Character Development- Part 2- May
Word Count: 1156
“Where’s Phil?” Dan looked around the cafeteria as he sat down in his usual seat, glancing at Phil’s empty one. “I saw him this morning.”
“Over there.” Janice pointed to a table on the other side of the cafeteria where Phil sat alone. “We broke up.”
Dan frowned. He had really come to like Phil. He was definitely Dan’s favorite out of all the guys his friends had dated. “Why?”
“Read this.” She handed a paper to him across the table. It was a page that appeared to be torn from Phil’s notebook. It was the same stationary that Dan recognized from the notes he took when they were planning Janice’s birthday. The scribbled handwriting read:
Janice: Band room
Phil and Louise: Bathroom
“So?” Dan asked.
“He was going to take Louise in the bathroom and cheat on me!” Janice pouted.
Dan rolled his eyes. “I’m sure it’s just a huge misunderstanding. He was writing on this paper the day he was planning your birthday. He must have just written it down wrong.”
“No,” she responded angrily. “This paper has sunglasses on it. Louise says he was writing on paper with a flower on it.” Thinking back, Dan realized he was right. Still, it just didn’t seem like something Phil would do.
“Where did you guys even get this?”
“Joey found it in Phil’s backpack.”
“Why was Joey even going through Phil’s backpack?”
“Don’t ask me.”
Dan rolled his eyes, getting up. “I’m going to talk to Phil. I’ll be back.” He walked over and sat down beside the ebony-haired boy. “I believe you, you know.”
He looked up from the fork he was swirling around in his spaghetti. “You do?”
“Of course I do. It doesn’t seem like something you would do.”
“Thanks, Dan. It really means a lot that someone believes me.”
“You’re welcome. I know you’re innocent, and we’re going to prove it.” Dan had always been a bit of a detective, and he would do anything to get his friend group back together. He had that funny suspicion in his stomach that something wasn’t right. He didn’t know what it was. All he knew was that Phil didn’t write that note.
Days had passed, and Dan made no progress in proving Phil innocent. It became increasingly obvious to Dan that Phil wasn’t exactly the brightest, and wouldn’t be of much help. Despite his minor stupidity, Dan had a weird hunch that he didn’t do it. Of course, weird hunches don’t convince cliques of drama-loving preteen girls.
Dan was honestly quite surprised that his friends didn’t turn on him for not turning on Phil. He’d always somehow managed to stay out of his group’s drama, despite how much he loved to stir the pot himself. Even though he tried desperately to intervene this time, he couldn’t manage to change a thing.
In his attempts, he found himself spending almost half of the lunch break at Phil’s table talking to him and trying to get the group to make up with him. Dan’s lunch remained at the group’s table, but most of it went uneaten because he was barely around to eat it. One day, Dan finally won.
The group of salty preteens decided that, despite the fact that they still didn’t believe that Phil didn’t write the note, they’d forgive him anyway. Even though Dan technically didn’t win, he was glad the girls’ quickly changing opinions worked in his favor. However, Phil and Janice didn’t get back together. They didn’t even move to one table again. Phil remained where he was. But maybe that was just because Dan went with him.
“Hey, Dan!” The chestnut-headed boy turned his head to see Phil calling him. “Come sit with me!”
Dan looked over to his usual group at his usual table but a few feet away. Walking over to Phil, he sat down.
“What’s up? The group is cool again. Why do you need me to sit here?”
“I just wanted to sit with you.”
A look of suspicion flashed across Dan’s face. “Uh… Okay.” Dan’s good friend Stacy followed. She usually attempted to avoid the other drama-loving group, but when she found Dan without them, she went to sit with him. And the three sat. The other group? They didn’t even notice.
Dan found himself sitting with Phil and Stacy at lunch every day from then on out. The first few days, Phil had to call him over, but after that it was his instinct to go to Phil’s table instead of the girls’. He wasn’t sure why he went every day when Phil called him over. He eventually decided it was simply because Phil was his friend. There’s nothing wrong with sitting with your friends at lunch, right? That’s what lunch is for. Well, other than eating.
Eventually the group noticed Dan’s absence and decided to awkwardly sit at the other end of the table Dan, Phil, and Stacy sat at. The group slowly molded back together until Phil found himself with yet another of the group’s girls.
The end of the school year rolled around and he found himself dating the bitchiest one of all: Macy. She’d started more drama over the last year than all of the others combined. However, the group always accepted her back in, much to Dan’s dismay. Despite how sick of her he was, Dan was still happy for them when she got together with Phil.
There were only three days left in the school year when the two disappeared during gym. The class had been allowed to roam outside, and the friend group hadn’t seen them since the beginning of gym. A few minutes later, they emerged from behind some bushes, Macy holding her iPod. She showed the whole group a picture of her and Phil kissing. “Aw, cute!” they all said, Dan included. In fact, he asked Macy to send him the picture. When it appeared on his phone, he smiled. Everyone was happy now. Especially Phil. And that meant Dan was happy.
When the last day arrived, the two were still together. Dan figured it was the longest relationship Macy had ever had. As the dismissal time rolled around, Dan hugged them each goodbye, except for Phil. “I don’t like hugs,” he told them all. “Human contact is a no-no for me.” Rolling their eyes, they each said their goodbyes.
“See you at band camp?” Dan asked Phil. The entire group (minus Macy) had one thing in common: they were all massive band nerds. The highlight of their first year in high school would be marching band. Each of them would spend all summer waiting anxiously for band camp, when they would see each other and their marching music.
“See you at band camp.” Phil smiles at Dan as the bell rang, dismissing the students for the last time. Dan boarded his bus, watching as it drove away from his elementary school for the last time. Everything seemed to be the last time. Dan decided that was just the way change was. There were big changes on the way. After all, high school was on the horizon.