At breakfast the next morning, Julian and I argued. Apparently, he had not prepared for the possibility that he would both like his date, Sophia, and that she was crazy, having stolen Jason Baxter’s phone and keys after his alleged suicide.
We did not know what the facts meant, but they were irrefutable, and Julian wanted to dispute them.
Candace reduced the tension when she arrived and laid the latest issue of The Hanscom Herald on the table. The student newspaper was opened to the features section and, underneath a photo of Candace with the label “Miss Wang,” was a headline that read “Get you man to give you what you want.”
“You’re looking at the college’s new sex columnist?”
“Miss Wang?” Julian asked.
“Yeah, it’s like Miss Thang, only Asian.”
“Oh, we get it,” I said.
“Do you?” she asked, incredulous.
“What do you know about sex, Candace? Even Grover, after one night with a sure thing has more experience than you do.”
“Julian, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you know how many horny nerds with Asian fetish there are on this campus?”
“Yeah, but they want the demure ones who can’t speak English and cook pad thai without being asked. Can you make pad thai?”
“OK, you’re right, I don’t know much about sex, but substitute ‘registrar’s office employee’ for ‘sailor,’ the fact that Jason’s dad is four months behind in tuition payments and the Baxter’s home address for ‘foot massage’ and ‘anal play,’ and ‘went to lunch with him’ for ‘flashed my boobs and promised a hand job,’ and everything in that column happened to me yesterday.”
“The Washington Post will happily welcome you to the team,” I said. “I’m fairly certain this is exactly the kind of stuff Bob Woodward wrote at Yale.”
“Not so, Grove,” Julian said. “His senior thesis was about anal play in the Truman White House.”
“Bess Truman was a saucy minx,” I said, laughing.
“Anyway, didn’t you catch the real news? The Baxters are broke or they knew as long as four months ago that Jason was going to die and stopped making payments, which are non-refundable.”
“So Grove is the only prostitute here, then,” Julian said. “He had sex with a girl he didn’t like last night to get into Jason’s ex-girlfriend’s room to find the deceased’s missing cell phone and keys.”
“And did you?”
“Yes. But now Julian likes Jason’s ex-girlfriend because he and Sophia had a great time at The Den’s rape night.” Julian rolled his eyes at my lame jab at his fraternity. “So he thinks she’s innocent.”
“Well, we don’t know why she had those things. Maybe she was the first person to find the body and, given her history with the deceased, didn’t want to be the first person to report it.” Candace grabbed an apple from my tray and began to eat it.
“That makes sense,” Julian said.
“We need more information about Sophia, maybe her roommate, the Baxters, and what did Ethan ever hear from Snag? But first, Grover, who did you sleep with?”
“Sophia’s roommate, Kate.”
“That vegan chick? I have a class with her. She’s awful. Unless it was love, in which case I think she’s great.”
“Thanks for your support.”
I stood to leave. Candace finished the apple, including the core, and was ready to go, too. Julian prepared to leave as well.
“So, Miss Wang, does this mean you’re off the hard news beat?”
“No, just trying to keep busy until this story breaks.”