Chanel had already gotten her food and had been sitting in the food court for about fifteen minutes. As she was waiting on her roommate to join her for lunch, she had decided to get started on her homework assignments that were due the day after tomorrow. She was really into the work when she heard a familiar voice call her name.
"Hey, Elle! Do you mind if I chill and eat with you?"
"Oh hey, John. Sure, I don't mind. My roommate Laura is supposed to join me soon. I'll introduce you to her."
"Wait! Laura? As in Laura Williams?"
"Yeah, you know her?"
"Yeah. Well not personally. All I know is that she's the person who ratted out the freshmen party over the weekend. She's your roommate?"
"Just watch out. I wouldn't trust her."
"Why does everyone say that? It's only the second day of classes and everyone already knows who she is. That's not such a good thing either."
"It happens," he shrugged.
"Speak of the journalist herself. Here she comes. Please be nice. You don't know her, so give her a chance."
"Hey. I'm so sorry I'm twenty-five minutes late. I had to talk to my dad, which went longer than expected." Laura exhaustedly expressed as she sat down in the booth.
"No worries. Um, Laura, this is my friend, John. We're in the same major department. John, this is my roommate Laura."
After the quick introductions, Laura went around the foot court in search of something good to eat. Once she was out of ear shot, John couldn't hold his words back. His assumptions of her did not wither away and disappear. Chanel tried hard to convince him to be nice and let it go. Eventually giving in to her pleas, he did give Laura a chance once she returned back from getting her food. Once she settled down, the trio began easy conversation and everything went well. He wouldn't call her his new best friend, but he learned that he could tolerate her for roughly ten minutes.
"Hey, I'm sorry, but I have to go. So much to do, so little time. I'll catch you back in the room? It was nice meeting you, Jordan." With that Laura waved and was already off heading out the door.
"Jordan? I thought my parents named me John. And to think, I've been called the wrong name all of these years."
"You know she didn't mean it…she was just in a rush. I'll make it up to you for her behavior. Just name it." Elle scooted to the end of the booth and leaned in towards him giving him a flirty smile.
"Well, what do we have here?"
"Oh god! What do you want, Alex?" Ellie rolled her eyes as she leaned back into the booth.
"Am I interrupting something here?"
"No." John stated at the same time.
"Well, which is it?"
"Actually I was going to leave. I'll catch you in class tomorrow, Elle."
"Oh, I get it. You're playing hard to get. I've never had a girl do this with me before, but I can definitely get into it."
"Ok, I don't know how else to put this nicely, so I've stopped trying to. Get over yourself! I'm not playing hard to get.
"Look, Chanel," he grabbed her arm harshly and when he saw the look on her face he let it go but continued, "I'm really not this creepy and into myself. I swear. The fact that you turned me down was actually a turn on because that doesn't happen to me ever! And when I was something badly, I get it. But I'll respect your wishes and back off. Enjoy the rest of your day, Chanel."
Chanel didn't know what to do or say. Alex left her in the food court speechless and alone with her thoughts. "Who would've thought that Alex would have ME feeling like a total jerk?!"
Laura felt bad for being late to lunch and then having to leave early. Adam had asked her to jog with him before his basketball practice since he cancelled that morning. She couldn't help but wondered who the guy was with Elle. John had seemed really interested in her friend, but she thought she was with Alex. That would be helpful to get information if Elle still with Alex in order to find out what happened to Jasmine. Laura was determined to understand the connection between Jasmine and Henry. It just didn't make any sense that she would disappear after she found out Henry was cheating on her. Then again Laura had to find out if Adam was telling the truth, but he had never given any reason to assume that. She went to her to change into her jogging clothes and met Adam at their usual spot. As usual he was waiting for her.
"Hey," he said.
"Yo, you ready for a run?" Laura asked winking at him. Even though they didn't talk much during their runs it made her feel closer to him.
"Five miles today?"
"Let's go for six," she answered and they started their ritual. Laura felt all of the tension in her body release as they ran. It calmed her down and made her think more clearly. At the end of the six miles she was sweaty and energized.
"It amazes me how you're not tired after a six mile run," Adam said taking drink of water.
"Oh, I'm tired. I don't know how you're going to go basketball practice after that," she answered with smile.
"What can I say I'm superman baby."
"Oh yeah, I want to see you fly and pick up a truck," she said rolling her eyes and he surprised her by picking her up.
"Do you count?" Adam asked carrying her the dorms while she protested.
"Really? You just compared me to a truck. I beat your face in for calling not only fat, but a truck," Laura said dramatically as he sat her down in a chair laughing.
"That was the worst insult ever."
"Well, I wouldn't underestimate the power of this woman," she answered throwing a pillow at him.
"Believe me I don't," Adam said kissing her cheek.
"You should go to practice so I can get ready to go to the Daily."
"That's right it's your first day. Let me know how it goes and I'll see you later," Adam said before heading out of her dorm room. Laura sighed and went into her room so she could take a shower. It was a warm day and she decided khaki shorts and polo would suffice for her first day at the Daily. She sent Chanel a quick text about meeting up for dinner and hanging on her way to the office. Chanel agreed and Laura was happy to get to spend time with her.
"Miss Williams, you are on time." Jennifer smiled when Laura walked into the door, "let me show you to your desk and fill you in on how things are run. First, you will be writing the breaking news stories on campus weekly. Your article is due Sundays at midnight and they should formatted in the writing program we have provided on your office computer. As you are also a reporter as much as a writer I do not expect to be sitting at your desk on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, I do expect a weekly debriefing with you and a monthly advisor meeting. Here is your desk. You have access to your computer and the office 24/7 and have unlimited access to the online research database system. There are privileges that come with being a staffer and we expect the highest confidentiality. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. Again we are thrilled to have you on the paper," Jennifer explained as Laura stood there listening. The fact that she unlimited access to hundreds of newspapers and cases excited her.
Laura spent the next hour getting used to her computer and researching Jasmine Conley. She had to back to the 2007 and 2008 newspaper articles in order to find anything, and what she found was inconclusive, obscure, and vague. When it hit 5:30 she gathered her things and headed back to meet Chanel for dinner.
"Hey, how was your day?" Elle asked when Laura entered their lounge area.
"It was good, how about yours?"
"Oh the usual school stuff nothing exciting since lunch."
"I hear yeah," Laura said taking her things into her room.
"So what do you want to eat?" Elle asked as Laura got a drink from their refrigerator.
"Sure," she said taking out her phone to order it.
"So, I have something weird to ask you," Laura said taking a seat in a chair. "What do you think of the St. James brother?"
"What do you mean?" Elle asked raising an eyebrow and Laura explained what Adam had told her and what she had researched.
"I think there is a connection between Henry and Jasmine missing, but I need to do my own investigation in order to find out."
"I would need your help with Alex, because the two are really close. You can get information from Alex that I can't get from Henry. Will you help me?"
"I don't know, I'll have to think about it," Elle answered with a sigh. Laura was already known on campus for being a snitch and she didn't know if she wanted to get caught up in her games.
"That's better than a no," Laura shrugged and leaned against the back of the chair just as the door rang.
"I bet that's the food," Elle said getting up from the couch. "Alex?"
"What are you doing here?" Chanel asked him with annoyance in her voice as she closed the door behind her.
"Don't shoot me. I'm only here delivering your food. You did order Chinese correct?" he asked holding up the bag of food.
"Yeah, I just didn't expect you to be working for a Chinese restaurant. Not that I'm saying that's a problem or anything. I would invite you in, but I see you have to work."
"Maybe next time."
"Yeah, maybe. Have a good night."
She turned and walked back inside her room finding her roommate with a puzzled expression. She explained that Alex had dropped off their food. She thought it was very suspicious, but she kept that part to herself because she didn't want to jump to any sudden conclusions. The two girls sat and ate their dinner with easy conversation talking about any and everything. When they were done and had thrown away the trash, Chanel spoke up, "Look, I've been thinking about what you had asked me with Alex. I don't think it's a good idea just because I told him off today. Like I really let him have it. And if I'm all of a sudden nice to him, he's gonna think I'm bipolar or something. But even though I did give it to him really good, I still have a date with him this weekend and I keep my promises, so maybe then I can ask about this chick Jesse?"
"Yeah, her. But don't hold me accountable to that. It's not a promise, just a maybe."
"That's all I ask. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go for a walk. Do you want anything?"
Laura shook her head and told her to be careful.
Chanel went to slip on her Yale hoodie because the New England nights were chilly and went for a stroll. She had been walking around for about half an hour with enough time to stop and get a bowl of ice cream when she spotted John sitting outside by himself. So she decided to join him and keep him company.
"Is this seat taken?"
"Oh hey! Be my guest. What are you doing out here this late at night?"
"I needed some air. You?"
They sat in a comfortable silence just staring out into space before either of them said anything else.
"So what's on your mind?"
She debated if she should tell John what she and her roommate discussed or not. Then she decided to just tell him. "Well, I trust you, so please don't tell anybody what I'm about to say," she waited for him to nod before continuing. "Ok, so Laura is dating Henry St. James. Supposedly he had been dating this girl named Jasmine for a while, and then she randomly disappeared. No one ever found her. Instead of her asking him herself about the whole situation, she asked me to ask Alex, his twin brother, for the real scoop about it. Honestly, I'm not interested in Alex. I have my eyes on someone else, but that's beside the point. I told her I would try and help. And here I am now."
"Wow! Sounds like you have a lot on your plate, but maybe I can help you out. My sister, Elise, was actually really good friends with her, more like best friends. They told each other everything. Elise didn't care too much for Henry St. James or Alex for that matter, but Jasmine was in love with him. To make a long story short, Henry cheated on her, and the rest is history. A lot of people thought she transferred, but that wasn't true because her parents had the police send out a missing person's report. Elise thought something was fishy between the twins, but she could never find anything against them. So she packed up her things and moved far away from here."
"How do you know all of this?"
"My sister and I were very close."
They fell into another round of quietness thinking about everything that was said from both parties. Eventually Chanel decided that it was time for her to head back to her room. She thanked John for his help and told him she'd see him in class tomorrow. When she entered her room, she saw that Laura was already in for the night, so she decided she would give her the information she received sometime tomorrow. She entered her room, stripped off her clothes and slipped into a more comfortable shirt, set her alarm clock on her phone, and knocked out for the night.
"Where have you been? I've been sitting here for almost two hours waiting on you?" A low male's voice broke out in the darkness.
"I'm sorry, but I had to take care of the body since SOMEONE insisted on watching Nancy Drew and side-kick." The other one answered as he pulled a chair up next to his partner. "What happened since I was gone?
"Nothing really, they're kinda boring tonight. They ate, and then Laura went in her room I'm assuming to do more research on the case. And Elle went out for a stroll that lasted about an hour, which is why I wished you had answered your phone. You needed to watch her."
"Whatever. I'm sure nothing happened. You're just being paranoid right now."
"So do you think they suspect anything?"
"No way. Chanel is absolutely clueless. The one we need to worry about is Laura. She's too snoopy. Why did you choose her again?"
The guy eyed his partner and answered, "Don't question me. I have my reasons. I could ask the same thing about you and Chanel. Speaking of, how'd the whole Chinese bit go?"
"Well, I took care of the delivery guy. She believed I actually worked there. I feel like she'll be easier to manipulate."
"Yeah, well, you need to hurry the process up. If we want this to work, you need to do your job and fast. Got it?"
"Slow your roll, bro. Don't worry about me. Let me handle my business, and you handle yours."
"Fine. But if things go wrong, you're a dead man."