Disclaimer: See Prologue.

Rating: PG-13

Rating: A, E, R, ALT

Tears and Silence

RHS Cafeteria/September 8, 1996


Jessie dropped her lunch next to Hadji and sat down. Jonny joined them a few minutes later.

"Hey, guys," Jonny said. "So, Jess, what's it like to finally be a junior?"

She threw a piece of popcorn at him. "Hey Hadj, how come we're letting the little sophomore eat with us?"

Hadji laughed. "You've got a point, Jessie."

Jonny looked wounded. "Well, if that's how you feelů" He whipped out a tiny squirt gun and started shooting at them. "Take that, upperclassmen!" At his signal, the cafeteria was filled with shrieks and howls as the other sophomores brought out their own water guns. One sophomore, Rick Jones, Jonny's co-conspirator, burst in with a Super Soaker 200. Jessie and Hadji used their trays as shields and worked their way over to another group of upperclassmen. Suddenly the sophomores found themselves forced to duck flying food. The cafeteria erupted into complete chaos as the food fight spread.

Jessie moved in behind Jonny and plastered him with chocolate pudding.

"Hey!" he yelled, turning and pelting her with her own popcorn. Laughing and forced to retreat, Jessie backed into someone. She turned to apologize, but the apology froze in her throat as she saw the assistant principal burst in, enraged.

"You! You! You two! And especially YOU, Jonathan Quest! Let's go!"


Mr. Davis' Office/September 8, 1996


Five minutes later, Jessie found herself in the principal's office with Jonny, Rick Jones, another sophomore she didn't recognize, and the guy she'd run into. She looked at this last person. Tall, shaggy black hair, nice tan. He seemed a little shy. She thought she remembered him from one of her morning classes. He was new, wasn't he?

He saw her looking at him and smiled. She noticed that his eyes were an incredible shade of blue. Not like her father's, or even Jonny's. They were darker, but still pure blue. They were almost navy, surrounded by thick, dark lashes. She felt entranced- and then he looked away. She shook her head to clear it.

Mr. Davis sat down and cleared his throat. The five students turned and looked at him. But it was the assistant principal, Mrs. DePaula, who spoke first.

"All right, boys and girls. Unless you all want to be in detention for the next five months, I want to know who started this."

"Five months, Mrs. DePaula?" asked Mr. Davis. "Isn't that a bit harsh?"

She glared at him.

"Ah, go ahead," he mumbled, cowed.

Jonny sighed. *This is how things always go with her,* he thought. He stepped forward. "It was my idea to bring in water guns and soak the upperclassmen."

Rick put a hand on his shoulder. "YOUR idea?" he asked Jonny. "You wet end, you couldn't think up a great idea like that if your life depended on it!" He turned to Mrs. DePaula. "It was my idea."

The girl Jessie couldn't place stepped forward too. "Mrs. DePaula, these guys are just trying to cover for me. It was my idea." Jessie suddenly remembered her- Lydia Driver. She'd been out of town all summer, but she had been one of Jonny's best friends during his freshman year.

Rick turned on her. "Lyddie, you nut case, everybody knows you're brain dead!" He turned back to Mrs. DePaula. "It was my idea."

Jonny looked at both of them and sighed. "They just know my dad'll be pissed if I start off my sophomore year with detentions. It was my idea, though."

The three sophomores started arguing amongst themselves as to whose idea it had been. Suddenly Mrs. DePaula shouted, "ENOUGH!"

She stared at them. "The three of you are sentenced to three weeks detention. And you can start," she added, "by cleaning up the cafeteria!"

Jonny and his friends looked at her morosely. "Hey Jess, tell Hadji I won't need a ride home," Jonny said. Jessie nodded.

"As for you two," Mrs. DePaula said to Jessie and the stranger, "You can help them."

Mr. Davis shifted uncomfortably. "Jane," he said, "don't you think you should let them go? They had nothing to do with the water guns."

"Maybe not, and nothing will go on THEIR permanent records," she replied, looking significantly at Jonny, Rick, and Lyddie, "but I saw Mr. Whittacker and Ms. Bannon engaged in the food fight. A rather inauspicious beginning for our new student," she added, glaring at Jer. With a frown, she continued: "And you know as well as I do that whenever Jonathan is involved in something, Jessica is too."

"Not this time, Mrs. DePaula," Jonny cut in.

"Don't make it harder on yourself, Mr. Quest!" Mrs. DePaula yelled. The bell cut through the subsequent silence. The five students bolted, Rick and Jonny in the lead.

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