For Aneesh Kelkar, and other students who knew, the affair — and having to keep it under wraps — became an obsession.
“We talked about it the entire time we knew,” another friend says. “It was never not on our minds. We didn’t want it ruining her life. If we felt she was in danger, that he was forcing her, making her do it, we would have gone to authorities. We never thought she was in any danger. She was happy.”
So they viewed the affair as … okay? No. It was, this friend says, “the most fucked-up thing I ever heard in my life.” Sleeping with a teacher is stupid — anyone knows that. Meanwhile, the half-dozen friends could sense that those teachers close to Hawkins, the ones later forced out, knew something was going on. It was crazy. It was dominating senior year even as they kept it secret, as they wondered: Should I be the one who tells? Do I humiliate Jane and ruin her senior year?
Meanwhile, Jane allegedly had a request of her best friend. Aneesh Kelkar confirms something he told police: that he heard that Hawkins’s buddy and fellow teacher Paul Pasko wanted a girl to sleep with, too, so Hawkins asked Jane if she could procure one. Jane suggested it to her best friend. “[Jane] thought she was trying to help his friend,” Kelkar explains. Jane’s friend’s response, Kelkar says, was absolutely not. (Pasko declines to discuss the accusation.)
Now a freshman at Pitt on full scholarship, Kelkar confirms something else he told police: that a friend of Jane’s told her own parents about the affair, sometime, Aneesh believes, in January. “I think at first they didn’t believe it,” he says, “but then it became increasingly obvious that it wasn’t a lie, and they were concerned about [Jane’s] reputation, so they’d tell her parents when the school year was over.”
This all begins to feel like an older, juiced-up version of Peanuts, with new cars and money and the freedom to gallivant around as you please. It’s as if Charlie Brown and his cohorts had been left to their own devices over fundamentally dicier questions while parents and school authorities existed only as rumors.
Finally, Jane’s best friend went out to dinner at the end of March with a classmate named Sara and revealed the affair to her. The circle of those in the know was widening. Sara and the friend texted each other on March 31st:
Sara to the friend: Does [Jane] know everyone knows? …
The friend: We were talking and she is a little freaked out.
Sara: What did you say to her? Does she realize what is going on?
The friend: She’s starting to. I love her and want to talk to her about it and show her what a bad person Hawk is so when he gets fucked over she is happy.
The day before news of the affair hit the school community, Jane broke down in her class right after statistics with Hawkins. “What happened, Jane,” a classmate teased her, “did Hawkins turn you down for the prom?”
Ouch. That classmate had no idea — yet. But that’s how obvious Jane’s connection to Hawkins had become.
And then Sara stepped up.