As to cue her arrival, Ezelena practically stomped into the room and plopped herself face-first into the couch.

“Umm, should we ask?” Roy leaned towards Kodie. “Hang on,” Oliver shushed.

A moment later, Ezelena raised her head. “You guys don’t think my dad brought me up badly, do you?” she frowned.

Panicked looks shot among the boys, with Jordan sitting placidly on one side as usual. “Of course not! Nawww, whatchu saying? Nooooooo,” came the response in unison.

“Jordanna?” Ezelena questioned her. “You’re a model. They should be making Barbie™ dolls of you,” she replied a matter-of-factly.

Ezelena’s frown deepened into a confused squint. “I can’t tell if you’re joking,” she said slowly. A corner of Jordan’s mouth perked up with her shoulder.

“No, but seriously. Like, am I too much of a “guy”? I mean, I wear heels! And look at this blouse! And my hair! No tomboy this age dresses this prettily, or impractically?! I-I-I admit it’s easier to run around in fatigues, but come on! I want to look pretty at the same time. And THAT’s a challenge!” Ezelena burst out, jumping to her feet.

“I think her grandma’s in town,” Kodie deduced.

“And what do’ya mean “boys don’t like it”? O-o-or girls will think I’m a slut for roughhousing? I mean come on, what kind of logic is that?! Anyone who gets their butt kicked asks for it!” she rambled on.

“Aieeee, the Spinster Squad too,” Oliver ran a hand through his hair.

“And my grades aren’t suffering at all! And I hold top rank in the akido, paintball AND the friggin’ chess club! Which is more than that nerd son of hers ever juggled!” she flung herself back onto the couch.

“Oh my. Agony Aunt With the Overachieving Son’s here too,” Jordan put her fork down. “IS Dion HERE?” Oliver’s other hand flew up to his hair too. Seeing Ezelena’s cousin in town struck a bad taste in his mouth.

“No, it’s just them,” Ezelena’s voice came muffled from the couch cushions.

“What’s up with ‘Dion’?” Roy whispered to Kodie. ” Uhh, Eze’s cousin? Kind of an arrogant d-bag and we thiiiink he’s got a crush on Jordan,” Kodie explained. “Ahh,” Roy nodded understandingly.

Ezelena rolled off the couch, into Rudy’s excited paws. The big dog jumped around her and nudged her, expecting her to play. Ezelena reached up to hug it around its neck and it settled down next to her, snuggling close.

“What’s your dad saying bout this?” Kodie spoke up.

“Like he can get a word in. They’re probably berating him for not finding another wife,” Ezelena sat up, rubbing Rudy’s ears.

“Why are they even here?” Oliver finally let go of his hair.

“I don’t know. Even dad was surprised. We came home from school just now to find them telling the grocery dude off for delivering at ‘such a weird hour’,” Ezelena waved her hands exasperatedly, her tone ebbing with frustration.

“You left them alone with your dad?” Jordan resumed eating her mac-n-cheese mug meal.

“Nah. He had work, and I had to attend Cluedo Club here. By the way, how’s the search for our schoolmate drug mules going?” Ezelena looked to the gang.

“Oh yes. Can you PLEASE talk some sense into Oliver here? He somehow thinks that posing as a buyer will get them,” Kodie raised his hand.

“Oliver. WHAT makes you think they’ll believe you-star-quarterback is a drug user?” Ezelena tilted her head.

“I need steroids to keep up with you. It’s fool proof!” he shrugged.

Ezelena’s perfectly trimmed and drawn eyebrows flattened into a straight line and her pretty lipsticked mouth hung open.

“Wow, nice, Ollie,” Jordan tilted her head. “What? It’s kinda true,” Oliver raised his shoulders.

“Dude. Stop,” Roy’s eyes widened. “What?” Oliver raised his hands higher. Kodie buried his face in his hands as Ezelena glowered.

“Plan C/D that. What are our other options?” Ezelena rubbed her temples.

“I buy the drugs. Psychotherapy,” Jordan raised her hand.

“O-kay, that’s kinda more believable; but are you okay with that?” Ezelena crossed her arms. “We’re not,” the boys slammed their hands down.

“I buy the drugs. Drop-out?” Roy pointed at himself.

“How? Your class graduated years ago?” Kodie looked at him.

“Fence deal. That’s how we found out about this in the first place right? Happens all the time. Besides, it’ll put you guys less at risk since they already sort of know you,” Roy rested his chin on his hand.

Ezelena sighed. It sounded like the most workable plan so far, but Roy could risk running into the higher ups. That was out of their league, even for her. As far as they were concerned, exposing the underage traffickers were their highest and only priority, at behest of their principal and under strict pleading of her dad.

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