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Chatoyant College

Chapter 19: Potluck

Corrie’s grandmother’s apartment was so crowded that she and her mother could barely squeeze inside. It was hot from the electric heat and the press of bodies. Dozens of smells mingled in the air—sweat, soap, perfume, food. Overlaying it all was the scent of something that had burnt, and the smoke hung in a haze near the ceiling. The lights were bright and there was so much chattering that she couldn’t even tell where half of it was coming from.

Corrie loved it.

Chapter 18: Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, November 27

Edie dreamed that night about pies. In her dream, the bottoms of her pumpkin pies had, unbeknownst to her, burnt clear through, so that when she cut into them they stank and fell apart, and the entire pie tasted awful. Everyone made fun of her for not knowing how to bake pie and Thanksgiving dinner was ruined.

When she woke up, she had to take several deep breaths and assure herself that her pies were perfect (they were) and that dinner wouldn’t be ruined even if she had burnt them before she could get up.

Chapter 17: Pies

Edie was miserable. Supposedly her grandmother was doing all the cooking for Thanksgiving dinner, as she usually did—she did the hosting, after all—but her mother had decided that she needed to bake some pies and had recruited Edie to help. It was sweltering in the kitchen, with the oven fully heated even though they hadn’t finished the pumpkin pie filling, and her little brother kept stealing pieces of pie crust.

Chapter 16: A Relaxing Day

Wednesday, November 26

Dawn slept until noon the next day—partly wonderful luxury, partly exhaustion, because the late flight meant they had all been up late. Still, she felt very refreshed and happy when she woke up, and was even more pleased when she remembered that she didn’t have to change out of her pajamas to go get breakfast.

Chapter 15: Surprise

Dawn was glad she’d already packed up the stuff she’d need for the long weekend, because by the time she got to the parking lot, her parents were standing around outside the car and looking impatient. She held up her bags and waited for her dad to pop the trunk. He took the bags from her and threw them in. “Sorry,” she said, “that ran longer than I expected. But it was important. Why are you in a hurry? We’re not really going to drive all the way home tonight, are we?”

Chapter 14: Pondering

As the four of them left the meeting with Professor Lal, Dawn was worried about getting her things together in time to meet her parents, but she was more worried about what the professor had told them. She didn’t really like any of it—not the idea that the court faeries had some unusual way to get things to the library, nor the fact that Mardalan was not the one who had created the book after all, and definitely not the fact that she and her friends were the human students with the most knowledge of faeries on the entire campus. It felt like it was her fault, and she hated it.

Chapter 13: Control

Corrie glanced at Edie, wondering what Professor Lal meant. Edie sighed and nodded. “She’s kind of… well, I guess she’s just really tired lately,” Edie said. “I think it took a lot out of her to be social with you guys yesterday.”

“Jeez, I’m sorry,” said Corrie.

“It’s okay,” Edie said. “I mean, she wanted to do it. But she went right back to her tree.”

“She did leave kind of abruptly,” said Dawn. “But I guess it makes sense that she would be tired in the winter.”

Professor Lal nodded. “Exactly. As the trees slow down and sleep, so will a dryad, whose life is tied to them.”

Chapter 12: Enlisting Help

“But—” Corrie started, then paused, not entirely sure what she was going to say. It wasn’t as though she didn’t want to help. But she was scared—not so much for herself as for Edie, of course, but for herself as well. She didn’t want her parents to be upset by having their daughter kidnapped by faeries, or killed by them, and that was their overwhelming experience when it came to dealing with faeries. Or was it? Professor Lal and Leila both treated them fairly well, and Ever was their friend. There were also plenty of faeries Dawn had noticed on campus who didn’t seem to want to hurt anyone.

Chapter 11: Conference

Dinner that evening was quieter than usual—Annie, Rico, and Duncan had all already gone home, as had a large percentage of the campus, judging by how uncrowded the dining hall was. Corrie didn’t mind, though. She wanted to hurry through dinner so they could get to the meeting with Professor Lal quickly.

Roe pushed away her bowl of soup, looking queasy. “Are you sure she didn’t say anything about what we’re going to meet about?” she asked for the fiftieth time.

Corrie shook her head. “She just said she wanted to discuss something with us.”

Chapter 10: Love Lives

Tuesday, November 25

Corrie and Dawn stood outside Professor Lal’s office, leaning against the wall and making desultory chat. They had come to her office hours to ask her about Corrie’s idea for an information exchange, but there was someone in there already, probably discussing work for magic class. They certainly didn’t want to interrupt, but neither of them could think of anything interesting to do while they waited.

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