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Chatoyant College

Chapter 38: Home

Edie felt Leila’s hand on her shoulder, shaking her lightly. She opened her eyes. “Did I fall asleep?”

“Yes, dear. Are you feeling better?” Leila, kneeling beside her, smiled down at her. The angry red marks that had been on her cheek were gone, and her head nearly brushed the lowest branches of the tree.

“I am!” Apparently she had needed a nap. She hadn’t slept all that well the night before, had she? That would explain why she felt so woozy when she and Leila had left the orchard. “How about you? You look better.”

Chapter 37: Of Course It Is Safe

“Oh good, you’re here.” Leila sighed and shook her head, then pushed her hands over the top of her head as though smoothing her hair down. “It has been quite a day, I tell you. Shall we get started?”

“Sure,” said Edie. “What are we doing?” She was pretty sure they were doing the same thing they’d done last night, but she didn’t actually remember what that was. Then, as Leila turned toward her, she forgot her question. She gasped and ran towards her girlfriend, reaching out toward her face. “What happened to your cheek?”

Chapter 36: An Excellent Idea

Corrie nodded. “You’re right, of course. But what if she didn’t know?”

Dawn frowned. “What… you think Edie could be nonhuman and not know it?”

“Exactly. Like if she was a changeling or something.”

Dawn nodded slowly. It certainly wasn’t a possibility she could discount. “I thought changelings were all made of sticks, or looked really old, or something, though.”

Chapter 35: He Wouldn't Believe Me

Dawn knocked on Corrie and Edie’s door, and after a moment, Corrie answered it. Dawn started back. She looked haggard. There were bags under her eyes (they were small, but noticeable to someone who usually saw Corrie smiling and well-rested), her hair was coming out of its ponytail, and she was definitely not smiling. “Corrie, what’s wrong?” Dawn asked. Looking over her shoulder at the empty room, she added, “Where’s Edie?”

“Well, that’s part of what’s wrong,” said Corrie, with a half-smile. “Let’s talk about it over dinner. I don’t think she’s showing up, she’s usually back by now.”

Chapter 34: He'd Love to See You

“In fact…” Dawn said, thinking of how genuinely sad Tom had seemed to be when he heard that Pru had never had children (in fact, it was the only genuine emotion she had seen from him, other than maybe amusement), “Why don’t you come back here? I’m sure he’d love to see you.”

Pru made a noncommittal noise. “He didn’t come to see me when I was on campus visiting you.”

“I don’t think he knew you were there. He doesn’t seem to be very connected with campus events. He didn’t know about what Marlin was doing with his human lovers. And to be fair, you didn’t go looking for him, either.”

Chapter 33: A Reason

“I’m sorry,” Dawn said softly. She wished there was something she could do for Aunt Pru.

“It’s all right,” Pru said, and she really didn’t sound sad. “I made my choice. It’s better than settling for someone who wasn’t really good enough for me, isn’t it? I hope you’ll never do that.”

Chapter 32: Never Lasted

Dawn walked into her room and threw herself face-down on her bed. Thursdays were just too long. There had been so many interesting classes she’d wanted to take, so many possible careers she could pursue, that she’d decided to try them all. Clearly that had been the wrong choice—she had just ended up with too many different classes and too much in her brain. She should have at least spread them out over more semesters. And she still didn’t know which course she wanted to pursue.

Chapter 31: A Real Family

“You believe me? You believe us?”

“Yeah. I wasn’t sure at first, but… now I don’t have much choice.” Corrie took a deep breath. “Apparently he’s in contact with someone I know on campus. I talked to him—Charlie—and, well, he showed me. Is that how my dad convinced you he was telling you the truth?”

“Yes, exactly. He… transformed. He didn’t tell me until after I found out I was pregnant with you, though. That’s part of the reason we broke up.”

Chapter 30: A Little Weird

“Actually,” Corrie said slowly, “things have been a little weird.”

“Hmm. You told me about the concerns you had about Edie’s girlfriend.”

“Yeah.” Corrie hadn’t yet told her mother about the faeries. She might never do so. It was probably not as dangerous for people off-campus as it was for people who lived near the faeries, but she still didn’t want to put her mom in danger. She’d just explained that she thought Edie’s girlfriend was treating her badly. “I actually got in a bit of a fight with her today. But that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Chapter 29: Mom

After her FYE class, Corrie went back to her dorm room and attempted to work on the paper she had to do for Jasmine’s class, but she couldn’t concentrate. She’d felt too sick to eat lunch and concluded that she had low blood sugar and was in need of sustenance, but after she made herself a peanut butter sandwich, she just stared at it, unable to come up with the energy to take a bite.

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