Note: Happy B-lated B-day to sweetzsugar! Read her story "An Unforgettable Summer" here. It's really good.
The first thing Zach did was stomp as hard as he could on the attacker’s foot, drawing out a pained,
Abruptly he stopped, spun around, and exclaimed, “Fuck! Are you crazy?”
“You’re crazy for staying here.” Came the quiet reply, as Gentry drew out of the shadows. “What it wouldn’t have been me?”
“Then I would’ve felt sorry for them.”
Gentry grunted as if he’d expected that reply, and brushed past him.
“… I thought you decided not to go. But here you are. Nice outfit.”
“Save the remarks. I said I was going, so I did— stealing that stupid friendship bracelet wasn’t gonna change that.”
“Didn’t think it would. Did he notice it was gone?”
Zach didn’t glorify that with a reply. Instead he sat down on the road, and stared out into the darkness with a dogged certainty.
“Well,” Gentry went on easily, “here you are. All dressed up going nowhere. Now all that’s missing is a crowd of people who think you’re courageous for showing up to the prom and queer-dancing to Elvis… Is that deer really worth your magical evening?”
“How did you get here?” Zach demanded briskly, countering the newfound warmth in his cheeks as he turned to press his jacket on the deer’s wound. “And what are you doing here?”
“I took the bus.” Gentry murmured, sitting down beside him. His gaze shifted to glare down at the the animal, whose wide murky eyes gawked back at him soundlessly. The deer didn’t jump when Zach pressed his jacket into the area, which was growing dark with blood. Its eyes calmly lingered on Gentry, no spark of protest buried beneath the deep dark space. It was enough to make him say with some certainty:
“That deer will die.”
Gentry scoffed, sitting back with his elbows on the pavement.
“Why, because you called the police? They won’t come out here for a deer.” he told Zach matter-of-factly, then looked away with discomfort.
“Because those drunk guys at prom will drive home.”
“He better be there. I’ll call him all night long if that’s what it takes. But he’ll be here. He said that he’s already on his way.”
Gentry groaned quietly, “God, Zach. Do you really believe that? Don’t be stupid.”
“I’m not stupid. You’re stupid for coming here.”
“Yeah, damn right I feel stupid now.”