A Needed Talk

(Day 4 -Friday evening, beach trip)

(Joint post with Lasersexpanther)

The rich kids apparently pulled out all the stops for the party. There was a DJ, catered food and people generally having a good time. Melissa, however, wasn't enjoying herself. She kept thinking back to earlier and the way Doug was acting. All night he had kept her by his side; when she would manage to get a break from him for a moment, she could feel eyes on her.
Maybe she was being paranoid but she knew he had spies. She did manage though to tell him she needed to go back to the guest house the girls were staying in and get a sweater and he let her go, alone.

She did go and get the sweater but was going to take her time coming back. She instead went to watch the water and think about things. She though saw someone familiar nearby. "Hi," She said to the boy.

Dante didn't hear the person approach him, he was lost in thought. Afloat on a big inflatable flamingo that was tied and anchored to the beach with a large piece of driftwood. "AH shit!" he yelled coming out of his daydream as a voice yelled from shore.

"Oh." he said cocking his head but he was squinting to see who it was, when he decided it was to dark and they were to far he pulled himself ashore and took his glasses out of his shoes. "Oh hey Mel." he said pushing wet hair from his brow and putting the glasses on.

Mel hadn't meant to disturb him but she also wasn't sure what to do with herself, at the moment. She could hear some noise from some of the students nearby on the beach and she saw people attempting to play Frisbee then she turned back towards Dante. "That looked comfortable. Sorry, I didn't mean to disturb you." Why had she called to him? Even Melissa wasn't sure at this point, maybe he just seemed like a friendly face. She glanced around once again, as if she was nervous, but that seemed to be a constant state for the girl, lately. "So, this beach is pretty nice " Great, now she sounded like an idiot. That wasn't why she had called to him. It wasn't what she wanted to talk about but her words weren't finding a voice. Her sleeves covered her arms but she pushed them down anyway.

Dante shrugged looking at the flamingo "Meh it was alright." he said "Enjoying the soft surf more than anything." he told her. Hearing her beach comment he cracked a slight knowing smile. "Yeah, it is nice." he said and threw down his towel. "Want to take a seat?" he asked her. "Don't worry its dark enough no one'll notice us here." he told her. "We can just talk a while." Dante plopped down on the beached floaty and left her have the towel.

Melissa looked at the towel, then looked around once more before deciding to sit down. "Thanks" she said as she took a seat on the towel .

She trusted that what Dante had said about no one being able to see them but still felt nervous. She looked around again and really noticed the bonfire, the music, people laughing. Then glanced up towards the North Beach and back to Dante. "Can I ask you something?"

Dante pretended to think a moment. "Only if I can ask you something. But you can go first." He said leaning back a bit. The low droll of music, the sound of distant foot steps of two people going off alone behind the seated two.

Melissa looked at him for a moment. "That's fair." She paused and hearing footsteps turned her head in their general direction before turning her attention back to him. "Don't get me wrong. I'm just wondering why you decided to sit with the rich kids in the cafeteria." She hoped that didn't come out wrong. She actually liked that he had been sitting there; it seemed to stop Doug from taking her on anymore walks and Dante was the only person at that table she felt she could trust, even if she didn't exactly understand why.

"Don't misunderstand and I don't want you to think I see myself as so 'knight in shining armor' who'll ride in and save the day. But Doug is an asshole. His constantly scowling is less the desirable and he thinks himself some godlike figure." Dante paused "he thinks everyone I below him because his mommy and daddy never told him 'no' to the things he wanted and because of the people are objects and tools that are an ends to a means. He noticeably hate when someone he thinks should kiss his feet for the meer chance that once we are out of this place he will hire them. It drives him crazy that someone he thinks is poor, that he could buy up their family home and everything they own thrice over would ever have the nerve to talk down to him. I relish in his anger. Dante paused again, "and let's just say..." He lowered his tone "your little problem I've seen it before. Maybe not with. As much physical stuff but the mental."

Maybe, Melissa shouldn't have been surprised that Dante had noticed her problem but she was. She was a little surprised anyone was paying enough attention to her to notice. She could do nothing but nod to his words for a moment. "He didn't act like that when I first met him." As if she was apologizing for getting involved with him. "Or at least he hid it well." Her eyes glanced towards the water then back to him. "OK, so what's your question?"

Dante gave a sorrowful smile "They never do." He said "but my question..." He thought. "I honestly don't know that I have one." He laughed. "Not that I don't have a few but rudeness isn't something I pride myself on doing unless the person deserves it."

She looked at him and glanced around, yet again. A crack of a branch or more like a piece of driftwood made her jump. For some reason, which Mel couldn't have begun to explain, she let the words escape her lips. "He has spies. Doug that is. Doug has spies." Realizing suddenly how that probably sounded. "That sounds paranoid, I know, but I have proof."

"Who do you think are the spies?" He asked her. "Do you have names yet? Or at least do you have thoughts of who it could be?" He asked her, "I know quite a few people around here. Can't speak to everyone's loyalty but I can maybe easy your mind a bit."

"I'm not sure" She was grateful he believed her. "I don't have any names. I suppose it could be, almost, anyone but I think its probably either members of the same group Doug is a part of or who want to be." She thought for a moment then asked. "How well do you know Brook?"

Dante thought a moment "She's fine." he said, "Fine like good not fine like 'fine' just to be clear." he said jokingly. "But if you are asking if she's one of Doug's moles, I doubt it. I don't think they like each other to much." he said. "She rejected him once and I don't think he ever got over it." Dante shrugged. "But if she seems nervous around you, maybe she's trying to figure out if she can trust you as well." he suggested.

Melissa had figured out most people had secrets and she knew enough not to ask what Brook's were. She wasn't surprised that Doug might have asked Brook out nor that she had rejected him. "I suppose." Melissa's mind wandered a little. "Well, I don't think its Lance or Elena, either. Its probably , at least a few, of the Freshman football players." Some of the Freshman football players have been sitting with the rich kids, that made sense. "Maybe, some of the Freshman girls as well." Those made the most sense. "That Freshman football player I think his name is Mike, the one with the blonde hair, always seems to be talking to Doug." Granted there were a few football players, upper classes, who Doug also seemed to be talking to a lot but they were established at the school. She couldn't figure out why any of them would be spies.

Dante thought for a moment. "I don't know for sure but I don't think the jocks are his spies. I think they are more his muscle." he said, "or like an entourage, just something to make him look like more fun to be around than he actually is." Dante suggested. "Elena, not sure. I saw her talking with Sunday, a friend of mine, short dark haired girl you've probably seen her around. She strikes me more as using popularity for her own gain and wouldn't go out of her way to do work that she wouldn't need to do to gain clout. Lance, he's a wild card to me. All I know about him is he's got week footing on his left side, easy to tackle." he shrugged.

Melissa sighed. "I don't know, really, who it is. I guess it could be some of the Freshman girls who want an in with the popular kids " Her phone chimed and she glanced down at it. Shaking her head slightly. "It's Doug. He wants to know where I am." She glanced in the general direction of the North Beach which held the rich kids party , then back to Dante. "I really don't want to go back there." But she also didn't want to deal with the fall out if she didn't go back.

Dante let out a little sigh. "I don't blame you." he said, "Not just for the Doug part. The way they 'party' seems boring." he said. "Not for nothing but I'd rather lay here on the beach doing nothing then listen to those gits prattle on and on about the nerds they claim to hate so much but seem to take up a ton of mental real estate. Ironic ain't it? People they claim they can't stand is the only thing they want to talk about."

Melissa nodded. "Thats true. The nerds, the scholarship students and the rich kids that hang out with the scholarship students is all they seem to want to talk about." She heard some people laughing and looked around at the party that was going on nearby, the scholarship students party as the rich kids called it. There were people dancing, laughing and bon fire had started. It was far more relaxed than the rich kids party. "It seems like people are having more fun at this party. " Her phone chimed again. It was Doug, again. Even his texts sounded angry. "I should go" but even as she said the words she found herself unable to move from the towel. She didn't move or say anything for a moment. Then her phone chimed again. "He's really mad." Not that she expected anyone to fix that situation more just she didn't know what would happen and she wanted someone to know.

Dante looked to her "You shouldn't take that from him." he said, "You are not property." Dante told her, "I can't stop you from going, if for nothing else than to calm him down the slightest bit." he sighed. "You..." he stopped, unlike himself not having the words. Dante closed his eyes. "Just don't get in to deep." he told her. "You might think its fine, but one day you will open your eyes, feel that burning in your lung and not be able to see the surface to swim up, and nothing but inky black below you."

The thing was Melissa already felt like she was in over her head. It was only getting worse, it seemed. Everyday, it was something else. Her phone chimed again. This time she stood up and looked at Dante "I really need to go. Thanks for the talk." She paused. "I do understand what you're saying and I really wish things were different". She didn't explain that. She couldn't without explaining everything to Dante and she wasn't there , not yet, it still stuck in her mind that no one would want to be friends with her if they knew what Doug had on her. "I'll see you later." With that she walked away, stopped for a moment to text Doug back and then she headed back to the rich kids party despite the knot forming in the pit of her stomach.

Dante turned to watch her leave "I'm sure we will." he replied. Not enjoying the fact she was just leaving but wouldn't fight her on it she obviously had her reasons for going along with it. But still he wanted to help.

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