Chapter 4: The Witness
<How should I explain… I guess I’ll start with the craziness that happened once school opened again. The 4th of the second month, FYI.>
<What do you mean by ‘craziness’?>
<It finally stopped snowing, but that didn’t automatically mean the school was operating normally again.>
<I see. What were things like?>
<The snow was piled higher than a grown man was tall. So the school only managed to clear away the major pathways, like the one from the gates to the class buildings. And from the dorms to the gates.>
<That makes sense. Otherwise no one would be able to get into the buildings.>
<In other words, everywhere else was still covered in snow. The snow they cleared was piled on the grounds like mountains, making gym class and athletic club activities impossible. Naturally everyone was clamoring to use the gymnasiums instead. It was unsightly to watch, but fights broke out all the time.>
<But you have three gymnasiums…>
<Anyway, I hear some of the classes went outside for snowball fights instead. But a lot of other pathways were closed off because of icicles and snow falling from the rooftops. Everyone was forced to use whatever routes had been cleared. So our morning and after-school rush hours became even more chaotic.>
<Wow…that’s a recipe for mass tardiness.>
<Yep. Lots of people came in late on the first day back. And because everyone had to travel between classes through the buildings, the buildings were packed too. I felt bad watching the poor first-years. And…>
<Uh-huh. Distribution was paralyzed because of the storm and there was a shortage of fresh food. So the cafeteria had to cut down on the menu. Everyone was complaining.>
<Funny. We had too much vegetables this year in Raputoa. The harvest was so good we had to deal with low prices.>
<The cafeteria crisis led to something interesting happening, though. After the mess, someone suggested storing non-perishable food in the cafeteria as a contingency. So they—along with other schools and companies—tried out an experimental program.>
<Hm…oh! You mean they bought products from SC Seron’s company?>
<Bingo. They purchased chicken sauté and hamburgers from Maxwell Frozen foods in bulk. They’re better than what you’d normally expect from frozen food, so everyone likes ‘em. I bet the company made a tidy profit from all this too.>
<That’s great! For his family, I mean—but what about SC Seron?>
<Yeah, I’ll get back to that in a second. The biggest source of confusion at school was the messed-up curriculum. How would they make up for all the classes we missed over those snow days?>
<It must have been tough with so many students.>
<We had a couple of extra classes every day in the afternoon, but you know how everyone has their own schedule? Obviously people had overlapping makeup classes. It was hard enough for us, but the first-years had it really rough. They were totally lost.>
<I can imagine. That must have kept SC Seron occupied, too.>
<RA work kept him so busy he couldn’t even come out to club for a while. There was less time to work with anyway so we didn’t get much done, though. But that was when the newspaper club received a request.>
<Like those letters you got in your locker?>
<Yep. Let me go back to a few days before the request.>
* * *
The 7th day of the second month.
The student cafeteria at the 4th Capital Secondary School was empty.
Most of the students had finished lunch, leaving the tables mostly deserted.
Middle-aged cafeteria ladies wiped the tables and refilled napkins and condiments.
Because the cafeteria was connected to the central gardens, students could eat outside when it was not raining. But in spite of the clouds and weak wind, it was very cold outside and the garden still served as a dumping ground for snow.
Nine snowmen stood in a row, built by students as though in competition. Some said that it made for an eerie sight in the evenings.
At one of the long cafeteria tables sat a girl with long brown hair and a girl with long black hair. All the tables around them were unoccupied.
“So you asked when everyone was in the office, huh,” said Lillia Schultz, the brown-haired girl. She was speaking quietly in Bezelese to make sure no one could eavesdrop.
“Yeah,” Meg replied, downcast, “and Seron left the office. I was so glad that the newbie was just mistaken, but then the others said the letter might have been right.”
“I don’t know what’s what anymore.”
“D-don’t cry, Meg!”
“I know. But I want to. My stomach hurts…”
Half of Meg’s clam chowder, bread, and salad was still left on the tray.
Lillia, who had finished her meal, looked up.
“Try it again just one more time!”
Meg was silent.
“This time make sure no one else is around so you can have a serious conversation together. I think that’ll be for the best.”
“Y-you think so?”
“I bet Seron wants to apologize, too! He might have been too shy in front of the rest of the club, but I betcha he’s still sorry for making you worry.”
“Yep! There’s no harm in asking, at least. Communication is key.”
“You can’t ask in front of other people, so don’t talk to him about it at the office. Maybe when you run into him on campus instead.”
“And this time, make sure it’s just the two of you! That’s the important part. None of us want you to worry yourself sick over this, Meg. You have to eat right.”
“All right. Sorry for worrying you, Lillia.”
“Not at all! I’m just worried because I’m your friend. Just make sure to catch him somewhere and have a long talk with him. You’ll feel a lot better no matter what answer he gives you!” Lillia nodded. Meg’s expression softened.
“Yeah… I’ll do that.”
“Do your best!”
“Thanks for listening to me, Lillia.”
“I’m going ahead, then,” Meg finally said, getting up to go to her next class—which was further away than Lillia’s.
Lillia’s classroom was very close to the cafeteria. She waved Meg goodbye, but immediately after she wrapped her hands around her head.
“Is this my fault? Oh shoot…I hope Seron’s not angry. And I hope I haven’t messed things up for them. What to do…”
* * *
That evening, a thick layer of snow was still upon the grounds.
Seron was running.
To be more accurate, he was slowly wading through snow.
The snow remaining on the grounds was hardened with weight, and dozens of centimeters of fresher snow had been piled up on top of that.
Seron kicked away the snow and sometimes tripped with sweat on his brow as he moved forward.
He was wearing school-issue sweats with a cardigan underneath, and a pair of rubber boots. He was dressed a little lightly for below-freezing weather, but did not seem cold.
Larry followed several meters behind him.
“I suggested a light jogging routine, not a march through the snow…” He sighed.
Larry was wearing a coat and had his backpack slung behind him. On his feet were boots with wooden snowshoes, which allowed him to slowly walk on top of the snow without sinking.
From higher ground Larry looked down at Seron’s back.
“No one’s watching, buddy. You don’t have to push yourself so hard.”
“No…I want to run at least one lap…haven’t run at all for days…”
“Sometimes you’re a little too hardworking, Seron,” Larry sighed, but he did a lap around the field with him anyway.
By the time they made it back to the gates, Seron’s lower body was covered in snow and his sweats were drenched. Because he had fallen several times snow also clung to his upper body and hair.
Sweat dripping from his face, Seron finished the last few meters of his run.
“Good work,” Larry said, taking off his snowshoes, “you better go on in and take a bath, Seron. If the sun goes down on you you might freeze to death.”
“Right…” Seron replied between gasps, “hah…hah…”
“I’m glad to see you’re improving.”
“Why’re you thanking me? You’re the one doing all the work here, buddy! You gotta have confidence. You’re a strong guy.”
“You think…I can deflect bullets at this rate…?”
“That might be tough. Knives are no good either, so avoid them if you ever get into trouble.”
“I won’t mind if it’s Megmica doing the stabbing.”
“Please stop trying to summon the grim reaper, Seron.”
Seron and Larry walked down the cleared path to the dorms.
Though Larry could simply walk out the gates and go home, he walked Seron all the way back to the dorms.
The sun would set soon. No one else was visible on campus.
“Look, Seron,” Larry began, looking at Seron’s profiled face, “try not to let anyone know who you have a crush on. And don’t let people know that you do like someone. It’ll be a headache if people find out.”
Seron nodded. “Yeah, I will. But what if someone asks?”
“Then maybe you should lie and say you don’t like anyone?”
“I’m not a good liar, but I’ll try.”
They parted ways at the dormitory entrance with a wave.
* * *
The 8th day of the second month.
It had been five days since classes resumed. The weekend was coming up, but Seron was as busy as ever helping out the first-years.
Before dawn, he was woken up to the news that a student was sick and throwing up. He took the boy to the dormitory office, where his condition worsened. So he called an ambulance and went to the ill student’s room to get some changes of clothes. Then he contacted the boy’s parents and explained the situation to the student’s floormates. It was a hectic morning.
Morning classes began without giving him the time for a relaxed breakfast.
Seron spotted a dormitory student who had gotten lost on campus—in spite of it have been a month since the term began—and guided him to his class, ending up tardy for his own class.
And though it was not his job, at breaktime he took a girl to the nurse’s office after she slipped on the snow and sprained her hand. Countless other girls sent jealous gazes in their direction, but Seron did not so much as blink.
After morning classes, Seron finally got to eat at the cafeteria. The menu was one of his mother’s company’s frozen burgers.
“They taste better when you defrost them for longer and cook them slowly on a grill…but I guess they wouldn’t have that kind of time at the cafeteria,” he remarked to himself.
That was when a first-year dropped his tray with a resounding clang, and almost burst into tears. Seron went over to help him out.
After afternoon classes and two makeup classes, he carried a towering stack of reports to the science office with a teacher and handed them in. Only then was Seron finally free.
The Whitfield watch on his wrist told him it was four in the afternoon.
The white clouds that had covered the sun all day had gone grey. It was snowing hard enough to make the world go white.
Three seconds of contemplation later, Seron turned not towards the newspaper club but the dorms.
From the fourth floor of the new building, he headed for the central staircase.
The new building was a five-story structure that had been erected most recently, renovated for a more modern design about 10 years ago.
The central staircase at the center of the building was surrounded by large glass windows that offered fantastic views of the grounds.
With quick steps Seron strode down the dim, deserted halls.
When he reached the central staircase, he began to descend—
When he spotted a girl at the landing between the third and second floor.
She was sitting at a low stair by the window with her legs outstretched.
Her legs clad in black pantyhose were in full view, but she did not seem flustered in the least at the sight of Seron.
The girl was elegant in bearing with long, wavy golden hair. Her countenance was both lovely and sharp.
She was clearly older than Seron, most likely a sixth-year student. Scattered haphazardly next to her was her school bag and an expensive-looking fur coat.
Her light blue eyes met Seron’s grey.
“Hey, are you busy?”
A clear soprano voice stopped Seron.
He descended the stairs and stopped at the landing, meeting the gaze of the smiling girl.
“Good. Could you help me find something?”
Seron accepted yet another request in his busy day.
“Of course. What is it you’re looking for?”
The girl swept back her long golden hair and exposed her right ear. A small, red object glinted there.
“I lost my other earring.”
Seron looked at the striking red earring and the smooth white neck below, and replied, “school regulations prohibit the wearing of accessories for non-religious reasons.”
The girl stared for a moment, but a smile soon rose to her face.
“You’re sounding like a regular RA.”
“Because I am.”
“Interesting. What’s your name?”
“Seron Maxwell. I’m a fourth-year.”
“Maxwell, as in the red frozen food?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Wow! I’ve been at this school for more than five years, but I don’t think I’ve met you before. It’s nice to meet you, Maxwell. I’m Bridget. Bridget Armitage. Aren’t you curious at all about what my family does?”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, SC Bridget. Did you drop the earring somewhere around here?” Seron asked mechanically.
Bridget’s eyes widened again.
“Cool as a cucumber. But that doesn’t make for interesting conversation, does it? My family owns Armitage Dresses. We have a big store by the thoroughfare in the north. Have you heard of it?”
“You don’t have to be so cold. We’re famous for our wedding dresses, so don’t hesitate to come to us if you ever decide to buy someone a gift. I can give you some extra favors. Right now I’m the vice-president of the sewing club.”
“And now I’m totally helpless because I lost an earring I’m not supposed to be wearing on campus.”
“I’ll help you look. Where did you drop it? It would be unfortunate if I were to accidentally step on it.”
“Never mind. I just realized I don’t even know for sure if I dropped it here. I probably didn’t. I suppose I was a little out of sorts and ended up asking you to help for no real reason. But thanks anyway.”
“I haven’t done anything deserving thanks.”
“You’re such a good boy.”
Bridget slowly rose and approached Seron. She was tall for a girl, almost the same height as him. She drew so near her breath reached his face.
“Do you have a girlfriend, Maxwell?” She asked out of the blue. Seron replied mechanically, meeting her gaze.
“Then what about a crush?”
This time, he could not answer immediately. But Seron recalled his conversation with Larry the other day and managed to reply.
A moment later, Bridget did three things.
She brushed back her hair with her right hand, leaned slightly to the left, and slid closer to Seron.
Seron stared blankly as Bridget’s face drew near. Their lips met, and parted. He waited for her next course of action.
“You’re not acting as surprised as I thought you would,” Bridget commented, letting her hair down again. “That wasn’t your first kiss, was it?”
“I suppose not, no.”
“Now you’re making me jealous.”
“My mother and sister kiss me out of the blue all the time at home.”
“Aww, that doesn’t count. It must be nice to have such a loving family, but this isn’t one of those kisses. Didn’t you feel at least a little excited, Maxwell?”
Seron’s face changed ever so slightly.
A dark shadow came over his grey eyes. And he responded in a plain voice.
“No. I don’t think I’ll feel even a little excited kissing someone I’m not in love with.”
“That’s cruel of you. But all right. That was just a little show of gratitude. I can give you all the kisses you want whenever you feel like it. I hope you’ll get to kiss someone you love someday. And—”
“It’s not nice to lie about your crush, little boy.”
“Well, see you around, Maxwell.”
With her long golden hair aflutter Bridget turned and picked up her things. Then she gave Seron one last look and a wink, and danced down the stairs.
Seron did not follow. He waited until her footsteps disappeared from the central staircase.
Then he looked out the window.
“I keep meeting the strangest women this year…” He mumbled in a detached voice.
The snowfall had become a storm.
With snow piling up on her umbrella, Bridget headed to the intersection outside the gates.
Her bodyguard quickly got out of a luxury car and opened the door.
Bridget handed him her coat and got into the back seat, tossing her bag next to her.
Then her slender fingers reached into the breast pocket of her jacket and pulled out a small case. She took out the red earring inside and put it on her left ear with a practiced hand.
“All right. Let’s go,” she ordered the driver.
The security guard on the snowy grounds watched the car carrying Bridget disappear from the intersection and spotted another luxury car pull in.
He recognized the model, license plate, and the bodyguard-slash-driver inside. So he did not go over to identify the car. Because so many students commuted by car, security guards found themselves developing excellent memorization skills.
Soon, a girl ran out the gates and into the car. Though she was wearing a coat and carrying an umbrella, what stuck out most to the guard were the pigtails fluttering behind her.
But he could not see the look of anger and the tears on her face.
“Is something the matter, Miss Megmica?” The driver asked, opening the door.
“No, it is nothing!” She replied as though in a sob, but her voice was absorbed by the fallen snow and never reached the guard.
* * *
<Hello. Strauski Residence.>
<Hey there, Johan. You sound like you’re doing well.>
<Oh, it’s Big Sis Lillianne Aikashia Corazòn Whittington Schultz. It’s been a while!>
<It sure has! And your Roxchean’s gotten better, too.>
<It’s not as good as your Bezelese, Big Sis Lillianne Aikashia Corazòn Whittington Schultz!>
<C’mon, just call me Lillia.>
<But your full name’s so cool! My whole family thinks it’s cool! You’re like a Western hero with that super-traditional name!>
<Haha! Anyway, is Meg home?>
<Yeah, but she’s sleeping.>
<It’s kind of early for bed. Did something happen?>
<Yeah. She says she’s got a stomachache.>
<Poor thing. Maybe it’s the cold weather.>
<Nah, she just ate too much. It’s not a cold.>
<What? Meg overate?>
<Uh-huh. Between you and me, I think she’s really angry right now. Mom and Dad aren’t home so the housekeeper cooked for us, and since no one could scold her she just ate and ate and ate until she got sick.>
<Are you sure this is Meg you’re talking about? It’s not good to starve, but overeating’s almost as bad. I wonder what happened.>
<Dunno. But Big Bro Kurt might know! I’ll give him the phone!>
<Yes, this is Kurt!>
<Hey Kurt! It’s Lillia.>
<Oh! It’s Big Sis Lillianne Aikashia Corazòn Whittington Schultz! Hiya.>
<Enough with the full name…anyway, Johan told me that Meg has a stomachache. What happened?>
<He says she overate. Did she really?>
<Yeah. She did. But…oh! I think I might know why!>
<Well, maybe she’s worried about something? She might have a lot of stuff on her mind! Secrets!>
<I-I think you might be right. I suppose I shouldn’t pry.>
<Anyway, she just overate so she’ll be okay by tomorrow. And she said that her worries are gone so she can do her best at the newspaper club next week.>
<Th-that’s good to hear. I was just calling to check up on her, so you don’t need to tell her I called. Okay?>
<Bye, hero of the West!>
The ‘hero of the West’ put down the receiver.
Arms crossed, she paced around her living room.
“So this time she ate too much. Is it because of Seron? Did they talk to each other? Hmm…”
She paced back and forth again and again, muttering to herself.
“I’m home, Lillia! Oh? What are you doing?” Her mother wondered, stepping into the living room decked out in full Air Force officer uniform.
* * *
The 11th day of the second month.
As the week started, things were finally starting to get back to normal at school.
The cold snap was gone and so was the unusually heavy snowfall. The heat of the ground slowly began to melt the snow from the bottom up, reducing its volume little by little. The snowmen in the central gardens began to crumble as well.
The school curriculum was altered with makeup classes taken into consideration. Classes were assigned to avoid giving students too much stress, teachers did what they could to compress the syllabus, and students (to their chagrin) received large amounts of extra homework.
It was 3 in the afternoon. Classes were over and the sky was cloudy.
“Tea’s ready!” Larry called, hard at work as usual.
“Thanks. Take a look at this, guys! I got these cookies at the department store the other day. It’s all for me, but I set a little aside for you too!” Natalia bragged, having recently begun to bring her own cookies to school to eat with tea.
“Thank you. I can always trust your taste in food, Nat,” Nicholas said with his ever-mysterious smile.
“I’m starting to think that we’re actually the after-school tea club,” Jenny grumbled, though she reached for one of Natalia’s scrumptious cookies.
“I will decline today. Overeating is not good,” Meg said, limiting herself to tea.
“Been a while since you dropped in, Megmica. How are you?”
“I am well, thank you. It seemed that I should sometimes show my face to this side as well,” Meg replied brightly.
Natalia downed several cookies before pointedly changing the subject.
“So Larry, how’s Seron doing?” She asked, glancing at Meg, but Meg did not react. “Doesn’t really matter, but still.”
“Then don’t ask. He’ll be too busy with RA stuff to come by for the beginning of the week at least,” Larry replied, repeating what Seron had said in the office before.
And no one else brought up Seron after that. There was a silent agreement between the club members to not interfere, because Seron had declared that he would confess to Meg personally.
Jenny changed the subject.
“All the snow and weekends and makeup classes are really putting a damper on club activities, huh,” she said, munching on a cookie.
“Don’t be that way, chief. Cookies and tea aren’t too bad.”
Jenny sighed and reached for a second cookie.
“More importantly, we have nothing about which to write a news article,” Nick pointed out. Jenny had to agree.
“What about all the requests you got, Jenfie?” Asked Larry.
“Yes, there may be useful requests among those requests,” Meg agreed.
“Haven’t gotten much since things started getting hectic,” Jenny said, “and none of them were interesting.”
“Too bad, chief. We’ll easily survive on these cookies for now, though. I can bring even better ones next time,” Natalia guaranteed.
“What are you planning to do to this club, Nat?” Asked Nick.
“Make it into the snack club.”
“You could have at least pretended to think about it, Lia,” Larry sighed, when there was a knock.
Jenny, who sat nearest the door, got up to personally greet the guest.
Behind the door stood a tall male student.
He was clearly a senior-classman. The boy had short brown hair and a sturdy build. Not only that, he was handsome enough to be an actor.
“Good afternoon. I’m here with a request for the newspaper club. May I?”
“Of course, come right in.”
Jenny let the guest into the warm office.
The male student looked at the club members sitting around the coffee table.
“Good afternoon, everyone,” he said, his pearly-white teeth glinting. Jenny led him to the single seat. Larry got up to prepare him a cup of tea.
“I’m impressed. Your office is incredible,” said the boy. He then turned to Jenny. “So you’re Jones, the president. My name is Kenneth. Kenneth Einsworth. I’m a sixth-year.”
“It’s nice to meet you, SC Kenneth. Let me introduce you to the members. This is Natalia Steinbeck the eating machine, whose real body is her glasses. Strauski Megmica the Westerner. Nicholas Browning, who is pretending to be a boy but is actually a boy. And Larry Hepburn, professional tea-brewer.”
Everyone greeted Kenneth in their own way.
“Ah, so you’re SC Cato’s brother?” Asked Kenneth. “I owe him a lot from marksmanship classes a few years ago. You look just like him.”
“You’re a friend of Cato? Cool.”
Larry handed Kenneth a cup of tea and a small plate of cookies. Even Natalia’s usual “hey, that’s mine!” was nowhere to be heard.
Kenneth took a sip and remarked on the flavor before moving on to the topic at hand.
“I’ve read your two newspapers. And rumors say that you’re taking on requests right now. Everyone is convinced that you guys are capable of running great investigations.”
“I suppose you could say that,” Jenny said.
A shadow came over Kenneth’s expression.
“I have a request. I don’t know if you’ll accept, but I don’t have anyone else to turn to here. I couldn’t write to you guys because my situation’s a bit complex, so I wanted to come ask in person.”
“We’re all ears, SC Kenneth. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but right now we’re totally free,” said Jenny.
“All we do is drink tea every day,” Larry added.
Kenneth breathed a sigh of relief and thanked the club. Then—
“I know this is going to sound very stupid. So please don’t tell anyone about my request.”
He waited for everyone to nod and continued.
“I have a fiancée. It’s sort of synonymous with ‘intended’ these days, but in my case she’s not my intended. It’s an arranged marriage that my parents and her parents have been planning since before we were even born.”
The club members nodded.
“Her parents and my parents are such close friends that they promised that if one couple had a son and the other couple a daughter, they would have the two kids marry. It was a very early promise to be making, but it’s still valid now 18 years later. My betrothed and I grew up together and now we’re both attending this school. We’ll probably be married by this time next year.”
“That’s romantic,” Natalia remarked. Meg’s expression darkened.
So did Kenneth’s.
Steepling his fingers, Kenneth leaned forward and lowered his voice.
“My fiancée is cheating on me.”
As the newspaper members reeled in shock, Kenneth continued to explain.
His fiancée was a fellow student at the 4th Capital Secondary School, who was seeing many male students on campus.
She would approach the boy first and entice him, only to abandon him not long afterwards.
Her targets were always handsome younger boys. She would enjoy trysts with them in deserted places on campus where people could not see.
Though she had hidden her tracks well, Kenneth had begun to hear rumors around the middle of the previous year.
He had not wanted to believe the rumors at first, but the more he investigated the more the rumors seemed to be true.
Which meant that he needed decisive evidence of her infidelity—specifically, photographs.
“That’s about it. Do you have any questions?” Kenneth asked, tipping tea into his dry mouth.
“Do your parents know about this, SC Kenneth?” Asked Jenny.
“Not yet. My parents—and her parents too—are more enthusiastic about this marriage than we are. It’s practically their life’s goal. They’re not just waiting with bated breath for next year—they’re already planning the ceremony. We’re both only children, so it’s even worse. I can’t just go telling my parents without concrete evidence to back me up.”
“I see,” Jenny said with a nod. Nick spoke next.
“Excuse me, SC Kenneth, but does your family happen to run Austin & Amavisca, the renowned jewelers from the Republic of Daurade?”
“I’m amazed,” Kenneth said, eyes widening, “how did you know?”
“I read a business magazine earlier this year that featured interviews with various people of prominence. One among them featured the Einsworth couple—your parents—who claimed that they would be focusing on wedding jewelry as their son would finish secondary school and marry his fiancée this year.”
Kenneth shook his head, defeated. “My parents are really fired up about this. If I were to oppose they’d make a brilliant cut out of me. Anyway, it’s good to see that you guys are so well-informed. I’m glad I decided to ask the newspaper club.”
Meg slowly raised her hand. Kenneth turned to her.
“Er…SC Kenneth, what will you do when you get the true evidence in your hand?”
“Excellent question,” Kenneth said, and turned the question around. “Put yourself in my shoes. How would you react if you found out your betrothed was a philanderer?”
“I would get angry,” Meg replied quietly. Even Kenneth was taken aback by the seething rage in her tone.
“R-right. That’s how I feel. So I want to break up this engagement. It’ll take time to convince my parents and I know it’ll hurt my fiancée’s parents too. But I want to live my own life.”
“I understand. You cannot pledge your future with a person with a bad behavior.”
“Right,” Kenneth replied, looking a little sad. But he firmly nodded.
Jenny simply stared at Meg during the entirety of the exchange.
“SC Kenneth,” said Natalia, “have you ever seen her cheat in person? What if it’s just a rumor?”
“So you have seen her?”
“Yeah. Unlike when we were little, we’re not together all the time anymore—our classes are all different too—but once I heard the rumors, I tailed her. I know it’s stupid. But I did. And I saw her meet with other guys in deserted places, kissing them quickly. I don’t even want to imagine the rest.”
The club members sighed. Kenneth continued.
“People kissing in hallways isn’t uncommon at school, but it’s still painful to have to watch your own fiancée kissing someone else. I saw her do it again just a few days ago, on the 8th, I think. She went up to a guy at a landing on the central staircase and kissed him on the lips. I saw it all from the grounds. It was nauseating.”
The club members each voiced their sympathies to Kenneth, but one person took a deep breath.
Meg had the face of a puppy about to bite an intruder.
“Please tell us. Tell us the name of your fiancée.”
“Right. Of course. Her name is—”
Kenneth took out a photograph from his breast pocket and placed it on the table.
The photo featured Kenneth and a beautiful girl with golden hair and red earrings. Both were in uniform, but looked a little younger. Neither were smiling.