Edie didn’t want to do her homework, but she knew she should. She had plenty to study for, and if she wanted to relax this weekend, she had to get her homework done; she knew herself well enough to realize that if she tried to relax without getting enough done, she’d be anxious about it later.
Besides, Corrie was at her own desk, sighing loudly as she got out some homework, and Edie could hardly be lazy when her best friend and roommate was being studious.
She checked her notebook, where she had the weekend’s homework written down. The reading for Intro to Magic would have to wait; she and Derwen studied together on Sunday evenings for the Monday class, and if she’d already done the reading, she’d get frustrated with Derwen. But she had reading for her two literature classes, a short writing assignment for French, and memorization for theater.
She would work on the memorization later, when Corrie wasn’t so busy. It was hard to do that silently. But the French would be quick and easy; she would get that done first.
For several minutes, the room was silent except for the scratching of their writing instruments—Edie’s pen and Corrie’s pencil. When Edie glanced over at her roommate, she saw that Corrie was actually drawing, not writing. For a moment she wondered if she was just procrastinating, then realized that she was drawing careful cubes with shading on the sides; it must be for her design class.
She shook her head at herself, glanced out the window, and got back to her French homework.
Then she dropped her pen.
It had probably been a flower or someone’s dropped hat—right? Something bright orange out the window, something moving toward the edge of campus. She shouldn’t hopes up.
But she climbed onto her bed to get a better look out the window, pushing her face right up against it.
Someone was definitely walking toward the edge of campus. Someone with long, bright red hair—worn loose today—and dark clothing, with a quick, smooth stride.
Someone who looked just like Leila from up here.
Where was she going? What was she doing out there on the edge of campus? Was she leaving, when she must have only just arrived today? Edie had to find out.
Edie swallowed. “I’ll be right back,” she told Corrie, even though she hoped it wasn’t true. If it was really Leila out there, she probably wouldn’t be back for a while.
Anyway, she wasn’t sure if Corrie had heard her; she was still focused on her cubes. Edie grabbed her jacket, which still had her ID card and her keys in the pocket, and dashed out of the room.
She ran all the way down the five flights of stairs, then checked herself as she headed for the door. Not only was she out of breath, she didn’t want to alarm anyone with her rushing. Especially if the person outside turned out not to be Leila. She wouldn’t want to freak them out.
She paused behind the door, pulled her jacket on, took a few deep breaths, and headed outside.
She had to go all the way around the building to get to the part of campus that her window showed. She didn’t see Leila—or whoever it was—and for a moment her heart leapt into her throat. Had she vanished again?
But then Leila was walking back out of the woods, and now Edie could see that it was definitely Leila. She had the same expression she always had when she was thinking about something, her lips pinched together, her eyebrows straight. Edie’s heart returned to its usual spot and started to beat hard.
She walked toward her. Leila didn’t seem to have seen her yet. What was she looking at? What was she thinking about? Where was she going?
She still wasn’t looking at Edie, and they were only a few yards apart from each other. Should she call out? What had she done in Roe’s vision? All memory of the specifics seemed to be gone from her mind.
That made her hesitate for a moment, but then Leila reached the sidewalk that ran between Gilkey and the environmental co-op, and she stopped—almost as if she had reached another invisible barrier. But that wasn’t possible, was it?
Edie ran up to her. “Leila,” she called when she was ten feet away.
Leila looked down at the sidewalk, making no response. It was as though she hadn’t heard. Had her time in Faerie done something to her hearing? What could have happened to her? Edie’s heart squirmed into her throat again.
She stopped just a couple of feet away, keeping her distance even though she wanted to run up and grab her girlfriend, touch her after so many months apart. But something told her that she should be careful.
“Leila,” she said again, and this time Leila looked up.
Her eyebrows lifted and wrinkled the skin between them, but her frown did not fade. “Edith?”