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I pulled the door open.

Gil pushed it back shut, careful not to disturb the yellow caution tape as he did. He was always doing stuff like this.

“You can’t go in there,” he said — putting himself between me and the door. I could tell his attention was still divided between me and that caution tape.

We were standing next to the lockers. We’d been friends for a long time. I wondered if that was why he didn’t have any other friends. It was Thursday. I made a mental note to ask my therapist about that.

“It’s just the gym,” I told him.

“It’s not just the gym,” he said, lowing his voice. “It’s a crime scene.” He glanced over my shoulder before looking back at me. “Someone set a fire during first period. They announced it over the speaker… wait—” he stopped, his voice getting progressively slower, like a toy running out of its battery.

“Jessica,” he said in that tone.

“Gil,” I said in that tone.

“Where were you during first period?”

“You think I set the fire?”

“No…no…” he said slowly, not quite taking his eyes off of me.

“I’m working on a case, Gil.”

“Uh huh,” he said, still watching me. “But, ya know, between us… anything I should know about?”

I leaned in close to him. “Just between us?”

He closed his eyes. “Jessica…,” he said.

I smiled.

“Yes, I did it,” I said. “But I had to. To solve a bigger case.” And with that, while his eyes were still shut, I slipped under his arm and pushed the door open, pulling a little bit of caution tape as I slipped inside.

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