Previously: A mystery girl appeared in front of a jogger. Julie got her friends to pit Joe and Tommy against each other, in order to focus on Megan’s plans.
PART 3.13b: UNDER ATTACK 2
Julie nodded back at Carrie. “Thank you. See, as soon as Chartreuse said that Megan Falls was involved, I knew that this school was in trouble. Deep trouble. That girl not only works in the shadows, she tries to make people believe her opinions without a plan in mind. Without consideration of immediate consequences.”
She straightened her posture. “Ironically, Megan’s unpredictability means she probably has the best shot at Corry. So our first step HAD to be clearing the board of Joe and Tommy. To better get a bead on her. THAT’S why I sent you both on your missions this morning.”
Julie looked towards Frank. “It only occurs to me now that you were pretty reluctant about messing with Joe’s head. I guess all I can do at this point is ask for your forgiveness.”
“Yeah, well… in retrospect, the guy WAS taking things a bit far,” Frank admitted, thinking back to the image he’d seen. “So as long as you’re more forthcoming with us next time, sure, I can forgive you.”
Julie then turned to Carrie, but the blonde was already waving her off. “Don’t sweat it. I was only miffed at your attitude. I rather enjoyed playing off Tommy’s paranoia, he’s kind of a jerk.”
“All right,” Julie said, letting out a sigh of relief. “Thing is, Megan’s too canny to be fooled like those two. In fact, I discovered that she’s been recorded as absent from school today. Given that, I asked Phil to scout around a bit at lunch, to see if he could find out where she really is.” She eyed the drama room door. “Since he hasn’t joined us yet, I can only assume that he’s had no luck so far.”
She looked at each of them in turn. “And while I grant that this may be partly my ego, if Megan takes charge of the balance of power in this school? Chaos is sure to follow! Do you understand now? And will you help me help Corry?”
“Okay Julie,” Chartreuse chirped. “Except, what exactly should we do, aside from look around too? I mean, like, what is it you’ve, you know, learned about Megan’s plans so far?”
Julie brushed some of her long hair off her shoulder as she moved to lean back against a nearby wall. “As a matter of fact,” she said, letting out a frustrated sigh, “as of this point in time, I’ve learned nothing at all about her plans.”
Lunch period ended. The image of Tommy, serving tea to the chess club while clad in a full length green dress, only appeared in printouts – given how the school’s server mysteriously went down. But, true or not, seeing how he could be manipulated was enough to discredit the boy in the eyes of many of his supporters.
Similarly, the sight of Joe walking through the halls with a bloody nose, wearing nothing but his boxers, was not seen by many either – he was quickly taken to the main office. However, as with the dress picture, word soon spread, and it became apparent that Joe had also lost leadership credibility in the eyes of the school.
The quick interventions of the faculty aside, Tommy and Joe had cancelled each other out – as Julie had engineered. She tapped her fingers against her desk. Yet here it was, last period, and she STILL wasn’t sure what Megan was up to!
Carrie, Frank, Chartreuse and Phil had all come up empty. Granted, they hadn’t actually tried to invoke Carrie’s powers again – but Julie was coming to understand Carrie’s argument for why it might not be in their best interests to do that. Not if it fixed the outcome, and it was one in Megan’s favour.
Julie left the mechanics of her physics lab in the hands of her partner, busy racking her brains for what it was she could have missed. It wasn’t until Laurie Veniti was paged to the library fifteen minutes before the end of the school day that Julie realized what a blind idiot she’d been. Whispering to her lab partner that she’d handle the writeup for them, and to please cover for her, Julie slipped out of the room. Only to bump into Corry, who was doing the exact same thing down the hallway.
“Fancy running into you like this,” Julie said as the two of them headed for the stairwell. “Is my ‘rampant paranoia’ catching?”
Corry opened his mouth to fire off some response, then simply grimaced. “Okay, I deserved that,” he admitted. “The more I’ve thought about what you said this morning, the more I’ve realized how good the timing was for a major attack. You were right. I was wrong. I have been overconfident. Were you the one who rerouted Joe and Tommy?”
“Damn right,” Julie responded. “Though… I had some help.”
“I see,” the redhead replied as they reached the stairs. “And I can only assume this last plan is the work of Megan Falls. Do you know what she’s been getting my sister mixed up with?”
“Afraid not,” Julie sighed. “I SHOULD have been tailing Laurie all day. I’m out of practice.”
“No more so than me,” Corry grumped. “You know, if we get through this intact, maybe I should start treating you as more of a equal again. You know my blind spots, and can help to keep me on my toes.” Julie blinked over at him in surprise, but said nothing.
The two teenagers arrived on the ground floor and approached the library. They quickly spotted Carrie, who was trying to peer covertly through the glass doors of the main entrance. She looked over at them as they approached.
“Oh! Uh. I… I was in drama class with Laurie when she was paged away,” Carrie explained. “It wasn’t until right after she left that I remembered what Chartreuse said this morning about evil library vibes, and given Julie’s talk at lunch, I… I thought Laurie might have been walking into a trap.” She gestured vaguely. “But, hey, maybe not? It doesn’t look like there’s anything nefarious going on in there.”
“Knowing Megan, it’s probably too devious to look nefarious,” Corry asserted. “Thanks, I’ll take it from here.”
Corry marched past his two classmates, shoving the library doors open and striding inside. He was able to pick out his twin sister almost immediately, standing over by the bookshelves. Next to Laurie was a shorter girl with shoulder length jet black hair. Megan.
“Okay, stop right there!” Corry said as he ran up to them. His run was brought up short as he noticed Principal Hunt, formerly hidden from view, standing amongst the bookshelves beside the two teenage girls. “Or, ah, not,” Corry amended, stumbling.
A trace of a smile flickered over Mr. Hunt’s face, as if some suspicion of his had been verified, before he turned back to regard Megan. “So see to it that there is no more of this unauthorized use of the public address system,” he concluded. “Whatever you had to tell Laurie, it could have waited until the end of the school day.”
“Yes, sir,” the junior girl replied meekly. “Never again.”
“Very well then,” the principal concluded. “One detention for you. As well as for Mr. Veniti, Ms. LaMille and Ms. Waterson for cutting class.” Corry flinched at the news, then glanced over his shoulder. He hadn’t even heard Julie and Carrie follow him in.
The smile tugged at the corner of the principal’s lips again as he turned to regard them all. “And, ladies and gentlemen? Let’s have no more of this tomfoolery for at LEAST the rest of the month, hmmm?” With that, Mr. Hunt walked off, apparently to talk with the head librarian.
“Well, that sucked,” Carrie mumbled. “Is it me, or is Hunt himself getting more devious lately too?”
Corry barely heard her, more concerned with whatever Megan had been up to with his sister. “Laurie?” he inquired, turning to meet her gaze for the first time. He braced himself, not certain what sort of expression he would see on her face.
The pure rapture that Laurie had on display still managed to catch him completely off guard.
“Corry?” his sister breathed. “Corry, I… I’ve been published! Megan got me published, isn’t that the most WONDERFUL news you’ve ever heard in your whole LIFE?”
Corry felt his throat seize up.
“H-How?” came Julie’s voice.
Laurie held up a small bound paperback. “A drawing I made for art class last year! Megan got a copy and wrote a short story based on it and submitted it to a regional contest put on by this short story publisher looking for best illustrated work and he liked it and all winners were basically being printed in this little book and oh golly it actually WON so I’ve had a picture published and my name is actually in print here right next to Megan’s!” She clasped the book back against her body.
“Yes, it’s thrilling isn’t it?” Megan put in, firing off a sweet smile in Corry’s direction. She brought her fist up to her heart. “Kind of gets you. Right. Here.”
Corry’s eyes linked with Megan’s. Her eyes narrowed, her smile widening. And she had him, and they both knew it. Owing to what Megan had done for Laurie here, Corry was not only indebted to her, but any move that he now made against the girl might well end up hurting Laurie emotionally. He had been outflanked by an act of pure generosity.
“Risky move, Megan,” Julie piped up, her voice providing Corry with the excuse to look away. “After all, what if Corry had been dethroned earlier today? He’d have no social strings for you to pull on.”
Megan shrugged, her hand moving to idly finger the cross she wore on her necklace. “Well, no fun playing the game if you’re sure of the outcome each time,” she said. “But I had faith in you, Julie. After all, who do you think got Kim to tip you off in the first place?”
The brunette took a physical step back. “You– Damn you.”
“Okay, well, not to break up the happy fun times here,” Carrie broke in. “But maybe we should let the tension bleed out by heading back to class? I’d say the school’s had as much excitement as it can handle for today.”
Carrie was immediately proven wrong, as someone nearby let out a scream. The five students all turned, barely in time to see the van with the license plate reading ‘LARS 02’ jump the curb outside and crash through the library’s large picture windows, the vehicle coming to rest in the reference section. A girl with short red hair swiftly kicked open the passenger door, held up a gun, and hollered, “All right, where the hell is ‘Glen Oaks’ at?!?”
Owing to all the screaming and shouting that followed, only Corry heard Carrie’s horrified reaction: “Oh my God. That’s HER.”
The first domino falls… do you see how the rest of them have been set up yet? A reminder, you can Vote for T&T.