PREVIOUSLY: Megan reigns supreme among the student body, having manipulated Corry and Julie. Julie spoke with Clarke’s sister about relationships.
PART 73a: FOUR PART HARMONY
Mrs. Willis heard the raised voices while still halfway down the arts hall. It helped that the hallways were empty, school having ended over half an hour ago. In fact, the music teacher was able to identify two of the voices – those of Megan Falls and Corry Veniti – yet there seemed to be other people in the music room too.
That’s when she heard the crash. Mrs. Willis began to walk faster, as there was the sound of more talking, along with the painful sound of a musical string twanging…
She rounded the corner of the music room door to see Megan, Corry, Laurie and Chartreuse grouped around the smashed remains of a violin. The violin that had been donated to their music program today.
The normally calm teacher’s eyes widened. Chartreuse opened her mouth to speak, but Mrs. Willis raised her hand, palm out. “Not – one – word. All of you. To the office. NOW!” she demanded in cold fury.
Corry patted his sister on the shoulder. When she didn’t raise her head from where it was buried in her hands, he angled his gaze towards Megan instead.
Megan, the junior student who had a habit of sowing chaos from behind the scenes, generally with her own selfish desires at heart. The girl who had also managed to get one of Laurie’s pictures published the previous month, in conjunction with a short story she had written. Thereby ensuring that Corry couldn’t go after her. Not using any of the same methods he’d once employed against Julie, at least.
Corry had known it would only be a matter of time before Megan’s demands would begin. She’d picked a hell of a day to start.
As if sensing the scrutiny, Megan turned her head, letting go of the cross on her necklace. “I’m going to tell him what you did,” she hissed. “Unless, perhaps, you agree to help Kim, as I requested?”
“I never pegged you as a woman of conscience,” the redhead said dryly. “But if it comes down to my word against yours, are you so sure they’ll believe you over me?”
Megan opened her mouth to reply, which was when the principal’s office door opened and Mr. Hunt strode out, followed by Mrs. Willis. He nodded to the music teacher, who flashed him a grateful smile and departed. Hunt turned his attention to the four students, seated in a row.
“All right,” the principal sighed, crossing his arms. “As Mrs. Willis was not present during the incident itself, I am going to give each of you a chance to explain what happened. I expect nothing less than the ugly truth. That is, unless one of you would care to come forwards and confess right now?”
Chartreuse leaned in from behind Megan to look uncertainly at the rest of them. Corry kept his gaze on Megan; he heard Laurie sniffle quietly on his other side. “Very well,” Mr. Hunt sighed. “Laurie, in my office first please.”
“Wait, Mr. Hunt!” Chartreuse protested. “She was, you know, only there because of me and Corry. She’s not involved!”
“Then perhaps she can provide me with an initial objective viewpoint,” Mr. Hunt countered. His tone allowed for no argument.
The principal waited as the redheaded girl blew her nose and took a few deep breaths. “It… it all happened so fast,” Laurie said at last. “I don’t know what to say, I don’t know where to start, I can’t… I’m just so sorry!!”
“Please stay calm,” Dell Hunt said patiently. “At the moment, you are not in any trouble. Perhaps you could start at the beginning – why were you and the others in the music room after school in the first place?”
“Oh. Well, that’s easy,” Laurie realized. She began to speak all in a rush. “Corry’s band – you know his band right? – they’d recorded some new songs and my brother wanted Mrs. Willis’ opinion of the music so he gave her the files last week and she said she’d listen, then to come by today so she could speak with him about it. And Chartreuse came too because she was going to be meeting up with Lee later – he’s the drummer and Tim’s on keyboard and Glen does bass guitar y’see but I guess you knew that too, right? – so I tagged along too and when we all got there we walked in and found that instead of Mrs. Willis it was Megan Falls who was there and she had Corry’s recordings!”
“Er, right. Okay, slow down,” Mr. Hunt requested, leaning back in his chair. “Now then, what was the first thing that Megan said to all of you?”
“Hey, Corry. Sorry, but Mrs. Willis can’t talk with you now. She had to see someone about a violin. She did mention that this was on the music podium for you though.” Megan held up the USB drive.
Corry nodded. “Oh, I see.”
“Though you know,” Megan said. “I’m doing something of a favour for you by telling you this. I was wondering if you could do something for me in return?”
“Depends what it is,” Corry said, stepping forwards.
“Wait now, back up,” Megan said, shifting sideways and backing up too. “Don’t rush me. It’s about Kim Carpenter.”
“Okay, well, I know of her,” Corry said, shrugging. “She’s in the chess club, right?”
“Exactly. In fact, they’re having a tournament next week. And since I owe her one for talking to Julie, I’d like Kim to do well in that tournament. If you catch my drift.”
Laurie’s brow furrowed and she leaned closer to Chartreuse. “My brother doesn’t play much chess,” she pointed out. “Why would Megan select him to be Kim’s coach?”
“I think there’s more going on here than that,” her pink haired friend replied. “Remember, Corry is kinda, like, indebted to Megan for her help in getting your picture published.” As Megan finished saying something else, Chartreuse took a step forwards. “Listen Megan, Corry’s right not to get involved in something like this.”
“Oh come now,” Megan said, pleading. “Kim deserves better than that. Besides, I’m still holding your recordings,” she added, holding the device up again.
“Thanks, I’ll take that,” Julie said, pulling it from Megan’s hands as she walked through the music room door behind the other girl.
Megan jumped as Julie continued past her to set a violin down on the teacher’s large central podium. “Next person to see Mrs. Willis, could they tell her the violin’s arrived?” the long haired brunette asked. “She was supposed to be picking it up from the office but I guess she got sidetracked. So I said I could bring it here.”
Megan looked from Julie to Corry. “Oh, of course. The two of you together again. I should have guessed.”
Laurie watched as Julie turned back to the dark haired girl, flashing a smile and handing the USB drive over to Corry. Julie then leaned in to give Laurie’s brother a kiss on the cheek. Laurie let out a gasp of surprise, blinking several times.
“You know,” Megan continued, pouting as she looked to Julie and Corry, “recordings or not, Kim will be very disappointed if things don’t go the way I’ve said.”
“Betting! You’re betting money on the outcome of the game!” Chartreuse spoke up. “That’s not, you know, nice!”
Megan looked back at Chartreuse, surprised. “Why? What’s wrong with making a friendly wager?”
“I can’t stay. It’s best to leave you all to your own devices,” Julie broke in, now backing away. She turned to look at Laurie. “Keep an eye on your brother, all right?”
Laurie blinked and nodded wordlessly back at the brunette, who then left the room. When she looked back at Corry, she saw he was taking a few steps backwards at the advance of Megan.
“Corry, pleeeeease,” Megan was saying. “Don’t make me break out the big guns here.” She paused, then glanced over to meet Laurie’s gaze, seemingly asking her for help.
Laurie swallowed. “Um, maybe Corry could help if you just call the betting off?” she attempted.
Corry frowned as he saw where Megan was looking. “You wouldn’t dare,” he said.
“Oh, we’re total witnesses!” Chartreuse said. “If anything happens here, we’re totally on Corry’s side, you know!”
“Hey! Does that mean you would even lie for him?” Megan protested. Chartreuse then seemed uncertain. Megan took a few more steps forwards, only to stumble and fall sideways.
“Whoa!” Corry said, moving to try and catch her – but, in so doing, his arm smacked into the central podium.
“Watch it, the violin, the violin!” Laurie gasped, charging forwards to grab at the musical instrument before it could fall. She scooped it up into her hands, but becoming unbalanced herself, fell against the heavy podium. The podium rocked and began to tip.
“I’ve got ya!” Chartreuse shouted, diving forwards to help her friend.
However, Laurie quickly realized she wasn’t going to be able to regain her balance before Chartreuse arrived, so she tried to hand off the violin. “Here, quick, catch it!” Laurie offered, holding out the instrument.
“I’ve got it!” Chartreuse said. However, she immediately moved the violin down to the floor, being more concerned for the welfare of her friend. Luckily, Laurie managed to break her own fall, while Chartreuse kept her steady.
“Wha… What are you DOING??” Megan said baffled, now trying to see past Corry’s shoulder.
“Hey, don’t shove me!” Corry protested.
The podium finished it’s crash to the floor moments later. Right on top of the violin! “Oooh, NO!” Laurie gasped. In desperation, she got to her knees and pushed past Chartreuse in order to roll the podium off of the instrument. The violin let out a feeble twang as one of it’s strings popped loose; the body of the instrument itself seemed beyond repair.
Laurie wrapped her arms around herself, looking towards Corry and Megan, who had dropped to the floor as well. “What do we do now?” she murmured.
NEXT: Dominant Note. Chartreuse’s account.