Social Blunderers Anonymous
Xander hated the transition from second period to third. The only route to Miss Calendar's computer class from Algebra took him directly past the front office and by extension, Principal Snyder's office, who rarely missed an opportunity to say something - ahem - snide as he was enroute.
Today, for instance.
"Harris!" Snyder's smarmy voice bawled from the inner sanctum of high school administration.
Xander hunched his shoulders and winced. He slowly turned to see Snyder's look of faint disgust as he poked his head out of the front office doors. "Principal Snyder! How lovely to hear your dulcet tones before lunch." Because you just ruined my appetite for lunch
"I'm sure it is." Snyder raised his hand and crooked his index finger at Xander, beckoning him closer.
After mentally running through whether or not he'd broken any school rules, or perhaps discussed the supernatural with Buffy and Willow where they might be overheard, Xander managed to refrain from gulping and did as he was bade.
"We have a new transfer student," Snyder informed Xander while giving him a beady-eyed stare. "She's a junior and her third period class is computers. Walk her there and try
not to talk. The last time we got a new student, it was Buffy Summers and look how well that turned out."
Privately, Xander thought it'd turned out great, but Snyder wasn't interested in hearing something like that. "Well, since you asked so nicely
"My cup runneth over." After pinning Xander in place with a glare, Snyder gave a sharp gesture and led him into the office where a pretty brunette girl stood with a curiously blank expression. "This is Cameron Philips. She's a nice, normal girl. Respectful. Smart. Keep it that way. Miss Philips, this is... nobody of importance. He'll see you to your third period class. Welcome to Sunnydale High."
"Thank you." As Snyder retreated to the sanctuary of the principal's office, Cameron looked at Xander and seemed to be studying him the way Buffy sometimes studied a new vampire. It was a little unnerving to him.
"Why did he say you were nobody of importance?" she asked.
"You know how someone can graduate high school, and become a big success, then when they're asked who their biggest influences are, they mention their high school principal? Nobody from this school does that." Xander gave the office door a dirty look. Then he noticed the slightly bemused look on Cameron's face and decided to summarize a bit more directly. "He's a mean, spiteful little man."
Xander decided that she seemed satisfied with that explanation and paused to get two hall passes to appease Miss Calendar from the receptionist before they set out. Then he decided that it'd be kinda creepy to walk in silence the whole way.
"My name's Xander," he supplied, since Snyder hadn't seen his way clear to perform basic courtesies. And fidgeting. Now that he wasn't seething with general Snyder-esque resentment, it had occurred to him that Cameron was a very pretty girl.
She glanced him for an instant, expressionless, before her face animated like flipping on a switch. Cameron smiled a heart-skipping smile at him, "It's nice to meet you. Are you from here?"
"Born and raised in good ol' Sunnydale, for my sins," Xander agreed with a lopsided grin. "Where'd you move here from?"
A flicker of confusion flashed over her face before she replied, "Ohio. My father sold tractors for thirty years until he retired. My mom decided she wanted to live out the rest of her life in California."
"And they picked Sunnydale? Sucks for you." He grinned sympathetically.
She paused and then laughed. "I guess. What about your dad, what does he do?"
"Drinks. But that's more of a hobby than a career, so he's an occasionally employed plumber to fill in the daylight hours." He had no idea why he was being so bluntly honest. He'd blame Cordelia, but he had yet to have the 'honor' of coming into contact with her today. Plus, there was that whole freaky 'he kissed Cordelia' thing to figure out. Bah.
"I'm sorry." Again, Cameron paused before offering her sympathy. He supposed he couldn't blame her. He'd just sort of come out with that from left field, hadn't he? "Thank you for being honest, though."
"Well, if there's anything I'm good at, it's saying the most socially awkward thing at the most inappropriate time." Xander grinned ruefully. "Sorry for dumping that on you. It's not exactly good 'first conversation' material."
Cameron let out a light laugh, "People tell me the same thing. At least we know that we're not alone."
"Fair enough." Xander was confused now. He was unfamiliar with the sensation, but if he were anyone else, he'd swear she was flirting. Maybe she was just being the nervous new student, though. "We could form a support group."
"Like Alcoholics Anonymous," she agreed. "It was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob Smith." She paused again, "Sorry. I'm from Ohio, and that's where it started."
Xander blinked. "I know a little bit about AA, but I did not know that. So what would we call our group? 'Social Blunderer's Anonymous'? The acronym doesn't exactly flow like AA. 'SBA'?" He scratched his chin thoughtfully.
"We can work on it," she replied serenely.
He shook his head. He was kind of amused by all this. A little wierded out as well, but that was an unavoidable side-product of living in Sunnydale.
They got to the doorway of computer class and Xander gestured extravagantly. "Here we are. Computer class! Immense piles of plastic and metal to be confused and intimidated by!"
"Computers aren't all bad," Cameron consoled him. "I'm very well versed in how to use them. Maybe I could help you sometime?"
"I dunno. My best friends are in this class, and if Willow can't cram it into my head, I don't think there's much hope for me."
"There's always hope. Perhaps if we both work with you, it'll help?" she offered.
"Stranger things have happened. C'mon, let's go make nice with Miss Calendar and I'll introduce you to Buffy and Willow." Xander gave her a sweeping bow and held the door open for her as they entered the computer lab.
Although Xander had been making noise about being slightly intimidated by computers, it was actually one of his less stressful classes. Miss Calendar was pretty understanding about the block he had with learning - it seemed to be his brain refusing to incorporate new information.
His new partner in social awkwardness seemed to get along fine with Buffy and Willow. Once Miss Calendar let them loose to work independently, Willow and Cameron were soon deep in incomprehensible techno-babble.