The room went silent after Madeline’s sudden accusation that she saw Pierre running off the with ledger. Nothing to do but stand in confused silence and stare at incredibly odd scene of a 5’5 Madeline, one hand pressed firmly against her hip with the other wagging around in the face of a 6’3 Pierre, who literally towered over her to the point where it almost seemed like a chihuahua yipping at a Great Dane. Remaining mum, I stood back and watched what felt like a scene straight out of Law & Order: SVU.
“It was you I saw running from the clubhouse”, Madeline insisted.
“What the hell are you talking about?”, Pierre scoffed, turning his back to her and looking straight at me. “Dude, you believe this chick?”
It didn’t make sense to me. Why would Madeline pop up out of nowhere and point the blame at Pierre?
“Don’t even try that crap”, Madeline snapped, walking back around to look Pierre in his eyes. “I saw the person leaving the clubhouse with the ledger, wearing all black. Jeremy sees you running from the bandroom – where I saw the guy go in – and what? You were wearing all black!! Two and two, together, moron. Two and two.”
Now, the wheels in my head were spinning and I was completely lost. “Wait a minute”, I interjected, asserting my voice to make them both turn around and notice me. “So you saw Pierre running from the clubhouse with the ledger?”
“Yes, I did”, she answered.
I looked at Pierre. “What the hell are you doing?”, I asked him.
“It’s not what you think,” He began explaining. But before he could come up with some preposterous excuse, I cut him off.
“Why wouldn’t you tell me you had it?”, I scolded him. “Me, of all people. Do you have any idea what’s in that thing and what it could do to me? To you? To everyone.”
“Yeah”, Pierre sighed heavily. “That’s why I took it. To destroy it and be done with it.”
“Why didn’t you destroy it then and there?” Madeline interrogated.
“And when was I going to do that?”, Pierre sarcastically noted. “Between the 40 seconds I had the ledger and you guys were coming, or when I ran to the band room and you were right on my tail?”
“Hold the hell up”, I piped up, having a sudden realization. I turned to Madeline. “Why didn’t you say anything when me, you, Kozzy, Brandon, and Heather were in the front of the clubhouse?”
“That’s not important”, Madeline answered, breezily ignoring the question, which only served to irritate me. “So where is it?”
Womp! Womp! Womp!
A loud blaring alarm came rushing through the entire bandroom. Almost immediately I recognized it as the fire alarm and wondered what or who had set it off. Soon enough, that question was answered when a sheepish and soaking wet Brandon came galloping into the bandroom covered in toilet paper and doused with water.
“What the hell happened?”, Madeline shouted at him as he gasped for breath, speaking in broken words and phrases.
“Showers – broken – plumbing – sewage- toilet paper all over the floor – tried to turn on the light – wrong switch – Fire department is coming!”
Knowing how this looked and that no one was allowed in the bandroom when no teachers were there, we all made the decision to flee. Pushing the both fire doors open, we made a mad dash for the parking lot. As I listened to Madeline and Brandon running behind me – the soft and faint tap that her sneakers made as her sneakers hit the pavement in contrast with Brandon’s loud clumping boots as he dragged his feet – I quickly noticed that Pierre was nowhere in my peripheral. It was at that moment that I did in fact take Madeline’s advice and put two and two together. That bastard is getting the ledger, I thought to myself. Sure enough when we made the corner, I turned to see an out of breath Brandon next to an annoyed looking Madeline; Pierre was nowhere to be found.
“Where’s P?”, Brandon innocently asked.
Luckily we wouldn’t have to wonder for long, because from around the corner emerged Pierre, walking as though he was casually taking stroll through the park on a Saturday afternoon. And this of course, set off bells in my head. I walked past my best friend and my worst mistake, quick stepped intently over to Pierre, and without letting him say a word, I faked him out, making him take a step in the opposite direction so that I could curve behind him. And sure enough, there it was: the ledger. Dude had barely tried to conceal it. Although and wide and thick as the book was, there wasn’t much he could do with it against his tall and thin frame. I quickly grabbed the book from the back of his pants, cringing at how warm it felt because I knew he had had in the underwear and not over it.
“Aha!”, Madeline shouted. “Finally, we got that stupid thing.”
Holding the book and looking at a stunned Pierre, I couldn’t help but feel a little angry with him. What was he planning with it and why hadn’t he told me.
“Someone’s coming”, Brandon alerted us.
Looking over my shoulder, I see a slender female figure heading our way. I handed the book over to Madeline to put in her bag, clutching a strap in my left hand to ensure that she didn’t run off with it. Needless to say she didn’t appreciate the move, nor did she appreciate my – how did she put it – “mannish grip on her delicate black leather Gucci knapsack.”
“Guys, what’s going on?”, a very familiar, very sexy voice inquired from the distance. It was Angeline. You’d think I would be better at identifying my girlfriend by now.
“Nothing”, Madeline smiled as she tried to pretend that nothing was going on. But it was kind of hard to hold up pretenses when you were lightly sweating, holding one strap of a girl’s purse, while your best friend looked – and smelled – like an non-flushed toilet. All I could do was laugh it off and tell Angeline that it was a long story, which of course she didn’t buy at all.
“So what are you guys really up to?”, She suspiciously asked.
“Nothing, babe”, I guffawed, wrapping my right arm around here while keeping the other tight on Madeline’s strap. “We’re all about to head back to the clubhouse and talk about a few things.”
“A few things?”, She repeated in an odd cadence, and for some reason, looking at Pierre when she said it. “What ‘things’ could you have to talk about?”
“Nothing in particular,” Pierre snappily reassured Angeline. “Just some stuff. Let’s go, y’all.”
Pierre abruptly pushed us all away from Angeline and hurriedly scurried off to the clubhouse. I tried waving goodbye to Angeline, but Pierre’s vice-like grip on my right shoulder prevented me from moving. Looking at the way P and Angie looked at each other during that brief encounter, and his sudden urge to run off sparked my curiosity. Wow, that was weird, I thought to myself. One thing was for sure, though: That ledger had to be destroyed. But since it was going to go up in flames, anyway, I didn’t think it would hurt to see what exactly was in there about me… and everyone else, for that matter.