“LIAM?!”, Jenny and Valerie both called out in unison. The blonde guy who had entered the café nodded grimly.
“I told you the same story before, remember? You didn’t believe me either. But how likely is it that two people think up the same story?”
Jenny seemed uneasy but she didn’t sound convinced yet. “You could have told her to say this”, she said carefully although Valerie imagined to hear a hint of doubt in her voice. Apparently Ethan heard it too because he quickly intervened.
“Don’t listen to this douche, he’s just jealous!”
“Hey! Who’s the douche here?”, Liam made a step towards Ethan with a threatening gesture. Ethan stepped up towards him.
“I’m not scared of you”, he growled. The atmosphere was tense as the onlookers waited for one of the guys to throw a punch.
“Stop it!”, Jenny yelled and abruptly stood up.
“I won’t be pushed around like this. Come on, Ethan, let’s go!”
Ethan shot one last glare at Liam then huffed and followed Jenny as she walked right out of the door.
“Jenny! Open. YOUR. EYES!”, Liam yelled after her but she didn’t turn around. In that moment he realized how quiet is was and that every person in the cafe was staring at him.
“What?!”, he barked at them and left the cafe. Valerie quickly followed.
“Where the hell did you come from?”, she asked him.
“I was walking by and saw you guys yelling in the café. Only heard bits but that was enough. Didn’t work though, did it”, he said bitterly, “You were right. We shouldn’t have told her.”
Valerie shook her head. “I had to. I couldn’t take it anymore.”
“I’m curious though. Why didn’t you tell her before?”
“Let’s just say Ethan has dirt on me.”
That wasn’t quite the truth and comfortably hid Valerie’s own questionable morals. But she had never felt so relieved even if it didn’t work. She was finally free. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Sure, her dream of Havencrest was crushed. But there were other schools or even other fields of study. At the moment, she didn’t even care.
“Well, it’s gonna come out now. And that asshole is gonna get away without a scratch, unless-”
Suddenly, Liam’s head jerked up. He was staring into space with wide open eyes.
“I have an idea.”
“We can still win this.”
Valerie sighed. The last few minutes had made her reach a conclusion. “It’s not a competition. Why bother? Clearly, Jenny doesn’t want to know. Can’t we just let her live her perfect little lie?”
But Liam disagreed. “It’s not about Jenny. It’s about justice against Ethan. He can’t get away with this.”
Valerie tilted her head in thought. “You know, I kind of have dirt on him, too. Though I’m not sure it’s enough to get him in trouble. What’s your idea?”
She had thought about pitching Ethan’s hacker-activities to the police but she didn’t have any direct proof and she wasn’t sure how seriously the police would take an accusation against a lowkey hacker. Liam grinned.
Next: Chapter 26