Simone’s Notes:

Scandal starts with gossip. Gossip consists of casual or idle talk of any sort, sometimes (but not always) slanderous and/or devoted to discussing others. Sure, it is harmless at first. But when gossip is placed in the wrong hands, ears, and mouth, it is a deadly and soul-crushing thing! The results of gossip aren’t pretty either. Lives and careers are destroyed, money is lost, and everyone loses. Gossip is a dangerous thing to touch.

Lt. Col. Brandon Floyd was always a bachelor. He was twenty-nine years old and never really thought about getting a date. He was a charming man. Brandon had dirty blonde hair to his ears, deep caramel-amber eyes, and a nice tone body with strong board shoulders. He always looked good in his uniform. Many girls were attracted to him, but the lt. col. never noticed them. David, Daniel, and the other men from the North city spent their time trying to get him a date. But so far, they had failed. Even with Hughes’ help, they got nowhere with their mission. Brandon just wasn’t interested in the love world. Some wondered if he was gay. “No,” he would answer. “I’m just married to my work.” But soon, that statement would change.

Brandon was walking home one evening in the rain with his red umbrella over his head when he came to a stone bridge. He passed a young girl standing on the edge. She looked to be about seventeen years old. The girl had reddish-blonde hair to her small waist. Judging by her maroon and silver uniform, she was a Maywillow High student. Her maroon skirt came down to her knees and her light silver short-sleeved blouse looked perfect in the rain. She had a lovely profile. By first look, the girl looked as if she was going to jump for the bridge. She was focused hard on the low and dark water below. Brandon stopped in his tracks. “If you’re looking to commit suicide,” he spoke up. “This isn’t the place to do it at. That lake’s been drained for thirty years now.” When she said nothing, the lt. col. began walking again. “I wasn’t,” the girl spoke up. Brandon stopped and turned again. The girl was still standing on the bridge. “I wasn’t going to commit suicide,” she began again. “I was just thinking.” She turned to climb off of the bridge. Brandon walked over and helped her down. Now, he got a good look at his new acquaintance. She had sweet light violet eyes and a cute little baby face. Her lips were light pink with lip gloss. She was a tiny little thing with nice looking breasts and a curvy waist. Her uniform looked great on her. She had her reddish-blonde hair into two neat little ponytails. The girl looked as if she had been crying. Brandon felt great pity for her.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. The girl tried to look away. “Nothing.” she said quickly. “I don’t want to talk about it!” Brandon didn’t have to press on to get the message. “That bad?” the lt. col. asked. The girl nodded. Brandon felt sorry for her again. “Tell you what,” he spoke up. “Have you eaten?” The girl looked at him confused. “No, why?” she asked. The man smiled at her. “Great!” he said in slight happiness. “I’ll take you somewhere to eat, okay?” The girl tried to smile as she nodded. “Sure,” she replied. “I’d love that!” “Okay!” the lt. col. called. “Let’s go!” Then, they began to leave. “Oh, by the way,” Brandon spoke up as they began walking. “What is your name?” “I am Jodie Harrison.” the girl answered. “I’m Lt. Col. Brandon Floyd,” the man said back. “But you can call me Brandon.” “Okay,” Jodie replied. “Brandon.” Then, they kept walking in the rain. The lt. col. kept Jodie close to him in order to keep her dry.

They came to a small diner downtown. There were not many people around. Brandon let Jodie order from the menu. “I’ll pay for your meal, okay?” he asked like a gentleman. “Okay,” Jodie replied. Then, she ordered a grilled chicken burger and he ordered a fish soup. The lt. col. took a good look at her again. “I see you’re from Maywillow.” Brandon spoke up as they waited for their food. “Am I correct?” “Yes,” his female friend answered. “I’m new here, how did you guess?” Floyd smiled at her. “I’ve seen five others that have the same uniform colors as you,” he replied. “You just can’t miss it.” “Oh, I see.” Jodie answered. Then, she giggled a little bit at that obvious statement. Brandon just couldn’t help but to watch her. She was a beautiful girl. He seemed to have a small attraction to her. Judging by talking her this whole time on the way here and sitting here, Jodie was a bright and nice girl. She had her head on her shoulders until most teenage girls her age. Jodie even wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. She even had a nice-looking body. If she was a little older, Brandon would ask out on a date. But yet, he couldn’t help but wonder…

“Everyone at my school hates me!” the girl spoke up at last. The lt. col. raised an eyebrow at her. “What do you mean?” he asked in confusion. Jodie felt herself beginning to cry again. “Last week,” she began trying to fight back her tears. “I moved here to live while my grandfather while my parents were getting a divorce. Everyone at my school was very nice to me. I thought that I would make some new friends here. But then on Monday, everyone started ignoring me. I began to wonder why. So, I went to a couple of my new friends to see if I did something wrong. They just walked away from me. Then when I went to my locker, I found many notes taped to it saying that I was the Night Slayer. At first, I didn’t know what they were talking until a bunch of girls crowded me and kept accusing me of murdering soldiers in the military and maiming their genitals. I kept trying to defend myself by saying I was never a prostitute, but they didn’t believe me! As the week worn on, the teasing grew worse! Everywhere I went, every girl in my grade kept calling me a slut and a whore. I don’t understand! They were all so nice to me when I first came here. I’m not a prostitute. I’m still a virgin! I’ve never even killed anybody. I’ve never even seen a guy naked before! I can’t why they don’t believe me! I don’t understand it! I just don’t understand it!” Jodie finally broke down and cried.

Brandon reached forward and lightly brushed away her tears. Jodie looked up at him. “I believe you.” the Lt. Col. spoke up. “Those girls are just jealous of you, that’s all.” “Do you really think so?” the girl asked. Brandon nodded at her. “I know that for a fact!” he spoke up. “You are a beautiful girl. You are very smart and you have your feet on the ground. Don’t listen to them. Okay?” Jodie nodded with tears in her eyes. Right then, Brandon knew that he couldn’t just leave her alone. Kids in high school were so cruel there days. Girls were the worst. He even banked on some jealous senior girl wanting all the attention on her and saw Jodie as a threat to her popularity. So, what better way than to spread slander and gossip about an innocent new girl to keep her crown? Right then, the lt. col. realized something. He was slowly becoming infatuated with this young beauty. This was so wrong! He was old enough to be her older brother. But yet, it couldn’t help to have a younger lover nowadays. But what about his career? Falling in love with a high school girl would ruin everything he worked so hard for. Besides, she was too distressed to even think about thinking getting a boyfriend. That settled it. He would help her get through this current crisis and see what happened afterwards.

“You know what,” he said again. “I’ll walk you home, okay?” “Oh, you don’t have to!” his friend spoke up. Brandon lightly took her hand. “No,” Floyd spoke up. “I want to!” Jodie kept looking right at him. “O-Okay.” she replied. Brandon smiled at her kindly. Right then, the food came to their. “Thank you,” the lt. col. replied nicely to his female infatuation. “Now, eat your dinner.” Jodie smiled back at him as she picked up her chicken burger to eat. Brandon just picked up his spoon and began eating his soup.

Brandon walked Jodie home just as he promised. The girl stayed close by her knight in order to keep dry. She couldn’t explain it yet, but for some reason she felt so safe in his arms. The girl wished that she could be by his side forever. But sadly, that couldn’t be so. He was way too old for and probably had someone already. (For now, anyway!) They both came to her apartment. It seemed dark from the outside. Not many people seemed to live there at the moment. Brandon assumed that most of the residents had night jobs. “There!” Jodie called as she pointed to up to the second floor. “That’s where I live!” “Okay then,” Brandon said to her. Then, he walked her over to her the dimly-lit building. The girl stayed close as she went up the stairs with him. The outside lights were finally flickering on with each step. Brandon and Jodie finally made it to apartment number 212. Jodie walked up to the door alone. She turned back to her knight. “Well,” she said. “Good night. Thank you, for spending time with me.” “Anytime!” Floyd told her. “Good night, Brandon.” the girl called to him. “Night!” the lt. col. called back. Then, the schoolgirl reached into her schoolbag, pulled out her key, and stuck it into the lock. The man gracefully saw her inside before he left.

“This would mean the world to me!” Brandon pleaded with his comrades back at work. He was pleading with Hughes, David, and Daniel to let Jodie be under his care until the Night Slayer was solved. So far, the whole notion seemed rather questionable. Since when did this guy ever care about a young woman’s reputation? “It’s too risky for you!” Hughes pointed out. “She’s only seventeen years old. I mean, what would people think?” “I’m only taking a young girl who is having a hard time at school because her classmates are always accusing her of being a murderer.” Brandon answered. “Come on guys, I wouldn’t do something ‘inappropriate’ to her! She trusts me too much for that.” “That’s what we’re worried about!” David cut in. “What if you get attached to this girl?” His friend just shrugged at him. “I’ll resist temptation!” he argued. “I’m not Nathan!” “That’s true.” Dan said. “But still,” Hughes reminded then. “You’ll have her in your house!” “She’ll have my bed and I’ll sleep on the couch. I’m not a pervert!” Brandon concluded. “So come on. Nothing will happen between us and I’ll even get permission from her grandfather to be her guardian. So what do you guys say?” The other three men thought about this for a moment. Then Dan said, “Alright, we’ll take your word for it.” Brandon turned to Price for approval. “David?” he asked. The major nodded uneasily. Then, Floyd turned to Hughes. “Maes?” he asked. The others waited in silence for his response. Hughes didn’t like this arrangement one bit. But he said, “Alright, but I still don’t agree with it!” Brandon smiled. “Thank you, guys!” he called. Then, Floyd left the room to get and talk to Jodie’s grandfather. The men watched after him. “You think we should keep a watch on them both?” Dan asked his comrades. “Yep!” Hughes and David said quickly. “That’s what I thought!” Daniel agreed. Sure, they trusted him, but one can’t be too sure…