Chapter 34: He'd Love to See You
“In fact…” Dawn said, thinking of how genuinely sad Tom had seemed to be when he heard that Pru had never had children (in fact, it was the only genuine emotion she had seen from him, other than maybe amusement), “Why don’t you come back here? I’m sure he’d love to see you.”
Pru made a noncommittal noise. “He didn’t come to see me when I was on campus visiting you.”
“I don’t think he knew you were there. He doesn’t seem to be very connected with campus events. He didn’t know about what Marlin was doing with his human lovers. And to be fair, you didn’t go looking for him, either.”
“No, I didn’t. I… I guess I was afraid.”
“Afraid? What could you possibly be afraid of?”
“Well, he might not be happy to see me again. It has been a very long time, you know, and not all reunions are joyful ones. Besides… I don’t exactly look the way I did in college, Dawn. I’m a lot older now. He might be technically a lot older than me, but he doesn’t look that way.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t care about that,” Dawn protested, though at the same time she was wondering whether that was part of the reason the faeries hung around campus—all those young people in the prime of life, free of their parents for the first time. All the musicians in Mardalan’s little orchestra had been young, college-aged.
“Oh, Dawn. You’re so young and naive.” It was said in a teasing voice, though, so Dawn knew her aunt wasn’t really making fun of her.
“I really don’t think he would mind,” Dawn said. “At least he would like to see you. I mean, I assume he knows humans age in a way that faeries don’t. And he really did sound like he cared about you and missed you.”
“Hmm. Maybe I’ll come to pick you up for Thanksgiving break and look for him then.”
“Only if you want to. I’m not trying to pressure you or anything, I just think it would make both of you happy. He said that relationships between humans and faeries never end well, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.”
“He did, did he? I wonder what he was doing with me.”
“He didn’t actually seem to care that they don’t end well. He was just saying it as a statement of fact.”
“Well, don’t date a faerie then.”
Dawn laughed. “No fear of that. I trust them about as far as I can throw them. Besides, I’ve got Rico.”
“That you do. Tell him that if he hurts you I’m coming after him.”
She laughed again. “I will.”
“All right, well, I think I’ve got my inspiration back. Thanks for the phone call, Dawn. You’ve given me something to think about, too. Unless you had anything else to ask?”
“No, that was it. Thanks for talking to me. Good luck with your sculpture.”
“Thank you, dear. I’ll talk to you later.”
They hung up the phone, but Dawn continued to sit still, staring into the space above her monitor, her game of Solitaire forgotten. Pru had, to Dawn’s surprise, given her something to think about as well. Mostly, the question of why the faeries were here and why they didn’t leave. She hadn’t given it much thought before. She’d just known they were here. But there must not have been faeries in the parks and forests she had gone to as a child, or she would have seen them. And she hadn’t realized before that they wouldn’t leave.
It made sense that Mardalan and the other faeries in the forest wouldn’t want to go anywhere, with their entourage of human musicians. And Marlin had presumably stuck around for hundreds of years just so he could prey on young women. But what about the others? Ever and Professor Lal had showed up in all those different yearbooks and old pictures, so it was evident that they had been around for a long time, too. Did they really just stick around to teach and pretend to be college students? There had to be more to it than that.
Well, that was a question to ask Professor Lal after class tomorrow. And if she couldn’t get any answers out of her, she could always try Tom again. And if he wouldn’t answer either, she would have to seek answers elsewhere. There had to be some records of the school that would explain what was so special and magical about it, besides the fact that it was the only place that taught magic. There had to be a reason for that, too.
But for now, her stomach was grumbling and she was still alone. She got up, shrugged on her jacket, and went out to knock on Corrie and Edie’s door.