Ryan Bergara was known for many things, but being paranoid, was not one of them.
"Dude, you're literally the most paranoid person I know," Brent said, rolling his eyes.
"That's not true! I'm quite reasonable!" Ryan objected.
"Uh-huh. Who was the one that was definitely sure that Steven got abducted by aliens when he went missing for a night?"
"I was just worried!"
"And he was just sleeping in! Like any other normal person on a Friday night! And the normal reaction for 'being worried', would be calling him, or his family. Not theorizing about aliens."
"Fair point. But this is different!"
And it was. This time, Ryan made sure he did not jump into any sort of conclusions, before he managed to get hard evidence to back up his theories. He made sure that he kept his options open.
"Options? Them being what, that Shane Madej is either a demon or a skinny green space man? Those aren't strong options to begin with, Ryan!" Brent said, exasperated.
"First of all, aliens are grey, not green," Ryan said pointedly, as Brent rolled his eyes, "And secondly, I've been collecting proof! I'll prove it!"
"Yeah, what kind of proof?"
"He's freakishly tall."
"Hmm, have you entertained the idea of him being Bigfoot?" Brent asked, sarcastically.
"C'mon Brent, now you're just being silly. Bigfoot doesn't exist."
Brent stared at Ryan, thinking if it would be considered abuse if he beat up his best friend.
"And that's not all!" Ryan continued, completely oblivious, "He knows I'm onto him! That's why he wanted to join my club!"
"Your fake paranormal club?"
"It's not fake, and yes!"
"It didn't get approved by the school, so it's fake, and wow, that is pretty weird."
"Shut the fuck up, and I know right! And he kept trying to talk to me, even before he asked to join my club. He knows that I'll be the one to expose him!"
"So what, he's also a psychic?"
"Could be, demons are said to have psychic abilities."
"Ryan..." Brent said, sighing, "He's a new student. Maybe he was just looking for friends?"
"Uh huh? Then why didn't he, I dunno, go talk to the 'normal' kids who're not in fake paranormal clubs?" Ryan said, his tone challenging, as if he were fighting a case on which his life depended on.
"Maybe he's a weirdo who likes the paranormal too?" Brent countered, feeling stupid for even participating in such an argument.
"No, he has already insulted all my beliefs, multiple times," Ryan said, crinkling his nose, "He's definitely trying to drive me off of his tail! Plus, I keep running into him, and I caught him staring at me. He's definitely keeping me under surveillance."
"Have you ever thought that, 'hey, maybe this new guy has a crush on me!'"
Ryan laughed, disregarding Brent with a wave of his hand.
"Hilarious, Brent. But lemme tell you, I'm definitely leaning towards my demon theory."
Brent sighed. "Any other reasons why you think Shane Madej is the actual devil?"
"His hair looks enchanted."
"Oh god, you're in love with him too!"
Ryan had already prepared an entire case file on this 'new kid.' That is, Ryan thought, if Shane really was a 'new kid'. Or a human being, for that matter.
"You're dedicating your time to Shane freakin' Madej, instead of doing your homework?" Brent said exasperatedly over the phone, as Ryan mumbled a 'hm' in reply.
"We have tests coming up, Ryan! You need to study. Forget your demons for a bit, will you?"
"Demons don't wait for tests, Brent. And you're gonna be thankful I put my time into this, when I prevent Shane from — from using his demon powers for evil!"
"Come on, Ryan! This is craz— oh god, what even is that noise?" Brent said, as he heard a familiar tune coming from Ryan's end of the call, "Oh — Oh my god. Please don't tell me you're listening to the X-files theme. In full fucking volume."
"What? I can't hear you over the X-files theme which I'm playing in full volume."
Shane Madej was taken aback when he saw a familiar small figure slide in front of him to block his path as he was walking down the hallway.
Nevertheless, he was happy.
Ryan bent down, holding his knees, huffing to try and catch his breath.
"Are you okay? Were you running?" Shane asked, confused.
"The — jig — is up, Shane Madej!" Ryan said, pausing multiple times to breathe, and then stood up straight, glaring at Shane, crossing his arms across his chest.
'So cute,' Shane thought fondly.
"The jig?" Shane asked.
"I have all the proof I need!" Ryan said, confidently, not taking his eyes off of Shane.
"Mmm... I don't follow..."
"I know why you joined my club!"
Shane's heartbeat quickened.
"And I know you've been following me. I know you've been staring at me!"
Shane could hear his heartbeat echo in his ears. Ryan knew? Then why did he look so angry? Fuck, fuck, fuck.
"Ah. Was I... that obvious?" Shane asked, nervous laughter escaping his lips.
"You're not even denying it!" Ryan spat angrily.
Shane shifted uncomfortably. "There's no point in denying it now, is there?" He asked, shrugging.
"YES! I mean, yeah! No point, not anymore! I have you cornered," Ryan said, sounding extremely proud.
Shane stared at him, unable to figure out what to say next.
"I... know what you are," Ryan said, leveling his previously excited voice into a calm one.
'What I am?' Shane thought, confused.
"Yeah...?" Shane trailed off.
"Don't make me say it! Admit it to me, and I promise to be understanding! I just —" Ryan said, sighing, "I just need to know I'm right!"
"Okay..." Shane said, still very confused, but decided to come clean. He wanted to tell Ryan before prom, anyways,"I..."
"A DEMON, I KNEW IT. Wait, what?" Ryan said, bewildered.
"Gay?" Ryan said, completely shocked.
"A demon?!" Shane said, raising both of his eyebrows, equally surprised.
"B-but! That doesn't make sense! Why were you following me then?"
"Ryan," Shane sighed, looking away, "I... like you alright? A lot. I really, really can't stop thinking about you..."
"NO!" Ryan yelled, and Shane felt instant rejection. He started to get angry.
"Well, I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it!"
"No, not that! That's fine, but... are — are you sure you're not a demon?"
"That's exactly what a demon would say!"
"Ryan, what are you talking about?!"
"Then explain this! Why did you join my paranormal club?"
"Because I have a crush on you, duh, not because I'm a demon."
"B-But! Why do eat lunch alone on the third floor? You've got plenty of friends!"
"Yeah... but you eat there too so I..."
"BUT! No... NO!"
Ryan leaned against the wall, sinking down.
"Uhm... I'm really sorry," Shane said awkwardly.
Ryan was quiet. After a while, he said, "Are you sure you're not an alien?"
"A 100% sure," Shane said firmly.
"What about like, a wizard?"
"I wish, but nope."
"Are you sure?"
"I wouldn't lie to you, Ryan Bergara," Shane said, sitting down beside Ryan, who had his face buried in his knees.
"Not even part Bigfoot?"
"Now that's just offensive, Ryan," Shane said, struggling not to laugh.
"Fuuuuck," Ryan said, sighing.
"Y'know, I really thought I had it this time," Ryan said, dejectedly.
Shane felt guilt rise up in him.
"Hey, just because I didn't turn out to be a demon, doesn't mean you won't find a real one! If you believe in it, you better own it, Ryan Bergara. You know what they say!"
"The... truth is out there?"
"Yeah, that. And you'll find it!" Shane said, patting Ryan on the back. It felt nice to touch him.
"Yeah... yeah! More famous paranormal investigators have gone through bigger trials and rejections! But did they ever stop looking? No!" Ryan said, the familiar spark returning to his eyes.
"Exactly!" Shane said, "I'll even help you out from now on!"
Ryan narrowed his eyes at Shane.
"Even though you don't believe in ghosts?"
"Definitely! I mean, we are in a paranormal investigation club together. And now, when you actually do discover something, you'll know it's concrete because I'll believe it too!" Shane said wisely, and Ryan grinned, starting to feel reassured.
They got up, and started walking again, talking amongst themselves.
"So... I was thinking..." Shane said, awkwardly, "How about prom?"
"Yeah, what about it?" Ryan asked, oblivious.
"Oh for the love of everything, will you go out with me, Ryan? Like on dates and stuff, and to prom too."
Ryan seemed to think for a bit.
"If you admit that you're a demon, I'll say yes."
"I'm not, Ryan."
Ryan grumbled. "Fine, I'll go out with you."
"Thank god, I was wondering whether I just fucked up or not, haha," Shane said, grinning.
They both laughed, walking closer together than before, Ryan feeling happier than he did that entire month.
Shane was just thankful that Ryan could not see the huge horns on his head, or his long, black, devilish tail.
Now that, would just make things complicated.
Leave it to the fucking prince of the underworld to fall head over heels for a human; a pesky, clever human like Ryan Bergara, nonetheless.