Chapter 9: Plans
Edie held Leila’s hand as they walked together out of the dining hall and back across campus to the woods. She looked up at her girlfriend, smiling. “That was nice of you to come have dinner with us.”
Leila nodded. “I am glad to spend more time with you and your friends.” She wasn’t looking at Edie, though, just staring straight forward. She was walking quickly enough that Edie had to take longer, faster strides than usual to keep up—but at least she didn’t have to run.
“And I’m glad you could tell us a little about Mardalan,” Edie said. “I know you don’t think you had much information, but it was more than we had before.”
“It is still strange to me,” Leila said. “What she did. Perhaps I should look for her, and try to find the answer…” she didn’t sound very happy about it.
Edie squeezed her hand. “Only if you really want to. And won’t she be mad at you? I don’t want you to look for her if you might get hurt.”
“Oh, that is a good point.” Leila glanced down at Edie briefly. They were just passing the circle of light that marked the edge of campus, at least after sunset on a November evening. “I believe she is still quite weak, but I cannot know for sure, so I should be careful.” She shook her head. Edie could just barely see the movement; the light from behind them was faint, and the moon was close to new. “If Lal can find her with the book, I would like to have that knowledge as well. An information exchange could be just the thing.”
“Yeah, and you could come visit me in my dorm whenever you want.”
“That would be convenient. Though, of course, you do live on the fifth floor, which is rather inconvenient.” There was a trace of irony in her voice.
Edie grinned. “Yeah, it’s annoying. Next year I’m definitely going to live on the first floor somewhere if I can. Assuming Corrie’s okay with that, I mean, or if there are any triples so we can get a place with Dawn. That would be pretty cool. Then it would be much easier for you to visit me. Especially if I can get a window—then you could just knock on the window and I could come out!”
“Indeed,” said Leila.
“But that’s next year,” Edie said, uncomfortably aware that she was babbling. “I don’t need to worry about that yet. I just have to think about next semester.”
“Have you signed up for classes yet?”
“Of course, that was last week. I’m taking Introduction to Magic. I’m really looking forward to that. Even if I already know a little magic.”
“I am sure that you shall excel,” said Leila, squeezing her hand and sending a wave of warm pleasure to her. “Who is your professor?”
“Professor Virginia Agnew. I don’t really know anything about her but Corrie said that she made a recording of the trance instructions for Professor Lal to use in her class, so that sounds pretty cool.”
“Yes, I know of her, though I do not know her. I believe she is the only regular magic professor who is not a faerie.”
“Huh. That will be different, then.” Edie was a little disappointed. She had been looking forward to learning magic from a faerie. But maybe it would be easier for her to trust a teacher who wasn’t a faerie. Not that she had a problem with faeries, of course—her good experiences with Leila more than made up for the bad ones with Marlin—but her friends always seemed so unsure about whether to trust their faerie professors, it would be nice not to be second-guessing her teacher’s motives.
They had arrived at Leila’s tree. “This is where I shall leave you,” said Leila, carefully pulling her hand away from Edie’s.
Edie frowned. “Can’t we sit and talk for a while?”
“No. I am tired.” She bent down and kissed Edie chastely on the cheek. “Go back to your dorm and do your homework. I will, I think, see you again.”
Edie laughed. “Of course you will, love. Okay, have a good rest, then.”
She wanted to give Leila a proper kiss, but before she could rise up on her tiptoes to do so, Leila had turned away and walked toward the tree. Edie stood still for a moment, wondering whether to follow her, then decided to let her rest and turned back toward campus.
She hadn’t noticed before how cold it was. But it was November, after all. She pulled up her hood and tucked her hands into her sleeves, then ducked her head against the light, cold wind and walked back to her dorm room.