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Chapter 28: Hugs

Edie had just gotten out of the library when she remembered the magazines for her sister. “Hey,” she said to the librarian. “I need to buy some magazines. Can I just leave my bag here where I can see it?”

Chapter 27: Party Planning

After a few hours of historical dramas, Corrie was just starting to get bored and thinking about actually picking up a book when her cell phone rang. She muted the television and seized the phone. “Hello!” She didn’t know who was on the line and she didn’t really care—she was just glad to have someone to talk to.

“Hi, um, Corrie? It’s Etta.”

“Oh, hi, Etta! How are you? Did you figure things out about the party?”

“I’m not totally sure yet. Do you know what time it starts?”

Chapter 26: Silly Thoughts

Dawn worked on making gemstones for a while longer, then took a break to read a book. When she was ready to take a break from that, she decided that she really needed to get a sample of her aunt’s clay to figure out how to make it. Either that or she could make something completely different. She didn’t really think Pru was likely to work with gems, now that she thought about it.

Chapter 25: Books

The library was emptier than it usually was on a weekday afternoon. Looking around as she walked over to the fantasy section, Edie realized that was because all the school were on winter break; there weren’t any kids here to do their homework or to be sat at a table for a few hours while their parents took advantage of the free, safe space.

Chapter 24: Rest

Corrie woke up as someone patted her shoulder. She lifted her head off the couch to see her grandmother bent over her, smiling. “I’m heading home,” she said. “I didn’t want to wake you for long, but you should probably go to bed.” She touched Corrie’s cheek. “You’re getting lines in your face from the couch.”

Corrie grunted, then pushed herself upright and gave her grandmother a light hug. “Thanks for a wonderful Winter Solstice, Grandma.”

Chapter 23: Magic Practice

Dawn exhausted herself on Sunday night trying to create something with earth magic. She went to bed feeling unhappy and disgruntled. She knew that Professor Lal had warned them that magic would probably be harder when they weren’t on campus anymore, but she hadn’t really thought that it would apply to her. And she hadn’t thought it would be quite this hard, either. She’d tried a lot harder than she had on campus.

Chapter 22: Family Differences

Edie spent the rest of the night with her family, then went to sleep. She dreamed about candles, but when she woke, all she remembered were vague spots of light.

Chapter 21: Solstice Night

“So then he said he was going to call the owner—and she told him to go ahead, of course.” Corrie’s grandmother laughed behind her napkin. “I could hear everything that was going on, but I sure wish I could have seen his face when her cell phone went off right in front of him.”

Chapter 20: Gifts

Dawn procrastinated enough watching TV and reading webcomics that she was still halfway through wrapping her dad’s present when she heard her parents’ car in the driveway. She hastily positioned herself so that if he came through the back door like usual, at least her body would be blocking him from seeing the gift right away.

Chapter 19: Changes

After dinner, Edie wanted to go back to her room and read, maybe look online for a pattern to go with her interesting linen yarn, but her sister Leah stopped her from going upstairs by grabbing her wrist as she started to step up. “Don’t leave again, Edith!”

Surprised, Edie stopped and turned, even though Leah was still hanging on to her wrist. “I’m not going anywhere! Just up to my room.”

Leah nodded. “Exactly. You’re always going and sitting by yourself. Well, I missed you and I don’t want you to hide away!”

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