Life in the Friend Zone

The Friend Zone is a real place. It is like a cross between a boarding school and a hospital. And Dakota Fenway knows it all too well. She entered the friend zone for the first time when she was in fourth grade. She is one of the only girls. The Friend Zone is a mind set, not a physical place. It connects all the minds together who are in the friend zone and you stay there until you break away from the friend. You are told no one has ever broken through the friend zone into something more because it would upset the balance. Dakota has entered in the friend zone once again during her senior year two weeks before prom. She is determined to get her friend Harry Warren to see her as more then a good friend. And no one, not even the Heads of Fate, are going to stop her. Watch as she jumps between the real world and Friend Zone and adds her own sarcastic touch.

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11. Secretly Awesome

    "Okay Dakota, promise me that after these detentions are done you will stop getting into trouble. I can't have my daughter becoming the bad kid at school." she explained, keeping her eyes on the road as she drove to school. 
    "Mom, I'm pretty sure there are kids who do stuff like drugs at school. I'm not the bad kid." I said, trying to get her to calm down. It didn't work.
    "They do that stuff in secret honey! You dumped soda in front of the entire school on a girl's head. And then dyed her hair blue!" she said banging her hand on the wheel to show emphasis. 
    "Mom, she was being rude to me. She was trying to make me get up because we sat at her lunch table. She was a total-" my mom gave me a stern look before I could finish. 
    "I don't care! No matter what, we don't hurt people. It's wrong." she explained. We turned into the parking lot of the school. I sighed.
    "You don't get it! Why? Oh, I know! You were the head cheerleader in high school, so you don't get it!" I snapped. We pulled into the drop off line. It's not like I was lying. My mom was head cheerleader. But that didn't matter right now. What mattered was two things: staying out of the friend zone and surviving high school. 
    "Honey, just don't get into trouble. I just want your record to be somewhat clean by senior year." she said gently, rubbing my arm. I just nodded and got out of the car, pulling on my hat as I walked into the school. Today I wore ripped jeans and a blue sweatshirt that said: "Life in the slow lane" with a sloth under the wording. I walked into the building that held the library of death. I walked in to find a new set of kids. The first was a girl who looked like she was scared to death of being here. She must've been a prep, considering her blazer, blouse, and pencil skirt. Her hair was tied up in a top-knot and she had done  her makeup neutrally, looking like a mini-entrepreneur. I had seen her around. Usually, she kept her composure, straight back, serious face, never tapping her pencil or making any nervous movements.
    But now, she was glancing at her nails before biting her lip, as if to remind herself that she needed to look perfect and put together at all times, which meant no nail-biting. I had a nail-biting habit for a while, so I glanced down at my bitten nails, and squeezed my thumb to try and subdue the pain caused by biting it too low. I glanced at another person who was there and noticed them as one of those bimbos in my advisory. She looked up at me and scoffed before chomping on her gum once more. I rolled my eyes and then felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw Harry behind me. I immediately hugged him, and he stiffened up. I let go and we sat down on one of the couches. 
    "Sorry, I'm a hugger." I explained, embarrassed.
    "S'okay." he reassured. 
    "So, what are you doing here?" I asked. He sighed and ran a hand through his sandy blonde hair. 
    "I corrected my World History teacher. He doesn't really like me because he hated my brother when he had him, so when I corrected a mistake he made, he got pissed and gave me a Saturday detention. What did you do?" he replied.
    "Well, last week was for pissing off my Algebra 1 teacher, today is for dumping soda on Georgia's head, and next week is for dying her hair blue, then I'm done with Saturday detention. What'd you do with Nova and Damon last week?" I asked curiously. 
    "We went to the mall, got yelled at for skateboarding-" he began but I cut him off. 
    "You see, that wouldn't happen if you rode Segways.  People can ride them in the mall."
    "Well, you'll have to bring 'em the next time we go to the mall and you're not in detention." he added. 
    "It's how I travel, of course I'd ride it to the mall!" I said, just as the teacher came in. Just my luck, it was my Algebra 1 teacher. She glared at me for a second then began to go over the rules. Soon she left the room and I turned to Harry.
    "Anyways, what else did you do on Saturday. I mean, I wish I could've gone but, you know, detention came up and-" Harry widened his eyes as I talked and suddenly cut me off by shushing me. 
    "What are you doing? You heard the teacher, she said no talking!" he stated. "My mom's already pissed about this, I can't get in trouble again!" 
    "Dude, according to Greg, who by the way is a total douche-bag, they don't actually look at the cameras. We're fine. Now, let's go check out the library." As we got up to leave, the preppy girl cleared her throat. We turned around. 
    "Umm..." she said shyly, "Can I come with you guys? I mean...never-mind...I just...sorry..." she looked down. 
    "No, it's fine, c'mon!" I said. She looked up hopefully and smiled. 
    "Thanks so much. Is it true that you poured soda on Georgia's head?" she asked eagerly, pulling her hair out of the bun as soon as we were out of sight. Her ginger hair spilled down her shoulders, framing her fragile face. She was taking out a makeup wipe and removing all the makeup to reveal that her eyelashes were blonde and practically invisible, and that she had a couple small, barely noticeable pimples on her chin. Then she did something that surprised me. She pulled out a beanie that read 'bitch don't kill my vibe' and and shoved it onto her head. 
    "Sorry, I just have to put up that front around everyone else, but you guys seem really nice, so I feel like I don't need to look like a freaking lawyer around you. Hope you don't mind?" she said, blabbering nervously. We sat down against the bookshelves that held fiction. She pulled off her blazer and blouse, which thankfully had a cami underneath. 
    "Don't mind a bit, but why do you do all this? Put up this fake image?" I asked. 
    "My parents are crazy. They send me to school like this and make sure I dress like this everyday. I tell them I'm going to the public library after school but really I'm just going out to hang with my friends. I hide my outfits in my purse." she said holding up her bag. 
    "Why do your parents do that to you?" I asked. 
    "They want me to be a lawyer or doctor, like they are. They want my in an Ivy League school, but I just want to travel the world!" she exclaimed, reaching her hands up dramatically. "London, France, everything!" 
    "But how can you talk about that with a bunch of preps? All they want to do is go to Harvard and become doctors." Harry replied, raising his eyebrows. 
    "Yeah, I know." she said, sticking her tongue out in disgust. "They suck. I've been sitting at their table ever since I got put next to their leader, Daniel in AP Pre-Calculus freshman year. He was a sophomore and I did better than him on the pre-test. I guess that's really rare, because at lunch they made me sit with them instead of sitting with my friends from school. They used to crowd around me so I could change into my usual clothes. Then, the preps criticized my clothes, so I started dressing like a prep to school." 
    "Wow. So, what's your name? I'm Dakota!" I smiled, and held out my hand to shake. She shook it. 
    "I know who you are. The entire school knows who you are after the ordeal with Georgia." she replied.
    "Oh." I said, feeling dumb. 
    "It's okay, people have been planning out revenge acts on Georgia since she became queen. No one ever put them into action, though. Anyways, my name's Jenna. I'm a sophomore. And before you say, I know you're freshman." she said. 
    "So, how'd you get in detention?" I asked, attempting to toss in a new topic. 
    "Daniel was annoying me because he kept talking about how dumb this group of girls were. They happened to be my old friends and I got angrier and angrier until I just couldn't take it. So I dumped his protein shake over his head. Daniel didn't want to lose control, so he called over a lunch supervisor and we were sent to the office where I received a detention." she explained. "I looked nervous back there because I was afraid that Jonah would be here, my ex-boyfriend. But he's not, so I'm good." 
    "Why did you think he'd be here?" Henry asked. 
    "I broke up with him a couple of days ago. When I got the detention, he texted e saying he would be here to punish me. You see, when I dated him, he used to hit me..." she explained, trailing off. Harry's eyes widened and we glanced at each other.
    "Jenna, that's a big deal. You need to tell the principal about this!" I explained. 
    "Trust me, it would be way worse if I told the principal. He'd find out, and get me before I could even say "I'm safe."" she said. 
    "Jenna I'm serious. Here, I'll tell the principal and he'll never know that I told. He doesn't even know me!" I replied. She sighed. 
    "I guess you could do that. But, can I ask you guys something?" she said, looking up hopefully. 
    "Yeah." me and Harry said in unison. 
    "Do you guys thin you could let me sit at your table at lunch on Monday. I'm basically kicked off the preps for good after what I did to Daniel. And my old friends don't like me anymore." she explained. Harry glanced at me nervously. 
    "Totally!" I said. She smiled.
    "Thank  you so much." she said. 
    "Hey, no problem." Harry added. 
    "So, back to detention, what'd you guys do to get in here?" she asked. 
    "Well, Dakota is in here for the Georgia ordeal part 1, and I'm in here because I corrected a teacher who couldn't handle being wrong." Harry said. She rolled her head back in laughter. Her laugh was so infectious I couldn't help but laugh as well. Suddenly there was a creak. A boy appeared from behind the shelves. He was tall with blonde hair spiked and had angular face. He wore sweatpants, a sweatshirt with sleeves ripped off, and sneakers. As soon as he saw Jenna he looked attentive and cocked his head slightly to the side, smirking. I guess it was Jonah. 
    "Well, well, well..." he said mischievously, "if it isn't Jenna." Jenna looked at him and suddenly became the timid person from the lounge. She widened her eyes and bit her bottom lip. 
    "Thought I wasn't gonna make it to detention, huh? Who's gonna stop me now? Your little freshmen friends? Let's go." he said grabbing her arm. I felt anger bubble inside me. 
    "Listen, don't you have anything better to do then pick on your ex? She's not into you." I said, standing up. He was very tall, shadowing my 5'3'' height. I looked up at him, not showing fear. 
    "Oh really, and what are you going to do about it, huh? Pour soda on my head? Dye my hair pink?" he said, mocking the actions I had done. 
    "No...I think I'll do...THIS!" I said, bringing my leg right into his groin. He yelped and fell onto the ground. I smiled triumphantly. But my joy was short-lived when the teacher came over. 
    "What is going on here?" she questioned. 
    "He was grabbing her by the arm to take her away and-"
    "Mr. Harvey, what are you doing on school grounds?" she barked, ignoring what I said, and looking at Jonah. "You were expelled last week. Your parents have already informed me and all other teachers you have that you'll be leaving for boarding school later today. So, what are you doing here?" he got up and dropped his tough act, suddenly becoming nervous in front of the teacher. 
    "Oh hey Ms. Calahan, you know, I was just stopping by to tell..these kids how to....not get expelled. You know, and other bad things students...shouldn't do." he said, smiling nervously. I looked at Harry and Jenna and we all were trying not to laugh. 
    "Mr. Harvey I suggest you get off school grounds before I call your parents. Shouldn't you be packing up now?" she asked, looking over her glasses. 
    "Yeah, that's what I was just doing." he said and ran off towards one of the exits of the library. We started laughing before Ms. Calahan coughed again. We looked up immediately began to be quiet. 
    "Dakota, I admire your efforts to protect Jenna, but violence is not always the answer. Also, I should give you all another detention for straying from the lounge, but I've decided to give you a warning. Stay in the lounge or I will tell the principal." we followed her back to the lounge and we each sat down on one of the chairs. The bimbo glanced at us and started filing her nails as she chomped on the gum. 
    "Alright, I'll be in the other room, and I'll be coming to check on you guys at random times, and if any of you leave the lounge area there will be consequences. Understood?" we all nodded. She walked out and as soon as the door shut we began talking. 
    "So...what's your name? I've seen you, you're in my advisory." I said, speaking to the girl filing her nails. The sound of the file slicing across stopped abruptly and she looked up.
    "Chloe." she said bluntly and then the file noise returned as she continued filing. 
    "I'm Dakota, this is Harry, and that's Jenna over there." I said gesturing to each of us. Harry waved and Jenna held out her hand to shake. Chloe glanced up and looked at  Jenna's hand before shaking it lightly. 
    "So, what do you like to do in your free time?" Harry asked. She paused and looked up at me. She opened her mouth to say something then closed it, hesitating to think for a moment. 
    "Honestly?" she asked, her voice changing, sounding more real than her original voice I had always heard. "I love reading. I'd rather come to school in sweatpants and a t-shirt every day than this. But it's what's cool. I can't dress like that or my friend would stop being my friends. And why does it even matter?" she said, suddenly turning a simple question onto a description of who she was. 
    "You know, if they were your friends, they wouldn't care what you look like. They would like you for you." Jenna said.
    "Why aren't you wearing your preppy clothes? Why are you wearing stuff that isn't you?" she asked.
    "This stuff is me, I just was afraid to show it because of the preps. But these two have an aura that makes me unafraid to show who I am." Jenna explained.
    "You guys wanna know a secret?" she said, laughing nervously, "I hate this stupid gum. I hate this stupid outfit that makes me look slutty, and I hate this stupid bronzer all over my face." she exclaimed, taking the gum out of her mouth.
    "What does that gum even taste like anyways?" I asked. She laughed. 
    "Here, try some. My friends gave me a whole pack a couple days ago." she pulled out the gum and handed me one. It was a big cube of neon blue gum. I popped it into my mouth and immediately my face twisted in disgust. I stood up and spit it in the nearest trash can.
    "How do you even chew that?" I asked. She smiled.
    "You just chew it until the flavor dies out." she said. 
    ***
    I stepped off the school bus, wondering if today would be any different. Chloe and Jenna seemed nice, but I wasn't sure if Chloe was going to dress differently today. I knew Jenna was because she ran up to me as soon as I got off the bus in a beanie, skinny jeans, and a t-shirt. She smiled and we talked for a bit before she went to her advisory. I made it into advisory just as the bell rang. I slid into my chair next to Nova. She wore no hat today, but had on a flannel with a Warped Tour t-shirt underneath then had her simple skinnies and Vans. 
    "'Sup girl!" she said dramatically, causing me to laugh. 
    "So, how was your weekend?" I asked.
    "Well, Damon got a cold so I came over and had to spend Saturday at his house giving him chicken noodle soup and tissues because his mom had work. How was yours?" she explained. 
    "Well, I did make some new friends. Speaking of which, I'm bringing a sophomore to our lunch table. She kind of got kicked out of her clique." I replied. 
    "Fine with me. So, you're not gonna believe what Damon did yesterday. The medicine he took made him all drowsy so-" she was cut off and her mouth hung open, staring at something behind me. I turned and saw Chloe, who had just run into the classroom. She wore her hair in a ponytail and had glasses on. She had traded out miniskirts for a pair of sweatpants and a crop top for a t-shirt. And she wasn't chewing the gum. 
    "What happened to bimbo?" Nova asked. Chloe finished explaining why she was late and came over, sitting next to me. 
    "Hey Dakota." she said, smiling as her friends stared at her in disgust before rolling their eyes and turning away, forgetting Chloe in a second. 
    "Chloe, what happened to you?" I asked.
    "I thought about what you said, and I decided that maybe I should stop being who I'm not,I  should be the person I am inside." she said. 
    "Woah, I am so confused." Nova said. 
    "Nova, this is Chloe, Chloe, this is Nova." I said, introducing them to each other. They shook hands. "Nova, I met Chloe at detention yesterday." 
    "Oh, ok. So you're like, secretly awesome?" she said. 
    "Yeah, I guess you could say that." Chloe admitted. 
    "Sweet." Nova said, smiling. 
***
    Freshman year flew by. Three guys joined our group of people by the end of the year. We were not afraid to be ourselves, and we all put down our fake images and showed people who we really were. I said goodbye to everyone for the summer, knowing I wouldn't see them until next year because of camp:
    Cory- the jock who actually ended up being an aspiring singer
    Nova- the chillest chick I ever met
    Chloe- the bimbo-turned-bookworm, aka sweatpants girl
    Damon- sarcastic sweet-talker
    Jenna- the weirdo
    Harry- the cutie pie who secretly pulled all the pranks
    Jared- the 'tough' kid who ended up being a total nerd
    Shane- the secret smarty-pants taking college classes online after school
    We were all secretly awesome, and I could tell that the next three years would be amazing. The Friend Zone hadn't even crossed my mind all year. And I thought maybe I would never return to the zone. 
    Oh how wrong I was. 
    *************

 

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