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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 08

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DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.

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Lani versus Laurel

Garrison and Laurel finished their breakfast and left the bagel shop for the early morning sun bathed courtyard.

"My class doesn't start until ten," Laurel reminded Garrison. "It's not even nine. What do you want to do for an hour?"

"I should probably go over my Spanish notes," Garrison said with the enthusiasm of a patient facing a root canal. "I thought I knew some Spanish. Professor Cortez convinced me I was wrong."

"Did you take Spanish in high school?" Laurel asked.

Garrison snorted. "Allegedly."

Before he could explain how he'd only allegedly learned Spanish in high school, Garrison spotted Delaney walking their way.

"Is this who you turned me down for, Gary?" Delaney asked with a smile as she approached the couple. "I can't say as I blame you. She's cute."

Garrison stared at Delaney with his mouth agape. Delaney must have realized he was too shocked to handle introductions, so she took it upon herself.

"Hi," she said, holding her hand out to Laurel. " I'm Delaney, Garrison's friend. You can call me Lani."

Laurel hesitated before taking Delaney's hand. "Uh, hi. I'm Laurel."

"It's nice to meet you, Laurel. Gary never mentioned he had a girlfriend."

"Garrison never mentioned a girlfriend to me either," Laurel replied. "We're just having breakfast together."

"Oh, I'm not Gary's girlfriend," Delaney explained. "We're just friends. We're both English majors and have most of the same classes."

Garrison finally found his voice. Addressing Delaney first, he said, "Uh, Lani, Laurel and I just met last night. She accepted my invitation to meet this morning for coffee and a bite." He then turned to Laurel. "Delaney and I do have most of the same classes, but, honestly, I had no idea she thought of us as friends. Until she invited me to play tennis this morning, I didn't even think she liked me at all."

The two girls stared at Garrison with twisted frowns on their faces. He looked back at Delaney. "For the record, my name is Garrison, not Gary. No one has ever called me Gary in all my life. My mother would have a fit if anyone tried."

Delaney shrugged and smiled. "Sorry. I didn't know that. Gary seemed like the right nickname for someone named Garrison. No offense meant."

"None taken," Garrison assured the tennis player.

Delaney continued. "What made you think I didn't like you? I sat near you in every class. If I didn't like you, why would I sit close to you?"

Garrison's response, which, by the looks on each of their faces, both Laurel and Delaney were anxious to hear, was forestalled by the arrival of Calvin and Mariah walking toward them from the University Union side of the courtyard.

"It looks like y'all are having a meeting," Calvin quipped as he and Mariah strode up to the other three.

"Or an inquisition," Mariah added. "Which one of you is mad at Garrison?"

"I don't know why anyone is mad at me," Garrison said, throwing his hands up.

"No one is mad at you, Garrison," Laurel said to the confused boy. "Lani and I are just looking for clarification."

Garrison shook his head. "You're looking for clarification about what? Laurel, I like you. I thought we hit it off last night, and there was a real connection. I believe you felt it, too. I want to see you again if it's what you want. Is spending time with me and getting to know me, too, something you want to do?"

Laurel smiled shyly. She reached out and placed a hand on Garrison's arm. "Yes. Yes, Garrison, I'd like that very much."

He returned her smile and moved closer to her side before turning his attention to Delaney.

"If there is anyone who needs to clarify things, Lani, I think it's you," Garrison told the tennis player. "Sure, you sat near me, but everything you ever said to me until the text you sent me last night was snarky or sarcastic. How were you trying to tell me you like me by being mean and condescending?"

Delaney's lower lip quivered. Her eyes grew moist. "I don't know. I never learned how to flirt. Shoot, I never learned how to talk to boys. All I've done since I was seven-years-old when I wasn't at school was play tennis. Tennis practice, tennis lessons, tennis camps, watching tennis, tennis, tennis, tennis. My mother wanted me to be the tennis star she never was. Boys were something I never had time for."

Garrison squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his temple. When he opened his eyes, he said to Delaney, "I can sort of understand what it must have been like growing up the way you did. With my parents, it was always about being in the books, learning, studying. There was no time for sports, no time for games, no time for girls."

"There is no time to continue this discussion unless we want to be late for Spanish," Mariah informed the group. "You two will just have to work out your lost childhood issues later."

Laurel scowled at Mariah. "Who are you?"

"I'm Mariah," Calvin's girlfriend said with a note of sarcasm. Then, in a more civil tone, she said, "Oh, sorry. We haven't met. Let me start over. I'm Mariah. This fellow here is Calvin, my boyfriend. We're Garrison's friends. I see you already met Delaney. I'm not sure where she got the idea she and Garrison were friends. She's been tormenting him since our first class together."

"I'm Laurel, Garrison's date." She looked at her Apple Watch. "And if I don't want to be late for my ten o'clock class, I need to get going, too." She looked at Garrison and told him, "Come by the store tonight when you get this all sorted out and let me know where I stand, okay."

Without another word or a look back, Laurel walked away. Garrison started to go after her. Calvin held him back.

"Bro, you don't want to go chasing her down right now. For one thing, she's not ready to listen right now. For another, we don't want to be late. I don't think Professor Cortez was kidding about locking the door when class starts."

Garrison's story continues in Chapter 09

© 2020 DW Davis

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