A Murder Of Crows {9}

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                I wasn't even surprised when I heard the faint sound of my door unlocking. It swung open and Val came in, kicking it shut and sitting down in front of our puzzle.

                "Let's go," she said.

                I couldn't focus on my homework anyways, so I pushed it off to the side and sat down with her. We picked up the pieces and worked in silence for a bit.

                "Val," I said finally, and she looked up at me. "What do you know about Jamison?"

                "I know he's president of the Crows. He's your age. He's pretty to look at. What more do you need to know?" she said.

                I knew I couldn't ask about Jamison and Kieran. Val would just smile and tell me to ask Kieran myself. But maybe she knew something, anything, that could help me start chipping away at his friendly façade.

                "How close is he with that Nia girl? She was at dinner," I said.

                "Don't know much about her," Val said, which was the biggest bullshit lie I'd heard all damn day. Val's specialty was knowing everything about everyone.

                "I'm not a piece of your game, so tell me what I want to know, or get out," I said.

                Val laughed. "What game? You're so touchy, Jpeg. Fine, her name is Nia Dagny, she's a freshman, and as far as I can tell, Jamison is grooming her to be a proper Crow."

                "Was Kieran supposed to be a Crow?" I asked, the words leaving my mouth before I could stop myself. Shit.

                Val raised an eyebrow, a smile slowly curling her lips. "Was he? I guess you'd have to ask him."

                Something made Kieran hate Jamison. Maybe it had to do with the Crows. Maybe it had to do with this darker side of Jamison. Whatever it was, it ran deep, and Cole was involved too.

                There was just too much here I didn't know. Too much I couldn't piece together without some answers from the people involved. But how did I bring any of it up without making myself sound too suspicious or nosy?

                I placed a puzzle piece down in its proper spot. "We should keep an eye on this Nia girl. Even if she is sloppy about it, she's determined to figure out if Kieran is involved."

                "Well, she wants to impress Jamison. You of all people should know how far people will go for each other," Val said, ignoring the look I shot her. "Nia figures if she's the one to catch Kieran, it'll earn her Jamison's pride and respect. She's probably wrong, of course, but she's hopeful."

                I fell silent, thinking. Val watched me with knowing eyes, and I hated that. I hated feeling like she could read everything about me.

                But then her phone started ringing, catching her attention. She pulled it out of her pocket and checked the contact.

                "It's my mom," she said before sliding her finger across the screen. She held it up to her ear and easily switched from English to Spanish.

                I didn't know Spanish, so I tuned out her conversation. Digging online was a bad idea, because Val would be on the lookout for me doing that. I couldn't give her anything else to blackmail me with.

                Cole didn't seem particularly fond of me, so that also wasn't an option. Jamison was my best bet, but he'd most likely deflect any questions I had about Kieran.

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