It was a blustery afternoon with wind whipping over the vast expanse of lawn that belonged to Calton School for Girls. Our faded blue and white motorboat, docked at the small boathouse, slowly swayed back and forth in the navy, foam covered water. I stared out into the lake in front of me. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular; there was nothing to find. It was empty, just like my mind.
“Larkin,” my sister calls gently. When she tapped me on the shoulder, I reluctantly met her gaze. She can tell I’m unprepared for what’s about to happen.
“They’re asking for you,” she said. “I tried to prolong it as much as possible, but they won’t say a word until you’re in there too.”
I shrugged my shoulders and planted my feet even further in the dead grass.
“Larkin, you can’t run away from this problem. It’s going to catch up to you.”
I knew she was right. Piper’s quiet intelligence made it hard for me to put up an argument, so I defeatedly turn toward the school. As silent as I can, I take deep breaths to calm the feelings bubbling up inside of me.
“Not too chilly today,” she commented as we made our way up to the school. “Maybe we can go out on the lake later!”
“Supposed to rain soon,” I said blandly, immediately shooting her suggestion down.
Piper was never one to pry, in other people’s feelings or life in general. We walked in an awkward silence to the towering front doors, which seemed more like a punishment than an invitation.
“After you,” she offers. Instead, I walked side-by-side with her into the building and yanked her under the staircase.
“What are we going to do?” I demanded. Out of nowhere, fear and madness had taken hold of my body. It possessed every cell, every atom I had. My mind raced from scenario to scenario, finding no solution. I felt like a mouse in a dead-ended maze.
Piper didn’t answer my question. She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the meeting room, where I was greeted by the Dean and the Police Chief.
“Nice of you to join us, Ms. Trectorini.” Dean Williams’s deprecating tone couldn’t be missed. I tried to avert my eyes from the piercing stares, but the only two open seats were positioned in the middle of the room. Dean Williams began to talk, then Chief Martin. Piper absorbed every word that was said, but I just sat there patiently, waiting for it to end.