“And that’s it. It’s practically foolproof”, Ethan grinned after explaining his plan to Valerie who was still suspicious.
“I’m not entirely convinced. This is a lot of setup. How do you know Mr. Dalton won’t see my file?”
“Because he only handles the applications. He’s head of the admissions office not the director of the whole college. If we pretend you were enrolled all along there is no reason why he’s going to see your file.”
“But what if he does? He knows my name.”
“But he doesn’t know what you look like. Bouchard is not exactly the rarest French last name. Valerie is fairly common, too. We still have the fake background check as cover.”
“I’d still rather use a fake name…”
Ethan sighed impatiently.
“I told you, the fake name doesn’t work out. If your ID is ever checked, your story would blow up. And while there are many things I can do” – he winked and Valerie impulsively leaned away from him – “faking an official ID is not one of them. Believe me, this method is better.”
Valerie frowned. The idea seemed awfully fragile. So many things could go wrong. But what if nothing goes wrong… This was her chance to right the injustice she had experienced.
“You know we’re in this together, right? If this fails, you’re going down with me”, Valerie told Ethan. He nodded.
“You know the deal. You in?”
Valerie hesitated. There was no turning back once this was done. Ethan would get away with his cheating and she was going to Havencrest, the college that would secure her the future she wanted. And Jenny… Jenny would find out about Ethan’s true nature soon enough. There was no point in telling her. If she believed that Valerie was trying to steal away Ethan she would never believe her story. Too bad I didn’t snap a picture…
But this was her chance to get something positive from the whole situation. And didn’t she deserve it?
Ethan impatiently waved his hand in front of her face.
“Earth to Valerie. I asked: Are you ready to seal this deal?”
Valerie took a deep breath and nodded.
“Let’s do it.”
Ethan smirked and immediately got to work at his computer. Valerie didn’t understand anything he was doing.
She quietly observed while letters and numbers flashed on the screen and Ethan’s fingers raced across the keyboard. I thought hacking only looked like this in movies… She let her eyes roam around and spotted the tip of a tattoo peaking out of Ethan’s shirt on his back.
I wonder what it means… She shook her head. Probably something stupid. But the tattoo drew her in and she was certain Ethan must feel her burning gaze on his back. But if he did, he didn’t say anything about it. She quickly looked away to not give him any incentive for more dirty jokes.
“Almost there”, Ethan grumbled while quickly copying the fake background story they had invented earlier. Valerie’s parents were supposedly called Fleur and Henry and they lived in New Oasis, which was far far away from Havencrest so no one would ever try to check up on them in person. Now I only need to make sure that my parents never visit me there. Oh god… my parents! How am I going to explain to them how I got in?
“And it’s done”, Ethan announced and presented to Valerie a website with her photo and information on it, “It’s Havencrest’s internal file system. Congratulations, you’re in.”
Valerie stared at the screen. She felt light-headed and momentarily forgot about Jenny and her parents. Her dream was coming true. But of course her high spirits didn’t last long. Just in that moment, Ethan’s phone rang and he picked up.
“Hey, Jen. Yeah… No, sorry…it’s not a good time…I’m with my mom, she’s sick so I have to take care of her… No, that would be too much stress. … love you, too, bye.”
Valerie’s head was burning with shame. Love you, too?! She felt sick and angry at Ethan. This was all his fault.
“You are so disgusting. Don’t you think you’ve caused enough pain?”
Ethan’s face was stern when he turned towards her.
“That’s none of your business.”
“I think it is. ”
“Not anymore”, he pointed at the screen. “I might be going down with you if this doesn’t work. But if you rat me out, you’re going down with me.”
Next: Chapter 12