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chapter ten

Trevor was sitting in Mr. Norris' office. The police and the paramedics and God knew who else were on their way to the school to deal with the body of Ms. Trask. Trevor was in shock. Mr. Norris might also be in shock, because he was dealing with Trevor the way he might if Trevor had been involved in a fight in school or something.

Mr. Norris had Trevor's file open in front of him.

"We finally got your records last week," said Mr. Norris. "I've noticed you're a bit of a troublemaker. In and out of detention and all of that. Now that I see this, it all makes sense. You went to Madison High School."

"For a year or so," said Trevor. "I didn't go there when the thing happened."

"No, I suppose you didn't," said Mr. Norris. He paged through the file. "But your brother did." He looked up at Trevor. "I can't believe we've allowed you to come to this school."

Trevor swallowed. "Well, it is a public school, sir. Anyone can come."

"You should be locked up after what happened."

"Respectfully, sir, it was my brother that did that, not me."

"And just like your brother, you've chosen to solve your problems with a gun."

"Mr. Norris, I didn't�"

"Save it for the police," said Mr. Norris. "And you're expelled."

"But I didn't�"

"I did not give you permission to speak."

Trevor slumped in his chair.

"Sit up straight," snapped Mr. Norris.

* * *

Frances had tried on every pair of pants in her closet. They were all too big. In fact, all of her clothes were too big, except for the new ones she'd purchased. She was overjoyed. She'd never in her wildest dreams thought she could lose this much weight and so quickly! Jared's pills were like magic. She was so grateful. Any favor he needed, she'd be happy to do.

Funny thing was, other people weren't as excited about her weight loss as she was. Her mother, for example, was worried. She kept lecturing Frances on how it wasn't healthy to lose so much weight so fast. Frances thought she might just be jealous. Frances' mother was a little bit fat too. Not as fat as Frances had been, but she certainly wasn't cover model material. She probably didn't like the fact that her daughter actually looked good now. Frances would have shared the pills with her mother, but she didn't really have enough to do that, and Jared had warned her not to tell people about them. After all, it was his prescription, and if it got out he'd given them to her, he could get in a lot of trouble.

Gleefully, Frances began tossing all her fat clothes out of her closet and into a big pile on the floor. Now, she could go to Deb and buy tiny, revealing shirts. No more tents!

Maureen didn't seem crazy about the fact that she'd lost weight either, but that really didn't matter. Maureen wasn't a true friend. She'd only hung out with Frances because she was desperate. Maureen didn't have any other friends, and so she'd taken Frances as a consolation prize. After all, as soon as she'd started to date Trevor, she hadn't had time for Frances. So, Frances didn't really care what Maureen thought. Maureen didn't matter, because now that Frances wasn't fat, she wasn't a social outcast anymore. She was friends with Jessica Walker and the rest of the popular kids. Maureen wasn't and would never be, because Maureen couldn't get fixed by simply losing some weight. She was terminally weird.

Frances gathered up the clothes into a bundle, picked them up, and went out into her back yard. No more fat clothes! She was thin! She dropped the clothes on the ground and went back inside.

Now that she was thin, she would get Trevor. Jared had promised that she would. He said that Trevor really wanted to be with her, not Maureen, and as soon as they got Maureen out of the way, there wouldn't be a problem. She was pretty sure Jared was right, because Trevor didn't seem too happy with Maureen. Maureen was totally messing that whole thing up. She didn't realize what she had. She didn't deserve Trevor. When Frances had Trevor, she'd show him what it was like to be with a girl that actually cared about him. She would be the best girlfriend ever. She and Trevor would be together forever. Maybe they'd even get married. Frances grinned.

She rummaged through a drawer in the kitchen until she found a pack of matches. Then she went back outside, struck a match, and dropped it on the pile of clothes. They burst into flame.

Frances clapped her hands in delight. First she jumped up and down. Then she danced around the blaze. Finally, she just stopped and stared. Fire was pretty.

* * *

At the police station, Trevor was sitting in an interrogation room. They were letting him smoke cigarettes, which was pretty cool, considering he wouldn't turn eighteen for another two months. Also, they had given him a Styrofoam cup full of the worst coffee he had ever tasted. Beyond that, being at the police station totally sucked. He'd been in here alone for about an hour.

Every once in a while, a police officer would come into the room, and Trevor would ask him if he could call his parents. The police officer usually didn't reply. He'd ask Trevor some stupid leading question, like where he'd gotten the shotgun. Trevor would tell him he didn't have a shotgun. His parents didn't allow them in the house after what had happened with Robert. And by the way, his parents were probably really worried about him.

At least, he hoped they were. Part of him knew that they probably hadn't even noticed he hadn't come home. He wished his parents realized he was alive. God, they sucked.

Finally, two officers came into the room, and Trevor'd had it. "Look," he said. "Am I under arrest? Because if I'm under arrest, I get a phone call. And I want to call my parents."

The officers exchanged a look, then one of them sat down across the table from Trevor. "Hi, Trevor," said the officer.

Trevor heaved an enormous sigh. "Could you please answer my question?"

"We just want to talk to you. Why don't you tell us exactly what happened this afternoon?"

"I was in the hall outside Ms. Trask's room and I heard a gun shot, so I went into the room and I saw her, and then Mr. Norris showed up," said Trevor.

"What were you doing in the school after hours?"

Trevor shrugged. He didn't want to tell them his crazy theory about Jared French. They'd probably assume he was guilty just because he sounded like a psycho. "I just was."

"We understand that Ms. Trask had sent you to the office a few days ago and you didn't think that the reason she'd done it was right."

"Well, yeah," said Trevor. "But she stopped me before I made it to the office. And she apologized. I think she was having a bad day. Plus, it wasn't just me. It was me and Jared French."

"Weren't you angry with Ms. Trask? Isn't that why you stayed after school?"

"No, I wasn't angry with her. She's like my favorite teacher. I show up to her class almost every day."

"So why did you stay after school?"

"I just did. I didn't feel like going home."

"Trevor, you need to tell us the truth."

Damn it. How could they tell he was lying? "I wanted to talk to her," he said.

"About her sending you to the office?"

"No. About Jared. I don't like him, and I kind of got the impression she didn't either." God, that sounded stupid.

The police officer raised his eyebrows.

"She was just acting kind of weird around him," Trevor said. "So I thought... I don't know. I'd realized it was stupid, and I was getting ready to leave when I heard the gun shot."

No response.

"Am I under arrest?" Trevor asked again.

The police officers looked at each other again. "The coroner's ruled Ms. Trask's death a suicide," said the officer sitting in front of him.

"What? So why the hell are you questioning me?"

"Just covering our bases," said the officer. "You're free to go."

"Hey," said the other officer. "Is it true your brother is that kid that shot everyone in Madison?"

Trevor nodded. Why did his life suck so bad?

And he was right. When he got home, his parents hadn't even noticed he was late. He could be dead in a ditch somewhere, and his parents wouldn't notice.

* * *

Maureen had certainly noticed. She'd left Trevor five messages that evening, and he hadn't returned her calls. She didn't know what to think. If a guy ditches you when he has a standing offer to give you a ride home, what does that mean? If you call him, and he doesn't answer his phone, and he doesn't call you back, what does that mean? Maureen thought it was possible there was a really good explanation for all of it. But she figured it was probable that there wasn't. She figured that if Trevor had avoided her and her phone calls, it probably meant he didn't want to see her anymore.

She was pissed. If he wanted to break up, why couldn't he just do it like a man? To her face? Avoiding her sent the proper message, but it also meant he was coward. She hated him. She wished she had someone to talk to about it, but she couldn't find Frances at school. Frances didn't always return her calls either. Maureen felt very, very alone.

Currently, it was early morning, before first period. The halls were packed with students, most gathered in groups chattering while leaning against walls or sitting on the floor. Maureen sat on a bench outside the cafeteria, her backpack under her feet. She was alone. There was at least a foot of space all around her. After all, who wanted to talk to Death Girl? Trevor wasn't around, but that was no surprise. They usually met each other here around this time, but he hadn't the past few days. He'd been late for school, or that was his story. Considering the last time she'd spoken to him had been the night before last, she hadn't expected to see him this morning either.

It never used to bother her when she was alone. After all, she'd spent most of her life alone, especially at school. Now, however, it felt horrible. She guessed she'd gotten used to having Frances around. And Trevor...well, Trevor had been like a dream come true. She should have known that it never would have lasted. The fact that Frances was ignoring her was probably all her fault too. When she'd started dating Trevor, she hadn't paid any attention to Frances. Frances must have felt like she felt now. Alone. God, she was a horrible person. She was a horrible best friend. She wondered if she could make it up to Frances. But Frances was thin now, and she was hanging out with the popular girls. She didn't need Maureen anymore.

Maureen felt like crying. She never cried at school anymore. She'd done it once in middle school, and it had been the most horrible experience of her life. Everyone had pointed and laughed. She'd vowed right then and there that she would never cry in public again. If she did cry, she did it alone, in her room, where no one could see or hear her. But she felt dangerously close to tears now. Maureen swallowed several times and forced herself to breathe normally. She stared between her legs at the floor.

"Hey," said a voice. "Scooch over."

Maureen looked up. It was Frances.

"Hi," said Maureen, scooting over to make room for Frances.

Frances settled in beside her. "How's it going? Did you hear about Ms. Trask?"

"What? No, I didn't. What happened?"

"Ms. Trask committed suicide in her classroom yesterday."

Maureen gasped. "Oh my God. That's horrible."

Frances nodded. "Yeah. She put a shotgun in her mouth and blew the back of her skull off."

"Jesus," said Maureen.

"That's not the best of it," said Frances. "Trevor was outside the room�He really didn't tell you this?"

"No, he didn't tell me anything. What the hell happened?"

"Well, he found her body, and Mr. Norris found him, and Mr. Norris thought he did it. So Trevor got arrested, but the police let him go because it was clearly a suicide."

"He got arrested?" Maureen said. Why hadn't he called her? On second thought, maybe that was why he hadn't called her. "Did he spend the night in jail or something?"

Frances shrugged. "I don't know. I only know a little about this because Mr. Norris called me last night to ask if I knew any reason why Trevor might want to kill Ms. Trask."

"Why did he call you?"

"He called everyone in the class, I think. He sounded pretty shaken up."

"So you told him that he didn't, right?"

"Well, she did kick him out of class the other day."

"She did?"

"He didn't tell you that either?"

"We haven't been talking much lately," Maureen admitted. "I think he might be breaking up with me."

"Oh God, Maureen, that's terrible. I am so sorry."

Frances didn't sound that sorry, though. She didn't sound like herself. She was bubblier or something. Airier.

Maureen shrugged. "I should have known it was too good to be true."

"Did he tell you he wanted to break up with you?"

"No, but he's been avoiding me like crazy."

"That sucks. Listen, if you�"

A shriek of displeasure interrupted Frances.

Both Frances' and Maureen's heads snapped up. Jessica Walker stood in front of them. "Frances," said Jessica. "Why are you talking to her?"

Frances stood up quickly. "I was just letting her know her boyfriend got arrested last night. Pretty appropriate for Death Girl, don't you think?"

Jessica laughed. "Oh, well, in that case, I guess it's okay."

Maureen looked at Frances, disbelief written on her face. Frances was betraying her to Jessica Walker? Who'd have thought she'd ever see this day?

Maureen stood up, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. "Nice to see you've lost your sense of loyalty and decency along with all that weight, Frances."

Frances rolled her eyes. "You're just jealous because I fixed what was wrong with me."

Maureen shook her head, "You might be thin, Frances, but the way you're acting makes you just as ugly as you ever were."

* * *

Trevor waited for Maureen after school, but she never showed. He got out his cell phone to call her and realized he'd turned it off yesterday for school and never turned it back on. When he turned it on, he listened to voice messages. Oops. Shit, how many times had Maureen called him? She went from casual, to worried, to pissed off. All in the span of maybe five hours? What was her deal? He didn't have to check in with her every five minutes. She was actually kind of freaking him out.

He called her anyway.

"Trevor," she answered. "I thought you were dead."

"Yeah, um, my phone was turned off, and I didn't know it. Plus, last night, I was a little busy. Ms. Trask�"

"I know all about it, Trevor. Everyone in school knows all about it."

"Oh. Right. Where are you? Do you want a ride home?"

"You're just going to pretend like nothing happened?"

"What happened?"

"You've been avoiding me like the plague for days."

What?! "No, I haven't."

"Like hell. You ditched me yesterday after school. You're never here in the mornings. You don't return my phone calls. If you're offering me a ride to break up with me to my face, save it."

Trevor was confused. "Do you want to break up?"

"No. But you apparently do."

"I don't want to break up," said Trevor.

"You don't?"

"Would you just come out here?"

Maureen showed up at his car a few minutes later. He let her babble on angrily until she seemed to run out of steam. Then he apologized, said he didn't want to break up, and asked for another chance. God. This must be why guys were always complaining about their girlfriends. Girls were totally insane. They freaked out over nothing. Jesus. He hadn't talked for her for half a day and she was suddenly petrified they were breaking up. It was half a day for Christ's sake.

After he apologized, she calmed down. She told him she was just a little on edge. Frances and Jessica Walker were apparently pals and Frances had said something really mean to Maureen today. Maureen had felt really alone and freaked out. Trevor told her he understood, but he didn't at all, and they finally got in his car to drive home. Because he wanted to make Maureen feel better, he took them someplace to park, and they made out for a while. Because she seemed to want to, they had sex, but he couldn't achieve orgasm, because he was too freaked out about getting a bloody image flash�maybe Ms. Trask. Maureen seemed worried about his lack of orgasm, but he pointed out that she wasn't having orgasms either, and he said it sometimes happened to him. Maureen kept pestering him about it, though. Was there something wrong with her? Should she have done anything differently? He told her she was beautiful and sexy, and there was nothing wrong with her, and there was nothing he wanted done differently, but she wouldn't let it go. So he started pestering her about the fact she hadn't come. She shut up. Finally.

Trevor didn't mean to be so annoyed with her. After all, he liked Maureen a lot. She was really cool and interesting, and he loved talking to her. Plus, she was an excellent kisser and she had a phenomenal body. But goddamn, she was frustrating.

Afterwards, he dropped her off at home and went back to his place. He went straight to his room and locked the door. He lay down on his bed and stared at the ceiling, wishing he could just turn off his head. Then he remembered his decision to start taking his pills again, so he looked for them in his sock drawer. They weren't there. That was right. His parents had taken them when they'd had the little "talk" with him about them.

His mom was in the living room, reading a magazine.

"Hey, Mom," he said, "where did you put my pills? I think I should start taking them again."

His mother looked up in surprise. "I put them back in your drawer, honey."

"They're not there."

"Sure they are."

"Come look for yourself."

"Trevor, this is juvenile. If you don't want to take your pills, don't. You don't have to hide them and then pretend to want to take them."

Trevor's mind whirled at the twisted logic of his mother's statement. "I didn't do that."

"Okay," said his mother. She went back to her magazine.

"Mom, seriously. They're gone."

"Well, I put them back in your drawer. Look harder."

Trevor sighed. He went back to his room and took everything out of his sock drawer. No pills. He returned to the living room.

"They're not there, Mom."

His mother put down his magazine. "What is this about?"

"It's about my pills. They're gone."

"Honey, you didn't want to take them anymore."

"Yeah, well, I changed my mind."

"I suppose I can get the prescription refilled, then," she said. "I'll stop by after work tomorrow, okay?"

"Okay," said Trevor. "Are you sure you didn't put them somewhere else? That was a few month's worth of pills."

"I'm positive."

"Okay," said Trevor. He turned and began walking back to his room.

"Oh, wait," said his mother.

"Yeah?"

"Your friend stopped by earlier. You left your duffel bag at school, and he was returning it. He put it in your room somewhere."

"I don't have a duffel bag," said Trevor.

"Sure you do."

"What friend?"

"A very nice boy. I can't quite remember his name. Jerry maybe?"

"Jared?"

"Yes, that's it."

"You let him in my room?" Trevor demanded.

"Sure."

"I cannot believe you, Mom."

"Trevor, what's wrong?"

"He's not my friend."

"You're sure grumpy. I'm glad you're going back on your pills." She picked up her magazine again.

"Mom, listen to me. Never let him into this house again, okay? Promise me that you won't."

"Trevor, skip the dramatics," his mother said.

"I mean it. This is important."

"Everything's important when you're your age."

God. Never mind. He stalked back to his room. Now he could see the edge of a black duffle back sticking out from underneath his bed. He pulled it out and unzipped it. It was filled with gym shorts. He took a couple of them out. Why the hell would Jared bring him gym shorts? He stuffed them back inside, and, as he did, his hand brushed something hard and cold. He took the shorts back out. He took all of them out. Inside the duffel bag was a shotgun.

Trevor's heart beat staccato in his chest. He quickly shoved the gym shorts back inside the bag, covering the gun. He zipped it up and pushed it under his bed. Jesus.

chapter eleven >>

Copyright (c) 2010 Valerie Chambers