I heard he died! Valerie says. She leans over her seat. She's wearing a yellow halter top and tight jeans.

That's bullshit, Justine answers. She drops her book bag on the floor by her desk. My mother has a friend who's a friend of a nurse who works in ICU and she'd know if he died.

I heard the school's trying to keep everything hushed up.

Justine bends over to dig a textbook out of her bag. When she's closer to Valerie, she whispers: Did you hear she was raped?

Valerie nods solemnly, makes big eyes.

Justine shakes her head.

When the professor enters the room, he wonders why Valerie and Justine are squinting at him as if he'd just given them Fs on a major exam.