Kaila was quiet for pretty much the rest of the day. She didn't really talk to anyone. It was a surprise to herself that she even bothered with continuing the rest of the day. While in her government class, she noticed that Dominic wasn't there. He sat in the seat right in front of her. He must have left school earlier with his mom. Of course he did. He needed time to cope with what just happened. Kaila was probably the opposite. Her way of coping was to keep her mind distracted. She didn't like thinking about the issue.
When she got home, her mother was already there in the kitchen. Usually, Lindsey would still be at work until later at night around 8 pm. She spent many hours at the office as a corporate lawyer. She was surprised that her mom was home early. She was also making Kaila's favorite meal—Alfredo pasta with broccoli and shrimp. Lindsey Thompson looked up at Kaila and smiled a little. "How was school?" she asked her, most likely unaware of the news that Kaila received earlier that day. Her mother had already changed out of her regular professional attire that she wore to work.
She opened her mouth to begin telling her the news but immediately stopped herself. Kaila considered if she should mention Nora's suicide then decided against it. She knew that her parents already knew about it. Her father was a detective of the Springbrook Police Department. She was closer with her mother and found it easier to tell her things, but Nora's death was just something she couldn't talk about at the moment. She "It was okay" she lied. "I'm gonna go get some homework done," she said quietly. Without saying anything else, Kaila made her way up the stairs and went up to her room.
As soon as she took off her backpack and sat down on the chair at her desk, she let out a deep sigh and tangled her fingers in her hair. She wasn't sure how she did it, but she was able to go throughout the whole day so far without breaking down at least once.
When dinner was ready, Kaila's mom texted her to let her know. It was her family's way of lazily communicating with each other in the house. Kaila got up from her desk after closing her books and started walking downstairs. But as she was walking, she could hear her parents talking quietly to each other while they were setting the table. It was almost as if they were whispering to each other just in case so Kaila wouldn't hear. "They found her body this morning" Kaila heard her father say quietly. She heard her mother's quiet tsk. Kaila could almost see her mother shaking her head.
"It's such a shame what happened. I can't believe she took her own life. Kai didn't say anything about it. She seemed fine earlier" Mrs. Thompson said.
"Well, you know how she is…" her father said. Then there was a small pause before her father began to speak again. "I think her principal told her the news. She could just be covering up her emotions like she always does."
"I wonder how Melissa and Dominic are holding up." Kaila's family met Nora's family on several different occasions.
"Melissa came in the office this morning soon after Nora's body was found." Kaila just stood there on the wooden stairs, leaning against the wall as she listened in to the conversation between her parents. She quietly shifted her weight from one leg to the other without making a sound. "The search party found the poor girl's body at the bottom of a cliff. She most likely jumped off…" His voice trailed off and it was silent for a moment again until he spoke again. "I'm going to be part of the investigation, but I don't think it will take that long. It's obvious that it was a suicide. Don't tell Kai I'm part of the investigation okay?" her father asked. Kaila assumed that her mom nodded since she didn't hear anything in reply.
When it was quiet for a while, Kai continued to come down the stairs quietly so they wouldn't know she was standing there the whole time. "Dinner smells good" she commented, not wanting to seem suspicious of listening in on their conversation. After kissing her father on the cheek as a greeting, Kaila forced a smile at her mother then sat down at her usual spot at the head of the table.
She was quiet at the dinner table that night, not wanting to talk much anyway. She had nothing to say to her parents since they already knew. They were also keeping a secret away from her of her father's place in the investigation. It felt awkward with only the sounds of forks and knives gently hitting against the dinner plates. Kaila didn't even bother to look up at her parents while the three of them ate. She was afraid that if she made eye contact they would inquire about her day at school or initiate conversation in some type of way, which was something she wanted to badly avoid. Thankfully, her parents said nothing to her. They knew to just give her the space that she needed at least for right now.
The next day at school in second period, Kaila already wanted to leave. Principal Ricci had announced Nora's suicide over the loudspeakers. First, he had called for everyone's attention and ordered that anyone who was still in the hallways (which they shouldn't be since the first period had already started) go inside a classroom nearby just for the message. He then described how Nora went missing on Friday and that her body was found the next Monday morning. "The investigation is still going on, but…" This was where he took a little pause. "It is strongly believed that Nora committed suicide." As soon as he said that, everyone in the classroom started whispering quietly amongst each other. Kaila's English teacher, Mr. Gates, had to quiet down the class as Principal Ricci began explaining if anyone ever needed someone to talk to, that they could drop by his office anytime or their guidance counselor's office. Once Principal Ricci got off the intercom, everyone started talking again but this time a lot louder and Mr. Gates didn't bother making them quiet down again. Everyone seemed pretty shocked that someone in this town actually committed suicide. Suicides weren't common in Springbrook. No one even pretty much had the thought of suicide, until now.
Kaila was cleaning out her locker as she usually did after a certain amount of time. It was after school and the hallway was nearly empty except for the few students who would pass her every other minute or so. Papers and wrappers naturally accumulated in her locker over weeks from the snacks she would eat. Kaila wasn't the tidiest person, in contrast to Nora, but she was a lot neater than what she had seen of Dominic's room during one visit at their house.
Kaila reached into the back of her locker after pulling out crumpled up balls of paper. She felt a couple books and pulled them out. They were the first three books to the Harry Potter series. Nora was obsessed with the series, both the movies and the books. She lent Kaila her copies of the first three books from her own series collection. Nora had taken a whole week to convince Kaila to finally read the books, promising that she would love it. Kaila pulled out the books and smiled a little to herself, thinking that Nora was completely right. Kaila had loved the books, recently finishing the third. It was something she had of Nora. She wanted to selfishly keep it for herself, sort of as a reminder of Nora, but Kaila couldn't do that to a girl that deeply loved the series. She figured the least she could do was return the books to Dominic for her.
After closing her locker, she stuffed the three books into her backpack and started walking toward the double doors at one of the school's exit. She started to make her way to her deceased friend's house, wanting to drop off the books in person. She had also wanted to know how Dominic was holding up. Kaila never really talked to Dominic despite being close friends with his twin sister. Though they've only had a few encounters here and there, Kaila thought that Dominic was most likely like one of the jocks since he played football during the season.
Once she got to the O'Brien household, she walked up the empty driveway of the red brick townhouse and knocked on the black painted door. She waited several seconds, looking around. The driveway was empty. That meant their mother must have been at work at this time. Kaila also noticed that the grass was dead from the harsh, cold weather. The door finally opened slowly. Dominic stood there staring down at Kaila's smaller frame. She had to look up at him since he was a solid 6 feet tall. "Um...hey," she said quietly and bit her lip as she looked away nervously to the side.
"Hey" he responded in the same quiet tone. She pulled her jacket closer to her body.
"I came to drop off something of Nora's" she informed and he immediately opened the door some more, allowing Kaila enough space to walk in. She apprehensively walked in and glanced around. Kaila had been inside Nora's house a couple of times before, but the other times she came, it was a lot cleaner than it was now. Kaila knew that Nora probably made sure to clean up before letting her come over, but now there was no one to clean up the house when needed be.
Dominic closed the door behind Kaila as she reached into her backpack. "Nora let me borrow the books a while back," she said as she looked down at the novels in her hands. "I know how much she loves the series though, so I wanted to return them." Kaila held the books out toward Dominic and he looked down at them. His lips curved upwards into a small smile that was barely noticeable.
"Yeah, she does love Harry Potter," he said. "Thanks, Kaila." She nodded in response then closed her backpack, putting it on her shoulders again.
"I also came to check up on you," Kaila told him. "To see how you're doing." She sounded concerned and of course she was. She genuinely cared about Dominic though they barely talked. He glanced up at her after looking at the books then he sighed and placed them on the small table by the door. "Did you want to stay for a little bit?" he asked her. "I kind of need someone to talk to. I know it sounds pretty stupid" he mumbled.
Kaila tucked her hair behind one of her ears and nodded. "Yeah of course" she said softly.
In just ten minutes, Kaila was leaning against the counter in the kitchen as Dominic stood in the kitchen. "Do you want some tea?" he asked her, knowing she preferred tea as a hot beverage over coffee. Kaila didn't know how people liked coffee so much, it tasted weird in her opinion.
"Yes please," she said. She glanced around the kitchen as Dominic started to make a cup for the both of them. Once the tea was ready they both sat down at the kitchen table to talk. "Your mom is at work?" Kaila asked and he nodded.
"I tried to tell her not to go, but working is her way of coping. She started working a lot after our dad left us" he said. The two of them began talking. Talking about anything that came to mind. Kaila was afraid to bring up Nora as the topic but it was obvious Dominic wanted to talk about her. He kept bringing up things that she enjoyed doing and subjects she enjoyed talking about.
"Ricci announced Nora's death to the school today," Kaila told him since he wasn't there at school earlier. "Everyone seemed so surprised and acted like they knew and missed her," she said as she looked down at her tea. "But most of them didn't even know her like that." Dominic agreed as he drank his tea.
"I just can't believe it" Kaila whispered, still looking down. "That she's really gone. I can't believe that she would...I didn't know that she felt that way."
"I didn't know either and I lived with her for Christ's sake," Dominic said. "I feel like it was my fault. If I had known, I could have reached out to her or something." Kaila reached over with her right hand and gently placed it on Dominic's arm.
"It isn't your fault, Dominic," she said. Kaila actually thought she had some reason to why Nora killed herself. She couldn't help blushing slightly once she noticed that she placed her hand on his arm. She pulled it away after a minute then bit her lip. "When Ricci told the school, it didn't even sound like he was sure about it. He said that it was a strong belief she committed suicide" Kaila told him. Kaila left out the detail that she knew about her father investigating the suicide himself.
"Yeah, apparently they're investigating her suicide. I guess they just want to make sure it's a suicide, I don't know" he said.
After a while of talking, Dominic and Kaila finally got up and Kaila got ready to leave. "It's getting late," she said. "You know, Dominic, if you ever want to talk, you can just call me. I could give you my number if you want" she offered. Dominic handed her his phone and she made a new contact for herself and handed him back his phone once he was done.
Soon, Kaila had her backpack back on and she said bye to him, soon going back to her own house.