Arriving late to the story? Full index of “chapters” here.
“Oh my God, tell us everything!”
Rosalind had wasted no time settling onto my bed. They hadn’t even knocked before barging into my room, though Gwendolyn at least had the decency to hover in the doorway as if awaiting an invitation.
“What happened?” Rosalind’s big, blue eyes were that peculiar mixture of false sympathy and avid hunger for gossip.
Let me see if I can describe these two. They are equally blonde and blue-eyed. Rosalind is taller and more willing to press for details; she has the makings of a great celebrity interviewer at best and a cheap tabloid writer at worst. Assuming she can write, which is questionable. Despite our expensive education, I can’t say Rosalind is a dedicated student. She watches the movies instead of reading the books, and only remembers things if they’re gruesome or salacious. Yeah, definitely a tabloid writer then.
Gwendolyn . . . I feel kind of sorry for her, really, stuck in Rosalind’s orbit and all. Not sure why she hangs around with Rosalind, can’t imagine what they talk about. Well, probably Rosalind talks and Gwendolyn sit there pretending to listen. Gwendolyn is a good student, though, one of those quiet types that does her work and does it well. The instructors all like her, and our classmates go to her for help with their assignments. Gwendolyn reads not only the required books but other books as well, and she thinks it’s fun. So maybe she has a future as a librarian, or she’ll just become an instructor herself one day.
I took pity on Gwendolyn and waved her into the room. She took, like, two steps and resumed hovering, this time next to my vanity.
On my bed, Rosalind bounced with impatience. “You can’t hold it in, Nissa. It’s not healthy.”
“I’m not holding anything in,” I told her.
“I mean, it’s so crazy,” she went on. “Your dad dying, and your mom marrying your uncle . . . No one blames you for being all worked up.”
“I’m not worked up,” I said. “Why did my mom even call you?”
Gwendolyn finally found her voice. “She thought you needed cheering up.”
“Look,” I said, “it’s nice of you to visit.” (It really wasn’t.) “But I’m fine. Anyway, I’m supposed to be coming up with something to say at the memorial they’re holding at The Globe on Saturday.”
Rosalind’s eyes widened; I’d swear she started salivating. “Oh, we can help you with that!”
Groan. Rosalind was the type to go on and on for as long as the spotlight would stay on her. She’d come up with flowery phrases and strings of nonsense, and throw in a heaping of poetic quotes for good measure. The end result would be a kind of cake of words that was both excessively sweet and yet somehow tasted sour.
But Gwendolyn . . . Her expression was troubled in the sincere way of someone unsure how to work a problem or if she should even try. “Gwen, you’re good with words and stuff,” I said.
She looked at me, startled out of whatever reverie had consumed her. “Well, I . . .”
And something new began to dawn on me, an actual idea. Maybe I could use this memorial to expose Eoin? If I could come up with the right words—or, better yet, if they let me stage something—then I could watch Eoin, see his reaction, figure out if he was guilty. I mean, I had no reason to doubt my dad’s ghost except, well, he was a ghost. And I wasn’t sure if ghosts could be trusted.
“What are you thinking?” Rosalind asked, a sly smile on her face.
“Nothing, yet,” I admitted. I needed to talk to Bea. “I’m going to work on this alone for now and then try it out on you when I’ve got something. In the meantime, why don’t you head out to the pool? Or the stables? I’ll catch up in a bit.”
Rosalind was all for that, of course. And Gwendolyn, ever obedient, followed her. Meanwhile, I called Bea and got started on Operation Eoin.