Josh had told Anil about the source on initiation, and Rob had made a plea to tell Tom, who could then tell Jill. I hadn't been able to stomach the idea of seeing Jill's triumphant look. It hadn't just been her who had been screwed over by Lark, but Lark had also destroyed her friendship with Tricia and me, too. Tricia, Rob, Josh, Anil, Tom, Jill and me had all gone to the common room early to secure good places for the meeting.
Lark had popped in briefly to our room to get herself a cup of tea, and I'd watched her, contemplating that it would be the last time that would happen. She wouldn't be bursting through the bathroom door uninvited anymore. Even though I knew it was for the best, and that she'd done it to herself, I felt a little sad for her. She had no idea what was coming – similar to what she'd done to me and Josh when she'd called the paper – we'd had no idea what was about to hit us, either.
I didn't know if people outside our inner circle could feel the tension in the room as Mishti chaired the floor meeting, but to me it was palatable. I could taste the tension every time I took a breath. We were all poised for the end of the meeting.
Finally, Mishti stopped and looked around the room, puzzled. "What's going on? There's this weird tension in the room and I can't take it any longer. Is there something I should know?"
Josh, standing at the back of the room, raised his hand, and I was sick with anticipation. "I have an AOB, if that's what you're talking about," he said, focusing his eyes on Mishti.
"Is that the weird tension? What's your AOB then?" Mishti asked, crossing her arms over her petite frame.
"I move that Jill remains on our floor, and Lark be removed to resolve their roommate dispute," Josh said, still keeping his eyes trained on Mishti.
Mishti gave a little laugh of disbelief. "Uh, why would that matter to you, Josh? None of that has been finalized. I'm talking to some of the other girls on the floor about switching roommates." She looked around the room, and her eyes connected with a few of the other girls.
"I don't think anyone will want to room with Lark when they hear what she's been up to," Josh said, tearing his eyes from Mishti and focusing on Lark. "The investigations into the swim team and football originated from a senator's office. Who works for a senator?" He looked around the room. "Lark."
Lark sputtered. "That's ridiculous. Why would I turn in the teams that mean so much to people on this floor? Why would I turn in Liz's swim team? It would devastate her." Lark's eyes searched for mine in the crowd, but I looked away when she tried to connect with me. "Liz, you can't believe this bullshit."
I turned and felt fire coursing through my veins. "Believe it? Who do you think discovered it? Today while Nadia Zemini was interviewing me about the swim team 'hazing' she revealed that their tip came from Parliament Hill."
"Lots of people work for senators," Lark said, but her voice lacked conviction now.
I sat forward, fired up. "Oh, please. The jig is up, Lark. You were in such a rage because Cal found out you were cheating, and this was the fastest and easiest way to get back at us."
Lark started to speak, and I held up my hand.
"Yes, Tricia and I told him – but, not on purpose. I guess that doesn't matter to you. Rather than accepting responsibility for what you'd done, you decided to destroy things that were important to us. We didn't make you cheat; we didn't make Cal break up with you; we didn't make you call The Ottawa Citizen; we didn't make you treat Jill like shit." I sat back in the chair with a huff. "I second Josh's motion to have Lark removed from the floor. I can't stand to look at her anymore."
Tricia raised her hand, the one that wasn't clasped with Josh's. "If you need three votes, I also vote that Lark leaves the floor." She looked at Lark, not with anger, but with sadness. "No one messes with Josh and Liz. It could have been different, Lark." She shook her head and looked at Mishti.
Mishti was still at the front of the room looking thoroughly flummoxed. "Ah, that's quite the AOB. Lark, do you have anything to say for yourself? Did you want to go talk in my office?"
"No, Mishti, I think she should have to answer to us publically," Josh said, taking a step forward. "Like we have to answer publically alongside our teams."
Lark stood up, and I could see she was on the brink of tears. "I'm not answering for any of it. If Tricia and Liz had just kept their mouths shut and they'd just switched rooms, none of this would have happened. I would have played nice; it all would have been fine." Lark pulled open the door and fled.
Mishti looked at all of us in varying states of shock, anger and, in Jill's case, satisfaction and gave a helpless shrug. "I need to go speak to her. This meeting is adjourned." She dashed out the door, calling Lark's name as she ran.
Around me, the room started to buzz with people speculating and discussing all these revelations. I bumped shoulders with Rob and felt my energy draining out of me like the last bit of water in a bathtub.
"Right, well, I think that went well," Rob said, kissing my forehead.
I laughed. "It went," I agreed, thinking about Lark, probably raging in her room. I looked behind me to see Tricia tucked into Josh's side. They might not be together, but I honestly wondered why. It was so clearly a mutual love. If Josh ended up at a different school next year, I wondered if Tricia would always regret not following Tom's 'you only live once' advice about grabbing onto things that made you happy.
My eyes connected with Rob's, and I was certainly glad that he'd embraced Tom's philosophy. Maybe I'd finally get the other thing I wanted: less drama.
"I feel like the next couple months are going to be a breeze compared to the last few," I said, turning my head to kiss him, and a surge of hope swelled in my chest.
YOU ARE READING
Second LanarkTeen Fiction
Drama. It was the one thing Elizabeth wanted nothing to do with during her first year of university. She'd had enough of that in high school. At first, it seemed like it was going to be a smooth year: she liked her roommates; the varsity swim team...