Birds of Prey: Gabby and Dinah: Part 2
by Melissa Minners
Disclaimer and Other Information: It should be noted that all of the characters and many of the locales in this fan fiction are not mine. They are owned by The WB. This fan fiction is somewhat of an homage to the series, though I have used a little liberty here with events. The story takes place during the Birds of Prey television series and continues through my other fanfics which can be found here. I hope you enjoy.
High school could be a cruel and foreboding place when you were different. I learned that lesson early. Dating Jasmine in my freshman year of high school taught me a thing or two about that. So did history class. I mean, think about it. When haven’t other people railed against those who were different?
Many of the country’s founding fathers left their homelands in search of a land where they would not be persecuted for their differences. Those very same people forgot their reasons for coming to this country as soon as they met the natives of this land. They were different; looked different. They had different customs and different ways of doing things. Instead of rejoicing in their differences and trying to coexist with them, the newly landed immigrants decided to teach the natives the right path – their path. After all, the natives were savages, right?
America’s history is rife with persecution: the Salem witch trials, Irish Need Not Apply signs, segregation, gay-bashing…I could go on. It’s all a pattern doomed to be repeated. Life in high school can be equated to a small satellite of the world we live in. That being the case, why should high school be any different from the rest of the world?
You know that old adage – the one about sticks and stones. It’s a crock of shit. Words hurt just as much as sticks and stones…sometimes more, depending on their source and how they are directed. I ought to know, being a direct recipient of some of the sharper barbs. But, I tend to adapt faster than others. After a while, I got past the childishness of it all and decided to ignore it. If a person couldn’t accept me for what I was, I didn’t need them around. I thought it their loss.
But to someone like Dinah, a shy and timid girl to say the least, high school could be hell. Instant acceptance is a rare commodity in high school. In fact, it almost never happens. When Ms. Wells forced Dinah to stand up in class and say something about herself, it was as if she was trying to force acceptance on us. It was the worst thing she could have ever done.
She exposed all of Dinah’s weaknesses right there in front of twenty other students. Those twenty told all of their friends about “Zipper Girl”, the shy blonde, who in her nervous attempt to find something – anything – cool to relate about herself, blurted out that her town was the first to coin the term “zipper”. Her reaction to the giggles she heard fairly sealed her fate.
When she disappeared from the lunchroom the day before, after being teased by Val, I half expected that she wouldn’t return. Still, Dinah intrigued me, and a part of me hoped she was strong enough to weather the storm. Walking into Ms. Wells’ class just seconds before the bell, I scanned the room and was pleasantly surprised. Ducking down in a seat in the back row was a familiar blonde head doing her very best to remain unnoticed.
The bell rang and I found my seat, but I barely noticed what was being taught. My mind was focusing on what I would do when class was over. I wanted to talk to Dinah, but had to be careful of my approach. After all, I would be suspect – I had been sitting next to Val when she had made that “Zipper Girl” comment. Dinah would be suspicious of my motives.
I had barely begun to think of the possible ways to approach Dinah when the bell rang signaling the end of the period. Before I could slide out of my chair, Dinah was dashing out the door and on to her next class. As I rushed to the door, I barely caught a glimpse of her as she rounded the corner.
Damn, I remember thinking to myself. Another missed opportunity.
Knowing that I wouldn’t see Dinah again until lunch, I pretty much resigned myself to two hours of boredom. I was not disappointed. Not that I didn’t like school. There were classes I enjoyed. For example, I had always found history to be rather fascinating. And English – I loved to read, and I always received compliments on my writing.
In fact, school for the most part wasn’t too bad. Often times, it was the teachers that made it boring. I mean, picture that teacher in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. You know the one. The guy that takes attendance at the beginning of class: “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller”. Imagine having to listen to that droning voice for an hour each day. Now multiply that by four or five. No wonder Ferris had decided to cut.
When my prison sentence was up and the bell rang signifying my lunch period, I fairly ran to the lunchroom. I paused just inside the doorway, scanning the room for any sign of Dinah. I found her, seated in a far corner of the room, alone. I headed over to the tray line, picked up my tray and headed toward the far side of the lunchroom. I heard Val call me over to my usual table, but I was firm in my resolve.
Something told me that I had to talk to this girl. I just can’t explain it. As I approached the table, I paused, fearful that I would say something or do something to screw it up. I can come on a bit strong sometimes and I didn’t want to do anything to scare Dinah off. Just when I started to rethink my actions, Dinah looked up from her meal. Her eyes locked with mine, and suddenly, all the practiced greetings that I had mused over in Ms. Wells’ class were lost to me.
“I…uh…you’re Dinah.” No kidding, Jackass! “You’re in Ms. Wells’ class.” Like I needed to tell her that one. “Yeah, I’m there too…with you…er…in that class.” Oh, God, what an idiot! Smooth, Gabby, really smooth!
Dinah stared up at me for a moment, watching me fidget in my discomfort. I was certain she was going to think me a simple-minded fool and simply get up from the table and leave. But then, a smile appeared on her face – a smile so genuine, I couldn’t help but mirror the image. Then she began to chuckle. It was infectious. Soon, I was laughing so hard that a stitch was beginning to develop in my side.
I put my tray down on the table and plopped down onto the bench, holding my stomach. Dinah wiped tears from her eyes as she tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of herself. Nervous laughter is the worst. Just when you think you’re over it, it grabs you again in its clutches and you are doubled over, gasping for air.
When we finally were able to compose ourselves, we settled down to a lunch of lousy food and interesting conversation. Dinah lived with Ms. Gordon, one of the English teachers who also doubled as a counselor on her off hours. She’d just arrived in New Gotham last week and was a little disenchanted with the place, but she wanted desperately to make things work out here. I didn’t ask, but from the way Dinah referred to her life in Opal…or rather the way she shied away from discussing her life in Opal…a return to her home town was something she dreaded with a passion.
When the bell rang and lunchtime was over, Dinah’s face fell. I, too, felt sort of robbed. We had fallen into such an easy and enjoyable conversation, I hadn’t wanted the moment to end. But someone once said that all good things must come to an end. We said our goodbyes and headed out of the lunchroom, vowing to have lunch together the following day. It wasn’t until we both had rounded the corner at the end of the hall that we realized we were traveling in the same direction.
As it turned out, we were both in the same science class. Then following that, we were in the same gym class. In fact, our schedules were virtually identical except for two hours of the day. Funny how things work out, huh?