Trace of Ink
By Zale_Valrez
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 7Solved Puzzle

Chapter 6: Solve Puzzle
Looking straight on her way and walking alone to school while feeling down wasn’t cool at all. Fera was walking like dead and a bit unstable because of her wounded foot. She didn’t seem bothered by her neighbor’s stares.
She dropped her ID in Mama Tes’ office before heading to school. Mama Tes was giving her an unusual stare, especially at her foot and the way she walked. Good thing she asked none. Since Fera was not in the mood to explain any.
When she got there, the school was in chaos. The canteen server was being escorted by authorities to their mobile, and her schoolmates were there watching the scene. The mobile left and gossipers were shamelessly talking about it. She somewhat felt proud of Nick’s heroism.
She was not against helping others, all her concern was, that maybe he’d get farther and cross someone’s privacy. As well as he might cross with dangerous people.
Their class started and Fera felt good already. Because, when she saw Nick, she didn’t see any hint of boastfulness in him. He was sitting peacefully on his chair with a casual expression. She didn’t know how he manage to do it but what matters as he didn’t fall into serious trouble.
Everything went fine until lunch break, she was not fun of gossip but something caught her attention.
“It’s her right? Nick’s girlfriend?” She felt goosebumps upon hearing those. Felt like a bucket of iced water splashed on her spine.
“I heard he sleeps in her apartment, and now she walks different.” And she get choked by her food and then started coughing. Nick arrived and handed her a bottle of water. She aggressively turned her head to the girls behind her who were talking about her. They had gone out of the canteen, and let out a furious sigh.
“Are you alright?” Nick asked her and sat next to her.
“Nuh, I’m fine.” He just shrugged and eat his lunch.
“So, your theory was right?” She started a conversation and pretended as if she was not curious about how it went. Nick got surprised but choose to disregard it. Didn't want to make Fera feel embarrassed.
“Not at all, April and the server were related, she’s April’s mother and help her eliminate Marisa, while Troy is innocent all along,” he answered.
“What did you do, then?”
“None, she surrendered. She can’t sleep knowing her daughter is in jail.”
“But everyone is talking about your heroism.”
“I confronted her and broke down, starts crying while kneeling on the floor, some call the police and got her arrested.” She nodded and finished her food.
“By the way, I heard those girls a while ago, gossiping.” She opened up about their issue.
“I thought you’re not found on gossips.” He commented and eyed her confusedly.
“Unless it has to do with me!" she exclaimed. “They’re talking about me being your girlfriend and you slept in my apartment last night, now I walk differently. What does that mean?” He froze looking at Fera and gave her a disbelief look.
“Are you serious?”
“I am dead serious.” And he started chuckling while shaking his head.
“What the heck was that mean?”
“What part that you don’t understand?” He asked while still smiling, he still couldn't believe that gossipers had come that far.
“Well, I truly understand why they thought we have something since I don’t talk to anyone except you intentionally. But what does it have to do with me walking differently? There must be something I am missing here. Why would that part become relevant and linked to me, being your girlfriend?" She spoke while pointing to herself.
"They might think, I'm abusive," Nick said and drank his soda to hide his smile.
"Yeah, you seem abusive and they thought you hit me but that's not it. I have the feeli-"
"What! I am abusive?" he blurted.
"You SEEM,"
"Exactly the same thing!"
"Lovers Quarrel?" Someone interjected and they both turned their head to it. And Fera saw a man with a huge naughty grin on his lips. Looked dashing in his icy blue long sleeve and black trouser.
"Ben," Nick greeted. While Fera was figuring out how to escape. She'd be out of place with them.
"Nick!" The man called Ben, sat across from Fera. He was eyeing her with an annoying smile on his face. He had clean hair cut and clean face and white teeth, giving Fera somewhat a fuck boy vibe.
"I haven't heard anything from you for a while," Nick spoke but Ben gave him a meaningful look.
"Aren't you going to introduce me to your girlfriend?" He asked which made Nick smile while Fera's eyeballs rotated three hundred sixty degrees.
"What brings you here?" Nick instead asked.
"I was looking forward to meeting your girlfriend." But his friend wouldn't let it pass that quick. He even emphasizes the word girlfriend while eyeing Fera.
"This Fera, Fera this is Benjamin, my cousin." Fera astonishedly eyed Nick, 'why the heck did he introduced me to this idiot?'
"Benjamin Leonardo," he took his hand out and offered a handshake.
"Fera, a girlfriend of none." She continued eating her pasta, ignoring Benjamin's hand.
"Great! Mr. None you got a feisty girlfriend here." Nick kicked Benjamin's foot underneath to stop him but he couldn't hide his smile while Fera was dying to stab Ben using her fork.
"Alright, I was truly here for the incident that happened yesterday. Unfortunately, Nick here has already saved the day and left me with nothing."
"Your tardiness isn't my problem." All of a sudden, Fera stood up and got her pasta. Both men stared up at her.
"I lost my appetite." She only spoke and Marched herself away.
"She seems familiar." She heard Ben say, she traced the path to the huge field behind their school building. She was trying to calm her heart down, her hands were trembling and drops of perspiration started building upon her forehead.
'He cannot be recognized me! I should change my look or style.' Fear was eating her, and she couldn't keep herself still. Her heart was hammering against her chest.
She hurriedly reached out her phone in her pocket. Her trembling fingertips kept messing up dialing. After a few minutes, she succeeded in dialing.
"Picked it up, Lora." She started biting her fingertips while silently praying that her secretary would pick up.
'Yes, hello?'
'1012387762, Miss Fairly.'
"I need help, I met someone today and he seemed to recognize me." She mumbled, trying to speak faster yet lower.
'What's its name, I can track his recent trip and see if you've met before.'
"Benjamin Leonardo," while looking around making sure none heard them talking.
'Benjamin Leonardo, a fresh graduate of Bachelor of Laws.'
"He's a lawyer?" she asked. 'That explained his confident aura,' she thought.
'Criminal Lawyer, but he hasn't taken a board exam. And you never cross paths, you can deny if he ever recalls your face, I'll send you new clothes for your new style.'
"Thank you, Lora."
'You're welcome, Miss.'
"I told you, I'm busy!" She accidentally threw up her cellphone and securely caught it. She hadn't recovered from nervousness totally and a voice of a man, made her heart jump again.
She slid her phone into her pocket and grip the strap of her bag. 'Who the heck is that?'
Then she found a man, in a teacher's uniform. "When will you be free? Oh! Never, 'cause you're done with me, right?" A melodic raging voice of a girl appeared in her ears.
"Tone down, Rika." She saw the teacher looking around and she swiftly step to his blind spot behind the huge trunk of an old tree. "What do you want?"
"What do I want? That's INSANE!" She heard the girl shout and followed by a harsh hushed by the man her talking to. "Let me remind you, that you never messaged, called, or see me! For five weeks! After what we did, you acted like you never knew me."
The girl's voice cracked at the end. 'What a mess?'
Fera stealthily walked away and went to her next class. 'This school is full of controversy, isn't it? Just the right place for me, great.' She quietly ranted while calmly walking to her next class.
Her calm face turned into dead when she heard someone call her. Turned her pivot around and saw a man with a huge smile approaching her from behind.
"Fera, right?" He asked and stuck out his hand as he reached her. "I'm Tunner," she eyed his hand but eyed his face back.
"Are we going to settle something?" she asked.
"Oh! Yeah, actually. You left your notebook, " he handed me a brown notebook. True enough it was Fera's. "We share a previous subject and you left this on your desk."
"Thank you."
"May I walk you to your next class?"
She instantly remembered that she walked pretty unstable. And she thought he was offering to help her walk to her next class.
"No, thank you. It's just a small cut under my sole, I'll be fine alone."
"You do?" He confusedly asked and Fera nodded in response. "What happened?"
"Long story, let's just say, blind enough not to see the broken piece of a glass."
"The must be hurting you." 'Of course, what's wrong with him?' She mentally mused.
"Not at all, I'll be running late, thanks again." Before any response, she turned herself around and walked without second thoughts.
She quietly entered her room while her teacher was facing the blackboard. She sat next to Nick, which was the only vacant chair.
"Where were you?" Nick whispered. While she was searching her book for the current subject.
"Somewhere none of your business," she replied.
"Yes, children at the back?" she froze and looked at her teacher at the front.

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