17. to the letter.

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"... and that always needs to be accounted for when evaluating capital structure and long-term solvency," my professor droned on as I frantically took notes, struggling to keep up.

My phone vibrated on the desk in front of me, a text message from Luca popping up. Best to ignore it for now. This prof was notorious for providing skimpy course outlines and then info-dumping important information during lectures at a breakneck pace. Any lapse in attention could mean that I missed an important exam item.

But out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something that I couldn't ignore. His text was about that goddamn campus gossip website. The bane of my existence last year, they had finally left me alone lately.

Text Message, 2:03pm
Luca: Have you seen the latest 'To The Letter' post?
Ethan: No. You know I don't follow that shit. Why?
Luca: It talks about Ryan. It's a bunch of BS... but you might want to go look.
Ethan: What?!

Capital structure decisions faded into the background as I pulled up the site on my phone's browser to see for myself.

There, on the front page, read the headline "Is Hot Nurse Ryan Winters the White Wolves' Newest Plaything?"

What the fuck? I gritted my teeth and continued to read. The article went on to allege that not only were Ryan and I sleeping together, but that she was also sleeping with Hunter as well as several other guys on the team. It was accompanied by a shot of Ryan talking to Hunter on Halloween.

My heart started to pound and I felt myself flush with red hot anger. I clenched my fists and took a few deep breaths, trying to calm down. Nope. Wasn't happening. Conniving, cowardly, backhanded: this had Alexis's handwriting all over it.

I didn't even hear what the professor said for the rest of the class. It was just white noise to my own internal ranting and raving.

As soon as class was over, I rushed for the door and jogged back home, fueled by rage and adrenaline. If I could straighten this out quickly, maybe Ryan didn't even have to know. I hated the idea of her getting hurt because she was associated with me.

By the time I walked in the door, it was apparent Ryan had already heard. Isabelle was over and she was trying to calm her down, with limited success. I could overhear the two of them talking upstairs and what I heard only made me angrier.

"What am I going to do, Isabelle? Is there any way to make them take it down?" Ryan asked, her tone distraught.

Isabelle replied, "I don't know, Ry. We can try. We will try, babe."

Ryan was on the verge of tears, now. "Having my name smeared like this could really hurt me in practicum this semester. If the instructors hear about this, they'll judge me before rotations even start!"

"No one reads that ridiculous site. And everyone who does knows that their posts are just a bunch of baseless rumours anyway," Isabelle said consolingly.

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