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((Jason and Charlene continued from Cleanliness and Loneliness))

It had taken only a couple hours, but once it came, it was nearly debilitating. Jason felt like a dick now. It wasn't just the fact that he could have handled that situation much, much better, that alone he could have taken. It was the announcement that really got him:

"... Hayley Kelly, having sharpened her skills yesterday, demonstrated her perfect beheading technique, this time on James Mulzet ..."

James was dead. So now, how his bag had shown up was, well, it didn't really matter how. He looked over at Thea. While Jason definitely did not like the fact that James was dead (he seemed like a pretty decent guy), Thea had taken it the hardest - it seemed like they had been close.

Jason just leaned over, hands on his knees, trying to regain his mental bearings. His right hand went, for a second, to his collar. Before, he had thought about this game as "Survivor-to-the-death." Now, his mind also went back to the previous two unscheduled announcements ...

"It's come to our attention that one of your number has been interfering with their collar ..." The second that Mr. Kwong(?) had said that, Jason had started listening. He knew, well, knew of Liz Polanski from math class, and his feelings were a combination of hope and resentment. The hope came from the fact that Liz had managed to beat the system - hopefully, he could join in on that. The resentment, came from the fact that Liz had beaten the system, and he wasn't the hero. Both feelings, however, were dashed within five seconds.

"Miss Polanski. If you instruct anybody, verbally or by any other method, in your techniques, we will immediately detonate their collar. If we see you persisting in trying to break our rules, we will detonate collars at random." Wait, how could they ... the cameras. They had become such a constant presence that Jason had almost forgotten about them. So that was out, then ...

"It has also come to our attention that Miss Polanski has recklessly destroyed one of our cameras, as a punishment, we will now detonate a collar... I will be commencing this punishment now ..." A few seconds, and then ... "B148, Daisuke Nagazawa, eliminated." So, great. Now it was "Survivor-to-the-death" and Russian roulette with the collars, a fact that was reinforced later in the day by yet another announcement, to the detonations of three more collars.

Going back to the current situation, Jason was now dealing with his own, nigh inevitable mortality, and his feeling of complete and utter idiocy at his actions from the previous day. He looked over at Evie, about ten feet away. He gave a silent, humorless chuckle, as that was the closest he had physically been to any person for the entire day. Evie was the one affected most by Jason's ironic call for peace. So why hadn't he apologized yet for his behavior? Mainly because he was just scared of how Evie would take it. On the other hand, he knew he was going to have to say it eventually. He just sighed as he walked towards Evie. This could become very painful.

"Uh, hey, Evie. About last night," Jason scratched the back of his head nervously. "I've actually had time to let it sink in, and I realize that I was ... I was an idiot when I started screaming. I guess I just felt like ..." No. You're already regretting the last time you voiced your opinion. "... Ah, what I mean is, I guess the game just got to me for a second, and I snapped. So, yeah. I'm sorry for what I did back there." Jason felt like Evie would ... actually, he was praying she didn't scream at him again. He figured he'd find out within the next five seconds.

The way Charlene saw it, if Bayview hadn't been forced into SOTF, she would probably be lying on a towel or a lawn chair or something, in one of the swimsuits she had packed for the trip. Evie and Thea would be with her, as would Nik and James respectively. Jason would only make himself known if he could secretly provide a drink or two, and Alex and Madelyn would be somewhere else entirely.

... If only they'd been so fortunate.

Thing is, Bayview Secondary was put into SOTF, and the current situation was quite different. She had been with Thea ever since that horrible announcement in the morning, when James's death was announced. Now Thea was all over the place because James, who was a pretty decent guy, was killed by Hayley Kelly. Whereas when that Steve guy died, Charlene simply wanted to stay away from Hayley, now if the bitch died, well, all the better. Charlie looked at her best friend, with whom Alex was about to make conversation. Charlene moved in a little closer, enough so that she could hear and possibly be heard, but not so much as to seem like she was intruding.

"We need to talk." She peered over at Thea, trying her hardest not to look like she was being too intrusive.
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