Chapter 7: Social Circles
“Why not?” asked Edie, frowning.
“Because,” said Leila, “there is very little that I know about my sister that Lal does not know. That is, I believe Rook knows her rather better than I do, and as she is trying to harm students I am sure they have shared all of their information in an attempt to stop her.”
“But she’s your sister,” Corrie said, confused. “Don’t you know her really well?” She looked around the table, trying to get agreement from her friends. “I mean, I don’t have any siblings, but I always thought if I did have a sister we would tell each other all our secrets.”
Edie laughed. “Yeah, I can tell you never had a sister.” She and Leila smiled at each other. It made Corrie happy to see that.
Dawn looked at Rico and shrugged. “I’m an only child too. I mean, I’m pretty close to some of my cousins, but I wouldn’t expect to know more about them than their friends do.”
“I’m sure I know more about Duncan than anyone else, except maybe his mom,” said Rico, “but we’re not really brothers, we’ve just been friends all our lives. I don’t have any siblings.”
“I’m an only child too,” said Roe.
“So am I,” said Annie, laughing a little. It was a little absurd that so many of them were only children.
“Well, my siblings and I definitely don’t tell each other everything,” said Edie. “Leah used to ask me for advice sometimes, but not since… not in a few years. I email them sometimes, but more likely it’s my parents.” She frowned. “What about your parents, Leila?”
“Mardalan and I share a mother, and she has been dead longer than any of you have been alive,” said Leila. Corrie winced and started to say she was sorry, but Leila didn’t seem upset about it, and she was still talking. “And Mardalan is many years older than me. We were not raised together and we have never been close. She merely seems to believe she has some sort of claim on me due to our relation. She had been attempting to have me join her court for years.”
“Why didn’t you?” said Roe softly.
Leila frowned and shook her head. “It is all frivolity and cruelty, and they spend all their time talking, dancing, and drinking. I am not social and that does not appeal to me.”
“I can understand that,” said Edie. “You just have different social circles.”
“Yes. Mardalan looks down on my preference for humans.” She took Edie’s hand. “She considers whoever is part of her circle to be her subject of sorts.”
“I saw Professor Lal at one of her parties once,” said Corrie. “Does that include her?”
Leila stared at her for a moment. “I am sure that Mardalan considers her as such, yes. Any faerie that is not part of her court is one she wishes to draw in, unless she has decided that one is beneath her notice, like your friend Tom.”
Dawn grinned. “And why is Tom beneath her notice?”
“If I had to guess,” said Leila, with a slight lifting of her lips as though she were amused, “it would be because he has only ever laughed at her however she has begged or threatened him.”
“Ha!” said Dawn. “That sounds about right.”
“But you see, I do not know.” Leila shrugged. “Our lives are very separate, and I prefer to keep them that way.”
“You’ve told us a lot that we didn’t know before,” said Corrie. “But I guess Professor Lal probably already knew it.”
“I am sure,” said Leila. “If you were to bring your idea to Lal, I could perhaps give her some information as to where she might be hiding, but I am not sure that would be worth breaking school rules when I truly do not require the help.”
Corrie looked at Edie, who was looking at Leila. Edie wanted this to work, and therefore Corrie wanted it to work as well. “Maybe some of us can talk to Professor Lal during her office hours tomorrow,” she said. “I mean, we’ll never know if it’s a good idea if we don’t ask both sides, right?”
“And I don’t think we should bring it to Professor Rook,” said Rico. “He’s a good teacher, but he doesn’t seem to want to answer questions about faeries.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Dawn. “I’ll go with you, Corrie, if we can find a good time for both of us.”
“Great,” said Corrie. “Leila, Edie did tell you about what Mardalan did, right? With the book?”
“Yes,” said Leila. “It seems strange to me.”
“What’s strange about it?” asked Roe, leaning forward over the table. They had all finished their dinners by now, and were just talking while the dining hall slowly emptied.
“I am surprised that she would go to such effort to cause problems for students. She generally considers humans beneath notice. If I thought it was targeted at Edith specifically, I would believe she is trying to attack me again, but from what she said it sounds unlikely.” Leila shook her head. “Perhaps her priorities have changed.”