When Darion said his dad would be fine with me coming over, there were a few things Aidyn didn’t expect. The first was his dad’s imposing figure. That’s not just because he’s really muscular– he also asked a bunch of really strange questions about Aidyn’s parents and family. For any other kid that would be fine, but since he didn’t know his dad that well, they started getting really awkward. All I want to do is play with my friend, not be interrogated about a past I know nothing of.
“What was up with all those weird questions from your dad?” Aidyn asked as soon as he was allowed to join Darion inside.
“Oh,” Darion replied unenthusiastically, “He gets that way about strangers– people he doesn’t know– so it’s not just you. Don’t worry about it?”
The taste of guilt filled Aidyn’s mouth, gooey and sour. His question had somehow silenced the boy who had walked into class on his first day at a new school and proudly proclaimed that he liked “listening to electronica and reading graphic novels” when the teacher asked him to tell the class about himself.
“Uh, okay– do you want to, I don’t know, talk about something else?” Why am I suddenly stammering? I’m supposed to be the eloquent one.n
“Actually, can we stay on this? Just for a minute? I– sometimes my dad kind of acts like a teenager. As in, he tries to flirt with girls and stuff. It’s weird, and it seems like no one else’s dad acts like that?”
“It’s one of those things that they do in movies– like the guy will walk up to the girl and say, ‘the stars look beautiful tonight, and you know what else looks beautiful?’ and then she gets all giggly and stuff, and then he says ‘you’ and then they start kissing and pretty soon they give each other the special rings that let you get married and then babies randomly start appearing out of nowhere.”
“Oh, I think I saw the start of one of those, but then Mom walked in and said that we needed to change the channel because movies like that ‘aren’t for kids.'”
“Really? Dad watches those movies all the time and he doesn’t care if I’m in the room or not, though you’re not missing out on much– they’re all the same after awhile, just with added monsters or Christmas or killing people.”
“Your dad lets you watch everything! Mom doesn’t even let us watch movies where the characters are poking each other with sticks.”
“Does your mom let you do anything?”
“Not really– she doesn’t even let Rayden play R.E.F.U.G.E., and there’s not even any fighting or dating or anything! It’s practically mazes, just with a few monsters!”
“My dad’s the king of R.E.F.U.G.E.!” Darion frowned. “He doesn’t really let me play it either– he’s worried that I’ll mess up and make his character die. He said I can play it once he beats the game. He’s really close.”
“Hmm… maybe I can convince mom to let us do a few more things… after all, we are eleven.”
Darion grinned. “That would be so much fun! But you know, there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do that we wouldn’t need your mom’s permission for.”
“Making a comic book! We could do it together! I can draw pretty good, but I’m not the best at writing, and I know you did really well on you paper in school–”
“I’ll definitely help!” Aidyn interrupted.
“You– you will?”
“Of course! Why wouldn’t I? We’re, like, the dream team or something!”
“I’ve asked other kids before to help me with it, but they all just ignored me, said no, or called me ‘weirdo’.”
“That’s too bad for them, because I think you’re great.”
Aidyn immediately blushed. Great? Really? If you were more like Cynthia, you could’ve come up with a better adjective.
Darion eyes glistened. Great? My first friend here that I just met today actually thinks I’m great?
The two stared at each other for a solid minute before Darion broke the silence. You idiot! He’s probably waiting for you to tell him more about the project. “Come on, I’ll take you to my room.” Darion grabbed Aidyn’s hand and pulled him towards the smaller of the two bedrooms in the house.
Aidyn couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. Maybe Darion could be his best friend.