NINE

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     There was an almost palpable divide between students.

     I wasn't sure how to prepare myself for the day — everything had been a surprise since the release of the email — and by the time I arrived at St. Joe's, I realized no one knew how to either. There was something surreal about being featured on the news; something that seemed to shock people more than the email itself, which made me uneasy.

     There were people who, inevitably, found the whole thing entertaining. Logan Ross and his goons had their smirks firmly planted on their faces from the start of the morning. Standing in the hallway, they looked like they were pulled straight out of a CW show — handsome, but questionable. Potentially a little dangerous.

     I felt Logan's eyes on me as I walked past him, unsure of what he could possibly be looking at. We weren't strangers; we had known each other for years at this point. We had flirted in middle school — as much as twelve-year-olds can flirt with each other — before his personality preceded him and his head became too big for his body.

     I glanced at him, his unfazed blue eyes flat as I looked into them. I didn't know if he was the person behind Nudegate, but I was inarguably suspicious of him, probably with good reason. He always had a look on his face like he was up to something.

     "Hey, Eden," he said, showing off the whites of his teeth in a way that looked more like a force of a habit than a smile.

     My expression didn't change as I walked past, decidedly uninterested in playing whatever game he had in mind. Nick had never been interested in being friends with him — partially because Logan was a dick and mostly because Logan was too much of a dick to give Nick the time of day. I didn't find any comfort in knowing teenage boys had similar drama to what the girls did.

     But even with Logan being the person he was, I wasn't sure if he was capable of something like Nudegate. He seemed cold, but not necessarily calculating. More like the kind of person would do something spur the moment and cause physical pain, or throw in a one-liner, than try for the psychological scarring and isolation technique.

     I also wasn't sure we would ever know who did it. St. Joe's faculty had gone radio-silent about what their plans actually were. I was tempted to reach out to the police department, but I was worried that even if we did get to speak to them, the school would deny them the ability to comment. I wasn't sure if the were able to do it, but I wasn't sure I wanted to get in the middle of it, either.

     As far as everyone knew, all of the girls featured were at least eighteen. This meant the school had reason to potentially stay out of it. I could picture Principal Yanick's smooth, unchanging face as she would explain her case. St. Joe's wasn't a distributor, it was just used as a vessel. There is no reason for us to become involved beyond our current involvement.

     I was snapped out my thoughts when I spotted Vera, Sloane and their friend, Danica, at the end of the hallway. Danica was petite and skinny, much shorter than her two friends. I didn't know much about her, other than that she was dating Rolland Pike, one of the guys on Logan's periphery. I wasn't sure how close Rolland and Logan were, but I hoped for Danica's sake they weren't close.

     In almost direct contradiction to Logan's face earlier, the three girls looked almost grim. All of their expressions were flat, but there was something happening. It was obvious in the way Vera's hands were moving and Sloane's lips were pursed.

     At lunch, I sat at the usual table with the usual suspects — a rotating group of staff from the newspaper. I didn't branch out much beyond them, mostly because in the time I had been in high school, they were who I spent the most time around. I wasn't sure how many I was actually friends with, but proximity was a dangerous drug.

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