Part 1. David
«I told you to leave him. Why do you ignore me like that?»
There stood a boy, with his arms hidden in the pockets, his blond hair messy, his blue eyes looking distrustfully and angrily at other boys who were standing in front of him.
«Because you’re just fat little clod who thinks that he is the smartest person in the world!» he growled through his teeth, his saliva splashing from the mouth. It made him look like a wild animal caught in a trap and trying to protect itself.
But he never was in a trap. Boys stood on a distance from him, and a wall beside them was straight. David never liked trapping people in a corner. It wasn’t good for his reputation.
David looked at the blond boy coldly and with absolute ease.
«I propose you to solve this problem quickly, Joe,» he said. «You leave Freddie, and we don’t bother you anymore. Easy enough, isn’t it?»
«I’m not going to listen to you!» replied Joe. He glanced at David’s crew, his agemates, and one of them smiled slightly to him.
«You should listen, or you will have too many problems to deal with. Your parents will know about what you do to Freddie, and tell me – would they like it? Or would they support you? I don’t think so, Joe. It’s just not necessary to argue with us. You leave Freddie, and we leave you»
«Damn it, David, let me punch him!» said one of the boys standing behind David. He moved forward in order to reach for Joe, but David stopped him with his hand.
«Joe,» he said, «I really don’t want to have a clash now. Think of do you really need to be our enemy. We could be friends, you know. Don’t argue, just think. Freddie is our friend, but after you’d lost your authority in the class, you try to return it by beating him, hoping to blow up the respect we have. But you’re alone, Joe. There’s nobody to protect or help you. So, I’ll ask again: do you need to be our enemy?»
Joe stood still, tears were shining in his eyes, his breath seemed to be too loud. David stepped toward him and looked in his eyes.
«You will be respected if you stop bothering Freddie. I promise you»
And he offered Joe his hand. The blond boy glanced at David first, then at his plump soft palm, then wiped the tears off his cheeks with the sleeve, and they shook.
That was only one of all those unpleasant conversations which David had finished by shaking hands after finding the compromise. He could solve any problem that appeared among his classmates. Sometimes it was difficult if an opponent began talking about David’s overweight and laughed at his shortness. It wasn’t that David felt offense in such moments, it just was difficult to make people listen to him again after they’d assured themselves they were besting him. But in the end of any conflict, David was the winner. It wasn’t even essential to fight or punch each other in order to prove who is smarter or more respected. There always was obvious truth seen during a talk.
Everybody knew that David was the leader of his class, despite anybody as chubby and short as David couldn’t even hope to be favored. Teachers liked to have a conversation with the boy, because he was intelligent enough to keep it interesting. He used to read smart books every day and had known a lot about how to be a good person, good leader and good friend. His skills had been perfectly trained, but sometimes there were situations new to him, so he always learned how to find a new solution.
His parents had done a lot for him, too. Despite David had a heart sickness that caused overweight, they had never left him with this problem. They loved him and cared about his world vision, his social and personal skills, helped him to find the answers, even played baseball with him. His dad was strict enough to teach David being serious, but never was impudent. His mother was that person who taught him to be kind and enthusiastic, to feel the people and read their thoughts about how they treat him. Neither classmates, nor parents had ever said a word about David’s differences that had made him unlike any other child in the class.
He was a winner, class’s headman, intelligent way beyond his years, a lot of his classmates had beaten a path to David’s door hoping to get an advice or just wanting him to listen to their griefs and sufferings, he was beloved student and son.
But suddenly an alarm clock began to ring, and David awoke.