Chapter 45: Ears
They made a little party of it, after dinner: the six friends sitting in Dawn and Naomi’s room, where Naomi’s jewelry-making supplies were, talking and making bracelets. Actually, Edie and Naomi were making bracelets, and everyone else was just talking. Edie had more success with the larger knitting needles she’d gotten out of her room, and she finished a bracelet first. She tried it on. Corrie watched her carefully, but she didn’t seem to have any discomfort with the iron against her skin. However, it was too small, so they passed it around and Annie, who had the smallest wrists, ended up with it. “Maybe a little bigger next time,” Annie said, grinning.
“Yeah, I’ll try it on, I guess,” Edie said sheepishly. “I guess I underestimated, since we want them to be as flush against the skin as possible.”
“We’ll get them right,” Naomi said. “And we don’t really need to worry about wasting wire as long as we can go shopping tomorrow. It doesn’t cost that much. Hey, Corrie, you have the second-skinniest wrists, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Corrie said, glancing around at her other friends.
Naomi gestured to her. “Come here, I think this one is about done.” Corrie went over to her, and Naomi wrapped the plaited wire around her wrist, then with a twist, closed the loop. “Perfect!”
Corrie held her wrist up into the light and admired it, grinning. “It is perfect! Thanks, Naomi!” It fit her wrist perfectly, and didn’t move up or down when she shook it. It would stay right against her skin. It looked like it wouldn’t come apart if she hit anything with it either, but she was hoping it wouldn’t come to that.
“You’re welcome. Now, let’s see, a little bit bigger for everyone else.” Naomi picked up the coil of wire and uncurled it, cutting off a long piece.
Corrie looked at the clock. “We should probably go soon, I think… do you have one ready yet, Edie?”
“I’m getting there,” Edie said. “At least it’s going a little faster now that I’ve got the hang of this knitting technique. I think this one should fit me.”
Corrie went back to talking to Dawn and Roe about Professor Lal. Not much later, Edie finished her bracelet. “We should definitely go shopping tomorrow,” Edie said. “But I don’t think there’s a craft store in this town, is there?”
“Not that I’ve seen,” said Naomi.
“Well, if you guys can find one nearby, I’ll be happy to drive everybody,” Corrie said. “It would be cool if we could find other stuff. Ready to go, Edie?”
“Yeah, just have to get my coat and stuff.” Edie stood up. “See you later, guys.”
Corrie and Edie went over to their room and put on their coats. Corrie also put two bottles of water in her backpack and adjusted the bracelet on her wrist. It wasn’t entirely comfortable, but she would be surprised if she didn’t get used to it soon. It didn’t have any points or sharp edges, just small curves that dug into her skin a little.
It was nearly eight, so they hurried down to the first floor, and Corrie knocked on Charlie’s door. It opened almost instantly. “Corrie? Right on time. You must be Edie? Right, warm coats, looks good. Let’s get going.” He pushed between them, locked his door, and started a quick walk toward the front door.
Corrie followed, feeling a little tightness in her stomach, and grabbed Edie’s hand. She was nervous, but also excited. She was going to get to really talk to her father.
The air was icy for early October, with the smell of frost in it. The stars were shining above, clear and sparkly, and Corrie admired them as they walked out, relying on Edie’s hand to guide her. So when Edie stopped short, she stopped too. After a moment, realizing they weren’t moving anymore, she stopped looking at the stars.
Leila was standing a foot away.
Corrie instinctively went to her pocket, then realized that not only could she not reach her jeans pocket with her winter jacket on, the clover wasn’t in it. She’d left it at home because she had the iron bracelet on. But she could see Leila, and her red hair was in its usual bun, exposing her ears, and they looked normal. What was the difference here? Was Leila just better at glamours, like Professor Lal?
Well, she knew one thing. She wasn’t going to let go of Edie’s hand. Edie seemed to be staring at her girlfriend. Charlie had stopped a few feet in front of them. “Come on, guys, we have a long walk ahead of us,” he called back.
Leila didn’t look at him, just stared steadily at Edie. “Come on, Edith,” she said in a calm, clear voice. “We’re going to the orchard.”
“You didn’t say anything today,” said Edie uncertainly. “I made other plans…”
“What is it?” Leila snapped. “Why are you staring at me that way.”
Edie released her grip on Corrie’s hand. Corrie held hers all the tighter. “Your ears…” Edie said softly.