Chapter 44- Daniel's POV

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Chapter 44- Daniel's POV: Part 1

The sky has turned a dull shade of grey by the time I'm finished with work at the grocery store Monday evening. I hang my olive green Publix apron up on one of the pegs near the manager's office after receiving my pay of twenty five dollars for today. I run into one of my co workers Brian on my way out of the store and give him a quick fist bump. Brian was only a year older than me and bagged groceries in the checkout station right next to mine. We began talking when one day last week a middle aged lady barked at him for not using her recyclable bags instead of the store's usual plastic ones. At first Brian kept his mouth shut and let the lady bitch and moan without complaint until she threatened to tell our boss that Brian wasn't being an "environmentally friendly employee." By that time I had already busted out laughing a few feet away from him and ended up spilling a half opened box of cereal I had been bagging.

Both Brian and I got a real ass whooping from our boss that day but the two of us just laughed it off and ended up chilling outside of the store later smoking cigarettes. We really bonded that day over the crazy health conscious white ladies we had to deal with everyday at the checkout.

"See ya later bruh," Brian says to me after our fist bump.

"Adios," I salute to him.

I step outside of the store and I'm immediately greeted with the unpleasantly chilly weather. "Fuck," I mutter, rubbing my hands up and down my arms in a lame attempt to warm myself up.

Today, like mostly every other day of the week, I was forced to walk home from my part time job. This is because I no longer have my own car and Anthony has classes at the community college and then his part time job at the auto mechanic. He doesn't have the time to give me a ride anymore so I'm forced to either walk or call up a friend for a ride. Truthfully, I don't really mind walking home because lately I haven't even seen my brother's ass around nor do I really want to see him. But in the back of my mind I know that the next time I do see him I'm gonna have to confront him about the whole texting Nora behind my back thing. There's no way I'm gonna let that shit fly.

As I'm walking across the parking lot of the Publix, which is practically empty at this point, I see out of my peripheral vision a white Honda Accord driving close behind me. I don't think anything of it at first and continue at my usual pace, sticking my hands in the pockets of my black hoodie. I have my earbuds in, attempting to kill my boredom on the walk home by listening to Linkin Park. That's when I hear a loud honk and realize that it came from the same white Honda Accord that was following me before. I turn my head slightly but have a difficult time seeing the driver's face so I continue to ignore him. A few seconds later, I hear someone shout my name:

"Yo, Daniel!"

This time I whirl around, vaguely recognizing the male voice. My eyes scan the parking lot and then they land on the white Honda a few feet in back of me. The window of the car is rolled down and I see Christian sticking his head out of it halfway. I can feel the confusion welling up in my chest and a hint of apprehension but I nod back at him anyway and call, "What's up?"

He doesn't respond and instead rolls up his window and finds a parking space close to where I'm now standing, facing the opposite direction from where I was walking. I take out my earbuds and let them dangle around my neck. The door to Christian's car opens then and he steps out, sticking his head into the car again for a brief moment. It looks like he's talking to somebody else in the car but I swear I didn't see any one besides him in the front seat. He straightens himself up after and shuts the door, walking towards me.

"Hey man, how's it going?" I greet him once he fully approaches me. I extend my hand to him so we can bro hug like we usually do whenever we see each other. He reaches his hand back and before I have a chance to react he punches me on the side of my face.

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