The Cold Inside (a serial novel) Chapter Twenty-five part one
The Cold Inside
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday December 20, 1994
The day was so cloudy that the sky was almost black. The students moved quietly through the halls, shuffling from one testing room to another. Some sat along the hallways going over page after page of notes, others took turns quizzing each other on math or history as they sat in the library. Even the cafeteria was subdued, the feuding factions were too busy talking about their exams to bother Tristam and the others.
Rich stretched in his seat, “Three down, three to go.”
“Amen.” Adelphos smiled.
Greg finished another bite of his sandwich before speaking, he ate nothing but baloney and mustard sandwiches during exams week. He said it brought him good luck. “I was thinking this weekend maybe we could all get together and write a letter to Drew telling her how much we miss her and stuff.”
“Good idea.” Warren agreed.
Yusuf shook his head, “How do we know she will get it?”
“Registered mail?” Greg suggested.
Tristam cleared his throat, “Guys there's something I should tell you but I have no idea how to.”
Warren pounced, “He thinks before he speaks. We have been a good influence.”
“Kinda makes up for our failures with you.” Greg said with a single raised eyebrow.
Rich turned in his seat to stare at the clock, “I still can't believe I watched Beach Blanket Bingo for my English final.”
Greg said, “Meghar is a pip isn't he? All you have to do is write a term paper and then you can goof off for the final.”
“The only stipulation is you have to stay in his classroom for the whole test period and you have to sit through one of his 'important' movies. I didn’t realize Beach Blanket Bingo was so culturally relevant.”
“What did you do for your paper?” Adelphos asked.
Rich smiled “The usual, I compared and contrasted Elric and Hamlet.”
“You got two thousand words out of that?”
“Guys…” Tristam interrupted, “I'm serious here. I found out some things. I talked to my sister and Monique, they said some things about what happened to Drew- some pretty creepy things.”
“Why should we believe them?” Warren sneered.
“I'm not sure I believe them myself but it does make sense in a sick way.”
Yusuf laced his fingers together and stared thoughtfully at Tristam, “Go on.”
“Both Monique and my sister say that she was at some party that Freddie Trager threw last week.”
Rich looked at him like he was crazy, “That was a jock and cheerleader party. They wouldn't invite any of us.”
“Supposedly she was invited later in the evening by Evan.”
Warren snorted, “Again with your Evan obsession.”
Yusuf asked “Why would Evan invite her?”
“Supposedly because Evan wanted her to entertain the jocks.”
Adelphos was on his feet, “Are you out of your mind?”
Warren stood too, his hands were curled into fists, “I can’t believe you would say this about our friend.”
Tristam, “Hey! She’s my friend too!”
“Yeah. Right.” Adelphos stormed out of the room, Warren followed.
“Shit.” Tristam stared down at the table.
“That's going to cost you some Christmas presents.” Greg said.
“I'm not trying to make trouble.”
“I know.” Yusuf said, “And I am sure this is what you heard but I am not sure I can believe it.”
“Thing is though.” Rich said with a sigh, “It kind of makes sense if you consider some of their antics lately.”
“Look, we know she had a thing for Evan…”
Yusuf smiled grimly, “I thought she had a thing for Greg.”
“Me?” Greg looked surprised, “I figured she liked Adelphos.”
“I thought she kinda liked me.” Tristam frowned.
Rich said, “Wow. Ego much?”
“But I guess she's carried the torch for Evan for a while.” Tristam said, “Maybe that was enough to make her think he really wanted her at the party and then maybe he slipped her something or they forced her… Or something.”
Greg stood, “I'm going to chapel to pray. I think maybe we should all go.”
Yusuf threw his lunch away and grabbed his bookbag, “All right.
“Well,” Rich said, “there are no atheists in foxholes or high school. Shall we Tristam? Four souls are better than one.”
“No. I- No thanks guys I want to be by myself.” Tristam said, “Besides, God and I aren’t exactly on the best of terms.”
The other three left, Yusuf paused long enough to say, “You did nothing wrong with what you said. They just don’t see how you've changed.”
“You're a good friend Yusuf.” Tristam smiled. He held that smile until he was alone at the table in the front of the cafeteria. Then his expression became savage.