PREVIOUSLY: A violin was broken, and Megan said she’d be blamed. She told the principal there would be repercussions if he believed the others.
PART 74b: THE MEDIANT
“Oh. I see,” Corry said, frowning.
“Though you know,” Megan continued blithely, “since I’ve been so nice to you lately, I think it’s time you did me a favour in return.”
“Depends on if I get my recordings back,” Corry said, moving towards her.
“You didn’t make a backup, did you!” Megan smirked, dodging away from him. “Come come, there’s no need to rush. Let’s talk about Kim Carpenter.”
“Okay… well, I know of her,” Corry said with a shrug – and a glare.
“Kim is in the chess club,” Megan elaborated. “They’re having a tournament next week, and I owe her for the Julie deal, so I’d like for the girl to do well. If you catch my drift.”
“That’s outrageous,” Corry protested, even as he heard his sister murmur something to Chartreuse.
“… more going on … indebted to Megan …” was all Corry could pick out of Chartreuse’s reply, seeing as Megan was continuing to speak at him.
“I’m not saying she has to win,” the dark haired girl stated. “I just want you to get her in the top three. I mean, it’s about time I flexed my authority over you – or would you prefer I demand a more humiliating action?”
“Listen Megan,” Chartreuse cut in, stepping forwards. “Corry’s right not to, you know, get involved in this stuff just now.”
“Oh come ON,” Megan fired back. “Kim deserves a shot. And we’re going to keep talking about this, so long as I’m holding this USB drive!” She held it up again for emphasis.
“Thanks, I’ll take that,” Julie remarked, plucking it from Megan’s hands as she walked into the room behind her.
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.”
“Oh, of course,” Megan retorted, folding her arms as she looked from Julie to Corry. “The two of you working together. I should have guessed.”
Julie flashed Megan what Corry interpreted to be an apologetic smile before handing his recordings back to him. Then she leaned in, in order to whisper into his ear.
“Kim would want to win on her own merits,” came Julie’s quiet advice. “I’m betting that Megan never even asked her permission.”
Megan’s attempt to interrupt Julie by saying something about Kim’s disappointment was similarly cut off by an exclamation by Chartreuse. “Betting!” the pink haired girl challenged, hands on her hips. “You’re betting on the outcome of the game!”
Megan fired a confused look back at Chartreuse. “Well, what’s wrong with some friends making a wager?” she said defensively.
This whole situation was starting to click for Corry though. Julie would, after all, know Kim’s preferences, having been a former ally of Kim herself. So Megan getting him to rig the chess tournament would only be of benefit to her and any betting friends, regardless of whether his involvement was successful, unsuccessful, or even discovered. “Let’s have this out with her then,” Corry quickly whispered to Julie in return.
Instead, Julie drew back, shaking her head. “I can’t stay,” she asserted. “It’s probably best to leave you all to your own devices.” She glanced at everyone, then as she turned away, mumbled, “No need for the voice of another, right?”
Corry opened his mouth to protest, but then thought better of it and simply pocketed his band’s recordings. Megan was the first to speak up after Julie left. “Corry, please,” she insisted. “Don’t make me break out the big guns here or anything.”
The redhead frowned, not sure if Megan was turning her gaze towards his sister or the violin, so settled for a blanket, “You wouldn’t dare,” as his reply.
However, by that point Laurie had also started into a bit of a panicky run-on sentence about the feasibility of Corry giving help to Megan. Laurie stopped only when Chartreuse interjected with, “Oh, we’re, like, total witnesses! If anything happens here, we’re, you know, on Corry’s side!”
“HEY!” Megan shouted in obvious irritation. She rounded on Chartreuse. “Does that mean you would even lie for him?” Without waiting for an answer, she began to advance on Corry. “As for you,” she started, but got no further, lurching to the side. It was a little hard to tell if the stumble was genuine or planned, but Corry moved to help her regardless.
“Yeow!” spilled from Corry’s lips instead, as he misjudged the location of the central podium, bashing his elbow hard against it. The podium vibrated, even as Megan managed to catch herself on a stand, raising a hand to halt Corry’s advance. He raised both his own hands to acknowledge he’d keep his distance – which was when things took a decidedly bizarre turn.
“Watch it, the violin, the violin!” Laurie gasped, and out of the corner of his eye Corry saw his sister charge forwards, trip, and slam into the tall podium, wrapping her hands around the musical instrument. The podium itself, which he granted might have been unbalanced by his earlier actions, now began to tip.
Megan began to lower her arm. “Is your sister… okay?” she mused, quirking an eyebrow.
“Yeah, don’t involve me in things with my sister around!” Corry retorted, turning to try and help Laurie out. Chartreuse was able to move a little faster.
“I’ve got ya!” Laurie’s friend shouted, jumping to catch her. However, Laurie was apparently more concerned with the violin.
“Here, quick, take it!” the redheaded girl said, shoving the violin at Chartreuse.
“I’ve got it,” Chartreuse retorted, and with a finesse that managed to impress even Corry, she was able to slide the violin onto the floor while dropping down on one knee, yet still get her arms back into a position to brace Laurie. Though with her hands free, Laurie was also able to partially break her own fall.
As the podium fully overbalanced itself, Corry turned back towards Megan to check her reaction. Only to have the dark haired girl reach out and jab him in the chest. “Now Corry, about Kim,” the girl began.
Unfortunately, the half step back that Corry had taken to try and avoid Megan’s jab caused him to knock against Chartreuse’s leg, and now he was the one off balance. He instinctively reached out for Megan, trying to keep from falling. She only stared, dumbstruck, as he grabbed her arm.
“What ARE you DOING?” Megan protested, trying to twist free by pushing at him.
“Don’t shove me!” Corry warned her simultaneously – but it was too late. He felt himself falling back, and pulling Megan along with him.
It was the feeling of landing on the violin that pained him more than the physical contact with the instrument itself. Though Megan dumping herself into his lap didn’t help the situation. Shoving her out of the way, Corry quickly rolled up onto one knee, but it was too late. It was possible that the neck of the violin had already been hit by the podium, but as to the rest… well, at this point the body of the instrument seemed beyond repair. The violin let out a feeble twang as one of it’s strings popped loose.
“Oooh, NO,” Corry sister gasped upon moving the podium aside.
“Brilliant,” Megan muttered, glaring at him.
“What do we do now?” Chartreuse wondered, also looking to the redheaded boy.
Corry fell silent after completing the story. Hunt scrutinized him briefly before speaking. “So your story is that while you were the direct cause of most of the damage, there were certain extenuating circumstances.”
Corry nodded. “Pretty much. Laurie tripping, Chartreuse’s leg, Megan being NO help… of course, I have no idea if their stories corroborate that. Laurie and Chartreuse weren’t in the best position to see, and while we were waiting outside, Megan said she’d put the worst possible spin on events unless I agreed to her terms about Kim. Needless to say, I didn’t do that.”
“Mmmm. Thing is, it seems possible that you would be accepting the bulk of the blame here simply because it helps your situation with Megan. Or alternatively, in order to avoid the breakage being blamed on your sister. What do you have to say about that?”
Corry shrugged noncommittally. “You’re certainly welcome to interpret the entire situation as you see fit. I’ll pay up, if that’s your decision.”
The principal rubbed his forehead, the whole situation abruptly reminding him of a movie he’d seen. “Rashomon,” he muttered.
“Nothing.” The principal stood. “You may go. Come by the office fifteen minutes before school starts tomorrow. At that time, I’ll advise you and then the others as to my decision regarding culpability.”
Chartreuse slid into the seat next to Corry, plunking her cafeteria tray down on the table. She stared at him pointedly for a few seconds, before saying, “So??”
He looked back at her. “So?” he repeated easily.
Chartreuse sighed. “So, come on! You know, what did Hunt decide?! When I went to talk to him, he would only say it, like, wasn’t my concern any more.”
“So, maybe he’s right. Maybe it’s not.” Corry bit into his sandwich.
“Co-rry!” Chartreuse sighed in exasperation. “I’m serious! I mean, sure, Megan was at fault, but I’m worried I, like, came down too hard on her. In order to deflect away from Laurie. I’ve even, you know, started worrying that I mixed up who said what in a couple of places.”
Corry shook his head as he swallowed. “I wouldn’t worry about that. We all have selective memories to a degree. Come to think, it’s something Glen could manipulate, if we’re not careful.”
“But if I dug in too much, maybe Megan will target me – us – next or something! Aren’t you worried about her reaction at ALL?”
Corry sighed, then glanced around to see if anyone was specifically listening to their conversation. No one was. “Fine. If you must know, when Julie found out what happened, she went to see Hunt first thing this morning. And she’s using her own funds to pay for a replacement. As such, I got let off with a warning, violin case closed.”
Chartreuse blinked. “Oh!” She thought on that for a moment. “You figure Julie felt responsible, considering she, like, brought the violin into the room in the first place?”
“Beats me. Any discussions I have with Julie these days tend to be initiated on her end,” Corry said. “But it’s likely, and while her actions may consolidate our alliance, it doesn’t give Megan a reason to start a civil war. Satisfied?” He bit again into his sandwich.
“I guess.” Chartreuse looked down at her cafeteria tray. “So what are you going to do about the, you know, chess match?”
“I’m going to keep out of it and gamble that Kim’s smart enough to not need any help.”
“Ah. Makes sense.” She pushed her peas around on the plate. “So are you SURE that Megan has, like, no reason to–”
“Chartreuse, really? If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you had some skeleton in your closet that you didn’t want Megan exposing.”
Chartreuse dropped her fork back onto the tray. “Right, well, that’s silly, because, you know, my default mode is weird, so what could she do to me? Thanks for the info, Corry! I’m gonna go eat with Laurie instead. To, like, reassure her.”
She stood back up and grabbed her tray, glancing briefly over her shoulder as she moved away, to see if Corry was still watching her. He wasn’t. No one was watching her. Especially not the blonde girl in the corner, talking to future-boy, about the things that THEY’D once shared together…
Chartreuse let out a breath through pursed lips. God, she had to stop obsessing. She HAD to. But thus far, every effort to distract herself from Carrie had ultimately led nowhere. Except back to her classmate. The girl she loved.
Chartreuse winced. Could it be that she had no option left aside from… confrontation?
NEXT: Hi Anxiety. You could vote at WFG with a click.
ASIDE: Anyone else know about “Rashomon”? ‘Farscape’ did something similar with their episode ‘The Ugly Truth’ – Hunt’s remark to start us off in Part 73a.