"You don't look so good. Are you . . . are you okay?"
Thursday morning, and Eli feels like his head is ready to burst and his eyelids have rusted shut. He is one-hundred percent not ready, in other words, to deal with Morgan Lacroix.
"Yeah," he says. "Just . . . rough night, y'know?"
Morgan nods. She's still in all-black but it's not quite the lace-and-lamentation of yesterday. "I'm sorry," she says and, near as Eli can tell, sounds sincere. "If you need anything . . ." She trails off, biting her lip and looking away, almost as if she knows how futile the offer is.
"'m okay," Eli lies. "Just . . . need time, y'know?"
Morgan has cornered him just outside the school, and there's an awkward moment where neither of them seem to know what to say. Eli's trying to figure out an excuse to leave when Morgan's eyes suddenly dart between him and their surroundings, and she leans forward to hiss:
"I got it."
"Huh?" says Eli, eloquent as always.
"The . . . the files," Morgan clarifies, or tries to. "About the murders."
"Oh," says Eli. Then, when the memory clicks in place: "Oh!"
"From Mom's laptop. I took photos. I don't— I need your number. I'll text them. Then I have to delete them"—said with great urgency—"Mom can never know I took these. You understand, right?"
"Yeah," says Eli, who does. "Of course."
He exchanges numbers with Morgan and, a moment later, a series of photos ping into his messaging app. They're grainy and low-res, obviously taken of the screen of another computer, but they're readable enough.
"Is that . . . is that what you needed?" Morgan asks.
The photos haven't come through in any particular order than Eli can tell. Discovery, maybe. He'll have to piece the rest together himself. Out loud, he says:
"Yeah. Yeah, man. This is great. Thanks."
"Anytime," Morgan says, although Eli doesn't think she really means it. Maybe that she thinks she means it, but . . .
"I just," Morgan is saying, "I just really think—"
Except Eli never finds out what Morgan really thinks, because she goes suddenly stiff.
"Morgan? Hey, Morgan?"
"I . . . I should go." Morgan's eyes are fixed on a point beyond Eli's shoulder. He can't see what she's looking at directly, but they're around near the science block lab windows, and the light is just right that Eli can make out the round dark silhouette of what can only be Zoe.
"I'll see you around, Elias." Morgan is afraid, Eli realizes. Of Zoe. And for one terrible moment he wonders if Zoe . . . did something. Under the influence of the rísók.
God, he hopes not. For Zoe's sake, he really, really hopes not.
He doesn't stop Morgan when she goes to leave, and he doesn't try and follow her. Instead, he waits until Zoe comes close enough to say:
She doesn't sound angry, though. Just curious. Thank the stars, as Widow Adeline would say.
"Library?" Eli counters. He wants to talk to Zoe, but not here.
Zoe, understanding, just nods.
YOU ARE READING
The Dragon of Rosemont HighTeen Fiction
Four months ago, the death of his parents sent Elias Drake from New York City to the small town of Rosemont. Living with his workaholic aunt and trying to fit into a new school is no small task, especially not when a string of murders turns out to h...