Chapter 26: Privacy
Unfortunately, there weren’t too many private areas on campus, unless they walked all the way back to the dorms, which Corrie didn’t want to do—they had planned to get lunch and she was starting to get hungry. She wanted to keep her explanations quick.
She ended up taking Byron around the side of the building, to a space where there weren’t any windows directly overlooking them because the main theater was on the other side of the wall. She sat down in the grass (which was cool but not damp) with her back against the building and tugged at his hand. He sat down next to her and faced her, still looking worried.
“This is going to sound weird,” she said as a preamble.
He smiled a little. “It had better be weird. I can’t imagine a normal explanation for you getting in a fight.”
She smiled and shook her head at him. “I never told you that I used to get in fights all the time in high school? I mean, they happened less as I got older, but it’s not that weird for me.”
“But this was an unusual situation,” he prompted.
She nodded, her smile fading. “Yeah. Well, Leila is an unusual situation.” She took a deep breath, wondering where to start. “You’ve never taken magic classes, have you?”
“No. What does that have to do with anything?”
She put her hand on his arm to quiet him. “I have to start with the explanation somewhere. It’s a pretty long one, to be honest. And it would be easier if you had taken magic classes.” She looked at him to be sure he understood, and he nodded. “But hopefully you still believe that magic is real, even if you’ve never done it yourself.”
“Well, it’s not just magic that humans can do that’s real. There are other… beings in the world, that can do magic, or I guess that are inherently magical. I’m talking about faeries, specifically.” She could bring up Troy and the werewolves later, if it seemed necessary. But she had to explain faeries to explain why she was so mad at Leila. “I don’t know how much you’ve read of real folklore and stuff like that. But these aren’t the sparkly little helpful type of faeries that are in Victorian fairy tales and Disney movies. These are just inhuman creatures that don’t think the same way we do and have magic that they can use to trick us.”
She paused to let him ask questions if he had any. He didn’t say anything, so she continued. “There are faeries here. Some of them live in the woods, and some of them pretend to be students or teachers here. Several of the magic teachers are faeries. They seem to be good guys—they might not be human but they still like us. But there are some other faeries that aren’t good guys. A few of my friends have been hurt by them. I’d rather not get into the full stories because they’re not my stories, but I just want you to understand that faeries are dangerous.” She took a deep breath. “And Leila is one. I really don’t know much about her, but she’s been taking Edie places and messing with her mind, I think. She didn’t seem to know what time it was last night and neither of them would tell us what they’d been doing. Edie didn’t even tell us she was going out with Leila, she just disappeared. So I was trying to ask Leila what was going on and hopefully get her to leave Edie alone, which probably wasn’t a good idea, but she wouldn’t tell me anything and just kept trying to piss me off. So we got in a fight. I threw my keys at her because they’re iron and I know faeries don’t like iron. I think that’s why she was hiding her face, she had some kind of weird injury from the iron. So uh… that’s about the whole story, I guess.”
Byron was quiet for a minute, then said, “So you’re telling me Leila is some kind of mythological creature and you think she’s hurting Edie.”
“A faerie. Yeah.”
“Sorry, Corrie, but that’s completely ridiculous. I think you could have come up with a better story than that.”
She looked up at him, shocked, He had his arms crossed and looked pissed. “What?”
“You could have just told me you thought she was abusing Edie or something, you know. I would have accepted that. But now I don’t even think I can believe that part.”
“I had to tell you the whole story!” Corrie cried. “I wanted you to understand why I used my keys instead of just hitting her, and I didn’t want to keep you in the dark anymore. I care about you and I wanted you to know what’s going on in my life.”
He shook his head. “You have a funny way of showing it. If you care about me why don’t you just tell me the truth?”
“I did! What else do I have to say to get you to believe me?”
“Just tell me what was really going on!”
She was getting pissed now. She crossed her arms. “If you don’t believe me, I’m not going to make up some story to placate you. I told you the truth. You can decide whether to believe me or believe her.”
Byron sighed, closed his eyes for a moment, and stood up. “It’s not a question of believing Leila. She didn’t tell me anything. I just want the truth from you, and if I’m not going to get it, then it’s not worth the time. Bye, Corrie. I probably won’t see you in the morning.” He turned and walked off in the direction of the dining hall.
“Well, shit,” Corrie said out loud, watching him go.