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Chatoyant College

Chapter 25: Rest and Relaxation

They brought Dawn back to her room with no trouble, Charlie carrying her. Once again, Corrie watched their path, and it was empty—though this time she did see a couple laughing, holding hands and running down the path from one dorm to another. At least they weren’t the only ones walking on the campus at all.

After Charlie had set Dawn back down on her bed and left, Corrie and Naomi wiped the makeup off her face, took her shoes off, and tucked her in as best they could. Corrie sighed, straightening up, then turned to Naomi. “Do you want me to stay here and help you keep an eye on her?”

Chapter 24: Empty Campus

Leading Charlie up the stairs, taking them two at a time, Corrie paused briefly at the fourth floor. She hadn’t knocked to see whether Rico or even Duncan were home. She didn’t think they were—she recalled Dawn saying something about wanting Rico to come to the party, but him being busy—but she still ought to check, since Dawn was Rico’s girlfriend and he would want to help. Then again, she really didn’t want to explain the situation to him. When Dawn woke up, it would be her choice what and whether to tell her boyfriend about being drugged and dancing with another guy.

Chapter 23: Sleeping

Corrie stared at Dawn for a few minutes. Her brain was failing to come up with anything useful to do now. Finally she reached out and, without much hope, shook Dawn’s shoulder. She continued to sleep. Corrie grabbed her discarded bracelet and shook Dawn again, but just like before, there was no reaction.

“I don’t know if waking her up is even a good idea,” said Naomi. “If the spell or drug or whatever made her sick, she might just need to sleep it off.”

Corrie sighed. “You’re right. But what do we do? Other people might get sick.”

Chapter 22: Under the Influence

“Let’s get out of here,” she said, gesturing urgently at Naomi and Dawn. “I don’t know how long they’re going to be able to hold him back.” Her heart was hammering with adrenaline.

“Who?” Naomi frowned and glanced back toward the building, but scrambled to her feet. “Tom?”

Corrie shook her head and held her hand out to Dawn. “The guy who was dancing with Dawn. He did not want me to come back in. I didn’t get a chance to find Tom. Though considering how much he’s drawn to any drama, he should figure out where we were…”

“Unless he’s distracted. Come on, Dawn, get up.”

Chapter 21: Thresholds

Corrie ran quickly back to the entrance to the art building, glancing back frequently to check on Dawn and Naomi. Naomi had sat down on the edge of the grass and had managed to get Dawn down with her. She was saying something Corrie couldn’t hear and pointing downward.

Chapter 20: Dancing

They hurried down the stairs. Corrie led the way directly to the girl doing the body paintings. But when they reached her, Dawn was gone, replaced by a blue-haired guy who was having his arms painted. “Shit,” said Corrie.

“June,” said Naomi, tapping the painter on the shoulder. “What happened to the girl who was here before?”

June shrugged her free shoulder, continuing a long, sinuous black line down the guy’s inner arm. “I finished her back. She left.”

Corrie groaned, trying to look around the room. “I told her to stay put.”

Chapter 19: Painting

Corrie could only stare at her friend for a moment. Based on Corrie’s limited experience, Dawn looked stoned. Just her face was enough to say that, let alone the fact that she was actually allowing her back to be painted when she had brought up people painting on each other as one of the reasons she didn’t want to go to the party. Hell, Corrie didn’t think she’d ever even seen Dawn showing this much skin before. Her shirt was pushed up over her shoulders and her bra was unhooked.

Chapter 18: Antlers

As Corrie chatted with Wendy and Gareth, catching up on their lives and those of people she hadn’t spoken to since her big fight with Byron, she glanced around the room. The conversation didn’t hold much of her attention, and she was amused to see someone standing surrounded by a ring of onlookers, juggling brightly colored balls, someone filling the broad pockets of a painting apron with candy, and someone else intently focused on what (Corrie took a minute to realize) was another person’s bared back, painting an intricate dark-green design.

Chapter 17: Party Time

Despite what she had just said to Dawn, Corrie tried to put her worries out of her head as they followed Naomi and Tom at a slightly more sedate pace. They were going to a party, after all. She was there to have fun. And eat candy. She would have to be alert to any possibility of changes from the faerie court, but there was nothing she could do about them tonight, and she was thoroughly certain that none of her friends would be going anywhere near there.

Chapter 16: Candy

Dawn was relieved to be walking out of the forest again, with the comfort of her two friends and Tom by her sides. She didn’t entirely think she should trust Tom, but she did anyway. Maybe it was just because her aunt had. Maybe it was because he’d helped them by escorting Troy away from the fight despite his own desires.

“What’s in the bag?” he asked cheerfully as they walked downhill. Naomi was carrying all of their bags of candy in a plastic grocery bag.

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