12 | A Fan Girl

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"Mrs

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"Mrs. Marsh, he was my first crush ever!"

The counselor just blinked at Evanna's statement. Okay, she never saw that coming.

Seconds ticked by, but Sigrid Marsh made no comment, her beady eyes peering through her half-rimmed glasses. Over the course of many sessions spanning two months, the teacher appeared almost the same with her pale green skirt and magenta lipstick.

Evanna drew in a deep breath. "Of course I liked him from the start, 'cause he's so cool, you know. He has this awesome pitch black hair shaped like a duck's butt. And he's amazing at ninjutsu and genjutsu."

"What's that?" Mrs. Marsh asked with raised eyebrows.

"Martial arts, sorta."

"I see."

"Yeah, so..." Evanna emitted a sigh, fingering the texture on the pastel green sofa she was on. "He's got his faults, but he's been through so much."

"What was his name again?" the counselor asked.

"Sasuke."

"But last time, I remember you said a different name."

"Oh, that's L. I came to know him later."

"Elle is a strange name for a boy."

"No, no, L—as in, the letter L. His name is L Lawliet." Evanna adopted a suitably serious expression. "Anyways, Sasuke's with this girl Sakura now. I know we can't be together, and honestly, I'm happy for them. I've spent enough time thinking about him and his life. I need to focus on my life right now."

Nicely done, Ev. Tell her what she wants to hear, and slather on some remorse. With each session, it had become obvious that the counselor expected her to spill some secrets that would explain her seemingly erratic behavior. Evanna had been reluctant to make up stories and outright lie to her, which she wasn't sure she could pull off even if she wanted to. Hence, since the last session, she had been testing her brand new solution to the problem.

"Well, this is certainly an improvement, Evie," Mrs. Marsh said, leaning back in her seat. "Took you long enough to talk about this. And I know you're really trying, because I had a talk with Miss Inoue. She told me you're doing well."

"Yeah, I'm really making an effort." Evanna gave her a determined nod. "I have to, 'cause I want to get into Uni Kom."

The teacher studied her for a long minute. The brightness in the room seemed to intensify, enhanced by the pastel colors all around.

Evanna held her breath.

"Well then," the teacher said, closing the notebook on her lap with a tap of finality, "I'll have a chat with your mother. I think we don't need any more sessions."

The words rendered her momentarily speechless. Then she bent down and made a show of tightening her shoelaces while a grin threatened to spread over her face.

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