Clare K. R. Miller

Chatoyant College Book 12: Chapter 14: Morning Light

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Sunday, April 16

Corrie, balancing her keys in one hand and her shower tote with her towel in the other (she’d wrapped the towel around her head as she always did when done with her shower, but it seemed to be unbalanced today and was tipping to the side), managed to get the door of her dorm room unlocked. The light was on, and when she stepped inside she looked around, expecting to see Edie, but no one was there.

She might have been in the bathroom herself, but Corrie hadn’t thought there was anyone else there when she left. And she had a strange feeling that Edie had gone somewhere else.

Before getting dressed, she looked out first her window, then Edie’s, trying to see the ground. She could see the forest and a fair amount of grass, of course, but no sign of anyone out there. From here, she couldn’t see the environmental co-op or the little orchard they kept; that was to the south of Gilkey, and their windows were closer to the north end than the south.

But it was a nice day out today, so she threw on some clothes quickly, then opened her window. The windowsill was a bit dirty, probably from being stuck in the same position all winter, but she just grimaced, opened the screen, and stuck her head out.

Unfortunately, from here, she still couldn’t see anything. No one was next to Gilkey on that side. The trees of the orchard were just in view, but if anyone was out there, she couldn’t see them. If she leaned out a little more, she might be able to spot something, but then she would be in great danger of falling out the window. It wasn’t worth the risk.

She pulled herself inside, closed the screen, and brushed off her hands over the trash can, thinking. Should she go out there and look for Edie and Leila? If they were in the co-op’s orchard, it would be easy to keep an eye on them, maybe even without them noticing. But if they were anywhere else… well, Edie wasn’t likely to go off campus, but Corrie couldn’t entirely discount the idea, so it would be really difficult to find her. Searching might just make her anxious with no point.

Maybe Dawn would help her decide what to do—Corrie and Edie had told her Leila had come back yesterday, but they hadn’t talked much about it.

She put on shoes, turned off the light (Edie must have really left in a hurry), and went next door to knock. There was no answer. She waited a few minutes, knocked again, then tried the doorknob, but of course it was locked.

Naomi and Dawn must both be out. They’d probably spent the night with their boyfriends. Corrie surprised herself by feeling a moment of jealousy. She could have spent the night with Charlie if she wanted to. But she didn’t want to—they definitely weren’t at that point yet, if they ever would be.

She considered going downstairs to Rico and Duncan’s room to see if Dawn was there, then decided she didn’t want to bother them, especially if she might interrupt something. She didn’t need to go searching for Edie, anyway. If she was missing for too long, Corrie could call her—she was pretty sure Edie had her phone.

Of course, that hadn’t worked at times in the past. But there was no point in worrying about that right now.

Instead, she wrote a quick note telling Edie that she was going to breakfast and put it on her desk. Then she turned to knock on her other friends’ doors.

Unfortunately, Annie’s roommate Salome answered her door. “What?” she said, frowning at Corrie as she always did.

“Is Annie awake?” Corrie tried to be as cheerful as possible to counteract Salome’s gloominess.

“Yeah,” Salome said, immediately turning and walking back into the room, but leaving the door ajar.

Corrie leaned in hesitantly. “Annie? Want to get breakfast?”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Annie said, hiding a yawn behind her hand. She was sitting on the edge of her bed, wearing an oversized T-shirt and pajama pants. “Give me a few minutes to get dressed and run to the bathroom.”

“Sure. I’ll see if Roe’s up and wait in the hall for you.”

Roe answered her own door. She didn’t look very happy, her long blonde hair hanging in her face, but she nodded when Corrie invited her out for breakfast. “In a minute.”

Corrie waited out in the hall for them, checking her phone for messages, which she had none of. But she didn’t have to wait long for them to join her, though Roe still seemed half-asleep, blinking and looking around.

“Where are Edie and Dawn?” Annie asked, also looking around.

“I’m actually not sure,” Corrie said. “Edie ran out this morning. I think it must have been to talk to Leila. I haven’t seen Dawn since last night, so she’s probably still with Rico.”

“Oh. Yeah, I guess that makes sense. Well, let’s go anyway. I’m starving.”

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