Chapter 23: Sinister Plans
“So if you’re already done your homework, what are your plans for the rest of the day?” Roe asked Corrie.
“Well, I should probably head to the library for research on my history term paper. But that’s boring, and it’s not due until the end of finals week, anyway.” Corrie shrugged. “Actually, I emailed Paul. We’re going to meet up later tonight—well, as close as we can get—and I’m going to try to take that stupid curse off him.”
“Paul?” Roe said. “Your stalker?”
Corrie laughed. “I wouldn’t really call him a stalker. He’s just an ex-boyfriend, and… well… he followed me to Chatoyant College.” Her smile faded. “I guess he is kind of a stalker. But he’s not a bad guy, and he doesn’t deserve to be cursed so that he can’t get within twenty feet of me. What if we have classes together next semester—or even in nearby classrooms? Plus, he really hasn’t tried to contact me. I had to look up his email address in the school directory. I think he’s learned his lesson.”
Dawn was frowning so hard there was a wrinkle between her eyebrows. “I don’t. He’s probably just avoided contacting you because he can’t get close to you anyway. And it isn’t though he hasn’t been around.”
“It’s a small campus. I’ve only seen him a few times.”
Dawn shook her head. “Then you haven’t been paying attention. I’ve seen him at least twice a week. I guess I look more closely at crowds than most people, though, because I’m looking for faeries.”
Corrie frowned and shook her head. “But I’m sure he’ll feel better when I take the curse off. Besides, it’s not like anything’s going to happen. I’m meeting him outside the magic building at eight. There will be plenty of people around.”
Dawn and Roe shared a look Corrie couldn’t decipher. Then Dawn grabbed Corrie’s arm and started walking down the hall, pulling Corrie with her. “What are you doing?” Corrie cried.
Dawn kept going until they reached Corrie and Edie’s door, then pushed it open, startling Edie, who jumped up and spun around to stare at them with wide eyes. “What’s wrong?”
Dawn sighed. “Corrie is planning to meet Paul outside the magic building tonight.”
“What?” Edie ran the few steps to reach them and grabbed Corrie’s other hand in both of hers. “You can’t do that! What if he attacks you?”
Corrie looked back and forth between them, confused and annoyed. “You’re both overreacting. He’s not going to attack me. He’s never done anything like that. I’m just going to take the curse off him, if I can, so we can stop worrying about each other. Maybe he’ll transfer to a different school, like I suggested before.”
Edie shook her head. “Why would he do that? He just wants to be around you. I’ve read about stalkers, Corrie. They don’t stop at looking at you and following you. If you don’t do what they want, they get angry.”
Corrie understood why her friends were trying to protect her—and she’d done the same thing herself—but it was still starting to get annoying. She was only going to meet up with him once. “Seriously, don’t worry about it. Even if he does attack me, which I seriously doubt, I can protect myself. I can set him on fire if I have to.” The idea was absurd enough to be amusing. “Or, I don’t know, spray water at him or blow him away with a blast of air.”
Edie frowned, then looked up at Dawn. “At least let us go with you.”
“You can come with me,” Corrie agreed. That certainly wouldn’t hurt—it might annoy Paul, but it wouldn’t hurt his feelings.
“I’m coming, too,” said Dawn.
“No you don’t!” Corrie said, turning to look at her. “You have to hang out with Rico tonight. You haven’t seen each other in days.”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “I miss him, but I’ll survive a few extra hours. I don’t even know exactly what time he’ll get here. And if he gets here before we get back, he’ll understand. Actually, he’d probably like to come and help protect us.”
Corrie groaned. “Two friends is plenty. I don’t need a white knight too.”
Dawn smiled. “I won’t ask him to come, then. But we have to be there. We might see things you don’t, because you always want to think the best of Paul.”
“I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Corrie repeated. “But I understand that you want to protect me. And I might need your help to figure out the magic, anyway.”
Edie squeezed her hand before letting it go. “See? You don’t have to avoid your friends.”
Corrie laughed and, when Dawn let go of her arm, hugged Edie. “I don’t want to.”