The second Tae-Hyun went into the school, Daniel and Johnny, along with their two doofus minions, Joey and Buck, blocked her path.
Daniel, the captain of the football team, and Johnny Thomas, one of the bullies from Sunny Day Camp, had kind of decided to join forces and share the crown as the head kahuna. Now, they go around bullying kids together. Isn't that nice?
"Hey, where you going, Shrimp?"Daniel said, putting his arm in the doorway.
Tae-Hyun stared at him wide-eyed and stuttered, "U-Um, to class."
"Ohh, to class." Daniel said, looking back at Joey and Buck, who were snickering, "I should've know. Silly me."
"What class is it?" Joey said stupidly, "Engrish crass?"
Tae-Hyun shook her head and said, "N-no, uh I-I mean, yes, I have English first..."
Tae-Hyun closed her eyes. It did sound like she said 'Engrish'.
"Where you from, China right?" Buck said, laughing hollowly with the others.
"No, I'm from K-Korea." Tae-Hyun said, shaking.
Come on, Tae-Hyun, get come confidence. She thought.
"What's the difference?" Daniel laughed, "It's all in the same place!"
"And do you know where that is?" Tae-Hyun said without thinking. These guys were pissing her off and she wanted to stand up to them.
The gang stopped laughing and Daniel took a step toward Tae-Hyun, getting in her face.
"What'd you say, Punk?" Daniel said.
Tae-Hyun stared at him in fear and said, "I-I..."
Come on, don't be a baby. Stand up to them, Tae-Hyun.
Tae-Hyun stood up a little straighter and pursed her lips, trying to look tough.
"I said," She said calmly, "'Do you know where Korea and China are located?"
The football players stared at her, not sure what to say.
"Yeah," Joey said, "That big one next tuh Sweden."
Johnny punched Joey in the shoulder and said, "That's Russia, Retard."
"It's in Asia, just so you know." Tae-Hyun said, more confidence building up in her voice, "And China and Korea aren't the only places in Asia. There is also Japan, North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Mongolia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand..."
Daniel put his hand firmly on her chest and said, "Do we look like idiots that give a crap, Nerd?"
Tae-Hyun instantly backed up toward the wall.
Buck snorted, "What's wrong wit' you?"
Tae-Hyun swallowed loudly and tried to think of what to say next. All her confidence drained out in a split second.
"So, you's never been to an American school, am I right?" Buck said.
Tae-Hyun and the three other football players stared at Buck.
"Right?" Buck said.
Tae-Hyun nodded slowly and Buck said, "So, you's never had American food? All you eats in China's rice, am I right?"
Tae-Hyun looked at Buck like he was crazy and said, "What?"
Buck said, "All you eats in rice, right? 'Cuz you's Asian."
Joey laughed and high-fived Buck.
Johnny looked back at them and said, "You two are idiots."
"Get it?" Joey said, "'Cuz he's Asian, so he eats rice."
"That's racist." Tae-Hyun said flatly.
"God, you're a dumbass, Joey." Daniel said.
Joey stopped laughing and said stupidly, "What?"
Daniel and Johnny looked at each other, not sure how to wrap up their bullying session.
"Aye, those are some pretty big books." Johnny said, gesturing to books Tae-Hyun was carrying, "Need any help with those?"
Tae-Hyun remained silent, staring at Johnny in surprise.
Without waiting for an answer, Johnny knocked Tae-Hyun's books out of his hands.
The football players all laughed as Tae-Hyun stumbled to pick them up.
Tae-Hyun stood back up and stuttered, "Th-that was very rude of you."
Joey and Buck said, "Oooh!"
Johnny and Daniel stood next to each other, both with their arms crossed, and they looked at each other, smirking.
"Look, Nerd," Daniel said, walking forward with his group and cracking his knuckles, "I don't think you know how things go down around here. You're new here, so I'll fill you in."
"First," Johnny said as they all took a step forward, "Stage one: Verbal abuse."
"That sometimes even makes kids cry." Buck said, laughing, "Like Chris Harper."
They all threw back their heads heads and laughed.
"Oh, little Chris harper," Daniel said, staring at Tae-Hyun as if he was a wolf and she was a doe.
"Chris is our favorite," Daniel said, "But you'll do just fine."
Tae-Hyun dropped her books again, her back against the wall. She was doomed.
Daniel drew back his fist, right in front of her face, and his minions cackled maniacally.
"Wait!" A voice said. It was a loud voice. Loud, confident, and echoing down the hall.
Tae-Hyun and all the football players turned their heads.
Tae-Hyun stared at the speaker in shock and her heart swelled. It was Leo.
She was sure he would do something dumb, but he was trying to save her. He was her hero.
Leo smiled confidently and approached Daniel.
The football players all looked confused as Leo stood in between Daniel and Tae-Hyun and said, "Don't hit him. C'mon, like you said, he's new here. He doesn't know that this is your turf yet."
"Well, w-why don't you tell me all about it on the way to class, Leo?" Tae-Hyun said nervously, "Come on, let's go.... Man."
"Who's this, Nerd?" Johnny said. He knew very well who Leo was. "Is he your boyfriend?"
Leo gritted his teeth and glared at Johnny, the trader.
"As I remember, makin' out with guys is one of your favorite things." Johnny said, smirking, "Am I right?"
Leo was getting so sick of Johnny. He had talked Leo into putting Ipecac in Chris' water the previous summer, which had lead to a big fight between Chris and Leo, and now he was doing this. Johnny wanted to get a rise out of Leo; That was what always happened.
"You know what, Johnny?" Leo said, grasping Tae-Hyun's arm and pulling her to stand next to him, "Yeah, I am his boyfriend. That's right, we're gay!"
Tae-Hyun's eyes widened and she stared at her friend, speechless.
The football goons all gawked at him too.
Leo stood next to Tae-Hyun proudly, but he was starting to feel slightly uneasy.
"I don't believe you." Johnny said, eyes narrowed.
"Dude," Leo said, raising an eyebrow at him, "You were just talking about how 'gay I am'."
"Yeah, but I just do that to mess with you." Johnny said, chuckling, "You're a loser."
Leo looked at Johnny, then at Tae-Hyun, then back at Johnny.
Leo gave Tae-Hyun a quick smooch on the cheek.
Tae-Hyun's face turned bright red and she looked at him in surprise.
Leo smiled at her reassuringly.
The football players looked around at each other and Daniel scoffed, "Whatever, we'll deal with you ladies later."
Leo and Tae-Hyun watched the pack walk away, and then Tae-Hyun hugged Leo tightly.
Leo hugged her back and said, "Hey, are you okay? You're shaking..."
"They were going to hurt me." Tae-Hyun said shakily, "But you came and saved me."
Leo smiled and set his head on Tae-Hyun's.
Tae-Hyun looked up at him and said, "Thank you."
"You're welcome." Leo said, smiling, "Now, come on. We're late. Again."
And they walked up to homeroom.