TWENTY

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As I walked up to the Student Wellness building that Kai had told me about, I wasn't entirely sure what my plan was. I didn't know what I was hoping to get out of the conversation, or why I still felt the need to even do anything in relation to Nudegate. Maybe it was for the best that we didn't write about it; people would finally stop talking. Eventually another piece of gossip or another scandal would have to sweep over the school and turn Nudegate into the thing we only vaguely remember by the time we graduate.

     But I had a hard time convincing myself that would be true.

     The building was small and built as a separate entity away from everything else. I couldn't tell if it was for privacy or if it symbolized the fact that what Student Wellness did was viewed as unimportant.

     From what I'd gathered before I came, Student Wellness was the place students went to when they needed help with mental, as opposed to solely physical, health. It wasn't filled with nurses; it was primarily counselors.

     I entered and found a woman sitting at a desk surrounded by pamphlets, snacks and condoms all neatly lined up in baskets. "Hi! Can I help you?"

     "I'm here to see Kai?" I said, my voice rising at the end as if I didn't know.

     "I'll tell her you're here!" the woman smiled cheerily, her round cheeks radiating with pink. I sat down on a couch, hugging my backpack to my chest while I waited.

     Eventually, the person who I assumed was Kai rounded the corner and approached me. She was as young and pretty as she was in the picture – tan skin with thick, dark hair and round brown eyes. "Hey, I'm Kai."

     "Eden," I said and stood up.

     "We can go back to Ashleigh's office," Kai said and started walking. "Ashleigh is one of our on-location counselors who specifically helps out with DV, but she's out sick today and said I could use her office."

     "DV?"

     "Domestic violence." She led me into a small office, barely larger than a closet, and then closed the door. There were two chairs facing each other from across a desk. Kai took the chair behind and I sat down in the other.

     "So, what did you want to talk about?" Kai asked, looking at me. She took a swig from the water bottle next to her, giving me a second to think. I wasn't even really sure what I wanted to ask about or why I even wanted to talk to her. But it felt like an opportunity I couldn't let slide. There was someone who might be able to explain what was going on, or maybe why it was happening and how it could stop.

     "I think you know about everything that's been happening at St. Joe's?" I asked. "From Sloane?"

     "Yeah, somewhat," she said, "but people can experience the same situation differently."
 "I'm not actually one of the girls who got their pictures leaked," I said and Kai nodded. "But I know some people who have. And I'm a reporter at St. Joe's who's trying to cover the story." I knew she already knew that, but I suddenly felt nervous. She was going to be the first person I would really talk to about Nudegate who didn't actually attend St. Joe's. But Kai didn't say anything yet, allowing me to fill in the empty space. "And mostly I'm just trying to figure out what's going on. Because everything has been really weird lately and none of the faculty really care about what happens."

     "Do you want to talk about what you've seen?"

     I looked down at my lap, picking at my nail. "The day the pictures were first released this girl, Margot, ran from the classroom. I found her crying in the bathroom and she was just saying how it was all her fault and how she deserved what had happened to her."

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