Beating Up Daniel
by A.D. Fast
Cool friends. Good-looking girls. Parties. Justin becomes friends with the older boys at Bayview High. He feels like he is finally part of the cool group. When the group leader gets dumped by his girlfriend, he makes her new boyfriend, Daniel, his next target. Life starts spinning out of control. The group plans a beating, and Justin has to make a decision. Whose side is he really on?
Click here for reading level.
This book is part of the Bayview High series.
To read the first chapter of Beating Up Daniel, click here. Enjoy!
Other Tea Leaf Press books by A.D. Fast:
After Dinner Barf
Crossing the Line
Taking the Lead
The Mystery of the Medieval Coin
To Save a King
Angel Wilson: teenage diva
Beating Up Daniel
Blood dripped down Justin's chin. He pulled his black cape around his shoulders. He looked around for his next victim. Slowly, he walked toward the sleeping Jessica. Her head was turned to the side. He looked at her white neck and smiled. Creeping toward her, he opened his mouth. His large fangs were ready for flesh. Just as he was about to bite, he felt a sharp pain. With the wooden stake stabbed in his back, Dracula fell to the floor.
The sound of clapping filled the room.
Justin stood up and looked out at the audience. Jessica sat up in the fake bed. It was made out of cushions and a sleeping bag. Mr. Thomas turned on the classroom lights. The students adjusted their eyes to the light.
Justin was nervous. It was early April, and this play counted for twenty-five percent of his final mark in drama class. He and Jessica had practiced the play all week. Now it was Friday, and he had skipped his first class to set up for the big day. All that work was over in one hour.
The other drama students sat on rows of benches like bleachers. The benches looked like a really wide set of black stairs. The classroom walls were painted black. The windows had heavy curtains. When the main lights were off, the room was pitch black. Spotlights pointed at the classroom floor, which became a "stage" for class plays.
Mr. Thomas walked down the bleachers to the floor. He had a clipboard in his hand. "Very well done," he said. The class was still clapping. "I like how you wrote your lines," he said to Justin and Jessica. "The set design was good. I would think again about the lighting for the final scene. It was hard to see the victim," Mr. Thomas added.
Mr. Thomas was an actor. That's what he told his students. He insisted that literature and drama were the most important courses his students would take. This year, Mr. Thomas was also teaching geography. Justin joked with him about it. He could joke around with Mr. Thomas. There weren't many teachers like him. Mr. Thomas had long, brown hair that he wore in a low ponytail. He always wore jeans and sandals with socks to school. Mr. Thomas was one of the coolest teachers at Bayview High.
"Does anyone else have comments about the play?" he asked. A few of the students talked about the costumes. James McMath mentioned that Justin could have said some of his lines a little differently. Overall, the play went over well with the other kids. Justin was sure he was getting a good mark.
The bell rang for the next class, and everyone filed out of the dark room. Justin stayed behind to clean up. His next period was lunch anyway.
Justin took off his cape, grabbed a cloth, and wiped the fake blood off his face. Then he grabbed a broom and started sweeping the floor.
"That was great! You didn't even smile when John burped in the middle of the scene," Jessica said. She was putting away some of the props they used for the play. There were chairs, lamps, empty water bottles, and, of course, the big, wooden stake.
"By the way, John, that burp was Academy Award material," she added.
John was laughing in the corner of the room. "What? That was method acting," he said.
"You don't even know what method acting is!" Justin answered. He threw a football across the room so John could put it in the "set" closet.
Justin walked over to the costume area and washed his face in the sink. He looked into the mirror and combed his short, brown hair. Then he rubbed his chin. Still no beard. What is taking so long? he wondered.
Justin watched as Jessica fixed her hair. She took out her ponytail and shook her head. Jessica's long blond, wavy hair fell down around her shoulders.
"What is this, a shampoo commercial?" Justin said as he walked by her. He picked up his books from the bench.
"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!" she answered. She pretended to pose for a camera. "Listen, Justin Andrews, you have to be at drama club on time next week. We have to get that scene right if you want to be cast for the spring show."
The spring show was a big deal. Drama, music, dancing--it was really popular in the city, and the school spent a lot of money on it.
"Yes, madam. Will our star be giving any other orders?" he asked, laughing.
"Yes, I order that you change your outfit before next class. You look like a cross between a rocker and a my dad trying to look hip." He was still wearing a black turtleneck shirt with black running pants and black shoes. He had to wear all black for their play. As Dracula, he had to be hidden in the dark.
Justin laughed. His jeans and shirt were in a locker in the change room. He was going to change anyway. Jessica smiled and turned to leave. Justin stood there and watched her as she walked out of the classroom.
"Snap out of it, buddy. She might hang out with us for class projects, but that girl has her eye on bigger fish," John said. He stood beside Justin with his arms crossed. They watched Jessica stroll down the hall toward the cafeteria. She caught up with her group of friends. The girls giggled loudly as they made their way down the hall.
"John, get a grip. I don't like Jessica. I mean, she is fine, but I know she wouldn't go out with a guy like me. Besides, I can't compete with those guys," he answered. He nodded toward Travis, Dave, and Tom. They were joking around outside the library. Those guys pretty much ruled grade eleven. They all had cell phones in their backpacks. Wherever they went, a group of girls was sure to follow. They were seventeen, and they were cool.
Justin was really enjoying grade ten so far. He had taken drama class in grade nine and liked it. This year it was even better. Mr. Thomas was a great teacher, too. Before Justin knew it, he was part of the drama club. It didn't get in the way of track-and-field practice at all, either. He could practice long jump whenever he wanted and belong to the drama club.
Justin and John headed off down the hall to change. As they passed the library, Travis looked at him and laughed.
"Hey, Justin, nice outfit," he called. Dave and Tom laughed.
"Yeah, yeah," Justin said. He faked a laugh.
"Oh, and John, the chess team was looking for you. They're one geek short for their big match. Better go and find them," Dave called.
John laughed and shrugged it off. John Case was tall and fit. The football coach was always trying to get him to join the team. John wasn't into football. He preferred the drama club, the chess club, and the cross-country running team. When the older guys bugged him, he took it as a sign of friendship. It didn't bother him a bit, but it bothered Justin.
"What's their problem?" Justin asked, looking over at Travis, Dave, and Tom. He opened the change room door and walked over to his locker.
"Why do you let it bug you so much?" John answered. "They always pick on someone. Today it's me. Who cares? When you are as smart as me and you play chess, you have to expect some teasing."
"It's not even really Dave and Tom who are the problem. It's Travis. Ever since he came to Bayview this year, he has been a jerk," Justin said. "He should have stayed at Lincoln." Justin was amazed that such a popular guy could be such an idiot. "Did you know that his father is a heart surgeon?"
"Yeah," John answered. "Too bad he didn't get his father's brains." They both laughed. When they were dressed and ready to go, they closed their lockers and turned for the door.
The door whipped open. A guy with messy, sandy-brown hair flew in. He ran for a locker close to the showers.
"Hey, John," he called as he opened his locker. He kicked off his running shoes and pulled off his sweat shirt.
"Hey, Daniel. Running on your lunch again?" John asked. Daniel always went for a run during his lunch period. He was on the cross-country team and wanted to keep in shape.
"Man. One of these days I'll either get kicked out of math or get kicked out of gym. One or the other," Daniel laughed. He was medium height and very muscular. He was built for weight lifting, not running. But he trained hard for cross country anyway. He was also the smartest guy--and the nicest guy--in grade eleven.
"With your marks, I doubt they'll kick you out," John called over his shoulder as he opened the change room door. "See you at chess!"
"Yeah. See ya!" Daniel called from the shower.
"Who is he?" Justin asked as they walked down the hall.
"New guy. His name is Daniel. He is a really good guy. He joined the chess club last month. You should see the guy play," John answered, checking his hair in the window as he walked by. He opened his lunch bag and munched on a ham sandwich as they walked down the hall.
By the time they finished cleaning up the room and changing their clothes, lunch period was over. Justin ran into geography class ten minutes late. The class was getting a new project that day. He was excited to find out who his project partner would be.
When he got to class, he wished he never bothered showing up.
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