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In minutes, I was at the art building, Yukio and I panting heavily. I bent down, resting my hands on my knees in order to catch my breath. It took a little time before I was ready enough to begin looking around, and Yukio was exceptionally patient with him. We nodded to one another and began looking around. Honestly, I was starting to think about what Yukio would do without me.
I had no lack of confidence that he would have found Haruka in his own in time, but my presence had undoubtedly hastened the process. I still held the belief that I was only useful so long as I remained selfish, but I also could not deny the impact it has since had on my relationships…and even myself.
Without Yukio, I had little reason to step out of my little bubble of hopelessness. I was more than certain that the days would carry out as they always had. And maybe there would be another twilight I would find myself several feet in the air on yet another fragile branch. Then, there would be a morning I would wake up in pain wondering how and why I even bothered, and whether or not I would bother again. At least now I could convince myself that I was good for something beyond that.
We began circling through the parking lot. Not surprised to see it still somewhat full; most students would use the space when they couldn’t find others. A dorm was nearby, could definitely be them. Maybe a few stragglers still taking advantage of the studios while they had some time. Going over each and every vehicle, I was becoming a bit discouraged when we were not finding what I was looking for.
“Damn it,” I muttered under my breath. We was reaching the end of our list of options. All that was left were the ones lined along the building, which weren’t many. I motioned for Yukio to follow me, as he was checking another line of cars, and we started approaching them. We didn’t make it too far when we were stopped by two people exiting the building from the two side doors. Without thinking, we just jumped behind a car and crouched down to remain out of sight.
“How much longer do you intend to allow this to continue?” one voice asked. I recognized it instantly.
“Dr. Fiennes?” I gasped. I then had to cover my mouth to stop myself from blowing my position. Even Yukio looked stunned when I glanced up to look at him.
“The rising number in victims is beginning to cause a stir. You need to bring a stop to it sooner rather than later,” he continued to state. He sounded angry. Who was he talking to?
My answer came quickly. “No one is talking about it, so I say the stir is just your imagination,” Montgomery said in response, just as angry.
“Sure is a lot of chatter coming from this so-called ‘no one’. I’m starting to think you’re no longer doing your job,” Dr. Fiennes accused.
“There is only so much that can be done!” Montgomery shouted. “Maybe you should start keeping some of your nosier students in check. Last I heard, Saige has been---.”
“Don’t act like you actually care about what Saige is or isn’t doing. You were so quick to accuse her the other day. I almost believe you wanted someone to blame, and who better than the quiet, depressed shut-in?” As true as that was, I didn’t need to hear him say it. I wasn’t exactly offended more than I was just over it.
“Maybe I did. It was better than letting someone know that Levi was prancing about with a gun.” So, they knew! Both of them?
“All the good that did,” Dr. Fiennes hissed.
“And what about Saige?”
“What about her?” Dr. Fiennes asked. I was quite curious myself. I could feel Yukio slip his hand into mine, like he was nervous for me and wanted to keep me safe. We remained silent, but my body was shaking. I was starting to panic. I couldn’t figure out who knew what or who was responsible for everything just yet.
“If she has figured out anything, anything at all, and then goes around saying a word, the reputation of this campus will be diminished. We have to take care of this quietly!” Montgomery frantically explained.
“I am well aware of that. I will speak with her tomorrow. She trusts me, and I her. If she knows something, then we will find out. If not, then we worried for nothing. This will continue silently, as it has for years.”
Montgomery groaned. “If only it were that simple.”
“It hardly ever is.” I heard Dr. Fiennes begin stomping away and toward the parking lot. This was the last place we wanted to be caught and I was not in the mood to explain anything. If what he said was true, then I would benefit in waiting until tomorrow.
I heard the footsteps come closer and I began to pull Yukio shimmy in the opposite direction along the car we were next to. If we were lucky, we would not be seen. The footsteps continued to get closer still until we heard the door on the other side of the very car we were up against. Oh, no.
We were on either Dr. Fiennes’s or Montgomery’s vehicle! Well, there was no avoiding it now. We moved away from the vehicle just enough as to not be touching it and began to stand up. I was just about to accept my fate when I heard the door behind me open. Alright, better now than later, I guess.