Laura woke up from the noises coming from the kitchen, she heard the clanging of spatula and pot, plates and utensils, the aroma of the food was going through her nose to her stomach that made it growl in hunger. It's past seven in the evening, she didn't eat lunch so she was definitely starving.
She groaned, stretched her back, neck, arms, and feet as they get cramped upon sleeping on the sofa instead of a soft bed like what she had long earlier. Well, there was a soft bed in her supposed to be room, but what almost made her run out of the room was the still intact rope above the bed, and now that she knows Blaise's face, she could imagine her hanging on it and that's what scared her extensively, what's worst was that she might dream of it when she sleeps.
"Oh, you're now awake." A woman towered in front of her, an apron shielding her black shirt tied at the back that allowed her to see her slim figure, her denim shorts hugged her toned legs, she's also carrying the spatula in her right hand while her phone on the left. By just one look, Laura could tell that she's an athletic scholar. "You must be hungry, come and join me."
Laura sat up slowly, frowning as she felt her shoulder stung. "Is that okay with you?"
"Of course! And I'm sorry about that." Pointing Laura's shoulder through the spatula, "No one gave me a heads-up that someone's going to occupy the next room so I didn't clean it. But it's good now." She smiled a little, staring at Laura for a while then started walking back to the kitchen but made sure that Laura was following her.
The first thing Laura noticed was the wooden board, it was now empty, the sticky notes and the pictures she saw earlier were now gone. Then the old woman mannequin sitting on the wheelchair earlier was also nowhere to be found, the room was also cleaner and warmer than what she had witnessed earlier. If she didn't come earlier or didn't know the story behind this room, she might believe that this room was a warm place and a beautiful room, yet unfortunately, something horrible happened there, and she will find out every detail of it soon through her roommate.
"If you're looking for your baggage, I already put it in your room. I feel really sorry that you have to see that room's state." She apologized again, she put a half cup of rice, and a whole slice of meat on her plate, beside her, was a bowl of vegetable salad and a glass of fresh orange juice.
Laura shook her head softly, she also put some on her plate as she answered her, "I also have a suicidal friend, I once saved her from hanging herself." She told her, which is really true because Dany had once tried doing it. She sort of feeling guilty for telling it to other people but this was her only way to dig deeper to take the first dot on her plan.
She heard her cough uncontrollably that made her spoon hung in the air, when she looked at her, she was shaking her head vehemently as if defensively, she sipped on her juice first before answering, "Gosh, No! I'm not suicidal if that's what you think."
Laura feigned a confused expression, then she kindly looked at her, "I just came here, we're not close, we don't even know each other's name but
you know, you can tell me, so I will be aware and save you as well, I'm willing to help, really."
Laura cringed to herself, she was not the type of comforting someone else besides Dany, and her words sounded very fake, at least for her as the now touched woman shook her head again, she wiped her hand on the table cloth and stretched it after, "I'm Eloise Nore. You?"
She looked at it, cleared her throat, and answered, "I'm Laura Sim...pson." She shook her hand and bit her tongue, she almost uttered her real surname while Dale enrolled her by the name Laura Simpson, though her identity as Laura Simons was confidential and almost nonexistent only if they dig thoroughly, Dale still changed her surname for only Dale knew why.
"Nice to meet you, Laura." She smiled, then shook her head again, "But I'm not suicidal, we're Med students, our topic last semester was about saving someone from dying, that was the type of 'dying' I thought of and since no one's occupying it I used it as a practice room, then because of our hectic training, I'm a volleyball player, by the way, I forgot to clean it." She explained patiently, consuming a mouthful of food after.
Laura couldn't tell if she's telling the truth or not, as far as she could remember it's only been two months since her sister died, and earlier this month, her friend, Phil, killed himself too, can someone be this 'fine' knowing that three important people in her life died only this year? She couldn't tell, especially with how good Eloise's acting right now. Seems like she will have a hard time bringing up the topic of the death of the three victims.
"Where did you study in your first and second year? I think you are the first to enroll in already the third year, mostly the scholars' studies here since the first year." She inquired, now eating her salad.
Laura swallowed her food, "Three years ago, I was in a private school and incoming third-year nursing student, but unfortunately, my parents died and left me with nothing but debts so even though it was against my will, I stopped my studies and work instead. Then only this year, a friend introduced me to UE, saying that I can apply for a scholarship and continue my degree here so I did and passed and now I'm here." She stated, almost sounding so rehearsed if not for her somber expression. Well, it really was rehearsed, Dale instilled that story in her mind, even made her practiced in front of her, acting like she was the one asking that question.
Eloise gave her a sympathetic look, she reached for her hand and squeezed it lightly as if comforting her, Laura wanted to do the same, her story wasn't real, but Eloise has experienced it first hand, she meant the deaths of someone you loved, even saw her sister's, her only family, body hanging on the wall. She couldn't imagine her pain that she still hid until now.
"You cleaned it well," Laura remarked, roaming her eyes around the previously messy and traumatizing room. The bedsheet was now replaced with a new one, there was also a small lamp above the bedside table, a swivel chair tucked under it, one single chair near the tinted glass window, her baggage and backpack were on the bed, and most importantly, the rope was now gone.
But that's it, no more else, it looked plain and ordinary but not dull, she loved the green paint of the wall and the warm and welcoming light from the incandescent bulb. She preferred this kind of room, more preferably than the previous one that almost inviting her to end her life, she could sleep well in this kind of room, only if she didn't think of the room as a crime scene.
"The next room is mine, you can knock if you need something. Are you good now? I'm going out now, our practice earlier was intense." She stretched her body and yawned.
"You should take a rest. Thanks, Eloise." She replied, sitting on the edge of her bed as she gave her a double thumbs-up.
"No worries. Also, I have no schedule tomorrow, I can tour you around the campus so you wouldn't be lost like earlier, though our building is just right there in front, you still need to know where to find the faculty in case you'll have concerns."
Laura beamed at that, moved by her roommate's kindness. "Really? Are you sure it's okay with you?"
"Of course. I'll meet you after the freshmen and transferees' annual orientation, what time is that?" She asked, and Laura creased her forehead, she has no idea about that orientation and no one has told her about that. Sensing it, Eloise pointed the paper on the bed, "It's on your schedule."
"Oh right!" Laura looked at it, the first thing she read was the schedule Eloise was talking about, "It is eight in the morning until eleven o'clock."
"Okay then. I'll wait for you outside our building, we'll also eat at the cafeteria so you'll know what kind of food they offer." She said then opened the door,
"Goodnight, Laura. Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too. Goodnight."
When she closed the door, she waited for another while until she heard the other door to close as well before she freaked out as she picked up her new phone. She almost forgot about the microchip inside her body, and until now she hadn't made a plan on how to contact Dale without getting caught.
She studied her schedule, if she only had two days, then it means that she had until Tuesday, but her schedule on Tuesday was packed with classes, she really had no choice but to do it tomorrow. Dale suggested that she should do it at a gathering, with many scholars in one place so they'll have a hard time figuring out who did it, so she thought of her plan A-Z on what to do tomorrow.
"It's tomorrow or never."