I went to the bathroom, took a quick shower and did my best applying make-up to look as impeccable and beautiful as I could. Today was no day to mess around or dream at school. It was a day where I had to be in control, so I dressed myself in a stylish but still casual dress. I pumped myself up before the mirror. I was going out to get them.
I went to the kitchen to eat breakfast with mom and Frank. I got myself a cup of coffee from the percolator and ate a toast with some strawberry marmalade that I made during the summer. I then prepared some sandwiches for my lunch. While getting ready to leave, my mom called out to me: “Ms Lyst sent me a message that you will be required to stay later today. Make sure you listen well to her, she clearly cares a lot about you seeing the effort she is putting in out of hours.”
That woman again. Apparently she was already on messaging terms with my mom after one phone call. I had not yet left the door and yet I was already in her grip.
“Yes yes mom.” I replied in a tone that implied she was nagging.
“One yes will suffice young lady!”
“Yeeeeeeesssss!” I answered stretching it out and then running out the door before mom could reply. I know it was a bit childish but after my loss streak at the hand of that woman I was happy to know that at least I could still win from my mom.
I walked toward school, which was a 15 minute walk from my home. The fresh air relieved me a bit from the anxiety Ms Lyst had already caused this morning. When I arrived at school I felt weird. Instead of the stares I had expected, everyone, even people I had never talked to just gave me a sympathetic nod.
Gazette came running to me and hugged me. “I'm sorry, I did not know.” she said. “You must've gone through a lot, and all this must be so hard on you. Let me know if I can do something for you.”
I was so determined to do some active damage control, but had no idea what she was talking about. What was said at yesterday's assembly did not warrant this kind of a reaction. It was as if I entered an alternate universe without meeting with the mystic white truck. I did not know what to say or how to react, but something in my bones told me this was Ms Lyst's doing.
Several other people came to hug me and offer similar support messages and everyone looked to me very kindly like I was some kind of fragile treasure. The bell went and we went to class. A silhouette passed the corner of my eye, and the thought “pretty cute” passed through my mind. I looked up and saw it was Elsa. She passed my desk and for some reason the entire class was glaring at her. Then suddenly she burst out in tears crying out that she was sorry and then she ran out of the class. I agree we left on a somewhat bad note yesterday, but it was no more than her usual antics and I never thought I would hear an apology come out of that mouth.
This was getting ridiculous and seriously out of hand. I had to make sure to go see Ms Lyst during the long break at noon.
Morning classes passed painfully slow as is tradition in schools around the globe and I cannot say I learned something I considered useful.
Finally it was time to get some answers.
I walked over to the teachers lounge and on the road I saw an ominous marking 'FBY office' on a door. What the... I knocked and immediately the door swung open and there was Ms Lyst. I couldn't help noticing that despite getting on my nerves she had a pretty slim figure and curves in all the right places. I quickly shook those thoughts out of my head and asked her
“What is going on Ms Lyst?”
“I thought I told you to call me Anna. What do you mean?” she asked, but I could see by the look on her face that she clearly knew what I was talking about.
“Everyone is being over friendly, and treating me like a victim, even Elsa came to apologize. That girl would rather die than apologize. It does not make sense.”
“I am glad you are so impressed, well this will be your first lesson and task of the day for the bureau”, she flipped the blackboard and there was a quote written in capital letters: SHE WHO CONTROLS INFORMATION CONTROLS THE WORLD.
Ms Lyst clearly had a sense of theatrical drama in her.
“That didn't answer my question.” I responded, doing my best to look unimpressed with her antics.
“I made a few fake social media accounts pretending to be school girls attending this school. Then I created a conversation between them about how they were witnesses when you tried to prevent Louisa from jumping from the building with tears in your eyes, even confessing your love to her but that she could not accept it and still jumped because she was disgusted by her own feelings of sinful love.”
“That is a blatant lie!” I shouted out, completely shocked.
“That does not matter. Only results count. It is their problem if they do not check their sources. I would guess checking sources is in the curriculum in the first year of high school, so it would be the one believing this conversation and not the one spreading it that is in the wrong wouldn't it?”
“...” That woman.. I was speechless.
“Well never mind the details, I am showing you this because I want you to recruit someone with easy access to information that is also good at spreading it. The bureau could use a good communications officer, and we need people to be aware of our awareness actions.”
I sighed “Promise me you won't pull a stunt like that again, It is terrible not knowing why everyone is acting strange”
“OK I promise next time I will inform you beforehand.” Ms Lyst replied.
That woman was really tiring. All I wanted was to be alone in a kitchen researching how to perfect my celeriac puree. Maybe I should turn it into a soufflé?
“Not exactly what I meant, but since it is you I am talking to, I guess there is no helping it. I will be going then, I still need to eat my lunch.”
“OK, see you after classes then.” Ms Lyst said to make sure I could not “forget” our after school appointment now that we had already seen each other.
I nodded without saying something and left the FBY room.
I was wondering if I really needed to do any damage control. I had the feeling I was more popular than ever and I doubted I could do anything anyway. Trying to change the situation now was a bit like trying to unevolve a pokémon and it would only create a Barabara Streisand effect anyway.
Ms Lyst sure drove her point about information control through though.
Thinking about a recruit, my thoughts immediately went to Gazette. If anyone had the skills to gather and spread information it would be her. But would she be willing to do it for the bureau and at the same time not use the information obtained for her own benefits? That would need to be seen.
I let my eyes over the courtyard looking for the petite cheerful dark haired girl that was no doubt talking to someone while multitasking and doing something on her phone. I pinpointed her, she was talking to a large but slim girl that a lot larger than me and I was 1m63, it was a bit of an odd sight seeing her next to the 1m50 Gazette. Gazette's and my eyes met, I gave a little wave and went up to her.
“Hey Eline!” I also nodded to the other girl that I did not know.
“Hey Claire, oh that's right, you girls don't know each other. This is Elodie. She is in 6LW, we know each other because we both attend photography lessons at the cultural center. We always team up for our assignments.” Gazette was clearly happy that she knew someone I didn't. I guess in her head it was like a mini scoop.
“Nice to meet you" I said, "I am Claire.” For a moment I thought Elodie looked a bit irritated like I was disturbing something. But she switched immediately into a happy smile. Must have been my imagination.
“Oh you are that girl from yesterday.” she said, recognizing me her eyes became bigger with excitement.
“Yes I am the FBY director.” I answered jokingly. I still had a hard time taking all of this seriously.
“I am on official businesses and I was wondering if Eline could help me.” I continued.
Both of them suddenly looked at me with big eyes, I could almost see the glitter in them. They were excited to hear more about the novelty in our school and could not wait to get some inside information from me.
I explained to Eline about how the FBY would need a communications officer and that I thought she would be perfect for the job but that she would be restricted by confidentiality not leaking any personal information she obtained due to her function.
A little pout appeared on her face when she heard about the confidentiality part but Elodie quickly gave her a little push with her Elbow urging Gazette to say yes. But Gazette was a bit more shrewd and answered:
“Only if Elodie can join too. At least that way I can gossip about everything with her.” Elodie was clearly over the moon with that response and stared at me expectantly.
I could not see a problem with her joining as well because we had still many seats to fill and having someone so eager that already was on good terms with another member seemed like a bonus to me and most importantly, who could resist those puppy eyes.
“Of course, you can both come” I answered “Can you girls come to the FBY office after school, it is near the teacher lounge”
“Count on us, '' Elodie said eagerly. I accidentally let out a little chuckle when I thought about the fact that a last year student, probably the tallest one in the school, was in reality just like a cute eager little puppy. Luckily that chuckle came over as my approval of them joining the FBY.
I walked away and in the corner of my eye I thought I saw Elodie gently put some hair that was hanging in Gazette's face behind her ears while looking down with a gentle smile. This reminded me of one of those yuri manga I read yesterday. I turned my head and looked again clearly and they were now just talking like friends. “No way,” I told myself. “I am just seeing things because I have been reading that weird manga. They are clearly just pretty close friends.”
I looked at my phone and saw I had only 10 minutes left, so I walked toward the assembly point of my class, 4H, and ate my sandwiches there.