Chapter 27: A Discovery
They spent the next couple of hours with Naomi and her family. They did get to see Naomi’s sculpture—which didn’t look like much to Dawn, but Naomi and Pru both assured her it was shaping up to something—and eventually had some lunch. Dawn was happy to meet some of Naomi’s family, but she did have to admit to herself after a while that the stepmother was just as annoying as Naomi had said she was. She talked incessantly in a slightly-too-loud, nasal voice, and didn’t seem to have much that was good to say.
After they had their lunch, Dawn was relieved that it was time to part ways with Naomi’s family, but it turned out that both families wanted to go home.
Naomi’s dad and stepmother had a flight to catch, and Dawn’s parents and aunt had a drive of several hours ahead of them. They all walked to the school parking lot together, but Naomi’s family stopped first, so Dawn told her roommate she’d catch up with her and continued on until they reached her parents’ car.
All three of them had to hug her, which, of course, she had no objection to. “Thanks for visiting,” she said, and she meant it. Pru showing up and telling her what she’d told her might have complicated her life, but at least she understood some things better now. “I guess I’ll see you all at Thanksgiving, then?”
Her mom nodded. “Be safe, okay? And get a haircut.” She flicked at Dawn’s hair, which had, indeed, gone without being cut for quite some time and was looking a little bedraggled at the ends.
She couldn’t answer the first part honestly, so she just grinned. “Maybe Edie and I will go together.”
“Remember the advice I gave you,” Aunt Pru said. Dawn couldn’t do much other than nod and raise her eyebrows; her aunt hadn’t given her any advice that she could recall. She realized now that she hadn’t managed to get her aunt alone again like she’d wanted to. Maybe she would send her an email or something.
“I’ll try,” Dawn said. “You should come back and visit. Maybe you can come on a weekday and visit some of the professors who were here when you were a student and remember you.”
Her aunt pressed her lips together, but her eyes were dancing. “Oh, I’m sure they would just love that.”
They all said goodbye again, then the adults got in their car. Dawn followed behind them as they drove out of the parking lot, but, of course, was soon left behind.
When she reached the end of the lot, she found Naomi was waiting there for her. She was surprised, but a little pleased. She and her roommate had gotten to be fairly good friends (though Dawn was definitely not as close to Naomi as she was to Corrie and Edie), but Naomi tended to be a bit distant, spending most of her time either working on art or hanging out with her art and theater department friends or both, all of which took her out of the shared dorm room.
“Ah, quiet at last,” said Naomi by way of greeting as Dawn caught up to her.
Dawn grinned. “Oh, you’re going to miss them, admit it.”
Naomi shrugged. “I’ll miss my dad, at least.” She glanced away as they started their walk back to campus, and Dawn followed her gaze, but saw nothing but trees. “I guess you’ll miss your family, too.”
“Yeah. It’s weird, though. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without seeing them, but it doesn’t feel like that much of a separation.”
Naomi raised her eyebrows in surprise. “Even your aunt?”
Dawn nodded. “I used to see her, like, every weekend. Or she’d come over during the week for dinner. She only lives a couple of miles away from my house—or my parents’ house, I guess I should say.”
“That’s pretty cool.” They were quiet for a few minutes as they walked back across the campus to their dorm. Dawn was thinking ahead to the fifth floor, where hopefully Corrie would be waiting—if she was lucky, without Edie. So it startled her a little when Naomi spoke again. “Dawn, I found something of yours.”
“What do you mean?” She couldn’t remember losing anything.
“There was a piece of paper sticking out from under your computer… I thought it might be a note for me.”
Dawn stopped in her tracks and turned to face Naomi. It was the note she’d written to herself. She tried to remember what exactly she’d written. How much did Naomi know?
Without saying anything else, Naomi pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and handed it to Dawn. It read, in her handwriting, “Leila maybe faerie, talk to Corrie.”