Dude, could this day be going any better?

Parker pranced down the hallway, feeling way too good about everything.  No, not pranced…sure that stupid jerk Donovan Matthews always said that about him (and had even made up some ridiculous nickname for him), but Parker knew what he actually had was pure swagger.

He made a quick stop at his locker, noting all of the longing stares every girl seemed to send his way.  In fact, more than once, he thought he heard whispering about his date with Jessica and he just knew that all her fellow classmates must be so jealous by now.

He glanced quickly in the mirror to make sure his hair was absolutely perfect and ran a dollop of mousse through just to be sure.  Then he deposited his art folder and colored pencils, along with his backpack, which he wouldn’t need for last period.  He had tennis next, which was easily his favorite part of the day.  Not only did swinging a racket really show off his muscles, but also his wingman Jackson took the class with him.  He’d known Jackson since the first grade, and after what would forever be known as The Orange Juice and Red Crayon Incident, they had become inseparable.

He checked his hair one last time and flashed the mirror a grin to be sure there was nothing in his teeth, and then closed the locker and headed down the hall towards the gymnasium.  He was almost to the first aid office when he thought he heard someone screaming.  He got closer to the door and, sure enough, there was definitely a woman screaming inside.

He paused a moment and debated whether or not to pick up the quarter that just happened to catch his eye, laying on the ground in front of the office door.  You never did know when a quarter would come in handy.  He shrugged and picked it up, dropping it in his pocket before continuing on his way to tennis.

It only took a few minutes to grab his PE clothes and racket from his gym locker, and then he jogged out to the tennis court to meet up with Jackson.

There was the initial high five exchanged and then Parker started telling his trusty wingman all about his fantastic date with Jessica Miller and how he had definitely made it to first base.  Jackson, of course, was impressed.

The only slight downside to the class was Donovan Matthews.  Who just happened to be walking up to them right now.  Everyone was always talking about what a great guy Donovan Freaking Matthews was; especially adults and girls.  Parker could never figure out how no one could see what a pansy the guy was.  Seriously…he was always whining about something.  Well, he guessed that was the benefit of being the football team’s star quarterback…it seemed that it inevitably caused everyone to overlook your shortcomings.

“Hey there Prancer,” Donovan said to Parker with a sneer.  “Heard you made quite the impression with Jessica the other night.”

“Jealous?”  He smirked back.  Donovan was always trying to steal Parker’s thunder…not that such a thing was even possible.

Donovan looked like he was going to say something else, but decided not to.  He just shook his head and stomped off dramatically.

Parker turned to Jackson.  “Yup, definitely jealous.”  He kind of felt like the look Jackson gave him was a little strange, but the coach had just walked on to the court and he didn’t have time to think about it too hard.

Soon, they were divided up into teams of two and assigned a net for the rest of the class period.  Things went pretty smoothly.  Parker and Jackson joked around as usual.  For some unknown reason, a window shattered in the far distance every once in a while, and they had to get a new ball.  Jackson kept giving him odd looks, and a guy on the other team got really mad when the ball hit him in the arm too hard, which seemed pretty uncalled for.  Really? Parker thought, it’s a freaking tennis ball for crying out loud!  The very next match, Parker’s racket decided to completely crap out on him for some reason.  The whole thing just came apart!  Even the coach looked a little horrified.  Rackets were not supposed to do that!

But Parker got over it pretty quickly because he had never played better in his life.  It was almost like he couldn’t miss a ball.  He hadn’t even broken a sweat by the time the final bell rang signalling that class was over.

“Dude!” Parker said as he and Jackson walked off the court, “I was on fire today!”

“Yeah…” Jackson agreed, looking a little confused.  “I guess someone ate his Wheaties this morning.”

Parker shrugged.  “Just Fruity Pebbles. I’m not really a fan of healthy cereals….”  There was no need to mention the glass of A negative that had gone with it.  Anyway, it’s not like that had anything to do with it.  Honestly, he wasn’t really sure why his buddy was even all that surprised.

They were back at Parker’s locker in the main hallway when suddenly Skylar and Jessica appeared.  Parker put on his best sexy smile, “Hey Jess, how’s it going?”

But then the weirdest thing happened.  Jessica’s eyes went wide for a second and her hand moved up to a bandage on the side of her neck; then she and Skylar exchanged a look and continued talking as though neither one had heard him.  They hurried past him and, when they were gone, Jackson gave him a questioning look.

“What was up with that?” he asked.

Parker just shrugged.  “You know, she seemed a little shy during our date the other night.  I think she’s kinda intimidated by me.”

Jackson looked at him for a moment and then nodded.  “Sure, man.  I bet that’s it.  Well, gotta catch the bus.  I’ll see you tomorrow!”

“See ya!” Parker called after him, and then Skylar came walking back towards him from around the corner where she had just disappeared minutes earlier.  She glanced behind her, as if she were afraid of being caught doing something bad.

She didn’t even offer him a smile though, which Parker thought was rather rude, but whatever.  “Hey, didn’t you guys hear me before?” he asked her.

“Uh, yeah! We just didn’t want to talk to you, moron!”

Well, that was uncalled for.  Skylar was probably just jealous that he had a thing for her “bestie” and not her.  Girls could be weird about stuff like that.  Parker shook his head, “Whatever.  Let’s go find Raymond.”

It took a little while to track him down, but eventually some kid named Steve told them that he heard from a friend of a friend that Raymond was back in the principal’s office.

“Of course,” Skylar said, “where else would he be?”

“Didn’t you have PE with him today?”

Skylar smirked, “Yeah…” she trailed off, sounding a little dreamy, “it was a good class.”

They made their way to the principal’s office and stopped abruptly outside the door once they noticed that Androcles, Renata, Juan, and Ophelia were all in there, along with Raymond and the school nurse.  And the nurse seemed pretty agitated.

Skylar suddenly seemed overly nervous about something.  “I’ll just stay out here,” she said quickly.

Parker felt like perhaps there was something he had missed, but just shrugged and listened to what was being said inside the office.

“There is something very wrong here!” the nurse sounded borderline hysterical and Parker wondered if she was having some kind of breakdown.

“Miss Babcock,” said Principal Bardsley, “I understand that you are concerned for the boy, but let’s just remain calm and discuss the situation reasonably.”

Do you understand what I am telling you?!” Parker flinched back from the door.  Yeah…something was definitely not doing what it was supposed to in her head…

“Look, why won’t anyone listen to me?” he heard Raymond say.  “I’m telling you, I’m fine.  Maybe the stupid machine was broken or something.”

“I think malfunctioning equipment sounds like an explanation worth considering,” Principal Bardsley said practically.

Nurse Babcock made a sound like a an elephant being eviscerated by a lion.  “The boy doesn’t have a pulse! There is no heart beating in his body!”  There was a moment of very tense silence.

Eventually, it was Androcles that spoke.  “I do think we can all agree that this is not a rational possibility…?”

Parker was pretty sure he heard Juan whimper.

“Honestly, woman,” Ophelia broke in, “have you completely taken leave of your senses?”

“Tabitha, do calm yourself!” Principal Bardsley said…a little less diplomatically than before.  “I believe what Mr. Robinson’s…guardians…have pointed out does make sense.  I’m not quite sure what happened, but you must realize how…” she gave a frustrated little sigh, “I mean, for goodness sake, Tabitha, the boy is conscious and breathing and walking around!”

There was another moment of silence and then the sound of a chair leg scrapping on the floor.  “Of course,” Nurse Babcock said, sounding strained, “you’re right.  I… I’m not sure what I was thinking.  I’ve been feeling a little ill…it’s probably just that.”


Parker jumped back from his position at the doorway as the nurse came shuffling out of the room.  She looked terrible, really.  And she didn’t even seem to notice him or Skylar, she just stalked down the hallway, fuming to herself.  “Oh, they think they can fool me?” she muttered, “well, just let them think that!  I’ll be watching.  Oh, yes, I’ll be watching…”

“Wow,” Parker whispered to Skylar, who had also heard the entire thing.  “That was kind of intense…”

A couple moments later, everyone came filing out of the office, Principal Bardsley looking very worried.  “Of course, I have to suggest having him seen by a doctor as soon as possible.”

“Of course,” Androcles agreed, “I am sure he will be just fine, but we will take him to a medical facility straight away.”

“Oh yes, one can never be too careful when it comes to poor, delicate, little children!” Renata added, patting Raymond consolingly on the shoulder.

And then that was that, and they all made their way home.  It was uncomfortably silent in the van on the way home, but Parker was too busy planning his second date with Jessica to worry about it too much.  He couldn’t quite decide if he should take her to see a movie, or maybe they could go play paintball?  Well, the dark movie theater did seem like a better choice if he wanted a chance to make out with her again.  (He was pretty sure that moment at her doorstep counted as making out…)

Nobody really talked to each other until dinner time.  Everyone shuffled silently to their places at the table, and Skylar and Raymond glared down at their placemats.  Renata walked in with a serving tray, beaming at everyone.  “Dinner’s ready!” she trilled and then began distributing the soup bowls full of various blood types.

Parker grabbed a dinner roll from the pile of bread on the table and looked hungrily down at his bowl as she set it in front of him.  He still didn’t really see how the whole “vampire” thing affected his life, but it did seem that blood satisfied his hunger a lot better than anything else at this point, and it had stopped his midnight raids of the fridge.

“So,” he said finally, glancing up from his bowl, “how awesome was today, right?”

There was silence.  Raymond and Skylar looked up from their meals to glare furiously at each other.

“Sure,” Raymond said, “if nearly getting staked to death and having P.E. with Faith Lehane over here is your idea of ‘awesome’…”

“Uh, my name is Skylar, loser.  I thought you were supposed to be smart.  And I’m pretty sure you deserved that ass kicking I gave you.”

“And I’m pretty sure you didn’t exactly ‘kick my ass’…and it was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference, you insipid idiot!”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Seriously? Ew!  Do you even know how long it’s been since James Marsters or David Boreanez were even hot?”

“Oh my God!  But that’s…that’s not even…Oh just shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up! And you still did not kick my ass!”

“Children…” Renata said in a conciliatory voice.

“Oh, I kicked your ass harder than any ass has ever been kicked before!”

“Um…” Parker tried to break in uncertainly.

“Oh, you shut up, Parker!” Skylar snapped, “I don’t talk to losers who maul my best friend!”

Some of the angry red left Raymond’s cheeks and he started laughing hysterically, “Yeah, everyone’s telling that story!  You’re the school freak now, Parker!”

“What? What are you even talking about?”  They had clearly all lost their minds.

“Oh, for crying out loud! Would you get out of the Parker Universe for five freaking seconds and pay attention to reality!”

Parker blinked in confusion.  Maybe they were saying these things because they were jealous of him.  Maybe they were completely insane and were making things up.

Or maybe things were not so awesome after all.


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