TRAGEDY

She was never a particularly nosy parent. She understood Wallace was a teenage boy and needed his privacy – hey, she had known teenage boys back in her heyday. She didn't want to intrude on his privacy. So Alicia let her son mind his own business unless it was truly serious, and she certainly wouldn't intrude on his friends problems. What right could she ever have to do that?

So she heard Veronica's confession by accident. She was still a little angry at the girl after the incident with the bugged plant – Veronica could have gotten her fired!

Still, she was unsettled when she heard Veronica sniffling into Wallace's shoulder. "It was... it was the December before last," she started, and Alicia knew she should just go. That this was none of her business. Get she remained frozen.

"I went to a party at Shelley Pomroy's, just to show everyone who was treating me like shit... Y'know, that I didn't care. But then someone put GHB in my drink, so..."

"Oh god," Wallace muttered, and Alicia had to agree wholeheartedly. She had heard of this story happening to young girls; it was horrific and sick, but an abstract concept to her. But Veronica...?

"I blacked out... when I woke up, I was in the guest room. My underwear was..." the girl trailed off, and Alicia felt sickened. You bastard that did this, you've got some people to worry about.

"I just figured it out. I... wasn't raped. I was drugged and slept with... Duncan. He left before I woke up, and I couldn't remember, so I..."

"I'm so sorry," Wallace said to his best friend, and Alicia went about calming her expression as she walked back to the kitchen. The poor girl – she had no idea about it, how could she? Did Keith know? Alicia suddenly remembered his words from before; She's not your average seventeen year old. She truly wasn't – but what did that mean? Did Keith know?

Alicia thought. She hadn't meant to overhear, but surely Veronica wouldn't take the fact she had well. What she had confided was meant for Wallace's ears only; and Alicia considered herself blessed to have such a good boy – man – for a son. Alicia knew what she had to do for Veronica – act normal. Give the girl room and space to heal on her own time, and let Wallace be the support Veronica needed.

Wallace's room went quiet and eventually, Veronica exited. Alicia made small talk with her; which turned to larger talk about the bugged plant, and then to Keith.

"Believe me, he's not going anywhere," Veronica told her, and Alicia smiled. Veronica left and Wallace looked at her as she went; Alicia followed her son's line of vision.

"Is she okay?" Alicia asked Wallace, who looked at his best friend with a mix of sympathy and respect.

"Yeah. You know what Mom? She is."