Her eyes grew narrow. "What?"
"The Secret Room." Will braved himself, saying it louder this time.
"You jolly well know that you're not allowed to snoop around it."
Though she tried her best to say it with conviction and authority, he sensed some fear in her voice.
"Stella, weren't you once curious about it as well?"
She turned away.
"Stella!" Will ran to face her. "Please! I want to know if the stories are true!"
Her jaw dropped open. "What stories?"
"Stories of you trying to break into the Secret Room many years ago."
"Will," she said slowly, pausing over each word. "Are you doing the same?"
Whoops. Maybe he shouldn't have been so straightforward. She did, after all, have connections with Mrs. Banks.
"I'm won't say anything about what you've heard. But take it from me: stay clear of the Secret Room."
"That's what Mrs. Banks tells us all the time."
"For a good reason, I believe."
"But you did find out something, didn't you?"
"Will, I know nothing and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. You're not the first one to have come and asked me about this, and I told the rest nothing. So forget it."
With those cold, cold words in his ears, she walked away. He was so sure there was something she was hiding. But was she hiding it by her own free will, or was it because Mrs. Banks made her not tell?
"Stella, wait!" he caught up with her. "There's something important I forgot to mention. Please don't tell Mrs. Banks about what I asked just now."
A warm smile returned to her face. "Don't worry. I won't."
"But Will, I'm serious. I'm telling you this not as an adult, but as a friend. There were some other kids I knew who used to mess around too much with the Secret Room. All of them wish they never did now."