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Chatoyant College

Chapter 54: In Check

As it turned out, there were only four strip malls between them and their destination. They stopped at the fourth, since Corrie said it had been eight miles and maybe that was close, but there was no craft store to be found there—just a big box store, a lingerie store, a hardware store, and an electronics store. “I guess this way husbands and wives can pretend they’re going out together and just go to different stores when they get here,” Dawn joked.

Chapter 53: Setting Limits

Saturday, October 11

Edie felt oddly light and energetic as she woke up that morning. She normally didn’t wake up very quickly, but today she felt like it. She was just getting dressed when Corrie came back from her post-run shower.

“Hey,” said Corrie, flipping her head over to rub her hair through its towel. “You’re up early for a Saturday.”

Chapter 52: Werewolf Magic

After a moment, the breeze moved the trees enough that some light showed through. Corrie realized it was Charlie and stepped forward to hit him lightly on the arm. “Don’t scare us like that!”

“Sorry,” he said, grinning and not looking sorry at all. “I heard you guys coming and the grown-ups are all talking about boring stuff, so I couldn’t resist coming out to greet you.”

“Grown-ups?” Corrie laughed. “Aren’t you like twenty-one?”

“Well, yeah, but that doesn’t mean the stuff they talk about isn’t boring. Did you guys have a good chat?”

Chapter 51: Not Wolves

Corrie, Edie, and Corrie’s father sat on the rock in the stream for a long time, talking about their lives. Actually, Corrie didn’t manage to get much information out of her father, but she did get his cell phone number and a promise never to sneak up on her on campus again. He didn’t get the full story on her college experience out of her, either, but he did manage to persuade her to talk about something she hadn’t planned on explaining. “He seemed sweet in high school,” she sighed. “And he is sweet, I guess.

Chapter 50: Natural Werewolves

Corrie’s father walked out onto the tip of the rock and sat down, his feet dangling over the side. Corrie followed cautiously, finally letting go of Edie’s hand, and sat down next to him. She had to zip her jacket back up, because she wasn’t exerting herself anymore, and the cold rock sent shivers through her. She had a momentary urge to lean against the man she knew was her father, but he was still nearly a stranger, even if she did have half his DNA. She kept a little distance between them. Thankfully, Edie sat down close on her other side.

Chapter 49: Werewolves

Corrie was actually glad the night was so cool. She had to unzip her jacket because she had warmed up from so much walking, and if it hadn’t been chilly out she would have had to take off her jacket entirely, and that would have been a pain to carry. Despite Charlie’s assurance that they didn’t have to walk much farther, she and Edie had to stop twice to catch their breath and take drinks of water. The second time, Charlie did accept some of the water, but still urged them to hurry.

Chapter 48: Bothering

“Maybe she was.” Corrie decided to drop it. They could argue all night, though with all this exertion it was only going to get harder. She would keep coming up with reasons, and Edie, it looked like, would keep coming up with excuses. Instead, she decided to change the subject by telling Edie about how she and Byron had broken up.

“What a jerk!” Edie said when Corrie had finished explaining. “Do you want me to go yell at him for you?”

Corrie laughed. “Only if you want to. I mean, I don’t think it will help, but he probably deserves it.”

“You don’t seem too upset.”

Chapter 47: The Right Moment

“You okay?” Corrie asked Edie quietly, as soon as she was sure they were out of earshot.

“Of course,” Edie said. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Oh, just because we were all kind of arguing with each other back there… If you’re mad at me, I understand.” If Edie didn’t realize that Leila was trying to control her and hurt her, Corrie would stay quiet about it. It certainly wouldn’t help if she just tried to tell her friend.

Chapter 46: Plans

Corrie gulped and squeezed Edie’s hand even tighter. Edie must be seeing through Leila’s glamour. How could she do that with the steel bracelet, and Corrie couldn’t? Maybe she was touching her clover too.

Leila reached up to touch her ear, frowning. “There’s nothing wrong with my ears.”

Edie shook her head. “They look different.” She tried to pull her hand out of Corrie’s grasp, then looked down at it, frowning. “Corrie, let go of me, please.”

“No way,” Corrie said firmly. “We’re going. You don’t need to stand around talking to her.”

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.

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