13: Experimental Design

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After counting up the hour's seal activity, Logan and I headed back to the house, but as we got to the door, Toby's irritated voice got louder.

"Nope, Rea. I think Jia finally snapped and murdered Darrell. I can't really blame her, though," Logan said, and he gestured for me to step off the porch.

I didn't.

"She already smacked him in the face earlier, so that should have tied over her homicidal desires for the time being," I replied.

"She did what? Fuck, I always miss out on the good drama in Paradise City."

"There are seven of us living here. We're all usually directly involved." I looked back at him. "Now zip it. I want to hear."

"You know you're only getting a small part of the story, right?"

"Would you please shut up?"

"Well, since you asked so nicely." He stopped talking and stood behind me with his arms crossed.

I rolled my eyes, then listened in on what was going on inside.

"First, he made fun of me for being adopted, then he made fun of me for being stupid, and then a whore. Am I just supposed to sit here and let him?" Jia asked.

"You called her a whore?" Toby asked.

"I just implied it," Darrell said.

Toby let out a loud sigh. "Still, that's no reason to resort to violence. Thanks to you two, Darrell now has two black eyes."

"To be fair, they're both because of me. Jia didn't have anything to do with that," Brett said.

"Why would you do that?" Toby asked.

"Because I couldn't give him a third," Brett said, and I covered my mouth to keep a laugh from escaping.

I didn't exactly hate Darrell, but there was a certain satisfaction in the thought of Brett punching him in the face. Twice.

"Well, there's your tea. How fascinating," Logan said.

I shushed him and kept listening.

"So are you removing me from the premises or not? Look, I don't really give a shit either way, but I'd like to know sooner rather than later," Brett said.

"I'm not kicking you off the island," Toby replied.

"Are you joking? He literally assaulted me," Darrell spat.

"Maybe you should be less of a douche," Toby said, and despite my efforts, I laughed this time.

Someone skidded a chair across the floor, then Jia said, "Great. I'm glad we're all cleared up then."

"The amount of pure nonsense I put up with for this project is astounding, and this is how you repay me? By letting my attacker stay on the island?" Darrell said.

"He makes really good tacos," Toby replied, and I could practically hear Brett's grin.

"Man, I love the smell of comeuppance in the late afternoon." Jia laughed. "What a time to be alive."

I turned back to Logan. "Did you get all that?"

"Was I supposed to be taking notes or something?"

I took in a deep breath. "Yes. There's going to be a quiz tomorrow."

He sarcastically snapped his fingers. "Damn, I'm gonna fail Paradise City Gossip 101."

I turned away before he could see me chuckle.

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