“Gene?” Jeanne asked. “I was so worried about you!”
“It’s nothing, really,” he said. Other students had started to crowd around him. “I’m not… I can’t talk about it.”
“What happened to Deacon?” Ian asked.
“Yeah, where is he?” came another call.
Gene shook his head. “Mr. Lorentz said I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone,” he said, “or I’d get in even more trouble.”
“You’re not in…” Jeanne started, before noticing something on his face. “Oh. Okay.”
“Class,” the substitute said, “there will be plenty of time to talk after school is out. Please concentrate on your work.” There were groans and shuffling as the rest of the class went back to their seats.
Gene logged into the computer; Jeanne was already set up. Both knew their way around the machines, and had long ago defeated the most pertinent of the access controls managing the instant messaging capabilities. Within moments, a window appeared on Jeanne’s screen, bearing some exhortation in German. Jeanne smiled, reading the message; she responded, in kind, with “I was wondering, yeah.”
“It wasn’t as bad as it looks,” Gene replied. “Mr. Lorentz just wanted to know about the notes.”
“So he did find out?”
“Yeah.” Gene frowned, concentrating. “Mr. Walsh figured it out because of our writing-hands.”