Detective Brody 3

1 – Lull –

Aside from being thoroughly massacred by Rylan in the race for student body president, Brody had a really good winter break. It was as if crossing the equator had taken away any sense of crushing responsibility or duty he'd had. The most vital decision he'd had to make for two weeks was how many sessions of hot yoga to attend every day.

The answer in the end had been all of them. There was no way he was going to spend hours combing through Danilo Alves' schedule so he could only make the classes he did. He'd considered it, but it sounded like the sort of obsessive move somebody would make back home at George Gentry. Instead, he'd just gotten in a lot of hot yoga. His father, who was on vacation with them for the first time in months, was proud.

It had been good to spend time with his grandparents again. Though he'd seen them at Thanksgiving, they had packed schedules during the rest of the year. They were both on a lot of corporate boards. Aside from that, his grandmother occupied herself with high society organizations and events, whilst his grandfather lent his expertise to municipal boards.

If somebody were to look at the Delatour family tree, they'd assume Brody's branch was some sort of mistake. Aside from Riven, they couldn't pass for Delatours if they had to try. For example, his Uncle Hader was a successful neurosurgeon, and so was his wife. Their only daughter Alderley was a Political Sciences star who had already written commentary and opinion pieces in the Fairfax Orator, even though she was only in her sophomore year at Mason Montgomery University.

Brody's father was a successful TV producer, but he made reality TV. It was something neither of his own parents would let him forget. Brody's mother was a former daytime talk show host, and Brody himself was an ex-rugby player who couldn't even keep a steady gig as part of the Happy Helpers club at school.

Yet he was at school on a Sunday, helping Rylan Allbright set up her new student council office. At the end of the last year, just before winter break, a huge scandal involving the student council had resulted in so much turmoil that the president had resigned. Whilst Rebecca DeRuyter, the former president, wasn't directly involved with what had happened, she still had a lot against wealthier students like Brody and Rylan. She couldn't seem to handle chairing an organization that had failed to enact her vision.

When he turned the facts over in his head, Brody couldn't deny that she might have pressured her Committees Coordinator, Madison Levy. In the end, Madison had ended up a pawn in Winona Street's ploy for the top seat on Fox Hall's junior court. The whole thing had left such a sour taste in Brody's mouth that he'd resigned from his own court position at Fox Hall, which he'd only really gotten because his grandmother was one of Fox Hall's most respected legacy members.

Instead, he'd thrown all of his energy behind Romeo Opperman's bid for Student Body President. Ever since Rebecca had first approached him in a bid to stop Rylan from taking the seat, Brody had been worried about how the rest of the school felt about the wealthier kids.

Though it wasn't prominent, there was an undercurrent of dislike towards them from a lot of important figures at school. Even Principal Trilby had only begun to tolerate them after they'd saved the school from two simultaneous scandals.

Brody believed that Romeo's clean-cut attitude and charitable nature would be just what the school needed to really come together, so he'd even gotten his best friends Grant Tsui and Tate Ridge involved. Judging from the election result, he might have jumped the gun on just how much they were disliked. Rylan won by over sixty percent, which his frenemy Paris Renaldi described as 'a landslide'.

However, it wasn't a total loss. He'd had a blast working with Romeo, and Rylan wasn't the sort to hold grudges. Though she had a lot of friends who she could have called to help out with the set-up, she'd also decided to include Brody, and Romeo too.

It was surprisingly good sportsmanship from somebody who had once tried to turn an innocent senior into a scapegoat when she was afraid her father's reputation was in jeopardy.

"So how did you guys' vacations go?" Brody asked as he lugged around boxes.

Rebecca had neglected to clean up the offices before she'd left office, leaving behind a mass of files and folders about the last years dances and events. It was up to Brody, who had gotten back into keeping fit after a particularly embarrassing incident chasing after Romeo, to clear them out.

"Not as great as yours, obviously," Paris said eagerly. "We've all seen the picsquared posts with the mysterious, handsome native."

"His name is Danilo, and I didn't post that much," Brody said defensively, trying not to blush. It was hard when the image of Danilo's light brown skin illuminated by the Brazilian sunlight was burned into his retinas.

"As for my vacation; it was the usual," Paris explained. "Christmas in Boston, New Years in Piedmont. I swear, it's less a vacation and more a workout for my jetlagged psyche."

"People think American Italian and Italian Italian are the same," she added. "I assure you, they are not, and they don't think it's funny when you mess one up for the other either."

"I helped out at the old folks home and the soup kitchen," Romeo said, chipper as ever. He always was when he talked about helping others, it was what Brody admired most about him. "Good way to lick my wounds."

"Great, now we sound shallow," Paris complained. Though Brody hadn't noticed it at first, as soon as she brought it up he felt a deep sense of shame. He'd promised Romeo that he'd look into some of the groups that helped out favela residents when he was on holiday. Hot yoga and hot guys in hot yoga were no excuse.

"I didn't mean anything by it," Romeo assured her.

"I know that, that's what makes it even worse," Paris said, smiling wryly.

With a sigh, Rylan popped up from behind the laptop she was setting up and smiled in a way that made Brody even more uncomfortable. She had a plan of some sort, and he wasn't sure they would like it.

"I was going to wait until later," Rylan began. "But I wanted to offer you both roles in student government."

"What roles?" Brody wondered. "The election is over."

"Not any of the six elected roles, though I could do without Madison's replacement," Rylan said.

In a surprising coup, Junior Prom Queen Vanessa Carlisle had set out on a charm offensive that secured her the Committees Coordinator position. It was well known that Rylan and Vanessa were fierce, if infrequent, rivals.

"Each member is allowed to chose their policy advisers and administrators, and whilst most of my positions are filled, I'd like Romeo to come on board as my vice president," she explained.

"What about Paris?" Romeo asked. Paris had run Rylan's campaign, and a lot of people -including Brody- had assumed she would take the position of vice-president.

"Corralling the masses was never my cup of tea," Paris said. "I just threw my social weight around to help Rylan."

"I don't know if you've noticed, Romeo, but no matter how hard Paris and Brody try, they actually are a bit shallow," Rylan said. Brody wanted to protest, but after bragging about his fancy vacation and Summer-in-Winter almost-fling, he didn't know here to start. "I worry that I might have some of those tendencies myself, and I'd like to learn from somebody whose charity background rivals my own."

"Plus, Paris is a liability," Rylan said openly. Paris feigned offence, but Brody knew Rylan had made the right call.

Paris had a penchant of going off-script. Overall, she was capable of way worse than whatever Madison and Winona could dream up. It was the main reason Brody kept her at a distance. While she claimed to understand his way of thinking, that the truth was always the best option, she openly admitted she was on the opposite side of it.

She was also a prominent photographer who posted her work on picsquared, but she took glamorous candid portraits of people at society events under the pseudonym suburbia_view_fax. At first, Brody had enjoyed seeing her funny and poignant pictures in his feed, but they weren't as popular as she wanted them to be. Once she'd started focusing on more buzz-worthy subjects like popular kids and local socialite life, her account had amassed over a hundred thousand followers from the paltry twenty five she'd originally had.

In that sense, her description of their friends as the picsquared generation was right, but Brody didn't think it was okay to just feed people what they wanted all the time. It was unhealthy and could end up masking serious issues under a pretty veneer.

Which, to be fair, was exactly what Paris said she was doing.

"Brody, I was hoping you could be my policy adviser?" she said earnestly. It was one of the few times Brody had seen Rylan without any sense of pomp to her attitude.

It was a stark contrast to her usual style, which was only overshadowed by Paris' drive. Even when she'd found out that he was only just recovering from a breakup with a man who was way too old for him, she had gone ahead with her plan to trick him into believing she was dating his best friend Tate.

She'd only come out as a lesbian after she realized it could be beneficial for her campaign.

"I need somebody with that thing you have," she said. "The caring, the drive..."

"The keen nose for cracking mysteries nobody else is even bothering to solve," Paris said. It was in good nature, but Brody could detect a hint of bitterness from when he'd confronted her about threatening Rise Laban, Logan Cooke and even Brody himself to help Rylan out.

"I don't know, Rylan," Brody said. "Last year, I didn't even vote. Now you want me to be part of the student government?"

"The important thing is that you did vote, Brody," Romeo interrupted. "You even got Tate to vote."

"That's exactly it, Brody," Rylan said. "You help us all see things we didn't notice before. You're the one who caught that there was an issue with how wealthier kids were seen at this school."

"Rebecca outright told me that herself," Brody reminded her.

"From what you've told us, she only mentioned how she wanted Gina and Rylan out of the race," Romeo said. "You found out the rest by yourself, and you even connected it to Trilby."

No matter how he thought about it, they were both right, but something about sitting in power still bothered him.

"I'll think about it," he said diplomatically.

"Forget Brody for a moment, what about you Romeo?" Paris asked.

"Of course," he said, going up to give Rylan a firm handshake. "I'd be glad to work alongside you."

Brody had a feeling that this was a start to a wonderful year.

Considering how this was a closed bubble of a room filled with happiness and drive in a school that was on it's way to uniting, He should have known better.

The outside world would always want a piece of the action.