"Hey Daniel, don't worry you'll do great today! I can pick you up when your shift ends and you can tell me all about it." He said enthusiastically.
"Thanks, Ethan." I smiled. I didn't know what else to say. He cared more about me than my own mother, and that was more than I could've ever asked from him. I walked in after waving back at him.
I walked to Kevin Richards's office after giving a small wave to the guy at the counter who excitedly waved back.
"Hey, Mr. Richards..." I said uncertainly.
"Oh hello Daniel! Thank you for answering my call this morning, and please, call me Kevin." He lead me out to behind the counter and told the worker there who's name was Max to show me around. It was the same guy I'd seen last time. Everything was pretty simple, all I needed to know how to do was find where movies were in the store and use the computer to check them out. There were barely any customers so most of the time I was talking to Max. I found out that he lived pretty close to me and lived by himself. He was overly obsessed with video games and he smelled like weed so I assumed he was a stoner. He was pretty likable though.
About thirty minutes before my shift ended, a middle aged man with mean looking eyes walked in. He looked really familiar to me for some reason, but I was probably imagining it. Something about his posture and his face. He was wearing what looked like an expensive suit making me wonder why he was at a video rental store in the trashy parts of Oklahoma City. Max nudged me.
"Hello is there anything I can help you with today?" I said to the man. He turned to me and smiled creepily. Everything he did seemed threatening. I started fidgeting with my hands waiting for him to reply.
Of course my first customer has to be a total creep.
"Why actually, I think you can." He said. His voice was raspy as if that was the first thing he'd said all day.
"What can I do for you?" I asked in what I hoped was a respectful tone. He slowly walked up to the counter, his eyes not leaving my face.
"Where do you live Daniel?"
I'd just gotten a call from Fox that Ace wanted to meet with everyone.
This meeting better be over before I have to go pick Daniel up.
I could tell that someone was following me, and by the headlights behind me I knew who it was. I sped up, seeing if I could lose them, but they stayed right behind me the whole time. I took a random turn and pulled the car over. I laughed as I got out.
"What did Ace tell you to do this time you fucking kiss-ass?" I yelled at Toto.
"E-excuse me?" I stuttered. Was this normal here? I looked at Max who looked just as confused as me.
"I think you heard what I said." The man replied.
"Do I know you?" I asked, my voice shaky.
"No, but I know y—"
"Dude, get the fuck out of here or I'm calling the cops." Max interrupted, grabbing the phone. The man calmly turned to him.
"I didn't mean to start anything. See you soon Daniel." He grinned then slowly walked out. Max let out a huge breath when he was gone.
"Dude do you know that guy?" He asked.
I shook my head, unable to find my voice. Max patted me on the back.
"Okay well don't worry, that usually doesn't happen. You better not quit!" He laughed nervously. I gave him a small smile and shook my head.
About fifteen minutes later, Kevin came out.
"Well, Daniel, how was your first day?" He asked happily.
"It was pretty go—"
I was interrupted by Max who told Kevin about the man who'd come in earlier.
Kevin looked worried.
"I'm so sorry that happened on your first day! I'll make sure to look at the security tapes to look at who it was."
"It's definitely fine don't worry about it." I replied. I felt bad. It was my fault some creep walked into their rental store. Not theirs.
Kevin kept apologizing until my shift ended fifteen minutes later. I decided I didn't want Ethan to go out of his way to pick me up, so I walked home.
When I got to my house, I saw the same white BMW as I'd seen when I got back from the hospital.
I crept in my house quietly as I heard my mother laughing loudly in the other room with, I assumed, the owner of the BMW. I quietly got into my room, locked the door then fell down onto my bed. I texted Ethan that I got home okay then I felt myself drift to sleep before I could even try opening my backpack to do homework.
I woke up to the sound of something outside my door. I could hear my mom snoring in her room, so it wasn't her. It sounded like someone was standing right outside my room because the floorboard was creaking. I slowly reached for my phone and dialed 911, ready to hit call if they came in my room. I began to think that maybe I'd imagined it over the sound of my heart beating, but when my doorknob started jiggling I knew this was real. The door was locked, so I had time to turn the lamp by my bed on. When the light came on, it became quiet all of a sudden until I heard footsteps rushing away from my room. I heard the front door slam shut shortly after and I rushed to my window to see who it was.
It was dark, but I could see the familiar figure of the man from the video store starting up the white BMW and driving away.
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Sixteen year old Daniel Layman has been bullied since he came out. His best friend and protector Sean, moved to Los Angeles leaving Daniel to fend for himself in Oklahoma City. Along with trying to survive every minute of hell at school, Daniel also...