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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: October 25, 2020      Views: 17
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Chapter 31 of the book Pewter's Homecoming
Marcy deals with the fallout.
"Chapter 11 - Before Homecoming" by teols2016
Five years later, a closed homicide gets a second look.

Previously in "Pewter's Homecoming":

Marcy Sellers starts her junior year as a new student at Pewter Public High School in western Texas. She meets Lily Harvey, who shows her around. A few weeks later, both girls are attacked. The police quickly arrest a suspect, but, five years later, Roland Davis, a lawyer from Dallas, is given a chance to review the case.

Five Years Ago:

Her tray in her hand, Marcy scanned the cafeteria. She saw Lily, Amber, and Cassidy in their usual places but knew better than to go there. Lily had made it very clear she was no longer welcome. Marcy instead found an empty corner and sat down with her food, today's entrie being a burger that made McDonald's look gourmet.

Picking at the burger and accompanying fries, Marcy evaluated her situation. No one else in school seemed to know what she'd revealed at the party. At least Lily was decent enough not to repeat that. God only knew what she was telling Amber and Cassidy to explain why Marcy was no longer joining them for lunch. Then again, Amber was too absorbed in her new relationship with Ethan, something everyone in Pewter now seemed to know about.

Marcy theorized she could find new friends ... maybe. She glanced at the girls, who weren't noticing her. She was still attracted to Lily, but maybe that was an absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder kind of thing. And, Lily hadn't lost anything in the looks department since the party. Today, she was wearing a white top with spaghetti straps over her shoulders. Either she wasn't wearing a bra, or it was strapless. Marcy couldn't help it as her imagination soared.

Someone then stepped in front of her. Marcy blinked and realized it was the skinny, bald custodian, seemingly sweeping up discarded wrappers and stuff. Whose bright idea was it to sell Jolly Ranchers in the cafeteria?

Marcy and the custodian regarded each other, having not been this close since he'd accidently walked in on her in the bathroom.

"Hi," Marcy tried.

He paused, still regarding her.

"Hello," he returned.

Marcy noticed the nametag on his gray jumpsuit. Mooruff, A.

"What's the 'A' stand for?" she asked.

"My name," he replied.

Marcy stared, wondering why this was all he said. Was he not allowed to reveal his first name to a student?

"What's your name?" she tried.

"Andrew," the custodian said. "I gotta go keep working."

"Okay. Bye."

"Bye," he returned and kept sweeping.

As he walked away, Marcy noticed Lily, Cassidy, and Amber looking at her. Discarding her food and grabbing her bag, she decided to go to the library.

* * *

As Marcy left the school that afternoon, Jeff caught up with her. She withheld a groan. She thought he'd be at football practice. After all, the Homecoming Game was three weeks away.

"Hey," Jeff said, catching his breath. "I heard you were at Amanda's party the other night. Quite a thing, huh?"

Marcy nodded. He had no idea.

"I was hoping to see you there," Jeff said.

"I was there," Marcy replied. "Sorry I missed you."

She wasn't sorry. Her mind was scrambling for a tactful way to extricate herself from this conversation. He didn't seem to know the truth and telling him that was not going to happen.

Marcy began reviewing her grades in her head. Maybe she could apply for early admission to college next year. She could go to California or New York or somewhere else where no one knew her, and no one was likely to come after her for being gay. Maybe then, she could have a life worth living.

"Hey," Jeff said, bringing Marcy back to her present circumstances.

Marcy looked at him, her mind still racing, when someone else called out.

"Jeff! Jeff!"

Two other boys, seemingly wearing practice gear, ran over. Marcy thought one of them was called Tyler. One of them was definitely leering at her. This actually made the situation even more uncomfortable.

"Dude," the one named Tyler said to Jeff. "You gotta be at practice. If you're late again, Coach will make you the tackling dummy."

"Not much of a stretch there," the other one remarked. "Just a small difference in IQ points."

"Ignore him. Come on. We gotta hustle."

Jeff nodded and looked at Marcy.

"I gotta go," he said, sounding apologetic. "We'll talk some other time."

Marcy just nodded and he ran off, seeming unaware of how happy she was for this interruption. She turned to hurry away from the school before he found a reason to turn back again.

"You should tell him," someone said as Marcy took a step.

Marcy stopped and turned again. The speaker was Lily. Despite the warm September day, she was wearing a jacket, which she'd zipped shut.

"What?" Marcy asked.

"You need to tell him," Lily said, keeping her distance. "You can't keep letting him think he's got a chance with you."

"I can't. And, I'm not trying to give him that impression."

"Why not?"

"It's ... complicated."

Marcy glanced around. Though no one was paying attention to them at the moment, students were still trickling out of the building. Someone could still overhear something. All it took was bad timing.

"Doesn't sound complicated to me," Lily said. "You like girls. Jeff most certainly is not a girl, but he has the hots for you. You, meanwhile, have the hots for me, and I am not going for that. All the while, you don't want to talk about any of this. Do I have all that right?"

"You don't understand," Marcy protested, feeling hot tears welling up again.

"I understand plenty."

"It took me a year to figure this out about myself. I still struggle with it."

Marcy composed what she hoped was a firm glare directed at Lily.

"Haven't you ever wondered? Have you ever considered it about yourself?"

Lily blinked.

"You always dress up," Marcy pointed out, "but then you sit with me, Amber, and Cassidy. Most girls, like Amber, use their clothes to make plays for guys. I've seen her at it, but not you. Plus, the few times we've hugged, you've let it last way longer than average."

Lily paused and then shook her head.

"I gotta go," she declared and turned away. "Oh, and you're nuts."

"Hey!" Marcy called as she walked away.
Lily hesitated and then looked back.

"Thanks for not telling anybody," Marcy said with a slight smile. "I mean ... about me."

She refused to let Lily's last statement get under her skin.

"Yeah," Lily said. She gave a single nod and kept walking away.

Taking another glance around to see if anyone had overheard, Marcy too hurried away from the school.

The book continues with Chapter 11 - After Homecoming. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
These chapters are, for the most part, divided into 3 sections: "Before Homecoming", "After Homecoming", and "Present". There will be a couple exceptions to this structure in the last few chapters. The "After Homecoming" section also has the largest time shift throughout the chapters,.

Pewter is a fictional town in fictional and rural Alter County in western Texas.

Cast of characters:

Marcy Sellers: a new student at Pewter Public High School,, starting her junior year. Was raped and left comatose in the girls' locker room after the Pewter Homecoming game.

Lillian "Lily" Harvey: a junior at Pewter Public High and a cheerleader. Was raped and murdered in the girls' locker room after the Pewter Homecoming game.

Andrew Mooruff: custodian at Pewter Public High. Convicted and sentenced to death for the locker room attack. Awaiting execution on Texas's Death Row.

Amber Rose: Lily's friend and fellow cheerleader.

Cassidy Ada: Lily's friend and fellow cheerleader.

Jeff Edwards: junior at Pewter High and Left Tackle on the school's football team.

Feedback, specifically suggestions for additions/subtractions/alterations, is always welcome. Enjoy.
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