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Can You Keep A Secret?
Jenna Kilm moved a strand of her straight, blonde hair into place, leaning into the mirror a little more. She squeezed some gloss onto her lips. What she was really doing was finding excuses to stay in the bathroom a little longer, to hear the conversation of the two girls occupying the stalls behind her. She ran the water on a low setting so it wouldn’t block her hearing.
“Are you sure?” said the first girl, who was unidentified.
“YES, of course I am. About 200% sure.” said a second girl, sounding slightly annoyed.
“Well…have you told anyone? I mean, you should at least tell your mother…”
Jenna had to strain to hear the next words, spoken again by the second girl, because of how softly they were uttered.
“Ava, I c-can’t…H-how could I tell my own m-mother that I’m…p-p-reg…” Her words broke off as she choked back a sob.
Jenna gasped. Ava Prince, student council president. If only she knew the identity of the second speaker… Suddenly, she heard the click of a lock that meant a stall door would soon be opening. She froze for a split-second, torn between the burning desire to know who the second girl was, and the fear of being caught eavesdropping; then she turned and bolted out of the restroom, forgetting to turn off the faucet. She waited until she was safely at her locker to start puzzling things out. Ava’s best friend was Silvia, so it would probably be safe to assume that she was the second girl. On the other hand, what if she wasn’t? Jenna decided that she would never be totally sure; but as long as she could make a good guess…Wait till Mia hears about this one, she thought.
As Jenna sat in her next class staring at the graded test in front of her, she momentarily forgot the scene in the bathroom. The small black 'D' seemed to stand out a mile from her paper.
How could this have happened? She wondered.
But if Jenna really thought about it, she supposed it wasn't much of a surprise. She had to admit she hadn't been thinking much about schoolwork lately—her mind was too occupied by more important things...or rather, people. Jenna stuffed the paper into her binder and spent the rest of the hour daydreaming about what would happen when everyone found out about Ava Prince's friend's situation.
Jenna was so eager to share the secret that when the bell rang, she grabbed the first person she saw, who happened to be Lucy Jones, another friend of Ava's.
“Lucy”, she whispered, “Listen to this.”
She proceeded to recount the morning's episode, not noticing how white Lucy's face was getting until she had finished her tale. “Are you okay?” Asked Jenna.
Lucy's eyes had that wet look that directly precedes crying, and her lips trembled as if she couldn't bring herself to speak. Jenna glanced at the floor nervously. She hadn't expected this kind of reaction. That's when she noticed Lucy's shoes—they were the exact pair that had peeked out of a certain bathroom stall earlier that day! Jenna realized with horror that Lucy was, in fact, the mysterious second girl! Jenna was completely mortified. She could not drag her eyes back up to Lucy's face, and found herself instead counting the tiny stars on her shoes.
“I would appreciate it”, choked Lucy, “if you didn't tell anyone else that story.” Then she ran off, wiping her eyes as she went.
Not knowing what else to do, Jenna went to the cafeteria. Normally she was glad to have first lunch; but today she didn't feel much like eating, so she located her best friend Mia and asked her to come outside with her. It was a familiar ritual for the two of them, one they took part in almost every day.
Outside of the cafeteria there was a vast lawn where students ate their lunches. Normally Jenna joined them, laughing and gossiping happily, belonging there as much as a rose belongs in a garden; but today, Jenna marched straight across the grass to the area where she and Mia liked to talk. It was a slab of concrete connected to a building, slightly raised above the grass, containing a window leading to a classroom. Jenna sat down and Mia followed suit.
“So what's up?” She inquired.
Jenna took a deep breath. Mia's eyes seemed so clear and innocent—did she really want to taint them with the knowledge of a scandal? Jenna knew she would simply burst if she didn’t get this off her chest; she spilled out the whole story, her voice gradually growing louder and more emotional. When she was done, she reclined against the window behind her with a sigh, pressing her face against the cool glass...Wait, thought Jenna. Where's the glass? She whirled around; there was nothing behind her but a wire screen...and a classroom full of students staring right at her. The window was open. Jenna felt the blood drain from her face. Everyone in the small classroom had heard her resonant voice. She felt like all the eyes in the world were on her at that moment. Jenna didn't swear often--she wasn't what you would call a profane person. But the words that came out of her mouth next belied that fact. She shrieked, cried, and shouted a stream of obscenities, unleashing her frustration.
It seemed like Jenna hardly had time to register the outraged look on the teacher's face before she was sitting in detention. It turned out that teachers didn't like it when you cursed loudly in front of their entire class; she had been sentenced to three hours in this prison.
"Go figure", Jenna muttered to herself.
Jenna absentmindedly drew circles on the desk in front of her with her finger. It was silent in the room except for one very quietly whispered conversation to the left of her. She held her breath, trying to hear it. Finally, she picked up a few words. Apparently Jane, one the most popular girls in school, was secretly dating a guy on the soccer team, and if his other girlfriend found out...Jenna pictured the rewarding look on Mia's face as she told her the news; then she considered all the things that could go wrong.
On second thought, mused Jenna, I'll keep this one to myself.