School at Camp
Since the number of campers that were Nico and I’s age was growing, school became even more fun. Nico, Keenan, Flynn, Kaylina, Michelle, Max, Lee, Willow, Fletcher, Jay Carman, Jay Barnaby, Kyle, and I bonded quickly as a class, even if some of us had quarrels in smaller groups.
The Carmans and the Barnabys were both families within Camp Half-Blood, and because of that, they acted like they were superior to everyone else. Their mortal parents had attracted gods multiple times. Despite the fact that many other examples of gods choosing a mortal more than once existed, the Carmans and Barnabys continued to act superior. I wondered how terrible it was for Bermuda to be stuck with the Carman brothers in the Hecate cabin, all alone.
“Don’t listen to them,” Nico would tell me when the Jays set my teeth on edge.
“They’re just so annoying,” Max said. “I have another brother from my dad and Athena, but they don’t believe me just because he’s not here.”
“Same,” Kaylina said. “Besides, their parents are minor gods and--”
“Hey,” Nico, Flynn, Max, and I said at the same time. “No parent-shaming.”
Kaylina rolled her eyes. “Just saying.”
Besides the Jays, Kyle Noshirwani was a total perv. Whenever Malcolm left the classroom, everyone had to be on high alert to make sure that Kyle didn’t reach under the tables and try to touch one of the girls. He had done it to me before, and I had pulled a trick I learned from Percy and made it so that Kyle had toilet water stuck in his ear for weeks.
“If he ever touches you again--” Nico said, red in the face after I told him what happened.
“It’s okay, Nics,” I promised, squeezing my hands between my thighs. Kyle had hardly touched the waistband of my pants before I had punched him, but I still felt dirty somehow.
“We need to talk to Chiron about him,” Nico said. “He just keeps doing it, and it’s not right.”
I agreed, so the next day in class, Nico wrote out an invitation to join us in talking to Chiron about Kyle and passed it around the classroom indiscreetly. Everyone except the Jays agreed to join us.
“Of course they’d stay out of it,” Keenan said, clenching his fists. “They can’t stand up for anything except their own reputation.”
“They just don’t feel empathy,” Willow said. “They don’t know what it’s like, trying to avoid someone only for them to keep popping up and trying to get you to do things.”
“You mean he bothers you outside of class?” Michelle asked.
Willow blinked. “He doesn’t follow the rest of you around?”
“No,” Kaylina said, taking Willow’s hand and quickening her pace towards the Big House. “We’re taking care of this once and for all.”
We stormed into the Big House, where Chiron, Mr. D, Clayton, and another satyr, Herbert, were playing Pinochle.
“Whatever is it now?” Mr. D asked, throwing his hands in the air. “We can’t get through a simple game of Pinochle without you brats barging in and demanding something from us.”
Herbert began nibbling on his card nervously, and without looking, Dionysus snatched them from his hands.
“This is way more important than your stupid game,” Kaylina said, and Fletcher put his hand on her shoulder, watching the purple flames grow in his dad’s eyes. “What she means is that… well, we kind of have an emergency that should have been solved a long time ago.”
“Doesn’t sound like an emergency to me,” Mr. D said, crossing his arms. Despite his angry posture, the flames in his eyes calmed when he looked at his son.
“It is,” Nico said. “Can we talk to Chiron alone?”
“Gladly,” Mr. D said, picking up his can of Diet Coke and pushing through us. The satyrs followed him out of the Big House, looking at us apologetically.
“What is it, children?”
“Can we--?” Michelle asked, gesturing to the chairs. Chiron nodded. The ones of us that couldn’t fit in the chairs from the game pulled chairs from the stacks around the wall and squeezed around the table.
When we sat down, everyone was looking at Nico and I. Nico glanced at me, then cleared his throat. “Chiron, we… well, the girls mostly, have been having a problem with Kyle.”
Chiron nodded. “I was wondering where he was, since he does belong to your class.”
“It’s just that…” I said, not sure how to say it. “He’s been really, um… gross around the girls.”
“He steps over so many lines,” Kaylina said. She still held tightly to Willow’s hand. “Did you know that he stalks her?”
Chiron folded his hands in his lap. “I was not aware.”
“In class, whenever Malcolm has to leave to take care of something else, he tries to touch the girls,” Michelle blurted. “You know, in their--”
Chiron held up his hand. “I am glad that you brought this to my attention. I promise to you all that I will do everything in my power to make sure that you all feel safe at camp.”
“So you’ll kick Kyle out?” Flynn asked, cracking his knuckles.
“He should be kicked out,” Keenan agreed.
Many others murmured their agreement.
“But if we kick him out, doesn’t that leave him at the mercy of the monsters?” Max asked.
I nodded slowly. “Making a guy like him have more bitter feelings against the gods and nowhere else to go could just create another Luke.”
Chiron cringed. “I do not know what the permanent solution will be at this moment. I will have to discuss it with Mr. D and then Kyle himself. What I can promise, is that whatever has been occurring will no longer be happening.”
“How can you promise that if you didn’t even know that he was doing it in the first place?” Kaylina asked, her face flushing with anger.
“I have many ideas,” Chiron assured her. “I swear to you all: his behavior will not continue.”
We left Big House as a group, Nico and Keenan holding my hands, Fletcher and Flynn protectively flanking Michelle, and Kaylina still clinging to Willow.
“What now?” Max asked, scratching his head.
“I would feel safer if I had someone with me at all times,” Kaylina said, and Willow and Michelle agreed. Nico and Keenan looked at me, and I shrugged. “I’m never alone except in the cabin sometimes. I’m really not worried, especially after I showed Kyle who was boss.”
“I’m not leaving your side,” Nico promised. Then he grimaced. “Except at night, when your siblings can protect you.”
Keenan nodded dutifully. “No one will come into the cabin without me knowing about it.”