Chapter 33: Familiar
Unfortunately, as it turned out, Corrie brought Byron along to have lunch with them. Dawn didn’t have anything against Byron… but she was pretty sure Corrie hadn’t told him about the faeries, unless she’d done so today, and she didn’t mention anything like that. “Don’t say anything,” she muttered to Naomi as they walked up to the sandwich station, a few feet away from Corrie and Byron.
Naomi nodded. “Of course.” They made their sandwiches.
Conversation was quiet and sparse during lunch between the four of them. Dawn couldn’t get her mind off the possibility of Leila being a faerie, and she assumed Naomi was the same. When they talked, it was about their food and a little bit about magic class.
Finally, as they left the dining hall, Corrie and Byron parted ways. Dawn looked away as they kissed goodbye. “See you tomorrow morning,” said Corrie.
Byron nodded. “Have fun with your homework.”
Corrie rolled her eyes, then waved goodbye. Once the three girls were a few steps away from him, she turned to Dawn. “Okay, what’s up? You two have both been really quiet. Did your family go home, Dawn?”
Dawn nodded. “Yeah, a couple of hours ago.”
“A little, I guess. I’ll miss them more later.”
Corrie put her hands on her hips. “Seriously, I know something’s wrong. Just tell me already. Or are you waiting until we get back so we can talk to Edie?”
Dawn shook her head quickly. “No, the last thing I want to do at the moment is tell Edie. Come on… let’s go inside first.”
“Okay,” said Corrie, sounding puzzled.
Once they were inside Gilkey, Corrie raised her eyebrows. “Enough stalling.”
“Sorry, Corrie,” said Naomi, “but we’re not actually sure whether there’s anything worth worrying about or not. And before you ask, Dawn filled me in on… the faeries. And all that stuff. I guess.”
“Oh!” Corrie’s eyes widened. “Is that what this is about?”
“Maybe,” said Dawn. “Er, probably. I guess. Um, my aunt… well, I guess the first thing I should tell you is that she knew about the faeries when she went here. She’s the reason I have the Sight. But apparently she didn’t know they were dangerous.”
“Well, that’s interesting,” Corrie said. “And explains some stuff.” She didn’t turn to look at Dawn, who was behind her on the stairs.
“Yeah. She also said… well, I don’t know how to bring this up, so I’ll just say it right out. She thinks Leila is a faerie.”
Now Corrie stopped and turned around, staring at Dawn. “Are you serious?”
“Of course I am.”
“Sorry,” Corrie said. “I’m just shocked. Was she sure?”
“No, and neither am I, but I can’t just let it go.”
“Of course not.” Corrie took a deep breath and started up the stairs again. Dawn hurried to keep pace with her, Naomi just behind them. “Why does she think so?” Corrie asked.
“She looked familiar. And sounded familiar, which is probably more telling. She said Leila was in some plays while she was a student here.”
“But you didn’t see anything, did you?”
“No, she looked perfectly normal and human to me. But so did Troy.”
“Yeah, but he’s not immortal.” Corrie continued up the stairs in silence, passing the third floor. Finally, she spoke slowly. “I actually looked at Leila with a clover today. But I didn’t see anything, either. Not even a shimmer. And if she’s using a glamour or illusion of any kind, wouldn’t it make sense to use one that looks at least a little bit different from the one she used last time?”
“Professor Lal and Ever didn’t, did they?” Dawn said. “Remember the pictures in the yearbooks?”
“Well, they didn’t look exactly the same. But you’re right, they used pretty much the same faces.”
“My aunt said Leila’s hair and voice were the things that were most familiar to her. She could have a different face, or a different build, or something. Pru didn’t really know her.”
“The hair has to be part of it,” said Corrie. They had reached the fifth floor, and proceeded down the hall, Dawn looking nervously around to make sure no one was listening. “I’ve never seen her with her hair down. Edie hasn’t, either. She always wears it in a bun.”
“Maybe she wanted to be recognized?” Dawn shook her head. “But how would she know someone who recognized her would be here?”
“She didn’t have to know. A lot of people have parents or other relatives who went here.”
“But it would be kind of stupid to want to be recognized, wouldn’t it?”
“Not all the faeries follow the rules the others do. Marlin didn’t.”
“I think—” Naomi started. Corrie and Dawn both stopped to look at her. She stopped, pressing her lips together.
“It’s okay,” said Dawn. “Go ahead.”
“Well, what if she wore her hair down to hide something? Wouldn’t that make more sense?”
Dawn looked at Corrie. She was nodding. “That’s a very real possibility.”