Home > Size 14 Is Not Fat Either (Heather Wells #2)(5)

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either (Heather Wells #2)(5)
Meg Cabot

Gerald looks—well, there’s only one word for it: frightened. So does Saundra, the salad bar attendant, and Jimmy, the hotline server. Magda is pale beneath her bright makeup. And Pete—what’s Pete doing here?—looks like he wants to hurl.

“Okay, you guys,” I say. I am convinced whatever is going on has to be a joke. Because Gerald, being in food services, is a prankster from way back, a master of the rubber rat in the desk drawer, and plastic spider in the soup. “What gives? April Fool’s isn’t for another three months. Pete, what are you doing back here?”

Which is when Pete—who’s wearing, for some reason, an oven mitt—reaches out and lifts the lid from the merrily boiling pot, and I get a good look at what’s inside.

2

What are these panties

Doing in my couch?

They’re not mine

No, there’s no doubt.

You won’t catch me

In a size S thong.

So who’s been doing who

Here, all night long?

“Thong Song”
Written by Heather Wells

The Fischer Hall cafeteria is crowded, but not with students. We told the residents there was a gas leak—not one big enough to evacuate the whole building, but one that necessitated closing down the caf.

The sad thing is, they were all so bleary-eyed from partying the night before, the residents actually seemed to believe us. At least, no one protested—once I started handing out the free-meal voucher cards, so they could go eat in the student union.

Now the dining hall is still packed—but with college presidents, administrators, cafeteria workers, police officers, and homicide detectives, instead of hungry eighteen-year-olds.

Even so, the room is strangely hushed, so that the energy-saving bulbs in the chandeliers above our heads—casting reflections in the stained-glass windows near the edges of the high ceiling—seem to be humming more noisily than usual. Above the humming, I can hear Magda sniffling. She’s sitting on one side of the cafeteria with the rest of her fellow workers, in their hairnets and pink uniforms and French manicures. A city police officer is speaking to them in a gentle tone.

“We’ll let you go home soon as we get your fingerprints,” he says.

“What do you need our fingerprints for?” Magda’s chin is trembling with fear—or maybe indignation. “We didn’t do anything. None of us killed that girl!”

The other cafeteria workers murmur in agreement. None of them killed that girl, either.

The police officer’s tone stays gentle. “We need all your fingerprints so we can ascertain which prints in the kitchen are yours, ma’am, and which are the killer’s. If he left any.”

“Ascertain away,” Gerald says, coming to the defense of his employees. “But I’m tellin’ you right now, none of my folks is a murderer. Am I right, people?”

Everyone in a pink smock nods solemnly. Their eyes, however, are shining with something a little more than just tears. I suspect it might be excitement: Not only had they found a murder victim in their kitchen, right there amid the corn dogs and peanut-butter-and-jelly bars, but now they are valuable witnesses to a crime, and as such are being treated not as cafeteria workers—untouchables, as far as the students they serve are concerned—but as actual thinking human beings.

For a few of them, this might actually be a first.

I spot the head of the Housing Department, Dr. Jessup, at a table with several other administrators, all looking dazed. The discovery of a corpse’s head on campus has worked as an expedient in getting the administrative staff to work before ten, despite the impending blizzard. Even the college president, Phillip Allington, is there, seated next to Steven Andrews, the new head basketball coach, who looks worried. He has good reason to: The entire New York College varsity basketball team—not to mention the varsity cheerleading squad—is housed in Fischer Hall, thanks to the building’s close proximity to Winer Complex, the college sports center.

After the two student deaths in this building during the first semester—winning Fischer Hall the nickname Death Dorm—all the university employees (including sport coaches) seem to be feeling a little jumpy. And who can blame them? Especially President Allington. His tenure hasn’t been an easy one. No one knows that better than me, assistant director of Death Dorm.

And now it looks as if things have just gotten immeasurably worse, not just for the president, but for my boss’s boss, the head of Housing…and he knows it. The show-hanky tucked into his breast pocket is crumpled, as if someone—exercising my superlative investigative skills, I surmise that someone was Dr. Jessup himself—has actually been using it. Sitting slumped in a chair at a sticky cafeteria table for the past half hour hasn’t done much for the creases in Dr. Jessup’s suit, either.

“Heather,” Dr. Jessup says to me, a little too heartily, as I come toward his table, having been summoned away from my desk—where I went directly after Pete’s revelation to begin calling everyone I could think of, including Dr. Jessup and my boss, Tom—by one of the police officers. “Detective Canavan wants to talk to you. You remember Detective Canavan from the Sixth Precinct, don’t you?”

Like I could forget.

“Detective,” I say, extending my right hand toward the slightly rumpled-looking middle-aged man with the graying mustache, who stands with one foot resting on the seat of an empty cafeteria chair.

Detective Canavan looks up from the cup of coffee he’s holding. His eyes are the color of slate, and the skin around them is wrinkled from overexposure to the elements. It’s no joke, being a New York City homicide detective. Sadly, not all of them look like Chris Noth. In fact, none of them do, that I’ve noticed.

“Nice to see you again, Heather,” the detective says. His grasp is as formidable as ever. “I understand you’ve seen it. So. Any ideas?”

I look from the detective to the head honcho of my department and back again.

“Um,” I say, not sure what’s going on. Wait—do Dr. Jessup and Detective Canavan actually want my help in solving this heinous crime? Because this is so the opposite of how they were about my helping them out last time…. “Where’s the rest of her?”

“That isn’t what Detective Canavan meant, Heather,” Dr. Jessup says, with a forced smile. “He meant, do you recognize…it?”

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