Dante's eyes went wide with shock when she pinned him down.
"Holy s**t, you're strong." He could have easily pushed her off, since he was taller, but he didn't want to get grass stains on her uniform and annoy her further. "I was never a man in the first place, I'm still a clueless, useless, stupid kid, the only difference is that I'm not fat too. My self esteem is so far through the ground right now that it's probably somewhere in Beijing."
Dante tried to lift his head up a little, but realised that if he did he'd be looking up her skirt by accident and didn't want to be slapped again. "Can you move down a little? I really don't wanna see your underpants if I lift my head." He shivered a little because his clothes were completely wet through now.
"I don't intend to go back on the bargain but seeing as you really don't seem to like me, I figured you'd want to go back on it."
Rachel was surprised that he did not just shove her off, the only reason she had gotten him down was that she took him by surprise. "If you lifted your head then we would no longer be seeing eye to eye. A little damp never hurt anyone and you are so rich now you can buy a new uniform no problem." Despite what she had just said she moved down a little bit so she was sitting on his stomach but she did not get up. "Do I have your full attention now? If you go emo on me again I swear I will give you a black eye." No longer able to see his eyes she hoped he knew she was serious.
"As for the business proposition you offered me I have yet to say yes or no. I would of suggested we have a talk about it over coffee, your treat of course, but you seem to have a listening problem and at least this way I am fairly certain I got your attention."
Dante nodded slightly. Maybe his only hope was to try to start from scratch again and rebuild their friendship, but this saddened him a little because now it felt like she only wanted to talk to him because of his money, like everybody else in the world. He should have just left it, having no friends had to be better than having no friends and an ex-best friend tolerating him for his money.
"You have my full attention, it's not like I have much choice with you sat on me. Though we better move soon because from a distance, this position could look really wrong and get us in trouble at school. And I'm not emo, I just have... issues."
Dante then recalled something that had happened shortly after his parents died and about a week after the funeral. "Remember how, about a week after the funeral, you were mad at me for pushing you over and yelled at me that I was heartless for not going, then my aunt dragged me away before I could answer?" He sighed.
"I'd wanted to go. I really, really did, but my family said I couldn't because it would be "swarming with common people", those are their words, not mine. I screamed and cried that they had to let me go to it, but they never did. Because of them I haven't even been to the graveyard. It wasn't my choice. So whatever you thought, or think about me for not going, I fought hard and I got slapped for it. Being called heartless only pissed me off more, so I took it out on you and cut your hair the next time I saw you. I shouldn't have done it, but you've hurt me too, so you're not a totally innocent victim."
Rachel looked down at him hurt in her eyes once again. "Always worried about your precious image Dante." Refusing to cry and let him see openly how hurt she was she continued. "I think by far everything you have done to me outweighs a couple words I said to you. In case you have forgotten you were not the only one who lost someone that day!"
She got off him not caring if she pressed on his gut too much and glared down at him. "At one time I love you with all I was, you left me beaten and broken the day you shoved me out of the tree-fort, yet despite that I loved you knowing you were hurting but now I just pity you. Find yourself another way or go back to being poor. I cant help you, I wont feed the monster you are now and watch the last traces of the friend I had vanish forever."
Turning she strode away from him, her cell phone, notebook, and pencils still scattered in the wet grass around him. However she did not head back to the school she was heading for the fence that surrounded the school.
Dante sighed and sat up when she began to walk off, and gathered her things again.
"For God's sake Rachel! If your phone gets wet, your parents will kill you." He caught up to her and shoved the phone into her pocket. "And it's not about my image. It's about my emotions. I'd just lost my parents at the same time, I didn't know what exactly was in store for me, and you accused me of being heartless for not going to their funeral when I couldn't control that. I wanted to go to see you and I was going to apologise there, but I never got the chance. And yeah, I know you liked my parents and their deaths hurt you too, but they didn't teach you to speak, or to walk, they weren't the ones who picked you up from school or held you after you had nightmares. You still get to do things for Mother's Day and Father's Day."
Dante stopped and shook his head. "Whatever, you don't care about me and don't give a crap whether I live or die. I'm going home!" His family had given in to his begging on just one occasion, and bought his childhood home, so instead of running in the direction of town, he ran to the empty house a few streets away, pulled out the long-unused key, opened the door, and sat in the hallway.
Rachel was almost the fence when Dante once again caught up to her. Hearing him yell more hurtful things at her just pissed her off and she shoved his hand away quickly when he put the phone in her pocket. "Keep your hands to yourself, I dont trust you not to break my other arm!"
Scaling the fence was no easy task in a skirt that did not even go to the knees and she did not notice when her phone fell out of her pocket and hit the grass. Cold, wet, hurt, and angry she took off running in a random direction, it was not the way Dante had gone or the way towards her house. Just some random woods near the school.
Her feet pounded into the wet ground and threw mud up but she did not care and kept running. Minutes ticked by and she ran and ran until she could no longer feel her legs just the burning in chest only then did she drop down in the trees and gasp for air. Not even caring where she was she laid there forcing air into her burning lungs.
After a few minutes, when he realised that Rachel wasn't going to follow, Dante pulled himself to his feet and shut the door. He went to the kitchen and found that water still ran, and the lights still worked.
After a few minutes of looking around the house, he decided to go to the nearest shopping centre. There he bought a change of clothes and a towel, and returned to the house to dry himself off and change. Once he was dry, he looked around the upper floor and switched on a heater that sat on the landing, and lay his clothes in front of it. Everything was as it was, only covered in white sheets that were caked in dust. If he had to live in a house, at least he already had one here.
Dante walked around and pulled the sheets off everything, stuffing them into an empty linen cupboard. As long as he never ran into Rachel again, he should be okay. He might as well practice for living in a house alone, because that was gonna happen unless Rachel had a change of heart.
Rachel had been to that house many times since Dante had left and in the backyard under a large oak tree was a bunch of flowers. A couple of laminated pictures were attached to the tree. One showed her and Dante playing on a slide, another one showed her in a dress and him in a tiny suit, the last one showed Dante and his parents. Below them all in carefully writing. "I miss you all so much, all my love Rachel." The flowers were all fresh, it was apparent she had been their recently.
Rachel had no clue how long she laid in the sprinkling rain that turned into a downpour before getting the energy to drag herself back to her feet. "Here I thought things could not get any worse." It was getting dark and cold as heck. Rubbing her arms she shook some wet hair out of her eyes again. Checking her pocket she saw her phone was not there and sighed. "Of course can never be that easy and my parents most likely will not even notice I am not home since I never see them anymore." Trying not to get scared she started walking in a random direction.
Dante wandered out to the backyard, holding an umbrella that he found in a box. He looked around and saw that the play equipment was still there, but in need of some maintenance. Then he saw the flowers by the tree. He walked over and took a closer look, then saw the writing under the pictures.
"Ugh, s**t. I better go find her and apologise... From now on I'm not gonna worry about myself. Maybe she'll like me again if I just stop being even a little selfish," he thought, and then made his way back towards the school. When he found her phone, he assumed she'd thrown it out of her pocket after he ran off, but he picked it up and put it into his pocket, then threw the umbrella over the fence and climbed over. Once on the other side, he picked the umbrella back up and began to follow her footprints in the mud, hoping to find her before she got lost or hurt.
It was quite late and Rachel had no idea where she was or what to do. It was still pouring rain which was not helping her see anything at all. She thought about climbing a tree but decided against it, with all the rain it would be slippery and she had no desire for more broken bones or stitches. "Hello!" Her voice echoed dulled since the trees muffled things.
Worn out Rachel dropped down next to a tree and leaned back against it crossing her arms and huddling down for a little bit of warmth. She figured in the morning she would be able to find her way back to a road and then to her house from that point.
Rachel's mother had been trying to call her cell phone, she wanted a word about her getting detention then leaving school during the middle of the day. It just went to voice mail each time though.
Dante felt the phone vibrating in his pocket, but he had been ignoring it because it wasn't his right to answer. He decided he'd at least check who was calling the next time it rang, though, just in case it was Rachel ringing it to find it.
He kept walking through the woods and thought he heard someone say "hello" in the distance. He stood still and listened out to see if it would happen again. When a few minutes went by, he decided to check the call history. Even though he knew she'd probably be mad, Dante thought it was worth looking. When he saw it was Rachel's mother who had phoned, he decided to call back and fill her in, hopefully he could do that without telling her who he was, because he had no doubt that she'd be mad too. He respected Rachel's mother and she was almost as scary when she was mad as his own mother had been. Dante pushed the thought of his mother out of his head and selected "call back".
Rachel sat there too tired and cold to do anything. Crying was even beyond her, all her tears were gone anyways. Pressed back against the tree she just shivered a little bit and tried to keep an eye out for any wild animals. A few years back some campers had been attacked by a mother bear. "Someone, anyone?" Her voice was soft and did not carry very far.
Rachel's mother, Cindy, heard her phone go off and looked down at it. Answering it with an impatient voice she did not give her daughter a chance to speak. "Young lady, your father and I want to know the meaning of this right now. What on earth has made you get detention and then suddenly skip out of school with a young man, have you any idea how that looks for you. You are grounded, no phone, no animal shelter, no tv, no walks with Lolly. I am highly disappointed in you and so is your father. You get your rear home right now and start being bored."
Dante winced when he heard the lecture intended for Rachel. When he got the chance to speak, he chose his words as carefully as he could.
"Hi Mrs Parker. I'm Rachel's classmate and I'm guessing I'm the "young man" you're referring to. It really isn't Rachel's fault, I can explain. I don't really know about the detention, but the other day I did text her during school time so maybe her phone went off, in which case, it's my fault. And the other thing, I was rocking on my chair in class but fell back and hit my head, since I'm pretty new here, she was taking me to the nurses' office to get checked. But we got off track because we... we disagreed on a touchy subject, and both of us stormed off. When I came back to check on her, she was gone and her phone was on the ground. I ignored the calls at first because hey, it's rude to answer someone's phone without permission, but I'm still looking for her and I thought I should just call you to explain. Please don't ground her, I assure you this is entirely my fault and I'm not planning to return to the school again, so I won't be in the way again." He was trying to speak as formally as possible - he'd been taught that when dealing with important people, to talk properly and not to use slang. Dante paused for a second.
"I think I can hear her, may I call you back once I've found her? She's been through a lot today and I think she could do with a hug instead of being grounded." He continued to walk while he spoke to her, and kept looking around. He took the phone from her ear for a moment to call out.
"Rachel! Where are you? Call out so I can find you!"
Cindy was taken back when she heard a young man answer Rachel's phone and nearly dropped it from shock. Sounded like such a polite young man. She heard him yell Rachel's name then the phone went dead. A little worried about her daughter she went to call back when someone's buzzer went off and she ran to assist.
Rachel was looking around the woods for any sign of movement. She was freaked out though and when a pine-cone fell on her from the rain and wind she let out a loud scream and leapt forward away from the tree. With the ground covered in roots all she managed to do was fall flat on her face.