The principal’s office was a quaint place I had never been in. It had desk, a window, and some pictures of his family hung all around in little frames.
Principal Donaldson took a seat behind the desk and bid us all to grab a folding chair. When we had all settled down in front of him, he spoke again.
“Please tell me, one by one, what happened just now?”
“I’ll go first,” Danika said quickly, throwing me and Kaius a nasty look. “I was just sitting there, and…”
She faltered for a moment, blinking her eyes as she seemed to recollect. “Kaius is so hot,” she said at last. “I wanted him, but he rejected me…no one should get to reject me…”
Principal Donaldson raised his eyebrows as the she and the other girls went quiet as well.
“What does that have to do with the assault?” he prompted. “What happened with Kyle?”
“Kaius called me stupid and revolting,” Danika continued, “so Kyle punched him. “Kyle’s so nice. I wish I had asked him out…”
“Oh, for God’s sake,” the principal moaned, closing his eyes. “Is that why Kaius punched him?” he asked me.
“Yeah,” I said coldly. “Principal Donaldson, shouldn’t you be calling our parents before asking us questions?”
“I want to know what happened before the parents meddle,” he replied, and now he, too was blinking oddly. “They can be troublesome, and I want a solid report to give to the police.”
“Principal Donaldson,” Kaius said suddenly. “A man has a right to defend himself, correct?”
“Yes,” he replied promptly.
“And Danika just told you Kyle punched me first, correct?”
“I did,” Danika said dreamily. “You’re so handsome, Kaius.”
Reader, by now you’re probably guessing what I was guessing. And you’re right. Kaius didn’t twiddle his fingers, or do anything out of the ordinary, but there was a definite presence about him. I was somehow excluded and watched dumbfounded as the scene continued.
“You seem like a clever young man,” Principal Donaldson murmured as Danika and the other two girls made kissing noises at him. “Not one to start fights. You’re a good kid.”
Kaius smirked. “Thank you. Will you tell that to the police?”
He nodded. “I certainly will.”
“What are you doing?” I whispered as Kaius’ smirk broadened.
“It’s all right,” he whispered back. “I’m not hurting them.”
The police came by shortly, handcuffs in hand and ready to take Kaius downtown. However, they hadn’t taken their second step into the office before the Principal stood from his desk.
“This young man was only defending himself,” he said. “I’ve had it from these witnesses,” he pointed at Danika, the two other girls, and me. “They have all stated Mr. Knudson attacked first.”
“Mr. Knudson is on his way to the hospital with a broken jaw,” they said. “I’m afraid we can’t just…”
“Kaius,” I said uneasily as the cops paused with the incoherent blinking. “Um…”
“I’ll explain later,” he said soothingly, “don’t worry.”
“We’ll need to fill out some paperwork,” one of the officers said at last. “With the testimonies, and you’ll need to call the parents for that…”
“Of course,” Mr. Donaldson, nodding. “Let’s do that.”
The parents arrived, and they were all treated to the same dose of whatever Kaius was doing. Except for Paula, who wasn’t pleased.
She walked in with a huff and glared at Kaius at once. “So, you couldn’t stay out of trouble?”
“Don’t be so hard on him, Ms. Dunham,” one of the cops said. “From what I’m hearing, the young man was a victim of an attack! He had every right to defend himself…”
Paula threw me a questioning look, and I nodded.
“Well,” she said with a sigh. “Let’s get this over with, then.”
It took a long time. The cops wrote up a report, and after we signed some papers, we could finally leave.
“What truly happened there?” Paula asked Kaius as soon as we were in the car and on our way home.
“Just a truth charm,” he replied. “No one could lie about what happened.”
“A truth charm?” I repeated. “How would that even work, exactly?”
He shrugged. “It’s not complicated. When casted, the ones under its influence feel an overwhelming desire to speak the truth.”
“They seemed high,” I said. “Like they had just taken a drug.”
“They were freed from the need to hide things,” Kaius said. “It would give anyone a happiness, I’m sure.”
“Kaius, that’s terrible!” Paula scolded him. “How long will that charm last?”
“It is limited only to the situation,” he replied. “So, for as long as it is an issue, I guess. Don’t worry,” he repeated as Paula and I cringed. “It won’t affect their personal lives. And a little truth is good for them.”
I sighed. “Well, at least they didn’t arrest you.”
“That would have been awkward to explain,” Kaius agreed.
Paula groaned. “Just when I thought this couldn’t get any weirder…”
The day proceeded to be dull and uneventful. Mostly because we spent it in front of the television. Kaius was now obsessed with documentaries and watched as many as I could tolerate. I let him watch them all day, hoping he would forget the inevitable.
But it was a hope doomed to failure. As soon as Paula said goodnight that night, he turned to me from his chair.
“Are you going to tell me?” he asked pointedly.
“About what?” I asked aggressively.
He gave me a hard look. “Today, you writhed from that idiot like a worm from a hook. Why?”
“Kyle got drunk at a party,” I said coldly. “And I had to spray him with pepper spray. That is all.”
“Did he hurt you?” Kaius asked, his face darkening.
“He never got the chance,” I said icier still. “I pepper-sprayed him.”
Kaius looked at me, his eyes narrowing as if trying to detect deception. Luckily, my phone rang in a perfect diversion. I took it out of my pocket and gasped.
“Who is it?” he asked.
“It’s Piper,” I choked, my hand shaking.
Kaius scoffed. “Just block the damn number, Rose. It’s not worth—oh for shit’s sake,” he moaned as I pressed the “answer” button.
“Hello?” I said, cringing.
“Rose,” Piper murmured uneasily, “have you checked Kyle’s status lately?”
“I’m not friends with him, Piper,” I said stiffly. “Why?”
“He-he sort of told everyone about Michael Wilson.”