sure, its front and center, but it's also right next to Danny and not occupied by Paulina, so that's okay.'
"Nice job Sam," Tucker said.
"Thanks, but I can't believe I just lied like that; I feel dirty." Sam held up her hands and wiggled her fingers as if trying to flick dirt off her hands.
Danny grabbed one of Sam's wrists and examined her hand. "Hmm," he said as he turned it over, "I don't see any filth, just some black nail polish."
Tucker started laughing when Danny let go of her hand. Sam knew he had just meant it as a joke, but she blushed a tiny bit anyway. 'Danny just held my hand…sort of.' When she looked up, she saw Danny smiling back up at her with a little red on his cheeks as well. 'Is something going on, or did he just get burned over summer vacation?' Sam wondered.
"Hey," said the girl sitting behind Sam, "are you going to pass those back or what?"
Sam turned around and looked at her desk. Ms. Hazel had handed her copies of the syllabus to pass to the other students in her row, but Sam hadn't even noticed.
Sam's next class was Drama. She'd taken the same course the year before, and enjoyed it so much, she took it again. This year she had the same director, and same peers, but according to her director's introduction, the class was going to be a lot more demanding, and a lot more fun than the year before.
After fourth period was lunch. Sam visited her locker to drop off some of her books and headed off to the cafeteria to get a meal. Because Sam always went to the salad bar instead of the lunch line, she never actually saw Tucker and Danny during lunch until after they'd all gotten their food.
Upon piling her tray with a slightly wilted salad, Sam strode back across the lunchroom towards the group's usual table.
"So," she said as she sat down, "How was fourth period?"
"Annoying," responded Danny.
"Yeah, you know how we all have to take a semester of a Fine Art to graduate?" Tucker added, "Well, Dan and I took Ceramics."
"I know, you told me this at the end of last year." Sam used her Spork to pick at the salad before her.
"I wasn't finished yet," Tucker glared, "Ceramics is the stupidest class ever. We actually took notes, it was so pointless!"
"I offered you guys to take drama with me," Sam reminded them.
"You know how strange those drama people are, we wouldn't be able to fit in at all!" complained Tucker.
Sam stopped playing with her food and looked across the table towards Tucker. Her eyes were narrowed and it was difficult to tell if she was more insulted or angry. "Tuck, you hang out with me all the time." Sam's voice was icy.
Tucker's eyes widened, "No, I didn't mean it like that, I just, you know…um…" Tucker jumped underneath the table and hid from Sam's wrath.
"Sam, you know what he meant," Danny jumped in, trying to save Tucker's life.
Sam smiled, "That's okay, I wasn't really that mad."
"Really?" Tucker peeked over the plastic lunch table.
"No, I expected you to say something like that."
"Could've fooled me," Danny's eyes were wide, and he still seemed scared that Sam was mad.
Sam grinned and said in a matter-of-fact tone, "Drama."
Danny laughed and Tucker tentatively giggled.
"So, are we planning on celebrating the new school year sometime soon?" Sam proposed, "If you guys want, we can meet at my house, my grandma's at home, but she shouldn't mind at all."
"Yeah, your house is so big she might not even notice," joked Tucker.
Sam ignored his comment and continued, "So, whatd'ya say?"
"I don't know, my parents are cracking down on me this year. Since Jazz is gone, they'll have more time to watch over me. I expect to not be allowed out at all on school days unless my homework's done," Danny said before shoving a spork-load of noodles into his mouth.
"Wait, it's the first day of school, we don't have any homework," Tucker pointed out.
"You haven't been to Lancer's class yet, have you?" said Sam.
"No, I have him for fifth period. Does he give us an assignment?"
"Yeah, we're supposed to write something describing ourselves. It's supposed to be some sort of 'Getting to Know You' project," Danny explained.
"Lancer told us that it had to be exactly 200 words long. That's supposed to be the challenge," Sam clarified.
"Aw man. If he assigns work on the first day, just think of what we'll be doing over the next year!" whined Tucker.
Sam and Danny nodded. They did not look forward to a whole year of homework.
"So, how about a get-together this weekend?" Sam offered.
"Sounds great with me," Danny said.
"Can't. It's my cousin's wedding, and it's out of town," Tucker shrugged, "I'm booked from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. We're leaving right after school."
"Hey, you two can meet up without me. I won't mind." Tucker smiled.
"Uh, sure," Sam looked up at Danny.
Danny shrugged, "Sounds like fun."
"So," Sam changed the subject, "Tucker tells me Mr. Thomas is a cool teacher, right Tuck?"
The trio continued chatting through lunch until the bell rang. Tucker went straight to Mr. Lancer's classroom (Danny and Sam had told him that he wouldn't need his books), while the other two went to their lockers for their trig books.
"I don't know why we have to take trig. It's not like I'm planning on using it in my real life," complained Danny.
Sam grinned, "You've said something like that every year since algebra, besides, my counselor told me that it was best to take math junior year because of the SAT's."
"What if I don't want to take them?"
"The SAT's? You need them to get into college."
"What if I don't want to go to college?"
"Now, you're just being stupid. Your parents would kill you."
Danny and Sam arrived in Mr. Thomas' classroom right as the minute bell rang. Most of the class was already assembled, so they took the only set of two seats next to each other in the room.
"I hope Tuck wasn't lying when he said this class was fun. I don't think I could survive another year of math if it's as boring as last year."
"People are recommending my classes? Cool." A young teacher, apparently Mr. Thomas, walked up from behind Danny.
"Alright," said Mr. Thomas when he got to the front of the room. "Usually I don't start classes on time, but I've got a lot to cover today, so if you guys just…" The bell rang and interrupted his statement. Mr. Thomas paused only long enough to squint in mock anger at the speaker on the ceiling. "Anyway, just sit tight so I can tell you all you need to know."
The students exchanged glances. So far, Tuck had been right. Mr. Thomas spoke with energy and enthusiasm, his class promised to be much more exciting than last year's.
"Okay then, I know it's really juvenile and stuff, but for the first few weeks of school, I like to use a seating chart. It helps me remember your names. Now, you guys all know what your best friends names are, so you tell me how you want this classroom organized."
Danny and Sam shook their heads. Whether they went by first or last name didn't matter to them, either way they'd end up on separate ends of the room.
When nobody spoke up, Mr. Thomas decided for himself, "Okay, middle names it is."
"Sam, what's your middle name?" Danny quickly asked.
"I don't like it."
"Just tell me."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, what's yours?"
"I know, isn't it cool? We'll probably still end up next to each other!"
Mr. Thomas started assigning seats down each row. It took him a while to alphabetize the list of middle initials in his head, but he managed. After he gave each student a seat, he made him or her reveal his or her name to the class. Most of them said that they hated their middle name, and one girl refused to say hers; it was fun to hear all the different names.
When he got to the J's of the list, he called out Danny's name first, "Daniel Fenton? With a "J" initial?
"Here!" called out Danny as he took his seat in the back.
"What does it stand for?" The teachers were only given the first letter of each student's middle name on their roll sheet.
"Ah, that was my father's name," the teacher replied.
"Samantha Manson?" He called out as he walked back up to the front of the room. Sam shook her head and burst out laughing. She and Danny were supposed to be right next to each other, but they were not. 'He can't put Danny in the back and me in the front! That's not fair!' Sam knew that she should have been sad about it, but instead, the irony was downright funny. If only one student before them had a different middle name, Danny would have been right in front of her.
Sam said through a giggle, "I go by Sam."
"Really? That's my name, well, except in my case it stands for Samuel, not Samantha," replied Mr. Samuel Thomas, "What's so funny?"
Sam continued laughing as she took her seat and said, "Danny and I were supposed to be next to each other."
"You know, that's not really that funny," said Mr. Thomas in a very serious voice.
Sam just kept on chuckling, "I know."
The teacher looked over at Danny who was smiling and shaking his head. Mr. Thomas didn't bother with asking for Sam's middle name, she was too busy trying to stop laughing, but she kept laughing at how stupid she probably looked when she was trying not to laugh.
When Mr. Thomas finished assigning seats and got back in front of the class, he asked, "Does anyone have a problem with where they are seated?"
It reminded Sam of exactly what Ms. Hazel had said.
Danny raised his hand in the back of the room. "Yeah," he said, "I can't see. Should I move to the front row?"
Mr. Thomas crossed his arms and looked straight at Danny. "Do I look stupid?" he sounded mad, but his eyes were laughing, "I'm sure you can survive a week or so without sitting right next to your girlfriend.
It was obvious that he had been referring to Sam. The Goth girl started laughing non-stop once more. It was pathetic, stupid, and funny all at the same time.
Danny rolled his eyes, "She's not my girlfriend."
"Then why were you lying so you could sit next to her," Mr. Thomas grinned, then continued in a high-pitched, teasing voice, "you like her!"
Sam, who had been calming down a little, was sent into another spasm of laughter. The rest of the class joined in this time. Many of them already knew about how often Danny and Sam were teased about being a couple.
"Would you please just teach us some math?" requested Danny. He had already gotten the impression that he could be a bit more casual with Mr. Thomas.
"Fine, because Danny demands it, we will stop having fun and start learning instead."
The students groaned while Mr. Thomas passed out yet another syllabus for them to add to their collections.
Fifth period continued, Mr. Thomas continued to prove himself a cool person, particularly for a math teacher. Danny and Sam left his class feeling refreshed.
"What do you have next?" asked Danny.
"Ha! Sucks for you."
"What I don't understand is how come you don't have to take it this year?"
"I passed the fitness exam." Danny leaned in close to Sam's ear once again and whispered, "I may or may not have used my ghost powers."
As he drew away, Sam elbowed him playfully. "Cheater."
"Heh, at least I'm physically fit in some way," Danny smiled.
Sam grunted and joined the mob of "unfit" students headed for General PE.
After Sam changed into the Casper High gym clothes and put her hair up, she went out to meet up with Tucker. Sam was usually the first girl out of the locker room. Most of the other girls took forever checking their hair and applying lotion before they went out. Sam just changed and left. The only "beautifying" part of her routine was deodorant, but that was hopefully part of everyone's regime.
"Hey Sam," said Tucker, who was already waiting for her outside the gym.
"Hey. How was Lancer?"
"Annoying, as usual. Mr. Thomas?"
"Fun. He seems like a great teacher."
"He even called me Danny's girlfriend."
"Thought he might," smiled Tucker.
"What do you mean? Did you tell him to?" Sam was a little suspicious.
"No, he's just cool like that, you know?"
After ten minutes or so, the rest of the girls started coming out of the locker room in groups of four or more. Sam sometimes felt out of place amongst other girls, especially at times like these, but at least she had a good friend like Tucker to hang around.
Eventually, Mrs. Stein came out to greet her PE students. She began her lecture by assigning numbers for each of them to report to, and then she explained to them why they were all in that class.
"Last year, less than ten-percent of all PE students were able to pass the state requirements for physical fitness. Our goal this year is to get all of you to be able to conquer that test and show it who's boss!"
That was the weird thing about all Physical Education teachers. They all seemed to have random competitive streaks that came out in perfectly normal situations.
"Now, all of you are here because you failed some portion of the Physical Fitness Test. Along with learning the finer points of sports and teamwork like usual, we will also be working on perfecting those areas in which you failed."
After the teacher used a lot of shouting to get her class psyched up for passing the test, and a bit of stretching, she let her students hang out for the last five minutes of class.
Sam and Tucker met up at his PE number. "So," Sam asked, "what part of the test did you not pass?"
"Eh, sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, sprints, the mile…I passed the sit and reach, though."
"I did average for most of those things, which means I barely passed them. I aced sit-ups, but I bombed the pull and push-ups."
"I see, basically, you have no upper-body strength."
"And you only have the strength to reach for things. You probably get all your practice with the TV remote," she laughed.
Tucker laughed as well, "How'd you know?"
Finally, after six and a half hours of being trapped at school, the last bell of the day rang, releasing all of the students. Tucker and Sam waited outside the entrance of the school for Danny to show up. Then they spent the whole walk home comparing their history teachers. Clearly, Mrs. McDonaldson's class was the worst.
"You know, for somebody who's name is associated with the happy meal, she sure is nasty."
Tucker left the group first and crossed over to a street on the left to head home. "I'll see you guys tomorrow!" he shouted as he went.
"Bye!" waved Sam and Danny.
The pair of friends continued walking in silence for a brief while. However, it wasn't an uncomfortable silence at all. Both of them felt completely at ease to simply walk next to the other. It was something they just sometimes did.
Danny was the first one to break the silence. "Sam?" he asked.
"There's something I didn't tell you before."
Sam raised one eyebrow curiously, "What do you mean?"
"About the ghost from this morning. I didn't want to tell you something, but I think I should."
Sam just nodded and waited for Danny to continue so he could start making sense.
"When I said that the other ghost didn't say much, I wasn't exactly telling the truth. He did say something…"
"Remember how I told you he said he was looking for something 'fun'?"
"Yeah, did he say what kind of fun?"
"He mentioned you."
"Me?" Sam stopped walking in surprise.
"Yeah, I didn't know if I should've told you earlier, I didn't want you to worry, but he said…" Danny stopped talking when Sam interrupted him.
"Dan, you know I'm not some sort of weakling girl, I can handle myself."
"I know Sam, that's why I decided to warn you."
Sam started to walk again, but more slowly this time. Her street was coming up, and Danny would keep walking without her.
"Sam," Danny sounded serious; "he said he was looking for something fun to do, then he said, 'maybe it could be with that pretty Goth chick you hang out with.' That's exactly what he said."
Sam bit the inside of her lip in thought, "So, you're just warning me that he might be…looking for me?"
"Exactly, I'm sure you'll be fine, but just call me if you see him, okay?"
Danny and Sam walked silently for another half of a block before they reached Sam's street.
"I'll see you tomorrow," said Sam.
Danny nodded, "Sam, I'm really sorry about first period when I…um…accidentally…"
"Looked down my shirt?"
Danny blushed, "Yeah, that."
The situation could not have been more awkward.
"Look, just forget about it. Seriously," Sam begged, "please?"
"I'm trying Sam; it's just one of those things that's really hard to forget!"
Sam stared at Danny with her mouth open.
Danny's eyes widened when he realized what he had just said, "That came out totally wrong."
Both of them started blushing furiously. "I've really gotta go now," said Sam.
"Yeah, me too."
They quickly turned away from one another and started walking towards their homes. 'What the heck just happened?'
Thanks for reading, and thanks for waiting, and if you justcame in, well, thanks to you too,you people are allgreat!
I assure you, the plot and the story will not continue to move this slowly unless you really want it to. Things will start moving along.